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Archive for the ‘bicycling’ Category

Our trip to visit the Bookzilla afforded our first opportunity to lock up the old bicycles in the relatively new bike racks positioned adjacent to 85 Calhoun. Modern in appearance with an ode to both an abstract depiction of iconic Charleston imagery and the history of the structure next door, the bike racks are striking in both their appearance and the initial confusion of utilization one may feel upon a first encounter with the piece.

In fact, not 15 seconds after our arrival, I was lured into an explanatory conversation with a bystander concerning what the apparatus actually was and how to use it.  I knew a bit about the answer to the”what”.  I mostly made up the answer to the “how”.

Upon quick inspection, however, I felt almost foolish for not just inherently knowing how to lock my bike on the thing.  We chose to try out outside stalls as opposed to the lockers mostly due to the fear that the honky grocery basket on the rear of my bike would result in some embarrassing futile attempted slams of the locker door.

I’m not sure how feasible such a rack would be in many other areas of the Holy City (especially at the 10K budget) but I’m a big fan of what the Charleston Civic Design Center and their Clemson University architectural interns did with this particular one in context.

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With all of the recent focus on cycling in the Charleston area, we somehow neglected to mention a terrific endeavor that has been undertaken by three cycling enthusiasts.  Pedal for Prevention can be summed up succinctly on the group’s website: 3 volunteers. 3 bikes. 4,000 miles.  Why? To raise $40,000 to aid in the prevention of child sexual abuse.

The trio launched out of Charleston on July 31st, setting a course that has taken them up the treacherous scorn of every I-24 traveler, Monteagle, through a small part of my beloved Commonwealth of Kentucky, into the Plains, and through mountain passes to the West.  They are currently booking it through Oregon while being graciously given lodging by local firehouses along the route.

I would have been emaciated by West Ashley.

Great cause, obviously great exercise, and from reading their frequently updated (and highly entertaining) blog, a lot of fun.  Can’t go wrong with that combination.

I encourage you to take a look at their website and marvel at how far they have traveled as well as their resolve to draw attention and support to an issue that should be a high priority on everyone’s lists.  Oh yeah, and donate some coin as well.

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After having our local economy faith revived at the Lowcountry Local First Revival on Thursday, we walked a couple of short blocks to Marion Square to sample brews and artistic endeavors at the New Belgium Brewery Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour, benefiting local healthy lifestyle advocates Charleston Moves.  The Holy City was the penultimate stop in a 20 city tour that took the group across the country.

Under the hue of a full moon intermittently shielded by cumulus clouds in one of those halcyon scenes the in which a Lowcountry evening is always depicted, we were treated to a series of amateur films promoting New Belgium’s products through interpretations of their marketing philosophy, as well as some hilarious shorts regarding bicycle safety.  Many of the films were extremely impressive (check some out on the link provided above) and really made me realize how utterly untalented I am with certain mediums compared to many of these filmmakers as well as some local bloggers.  We unfortunately did not get an opportunity to try any of the cleverly named Lips of Faith homemade beers available, concocted by the members of the brewery’s growing faithful following, but overheard many positive remarks on several.

The event was exceptionally low-key, almost as if the organizers were sitting around at 3 PM that afternoon sipping coffee when one of proposed a get-together to watch a bunch of short films over some brews with whoever happened to show up.  Though that wasn’t actually the case (we did only see our first advertisement for the event that morning, however), the laid back feeling it pervaded was a perfect ending to our Thursday night and had us immediately keeping our eyes peeled for a similar future event.

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Because our dog is completely neglected by us, our friends, our neighbors, the mailman, the bed and breakfast owner next door, longtime residents, tourists, online news outlets, and, well, literally everyone she has ever come in contact with, we decided it would be quite a treat for her to have some social interaction and experience the wonder that is the Charleston Dog Show.  The event, held at Marion Square, is probably best described as “the happiest ~10 acres on the planet”.  Every living creature on the grounds, from dogs to dog owners and dog-fearing squirrels to I-have-no-idea-what-is-going-on earthworms, were all smiles, besides the few unfortunate souls who managed to careen their way straight into a solitary robust pile of digested Iams dogfood that was the size of a shipwrecking maelstrom.

The function was headlined by a very amateur (but fun) dog show showcasing Charleston’s best aspiring AKC contenders.  In addition, pretty much every local business having anything to do with canines was represented.  Need a dog walker?  Check.  Need a dog made out of knots from an old sailing vessel? Check (but why would you want that again?)  Finley had an absolute blast and made quite a few new friends.  For any dog lover, owner or not, I would highly recommend checking out the 2011 show.

Following the dog show, we made our way up St. Phillip Street to the Affordabike Summer Blowout only to discover that the organizers were definitely operating on “Charleston time”, which means they were very late in getting started but probably didn’t care, and, of course, we didn’t either (and had no choice in the matter regardless).  I have been in the market for a new bike for a little while now, and despite rushing to get things in order for the block party, one of the partners graciously allowed us to survey his inventory in his then-closed store and took quite a bit of time to answer my numerous questions, which guaranteed a visit from me in the near future for a purchase.

The slight change in plans had a silver lining, as we were able to check out a new coffee shop we have been hearing good things about recently, Hope and Union Coffee Co. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge coffee guy, only occasionally feeling the urge for a cup, but Suzanne absolutely loves a good coffee amidst a good coffee-drinking atmosphere.  This place practically blew her away.  It was a nicely done representation of the typical coffeehouse fare of different pressed brews, teas, high-end sodas, and local bakery productions, but we were both very impressed with the interior construction details, emphasis on treated wood, and overall feel of the place.  I can’t really explain the latter.  It wasn’t one of those places that felt “too big for its britches”, wasn’t insanely bustling, and wasn’t some place I would label with the dreaded tag of disgust:  “too emo”.  It was just relaxing.  Even Finley enjoyed this last bit, probably because we subjected her to 4 hours outdoors in the first real 80+ degrees and humid weather of the season.

Basically, we’ll go back again.  That’s probably all I needed to say.

As it turns out, Finley may not have truly been enjoying the atmosphere at Hope and Union Coffee Co.  In fact, we found out later that her slumber on the shop’s porch was indeed part of a diabolical plot for revenge against us for allowing her languish in the heat for a few hours.  This tale of vengeance, which took place during a cookout at her best friend Aspen’s house in West Ashley, will be expounded upon in the near future, after we have received the incriminating photographs from Adam and Ashley.  Until then, this foreshadowing, willow-draped photograph of a koi pond and a mongrel will have to suffice.

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