Granola

SIMPLE NOMS

Granola.

I once relegated this patchouli staple to the bullshit pantry - it says it’s health food, but it’s really just sugary oats.

Well, after years of shunning my inner food-hippie, I’ve found common ground with granola, and now I love the stuff.

The key to my crunchy enlightenment? Making it myself.

I have to give a disclaimer – the recipe credit is partially given to an ex of mine. He introduced me to it, then I just made it better. Regardless the origins origin, I now have a recipe that’s so tasty I snack on it throughout the day.

For trails, tours, or just plain-old underwear-and-NPR breakfast, here’s the granola recipe to end all granola recipes (in my humble opinion).

 

LADY OATS

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup PECANS
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp nutmeg (depending on desired nutmeggy-ness)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 tbsps water
  • 1/3-1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk flax seed and water together, then add maple syrup, oil, and salt, mixing until well integrated.

4. Combine wet & dry ingredients. Spread a thin layer onto baking sheet.

5. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until golden, stirring every 20-30 minutes.

6. Remove from oven, add raisins, and let cool.

 

Embrace your granola-love, Ladies, and keep enjoying the ride!

XOXO

Blue Lotus Chai

TRIED AND TRUE

(Welcome, Ladies and Lady-Lovers, to a new weekly blog segment: Tried & True! I’ll be providing product reviews based on experience, and only those worth sharing make the cut. From biking gear to outdoors equipment to housewares – if it’s awesome, I’ll let you know about it! Suggestions for items you’d like me to try? Get in touch and I’ll give ‘em a whirl!)

Whether bike-touring, backpacking, or otherwise getting lost, this Lady’s luxury of choice is a hot cup of something in the morning. Nestled in the woods, nursing a mug of coffee or tea before departing on epic adventures? Nearly nothing rivals it :)

The only set-back to my morning routine has been weight. Carrying a french press is doable for leisurely trips, but climbing mountains at higher elevations? Those added ounces add up.

And so, during my most recent adventures, I was incredibly pleased to discover these: Blue Lotus Masala Chai Mix packets (17 cup Stand Up Pouch).

They come in a number of flavors, but the Traditional Masala is particularly gustoso!

Not only is the packaging resealable, brewing up to 17 cups, and the mix simple to reconstitute (just add water – no steeping required), but they even include a little bamboo spoon for measuring and mixing! It made for a relaxed and spicy morning on the trail and energized me for a successful summit bid.

Do you have a trail or touring luxury? If so, what’s the one thing you bring along regardless of usefulness or weight?

Keep exploring, adventuring, and enjoying life, Ladies!

XOXO

 

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ARTICLES OF NOTE

What a lovely Monday, Ladies! Here are some interesting articles to start off a wonderful week.

1) HAPPY SIMCOE DAY!

In Canada, it’s a three day weekend. The occasion? Celebrating John Graves Simcoe – an army officer turned urban planner. He plotted the amazingly accurate grid lines of cities like Toronto, creating an effective network for the movement of goods and services that gave an edge to the region and continues to shape the city to this day. What a nice and obscure bit of history, ay?

2) URBAN AGRICULTURE – THE NEXT FRONTIER

Restore run-down neighborhoods? Provide jobs and useful skills to our most at-need neighbors? Walkable, livable spaces and streets that connect the community, reduce crime, and spread smiles? Businesses implementing a triple bottom line? Yes, please!

Hooray Chicago! The city has green lit the Green Healthy Neighborhoods Plan, a livability and development framework to make Chicago a place people want to be, particularly in areas historically ravaged by poverty & crime. By creating zoning for market farms and rooftop gardening, farming isn’t just for rural America anymore! Additionally, some great groups are getting residents who are in need of skills and jobs immersed in the process. Oh, and one more awesome thing: it’s all based around a giant green space, bikeway, and pedestrian path.

3) 10 BACKPACKING HACKS

For your next bike touring, bikepacking, or hiking expedition – these ideas are awesome! Turn your Nalgene bottle into an instant lantern? Dryer sheets as bug repellent? Sleeping bag stuff-sack as pillowcase? Lovely :)

3) LIVABILITY LOVELINESS IN BUENOS AIRES!

Check out all the lovely bike, ped, transit, and open space improvements in Argentina’s capital! Great inspiration :) :

Buenos Aires: Building a People Friendly City from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

4) THE VALUE OF GETTING LOST

Check out another sublime book summary from Maria Popova, this time of the insightful A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. The book discusses the importance of wading into uncharted territories – for growth, understanding, adventure, and love. As the books says,

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.

Have a lovely week, Ladies (& Lady-lovers)!

XOXO

Want more? Follow us on twitter & pinterest. And more articles, photos, and videos available on our twitter-based news site – TheUrbanExplorer.org

Simple-planter-ideas-for-small-gardens-shoes-organizers

A LADY AT HOME: RESOURCES FOR GARDENING YEAR ROUND

As a Lady living a simplified life, growing your own food can be a lovely life addition – another notch for your self-reliance tool belt. It’s also a way of connecting with your surroundings and the seasons, which can prove useful on any number of nature adventures, too.

So in the spirit of living an adventurous life – be it in the kitchen, on two-wheels, atop mountains, immersion in new and unique DIY & hobbies, or in your backyard – I present this lovely resource: A personalized what-to-plant guide for your specific location! Courtesy of Mother Earth News.

The bottom of the linked page above has a ton of other useful links for seasoned gardeners and nature newbies alike, including the when to plant app – a great resource you can utilize when shopping for seeds!

And if you’re intimidated by the idea of growing salad fixin’s in your apartment, condo, or small space, this e-book makes it simple and accessible. Noms: no yard required.

Keep exploring, trying new things, and enjoying the ride, Ladies!

XOXO

LADYGYVER: HOW TO RIDE A BIKE IN A SKIRT

Don’t have a bicycle garter? No worries, Ladies!

Here’s a great how-to for keep your skirt down and Lady-parts concealed whilst wheeling through town. All you need is a penny, a rubber-band, and a fabulous skirt.

Some additional tips from my experiences:

*Sporting a mini, flyaway skirt? Sit your underweared behind directly on the seat, allowing the skirt to flow around you. Trying to tuck limited fabric beneath you often creates a cheeky street show.

*Long skirt or maxi? Tie the base in a knot (not too tight – make sure you can still pedal!) to keep it out of your rear wheel.

*Pencil skirt? Unzip or unbutton at the waist and wiggle the skirt down a bit for added coverage. And wear tights, leggings, or adorable undies, since this skirt is the biggest flashing culprit I’ve donned.

Do you have any tips from your fabulously frocked rides? Share them in the comments below :)

Keep riding and looking lovely, Ladies!

XOXO

Morning coffee clearly calls for fancy hats

FANCY HATS FOR EVERYONE!

Thanks to a dear Lady friend of mine for sending this along!

There are plenty of helmet accoutrements out there, (including great reflective bows!), but nothing meets these excellent and amusing fancy hat covers from Bandbox. “Elegance in Safety” – even the tagline is grin-inducing.

Riding to the Kentucky Derby? Covered!

Huffy-ing it to High tea? Done!

It’s like the tweed ride all year long! Whether its for costuming purposes or a legitimate love of exquisite hats, check these out.

Keep fun-ifying and enjoying your ride, Ladies!

XOXO

Car_Emissions

A BIKE COMMUTER’S GUIDE TO LUNG HEALTH

Spontaneous reunions with passing friends, navigating new neighborhoods, scouting side street shops, waving cars on during passive-Portland stop-sign duels, the satisfaction of a gentle (or ferocious) Lady-sweat from moving your body, breathing fresh(ish) air

Two-wheeled travel is lovely, but breathing steel-box exhaust is not. And while the air INSIDE steel-boxes is actually more toxic than that wafting from the tail-pipe, it behooves the regular Lady (or Lady-lover) stuck inhaling this industrial excrement on a daily basis to promote better breathing through preventative care.

Below I’ve listed three awesome herbal remedies you can make at home – an herbal tea, a simple steam, and a respiratory syrup – for those inclined to DIY. Some of the odder herbs can be found at local herb shops and in bulk through MountainRoseHerbs.com.

For pre-made options, check out Traditional Medicinal’s Breathe Easy tea.

 

Keep breathing easy and enjoying the ride, Ladies!

XOXO

 

CYCLE EASY TEA

1 tsp Lungwort

1 tsp Licorice Root

1 tsp Ginger, freshly grated

DIRECTIONS: Place herbs in a tea ball or tea bag. Add to 8oz boiling water, steeping for 10 minutes. Drink daily.

 

CITY-DWELLER RESPIRATORY STEAM

5-10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil

4 cups Boiling Water

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Place face over bowl and cover head and howl with a large towel. Steam face while breathing deeply for 10 minutes. Use daily or weekly.

 

LUNG WELLNESS SYRUP

First, make an infusion -

10 tsp Thyme (12 tsp if using fresh herb)

10 tsp Horehound

1 entire clove Garlic, crushed

2.5 cups Boiling Water

Cheese Cloth

1 large bowl

 

Now, make it a syrup!

2 cups Raw Honey

1 medium sized Sauce Pan

1 sterile Mason Jar

 

Infusion Preparation: Combine boiling water, thyme, horehound, and garlic. Boil for 15 minutes. Let cool, then use a cheese cloth to strain infusion into large bowl, wringing as much water as possible from the herbs. Return infusion to sauce pan and place on low temperature setting.

Infusion –> Syrup: Add 2 cups raw honey to infusion. Heat gently and stir constantly until most water has evaporated, creating a thickened texture. Pour the finished syrup into a sterile mason jar. Store in a dark, cool place for up to 6 months.

DIRECTIONS: Take 1 heaping spoonful daily to support respiratory health.

 

MODULAR CARGO BIKE? YES, PLEASE!

When not taking part in imaginary two-wheeled space adventures atop my metallic pink streamer-handled-huffy, this Lady loved to build random creations with her older brothers’ left-over Legos.

So imagine my resplendent glee upon seeing not only an adult lego-like toy, but one that happens to also be a bicycle.

This is so incredibly awesome ! Check out the link, Ladies (and Lady-lovers) to read about the N55 designed XYZ Cargo bike!

Want a simple cargo bike? It can do that.

Want a fruit stand, ice-cream-pedalmobile, roving-library, portable-banana-stand? It can do that, too.

How about an INSTANT PARK?! It does that, too!

Absolutely fabulous (and fun) concept & design. Lovely!

From the article:

Like all modular systems, XYZ nodes enable people to build things based on the principle of a few different parts repeatedly used to create an overall structure, similar to construction sets like Lego, Meccano and Erector. Because of the open and modular design, the XYZ Cargo Cycles are easy to customize and to rebuild. For example, a cover or a body to improve wind resistance and protect from the weather can be applied — turning the cargo cycle into a velomobile

Several modules have been developed that can be put on top of the XYZ Cargo Trike to transform its functionality: a roof and table module, a passenger seat module, a kitchen module with table, roof and sink, and a platform module. The latter transforms the cargo cycle into a 1.5 x 3 m large movable space, while from a legal point of view remaining a bicycle. The platform module was used to create a ParkCycle Swarm, which empowers people to build an instant public park whenever and wherever they want to.

 

The possibilities are endless, and the cost/design is accessible. So what would you make with your build-a-bike XYZ?

Erector set meets bicycle

Erector set meets bicycle

Keep innovating, playing, and pedaling, Ladies!

XOXO

BIKE LANES MAKE STREETS SAFER… FOR EVERYONE

These may make everyone safer... and happier.

These may make everyone safer… and happier.

Ladies of Toronto, our Lady heart goes out to you.

First your idiot mayor removes newly installed bicycle lanes on Jarvis Street, wasting city resources and removing more-equitable* options for Ladies throughout the city. Then your idiot mayor is caught smoking crack (perhaps explaining the aforementioned situation). Now, more Ladies on two wheels, Ladies on foot, and Ladies in steel-boxes are crashing into one another along the bicycle-lane-memorial-that-is-Jarvis-Street.

Le sigh, ay. Can’t a Lady of the north catch a break?

Well, Ladies, it turns out there IS a lesson to be pulled from this caddywhompus affair, and it may help make the case for future bicycle infrastructure: data shows that bicycle lanes may help make streets safer for all road users. 

Huzzah! A somewhat pyrrhic victory, but a victory all the same! And considering your permanently-santa-cheeked leadership, any victory is worth celebrating!

According to data from the City of Toronto obtained between 2008-2013, crashes have increased along the infamous Jarvis Street for street users of ALL modes. Quite frankly, this blows all around. But what is so interesting is the ability to look at crash rates pre, during, and post bicycle lanes. The data looks something like this:

Hmmm... me thinketh me sees a correlation...

Hmmm… me thinketh me sees a correlation…

This well-reasoned article from The Grid breaks down the data, what it means, and the timeline for the whole Jarvis Street fiasco.

His conclusion?

There’s a lot we don’t know: Could a greater proportion of collisions involving cyclists have gone unreported when the bikes lanes were there? Could Jarvis losing its reversible centre traffic lane have made things less confusing, and, as a result, less dangerous? Could it all just be a coincidence? It’s possible.

But from what we know now, Jarvis seems to have been a safer street with bike lanes on it than it was before, or has been since—and that goes for everyone who took it, were they pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers. In other words: it was a win-win, but not anymore.

In line with what we are already seeing, bicycle infrastructure is magical for communities, Ladies (& Lady-lovers), and everyone and everything else.

Perhaps the presence of people on bikes leads to reduced speeds, forcing drivers to pay more attention to prevent running over another person (since no one wants to run someone else over… or maybe that’s not totally true…), but regardless of the mechanism, two-wheeled citizens being seen and being treated equitably in our transportation models is a true win-win. For everyone.

These lane removals were justified by the mayor with a parallel, lower-traffic lane going in to appease bicycle riders. But that’s the thing – we should be making MORE space and networks for less-damaging modes, not continuing to fail to meet a base level of safety and accessibility for anyone but those in steel.

And removing bicycles from main streets and commercial corridors? It just reinforces the mentality of lovely Ladies being “out-of-place”, accessory, and a problem that must be put “out of the way” of “real traffic”. Take note, Portland (and this, too, though great infrastructure on BOTH roads would expand our network, and would be lovely).

But I digress. Till your weebles mayor is ousted under the weight of his own stupidity, Ladies of Toronto, at least you’ve got some proof that can help stop future bike lane removal. And it may just help Ladies (& Lady-lovers) around the globe, too.

Keep riding, fighting for equity, and smiling for it all, Ladies!

XOXO

 

*Perhaps we should say less-abhorrently-absent routes, since our two-wheeled infrastructure is nearly non-existent, and usually an afterthought (though this mentality would be just lovely :) ).