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my weekly bike date/writing workshop

June 30, 2011

I have a standing weekly bike date with my friend H. to get together and write. This is a new tradition that we’ve implemented since H. has finished with her major chemo and radiation treatment and is once again back on her bike. We meet at a local coffee shop, pull out our laptops, and write our little hearts out. H. is a scientist and has articles she needs to publish while I’m toiling away on this one chapter of my dissertation that I want to complete before C. is born. Something about sitting with someone as productive and efficient as H. makes me really bring my A-game to the table and churn out far more work than I would at home.

Bike/writing date

Bike/Writing Date

Bike/writing date

Bike/writing date

Coffee Shop
I love starting those days with a bike ride into town, a visit to a local coffee shop, and a meeting with a good friend before diving into my writing. Then, after a few hours of sitting and working, nothing beats a bike ride home. I can clear my head and take a much deserved mental break as I pedal slowly back to my house. Until next week, H!

Bike/writing date

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2011 06:41

    I LOVE that table, heh. And I agree, being with someone who seems more productive than you inspires you to work harder. While I was finishing my Master’s thesis, I would always get more work done when sharing my office with another student, J. J., finishing her doctorate in food security in Northern Canada, was the most productive woman I have EVER MET. I couldn’t help but slog through writing, articles, defense prep as I sat at the computer, hearing J.’s non-stop clickity clack of fingers on keyboard.

    • June 30, 2011 09:24

      I know, right? Maybe I can just record the sound of someone typing and play it at home while I sit at my desk. Maybe that would help my productivity there too.

  2. June 30, 2011 08:54

    That sounds awesome! Just so you know, I was so inspired by your outdoor office post that I’m taking advice and packing a picnic for the afternoon today. Happy biking!

    • June 30, 2011 09:22

      that’s wonderful, Mel! Hope you have a lovely and productive work day outdoors!

  3. June 30, 2011 09:24

    This sounds like a perfect bike date! I love friends, bicycling, writing, coffee and being productive. Great job on combining all those things!

  4. June 30, 2011 12:50

    It looks like your local cafe isn’t to crowded and noisy. Sometimes I find it hard to work in coffee shops because of all the distractions.

    Some of my friends/colleagues and I do a thing called Think Tank, where we meet at someone’s house and work for several hours on our individual projects in hour long segments. The host provides lunch and plenty of coffee and tea. It’s amazing what a little peer pressure can do to productivity levels. :)

    • June 30, 2011 14:24

      The Think Tank sounds like a great idea! I’ve found that whatever the backdrop, the more I surround myself with other people working (especially writing), the more productive I am and the more I stick to my research and writing goals.

  5. Janna permalink
    June 30, 2011 12:58

    I just found your blog through “Making this Home” and I love it! ADORABLE!!

    I have some bike logistics questions for you –
    1. How do you get on and off the bike in a dress without flashing people?
    2. Is your town flat or are you biking hills?
    3. How do you carry your laptop on your bike?

    THANK YOU!
    ~Janna

    • Melissa @ HerGreenLife permalink
      June 30, 2011 13:15

      To answer your first question: Very carefully ;)

      I’ve found the style of dress/skirt to be important, something at least knee length and a bit flowy, so there is some extra fabric when you’re swinging your legs around. Also, although both of my bikes have straight top tubes, a drop tube (i.e., women’s frame bike) makes it massively easier.

      Sometimes you just hope no one is looking and move quickly, although the whole “move quickly” on and off the bike thing is easier when you’re not 30-some weeks pregnant :)

    • June 30, 2011 14:22

      Hi Janna,

      and welcome! To answer your questions (although Melissa already provided some great tips there), here’s my reply:

      1) Bikes with a “step through” frame make it pretty easy to get on and off without lifting your leg to high. It also helps to tip the bike towards you. And to not be super concerned if you do end up showing a bit more thigh than you’d like, most likely, no one’s looking that closely anyway.

      2) My town is moderate in its hills. It’s no San Francisco, but we do have our share of hills. The more I ride, the better I get at tackling those. But for starters, there’s no shame in walking your bike up a steep hill either!

      3) I carry my laptop in my bike basket and feel pretty comfortable in doing so. I’ve done that for the past year while biking to campus to my teaching job on a daily basis and I haven’t had any problems as a result of that. I have it in a laptop sleeve that sits inside my bag. Sometimes I carry a backpack and will stick the laptop in its sleeve in the backpack. But for all of my work commutes, I had a more professional tote with my latop in it and that rode in my bike basket every day.

      Hope that helps!

      S.

  6. angelasw permalink
    June 30, 2011 17:56

    What is this place? It looks fabulous. I visit your city sometimes (though probably not so much in upcoming months what with not having a job and the time-consuming job-search process) and would love to go to this place!

    • July 1, 2011 13:23

      It’s a newish coffee shop right off Main Street next to the cobbler shop. It’s great and definitely worth checking out!

  7. July 1, 2011 00:34

    I know what you mean, that’s why I would always arrange work parties. On my own I’m not always the most productive because I get distracted. But what I’ve learned is that you have to be very careful about who you invite to a work party. If your friends are tempted to chat you up too much (I think a good 20 minute redux at the beginning of the work date is good, with breaks every now and then) then that’s bad too.

    I like working with people who I know need to get as much done as I do. Then the silence just makes me more motivated!

    Keep writing. Once baby gets here it’s hard to get the writing juices flowing. At least that’s what I experienced;)

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