Biking from Boston to Montreal

June 7, 2018

Last year I buried myself in the architecture licensure exam study books, and after 15 months, I finally passed all exams in March.  I realized, in all my studying, that I dis-engaged from my community, which had a negative impact on my mental sanity and happiness. So, I’m launching back in with the effort to have a positive impact and make change around me. If anything has taught us in these more trying political times, it’s that we need to step up and take action for the things we care about. Joining the Boston Cyclists Union’s fundraising and awareness campaign to bike from Boston to Montreal is just the first step in my personal mission to DO MORE.

(Side note: My trusty Jamis bike I was going to ride on the trip was smashed by a truck a few weeks before the ride. So I doubled down on my research to find a new steed. With many friends’ help, I settled on a custom build of the All-City Space Horse, with a crankset more geared towards climbing, cable actuated hydraulic brakes, and fatter-than-I’ve-ever-ridden tires. The tires proved to be invaluable on Vermont’s many rough roads and the rooty, rocky trails. I first rode the bike a week before the trip, cutting it real close, but the Space Horse proved it’s gracefulness on the varied terrain and made me a more confident rider.)

Biking the 400 miles to Montreal from Boston in five days was a transformative trip for many, including myself. For me, it was about conquering fears/doubts of ability of tackling trail obstacles (slippery roots, rocks, logs), plowing through mud, steep uphills, loose gravel and wicked fast descents. Making split second decisions about what line to pick, where to put your weight, how much to brake or let the bike go. And learning all this on a new bike – which ultimately gave me the confidence I needed to relax and just go at it. The new bike is good at fast descents, rock hopping, and mud bogging. I was definitely on edge in many moments and practiced breathing, concentration and focus. I never fell and managed to pop over logs and quick steep uphills that used to stop me.

Camping also throws its challenges your way, from the wet, the cold, and the biting bugs. At times I did wonder why I liked to camp, but then that night the temp stays above the dew point and the views of calm lake waters sparkling in the early sun all make it worth it.

The off road parts we did were mostly on the West River Trail in VT. I don’t have any pictures of the super gnarly trail because I was too busy trying to hold on! I definitely gained more confidence and the beauty of difficult things like long climbs is that you put your head down and eventually you get to the top!

The last riding day -110 miles from Burlington to Montreal proved to feel the fastest and strongest for me. It was hot with rolling hills and flatlands. A glorious tail wind helped and my legs were ready to kick into machine mode and consistently hold a quick pace. It was the first time I’ve felt that way and felt so good to be strong after 4 other tough hilly days. Maybe it was the dip in the chilly Lake Champlain waters that cut the lactic acid from my muscles.

Riding in Montreal was also transformative. I kept expecting the infrastructure to end, to die out and dump you on a narrow road like it does in most places in the US. But it didn’t! It continued and the network was connected and allowed you to just keep going! Seems like a simple thing but it made traversing the city a smooth and joyous experience. We also had a mini seminar with bike advocates from VeloQuebec and the Montreal Bike Coalition and learned more about the history of the cycling infrastructure movement in the city.

Another valuable aspect of the ride, aside from personal achievements, is that of meeting new people, expanding the friend circle and seeing friends improve over the week. The kindness and sharing I saw throughout the week was also amazing. And having no cell phone service was great (tho not for checking weather radar). There’s nothing like biking in 50s and rain to make you appreciate any kind of food, especially the most amazing peanut butter cookie cream sandwich I had at some small country store. The worse some things become, the better others are.

Thank you SO MUCH to all my campaign supporters! YOU made this possible, and certainly lessened my stress (It was raising the money that stopped me in previous years!) Your gifts will be made in the next few weeks – I promise! Now I can weave stories from the trip into them 🙂

Here’s a few pictures from the ride:

 

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Thoughts on weather, winter, bikes, and horses

February 3, 2018
Today, as the cold grips me, I’m reminded of an essay I wrote March 2017 capturing a similarly cold expedition. Sometimes I long for horses, and so, living in the city, I turn to my bike. This essay parallels the experiences between my horse days growing up on Star, a Quarter Horse, and current days with my bike, AB (Aurora Borealis as Jamis calls her).

Thoughts on weather, winter, bikes, and horses

It’s 12 degrees outside. But it feels like -2. Winds are 18-22 miles out of the North, with gusts up to 45mph. The last few weeks, months, really, have been in the 30s-60s.

This particularly cold day brought back a (frozen) flood of memories of my horse owning days. Saddling up for a quick ride is quite similar to gearing up for a bike ride into town. There’s all the layers. The planning. The weather checking.

My dad said once that when we experience weather – especially wet, windy, wild weather – its like having a conversation with the atmosphere. The weather knows your weaknesses right away and isn’t shy about pointing them out. The weather helps you zoom into the present moment, realizing your vulnerability and assessing next steps – press on, or plan B?

I’ve realized that, like being outside in all types of weather, choosing to bike everywhere requires a certain mindset, and certain recipe with a pinch of stubbornness, a dash of crazy, a splash of practicality and touch of adventure.
Having just recovered from a stomach bug, and 10 minutes into my 25 minute ride and feeling a fresh, unfamiliar deep cold pain as I hadn’t felt in so many months I wondered if it was a good idea to be doing this. I should have worn a headband in addition to my hat, as the wind smugly pointed out.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, my dad also says, only bad clothes. And yet, these thick gloves are to the atmosphere, a thin permeable scrim which the wind easily pierces. As I try to warm my fingers at stop lights, my focus lingers longer on the traffic and pedestrians, and my fingers become less of a distraction and warm without my noticing.
On the way home, the wind pushes me from behind and I’m glad I’m headed this way – agreeable to the wind. The brakes of AB are slow to engage as we approach a traffic light, my thickly padded fingers struggle to pull the levers back almost all the way to the cork bar tape. I make a mental note to tighten the brakes when I get home, out of the whipping wind. This pulling back motion, carefully even on the front and back brake, like on each rein, reminds me of pulling Star in, and on a windy evening headed home, she would be reluctant to stop too. She’s just as eager to get back to the barn as AB is in getting back to the basement.
I dodge fallen branches and swirling plastic bags along the path. AB doesn’t spook at the enlivened plastic the way Star would have. For that I’m grateful. We move as one, seeing the same obstacles, and moving swiftly. The power of my own legs moving up a hill reminds me of the power I could feel beneath me in Star’s movement. Her traction solid and sure, just as the tires grip, and leave behind, the pavement.
I’m thankful that AB doesnt get scared of things I can hear in the wind. But sometimes the studded tires catch on a loose cobble on the path and I have to catch my balance. These moments, and riding over speed humps and bumps are particular reminders of my horseback riding days – having to be nimble and balanced, ready for any sudden shift in direction. As with snowy and icy conditions, when body and machine can skate through acting as one, just as body and animal can navigate a technical trail as one is the most satisfying: working in unison, despite the tricky conditions. Out-tricking the trickery.
Growing up in Minnesota I remember dreading going out into the frozen tundra and walking the 200 feet ( but it felt like 2 miles to my 13 year-old self) to the barn. Inside seemed fantastically warm when the wind was suddenly cut out of the equation, scolding you in howls and reminding you of its power and presence by drifting snow in through cracks under the thin metal cladding of the barn.
Picking out the frozen chunks built up in the horses’ hooves is not unlike the snow/ice balls I have to stomp out of my mountain bike cleats. The metal has the same binding affect on both of our feet, and when left unattended, gives us an added inch or two of height and the most awkward way of walking.
The frozen chin, the out-of-breathness, and frozen toes are all the shared experience between each steed. The urging forward leg muscles complement the pedaling forward muscles. My heart racing just the same in each.
Bikes like horses, require regular maintenance and upkeep. A quick rub down of the steel and the coat after a ride, the lube of a chain, a brushing and shaking out of the saddle pad.
The relief from the wicked wind is welcome. The adventure worth it, to put your mind in the present moment, to have that conversation with the atmosphere, to be apart of that story, and to have one to tell.

RAW Design Build – Dakota 2017 – Outcropping

August 6, 2017

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Six years passed between my first RAW Design Build days and this year’s reunion was a great chance to revisit the kitchen/dining structures we built in 2011 and create a new destination on the 1000 acre tree farm outside of Custer, South Dakota.

This project was truly about working around nature – whether it was the almost daily rain and lighting shows, the quite chilly nights (we camped about a 5 minute walk away from the site), to the steep slopes, ever-varying rock faces, and weaving between bonsai-like pines and groves of aspen. This was a build-it-and-they-will-come project. It’s on the forefront of a vision to cultivate more outdoor experiences  and destinations on the land to encourage authentic outdoor activities (getting away from the variety of kitchy attractions that dot the area – Reptile Gardens, anyone?)

Ponderosa pines dominate the rocky terrain. Recently, the pine beetle’s wrath has allowed for new aspen groves to pop up, creating a new food source and habitat for deer and other critters. Julie Oswald, the client and owner of the property, said this year has been the year of the Aspen, as she’s been thinking a lot about how it fits into the overall forest management plan.

This year’s challenge was to create a place that could change the visitor’s view and perception of the place. How can we get visitors to look at the site differently? Scrambling on the rocks, I realized that there were a few different view ranges – one, below the canopy, through the valley – two, in the canopy of aspen and ponderosa pines, and three, above the canopy to the distant Black Hills.

Here are a few sketches thinking through initial concepts (shelter vs exposure, seeing above and below the canopy, framing views), key drawings that we based our lumber counts on and figured out structural components. Also included is the custom bracket detail (Drawn by Charley Umbarger).

It’s one thing to focus on the view and the big picture, and another to pay attention to the smaller details like the lichen thriving here. Zooming in, one notices the brave trees growing through slender cracks in the rock. Four different kinds of lichens and their vibrant colors are specifically sited on different rock faces. Shadows are constantly shifting across the varied surfaces. Trees sway in the breeze, cueing a vertigo feeling if you happen to be leaning on one while standing on the newly leveled surface.

We decided not to build on the very top because anything we build would do little to enhance what is already there. We chose a high rocky gap with a natural and easy to access slope up one side and a lower, corner-wrapping spot that will tie into a future campsite and provide adventurers a platform for rock sitting and scrambling up to a higher view. Each platform gives visitors a new experience that they would not have gotten the chance to experience otherwise.

Here are photos from the first 3 days – actually using our shelters built in 2011, exploring  the site and zooming into our locations, finding the floor height, locating columns, chiseling columns, pouring footings.

We had locals make custom brackets for our tree columns and the rock-to-beam interface. This next series shows the tree columns going vertical (ironic that they were once vertical and now it takes so much energy to get them vertical once again?) We couldn’t have done it without Andy’s help on his various pieces of machinery and extra tools. Beams and joists going in, and the space starts to form. We take a break and go to Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. All this weaving between thunderstorms.

Time is our most challenging constraint (though nature is not far behind!) and we push on to get the finishing touches of the rim boards, scribing the rock for the decking (my personal favorite), railing design and decide how to treat the columns. We run out of time for benches. That could be a whole RAW assignment in itself. See below for the final shots!

I’m looking forward to going back soon to enjoy the space we’ve created!


2016 Makings

December 3, 2016

Here are some of my latest makings. I’ve been sewing birthday cards for my coworkers, as well as good-byes, and thank yous.


Gratitude

October 31, 2015

Change is hard. But gratitude and appreciation make it easier. Here are the latest collage creations for my coworkers before I transitioned into a new job. I think about the personality of each person as I make. It’s a way to guide decision making.

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Latest Makings

November 2, 2014

Here is my latest collection of collaged cards, petite postcards, wallets made from paycheck envelopes…

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Target drawstring saddle cover!

April 2, 2014

Target drawstring saddle cover!

I like the Target plastic bag design, so why not make it into a tailored bike seat cover? It’s also good camouflage for nicer saddles.

Underside view of the drawstring

Underside view of the drawstring


PARK(ing) Day, 2013

January 18, 2014

Yes, I realize the timing is a bit…late, but I thought I’d document just the same. In 2012 our PARK(ing) Day was in SouthEnd, adjacent to a popular Friday Food Truck rally. This year we aimed for NoDa, a neighborhood known for it’s artsy nature. We set up shop using local resources, of course! A tire place around the corner on 36th graciously let us borrow the tires for a few hours and the train tracks were a host of marvelous branches we painted and used for street trees. And, yes, you might ask, a few of those painted trees do live on as a decoration to a neighboring apartment door.

We set up a temporary tattoo parlor…yes, temporary tattoos, and temporarily set up. It was a huge hit, and a great way to break down the invisible barriers between strangers. This is my favorite part of the event – talking to those just walking by, often with confused expressions – which, of course, gives me a perfect segway into a conversation, explaining the oddities that are occurring where cars normally do. I liked the phrase that came up, “Park your butt, not your Buick.” We chose this street because there is a void of sitting space, especially as the narrow sidewalks crowd with concert-goers and the like. One 20 foot parking space can go a long way for creating new conversations, hearing stories, and enjoying the street life.

We had a “wishing tree” where people could hang their neighborhood wishes. Not Just Coffee and Smelly Cat were kind enough to donate/let us borrow some coffee bean bags. We had games, tattoos, and just a place to sit while you waited for your cab.

Before

Before

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Also a good space for picnics…

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And just when we packed up the last of the materials. Filled again. And how dead the space seems once more.

And just when we packed up the last of the materials. Filled again. And how dead the space seems once more.


Bearings to Bicycle Bling

January 18, 2014

I admit that I sometimes peer into the trash, out of curiosity. You never know what you can find. I got lucky this particular time, when I spied a collar full of ball bearings – a part of a headset for a bike. My friend thought it was beyond its useful life. Because it is a cool object, I thought there must be some reuse…and sure enough – a necklace fits the bill!

necklace

Bike bearings as bicycle bling


Best of Map Made Cards

January 18, 2014

December was a rather prolific card/art making month. I picked up these maps from a librarian friend, and I, in turn, remade them and gave them to friends. Here are some of my favorites.

topo card

One of my favorites. Tracing topo.

card

Mapping and the void

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Rivers and lines

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I love the water lines

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Together and apart

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A Rapha advertisement turned postcard. Front and back shown.

These 10 were donated to a friend's art auction.

These 10 were donated to a friend’s art auction.

 

 

 

 


Cans to Cards

January 18, 2014

My business card holder-making has come back, this time with a Jam Session can from Noda Brewing Company. More to come on this venture!

Jam Session can to card holder

Jam Session can to card holder


Bicycle mechanic tool belt / apron

December 27, 2013

It has been too long since I had a good sewing project, so I leapt at the chance to tackle a request for a bicycle maintenance tool belt/shop apron. As it turns out, there aren’t very many other examples out there, so I did a little of my own customization. Working with a limited selection of fabric colors and weights made it extra fun. There are 7 big pockets, with 10 places to hold Allen keys or other tools/rags. It’s a woven grey now, but won’t be for long. The dirtier the better, because it will be getting used!

Tool belt - laid flat

Tool belt / Apron with 7 large pockets and 10 smaller places to stash Allen keys or other tools.

allen key holder detail

allen key holder detail

mechanic belt stitching detail

Stitching detail

Tool belt

Tool belt

Tool belt demonstration

Tool belt demonstration


Final Thesis: Saturating East Boulevard: Fusing Water and Public Space

May 8, 2013

Here’s a link to my final thesis document – Saturating East Boulevard (viewing at Issuu)

page view

Page view of the water walk.

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Detail drawings of the water walk panel

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Views of the process for making the tipping cup facade system

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Plan view drawing of pervious surfaces on this 2 block stretch of East Boulevard


*New* Scrap Exchange Space

May 6, 2013
before...

before…

 

These are the kinds of projects I like: quick, easy, cheap, and pack an impact punch!

Problem: Architecture students waste so many materials at the end of the year because they dont have anywhere to put them and they dont think they can use them again.

Solution: Take over an under utilized spray painting room and turn it into an organized place to store scrap materials for next semester. Every one saves TIME and MONEY. Hundreds of dollars of materials are saved from going in the dumpster! Hit this effort during the last week of school, make an impact, get people excited, get people motivated and willing to do just a little bit more.

We also played off of an existing campaign – Zero Waste has been adopted by the Football team. Why not use a little peer pressure and take on the same goals??

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Nicole Rivera is a trooper. She attacked the top!

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Before, from the doorway.

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After painting!

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After. We decided to keep some of the good graffiti for fun!

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X marks the spot for saving this graffiti!

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Free flat files from university surplus!

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Job searching and future opportunities

March 1, 2013

I graduate in May. You’ve probably met me, and I have probably directed you to this website.  I am going to be shameless put my portfolio and resume here, in hopes it will be an easy way to get to know me and to see my work.

Click to view my 2013 short portfolio. Here is the link to view a quick view of my thesis portfolio.

Here is my resume in the pdf version: KeihlyMoore_Resume2013_web

Clickable version that gets bigger:

KeihlyMoore_Resume2013_web


street section builder…

February 21, 2013

street section builder

 

This just in for all you urban designer / street geeks!

What could be more fun that playing around with how to design a street? 🙂

http://streetmix.net/

 


water bottle follies

February 20, 2013

So, the other day I was doing a bicycle experiment with my friend. We were riding the bike share bcycles and I had my waterbottle in the basket. I was going fast down 7th Ave, headed away from uptown, and I hit a bump…watch what happens.. (click on the image to activate…)

Water bottle gymnastics


snow, really, for the first time in 2 years!

February 17, 2013

I couldnt help but get excited to see snow in Charlotte. It had been the first accumulation in 2 years. Although it hardly holds a shovel to the inches I’ve seen in Minnesota, excitement still bubbled up inside me. I’ll never tire of seeing the snow etched branches overlapping in the sky, their outlines creating infinite patterns.


DIY street experiments

February 12, 2013
The case for separated bike lanes  (source: Atlantic Cities)

The case for separated bike lanes (source: Atlantic Cities)

Since I’ve taken bicycling seriously in the city I’ve really started to pay a lot more attention to the streets – the widths, the speeds, the potholes, the jerks, the friendly faces (I’ve noticed I have more eye contact with people when I’m on my bike), the connectivity and lack of. You see a lot more when you’re on a bike, then when you’re in a car, I’ve found.

Here’s an article that is quite inspiring…

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/08/case-separated-bike-lanes/3015/


furry frosty

January 22, 2013

furry frosty

This is what a rain storm followed by a winter storm (in NC) will give you. The doors were stuck shut, the first time that’s happened this winter season. I appreciate the pattern and texture.


the water line

January 22, 2013

the water line

I am interested in showing the presence of something that is absent…I’m also interested in how water lines mark, thinking of this as a mini model of flooding. This, of course, is a more every-day water mark we look right over.


moving, migrating ‘mericans : Forbes map

January 21, 2013

moving, migrating 'mericans : Forbes map

I just can’t stop looking at this fun map…

http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2011/migration.html


Rich blocks, poor blocks

January 21, 2013

Rich blocks, poor blocks

This site visualizes income data per neighborhood. Very interesting.

http://www.richblockspoorblocks.com/


stretched to the end

January 20, 2013

stretched to the end

A friend sent me a picture of the wallet I made him some 3 years ago. He tried to make it last forever. I’d say he did pretty good. I’m really impressed he used it so well. I like to see the things I make wear and travel. I still remember this mesh came from a rice sack from Mexico, found in Illinois. The plastic edging came from a bag found in NYC. The wallet has lived in Iowa.


Sugar Creek Storming

January 17, 2013

I took this video at 9am this morning. Today the greenway is impassable, but that’s okay. I’ll let the river have more room. This is a good use of space and water management. It’s also interesting to watch the water line move up and down.


Thank yous

January 14, 2013

For some reason I really enjoy making thank you cards and postcards. I get into this introspective mood and realize how much there is to be grateful for. I think about the person as I make it (even if I dont know them very well), and somehow that informs my decision making process, in a strange, sub-conscious kind of way. Here are a few of my latest.

Rome + waves

Rome + waves

 

Berlin + waves

Berlin + waves

Stockholm pictures

Stockholm pictures


coy koi, okoy?

January 14, 2013

I need to keep track of the things I make. This particular found-fabric found its way into my latest gift projects quite easily. I started with the apron – for a favorite chef of mine. The vertical piece turns into a towel hook over the koi fish pocket. If you’re into cycling, I was inspired by Rapha’s clothing line off center design.

koi fish apron

koi fish apron

And then I made an all purpose pouch. Friends have turned them into wallets, card holders, places to carry flash drives, phone cases…it’s just fun and versatile.

fish all-purpose pouch

fish all-purpose pouch

And last, but not least, are my koi pot-holders/hot pads. It’s fun covering poorly designed ones with whatever design you want! Plus you get an extra layer of fabric protection….

Potholders / hot pads

Potholders / hot pads

Do you have other ideas you could see with this kind of fabric? I’ve got a little big left….

 


Japanese subway as music

January 11, 2013

I found this article at Atlantic Cities:
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2012/10/japanese-subway-train-composed-music/3445/

I’ve been thinking about sound and space recently, and this caught my attention. Quite imaginative!


the whole view

January 11, 2013

the whole view

This is what 9 christmas trees look like in a little dining room. They are quite friendly, and their fragrance, sparkled with orange scent, is marvelous.

 

I should also note how the trees exited the house…much faster than hauling them back down the stairs.

tree exit

tree exit

 


x-mas x-hibition

January 11, 2013

x-mas x-hibition

What does it look like to have 9 christmas trees in your dining room? This is the thought that crossed my mind when walking past strewn-to-the-curb christmas trees. My friend provided his dining room in Boston for the staging.