February 27, 2009

Love In The Fast Lane

This month's Competitor Magazine featured 5 couples across the country who found each other through sports. Jack & Adam's Bicycles owner Jack Murray and Skeese Greets owner, Stacy Keese are one of the featured couples for this story.

Below is the section featuring this Austin couple. Click on the article for the larger version or pick up a Competitor Magazine at Jack & Adam's or a sporting goods store near you...it's FREE!

Click on the article for a larger version.

Quote of the Day:
"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." As You Like It, Shakespeare


February 26, 2009

Featured Bike Art: Tight Rope Tee

In celebration of Levi Strauss's birthday today, throw on your favorite pair of jeans and a cool t-shirt, then listen to "Baby's Got Her Bluejeans On" by Mel McDaniel or Neil Diamond's "Forever In Blue Jeans." This will really get you in the spirit to mark the birth of the man who revolutionized the way the western world dresses.

Need a new tee to go with those jeans? Then check Etsy.com for cool t-shirt designs specifically for cycling enthusiasts. A new T-Shirt maker, Tight Rope Tees, has created a beautiful design which incorporates a bike and floral pattern. The colorful and unique creation is featured on many colors in both a sleeveless and traditional style tee. It's screen printed on 100% pima cotton and no doubt will look hot with those Levi's!

Quote of the Day: "I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes." Yves Saint Laurent


February 25, 2009

What's Your Vice?

It's Ash Wednesday, which means it's the first day of Lent in Western Christianity. For 40 days, Catholics and many others will give up a vice. But come Easter Sunday, they can once again partake in chocolate, alcohol, sugar, or whatever else they gave up.

If you grew up in South Texas, as I did, you'll also be subjected to "Fish Fridays" in the school cafeteria - yuck! I always knew that the practice had something to do with Lent, but I didn't know the reasoning behind it until now. In ancient times, meat was considered a luxury food; only people who could afford to buy it in the market or have enough land to raise cattle were able to eat it. Fish, however, could be caught in the stream by anyone and vegetables could be grown or foraged by anyone. These foods did not require money. Therefore fish was considered a poor man's food and meat was a rich man's food. That's why the most common form of fasting is to give up meat and eat fish instead. I think I'll still pass on the fried fish fillets...I'll take any veggies in place of that!

If you're looking to substitute the meat products during this season of Lent, check out the new book by my friend Rip Esselstyn called the Engine 2 Diet. It's all vegan.

Or another great book is "Quick & Easy Recipes for Active People" by my friend Meredith Terranova. There's a great salmon recipe in there.

What's your vice? And are you giving it up for the next 40 days? If so, good luck!


Quote of the Day: “Nothing is as certain as that the vices of leisure are gotten rid of by being busy.” Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD), Moral Letters to Lucilius, 64 A.D.


February 24, 2009

It's Mardi Gras!

It's Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, the final day of the weeks-long Carnival season of feasting and celebration. It begins each year on January 6 and continues until Fat Tuesday, the date of which can fall between February 3 and March 9 depending on the Lunar calendar, used by the Catholic Church to determine the date of Easter. On Ash Wednesday (the day after Fat Tuesday) Christian revelers must sober up for the pre-Easter fasting and the penitential season of Lent.

Although Carnival is celebrated in Christian countries worldwide, Mardi Gras in the US is most associated with New Orleans and began there in 1699. To celebrate, Krewes (organizations) hold balls and parades, wear masks and throw beads. The party ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday, the only time New Orleans closes.

Quote of the Day: "Laissez les bons temps rouler." (Let the good times roll.)

February 23, 2009

Pure Austin Gym Fitness Expo

The 4th Annual Pure Austin Gym Fitness Expo took place on Saturday at the north location at Quarry Lake. Anyone was welcome to attend this event which featured free food, drinks, a fitness challenge and many classes.

It started out as a rainy day with strong, cold winds. The sun eventually came out, and so too did the people. I was there with Jack & Adam's Bicycles to promote upcoming triathlons, including the Skeese Greeets Women's Tri.

Quote of the Day:
“Fitness - If it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.” Cher (1946 - )


February 20, 2009

Day for Social Justice

The famous quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” by Martin Luther King, Jr. seems to be an appropriate one today.

Today, February 20th, is the first ever "World Day for Social Justice" following its unanimous adoption by the 192 member States of the United Nations during their November 2007 General Assembly. The observance has been created to promote poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.

No websites with info on the observance give advice on what to do on this day. Why have an "observance" if there is nothing that can be done to observe or help out and promote it. If you have an idea, let's start a list.

Quote of the Day: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968)


February 19, 2009

Featured Bike Art: Circa Ceramics

For all you bike lovin' & coffee drinkin' peeps out there, check out some cool ceramic designs from Circa Ceramics. Not only do they offer coffee cups with stylish bike designs, they also have bowls, espresso cups with saucers and cool little "tabs" that you can hang around your house or on the Christmas Tree.

Their bike designs consist of stingray and other cruiser silhouettes printed in black on very brightly colored, solid backgrounds. Just my style! I wish I could stock my whole kitchen with this stuff! Their other designs of birds, flowers, cameras and other retro images are also sleek and stylish. You can see the entire collection on Etsy!

Quote of the Day:
“Let each man exercise the art he knows.” Aristophanes (450 BC - 388 BC), Wasps, 422 B.C.


February 18, 2009

Skeese Greets Tri Teams With Non-Profit

The Skeese Greets Women's Tri, to be held at the Texas Ski Ranch on May 3, has teamed with the new Austin Chapter of Girls on the Run. Not only will Skeese Greets donate some funds to this worthy cause, but entrants also have the option of tossing in a little extra $$$ themselves. Here's the scoop on this great non-profit, which by the way, is run by several local triathletes, including Shorey Russell, Maggie Caldwell, and KB Schatz:

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a life-changing character development program for elementary school girls, starting with 3rd grade (ages 8-12) that uses the power of running to teach every girl about her personal power and the importance of being healthy and active. GOTR combines training for a 5K (3.1 miles) running event with healthy living education. Our programs instill self-esteem and strong values through health education, life skills development, mentoring relationships, and physical training - all of which are accomplished through an active collaboration with girls and their parents, schools, volunteers, staff and the community.

The goal of the program is to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. Furthermore, we encourage participants to talk with their family every day about what is going on with them. The 12-week curriculum attempts to help each girl find and stay true to her REAL self. As a celebration of achievement, all girls complete a local 5K race.

GOTR is best suited for prevention purposes for girls between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. This is a time when children are still receptive to what adults have to say, yet they are beginning to feel the pull of peer pressure. Studies show that around the time of 5th grade, girls tend to go to a place that we call "The Girl Box." The Girl Box is a place where girls feel as if they are valued more for their appearance, their friends and what kind of clothes they wear - as opposed to the strength of their character. It is the perfect time to address important personal and relationship issues to a girl - like learning how to manage her emotions, the dangers of gossiping, how and when to speak up for herself and more. This is the ideal age for girls to develop the skills for handling these issues so that each girl STAYS OUT OF THE BOX.

Studies show that a decline of self-esteem, poor academic performance, and diminished ambitions take place during adolescence. The skills taught through GOTR have shown to lead to fewer eating disorders, less depression and suicide attempts, fewer substance/alcohol abuse problems and fewer teen pregnancies. The result is a healthier way of life for a new generation of young women.

GOTR of Austin is an affiliate of Girls on the Run International, which operates in over 160 cities across the US and Canada. GOTR of Austin was founded in Feb. 2008 and served 6 girls at one school in the Fall 2008. For the Spring 2009 school semester, we are proud to announce we have over 30 girls enrolled in 3 schools around the Austin area.

For more information on Girls on the Run, visit www.gotraustin.org.

The Skeese Greets Women's Tri is an Official Jack & Adam's Event, Volunteer or Register today!

Quote of the Day: "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift." - Steve Prefontaine

February 17, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness for Cyclists

February 17 is designated as "Random Acts of Kindness Day." I'm narrowing it down to "Random Acts of Kindness for & by Cyclists Day." These are just a few ideas to keep in the back of your head, not just for today, but for any day.

-Don't just run/ride/drive by - ask that stranded mountain biker if he needs help.

-Give your unwanted Triathlon or Marathon medals to Medals 4 Mettle which helps kids with cancer.

-Donate your unused cycling jerseys to a charity.

-Put some bucks into a cycling related charity like the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

-Finally give some $$$ to your bud who is riding in the MS150. He's been asking for a long time, so just do it.

-Put your old tubes, tires, spare bike parts into the bicycle re-cycle bins at Jack & Adam's Bicycles.

-Pick up someone else's trash that "accidentally" got left behind on the trail.

-Send a card or handwritten letter of thanks to your cycling partner. You draft off him; he deserves some thanks.

-Tell your dad he shouldn't wear his cycling jersey around like a t-shirt, no matter how convenient he thinks those back pockets are. Say it in your kindest voice.

What are some other kind acts related to cycling?


Quote of the Day: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop (620 BC - 560 BC)


February 16, 2009

President's Day

Today is the 3rd Monday of February and that means it's President's Day. In 1971, President Nixon combined two previous federal public holidays honoring Lincoln's Birthday (Feb 12) and Washington's Birthday (Feb 22) into one day that honored all past presidents of the United States. On this federal public holiday, banks and post offices are closed in the US, but most employed people must still put their nose to the grind stone (& read a few blog posts along the way.)

In case you get a presidential pop quiz from your boss later on today, here is some info on past presidents. And if you really want to impress, quote some Lincoln. Here are some of my favorites from our 16th president:

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.

I will prepare and some day my chance will come.

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

What's your favorite presidential quote?


February 12, 2009

"They're funny things, Accidents"

Suddenly, I was on the ground wrapped in a short, yet heavy fence. I think I woke the entire neighborhood with this little mishap last night. It reminded me of how quickly and unexpectedly things in life can happen.

As I galloped down the steps of the house and out to the car, darkness masked the gate which is usually open. The gate is about waist high, so as my toes and hands hit it, my momentum and weight made it collapse, carrying me with it. I landed on the gate and then the rest of it fell on top of me.

The metal hitting the cement and my eloquent use of cuss words surely got the neighbors' attention, but luckily they didn't come out to see what had just occurred in the quiet little 'hood.

I was not injured - no broken bones (I don't think), no gushing blood, just an all around soreness. I was just glad it did not happen to my mom who visits regularly. If this had happened to someone much older, it would have been really bad news.

As a cyclist, and even as a trail runner, I'm constantly aware that I could crash or take a tumble at any given moment. Maybe that awareness and my very cautious nature keeps me out of trouble in that respect. I haven't had a fall in many years, not on the bike & not on a run. The last time I ate it, in fact, was at home coming down steps and that was 5 years ago. The hazards of home.

As the mild pain subsides, so too will the reminder that things can happen in the blink of an eye.

Quote of the day:
“They're funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you're having them.” Eeyore, Pooh's Little Instruction Book

February 11, 2009


M.I.A. and no I'm not talking about the 9 month pregnant singer who performed at the Grammy's on Sunday. I'm talking about this MIA blogger who's been absent (& not quite absent minded) for the past three months.

Three months seems like a long time. So I back-tracked and this is what happens mid-November for a small greeting card business - in short: Christmas.

Although Christmas card orders come in all year (usually starting in February), the majority start to hit around mid-October and the avalanche is in mid-November through mid-December. During this time it's all about order fulfillment and pretty much nothing else. I fulfill individual online orders for cyclists around the world and I also fulfill special orders for bike shops. During that one very hectic time frame, thousands of Skeese Greets bike Christmas cards pass through my hands.

Afterwards, of course, I think I need a break. So in January I give myself a pretty good "vacation." I plan out the year: sponsorships, event schedule, the Skeese Greets Women's Tri, print runs and new designs. I also do card inventory and plan out the marketing year for our bike shop (Jack & Adam's Bicycles.) Then come February, the "real work" begins and the above planning goes into effect.

That leaves me here. Only this year, January brought an unexpected curve - a Skeese Greets HQ relocation. After 4 years in the same office building, I had to move. It's taking some time to adjust, but I think it will be for the better.

So that was mid-November to mid-February. Now, for the rest of the year...more frequent updates!


Quote of the day:
“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Warren Buffett (1930 - )