Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm possibly the exact opposite of an Alleycat racer in just about every part of my bike life, but I think that this is a Fantastic idea.

True Dutch

Saw this very authentic dutch bike parked outside Sears this weekend.   With the front rack and rear seat, it's all about the aesthetics of utility.
Robert and I lingered a bit, hoping to see the person riding it, but no luck.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's all about accessories

I get a lot of comments/ compliments on my helmet.
For some reason that seems to happen a lot in the grocery store.  I guess it's because I shop several times a week, usually on my way home from work and  often I'm too lazy to take off my helmet.  Fortunately in the stores in Cambridge it's not uncommon to see someone walking around in their helmet, so I don't feel that unusual.  The woman in the line ahead of me the other day complimented me on it.  I said that I had taken it off, but then my hands got full and it was just easier to wear it.  She said "well it will protect you from those tragic grocery accidents"  She had a helmet hanging off her bag, so I didn't take it the wrong way.

Grocery accidents aside, I really like my helmet,  and I think it almost works as a fashion accessory.  At least I don't feel foolish wearing it.   It's the "muse" helmet from Bern,  and I like the chipper styling of the brim.  It's very much like the helmets I used to ride horses in.

I believe that Bern started as a snowsports helmet company, and some of there helmets are bike approved and some aren't, so you have to be careful.   This one is bike approved in the USA, although it's not the most comfortable or adjustable helmet I've ever had. No vents means I can't use it for the hottest parts of the summer ( I have a generic swooshy one for August) and I (and my thyroid gland) wish it had some kind of back of the head adjustment band, so that  you could keep it aligned without cranking the chin band down super tight.

For me though, it's worth it  to have a helmet that doesn't make me look like I took a wrong turn and lost the peleton.  
I've customized it with a coat of clear paint and a layer of the glass reflective beads that they use on signs.  I actually think it's not as reflective as a sign,  but it's better than nothing, and I rather like the bumpy matte texture.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

grunge day

So Tuesdays are my grungy day because I'm at a jobsite and need to be able to climb ladders,  get down on the floor, potentially brush up against dusty/ recently painted stuff.
This week though as I dropped off my zipcar and picked up my lunch at home, I decided to change into dress clothes.  There was a big meeting at my office and I decided I'd rather look like a  professional than someone from building maintenance.
This is what I came up with.  I haven't worn this skirt much and it was a bit odd for biking- really flared, but stretchy.

I guess that the reflective band works well seeing how it reflects my flash!  I like this reflective sash because it's not as dorky and distracting as one of those big reflective vests.  The Scientist refuses to be seen with me if I'm wearing one of those in public.  And the sash is a lot easier to take off and stuff in a pocket to go incognito.

empty the freezer part 4 (sort of)

So tonight the Scientist is back home, and while I want to continue the challenge,  I also want to welcome him back with something he'll enjoy instead of something that feels cobbled together.
So I'm pulling out a precious tub of slow cooked pork carnitas as the centerpiece of tonight's meal.
This is more of a fully formed meal instead of a challenge, as all I have to do is to heat it up and put it in tortillas,  garnish it with salsa, guacamole and cotijo cheese.

But boy is is tasty.
Making Carnitas is slow but simple.  I got my recipe from the Homesick Texan website.

Basically it goes like this:  buy a big piece of pork and chop it up and put it in a big heavy pot. Juice a couple of oranges over it and put a bit of water in.  Cook over low heat until the liquid is gone ( a couple of hours)  add oil if there isn't enough rendered fat to keep it from sticking.   Cook with a bit more attention for another half an hour until the edges are all crispy and brown. Salt to taste.
Oh my God it's tasty.

Make into tacos, burritos, chiles rellenos,  tamales, etc etc.

If you know someone who grew up in Houston specifically or Texas generally,  serve with the Homesick Texan's  "Ninfa's green sauce"  to induce ecstasy.  Pork fat plus avacados equals true love

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Empty the freezer challenge part 3

Let me begin this by saying that I would eat just about anything on top of polenta.
Add some cheese and I would definitely eat anything on the polenta.

I'm not going to post a photo of this evening's dinner as it was not particularly photogenic, to say the least.
Polenta rounds (cut out of a sheet of cooled polenta and frozen with wax paper in between.
Ran then through a hot skillet with a liberal dose of olive oil.
Topped them with a mixture of sauteed chard with a lot of garlic and a generous handful of christmas lima beans.  Something ( I think it was the limas)  had a lot of red pepper in them,  so there wasn't much need for other seasonings.
 Goat cheese crumbled on top made it a little prettier, but mainly it was a study in brown and brownish green.

Freezer containers -3 (polenta,  chard, beans)

Special bonus round,  had lentil soup excavated from the freezer for lunch.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What I wore/ bike ambassadorship

Ok, so I was over optimistic about the weather today.  I had woken up in the middle of the night and had to open the window because it was so warm (I like it cold when I sleep).
So this morning I decided to go bare legged.

I was fine riding into work, but after dark in the cold riding home I not only was glad that I had grabbed my work sweater, I was lamenting not having my gloves.  Despite the cold, I stopped at the new Cambridge main library (architectural thoughts coming soon)  to return my 1 week books.
As I was locking up, a distinguished looking Indian gentleman approached me and asked if I could ride year round.  I said that I mostly could, but that  I didn't when there was ice and bad snow.  He asked if it was safe and I said that I was very careful and that I found drivers in Cambridge to be used to looking for bikes.

He said that his doctor was encouraging him to ride, and asked if I knew where he could buy a bike for under $400.  I told him that for less than $200 he could buy a great sturdy vintage bike that he could ride in normal clothes.  He seemed interested, and remarked that when he was younger in India, he had ridden a bike and his wife had had a bike like mine that she would ride in her sari.  He said they used to ride two miles to go to the movies.  It was a great image, and I can imagine them on a great matched pair of bikes like the his-n-hers superbes.

He asked me again for directions to Cambridge Used bikes, so I hope he will follow up and get riding again.

Empty the freezer challenge part 2

In my household Fried Rice and pizza are the great fridge emptiers.  They're a great way to use up little dabs of savory stuff that aren't quite enough for a meal.
This night's entree was a bit more of a fridge emptier than a freezer emptier, but it did use up the last third of a ham steak that I had bought for making soup and whose remainder had gotten stashed away in the freezer.  Also part of a serving of brown rice, removed from the freezer to serve with something else a couple of days ago.

First I cooked a batch of bok Choi leftover from last week's CSA.   I love the clean green sweetness of bok choi-  much better than Kale...

Next I put a couple of Tbs of oil in the skillet and added a tiny onion, chopped fine and some red pepper and garlic.  After the onions were cooked through I added approx 2 c of brown rice, and let it cook until it was getting crunchy, stirring occasionally and checking my email to give it time to brown.

Once that was done I added some of the bok choi,  the chopped ham, some leftover scrambled eggs and a couple of Tbs of soy sauce.

Net freezer items -1
net fridge items -3

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Empty the freezer challenge part 1

So the Scientist was back in town for about 36 hours before jetting off for more scientific adventures.  Rumor has it that this kind of gallivanting will slow after tenure.  And in general I don't mind a bit of time to myself, but the back to back thing gets old for both of us.

In any case, I decided this was a perfect time to play Empty the Freezer!
Despite the fact that I'm now canning the soups I would be stuffing into the freezer (did a batch of lentil soup and a big batch of broth this weekend) I have a tendency to tuck tiny portions of goodies into the freezer.  A single organic sausage,  half a portion of risotto,  part of a ham steak...  Not really enough to make a whole meal for two, but seemingly worth saving.  Unfortunately, too much of it tends to get shoved to the back and dug out months or years later, freezer burned beyond recognition and deposited directly into the compost bin.  I'm trying to be careful of food and to not be wasteful- I've been doing a version of this all summer called "use that CSA share" and now as the CSA share wanes, I'm moving on to a new frontier:

My challenge this week while he's away is to make dinner every night out of something from the freezer:

The rules:
1) Anything in the pantry or the fridge is fair game.
2) I have to use something in the freezer that wasn't a fully formed entree on its own.
3) Nothing is to go back into the freezer as a result of this exercise.
4) I can buy 1 ingredient per meal.

Night 1

Lamb meatballs:
I knew I had not one but two pounds of ground lamb in the freezer, so when I saw this recipe from Mark Bittman, I put it in my mental file of "to try" recipes.

1 pound of ground lamb,
1/2 cup cooked brown rice (I didn't have bulgur in the house, rice worked fine)
1 medium red onion, chopped (should have chopped finer, it make the meatballs a bit hard to keep together)
a clove garlic,
1 tbs cumin
salt and pepper.
Mix together like meatloaf,  roll into balls, fry in a TBS of oils.

After I had finished turning the meaballs until they were browned on each side and the house smelled like lamb,  I pulled some blanched kale out of the fridge, and gave it a spin through the lamb flavored oil with two cloves of garlic as a side.
I hopped on the bike and made a special trip to WF for some greek yogurt to go with as my "plus 1"
Unfortunately there was no whole milk greek yogurt which I swear is better than Ben and Jerry's.
Yogurt with a squeeze of lime juice was a dipping sauce, and there were just enough left over for lunch tomorrow.
It was good enough that it's worth making again next week with the other pound of lamb that's lurking in there.  The Scientist will be so impressed that he'll probably even eat the Kale without complaint.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pommes Frites

I've been a science widow as the Scientist is away talking about his work.  As a treat I decided to make pommes frites- you know the really skinny elegant french fries?   To me they have the perfect balance between crunchy exterior and soft potato interior. And they're really easy to make as long as you get the steps right.
After peeling the potatoes and cutting them into long matchsticks, I soaked them in cold water while I ran to the store for something else (Ok a duck breast- I decided I wanted duck and pommes frites.)  I had to move the scientist's truck anyway- he has a knack for going out of town on street cleaning week.

When I got back I dried them in the salad spinner to make sure they were really dry.
The key is to fry them twice-  once for about 90 seconds, not until brown.  They'll come out of the first fry soggy and greasy and nasty. Nothing you would want to eat unless you were desperate.

 Let them cool and stick them in again,  and almost instantly they turn crispy.  You just cook them until they're perfectly brown, salt them (I toss them with fresh rosemary too) and try not to burn your fingers and tongue as you scarf them down!  YUM

Cute Cantebregian

Although this bike has a Shaker Heights Ohio parking permit, it seems like such a Cambridge bike.

A couple of interesting details:
It has white wall schwalbes.  I didn't know that anyone still made true whitewalls.  Robert used to have them, but it came to be that the only ones I could find were actually a dirty beige- halfway between  white and gum walled

The panniers of course are lovely and colorful.

It also has a Velo Orange leather saddle which I've never seen in person.  They're a cheaper version of a Brooks and they look like a nice option.

I love bicycle license stickers  and the gold leaf of the tube banding.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What I wore

As I try to document more what I wear to work:  My favorite H&M shift dress (I have three of this dress in different colors- it just fits so well), a maroon sweater and a jean jacket.  Sorry for the odd expression- was wondering if the self timer was going to work.  Tights, Maryjanes and my new leather gloves from Target that have white stitching along the knuckles..

Mt Auburn Bike Parking

I was at Mt Auburn Hospital recently for some routine bloodwork, and I was very impressed with their bike parking.
There was a lot of it,  it was my favorite type (easy for big basketed bikes)  and it was covered, well lit and felt secure in that it was near the entrance and the valet parking station.

They even had a card reader accessed fenced parking area for staff that seemed like it was being pretty well used.  I've seen a nice Azor workcycle parked there on previous visits.

Unfortunately there were some small issues. In order to get to a curb cut up for access to the parking you have to get past the parking ticket barrier,  so for most people that means lifting your bike up or dodging the boom.  Not such a big deal unless you have a big heavy bike.
Also,  I know that they want you to access the place through the lobby garage entrance, but I preferred to walk directly across the courtyard.  Strangely, there's a sidewalk, but it stops abruptly.

I don't know why they even bother pouring a sidewalk that leads into a brick wall.  Either concrete is cheaper than planting bed, or someone just wasn't thinking.

Speaking of not thinking, on the connector between the bike path and the hospital I found this lovely sidewalk condition in a brand new sidewalk.

If you got out your tape measure, there's probably exactly 36" of space between the post and the edge of the sidewalk (the legal minimum), but it just seems like someone wasn't thinking.  Clearly pedestrians are cutting the corner there (looking at the dead grass),  and it would have been simpler to form the concrete as a bevel instead of a curve and create a truly generous way to pass the post.  There's a assisted living facility and a playground right near here, so you'd think that they'd be paying attention to the needs of wheeled vehicles on the sidewalk..

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vulnerable road users

There's a lot of chicken and the egg commentary in cycling circles about infrastructure and mode share-  from the  "if you build it, they will come" theory,  to the "if they come, they'll demand infrastructure and respect." proponents.
I saw this terrifying analysis of crash data in Ft Collins CO (from Cyclelicious via treehugger).  The thing that scared me about it is that the most fatal kind of accidents are "hit from behinds" and "sideswipes".  The thing that is so disturbing about this is  that as a defensive cyclist I can ride outside the door zone,  never overtake the right hand side of a moving vehicle,  and go to extremes to make sure my right of way is respected before entering an intersection.  However, there's nothing I can do to prevent someone texting or drunk, or just plain not paying attention from veering into me or crashing into me from behind.

I don't think that the solution to this is infrastructure or road presence, although they might help (especially protected cycle tracks. ) I'm becoming convinced that the solution is to impose extreme penalties on drivers who strike a cyclist or a pedestrian.  "I just didn't see him"  should cease to be a legal defense.  If you're driving a multi- ton steel vehicle at speed in a public space, the burden of looking where you're going should rest fully on your shoulders.  Except in some rare cases (ninja salmon come to time)  the reason that drivers don't see cyclists and pedestrians is because they're not looking for them and they're not looking for them because there are rarely any consequences for hitting one.  Such penalties exist in Europe.  I have read that in any car- pedestrian collision in the Netherlands, the driver is automatically at fault, just like a rear end collision here.  I would support taking away the license of anyone who hits a pedestrian or cyclist for a year regardless of fault,  automatically.    If the driver was behaving recklessly or was texting or drinking, there could be criminal prosecutions in parallel.

I think that until "accidents" are properly labeled "crashes"  and vunerable road users (bikes, pedestrians, people in wheelchairs) are protected by law, there will be no incentive for drivers to pay attention and truly see the people who share the road with them.

A good post on a similar topic

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumping up, stopping short, gearing down

So I dug out the bicycle pump last weekend from the depths of the bike shed (you know the scary dark part where you find the feathers left after something ate a pigeon-ok maybe your bike shed is less scary than mine).  Partly because I was on a tire replacing jag, and partly because it was just time.
And BOY does it make a difference to have nice full tires on Robert-  I feel a LOT faster and can make it up hills a lot easier.  A great side effect, but the main reason I went back there was because I got my new tires for the DL.   So called 28" tires are an odd size, but Schwalbe makes them, and I got the same Marathons as I have on Robert.  I love how bright the reflective strip is-  it doesn't look like much on the tire, but boy does it glow.

While I had the tire off, I pulled the fender and decided to do something about the rust.  Ok, So "decided" sounds more premeditated than it actually was.   I just started sanding, and the next thing you know, I'm down to bare metal and freaking out about the next steps.  A quick trip to Autozone and I at least primed it before it could start to flash rust.  15 minutes on the bike forum boards made me realize that I need to take everything else I got at Autozone back and go to a real automotive paint store and get real automotive paint or else it will just scratch and look horrible.  A project for next weekend.  In the meantime the fender and the chain case are primed and ready to go.  
The basement shower AKA spray booth.  I didn't spray in there, but there's a good exhaust fan, and it can be closed off from the rest of the house, so I left stuff to outgas there overnight.

Of course I'm going to have to find a way to remove the cotter and chainring before installing the chain guard.  I made a quick attempt last night with a C clamp and a socket, but didn't get very far and was running out of steam.    Disassembling the rear wheel assembly for the first time was interesting.  I hope I can get everything back in the places it came from.  Should have taken photos, I know..

Unfortunately Robert is starting to have a worrisome problem.  When I step on the pedals hard (like to take the lane to pass the double parked UPS van) I get a lockup like I've applied the brakes hard.
Actually it's exactly like what happens when your axle nuts aren't tightened enough and you pull the wheel out of the dropouts and against the chainstay (don't ask me how I know how this feels!)
But the nuts are tight, and the wheel is running true.  I'm afraid it might be the bottom bracket,  but like a driver who thinks their transmission is failing,  I'm afraid to find out..

The cure, for now is to shift all the way down into my granny gear at stops and start up gradually and shift up slowly.  Hopefully I can either figure out what's wrong, or nurse it along until I get another bike up and running,  either the DL-1 or the nameless raleigh.

A final note- lots of chatter about chic cyling in the blogosphere today.  Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of my outfit on Friday-   Denim knee length skirt, multicolored striped sweater,  orange tights, dansko clogs.  Not that exciting, but the point is, it's what I wore to do laundry, can chickpeas, bake bread, meet with an insurance broker, and remove and replace a faucet cartridge on our bathroom sink.  Oh and also bike to the grocery store, the CSA pickup, the compost dropoff and the hardware store.

Since I didn't take a picture of that- here's a picture of what I wore to work today:  Cotton sweater, leaf print skirt (FINALLY arrived from Boden after all kinds of international shipping shennanigans) brown tights and  heeled brown suede boots.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Vision in purple and green

I decided that it was just too much work to shoehorn my bike in at the "close" racks at the grocery store, so I walked the extra distance to park in the deluxe,  well lit bike racks in the attached parking garage.  I was glad I did too, because otherwise I wouldn't have seen this vision in purple and green.  I'm not in any way shape or form an expert on fancy custom fixies- does anyone recognize the skull and crossbones as a maker's mark, or is that just customization?  Forgive the picture quality- all I had was my iphone.

Anyway,  What initially drew my eye was actually the Yakkay helmet left hanging off it.  I was a little bit tempted to take it off and try it on, although it might have been awkward if I had gotten caught.
I've been thinking of getting one, but kind of wanted to see the different styles on my head before committing to that expensive a piece of headgear.  My attempt to sew my own was a dismal failure not worth the electrons or embarassment of blogging about.  The best the Scientist could say about it is "It kind of looks like a Cossack's hat."

I like the sot of acid green on the chain,  pedals and tires,  and the sewn up grips. (sorry, truly awful photo of the grips)

All in all a bike with a lot of attitude

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Frustrated all day

I read this blog post this morning before work as I ate my breakfast, and all day I stewed over it, partly because of the sentiment expressed, partly because of the uncivil way it was expressed.
I hate to feed trolls, so I'm reluctant to post a response on that particular website, but if I did, this is what I would say:

I must not read the same cycle chic blogs that you do.  The cycle chic blogs I read are not about portraying women as sex objects.  Instead they celebrate the ability of women (and men) to get on their bicycles and ride them as part of their daily lives.  For many of us, our daily lives include, kids, grocery runs, carrying things from point A to point B, riding in inclement weather etc. Oh yeah, and heels and skirts.  The point of the cycle chic blogs I read is that they demonstrate those kinds of daily lives lived in normal clothes, on bicycles.  The thing that I find kind of silly is the idea that I'd have to change my clothes into something special just to bike to the store.

 I personally don't think the chunky heeled mary janes and knee length shift dress over opaque tights I wore today are provocatively sexy- they're considered appropriate professional attire at my fairly conservative office.    I think there are a lot of people who feel that skin tight spandex bra and shorts are more revealing - I know I feel exposed and uncomfortable wearing bike shorts that leave little to the imagination.  I'm sure that's why bike skorts were invented.

As for the argument that heels and skirts are dangerously unsafe to wear while riding, this may be partly a matter of equipment and partly a matter of habit. I've never had a problem putting a foot down or dismounting from my step through frame in any attire, but I had two scary and painful incidents of falling on the street before I swore off clipless pedals forever.  Not to mention the tapdancing/ ice skating combo that is walking in shoes with exposed cleat on hard floors.  How about you wear your shoes of choice and I'll wear mine and we'll agree not to call the other's footwear choices "stupid" "silly"or "ridiculous"

I'll not address in depth the twisty argument that women riding in skirts is indecent and sexually provocative (and they should save that kind of thing for their boyfriends) and also anti- feminist because the only reason they would ride in such things is to provoke the male gaze.  If you want to take on objectification of women in the culture, fine, but leave my bike out of it.  I will say that most of the cycle chic blogs I read celebrate the independence and freedom the women have to ride where they want, wearing what they want to wear, or just happened to be wearing when they climbed aboard.

So please, go put on some clingy spandex shorts and cleats and go for a long ride for your own pleasure and athletic accomplishment.  I'll hope for your sake that no one checks out your ass.
But don't call me names or ridicule me for riding my bike in my everyday clothes,  nor disparage a movement that has encouraged so many women to realize that they didn't have to be superheroes or need special clothes and equipment to get on a bike and ride.

OK,  rant over, that helped a lot.  Do you folks think I should post it as a comment?

I heart my pressure canner

Spent a fair bit of quality time with my pressure canner last weekend, and it was great.
I love to cook.  Cooking, reading, and bicycle related stuff are my hobbies.  Home improvement I would call more of a compulsion than a hobby.
I find it really relaxing to cook, a good way to unwind after a long day (especially when combined with a nice bicycle ride home).  Unfortunately I'm not a big leftover maven.  Leftovers are fine for lunch, but I'm not one of those people who can make a big batch of something,  eat it for dinner, eat it for lunch, eat it for dinner etc until its gone.  However there are enough days when I get home at 8pm and I need to put dinner on the table in a hurry, that I can't always cook, and my puritan side is reluctant to call for takeout.  The classic home cook's response to this dilemma is to pull something lovingly home cooked out of the freezer and have something lovingly home cooked and slow simmered in less than 15 minutes.  Unfortunately my freezer in my small fridge is tiny.  There have been discussions about putting an auxiliary freezer in the basement, but no resolution.

For now, I'm really enjoying canning stuff.  Pretty much anything that you can freeze, you can pressure can.  Unlike water bath canning, it doesn't have to be acidic, because the pressure allows you to bring the temperature up to 240 which kills just about anything that can grow anaerobically.
I've been canning a lot of beans, which is a great and cheap way to make good quality beans with flavor and known ingredients that are ready in a hurry on a Wednesday night.

So I was craving goulash last week now that it's getting chilly.  I was kind of tired when I started the recipe and I misread two things.  First, I used sharp instead of sweet paprika.  Then I accidentally doubled the amount.  It was pretty much inedible.  Fortunately I made it in the pressure cooker,  and it only took me 30 minutes to find this out instead of the three hours the recipe called for.  So I put it in the fridge, and went back to the grocery store the next day to get ingredients enough to double the recipe.   doubling everything else made it tasty, but now I had a LOT of goulash.  So I canned the extra half.  Now instead of having to dig through the depths of the crammed freezer, I can just pull it off the shelf, and be ready as soon as the microwave can bring it from room temperature to warm.  My future self is thanking me some cold night at 8pm...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

scooter bike

I saw this odd bike like object at a rack near Harvard.  At first I thought it was a folder because of the size of the wheels.  But it clearly has a footbed like a scooter, and no sign of a missing seat or seatpost location.  The "downtube"  says Dashboard.

What I thought was interesting is that most scooters are toylike, not real transportation.  But this one has full fenders like you would use it for getting places even in inclement weather.  And it had the kind of scale and sturdiness that makes it seems more adult.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

His 'n' Hers

If you look at bike stores that feature vintage bikes you'll see a lot of matched sets of men's and ladies' bicycles.  It used to be the thing for couples to buy matching sets of bicycles.  They were generally the same color and same "line" (matching brand, features etc).  I remember my grandparents had such a set.

Here are a gorgeous pair of Supurbes at Cambridge Vintage Bicycles in mint condition.
Supurbes were the top of the line Raleighs, complete with generator hubs.

They're being sold as a set, and I hope that a nice couple buys them and takes them on lots of adventures together

Monday, November 2, 2009

wish we had this here

The New York Times has a front page, above the fold, story about British prosecution of texting while driving.

It's great to see laws and enforcement to restrict texting while driving.
I wish we had more awareness of this issue in the US, and I'm glad the grey lady is working to build it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

halloween bike ride

Last night I went with a co-worker to the annual Boston Halloween bike ride.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and probably wouldn't have had the energy to put together a costume and haul myself out to JP if I hadn't told her I'd go,  but in retrospect, I'm really glad I did- it was a great experience.  People had spent a lot of time on their costumes, and unfortunately since I was a bit late, I didn't have enough time at the start to take pictures, so my pictures are all a bit subpar- taken in motion.  I'll put a few here, and the rest on Flickr.  It was an amazing event- it was incredible to see the sea of blinking red lights in front of me- I'd guess there were over 300 people.

I went as the wicked witch of the west.  I get enough comments on a day to day basis- something about the basket makes people think of it- don't know why.  Elmira Gulch actually had a wire basket in front- very messenger chic of her..
Since I rode over with a couple of Europeans who weren't familiar with the Wizard of Oz, they didn't understand why people kept calling out the "theme song" as we passed-  it's clearly a very recognizable character-.  It always makes me a bit sad that that character is what people think of when they see a bike.

Anyway- my outfit:
I built a hat out of poster board on my helmet.  It looked good but was like wearing a sail on my head.  I was almost airborne going over the mass ave bridge.  Which might have been appropriate, but not much fun!  I'm afraid I might have green face paint in my ears still.

Unfortunately this doesn't show my hat very well-  Here's a bit better one-  the Scientist caught me as I was filling the dog's water bowl.

I had three favorite costumes at the ride were a lobsterman riding a lobster,  a tandem dressed as a syringe of swine flu vaccine,  and a dolphin.  The dolphin was an amazing construction of fiberglass- a really serious investment of time. The best part of it was that the tail was mounted on a hinge at the back of the seatpost, and between the rear wheel and the tail there was an eccentric wheel which caused the tail to flap up and down as he pedaled.  Unfortunately I never did get a decent shot of it.

Somehow I saw the rider before the lobster on this one and thought that she was Yehuda Moon

Lots more photos, including a sultan, a chickenman, a guy wearing a lacy dress pulling a trailer with a giant skull and a double bass,   a disco bike and more at flickr