Monthly Archives: February 2013

Support me in bicycling for affordable housing

After finishing grad school and before I go back to work, I’m looking to do something adventurous, something that is in my wheelhouse but still forces me to stretch, and something that will let me reminisce about the impact I had, the friends I made, and the places I visited. In short, I have decided to be a Trip Leader for a non-profit organization called Bike & Build.  The organization’s mission is to raise awareness and money for affordable housing across the United States, and from mid-June through the end of August, I will be one of several leaders taking a group of 30 bicyclists 4000 miles across the country, stopping to help build homes along the way.

Before starting this adventure, I need to fundraise at least $4500 for Bike & Build and for the cause of affordable housing.  If you are interested in supporting my Bike & Build fundraising effort this summer, please visit the Bike & Build website to make a contribution sponsoring me.  You can also donate by making out a check payable to Bike & Build, Inc., writing my name in the memo line of the check, and enclosing the tear-off part of this pamphlet.

I feel it important to promote the cause of affordable housing given the not far removed housing bubble has left many hard pressed to find homes, and more specifically find credit to finance those homes. In the last several years, affordable housing has become a much larger national issue, and I hope that by participating in Bike & Build, I will help to bring more attention to it.

I’ve been lucky to drive across this country twice, experiencing its spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and purple mountain majesties, but to bicycle across the country will more deeply connect me to the route. I look forward to the burn of my quadriceps through mountain passes and to the full body jolts from the all too occasional potholes. I’ll get a chance to more viscerally feel the vastness, the diversity, and the character of this nation, while at the same time learning about one of the more serious issues facing so many of its inhabitants, affordable housing.

Donation website: Support me here

My rider profile: Bike & Build Profile

Santiago’s Farewell

We finish our last game of cards at the top of Cerro San Cristobal before commencing our last drive through Santiago back to Hotel Galerias and then onwards to the airport.  What we hadn’t accounted for was Friday afternoon rush hour traffic.

After only one wrong turn, we find ourselves about two blocks away from the hotel at a complete stand still.  Intersections are clogged, I literally put the car into Park and I exit the car to try to investigate the problem.  Two of the group leave the car and head towards the hotel by foot to collect our luggage, and before anything has changed other than a decrease in patience and an increase in car horns, they are returning with a hotel dolly full of our bags.  Putting luggage in the trunk is a not a trivial activity, and thus we begin the dance that is arranging our bags in a very particular way.  We put in about three bags and then suddenly traffic starts to move.  I jump back into the driver’s seat, the rest of our luggage is carted to the side of the road, and through the car window, we discuss a new rendezvous point slightly up ahead.  We change this meeting point once or twice and eventually just pull up in front of the hotel to complete this luggage-filling process.

The car is now filled, but our adventure to the airport is only half-complete.  It is still rush hour and the low setting sun in our eyes only adds to the adrenalized moment.  I receive honks of discontent for video-game like maneuvers such as making right turns from non-right lanes, cutting the same car off more than once, changing lanes with such frequency that it almost seems unproductive, and squeezing through spaces that makes our luggage-packed trunk seem spacious.  All that said, this video game ends at the airport’s rental car lot with full health bars and the car hasn’t even suffered a scratch in the process.  We have barely enough time to blow a sigh of relief when the parking lot attendant points out some small scratches near the trunk of the car.  Being able to talk my way out of these small nicks in Spanish gave me confidence that my language skills had advanced at least some over the last two weeks here in Chile.

We all make our flights on time and brace ourselves for the 80-degree (Fahrenheit) temperature swing we are about to experience upon touching ground in Boston.


We all pile back into the car, make a pit stop by Pablo Neruda’s cliff-top, ocean-view house, and continue onwards to Valparaiso.  This colorful port city, which is oftentimes called Valpo brings out the photographer in two of us as we pass through its winding, hilly streets.  We get to skip climbing up one hill by braving the Ascensor Concepcion, a short century-old funicular in an historic part of the city.  We then weave our ways through countless cute shops and mini cafes stopping all the while to capture each scene via CMOS sensor.  As the day is a bit overcast, our cameras are not overwhelmed with brightness, with shadows, or with intensity of any sort; however, the flatness of light gives some of the otherwise hidden parts of these colorful streets a little more attention than they would otherwise have received.  We end our visit in Valpo at a cafe complete with live music from a local Chilean.

Santiago by night

As our trip comes to a close, we appreciate some of Santiago’s nightlife by exploring Barrio Bellavista, a neighborhood chock full of restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs.  On consecutive nights, we find dinner at a local spot and then venture out to find some dancing.  Bar Constitucion, a club with very eclectic music from electroclash to house to hip hop to rock ‘n roll and more, provides us with an interesting cross-section of locals and foreigners who have all found themselves in Santiago.  At Bar Constitucion, we chat up some locals and thus get chance to practice our Spanish, and we also dance among our selves on the smoke-filled dance floor.