Wednesday, December 4, 2019

strongly thinking of hanging up this blog

I am in a place in my life where I've grown tired of describing things to people who live far away.
When I ride I mostly ride alone. Because I'm too slow for the folks I used to be able to keep up with.
I need too many bathroom breaks now to handle super-long rides without a motorized exit strategy (i.e., having someone come get me or being close to transit).
When I don't ride it's because I'm physically and/or mentally tired, depressed, creaky and cold. I ride less often in the winter than I used to.
I'm older, slower and creakier, and riding hurts sometimes now.
I still enjoy puttering on bicycles at home and will continue to do so.
I'll still ride for transportation and, on warmer days, for pleasure.
But honestly, how many times can I blog about riding to the same places over and over again before it becomes silly?
So yeah, I thinking of retiring this blog. I'll leave it here but may not add much more to it as time goes by. Because doing so feels redundant and it's time for me to stop repeating myself. I'm too young for that just yet.
Rubber side down, kids, and happy riding.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

everyone needs a good little weepie now and then

This beautiful little video has been making the rounds for some time now.
Because I'll soon be knee-deep in the family rush of Thanksgiving AND in getting my album finished and duplicated,  I'm not going to be riding a whole lot in the coming few weeks.
I thought I'd post it here.
Enjoy, practice gratitude daily and be kind to each other.



Sunday, November 17, 2019

more bike fun today at rivelo

After I get my work done I'm heading over to Rivelo to say hi to Grant Peterson. He's visiting from RBW to talk about his latest bike designs and Rivelo has a couple of test bikes for folks to try out.
Plus, I'm on a mission for more Lip Ivo, which Sweetie tried on our visit to RBW in 2004 and now cannot live without.

The latest bike design from RBW is being called the Hillybike, and it's basically a fat-tired, sit-upright 650B cruiser:

(from the RBW site)
No. 19: the usual, then canteens, books, enviro-stuff, Doris Day, grips, and HILLYBIKE details

Grant has been pushing step-through frames for quite awhile now. I believe it partly because a lot of his target market are getting older and want a bike they can enjoy for a long while, even after swinging a leg over the back of the bike becomes too difficult. (Look, at some point, even I will likely be looking for a step-through bike of some kind, though mine will take 26" wheels instead.)

More and more of RBW's bikes are mass-built and sport fewer lugs than the early models. At this point, they've been able to avoid Chinese-built frames, though for how much longer is anyone's guess.

The truth is that RBW, like any other bicycle company, has had to bow to market forces far larger than they can steer. One day RBW will either have to sell Chinese-made stuff like everyone else, or they'll have to stop carrying items made only there if they want to stick to their principled guns.

Rivendell still offers plenty of things made in the USA, Europe and Taiwan. Like Lip Ivo, for instance. And of course, Grant's oddball perspective on making your very expensive bicycle look funkier and cheaper:

Honestly, I don't get this aesthetic at all. It reminds me too much of every crap bike with a broken frame and gummy, old-duct-taped padding I ever dismantled. But every time Grant visits, he gives some kind of bar-taping demo that invites folks to make their bikes look like this. Whatever. It's all good, Grant; as we like to say in Portland, you do you.

I'm going to try and get there by around 1 or 1:30. Join me if you're in town. There will be plenty of beautiful bikes to admire, and lovely bikey people to commune with. I'll try and take some pix to share here.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

gravel riding before it was a thing

I recently received this 1986 Specialized Rock Hopper. At first blush it looked like it had potential.
Almost entirely original parts, including Tommasini grips, Shimano BMX platform pedals and a Shimano "deerhead" shifter (sadly, only one and not a complete pair).

I had hoped to turn this into something I could either sell or keep and ride. (It's a rare vintage mountain bike in a smaller size.)
The bike came with original tires.
The rear tube wouldn't hold air, so I went in to investigate. I was more than a little surprised at what I found.
I had hoped to find one or two holes that I could patch, and save the tube.

That's gravel inside the tire, which of course poked so many holes in the tube that there was no point in trying hard to save it.













Upon closer inspection, I discovered that  the crumbly stuff stuck to the tube had once been a tire liner. Did the gravel roll around in there and destroy the liner? Or did exposure to the elements do it?
This bike had spent perhaps decades sitting under a carport, and had collected a fair amount of rust on anything made of steel.

Getting further into the bike, I discovered that the eyelets on the front rim were beginning to show tiny cracks here and there -- nothing fatal as yet, but enough to indicate that this bike had been ridden awhile before being put away.

I just can't believe that anyone tried to ride this with all that gravel in the tire.

At this level of use and aging it's likely going to become another refugee bike.
It's pretty old and cool in its own way; but the components are too worn for this bike to be of much value to a collector. It will be better off getting ridden by someone who needs a bike. So now I'll need to figure out which parts are worth removing and replacing with more basic, functional stuff. I will probably try to find a mater for that shifter and use it one one of my bikes (The stem shifters I adore so much on my All-Rounder are wearing out and I'm thinking of going to top-mount thumbies).

Meanwhile, I've got a couple more bikes after this to fix up for folks in need.
And I'm still gratefully taking any and all functional locks, lights, bags and racks if you have any to spare.
Thanks, and happy riding!

Friday, November 15, 2019

bake sale at gladys bikes, tomorrow!

Gladys Bikes, the cool and very friendly bike shop on NE Alberta Street, was broken into in a particularly spectacular way earlier this week. A large plate glass window was broken and there's a rather large gap between what insurance will cover and, well, the rest of the replacement cost.
So friends of the shop are hosting a bake sale there tomorrow (Saturday 11/16) from 1-5 pm. Buy a cool sticker for $10 and eat your fill of fresh-baked goodies.
I'm gonna bring my guitar down from 1 to 3 and sit in a corner and play some background music.
Come down, eat goodies and hang with your bike people. You know you wanna.

See you there!

No photo description available.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Catching up: Fall riding days are so sweet

I haven't been riding as regularly this fall, owing to some physical fatigue and also to ramping up my preparation for recording. Post-production has given me a chance to rehearse other material for my upcoming trips, and also to ride my bike a little more during these lovely, late-fall days, Here are a few shots along the way, including a healthy dose of #coffeeneuring, scenery-gawking and clearing my head.

First, a lovely coffee meetup with friend Barb, who helped out with some post-production work for the CD. The labels fit snugly in her recumbent's rear bag and she turned around the printing in a day. I was grateful both for her work and for the chance to catch up.


Then a few days later,  a nice spin around SE Portland for errands and of course, more coffee.

Want to see beauty? Just look up.





The trees are shedding their leaves quickly since the rain finally showed up. Leaving sidewalks carpeted (and slick!)
When the rain subsided, I was comfortable riding in a t-shirt, a heavy wool sweater and jeans.
A thin wool cap fits nicely under a helmet and wicks excess sweat pretty well.

Add some fingerless wool gloves and I've got all I need to enjoy riding in this season.
And finally, another short ride around the neighborhood, where I relished time to simply stare at the fading fall colors, in the trees and carpeting the ground.


Above: Enjoying fresh coffee at Ps and Qs, with my old ACW mug. (I made my own using a decal and double-walled steel mug I found at Goodwill. It's holding up nicely, and cost roughly $18,00 less than the one offered at the ACW web store.)

I chose not to enter the official Coffeeneuring Challenge this year; I had plenty of patchesk bandanas and pins, and didn't feel a need to earn any more. Instead, I chose my own rides and coffee drinks, and sometimes I recorded them and sometimes I didn't.

By focusing more on the experience and less on the completion, I rode less frequently, but enjoyed my rides more.

I especially love to ride up and down the many alleyways in N/NE Portland, which show the backsides of houses and sometimes garages and driveways set at odd angles to the alley. Riding these instead of residential streets gives another, gentler quality to my rides that I adore.

In the absence of rolling countryside, it's the closest thing I'll probably know to the rides enjoyed by CTC members fifty years ago in England.

Next up: Tomorrow, I'll go multi-modal to The Map Room to listen to the final mixes of my album.
I'm very excited, and will try to get some scenery in along the way.
Happy riding!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What do you do if you can't ride? Walk.

For several weeks now, my left hand has been giving me more and more trouble. Decreased grip strength and flexibility, more stiffness, swelling and pain.
I had to stop fixing up old bikes over a month ago. I rode last week but it was painful whenever I had to lift my bike onto the bus rack, or use the front brake lever (with my left hand).

Still, I had work to do.

I powered through my High Holy Days work, wincing whenever I played guitar.
I came home, and tried to practice for my upcoming recording session.  yesterday morning, I hit a wall, and called the doctor. By the evening, I was in the urgent care office, getting a cortisone shot in my hand.

The pain was epic, technicolor.
First, the lidocaine shot, which made me yell a ragged, loud sound that rang up and down the hall.
Then, a second shot of cortisone with a little more lidocaine mixed in, which also hurt but this time like a massive liquid bruise flowing through and around my left middle finger joint and beyond. I yelled again, but it came out sounding like a clear note.

Today, I rested at home until around 4pm, when I was climbing the walls and couldn't take it anymore. I went for a long walk around the neighborhood on a grey, drizzly afternoon with fall colors everywhere. Walking along the same streets I usually ride allowed me to slow down and see things even more up close, and although it took awhile longer, I enjoyed it.

I'm off the bike for at least the next four days, and hope that by then the pain will subside enough to let me take a spin on my Rivvy. Because right now the colors are just too good not to be outside.

If you're riding this week, may all your miles be beautiful.

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