Thursday, October 31, 2013

"tweener" wheels? please.

Brilliant post over at the blog yourbikehatesyou spells out the coming demise of the 26-inch mountain bike wheel size, as more and more manufacturers are rushing to hop on the 650b/27.5 bandwagon. Mister Bikehates and I are in agreement on the problem: there was never a problem with 26"/559 ERD wheels to begin with. The only "problem" was that they'd been around so long industry gurus couldn't make any more real money out of them. So when Jan Heine and Grant Peterson started pushing 650b like it was The Next Great Bike Heroin or something, well, customers began buying the product and putting up their noses. And now we have most of the bike industry following along like lap dogs in search of their next meal.

It's one of those times I'm glad I got out of the industry and no longer turn wrenches for a living. I have a stable full of bikes with 26"/559 wheels and that's all I ride today. I am hoarding the wheel size in used wheels and rims because I've known this was coming for a while, and I don't intend to follow the herd anytime soon.

David Guetler of River City Bicycles put it beautifully in an interview a couple of years ago when he said that 650b/27.5 wheels were the answer to a question that not one of his customers had yet asked. In short, other than the aficianados who were early adopters for Randonneuring purposes, everyone else is going to be buying this wheel size because the bike industry will be holding a knife to their throats -- especially the mountain bikers. Go read Mister Bikehates' post and pay attention to his ideas about how a smaller wheel size and rim brakes force riders to develop some actual off-road skills, whereas a larger wheel and disc brakes make things easier. He's in favor of developing some skills, and so am I. But more than that, this is about an industry trying to figure out the next money-maker based on a road map of planned obsolescence; and for that alone it stinks to high heaven.

I'm sticking with 26" wheels. There's nothing wrong with them. If you plan to "upgrade", call me. I'll give your old 26" wheels a good home. Hapy riding!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

wanted: more stability (surly bd for sale in pdx)

I am preparing to sell my Surly Big Dummy. 
As my balance issues under load increase with age, it is clear that I need to switch to using a trailer to tow my stuff.
This Big Dummy is built by me (former pro shop mechanic) around a 2010 frameset.
Includes wooden snap-deck, old-style side bags, a pair of wideloaders and a longloader attachment from Xtracycle, all installed and ready to use.
It will also include a Surly flask, and special flask cage handbuilt by Joseph Ahearne.
7 x 3 Shimano cassette drivetrain with pure friction shifting (to avoid compatibility concerns and make maintenance much simpler). Triple cranks are vintage Specialized "flag" model, in great shape.
Nitto North Road handlebars, Shimano V-brakes, 26" wheels with ZAC-19 double-walled rims.
The bike is in very good used condition.
Note: Will NOT include the Brooks saddle shown in the photo. Another saddle will be swapped in for the sale.
I cannot ship, nor deliver by motor vehicle (I don't drive).
Pickup in Portland, OR only. 
I will prepare a craigslist ad in the next few days, but if you're seriously interested please message me privately. Thanks!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

coffeeneuring challenge 2013, # 7: peet's coffee, downtown pdx

So this may or may not meet all the rules, but I am two weeks away from recording my album in the studio and decided I'd try to get these done before the weather turned any colder or wetter. So while my day began with teaching, it ended with a concert and a hot beverage and that's good enough for me.

To be fair, Portland has had an amazing start to autumn, with bright, sunny days and highs in the upper 60s for over two weeks now. But today, the rain finally showed up. I rode to Hebrew school in a light mist that evolved into a drizzle by the time I got to temple. After class, I rode up to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (affectionately known in Portland as The Schnitz) to meet Sweetie for an afternoon concert by the Oregon Symphony. I had slept poorly and hoped that the Shostakovich 10th Symphony would keep me awake and interested. (Just in case, I grabbed a quick cup of something vaguely resembling coffee from the kitchen before I left temple.)

The concert was very enjoyable. (Disclaimer -- we get occasional free tickets as a perk of Sweetie's job. She's the annotator for the Symphony, which means that she's the one who researches and writes all the notes in the concert booklets. Yes, that's a real job.)

Afterwards, I rode over to Peet's downtown location to meet up with a friend for a quick cup of sonething warm. Since I'd had enough caffeine for the day, I opted for coffee cake and a -- sit down -- pumpkin steamer.

It was delicious.

I made my way home in the early evening. The rain had stopped before the concert, and the clouds parted to reveal brilliant light cutting low across the sky. In northeast Portland, I was stunned by an almost blinding goldenrod color in the distance; it turned out to be one of the few trees that still had most of its leaves.

Finally, I stopped at the bottom of the hill near my house, turned and looked behind me toward the west. The sun was streaming through a patch of fast-moving clouds, and I snapped a photo just before the sun sank behind the house.

A good end to my official coffeeneuring adventures for 2013.
Temperatures are scheduled to fall into the 30's by mid-week, and many of the remaining leaves will end up on the ground, turning Fall into Fell. A lovely season.
Total: 10.7 miles.

Friday, October 25, 2013

today's giggle

Because it's been an intense week for me, I thought a little silliness was in order.

Seen today on eBay:

Opening bid: $59.99.
Have a lovely weekend, and happy riding.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

back to normal: parts swap, cyclometer install

Over the last couple of weeks I've been pondering my cycling options and thinking about what to keep and what to let go of.

I do this every year around this time. Admittedly, it coincides with a falling-off in my finances, as my work remains somewhat seasonal; but it also gives me an opportunity to figure out what works and what's superfluous among my bikes and gear.

Looking at the way I carry cargo has been a major component of this year's divestiture.

1. I am on the verge of listing my Surly Big Dummy for sale and switching back to using a Burley trailer to haul my music gear to shows. I struggle with being a smaller person trying to wrangle a heavy load on only two wheels. I find that, as I get older, I prefer the stability of a two-wheeled trailer behind my bike, even of the handling isn't as sprightly.

2. I am selling my front panniers and rack, because I realized that I almost never use them together in my daily riding. I can hold out for that bike tour that I will never have time to take, or I can be honest and admit that 99 % of my rides are in the city and don't require that sort of carrying capacity. The only thing I consistently used the front rack for was to have something to strap my U-lock to. And the full-length struts made it impossible for me to attach a mechanical cyclometer, something I've missed having.

So yesterday, I removed the front rack and panniers, and installed a Huret cyclometer that used to be on the Surly.

I put the panniers and rack on eBay:

Vintage Carradice front panniers with Soma front rack cycling touring
Time left:
6d 07h (Oct 29, 2013 15:56:54 PDT)

Starting bid: US $69.99

Buy-It-Now: $134.99

I am beginning to scout out trailers in my area and will spend some time cleaning up the Surly for sale. I'd like to be able to wait until the spring, when I might get a little more for it; but I probably need to move this out sooner than that.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to have a mechanical cyclometer on both of my primary bikes again.

Monday, October 21, 2013

coffeeneuring challenge 2013, #6: jazzkats/nectar

I had business at Velo Cult on my day off -- meeting with a framebuilder who rents space inside Sky's cavernous space -- and wanted some coffee. I took a multi-modal route to the Hollywood neighborhood, using a combination of bicycling and public transit. The coffee shop known as JazzKats was right around the corner, and I decided to make a coffeeneuring trip out of it.  JazzKats also wasn't on my list last year so I'd finally hit up another new coffee stop (Grindhouse, # 1, was the first non-repeat from last year).

JazzKats had closed for a time last year when the owner was seriously injured in a bad collision. Then, this spring, the shop re-opened under new ownership, but had kept the name. I went in, and the one thing that had changed right away was that there were no longer air pots near the counter. Regular coffee is now being made to order in the pour-over, single-serving method. Also, most of the original decor was gone, and all of the baked goods were now either vegan, gluten-free, organic or some combination thereof.

While waiting for my coffee, I learned from the girl behind the counter that the shop was changing its name to Nectar, and was now roasting beans on-site. Signage was in the process of being made. For now, the old JazzKats sign still hung in the window. 

I sprang for a cup of the pour-over House Blend, and it tasted fresh and pleasantly mellow. I skipped the baked goods, and went over to Velo Cult to conduct my business -- having Joshua Bryant braze on eyelets so I could mount another bottle cage on the Sekai. It took about half an hour, and I got to sit at a counter with my coffee and watch the work through a window.

When he was done, I paid Joshua, rode home, cleaned off the rest of the flux and re-painted the bare spots on the frame with a paint-pen. Since I built this bike on the cheap, I don't need it to be a show-piece, so I'm not worried about matching the color or anything.

The ride home was warm and sunny -- October continues to be unseasonably warm and dry, with temps in the high 60s during the day. I rode home in a t-shirt and knickers and loved it.
Total 7.5 miles.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

balancing act: cargo

Today I had a very full, busy day lined up. After teaching my Hebrew students all morning I was scheduled to ride a short distance away and play a set of acoustic music at a local coffee shop.
The only way to make this happen was to ride the Surly Big Dummy, and load up my amp and my bag of microphone, cords, music stand and mic stand. After Hebrew school, I add my school guitar to the pile.

It was sort of ridiculous, like being in a contest to see who could carry the most wobbly load.

 Photos show my bike after adding the guitar to the mix. Xtracycle's wideloaders and the longloader are attached to the Surly; this load would not have been possible without both.

Basically, the whole thing fit on the bike but boy, was it wobbly going! Even after a mile or so, by which time I sort of got used to it, it never stopped feeling somewhat precarious.

The gig went well. I was in good voice and played well and feel much more ready to go into the studio in a few short weeks to record my album. But after I loaded up the bike and rode the five miles home, I was totally beat, and thinking really hard about the practicality of schlepping my music gear to gigs on the Big Dummy. It has always been easier, and felt far more stable, to haul it behind a regular bicycle in a trailer.  I am pondering investing in a better trailer and perhaps selling the Surly down the road. It's a fun bike but the storage space it takes up isn't worth it if I keep wishing for a more stable riding experience. And as I get older I know balance will become more of an issue. It's worth thinking about.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

coffeeneuring challenge 2013, # 5: velo cult

It had to happen. I had hoped to try out a coffee shop that would be new for this year's challenge, but it didn't happen today. I had something to exchange at Velo Cult and it was a beautiful day, bright and sunny; so I took a neighborhood route that has become what I call my Velo Cult Loop. Below: checking my rear view on NE Going Street, a city-designated Bicycle Boulevard.


Below: fall colors at NE 38th and Fremont, Alameda neighborhood. It's not New England, because half of our trees are evergreen; but it's still really pretty.

Velo Cult does not offer cream of sugar with their pour-over coffee.

If you visit, try it black before you complain.
It's actually very, very good; and if you still need something sweet bring along a fresh pastry from somewhere (Velo Cult does not serve food).

At the right time of day, you won't need the pastry.

Below: Sometimes I still miss wrenching for a living. But only sometimes.

When I visit Velo Cult, I always consult the shop's Magic 8-Ball.
It works.

Velo Cult is open seven days a week, 10am to 10pm. It is the coolest anti-shop in Portland and I'm not sorry I went here again for this year's challenge.

I looped back around and rode home along tree-lined residential streets boasting brilliant red, orange and gold. Total: 10.4 miles. More pictures at

Friday, October 18, 2013

projects abound: fall-winter 2013

Yesterday on my way to teach, I passed by a free pile on the sidewalk. In the pile were inner tubes, a couple of old steel wheels and these beauties.

GT Timberline. Most of the components are there, and can probably be brought back to life. A cheap pair of wheels should be easy to source in this town.

Specialized Hard Rock. It's all there except the chain. Yes, there's a LOT of rust -- this IS the Pacific Northwest -- but I'm confident this could be made into a rider again. I might even be able to get enough rust off the rear cogs to make them useable.

Projects like these are a balm for my soul during times of intense busy-ness and/or stress. They allow me to keep my hand in bicycle "mechanistry" (to borrow a word from my pal Sam Tracy). And if the bikes don't totally suck, they will end up under a happy rider in the future.

Between my album project, teaching and other responsibilities, these will be a nice occasional distraction when I need a break from work. Between the rust and the parts I'll have to replace, they ought to keep me busy well into early December.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

a bike on every continent

Years ago when I worked at Citybikes, Monica Huggett was a regular, if infrequent, visitor to the shop. She was a friend of the shop's founder, and a Baroque musician and conductor who traveled the globe giving concerts. As director of the Portland Baroque Orchestra, she spent about half the year in Portland. She arranged for Citybikes to store and maintain a lovely old city bike for her use, and she paid the shop for the year-round storage space. It was a beautiful old Bottechia mixte and she rode it for several years. She told us that she tried to keep at least one bike in every country she visited regularly, but because the United States was so large she had to keep one on each coast.

Fast-forward to here and now. I have just been invited to return to Kansas for a repeat of the work I did for them last summer, meaning another three weeks of riding back and forth between the synagogue and wherever the homestay will be. Last year a congregant kindly loaned me a bicycle for the three weeks. It worked fine; I gave it a little tune-up as my way of saying thanks and it served the purpose. But the bike was too small for me, even with the taller seatpost I'd swapped in; and I returned home to a month-plus of knee tweaks from riding a bike that I was too tall to ride in the first place.

Since that first trip to Kansas, I've been back two more times, and each time there was the prospect of having a bicycle to borrow for my visit.

Now that I know I will be returning, I have decided to try and see if there's a way to bring a bicycle with me for the three-plus weeks I'll be there. I had obtained this bike from my employer. It had been abandoned against the side of the building, and had a bent frame. I was invited to take the bike away and try and repair it (or to strip the useable parts and donate them somewhere).

I took the bike home in early September. I was able to re-align the frame to where it was at least reasonably straight (if not perfectly so) and safe to ride.

During test-riding I realized the frame was a good fit for me. I measured it -- 18", which is the exact size of mountain bike frame I want for city riding! When I was invited last week to return to Kansas next summer, I knew I had a bike I could take with me that would fit.

So this week, I went ahead and retro-fitted the bike to make it more comfortable for me.

I removed the original handlebars and shifters, and swapped in swept-back bars and friction thumb shifters (which would make accurate shifting easier on a bike whose frame had been bent and was never going to be perfectly aligned again). I also swapped in some flat pedals and trued up the wheels a bit. If this bike had been brought to a shop, they would've turned it down because of the liability involved in straightening a bent frame (ther ear triangle and derailleur hanger had both been bent out of whack). But at home I managed to get it back to where I could get good shifts and it rode safely again.

 In addition to the Misfit Psycles Riser bar (no longer available, if you're adding a sweeper bar try the Wald 8095 for similar size and shape) and Suntour friction thumbies, I decided to add a whole lot of reflective tape to the frame. When I rode home at night in Kansas the streetlighting was sometimes good and sometimes non-existent and I know I will want to be visible there! I ran out, but plan to get a little more to add to the rear seat says and the crank arms. Reflective tape is cheap and it definitely helps me to be seen.

When it rains in Kansas in June, I've been made to understand that I don't want to be out in it because the rain is heavy and often accompanied by lightning. That said, It might not be a bad idea to rig up a cheap rear fender anyway, in case I get caught in a shower.

At left: The original version of the rim now known as the ZAC-19. A perfectly awesome rim for an affordable price. I have a wheelset built on the ZACs on my cargo bike and they're great.

I rode the bike into town today for an appointment and it seems fine. It still needs a little more love, including an overhaul or the bottom bracket and headset, and a good drive-train cleaning; but otherwise it's a perfectly fine transportational bike. And it fits me, which means that if I can take with me to Kansas next summer my knees won't hurt this time.

Now all I need to do is see if it will be okay for me to store a bike there in the longer-term (it seems sort of safe to consider the question since they keep inviting me back, but I want to tread lightly here), and if it is I will need to figure out the best way to ship it. Amtrak has package express for something like $60 bucks one way, but that would require someone to drive into downtown KC to pick up the bike. Another option is to have it shipped FedEx directly to the synagogue (being sure to enclose a few tools for reassembly), but that will cost a lot more. I have time to research it.

I doubt I will ever be famous enough to need a bike in every city, but the prospect of having one in Kansas makes me smile.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

coffeeneuring challenge 2013, # 4: arbor lodge

I had planned to gather together some friends for this one and even set up a Facebook invite. A few responded. Sadly, when the day came, no one else showed up. I assumed the racier types were all out in Rainier for the Cross Crusade race. Still, I was undeterred from having a nice ride.

I began at Arbor Lodge, at the corner of N. Rosa Parks and N. Interstate. (To clarify for purposes of the Challenge: Arbor Lodge is almost two miles from where I live so it qualifies.) These guys do very nice things with LOCAL pour-over and drip coffees! They also offer a selection of tasty pastries, cookies and light savory fare like bagels; and I learned today that they rent out the space after-hours for special events. (This could be a possible spot for my album release party in December...)

The air was cool, even a little cold; it had been in the mid-40's when I'd left the house and had yet to warm up to 50. I was prepared with thin layers of wool, including thin wool tights under my knickers, and toasty wool socks and gloves.
I also wore a thin wool earband over my cap (under my helmet). I could strip layers as I needed to, though I wound up not removing any for the entire ride.

From Arbor Lodge I rode along Interstate Avenue, taking the top deck of the Steel Bridge into downtown Portland.

On Interstate Avenue heading towards the Rose Quarter. The Broadway Bridge is in the background.

When I got downtown, I headed over to Saturday Market, Portland's craft marketplace that's been in operation since only a couple of years before I moved here in 1975. This summer, a friend gave me a beautiful pair of earrings, not knowing that I my ears were pretty much committed to piercings. But I loved them and wanted to find a way to wear them. So today, my goal was to see about having a jeweler convert one of the earrings into the centerpiece of a simple silver bracelet, and having a jump-ring installed on the other so I could wear it on a chain. I found what I was looking for on both counts.

Saturday Market is also known for some great cart-food, and it was basically impossible to resist when I walked past the perogie cart.

(Not kosher. Not vegan. Not worried.)

From there, I headed home, riding up NW Broadway to the Broadway Bridge, stopping along the way to take an evidence photo.

At left: the Steel Bridge, as seen from the Broadway Bridge. If you look very closely to the right side of the photo, you can just make out the little operator's tower of the Burnside Bridge behind it, in the background. Portland has 12 bridges spanning the Willamette River and each of them has its own look and history.

From there I made my way over to Northeast Williams Avenue and headed home. This was a little before noon, and as I turned onto Williams the sun began to burn through the clouds, and things warmed up quickly after that. Below: Pizza-a-go-go. The pizza's not bad; sadly, the waitrons do not serve it clad in knee-high go-go boots.

Northeast Portland has lots of little alleyways like this, some running all the way down to the Columbia Slough. This one goes all the way to Dekum (when a van isn't blocking the way...).

I love alleys like this, and other places of funky-ness that haven't yet been over-developed. I hope Portland will always have places like this in it.

Another lovely fall ride with beautiful colors and delicious cool air.  Total 11.7 miles.

More pictures from the ride can be found here:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

coffeeneuring challenge 2013, #3: aj java

This ride felt obligatory at first, owing to the fact that I was tired and a little crampy and not feeling inspired to ride. But as I got farther from the house I felt more like riding, and the weather cooperated by not raining at all even though showers had been forecast.

I made my coffee stop early on, because frankly I needed a shot of caffeine. I'd heard AJ Java (conrer of NE Albina and Rosa Parks) was now roasting on the premises, and I wanted to sample the brew.

The cafe shares a very old, somewhat decrepit building with an auto body shop. But don't let the aesthetics fool you. The coffee is good.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the house blend. Rich without being overpowering, and at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon I enjoyed an obviously fresh cup even though they'd close in an hour. I'd recommend it and I will add it to my list of coffee shops that roast on-site with good results. Go there.

Catching up on the headlines while finishing my coffee, I was able to confirm that my beloved PSU Vikings still suck at football.
(As it was and ever shall be, world without end, amen...)

From there I took a long, leisurely loop from Northeast Portland all the way down to River City Bicycles (to order a small part I knew I could get there, and because I now felt like taking a longer ride).

A few more photos from the loop:

This bulletin board at River City Bicycles made my ride. I maintain that there is a very special place in the universe for unrepentant bicycle thieves, and I don't ever want to see it...

The rest of the set from today's ride can be found here:

(scroll down to photos labeled "# 3")

A lovely ride. Total 8.7 miles.

Friday, October 11, 2013

to count or not to count?

This summer I left off with tracking my mileage for several weeks. At the time I simply felt it was unnecessary to continue. But more recently, I have come to understand that my decision to stop tracking my miles may have had its roots in some emotional issues and stress that I had been carrying around all summer. Once I got at the root of my stress, I began looking at some of the things I'd neglected, and last week I pulled out my mileage log and began sorting it out.

Going based mostly on memory, a month spent riding back and forth short distances in another city, and other factors, I reassembled my best estimates of mileage for the remainder of the summer through the end of September. I decided not to agonize over the lack of accuracy -- after all, this whole thing was rooted in emotional stuff and I felt I could cut myself some slack for that -- and decided to add up what I'd estimated and call it good. I figure I'm not off by more than 10 to 20 miles or so anyway.

So as of October 5, I've ridden 1,372 miles this year. That is about 400 to 500 miles lower than my average of the last four years at this time; and does take into account the fact that there were large stretches of time this summer when I rode very little or not at all. It also takes into account the fact that I did not train or race at all this year. I am not pushing myself towards a numerical goal by year's-end. I suppose it would be nice to break 2,000 miles by the end of December but if I don't it won't be tragic or anything.

I am planning to reinstall my Huret cyclometer on the Surly this next week; and will look around for another Huret to install on he All-Rounder. I'd prefer not to mess with a computer again.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

is the party over?

I've been seeing more and more of these auctions online:

In the last year I've seen at least a dozen auctions on eBay of this nature: someone will take their stack of Rivendell Readers, catalogs and newsletters, bundle it all up, and sell the lot online.

I did the same thing myself a couple of years ago, when I could feel myself beginning to let go of many relics from twenty years in the bicycle industry and knew I needed to make space at home.

My collection sold for around 70 bucks at the time. Today's auctions aren't fetching quite as much money but they still sell.

But I have to wonder: is the party over at Rivendell?
When they came on the scene in late 1994, they were the only company doing what they did at the time. I was an early adopter and even bought a "lifetime"subscription to the Reader.

(Regular followers of Rivendell know that the "lifetime"-ness of that subscription has since run out, been revoked -- with the rationale that anyone who went that route has gotten their money's worth many times over by now and should not complain. Fine, but then don't call it "lifetime". My mailing labels used to say the expiration date of my subscription, which was sometime in 2098. No more. Whatever.)

Today there are dozens of companies copying the model in part or whole, offering waxed cotton and lugged steel coolness to an increasingly savvy clientele -- and many doing so at lower prices. Some of these companies -- Velo Orange, Zimbale, Acorn, Minnehaha/Banjo Brothers -- are so successful that they've actually cut into Rivendell's market share.  And Rivendell, while staying with its own sense of "tried-and-true" products, has been forced to shift its targeting over the years to a smaller core of enthusiasts with more disposable income.
In 2004, when Sweetie and I visited RHQ on a trip to California, I noted the language used in some of its marketing brochures at the time: Their bikes were affordable, it was written, by "anyone with a job and bicycle priorities".
I don't see that wording in any of Rivendell's literature today. Today Rivendell makes no apologies for selling goods made in the USA -- or for the higher prices involved in such a proposition. Has this driven customers away? Or at least, has it reduced the cultlike hype around Rivendell's approach?

Or has Rivendell simply experienced the passage of time like everything else?

Monday, October 7, 2013

coffeeneuring 2013 edition # 2: peet's coffee, 15th & broadway

This one was sort of obligatory, in that I had to meet someone over coffee and had to select a logistically sensible choice for both of us. I visited Peet's at NE 15th and Broadway last year during the Challenge, and while I didn't really want to include it again this year, I was sort of stuck with it. So this year I ordered something a little different and, well, way foofier: a pumpkin au lait.
The coffee was a little strong, but the flavoring was pretty well balanced against the coffee. I ordered mine with non-fat milk and no whipped cream; if you go all-out fattening you'll have a different experience than I did. Still, it wasn't half bad.

I met my sister there to have, well, "sister time". We try to squeeze this in whenever we can; because we both live in the same city we tend not to make it regular, but it is always good when we get together. We catch up on all sorts of stuff, laugh and joke together; and then my sister usually impresses the hell out of me with her vast storehouse of world-life knowledge. She is one of the smartest people in the world.

Knowing that I'd probably spend the next two hours on my ass in a hard wooden chair, I elected to ride as briskly as possible to the coffee shop.

It turned out that she thought we were meeting an hour later than we'd originally planned, so I wound up waiting almost an hour before she got there. No worries. I spent three hours on my ass in a hard wooden chair but had a great time hanging out with my big sister.

When I went outside to ride home, the temperature had dropped by more than ten degrees. There were rain clouds in the distance, and the breeze was blowing them in my general direction. Suddenly my wool sweater wasn't warm enough to ride home at a leisurely pace. So I ripped my legs off and sped up 14th Avenue all the way. Once my heart and lungs got used to the idea, they  caught up with my legs and it felt really good to kill myself a little on my bike. By the time I was about a mile from home I was almost warm enough.

Photos of the shop, the atmosphere, and how I spent my first hour (people-watching, sipping my au lait and looking at bicycle porn online).

Evidence: yes, that IS my bike locked up outside.

Nice ride there and home again, total of 6.1 miles.