Archive for February, 2008

Look How Happy

Skiing, and the prep for it, can change your whole outlook. Look what its done for 20¢!
Take that, winter blues!  Yes, just a week ago he was another poor cyclist resigned to riding a trainer inside while watching old Rambo movies and dreaming of springtime and bloodshed, now he is an outdoor adventurer boldly skiing around a manicured ski track in the middle of a large population center with the nearest life sustaining grocery store a good half mile away.  Like a modern day Shackleton, but smiley.

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I have a pretty good morning routine going. I ride my bike on the really sketchy streets with their big frozen lumps and potholes and get a coffee at New Pi before going to work. Its nice. My winter commuting this year has been more eventful than usual due to all the snow and ice we have. I slide out fairly often and sometimes have to put a foot down and every once in a while I biff it. Mostly I am okay with it and even like it but sometimes, like last night, it gets to me.

I rode over to Ashton to ski while we got it. Its about 30 minutes for me each way. The sun had just set and the roads were covered in that nice layer of thin and slippery slush. I have been using the Touring Townie as my skimmuter and while I love the bike and appreciate its multiple gears I find the Moustache bar does not give me the control I would like in poor conditions. I made it over there and had a great three lap ski and then headed home.

It was totally dark now and the motorists did not seem very sensitive to my need for personal space. A nerve-wracking ride it was with cars passing too fast and too close. Even when I reached the supposed quiet streets of Goosetown there were still cars trying to pass me and to stay safe I would pull over and let them bounce by on the crazy roads. I was cold and grumpy when I got home.

So its a hassle going to ski at Ashton during the evenings. Makes me think I need a dedicated bike for this purpose. Super lights and reflectivity. Toss my scruples aside and actually put at least one knobby tire on it. Maybe make some of them homemade studded jobbers? Fenders of course! Rack and Super-Toober required. Riser handlebar desired.

I started fixing up this good looking Raleigh at the BL last Saturday, maybe I can find

something down there? The trouble is storage space, of course. I have been busy this week placing this needy Unit with a good home. I would love to keep it but again
storage is the issue. Hopefully this summer we can address this issue at our house and have the happiness that can only come from having way too many bicycles.

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Zen and motorcycle maintenance aside, I had me a heck of a chautauqua this weekend. First up, two snowshoe expeditions. One for the fun of it and one to the tradin’ post up

North to get some vittles. Yesterday and today I skied classic at Ashton and the tracks were in great shape and I was chugging right along for two hours both days. Tack on the rides to and fro and the aforementioned Bigfootin’ and it adds up to a happily tired me.

As I was leaving the skiing today I got a text message that I did not check but I wondered who would be texting me because there are only two people who do. I smiled thinking it was probably Ira out in Pasadena with them Rapha Rascals and he was letting me know that Jason was shooting off some fireworks on the last stage of the California tour. Can you believe he has a wikipedia page now? Once home I checked and it had not been Ira, but the live internet updates confirmed my initial assumption, local power-townie phenomenon Jason Mc-CSC was having a good day at work.

this fine pic from a past good day at work in better weather was over here

Cody and I left for a coffee date with friends and got groceries and returned home in

not the coffee date described here, this was our morning coffee but you get the idea

time to read about Jason not winning the stage. Very much too bad as it sounded like he was ripping it up in the break. A super strong ride and it looks like we can expect another good season from our in-form friend. Really would have been nice if he had beaten Hincapie but we can take heart that he beat the Rock Racer who has reportedly been fired. That team should have K.I.T.T. as their support car! That would be badass!

thanks bill!

More of our rain and icy rain Iowa weather on the way, will skiing continue or will I actually have to go for a ride someday? Stay tuned!

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I’m White

I find this pretty funny and sadly true.

What do you think?

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Ice Cubes

Its still wintry here. I have been slipping and sliding around on my skinny tires but mostly getting where I need to get without crashing. Its fun in a Dangerado sort of way. Reading our local paper today I was unhappy to see this opinion. I carefully crafted a response and sent it in, it looked a little like this:

Its been a long time since I have stumbled by the old IBC forums but I saw this in todays paper and thought it worth dropping over here. After reading it my first thought was to be glad that that Bob is no longer a City Councilor. His points are poorly reasoned at best and his gripping hearsayical retelling of a mystery cyclist riding on a busy street at night in dark clothing with no lights and possibly drunk rolling through a stop sign made the soy milk from my cereal shoot out of my nose. This phantom should be accountable? Well, Bob, former City Councilor, they already are! The laws are already in place, so go ahead and tell the police to crack down on these dangerous criminals. Devote massive resources, see how happy everyone will be! He uses a nice radical quote from Donald Baxter that is sure to boil blood in car dealerships all over town but here is another one from Donald:

The 45,000 traffic deaths that occur in this country every year are not caused by cyclists running stop signs.

I am all for dialog on the issues but this letter from Bob is more of a whiny complaint, not a genuine attempt to foster positive outcomes through communication.

gpickle, just outta bed and already fired up for Friday!

Mind you, I altered it a bit, added the word dastardly and signed it with my Mom-given name, but that is the gist. Once again, we bike advocates have lots of work to do!

Elsewhere, I got a chuckle reading this and found the fire of my faith in our future generations totally stoked, dude, by another quality offering from the 20¢ Press.

Its been a good week at work checking the tour of Cali live updates. Not Jason’s week to shine but his team is rocking and I hope he is settling in to the new system. It was cool reading that Bryce Mead of Jelly Belly was in the break yesterday, I have known him

learn more about Bryce at

since he was 16 or so. He is from Dixon, IL and used to ride with a frame builder named Bob I knew over there who made bikes called Fast Rabbits. Bob warned me that he was a fast kid and it was confirmed for me when he chased me down at a cat 3 springtime road race after I had been away for 40 miles solo. The little jerk snuck up on me in the last miles as I was busy falling to pieces and jumped me. Ah well, he really is a nice guy and it has been fun watching him move through the ranks over the years. I saw him at the Old Cap Crit last year and wonder if he will be back this year.

With the extended Minneapolis trip and my hurting toe I have taken a pretty good break from exercise. I did enjoy a nice snowshoe with Cody this past week and went skiing once but mostly I feel super rested. Best get back at it, the season looms large!

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The Way It Is/The Way It Was

Happy at home and settled back into our version of frigidity. The streets are covered in some crazy ice formations following the latest storm and one of the durned things sent me sprawling in the middle of morning car traffic yesterday. Of course the American motorist is very understanding about these things so my fellow travelers gave me plenty of space to collect myself and one nice woman with an even nicer truck asked me if I needed a lift. I was touched but politely declined and thanked her for her concern. Riding on I realized that my foot hurt like heck and especially my big toe and as I continued pedaling I thought that maybe I had even broken that sucker. At work I field stripped it and found that while the big toe looked like it had been punched in the eye it still provided full range of movement. Carry on!

So the trip to the big Cities was great. We stayed with some old college chums of mine in their super cool and new to them house. They share their beautiful pad with a couple of

big dogs named Sal and Arie and one little purr-machine of a kitty named Kitty.

We were happy to learn that the nearest coffee shop was local and reputable and had

vegan food options plus the latest in colored ice sculptures. We were just blocks from the World Famous in certain circles Cars R Coffins coffee shop but sadly we only got to see it from the street. Next time…

So all hopped up on caffeine we went to FROSTBIKE and check it out, the coolest thing

I have ever seen. A headset with freaking wood in it! You saw it here first people. Allow me to explain the significance of this development in shaft rotational technology in not less than 34 paragraphs loaded with technical jargon and graphs.

Okay, forget it. We scored some free stuff. DeFeet wool socks. Velonews 2008 calender. A sticker. Lots of edibles like Sport Beans and Power (yes, they are still at it) Bars, a Surly toestrap long enough to be used as a belt, keychains, armwarmers, a couple of cycling caps, a few bottles of Pedros lube, two Maxxis musettes and a teeny tiny Wipperman chain tool that cost 10 bucks but that is as good as free I tell ya!  We even got lunch

I met some people I had long wanted to meet and saw some old friends. All in all a fine time at the show. After we cruised over to Hiawatha Cyclery. Cody has a nice batch of pictures and a report over at the Bike Library blog, check it out if you like. This is the kind of bike shop I intend to open someday so prepare yourselves to shop there.

Saturday night we stopped by One On One for the HED party to have beer and look the place over. Lots of animal heads on the walls with fine cycle frames lodged in their antlers. Many vintage Masi’s in the house. One enormous three wheeled Ordinary suspended above us. Lots of HED carbon wheels and a giant poster of Levi Leipheimer. Got to see the pretty colored SOMA fenders and meet Hurl, owner of the aforementioned Cars-R-Coffins. He was as cool as expected.

Sunday we were to return home but a mighty storm was despoiling our fair Iowa so we decided to stay up North where things were more stable. Breakfast at the Seward Cafe, back to QBP and then some relaxing and storytelling before the big slow and dangerous drive home that took all of our Monday.

I leave you with this, a bike hanging in Mark’s garage that he rescued from a fate worse

than riding. We bicycle advocates still have a lot of perception work to do…

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Finally made it home after an extra night in Minneapolis due to a reportedly impressive display of winter in Iowa.  Had a great time up North there, met lots of people and got some free stuff.  Drank lots of coffee.  Saw Tom Ritchey’s moustache.  Lots of cars in the snow filled ditches and one out of control oncoming Buick made us all think twice about ever leaving home again.  More to follow…

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