Category Archives: Bicycle

Assorted

Gave my friend a ride to get her car.  Saw this on the lot.850

A BMW 850.  Still has the analog BMW cell phone on the center console.  Thank goodness it is not for sale (but there is one for sale on the other coast at a tempting price point).  How about a contest?  First person to guess the original owner of the car pictured above will receive my personal copy of Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar.  mm

I know!  What a prize!  One guess per reader.  I’ll pay shipping to continental US addresses only.  Contest closes May 24, 2013.  Don’t know of this Marjorie Morningstar?  You should! From the inside cover.

inside

It’s a swell summertime read.  A clue (as to the car’s original owner) seems sporting–a celebrity with ties to the capital district, he regularly wore a robe at work.

Walking Frida I enjoyed noticing the brick work on this home.  Look close for the wave pattern.  Very nice!bricks

Might be selling a bicycle.  Don’t want to jinx it, but isn’t it grand?  It isn’t a trailer queen so I don’t mind selling it to someone who means to pedal it on rides with his six year old son.  Still, it is a very capable machine and should, if cared for, provide years if not decades of faithful service.Bridgestone MB-2 05.17.13

In preparation for the sale, I added high pressure slicks, tuned it up, gave it a nice surface cleaning, swapped the toe clipped pedals for MKS touring pedals (the potential buyer would be pedaling in tennis shoes) and reinstalled the quick release seatpost clamp (so that he can easily raise the seat after he reacquaints himself with the joys of pedaling).  Of course I fell in love with it again.  Happens every time I wrench on a bicycle.  So no worries if it doesn’t work for the buyer.  I’ll enjoy loving it a bit longer.  Trivia?  If memory serves, Mike Flanigan of the ANT bike Mike Flanigans pedaled this model (but surely not this example as mine was purchased from an owner in Omaha after spotting a listing in the classifieds in the local newspaper on newsprint which I was holding in my hands) on a long voyage east (from where I don’t recall–let’s say either Texas or the other coast) to seek employment in the bicycle industry.  Seems to have worked out nicely, don’t you think?

Lunch time!  Happy Friday!

Can’t Go Back

My friend shared with me a folder of photos he exhibited at his wedding reception.  Among them was a picture of me on my Fuji Feather.Fuji Feather

I bought the frame off eBay and added parts as they appeared.  The frame was pretty cool.  Rare, light, nice welds and decent condition.   The wheels were the best part.  Polished steel Araya rims with red bolt on Bullseye hubs.  Bomb proof.  Hated to let those go, but I did.  Sold the frame separately.  

What was I thinking?  My hope was to relive fun times of my youth spent ripping around on a 20″ wheel bicycle.  You know–bunny hops, jumping curbs and the lot.  What a disappointment! The bicycle was great, but I am a much different person from the kid I was in 1980s.  I weigh more, am weaker and am much more cautious.  Add that up and you’ve got an old man rolling around on a way too small bicycle.  Fun for a day in the woods, though.  Pretty sure this picture was taken the only time I had a proper ride on the thing.  Winter of 2009 if the file information is to be believed.

Still wouldn’t mind getting a cruiser with bigger wheels.  Maybe a vintage Cook Brothers?  Still wouldn’t be able to shred, but at least it would fit.  Probably won’t though.  I am trying so very hard to not bring bicycles into my life.  A jinx if I ever wrote one (so standby for a post in a couple of weeks featuring a new bicycle?).  Who knows.  Like I am in control of my retail life!

Enough.  Take care.

Falling

Helicopters (maple tree seeds).  Five heavy bags of them so far, all from one tree (that is not mine).  I’ve never seen so many.  The tree hasn’t given up more than a couple of leaves, but the helicopters alone have me cursing under my breath all maples regardless of location.  OK–I love your syrup (who doesn’t), but the tree that is spoiling my fall isn’t tapped.  It just spits out hundreds of thousands of seeds (and later leaves).  My guess is this tree is dying so it is putting its last energy into making seeds.  Fine with me (so long as it falls somewhere other than on my home).  Harrumpf!

To do list items.  Work is trying to crush me, but so far I am crushing it.  The fourth quarter is always the busiest time of year (so much so that I predict my death will arrive during a boom year fourth quarter).  I learned long ago to leave nothing until tomorrow.  A free moment today might not materialize the next.  So for now it is all good.  Until I have to start getting on planes.  We’ll see.

Hang ups.  I hate exercise for exercise sake.  Always have.  Somehow I have managed to open up, if only a little bit, and make time for sets of burpees three mornings a week.  One day away from three weeks!  Thanks to Grant Petersen for giving me the gentle push I needed.  I really think a little something like this will help in the long run.

Mileage.  I haven’t pedaled much lately.  Work, raking and generalized laziness have kept me more or less stationary.  I did pedal to the board of elections today, though, to vote early.  One the ride home a guy close passed me as I was ooching out from the curb to avoid a dangerously sunken storm drain grate.  I saw him coming in my mirror.  Him and his nefarious intent.  As soon as I noticed the hazard I signaled to him that I was going to move out, but he gave no leave.  I didn’t need to stop.  I was able to thread the needle.  He stopped at the light and rolled down his window.  I shouldn’t have known about his window as it is my habit to stay behind cars when stopping.  This time, though, I wanted to have a little chat.  So much for not communicating.  I was super calm.  So was he.  He just said “sorry guy.”  I said “there was a hole in the street that you nearly forced me into–you need to leave more room when you pass.”  That was that.  Every day I get a little better at educating my neighbors.  Calm is key.  Every day I tell myself to stop communicating with my neighbors while on the road.  I need to try harder.  A lot harder.

Yields.  Hanging on at home garden are parsley, rosemary and oregano.  At the away garden, a few cabbages, greens and celeriac remain.  I pulled out the tomatillos and picked up from the ground the last fruit.  Can’t say I will miss the almost daily effort required to keep the gardens on the tracks.  Not until February or March, anyway.  Tomatillo salsa anyone?

Stores of Oolong tea.  I have been trying to brew a pot each day.  Using the leaves three times sure slows the depletion of my supplies, but I am making a dent.  With each glass I am reminded how much flavor opens up when drinks are at the right temp.  Too hot or too cold and the good stuff all but disappears.  Give me tepid tea anytime.  Same with beer (if it needs to be cold to be enjoyable, you should try another brew).  This Oolong I am pouring down my beer chute is really hitting the spot.

Oh ya!  Milestones!  Lacey and I are very nearly at the twenty year mark in our marriage.  Gosh oh golly I love me some Lacey.  All of Lacey, actually.  I’d recommend the institution to you, but I have no idea how it looks with anyone other than Lacey.  Might suck.  I hope I never know.  Thanks, Lacey, for making my life worth living.

I’m out of things to share.  Hope you are making the best of your days.

So Much (Not Really)

I went to visit my parents.  On the flight out I read Just Ride (A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike) by Grant Petersen (founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works).  My expectations were low, as I have been learning from Grant since 1993.  Nearly as long as I have been learning from Lacey!  Would Grant have anything new for me?  Not much, but if you haven’t been following his teachings and want to enjoy bicycling, I’d strongly encourage you to give it a read.  Can’t loan you a copy (because I don’t own one), but I am sure the library from which I borrowed it would do so happily.

What did I learn?  Four things.  It’s good to check your blood sugar levels even before your doctor says to check.  It is easy to do, as you surely know someone with a tester.  I do, and they were happy to check for me.  I scored an eighty-nine (and anything below one hundred is good).  Done!  Next!

No one pedals circles.  Not even the pros (someone hooked a bunch up to sensitive testing devices and confirmed this).  So no need to connect feet to pedals and think about pulling up.  I already didn’t give a poo, but I did think about this age old advice on occasion.  Don’t need to again.  Next!

Crank length.  Also something I don’t think about, but I do believe most of my bikes have 170mm cranks and would feel a little funny if I knowingly encountered cranks of another length.  Should be obvious, but it wasn’t to me until Grant said it, that another 5 or even 10 mm isn’t that much difference.  Take out a ruler and check it out.  Infinitesimal!  I won’t show you how I spelled that before the spell check placed me on the straight and narrow.  Wow.  Next!

Burpees!  Grant pointed out how crappy bicycles are at making us fit.  Knew that, but for some reason (probably somewhere in the neighborhood of I Idolize Grant) I took to heart his suggestion of doing sets of burpees.  Monday I did nine, then eight, then five, then four, then three, then two, then one.  Rested ten seconds between each set.  Notice the gap in progression between eight and five?  I meant to fill that in with seven and then six, but I was too toasted!  Felt it Tuesday and didn’t try again until today.  I did the full set!  I hope this will become a habit.  Have you tried it?

Unless you’ve stalked, er followed, er paid casual attention to, Grant for a couple of decades, you’ll likely learn more.  So read it already!

The visit with my parents was superb!  Nice talks, some quite intense and others lighter, filled most of the time.  Of course we shared good meals.  My parents are omnivores, but have zero bad things to say about veganism.  They didn’t even need to shop for my visit.  They have a fridge full of alterna-milks.  They put coconut oil on toast.  They slow cook huge vats of pinto beans and eat some with most meals.   Mom did buy me a nice cappuccino coconut ice cream.  When traveling, the food search can often be kinda stressful.  Not when visiting them!  Nice meal out at The Asylum in Jerome, AZ.  It was all dolled up for Halloween, and what a view!

My parents have a personal trainer, so one morning while they were working out I took a drive to look at trailer homes.  Still obsessed with trailer homes, and Sedona is an amazing place to check out some well preserved older ones.  As I was meandering through neighborhoods I followed signs to the Sugar Loaf trailhead. Didn’t know anything about the walk and didn’t have anything with me (not even water).  The sign at the trailhead made it sound doable, though, without provisions.  Just a mile to the summit.  I set off and soon met a guy named Papoose and his cool black german shepherd mix.  Turns out he was originally from Schenectady.  Yikers!  Anyway, Papoose said the walk is easy and I’d be fine.  He was right.  In less than 30 minutes I was on top.  Quite a view.  

Why does my head look all warped?  Do I need to work on my posture or was I standing on a vortex?  I’ll go with the latter.  Anyway, the walk to the summit of Sugar Loaf is the kind of walk you could do every morning to get the blood pumping a bit, and there many folks on the trail, most with dogs, doing just that.  Also encountered a group of six mountain bikers in full lycra suffering up the hill and over the rough rocks.  Each one that passed had an excuse.  Something like “It gets tough after six days of this!”  Or “I needed a warm up!”  One was walking his bike and said “I should be riding this!”  I felt sorry for them.  They need to read Grant’s book.  Pedaling should be fun.  Didn’t look like they were having fun.  It was a great trail for walking, so why not walk it?!

On the way out of Sedona, headed to the airport, the air was filled with balloons.  Only two in the pictures, but there were six or more all in.  Pretty magical farewell to a magical place.  

Got back Saturday and Sunday we were delighted to visit the home of a cousin I had never met.  She just moved here with her husband, two kids and their dog.  My aunt was visiting, too.  I think she is my aunt anyway (I am not so good with family trees so I use aunt and cousin pretty loosely).  If you read this and I have it wrong, please correct me.  Or not.  Your call.  The evening was terrific, with an outstanding vegan chili on the stove.  So spicy!  People are usually kind of conservative with newcomers at their table.  If my cousin thinks she was being conservative, she must have some serious spice chops!  Didn’t bother me (on the contrary, I enjoyed it) and Lacey didn’t even notice it was hot (Lacey must be pretty tough, too!).

What else?  I made it to the garden where I pulled out all the tomatoes and harvested half the cabbage, as well as more tomatillos.  Quite a load on my front rack.  I covered it with a towel to keep tomatoes, tomatillos, five heads of cabbage and radishes from getting free of the bungee net.  Looked pretty odd.  Big and lumpy, like I had lord knows what in there.  A gallon and a half of sauerkraut is on the counter.  I added to the salted cabbage carrots and pears.  Should be nice.  Also have souring in brine a bunch of green tomatoes.  I added to that crock a habanero pepper, too.  I was worried about the pepper’s heat, but the brine doesn’t seem too spicy.  Can’t wait to try soured spicey green tomato pickles!

That’s enough for now.  Eleven hundred and seventy-five words.  Too many!  Hope you are well.  Bye!

Heavy Mood

Postal carrier delivered this to me (as I was in the yard cutting back and digging out surplus hostas).  

I am a sucker for colored vinyl.  Love it almost as much as I love Tilly and the Wall.  Their new album, Heavy Mood, is muy bueno.  Writing very good in spanish is as close as I am going to get to writing an interesting review.  I am seriously tired from digging hostas.  Deal with it (or just trust me and buy the LP).  By the way, the LP is a single color.  The mottling is the result of my squishing down the file size to save space.

On Sunday Lacey and I pedaled to the Spectrum to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.  Staged by the National Theater in London.  We were watching a recording of a live performance at a movie theater.  What a world we live in!  Such a good play.  Impressive use of dance and technology to relate the goings on in a mind on Asperger syndrome.  See it if you get the chance.

On the way home a car honked at Lacey or me–I can’t remember.  It was just a honk.  Nothing more.  Who cares?  Apparently I did.  Although I’ve been consistently ignoring misbehaving motorists as I pedal, something snapped this time.  I didn’t say or do anything ridiculous, but my insides were on fire and my face was probably a few degrees short of pokerish.  Maybe I am only getting better at controlling my emotions when pedaling alone.  Exhibit anything other than caution and respect in the presence of my dearest Lacey and things can get ugly.  It was good that the front seat passenger rolled down her window and apologized twenty ways to Sunday, but I have more work to do.

Today Frida stopped and stared at a white Honda Civic.  Not quite a Fit, but there is a strong family resemblance.  Just like she used to stop and stare at Beetles, but  this was the first time she exhibited a recognition that small white Hondas might give up a Lacey if stared at long enough.  Didn’t work this time, but it was cute as all get out.

That’s enough for now.  Hope you are well.

Bullying

Netflix Play It Now is a gift from the gods.  We’ve been mainlining Trailer Park Boys for weeks of evenings now.  Sweet greasy nectar!  Makes me want to live in a trailer park.  Seriously (you know we’ve moved across the country based on less rigorous research).  Check out this beauty that I was watching on eBay until yesterday.  I didn’t bid (it is only a fantasy at this point).  Only three (of fifty some) remaining episodes stand between us and second string entertainment, and we meant to watch all three last night.  Sadly, another night of hilarious foul-mouthed criminality would not be ours.  “Content Not Available.”  Clicked it three more times.  No luck!

No worries!  Just a short lateral move across our playlist and we were soaking up the last two seasons of Skins.  Know it?  Six seasons in all, with three crews of high school age kids holding our attention for two seasons each.  I think they are high school age, anyway.  They are of an age where they may (or may not) attend something called sixth form, which sounds like a reason to stay in high school a couple of more years while preparing for A-Levels (or partying your brains out, if you’d prefer, and these kids do).

As much as we loved the first two seasons of Skins, we didn’t want to start season three.  We were so enamored with the first cast.  If only I could hear Cassie drop a deadpan “wow” just one more time.  New characters?  No thank you (until we found that seasons three and four were better–or at least as good–which is to say incredible).  Still, we meant to take a break before starting season five, really we did, but the tragic interruption of our Trailer Park Boys marathon cut short our pointless hiatus.  So glad!  I can tell this last crew is going to be awesome.  The metalhead Rich and the loner artist Franky are my early favorites.

Rich you need to experience first hand, but Franky–I have a reason to give you a little introduction.  Franky is at the center of episode one of season five.  She is a last minute registrant at Roundview (the same school the previous two casts attended).  Franky was brutally bullied at her previous school, and it looks as though Roundview won’t offer relief.  En route to her first day, the band strikes up a familiar and ugly tune as Franky is bullied by a group of young boys at the bus stop.  She steals a motorized wheel chair to get away (at which point a viewer with even half a heart is helpless but to love her).  Happily, the end of the day finds Franky finds with three new friends who take her to the mall for a powder fueled makeover which crescendoes with the girls being chased by four mall cops following a petty theft.  Guess who wins?  But this drama twists more often than Michael Phelps’ neck as he hears a dozen just audible offers of smoke…smoke… in Washington Square Park (did you hear that?), and by the end of day two, one of Franky’s new friends double crosses her in unimaginably evil style.  Oh yes she did!  And so the barb is set.  Just one more episode!  Then one more!  Again!

With Franky’s travails fresh on my mind, I pedaled to Oliver’s to get a growler of Founders Red Rye.  Highly regarded stuff.  Can’t wait to crack it (Saturday).  Then to the garden to give the cabbage a drink.  A group of grade school kids had been brought to the park to play in the sun.  Playing wasn’t enough for one kid, so he supplemented his pleasures by mocking me and my bicycle.  “Nice basket bike, nature lover.”  I laughed to myself, but as I stood there his remark sank in.  Even got to me, if only a little.  I am 45 and he is, what, eight?  Seriously?  As silly as it was, it brought back all the taunts I’ve endured over the years.  Not a ton, but enough to make an impression on a fella.  They come less often now, but it seems like they will never end (if idiot eight years olds are going to take up the torch of abusing yours truly–jeesh!).  Like acne, it is.  They told me it would get better.  I took that to mean it would go away.  Nope!  Life is sometimes shitty forever!  Crickey!

Poor Franky.  Poor me.  Poor all of us!  Time to turn over the LP.  If I hear sandpaper, thump, sandpaper, thump one more time…

Have a great weekend.

Can’t Buy a Wave

I’ve walked Frida and pedaled to the clothing drop box and the community garden.  I waved to folks on my route–of the first six zero returned my gesture.  Yes, I was keeping count.  Two of the six were police officers in parked cars.  If I were a police officer, I’d make neighborliness a priority.  My guess is the effort would pay big dividends.

Don’t get me wrong–this is a mighty fine town–but in my limited experience neighborliness doesn’t kick in for many residents until you’ve known of each other for about five years.  What is the waiting period to buy a gun?  Don’t know, but I’ll bet you a jar of kimchi it is shorter than five years.  In a world where hate is processed faster than love, you get what what you get.

So how they do they do it (the non-wavers, that is)?  You look someone in the eye, get waved at, maintain eye contact and not return the gesture.  What goes on in their head?  If you are in the non-waving camp, please let me know.  It’s kinda starting to bug me.

But then there is always one.  The spice of life!  The last one on my morning journey–lucky number seven.  I waved and asked how he was doing.  “Just doing what I can to get by.”  I said “Yup!”  As I pedaled away, he hollered “You know there is a big storm coming?”  I turned and waved and hollered “Yup!  Thanks!”  The storm is scheduled to arrive at at 1:00.  Big rain.  Hail.  Wind.  I think my neighbor said hurricane.  My exchange with mister seven was at 10:20.  He didn’t know how long I would be out and cared enough to warn me.  One out of seven doesn’t sound so good, but I’m assigning mister seven a full seven points and calling this a perfect game of neighborliness.

Saw Conor Oberst at the Egg last night with good friends sitting to our right.   Sharon Van Etten opened.  She was a delight.  Conor, too.  Before the show, we enjoyed a nice meal with two other good friends at The Olde English Pub.  The four of us got the vegan dish–roasted veggies on pita with a two dollar up charge for a couple of pieces of fried tofu.  Salt and pepper made it good.  The pint of Twisted Thistle ale was the star of the meal, though.  Next time I will skip the sandwich and just get fries and beer.  Business advice?  If you are going to offer only one vegan dish, make it a knock out, kay?  Smear some salty lemony pesto on there and you’d be closer to the mark, in my humble opinion.

Four hundred and fifty-three words in.  My!  Where’d the point go?

Bye!

Failure of an Icon

Hello friends!  I just finished reading No Hands–The Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company, an American Institution.  Highly recommended.  A fellow blogger brought the book to my attention.  I’d give them credit and a hearty thanks but I can’t for the life of me recall who it was.  [Update:  It was All Seasons Cyclist, and his review is so pro!  Maybe skip my review and read his instead.]  The blogger mentioned the book was out of print, so I jumped on my library’s website and found a copy downtown.  A couple of days later it was at my local branch.  We have such a great library system! 

The book covers a lot of ground, starting with the origins of two wheeled transport and then moving to the founding of Schwinn and the three other generations of Schwinn family members steering the ship.  Also described are the other major players in the industry, both domestic and foreign.  Companies like Trek, Specialized and Giant get a lot of coverage.  You’ll learn about the key role Schwinn’s balloon tire innovation played in their rise to the top as well as Schwinn’s failure to quickly jump on first the bmx craze and then the mountain bike craze.  Complacency strikes hard.

As a kid, I spent a fair amount of my free time in my local Schwinn shop.  I thought the mechanics, in their blue work shirts and working behind the three quarters height wall, were gods.  So many cool tools!  I’d respect the rule that I wasn’t to go into the work area, but I’d linger on the threshold and try to make small talk.

My first three bikes were Schwinns (a Bantam, a Varsity and then a Super Le Tour II).  But just as described in the book, when bmx showed up, I bought a Redline Proline from the Schwinn shop.  That was the best they offered.  I had no interest in a Schwinn bmxer–I would have considered them too heavy.  That was the perception of much of the buying public with tastes that grew more sophisticated more quickly than did Schwinn’s.  Schwinn’s factory in Chicago was originally set up to weld heavy mild steel tubes and they never retooled the factory to produce frames using newer and improved production techniques (brazed lugs and tig welded chromoly).  [Update:  A fellow named Mark dropped a comment on All Seasons Cyclists' post directing us to a post on Sheldon Brown's site about the electro-forging process used to manufacture Varsity's starting in the late 60s.  My comment that Schwinn never retooled is, then, wrong.   Sounds like Schwinn spent a ton of money to update, but it picked the wrong process.  Even if you don't read the book, read Sheldon's piece.  As always, very informative and well done.  Oh!  I just found another great article about the fillet brazed lightweights Schwinn was making (mentioned by Guy in the comments below).]

Schwinn fell behind.  They eventually offered frames with the new materials and joining techniques, but they mostly outsourced the work.  While they dragged their feet, much of their audience learned that bicycles out of Europe and Japan were good and much lighter.  Schwinn had long produced their wonderful top of the line lugged frames in their Paramount shop (first in a separate space in the Chicago factory and later at a separate shop in Wisconsin (now Waterford)), but they never mass produced lugged frames.  Instead, Schwinn outsourced production of their middle range lugged lightweights to Japan.  That’s probably where my Super Le Tour II came from.  Then tig welded chromoly became important for bmx bikes and mountain bikes.  For these frames, Schwinn’s suppliers were Giant in Taiwan and then the China Bicycles Company in Shenzhen.

Schwinn even acquired an interest in a factory on the island of Csepel, in Budapest, Hungary and built a factory in  Greenville, Mississippi.  Unfortunately, they didn’t put in place the strong leadership needed to boost production quality at either of these two sites to the levels achieved at the Chicago factory in the early days (or the quality of the work coming out of Japan, Taiwan and eventually China).  By that time,  I was mostly done with Schwinn.  I was into mountain bikes and bought one of the first Cannondale offerings.  I don’t think I ever stepped foot in my local Schwinn store again.  They had nothing of interest to me.

Also discussed are the changes in the industry brought on by the rising power of the component makers in Japan–SunTour and Shimano.  During the first 80 years of the industry, the buying public focused on the reputations of the frame builders, and for most of that period a sizable portion of the buying public thought no one did frames better than Schwinn.  In the eighties, though, more and more buyers focused on parts.  They’d compare bicycles based on their components first and then price.  The frames were viewed as commodities (and at least with respect to the mass produced frames, the public was right).  Schwinn couldn’t adapt to the new environment.

The last Schwinn product I bought was a recumbent exercise bike (that was handed down to a friend and repurposed to power a washing machine).  Bought that at an independent shop that didn’t sell any Schwinn bicycles–just the exercise equipment.  During the last decades of Schwinn’s history as a family owned concern, the profits from stationary exercise bicycles (the Airdyne was the first and most profitable model) were propping up an otherwise failing bicycle company.  If my memory serves, one of the last nails in the coffin was hammered in placed when Sears copied the Airdyne and sold it for hundreds less.  Sales of the Airdyne plummeted, Schwinn’s legal battle to stop Sear’s sales failed and the end followed pretty quickly.  A sad end it was, too, with Ed Schwinn, the last Schwinn to run the company, reduced to running a small mail order cheese house (and battling lawsuits brought by family members alleging he ruined the venerable bicycle company).  At least Richard Schwinn remained in the game with Waterford.  A great company making great frames, but a far cry from the industry sales leader that Schwinn once was.

Not all tea and roses, but what ride ever is?  Look for it at your local library, kids.  I promise it doesn’t suck.

Later!

Seventy Eight Degrees…

…feel like heaven when napping on a bed next to a wide open window.  But oh the humidity!  Do anything other than sit still and you are reminded you are enveloped by water logged air.  The water in the air mixes with sweat on your skin and you quickly look like you just finished playing in a sprinkler.  

Yesterday a present arrived for the Bridgestone RB-2.  I wasn’t surprised because it was from me, but I hope the RB-2 was.  New tires!  Panaracer Pasela TourGuard 700 x 28s.  The RB-2 came with new tires, but I have strong opinions about tires.  They must inspire confidence.  The tires on the RB-2 did not inspire confidence.  Panaracers do.  I also like the look of tan sidewalls.  That’s a mark of my age.  All this really tells my dear readers is that I had $70 more dollars than I needed to live.  The world is silly and I am not helping.  

I hate putting on tires.  I pinch as many tubes as I install successfully.  Yesterday I installed both new tires without ruining a single tube.  I couldn’t do a victory dance because the modest exertion required to install two tires used up all remaining energy.  I couldn’t even take the bike for a test ride.  Until today.

I pedaled a mile to my friends house, then straight home (because he wasn’t in).  The 28mm tires pretty much fill up the available space on the RB-2.  Notice the lack of space between the rear brake and the tire in the photo above.  More space in front (click on the sec on preceding photo to examine the tolerances more closely), but if you want to run symmetrical tires, the smaller gap determines max tires size.

With 95 psi of air they ride like high pressure tires.  Fast and uncomfortable.  I  could fill them to 75 psi and enjoy a smoother ride straight away, but then I’d have to pump them up sooner.  So they go to 95 and then I let them drop over a month or so to maybe 55 before I notice pumping is required.  Repeat until bike is passed on.

I pedaled to the garden today and harvested produce for donation to Squash Hunger.  I pulled out eight turnips and filled big bags of collards and mustard.  Another gardener threw in a zucchini.  I pedaled the lot to the co-op, and then home.  Growing too much always makes me feel bad.  My frugal side wants to hoard it all and then I eat the oldest stuff first and then the new tender stuff becomes old and yucky before I get to it.  Produce isn’t wine.  Better to enjoy it young (or let someone else enjoy it).  I hope to pick nice stuff weekly for donation.  That way, whenever I get through the gallon of greens in the fridge, the garden will have only nice new produce to enjoy.  Everyone wins.

On the way home I stopped at a garage sale.  I got an unglazed clay vessel from Germany that in which I will bake bread.  I have two now.  Both from garage sales.  I also got a Ouija board.  

Lacey and I sat with our hands touching the indicator for five minutes and it didn’t move.  We’ll try again later (maybe drinks help).  I also got a ball cap from the 1993 Clinton Gore inauguration.  Swank.  Oh–and a carrier for downhill skis and poles, a  jade plant, a Scrabble Sentence Word Game and another ball cap from a Troy bar.  Wowza!  Best $7 I have ever spent.

Last night was Mahar’s.  I had a cask Wandering Star Thunderbolt.  The makers call it an American IPA.  Good.  Hoppy.  Amber?  Maybe that’s the American part of it?  Just used to lighter IPAs.  Who cares, really, but I just wouldn’t have guessed it was an IPA until I went to their site.  Lacey had her ushe–a Belhaven Twisted Thistle.  We needed those two pints.  Apparently Lacey more than I.  For the first time ever Lacey beat me to the bottom of the pint!  Wonders of wonders.  Curry House worked their magic on a dish of chana masala.  Best I’ve ever tasted.  Then home to watch a French film about the plight of Gypsies during WWII.  Korkoro.  Overall it was tough to watch (sad), but  there were some beautiful moments here and there.  Give it a shot.

That’s enough of the story.  Hope you are well.

Shazaam