First, and most important to those who love donuts or doughnuts, Tastease Donuts has sold 500,000 donuts and on Friday, March 6 they're offering a free cup of coffee and donut to anyone who comes in between 7am and 11am. Tastease is at 70 New Park.
Second, it being the last Friday of the month, it's Critical Mass day. Come to the Bushnell Park Carousel at 5:30pm and we'll go ride somewhere.
Third, make sure to block out time on your calendar for The Eel on March 7. 2pm reg and 2:30 race. $5.
Fourth, I didn't go to Ice Bike to work this morning because I was running too late. I hope it was good.
That's it. Ride safe this weekend.
Oh, always carry a pump and patch kit, even if you're just riding on your lunch break. It prevents you from having to make a sad walk back from East Hartford.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
(i haven't been able to get a good photo of a bus with bicycles in it. so here's a sign on Southard Street and Flemming Street. good to see!)
There are buses that run up and down the Keys along Rt. 1, and, like Hartford, they can carry two bicycles in a rack on the front. But, due to overwhelming popularity and many people being stranded or not allowed to bring thier bike due to lack of space; no bicycles are allowed at all. A recent article in the Key West Citizen highlighted this problem. Please check out the story.
I really appreciate and respect the Key West Transportation Director's offer to hear any new ideas or suggestions to fix the situation. Hopefully the bus will carry bicycles again soon; and lots of them.
It seems like things like this are becoming more and more common; which is good and bad. I never thought I'd have trouble fining bicycle parking. I hope Obama and our local politicians can expand bicycle infrastructure fast enough and smart enough to keep up with the demand. Its a great direction to be going as long as we don't all get stuck in a bottleneck! Read more!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Saturday, Saturday, it’s a Saturday.
5 whole days of work and one whole day to play
De La Soul knew what was up, but my pedicab shift on Saturday was the farthest thing from work and yet I got Paid in Full. The line between work and fun is completely blurred, perhaps even eradicated, on days like this.
I was craving sausage gravy and biscuits even before getting on the saddle and pulling out of Perfect Pedicab and onto Whitehead Street. A short ride across Old Town to my other job, a restaurant called Turtle Kraals, ensured I was well fed thanks to my employee discount. Thrifty and tastey, yeah, that’s how I’m rollin’. Luann, the morning bartender, asked me to take her visiting parents on a tour later and paid me in advance. Sweeet. I hooked her up with a deal and left feeling good; not even 11AM yet and I already made bike rent. ahhhh, a great way to start the day.
It was a super slow morning spent mostly at the South end of Duval on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. This is a wonderful spot to chill, relax and wait for a fare. Lots of people walk the full mile and half or so all the way down Duval, to see the Southernmost Point buoy; and then feel all lazy about walking back. A ride in a pedicab, especially with cocktail in hand, is a wonderful way to get back to Mallory Square, Sloppy Joe's or wherever you want to be next back in Old Town. Some say Duval Street is the longest mainstreet in the world as it streaches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean!
Jason and Mikeeee getting some needed rest. Friday was a looong night. The pictures in the background are by Bob. He spends the morning and afternoon painting as his artwork hangs behind him on the fence in the great gallery of the island shoreline. Dozens of people pass by every five minutes speaking in all sorts of accents and languages. The cool ocean breeze always compliments the contrasting rays of the strong tropical sun. There’s usually a few of us here reading, resting or entertaining ourselves and the tourists.
Jeff’s secret to success…the pig helmet cover!
So today is Thursday and I am trying to remember the details that made Saturday so amazing to finally finish this post. But I can’t remember the specific things, it was just a really great day. Sunny with a nice, cool breeze. Occassional white, fluffy clouds provided brief patches of wonderful shade. It began slow, but as it progressed, I got a lot of rides that were fun and tipped well. I had a great time bugging out and chillin’ with the other riders. Everything and everyone was just on the One.
Kapsis giving his sweetie Barbara a ride home. These two are waaay too cute and in love. He’s always blowing kisses from his pedicab to her as she works at a restaurant’s outdoor patio. The Ohio boys and I passed them enroute to happy hour. Yep, most places here do happy hour seven days a week. And the bars are open to four. But's that's a whole other post.
Happy Hour at Kelly’s. This certainly helped keep the great vibe going after work. Forget the fact it’s the original Pan-Am headquarters. Forget it’s owned by Maverick’s love intrest in Top Gun. Happy Hour is bangin'! $4 gets you a half dozen of some of the best wings on the island. $3 gets you a massive margarita. We had a lot of both.
Click read more to see the ridiculousness of getting a new printer home from New Town.
A bungee cord held it in place. I could steer holding just the box, but that was kinda scary and i didn't do it again. Ok, i did a few more times, and it was still scary! But, after living here since the first week week of January, I have only driven my van four times, three to go kayaking and once when I moved from Brian's couch to my apartment.
I heard about Quarry Park in a Courant article and somewhere else. This former hill, a rocky one, is where Rocky Hill got its name. The article describes the park in far more purplish prose than I would, both because I was looking for single track (not a newspaper column) and because it felt more like an abandoned quarry than a park, which isn't really that scenic. There's a little bit in the way of single track and it's a really quick ride through old Wethersfield from my house to get there. The single track is ok and there's about a mile of it, so I definitely wouldn't drive a great distance to get to it. In fact, I wouldn't drive at all. Maybe if you're passing by on a bike, stop in.
Monday, February 23, 2009
While our brave blogging brother was getting ready to speak to truth to power on Saturday, I went mountain biking. I had to feed my parents' cat, so I was over the hill in Avon. I don't really have any fascinating insights, other than groomed cross country skiing/snow skating trails are a weird place to ride a bike. Or really, they're just generally a weird place to be.
I found that much of this Avon snow was compressed to the point of becoming sheets of ice. That's no fun without studs, as I was without them on Saturday. However, pine forests stay shady even in the winter, due to the whole evergreen thing, so the snow compacts into this cool styrofoam stuff instead of becoming ice.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This morning, my dear wife dropped me and my Xootr off in New Haven before heading off to Providence to visit friends, so I could attend a panel discussion at Yale Law School's Rebellious Lawyering Conference. (The panel was about the school-to-prison pipeline, and everyone should know about that, so read up.) Inspired by the panel (and free lunch, and coffee) I decided to do some work on the old New Haven-to-Hartford pipeline, so I pointed my trusty Xootr northward, and got to peddlin'.
I am happy to report that I made the trip unscathed, proceeding up Route 17 (Middletown Ave.) out of New Haven, then picking up Route 3 in Middletown and taking my usual back streets through Wethersfield. I am a little sad to report that, even discounting the 30 minutes I spent fixing a flat (why 30 minutes? Because my pump totally broke and I had to do some creative tinkering to make it work), the 20 minutes I spent eating a muffin and drinking coffee for strength, and several stops to take pictures, the 44-mile journey took me about four hours. If you're keeping score at home, that's what we call slow.
So I guess my dream of ever winning a race is not coming to fruition any time soon. Nevertheless, it's nice to have a healthy ride on a sunny day, and people I know who don't ride bikes and already thought I was some kind of superman for routinely making the 18-mile New Haven-to-Bridgeport trip will now look at me with even more awe (or pity, or confusion). Anyway, here are some pictures I took:
Both of these cool cars are at car repair/sales places on State Street in New Haven.
In North Branford, they want you to be on the lookout for bikes with weird cruiser handlebars and crazy frame geometry. I didn't see any.
Here's a pretty brook just off Route 17 in North Branford. While I was taking this picture, the air unceremoniously went out of my rear tire.
Sadly, I did not discover this gem before replacing my beloved '98 Corolla with a less beloved '01 Focus. The writing in the window says this is a '53 Asian Taxi.
It's a little hard to see, but on the inside of a window in Middletown, someone wrote, "The movement you need is on your shoulder," which, the internet informs me, is from the Beatles song Hey Jude. (I had kind of assumed it was a reference to this Jay-Z song, but oh well.) Read more!
Friday, February 20, 2009
With the exception of that Soil Saloon thing in San Francisco and Highbridge in New York, urban mountain biking is pretty lame. Hartford more or less falls into the latter lame category, or at least you'd tend to think so. There's, in my opinion, pretty good legit mountain biking right nearby, at least within a rideable distance or a short drive, so why waste your time within in the City?
But you know, The Eel #1 was pretty rad and to assume makes an ass out of u and me. So, after work I explored some marginal lands of the south end and found some awesome stuff that I already knew about and some new stuff. For one, I found a very nice man who lives in the woods. Out of respect for his privacy, I'm not going to say when he lives, but I will say that he built himself a very cool house and provides good directions if you find yourself in his neck of the woods. I'll let pictures speak for the rest.
So, wouldn't it be cool to get together a couple of people and ride all the trails together? Maybe I should set something up.
I think the 1st amendment is great and so is sexual liberation, but I get so fucking mad when I see this truck driving around downtown:
Thursday, February 19, 2009
For all the myriad
porn wonders the internet has to offer, there really is no substitute for good old craigslist. I just love it, and can't help but peruse listings for things I have no intention of buying (especially bikes). But sometimes, this perusal, rather than entertaining me, raises questions that need answering. For example, let us take the author of this post:
Raleigh Rush Hour Fixed Gear - $500 (West Hartford)
You're a cool guy, you should have a cool bike. Everyone knows that when you ride a fixed gear bicycle you are a stone cold bad ass. They wonder if it's uncomfortable to ride a bicycle with such enormous cajones*. You answer "Yes, but I have mastered my pain."
This bike will rock your world. Fixed gear means fixed speed: FAST. It also means that if the bike is rolling, you are pedaling. Of course, fine piece of machinery that it is, it comes equipped with a flippy floppy rear hub for all the sallies out there. Turn the rear wheel around it is will allow you to free wheel and coast.
But that's not what this thing is all about. This thing is about feeling the BURN. This thing is about getting somewhere FAST... And in style. Single speed means you even go fast uphill, because you don't need to downshift like a little girl. This bike is about tossing your Macbook into your Timbuk2 messenger bag, rolling up the right hand cuff of your chinos and blasting down to the student center at warp speed. This bike is about rocketing down to Starbucks, parking it next to a Harley, and still having the coolest bike there. Or maybe you're Lance Armstrong, and you're looking for a more bad ass way to train.
Come check it out. Make an offer. Spring will be here soon.
And then there is a picture of the bike, which looks like a fixed gear bicycle, with a cat near it.
So my question, dear seller, is this: Have you determined that this is the best way to move this bike? Or is this a super-duper-meta-ironic post, in which you mimic mockingly the copy that sites like Performance Bike use to sell singlespeed bikes, which copy has been adoringingly crafted to mimic an imagined sense of urban cool that doesn't really exist? I mean, "tossing your Macbook into your Timbuk2 messenger bag, rolling up the right hand cuff of your chinos and blasting down to the student center?" That has to be irony, right?
But seriously, seller of the Rush Hour and all bike sellers, could you please remember two things:
1. Tell us the size of the bike - not the size of the wheels, which is not terribly helpful, but the size of the frame. The key measurement is from the bottom bracket to the place where the seatpost goes into the frame.
2. When you put a single quotation mark after a number to connote distance, you are saying "feet." Two quotation marks means "inches." That's why when I write my height, I put 6'5" - I am six feet and five inches tall. Usually, I know what you mean when you say that the frame is 20', but it is probably really frustrating when someone actually wants to sell a bike that has a 20-foot frame (since everyone assumes it's a run-of-the-mill 20-inch frame), and it's really annoying to me because I hate stuff that's wrong.
Oh, and one last thing: If what you want to sell is clothes that will fit a three-year-old girl, don't post in the bikes section of craigslist!
* I think the poster meant "cojones," which means balls. "Cajones" means boxes, and while it is uncomfortable to ride a bicycle with enormous boxes, I don't think that's what this guy meant. Read more!
I've done some hard thinking. I've asked smart people some questions. I've looked at a calendar. Now's it's for real!
The Eel 2: starting in Hartford's Goodwin Park and then going to some other places. March 7, 2008 2pm registration and 2:30pm race. Only $5. Incomplete sentences. There'll be some prizes and it'll be on the road this time. I'm still trying to decide if it's going to be point to point or if racers will choose their own order, you know, like a regular alley cat. As you know, I like to make things just slight different. I think there's only going to be three stops/checkpoints with a good amount of space between each one. Also, it won't interfere with Monster Track.
And, if your legs aren't too tired from what happens on Saturday. Opa Opa Winter Cross is on Sunday (hopefully, it's already been canceled twice). Here's an email I got from Don at Danielson Adventure Sports:
IT'S ON!!!! SUNDAY MARCH 8TH.
MORE BEER, MORE CROSS
CROSS YOUR FINGERS.
Register on bikereg.com
DON D Read more!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Life is wonderful! I’m poor as hell, but so is most everyone else here right now. After pedicab shifts several of us walk across the street to the Green Parrot for free popcorn. Hungry, dirty, smelly, bicycle scavengers! Then its off to Cowboy Bill's happy hour for $1 yuenglings and PBR's.
Last Thursday I had a rare day off and went kayaking with the boys from Ohio. We basically just floated around the Gulf of Mexico between Key West and Stock Island, paddled to Cow Key Marina for a sixer and then floated to the Atlantic. A completely lazy afternoon under blue skies. I actually fell asleep in my ‘yak due to the sun and two beers. First time that ever happened. I liked it!
Riding around, both on the cab and my fixie, I see some strange, funny, beautiful, weird things. I most always take the full length of Duval Street on my ride home from the waiting gig. This is the main drag with about a million bars and another million tourist t-shirt shops. Its super fresh to see who’s pedaling and out and about and see how everyone's day went. Truly a wonderful, small town in many ways.
This guy rode up next to me near the end of my shift in front of The Bull. Moped? Check. Spear gun? Check. Time to get some dinner!
Mad props to this dude! I can’t wait to find out the whole story. This bike is flash! Wow. Airplanes can see this set-up! There’s fake fish in those tanks! And also some great beats you can’t hear in the photo!
Close up of the fish; and of course, blurry and out of focus as promised.
My new camera has died. But, as Coreylynn told me, the universe will give you what you need. So my old, dying camera that finally bit the dust when dropped into the water of a drainage tunnel under Oakland, is now working again. Yes, there’s a rubber band holding the battery door closed, but blurry photos are on and poppin’ again! Woo-haa! The Beat Bike Blog cannot be stopped!
Dozens of Civil War reenactment soilders paraded by Perfect Pedicab and the Parrot Saturday afternoon at the end of the dayshift. Amelia, I wish you were here this week. Civil War stuff, the Parrot and yep, it really does happen, Jimmy Buffet did a a very intimate, unannounced show at Margaritaville. Duval street was a mess!
Suenalo at the Parrot. Dang these guys are good. Wow! We caught their Saturday night set and both “soundcheck” sets on Sunday. Both night sets were packed with people dancing to the Latin grooves. The friday set prolly was too! Please, please, please check this 11 piece band out, Hotness! Soooo soooo much fun!
Here’s some randomn shit you see on a pedicab. Surfboard, paddle and snorkeling gear!
much more craziness after the jump...read more!
Here’s the Parrot and an idea of the bicycle situation here in Key West. All them bikes on the right are locked up to simple upside down “U” racks. These racks are everywhere on the island. Don’t worry, that motorcycle is only parking, no Harley Gangs terrorizing pedestrians!
Fellow pedicabbers; Roscoe of Serbia and Roy, a visiting pedicabber from Lauderdale/NYC, in deep conversation on Duval enroute to Cowboy Bill’s.
Between Suenalo sets on Saturday night we headed over to Cowboy Bill’s to see some peoples and check out the mechanical bull. There was some super thick fog smothering the city. This fog has been showing up the last few days and even the Conchs are having a hard time remembering the last time there was thick fog here. Freaky!
Suenalo, second set! What a freakin’ great time dancing and vibing to such amazing music and a great crowd. I can't say enough how much fun they were!
Monster and Roy and a lot of facial hair...I really don’t know what else to say!
Emily busting a few last moves before riding back to Mary Beth’s house. Everyone rides bicycles all the time here. Its beautiful! That building in the background is Perfect Pedicab! I can smell the popcorn at the Parrot when dropping off my trike at the end of a shift…Lucky!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Since America has presidents, America has holidays for its presidents. I get those holiday days off from work. So, over the last six days, I had four of them off. When I have days off and Johanna has to work, I try to go mountain biking or at least hang out in the woods. (America also has trees and a holiday for them, but I don't get Arbor Day off. Too bad.)
On Lincoln's Birthday, I went off to Mt. Riga with my 'cross bike to climb CT's biggest hills. This was a totally failure as these are also CT's only seasonal roads (as far as I know). So, I took a long and snowy/rainy walk, pushing my bike through the highlands of Salisbury.
You cannot ride most bikes, but especially not a 'cross bike on hills that look like this (because of the snow, not the steepness):
On Saturday, I decided to use an actual mountain bike to ride in the snow and went to the reservoir. After about 1/4 mile of riding my chain broke. But, I came prepared. Well, sort of. In trying to fix the chain, the chain tool broke and I couldn't get pin all the way back. It was mostly back in, so I figured I'd probably be alright. I wasn't and the chain broke a 1 1/2 mile later and couldn't be fixed. This is the third cheap Lifu chain broke that I've had break. In fact, they generally are half broken after their first use. I bought a Park Tool now. It'll probably last until my fingers can't turn it.
On Sunday, I went for a road ride with three newly-met-by-me dudes, Ryan, Gabe, and Kyle from UHa. That was totally uneventful and a pleasant ride. I also now know what inland East Windsor looks like. Or, maybe it's inland South Windsor.
Yesterday, with another day off, I tried to ride at the reservoir again. I didn't fail per se, but thawing old snow requires an incredible amount of energy to ride through and has next to no reward.
I did get some cool rewards yesterday unrelated to a bike from my stove.
Home fries and tofu scramble:
Kimchi miso soba with tofu & bok choi:
Everyone who knows me pretty much agrees that I am a dedicated bike rider. I ride in snow and rain and cold and wind (also, heat and gloom of night are equally ineffective in staying me from the swift completion of my appointed rounds, if you were wondering), and routinely get up very very early in the morning to substitute bike and train for driving. But today, I just couldn't do it.
For the second night in a row, the younger of my two
terrorists sons was in full, nighttime effect, coming into my room at around 2:00 a.m. to propose activities wholly inappropriate to the hour ("I wanna watch a movie;" "I wanna go for a walk"). When the alarm went off at 5:00 for me to get up and get myself on to train, I just couldn't do it. "I'll drive to New Haven and take Metro North from there," I told myself (naively). So I put the Xootr in the trunk, headed south, and when I got to exit 6 on I-91, the voices that usually tell me to kill told me to keep going, and as usual, I listened to them, merging onto 95 South and driving all the way to my Bridgeport destination.
I know I shouldn't feel guilty about this. It is a 60-mile trip and sometimes it's OK to drive. But damn it, my self-image rests in large part on stubborn dedication to not driving, so I feel like I'm losing my identity.
On the plus side, my new car may not have such luxuries as power windows or any sonic insulation between the engine and the passenger compartment, but it does have a CD player, so I enjoyed some Pharcyde during the drive, which was just what the doctor ordered. Read more!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
So just as so many of us are embracing more traditional bicycle technologies; including but not limited to steel frames, fixed-gear drivetrains, friction shifting (bar-end or downtube), and leather saddles, it is clear that the majority of cycling enthusiasts are moving in a very different direction. While they aren't racing on this quite yet, an article found in yesterday's New York Times describes Shimano's electronic shifting system dubbed "Di2" that will be used in the Tour of California (which started yesterday) by American teams Columbia High Road and Garmin Slipstream, as well as the Dutch Rabobank squad. The componentry replaces traditional cable and pulley systems with battery-operated, motorized worm gears that shift instantly, and allegedly with incredible accuracy. According to reports the rear derailler operates much as the traditional manifestations, while the front mechanism is programmed to calculate the positioning of the chain on the rear gears and automatically trim its location in order to reduce the noise and friction attributed to the rubbing that accompanies a poor chain line, a factor that the Times says can, "drive riders to the point of distraction." The system's proponents argue that this benefit, as well as factors such as reduced maintainance, efficient and consistent performance, and flexibility regarding where shifting buttons may be mounted, can result in the minor advantages that can result in a stage win for a rider.
Both Shimano and Campagnolo think they have solved the errs that plagued systems originally unveiled by Mavic and the fact that several major teams have opted to use Di2 in competition is about as much evidence that one could ask for in reference to its benefits. I however, am less enthusiastic. I am of the same train of thought as Monsieur Henry, the bicycle historian, when he argues that the beauty of the bicycle as technology is that it is powered and operated by the human being that rides it. Indexed shifting obviously limited the human level of control of the shifting process to when and how much yet the action continued to take place without the assistance of an alternative energy source or computerized calculations. Human power remained supreme. In my opinion this technology separates the rider from the bicycle in a way no previous technology has. Don't get me wrong, I find it highly doubtful that these arguments would be enough to restrict the use of any "advancement" that a team felt would give its riders an edge but I do wonder what might come next? What is this technology a gateway to? Call me old fashioned but I don't want to turn on the 2019 Tour of California and see robots operating these electronic shifting systems rather than Christian Vande Velde and big George Hincapie just because the robots proved to fatigue less quickly than their weaker human predecessors. Read more!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. I love love. If you love love or love your love and are wondering what to him with him/her, here are two cool things happening on Saturday:
Opa Opa Wintercross! There's no reason for me to explain how late season cyclocross and valentine's day are inextricably linked, because it's so obvious.
This is a reminder and invitation to the second CATALOGUE show at:
56 Arbor Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06116
Suite 216 (second floor)
When: Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 8:00pm (performance)
Rodrigo Queiroz, the Brazilian-born-heavily-and-
classical pianist from the Hartt School of Music and UConn, will be
performing his current repertoire at 8:00pm for our February installment.
CATALOGUE will take place each month (debuting with Jamie Horgan's
drawings this past January) and is hosted by Joel VanderKamp and Joe
The studio is located at the front of the building (Real Art Ways is in
back). For directions or questions, please contact:
Joe: firstname.lastname@example.org 860.216.3826
Joel: email@example.com 773.259.2669
March will showcase Sam Ekwurtzel, the sculptor, and all-around good guy.
Please pass this invitation to those who might be interested and we might
Monday, February 9, 2009
There is no characteristic that inheres in beer or bikes suggesting that the consumption of the former is in any way tied to the riding of the latter. On the contrary, the two activities should probably be segregated for safety's sake (to say nothing of the legal implications). And yet, as our periodic pub crawls demonstrate, a certain cultural link exists between bikin' and drinkin'. (Also, there is an inarguable link between me and drinking.)
So it was with some interest - and some confusion - that I read the piece in today's Courant concerning renewed debate among our state's legislators and boozewallas on the question of whether to legalize the sale of intoxicating liquors on Sundays. Not surprisingly, the proprietors of dram shops near the borders with our more libertine sister states decry the loss of clientele on Sundays, when many a tremor-handed dipsomaniac can be seen piloting his automobile onto foreign soil to spend coveted, highly taxed American greenbacks on the sinful stuff. Some legislators also raise the alarm, noting that Connecticut's treasury should be the first to benefit from her citizens' vile habits. But strangely, the liquor sellers' lobbying group and most liquor shop proprietors in the interior of the state oppose Sunday sales. They think if sabbath booze-purveying were allowed, they would have to stay open that day to stay competetive, which they don't want to do, either because they like having a day off (fair) or fear that the sales would not increase enough to cover the cost of being open (also fair).
But here's what I don't get: If they don't want to be open Sundays, why don't they just, you know, stay closed? I mean, if they're already not doing business on Sundays, they wouldn't be any worse off if they continued not to do business on Sundays, would they? There is no limit on the hours when gas stations can stay open, but I've never heard the argument that all of them should close at, say, midnight so it would be easier to be competetive. You know why I've never heard that argument? Because it's stupid and doesn't make any sense. And who ever heard of a lobbying group for a group of retailers that advocates for limiting their clients' ability to sell stuff? It's like if prostitutes threw a bake sale to raise money for more vice squads, except more boring.
So what gives here? Can someone with more experience in Connecticut politics explain this craziness to me? Just thinking about it makes me need a drink. Read more!