Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wintry Mix

This past week is best described as a wintry mix.  Midwest, and the Northeast.  Small towns, no towns, tents in the wilderness, and back to the big city.  Hiking, biking, flying, driving, and buses.  Amazing graffiti. Ice and leaves.  Slippery rocks.  A really heavy bike that never should have existed, but did.

Crowd source funded bicycle graffiti in Urbana, IL.
I've been toying with this crowd source funded graffiti concept in Hartford.  If any CT local graffiti artists think this would be neat, get in touch with me.  Sort of like a mural (getting paid) but with the artistic freedom of a graffiti piece.  I've got a venue that is interested and could help publicize.  Lately I've been all about the Tavis / Skan stuff, which we saw a lot of today in Rocky Hill.
Beautiful sandstone canyon in Southern Illinois.
You wouldn't expect there to be massive cliffs, sandstone canyons, and mountain lions in Illinois.  I can confirm the first two, and the third is a maybe based on the eviscerated deer we stumbled upon while free-hiking in the Shawnee National Forest.  Valerie and I spent a couple of days hiking and winter camping over the holiday week.  It was awesome.  No one was there.  It might have been the frigid temperatures that resulted in our private camping and hiking experiences.  On night two of camping, I awoke with frozen condensation on my sleeping bag.  First rule of having fun - nobody died.

Back in Urbana, IL, I caught up with Joel at The Bike Project and put some time in on one of the oddest bikes I've come across.  This so-heavy steel rig from White Auto Inc was outfitted with some truly obscure Shimano components.  A rear disc brake was mounted by way of a self tapping screw.  The Shimano Positron shifter and rear derailleur were actuated by two cables - and indexed.  If it weren't for the inherent shitty quality of the rig, I might have adopted it.  The rear wheel had a radial hop of 1/4" and the front fork was misaligned, and I expect both were that way when the bike was new.  It served it's purpose as a loaner bike for a couple days, and was put back into TBP circulation.

White Auto Inc.  WTF?  Swedish tyres.
The top tube sticker had texture, like leather, to make it look fancy.
Yes.  This is a Shimano disc brake.  And that adjustment knob is a non-functional cover for the actual adjustment underneath.  More WTF.
And the Shimano Positron rear derailleur had two cables with a ball bearing for indexing.  WTF x 3.
Lovely mat brown finish.  
The Bradley Flyer is awesome.  Although the schedule can be sparse.
On my way back to Hartford, I caught the last bus back from Bradley to downtown Hartford.  If you are a downtown resident, the Bradley Flyer is awesome.  For $1.30 you get an express bus trip from Hartford to the airport.  Way cheaper than the $40 cab ride or parking a car at the airport.   The only drawback is that the schedule is sparse on the weekends and still not great during peak travel times.  It would serve Hartford well to increase the frequency of the airport express bus.  It would be way cheaper than something like Fastrak and I think the convention, tourism, and resident benefits would be significant.

On Sunday Josh and I wandered South and Southwest from Hartford.  I crashed on some slippery rocks and there was much graffiti and train tracks.  On the topic of graffiti, there is a final public input session on the Hartford Downtown North plan on Wednesday, Dec 11th at the Hartford Public Library.  You should go, and make sure that Heaven gets proper representation.
I heart graffiti.
And heart it even more when it incorporates existing features of the structure.
Sometimes a border catches your eye.
Josh really likes cracking ice that is suspended above the ground.

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