Monday, December 27, 2010

Bikes Outside: Swede Ride

This morning's Bike Outside is my first since November due to an extraordinarily busy stretch at my job. Thanks to Schleppi for filling in some of the missed Mondays for me.

Today's handsome example sports a classic frame from Crescent of Sweden. It appears to be a late 60's-early 70's Crescent Stainless Mark (something or other) The differences between the Mark IX, XI and XX models were in the components, so the current parts offer no clue as to its original spec. Whatever it was, it's still a really gorgeous frame, and the Brooks saddle looks just right. For me, a set of polished old school high flange hub/ box-section wheels would set it off beautifully. The mismatched deep-V rear looks as incongruous as billet rims on a Volvo Amazon. I would be happy to own both this bike and an Amazon wagon, come to think of it.

This past week's Downtown glimpse was my first sighting of this particular bike. Did one of our usual messengers add another bike to his stable or could this belong to someone new in town?

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Friday, December 24, 2010


There was supposedly an awesome mountain bike ride at Nathan Hale State Forest today, but I couldn't go. I was working on my car. It's a little sad when you work on your car and there's no awesome performance upgrade, but I do have heat again, it didn't take six weeks for to fix it and nothing broke along the way. Hooray!

Also, merry Christmas! (I don't discriminate holidayically, but it's Christmas eve, so that seems like that appropriate command.) and may your undertree be filled with awesome bike parts or awesome socks.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bicycle or Spaceship Part II

WARNING - Don’t park your spaceship in front of the Glastonbury Hilton Garden Inn. It may be removed from the premises by authorities for scientific investigation of alternative transportation.

I was having a grand time on the second day of an offsite work meeting being held in the Gideon Welles room at the Glastonbury Hilton. I didn’t see any spaceship parking and therefore unobtrusively parked fifty feet away from the entrance and locked to a signpost just off the sidewalk. A co-worker came into the meeting after lunch and in walking past my bike had found a terse missive taped to the jump seat. He had courteously plucked off the note and let the front desk clerk know that the spaceship parked in front of the hotel belonged to me, a hotel patron, and that I wouldn’t appreciate coming out to find my means of transportation missing.

Upon leaving the meeting I asked at the front desk, “Do you have any acceptable bike parking?” I was assisted by the head of maintenance who showed me a cozy spot at the base of an inside stairwell that would be hidden from aesthetically sensitive Hilton patrons. The suggested parking location was fine with me, but I was still a bit steamed that my property was threatened with destruction (cut lock) and confiscation because the general manager of the Glastonbury Hilton found a locked bicycle to be offensive to the Hilton brand image. Hilton’s anti-bike commuter policy reinforces the cultural norm of car centric transportation. If a supposedly “green” business doesn’t have designated bike parking, at least have enough sense not to hassle me about my choice of parking spot.

I wanted to point out that several of the upscale hotels in Champaign-Urbana with professional meeting facilities have significant designated bicycle parking. Champaign-Urbana has a remarkably high bicycle and pedestrian mode share and it keeps getting higher. Support from local businesses like convenient bike parking and the support of bicycle lanes in business districts makes a huge difference. Bicycle parking accommodations are inexpensive and can usually be installed in locations that are both convenient for cyclists and unobtrusive for business patrons. Bicycle commuters are loyal to local proprietors due to their limited range. I would consider the Glastonbury Hilton for future offsite work meetings due to its proximity to Pratt & Whitney headquarters (and my home) in East Hartford, but now I’ll think twice due to the veiled anti-bike sentiment and lack of bike parking.

To add insult to injury, I noticed on the third day of the offsite meeting that a patron of the hotel had parked their private helicopter in the Hilton’s front lawn. Seriously. I park my bike and get a nasty note. They muck up the lawn with a helicopter and get a free pass. Oh well, I guess I can take solace in the fact that the helicopter was probably only getting 2-3 mpg.

On a brighter note, while looking for bicycle parking at Hartford’s Union Station, I found this article on convenient places to park your bike in Hartford, Parking Bikes and Butts. The article linked to a map of bike parking in Hartford and turned me on to some excellent reading material. I’ll be taking my first long distance train trip and can’t wait. Yeah for bikes! Yeah for trains! Read more!

Pot kettle black

For some reason, the New York Times has jumped on the anti-bike lane and "cyclists break traffic rules all the time" bandwagon that is generally the realm of the Post. I don't know if someone on their editorial board had a bad experience with a bike a month ago or something, but it's an all of the sudden thing. See here, here and here.

Now I'm all for cyclists following traffic rules, but I think it's a good idea for everyone to follow traffic rules. And, that's the canard in this argument. There's no concerted effort to get everyone to follow rules, just cyclists. The argument implies that the only ones braking the rules are cyclists. If you think that's the case, you're an idiot.

What it really boils down to is that people in cars are jealous. They're stuck in traffic and someone who looks like they're having much more fun in commute has just cruised passed them. It's not because they feel like their safety is threatened. No one in a car feels threatened by a bike. So, they cry foul about some kind of vague "traffic law" thing... just as they pull into the parking lane to make an illegal right on red.

So, that's it. Not my greatest post ever.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Moon zero xm

Winter is now here officially. There was also an eclipse and meteor shower and volcano thing.

So, I had a druid ceremony down in the meadows.

It was overcast, so I didn't get any of those crazy red moon pictures that I saw on the internet. Read more!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Epic deposit

Hard to ride on.

When you ride a bike, you try to strike a balance between the efficient way and the interesting way to get somewhere On Friday, I rode home from work via Manchester. That was all of the latter and none of the former. One Saturday, I rode to my Grandpa's house in Essex, mostly following rt 9 and rt 154, but Salem and I rode on the quieter and dirt-based roads. That was mostly the former. Yesterday, I rode to the bank in Bloomfield, but through the reservoir to get them and then returned on the regular roads. That was a combination of both.

Also, I saw a funny stolen license plate this morning. Lately, the stolen plates seem to come from Vermont and Maine. They stick out, because while they're New England states, they're aren't many people in them. I mean, Vermont is the 49th most populous state. Given the frequency I'm seeing VT license plates in Hartford, you'd think everyone had moved out. Anyway, I was behind this Cavalier with a Maine plate today and I was curious as to why there was white tape at the bottom. Why would you want to cover up "Vacationland"? Well, that wasn't what was covered. "Motorhome" covered.

Ed. note: People like our pictures in color. Now there's a new poll up.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Falling water

It's the tail end of fall and it's cold and dark, but there's one sign of spring: the Connecticut River is flooded. There are even ducks. I attempted a lunch time ride up to Windsor along the riverfront, but was thwarted by the high water.

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How to go PRO

As you may or may not know, I'm trying to get better at racing. Former beat bike blogger Salem was PRO for a number of years and I've enrolled in his training camp. His methods are unorthodox:

photo credit to Damian.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

On a ride

I almost had a deeply philosophical ride last night, but it started raining and I lost my train of thought. On Saturday, I almost had a deeply philosophical ride, but I kept clipping out of my right pedal because my cleats are worn out and I lost my train of thought. On Friday, I didn't ride a bike. On Thursday, Damian, Salem and I rode to Bowl-o-Rama.

Two things that I do remember from my ruminating is:

1) We should do the bowels of Hartford ride later this week if the water is down.

2) I'd like to throw a secret Cedar Mountain mountain bike/cyclocross race/rally maybe within the next month or two. I think it'd be cool.

Would you like to participate in either one of those things? Let me know.

The power of water!
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

AAA sucks

I used to have AAA. And for awhile, I'd totally recommend them. You get discounts on stuff, maps, triptics (triptychs? triptologies? diptychs? I can't remember what they're called) and free towing. A couple of times recently, I've been AAA reps on TV talking about roads not being designed for bikes and stupid things like that. I guess I didn't really pay it any mind and my membership had lapsed anyway.

This morning I received an email:

You are receiving this email because of your interest in topics related to biking and walking. We recently received an email from the Rails to Trails Conservancy regarding a proposal by AAA to eliminate transportation enhancement funding from the next surface transportation authorization. As many of you know, this source of funding has been responsible for the majority of multi use path construction in Connecticut and around the country and currently the state of CT has proposed a policy that will deliver more enhancement funding to trail projects. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can go to the Rails to Trails website: Be sure to click on the link for more information to understand the issue.
CRCOG does not endorse the positions of either AAA or Rails to Trails Conservancy, but we wanted to share this information with you.

Sandy Fry
Principal Transportation Planner
Capitol Region Council of Governments
241 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06106
860-522-2217, X220
So, AAA is actively lobbying to keep anything that isn't a car out of SAFETEA-LU. Great. AAA wants us to regress back to 1950. Give a care and tell AAA that you don't like this. I mean bike stuff is such a small part of SAFETEA-LU that it's not really the money they're fighting over, but the concept of bikes being transportation. As much as I find preachy bike advocacy annoying, I'm doing some today.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Riding under the city

The Park River is low right now. It's so low that there's a good four feet of dry pavement on the side of the conduit. Yesterday, I rode my bike in. After riding in a few hundred yards by myself with a dim light, it occurred to me that this subterranean expedition speed thing could end in the end of me.

Therefore, I'd to go back with my brighter light and a partner. Who's interested? Who needs kayaks!?

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Bikes Outside: Fuller Wheels

Alfred C. Fuller was hardcore. According to several online biographical statements, the founder of the Fuller Brush Company -- what was the Hartford factory location is now the CT Works Center -- did not play around. His philosophy for running a business can be summed up in his own words: "There was no loafing on the job, no fringe benefits that encouraged idleness." Thus, it is appropriate that the largest number of bicycles found on the University of Hartford campus were located around the building named after this man.

The Fuller Music Center houses the Hartt School, which is where some of the hardest working students on campus can be found. Besides working hard, they have a lot of schlepping to do, which might explain the number of bicycles.

It's also likely that students majoring in the performing arts have longer commutes to their classes, as the new Handel Performing Arts Center is located off of the main campus, down on the corner of Albany Avenue and Westbourne Parkway. Biking sure is better than waiting for a shuttle bus.

There was also a giant menorah on campus. No bikes were locked to it.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Burbling anger

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may recall that I got hit by a car about a year ago. It hurt, but thank heaven (seriously) nothing lasting happened to me. Also, the driver didn't drive off. He was sincerely apologetic. He contended that he didn't see me and obviously he didn't, because he hit me. But, he didn't seem like the kind of guy who have made a left turn and hit me if he had seen me. It was his fault. I did have lights, was operating my bike on the correct side of the road and had the right of way. Perhaps Christmas night last year taught him a lesson that you truly need to pay attention when you're driving, because you can kill people. So anyway, I bear no ill will towards the guy.

It seemed like the driver in this instance must be a minority, because attempted hit and runs or full on hit and runs seem to be the trend in the Hartford area (or Aspen, CO where the DA even seems to support cyclist hit and runs). Hit someone on a bike? Get the fuck out of there! Don't own the fact that you just killed or maimed someone's brother, father, friend or whatever. You've got a car and you're not the freak on a bike. Bike misfits rank below dogs, because I assume that people who kill dogs with their cars still might make some effort to call on the number on the collar.

This must be the moral zeitgeist. There must be plenty of people who haven't yet hit a cyclist, but if they do, they're driving off even if they've killed them.

I know that hit and runs happen with car-car accidents, too, but they seem a little rarer simply because car-car accidents often render both cars inoperable. Read more!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


It can be discouraging to ride this time of year. It's dark a lot and it's starting to get cold. There are also scary signs going up, but you shouldn't worry about that.

Riding a bike is still fun regardless of December-related incidentals. Last night, Dario and I showed Salem the Manchester causeway and posed for important looking pictures.

Today, Salem and I went down to a village I'd never heard of called Millington. Life is still great. And, I've learned (or experience has taught me) that the effects of Seasonal Affected Disorder can be warded off if you continue to do this things you enjoy the rest of the year. Light boxes be damned!@

Cool tricks!
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