bikerly blog

Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

When rubber meets road.

In cycling, good business on July 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader. I’ll call him the Michelin man. He thanked me for sharing the Dr. Seuss poem on bikerly blog and asked if I would be interested in a Michelin bike partnership opportunity. I didn’t know how to respond since I’ve only considered this blog a means to improve writing skills and tell some short stories about biking, running, tree fort adventures and the like. Getting the word out about good bike products is important, but I wasn’t sure if this was bikerly blog’s thing.

The thing is, my Subaru is over a decade old and among other stuff like brakes, it needs new tires by Winter. With the cost of tires and other related maintenance, I wonder if the $1,500+ would be money well spent. And then there is the uneasy feeling about supporting oil, the angst stepping into a hot box after work, etc. etc. I’ve been trying to commute more on my bike with the hopes of replacing the Subaru with an extracycle or similar cargo bike.

Raised on a farm, I’ve seen many Michelin and they’ve been great performing tires. And, I’m a big fan of companies that use social media strategy for good (vs evil). I thought, here’s a company that is trying to get the word out about bike tires – which is a good thing. I did some research and based on comments at LovingTheBike.com their bike tires are solid, like my experience with the farm tires. Long story short, I’ve decided to buy replacement Michelin City Pilot tires for my Raleigh 29er, some fenders and pursue the idea of being car free. In this aspect I’m partnering with Michelin to get the word out about biking… when given the chance to buy bike tires or car tires, go by bike.

PS – if mountain biking is your deal and the chance of winning a Giant mountain bike makes you happy, you have until July 31 to enter here.

The world’s largest semi-naked cycling event.

In cycling, what the? on July 28, 2010 at 10:13 pm

photo via @TheBeerRunner

Joe the cyclist (@RealUniballer) describes RAGBRAI as “a festival of semi naked people, weird sunburns, music, beer, and fair food…”

RAGBRAI® (The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across my home state. It’s the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.

The Tour de France was spectacular, but events like RAGBRAI are the real deal – everyday cyclists (some may say crazy) out riding their bikes for the fun of it all. I’ve never biked it, but after following the #RAGBRAI hashtag, it’s going to the top of my 2011 event list.

The event goes through July 31 so if you can’t get out there and join them, enjoy some live streaming RAGBRAI photos of the world’s largest semi-naked cycling event.

The stink of freedom.

In dailymile, running on July 27, 2010 at 9:58 am

Paint the porch, wha? Too busy running.

Freedom does not come without stink. It’s been about 6 weeks working on this challenge I started on dailymile — the Freedom Run. I am pleased to report that I am on target to make the goal of running 1,000 miles by July 4, 2011! I’ve found a great group of comrades to run with on daily mile, a little over 100 are participating in the challenge… but, there is this issue of stinky shoes.

I just purchased these Saucony shoes. Love them, but they smell like my old Saucs at week three! My wife is not happy and I’m getting strange looks at the gym when I zip open the duffel. I’ve never had this issue before so I posted the problem to team dailymile. As usual, they delivered. You just have to read their suggestions… some useful, some funny:

click on the image to add your 2 cents on dailymile

For now, my shoes sit next to the peas in the freezer and I rotate my shoes. Curious, however, how the peas will smell. And, if all else fails I’ll be taking Mark’s advice — roasting them over an open flame. #freedomrun.

What kind of bike would Seuss ride?

In cycling, seth school on July 22, 2010 at 11:21 am

I’ve been in a little dip lately at work. Well, it’s more like a sucking vortex, but let’s just call it the dip.

I found this “Lost Dr. Seuss poem” the other day. It made me wonder what Dr. Seuss would do about the dip… and what kind of bike he would ride.

Simple.

In cycling on July 20, 2010 at 11:48 am

I’m no master of simple living. Most the opposite actually, but I think the bike is teaching me a thing or two.

Recent posts from Let’s Go Ride a Bike and shebicycles have made me think about simple pleasures and life on two wheels. The really important stuff. Simple stuff. These things I tend to discover on the bike — captain obvious moments… here’s one from Sunday’s bike ride (tweet):

couple years ago I’d be watching Meet the Press. today I’m riding my singlespeed in the mud (glad I figured that sh*t out)

My absolute BEST moments this summer have come on bike rides with the family — mostly with my son who this Spring mastered his balance and was able to throw away his training wheels. No gas, no parking fees, no internet charges, no admission fees… we discovered a couple tree forts by the river, so we haven’t even needed to pay out for building materials.

We ride used bikes that cost less than $20… fish with handed down poles from grandpa… fight enemy troops with laser gun sticks found in the woods… and let our imagination do it’s best work. Simple pleasures and our best time spent.

Today we bike to the tree fort, one day (I hope) we’ll be biking to the local patio for a fresh tapped Guiness.

Viva Lance!

In cycling on July 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Lance is not expected to be a contender for the Tour this year, but that’s okay with me. The reason he’s an all-time great comes from paragraph 1 of his book “It’s Not About the Bike”…  

I want to die at a hundred years old with an American flag on my back and the star of Texas on my helmet, after screaming down an Alpine descent on a bicycle at 75 miles per hour. I want to cross one last finish line as my wife and my ten children applaud, and then I want to lie down in a field of those famous French sunflowers and gracefully expire, the perfect contradiction to my once anticipated poignant early demise.

Viva Lance! LiveStrong.

Try it.

In cycling on July 13, 2010 at 11:05 am

Until 30daysofbiking I’ve mostly been a mountain biker type. Lot’s of things changed about how I ride in April thanks to this event, but mostly I’ve fully converted to urban biking. Here’s a tweet from last night that sums up why.

saxophone playing softly in the park. empty bench riverside. guy in waders fishing. rowers rowing. sweet urban #cycling

The thing with biking in the city is, like everything, the people. People sharing the trail… running off their work… with fishing poles on their bikes headed to the local fishing hole… practicing their saxophone in the park… with bike baskets… with peculiar bottles in brown paper bags… with bike bells…

Speaking of bike bells, I recently mounted a Bell bell to my Schwinn. I tried several locations on the handlebar but it was so big and awkward up there. So I tried something different, mounting it to the top bar.

I hadn’t really liked the top bar mount until last night when by accident hit it with my knee and realized it could be sounded with either my knee or hand depending on the situation. Brilliant!

Lesson from the bike: Try stuff. Try alot of stuff. You just might like some of it.

In search of the endless xtracycle.

In cycling, good business on July 8, 2010 at 12:45 am

Approximate read time: 60 seconds

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Friends, I need an xtracycle. I first learned of these bikes from Cassi (aka @morebikes). If you haven’t seen her blog, do yourself a favor  and go there right now to read her daily adventures and see the big dummy.

I’ve searched craigslist/ebay but apparently everyone likes to keep their xtracycles and I figure if WordPress can sneak google ads on my blog, I may as well do some advertising myself.

Can you help me locate an xtracycle freeradical kit for my Bianchi mountain bike? It has been waiting patiently under the porch for this very moment 🙂 See below for an example of what we are going for (via BikeImages)

(photo via BikeImage)

and more via the Xtracycle Flickr. Thanks!

Independence, Freedom and the Lizard Brain.

In cycling, good business, seth school on July 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm

This 4th of July is a rainy one. Perfect for a bike ride, blog post and thoughts on freedom. I come from a family of farmers – the first in my family to be employed by someone else. My dad, his dad, my dad’s dad’s dad… never reported to a supervisor or experienced an annual peer review.

This was the thought on my mind this morning. I’m explaining another potential business plan to my wife. She’s reading People magazine. One kid is sleeping in the crib. The other on the computer upstairs. I ramble on…

Bike shop with a xtracycle, cargo bike/trailer niche and also a place to get a good coffee, soup and a sandwich. A community hub for bike enthusiasts… maybe even rent out a bike stand for people who want to do it themselves but don’t have all the tools… an eclectic place with soul. Used bikes, single speeds, fixies, (mountain bikes perhaps) or a custom design shop where we sit down with customers, design to meet their specific needs and build.

I continue to yammer about cool businesses I’ve discovered like Sweetpea Bicycles, Surly, xtracycle, Bike Trailer Shop, and Peace Coffee. Alot of uh-huhs from my wife… I dream alot, she knows this better than any.

The business plan needed some work so I decided no better place than on the bike. About 15 minutes into my normal loop the clouds started to unload. Wet. But I love riding in the rain so I decided to pedal on and try a new route.

Along the route I came across this property for sale. The note on the window said it was winterized… seemingly vacated for some time. The house was nothing special but what appealed to me was the shop space and the fact it was positioned right across from a local elementary school – a place that the local bike club uses for regular bike ride start/end points. Trails are nearby and connected to just about everywhere.

Could this be future corporate headquarters for Bikerly Bikes?

The property needed some work but I envisoned employee campfires, beer drinking while wrenching on the job and all kinds of crazy fun stuff (not pictured is a great basketball court) Real bikerly stuff.

Then in the backyard I find the perfect hideout, slash castle, slash bunker, slash whatever my son can dream of… the place seems to have it all.

The thing I wonder about is this… remembering the days on the farm, we would be out doing chores on Independence Day while my friends were at the lake. There was always work to do, holidays no exception. And, raising livestock was not my dream. It was bonafide work and it stunk.

What about owning a bike shop? What would happen with my bike passion if I ended up doing more wrenching than riding? How would it impact the family? Could being an independent owner of a business actually end in less freedom or is this just the lizard brain talking again?

Running sucks. And then it doesn’t.

In running on July 2, 2010 at 10:55 am

Yesterday’s run was turbulent. Didn’t want to lace my shoes up. Didn’t sleep well. Had alot of things on my mind and generally grumpy. Random thoughts from my run…

It’s cold!? I’ll run 3 miles and get it over with. Wish I was on my bike instead. Just don’t feel in rhythm today. Feel like coasting. Interesting how the sunlight comes through the trees here. The river is really high. Wonder if they are going to offer me that job I interviewed for yesterday? Birds are starting to chirp with vigor. Good for them. Why do I want a different job anyway? Really like the people I work with. Restless. Will I be able to run 1,000 miles in a year? Hell yeah, it’s only about 4 miles a day – give or take. What am I going to do when Minnesota turns to ice in a few months and it’s so cold in the morning that nose hairs freeze on contact? Impressive dog. I’m afraid he’ll eat my leg for breakfast. Hope the owner has a tight grip. Sunrise is spectacular. Maybe I’ll turn right and add an extra hill loop. I’m really powering up this thing. I love running when it’s not humid. Hi neighbor! So glad I ran today.

Right foot. Left foot. Repeat. Enjoy.