Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Round Alexandria... Take 2

I'll call this the 'Alexandria Loop' for now... highlights include the option for a stop in Alexandria, a drive by at Port City Brewery, and the option for shopping/drinks/food in Shirlington... really a route you can plan a day around!

I think it came up briefly in a previous post... but can't find it just this second... that during the first shakedown of the new Burley Tandem I captained my Wife and I the wrong direction and ended up with a critical flat tire resulting in the need for a vehicular pickup... wah wah wah.  But early in January I sought to even the score with that route and this is the proof!

The feat mastered during this ride was making the connection between Holmes Run Trail and Four Mile Run Trail via Beauregard St.  There is a short but steep hill involved and while I did it very slowly and in my granny-ist of granny gears I did stay on the bike.  More importantly I completed the loop.  Lesson learned, know where I'm going before involving the tandem!

Holmes Run has a great highlight of going through this cool tunnel

The 650B'd Trek continues to impress.  I'm having a bit of a bike/gear identity crisis right now but the Trek has continued to post excellent rides every time I take her out.

I'm not doing enough b/w conversions... so here you go.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

National Mall Snow-Ride

After  a week of not riding much (no rides since Monday) due to the cold or trail conditions or both I was itching to get back into the saddle.  Sunday morning provided a great opportunity for Erika and I to throw the bikes onto the car rack and head into the city to check out the National Mall.  I wanted to pick a nice sunny place that still had some loose, non-icy snow to ramble around in and the Mall worked in both requirements.  Not a serious or grueling ride, just some fun on bikes with my wife!  We followed it up with a stop in one of my favorite winter-time DC museums.... the US Botanic Garden.  Need a break from cold, snowy reality?  Check out the lush, humid, warm and GREEN in the USBG... I always think it woudl be a great place to come read a book, or the paper.  Haven't made that happen yet but we'll see!


Erika took a much better photo of me than I did of her...

Union Market, up in NE DC off FL Ave... really cool.  It's definitely grown since I was there last. These tea pots/warmer stands are sweet.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tucson BICAS and Ride Around

The Santa Cruz River Trail
I'm still quite a bit behind on my photo processing and ride reporting... one in particular held many new things to me back in November in the wonderfully 70ish degree city of Tucson, AZ.  Boy do those temps seem attractive right now!  I suppose I can very tenuously claim a partial bike industry visit credit here as well because I visited and rented a bike from the Bicycle Inter Community Art & Salvage (BICAS).  Given the amount of time I've spent volunteering and hanging out at my own nearby Velocity Co-Op I was intrigued to see a different approach.

BICAS is pretty impressive, it has a massive space mostly in a basement of an old light industrial area...literally on the edge of the train tracks.  Great steampunk kind of atmosphere.  The 'Art & Salvage' part of the Co-Op can't be minimized, the amount of creative scupture and decor created from bikes, and the number of somewhat rideable franken-bikes they have inside is impressive.

From the more traditional Co-Op side the availability of quality parts is pretty few and far between.  Great place to find that finishing touch on a beater but if you are hunting for diamond's in the rough I'm not sure you'll be satisfied.  If you are looking for full bikes from which to start a project on the other hand there is a ton on hand.  Again mostly lower end stuff but I thought most of it was semi reasonably priced, and there may be negotiating room.  The other striking thing to me was the number of volunteers on duty, it seemed like there were at least a dozen both times I stopped in.  Very cool.

As for the bike Rental, it was pretty straight forward.  They had a couple of single speed, coaster brake, steel bikes available and once you pick one out you can get it for about $10 an hour.  A volunteer runs through a full maintenance check on the bike (takes some time) and helps you adjust the fit if needed.  I thought I picked the best of the bunch but it was still a pretty rough ride. There was one MTB for a little more and I wish I had just gone for that in retrospect.  Being able to rent a bike on short notice and in good proximity to some decent local riding was a great thing either way!

For the ride I used google maps to scout out and asked around a bit at Bicas settling on as much of the Santa Cruz River Trail as I could do before my dinner reservations.  Turns out a 16 mile loop was in order and I got to see a fair bit of the excellent bike/mixed use trail that covers both sides of the dry river bed.  I guess the river bed floods at certain times of the year, during my visit it was dry as could be.  I saw plenty of apparantly homeless camped out in the river bed... seems like an odd choice.  Another highlight was seeinga couple of smallish falcon/hawk type birds that kept perching on the bike path railing. My 28mm equivalent lens was no match for their size/speed but it was cool to see them so relatively close.  I wrapped up the ride when I got close to the mountain w/ the University of Arizona  'A' on the side...  Tucson has a ton of bike infrastructure and I saw plenty of people on bikes at all hours of the day and night. I'd love to spend more time and even get out to one of the many off road trail areas.  Enjoy the pictures!

So many cool bike-monsters... I've never seen anything like all the mongrelized (in a creative fun way) bicycles!


How cool is this!

I ate well in Tucson, but had to come back to Nico's Taco Stand for the Carne Asada Fries... so deliciously awful for you. (no bike content here... yum)

My steed for the day... one of the least comfortable bikes I've ever ridden, the left pedal cracked at the spindle (about halfway through) during my ride but I got it back to the co-op.  Overall it could be a decent bike but the size was a bit small for me.  Got the job done and me off my but in the hotel room though!

Single-speeding in AZ!

You can just make out this falcon-like bird on the railing ...there were a couple of them circling the dry river bed and I never got much closer than this, the 28mm equivalent lens just didn't cut it for allowing me to isolate the bird.  Check out that skyline!

How's this for bike infrastructure!  Great repair stand with tools, a bike stand and air pump.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rivendell Bike Book and Hatchet - A visit

Given the amount of time I've spent on Rivendell's website, or corresponding with fellow devotee's on the RBW Owners Group, or obsessing over the build on my own new-to-me Riv Atlantis.... it was only fitting that I make it by the new flagship storefront from Grant Peterson in Walnut Creek.  I was a little suprised by Walnut Creek, I had never really looked into it and didn't expect it to be such an affluent and bustling area.  I guess the pictures from Shell Ridge/Mt Diablo area colored my thoughts that Walnut Creek was a sleepy country-ish suburb in the Bay Area.

That notion was instantly disabused and my buddy Kamal and I grabbed some coffee down the street and easily found the RBB&H.  The store is really cool, I'm happy for the company becuase I think they really executed a fine looking storefront that balances the best of Riv's stuff with the innate quirkiness.  I hope it is a commercial success for them!

From the perspective of someone already bought in to the Riv universe/lifestyle I only wished that more (or all) of the goods available at the website were available at the storefront. I understand that for the full gamut you can go to the HQ which is nearby but I was close to closing time and missed that opportunity. Other than storage space at the storefront I'm not sure I understand having two differenent but similar inventories... enjoy the pictures!

For a boring and wordy discussion that includes some thoughts on the RBB&H visit check out this post.

The pile of wood outside is pretty amusing, as is the sign.... STOP if you love The Wind in the Willows!
Hatchet = Great GIFT

Brand new Alba-stache bars, more on that and my demo ride soon.

Keven's mystery bike 'Apalloosa', really long chainstays and really cool looking diagi-stays... The front shopsack sold me on getting one for myself.

Great looking bike displays, with lots of information handy.

I wish there had beena slightly smaller Hunq for me to ride but I imagine it would be very similar to my Atlantis

I love the ceiling tratment... a grid of twine hung with bells... grab a hatchet to ring the bells!

one of the bell pulls

Why not finish with the hatchet wall!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bruce Gordon Cycles - A visit

Bruce Gordon recently opened up a small showroom and even a museum loft of his own personal collection of self-built frames (built up in period correct parts).  I happened to be near enough to stop in last week and was overwhelmed by the craftsmanship and even more so by the man himself.  Enjoy the pictures, let me know if you have questions and definitely put Bruce on your list of frame builders to visit in the San Francisco area!

Every one of the bikes pictured was hand made by Bruce, most of them on the premises of the shop adjacent to the show room.  Bruce is a one man operation and it was clear to me that he takes great pride in his craft.  Oh yeah, "Bruce Gordon was nice to me!!"

All of these shot's were made with an extreme wide angle (20mm) lens so please forgive any distortion, its the camera not the bikes!

I love this 'rust' powder coat...looks fantastic in person, there is a great texture to it as well!

I just wish I could get a picture of Bruce atop the flinstone bike!

Bruce does (or has done) Ti...

Those joints are preeeeetty sweet!

Petaluma, CA is a lovely place... I had a great lunch downtown just a couple blocks from Bruce's place.  Looks like the riding is pretty darn good too.

I didn't get alot of pictures of the custom racks, but cro-mo tube, tig welded racks are also one of Bruce's calling cards... I'd love to get a set for my tandem!

Drumroll please.... Bruce's 'Autobiographical' collection... every bike he has made for himself in the 30+ years he's been fabricating bicycles, nearlly all built up.  It's a wonderful display and a great idea.  You can just see the man himself in the back left.  Bruce is very friendly and happy to talk about his bikes!

How gorgeous is this?!?  Look at those custom racks too!

More from the personal collection... scary thing for me is that I think I'm about the right size for ALL of these bikes!!!

NAHBS Winner... yeah just another award winning stunner of a steel lugged bike for BG Cycles...  gorgeous (the color is quite remnescent of my Riv Atlantis though!)

Another custom rack that looks sweet... check!

Most important bike in the shop... Bruce's personal commuter.  Check out the steel integrated seatpost,  I don't see those at the bike rack ever!  Other cool details include a rear tire generator hub, BB mounted that can be moved in and out of postion by the extra shifter tab on the seat tube.  Good color too.

Yet another unique, and this time aerodynamic rack

Guess who else is in town!?!  Oh yeah we partook of the tasting room before heading out of town.  White Industries is right around the corner as well but according to Bruce they don't have a showroom.

Lots of beer... go check out Petaluma and BG Cycles!