Friday, December 28, 2007

The Web and Cargo

The World Wide Web is a fascinating place where you can get lost for hours...lately I've been looking at different people's Flickr photo accounts, and daily I see things that blow my mind. The most recent addiction, has been images of rickshaw, or tri-shaws as they are sometimes called.

These are a few of my favorites. It is amazing what some folks can carry by bicycle...If you find these interesting, check out the book, Chasing Rickshaws that was published by Lonely Planet a few years ago. Some great photos and history.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back On One

After mingling with several geared bikes for the last few years due to some knee issues, I've been riding my Gunnar Ruffian again quite a bit lately. That bike sure is fun...and it has me thinking about the Single Speed Worlds that are coming back to the States next year.
About a month ago, I pulled the Gunnar off its hook in the basement, put a 38 tooth chain ring on it, and some skinny tires and raced it at the Sun Prairie cross race. The race was a pain bath for me, but that had more to do with my fitness than the bike. Since then, I put On One Mary bars on it, flat pedals and Nokian tires to use it as a winter commuter. The Gunnar has been with me longer than any other bike I own, I bought the frame back in 2000 while living in Marquette and working at Lakeshore Bike. Back then it was the only mountain bike I had, and I hammered hard on it. Took it California a couple of times, rode the Single Speed Worlds in 2002 at Downieville on it, then at 10,000 feet a week later at Mammoth Mountain. When I interned at Bike, that was what I rode under the 5 Freeway and into The Space almost daily. Big Bear, Telonics, San Juan Trail, Noble Canyon, Flagstaff, all over the Midwest...Raced a couple of Ore to Shores on it, and a Chequamegon Fat Tire Forty on it...of course I wasn't as fast as Jesse, but few are.
Damn, I missed this bike...the simplicity. Like hammering nails with one hit. Spin but don't spin out. Trying to put the steel into the wood with one swing, again and again.
The one speed brings an ache back to my body that feeds my spirit, an I'm glad I still have this bike.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Early Christmas

There are coffee table books, and then there is the new Rouleur Annual. It is simply a beautiful book, and if you consider yourself a cycling enthusiast, do yourself a favor and buy it. It is available from Rapha. The book was an early Christmas gift from Mrs. P, and it was a very nice surprise...considering it was $70, and had to be shipped from the UK, this after she strickly forbade me from purchasing it myself. Needless to say, she has great taste in gifts.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nice Rack...

I know, its been about 24 hours since I posted the last Portuer rack...but this one is pretty sweet too. This is a custom rack that was fabricated by Ahearne Cycles another framebuilder from Portland. This rack can actually fold up which makes it pretty appealing to me. This rack belongs to Eli who runs Lemolo Bags. Check out the rack and the bags.
There are some folks out there who don't like carrying your loads on the front of your bike, but I'm all for it. I like being able to keep an eye on my cargo, and I'd rather have the weight in front of me. Currently, I have two front racks: a Paul Flatbed and a 12 Pack Rack that was built for me by Leah Stargardter.

Bikes Of The BKB

Yeah, the BKB is about "racing" but thats not all. Slide on over and check out who we are and what we ride.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Form Meets Function

Most bicycles are just a commodity mass produced in Asia. Of those, too many end up hanging upside down in your neighbor’s garage, or get set out to the curb when the tires go flat. Those trashed cycles are how I became a mechanic, picking it all, harvesting what I needed, and experimenting with the rest…
There are still a few builders out there that treat the production of a bicycle with the old world craftsmanship seldom seen in the production of anything anymore. One such builder is Ira Ryan from Portland. He has a certain passion that has caught my attention a couple of times. Recently I was looking at his blog, and studying some of his Portuer frames. Simply stunning. Have a look for yourself. Note that sometimes form meets function. These bicycles are tools, that can pass for art.

The Wait Is On

I've sold my Surly Cross Check to a buddy, so now the wait is on for the new Surly Travellers Check frames that comes standard with S&S couplers. The word from some inside folks is late Feb./ early March 2008. Lets hope so...I know how sometimes the best laid plans can lead to delays on new products.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thinking different

It was this week in 1903 when a couple of bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio flew the first airplane near Nags Head, NC. The Wright Brothers were two of my first heros, and as a child, I had the chance to run in the sand dunes at Kill Devil Hill where they flew. They chose the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the constant wind, and the abundance of sand to crash in.
Ironically, I visited their bicycle shop, though it is no longer in Ohio. It is actually in Detroit, Michigan. Henry Ford bought it and moved it to Greenfield Village...
Wilbur and Orville looked at things a different way, and used what they knew, the bicycle, to solve one of the greatest puzzles of mankind: self powered flight.
This is a pretty good site where you can learn some more about them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Santa had a pretty good time

Pete D. Photo

This past Saturday was the 2007 installment of the Milwaukee Santa Cycle Rampage. I went last year and met up with some pals south of the City, and we rode up to the Café Hollander to participate. It was a great time, but I kept thinking that it would be fun to roll down to Milwaukee with a heavy crew.
So this year, I put the word out about two months early and continued to beat the drum of support. Last year was a pretty subdued winter, weather wise. It was pretty dry and in the 40s, with no snow. This year was a bit different.
We finally rolled out of Sun Prairie at about 8:45 am. We had 2 cars packed with 9 people and bikes, determined to show Milwaukee that Madison knows how to party, Santa style.
We spent the whole trip down driving into the teeth of a winter storm, and that would pretty much set the tone for the day’s weather: freezing cold temps, dark skies and snow…
Arriving at the Hollander, we saw a tent set up outside and dozens of Santas already milling about. We found some parking spots, got our Santa suits on, and headed back to the bar, found some friends, and helped ourselves to some free beers from the keg the bar had provided. Peter D'Antonio who runs Cog Magazine, has some great shots here.
There was about every type of bicycle represented from recumbent trike, to fixed gear to full suspension mountain bike, and Santas of all ethnicities quaffing brews, and mixing and mingling in a holiday way.
The signal went up, we posed for a group photo and we were off…I won’t bore you with the details of each individual leg, so I’ll just lay down an overview:

After leading a Madison chase group up to the lead, I settled in and chatted it up. Suddenly our Milwaukee leaders collided with each other during some cell phone abuse, and then just as suddenly there was about 6 Santas from out of town in the lead…we wandered for a while until someone that had some idea where were going came to the front. We rode for what seemed like forever, before stopping at a townie bar with a Schlitz sign out front. There you could buy smokes, and smoked butt (whatever that may be), and PBR in a can. Santa was happy. (BTW, Lyle was posting in real time here so you can follow along w/pics.)

From there we headed to the Lakefront Brewery with a stop for some Christmas Polka music and dancing. At the Lakefront, Santa was welcomed with two free beers each, and we established a new religion of sorts not unlike the Amish. Our un-named religion will accept up to SRAM red, but nothing beyond that….I’d give you more details, but the rest is fuzzy…

From there Santa headed to the Milwaukee Ale House right down town. Some soft core Santas continued to bail from the group and the snow began to fall harder. We found a loading dock to conduct some legitimate holiday business, and then entered the Ale House to warm up, fuel up and regroup. It was here that Madison Santas talked the Trocadero Santas into heading to Koz’s for some customary Mini bowling.

At this point, Santa was really feeling the Holiday “spirit” and doesn’t really recall much of the ride between these two establishments, but once we got to Koz’s and saw the same bartender as last year, his memory gets a little better. Koz’s was once again the highlight of the ride…especially since this year they had a skull bong just waiting for Santa to pound beers out of. It did get weird when one of the locals convinced Lyle and I to go meet some kids down the street…here we were absolutely intoxicated, smelling like, and dripping with beers, posing as Santa for some kids on some side street in Milwaukee…it was kind of bizarre, so we quickly headed back to the small alleys and pins of Koz’s. Well, eventually we needed to get going, so we set out on the 6 mile slog back to the Hollander. By now it was getting dark, and the weather had totally deteriorated. It was a death march directly into the wind and growing darkness….but we all made it safely. I’d like to thank my wife for driving us home in the blizzard, and to our Milwaukee hosts for showing us a good time again. Until next year, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

BKB Twin Six threads

It is official, and it is bad ass. The BKB/Twin Six T-shirt is out, and you can get one here. Tomorrow is Santa Rampage, look for a full report sometime Sunday or Monday.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snow tires and cold toes

Winter has been bitch-slapping the roads lateley, making travel by bicycle pretty tough. We've installed the Nokian's on the fleet here at Snot Rocket world HQ, and we've gotten some new warmer gear in prep for what looks to be a long, cold winter.
Speaking of winter, the big Madison swap is about a month away, and I know I've been saying it since '04, but it's about time for another print version of the Snot Rocket. So if you have a winter commuting narrative, send it to me, and I'll try to include it. I already have a few from a couple of years ago, but there is always room for more.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Saw this on Velo News the other day, and had to show it to others:

At the world cup in The Netherlands, Legg snapped a shot of the Italian national team mechanics making coffee. This is the electric Moka model from Bialetta and can be bought at Williams Sonoma for around $100.
photo by: Mark Legg

As someone who has made a living fixing bikes, I can tell you that a good cup of strong coffee is essential.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Santa Rampage

This is what you need to know:
Meet-up at Cafe Hollander, 2608 N. Downer Ave. Milwaukee at 10 am on Dec. 15th 2007 for this years installment of Santa Rampage. If you are wondering "what is Santa Rampage?" perhaps this recap of last years event will help to:
1.) Answer what is he talking about.
2.) Get you off your lazy ass and into a Santa suit for a fun day of Santa debauchery.

"Went to the Brew City this weekend to ride in the Santa Rampage with Lord Hayden Claus and Miss Katie Claus. Let's just say, anyone who likes beer, bikes and buddies should put this one down on the calendar for next year. About 30 Santa's met at the Hollander Bar north of downtown Milwaukee. After some free beers were consumed and some photos were taken, DJ Nicolas fired up his BOB trailer with speakers and the squadron of Santa's headed off to the Hawaiian Holiday sounds of Bing Crosby. It was not unlike the scene in "Apocalypse Now" when the First Air Cav descends on that village to Wagner's Flight of the Valkries.

No one expects a squad of Santa's, and needless to say, no one fucks with a squad of Santa's, even in Milwaukee.

Anyhow, Ho's were dispensed, Nog was consumed, and consumers were rampaged. We took slight detour through the aisles of a local market, much to the horror of some shoppers, before getting some much needed libations at the Nomad. Santa's were treated to some Smithwick's and Pabst. A most beautiful velvet Elvis painting was beheld in all of its glory. (It must be noted, that for $5 you can have what is known as 'the treatment' at the Nomad. The treatment consits of a can of PBR, a shot of Jamesons and a cig.)

Off we went, spreading cheer, and sipping a flask. The streets were pretty deserted and spirits were pretty high. Kid's love a group of Santa's on bikes, and coincidentally, so do homeless dudes at bus stops, especially when they think Santa might give them booze. Downtown we took a hot lap through the mall, when Lord Hayden Claus heard the quote of the day; when some gangsta types yelled "Santa just rushed up in that motha fucka." We hit up a Mexican grocery store for tamales, before heading to Koz's for some mini bowling. Santa loves mini bowling, and he also loves PBR from the tap, especially if the tap is a small bowling pin. He loves PBR so much; all of the PBR at Koz's was consumed. Maybe it was the tamales, or perhaps the Hank Williams juke box tunes, either way we ran out of booze and had to move on. By then some of the soft core Santa's had moved on, but the rest of us proceeded to Ben's Bike Shoppe, for some Premium Sterling Beers, which taste better shot gunned. There was a Santa group piss behind the dumpster, and we were off in search of more beers. Our search did not take long, after all Milwaukee is America's most drunk City. We landed feet down at Mary's, for tiny bottles of High Life in buckets.

When our group had consumed enough, we split, bidding adieu to Sanchez Claus and Happy Jack, pointed our two wheel sleds SE towards Bay View and set off. Near our destination, Lord Hayden Claus, in a Metallica moment, swerved into me, and sent us both to the pavement. Though our bikes were fine, I ended up with a bloody meat puppet for a middle finger. Can't wait till next year!

Get Some!"

Decide to ride.

Wisconsin State Cross Championships

Here are a couple of more shots by Robin Davies from this weekend's race. The first is of ZR showing off some his legendary handling skillz, and the second is of the muddy trench, aka, race course. Once again to those who raced, you are truely hard (wo)men, and I doff my foam dome in your direction. Well done. Also, welcome to any first time visitors stopping by from HTATBL. Nice to have you, stop by again soon.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Driving rain, 4 inches of snow, gusty wind? No problem. The superfans thrive on those conditions! Robin Davies Photo.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Tim Parr of Swobo wrote this a number of years ago. It ran in an issue of Blue Magazine, and I can recall reading it at the time and thinking how right on it was. Looking back now, and reading it fresh, it sounds even more right on, and kind of helps lay down the track of what it is I want to do.
Read it.


Wisco got slammed by old man winter this weekend. We hunkered down by the fireplace on Saturday for one of the most relaxing days I've had in a while. Should have done some more snow shovelling, but there will be plenty of time for that....Yesterday made the trip down to Hales Corners in Milwaukee to watch the State Cyclocross championships. In a word: Epic.
Now I know Epic is a word that gets tossed around quite a bit, but this event was epic in every sense of the word. As we were standing there on the course watching riders slog past in a foot wide muddy trench, one of my fellow SuperFans turned to me and asked, "How could the conditions be any worse?" It was around 32 degrees, with several inches of icy, slushy snow on the ground. And it was pouring was a driving rainstorm...I thought about that for a few minutes, and between blasts of my horn, and shouts of encouragement, I said that I couldn't imagine how it could be much worse, short of being shot at.
Big props to those that braved the conditions to race, or even watch! It was a great season!
Just ordered some Lake winter shoes, something I've been thinking about doing for several years...I've been drawing lots of motivation from Mike Curiak's blog a man who can make being really cold sound really appealling.