Thursday, January 31, 2008
Been doing some reading, emailing, thinking, dreaming lately about how to get more people on bikes. The pundits and industry insiders are starting to talk about non-endemic marketing experiences and reaching out to the non-traditional cyclists to grow the market. That’s well and good, but how do you do that?
I've worked at half a dozen shops, been in hundreds, and there are obviously things that work, and things that do not. Sadly, I think most bike shop experiences aren't all they could be for many shoppers, and the 'culture' that surrounds them often is weighed down with an air of exclusivity. That exclusiveness can give some shops a feel of community and authenticity for those in the circle, but for those on the outside, it can make you never want to go back. I’ve been on both sides of the counter, and I know how it can get in the heat of the summer.
I think more folks could get into cycling, but to do that, we need to find a way to get the bike under them without making it seem like a lifestyle change. Not everyone wants to view the bike as a tool of the revolution, and some of us do. More people on bikes is going to be inherently good.
So you are asking, “what are you doing about it?” Well I’ll tell you, I’m opening a dialog about it, sound off.
What would get more people on bikes and out of cars?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I say from under the blankets. -30 with the windchill, you say? Check the mercury on the window, and its -12 in the sun. It was nearly 40 just 24 hours ago. Yikes!
On a totally different topic, ever stop and think about who or what motivates/insprires you? I was doing some internet browsing and came a across a great quote that captures the essence of one of my heros:
"If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. Cause, you know they're saying 'This sucks, and I am going to do it my own way'."
The quote is from Ynon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. If you've never read his book Let My People Go Surfing I HIGHLY recommend it. It'll give you something to chew on. And it provides some insight to how a cool company does what it does.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Just listening to some DJ Shadow today at work and it got me thinking about the documentary Dark Days he did the score for. If you haven't seen it, Dark Days is a stark account of homeless inhabitants of Freedom Tunnel in NYC. I was fascinated by the film mainly because of my interest in places we aren't supposed to dwell at the fringes of our society. From time to time on the Snot Rocket, I'll recomend a 'zine, usually from years ago. Today, if you get some down time, check out the 'zine called Infiltration, the magazine about "going places you aren't supposed to go" It was published from the late 90's up until 2005 when the editor Jeff Chapman (aka Ninjalicious) died of liver failure. You may still be able to get your hands on some of the issues, I used to buy them here in Madison at the Rainbow Bookstore Co-op, but their 'zine selection has delined since I first moved here in 2002. (But there is still plenty other of good stuff on their shelves.)
Currently there is an extensive urban exploration movement still happening in about any city with old buildings. One such group/site is Wide Open Detroit who some people hate, but I happen to enjoy following, kind of like a Detroit sports team; they are loveable in a hateful way. Their pics from inside Tiger Stadium are my favorite.
*The pic at the top of the post came from one of my other favorite sites about abandoned places, Polar Inertia. You can find that link on the right of my blog.
Monday, January 28, 2008
So I'm at the store buying some groceries yesterday. My idle hands pick up a People magazine as they often do, and I find myself reading about the Chanel bike pictured above..."Chanel are doing their bit for global warming by launching a specially designed bicycle as part of their latest collection. The limited edition bike has been designed as part of Chanel's spring/summer 2008 collection to celebrate the heritage of the house and Coco Chanel's love of sport. The hand-crafted design is decorated with the house's signature quilted leather and double-C logo and is undoubtedly the most stylish mode of transport this season"
and it only costs $12,000.00. Yeah, you're reading that right. But just so you know, Jennifer Aniston loves hers.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Saw a great horned owl last night on the walk with the dogs. Don't see that everyday. Made me think of my favorite book as a kid, "Owls in the Family" by Farley Mowat. Good memories. Watched the mountain bike film "ROAM" today, and it made me want to be someplace warm riding my bike...
Friday, January 25, 2008
From time to time we host a guest writer on the Snot Rocket, and today Lord Haden tells us the story of our friendly neighborhood skull bong:
"His name could be Bosepheus? Couldn't hurt.
The true backstory is that his father Skully was a known dipsomaniac and all around naer-do-well who was found passed out in D*Pow's bushes when he lived downtown. Being cognizant of his need for booze, Dan filled him full of Old Style and like Magic Jesus himself he sprang to life, demanding more booze and the racing of tiny bicycles. He partied for several years around the greater Madison area, but just like that he was snuffed out, crushed to death by the draconian corps that is the Madison Police Department at Mifflin Block Party. I guess those "madison free-thinkers" just weren't ready to let a dead man drink. Fortunately, Skully had a problem keeping his tube in his non-existent pants, and had shared his seed with a barhag harlot shortly before his demise. 9 weeks later, my Les-baru mail carrier brought the infant in swaddling clothes and a cardboard box and left it on my doorstep. And from that day on, wherever there was beer to be chugged, young Bosepheus was there, sharing his gift with the world."
Thanks for setting the record straight, sounds like Bo is going to drop by the 'Cross Worlds Dawn Patrol Party this weekend. We'll make sure we spill a little out for you Lord.
The above rack is one of the cooler ones I've seen. Handmade in Wisco don't cha' know? Spent the evening yesterday over at the Mainframe buffing a few boxes of them helpin out Ahren. He said thanks with a sixer of Two Hearted, which Bells touts as "well suited for Hemingway-esque trips to the Upper Peninsula" indeed it is, especially when the mercury dips so low. I plan on partaking in more this eve with the wife by the fire side.
World CX champs this weekend, my money is on Lars Boom, but will have wait and see what happens, won't we?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Antbikemike has a blog now with Flickr photos so when you have some time to check out his work, and a napkin to dab the drool off of your chin, take a look. Truely he is THE best in the biz. He gets it totally, and when I say "it" I mean the bicycle as more than a toy.
Speaking of custom framebuilders, I was riding over to the Mainframe last night to drop off a 650b wheel for ZR to use on spacing his disc caliper on his new frame, when a near tragedy struck. As per my custom, I never go to the Mainframe empty handed, and I had stopped for a sixer of High Life at the Spot. There was a wheel tied on my back pack, so I just wrapped the paper bag around my bar and held on tight through my mittens. As I was just about to turn off of Cottage Grove Road, i heard the bag tear and saw my golden payload plummet to the snowy pavement. Fuck!
I ditched my bike in the snow bank and darted into the street for my beers. I had a couple of horns blown at me by passing motorists...I can only imagine what they thought of the nut job with a wheel on his back picking up cans of beer of the street durning rush hour when its below zero...I got 5 of 6 back, which is a small price to pay, all things considered.
And it was -17 on the ride in this morning... so I've got that going for me. I is supposed to get up to 7 this afternoon. Thats what we call, a heat wave 'round here.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I don't know much about art or photography. I'll never claim to. I do, however, know what I like, and who I think is good. One such artist is the photographer Glen E. Friedman. A few years ago when I was residing in LA, I had the great honor to go to an opening for his Idealist show at at a the gallery Sixspace. His photos run the gammut of pop culture, and the opening was a spectacle. The high point for me was while trying to move onto the next picture, literally running into Guy Picciotto from Fugazi. I of course knew who he was, he did not know me...there were people who basically WERE the scene, as far as Dogtown goes. Watching Red Hot Chilli Pepper John Frucainte guitarist haggle with Friedman about a Jay Adams pool shot was also pretty sweet...needless to say, it is a night I'll never forget.
Sometimes the load is heavy,
On good days the wind is still,
On great days it’s blows over your shoulder.
Some nights you sleep in a ditch,
Others nights by the ocean.
The roads may be cracked and hot,
But they might often by smooth and flat.
Rain and cold can invade every crack,
Or the sun can kiss your closed eyelids.
Your bike will be your escape,
And you could leave your troubles as fast as you can pedal.
When I dream of the road, I take solace knowing my friends our out there, finding their way, chasing their dreams, giving in to wanderlust. Got a good old fashioned letter from my buddy Charles the other day, who is riding ‘round the world, and it was such a joy. When was the last time I got a letter….in the mail. Its been a long time. In this world of instant gratification letter writing has been lost. So has the art of making a mix tape, sending a post card….sometimes I feel like all of this interconnectivity, is slowly cutting us all apart….
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
What do you know, another 7 inches of powder fell last night, and that means its time for snowshoeing. When we lived in the U.P. we used to go all the time, but the snowfall has been pretty weak around Wisco the last few winters. Time to dig the shoes out and dust them off for this weekend, or maybe a night shoe somewhere this week...also picked up a sixer last night of my favorite New Glarus beer, look for one in a cooler near you!
Monday, January 21, 2008
I read on Bike Hugger recently about the Library of Congress releasing a bunch of photos from the turn of the century. They've all been posted on Flickr, and the above photo was from the set. I refer to the image as metal horse...I like the horse shoes laying around on the ground. I looked around for the link again, but couldn't find it.
Still cold as hell here, rode a bit yesterday, and I found that I had to double up on the gloves. Really hoping this cold weather breaks soon. It kind of robs me of my motivation to get out and ride, just due to the process of layering, and fastening of all of the gloves, shoes, etc.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
I snagged the above image from the seminal bike nerd book "Bicycling Science" by Whitt and Wilson. If you haven't read it, see if you can find it. It will bend your mind...
The image my buddy Jay dubbed "line rider" has been bouncing around my mind for a couple of years, trying to find a place...and perhaps it has for the summer of 2008. We'll have to wait and see what the numbers say....
It is really cold today, with the temps dropping even further tonight...gonna have to break out the Lake shoes again.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
My buddy Chris planted a bug in my ear about "earthship" a couple of weeks ago and since then, I've been thinking alot about where we live and how we build. Check out the above pic, yeah, those are tires. Earthships are built from rammed earth stacked tires. Pretty nuts. In the good ol' US of A, we live in sprawling suburbs in houses that insulate us from the natural environment. And hey, that works for most folks. I'm a happy home owner, but I still think outside the box about the house I want to spend the rest of my life in, and it would be pretty satisfying to spend it in a home I built myself.
Here is a link to a pretty interesting web site about a couple that built their own home. It is amazing stuff.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
This is a another pretty sweet rack that Ira has built. You can't deny that. Also they say you are what you eat, and I eat Chipolte cuz it tastes good. I should really invest in it. And when you get done checking that out, check out this video that P-Lip sent to me of folks in Portland moving by bike. Nuts.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Riding in the winter is what you make of it. The last couple of days the temp as dropped drastically again, and riding has once again become a chore. It isn't so easy to just grab your bike and hop on to go for a ride. There is the layering of clothing, the extra lubricant for the bike. Studded tires and LED lights have become essential for survival as black ice and darkness shroud most rides. Last night the cold air burned my lungs as I headed down town for a dinner. It was one of those nights where all of a sudden, 10 minutes into the ride, I realized how quiet it was
as I floated on an inch of fresh powder. The untouched lawns were like an empty canvass...streching into the darkness. Fitness seems so far away. I long for those days when shorts and flip flops are all the clothing I need for a night spin...
Monday, January 14, 2008
This past weekend was one of those weekends that mercifully don't happen very often. As is was, there was about 3 too many things that I tried to pack into the day on Saturday. A group of us met at Wilson's Pub for bloody marys before the swap on Saturday at 8:30 am. From there we pedaled to the swap and spent some cash on bike stuff I probably didn't need but wanted none the less. I did however pick up a sweet CETMA rack on the cheap, thanks Marko! Saw a bunch of old friends, and had some laughs.
After the swap, I headed out to watch the Packers at the Great Dane...and damn it was a pretty good game, that is unless you are a Seattle Seahawks fan. From there a bunch of us headed to Fitchburg for the cross banquet. I'm certain that the rowdieness of our combined bkb/pegasus/magnus team effort was not apprecieated by everyone that was there, but no matter it was fun. Perhaps the first time a cross banquet anywhere was superfanned...
Then a good old fashioned 30th birthday party for #9 complete with a keg of Scotch Ale and a Hot Tub left many hung over for Sunday. But you'll have that sometimes. Sundays are good for sleeping in, eating burritos, sitting by the fire and watching NFL playoffs anyways.
Friday, January 11, 2008
I don't go to live shows much anymore. Cash, time, lack of bands I like touring, age, getting my teeth kicked in, have all kept me away from live shows. "Back in the day", a phrase I say with my tounge firmly in my cheek, I used to go to live shows all the time. Recently it has come to my attention that some old freinds (Now known as Able Baker Fox) are playing a show at the Metro in Chicago with one of my all time favorites, Hot Water Music. HWM is a band I've never seen live, but always deeply enjoyed. I was on my way to a Small Brown Bike/Alkaline Trio/Hot Water Music show in November 2000 at the Shelter in Detroit when something came up...Those were good times and I saw some great shows, and sometimes I get nostalgic for the past...Today I was looking online at some stuff, when I stumbled to the Hot Water's merch page and found the above ear plugs. That is when you know you play brutal rock...in the end not going to shows is all just excuses I guess. This show also happens to fall on the same weekend as the Stupor Bowl, and sadly those events though they may rock equally as hard, are taking place 500 miles apart...
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Here is a great shot Lyle took of his 12-Pack Rack. (note the custom bar plugs I installed on New Years Eve) This rack does exactly what it claims to do, carry 12 packs. And it does it well. You can get one of your own by emailing Leah Stargardter at email@example.com. If you google 12 Pack Rack, you can also find some other shots on some random Flickr accounts. Leah is a pro, and she can build a sweet rack, with or without the bells and whistles. Lyle had her integrate low rider pannier racks.
Last spring when Leah and her partner Ahren Rogers were working at Revolution Cycles I stopped by and saw Ahren holding an empty Leinenkugels box over a stainless steel square he'd welded. The 12-Pack Rack had just been born...it was cool, and I ended up getting one of the first production versions. It has served me well on many a beer run.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
"Wheels Of Confusion / The Straightener"
Long ago I wandered through my mind
In the land of fairy tales and stories
Lost in happiness I had no fears
Innocence and love was all I knew
Was it illusion?
Soon the days went passing into years
Happiness just didn't come so easy
Life was born of fairy tales and daydreams
Innocence was just another word
Was it illusion?
Lost in the wheels of confusion
Running through furnace of tears
Eyes full of angered illusion
Hiding in everyday fears
So I found that life is just a game
But you know there's never been a winner
Try your hardest, just to be a loser
The world will still be turning when you're gone
Yeah when you're gone!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Got a couple of good links from my wife Jen today. The first is to Project Rwanda which I've blogged about before. There are a handful of NGOs currently using bicycles in African countries to empower people there. Check out some of the links on the right side of Snot Rocket for more info.
The second really great link shows a video of a man who uses his bicycle to sharpen knives. This type of "velo-ingenuity" always floors me. If you click on the picture on the page that previous link takes you to, you can see some video. There some other versions here as well.
Monday, January 07, 2008
The picture is of a piece entitled "Bicycle Messiah" for obvious reasons. I keep it on my tool board for motivation. This is what happens when you work year round at a bike shop in the midwest. The slow times in the winter will make you do crazy things...my boss let this project slide, but he did threaten to fire me if I kept working on the prison tattoo gun. I was getting pretty close too.
Ah, Monday morning, truely a day to not be trusted. It is close to 40, raining and foggy as hell. Shite. Just a week ago it was full on winter, and single digit temps. What can you do. At least the days are getting longer...
Spent some time this weekend getting the fixed gear back togther and I'm weighing blowing off the Surly Travellers Check in favor of getting some couplers put in my fixed frame. Something more to mull.
Ever wonder who came up with razor wire? Me too. Sometimes Mondays feel like they are wrapped in it.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
This is my bicycle. There are many like it but this one is mine. My bicycle is my best friend. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my bicycle is useless. Without my bicycle, I am useless. I must ride my bicycle straight, I must ride it before he rides me. I will. My bicycle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the noise of our chain, the smoke of our tires nor the miles that we make. We know that it is the skills that count. We have skills. I will keep my bicycle clean and ready even as I am clean and ready. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage. Before god I swear this creed, that my bicycle and I are the defenders of our country, the masters of our enemy, the masters of our fate. So be it until victory is America's and there is no enemy but peace.
Lambchop's words still ring true all these years later.
Lambchop's words still ring true all these years later.
Snow is melting, and the fog is thick the last few days. The daylight is lasting a bit longer at night, and I've been spending a little more time in my shop working on some two wheeled projects. It is nice to have a little space that is all my own with tools at my finger tips.
Slowly getting the long range commuter bike togther after selling the Cross Check...we'll see what comes out of the project. Swap next weekend, and as always, some good deals will be had. Time to visit with some old buddies and make plans for warmer weather.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Friday, January 04, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
What Would Phil Do?
On a totally unrelated topic, it doesn't appear that I'll be headed to the SSWC in August as it filled up in about 4 minutes whilst I was sleeping a couple of nights ago. Call me old, but back in the day, you could just show up, and if you found the pre-race party spot the night before, you'd give them some cash, they'd give you some swag, you'd beat your liver into submission that night, and drag ass to the start the next day. (and that is a fact. I did it in 2000 and again in 02) None of this pre-race bs. And at $35 clams a racer, for 350 racers, thats a lot of clams....$12,250.00 is a pretty good "underground" "race" budget. Bitter?