Saturday, February 27, 2010

National Handmade Bike Show

Here's a glimpse at what we saw. Todd and I both were just blown away by everything that we saw. After I get some sleep and have time to process everything, I will post more on my thoughts and impressions from the show. But for now, enjoy the pictures.
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Dream (almost) come true

For years now, whenever the North American Handmade Bicycle Show was happening, I was staring at every photo that was being put on the web, drooling over the absolutely beautiful works of rolling art that were being displayed by the finest framebuilders in North America.  But in just 2 1/2 hours, I get to see it all in person.  After many years, the NAHBS has finally come to the east coast and Preacher Todd and I have made the pilgrimage to Richmond, VA to ogle all these wheeled beauties.

Both of us have a special affinity for classicly styled road bikes and commuter/utilitarian bicycles, so expect a heavy dose of these types in the photos I will be posting later. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The rise

As I sit here doing my pre-commute procedures (drink coffee, shower, dress, drink coffee, eat breakfast, drink coffee, make lunch, make coffee to carry to school), I gotta take a second to rave about a new piece of equipment that has made my bike commuting life unimaginably better.  The new Breezer Biz Pannier is so much awesome in a bag that it defies attempts at accolades.

It comes with a great, easy to install mounting system for your rear rack, has plenty of cargo space and best of all: it doesn't look like you are carrying a pannier around at work.  It is designed with the bike commuting professional in mind and is styled like a soft briefcase, not as a messenger bag.  A handy thing when you are trying to break your addiction to wearing girl jeans and you like riding bikes with brakes AND gears.  I have only used it for a couple of days and I can't figure out how I ever did without it.

It is lightweight, but has a solid and sturdy feel and the construction is very bomber. The oversized hooks on the mounting sheet easily fit the large diameter tubing on the built in rack of my Globe Haul, something that defied my use of Jannd Mountain panniers until I fabricated my own mounting hooks.  The attachment system is well thought out and the load bearing straps that hold the pannier in place make even the heaviest bag stable and securely mounted.

The one downside is the zipper attachments to the mounting sheet that stays on the rack.  The zippers are small and a little tricky to line up, especially with cold hands or in dark conditions.  Larger zippers would eliminate this issue and would be an easy improvement.  The only other suggestion for improvement would be to pad the laptop compartment and give it a softer fabric lining.  Beyond those two suggestions, I see no need for improvements.

If you wear a jacket and tie, or whatever female equivalent is appropriate, while riding a bike to work, this is definitely a must have.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Window of opportunity

Spent most of the morning playing dragons with Owen.  Running around, flapping wings, and general growling were the order of the day.  We got outside and enjoyed the susnshine.  I'd almost forgotten what sunshine was like.  I noticed that my concept of warm is severely skewed now.  45 degrees felt downright balmy.  We made a snow dragon (snowman was out of the question) covered him in green food dye and filled his mouth with sunflower seed teeth and red food dye ("BLUHHHHHHH-D" as Owen likes to say), made a sign reading: Beware! Here there be dragons! and then we were off to the next activity. 

I got out for a ride this afternoon.  A nice solitary road ride.  Something I hadn't done in a long while, riding alone.  It was perfect.  Crisp and clear without a hint of wind.  Me and breathing and effort in a lone revery.  Nice beyond words despite the chilly temps that crept in towards the end.  So wondrous the long spin on the road, bundled up enough to let the work keep you warm.  If the precipitation will let up, then the temperature is easy enough to deal with.

Now, the commuting week lays ahead.  The commuter miles are different but satisfying and the alertness that comes with a ride to work makes all the difference in the world to my work attitude.