Tag Archives: roadtrip

Baltimore Bike Party July 2014 – A Visit From Georgia

Last Friday of pretty much every month I make the trek into Atlanta to participate in Critical Mass, which has been loads of fun.  This time around though, I was heading to Baltimore on vacation, and made sure to schedule my time off to include the last Friday of the month, so I could do Baltimore Bike Party.  This was my first time experiencing the end of month group ride anywhere else but Atlanta, so I was pretty excited to examine the differences.

bikeParty1

 

The ride started at St Mary’s Park and ended just a a short way away at the Maryland Historical Society, so this particular ride formed almost a perfect loop.  From what I have heard it does not always end so close to where it starts.  I was on the scene by 6:30 and by 6:45 there was already a pretty serious size crowd.

One of the things I dug about the start gathering was that there was repair station set up by Twenty20 Cycling.  There was definitely a lot of action at their table from people needing last minute adjustments and air.  Very good idea to have this included and certainly some great promo for the shop. BONUS LEVEL:  the organizers also posted info about bathrooms for use at the start point.  I like it.

Each BBP has a theme. This month was Boasting Baltimore and Maryland Mania. In addition to seeing a zillion tons of Ravens and Orioles gear, there was at least one person with a giant 3d steamed crab attached to his helmet, and one pink flamingo as a nod to John Waters. Best dressed won some gear from Hill Killer Apparel Co.

Pretty much right at 7pm the ride started.  How about this…the ride has a police escort as long as they do not get a call that supercedes leading the ride.  Yeah, I can support that to the fullness. The ride rolled out to a bunch of “Bike Partaaaaay” whoops and hollers, which would continue throughout the evening, the northern cousin of the “Happy Friday” heard along the way at CM ATL.

bikeParty2

Starting from such a dense traffic light area, the group got separated pretty quickly, and I tried to stay in the front group since I didn’t want to get lost.  We had only gone about a mile when I noticed that there were a LOT more 20″ BMX bikes than I am used to seeing, and you know I love that.

Then the craziest thing started happening. There were these kids riding all sorts of different bikes, most of which seemed to be department store mountain bikes in various states of disrepair, careening THROUGH the crowd at crazy speed, doing wheelies. I mean, looooong coaster wheelies, and then just when you thought the front wheels was going to drop, they would hit the gas and speed up even more. I’ve done wheelies…long wheelies, but never with the reckless abandon that these kids were doing.  But wreckless may not be the right word, because I never saw any of them wreck, never saw any of them have to hop off because they over pulled and came off the back of the bike. They were always teeter tottering on the brink of control, but never went over the line. It was pretty freakin sick.

bikeParty3

One very large contrast to the ATL CM is that about 80% of the riders at BBP did NOT wear helmets.  I don’t really have a point or agenda to state here,  just observing the difference.  Truthfully this ride was so much slower paced than our CM that I can see why people may leave the lid off.  I didn’t.  I really enjoyed how this ride was much more -party paced- and not the faster pace that ATL CM has sort of morphed into over time.  I have no trouble staying in the front group at CM, but I think it may have gotten a little fast  for the folks who come and bring kids in trailers, beach cruisers and such, wanting to support biking in Atlanta but getting dropped very early into the ride.  I feel so bad when that happens.

bikeParty4

The route was pretty cool and we definitely were well received by the folks hanging out outside, having card games, playing loud ass music, drinking booze and being hood. Fuck yeah man, I love my home city, and on this ride you saw things and heard things that you could never experience anywhere else.

Then all of a sudden, in the middle of a park along the way, the whole ride stopped to take a breather at the halfway point.  Wait, what? What a great idea!  There was shaved ice from Hula Honeys and people took the time to be social and conversate.  I even caught up with an old friend who spotted me in the crowd which was super rad.

bikeParty5

 

The rest stop was just long enough to not be -too long- and soon enough we were on the backside of the ride.  Somewhere not too long after we got going again, we were all stopped at an intersection when about 30 kids on dirt bikes came jamming down the street at a zillion mph, popping wheelies and in general owning that intersection until they were passed. I am not sure, but it could have been the 12 O’ Clock Boys.  The whole spectacle was pretty rad.

By this time it had started getting dark, and I noticed that what the Bmore crowd lacked in helmets they made up for in headlights. Everybody had one, and a lot of people had good ones, not some crappy toytown bizness.  I’m gonna chalk this up to the high number of insane potholes in the streets up here. You wouldn’t want one of them to sneak up on you after dark  for sure. It was a good choice to not bring my roadbike.

bikeParty6

The last part of the route was a long trek down St. Paul street which was a total blast, since it was mostly down hill and the whole group got going pretty fast. Stop lights were obeyed.  Fun was had.

Eventually we reached the end of the ride at the Maryland Historical Society.  The entire ride was less than 9 miles. Here is where the biggest difference between CM ATL and BBP happened…this was a full on after party scene!  

There was a parking lot with some security guards at the entrance.  Once inside there was an area specifically designated for bike parking, but it was a little weird, there was almost nothing to lock your bike to. So, people made the best use they could of the poles  and fence that was available, and there was definitely a lot of creative use of vertical space.  I kept thinking how rad it would have been to have the Atlanta Bike Coalition Bike Valet here.  Baltimore people, if someone isn’t doing a bike valet for big events around town, here is your opportunity to get in the game.

The rest of the lot was filled with food trucks, a dj, and they were selling beer!  Really?!  I love it.  The afterparty scene was super cool. so much so that I would be willing to bet that about 80% of the people who started the ride, finished the ride.  How awesome is that?

bikeParty7

Yeah man, it was packed. Packed enough that the smart money said to buy more than one beer from the beer line, which was a good strategy, but even when I did have to get back in line, it ran pretty fast.  I reaaaally should have tried some of the food from the food trucks. You Atlanta people know how the whole food truck thing has had it’s ups and downs, and they aren’t as ubiquitous in the A as they are in some cities which is too bad.

bikeParty8

As I had said earlier I was pretty stoked to see a lot of BMX representation at the ride, but there was one group who really killed it by bringing out the proper vintage gear.  They were running a Schwinn Apple Crate, two Hutch Trick Stars, a Skyway 26″ and a GT which I can’t recall as a 24″ or 26″ but it was definitely not 20″.  All of these rides were super clean and well done. I talked with the guy in the pic for a while but by this point I had had a few beers so I don’t remember his name. Great crew of people though.

The whole after party scene was just so good.  I was chit chatting bike talk with my buddy and his crew who I had met at the halfway point, and probably could have stayed til they kicked people out, but I had to bail to go meet some other friends. I am imagining that at some point maybe someone got on the mic and awarded the best dressed prizes or something, I dunno.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
When I set out to document my experience at BBP, I wanted to make sure that it did not come off as “Here is what we’re doing wrong in Atlanta”, because we aren’t doing it wrong.  We do it our way, and we love it.  I love it.  But I knew there would be a lot of exciting and fun differences I wanted to relay.  I had a pretty good idea of how it would be from following the BBP facebook page, and it was definitely what I thought it would be and more.  The ride here reminded me a bit more of  The Mobile Social back home. I guess the reason that I used so much comparison to CM is that since  BBP happens the last friday of the month, to me it came across as “Baltimore’s version of Critical Mass”.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Roadtrip 2010 Bicycle Rides #2

After attending an awesome wedding on the 1st, Sunday May 2 was all set up for me to sync up with my old buddy Kevin to do a little mountain biking in Pennsylvania. The plan was to meet up early and get a morning start.

The first step was to put some knobbies on Ye Olde Talera. The old girl looked pretty rad with some fatties.

I had a little trouble getting through the city because there was some kind of 5k run or something happening, which meant there were a lot of closed off streets through the city. Once I was on 83 north though, it was smooth sailing all the way.

Kevin lives in some beautiful farm country. I could tell from the lay of the land that it was going to be a little hilly on the ride. I found his place with minimal trouble and we cracked a few pre-ride beers. We did some catching up on the car ride over to Lake Redman / William H Kain park. The lake area is really beautiful and we wasted no time helmeting up for the ride. True mushroomheads:

We headed off on a trail Kevin hadn’t yet ridden, and immediately got hit with a series of fairly brutal (for us) climbs. It was Kevin’s first ride of the year so he was feeling the wrath of the hills a bit more than me. We stopped a lot, and Kevin actually hit a bad patch of roots and took a scary spill. It was still early on in the ride.

We pushed on.

Finally the climbs broke and we were able to rinse it out down some great singletrack descents. Kevin was absolutely blazin! Very impressive. I was on the brakes much more than he was.

At the end of the descents we came out of the woods onto a road section. We kind of didn’t know where we were. Luckily after some checking on the cellular we were able to figure out a route to get back to the car that would allow is to bypass going back up the long descent we had just done. We still had a good amount of climbing though, but it was all on the road.

Back at the car we re-upped on beers and made a plan to hit a different trail just a short drive away.

The next trail was one Kevin was more familiar with. It was a lot more mellow than the previous trail…wider and smoother, less roots and looked to be more heavily traveled by hikers, horses and bikes.  The trail led to a gigantic sign that is visible to 83 which we used as a good place to take a little rest.

Check out the scale of the sign compared to the bike. Lake Redman is pretty awesome and there are lots of folks doing actual water based activities. One of the most rad things we saw was a group of about 10-12 people sailing radio control sailboats. There was lots of kayak action going on also.

Before we hit the trail we had grabbed a paper map, which came in handy at our next rest stop. We were able to determine what trail we were on and our position, so we forged ahead with a plan. Unfortunately we made a wrong turn, and after a few more climbs ended up dumped out onto a road. On the upside, for this phase of the ride I had brought my iPhone, so we were able to do the whole maps dealie and come up with a route back to the car.

A fairly brutal climb ensued, but eventually transformed into a seriously white knuckle style downhill which Kevin once again blazed it down. He would probably be a good downhill racer because he doesn’t seem to be afraid at all.

Back at the car and done for the day we caned some beers parking lot style, then headed back to his hut.

When we got back to the hut I grabbed some pics of Kevins vintage Dyno BMX bike.

I don’t remember what model Dyno frame this was but I am sure it was the full chromoly one, because he bought it pretty early on. Highlights include a Hutch stem (drilled for connecting an ACS Rotor), Redline Forklifter bars, Perigrine 48 spoke wheels, a Hadley sealed bottom bracket for one piece cranks, Kashimax Aero seat and REAL Shimano DX pedals. Very rad!

Overall the visit was great. Super fun times catching up with my old friend, and I learned about a great trail system that I will probably up for exploring further on a future visit.

Tagged , , , , , ,

roadtrip.2010 pre-launch

About to head up to Baltimore for my annual roadtrip. I couldn’t decide which bike to take so I decided to take bothe Ye Olde Talera and the Pooj.

The Talera will be super practical with the road tires, plus I am taking some knobbies because there is a potential ride at Lake Redman in PA that might happen with a buddy I haven’t seen in a zillion years. I just find it funny that I will even take the Talera off roading at all…that thing is a freakin chopper it has so much fork rake. Of course I am taking the fixed gear because I just freakin love it, and I am thinking that I may do a good bit of random cruising around my old neighborhoods and such.

I may hit a trail in Baltimore called Gwynn Falls Trail, although it appears that it starts in kind of a sketch zone.

Check out the crank arms on this 1889 Singer Tandem…you can adjust the length of the crank arm by adjusting where the pedal shaft connects.

Old school heads will recognize that a similar function was availabale on the elusive Shimano DX BMX crankset (see pic below, courtesy of Singapore BMX)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

roadtrip post #6

Before getting back on the road to my next stop, I took one last pic at Trackstar. This little gem was locked up to the pole out front:

Indeed…

My final destination in Manhattan was Deadly Dragon Sound System record shop. It was just a few blocks from Trackstar, and I was able to make the whole trek without looking at the GPS, since I kind of knew my way by this point. One other thing I had learned by then was, if you know where you are going, you can rock the parallel streets to avoid traffic, which isn’t as fun, but is waaaay safer and still pretty exciting. So I made my way to Forsyth st and crossed Delancy once again.

The street the record shop is on was actually closed to two way traffic and had a big bike lane down the middle. At least I think it was a bike lane. It just had diagonal stripes down a section about 10ft wide, which was pretty different than the other bike lanes I saw. In Baltimore, the bike lanes are painted to look like you are sporting some 70’s era gigantic headphones, but in NY, your head is a mushroom.

Reached the record store with no problem, even feeling kind of smug having used the grid system to my advantage avoiding cars along the way. There wasn’t really a good place to lock up the bike on the side of the street where the record shop was, so I had to get creative like the rest of the folks who had this issue and pop the bike up on this wall dealie and lock it. Here is my bikes one and only NY vanity shot:

The Puegeot is lookin good these days eh? Fortunately the record shop appeared to be open finally, so I headed in to check it out.

The place was so filled up that I actually couldn’t tell if they were open or packing up to move! I asked the guy inside if they were open and he said “yes but you know we only have reggae records right”, to which I replied…”Thats what I came for!”. I can understand him giving me the heads up, being that I was obviously an out of towner. I kind of got a chuckle out of it.

When I say this place was filed up , I mean FILLED UP!

See that little bit of walkway visible near the bottom left? Thats all the room there was to move in there. No worries though…even though the fit was tight the selection was RIDICULOUS. He had freakin everything. There was a section of the store that had records seperated by riddim, but most of the store was separated by decade…each decade then separated by alpha. It was a crate diggers goldmine if you dig this kind of sound. On the downside, as opposed to finding gems in clueless backwater record stands that the owners have no clue about the value of, this guy was waaaay informed, so the alot of the slabs were 15-30$. I dug through randomly for a while, looking for something for my friend Eric, but I was having no luck. Eventually digging prevailed and I started to find some biscuits worth listening to. There was a deck set up in the front of the store, which the guy said was cool to use to listen so I picked up the pace with the shopping. Most of what I found for cheap were in pretty bad condition, but I KNEW if I kept at it, I’d find the hidden gold. Sure enough, along the way I found something for Eric, and grabbed this little gem for myself:

SWEET FIND!

All too soon it was time to make the final trek back across the bridge into Carries neighborhood to sync up at her hut. By this time I had fully acclimated to the rythym and flow of riding a bike in NY. I also didn’t need my GPS for once I was back on the other side at all. The ride back was super fun since I didn’t have to keep stopping and making sure where I was…I even managed to throw a couple of bonafide -trackstanding to wait for cars at intersections- dealies on my way to Carries block.

Once she got home from work it was kind of like the bonus round because she suggested a place to eat which required us to bike to. Not only was I happy to get more NY ride time, but also really double stoked to be riding around with Carrie. She has a practical fendered and basketed Bianchi that totally fits her style.

Out on the streets Ms Whitenoise was blazing fast! I was pretty impressed with that. I had not really ridden fast all day til we set out for the food joint we were on route to. I found that the faster we went the more fun was, since I was with someone who knew where we were going.

The food particles were great but I don’t remember the name of the place. Mexican. Little mini tacos that burned like crazy. I’m not one of those folks who loves hot sauces and such, but it was pretty freakin good one my mouth got used to the heat.

After dinner we rode to this place where you can walk out to the waterfront and check a really great view of Manhattan.

Some dude caught a radioactive fish while we were standing there, which created much excitement among the folks on hand.

From here, in order to keep with my schedule, we headed back to her hut and I started wrapping things up. We chit chatted for about an hour and just like that it was time to go. Carrie walked with me to the car and hung out while I disassembled my bike and made all the other preparations. I was so sad to be leaving, especially knowing that I had options to extend my visit, but there was a matter back in Atlanta I had gotten a phone call about that had sort of preoccupied me with heading south ever since I arrived. Sucks.

…And just like that, I was on the BQ expressway on my way back to Baltimore and points south.
Overall I am hugely satisfied. I had achieved all my riding goals during my short time in NY. I felt like I experienced a huge amount in the short time I was there, without spending a zillion dollars. Maybe at some point I will come back and do touristy things, but this time around I really wanted to play New Yorker for a day. I have been so envious of all my Atlanta friends that have made the move up there. I think that by coming to town and doing regular things as opposed to super touristy things,  I got more of an image of what it is like to actually LIVE there, which will have to hold me over til I get a chance to return. Next time around I’ll certainly bring my bike, but I would also like to learn to use the train system so I can cover more ground. I know a lot of people up there and I didn’t get to see anyone this past time. I won’t make that mistake again.

Tagged , , ,

roadtrip post #5

At the Manhattan end of the Williamsburg bridge you immediately need to adjust to riding more aggressively. I stayed on Delancy street up to Eldridge and it was one of the most fun and dangerous rides of my life. Folks were being more attentive to the traffic signals while crossing intersections since this was a main drag, but once you were riding with the flow of traffic, you had best keep up with the cars if you wanted to cover ground and not get hollered or honked at. Drivers seemed to not be phased at all when you had to jump out into their lane to avoid a double parked produce truck or someone swinging open their car door. It was a thrill a minute, and even though I was digging it, I was kind of glad to finally turn onto Eldridge and take a breather. Honestly Eldridge is only a few blocks from the bridge exit, but I felt like I had been through a whole adventure!

Once I was on Eldridge it was only a block or two to Trackstar. I didn’t see a place to lock my bike where it wouldn’t be locked to another bike in front of the store, so I actually had to lock it up across the street, which allowed me to take a snap of the storefront.

The store was about the size of No-Brakes, but much darker inside. Maybe it was morning hangover time or something. The Cure – Hanging Garden was playing which made the mood all the more sinister. I’m sure I stood out like a sore thumb in there browsing the racks with no specific reason to be there. They had a really nice selection of parts and frames, a few partially built up to give you some ideas of what you could construct. I didn’t try to make conversation. There was not a lot to say really. I didn’t want to front like I am the know all-be all of the track bike scene in Atlanta because thats just not true. For me it was simply all about making the pilgrimage, BY BIKE, to the shop without incident, so I was pretty freakin pleased. There was the mandatory store local who just sat in a chair in the middle of the place and came off kind of intimidating which I found sort of asmusing. Does every track bike store have one of those?

Soon enough, I ran out of things to look at, so I decided to push on. My next destination: Deadly Dragon Sound System record store. All reggae dub roots and ska! It was actually only a few blocks from Trackstar. The ride was more of the same excitement, with me holdong onto the GPS for dear life hoping not to drop it. When I got the the address of the store, at first I thought I was in the wrong place, but then I saw the flyer on the door:

I was too early so the joint was all closed up. It was sort of interesting because this all reggae record shop seemed to be smack in the middle of what I suppose is Chinatown. Lots of interesting activity going on, particularly the hustle and bustle of the hair styling joint just downstairs from the record shop. I got tons of strange looks from the locals, but once they saw me scoping out the store flyer they paid me no mind.

Soooo…with no other destinations, I decided to head back across the bridge and get some food particles and waste some time seeing what I could see. I ate at a regular hole in the wall style pizza joint, sitting with my back to a mother and her daughter who were at lunch between the daughters classes at school. This was another moment where I felt like I was experiencing what it must be like to have your everyday life in NY. The mother and daughter were chit chatting about school things, and I picked up enough of the conversation to realize that the school must have been right around the corner. When you are in a neighborhood like Williamsburg, its easy to think that EVERYONE who loves there moved there because its “the place to be” or whatever, but there seemed to be a whole other portion of folks who were not ultra-style people, just regular folks who had a neat neighborhood grow in popularity around them.

After grabbing a bite I kind of tried to fade into the background and people watch for a while. Everything is happening, so there is a lot to see, hear and smell. There was a very distinct smell to the place that I’ll never forget. A few minutes went by, and I decided that just standing on the street looking like I had no idea what I was doing was NOT what I wanted to do, so I headed back to Carries for a breather.

Not wanting to waste too much time, soon enough I was back on my way to King Kog once again. This time I was still using the GPS , but only twice just to get my bearings. I was starting to ride a little more confidently as well.

King Kog was open for business, and once again, I couldn’t see a way to lock up out front without locking to a bunch of other bikes, so I resorted to hooking up across the street. Heres the storefront:

Note the mandatory somewhat intimidating dood just hanging out out front. I told you, EVERY track bike store has one hahaha. As you can see the place is crazy tiny! You could fit three King Kog inside No-Brakes. What they lacked in size they made up for in mellow vibe though. The place was had a lot less of a dark serious edge to it than Trackstar. There is only room for like two people in the store at one time, so I squeezed past someone and started checking out the gear. They have some pretty cool stuff, most notably a Brooklyn Machine Works frame and fork that -really- made me want to learn framebuilding. I dug through the clothing looking for something for my buddy Graham, but got shut down. Everything they had that I liked they didn’t have his size. The ones in his size were not prints I liked. Ugh…no luck. Oh well. The counter babe was super freindly when I asked for stickers so I grabbed some for later use and headed out before we all got claustrophobic. I’d say for sure that King Kog is more of a fixed gear style store where Trackstar seemed more for serious riders, although I am sure both stores get thier fair share of both types of customers.

It was still pretty early and I was determined not to come home without something for Graham + Eric, so I decided to head back across the bridge AGAIN, and swing by the other two stores. By this time I didn’t really need the GPS anymore and once I was on the far side of the bridge I had completely tuned into the rythym of riding in NY which was freakin wild! While grabbing a souvenir for Graham rom Trackstar, I tried to take a pic of the shop so you could see their window sticker, but there was an old lady sitting on the bench in front of the store who bugged the F*** out on me about aiming the camera at her, so I just put it away. I thought that was pretty funny.

continued…

Tagged , , ,

roadtrip post #4.0

Arrived in Brooklyn NY safely and spent the first evening catching up with my old friend Carrie, who I was staying with. I had never been to Williamsburg before. I knew there would be bikes but I was not prepared to see so many. Bikes everywhere…all kinds…fixed, comfort, vintage ten speeds, beat up clunkers, bmx…we even saw one of these contraptions while walking to my car to get my clothing bag:

I noticed right away that NY people take the traffic lights and crossing signals as mere suggestions, opting intead to scan for traffic while simultaneously jamming into an intersection with wreckless abandon. The riding strategy seemed to be more “take the risk and hope for good results, and if not then correct your line or stop at the last possible second” than”wait til its a sure thing, then proceed with caution”. Nobody has time to wait in NY.

We turned in early because the next day was a work day for Carrie, and I wanted to get an early start so I could make sure to accomplish my riding goals, which were not terribly steep in physical demands, but required that I be on point in other areas. Mainly, I needed to be sharp about knowing where I was going, and also quickly get up to speed on how to ride in NY traffic…sometimes while holding a GPS device.

My first destination was King Kog, the fixed gear store that BSNYC loves to hate. The shop was only .6 miles from Carries hut, and the ride over was great. My primary goal on this trip was to get a feel for what it is like for someone who lives here to ride on their daily routines and such. Making my way through the neighborhood got me up to speed quickly. Watch for broken glass, watch for cars from every direction, watch hot girls walking down the street (they seemed to be everywhere), keep your eye on the street signs so you know where you are, and make sure to anticipate the moves of everyone around you whether they are in a vehicle on or foot. Sometimes you come across folks who are head down, ipod on, practically power walking on their way somewhere, who will inadvertantly walk right into your path as if they had blinders on. You need to be on point to ride here and not get killed. I’ll admit, at first I was taking it really slow, and stopping at stop signs for every intersection that had one. Because they are so close together though, it was easy to understand why most people treated the traffic signs and lights as just warnings and not commands. You could stretch a short ride out to a lengthy epic if you didn’t start to take some risks.

I had to break out the GPS every so often to make sure I was headed in the right direction. When I made it to King Kog, they were closed up tight, nobody around. My bad for thinking they opened at 10, which I thought I saw on the website but I was wrong, they opened at 12. Oh well, nothing to do but forge ahead.

My next destination was Trackstar, another fixed gear shop. Getting to Trackstar involved crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, so the entry point for bicycles and pedestrians was my first spot to find. It wasn’t too difficult. The railings for the bike/ped lane are painted red so once I got close enough to see the bridge it was easy to decode how to get on it. You can actually see the top portion of the bike lane from much farter away than this pic, the entrance that you see clearly here is obstructed from view until you are almost right up on it.

The grade isn’t too bad, but I creeped up the thing. I was passed easily by everyone from tiny hot hipster girls on fixed with waaay taller gears than I have, comfort bike riders obviously on their way to work on the Manhattan side in some kind of office, road bikers stomping up the bridge, and even a few supermodel types running internal three speeds. I didn’t care, I was in no hurry. But it did give me a feel for how fast this city goes. Even the folks not in a hurry are fast.

Saw TONS of graffiti.

Then finally, when you get high enough up the span, you get your first unobstructed view of the NYC skyline.

The Empire State Building is freakin HUGE, and the Chrysler Building is instantly recognizable. Man I would love to see this view every day! I couldn’t help but think about how unaffected everyone else on the bridge was…how they ride by this scene all the time and think nothing of it. To me though it was absolutely wicked.

The bike/ped path system on the bridge is kind of awesome. Wide enough for lots of folks, but I never could figure out the lane markings. It seems like they painted the directional indicators to say that both bikes and peds could go whichever way they wanted on whichever side…and folks did exactly that. The bridge is a lot bigger looking when you are actually on it. You can barely see the asphalt of the bike lane at the bottom of this pic

Mostly though people emulated the way cars drive, slower traffic to the right, left lane to pass etc. The bike/ped lane on the bridge runs both ways on both sides of the bridge, with one or two places where you can switch sides so you can exit on whatever side you need to be on when you get to the other side. Some folks were absolutely FLYING coming down the grade. Folks that ordinarily I would never think would go that fast on a bike based on how they were dressed…some of them looked really business-like. Maybe they were late for work?

continued>>>

Tagged , , ,

roadtrip post #3

From Baltimore, my next destination was Philadelphia to sync up with my old buddy Skip for a little while. I haven’t seen him since his wedding probably like 15 years ago, but we were roommates and co-workers at Golden Ring Bicycle so we have deep roots. I almost thought something was wrong with the GPS when it took me off the highway so early, but eventually I got to the Cycle-Sonic shop.

Skip didn’t really know for sure whether or not I was coming, so he was pretty suprised when I came rolling in. Great to see my old buddy. He used to have some looong hair, but at some point I guess he decided to go the other direction

The shop was pretty wicked! They had the standard line-up of adult bikes from Trek, Giant and Gary Fisher, but they had a really nice selection of BMX bikes.

Primo, MirraCo, Haro, and Fit from what I can remember, but am pretty sure Skip said they sold Eastern as well. They had a nicely stocked selection of BMX components also including these wicked rasta color pedals:

I would love to have those matched up with the Chris King rasta headset.

We chit chatted and caught up on lost time. Lots of bike geek talk. While I was there, he got a call from the Fuji/SE rep, and actually asked if he could send me down to their distro hub down the road, which I believe is called Advanced Sports Inc,  for a tour, which would have made great blog fodder, but I passed. I did get to see the newest catalog of offerings from SE, and they are amping up their track bike line quite a bit. They are also continuing to reissue the old loop tail bmx remakes, and this years PK Ripper has a knock off Elina Lightning Bolt seat with a beer opener built in.

One of the coolest things at the shop was this Integral Bel Air done up to look like a Hollywood Mike Miranda Hutch.

They even tried to get the graphics right, but they are a little different than the original Hutch stickers

A great homage to a great bike. I wonder if anyone who bought these actually rides them or if they are just sort of museum pieces?

While I was there I asked Skip to pump up my tires for me, and we threw on the Animal Hamilton pedals I had been wanting to grab at Shop Gentei in Baltimore. I opted for the full clear instead of the smoke clear.

They feel SOOO much better than the tiny rat traps I had on there previously, plus they look freakin awesome.

All too soon I had to say my goodbyes. Cycle Sonic is a great shop, and it was awesome to see Skip after so many years, but I still had to drive to NY so I had to get on the road. Big Ups Skip and thanks for the hook up on the Hamiltons!

Before I split, I actually broke down my bike to put in the back seat and removed the trunk rack from my car. I -never- have to parallel park in Georgia, so I didn’t want to go trying to squeeze into a space with my bike hanging off the back when I got to Brooklyn. I think not having the boke back there made my gas mileage a little better also.

Onward to NY!

Tagged ,

roadtrip post #1

Okay soooo, I am leaving tomorrow morning for points northward. I’m taking my fixed gear with me, so my bike related activities on the trip will be fixie based.

First stop, Greenville SC, which will be a non-bike riding stop for a single night. I imagine there is a road biking scene there, what with Hincapie being a local and all, but I didn’t know if they had a big fixed scene. I dug in a little and found they are having an alleycat in October so there must be at least enough riders there to host a race.

Next stop will be Baltimore. I’m from B-more, so I will def get some riding in there.  I hear that Shop Gentai supports the fixed gear up there, so I will swing by, but I think it is more of a clothing store than anything. Worth a trip through I s’pose. I’m suprised there isn’t a dedicated fixed gear shop up there yet. Maybe there is and I just don’t know about it. Maybe if there isn’t one I should sell everything I own and go start one. Right.

I have family obligations in Baltimore, which is the real reason for this trip. I’ll be there a few days. Then, on  Monday the 29th, if my budget allows, I’m headed to the Philadelphia area to visit my buddy Skip at Cycle Sonic. Dunno if I will visit log an overnight in the Philly area or not. Maybe.

My ultimate objective is to make it to New York and visit half the population of Atlanta that have moved there. So far I don’t know if I will make it all the way there, since gas prices are kind of hellish, but if I do, I am hoping to visit TrackStar and King Kog. I don’t need parts or anything, I’m being a typical tourist and looking to grab some of their shop stickers.

For sure I want to RIDE to these shops, not take the train. I’m excited about riding in NY. Hopefully it will work out that I can. I don’t have a solid plan yet. I may have to go up without my bike since I’ll be doing it couch surfing style. Gotta respect your couch hosts.

I leave tomorrow morning, so reports from the road will follow.

Other than the roadtrip, I rode the skatepark today for the first time in a LONG time, and like an idiot I left my contact lens at home so all the walls looked totally flat. I have no depth perception without my lens. Luckily I didn’t wreck, but it was a pretty bunk session. I’ll have to get a rebate on that when I get back.

Tagged , ,