It’s been more than 12 years since I spent any time at Monorail. But I like coffee and I really like this coffee and the fact that they tack on (formerly Monorail) to the name Chetzemoka makes me like it even more as I drink it for breakfast every morning.
Monorail was firmly planted on my coffee-beer continuum. Perhaps I should say my continuum revolved around Monorail. It was hard to select just a few photos here because I spent a lot of time there loitering with a camera in one hand and a cup of coffee or a can of beer in the other.
One day Chuck, the owner back then, asked me to help him drag a municipal garbage can from around the corner, closer to his spot, to help rein in the empty cans collecting with the coffee cups of messengers continuuming. I can say with confidence that those were my two Milwaukees Best cans in the coffee-beer carousel above.
Here and now, these days (what day is it?) I’m schlepping things around the 98195 on an electric assist bathtub. Every month or so, the Bioengineers and Genome Scientists get a rather large shipment of Mukilteo. The smell of this delivery finally motivated me to connect the dots and look into getting my hands on my very own (formerly Monorail) coffee
the other day I wore this to the WA Legal Christmas party, one of the few settings where this shirt fits right in. I took a few fake selfies with Matt Face and Gigo. As the inventor of fake selfies I can tell you they can’t really be shared unless they’re captured by a third party, but even then I was wearing a layer or two over the t-shirt so it wouldn’t mean much anyway. Here & now I’m sharing it a day late and - accounting for inflation - much much more than a dollar short because who knows when I can wear this shirt again without a layer or two over it.
The other day or week or month or somewhere along the seamless transition from one kegerator to another, Mr. Chris Murray noticed the absence of a certain sticker among the collection collecting. So he sent along a care package of pilderwasser stickers as well as a handful of Sam Adams coozies all the way from Massachusetts to Rainier Beach. The stickers will be stuck. The coozies will cooz.
Haven’t paid much attention to this kid over the past 12 years, since the last time I took a picture sporting my new AHTBM cap back when I rode past it every day working at Mad Fiber. Little did I know, twice a day back then, I was riding past the building I work in today. Yesterday, when I took a picture of the kid sporting my new Double Darn cap, I noticed it’s not the same kid. Meet the new kid, it’s kinda sorta the same as the old kid, similar but different. I learned the kid's name is Sadako and her statue has been vandalized and repaired more than once.
What I’d really like to draw your attention to is the cap. This is the greatest winter weight wool cap ever made. It’s only day one, and the cap will get better with age, rain, sweat and a little beausage. It's not cycling specific but it could be. This cap is so cool, it will work weekends. This cap is so cool it’s warm, warmer than a tea cozy. As you know, black is the new black.
Double Darn in PDX makes some of the finest caps in the world. I’m the proud owner of at least 5. I wear one every day, all day. My family wears them too and I’ve passed a couple on to my coworkers. Misia is just now getting her shop up and running again after a recent fire and I suggest you check out her caps.
Operating under the assumption that it’s all built upon a reliable foundation. Kidding ourselves into believing it’s not an assumption. We call it a premise and say it’s logical.
If A, then B
If you say so bro
Call it what you will
What if the premise was built on a sandy beach in Florida?
What if that foundation rests on a receding glacier in Alaska?
What if direct-to-consumer bikes arrive with “some assembly required” and a 4mm Ikea wrench.
What if the binder bolt was torqued to spec and back because it was cross-threaded and stripped?
What if a tree falls in the forest and there actually is someone around, but all she can hear is a gas powered leaf blower?
What if your measuring stick is stuck? Your ruler is warped? Your stopwatch sticky?
What if your point of reference was gentrified into a 5 story condo with street-level retail but no off-street parking?
What if everything you’ve assumed got flipped and now it’s looking back at you backwards in the low resolution display of an endless zoom meeting?
What if a law abiding vehicular cyclist posts up in the left turn lane and waits through three light cycles exposed to traffic in every direction but his traffic light never changes?
What if the protected bike lane sets you up to knock you down?
A number of variables must fall into place just so - so we can continue on our way - so we can keep kidding ourselves.
Seeing the same commuter each morning at the same time wondering where they work, wondering if they’re wondering the same thing about you.
Seeing that pink bike in Iowa in 2006 and pausing for a moment to snap a photo and chuckle about the handlebars. Eight years later, moving into a house in south Seattle next door to the owner of that pink bike, not realizing the pink bike is “that pink bike” until she asks you to tune-up the bike and ditch the handlebars when conversation comes around to RAGBRAI, where all roads eventually lead to Grinnell, Iowa and a journey of a thousand beers begins with a single can of Milwaukee’s Best Light.
Saturday evening after the Beavers beat the Ducks but before the Huskies beat the Cougars, I heard a faint knock at the door. When I got the dog to calm down I went to the porch and discovered a rather heavy box. Opening it I found a piece of Wisconsin --covered in bubble wrap and strategically placed foam-- had arrived intact, hand delivered 1,995 miles plus the final fifty feet to my door by a trusty UPS driver.
Rewind just about a year and this cat here who likes beer was left unattended. Some time in the evening, he pulled the tap handle open and drained the entire keg all over the floor killing the CO2 canister as well.
Fast forward to the summer time, when the old faithful kegerator died and was replaced by a 12 years-younger-model in a seamless transition ceremony. With the first sticker stuck marking that first beer poured (see photo below) The stickers continue to stick and the beers continue to pour, but not in a one-to-one ratio.
The new model features several upgrades, higher quality materials and updated interfaces. Perhaps the greatest improvement is the spring-loaded-antigravity-beer-loving-cat tap handle, which I didn’t even know existed until it was in my hand. If Smokey is strong enough to flip the tap handle at least it will not stay open all night because it springs right back to its closed position.
Just last night I watched Smokey enjoy a few drips from the tap and I took his picture knowing he will not be draining the keg.
"an excellent all-mountain and distance saddle, the Pure features a drop nose design that prevents hang ups, as well as enough padding for all day comfort. The Pure is a sure bet for almost any rider and an even better bet for bikepackers!"
this saddle is on all my personal bikes and last week the State of Washington bought one for my work bike too. I believe a saddle works well when I don't notice anything about it and it disappears.
Yesterday after delivering a bundle of mail the final fifty feet to the office of a building on campus, I lingered in the lobby lounge to look out the window and get a little HVAC. My work bike was parked just a few feet from the front door and locked with a cafe lock through the rear wheel. When a dude approached the bike I thought he was just looking at the campus map on the cargo box because that happens a lot. Then the dude walked around the bike, looked under the bike at both wheels and proceeded to push the bike forward off the kickstand. That’s when I quickly stepped outside, grabbed the handlebars and said “what the fuck are you doing?” Surprised to see me, he said “oh, I thought it was a rental”
a solution to a question or a problem that achieves the maximally satisfactory effect with minimal effort, materials, or steps. In terms of theories or models of behavior, an elegant solution would be one that satisfies the requirements of the law of parsimony. See also Occam's razor.
An elegant solution, this is not. There is no chain tensioner in a truly elegant solution. We could clean it all up with a hacksaw, destroying the bike creating two or three cheater bars. Cost-benefit analysis this.
I appreciate enthusiasm for cycling. I also appreciate anyone that rides their bike to school. It occurs to me that this undergrad might be riding her mom’s bike to class. The Cannondale her mom single-speeded out in 2003 with hacked off inverted drop bars, cute little interrupter levers and colorful mismatched rims.
In the late 80’s at the finest liberal arts school in the country I met a guy from Charles City, Iowa that had a Cannondale he was really proud of, telling me of oversized tube diameters and various engineering aspects as I stared off into space glazed over.
In 1995 I single-speeded an undersized Cannondale mountain bike that never had anywhere near proper chain tension. I once dropped the chain and went over the bars landing on my back with a copious cushion of red wine after a Thanksgiving dinner in the Central District. In 1995 I didn’t know shit about chain tension or lack thereof, horizontal dropouts or lack thereof and cheater bars were off in space, glazed over for later.
Maybe that’s why this undergrad’s bike speaks to me. It’s not Occam’s Razor, it's Occam’s Hair Club for Men, Occam’s receding hairline, Occam’s pattern baldness, Occam’s combover.
I wasn’t looking for a Rapha rain jacket but it found me at $100 less than MSRP, basically brand new except for a 1.5cm slice in the shoulder that I sealed up neatly with a cute little square of tent repair tape.
I enjoy thrift store shopping. Seeing what’s out there. Open to outcome but not attached to outcome.
My new-used Rapha jacket was on the rack at Recycled Cycles, which back in the day was a great bike-like thrift store. These days it’s just another bike shop with some used stuff for sale.
Rapha inspires some shit talking, mostly because I can’t afford it. But also because of the bros that wear it and wear it all, including the shoe covers. And their brick & mortar retail spots, like the one on Capitol Hill, are Portlandia episodes.
Here and now, I own exactly one Rapha item and I don’t just wear it ironically. Although most Rapha chuffers don’t wear cutoff thrift store golf pants in their getups.
Back in the day I got my hands on Sally’s Rapha winter hat only because I traded him the one Burberry-DANK coozie in the entire world. The hat has since faded away. The coozie traveled through hell and back before Sally returned it a couple years ago.
I like the rain jacket. But if I was paying full Rapha-Retail I think I’d buy another size up so I could layer more under it on a cold day.
It’s been about 20 years since I sold anything on eBay. Now I remember why. When I put this vest up the other day, there were all kinds of restrictions and fees and limits and too much horseshit. When I finally got it up there, I looked for a way to delete it and I couldn’t find one. So I’ll wait this auction out and never do it again.
I have some rain pants to sell because I hate rain pants, and I really hate big dumpy ill fitting rain pants. But they’re going on craigslist. No bullshit. No restrictions. No fees. Just a few stupid questions from potential buyers.
I started this site in 2005 because I was selling t-shirts one-at-a-time on eBay and paying fees on each one. So I sold a few t-shirts and seventeen years later you’re reading this. I’m still making shirts here and there but I’m not selling them or taking random orders from consumers in obscure zip codes and coughing up 15% to the man.
This haiku arrived in my mailbox on the back of a postcard with a homegrown arts & crafts - cut & paste - tape & scissors style that appeals to me with its resourcefulness. I like it. So much so I’m regurgitating it for you to digest.
It smells like Wa Legal based on the subject matter as well as the zip code in the Pitney Bowes postage. It also seems to fit into a recent postcard spell.
Sometimes it makes me wonder when a postcard takes 5 days to travel from Belltown to Rainier Beach why consumers today feel entitled to expect all their clicky-clickies to show up in 18 hours or less.
Just ten days ago it was 85 degrees and smoky in Seattle… …then the fever broke and now it’s 45 and raining like it should be around Halloween. Weeding through winter clothing that I haven’t touched for a long long time, I started a collection of shit to get rid of when I came upon three pairs of arm warmers: Counterbalance Bicycles from Mo Fo, Ti Cycles from Cat and Davidson from Lori. I chucked them in a big trash bag with all the stuff I’ll never wear again or stuff I never wore at all.
But when I rode past Counterbalance on Monday I thought maybe I should donate those arm warmers to the shop museum instead of a musty thrift store in Tukwila.
The next day I strolled into the shop with an envelope under one arm and said hello to Mr. Peter Clark the sole proprietor. I chuckled and said “don’t worry, it’s not legal documents” and handed it to him. He opened it, smiled and said “I’ve got something for you too” and he reached into his time machine and pulled out a pristine CMWC Seattle Byron T-shirt and gave it to me as if I was standing in 2 West Roy Street on Labor Day weekend 2003.
Crow consults the campus map shortly before she shits on it.
Keeping things in perspective, on the map drawn to scale, imagine sitting at your desk on the third floor of Roosevelt Commons West --a cheesy building near 43rd & Roosevelt-- daydreaming as you stare out the window, when suddenly a 500 foot bird turd plops down across the street.
I’d like to interpret it as commentary on the Roosevelt bike lane north of the U bridge. It’s a death trap and always has been. The so-called improvements done over the past 20 years have only made it worse. There is no such thing as a protected bike lane. It’s horseshit and sets up novice cyclists for multiple conflicts with drivers entering and exiting the Medical clinics and creates confusion with pedestrians. It’s actually safer to take the left lane and piss off drivers.
Anthropomorphizing everything is what we humans do. It does appear the crow is looking at the map. But I think what she was really looking for was food. She proceeded to peck at the handlebar, the grips, chomp on the cable housing and she sat on the saddle. She spent a lot of time tugging on the corners of the campus map sticker that’s beginning to peel up in spots. She tried everything she could think of to get a rise out of me, or a snack. Then she took a shit.
She knows me and knows I usually have something to eat in that cargo box but this time, I had nothing to offer. When I stood up to ride back to base she did a fly by and smacked the back of my head with her wing, saying "see ya bathtub boy, and bring some fucking food next time"
Not that D bro, this D. Proximity leads to assumptions. My sandwich was dry, so I slathered it in hand sanitizer. In Situ Resource Utilization -ISRU- making an ass out of you and me.
The narrative relies on you and your brain’s ability to invent connections, quickly sussing out correlations and settling on whatever causation fits, whatever kids are saying these days, whatever you heard in the breakroom, whatever sounds good on a sticker, whatever your brain can handle in 0.33 seconds of your attention span before it flits on to something else.
Two weeks ago I got this book at the library. I read the blurb on the back cover and then set it down on the couch and did something else. The library emailed me to say the book is overdue. I couldn’t focus on it within my two week time limit.
Blue as in bivalent booster blue. Try to schedule your fall booster shot on a Monday and throw a wrench in your week as you may experience mild side effects like walking on the surface of Jupiter, everything is hotter, heavier and harder than it needs to be with 2.5 times the gravitational pull of earth it feels as if you weigh 425 pounds and you’re pushing around a 500 pound cargo bike that even with electric assist, feels like a beast. Swimming in a kiddie pool of lactic acid. The base of your brain meets the top of your spinal cord and that intersection is wrapped two times too tight in gauze soaked in vinegar and pine sol, secured with zip ties and old rusty vice grips. Delusional fever dreams foreshadow your next 12 hours. Complete reliance on autopilot. Slow motion. Robot route rote routine.
Ask me about MRNA, bivalent boosters and which shoulder to get your 4th shot in.
Don’t ask me about Big Pharma and their monumental profits. Let’s not talk about the CDC, Tiffany Smiley or Northern Idaho.
Can’t say I knew much of anything about Bob Roll until he was the third wheel to Phil & Paul’s OLN broadcasts of the Tour back when I’d get up early and watch most of the stages before work, back when whatshisname was winning, juiced up beyond belief.
I bought Bobke II when it came out because I liked what I heard from Roll. (Bobke is Flemish for Bobby) After kinda sorta skimming through it, I put it on a shelf for about 18 years until I chucked it in the free library with all the other books I used to think I needed to hang on to.
When Junior took this shot last week, I took a closer look and noticed Bobke was still standing there, months later, untouched by friends or neighbors. So I pulled it off the shelf and gave it another chance.
Now I’m reading it again with a new older perspective.
Just another worn out Times Square Virgin SuperStore yellow cabs on black & white photo blown out and blown up to 4’ x 3’ then stretched and tacked onto a wood frame: Ikea-like “artwork” you might see in your chiropractor’s office, scored at a thrift store a few years back. Not because I’m into New York City but because I’m into thrift stores and yard sales and free piles and silk screening onto things taken out of context and put back in. a work in-progress evolving slowly. or not.
Rolling Mr McFeely like, slowly along the carpe diem - groundhog day continuum with ever so slight subtle variations on the SSDD theme, humming lyrics from that Soundgarden song while delivering another stack of Uline catalogs. From a bird's eye view, today seems a lot like yesterday and looks to be a lot like tomorrow. If I had Strava heat maps, they’d look alot alike, retracing paths at the groundhog end of the spectrum, day after day.
Here Szymborska reminds us that “today is always gone tomorrow” and nothing truly happens twice. There is no Bucky’s tag team training day.
Quill stem - sweater weather - bivalent booster - fridge magnet - spit shine - elbow grease - constant cost - benefit analysis - short bus - toss up - fifty fifty - same difference - same shit - different day - obsessive compulsive - attention deficit - sales rep - nose hair - nose bleed - cheap seats - cracker jack - toe overlap - ready made - spoke prep - name tag - standup double - sitdown restaurant - screw loose - brick short - full bubble - off plumb - you talking - to me - sad sack - back pack - little snack - early bird - dinner buffet - stress test - knows best - capitol hill - studio apartment - bowl cut - cage match - genetic mutation - emotional support - puppy dog - hand held - spoon fed - back slap - bro brah - mom pop - glycogen store - hot chicken - cold beer - tall can - electric assist - bike mechanic - burke gilman - slowest common - denominator bro - square taper - chain suck - asbestos abatement - noxious weed - control board - gas powered - leaf blower - cremated remains - notary public - fax machine - combination lock - missing link - sagittal crest - learned helplessness - addictive personality - ditch digger - mail carrier - grown man - short pants - final fifty - fucking feet - slow motion - purple haze - spare parts - recycled cycle - round trip - extra mile - customer service - mutual attraction - earned respect - double tall - nonfat decaf - butcher baker - candlestick maker - two messengers - walk into - a bar - feeling fine - singing clementine - sweet adeline - yellow line - sobriety test - empty nest - neither here - nor there - mind meld - group think - black ink - press firmly - carbon copy - swamp ass - dog breath - pink eye - sore throat - sore loser - sore subject - chain reaction - highly contagious - eye contact - unused potential - mission creep - six feet - social distance - social drinking - social science - social work - social anxiety - social security - good luck - with that - single use - throw away - dental pick - chuck down - quality of - life issue - contact patch - pattern baldness - trend cycle - full contact - partial nudity - switch back - short cut - elasticity spent - spring sprung - cross threaded - potential energy - plumbers crack - dissimilar metals - sour puss - pumpkin patch - the look - peroxide platinum - green contacts - pancake makeup - collagen lips - silicone tits - fake authenticity - sincerely for - real really - intended meaning - actual meaning - two words - walk off - home run - the list - never ends
There is no Bloody Mary continuum. It’s more of a continuous constant, an inert solid state. Anytime. Anywhere. As Bret in ABQ recently demonstrated, with pilder cups that are still kicking 3.33 years later.
Not knowing, makes him a little more interesting to me. I appreciate the technique of those in the know, placing the stickers around campus, on signs and poles and random places.
If you told me he’s kind of a big deal in molecular engineering or mechanical engineering or electrical engineering I’m not sure that would change things for me. What if he’s a good guy? What if he’s a bad guy? What if he’s a Canadian Studies professor?
Maybe I like the sticker, my idea of “sticker” more than the intent behind these stickers. Maybe I don’t really want to know who this guy is.
Zurn makes an eco-friendly low-flow urinal called “the pint” It’s printed right on top of the spud. 0.125 gallons per flush, you know, 16 ounces, a pint. This would be appropriate in the men’s room at your local watering hole when you’re returning a couple pints to the water cycle: Evaporation, Convection, Precipitation and Collection. Beer is mostly water and nobody really owns beer, they only rent it for a while.
From a building management perspective The Pint is great. Saving tons of water over the course of a year in a public restroom, which is where I first spotted The Pint in the 98195. A good old traditional urinal uses a full gallon per flush. From a pisser’s point of view, The Pint is cute and talking the eco-friendly talk sounds good. But a 16 ounce flush is lame. It’s weak and unsatisfying, leaving me wanting more.
well, I'll go to college and I'll learn some big words and I'll talk real loud goddamn right I'll be heard *
October 5, 2022
As classes resumed at that large university on the Montlake Cut… …30,000 undergraduates returned to campus. I like to visualize 30,000 people as the entire population of Walla Walla. I also like to picture them all plugging in their dorm fridges simultaneously, causing a tangible – visible spike on the utility grid. However, before they can plug in, they need to order their fridges from Amazon and wait a few days for some poor sucker to schlepp them those final fifty fucking feet to the mail room. In the past couple weeks, I got to move these refrigerators (I got to move these color TVs)
The packaging for this retro mini Frigidaire features a ghost bike in the vignette portrayed on the side. I can almost hear the designers and photographers sitting around a virtual conference room table discussing the look they’re going for here: an interior shot of an imaginary apartment or dorm room. The bike to them is just an accessory to the intended look & feel. They “ghosted” it for their purposes. But to me it’s a ghost bike and I had to double take and pause for a moment because I take ghost bikes seriously. I’ve seen too many of them on the streets of Seattle, but that’s another story.
When competing for consumers’ attention, gaining a split second pause is effective marketing. A double take is a win. Getting a gut feeling out of a potential buyer is gold. I guess that’s what the ghost bike did for me. In addition, my grandmother had a full size fridge like this, with the pull handle, the real thing that this retro is throwing back to, which gives me some sort of appreciation. The built-in bottle opener is also a plus. I’m not in the market for a minifridge, but this marketing got my attention both before and after I schlepped it across campus.
I came to a fork in the road and kinda sorta like Robert Frost, I guess I took the one less traveled by when I picked up that fucked up fork and put it in my back pocket and that has made all the difference
Two years later that fork has a new spot on the wall among some amazing artwork
Last time I stopped to smell the roses (smell = drink and roses = tall can) and looked up and around, these two unsightly residential towers were still just holes in the ground. Now they’re rising up like rectilinear poster children of the revised U-district zoning laws to dominate the sky, foreshadowing thousands of new young residents ordering thousands of new packages from amazon. Goddamn kids get off my lawn.
I’ve never owned metal fenders or fenders this skinny (30mm) and it felt kind of strange installing them on a sunny warm afternoon because I’ve only ridden this bike across Iowa and on warm sunny days in Seattle. But now I'll be riding it all winter.
choose ONE of the following:
A) large tires
B) full fenders
C) all of the above
on most of my bikes I'm all (C) with canti brakes and tires as big as all get out. Riding across Iowa with no fenders I was rolling 700 x 28-32ish tires...
...but today, on this bike I've answered (B)
As I was touching up my hair and pooching my lips for a selfie with these full metal fenders, my attention was drawn to the Wheelsmith sticker on the downtube.
I’m sure I told you about this sticker in 2015 when I got the bike at BikeWorks, gently used with all its OE components. This is a 1994 Allez sport and I’d like to think it arrived in a box at Wheelsmith in Palo Alto late in '93. Right around the time Lance and Frankie made their appearance at the shop to schmooze with the cycling fans and sign autographs, just as Ric described.
"Lance’s first major victory on the World scene was the 1993 World Road Championship on a rainy August day in Norway. He rode away from Miguel Indurain and a stunned field. Miguel’s later, 5 consecutive Tour wins must have been motivational for young Lance.
In November of that year he visited Wheelsmith in Palo Alto to sign autographs with his teammate, and later antagonist, Frankie Andreu. The two greeted hundreds of star-struck fans who circled the block awaiting their chance. Wearing a Gordon-Biersch (just begun) Brewery cap, affable and generous, the chubby-by-contrast Lance exhibited little clue of the career to come. His appearance fee was a custom Serotta Ti mountain bike donated by Ben, as we were among his largest dealers and he couldn’t resist supporting rising cycling stars.
One item for the event was a Bicycling Magazine poster, Lance away by himself as he often was, against a green background. We have discovered a small number of these. Dimensions are 22.5"W X 16.5"H. Photographer is Joe Patronite.
You can have a memory of our mutual innocence. We, not knowing the future; Lance not yet demonstrating the depths of his ambition. No diseases, no big money, no cynicism, no rise and then fall of his empire. Just the joy of riding, something all of us can’t be robbed or stripped of. Even Lance."
The joy of riding. That’s what it’s all about. If I could condense it, pour it in a bottle and save it for later, I would, so I could dab a few drops behind each ear whenever I need a boost
12 years ago I saw one of these posters, framed on the wall at Mad Fiber and it didn’t do much for me at that time. But reading Ric’s description today, looking back 29 years, he sums it up so well, with so few words. To hear it from someone who was there, means a lot and makes me want to buy a poster
This 105 7-speed indexed downtube shifter is speaking parsimoniously to a 105 derailleur that’s 30 years younger. The derailleur speaks no languages, but understands them all, perfectly, painting pretty parallelogram parameters per her limit screws.
Add cable tension to taste.
index — friction — 220 — 221 — whatever it takes. Do you speak the lingo? Give me your tired, your poor, your seemingly incompatible bike parts. But don't give me any di2 horseshit.
Shifting is overrated. 11-22-33 gears too many. Superfluous redundancy and oh so touchy touchy. 1 x 7 is more than enough to roll along the continuum uphill both ways. When I was your age, a cup of coffee was 50 cents…
Please take a moment to locate the red 44T chainring nearest you. Keep in mind it could be behind you, with the Recycled Cycles price scrawled in sharpie. Those are old LX 175mm cranks formerly a biopace triple. The stock cranks were 170mm and they never felt quite right. Or I didn’t ride them long enough to get over it, to get used to it, to forget about it. 86% of my bikes now spin 175mm circles and sometimes squares.
Ask me about conspicuity and dork factors. I actually installed some reflectors, which as you know, is not what Travis Keene would do (NWTKWD)
Even distracted half-ass drivers subconsciously recognize the concept of “bicycle on roadway” when their eyes feed their brains the image of spinning white wheel reflectors and or oscillating orange pedal reflectors. In my neighborhood distracted half-ass drivers rule the road. Especially when it’s dark at 6am and 6pm too. Bike lanes mean nothing. Spinning reflectors beat the shit out of any blinky light combo you could come up with, or the stripes on your swishy rain pants or that hi-vis helmet cover your aunt gifted you. Most bike shops have bins of reflectors that they’re literally giving away.
I don't drive a car very often, but whenever I do I'm reminded of how invisible cyclists really are. Day or night. Here or there.
Those full fenders are not on yet but now there’s nothing in the way except the weather forecast.
I see silver fenders and I want to paint them black…
at least, that’s what history shows
but this time that’s not how it goes
I like that bike I left in Iowa 5 years ago. I like it so much I want to ride it in the winter and that means fenders.
The clearance below dual pivot caliper brakes is rather tight. As a messenger I hacked and carved and drilled and pierced with a hot poker and zip tied the shit out of them to make them work on various bikes, even if they weren’t quite full.
Portland Design Works has done all that hacking and tweaking for you on their full metal fenders that come in a variety of sizes and retail for $129. I was seeking gently used fenders when I went to Bike Works the other other day. Not necessarily metal ones, but Steve found them for me in the Warehouse and the price was right. Right about $120 less than the MSRP. Fuckin A+. Here’s to small nonprofit bike shops and their employees with their hands in that never-ending stream of incoming donations. Word. Thank you Steve. Thank you BikeWorks.
The fenders I got are a tasteful understated dark gray and I won’t be spray painting them. I like black fenders but not enough to gum these up with a rattle can. They’re so narrow they will fit beneath the brake calipers with ease. The only issue I see is the front derailleur clamp and shift cable on the lower seat tube interfering with the rear fender clamp. And that is more than enough nudge to push me closer to a 1 x 7 set-up, ditching the front derailleur and shifter. You’ll see.
Smells like autumn, smells like leaves You don't know that you'll rust and not belong so much And then get, left alone Suck it up, take a ride and take a walk And don't you know that old folks' homes smell so much, like my own
The hotcha girls at the palisades Dime store keets, pretty birds, pretty mouths Mama's little truck stop rose, her dancy feet her happy laugh We were dropping dimes on the ponies in the cul-de-sac, Casting shadows throwing sparks. (The mail came from miles away The postal man is always late, and we wait) We left our teeth marks on the barrel of the gun The clipper ship across your chest (Glass eyes and wooden teeth, the engine rusted in deep, deep sleep It waits, to awake) Turns out the pony only had one trick, a wink for the truck stop boys (Tight lipped with a big ol' mouth, The government workers all headed south while it rained) They learned it all from the Polaroids (Outside with the wooden teeth, the engine rusted in disbelief, away)
Smells like autumn, smells like leaves You don't know that you'll rust and not belong so much And then get, left alone Suck it up, take a ride and take a walk And don't you know that old folks' homes smell so much, like my own
Time bends light Paint's all peeling Wait outside Take four rights
The hotcha girls in the palisades Dime store keets, pretty birds, pretty mouths Glass eyes and the wooden teeth, The engine's rusted in deep, deep sleep, it waits The mail came from miles away, the postal man was always late, And we wait Tight lipped with a big ol' mouth, The government workers all headed south while it rained Glassy eyes and wooden teeth, The engine's rusted in deep, deep sleep It waits, it waits, it waits, to awake
I was pulling up to the bike rack just south of my favorite brewpub in the 98105 when I saw a kid on a shitty mountain bike riding down the sidewalk with his lunch in one hand. (when I say “kid” I mean college age) Just then the bartender walked out with a pint for a customer sitting in the streatery. Kid-on-bike hits the bartender, but she is such a pro, she maintains possession of the pint and only spills a little splash. She calmly scolds the kid by saying “ride in the street next time” then she tells the customer that she’ll be right back after she tops off his beer.
After locking up I stepped inside to purchase a tall can to take the edge off my pending train ride. I complimented the bartender for the way she stayed calm and the way she held onto that glass. I am filled with a deep and sincere appreciation for servers and bartenders that are really good at their jobs. I know a good one when I see it, and that’s not only because I’ve been sitting on barstools for 33 years. My old lady is a life-long server. She kicks ass at it, and it shows. Those in-the-know know and she gets compliments all the time from people in the service industry. I spent a little time working behind the bar and I understand what bartenders are juggling all the time.
At the same time I have no sympathy for those that ride bikes and scooters on narrow sidewalks at unsafe speeds. I’m not worried about those jackasses getting injured. I’m worried about the unsuspecting people strolling on the sidewalk, because that’s what sidewalks are for: oblivious pedestrians sauntering around. The Ave was wide open when kid-on-bike with lunch launched down the sidewalk like a dumbass.
The U district is home to over 30 restaurants, cafes and bars. Many of them now have outdoor seating and streateries set up. And as you probably know, the U district is also home to very narrow, piss-soaked, trash-strewn skanky little sidewalks and they’re even more choked down now with tables and chairs set up for outdoor dining. The sidewalk is no place to be riding a bike blowing through blind corners and doorways like a fucking fuck. It’s not rocket surgery bro.
Yesterday Andrea dropped off this bike. This bike that I haven’t seen for 5 years. This bike that hasn’t been “home” since the day I packed it up in a box and Bike Flights took it to Jimbo’s house in Grinnell before RAGBRAI in 2017.
Junior Junior is one way to mark that passage of time. He was just shy of his 4th birthday and a whole lot smaller than he is today...
...and another measuring stick is that little twig of an apple tree poking up into the photo below, it's now a full on Fuji tree taller than the roofline and taking over the porch.
Thank you Andrea. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks too to Chris and Jim and Mader for storing the bike for five years. Thanks to Colorado Chris for riding the bike halfway across Iowa and swapping out the tires. Thanks to the pilderwasser collective for keeping on keeping on.
I finally got to meet Andrea and she helped me understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and how she ended up schlepping my bike from Iowa to Portland and then from Portland to my front door.
The bike is in great shape. I dusted it off and put some air in the tires and took it for a ride. These gatorskins Colorado Chris put on are the skinniest tires I’ve had in many many years 700 x 25. But I see clearance for full fenders in a few weeks as the days get shorter and wetter.
For now I’m resisting the urge to make it into a 1 x 7. Ditching the thumbies and two country miles of cable housing in the name of a single downtube shifter. I have the chainring and short cage derailleur standing by. But I need to put some miles on it before I do any of that.
portrait of the artist as a mound of yakisoba chundered-up four or five hours ago near 43rd & Brooklyn but I’m only noticing it now as the crows pick and choose which noodle to pull between the chunks of chicken
#steve young has a posse #pdx #matt case #castelli jerseys run really fucking small #back alley #rainbow bro #don’t bro me bro #rainier tall cans #product placement #brand recognition #consumer loyalty #arial rounded italic bold #hiding in plain sight #planned obsolescence #king of the mountains #controlled demolition #rapha is the new capitol hill #rainier beach is the new ballard #still life with tall can #quality of life issue #when I was your age six packs were five bucks #shut the fuck up
This kid’s smile says, “I like bikes. Bikes are cool. And my bike is really cool, as you can see. Hydraulic disc brakes on 16” wheels and a Gates carbon drive.”
I’d never heard of these bikes until Hultman sent me this picture. Oftentimes little kid bikes weigh as much as their parents bikes and there wasn’t much you could do about it. But now you can get your kid a bike that’s lighter than yours, a lot lighter and a lot cooler too.
This is Jason’s kid, obviously at home on a bike. If there is a wheelie gene, Jason has it, without a doubt. And if it’s possible to pass on that wheelie gene to the next generation then this kid has it too.
Rumor has it that Bartleby, the scrivener, previously worked in the Dead Letter Office and it had an adverse affect on his affect. That is, it sort of rubbed him wrong, or right, depending on your point of view staring out the window all day at a brick wall. But that’s another story I would prefer not to get too into.
When you say Dead Letter Office, I might say: REM album from 1987 that I paid no mind, as it was between Lifes Rich Pageant in 86 and Document in 87. Some say it wasn’t even an album, more of a compilation. Whatever. Nomenclature. Jibber jabber. Blah blah blah. I’m an REM fan pre-1991, but that’s another story I would prefer not to get too into too.
When I say Dead Letter Office I’m referring to what the USPS now calls the Mail Recovery Center. The place where mail with bogus addresses and no return address goes to die. Employees there make an effort to redirect the mail if there’s any hope at all. If all avenues have been taken and it’s totally dead, they open it and trash it or auction off anything of value.
I have this romantic notion in my mind, an image of overflowing piles of drunken love letters written to old flames that moved away years ago, Christmas lists to Santa, hate mail, fan letters, delusions and clueless scribbling. Many people out there do not know how to address an envelope or affix proper postage or embrace the concept of a return address. It’s amazing how many things actually get delivered. It took me years to address my postcards to Shaggy with the proper directional. But the mail carriers in Milwaukee were looking out for me because I never put my return address on postcards. I’m no USPS worker, I’m an electric assist Mr. McFeely cycling in the margins of futility but I get my hands on some mail here and there and I get to see some clueless scribblings. It’s as if the sender believes people will read their minds and realize what they meant to say, not what they actually said. That goes for simple campus mail as well as international letters.
“you get out what you input” said the 1982 computer guide
reciprocity reciprocating returning round trip
payback (the big payback) said James Brown
like a sawzall or a two-way street it goes both ways
a postcard beats the shit out of a text message on the tangibility meter. a postcard is the definition of tangible. you can touch it, you can smell it, you can taste it and if you try really hard you can hear it too.
handmade hand delivered hand-me-down. a beer label, six pack box or random packing material… …111% post-consumer waste upcycled into a postcard postmarked yesterday and on its way to you and you and you two too.
From a distance, this bike looks like a Bullitt. When I say distance, I mean about 35,000 feet. This bike is available at AliExpress.com direct from China to your door for $1,495 with free shipping.
are you fucking kidding me?
An electric-assist cargo bike that retails for $1500 will not be safe to ride and don’t even think about strapping your kids on the front. The components are sub sub-WalMart level and the bolts will strip out before you finish slapping it together out of the box.
At your local bike shop an actual Larry vs Harry Bullitt starts around $4000, add electric assist and it jumps to $7000. Accessorize the shit out of it and the sky’s the limit.
…what is in a name?
That which we call a MASI by any other name would smell as shit.
When a name was a name. When the name was the name. When the name meant something, signified something, stood for something.
Before it was adopted, co-opted, usurped and used up. Mimeographed and slapped on the downtubes of 1,000,000 mass produced aluminum crap bikes available online, from a distance.
A few weeks ago my old lady got me this shirt from some place in Southpark and I haven’t worn it yet but I’ve thought about when and where I could pull it off and put it on. Yesterday I schlepped my bike onto a train crowded with tourists each white-knuckling a rolling suitcase the size of a minifridge. As I made my way to the market for an overpriced salad and a bloody mary, I thought to myself here’s where I coulda shoulda woulda worn that shirt. When I got home I added a bike to it to slow your eye down just a nanosecond with another visual and or layer of meaning. (ask about the wicked saddle-to-bar drop) But it won’t slow your brain down enough to wear this to a PTA meeting or to church or to Junior Junior’s soccer practice. I’ll wear this shirt sitting on a sofa on a Seahawks Sunday afternoon. I’ll wear this shirt to work in the winter under another layer of clothing. I’ll wear this shirt to the Wa Legal Christmas party over another layer of clothing. I’ll wear this shirt in a beer garden in Iowa in late July.
The Past and the Future were attending a lecture by Progress while their teenage babysitter (their next-door neighbor’s daughter) looked after their two children. Once the children were safely tucked in, the babysitter stole the Past and the Future’s weed and screwed her boyfriend on their unmade bed.
The Past and the Future rarely got to go out alone, and it was having a negative impact on their relationship. The Past had been crying more than usual and the Future was starting to pull away by focusing more on work and video games. The Past had seen an advert for the lecture at the public library and despite not being particularly interested in the subject because the Future pretty much took Progress for granted, the Future decided to go in the hope that the Past would be up for a drink or two and a tumble in the hay.
Before the event started, the Past squeezed the Future’s hand in anticipation and said, —We really have to start getting out more often. We need to have more time for us. The Future nodded all the while thinking about the black bra the Past was wearing and the night that lay ahead. When the lights dimmed and the introduction began, the Future started to nod off. Annoyed the Past jabbed the Future in the ribs and the Future quickly sat up like a disciplined child. No matter what, the Future did not want this night to end in a fight or tears.
But once Progress took the stage, there wasn’t a sleepy eye in the place. Progress coughed and took a sip of water then scanned the room, its eager and hopeful faces. —I wish I came bearing good news, Progress said with a little smile. —But the truth is that by the time my work is over, your life as you know it will be worth less than a pile of dust and your children’s lives will be worth less than that. And their children’s lives, well, what more can I say?
Raising a shaky hand in the quiet and still auditorium, the Past said in a voice louder than anyone expected, —But that’s not the story we’ve always been told.
The other day I was screening another one-off Venn Diagram t-shirt for a friend. And when the screens were still wet I pulled off a couple Venn diagram postcards and they turned out to be more exciting to me than the shirt. Because I’ve been there and done that one-of-a-kind shirt a few more times than once, but I’ve never tried to configure and reconfigure postcard-sized cardboard to get the three sets represented by three different colored chainrings to intersect into that cute little subset.
This time it’s for real. The letters are not just microsoft paint’d on there They’re silk screened onto the wood next to the crow, who is spray painted. Junior and Junior Junior haven’t noticed yet. But they will. When they do, they’ll ask “why dad?”
Because it brings me joy. And it’s facing the garage so 99 out of 100 passers by will not even see it there on the south side of Little Free Library charter #100780
The medium via which literature travels is part of the meaning that occurs. A book beholds you, is very patient and really there with you on a hill or under a blanket or in the tub. The book itself is not trying to absorb and reflect and grab you.
birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, reunions, traffic back ups, lake washington shit shows, drunk pirates, environmental impact statements, canned beverages on ice, unlimited hydroplanes, dead baby bikes, blue angels, souvenir water bottles
Visualize a room full of cocky PhDs, smug engineers and self-important designers with multiple decades of combined experience, gathering around a conference room table to take another whack at imitating something that has existed in nature since the beginning of time.
Found a moment today in my hectic schedule to meet Toothaker at Recycled Cycles for a coffee break when it occurred to me, that if you ride a bike, you can’t swing a stick at Recycled without hitting someone you used to know, someone you used to work with or someone you still work with.
Look over there (where?)
There, there's a lady that I used to know
She's married now, or engaged, or something, so I am told
We’re all within 1.5 degrees of Adam Smith, the guy that corrected me when I put out that dickstank featuring Justin Moe and Tyler Goldsmith, both PM legal vets.
Slapped this bike together six or seven years ago while working at a small nonprofit bike shop where I had my hands in a never ending stream of incoming bike donations. It was to be my next-next RAGBRAI bike.
The giant traveling circus known as RAGBRAI is making its way from West to East across Iowa as we speak. Last time I did it, in 2017, I shipped this bike out to Jimbo’s house. At the end of the ride I put the bike on Mr. Mader’s bus, unsure of when or if I’d see it again. Then I hopped in a car with Watson to get a ride to Chicago and then O’hare.
Jimbo used to let me leave my bike in his attic and it saved me tons of money on shipping a bike back and forth to Iowa. If I ever do RAGBRAI again, in the name of participant observation, it’ll be mostly observation. I’ll be on a barstool or under a tree in the shade with a beer. Maybe I’ll rent a skeet. Although I already have 4 bikes here, there are a few reasons I want that bike back.
A couple years ago I was planning to return to Iowa for a college reunion and I asked Jimbo if he could grab the bike from Mader’s garage and schlepp it back to Grinnell so I could ride it around town. Then I planned to drop it at Bikes 2 You and ship it back to Seattle. However, a little global pandemic set in and shut all that shit down until further notice.
Several weeks ago I emailed Jimbo and Chris Murray, two of the best logistics and supply chain experts I know, and asked them how I could get in touch with Mr. Mader so I could try to get that bike back to Seattle somehow. There was no response from Chris and Jimbo said “I thought you sold that bike” and I kind of lost hope.
AND THEN on Saturday, the eve of RAGBRAI Chris texted me “does this look familiar?”
He cooked up an elaborate rescue mission to extricate the bike from Iowa and get it back to Portland with the help of Mader and a woman named Andrea. I don’t really know the details yet, but I do know that PDX is a lot closer than a garage in the middle of Iowa. And I said “sweeeeet” thumbs up emoji.
A few days later Chris texted to ask if Colorado Chris could ride the bike and finish RAGBRAI because his bike had some serious mechanical issues. And I said “YES” hell yes.
He changed the tires, put on his clipless pedals and rode on across Iowa. Here’s Colorado Chris and the bike with RAGBRAI Director of Operations Matt Phippen.
The bike is nothing really crazy special, but I like it. It’s greater than the sum of its parts. It’s done one RAGBRAI and now it’s dusted off and working on RAGBRAI #2.
I cannot bust out cheesy rhyming couplets like this without evoking the psychedelic paddle boat trip through the tunnel where Willy Wonka loses his shit and the kids are trying to keep it together for an everlasting gobstopper…
There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a–blowing
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a–glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing.
Dahl wrote some crazy stuff that was not for kids. And some of his stuff for kids was not really for kids.
Way way back a week or so ago, I was aware of Rachel Kushner in a Flame Throwers way, as well as some of her short stories. and I was aware of William Eggleston in a Memphis tricycle way. But reading this New Yorker fiction was a peanut-butter-cup-combo for me.
I see an old picture frame and I want to paint it black. Tearing this page out of the New Yorker is as close as I’ll ever get to an Eggleston.
Kushner ties in the photo in more ways than one. Shetalks about the story too, bringing a few more layers to it.
I care about these moldy old riding gloves. I smile at them flying through the breeze beside me because they have been there for so many years and are so old and so tired and so rotten there is something kind of humorous about them. They have become filled with oil and sweat and dirt and spattered bugs and now when I set them down on a table, even when they are not cold, they won’t stay flat. They’ve got a memory of their own. They cost only three dollars and have been restitched so many times it is getting impossible to repair them, yet I take a lot of time and pains to do it anyway because I can’t imagine any new pair taking their place. That is impractical, but practicality isn’t the whole thing with gloves or with anything else.
The machine itself receives some of the same feelings. With over 27,000 on it it’s getting to be something of a high-miler, an old-timer, although there are plenty of older ones running. But over the miles, and I think most cyclists will agree with this, you pick up certain feelings about an individual machine that are unique for that individual machine and no other. A friend who owns a cycle of the same make, model and even same year brought it over for repair, and when I test rode it afterward it was hard to believe it had come from the same factory years ago. You could see that long ago it had settled into its own kind of feel and ride and sound, completely different from mine. No worse, but different.
I suppose you could call that a personality. Each machine has its own unique personality which probably could be defined as the intuitive sum total of everything you know and feel about it. This personality constantly changes, usually for the worse, but sometimes surprisingly for the better, and it is this personality that is the real object of motorcycle maintenance. The new ones start out as good-looking strangers and depending on how they are treated, degenerate rapidly into bad-acting grouches or even cripples, or else turn into healthy, good-natured, long-lasting friends. This one, despite the murderous treatment it got at the hands of those alleged mechanics, seems to have recovered and has been requiring fewer and fewer repairs as time goes on.
Yesterday Junior Junior sat down on a skateboard and wrote a little ditty on the fridge in magnetic words. He was deep in focus, really into it, until he wasn’t. Then he was all done and he read it to me.
I’ve edited a bit to get it closer to the way he said it and it took three or four tries to transcribe it all.
You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the cold beer zone.
A couple weeks ago beer from the kegerator was pouring extra foamy and a bit warm & flat. So I checked the thermostat and the CO2 and the heft of the keg and then drank it anyway. ---denial--- The next day I poured one for my old lady and it was the same tepid foamy flat froth. She was a bit more skeptical. I wanted to drink it anyway, but it sucked.
I checked on the kegerator again and it was humming a weak sound but nowhere near cold, barely hanging on. Not a beer issue but a refrigeration issue. Georgetown prints it at the top of their cans “please refrigerate. warm beer sucks” and returning a keg that's half-full of warm beer, really sucks.
It was like a beloved family pet, a trusty companion, always there to greet me at the door. After 12 years, it’s hard to let go. They say the first stage in the grieving process is denial. I'd agree with that as I’m moving through the stages and processing it all.
The first couple years were all Elysian. Pony kegs schlepped on a bike trailer just up a hill to the CD. Full kegs from friend’s cars. Then Junior was born. Then the cargo bike arrived to schlepp more pony kegs. Then my old lady got canned at the Elysian and we started buying Georgetown kegs. Then Junior Junior was born. Then we moved to a new house. Then I woke up and 12 years had gone by.
The first sticker stuck was a DrunkCyclist “there will be beer”. Scratch back through the sticker stratigraphy and you might see one you gave me.
Perhaps I jinxed it on my most recent birthday talking about how great it’s been pouring beers from a tap instead of a can or bottle and how it’s paid for itself several times over, over the years.
A simple estimate says more than 144 kegs poured through that tap. If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance you pulled a pint or two out of old faithful.
My personal price index will remind you that retail pints (even in Idaho) are now pouring at $7, tall cans are $5 and a cup of lousy fucking drip coffee is $3. So a $120 keg holding 120 pints of good beer is a great investment in a quality of life issue.
It’s taken me a couple weeks to process but now I’m ready to purchase old faithful 2.0 and continue the journey with a new companion to start sticking some new stickers.
I will refrain from talking too much shit about Eastern Washington / Northern Idaho. I grew up there in the heart of the Inland Empire, which entitles me to a bit of shit talking. But I haven’t spent any real time there for 35 years. This recent visit was an eye opener in a suburban sprawl way as one incorporated “city” has glommed into the next in a continuous monumental ode to the automobile with a particular emphasis on big big trucks, vans, suburbans and SUVs. With plenty of parking for everyone. Plenty of parking.
34 years ago a little amusement park opened on a 400 acre plot in Athol and it has grown and grown and grown. Fast forward to last week and that Big Amusement Park was the reason for our little visit. Here there’s a strong correlation with contracting COVID 2.5 years into this whole virus thing. But that’s another story.
Sitting at a red light on the Burke-Gilman crossing the Ave staring into space waiting expectorating anticipating more waiting when this sticker on a signpost caught my eye just enough for me to pluck it off and take a closer look.
I ride a Bullitt around the U-district all day schlepping amazon packages their final fifty fucking feet.
But what if you rode a Bullitt around the U-district all day with a single super sized silicone spermatozoon strapped to the cargo bed with see through cellophane straps? Its long tail slithering in the seat stays subconsciously suggesting motility and more marketing mumbo jumbo. Wearing a snazy sperm bank uniform and matching helmet. Toting a satchel full of promotional items, aka plastic crap to distribute: key chains, bottle openers, pens, pencil toppers, chapstick, QR coded silicone sperm stress balls, beanies, face masks, hand sanitizers, carabiners, tire levers, water bottles, fidget toys, rubber duckies, slap bracelets and sunglasses.
There are only two shirts like this in the world. As we speak, I’m wearing one and the other one is in the mail, on its way to PDX. Both shirts still smell like thriftstore because they are Costco castoffs from the original owner repurposed recycled redirected regurgitated.
Messing around on old thriftstore shirts inspires inspiration. The next hella hella shirts will be vertical instead of horizontal in a horticultural agricultural sculptural way, recognizable to a select few. You know.
Those in the know, know that Steve is the OG Hella Corndog and he's the reason I burned the Hella screen for a Corndog Classic in whatever broken-sternum year that was, 20ish years ago… …and that’s why that shirt is on its way to PDX for one of the guys down at DANK bags. I don’t have any photos from that Hella Corndog but visualize Monorail Kevin and then ask Kittleson.
There may be a few of those original T-shirts still kicking. When I say kicking I mean hermetically sealed in a safety deposit box at 701 5th. Squirrel’s kid may or may not be wearing one right now, I’m told. But the silk screen is going hella strong here and now, here and there.
It was a dark and stormy night one day when I replaced the grips on my Soma. Classic black OURYs on a sweptback Nitto bar. In the ends I tucked some old Cinelli bar plugs I had sitting around to keep the handlebar from slicing circles through the end of the grips over time or the end of my knee some day.
Fast forward a few weeks when I’m rolling to work and I heard a rattling sound up in the headset handlebar area. In my groggy state I assumed it was cable housing slapping around or the headlight bracket or Steve clipped a paperclip on my bike somewhere back in 2009.
On the way to work, it’s all downhill to the train and then all downhill from the train station to the mothership. So bike things rattle and bounce and clickety clack. The fastest my bike ever rolls is coasting downhill. On the way home it’s a slow motion single speed grind up hill. What I’m getting at is that the mystery rattle didn’t rattle on the way home and I forgot about it for a while and switched bikes a few times. But when I came back to the Soma another morning, the same thing happened.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you would have pinpointed and fixed that rattle within 30 seconds of hearing it. Some of you spend your entire weekend cleaning drivetrains and tweaking little bike tweaks ad nauseum. You may be very particular about your particulars. But I have gotten pretty slack on things bike related these days. My few ounces of give-a-shit evaporated when I wrenched on bikes full time. Good enough is good enough for me with bigger fish to fry and four bikes to ride… …that rattle hung around for weeks, giving me time to speculate about the source and really listen to the sound when I’d hop on the Soma in the morning and then forget about it in the afternoon.
It sounded like a couple of plastic chicklets rattling in a steel tube. My speculation became a hypothesis which evolved into a theory: a tooth or two broke off the back of the Cinelli bar plug and began to rattle around in the handlebar. The manufacturer refers to them as “stay put ribs” designed to tuck into drop bars and keep the bar tape nice and neat. Aside from the RB-1 for RAGBRAI 2007, 08,09 I haven’t really rolled drop bars since 1998, which is one reason the teeth on these plugs were a little brittle.
Yesterday morning at 5:47am I pulled one of the OURYs off and shook the busted chicklets out. My theory was correct. Then I slid the grip back on and rode down the hill to the train.
If you ask me about a certain coworker, housemate or distant relative and I respond with “they take up a lot of space”. It's not a compliment, it’s a generic long-story-short response that may encompass a variety of human relations issues in addition to actual cubic feet of physical space.
This rad power couple takes up a lot of space. In my field of vision, on the train, on the elevator, on the sidewalk, in the bike lane, in the city of Seattle. Perhaps in their minds they’re traveling light because they left their 57-foot 5th-wheel trailer on their Ford F550 in a WalMart parking lot to skeet around downtown on their “bikes”.
As you know it’s Bike to Work to Bike at Work All Day Day (BTWTBAWADD)
However, I took the day off, so I might ride a bike today but I won’t be riding a bike to work to ride a bike at work.
Bike to Work Day has always been unofficially subtitled “honey can you pick me up after work? I’m too tired to ride that fucking bike home.”
Clo'e Floirat SPOT The New Yorker 5-16-22
Aside from Junior riding a stationary bike, a highlight from our trip to the thrift store was seeing Carole King’s Tapestry perched front and center on the pile of vinyl near the books, dvds and vhs tapes. It was as if another shopper placed it up front to make sure someone like me would see. Somewhere in the haze of my memory I have sounds and visions from the 70s of my sister playing tracks off various albums, including Tapestry. She was the DJ, I was the audience. I never paid much attention to the album cover until now.
Holding the album, I mentioned to Junior that I recently read a poem about the cat on the cover and she could not have cared less but it made me smile as I tried to remember where I read that poem. Today I remembered, it was in The Threepenny Review #168 on page 26.
The Cat on the Cover of
Carole King’s Tapestry is Dead
The photographer who took the picture is dead, too. For nine years now. He died in his seventies. But the cat – his name was Telemachus – has been dead longer. Just look at that cranky face. He’s been staring out at us for fifty years now, each day wanting us gone, wanting his mother all to himself while they wait for brave Ulysses to return home from battle. All he wants is to be left alone on his pillow throne there in the window beside her bare feet, soaking up the sun while she knits her gatefold tapestry. Only once the moon rises over Laurel Canyon will she unravel her progress, to fool us into thinking she’ll soon choose one of us.
They say you’re supposed to change the tap line in your kegerator once in a while. Not just clean it, but replace the entire thing. I bought a new hose a few months ago and I planned to swap it out between kegs. After watching a couple youtube videos I thought I could just loosen the nut behind the tap with a cone wrench or an adjustable wrench or whatever happened to be hanging around in the garage. But when I popped the top off the tap tower I realized there’s a reason they make special wrenches for this setup. It’s no cone wrench and an adjustable wrench won’t even come close. So I put it off, tapped another keg and bought the right tool for the job and now it’s hanging up, waiting for the keg to blow…
"The KOMOS tower wrench is specifically designed to tighten the nut on the back of a faucet shank. It is double offset for clearance inside of coffin boxes and larger round towers and to move the handle away from the insulation or other nearby objects. Also super handy when tightening shanks inside a cold box when space is at a premium and it is hard to fit a traditional wrench. Pubs have historically made their own, now you can get one the easy way."
When I open my bike shop this wrench will be hanging with the tools somewhere not too far from the Campy corkscrews.
When I finally quit this messenger shit, once and for all, I’m going to open a bike shop. A big bright historic space with huge storefront windows and high ceilings and wood floors. With passive solar heating in the winter, and well placed shade in the summer. I’m going to work there all the time, six or seven days a week. The shop will be beautiful, stocked with every bike tool ever invented. French, Italian, Japanese, you name it, I will have it, hung neatly on the shop walls. Everything in its place. A place for everything. I will have two Campagnolo corkscrews with cherry handles. I will have seven different kinds of bike tool bottle openers. I will have four brands of headset presses. The 3000 square foot work space will have work stands and tools for 5 full-time mechanics, so I can work on 5 of my bikes all at once. Two air compressors enclosed in sound proof cases. Truing stands bolted down to work benches 42.5 inches off the ground. I will have two Phil Wood spoke cutters/threaders. There will be cement floors and drains built in so I can hose it all down when the kegs overflow or the chainlube explodes or the cat pukes or the shit hits the fan. I will have shop dogs and shop cats. The bike book library will be monumental. The furniture will be well designed, attractive, comfortable and functional. There will be no non-dairy creamer. The coffee will be good. The beer will be cold. There will be wholesale accounts with everyone for everyone. Paul, Phil, Chris, Grant, Brooks, Mavic, Moots, Sachs, Sidi, Swobo. For me and my friends of course.
I will be at work all the time. I’ll show up at 5:30am, or 3:00pm, or not at all. I’ll spend the night. I’ll stay for two weeks straight. Or take a week off if I feel like it. However, the shop will not be open to the public. The sign on the door will say “closed”, and if you flip it over it‘ll say “closed”. I’ll also have a large neon CLOSED sign, and it’ll be on all the time, like a beacon of freedom constantly sending its message, at all hours of the day and night. I’ll be in there working hard on my own bikes. Or on poetry, freelance writing, silk-screening, carpentry, cooking breakfast, pondering or drinking beer and pondering. The shop hours will not be posted. The phone will not be connected, so people cannot call and ask about the shop hours. And there will not be any employees because I won’t need any. This will eliminate any potential human relations issues, staff meetings, communication failures, personality problems, scheduling conflicts, and all the junior-high shit that goes along with trying to run a business with employees. Fuck that.
I will be in the shop but I won‘t be selling anything. Retail bullshit will not enter my sphere of existence. The windows will have incredible displays of bicycle art and elegant simple functional bikes because I like window displays. And I’ll spend hours creating them for my own enjoyment, not to attract customers. I‘ll be in the shop, reading the NY Times, listening to Miles Davis, or the White Stripes, or the Minute Men, or Bob Mould, or Guided by Voices, or Modest Mouse, or Guns n Roses or NPR and drinking coffee and beer and beer and coffee. Customers with stupid questions or flat tires or sheepskin seat covers or cracked carbon fiber forks can knock on the door all day long and I might even notice them between Hüsker Dü songs playing on the Bose Wave Radio, but probably not, and if I do, I’ll give them a half smile then get back to my work. My work as a sole proprietor and my work drinking beer and pondering.
The back door will be unlocked and open whenever I am in the shop and friends can stop by and bring their dogs and work on their bikes and add or subtract to the cold beer in the double wide Sub-Zero fridge or hit the bottomless pot of black coffee. The shop will include a beautiful stainless steel commercial sized kitchen. And a sleeping loft and an amazing bathroom with more magazines than a news stand, and I will not have to worry about customers fucking it up, because there will not be any customers. ###
well here I am... sitting on a chair staring at the clouds mowing on a clif bar thinking of not drinking more coffee right around 2pm toting a book of haiku flipping to any random page pondering the vision three short lines can bring inviting my crow friend to take part riffing on Kerouac shedding 5-7-5 constraints realizing he wants no part of it he wants the fucking food
A few feet to the right of the crow-eats-peanut-off-campus-map-show there’s a handiramp outside the Atmospheric Sciences Geophysics building spitting distance from a blind corner obscured by shrubbery. Right around 8:29 am Monday through Friday, one dude freewheels down it and across Okanogan Lane to store his bike, while another dude rolls up it to enter the ATG building. From my vantage point muttering to myself or talking with crows and schlepping packages I can hear each dude’s freewheel singing, approaching from different directions and without looking at my watch I know it’s nearly 8:30. Although my watch always says 3:33 so it wouldn’t matter.
Just yesterday morning… …both dudes hit the handiramp at the same time and dude #2 says “watch it!” then dude #1 gives a long angry but silent questioning why-don’t-you-fucking-watch-it look over his shoulder as he keeps rolling.
I continued muttering to myself and wondering how this could not be the first time these two dudes, who work in the same building, 50 fucking feet from each other, have had a close call. How could these two dudes not know each other? How can this be the first time this “almost” almost happened? Have they not talked about bikes before? Have they not discussed the merits of single speeds or the hype of Cannondales in the late 80’s? Have they not run into each other before? How can this be?
Fast forward 23 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds to this morning in the midst of feeding my crow bro peanuts, I hear dude #1’s freewheel and watch him for a moment to see where he stores his bike when half a moment later dude #2 hits the handiramp.
I smile and momentarily ponder the worn out old story problem and the variation I drafted 12 years ago about two commuters meeting at the same spot plus or minus 10 seconds each weekday morning and the infinite number of variables that have to fall into place for these two seemingly unrelated sequences of events to coincide. Insert here some math textbook references, asterisks and footnotes citing the Burke Gilman Effect which I also coined sometime in the last 27 years. But I’ve been there - done that and today’s story problem pondering didn’t last too long
because of a unique package delivery, there was a subtle difference in the routing of my route this morning, but my crow bro caught on and seamlessly transitioned, joining the route already in progress. He actually got a little touchy, some might say aggressive and followed me to Chemical Engineering. Flying low he slapped me on my left shoulder with a wing after I only offered up one peanut. We had a little chat and then I gave him a few more peanuts over at Atmospheric Sciences.
Around about that same time Bret in ABQ was emailing me a digital copy of this Raven sign bounce passing it off a satellite orbiting earth and hitting my phone perfectly on the fly. The words it strings together speak to me on several levels and once again everything is coming together.
the Uber came to an abrupt halt then a passenger door flew open and a frat boy hopped out never looking up from his phone walking around the front of the car and then the Uber did a quick jaunt to the right and a full U-turn left
variations on the theme
play out in slow motion
at all times
on all days
get in line
pay your taxes
don’t ask questions
do me a favor
don't do me any favors
arbitrary goals set
and then met
there’s no sense of accomplishment
no looking back to admire a day’s work
it’s a treadmill
stationary bike like
what’s next !?!
is that all there is?
used to do a little
but a little wouldn’t do
so the little got more and more
trapped in a man-sized Skinner box pressing the lever with efficient frequency or frequent efficiency but the returns are clearly diminishing in a constant cost-benefit analysis. In the beginning the reward pellets were more sub sub sub substantial. It was as if they actually meant something
there is no reward for hard work
just as there is no penalty for being a gold bricking cherry picking total sack of shit
ask me about sustainability
inflatable pools with unpatchable leaks leaching plasticky poofs of last summer’s last breath
spent toner cartridges packed up with postage-paid return labels if that makes you feel better thinking they’ll be recycled but they’re just on their way to a landfill in Eastern Washington
talking the talk sounds good on Earth Day
you’re all fucked–The Replacements
it seems “tall drip” is written in sharpie on my forehead. The barista knows me and my coffee. A little further along the continuum and the forehead sharpie message reads “IPA”
—OK google suck it out of my ass and save it on a server somewhere so you can sell it back to me later—
Cut & Paste the above statement into your browser a few times and take note
filling in the negative space with positively anything...masking tape, electrical tape, whatever it takes
but today was the first time I've tried to dance around an existing silkscreen with some spray paint and a stencil.
Calling the crow and raven cut-outs that Bret sent me "stencils" is an understatement. They're cut from steel and they're over the top as Bret has his finger on the button of the machine in the machine shop that can cut crows from steel.
I'm seeing spraying crows all around with silkscreens added later
(Philosophy and Fun of Algebra by Mary Everest Boole, 1909)
Mary says, angels are great, but you gotta know when they're fucking with you.
Like, for example, Jacob: most people see angels somewhere Mary says is pretty—clouds or flame—but Jacob sees them on a ladder, which Mary says is unromantic—two sides reaching toward each other that can never touch.
Do you disagree?
A little girl prays to Mary: the powers of darkness must be the wolves under my bedbecause they disappear when the sun rises.
Mary says put all the facts in one column and the sums in the other.
This leaves space for adding more facts.
Angels, Mary says, lead to algebra because they lie.
An angel cannot tell you how many petals there are on a buttercup.
Solve for the great unknown, Mary says, the sacred X.
Image = fact = madness until proven true.
I set you children a lesson, Mary says. Our unknown is I am.
The angel comes with a message about a broken link or a loose chain.
Infinity, Mary says, equals how many children, how much cake.
Another epic multimodal commute. Satisfied to get a seat for my bike and myself. Texting my old lady an ETA when I get an email from Davey Oil saying “i’m looking at you” with this photo of me texting my old lady. Look up to see Davey standing 12 feet away.
Once I received a text from Toothaker just like this, but he had already exited the train.
Once or twice I’ve exchanged greetings with Professor 327 Dave, between the bike hooks, but we used verbal communication, as in spoken word.
I can count on one hand the number of times I was actually asked to move, as in not to “sit here and drink beer”
More than once it was from the self-proclaimed dog park steward at what I like to call Dikmen Dog Park because 1127 Pine, the home of Dikmen Travel, used to throw off rookies at Elliott Bay. And this shitty little dog park is spitting distance from there. I say Plymouth Pillars Park only for the Pillars across Boren.
97% of those times I was asked to move, I was sitting next to Steve Young, that guy in the photo that Todd took at 1202 2nd Ave.
Once upon a time, a security guard came out the back door of 904 7th Avenue and asked us to move along. We just chuckled because he obviously had absolutely nothing else to do and he actually got off his ass and walked around the building to talk to us.
Another time, Steve and I sat on a circular cement bollard and had a couple tall cans. Several US Marshals walked past and just smiled shaking their heads. We were sitting directly beneath a US District Court security camera. The Marshals were cool, they never actually asked us to move. They just wanted us to know that they knew and it was all in a day’s work, for us and for them.
I always say it’s hiding in plain sight. But like Toothaker says, perhaps it’s not hiding at all, it’s a natural part of the landscape so it just blends in. Or it did way back when.
Ask me about this bifurcated arrow at 43rd & Brooklyn and I might say, “that sign would look good in my bathroom” Then I’d take a moment to try to see it through the eyes of the average aggro UberEats - DoorDash driver that just wants to get over to the Ave for some Sushi Burritos and tubs of Pad Thai but he has to go up to 45th or down to 42nd. If he was on a bike he could plow straight ahead through the choked-down picnic-tabled bike-lane mumbo-jumbo.
Ask me about the bifurcated arrow inked seven layers deep on my forearm and I might say nothing because it’s personal and there’s no way to explain tattoos to people that ask stupid questions on elevators just before they ask if it’s raining. But after a few beers I might change the subject and tell you about the bifurcated kangaroo penis and how it’s a perfect match for the female kangaroo’s dual vaginas. Then we could chat about the right tool for the job.
I don’t need a reason or an excuse or an invitation to drink beer no food coloring thankyou or kiss me I’m not Irish t-shirt on a hallmark holiday marked by a half rack of stale shamrock COSTCO cupcakes in the breakroom and half ass dollar store decorations from the so-called office party where no one cared enough to attend except Sherri from accounts payable downtrodden but always trying to be upbeat in the glittery green deely-bobber antenna she wore last year and the year before to the virtual celebration.
you won't see me at MacOflanahan’s for green beer happy hour
“did you find anything at the thrift store?” my old lady asked
“another black t-shirt” I said
then she not so much laughed as exhaled and imperceptibly shook her head non verbally saying “are you fucking kidding me?”
but this one’s sweet and I’m going to silkscreen it into a one-of-a-kind one-at-a-time creation kinda sorta like all the other black t-shirts I screen and wear
and I also found some $75 Izod golf pants for $5 and cut them off at the knee and I’ll be wearing them until they fall apart. because golf pants are the new black. because golf pants are the new Carhartts. because golf pants are the new Dickies. no joke. they’re stretchy quick-dry and they have six deep pockets that are cut just right for e-assist bathtub Mr. McFeely delivery. they’re built better than cycling “lifestyle” pants and they’re ubiquitous in thrift stores if you know what you’re looking for
mark my words
it’s a quality of life issue
you may recall a previous jaunt down golf pants road roundabout 16 years ago, but that was just a 100% cotton folly more about the matching coozie and toptube pad courtesy of those guys down at DANK bags
this time it's for real
those cotton shorts didn't last long and the roadmaster coozie was re-gifted or traded away but my bike wore that toptube pad to work today in a phantom-nostalgia-full-cirlcle way
it doesn't match my Izod cutoffs and the other six layers of black clothing I'm wearing but it's there because because because
more than once people have asked me for a "rise-up T-shirt” and I say, "I didn't make that shirt" Banks gave me that shirt in 2006 made by someone in Philly I think. I wore the shit out of it, then gave it to my old lady and she cut the sleeves off and wore it until it fell apart, then she cut out the rise-up and sewed it on a hoodie… … the hoodie that Emily was wearing last week riding full suspension in Phoenix, AZ
This is the bike Daniel rides in Karate Kid. If I watched it in 1984, I didn’t pay much attention. But last night as Junior Junior was watching it, I was too and I noticed the Mongoose Daniel's mom hauled all the way from New Jersey to Reseda, on top of her sweet station wagon.
I also noticed when he rode to school, he locked only the front wheel with a crap cable lock.
I’ve been paying attention to the NFL since 1977. But the more I watch it, the more it starts to look like Rollerball, the 1975 movie. In my mind I’ve blended the story line of Rollerball into the story of the NFL:
In a futuristic society where corporations have replaced countries, the violent game of Football is used to control the populace by demonstrating the futility of individuality. However, one player, Colin Kaepernick, rises to the top, fights for his personal freedom, and threatens corporate control.
Perhaps it’s my superbowl hangover talking. I’m still a football fan, but an aging, skeptical, cynical, father of two, who wakes up with random aches and pains in the morning. I am fully aware that these guys are killing each other on the field. All the while the NFL makes billions of dollars and hopes that the broken retired players quietly fade away.
The NFL is so good at what it does, that we’ll talk way more about Dr Dre and Snoop Dog than we ever will about Adrian Peterson, Frank Clark, Tyreek Hill, Ray Rice or whatever domestic violence case du jour swept under the rug. The countless unflattering issues the PR hacks put their spin on, have a way of disappearing quickly.
I’m not going to stop watching football, but I’m watching less and less. I have to look away from all the slow motion injury replays and the helmet to helmet hits.
I do not look away from the stories of retired players unable to function on a basic level in their daily lives because of multiple head injuries they sustained in their playing days from Pop Warner on up to the NFL.
The game of Rollerball was so realistic that the cast, extras, and stunt personnel played it between takes on the set. At the time of the film's release, Howard Cosell interviewed Norman Jewison (Director & Producer) and James Caan on ABC’s Wide World of Sports showing clips from the film and with the two of them explaining the rules of the game. Audiences who saw the film so loved the action of the game that Jewison was contacted multiple times by promoters, requesting that the "rights to the game" be sold so that real Rollerball leagues might be formed. Jewison was outraged, as the entire point of the movie was to show the "sickness and insanity of contact sports and their allure." –from the Wiki
Cannot say I knew anything about VanMoof bikes until I spotted one outside my local independent bookstore yesterday. I didn’t get too close but I did take a picture. Only because it was screaming out “ultimate urban utility” just like all the bikes in that cute little contest 8 years back where groups of hipsters from five cities submitted their design proposals for a city bike. The winning team’s idea would be sent to production by Fuji. Or so they said. Fuji never followed through. The best thing to come out of all that was the signage. My old lady walked out with this example that we still have on the wall at HQ.
Looking at the VanMoof site makes me think maybe some of those hipsters found some investors and a factory in China to produce their version of the ultimate urban utility bike. 8 years later it’s e-assist bro and chock full of widgets, gadgets, doohickies and doodads integrated all up in the frame wherever you look as well as places you wouldn’t think to look. And all that is cool, until it isn’t, then it’s not cool. What I’m saying is, very specialized, proprietary, unique electronic horseshit breaks down and then you have a heavy $3000 single speed.
I prefer to unlock my lock with a key. I don’t want an app on my device that lets my bike sense me approaching and unlocks the integrated lock in the rear hub.
I like to imagine a Bike Works employee dragging a VanMoof out of the donation dumpster in 5 years. When they get it back to the warehouse and crack open the internal electronic 4-speed shifting doohickey near the rear hub all the little cogs fall to the floor and they laugh and shake their head before hurling the whole thing into the metal recycling container.
There was an awkward moment, a brief disturbance that set off an unfortunate sequence of hollow halfass events, creating an imbalance in the universe. It was only a matter of time until the universe took care of things and kicked that shit back into shape.
As if you have nothing better to do. Plenty of free time on your empty hands. Here’s an idea to fill in the negative space.
This book is about the 1936 UW crew that won the national championship and the right to represent the USA at the Olympics in Berlin, where they kicked ass and won a gold medal.
Tina loaned me this a few weeks ago and now I believe it should be required reading for all UW students, perhaps even all high school students in the state of Washington. It covers a great deal of Pacific Northwest history. But also national and international history too. From the construction of Grand Coulee Dam to the nation’s struggles during the great depression to Hitler’s Germany pre WWII. This scrappy group of guys from Washington were perhaps the greatest crew in the history of crew.
Soon to be a major motion picture (think Chariots of Fire on the Montlake Cut) But the book is better than anything tossed up on the silver screen. and one more thing...
I’ve only just cracked the surface of this one but it’s narrative nonfiction at its best. The incredible story of a family with twelve children, six of them schizophrenic.
You don’t have to go home but you can’t eat here. They will not offer ketchup. We must ask for it. Plant based plastics are still plastics they say will stick around 998 years less: (EN13432) Until further notice. Occam’s single-use throw away plastic razor. Parsimony, pepperoni, macaroni... Junior Junior couldn’t care less. 5-storey residential, street-level retail, no off-street parking. Sunday morning easy like.
1981 Soma Competition lugged steel made in Japan to roll 27 inch wheels. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times. I got this bike at Bike Works at the 10-9 sale in 1999 when Adam Smith was the entire shop staff in that cute little non profit yellow house bike shop. A bit later at Counterbalance Bicycles, Adam helped me drill out the fork for a recessed bolt to run long reach dual pivot calipers on 700c wheels. Twenty years later I’m squeezing big fat tires in there beneath those calipers and going on and on…
… because I will tell you all about this bike but I don’t want to hear about the gravel bike hall of fame or the e-bike race calendar or whatever iteration du jour will save the bike industry. Kinda sorta exactly like Mark Arm says in the Mudhoney ditty
Bill Watson rolled through Seattle this weekend so I took out one of my analog bikes and rode it up to the 98105 to meet him for a Big Time beer or three.
I gave him a couple one-of-a-kind pilderwasser branded thrift store scores. And he gave me this coozie which will help me work a little more RAGBRAI into my daily life in gas station parking lots and on park benches.
ran into Al from Perkins Coie today as he was on his way to King County Superior Court to actually file some documents with the clerk.
old school o rama
which brings me to this shot of me & Goldsmith circa 1998ish taken by another Wa Legal messenger as we all three were standing by at 1201 waiting for Perkins to call in some sort of last minute rushes to King County and all the opposing counsel chuffers around town.
At my local Brew Pub the bartender “G” has a pint of Scarlet Fire pouring as I walk through the door and it’s in my hand long before the tourist family that’s inline in front of me finishes sampling and tasting and asking questions about each and every beer on tap.
At one of the only coffee shops that's open on campus these days the barista “B” has a tall drip poured for me long before all the Health Sciences undergrads order their white chocolate mochas and 2.67 pumps of vanilla foo foo moo choo drinks. When she sets it on the counter for me I get some looks because there were no words exchanged between us and my drink is ready before the six people in front of me.
Once upon a simpler time I frequented a coffee shop so often that they named one of their bagel sandwiches after me. Then they went out of business. Correlation, but let's not jump to causation.
Call me crusty. I call it kickass customer service for a consistent customer.
Right about roundabout just about 25 years ago this ad appeared on the back cover of Iron Lung, a Seattle bike messenger zine. Shortly after Kathleen said “fuck off Charles” and just before she opened her own bike shop right around the corner from Wright Bros.
25 years ago I was a messenger wannabe, still three months from my first messenger job. I was working at the Elysian inside Game Works and applying to grad schools. I wrote a little note to the editor of the zine and they reprinted it on page 2
here and now I'm re-reprinting
I know now what I knew then
but I didn’t know then
what I know now
I’m not a messenger but I have So much respect for those who are. I identify with them more than all the damn CBC- neonclad - “on your left” - STP -rearview mirror on the helmet- Burke Gilman - Gregg's Greenlake - weekend warrior gomers I see on the road. I appreciate the individualism, the freedom, the attitude and the day-to-day grind of riding for a living, even though I don’t do it. I don’t own a car. I own 3 bicycles. I ride to work everyday and I ride for fun too. I got a $47 ticket for not having a headlight on the way to the bar. It was 10:30pm on Capitol Hill and the damn cop spent 20 minutes lecturing me on bicycle safety and about his first bike in 1955 and how it came with a headlight. The aesthetics of my stripped down bike were lost on Officer Friendly: no lights, no reflectors, no fenders, no derailleurs, no toe clips, no stickers, no decals, no name brands, one speed, one hand brake. The ultimate bar bike.
I picked up Iron Lung at Wright Bros. But now I’d love to have it mailed to me. I saw the bike zine article in Bicycling Magazine… …when popular culture finally gets around to looking at what’s really going on, it’s usually stale. And it was.