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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Photo final

Did a typology of handlebars for my photo final. While I'd like to get it properly photographed, the best I can do to share it online is this digital mockup:

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It's called "handlebars are people, too."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dear Wheel,

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Thank you, dear Wheel. It's been a year and a half since I designed and built you with friends Sheldon and Miller. Yes, you were more difficult to raise than the average 3-cross, and I had to lace you more than once before I made you right, but when I finally finished, you were strong and beautiful.

Since we've been together, you've done so much for me.

Like a good luck charm, it was the day after I first rode you to polo that I landed my first bike job.

Besides hundreds of commuting miles, we've shared a few alleycats, I've played countless games of polo on you, spraypainted you for a tweed ride, cyclocrossed you more than once, and generally given you the kind of abuse I've raised you to love. You've even helped spawn a cousin—a wheel I never would have had the courage to ride across America if it weren't for the trust we had built.

Now, with one side of your hub stripped beyond any threadability, and the other cog'd with glue, I cannot remove your broken spokes, and joke about you as my "custom 30-spoker," as a loose nipple rattles between the walls of your rim.

Thank you, wheel. You have done so much for me, and, even after I build another, I will continue to ride you until you become dust. And then I will put you on my wall, with other decommissioned bike stuff.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

reordering time

This forgotten bike has been locked up outside Millrace Studios for
weeks, deteriorating. Today, I was so tired of looking at it,
sideways, rear wheel out, I healed it with my pocket tool and a few
spare minutes before class. Planning to slowly fix it up over time as
a secret performance piece. Maybe its owner will take it back by the
end of the term.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

fueled by oppression

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Friends from polo Ian and Rose have a band with their friend Joe. They played the Jackalope last night. I recorded a few songs, one of which was actually bike-related.

It was a really fun set. Aside from the music, highlights included general sassines, darts, beer, and watching Ian try not to drop a tambourine while playing the melodica.

They're called Fueled By Oppression. The songs mentioned above are probably called "End All Be All," "Life Not Lawns," and "Fair Weather Cyclist."

PS there were a couple polo bikes there; check out this knuckle guard Boone brazed to his left handlebar:
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bike Barter

After a hearty breakfast, I did a proper tune-up on a NEXT.

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Normally, I wouldn't spend any time on such a cheap bike, but, as part of my life mission to empower folks through the use of bicycles, I adjusted the brakes, sanded the pads, cleaned the rims, trued the rear wheel, adjusted both derailers, oiled the chain, and aired the tires on this Wal-Mart monstrosity.

Why?

The other day, just as I was leaving home for work, a knock came at the door. It was an immigrant with a heavy accent named Andre. He didn't have a job, and wanted very much to have his bike work better. He said he liked to do drawings. I didn't really want to, but I have this sign in my driveway that says we fix bikes, so I told him I would.

When I came home this evening, he had picked it up and, in exchange, he'd left this sweet tie-dye tee:

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Thanks, Andre. I hope your NEXT treats you well and you find good work soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tour de EUG

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Thanks for the art, Ei.

Tired of a scarceness of alleycats in this town, I decided to put one on myself last weekend.

Thanks to all the checkpointers and other folks who helped out—you know who you are—for making this happen. I had a lot of fun, and most of you told me you did, too.

There were 12 checkpoints on the manifest, which I chose to put in the order I thought was best. Yes, this eliminates the challenge of choosing one's own route, but I wanted this to be an easy, fun race. Besides, some riders managed to get lost anyway.

1.) Stuart Smith's house, 2375 Columbia. Pull weeds.
2.) Blue Heron Bicycles, 877 E. 13th Ave. Park a cruiser for Sue. Receive an inner tube.
3.) High Priesstess Piercing & Tattoo, 525 E. 13th Ave. Get "play pierced."
4.) Autzen Bike & Pedestrian Bridge. Consume 2 oz. of a mysterious amber liquid.
5.) BMX track. Do a lap.
6.) "The Sun" at Alton Baker Park. Do a lap of the duck pond on a little girl's bike.
7.) Polo Courts, 2nd & Washington. Slalom down the dirt and stop in a circle.
8.) One Cup Café, 2nd & Blair. Enjoy a 160-degree shot of espresso.
9.) Monroe Park, 10th & Monroe. Push your bike around the park's perimeter backwards.
10.) Kesey Square, Broadway & Willamette. Have your photo taken with Ken, then lay on the ground and spasm like you're being tazed.
11.) College Hill Reservoir, between 23rd & 25th on Lawrence. Play stickwheel.
12.) Bike Barter, 25 W. 24th Pl. Savor victory.

Everybody said they had fun, and the top two finishers intend to throw one in about a month! I'm stoked to actually get to race instead of organize.

Des took a bunch of sweet photos and put a set on her flickr, and George took a bunch of photos and video at his checkpoint and I put them on my flickr.

George's Kesey Square checkpoint media


Des' radical coverage of other chekpoints

Click through, but here a few of my favs of Oudalay, who wins Most Entertaining Racer for doing the whole race on a tiny 16" bike:




Oh, and here's the results:
Tyler Allen 1:10
Ian Summers +0:01
Oudalay +0:04
Sam +0:07
Eddie +0:10
Drue +0:12
Micah Olsen +0:23
Sean, Anna, Kenney +0:35
Tony, Noora +0:45

Tim

Stopped by Eugene Jeans to replace summer cutoffs with full-length Levi's the other day, and Tim treated Jeff and I to a song and some good old-fashioned idle chat.

Check it out sometime.

Friday, September 25, 2009

guilty

too true

So I haven't posted in like a jillion days. To be fair, I've been doing a bunch of Cool Stuff, started two jobs, and a half-job, and am preparing to go back to school. Blogging was so much easier when life was nothing but eating, sleeping, and bike-riding...

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Anyway, I met this rad dude on the corner of 10th and Willamette while waiting for Irvin and recorded him. Hope that satisfies you, Jordan Bailey.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gary, an LA Metro guitar man

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Riding the LA rail to Long Beach to get some sleep after a little polo in North Hollywood, we caught Gary here busking in the middle of our car.

He slipped in just as the doors were closing, said, "Hi guys, it's me again," spread his short legs wide for balance and slung the strap over his neck.

Some were a little put off, but one kid with a guitar of his own was inspired enough to be the first to drop a buck in the hat.

piano move

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As a favor to our gracious hosts in Long Beach, we helped out with a fun little piano move. This photo is during, but I have a few more from both before, at Casey's house on East 4th, and after, at a warehouse on Cherry.

Listen to this recording for the complete experience. It begins in the back of the truck, with the piano already loaded. Just before the five-minute mark, there's a bit missing from the recording as we unloaded the mini grand from the bed. It picks up as we're shuffling it into the warehouse, where there were a bunch of ants.

PS- if you're reading this and know the name of this pianist or his band, please email me so I can link to the myspace or whatever. ahongo at gmail dot com.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Walter and Bennett

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Checking out Stigler with Bennett, we bumped into Walter and had a pretty typical exchange: where you from, where ya going, how come, etc. What made it special was his accent and manner.

Bill reviews our route

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Back in July, I was riding with a few others when one of us flatted. We took shelter from the sun in a random driveway and provided moral support while she changed her inner tube. As we stood around, Bill rolled up on his riding mower to see what was happening. After some initial BSing, he ended up taking a look at the day's cue sheet and, from the comfort of his Cub Cadet, provided some perspective on climbing the mighty Mount Nebo.

Gas station Jammin'

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Exploring the magical town of Marathon, Texas, I came upon a group of middle-aged, mixed-race men enjoying their Sunday afternoon drinking cheap beer, making fun of each other, and playing music. I hung out for a few.

The unfortunate Nick

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Nick, our (rationally) fearful leader, has the unfortunate responsibility of crafting the route for each day's ride and distributing directions, or "cue sheets." One especially unfortunate day in Arkansas, he discovered our destination was actually eight miles further than the cue sheet said, and he had to break the news to all the riders. He caught up to me at Subway, and I, preoccupied by my lunch, couldn't have cared less about a measly eight miles. Besides, by the time he broke the news, I had already become accustomed to the notion of "bonus miles" caused by getting lost, misroutings, detours, etc., and, to keep myself sane, had made a habit of mentally adding 10 to whatever number of miles the cue sheet claimed I'd be doing any given day.

George's Pugeot

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Hailing from Seminole, OK, George rides his Pugeot commuter with pride. He tells me it has 18 speeds, a basket, a bell, and a seat that's good for his "prostrate."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Biosphere 2

Mind totally blown today.

IMG_2004I missed a turn and ended up at the road to Biosphere 2. I asked the guy working on the sign what the deal was. He said it was just two miles off the 77, the tour started in 30 minutes, and it's well worth $20. I leaned on the bike, thought about it, checked my balance, and rode across the cattle guard to a date with science!

I'll post the best pictures here, but the flickr set tells the whole story properly. I like the slideshow option for sets like these.

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Waiting for the coffee shop to open before my tour, I checked out this nifty solar-powered, talking info box. The recording started out the same as the printed text, but had a surprise bonus paragraph at the end!

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A lot of headroom in the desert biome.

IMG_2033How many signs like this are there in the world? Also, pipes look cool in pictures.

IMG_2057During the first mission, the bionauts would regularly dive off the cliffs into the deep end of the ocean. Sometimes, they'd climb the scaffolding to jump.

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This is dreamlike: you leave a beach through a flimsy little door, climb a flight, and you're in a rainforest.

IMG_2061We had to hang out in a random airlock for ten minutes while they fixed a wiring problem that was setting off the fire alarm. Dudes were running around with radios, lights were flashing. A fun bonus, I thought.

IMG_2065The lung! An engineering marvel, it expands and contracts to keep air pressure constant as the sun heats the 'sphere during the day. Looks just like the center of the Death Star. I recorded Cat's rundown of the lung and some fun with echoes. You'll have to forgive my lazy sound editing--it's three clips sloppily glommed together.

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R. Buckminster Fuller
is all over the 'sphere's architecture. Check out Artsy's page on him for a bio, several of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Fuller exhibition listings.

IMG_2100Oh, and just in case I was starting to feel like this place were normal, I saw some cows grazing by the roadside on my way out.

All in all, I'd have to say this is the coolest thing in the world. It's its own little world.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

backwards half-sag FTW!

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So SAG stands for Support And Gear; thusly, the vans are also known as SAG wagons. If you get up in the morning and decide to spend the day in the van instead of on the bike, you're sagging. This is sometimes frowned upon if not scorned, and often prompts effusive excusion or unapologetic admission.

The half-sag is when you jump into the van partway into the ride. This happens when a rider has mechanical problems, simply runs out of juice, is fed up with the heat, tired of a road surface, or just wants to hang out with the other people in the van (which, honestly, is pretty dang fun, and may be the best reason overall). The downside is sitting around in sweaty spandex when you could be chillin in a tee and shorts, and for this reason is perhaps more frowned upon than the full-sag.

The backwards half-sag is something I thought of awhile back in the spirit of unabashed laziness, but only implemented today, out of inspired planning.

I called my dear mother Sunday and told her I'd be in Tucson Tuesday. She said she loves that down, and suggested I visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. But! The day's ride is a solid 75 miles, the museum is 15 miles west of town, and it closes at three in the afternoon. So I asked Judy, our talented and lovely manager, if I could chuck my steed in the van and sag to her support stop at the halfway point, jump out, and bike from there. By cutting off the first 40 miles, I would arrive in Tucson early enough to enjoy the museum, and the extra 30 to get there and back wouldn't turn the ride into a century.

It was such a Good Idea, Bayla came along, and I saw so much cool stuff that I overused the camera and ran out the battery in my phone. She let me use hers, so I'll post more pictures when I sync her Canon with my Mac.

So, in conclusion, the backwards-half-sag is full of win.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Miles vs. smiles

Sagged today. No longer see every day as an opportunity to "rack up the miles." After doing back-to-back-to-back centuries, I feel enough like a badass to take a day off whenever I damn well please. And it will please me to sag tomorrow, because it's eighty miles of straight interstate.

I actually asked a few other riders, "why ride tomorrow?" I didn't ask those that are riding every day, because they're on a mission altogether separate from the rest of us, which I respect, appreciate, and wholeheartedly observe. So, besides being able to say "I rode every day," why ride? There's nothing to see but signs, nothing to do but get a flat tire.

Doug pointed out we're crossing a state line. So that's a particularly rare sign, and makes a fun photo. This was the best reason anyone offered.

Speaking of photos, that's what I did while most people who rode today were napping. I pulled my bike out of the truck and rode around the sleepy town of Lordsburg, taking photos with Crihs and Doug. Watch their blogs for higher-quality photos of the same area.

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IMG_1893Car-door road-score. Got to shimmy under a barb-wire fence for this one.

IMG_1897A hole in the wall of a hole-in-the-wall.

IMG_1906Little empty pool in big empty pool.

For now, the bike's back in the truck. We leave the interstate Tuesday to ride into Tucson, and I'll likely be back in the saddle to cycle into the city. Hopefully, I'll get in early enough for a trip to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

brief ride

Ten cool points for Northern Route. I'm going to ask my team to do this for Quartzsite->Blythe (just 30.2 miles).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Watermelon Men, Latest Craze, Green Meat

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To be honest, I probably talk louder and longer than the Watermelon Men in this clip, but when I do allow them to get a word in, they cut it up with each other well. Perhaps my yapping serves to explain some of the details of the tour I've not really fleshed out on the blog thus far. If not that, my most avid reader (and mother) will enjoy the sound of my voice.

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Remember T-shirt shops? At least one still exists in West Helena, Arkansas. I went in looking for postcards, found none, but stayed for the charm and novelty. They made me this shirt. While I waited, I spoke with the owner about her business and the local economy. That's her daughter in the photo.

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This is Andre. He works at a nutritional supplements store in Seminole, Oklahoma and speaks with an opinion, a sense of humor, and a fabulous accent. Bayla asks the questions this time, so you don't have to listen to my mouth flapping for a third time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bill, an Arkansas Can Man

IMG_1202This is Bill. He's retired, and says he has a permit to collect cans. There's no deposit to claim in Arkansas; he says he does it "to get away from the old laday, mainly."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thrifting

When riding in a group, choosing to stop is normally a democratic process:

"There's Judy! Does anybody need water?"
or:

"Gas station! Bathroom anyone?"

but, when a thrift store shows up:
"Slowing...Thrift store left! THRIFT STORE! TURNING LEFT!"

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I even have a whole flickr set dedicated to thrift stops.

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At one store, Allison couldn't help but pick up a banjo, and even played a little.

There was a bunch of cool stuff to see there. We even chatted with the owner a bit.

By the way, Allison has a blog. It's listed in the sidebar, and it's called Allison Rides Bikes.

Also, if you do the iTunes thing, you can subscribe to the blog as a podcast. This will be the last of the musical podcasts from the backlog. Next will be Andre, Harrell, or Watermelon Men. Or maybe Bill.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

aural stimulation

The good folks at the Digital Duck shipped my MacBook to Dallas, which has finally afforded me the opportunity to edit audio recordings from my phone. I have a bit of a backlog, and will try to put them all up ASAP. If I'm doing this right, you might be able to subscribe in iTunes. Some of them are conversations with colorful locals. This one is a song.

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This is Wally. He’s a short-order chef at a drugstore/diner in Wynnewood, Texas. The guitar is a Silvertone he bought broken at a garage sale. After Matt pulled it off the wall, they chatted for a bit, and then he played us a new classic called "65-pound dime."

He told me that, when his daughter graduates from college, he wants to walk across America.

Monday, July 20, 2009

organizized

As the ride reaches its halfway point, things are beginning to gel. Many of us have adjusted to waking early to don stretchy fabric, load our luggage in the truck, wolf down some morning calories, and hit the road at dawn.

Some days, I'm up on the tailgate with my pannier before Red The Driver...Some days, like today, I'm scrambling to get a bowl of cereal in me before the vehicles rumble off.

I have sorted out some photos into subsets, though. Click the photo to blow it up, click the link for the set:

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Colorful locals

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Breakfasts

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Kids being cool

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Fun at thrift stores

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Signs