Tuesday, December 8, 2009

plundered a wallet

826 Valencia's "Goals for the Voyage" so closely mirror the objectives of the Bike Pirates that we have officially adopted them as our own.

"Meet New People" is something you obviously do at events, during group rides, and on the interwebs. To Learn Valuable New Skills such as bicycle repair/maintenance is important and might save your behind out there on the road or trail. And to Plunder is fun! Or at least interesting, as documented from time to time in Flickr's Roadside Finds group.

And it is plundering that I wish to talk about today!

On the way to work last week, I saw a wallet lying near the gutter of the street. It was one of those things that, had I been in a car, I would never ever have seen in the first place, nor would I have been able or inclined to stop, turn around, and go back for it.

But I was on my bike, so I did see it. And I did stop, turn around, and go back for it.

But I was also on my way to work, so after I confirmed that there was nobody nearby who might have dropped a wallet, I continued on my way while planning to investigate the found wallet once I got to my destination. After, that is, stopping on the way for a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I didn't want to alter my commute plans just because I found a wallet on the ground!

Searching the wallet later, I was able to learn the owner's phone number, which was disconnected, his email address, which produced results on neither MySpace nor Facebook, and his street address, which was on my way home. I also learned all the details concerning the owner's Initial Arrival because his original birth certificate was folded into the billfold!

Left with only street address, I struck out after work with the intention of knocking on doors.

I wouldn't recommend that anybody go knocking on doors by themselves after dark like I did, by the way. I didn't think too much of it until I found myself trying to explain my presence to a wary and skeptical looking older lady who eventually decided I must be harmless, identified herself as the owner's aunt, and accepted the wallet.

I hope she was telling me the truth!

People, bikes lead to adventures.


I got my first issue of the Boneshaker Almanac last night!

It's a small little publication, pocket-sized and looking just like the Field Guide it claims to be. It doesn't lack anything because of size, though. The goodness starts just inside the front cover, upper left hand corner, with the publishers information and the copyright information, similar to Dave Eggars' A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius.

Speaking of the publisher, Wolverine Farms Publishing is based nearby in Fort Collins. Like New Belgium Brewery, which is the first thing I think of when I think of Fort Collins, and that would be simply a coincidental association if it weren't for the New Belgium banner at the top of the Wolverine Farms website. I'm not sure what the connection is there, but I'm not surprised by it. New Belgium is pretty well established in the bike scene, and Wolverine Farms publishes bike almanac. So I guess they would be friends.

The neat thing about the publisher being so nearby is that some of the content is real local news.

Like the picture of Pennyfarthing Guy that appears in the middle of the advice column. I've seen Pennyfarthing Guy pedaling down Cherry Creek, and I saw him at BikeDenver.org's volunteer appreciation party, although I didn't introduce myself.

And like the interview with Brad Evans, editor of Kickstand Magazine and Denver Cruisers Ride architect, wherein he totally called out and heaped scorn upon the skofflaw BIKE NINJAS and their unilluminated ways. Brad Evans, I hereby bestow upon you the title of "Honorary Bike Pirate."

The content wasn't all local though, not by any means. There are blips and blurbs from Texas and beyond, including a bit about biking in Birmingham by Elisa from bikeskirt!

It has the aforementioned advice column, and a book review of David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries. I'm not even finished reading this almanac yet, but I'm obviously tickled thus far.

By which I mean to say, subscriptions are cheap and I endorse it. Go ahead and order a couple copies.

cold cold cold

Bikes and the City made (an ironic) reference to the "cold" 40 degree weather they're having in San Fransisco right now.

Which made me grumble.

We're experiencing a prolonged snap of "cold" 5 degree weather. Which is problematic in that the streets having un-frozen for a couple days now. Cold weather I can handle, but I don't enjoy riding on ice because I don't enjoy falling down.

Consequently, I've been off the bike for two days now and commuting by car feels strange.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

anti-theft spray

This just in! Workcycles sells an Anti-Theft Spray.

umbrellas in the rain

So this post on Bakfiets en Meer touches on the fact that the dutch are likely to bike in the rain. Which is fine and good. I've ridden in the rain, and it can be enjoyable under the right conditions.

What the post doesn't explicitly say, but does depict in the accompanying image, is that a lot of cyclists choose to bike in the rain while holding an umbrella.

Not like this crazy banana-helmet dude.

But more like, you know, one hand on the handlebar and one hand on the umbrella.

Which sounds crazy dangerous, right?

Although you can apparently ride with 1.6 hands on the handles like the Japanese:
In Japan, when it rains it is common to see cyclists holding umbrellas. I watched closely, and it seemed like they hold the handle between their thumb and first finger, while keeping the other three on the brake lever.

Of course, sidewalk riding is also common there, so perhaps Japanese practice is not the safest in the world.

All the same, I don't think I could I could do it. I imagine it would be far too distracting and akin to biking while talking on your cell-phone. And cell-phoning while driving is something I wasn't on board with even before reading Traffic.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ice bike

Especially my front tire. I was pretty much riding on the rim, and I have no idea how I didn't notice. I must have been focusing too hard on the ice and the traffic.

When I parked my bike, both tires were covered in a thin layer of water/snow, through which the escaping air bubbled and hissed and mini-gurgled. It's a weird noise and when you hear it, it's obvious that it's not good.

When I went to pull out the front tube to patch it, I noticed that it wasn't 100% flat as I had thought. It was more like 75% flat, but seemed to be holding air at that point. I was curious about whether the sealant goop had somehow gooped up and sealed the leak, so I just pumped both the tires up instead of pulling it all apart.

The front one held. So, yippee!

The rear one apparently has a slow leak, but slow enough to let me ride home on it after another pre-departure pump.

I'll have to find and patch that leak tomorrow.

On the way home, about four blocks from work, I wobbled on some ice and fell down. A Schwann's truck that was approaching me slowed, and the driver hollered out the window, "Whoa dude, are you okay?"

"Yeah, thanks!" I answered.

"That ice is hard," he called.


At that point we both continued along our original trajectories.