Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I have to agree with one fellow Bicycle Blogger...Bicycles and Beer do go together. At least in my end of the world it does. And I do mean in a responsible manner etc.
So in the spirit of Christmas and good fellowship...I give you the following.
Be happy, be safe...
Stay Current Ride Vintage!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Being Thanksgiving tomorrow I do know, as always, I have lots to be thankful for and I am blessed with my life. I am feeling especially so this year as two acquaintances/friends suffer through searing pain of loss from very recent tragedies. Plus, I got to spend this past weekend with my brother before he returns to the Middle East. After 40 plus years of combined service with the US Army and Department of Defense, this will be his last year in a war zone.
Less anyone forget those who are in harms way… Do You Remember Me? Please, our troops need our support more than ever!
With such things happening, I am reminded that life is short and that saying is Not A Cliché.
With that said, this is no place to say BIKE ME! So I offer this as a Thanksgiving wish…well Blessing.
An Irish Blessing
I wish you not a path devoid of clouds; nor a life on a bed of roses,
not that you might never need regret; nor that you should never feel pain.
No, that is not my wish for you.
My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial, when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed; when hope scares can shine through.
That every gift God gave you might grow along with you. And let you give the gift of joy to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend who is worth that name. Whom you can trust, and who helps you in times of sadness. Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.
One more wish I have for you:
That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you, and all who care for you.
This is my hope for you, now and forever.
Author Unknown, translated by Charles Mitchell
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I just watched the weather report and they talked about the possibility of snow (although not accumulating) by week’s end.
I have to confess that there was a time, albeit long ago, that I would have been really excited with such a report. But, I was a Ski Patroller back then. Happy to ski all season long for free and I got to cut lines. First tracks and always last off the mountain. It was all great except when there were drunk skiers attempting to get a patroller to “man up”; it was a snot freezing -10 below zero with 15 MPH winds; raining (sideways); lighting (which made for very interesting lift ride); high winds (again with the lift rides); first tracks after an ice storm; I could go on… But no matter what the conditions, we always skied…5-6-7 days a week, all season long.
What does this have to do with bicycling…the weather here in New England/Boston is ever changing and can be downright harsh, especially in the winter months. And as all Bostonians know, as much as there is no such thing as “Manhattan Chowda” (I heard it’s tomato soup with clams in it?), winter around here can be from any time in October and up to and including pretty much all of April.
So to say that you ride a bike here in Boston/Cambridge means you ride in all types of weather…no matter what. Ok, except maybe when there is plowable snow on the ground…and I strongly recommend staying off the roads for that first accumulating snow. You know the one where the driving public re-learns how to drive in snow and that learning curve resembles somehting like a bad EKG read out.
There are oh so many things to "get" about cycling here in the Boston/Cambridge area. To those of you that are new to the area, look, listen, read, ask, etc. You will be just fine. Like I heard so many times skiing. A bad day on skis (or snow board), beats a good day working or doing much else. And it follows, a bad day on a bicycle beats most any day in a car, bus…etc.
What better way to say BIKE ME to our wonderful winter weather (or with my best Boston accent, winta weatha) here and going a little more native… Chowda anyone?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
But alas, there was one more thing setting up to spread good cheer (just as the sun shine would) though out Boston and Cambridge. Nearly one hundred people dressed in Tweed and riding vintage bicycles (mostly) would be cause to stop traffic and pedestrians alike. Most of them taking pictures and asking; “Who are you people?” I had a lot of fun with my replies…everything from it’s a filming of the sequel to “Good Will Hunting” to we just rode in from NYC.
Good cheer was spread by this cheeky throng winding its way over the Longfellow Bridge to the front of Trinity Church in Copley Square. Next, a short jaunt to Newbury St for refreshments. Then crossing back over the Mass. Ave Bridge to the Harvard Foot Bridge for some good hearted competition and judging.
Business partner Vin V (Oldroads.com) & I were honored to be chosen as judges. And I must confess both of us shamelessly told everyone that we were indeed official judges and could be bribed…and yet, nothing! We figured some free beer maybe… actually we did get one each for an emergency repair performed at Copley Sq. Sorry, I digress.
I must tell you, that there are some seriously nice vintage bicycles being ridden here in the Boston/Cambridge area, most on a daily basis. And a few of those, as it turns out, were sold from our shop. Thus, judging for me, I have to confess, was difficult. So may wonderful rides. As much as I like all bikes, a nice looking 3 speed has a special place with me, as one was my first “real” bike. You know, it is like any first; it is something you never forget and it becomes an eternal bench mark.
Ok, so honestly, I must report we got separated from the main group. After that quick emergency repair at Copley Square, the group had got way ahead of us. So we zipped down Dartmouth St. right past Newbury St. somehow missing where 90+ riders went. Zipping right along searching for our fellow Tweeds, we arrived at the Harvard Foot Bridge warmed by the October sun … and waited. Thinking we should have brought sun screen, we still waited until…
We were treated to the grand sights and sounds (bells, horns and of course the clicking of Strumy Archer hubs) of those nearly 100 Tweed Riders stretched out on a closed Memorial Drive. That alone could have made this incredibly nice day, but the community of “Tweed Riders” made it complete. Maybe it was a love or at least an intense crush on vintage bicycles or maybe just a really cool group of cyclists having a good time together. No matter what IT was, it was an incredibly nice place to be.
And, I only wanted to say Bike Me just once to a rather obnoxious (over use of horn) cabbie on Beacon St. Thinking that the event itself had a subtle Bike Me message to it anyway, I stayed (unusually) silent.
So if you missed what is now known as The Inaugural Tweed Ride, please keep an eye out for the 2nd Annual (?) Tweed Ride. This was serious good fun…
Friday, August 28, 2009
Once in a while I see something that is impressive....Some incredible urban bicycling, these guys are very good and it take big balls to do some of these. Then I got to thinking, about how many times they must had to try some of these moves before getting them right…enjoy!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Instead, although a bit snarky…and this is Bike Me: Price of a bicycle helmet $35+; Price of a 4 yr College $200K+; Ability to eat your own food NOT thru a straw, PRICELESS; Wear a helmet! ‘Nuff said!
On to more important subjects...a new woman friend of ours, Grim, rewarded us at the shop with a cube of Natty Ice...warm even! Yep we asked for it that way...old habits die hard. We had suggested it half jokingly for services and a swap of a rear wheel! THANKS Grim you are the best!
Thanks to those who visit our shop and make it worth while to be there. This is so much more than a business venture solely for profit. Truly, the richest days are those when we chat with the MIT grad, welding, artist/architect and that happens to be looking for space to work her metal magic. And we can then connect them with someone who has a space that just might work. Or those who come in several times, finally find what they were looking for, even if they did not have any idea what that was when they started. Or help out a young couple that need bicycles for primary transportation and they find what works for them! Now those are some good days. And yes, yesterday was a good day!
Gotta love the bicycle community.
Friday, July 10, 2009
I have posted about locking up bikes before…so why again? I get calls several times per month requesting that we keep an eye out for person’s particular bike. This past week I got a call from Natalie who had her bicycle stolen at MIT. I have got to say based on what we hear, MIT is a place where a lot of bicycles are stolen.
Most people we sell to use their bike as a major, if not sole, transportation mode. Back to Natalie, she not only is her bike sole transportation but because she has a connective tissue disease (she told me I could say that) it is her only physical therapy that does not hurt her body when she rides. The bicycle a Blue Gary Fisher Tarpon had a few distinct mods done to it to make it an easier ride for Natalie.
So, I have to ask, where do all of these stolen bikes go? Craig’s List, not such a good idea. To easy to watch and get it back. Bike shops, I seriously doubt that too. Broken down for parts? Maybe. Stolen and resold else where, I’m thinking that might fit. Perhaps stolen as to fill an request, in other words. Ask the right people for a specific bike, style, name type, etc. The go find it steal it and make a fast say $50 - $100 bucks. I’m thinking it may not be the crime of the century, but it defiantly hurts people.
If you read this pass it on and maybe, just maybe, get on the MIT Police, for example, to mount some pressure on those that might be lurking in the shadows’ or in plain site waiting to steal bicycles. I’m thinking a few sting operations or high visibility presence might just drive those who steal out of the area.
Oh yeah, and LOCK UP your bike with a decent U-Lock. Spend the cash and don't become a victim.
And to those who might read this and think other wise…we always ask for photo IDs, such as a driver’s license, and you really don’t want to try to sell us any stolen bicycles. Now that would really suck, for you that is!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
So when I went to pick up what I expected to be perhaps a major repair, I was shocked to see that the whole front end of her bike had been crushed flat. It turns out that she had nearly gotten run over by a truck taking a right had turn after being stopped at a light. She said she was in the bike lane and the truck was in the next lane to her left. Traffic light changes, she assumed truck was headed straight…it wasn’t it took right hand turn; she goes straight and ran into the wheels…gets knocked off bike clear of the truck, but the bike gets run over. She is very lucky, minor bumps. However her bike is done for.
Our friend got to learn a very valuable life saving lesson with out serious injury. In all fairness, I had been hit three times while on bicycles and had to put down a motorcycle once, so I hold no judgment.
What I can say is this. Trucks are big, noisy, with lots and lots of blind spots. I used to drive one of those “Big Red Ones” back in the day….So I got to understand all about blind spots and not running things over. And because they were “Big Red Ones”…I got to see what happens when things like bicycles and trucks mix…the bikes always lose. And for the most part the riders do too, usually in a big way.
So now that we have arrived in prime bicycle riding weather….remember cars may be fast moving and trucks may be slower but, they can not stop easily nor see you in many cases at all. Always assume they can not see you and act accordingly.
Be seen and be safe!
Be Current Ride Vintage
Sunday, April 12, 2009
With winter not all that far behind...!
I did a boat load of yard maintenance last Sunday. You know all that yard clean up that no matter how much you clean, rake, etc. in the fall is always there just waiting for your attention. But I have to say it is always great to completely uncover winter’s fodder and see the various flowers and plants. It is sort of like bike maintenance, or other spring cleanings of sorts. All those bikes that get left outside all winter or have taken that winter beating which can make them old before their time. All cleaned up, looking like new.
So it is time to clean that bike…! Hot water, soap and elbow grease is a good start. A biodegradable grease cutter can be helpful also. How about a spring cleaning party for bikes with your best bike ridding buddies? Once done, out for dinner on newly cleaned rides.
After your initial cleaning, remember to take a good look at things like brake pads, cables (pull them grease and return), all those little things that make for a huge difference in your ride. A little oil on a rag or chain lube can go a long way for your chain. If you are up to it, do your own lube jobs. It makes a huge difference not only in the ride, but longevity of the bike. A clean bike is a happy bike!
Remember a well placed “Bike Me” (of course with a smile) from a newly cleaned bike is so better well received than form one that is not!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
From Wikipedia…”The clever solutions MacGyver implemented to seemingly intractable problems—often in life-or-death situations requiring him to improvise complex devices in a matter of minutes—were a major attraction of the show, which was praised for generating interest in the applied sciences, and particularly engineering,…”
To be clear, I am not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise stating that I think we are MacGyver mechanics…in fact other than my fairly short stint in a bike shop in the 1980’s…all my previous experience was from being a kid with limited means. However, there are certainly those around that are for sure are deserving of that status. And we love chatting them up, never enough info can be shared. The day you stop learning…Well you fill in the blank!
What we do working on various old school vintage bicycles is sort of MacGyver-ish. It is a lot of hunt and peck through parts piles and draws of bolts and nuts. Try this then try that…Not giving up on a problem that if we had a new part would be easy…heck simple, but not a MacGyver challenge. So once in a while, we do MacGyver mechanics all to return a bicycle that has perhaps seen better days to the road. But will serve as a set of iron wings ready to whisk its rider of on yet another urban dash through the paved paths.
Come on by, we have some pretty obscure parts, knowledge, places to get a fix etc. We are happy to provide support to those that are attempting your MacGyver on your ride!
What better way to say BIKE ME than to resurrect a bike…or keep it on the road with a great MacGyver!
Be Current, Ride Vintage
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Metro Boston Biking community!
First, I have not been very good at keeping this current...I hope that will not happen again.
Second, a couple of facts off the National Geographic site.
In the Northern Hemisphere spring officially begins at 7:44 a.m. ET on Friday, March 20, 2009—the vernal equinox, or spring equinox.
But don't be fooled by the old rumor that on the vernal equinox the length of day is exactly equal to the length of night. The true days of day-night equality always fall before the vernal equinox and after the autumnal, or fall, equinox, according to Geoff Chester, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
So much for that rumor! How about Phish will play at Fenway in 2009?
OK, so what does the official beginning of spring mean to you…less possibility of snow…however, remember the April Fools Day Blizzard of 1997 (Google that!) or perhaps it is time to break out you high end road bike…or it means that finally taking off the 2nd layer of clothing?!?!?!?
For us it means our second season doing the used bicycle thing out of the Cambridge Antique Market. It means the crush of those that see bicycles as not just something to do on the weekends, but an every day means of transportation in and around our lovely metro area is back on! A good thing!
It means for those that do ride road bikes for distance that the season is here and you can put up your stationary trainers and get out on the roads for real….less a half ton of wind blocking, insulating water proof clothing. It means that you can ride in daylight for a few hours after work again. It means that cars may have the window rolled down and might be more aware. It mans that those morning rides will be again a joy of hearing, smelling, seeing the city as it emerges form it’s annual winter hibernation.
And for those who are in that frame of mind it means you can say BIKE ME and be heard, yet again for at least another season.
Be Current, Ride Vintage!
This weeks ride, 1990's Specialized Sirrus.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
At this time every year I angst for winter to be over, I can not wait to move on to the next season. March can be a very long month for me. (Yes, I know I live in New England and we can get snow 6 months of the year). With every weather forecast I hold my breath, hoping that the predicted winter weather system will go out to sea or head north. I truly love those first warm windy days of spring with all it means… new beginnings, growth, fresh starts, etc. etc.
It is similar for me with rehabbing a bicycle, a new beginning for something that may have been lying dormant for a winter season or for decades. I get to take a bicycle from a dormant state to something that will take someone, like a set of iron wings across the block, down the street on to where ever they want to go.
As with this 1963 Raleigh, the paint on most 40 something bicycles can be pretty tired but responds well to a good rub of wax and will look pretty darn good. Yet, what I find most remarkable is how well the chrome on these old bikes comes back to an original gleam. A few minutes of effort will remove all but the deepest rooted rust, which is not unlike tending next years grass or say my lavender plants. It is the coming warmth which they promises that brings out that gleam in people, just like a little elbow grease on chrome does.
I would really like to say "Bike Me" to winter…but apparently not just yet!
Ride like the warm winds of spring, soon I hope.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Visit their web site http://www.gogreenstreets.org/ and check out this program. It’s a good deal that hopefully will continue to become a part of the big picture that helps push bikes a bit further into our commuting/living options.
What a deal, you get to say Bike Me and Save!
Frugality with an attitude? Maybe…a little.
Ride more and save more green!
Friday, February 13, 2009
So it is my hope that some of you with that great talent will enter into the Bicycle Film Festival. From their site;
We have been fortunate enough to include works of established artists such as Jorgen Leth, Mike Mills, Jonas Mekas, Blonde Redhead, Swoon and Michel Gondry among others as part of our programming. Many of the artists who have participated in the Bike Film Fest such as the Neistat Brothers and Lucas Brunelle are gaining more and more re-cognition for their work. Sign up for the email list or just come out and enjoy our 8th Annual Bicycle Film Festival.”
What better way, than on film, to say Bike Me!
Monday, February 2, 2009
Bamboo, it is better that steel for tensile strength and better than concrete for compression. Bamboo has a tensile strength superior to mild steel, plus a weight-to-strength ratio surpassing that of graphite. Bamboo is the strongest growing woody plant on earth with one of the widest ranging habitats of more than 1500 species thriving in diverse terrain from sea level to 12,000 feet on every continent but the poles. And what makes it so renewable is it also grows the fastest: clocked shooting skyward at 2 inches an hour. Some species can grow one and a half meters a day. Not bad for what was thought to be, when I was a kid, something that was used to build cheap outdoor furniture from.
In the recent past bamboo has shown up in hardwood flooring systems, great looking hardwood appeal from a renewable source. And over the last several years bamboo has showed up as a source to build bicycles from. Of course in Asia bamboo has been used for so much more for centuries. History tells us that apparently Bamboo Bicycles are nothing new, the first bamboo bicycles were shown at the London Stanley Show of 1894 and caused a sensation (See English patent No 8274 on April 26, 1894).
When bamboo is used for building bicycles and when builders like Craig Calfee are building with it, I find that exciting. Why, besides my interest in such a bicycle, I am truly worried that my children’s generation (Gen Y'ers) could very well be screwed, in an ecological, economic, and or you name it manner. Will bamboo bicycles save the world; well maybe not…but it is the collective of such ideas that just might. It is great when some people just stay out of "the box" and think, that is what will save the world.
I Googled Bamboo Bicycle Builder in Boston…and got nothing local. So if anyone knows about someone building with bamboo in these parts, please leave a comment. From what I read those who have ridden on bamboo give glowing reviews.
Not unlike the auto industry so much comes form those elite worlds of endurance or racing, we could be witness to new world “Woodies” (Woodie was a term used for wood body cars and truck back in the day). I sure do hope that a local bike builder in ther Boston/Cambridge area starts bamboo building in the near future. And it would be very cool is if someone started to “mass-produce” bicycles of bamboo. Not to mention it would be interesting to see how such a frame would stand up to our lovely New England winters.
Several articles are linked below, Google bamboo bicycles or YouTube Bamboo Bicycles
building bamboo bicycles, or bamboo for construction material, just to name a few and you can go on for hours.
What is old is new again! Yet again it is the ancient and old world that shows us we need to pay more attention to what we have here and now.
Plant more and ride more!
Time Magazine-Green to the Extreme
Newsweek Magazine-Stronger Than Steel
Monday, January 26, 2009
There are times simple is good enough. A 1960's recycled Dunelt 21" Frame with new 26" Wheels. Single speed w/ coaster brake, yes I know there are those of you that do not like coaster brakes. A new chain, pedals and taped mustache handlebars.
Add some light weight Freddie Fenders and you have a year round bike. The rear sprocket can be changed out for more robust riders. The wheels on this were just to far gone with rust, pedals were frozen, we don't throw good stuff out! So any useable parts went to other projects or the lost parts pile.
Not a bad new-old bike...at least it is one less bicycle that ends up in a dumpster.
Ride more, restore, recycle or otherwise well...Bike Me!
Friday, January 16, 2009
I have to mention that yesterday the stars were in alignment, prayers were answered or some karma was paid back. Regardless of the whys, what happened on the Hudson was a miraculous set of circumstances, actions and decisions. Kudos to all those who helped in the rescue, great job! A special tip of the hat to Pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, co-pilot Jeff Skiles and for sure the flight crew of US Airways Flight 1549.
Call it a miracle or whatever, but sometimes things work out and I hope that those who survived get to pay it forward someday.
Ride more and pay it forward.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
A Christmas Story (1983)
So it's gonna get wicked cold! Cold as in, it hasn't been this cold for years cold!
Some might suggest that you should stay off your bike..to which you reply... Are you crazy? I have to ride... it's in my blood. I love winter here in New England, I'm, I'm...OK so it's my only way around I have to ride and it really sucks! But I'm gonna do it anyway! As they say down south, get 'er done...
Alrighty then...well dress warm...really warm! But remember this, everything moves slower in the cold. I think I remember something about Absolute Zero from long ago school days. Winter in Boston, on a bicycle, it takes hardy souls to ride in such conditions. Hey, but you are one of them...you refuse to let sub zero temperatures and or wind chills, snow or slush to slow your cycling down. Kinda like winter surfing on the New Hampshire coast! Only not as wet, for the most part.
Please remember a couple of things among which are...You are going to be a even bigger surprise than usual to drivers that will "see" you even less. And your having extra everythings on, will have a hard time seeing and hearing, not to mention with the snow conditions in the streets it will be dicey 24/7.
It is in weather like this that the grease in your head set and bottom crank can get stiff plus even the cables can be sticky. Tires get low, hydraulic brake lines can become very brittle. Storing you bike outside might become necessary because a warm surface allows for melting/condensation etc. to get into places that, when you return to outdoors, will freeze fast and solid. Needing to check your brakes often, before you need them and because it clears any snow off the rims. Oh for joy! Sounds like real fun!
But despite all this, it is your McMurdo Station attitude that make it the ultimate BIKE ME statement!
Ride safe and stay warm!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Kapok is City in China and there was bicycle manufacturing there, we are not sure when this bicycle was built.
Anyone with any information regarding Kapok Bicycles, etc. please let us know!
Monday, January 5, 2009
For many of the people that buy our bicycles it is a major, if not only, source of their transportation. Which, at the very least, it is a partial source of their economic well being. Thus, someone’s economic well being is impacted very time a bicycle is stolen. And a stolen bike just might have a crucial impact on their lives.
We sell used bicycles BUT we do not purchase bicycles at our space in Cambridge. This is for many reasons one being, if a thief has no where to fence to what they steal it becomes worthless. Thieves only steal items that they know where they can sell them for a good price. WE purchase our bicycles from only those people that we know and have legitimate and long term relationships with. To any establishment that might not be so diligent, we urge them to become so!
The following list and links are a a primer for you to whet your (bicycle knowledge) appetite with. A point to note, some locks come with an anti-theft warranty! We all know there are no guarantees in life, but we can increase the odds in our favor.
ALWAYS Lock your Bike.
Brightly lit places are not thief friendly.
An inexpensive locks equals a cheap lock. Locks are not the things to be stingy about. Go as high end as you can.
If you are leaving your bike for a long period of time (like for more than 5 minutes) or over night use at least two locks.
Learn how to lock your bike properly. Thieves want to hit quickly, they look for the easiest targets. The harder you make it for them, the less likely your bike will be stolen.
We all know that thieving has and always will be a part of life, desperate people will do desperate things.
Help defend yourself by learning as much about how bicycles are stolen, knowledge is power!
Help defend others by being vigilant, if you think a bike is being stolen call it in!
Help defend your bicycle with locks and techniques that says...BIKE ME to those that might want to steal it!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
There are so many issues that face us all, because in the end we are all in this together. What does this have to do with bicycles? Well actually, I’m no more certain than you are. However, I do think this.
IF the area basically inside the Route 495 (Massachusetts) corridor most of the commuters used bicycles, combined with mass transit, many things would happen. First, a huge statement would be made. We are not kidding about a way of life with a little less oil in it. That as a people in this nation, to be political, and of the world, to be sensible; we are willing to start to take care of this blue planet as of right NOW! Couple of major implications there! This is not to even mention what kind of place this would be then, people out ridding bicycles actually talking to each other, health impacts, aw heck even cleaner air.
Now be sure, I’m not advocating, although how cool would that be, that the UPS, Postal, and the FedEx folks convert to Big Dummies and we all hug a tree once a week. But imagine, just for a minute, what a 2, 3 or 10 fold increase in Bicycle commuters would look like. Imagine what the local governments, MBTA and the State would have to do with bicycle issues then. Makes one wonder where the tipping point will be? Makes one wonder that if a family no longer needs two cars because they use two bicycles where THAT savings would be spent. It does make one wonder, doesn’t it now!
Given the above mentioned altered sense of reality, major paradigm shift, the new normal; one sure could say to those that were not sincere to issues that directly and collaterally affected bicycle commuters…BIKE ME!