ThinkCooper Gathering ’09 – Santa Cruz, CA

I survived my 2nd annual visit to the ThinkCooper/Lounge Gathering and Pyro Ride in Santa Cruz, a scant 5.5 hr. journey north of L.A. and worth every morsel of roadside salty snack food and taurine-boosted energy drink the 4 of us can find along the way.

I have reserved Space #3a on the Cooper living room floor for sleeping purposes. I have my road bike, fireproof topical gel, beer from Belgium, and requisite duffel bag full of my signature attire. Weekend is go!

Out for a little coastal spin with 20 of my closest bike-forum-screen-name-people I’ve never met-friends. (click on pics = big)

Rolling out

Heading inland into the redwoods

Back home and changed into proper party-wear with our host.

Let the games begin!

Cooper admires one of his creations

“Need a light?”

Alcohol and Fire go well together

Shit’s getting serious now. Westvleteren 12 from my luggage stash returning from Belgique

Reacharound

JB documents Mrs. Cooper’s burning ring of fire

Getting flamed

Mrs. Coop & Eddy

Nightfolk

Sunday welcomes a mellow brunch cruise down the street to the always excellent Harbor Cafe.

My posse’s getting big and my posse’s getting bigger.

Until next year….Happy trails

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Underground to the Mountains

I’ve never really explored Runyon Canyon, one of L.A.’s premiere “hike and be seen” spots where cute actresses and scruffy musicians walk their dogs and look fabulous. Its absolutely packed on weekends, with great scenery to be found – both of the human and nature varieties. So today I hopped on my friendly neighborhood subway with my singlespeed, which is no good for getting across town, and took it a stop or two to H-wood town.

*click photos to enlarge

Obligatory still life + motion

Knobbies on Stars

A few quick blocks of dodging tourists and I was on my way up the hill to the entrance to Runyon. Leaving the BS of the city behind. Sorta.

A much shorter ride than I’m used to, maybe 3-4 miles round trip, but I felt like I owed it to myself to get familiar with something in my backyard so to speak. The paved climb up from the bottom is a nice consistent grade, definitely a workout on a singlespeed. And I did not see any other cyclists the entire time, only swarms of people and dogs. Looking back down on the climb –

Great views looking south & west at the top. I rode to the gate at Mulholland to make my summit official then turned around to head back down. I conveniently looked the other direction as I passed the ‘No Bikes’ sign at the top of the dirt trail. For the sake of my knowledge and this blog I had to be a scofflaw for a day and see what was in store. Besides, riding down the way I came up would be no fun at all.

Top looking south

East (HW sign center)

Rustic living on the ridge. Downtown in b/g

Summit Me

The top half of the dirt trail was rideable, with only some water bar drops and a few ruts to contend with. The second half? Yeah no. Hike-a-bike time.

Wheel catchers

Made it back down safe and sound with nary a gripe from any hikers. Ideally I would do 2 laps but the sun was setting and I had a train to catch. Next time. Back down to HW proper for a much-needed recovery beverage. Something tells me its mandatory to include Starbucks with a Runyon hike.

What Would Jesus Drink?

A. a double-tall cappuccino

* all photos courtesy of my sucky iPhone cam.


Runyon Wiki

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OMG it’s Lance!

Following Lance Armstrong on Twitter is pretty entertaining, and tipped me off to his upcoming “group ride” in Hollywood. I took the info down, made the appropriate rsvp’s and planned on attending whatever was in store for those who showed up. The group ride turned out to be: Closing Sunset Blvd completely for a 2 mile stretch from L.A. to Hollywood at 6pm on a Saturday night. Hundreds of people turned out, free water, snacks and mechanical support were provided, everyone got free t-shirts, PD & FD were out in force. Epic. All for a 2 mile ride.

*click photos to enlarge.

Queuing up

I’m not the *best* when it comes to playing along by the rules, so I somehow decided that digging my “LiveWrong” tshirt out of the drawer would be a good idea for a LiveStrong event. More on that later. (wtf is that over my shoulder???)

Lance and local politicians make chit chat under huge movie lights before the ride

Lance then hopped on a bike customized by artist Barry McGee and led the ride. Riding on a closed Sunset Blvd was pretty cool, not to soon be repeated.

Lance kits

photo by James

We all arrived at the Montalban Theater on Vine and were greeted with a very efficient bike valet. We then entered the theater and were treated to an open beer & wine bar. Nice! A couple glasses of Pinot after a 2 mile sprint on an empty stomach is a great way to kick off a Saturday night.

I was headed towards the men’s room when I got stopped by a security guard in a suit. “Excuse me sir, we need you to step outside”. What? I thought I had violated some “no open container while in the restroom” law. He looked around like he was was waiting for someone else to show up. A few seconds later a younger staffer shows up and confirms that they want me to leave. He follows up his request with “Whats with the shirt?”. Oh, that. I smile and assure them that I’m just having a little fun. They don’t like it. “Were you even on the ride??” they inquire. “Um, yes” I reply and show then my wristband. I attempt to defuse it by assuring them I will go to my seat, get my standard issue yellow shirt and wear it like everyone else, effectively covering up the offending message. They mull it over and agree. I’m sent off with a “no worries”. Thanks fellas!

When in doubt, go half-shirt.

We took our seats and Ben Stiller took the stage to get things under way. Apparently Ben and Lance had become friends on the Dodgeball film and now do favors like this for each other. He introduced Lance, LiveStrong CEO Doug Ulman and Nike CEO Mark Parker. They talked about Lance’s mission with fighting cancer, his return to cycling and his newfound interest in the art world and how he is drawing his current favorite artists into his world to help promote his cause. Look for the unveiling of his “Stages” exhibit following the Tour de France in July.

Doug and Lance

Lance then thanked everyone for coming, said he was off to Europe tomorrow and then introduced the second Ben-friend of the night – Ben Harper, who jammed a nice set with his band The Relentless Seven, which consisted of 3 dudes.

Ben

After Ben’s set we headed out to bike valet to recover the bikes, then decided on Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles for some late night eats. On the way there, a woman joined along to ride with us. We knew her vaguely from hanging around various L.A. bike events. She had way too much to drink at the event and decided that riding no-handed down the middle of Sunset Blvd would be fun. Until she wobbled and hit the blacktop. Hard. Hard enough to knock her unconscious in the middle of the street. Doh! Traffic waited while we carried her off to the sidewalk and laid her back down, still out cold. Lots of “is she ok?/ Should we call 911?” shouts from strangers. No and No. We eventually got her to come around then called an ambulance. She had no clue where she was or what she was doing earlier, or even that she had crashed. Her helmet was cracked, hands and lips bleeding. The paramedics hauled her and her bike (thanks guys!) off to the hospital. Drinking and dumb riding don’t mix. Thank god for her helmet. She recovered ok with some stitches on her hand and a concussion. Lucky.

We wished her well over excellent fried chicken, cornbread and waffles slathered in butter and honey. Then off to the subway to complete the journey home.

More on Lance here

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The Airborne Toxic Event ride

Local indie rockers The Airborne Toxic Event put out an open call on the Midnight Ridazz website for a music video shoot, and we couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night. The ride gathered in Echo Park, maybe 50 or so people on bikes including the five band members, and the shoot was ON.

Spoke cards and free copies of their new self-titled CD were handed out at the start.

They picked a route through Silverlake, Los Feliz and Glendale at a very leisurely pace. Occasionally we would all pass the camera guys – I have no idea what the final cut will look like but it will end up in the video for the “Gasoline” single.

HW and Anna

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Birthday Pub Crawl to Cougar Bar

Was I there???

Last night saw a group of us gathering for burgers & beer at the newly opened Laurel Tavern. Twenty-two people strong, most arriving on bikes, all to help celebrate Ryan getting a little older.

Next stop: The Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City; landmark since 1880 and long-time hangout, hotel and hideaway for musicians and actors.

Getting there

In 2007, the Sportsmen’s Lodge was sold to developer Richard Weintraub for approximately $50 million. Weintraub reportedly plans to renovate the existing hotel and add retail space. The project would retain the Sportsmen’s Lodge name, and would be renovated “to evoke the mid-century cool” of the San Fernando Valley in the 1950s. Weintraub’s redevelopment plans include construction of as much as 300,000 square feet of retail space on the site.

In other words, its days are numbered in its native state, including the Muddy Moose Bar & Lounge, currently where the over-55 crowd goes to drink Gin & Tonics and dance to a live band busting out such hits as Stevie Wonder’s “Part-Time Lover” and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart”. The bar scene here is so awesomely rich with sights & smells; Ladies wearing Shalimar perfume with salon do’s getting hit on by suave silver haired smooth-talkers with names like Edgar and Morris.

Us youngsters crashed Edgar’s action, drank his booze and dragged his women out on to the dance floor with a refreshing display of flexibility and stamina. Partying past 10:30pm proved we were the real deal, 20-somethings with our whole lives ahead of us.

Throwin’ down with Cougar #1

Still going strong with Cougar #2

Illy bags a Sugar Mama

Things start getting a little fuzzy…

…and ended in birthday boy’s room for a nightcap.

Somehow, the Xtracycle managed to guide me and my full-faced head back home, prefacing an unholy hangover on Sunday – the upside being it distracted my brain from the aches and pains resulting from the One Less Fixie wreck.

photos courtesy aosty & Endo

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One Less Fixie

One finally got me. I guess its just a matter of time when you tempt the automobile’s playground day after day. Riding home from work in the bike lane, doing all the proper things I should be doing, I approached a driveway on my right and before I could shout “Fuh..!” I was plowing my beloved fixed-gear Trek into the passenger door of a silver Ford Mustang convertible that appeared effectively out of nowhere.

For a split second I thought I’d be going over the hood. Then there was an explosion of plastic, glass and carbon fiber as I slammed into the sideview mirror and promptly dropped to the asphalt.

Rewinding a few minutes, there were 2 lanes of traffic to my left as I rode. Bumper to bumper, not moving. I was moving however. And so was the driver of the Mustang who took advantage of a gap in traffic to zip into said driveway on his way to work. Thats the point at which we were violently introduced.

He called 911 and put me on the phone. I was in shock/denial/tough-guy mode of course so I declined an ambulance AND the police. 30 minutes later after swapping insurance and drivers licenses, I came to my senses and told the driver I’d be calling the police to document the incident with a police report. Otherwise I was ready to leave with a bloody knee and a broken bike. Ungood.

Which brings me to the bike, which I actually mourned in slo-mo as we both collapsed onto the street after impact – “oh noooo myyyyy biiiiiiike…..”

Its fucked. The fork was shoved straight back towards the downtube and the downtube itself has crumpled. The handling of the bike is noticeably more twitchy now thanks to the modified head angle. Two of the Spinergy Rev-X bladed snapped off the rear rim. How the front wheel stayed intact and the rear failed is a mystery of science.

So now the aches & pains have set in. Bruised ribs, jacked up wrists, gimpy walk and a whiplashed neck. Insurance companies contacted, police report submitted, pain meds swallowed. All in all I’m lucky to get tangled up with a car and walk away. The bike won’t be ridden again but can be replaced (and I just had it powdercoated about a month ago! Grrr!). The Spinergys are toast as well. All because some fool didn’t look close enough to anyone that might be approaching him in the bike lane. C’est la vie. Its done and time to think about what will take the Trek’s place.

And now in tribute to my bike, vis-à-vis a post on BikeSnobNYC earlier this year, I give you One Less Fixie.

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Singlespeed Worlds ’08. Napa, CA

I went to Singlespeed Worlds and all I got was this DNF bottle opener and one unused burrito coupon.

Wannabe racers without confirmed entry had a foot-race to determine who would get in. Here’s me anaerobic @ DFL. Ultimately we all got in.

My motto: “If you can’t race, throw a gnarly powerslide as a diversion.”

Feet of Failure

Winners Carl Decker and Rachel Lloyd went straight to the tattoo artist for their trophy. Their permanent trophy (chest & butt, respectively). See ya in Durango ’09!


2 photos courtesy Icon O’classt

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Coastal train trip ’08

With the Singlespeed World Championships in Napa, CA as a catalyst, I set out to plan a trip to the race from L.A. without driving. That involved some cross-referencing of various train schedules and planning stops along the way where I could visit and stay with friends, see some sights, and still arrive on time.

I gave myself a full week to travel the 400 or so miles north, with stops in Santa Barbara, San Jose / Mountain View, San Francisco and ultimately Napa.

I called friends in Santa Barbara, SJ and Napa and confirmed a place to crash. San Francisco was the only unsure segment so I booked a room at the Red Victorian – a funky B&B in the Haight district with themed rooms. I booked a less expensive room ($99) that shared bathrooms in the hall with other rooms just to make things more interesting. Never know who you might run into during a late night pee run. 🙂

Back to L.A., I departed on Amtrak at 10am on Sunday headed straight for Santa Barbara. A relatively easy 2 hour trip and I was then off the train and rolling, stop #1. Was a beautiful day in Santa Barbara and I cruised the town, the bike path, the piers and State St., taking in lots of people watching. I eventually made my way to my friend’s place in nearby Montecito, where we walked into the village for dinner at Cava. Very nice.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE
or HERE for slideshow

Departing

Air-drying some still wet laundry at the train station

First stop on a pier in SB

Views along the SB bike path

The next morning was rise & shine, deflate my bed, grab some coffee and breakfast and pedal back into Santa Barbara to the train station. I arrived early to prep the bike for cargo; remove the pedals and rotate the bars so it all fit in the large box which is provided by Amtrak for $20.

The Coast Starlight is a great way to travel. It runs from L.A. to Seattle and back once daily. After we departed SB I walked through the various cars to check things out. There was a cafe for snacks and drinks including beer, a bright viewing car full of windows, a Parlour car later to be used for wine tasting, a dining car, a sleeper car and an arcade room with full-size video games. The scenery was fantastic along the coast and I found it helped pass the time just to sit and watch the coast go by. The train proved to be a very relaxing way to travel, slowing things down to the point where you accept the fact that you’ll be on the train for a while, might as well enjoy it.

I slept, I read, I listened to Tom Waits on the iPod which made for an excellent railroad soundtrack. I participated in the wine tasting and met people with many different itineraries. A college student heading home to Oakland, a widow getting away from a too-familiar home, families going to visit relatives and opting not to fly. I made dinner reservations for 5:15 in the dining car and was seated in the booth with other random passengers – another cool way to hear about other’s stories.

Coast Starlight shots:

Reflecting

Parlour

Looking upon ourselves

Wine tasting on board

Sunset at speed

Eight hours later we arrived in San Jose. My friend Wendy met me at the station where I (thankfully) recovered my bike from the cargo car, reassembled it, loaded it on her car and we were off to her home in Mountain View.

Tuesday morning we grabbed the bikes and checked out Los Altos, a quiet town with tree-lined streets and lots of sidewalk cafes, coffee shops, galleries, etc. We came home, changed and walked to the CalTrain station in Mountain View where we took the train up to San Francisco for dinner. With the help of Yelp we found a great sushi place called Eiji. Very small with excellent food. We walked in promptly at 5:30 without reservations, got a table, then watched as many people got turned away at the door the later it got. After dinner we walked over to Zeitgeist for a drink – a bar I had heard lots about and was recommended by cyclist friends. Loved it! Great beer on tap and an enormous yard in back full of picnic tables and a spot to hang bikes. There had to be 300 people hanging out.

Wednesday morning I packed the backpack once again, said farewell to Wendy and pedaled back towards the Mtn View station, stopping at Red Rock Coffee for a little pick-me-up. The Silicon Valley scene was noticeably different that the Hollywood scene, lots of overheard tech speak, VC money discussions, and comparisons to other websites. iPhones and MacBooks everywhere. So maybe not that much different than L.A.

CalTrain

I was surprised and pleased to find an entire bicycle car waiting for me on the CalTrain to San Francisco. No extra fees, just find a spot and bungee your bike. The regulars all use tags to identify which stop they get off at so you know whether to stack in front of them or not.

Changed trains in Millbrae and got on the BART train to the city.

packed bike racks at BART

I arrived in San Francisco excited to get riding and see the city. I was now starving so I headed straight back to Zeitgeist for lunch. At 1:00pm I was one of two customers in the place, a complete opposite of the night before. I ordered a burger and a Chimay and sat outside in the sun, joined by a bartender who was also headed to SSWC over the weekend.

Zeitgeist

I was then off to find the Red Victorian. I quickly learned that going by a printed one-dimensional map in SF can be hazardous to your health – what looks like a direct route can turn out to be full of very steep hills. I envied the locals who knew how to flow from street to street avoiding the steep routes.

Red Vic

Wednesday night found me walking down Haight St. to dinner at Cha Cha Cha, a Spanish tapas restaurant and bar. Being solo I chose to sit at the bar and order dinner. I also ordered a pitcher of excellent sangria, a good way I figured, to meet new people by sharing. It worked 🙂 Made friends with a couple from Seattle who were in town for a tech conference.

Thursday morning I was back on the bike and headed directly to Ritual Coffee in the Mission district. A great spot for people watching, good coffee and once again…. meeting people. A big community table in front helped with that. Fully caffeinated I took off to see the city on bike, cruising through the Mission, Noe Valley, Castro, Haight, and stopping for lunch at Papalote.

Quiet foggy morning on Haight St.

Ritual

Later Thursday night I found myself once again back at Zeitgeist, this time meeting a local friend there for a pitcher of Stone Pale Ale. The back patio was packed, making for a fun night of drinking & chat.

Friday was to be my last day in the city. I checked out of the Red Vic and headed out for breakfast at a cafe around the corner. Then I was off to explore Golden Gate Park, which also happened to be home for the Outside Lands Festival that same weekend. I was suddenly torn between sticking to my schedule or ditching everything to see Radiohead in the park. I stuck to my original game plan and kept pedaling, at one point hopping on the BART out to the Embarcadero and riding the bike path north around the Bay back towards the Golden Gate bridge, then up and over a hill through the Presidio and back into the city. I found Mojo Bicycle Cafe and used the unique cafe / bike shop layout to have a bowl of soup while the mechanics gave the Niner a quick once-over, tightening a couple of bolts that had worked loose on the ride.

Me & Golden Gate bridge from the beach

At 4:00pm Friday American Cyclery hosted a get-together at their shop, followed by riding across the GG bridge and out to the Marin headlands for a beach party. Over 100 singlespeeders left the shop and promptly dropped in to the singletrack in Golden Gate park as we made our way to the bridge. We regrouped at the bridge and then headed across, an experience common to some bike commuters but one I won’t soon forget. The cross-winds were gusting and made for an *interesting* ride, with the peaks of the bridge towers disappearing into fog above us.

We then bombed down a fireroad to the beach, dropped the bikes and partook in the BYOB festivities.

Party at American Cyclery

Bono aka Billy Spaceman rallies the crowd

Regroup at the GG bridge

Bridge crossing

Bombing to the beach

Looking back

Singlespeed Beach Party

This is where things got interesting. I was now on the other side of the bridge from the city, had all of my belongings with me and needed to somehow get to Napa that night, about an hour’s drive north. I did NOT want to ride back into the city and then figure out a way to Napa. The Red Vic was sold out so I couldn’t return there. A little bit of asking “you guys headed to Napa tonight? Got room for one more?” and I managed to find a lift with a cool couple from Boulder. They rearranged bikes & gear in their car for me and the three of us headed towards wine country. After about 20 minutes in the car I realized I was with Kristin & Ryan, former IMBA Trail Care crew who spent 2 years roaming the country for IMBA, helping build trails and educate future trail builders. Kristin had also just competed in the Santa Cruz Hell Ride. Respect! (and thanks again for the ride!).

Friday night and I was now homeless in downtown Napa. I pedaled around town at 10:30pm, stumbling upon the opulent Chardonnay Motor Lodge. A bed, a shower and a TV and I was in heaven. It was also the first TV I had seen in at least 4 days, allowing for a quick catch-up on the Beijing Olympics.

I had arrived. It worked! 7 days on the road with no car and I made it to the races. I felt like I had been on the road for a month at this point. So many different sites and people and experiences. I can’t recommend this type of travel enough; 80-90% confirmed with the rest left for uncertainty. It makes you feel alive and you will make choices that lead you down paths you never would have discovered, both literally and figuratively. Go!

This story will pick up in the SSWC08 blog entry.

thanks for reading.
Jeff

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Handmade Bicycle Show 2008, Portland, OR

We flew in to Portland from LAX first thing the Saturday morning of the show, walked out the airport doors and stepped on to the waiting Max lightrail. A quick 40 minute train ride costing only $2 and we were dropped off at the Convention Center, home of the Handmade Show for the weekend. The glaring differences in the two cities’ mass transit infrastructures were already smacking us in the face. The train stops have automated announcements and they are bilingual. In Oregon. In Los Angeles they are not. Portland had just provided the first of several pleasant surprises to these jaded out of towners.

On to the show! Our first stop was to check in with the Roadbikereview.com / MTBR.com booth. The guys were already cranking, bringing some of the custom bikes into their booth for photo coverage, as well as bringing the builders themselves in for personal one-on-one interviews on video.

See their pics and video interviews.

At first glance the venue looked fairly small. Much smaller than Interbike in fact and you assume, falsely, that you can see the entire show in a couple of hours. Its not until you’ve seen the work of only two builders in an hour that you realize its going to be a much longer day than anticipated. At the Handmade show, the amount of “filler” exhibits is almost non-existent. That is, there are hardly any booths that you pass by from lack of interest. Everything warrants stopping. Whether its something that halts you in your tracks such as a frame made of wood, or maybe its a small crafted detail that registers in your subconscious as you pass by and makes you stop and backtrack to determine what it was that you think you just saw. In most cases you’re left gawking at some cleverly designed detail. A lugged stem, a unique fork, a pump peg, a dropout. Or something radical like a drivetrain-mounted disc brake from California’s Sycip.

Sycip

Or a custom made stem face plate from Colorado’s Moots that doubles as headlight mount.

Moots face plate

NAHBS is a show about detail. You will waste your day by observing bikes solely as a whole machine. Yes you will see beautiful bicycles, but overlook the fine details and you will have missed the creative nuances that set the framebuilders apart.

Hammered & polished lugs from Florida’s Villin Cycle Works.

Villin

Double chain stays from Portland’s own Ahearne Cycles.

Ahearne

**********
Beer Break
**********

beer

Time to take 5 and sit down with a cold one to process everything that has been in our faces so far; far too many amazing bikes, gracious and approachable framebuilders, celeb sightings such as Lance Armstrong and Robin Williams – both cruising the booths along with everyone else, and getting a peek at cool production components like the new Shimano 29er mtb wheelset.

Also scattered about the show were creative bits like this belt buckle from White Industries, designed for you to mount your favorite cog or freewheel to, cowboy.

White Ind.

Also spied at the White Ind. table was their swanky new set of track hubs. Note the splined cog/hub interface.

White Ind.

We checked back in with the RBR guys and as usual they were still hustling builders into their ad-hoc studio, seen here with the guys from Austin’s True Fabrication.

RBR

detail of faux pitting and rust on a new True Fab mountain frame

True Fab.

We were in the Soulcraft booth when I felt an electricity in the air. People were whispering and shuffling around. I looked up and Lance was chatting with the Soulcraft staff. I debated whether or not I should bug him for a photo. I decided “what the hell” and asked him after he finished talking. He shot me a classic “Lance” look; tensed up his lips and looked away like “Fuck, another photo”. Awkward pause. I looked at him and said “You can say ‘No'”. He obliged and here’s the result. Hooray.

Next we spotted Robin Williams booth-hopping. After the Lance debacle I was hesitant to approach anyone else. There were 4 of us so we decided on asking him for one group shot. I approached Robin, tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if he’d mind a group shot. He said “Group shot? No problem!”

So I handed him my camera, then walked back to pose with my friends. He just looked at me then laughed and got the joke. We never asked him to be in one 🙂 Photo Credit: Robin Williams.

We were officially overwhelmed. We had met Richard Sachs, Jeff Jones and Dario Pegoretti. We had left our fingerprints on countless glossy tubes. Met Lance and Robin. We had snapped camera shutters and popped flashes until batteries ran dead. It was time to go.

Portland now offered us a spectacular range of options for nightlife and we dove right in. Getting around town was once again a piece of cake. Walking, riding or taking the Max (free in the Business district!). There are bicycles everywhere in town. Weather be damned, these people are riding. Several places we hit after the show, all withing walking/biking distance were the Rogue Brew House for beer, the Yamhill Pub and Plan B for more beer and another Lance sighting, Clyde Common for dinner and Voodoo Donuts for dessert. We eventually crashed at the uber-hip Ace Hotel, drifting off to sleep while trying to remember which builders were going to be a must-see on Sunday.

Sunday morning brought a hot shower, recharged camera batteries and a hot cup of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee. We caught the Max train and were off to the show in no time.

Curtlo-built commuter frame at the Rohloff booth, utilizing a belt-driven drivetrain. Note the single S&S coupler used to separate the chainstay for belt installation and removal.

Curlto belt drive

Custom-molded-to-your-butt carbon fiber saddles offered by California framebuilder Ybarrola.

Ybarrola

A make-shift shrine to our recently lost comrade Sheldon Brown.

Sheldon shrine

We took several more laps of the venue, catching things we had overlooked the day prior and re-appreciating things we had already stared at and smiled. We left the show with enough time left in the day to visit River City Cycles, home of the handmade Full Wood wooden bicycle fenders. What a beautiful shop!

River City

Next up was lunch and beer at Lucky Labrador Brewing and catching the amazing bicycle photography exhibit put on by Rapha clothing and Rouleur Magazine.

It was a short weekend, jam packed with goodness. The weather was kind to us. Our luggage was stuffed with brochures, business cards, pint glasses, decals, clothing and other miscellaneous swag. And our bank accounts were given reprieve from what could have been a disastrous weekend for our financial stability. There were plenty of opportunities to justify the need for “just one more” bicycle in the stable.

Thank you Portland! See you all next year in Indianapolis.

FGANRB

more of my show photos on Flickr.

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Holiday Shopping, Day 1

My personal vow for Christmas shopping this year is to do it all via bike. If it won’t fit in my messenger bag, I won’t buy it. I’ve also outlawed Gift Cards from my list. Won’t do it. I’d rather give a crisp $20 than a piece of plastic with a corporate logo on it. A little last-minute, so time to get crackin’.

I set out to get “over the hill” to West Hollywood for the Sunday flea market on Melrose. This would require taking the shuttle bus over Laurel Canyon, as its a little too treacherous for a bike, especially a fixed gear. $1.25 and I was safely on my way.

I love this flea market. Always tons of cool vintage stuff; clothes, vinyl, home stuff, etc. A great place for unique gifts for people too.

Hippie mugs

bar ware

vintage chicken and kabobs

I scored several gifts for people on my list, then picked up these beauties for my own self. Fine 70’s leather boots as modeled at my bar. Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk,
I’m a womans man, no time to talk.

After cleaning out the flea market, I pointed my bike eastbound on Melrose towards HW.

Banksy strikes on Melrose

Wasteland

Riding down Sunset Blvd. I happened upon the premiere for The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Jack and Morgan were both cruising the red carpet to the cheers of fans. I put the bike down on the sidewalk and walked into the middle of Sunset to get this shot, just as an LAPD office asked “Sir, what are you doing?”. To which I answered “just getting a shot…” He notified me that I was blocking traffic which was already crawling so all the drivers could gawk at the fanfare. Thank you officer!

a few more stops for shopping and it was time for some refreshment at my favorite ice cream parlour “Scoops“. Unique handmade ice cream that changes daily. Tonight’s choice: peanut butter & coffee. So good.

All this riding around made me thirsty too, so a stop into Tiny’s KO in Hollywood was in order. A proper dive bar with punk and metal on the jukebox, tat’d bartenders with no-bullshit attitudes and cheap drinks. I ordered a PBR in a can because I could. The bartender placed 2 in front of me for the low price of $4. Uh oh, some kind of Sunday night special. I finished them, still felt a little wanting, so I ordered a shot of whiskey. Plunk! 2 shots for me. Damn! I spent a total of $11 on drinks and was now well on my way to a Riding Under the Influence citation. Best to get off the streets and take the subway home.

Tiny’s

Down, down, down to the Hollywood & Vine train station, by far the nicest and most ornate of all the stops on this line, maybe all of L.A. The entire ceiling is covered with film reels.

my ride home has arrived….

Have a great holiday~
Jeff

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