Yesterday Angel and I got a chance to hang out in Portland after taking her sister back from a visit. We started out the day by going to the newly opened Velo Cult Bicycle Shop. Started in 2006, the shop originally is from San Diego, but decided to move the entire shop to Portland, employees and all. We visited them Sunday, on the morning after their Grand Opening Party. (They were still cleaning up after it). The shop caters to commuters, tourers, randonneur riders, and other subcultures of cycling with refurbished and new bicycles, but this is not just a place to sell and service bikes, but a place where all “bicycle culture” gets to meet. There is a large and open floor plan. They have some amazing mechanic work stations, with benches for customers to talk with their mechanic right in front of them; a bar offering local beer and food, a photo booth (which sadly was shut down when we were there), and even an authentic castle drawbridge (which doubles as a stage) in the shop!! I believe the drawbridge is from Canteburry Castle, after it was demolished in 2009. This is a really cool shop and you should check it out if you have a chance. They plan on hosting shows, and screening movies there in the future, as well as putting on other fun events for cyclists.
Also while at Velo Cult I got the chance to check out the Complete Surly Troll. I wouldn’t mind getting one of these as my first mountain bike. I also think it would make a great touring bike for Angel. It would be a good companion to my LHT. If only the Troll came in some color other than orange (her least favorite).
Before we went to Pedal Nation, we stopped by the Off The Griddle food cart. With super nice staff, they offer amazing veggie burgers from their solar-powered cart. Angel went with Vegan Cheeseburger, and I went with O.T.G Burger (no lettuce, tomato) just grilled onions and added BBQ sauce; I like my burgers simple. It’s always fun waiting for your food to come out while you read through some Trivial Pursuit games.
After we arrived to Pedal Nation, I spent a lot of time talking with different people about their products and learning whatever I could. There were a lot of cool things there. The spectrum of booths was across the board, with everything from wooden helmets, a fat tire recumbent, to an upcoming indoor mountain bike park (The Lumberyard) and other great cycling groups. Full list of exhibitors HERE. One thing I thought was really cool is that Nutcase is coming out with 4 bell designs based off of their helmets, which will be available for purchase in the near future (possibly June), along with a new visors to attach to their helmets and even cycling jerseys to match the helmets. Those should all be great. I’m sure Angel will want a watermelon jersey.
Before leaving Portland we had to get our favorite pizza at Sizzle Pie. I went with 2 slices of cheese, and Angel got a rabbit salad. There was no Spiral Tap in the case, (our favorite) so we got one to go that we could eat at home. It was a super great idea. Angel wanted the pins, and I thought I might put the patch on my safety vest. This is truly good pizza.
For some time now I have been considering the idea of holding some sort of brevet or randonée ride around Eugene. If you don’t know what I am talking there are some great resources about it. RUSA.org (Randonneurs USA), and Bicycle Times Magazine #16 (March 2012, current issue) has two great articles on Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) and and “What is Randonneuring”. Here is my quick description of what randonneuring is. Long distance, non-competitive bicycle “races”, self contained, with checkpoints, in a specific time limit. Normally ranging between 200-1200km (124-745miles), That can be extreme for a lot of people, myself included. Rides that range in 100-200km (62-124miles), and easier distances go by the name “Populaires”. This is what I would like to hold. This is not an actual race, maybe more of a slow paced club ride. It is not competitive, and there are no places given out to individuals (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). It’s kind of like childhood events where you would get a “participant” award.
I have talked with a couple people around town about it that seem interested, and with the great articles in Bicycle Times hopefully it will increasing the interest in randonneuring. The first one I would like to try to organize would be a “populaire” being about 62miles, and held around late May – early June. Depending on how I can get everything figured out, and organized, as well as the interest in a ride like this, will determine if I try to do more. Hopefully there is interest, and there can be more. I would really like to be able to hold a couple throughout the summer and maybe into the fall. There are some things I would still like to look into. To have an official Randonneur I believe it has to be approved by the Randonneurs USA. I am not quite sure how that works or if I can get that done this short of time. As I figure out more I will keep things up to date.
If you have any ideas, would like help, or just want to show your interest in doing an event like this please leave a comment or send me an email.
BreadBike [at] gmail [dot] com
Last week some friends and I went to the Leatherman Tool factory for a tour. All Leatherman tools are made in Portland, Oregon in this factory, and they are proud of it. Sadly, on the tour they do not allow photos to be taken. It was really cool to see how the tools are made from big steel rolls. Then they’re punched, bent, polished, and assembled into a finished product. (Parts that are forged do not get made here). I have been carrying a Leatherman Wave for the past years and use it everyday. Leatherman has this video tour on the site to make up for no photos in the factory, and it is really nice because you can see things closer up than what we got to see some of the time.
After the tour we went off to the retail store not far away. It had a case that contained the first prototype of the multi-tool from Tim Leatherman, along with a really old, giant, multi-tool made of hundreds of pieces of the tools. I picked up a new knife for Angel, and for my dad. If you ever have a chance to take a tour of the factory, it’s pretty cool, more info about that HERE.
Hot Lips Pizza
After the tour, we ate some lunch at Hot Lips Pizza. It was the first time I ate their pizza and I thought it was great. I have had their sodas. It is great soda made with fruit from the Pacific Northwest. You can find it bottled all over the place out here. I had a Black Raspberry along with a nice simple slice of cheese pizza, and garlic bread sticks. It was all really great, and I can’t wait to have at all again the next time I make it up to Portland.
Black Star Bags
Right Down the street from Hot Lips on Hawthorn is Black Star Bags, which moved into that location a year ago. The company has been around for the past 5 years, offering great handmade and costume backpacks, messenger bags, panniers, and accessories. David Stoops (Owner/Designer) has great skills, and is capable of making all your bag dreams come true, along with his amazing freestyle embroidery skills on his machines, you can get a piece of art on the bags. Be sure to check out Black Star Bags and stop into the shop if you are looking for a new bag.
My friend who was with me in the shop was getting the design and features of his backpack worked out with David. With David & Black Star, my friend was able to get everything he wanted for his bag, and in a couple weeks he will have his own custom bag that is perfect for him. I can’t wait to see my friend’s backpack after it is finished.
March has been very eventful for me so far, but there haven’t been any big topics I have wanted to blog about yet.
Last week I got to go on a nice long ride with a friend outside of Eugene; we got to sit and watch some cute baby pigs for a little bit. The next day, Angel and I had a nice ride around Eugene. We went to the Masonic Cemetery, and got a lot of great photos of some wild flowers. I’ll write about the cemetery next time I go there. It’s a great place to spend some time looking around. Afterwards we went to Viva! Vegetarian Grill for some ice cream and sweet potato fries. (Recently, I won a free ice cream cone, for guessing the flavor right on their Facebook Page, but haven’t had the chance to clam my prize. It’s peanut butter. YUM!) Later that night Angel and I went out to eat with some friends at Cornbread Cafe, our first time there. We have had really nice weather so far this month, but it looks like the next couple weeks might not be that great.
Most recently Angel and I went to see The Lorax. When we got our movie tickets we didn’t really look at the tickets themselves right away. (We got the tickets early). Later we realized we had received IMAX tickets. We have never seen anything in IMAX, and neither of us have ever seen a 3D movie. We don’t care for the idea of 3D movies, as we both have glasses (and don’t want to deal with the 3D pair), and find all the hype annoying. After we went to exchange the IMAX tickets for normal 2D tickets, we were told they were for John Carter, (didn’t notice that part) not what we wanted at all. We just wanted to see The Lorax, standard 2D, not John Carter IMAX 3D.
Well anyway, here are some nice photos I have taken since the beginning of the month.
Throughout the month of February I took a lot of great photos that I never used in any of my posts here. So instead of letting them fade back into the darkness of Flickrs past I have collected them all here for anyone interested. February was quite eventful this year. I ended up going on a couple good long rides with friends as well as by myself. I had some good foods I haven’t had in a long time, like a Voodoo Doughnut. And had some great finds like a compost bin and roller trainer.
Now, on to March for even more exciting new adventures for me.
Everyone loves new electronic gadgets (except Luddites), what about when they are added to something as simple as bicycles? Shimano did that a couple years ago with the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 system. It really interested me when it first was announced, and I have had a couple of chances to try it out on trainers at a couple different shows, never on the road. It truly is an amazing system, and if I was a pro-level racer I would really like to take advantage of the perfect and quick shifting. They are coming out with an Ultegra Di2 now, helping to lower the price and allowing for more people to take advantage of the electronic shifting system.
Who would have ever guessed Shimano’s next step with the Di2 system would be to put it on an Alfine internal gear hub? The Shimano Alfine Di2. To me this system seems confusing, but at the same time it makes some sense. This could be a system that works with some commuters, but probably just those who are already riding carbon bikes to work.
The system is only a prototype right now; the finished product should be out in September of 2012 (no idea on price). It looks like there will be no big changes to the internal hub itself. Instead it will just have an electronic shifting mechanism on the outside (though I could be wrong). It will be offered in a 8 speed and 11 speed, and will offer 2 different brake/shifter lever set ups: road and flat bar. They will offer a road lever system, similar if not the same lever as the Ultegra Di2, allowing electronic shifting with the right lever, while the left will just be a brake. This will be Shimano’s first road lever shifter for an internal hub. They will also have a flat bar system, with a Rapid Fire electronic shifter. The system will also have an electronic display screen to show the gear you are in and battery life. The Dura-Ace Di2 currently only has a small battery indicator. The system will use the same battery system as the other Di2 systems.
I hope Shimano realizes if they want this system to actually work for commuters and people who bike tour, they will need to do something better about the battery. The advantage of an internal gear hub is they are maintenance free. If you throw a battery in picture you are going backwards. It keeps the hub maintenance free even more so by removing the cables, but you have to make sure your battery is charged, and that you have enough power for long rides, and even short tours. The system would probably have a lot more battery life than the Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2, because it only deals with shifting the hub, as opposed to two separate derailleurs. It would really boggle my mind and probably a lot of others if they don’t make a way for the Alfine Di2 to be powered from a dynamo hub. I think that would be a necessity for this system, as it would keep it so much simple. If you can power your light, and electronic shifter, then I think the system would work well. If they only offer a battery set up, then there must be a way to lock the battery in place. On BicycleRetailer.com, they mention a battery placement of a “seatpost-mounted battery”. I don’t what that means, and I can’t find anything else about it. I don’t know if that means the battery could be mounted in the seat tube or just to the seat tube. If the battery could go in the seat tube you would keep it safer. If it’s on a commuter then it should be locked down, no one want to deal with taking more stuff off their bike that could get stolen, so lock it down. The dynamo would be easier though.
Overall I think the Alfine Di2 will find its place, just like the Dura-Ace Di2 has. If the Alfine Di2 system can work with a Gates Carbon Belt Drive, it could make an amazing mix. I would really like to try the Alfine Di2 out for my self when it come out. Maybe then I will understand it more.
I grew up in central Illinois. In August of 2007, I bought my first real “adult bike” after needing a bike to save money on gas. Since then I have had many bikes. In April of 2010, after moving out to Oregon, I got my beloved Surly Long Haul Trucker. I have put a lot of good miles on the bike. This blog is about my life in Eugene.