Monday, February 21, 2011

On McAfee's Knob

Taken from the top of McAfee's Knob in the beautiful Blue Ridge of Southwestern Virginia!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring is on its way?!?!

One of my favorite views near Great Falls, MD
Valentine's Day found my girlfriend and me out on the C&O Canal on our bikes, on a beautiful, sunny day, with temps in the 60s!  It was gorgeous out there, and there were lots of birds and squirrels and even one perhaps over-eager turtle, basking on a log!  It had all the makings of a perfect day...

... except for the thick, wheel-sucking mud!

That's my gf, making better headway on her "regular" bike.
Yep, all that melted snow and ice resulted in some truly amazing mud.  It was challenging enough for my girlfriend, on her conventional bike with 700c wheels, but for me on my Brompton Folding Bike with 16" wheels, it was truly a slog!  I was amazed at how quickly I slowed to a crawl, and at times a complete stop, in the sticky bits.  At times, my tires sank down to where the inner face of the rim was even with the surface of the mud to either side.  I can't recall a ride in recent memory that was such hard work, and this on basically level ground.

Still, it was a beautiful day, and I'm still glad we got out on our bikes.  I just wish we'd picked a paved surface to ride on.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Note:  I don't normally run duplicate posts between our shop blog and here, but this one just seemed too good not to share.

Now and then a customer comes in with a way of doing something that I just find amazing. Well, last Friday was one of those days.

Mike rides his high end handcycle competitively, and rides in events all over the place. He keeps us posted on the events in which he races, and we also keep an eye on him on Facebook.

Today he showed me how he manages to cram both his handcycle and his wheelchair into a medium sized sedan. Now, that may not seem like such a big deal if you've never seen a bike like this up close, but trust me, it's quite a feat. So much so I just had to take a few pictures.

First, here's Mike in his car:

And here's the cycle and wheelchair inside:

And finally, here's the cycle ready to roll:

It's pretty amazing to see it all inside, honestly. Even more impressive is that he manages to pack the car by himself!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Old Friends

Well, Thursday was a good day, made all the more pleasant by a visit to the shop by an old friend. Phil and I were good friends in high school and into our college years, but as time went by and we both went on about our lives and moved various places, we fell out of touch. A few years ago, after I'd been back in the DC are a couple of years, we managed to hook up for lunch once, and caught up on each other's lives a bit. Then life took hold again and we fellout of touch for a while. Fortunately, we didn't go quite as long this time before reconnecting, and today he came out to see the shop.

It was great to catch up... a lot has happened in each of our lives over the years, but it's great to find there's still a bond between old friends. And I have to admit, it was fun showing him around the shop, and talking about this exciting new chapter of my life. And hearing him talk about his family was wonderful too. He's a good guy, and I suspect a great dad. Business was slow today (can you say January?) so we had time for a nice long visit.

One extra added surprise to the visit... and another reunion of sorts...

Back in 1980, I bought my Trek 414 road bike that I've written about before. Part of how I managed to finance that was by selling Phil my '77 Fuji S-10S. The Fuji was the first bike I bought for myself, rather than receiving as a gift from my parents, and I loved that bike. But being young and fickle, a few years later I wanted something "better", so I bought the Trek. And it was and is a better bike all around, no doubt about it, and I've had a lot of great rides and great adventures on the Trek. It's a bike I never expect to part with. But the Fuji always had a special place in my memory, as my first "good" bike, and the first paid for by my ow
n labor.

Imagine my surprise when Phil pulls up with the very same Fuji on the back of his car. And better yet, presents it to me as a gift! I knew he still had it after all this time, and he'd said he hadn't really ridden it in a long time, but I really didn't expect him to just show up and give it to me. It's a little dusty, and could use a good cleaning and probably an overhaul, but all in all in great shape, just like I remember, save for the Fujita leather saddle, which Phil discarded long ago. That sucker was made of some seriously thick and stiff leather, harder and less forgiving than the Brooks saddles I like so much. Still, it was a good saddle, and it's a shame it's gone... but that's a tiny quibble. It's SO good to see this bike again, and to think of fixing it up and riding it again!