Who are we? We are our stories.

Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show

"So ... ya wanna piece of me?"
Here are some shots of a couple of the Minnesota boys at NAHBS. Erik Noren of Peacock Groove posing all happy and macho with his golden bike and below his beer bike. Erik didn't win any prizes, but he was a presence and at least they didn't try to throw him out this year. We're gaining. First we crawl, then we walk. ;o)  Nice work. If you want more, see Prolly: 

Erik Noren from Peacock Groove is one of my favorite framebuilders. He's all about having bikes that are fun and full of character and this is a huge by-product of Erik's personality. I enjoyed hanging with him and shooting his beautifully unique bicycles during the 2011 NAHBS, especially his own Columbus MAX road bike.
Check out more photos and a slideshow from my coverage of the 2011 NAHBS Peacock Groove booth below.
Continue reading"2011 NAHBS Recon: Peacock Groove"

The Beer Fetcher. For making a quick run to the Hexagon Bar?

Saving the best for last, the quiet one in the room, Vincent Dominguez. They don't pass out a lot of extra awards at the show. Just enough to cover the bases. The one that Vincent received was for "Best Fillet Brazed Bike". And it is a beautifully crafted bike. Two Thumbs up for Vincent and the sweet little mixte he built for his wife. Vincents primary influences and mentors were Minneapolis builders Terry Osell and Chris Kvale. This isn't lugged because of the mixte angles, but if you like fine thin filing, Vincent carries the torch for the next generation of the Kvale style. I think they both would be comfortable with that. Although Kvale doesn't like red.

More pictures of this jewel here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coppi, Bartali and Redbreast

About a week ago Friday, Lestrud came over for an evening. At one time he owned a bicycle shop and he has tools and skills that I am sometimes lacking. Dan Ulwelling taught him to build wheels and he learned well. I don't know how he does it, when he builds up a set of wheels they never go out of true and don't seem to need a second tightening up after the spokes seat themselves. I seem to have misplaced my BB wrench, so he brought over a loaner and the full-size DT Spoke chart. I just furnished the water, ice and Redbreast Irish Whiskey. We kind of did it backwards. We drank enough whiskey to make wives uneasy, and THEN I brought out the rims and hubs to measure. I think we focused, re-measured and re-read the charts enough times to get the spoke lengths correct. I hope so, because I have 72 DT Revolutions on the way. A testimonial: Revolutions are really light, 1.5mm with 2.0mm butted ends. I am a pretty good eater and heavy. I've broken spokes, but with 36 x 4 cross wheels I have never snapped a Revolution. I guess the light spokes must stretch and absorb the punishment rather than breaking. Anyway, a thumbs up. For Redbreast too.

Lestie left me a Fausto Coppi book and a couple of videos. Every great champion needs a strong, ongoing rival. Fausto Coppi had Gino Bartali. Gino was supposedly a war hero, smuggling documents on training rides, though I'm not certain why he wasn't drafted. Fausto was and almost immediately became a prisoner of war in North Africa and spent the war just trying to get by. Gino met with the Pope to be blessed before every race and made a show of crossing himself at the starting line and finishing line. Fausto didn't. He said he didn't think God cared what gear you were in or who won a bicycle race. I really want to like Bartali. He is even the featured rider on my blog background. I like his prizefighter look. Still it's hard, the more I read, the more it becomes obvious he was pious, arrogant and petty ... which of course makes him a good foil for the dashing, free-wheeling Fausto.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One More Ray Charles Country

Written by Hiram King Williams, it don't git more country than ol' Hank.

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music

... issued in 1962 at the height of the Civil Rights Struggle. A black man singing white country music. Today it seems so ordinary and natural. I realize that young people today can't realize what a big deal this was, both musically and socially. There were white people and black people. White music and black music, even segregated radio. In New Orleans black artists couldn't play with white bands and visa versa. This was a game changer, a black soul singer singing country western standards. Every cut on this is so good it's almost silly. 
"The words to country songs are very earthy like the blues, see, very down. They're not as dressed up, and the people are very honest and say, 'Look, I miss you, darlin', so I went out and I got drunk in this bar.' That's the way you say it. Where in Tin Pan Alley will say, 'Oh, I missed you darling, so I went to this restaurant and I sat down and I had dinner for one.' That's cleaned up now, you see? But country songs and the blues is like it is." -Ray

Side one
"Bye Bye Love" (F. Bryant, B. Bryant) – 2:09
"You Don't Know Me" (Arnold, Walker) – 3:14
"Half as Much" (C. Williams) – 3:24
"I Love You So Much It Hurts" (Tillman) – 3:33
"Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long Way)" (Arnold, Clements) – 3:26
"Born to Lose" (Brown) – 3:15

Side two
"Worried Mind" (Daffan, Davis) – 2:54
"It Makes No Difference Now" (Tillman, Davis) – 3:30
"You Win Again" (H. Williams) – 3:29
"Careless Love" (Traditional, Charles) – 3:56
"I Can't Stop Loving You" (Gibson) – 4:13
"Hey, Good Lookin'" (H. Williams) – 2:10

There were a series of Pepsi commercials some years ago featuring Ray and the Raylettes. They were young, slim and hot.  When I saw Ray Charles in person, the Raylettes were big ladies, not much to look at, even a little grim, but Lord they could sing. Hell, he was blind, not deaf. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

More of the Mickelson Trail

For 20 years my friend has taken a group of college students to The Hills for a week of photograhy, drawing and painting. Here's some more pictures with a description:

"The Mickelson has gentle horizontal sweeps through the forests, ravines and valleys. Since it's a railroad bed, the vertical curves are flat, less than 2.5%. The trestles are mining era structures made of beautiful timbers, same character as the pigtail bridges (attached) just southeast of Rushmore."

Together Again.

An old song written by Buck Owens in the early '60s. I think I dislike all of his recordings. Of everything. Ray Charles did probably the best version of this (why does that not surprise me?) but there doesn't seem to be a clean recording posted. Emmy Lou's hair started turning gray when she was about 25, so this must be early. A beautiful voice. A beautiful woman - even with minimal make-up. It will do nicely.  

More current picture for Old Fool.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

After the Bridge

Saxophone: Invented by Belgian, Adolphe Sax in 1841. Bart Simpson's little sister Liza plays her tenor saxophone on the bridge of Springfield because her idol did and ... well, because that's what saxophone players do. Sonny Rollins was at the top of the jazz world in 1959 when he dropped out to practice. He practiced pretty much full time for three years on the Williamsburg Bridge in Lower Manhattan. When I discovered Sonny Rollins in the early 60s I thought his composition The Bridge was the end. He is still playing and I thought it would be fun to post it. Listening to it fresh 40 years later, I find I really don't care for it. After three years of work, an old man in small town Minnesota "doesn't care for it"?  Sorry. You'll have to settle for this. Or just take a pass.

More Evans

We have some Bill Evans fans out there in the digital vapor. That is a good thing.

The Z-Man Does the Sub-Continent

This is the face side of a post card we received today from Taylor Z.  Apparently he was not in computer cafe country at the time. The back side of the 3 x 5 has lines of tiny Taylor scrawl that get progressively smaller as he neared the bottom. More to say than room to say it. He picked up this Giant Expedition in Kathmandu, "a 7- speed Shimano STX touring rig. Fairly well suited to the task. Threw on the local saddle for flare. Pretty Comfy."

He is riding his way south across India, then east to Thailand and eventually Bali before heading home. At one point he planned to crash at my daughter's apartment in Bangkok, but I am not privy to their ever changing plans. I just hope they both eventually make it home safe and happy. 

A Break In the Action

Oakwood Dive today.
It has warmed up recently and some of the snow has melted, which widened the streets a little and gave us shoulders to ride on. It was 21F this afternoon so I tucked my pants into my high wool socks, fired up the Ol' Coldnago and took it out for a spin. Wow, it doesn't take much to get my legs shaking after the winter induced layoff. Oakwood Drive is still a frozen "wintery mix" mess, and it is a bitch to ride a bicycle on. Or drive on for that matter. Once I get out to Wedge Street it's a little better, but not much. I live within the city limits of a town of 20,000 people and I still often need a 4-wheel drive to get to my home. We really should rename the street. "Oakwood Drive" implies that you can actually DRIVE on it. Oakwood Stuck? Oakwood Dive? Yeah, maybe Dive.
1982 Colnago Super. Since the last photo I have changed the bars, brake lever and crankset, but it's the same in spirit.

Unchained Melody

For a while everyone and his brother recorded this. Ironic that, to my ear, the best cut is an unreleased demo by a songwriter. It's a little rough in a couple of places, but pretty damned fine overall. I've been learning to a lot of Mickey Newbury recently. He left a hellofa lifetime songbook, but mostly hits for others. I'm not really certain why as he had a decent voice and phrasing himself.

Recorded at the Triad Studios, Eugene, OR, June 3, 1991.
Lyrics by Hy Zaret.
Vocals/Guitar - Mickey Newbury
Cello - Dale Bradley

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

George S. Mickelson in Winter

Butch Paulson sent me these pictures of the Mickelson Trail after reading my entry about the Black Hills.
" ...taken on a zero degree day in January '07. Those are my tracks on the road after getting out by the skin of my teeth."
Winter certainly does lay a beautiful edge on the rocks and pines.

Heartland Velo Show

Not so many years ago I thought steel craft bikes were dead. Dinosaurs. The builders were getting older and the kids thought steel was for anchors. Things changed. People want steel bikes again and an amazing generation of young builders have hung out their shingles. There are more and more shows and they keep getting bigger.

I just received an email from Ahren Rogers of Banjo Cycles in Madison inviting me over to this show. If some of the posse - Mpls builders and/or the Rydjor Bike crew are going and I have someone to drink New Glarus beer with, I'll probably drive over. 

The Reported Death of Rock 'n Roll

I have let my subscription to Rolling Stone lapse, but they keep sending the magazines anyway. My guess is the typical R.S. reader is a little slow getting around to things and they allow for that. To give you an idea of how grim things are, Justin Bieber was on the cover of the issue we received a couple of days ago. According to an article in the magazine there was not one Rock song in the top 25 selling records in America this past year. I guess things come and go, and rock has had a good run for it's money. They jibber-jabbered around and made excuses, but it appears it's R.I.P. time for Mr. Rock. It will become like Bluegrass, still existing around the fringes, but atrophied and just repeating what the past has already said. It seems the only justification for Rolling Stone Magazine is the gadfly writing of Matt Taibbi harpooning Wall Street and Goldman Sachs. I think I'll just let my subscription lapse continue.

Shirley Horn - Corcovado

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


My wife, who does not believe in tenure is an indifferent member of the teacher's union. When I was a very young man I was member of a local union for a short time. One time I did join the entire engineering department of our company in refusing to cross a picket line. Honestly, that was not so much a support of the striking factory workers, as it was a rejection of the way upper management was also treating us too. We were all summarily fired, but then rehired as part of the eventual contract agreement. 

Nevertheless I have never thought of myself as a union man or even a union supporter, but I cannot help supporting the protesters and their principles in Wisconsin with all my heart. Sometimes things are simply wrong.

Lorna sez:
"As for UNIONS. I support WI.
I was a union rep for my building for a number of years. I believe in the union and collective bargaining. I believe the union should support teachers that are unfairly charged or discharged. I do not like it when the union supports teachers who are not professional and don't teach. Our union has taken a freeze in pay or .0 % increase in the last 5 years. Our family insurance has gone up every year also. So it seems like we have been going backwards for years."

Shiny Bits: C-Record Jewelry

Jack Gabus (Silk Hope) asked about components for the upcoming Kvale build. Below is the rear derailleur. I believe the Campagnolo Corsa Record, or C-Record as everybody calls it, came out in '85, maybe '86. This one, without the embossed Campy shield and with the cutout on the roller guard, would probably be from the late '80s. Anyway, close to that time frame. As we discussed earlier, there are lighter derailleurs and maybe better functioning derailleurs, but in my opinion, non prettier. Lets face it, we will put up with a lot of shortcomings for a little beauty. I got this one from Miguel Booth. It was mildly scratched and scraped, though particularly nice for a twenty-year-old "user". Either Miguel didn't ride the bike much or he is very careful.

The first thing I did was hit it with Heavy Duty Easy-Off oven cleaner to remove the anodized coating. This is nasty stuff, the primary ingredient being sodium hydroxide (lye) and requires rubber gloves and common sense. It's best to do it with ventilation or step out of the room for five minutes after spraying it. After ten minutes or so, rinse with water which will neutralize the lye. I prefer to do it with a series of short soakings - too long and it can turn black and etch the aluminum.

I stripped it down to dull aluminum and filed out the scrapes, then sanded it with a series of ever finer wet sandpaper. When it was smooth I buffed it with Simichrome metal polish. After it was polished the shine showed some sanding tracks and I re-worked those spots. There are still some thin scratches that are deep. It could be better, but at some point, pretty good is good enough.

The old Campy rollers were the color of grease. Why change them to a light gray that always looks dirty? I may replace them with some trick red sealed-bearing rollers. We'll see how it looks mounted on the bike.

(After looking at the photos blown up, I think I'll be doing a little Simichrome time.)  (done, no more pictures)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Toots Thielemans

Harmonica: Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, born 1922 in Belgium, still performing at 88. Toots has recorded with all the jazz greats from Charlie Parker to Shirley Horn. His guitar work was supposely an influence on John Lennon. Personally, I can't hear it. He wrote Bluesette and on his original release he whistled and played a very tasteful Rickenbach guitar. It doesn't seem to be posted anywhere. Too bad; someday I'll figure out how to drive this thing, transfer LPs to digital, and post them myself. (don't wait around). Regardless, none of it is bad. For Judi In the Sky, the Princess of Santa Monica Canyon, and an old friend and lover of the sweet old jazz. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Happens in Vagueness Stays in Vagueness

This by Clark Whelton from City Journal. He's hyperventilating because he thinks that the English language going to hell.  I don't care, things change, music sucks, literature sucks, movies suck. Mostly being old sucks. Every generation thinks the world is going to hell in a handbasket. It is hard not to appreciate his indignation though. I'll wager he typed it in Helvetica Bold, rolled it up tight and shot it out of a torpedo tube. Signed, Outraged in New York!

Ambiguity has a death grip on our syntax. The principles of effective speech are in tatters. Verbal chaos reigns. Linguistic rabble have stormed the grammar palace. The principles of effective speech have gone up in flames.

Yeah? Well, welcome to the world of 1410 Oakwood!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Willie, Wynton (and Mickey)

"That harmonica player looks like Ron Jeremy and Bob Ross's love child." - Paul "Doohickie",  speaking of Willie Nelson's left arm and anchor Mickey Raphael.

The legend goes that early on Willie asked his manager what they were paying Mickey. "Nothing. He just comes and plays for fun." To which Willie replied, "Well, double his salary." I like the way Willie's band was defined. Pre-Mickey, it was traditional pedalsteel Nashville country. After Mickey was added, the whole dynamics changed and anything went - driving high volume. Now they're older and the band has become acoustic, down to one drum set - mostly brushes, but after 35 years Mickey's still there, moaning his blues through the harp. 

Part 2 if you're hooked. (bad lip sync)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Eyes Have it.

I promised myself never to discuss my eyesight in public again, but it has come to my attention that a group of my former co-workers were at a gathering and they were wondering how my condition was progressing. Or regressing.

A report: While I certainly do not have good eyesight, it is only slightly worse than a couple of years ago. I don't generally drive at night and my birdwatching has suffered a little. Other than that I'm doing pretty damned well. I am still able to see sunsets, Spring flowers and beautiful women. Thanks for asking.

No Progress Report

With a couple of Kvale knee operations and miscellaneous interruptions, I am now number two in the queue and on for April. If number one doesn't get his act together I may move up to the one slot, but I don't think I can count on that. I realize that all these sketches may seem redundant, but there are subtle changes that I have recorded for myself and Chris. For instance moving the pump aft of the seat tube, the long round bottom stays, and Vincent Dominguez stem. The plan for the stem is fillet brazed with a bi-laminate fake lug on the top to match the Kvale filed frame lugs, painted to match the frame. I am considering a threaded water-bottle style boss on top of the stem for a camera mount. Taking votes on that one. The Henry James bottom is a little plain, but the combination of round stays and oversized downtube tube limited our options. After Chris gives it a good filing, it'll be elegant enough.

Chris Bishop

They tell me that Aunt Dorothy doesn't think I post anything anymore, just that dumb bicycle stuff and music. Guilty as charged.

Can you say "swoop"? This is going to be painted and built up at NAHBS with new custom components from Phil Wood. Wowzer!  It's worth a stroll through these photos if you're so inclined. I'm really curious about the graphics, paint selection and seeing the new components.

Ray Price

Here's an old guy singing old songs. Just to put time in perspective, after serving in the Marines in WWII, he eventually drifted to Nashville in 1950, rooming with a kid named Hank Williams. Yeah, that Hank Williams. A number of people got their start in his band, The Cherokee Cowboys - at one time including Roger Miller, Willie Nelson and Johnny Bush. He was 83 years old when this was recorded and is still singing today at 85. Amazing. His voice may be a little thinner now, but then again he started out with an incredible instrument. Nice phrasing on Don't Get Around Much Anymore.

Keith Urban and his ilk really, really, really suck.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slumber My Darling

Slumber, my darling, the birds are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flow'rs are caressed,
Slumber, my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm

Pretty Crowing Chicken & Your Kingdom Must Come Down

A little love, a little farming and a little religion for Rev Dick. Performer - Frank Proffitt (nice hat)

The moon it shines bright, and the stars they give light,
While this fair miss she worries alone.
There's something in the way that is causing him to stay,
It's I am worried alone, 'lone, 'lone,
It's I am worried alone.

Her true love come at last, and he come very fast,
Come tripplin' through the plain.
This fair miss she rose, and she threw on her clothes,
For to let her old true lover in, in, in,
For to let her old true lover in.

Trips Not Taken: The Black Hills

Don't know about now, but 30 years ago there was a square dance every Saturday night at the Rochford saloon.

Back in the land before time, we used to go camping in the Black Hills with Margadant and his then wife Lee. How long ago was it?  I do not know for certain, the time gets fuzzy and the years run together.  I do know that Lee eventually couldn't take it anymore and ended their relationship. She had a good lawyer - Jim. He took the honorable way out and chose to fall on his sword. Eventually Jim married Brenda and they have been together long enough to raise and fledge three children of their own. (I suppose that's where "full-fledged" comes from, eh?) The Margadant kids are full-fledged adults now. It has to have been a long time ago.

Can't read the population. Maybe 25?
This is not the Black Hills of Mount Rushmore and tourist attractions. This is the backside. The Hills are beautiful, and as a local, Jim knew where to go. We pitched camp in the vicinity of Black Fox, near (9 mi) the unincorporated village of Rochford. We had a spring for water, trout streams, beaver ponds and hills covered with flowers, and potential firewood all within a short hike. Our camping was basic, low-tech, ours a canvas cabin tent, Margadant's a blue pickup backed up near a tree to tie the rope which supported a tarp with rocks tied to the corners. It all worked well enough. (Aside: James, I do not want to know if this has all become concrete, asphalt and neon. The photo of Rochford showed up on the Google Map.  At least Rochford hasn't changed much.  Except the rows of found hubcaps on the side of the building have been either sold or stolen.)

Why this memory now? Jim send me a link for the Mickelson bike trail which passes through the area. It's a 109 miles of packed gravel, perfect for a light camper like my Peter Mooney or the yet unborn Chris Kvale. The gradients are moderate. 218 miles on hard gravel. I figure a nice comfortable week with side trips and time off here and there. Maybe some day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tom Sanders's Kvale and Ritchie

I believe I bought the Jon Guinea Kvale from Tom Sanders. Regardless, this is Tom's newly refinished 1977 Kvale fixed gear with paint done by Doug Fattic.

Below is Sanders's town bike, which started out as an early Tom Richie cyclocross show bike which was later adapted to the rider's maturing needs. He said originally it was a 19 pound bike even with the big tires! Tom Ritchie serial #19.


When midnight comes a host of dogs and men
Go out and track the badger to his den,
And put a sack within the hole, and lie
Till the old grunting badger passes by.
He comes an hears - they let the strongest loose.
The old fox gears the noise and drops the goose.
The poacher shoots and hurries from the cry,
And the old hare half wounded buzzes by.
They get a forked stick to bear him down
And clap the dogs and take him to the town,
And bait him all the day with many dogs,
And laugh and shout and fright the scampering hogs.
He runs along and bites at all he meets:
They shout and hollo down the noisy streets.

He turns about to face the loud uproar
And drives the rebels to their very door.
The frequent stone is hurled where'er they go;
When badgers fight, then everyone's a foe.
The dogs are clapped and urged to join the fray'
The badger turns and drives them all away.
Though scarcely half as big, demure and small,
He fights with dogs for hours and beats them all.
The heavy mastiff, savage in the fray,
Lies down and licks his feet and turns away.
The bulldog knows his match and waxes cold,
The badger grins and never leaves his hold.
He drives the crowd and follows at their heels
And bites them through - the drunkard swears and reels

The frighted women take the boys away,
The blackguard laughs and hurries on the fray.
He tries to reach the woods, and awkward race,
But sticks and cudgels quickly stop the chase.
He turns again and drives the noisy crowd
And beats the many dogs in noises loud.
He drives away and beats them every one,
And then they loose them all and set them on.
He falls as dead and kicked by boys and men,
Then starts and grins and drives the crowd again;
Till kicked and torn and beaten out he lies
And leaves his hold and crackles, groans, and dies.

John Clare

1974 Giro d'Italia (part 8)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ping-Pong Penguin

Thanks to Barin.

NAHBS and The Badger

I'm going to dip my bloggery toes into the world of mountain biking for a couple of minutes. brrrr-r-r!  Barin sent me this link. It's a mildly interesting interview. Until the last question.  Hail, The Badger!


Wow, the NAHBS interviews are just pouring in here…it’s hard to keep up. Today’s interview is with John Caletti of Caletti Cycles in Santa Cruz, CA. He despises integrated seatmasts. He’d rather catch a crocodile than fight Erik Noren and, well, I don’t want to spoil the rest of the interview for you…
11 NAHBS-Related Questions:
BR: Are your plans for NAHBS a secret, or can you tell us a little bit about what you’re showing?
JC: Not a secret, but I don’t plan to post any pictures of the bikes before the show. I’m bringing a geared 29er mountain bike with a Fox fork, and one piece titanium bar/stem; an oversize-tubed road bike with carbon fork and SRAM Red group; and a straight-ahead, working (wo)man’s cyclocross bike with steel fork and Rival group. Those bikes represent a good sample of the bikes I put out regularly, and for something a bit unusual I have a fun and utilitarian townie with curved top tube, one-piece bar/stem, disc brakes, internally geared hub and belt drive.
BR: What about the booth, anything extra-special-crazy in the booth department?
JC: Yes, me. I’ll be getting crazier by the day as I answer the same 3 questions about belt drive bikes.
BR: What do you see as the hot trend at NAHBS this year?
JC: NAHBS IS the hot trend. A bunch of other smaller handmade bike shows have started up in recent time and people are paying more attention, which is great. I’m hoping we are getting over the hump of art project bikes getting all the press, and that the riders out there notice all the superb “regular” bikes at the show and look for the builders of their next bikes.
BR: What is the lamest frame building trend ever?
JC: The super tall seat tubes (a.k.a. “seatmasts”) don’t make much sense.
BR: What is the most challenging or horrible thing you’ve had to do as a frame builder.
JC: Deciphering and filling out some of those tax/government documents I seem to get from time to time.
BR: What is your favorite type of bike to build?
JC: One that the rider/customer is really excited about, one I know will add to their enjoyment of the sport – doesn’t matter if that’s a road, mountain, or cross bike.
BR: As a frame builder is there anything you absolutely will not to? Like a not-without-a-gun-to-my-head type thing?
JC: No tandems or recumbents – gun or not.
BR: Sum up your entire bicycle building philosophy in one word or less. Kidding. How about three words?
JC: Sensible, performance, personal
BR: If you weren’t building bikes, what would you be doing?
JC: Maybe be one of those guys who catches crocodiles in the back yards of Florida to release them into the wild.
BR: Who is your bike-building idol? Who do you look up to?
JC: I have a great deal of respect and admiration for a lot of builders, but in particular Dario Pegoretti, Carl Strong and Steve Potts. These guys are not only amazing at their craft, but great guys as well.

BR: This one is important. Of the people showing at NAHBS, who is the last frame builder you would ever want to fight? Like physically.
JC: Well, even though last year Sacha White brought his entourage and a box of brass knuckles, I think I’d have to go with Erik Noren of Peacock Groove – he’s got the intensity of a badger!

1974 Giro d'Italia (part 7)

Friday, February 11, 2011


1966, the NCO Club in Hanau, Germany. We'd been out in the field for 60 days, it was our first night back in town and we were celebrating being home. There were about eight of us sitting at a four man table right next to the stage. Tony Copobianco was buying cheap champagne faster than we could drink it. I was next to Jarel Mork, he was an officer and some of my tablemates didn't want him there, but he was my guest. Jarel and I worked together in S3 and we had an exchange program. We either went to the Officer's Club or the NCO Club depending on which had the best music. This night it was no contest. We could go to the Officer's Club with a bunch of stiffs and be subjected to John Denver, who was a nobody folk singer, or be here in the smoke and beer listening to Fats Domino. Poor Fats was nearing the end of a long string of one night stands, playing every smoky, dump NCO Club in U.S. Army Europe, one night after another. He came out onto the little stage wearing a seedy sequined suit and enormous rings. How the hell can a man play piano wearing those things? Judging by his tired, blood-shot eyes and zombie demeanor the poor man desperately needed a break. They were the saddest road map eyes I've ever seen. He sat his ample ass down on the bench, looked square at us and grunted something into the mike, and led off with They Call Me the Fat Man. He was professional, but obviously dog-tired. He seemed to pick up energy as the evening went on and by the time he hit Blueberry Hill he was a full voice, even smiling. Enjoy, I know I did.

Obama Falsely Encouraged By Mubarak’s Out of Office Autoreply

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – 
Explaining why he had been convinced yesterday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was about to relinquish his position, President Barack Obama said that he had been misled by Mr. Mubarak’s out of office autoreply to Mr. Obama’s email.
Embarrassed at the misinterpretation, Mr. Obama conceded today that “maybe I took it a little too literally.”
In a sign that he is losing patience with the Egyptian leader, Mr. Obama said that the U.S. was preparing to send Mr. Mubarak a new email “with the strongest frowny-faced emoticons at our disposal.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also expressed frustration with Mr. Mubarak’s unwillingness to leave, calling him “Egypt’s first zombie President.”
In what some observers have seen as an ominous sign, Mr. Mubarak has reportedly been consulting about his career plans with Jay Leno.

1974 Giro d'Italia (part 5)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Black Snake Moan

1974 Giro d'Italia (part 4)

Note the white Fiat 124 Spyder team car - the one that overheats going up the mountain. Why does that not surprise me? When Ms L and I were first married, we had a red one, which was usually her car. Our other car was an Alfa-Romeo Giuliette Sprint. Very practical machines for Minnesota winters.

Eddy Merckx is down by a whole minute. Can he possibly come back? Duh. Stay tuned tomorrow, same station, same time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 Stupor Bowl Alley Cat

Photo: maybe by Jeff Frane?
Noren was all hyped about the Stupor Bowl Alley Cat when I was there. It turned out that his excitement was justified. His buddy, Jeff Frane won on an old Croll (you listening Jonny? On an old Croll! that Erik torched).  I'm old, I don't know these young riders, but there were about 400 of them running the city streets and alleys of Minneapolis in frigid temps, in the biggest "Alley Cat"  in the nation. So, to who ever Jeff is, my hat's off to ya. For at least one year, you are The Man. Be well. (Chad sez "Jeff Frane".)

I have discovered that one cannot Google "Stuper Bowl" because the algorithm assumes you are misspelling Super Bowl.  Maybe when The Stupor Bowl becomes bigger than The Super Bowl, the shoe will be on the other foot.

Energy Funds, Energy Flows

"It’s a safe bet that whenever I post something here discussing the limits to energy resources, one result will be a flurry of emails and attempted comments insisting that it just ain’t so. I’ve long since stopped responding to them, since the arguments they raise – they’re always the same – have been repeatedly addressed here and in my books on peak oil, and endlessly rehashing the same really rather straightforward issues isn’t that productive a use of my time. Still, I keep track of them; it’s a useful reminder of just how many people have never quite grasped the fact that the laws of nature are under no obligation to cater to our culture’s emotionally charged fantasies of perpetual progress and limitless growth." - John Michael Greer   Continued

The Moral Crusade Against Foodies

I'm posting this mostly because we have not all dined with someone with a special friend in the kitchen. When you walk into the kind of places I normally "dine", the cook is in the same room with you. His name is Bob and he yells too loudly across the room, "Hi, where the hell you guys been?!"  Talk about awkward small talk. Well, I guess I do have a special relationship. Me, and everyone else in town. (Actually Bob quit again. He does that.) From The Atlantic:

image: John Cuneo
"WE HAVE ALL dined with him in restaurants: the host who insists on calling his special friend out of the kitchen for some awkward small talk. The publishing industry also wants us to meet a few chefs, only these are in no hurry to get back to work. Anthony Bourdain’s new book, his 10th, is Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. In it he announces, in his trademark thuggish style, that “it is now time to make the idea of not cooking ‘un-cool’—and, in the harshest possible way short of physical brutality, drive that message home.” Having finished the book, I think I’d rather have absorbed a few punches and had the rest of the evening to myself." Continued

1974 Giro d'Italia (part 3)

Some rough roads. This was only 35 years ago, but some modern riders would whine and complain if they had to ride the ‘Strada Bianche’.  Of course the older European geometry might have been more geared for this than modern short wheelbase frames.  I'll leave that to those who know more than I do.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chatterbox Pub

Very Proud to be Voted
“Best Neighborhood Bar, Minneapolis”
& "Best Place for a First Date"
Reader’s Choice Award, City Pages
At the Chatterbox Pub, we have worked hard to develop our reputation for both a unique flavor filled menu that will surprise newcomers, as well as providing exceptional personal service that will make you feel comfortably at home in your neighborhood pub.

Smiles and laughter are readily available on the menu as well. Our menu contains an extensive list of your favorite Atari, Nintendo, and Sega Genesis games such as Frogger, Tetris, Mario Bros, Sonic, and Combat, as well as a library of your favorite board games such as Yahtzee, Connect 4, and Apples to Apples.

Thank you,
The Chatterbox Crew

This is an addendum to The Great Saturday Outing Adventure. I forgot, we had lunch too, at the Chatterbox Pub. It's a little quirky, with a library of board games and a bunch of vintage video games. And sofas. But to hell with that, we were there for beer, fries and burgers. I haven't eaten the whole menu, all I can say for certain is the burgers are great, the seasoned fries are the best I've even eaten, and on that day the Belgian Style Dubbel was pretty fine. Normally I wouldn't post a menu, but you can never tell when someone might be planning to open a pub someday and maybe need a few ideas. So, here's the beer and the burgers:  (It was a good day indeed)

Albert Lea Youth Hockey

These are some pictures from today's A.L. Tribune. I have no personnel connection with any of these children, though some are probably Oakwooders. I usually only see these guys (and gals) playing outside with red cheeks and runny noses, wearing layers of worn sweatshirts and old socking-caps pulled down over their ears. They look downright spiffy indoors in their nice clean team uniforms - like they're really for the NHL.

For a few years there was a rink cleared out of the snow on the lake in front of Lakeview Blvd. There were some old folding lawnchairs, which served both as goals during the game and as seating during a break in the action. I'm not certain why, but I always kind of liked that. 

The Peacock's Show Bike

Actually Erik's bikes really don't hit my sweet spot, but I can recognize craft and passion. Here's a couple of shots of one of Erik the Peacock's show bikes. Actually, all of Erik's bikes are show bikes. That's what makes him Erik. He's just a crap shoot waiting to happen. I may be wrong, but I don't think he ever uses transfers; everything is painted. However they do it, this has a nice 3-D look.

1974 Giro d'Italia (part 2)

Monday, February 7, 2011

1974 Giro d'Italia (part 1)

The Caterpillar

About a year and a half ago Lucinda Williams married Tom Overby on the stage of the First Avenue Bar in Minneapolis. While not a typical place to have a wedding, my guess is in the long run it'll work as well as any. Her father, Miller is a big deal in the poetry world. Here he is hitting lead off for the home team. From my experience I'd have to say, it's great to be a dad.

The Caterpillar

--Miller Williams

Today on the lip of a bowl in the backyard
we watched a caterpillar caught in the circle
of his larvel assumptions
my daughter counted
27 times he went around
before rolling back and laughing
I'm a caterpillar, look
she left him
measuring out his slow green way to some place
there must have been a picture of inside him
After supper
coming from putting the car up
we stopped to look
figured he crossed the yard
once every hour
and left him
when we went to bed
wrinkling no closer to my landlord's leaves
than when he somehow fell into his private circle
Later I followed
barefeet and doorclicks of my daughter
to the yard the bowl
milkwhite moonlight eye
in the black grass
it died
I said honey they don't live very long
In bed again
re-covered and re-kissed
she locked her arms and mumbling love to mine
until yawning she slipped
into the deep bone-bottomed dish of sleep
Stumbling drunk around the rim
I hold
the words she said to me across the dark
I think he thought he was
going in a straight line.