Wednesday, May 20, 2009


At this point in my life, I'm done thinking I should feel any different or older on this particular day. In fact, it feels quite ordinary, other than that I cleaned my room and did my laundry. And as happy as those things make me, I've still woken up with an awareness that I should have -- could have -- done more yesterday, the day before, this week. But that's normal. Soon I'll have a dull indifferent feeling, suspicious nothing will turn out how I want it (and yes, as I'm posting this I can confirm that is indeed my mood). On the bright side, I did eat breakfast today...or something like it: brownies and a little barley wine. Today will get better, I'm sure...and it really doesn't matter if it doesn't. It's just a day.
I am though excited to have a couple of beers at the B-Side with the good friends who are able to make it despite the short notice. If you didn't already get the invite: 632 E Burnside, 8:30ish. Maybe dancing later?

I'll leave you with this. It made me laugh, despite the mood.
Check out Republic -- and I shudder to call them -- Bicycles , where 'wasabi' isn't just something you put on your sushi and you can get something nice to accessorize your Ikea living room, library, garage, or beachfront seawall. I forget how I ran into this link, but I followed it and think it's funny. Check out those roller skates! ...and those top tube pads. If this is 'custom' and 'quality', I don't know what I've been wasting my time doing. I'm figuring I still have a job because Republic is back ordered...but I'm sweating. Not totally sure, but I think this is what BikeSnobNYC would classify as an indicator of the fixed gear apocalypse. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

rain and UBI

I'm laying in bed and hear what seem to be monstrously sized raindrops smashing against my roof and the leaves of nearby trees. I'm feeling particularly grateful for two things: 1) I got out for a short but fast ride this evening and 2) I didn't get caught in the rain on my new road bike (it hasn't seen rain yet, but I'm pretty sure it won't like it). I'd planned all day to bust out for a ride but I didn't actually get to it until shortly after seven. That part was totally OK because I love cresting Mt. Tabor at close to sunset, but today I was racing to get out and back before the rain. I was definitely doubting my decision when I left the house as the wind was starting to kick up and smelled like rain. It wasn't a case of 'if', but rather 'when'. Defying increasingly ominous skies, I took just enough time to grab a burrito on my way back. I felt the first tiny droplets a few blocks away from home then ate on the porch, bike safely away from the rain.

Riding a little more has me feeling much better than a few posts ago.

In case you haven't yet heard: the United Bicycle Institute (UBI) is expanding to a North Portland campus on NE Shaver between the well traveled North-South couplet of bicycle boulevards Vancouver and Williams. Started in 1981, UBI offers classes from hobbyist maintainance to professional mechanics certifications as well as frame design and construction, boasting some very well recognized guest instructors. Citing proximity to an international airport (PDX), the City of Portland's aggressive approach to attracting cycling industries, the city's "vibrant cycling culture", and a "very active and creative community of custom frame builders", owner Ron Sutphin called UBI's expansion to Portland an obvious choice.

I took a frame design/construction class at the original Ashland campus back in 2002, which set me on the path toward Sprout Cycles. The first frame out of the Sprout shop was finished just less than two years ago. Yes, it actually took me five years to put the money, parts, tools, and space together to build what you've come to associate with Sprout Cycles -- and I still feel like I need more of all of the above.

I'm particularly excited because the school is planning to, "expand its curriculum with more specialized seminars and industry-specific training aimed at working mechanics and framebuilders." It's hard to keep up, but at last count it seems like there were about 20 framebuilders in Portland proper (and roughly another 10 in the rest of the state). The push to organize has really only come over the last couple of years. That push took shape largely in the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association (OBCA), which brought you the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show in '07, the Oregon Manifest in '08, and promises a newer, cooler format for Manifest '09. Having a year round physical location for builders to cross paths and talk will be a definite boon. Beyond any direct benefit to me, I'm excited to see yet another indication that Portland is becoming a framebuilding hub with international renown.

My advice? Start saving -- both for your class(es) and for all the tools you will know you NEED afterward.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Turnin' 27

My birthday is next Wednesday (May 20), and I'm trying to decide where to invite my friends to have a drink with me. This shouldn't really matter, but I'm having a hard time deciding. B-side? Sloan's? Crush? Hal's?
Anybody got a good suggestion? Drop me a line.
...and when I figure out where I'm going to be, come join me!

0.0 Returns to Active Duty

10:30 am
I've had my shower and I'm walking into the shop.
Last night I left the shop at 2:30 after having laced three wheels and mostly tensioned and trued one of them. I was totally delirious and cross-eyed by the time I decided to get off my stool. My last memory from the bench is of being so tired that I was closing my eyes and relying only on the sound of the rim brushing the caliper. It felt so nice with my eyes closed. At some point I realized that I was in an odd sort of wheel building trance that was quickly leading to sleep.
'Just stop before you start to eff up. Do it in the morning.'

That is, the real morning: after some sleep.

12:40 pm
Wheel truing has me in a daze again.
I'm locking up the shop to go grab a burrito and some rim strips.

2:37 pm
Rim strips, burrito, beer? check, check, and check.
Ready to work again.

9:35 pm
My sister just left with the Sprout 0.0. It's back on active duty after much too long.

I have to eat the Thai food she brought me before I can type anymore...

9:55 pm
My belly's full, but I still want more. I haven't had 'evil jungle noodles', as Thai Orchid calls it (it is really just a panang style curry over rice noodles with broccoli, baby corn, green bean, and bean sprouts) in quite a while, so this is really hitting the spot. Perhaps too hard. It's also making me feel sleepy, so I think I'm making the decision not go back to work tonight.
I am really happy to have gotten the original Sprout frame back on wheels. It's hard to believe, but I built that frame at bike school seven years ago. I will admit that as I was reassembling it I noticed many of the design flaws that, at the time i built it, were just details overlooked, but now seem like much larger errors -- like 17+ in chainstays (that's really long). Oops. It hasn't been ridden since April of last year when I loaned it to a friend to ride with me in Fruita. (Incidentally, that was some of the most amazing trail riding I've ever done. Quite comparable to the McKenzie River Trail.) Last fall I sacked the wheels in order to build my 10-year-old niece a cyclocross worthy rig, which she rides multiple times a week -- sometimes to school.
Without going into detail, suffice it to say that the bike my sister had been riding was not up to par, and she's really starting to take pleasure from the riding that has become a regular part of family time. As with all my bikes, I like to see them getting ridden, so it was perfect to put the 0.0 back on the trail, especially under my sister.

Today my niece got the tires I originally wanted to give her: Schwalbe CX Pros. They're 26x1.35" and have a relatively traditional style cyclocross tread pattern. I'm excited to see how much faster she is this year.

I'm calling an early bed time tonight.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Rain again today.
I'm suffering from too much work and not enough riding.

I got caught in the deluge/lightning storm on Saturday. I got very wet, very quickly.

Here are a couple of pictures from the City Club event. There are more at Thanks Jonathan! These will have to tide you over until I get photos back from Wonder Knack.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

blog. blog. blog.

fri. 12:27 p.m.

I can't really believe this, but I'm blogging from the City Club meeting.

Today August saw his complete -- short of fenders -- bicycle...and didn't seem disappointed. Happily, the attendees of the program seemed to like it as well. I blush as I type, but somebody actually said that August's bike was his favorite on display. That made my day. I promise pictures soon.

I saw lots of pretty bikes today, and it was very nice to make introductions to a few builders I hadn't formally met: Greg of Milholland, Ken of Renovo, Ed of
Palmares, and Phillip of Metrofiets.

It's always great to catch up with my peers, but (as usual) I spend an hour in what seems like fifteen minutes. It never fails to make me giddy as a schoolgirl, and today especially.

Special thanks to Jordan for lending me a bike stand-y thing.

Show favorites!: the super purple grocery bike by Tony Pereira and Joseph Ahearne's four speed road commuter (with a subtle but SO hot paint job by Spectrum). I'm also not-so-strangely drawn to the Signal fork-mounted wine rack.

postscript. Mia Burke is both an amazing speaker and a wonderful advocate for efficient urban design and healthier communities. I wish I could list the innumerable accomplishments she has helped earn for non-motorized transportation. Apparently she's worked in 48 states and four countries and has been instrumental to the development of Portland's bicycle friendliness. And she's happy to tell you about it, eloquently and energetically.

My last week has been crazy stacked with work: building wheels, frame detailing, bike assembly. Then we add some shifts at the pub and a monthly inventory... This Sunday was supposed to be a 'me' day but, as it seems now, will be the day I do everything I didn't get done during the previous six.

THIS JUST IN: rain, shitty. I'd had visions of pink sparkling wine on the patio, potentially sunbathing in my panties (or maybe less). Perhaps a ride? A boy can hope.

maybe on Monday.