Monday, March 31, 2008

Mallory Square

I'm at Mallory Square with Amy. We're in the midst of goofy-poofy little clouds of tourists who are drifting here in search of celebration. Street performers and alcohol will have to suffice. Amy and I have had some short conversations over the course of about four months, but couldn't previously find a valid enough reason to hang out. Even though I thought we probably should. We have plenty to talk about. Today we've been sitting, riding and standing around, and it's been hours of satisfying activity. Amy said she likes people. I don't know if I would say that I like people, but I like hearing people say that they like people better than hearing people say that they are especially opposed to us. It's more positive. As an aside, Amy has a friend named Amy who is also real cool.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

New handlebars

I just parked at Steve's. I rode over on the City Bike which just got new handlebars less than an hour ago. They're not the Wald ones I was considering - they're big steel take-offs from a Nirve cruiser. They're like northroad handlebars run amok with size. Same shape - just huge and cruiser-y. They're kinda fun and give me a super upright position, but I think they might be going too far. I'll ride around a little bit before making a decision, but I have a feeling that these handlebars won't make the final cut. That means that you probably won't read about me riding through Quebec with them. That's how I'm judging bike parts now. I'm deciding whether I want to use them for my upcoming trip. The xtracycle is extremely tempting, but maybe not so easy to get on a bus. I'm going for normal and minimalist. So which handlebars? I might try the Wald bars I was considering. At this point I think it's likely that I'll use the alloy northroad handlebars that I had drilled out to accept bar end shifters. They were modified by Mark at Bikesmith Design. He makes tools for working on three speeds, and he works from home. It would be nice to have a setup that I liked so much that I wouldn't want to change a thing. The perfect bike. I'm close with the City Bike.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Commenting on bottle cage

I just paid Ralph's bottle cage a nice compliment. It's big and adjustable, and has no trouble with a big square Fiji bottle.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Blitzed yet again

I'm either at Kelly's's happy hour running up a $65 tab, or I'm sitting in a circle of five or six people at Rob's. Both were around the same time, and I didn't keep track. The only definite thing is that I'm pretty blitzed. Super duper blitzed. but not as bad as the guy I saw through the window at Kelly's. Matt and I watched a young man in a white sleeveless shirt puking over a fence into someone's yard. His friend was yapping on the phone and couldn't walk very straight. Next happy hour - if or when it occurs - will have someone else paying the tab. Matt or Steve.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Side street cycling

I'm bicycle riding on little back streets tracing a bicycle-friendly line towards the White Street Pier. I'm riding beside Eddie and Milo who are on the always fantastic xtracycle'd Peugeot. The weather is ideal. The sun is calm at this hour, and preparing to set in beautiful fashion. The conversation is heavy with bicycle-nerd content, talk of the way everything should be in general, with plenty of talk of how good things are at present. Things are good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I'm in the middle of smoking a big heaping amount of pot before going to see The Other Bolyn Girl at the Tropic Cinema. I like going to movies when I have absolutely no idea what to expect. I like going to movies alone. I like sitting in the chair in my van. I'm getting pretty lazy about changing parking spots every day like I used to. I'm realizing that sleeping and living in a van doesn't require a complicated clandestine operation. Nobody notices or cares. It's cozy and simple. This is just the way things ought to be.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Television outside

Nothing strange here... just two Chrises watching basketball on a little TV.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Crossing Grinnell

I'm walking my bike from the Paradise Cafe to my spot. I have Shakey Dog in my head talking about big round onions on a t-bone steak. I'm deciding whether to change my handlebars once again -to some Wald ones with a moderate rise: to see if that is better than my northroad bars.. or I might get ready to go to the movies. Either way, I'm farting up a storm, and thankful it's windy out. The sunset through the clouds is excellent.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Say that title like they do a hundred times throughout the Blackalicious album. I'm with five friends behind the airport in a large dirty empty lot. Beer, bows, and shooting up an old mattress. I wouldn't say I know these guys well, but wisdom is present. Asinine male behavior is also attending, but nobody here needs to have something explained to them. This is a good group, and this is a good moment.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Alaskan Girl

Oh, positive, positive moments. Matt just asked "do you know that Alaskan girl?" I laugh, using p's and f's and air. "Nah" I fail to explain. Alaskan Girl is one of Mike's old, old 4-track recorded songs from when he lived in a basement in West Grove and wore stockings and nonsense to school. His project was called Zulu Sexual, and there were tapes of it. Matt's question reminds me. I laugh. My watch beeps. This five second stretch - today's recorded moment - went just like that. The girl's name is Isabella - Nah, I don't know her. But if I meet her, she can't ride on my handlebars. It already didn't work for Matt. He had fun trying tho.

We're in my house-van on Grinnell by Flemming. Mentally preparing for a film at the Tropic. Relaxing. I take notes on a tablet about the moment. Contrary to previous policy, I let Matt review my notes. Now he laughs too. He thinks he has one of the Zulu tapes: he's seen it in the past two years. His is recorded on an old Disney tape. Tapes, man.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Hour at Kelly's

I'm sitting with Matt, Steve & Dreamin at a table right outside the bar zone at Kelly's. $2 microbrews until 7pm. There's an IPA, a wheat, a red. I've started a tab and I've been sampling them all. Plus wings of various types. We've constructed a three story pyramid of glasses and taken pictures of ourselves to prove later how fun it was and what attractive worldly people we all are. Our spot is looking over the sidewalk. If you need beer in a nice but humble spot, drink it here under these trees. If the people who had the table before you leave some untouched wings, they're all yours - in spite of the look of surprise you may get from the lady at the next table. She agrees with this policy, however it surprises her to see you take advantage of someone else's excess flavorbird.

$2 IPA. This reminds me of eating (drinking) at Mr. Mike's Pizza in Burlington VT this past June. It became an instant pastime, along with morning coffee at Speeder and Earl's. Kelly's has a good thing going, and I'm happy to drink $2 IPA from a glass again.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Talking with Ralph / Windsor Mixte

I'm at the shop talking with Ralph who just got finished serving time and now hangs around the bike shop. I don't try to talk to him very much. He called the bike shop from prison quite a few times. Rob knows him. He knows that I know about Sturmey Archer and building wheels somehow. Someone told him this? He's painting the floor on Sunday. It's 7:21, and Steve and Matt are standing around outside the fence with me talking to Ralph about a guy who stole his waist pack. Old people are going by constantly with tiny dogs.

I'm only here for one good reason. I was getting a beer at CVS - mission accomplished - and headed toward the ocean somewhere - mission interrupted. Behind that CVS and Papa John's and whatnot on Simonton, there was an abandoned Windsor mixte frame bicycle. It has the same colors as the Windsor that I built as a 3 speed for my annual 3 speed tour to the beach. Cool! However: this mixte version is pretty rusty. There is some major surface rust, and it needs a whole lot of work. I almost left it there. However, leaving it wasn't possible. The handlebars are nice old alloy Nittos, and the cranks are decent. If I ever get anything powdercoated (kinda expensive) then maybe I can get a discount with two frames getting the same color. I'm considering this: getting several frames with crummy paint powdercoated, and building them with bike-respect as mechanically perfect upright bicycles. This is what I would truly like to do. If I could build a business around fixing every single detail of old abused bicycles and selling them as perfect comfortable simple machines: that'd be cool. But the investment in each bike is large, and selling for a profit could prove difficult. Many people do not want to spend several hundreds on a bicycle even if it is the best one in the world. Proving bestness can also be difficult. Test rides help. In any case, I think the Windsor was a cool find and I hope something decent comes of it. Yesterday I found a red Trek 730 frame with 700c wheels. Small size. The brakes, derailers, and cranks were all there. So were some wheels that might not be too bad. It's over at Eddie's, suspended figuratively in the zone between project and respectable hunk of metal. I know what you're thinking: two awesome finds, two days in a row. For real. I ghost rode the Windsor fast alongside my City Bike. That was my first ghost ride since a crash in Philly when I was just getting started with my basement bicycle business. It went fine and easy. I carried the Trek 730 on my shoulder while riding the City Bike. The shoulder method feels more sturdy, but it hurts after awhile. Either shoulder or ghostride are equally fantastic, because a man with two bicycles is a formidable force, often ecstatic.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tattoo talk

I'm talking about tattoos with Rob and Craig.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Interaction with children / more xtracycle

I've never had interaction with small children. Not much anyway. Just enough to scare me and make me a little bit uncomfortable. I like kids - I'm definitely for them - but that doesn't mean I know how to act when they're around. I'm sitting next to Milo and eating a bowl of whatever was left in Eddie and Melanie's place. Barley chicken lima bean soup with confusing crayfish parts. It's great food, but I could do without the pinchers. Milo expressed interest in the soup, and I got to let him try it. Then he continued to express interest, and I kept spooning it over. At 7:21 I'm having a sweet little family moment. I'm feeding a little boy who just turned one and learned how to walk. Milo will probably be saying word combinations before I leave, and I'm genuinely excited to hear them.

I'm here again for dinner because Eddie needs to change out the handlebars on his new xtracycle bike. Eddie likes to sit up when he's riding a bike. Because it's more comfortable. I'm starting to agree strongly with this style of riding. It is very comfortable to sit up, and makes a ton of sense for most people - but aside from beach cruisers, or goofy hybrid bikes you really can't sit up unless you do something drastic like changing the bars and/or stem, and often all of the cables and housing. That's what we're about to do on Eddie's bike. New bars and stem and cables and housing.

Eddie's xtracycle is one of the best bicycles I have ever seen or ridden. I already knew about the xtracycle because a guy rode up to my bicycle sidewalk sale at 46th and Locust on one. In Philly last year. I didn't know exactly how it hooked up to a frame or how awesome it is. The connection is simple and strong, and the added storage capacity and durability are staggering. I love this bike. After completion, we immediately took turns riding on the 'snap deck' on the back. There are huge, long panniers with a wooden surf board-style deck on top. I really kinda want one of these. You could go on a bike tour with no storage worries whatsoever. It beats a trailer, and it's way sturdier than a regular loaded bike because it has an enormous wheelbase. You could fit all the gear you could ever need on there. And it doesn't look that weird, and it's still just a solid two-wheeler and a very easy ride. The xtracycle impresses me. It makes so much sense that I'm almost slightly frustrated by its unknown-gimmick status. This is what you need if you want to carry big stuff on your bike. This is what we need as a people. Bikes can do everything, and this is another tool that helps. Eddie put on a baby seat and rode by the shop with Milo behind him, and Melanie sitting on the snap deck behind Milo. The whole family was enjoying a sturdy ride on one beautiful 80's Peugeot mountain bike. No problem. Amazing.

About Eddie's bike: Eddie had to decide which of his bikes would receive the xtracycle. The Trek with the chunky lugs was a candidate, but instead he chose a newly gotten yellow Peugeot mountain bike with lugs. Yeah - he has two lugged Peugeot mountain bikes. This one is yellow, and proclaims itself to be the "Crazy Horse" on the top tube. That's the model name, for real, and it's written in a western font style with a colorful mustang that matches the rainbow Peugeot decal on the downtube. It's in great shape, and after a little tuning it runs silently, perfectly. It still has the original freewheel, and the lowest (biggest) gear is stamped metal that is an integrated part of the big shiny spoke guard. This is very hilarious and awesome to me. We upgraded from the Lee Chi cantilever brakes and levers to some decent v-brakes and levers. Dude: the shifters are Simplex friction thumb shifters. Totally sweet! Eddie also put my briefly-installed Maxxis Hookworm 26x2.50 tires on. Those mega-fat tires on this mega-long bike make it a smooth load-bearing beast of burden bicycle. It floats around like a cloud over the earth, and you can literally ride around with a kayak and have an optional pedal-powered blender going at the same time. That's right. A pedal powered blender is possible.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Eddie's xtracycle. I eat.

Eddie made chicken and rice. This is really good food. Eddie finally bought an xtracycle after thinking about it and dreaming about it forever. It's here in an open box, and we've been looking at it. Since I'm Eddie's friend, and I have keys to a bicycle shop, I'm going to help him with the installation.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Napping on Grinell Street

I'm laying down in my van preparing to take a nap. I'm comfortable, relaxed. The van has had a makeover. Yesterday I borrowed a die grinder from work. I drove down into the Truman Annex in the big lot by the water and plugged my extension cord into the secret outlet. With a lot of sweat and yellow spark fanfare the seat was removed, and subsequently ditched in a dumpster up on Duck Ave. Then I borrowed a shop vac to clean the carpet. I kept two sections of the bed - just the top cushions, none of the bulk. That's what I'm laying on now. The van seems much roomier, but I did lose storage space from under the bed. Still, I prefer this setup. This van is my sanctuary. I feel at home, and I'm digging the new bed setup. I sleep amongst my stuff, and I live in a cozy bubble.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm emailing Shelly

I'm at Eaton Bikes again. We just closed, and it's just me. There is a normal-sized keyboard here, and I can click around like crazy. On the internet. I am emailing Rochelle Salamon at sodashelly at You can email her too. She'll be happy to answer any questions you have about Philly, hockey, relationships, or dogs that hug people.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New bag of pizza

Names, places, and things have been changed to protect parties present. Me and Michelangelo are standing around in the yard behind Splinter's Sandwich Shop just after closing. We're waiting for Donatello to finish up work so he can give us the pepperoni pizza that we're going to split.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Freakin' Bubba's

It's not 7:21 right now. I'm writing this two days later, recalling the events. 7:21: At Bubba's again. Bubba's is inexplicably closed. The sign claims they're open, but they're clearly not. There is still drinking on the premesis. This premisis does not miss one single beat. Two cats I don't know, and a set of siblings I do. Steve is doing his laundry. Matt is sitting around being his brother. There are some weird cats (people) who offered me a beer. I'm trying not to drink (sort of) but I do not decline. I accept. But I'm saved. Apparently these cats drank their whole case... except for five cans which were unaccounted for. There was surprise and confusion about this. The girl-cat, who wasn't wearing much, was evidently (witness testimony) on lossa-lossa ecstacy. After I was long gone she reportedly convinced Matt to give her Steve's sweatshirt*. She claimed she'd return it at Wendy's later: a plan making no sense at all. She asked me if I had any weed. Come on, sketchy girl. What do I look like? Sketchy? "Nah... not on me." I am not sketchy. You are a very sketchy character. Ask me louder next time, please.

I was only there for about a minute. Approximately one: but it was a specific minute that I type about frequently. Rob and family rode by, and I went after them to see if anything better than the laundry scene was occurring.

*Matt redeemed the hell out of himself. The following evening he saw her getting a pedicab ride with a tourist cat (old man). Matt jumped from Dreamin's still-moving vehicle, and according to witness testimony, he chased her pedicab for two blocks before catching up at a red light. The sweatshirt was returned to the rightful owner's brother.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mid piss

I'm in the very middle of a pee at Eaton Bikes. I'm here alone, and I'm thinking about bicycle seats made by Brooks. I got one here, and I'm contemplating whether or not to treat the underside of the leather with 'Proofide,' which is the saddle goop supplied by Brooks. I'm hiding out a little. I think I need some time alone. Plus, there's a shower here that I can use. I'm also in the process of not-drinking, and my mind keeps reaching for a beer. My life is pretty much awesome whenever I take a deep breath and think about it. My lungs aren't quite big enough at the moment, but my ability to reason is picking up the slack. You know exactly what I mean.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Union of Klopps

I'm at Steve and Dreamin's place, and Matt is here. Matt is Steve's twin. We're kinda making some plans, but mostly just being in each other's presence for a reunion.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bicycle Ride with Steve

It's 7:21, and I'm talking to Steve. I'm thinking about my apprehensive feelings, healthy lifestyles, and where I want to be right now. We rode ten miles up the keys, and got to a serene little beach with a beautiful sunset, and a ton of found-shoes and found-flip flops covering a section of fence bordering some Navy land. What could be more beautiful? It's places and moments like this that I love the most. This is where I can look at myself and be happy to exist right now at this moment. Here, now: I do not feel this. I feel like I belong somewhere else, or like I'm running late. Maybe this is a result of my geographic location, or maybe it's just how I treat myself right now. I had a piece of fried chicken and a big fat beer before this ride. Delicious, but perhaps not necessary in the middle of the day. It's 7:21pm, and I'm discussing my feelings about this with Steve. We're riding side by side, and talking about how once again I'm feeling like I drink too much, and I'm too unhealthy. It's been back and forth like this since before I turned 20. It would be simpler if drinking and health weren't something I needed to keep in check. But this is something I always need to keep in check. I let out some slack, then I reel it in again. I'm discussing this with Steve. On the ride up, we struggled through a strong headwind. At this moment we're a short distance from the left turn that will put us right in line with the wind all the way to Key West. Our previous work will pay off with an easy cycle ride back, and my chest and figurative heart are feeling a little less constricted. At this point. At this moment.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Internetting at Eaton Bikes

I'm here at the shop, hours after close. I couldn't get a good internet connection at Bubba's, and I decided to get to a keyboard that does not require two dainty pointer fingers. Here I am. I have the key. I'm pausing from my business to talk to Steven J. Klopp. Steve. He stopped by here. We're headed to the Tropic Cinema in a bit. I was just using the internet to look again and see that my $10,000+ balance was truly no longer on my Bank of America card, and had, indeed, been moved to my 0% APR line of credit. I couldn't sign into my account for the line of credit due to a temporary case of the sillies on CitiBank's end. Bitches.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Personal preparation moves indoors

I'm chillin with Rob, his girlfriend, and his little daughter at his place. They're about to all watch Cars. It's just a quick stop-by chill before I go to the Tropic Cinema to see The Savages with Nat and Caroline. I'm getting ready. Film starts at 7:30.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I dove into some water again

I'm laying around in the back of the minivan that Nat and Caroline rented to come down here. I'm soggy and sleepy. We're trucking back from the Everglades.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hand out the window; smile on my face.

I've got my arm out the window of the passenger side of the minivan that Nat and Caroline rented to come down here. We just turned off Palm onto Roosevelt, and we're almost to Albertsons. The present goal is to get fish.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bubba's: getting my money's worth

Eddie is to my right, then Nat, then Caroline. It's a round table, so I'm next to Caroline too. We're eating at Bubba's. $12.99 gets a big plate of food and unlimited Budweiser. I fixed up a found Peugeot bike for Eddie. He found it. Arrangements ended up such that he pedicabbed us over here. Perfect: I'm having a really good time. The Peugeot was a red lugged mountain bike. The head lug was a single piece for both the top and down tubes. I continue to enjoy big chunky lugs on old mountain bikes. This bike was in pretty nasty shape, but I showed it more or less how to act.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Return of the Scorcher, etc.

I'm chatting with Eddie and watching bicycle advocacy documentaries. Return of the Scorcher, We Are Traffic. Google video. We're getting pumped up about bikes.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rut in apartment

I'm in a rut, kinda. It's a time like I need to sort stuff out. All I'm really doing is working and then getting smashed. Today there was a smooth transition, as I stayed late to work on a couple more bikes and was rewarded with a 12 pack of Heineken right while I had bikes in the stand. They were shared beers with the other guys, but of course I got my share. Now I'm at Steve and Dreamin's* place with the sole purpose of having a place to smoke with Dave. I'm getting chubby, and I need to ride more. Need to ride because it makes me happy. but what'm'I going to do? Just ride into a headwind and go up the islands? That's about the only long ride option. So it's 7:21 and I'm sitting in this little apartment with Dave and Steve, and Dreamin's fixing up her hair, and I'm hungry independent of the effects of any munchies, cause I haven't eaten very much. There's options and options, and instead of talking about that, I'll just say that I went on my ride instead, and it wasn't very far, and my bottom bracket needs grease at a minimum, and I need cue sheets up the keys, and I need to find a comfortable saddle, but yo - it was a good ride cause I sobered up on my bicycle listening to good music on a path. Alls well.

*I'm gonna spell her name Dreamin so she doesn't show up on 10,000 pages after a Google search.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I love bicycles

I'm slapping the u-lock around my City Bike frame and front wheel. The front wheel is a little bit of a formality, because the quick release skewers have been replaced with ones that require a 5mm allen wrench. That's one mundane little detail of a thought in my head as I lock up the bike with my watch beeping. Another little thought is anticipatory bliss about taking this exact bike on a long trip in a couple or few months.