Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Late Night Home Improvement

I rode with these guys Saturday night. Good pictures. I was too lazy to take pictures. But I did bring the snacks.

Just looked at the pictures again. I'm looking kinda portly these days.

Alright Girls, Follow Along.

Today's post is written mainly for my SAHM group. For the rest of y'all, SAHM means stay at home mom. I think June Cleaver was a SAHM. So anyway girls. The picture above is of a bike frame. That and a fiber optic snowman that my wife loves the shit out of. I just picked up the bike frame last night at Freewheel Bike Shop. I could've left it there and picked out other parts to complete the bike because it's kind of hard to ride like this. But I wanted to admire it at home and have time to pay off some other bills which includes a bike I just got for Debbie. I also wanted some time to think about accessories. You know, like when you girls find a $3 blouse at a thrift store and then spend $200 at Marshall Field's on shoes, pants and a belt. No different for me. I hope I explained this coherently. So, put the coffee pot on and do something with your hair. I'll be over at 9 with the Girl Scout cookies.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hey, you in Stitzer, Wisconsin and Plano, Texas. Hi, my name is Raymond. I'm an idjit. Please stop by again.

Oh I Got A Helmet

Bought a new/used helmet at the swap meet. It used to belong to this guy. Debbie bought some bike shorts and we got a good deal on winter hats that were actually schwag (free shit) given to a bike shop. I don't buy any components. I don't have a clue about that stuff and the family bike mechanic couldn't make it because he was sleeping. He could've advised us about steals and deals. Swap meet was fun. Saw quite a few people I know. Wasn't looking to make any major purchases.
Official MBMA socks from our local heroes. Yes Tim, they're beyond spectacular.

Went on the Saturday Night Ride. Got home at 3;30 and struggled to get up Sunday at 8 so I could ride to the swap meet. Five of us were out on the Ride which included bar stops at 331 and Jimmy's in Northeast. It took ten minutes to lock everyone's bike at 331 and we spent 30 seconds in the bar. Too crowded, too many yuppies from Eden Prairie. We left and stopped at Jimmy's six blocks away. Not as crowded, filled with good-old Northeast style drunks. After Jimmy's we stopped for wood and hauled it to Boom Island for a fire. If I'd of been a cop and saw the 2 x 4's being hauled by bike at 1 am, I would've stopped us to inquire. Fire fun. PW deep. Stay off the ice kids. Who put a quarter in Chuck?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fool, You Can't Go To Bed Dead! That Shit Would Be Redundant.

Mrs made pizza last night but the picture also shows the salt and pepper shakers (weenie gift from airport) and the flyer for the swap meet.

Remember doll. Greenway to Bryant. Left at top of steep ramp. Bryant to house with the goofy looking evergreens. Left and down to Lyndale. I'll try to ride fast so you don't have to wait too long for me.

Jim at Hiawatha Cyclery is trying to get a bike buddy program going for new commuters. I signed up. I think my application will be rejected based on:
Green means go.
Yellow means go very fast.
Red means pick your spots between the cars. (Paraphrasing Gilby)
No, really I can tone it down some. I won't teach them proper usage of foul language or gestures. I'm a grown-up and need to start riding as such. Fuck that.

Have a nice weekend. See you on Sunday at the swap meet. Get your ass out of bed early 'cause I'll be there early to beat you to the best items. If you see me on the Ford Bridge say hi or I'll derby you into the ground. Just kidding.

Tuffy, you're not mad at me about the candyass comment, are you? I kid because I care.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Know I'll Find Something

I bet some of y'all will be at this thing on Sunday. I bet some of y'all won't get there when the doors open like I plan to. Mrs will be meeting me in the official team car to so I don't have to haul my purchases home by bike. All the cool kids will be there. Don't click on the Click Here in the picture. It won't work. Important information is provided on the Minnesota Cycling Federation web page.

I'm Sorry. I Didn't Bring Anything.

I didn't have shit this morning. It's like that sometimes. What wind is out there kicked my ass. I had one really cold finger and some pretty cold feet by the time I arrived at work. Mrs didn't dispute that she was as weak as a newborn kitten this morning. I can usually tell on the hills. I even had a bowl of Special K and an English muffin to have some carbs in the tank. No, I'm not on the Special K diet.

It seems like a number of the women in the aerials competition at the Olympics were competing after major knee operations. Ugh! You never forget the sensation that comes with tearing up your acl. My knee had swollen to the point that my pants were tight against my knee in minutes when I did it.

In my opinion this picture of my nephew Paul and my great-niece Aimee is one of the best family pictures ever. Speaking of pictures, I'm 47 years old and saw a picture of my grandfather for the first time last weekend. Both of my grandfathers were dead before I was born. Call your grandfather today if he's still alive.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Back To Work. Oh Goody!

Much to my dismay I returned to work today. I rode yesterday morning so that my first ride in almost a week wasn't at 5:45 am. Was nice to get back into the commute/escort riding. Even had time to return a stray dog in Richfield to her backyard. I'd looked at her owner's tree a couple years ago and remembered the dog.

Mrs loves the gearing on her Long Haul Trucker. She likes the set-up when she's in to the endless winter headwind in Minneapolis.

I'm no better than the rest of you weenies who buy last minute gifts at the airport when you travel alone. I bought her a salt and pepper set at O'hare right before I left town.

The sun was almost up by the time I arrived at work today. God, do I love that.

Hit the 1000 mile marker for the year yesterday. Don't be envious. As the title of the guy from Saint Cloud's blog says - Shut Up. Just Ride The Damn Bike!

Congrats to Wendi on that new purse purchase.

Bolstad's officially in the Army now. He'll spend his 32nd birthday at boot camp. I doubt if they'll have a cake for him. Oh, a big FU goes out to you Murphy from the boy and I. Naturally, we send that in the most loving way.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Off We Go In To The Wild Blue Yonder ...

Time to go home. I mean, really time to go. Was it Ben Frankilin who said 'houseguests and fish stink after three days'? Spent time with family, ate good, got to feed Aimee and Maxwell Street. Stirred up some shit for the dessert course. Didn't ride a bike and boy oh boy do my knees feel good. Looking forward to seeing Missus and my doggies. Off tomorrow for a day of decompression as Hurl likes to say.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Logan Square - Home Forever

After lunch on Sunday my brother took me back through the old neighborhood. Both of remarked about how narrow the one-way streets seemed with cars parked on both sides. He stopped at our old house at 2626 North Lawndale Avenue so I could take a picture. Sure the house has changed since my Mother sold it in '79 but only so much. I could still see myself hanging out on the porch with my friends. We went past some of the landmarks including my Uncle's old place on Keeler Avenue. He'd of liked what they've done with the place. Even the color. Should of taken more pictures. Maybe not. Rather just keep the pictures in my mind. I really don't miss the old neighborhood. Wouldn't want to live there again. Just miss a time when my family was all together. Thanks for lunch and the tour boy. Nothing like Milwaukee Avenue on a sunny winter day.

Maxwell Street - Kinda Like Rodeo Drive

No fancy display cases. No credit cards accepted.
Always food available if you're hungry. That's my nephew loading up for an afternoon snack.
That bike was for sale. The guy selling it wasn't too keen on me taking a picture.
This guy won best dressed for the day. He had the strut too.
We had fun even though we weren't at full strength. My nephew Brian had illness and furnace issues at his house. We missed you Brian. There's always next time.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Aimee, Our Official Family Princess

Grandpa amusing his grandaughter with her kiddy crackers.
I managed to get some in her mouth. She's a pretty good eater.
Uncle Paul takes his turn at amusing the princess.
Obligatory overhead shot to display a lovely head of hair.
My nephew proving his ability at multitasking. It's not as easy as it looks. She does have loads of really cool toys which always amuses me.
Of course Aimee has a mother and father. A fun day was had by all and we ate good too. It's on to Maxwell Street tomorrow for a morning of treasure shopping.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sounds Like It Was Cold Today In Minneapolis

After talking to Mrs a couple times today I got the idea that it was beyond brisk. She drove our car to work because she has a limiting temperature of zero. If I had been home I probably would've dropped her off and ridden my bike to work. It's not that I'm so f-ing macho, just that I don't trust my 12 year old car. Debra said that the car grumbled quite a bit when she started it at 3:30 today. Glad it started and she didn't have to wait in the cold for a tow truck. Out to my nephew's house tomorrow and the Maxwell Street flea market on Sunday. It's supposed to be below zero Sunday morning so I bought toe warmers at Menards this evening. Hopefully I'll have some good pictures from the next two days.

My Nephew Needs Some Drivell (sp?) To Read

Probably got this cold from one of the senior citizen flight attendants on Wednesday. Spent almost the whole day yesterday on the couch. My conscious moments were spent taking the various cold medications my sister-in-law mandated that I take. Still haven't ridden my brothers bike even though it's a balmy 21 degrees here (Chicago) and no snow on the ground. I think it's a little colder in Minneapolis. Maybe even a shitload colder because Mrs drove the car to work. Have a nice weekend. Today is Friday isn't it? Any of y'all who may have strayed over from Online Therapy (my niece's blog) watch what links you try on the sidebar. You may get more than you bargained for.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You Lucky Devils

Mrs tells me that you kids in Minneapolis are going to have some snow to play in tomorrow. I think we're going to get rain tomorrow in Chicago. I should probably take my brother's bike out but I'm not all that motivated to ride and get soaked while on vacation. Time on the bike would also cut into my eating time too. We can't have that. To say I hit the deck hard in the freezing rain yesterday would be an understatement. It wasn't like most winter falls where you're on the ground in a heartbeat. It was like an over the bars fall where you have that moment of clarity to think about it. On a positive note I didn't damage my new lights I got from Jim at Hiawatha Cyclery or tear my beloved Surly long sleeve jersey. Enjoy your snow. Winter can't last forever.

You Want Me To Take Off My Pants Too

Much to the dismay of family members I have arrived in Chicago. Apparently, my CRC hoody made me a terrorist threat because I had to remove it at airport security in Minneapolis. I've been up since 3 and didn't sleep all that well anyway. Big deal. First time my flight to Chicago had more than 10 people on it. It was packed. I could've taken a later flight and gotten a free flight (probably could only be used for Des Moines or Fargo) but then my sister-in-law would've gotten to sleep later. We can't have that. Sat next to a triathalon guy who said he runs and swims ok but bikes for shit. No, it's not as easy as it looks. Homemade pizza tonight. No Rasta, we're not saving any for you.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Very Euro

Debra's new bike came out very nice. Thanks to everyone at Freewheel for building such a cool bike. Even Kevin although you can't seem to find any Splenda. Mrs likes the internal hub which was a joy to make work on a frame that's designed to be set up as a regular geared bike. This bike should last her a long time because she doesn't destroy wheels, brakes, bottom brackets, freewheels, tires and anything else you can think of like you know who. Fenders are already dirty unlike those on Sissy Boy's GD Parade Bike. Keep an eye on those fenders doll when you stop at CRC Coffee because the proprietor has his eyes on them.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why Are You Here?

Traffic on hit counter is still more than normal. These people won't come back after they find out what a dork I am.

Cleaning and organizing desk today. Not my idea. It now matches the shithole status of my room at home.

Aliens stole my friend's phone and sent 5:30 am text message.

Mrs lacked that esprit de corp (sp?) on her studded tire bike this morning. I wasn't worth a shit either. Almost hit the deck on a big downhill.

New Long Haul Trucker is starting to look like a bike. Pink headset sets it off as will the cool fenders.

Last day of work until February 22nd. Arrive in Chicago on Wednesday. Family cringing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It's A Tie Ballgame

Word just came down from ESPN that Mrs took a spill in front of our house on a patch of ice. If you're scoring at home (Congratulations!!) that evens the winter crappie flops at two a piece. I held the lead for over a month but I knew a lead that small wouldn't be safe.

Looks Like They're Gone

Because Hurl mentioned my blog on the CRC web site I had almost 300 hits on my Woolworth's stat counter yesterday. But I'm sure most of those people aren't coming back. When my wife tells me that she's stopped reading my blog then I might be concerned.

Fenders came from Jitensha yesterday. I hear Madam's bike is coming along nicely at Freewheel. I'm pretty sure Sam is building this one. He also built up my Crosscheck and Salsa. Mrs said she dreamt about her new bike last night. Something about Christmas morning, egg nog, midgets and a 30 foot tall Golden Retriever. Wait, I think that was one of my dreams. It sounds like the little girl will be riding her new bike this weekend. So go out and find a chick who would rather get a bike for Valentine's Day than jewelry and you'll have something.

It was hard for my toe covers to keep my feet warm today. Hard because I forgot them under my desk. I'm going to order a pair of these on this guy's recommendation.

When it comes to eating I'll put my co-workers up against anybody. Football players, sumo wrestlers, stay at home moms. Bring 'em on. Three dozen donuts disappear around here in seconds. Somebody brought in a 10 pound Nestles Crunch bar. The damn thing was like two inches thick. The boys polished it off in a day and a half. Later. On my way to the candy machine.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I'll Have A Large Coffee, A Scone And The Red Voodoo

Front area of CRC coffee shop at 3346 Lyndale Avenue South.
And, you guessed it, the back half of the place.
Hurl says I need this bike. Mrs says I don't. It's for sale as will be a number of the bikes on the wall eventually.
I think you could buy the hubs as long as you also made a pastry purchase
I came away with a hoody and a couple of CRC patches. I haven't paid for any of my items yet. At least I didn't have to wash dishes or clean the bathroom.

It's a cool place with good coffee, pastries (damn good pastries) and other great chow. You'll even be allowed to buy coffee if you show up in a car.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'll Brief Your ...

Pictures of my new lights I bought at Hiawatha Cyclery on Friday. The science of it is explained here for all you geeks who need to know shit like that. I know they work and that's the only thing I care about. The nice thing about the light is they're on all the time so you don't have to worry when it's starting to get dark. They were like $40. I'm pretty sure I bought more than one $50 round during my drinking days and didn't come away with a swanky light. Jim's going to have a really neat bike shop and will sell some items you won't find at too many bike shops. We have to get a pair for Debbie's Crosscheck so those joggers she loves will see her coming.

Also pictured is my custom laminated spoke card that Jeff from our Stupor Bowl posse made for me. The other side of the card says 'Still Riding More Than You - Galactic Mystery Solvers'. I like it and it was professionally installed by a bike mechanic so it won't fall off like my Stupor Bowl spoke card did a block from my house on Saturday.

Warm up the credit card machine Hurl 'cause I'm stopping for coffee on the way home from work.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pittsburgh Wins Super Bowl. Raymond Wins Bet With Mrs.

After Saturday's festivities a day of relaxation seemed in order. No bike riding and plenty of eating. We went to Famous Dave's for brunch where I distinguished myself at the dessert table. Any dessert item is even better with whip cream on it.

It seems like you can divide the riders from Stupor Bowl into about three groups:
1) People who really want to win. This group includes just about all of the messengers. These people don't have time to exchange pleasantries at the stops. I guess if I were involved in a tree marking contest I could be serious for a while too.

2) Groups of two or more who are sort of serious. Our group would qualify. We tried to hit as many stops as we could and still laugh our way through it. A beer stop occasionally, a stop for repairs, the cash machine or to drop off stuff at your apartment to lighten your bag. Fast riding between the stops and a whole lot of riding that would make anyone who loves you cringe.

3) Groups who can't get past the fact that some of the stops are bars. These people are out to party. I can't see where the guys with the homemade Pabst Blue Ribbon helmets hit a whole lot of stops.

You could add a fourth group of people who basically have no knowledge of Minneapolis and are riding in a fog. Sammy, would your friends from Milwaukee who took 45 minutes to find your house fit in this group?

I'm finding out that I know quite a few people from the cycling community in Minneapolis. Probably because I go to almost everything. Saturday Night Ride, Moustache Ride, Homie Fall Fest and other group rides. I started out going on these rides because they included lots of drinking but continue to go because I just like the atmosphere.

Borderline cold this morning. Hope y'all in Minneapolis chose just the right clothing.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ma Grounded Me For Riding In The Street

Boom Island starting point of Stupor Bowl 9. I followed Zito from One on One to Boom Island. Big mistake. I don't ever want to go across that railroad bridge ever again.
The posse at the Hexagon plotting strategy over a beer. Geez, they look happy to have their picture taken.

We took the back way into downtown to hit our first spot on the manifest. We hit One on One, Pizza Luce, First Avenue and the McKenzie's. Then it was on to Hubert's by the dome and a phone on 9th and 3rd. You had to call a number at the phone so the person on the other end could give you information to write down on your manifest. There were five of us and we didn't feel like digging for that many quarter so only one person called. Josh was having bike issues so we stopped at Freewheel after the phone. Three of us hit the West Bank Hub where you were issued a mini-manifest that had stops at Hard Times, Grease Pit and Triple Rock. After showing our completed mini-manifest to the volunteer at the Hub we stopped back at Freewheel to pick up Josh. On to the Hexagon where the boys stopped for liquid refreshment. Off to the Hub on Minnehaha where you had to let the air out of a tire and show the volunteer some of the tube. Thanks for the help Josh. Saver's (thrift store) was next. Ooh, there's a lot of traffic on Lake Street. You had to buy a purple item at Saver's to get credit for that stop. I bought a Viking's long sleeve tee shirt for $2.99. Chris bought a purple knick-knack. We then hit the Greenway to look for some red graffiti. I found it hidden under a bridge. It said Stupor Bowl 9 in big red letters. Bryant Lake Bowl, Cars-R-Coffins coffee shop, Kids House and the Red Dragon were our last stops before hauling ass to Grumpy's on Washington where we arrived a little after 6. I hung around until a little before 11 and then took the shortest route home. I didn't have a dry pair of gloves and was still a little damp from riding so I had the gas pedal to the floor for the 4 mile trip. A fun time was had by the entire posse. Was somewhat worried about being cold but that wasn't an issue. Let's do it again next Saturday.
A gift from Hurl at the Cars-R-Coffins coffee house. Very nice bike oriented place. He's going to do really well there.

Didn't take many picture so I'll post a link some time to someone's blog who did.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Strategic Planning And Insomnia

Didn't have as much time to plot a Stupor Bowl route last night as I wanted. That's OK. I accompanied Debra to Freewheel so she could pick out the goodies for her new bike. The frame looks even better than on the Surly web page. Damn, I should've brought the camera with me.

Woke up about 2:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. So, I grabbed my camera, picked up coffee and went for a ride. Sorry, I took the car. I stopped at Jim's new place (Hiawatha Cyclery) and took a couple of pictures of his vintage bikes display.

Can't sleep? What do you do to amuse yourself? I stop to take pictures at 4 am at a train station. I bet that LRV operator didn't expect to pull into the station and have some guy standing there with a camera. Oh well, he can tell the other guys back at the shop about his ordeal.

Off tomorrow. May stop at Triple Rock tonight for the pre-pre Stupor Bowl party. All the cool kids will be there.

8:26 am post addition - Just read a comment left by Jim (not the Jim previously mentioned today) the guy interviewed for the Star Tribune article a couple of days ago. I can tell by Jim's comments and his blog that he's as in to biking as many of us are. Surely wasn't taking a shot at you Jim. Somebody smarter than me said that it takes a lot of preparation and planning to commute in the winter. You ride a bike. That means your cool. Hell, I was the lazy bastard who took the car out this morning. Still rode my bike to work, though.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kinda Slippery

Miss Debra rode her Surly this morning and wished she'd ridden her studded tire bike. But she did really well and hopefully what snow fell will melt today. I rode in my usual bull riding method after escort service and avoided falling.

Mrs Long Haul Trucker frame is in at Freewheel. I've ordered the honjo fenders from Jitensha and we have a pretty good idea about components. She needs to stop and see Tyler to finalize everything. The Parade Bike is sweet but I think this bike is going to be sweeter. No jewelry for Valentines Day girl. We'll spend that money on the wheels and head set. Brooks saddle? Just kidding.

I had a guy call this morning to inquire about the tree bill I sent him. He asked if I was the mean, intimidating guy that marked the tree. I reminded him that the first words out of his mouth when he came to the door were - 'What do you want'? That attitude brought out the hard ass in me. But this morning we had a nice conversation and he concluded by telling me I'm a nice guy. When I want to be.

Stops are out for Stupor Bowl. I'm already plotting possible routes. OMG, is this going to be fun. Not sure yet about the posse size. Very sure about breakfast at the Wienery. Cottage cheese and the fruit plate. Yeah, right. Five pieces of French toast, an omelet, hash browns and a caramel roll. Now we're talking.

On the topic of fat asses, I weighed myself last night. 214 pounds. Not as bad as I thought. Maybe I should just have cottage cheese on Stupor Bowl morning.