instant gramming

June 27, 2012

Rivendell - good reminders about riding bikes

It's been a while since I looked up the Rivendell Bicycle Works website, but recently I did and it made me happy. This shop seems to be built around a philosophy that riding a bike is not complicated, can be done by anyone in anyway, and is fun. Or should be. The stuff sold by Rivendell has a very old school, classic, almost European style. Leather and tweed and steel are the materials of choice and harken back to a simpler time. There are a lot of articles posted up with tips and thoughts about a wide variety of things and one that stood out was "How to Make the Rest of Your Family Hate Riding." Included in the bullet-ed list were these tips:

  • Buy them upscale bikes, and remind them how expensive they are. The guilt they’ll feel for not appreciating them is a fantastic motivator.
  • Make sure they know that expensive bikes make hard hills easy, so when they’re struggling, they’ll think it’s them, and work harder to improve.
  • Force them to wear lycra shorts and jerseys. This will reinforce how easy and natural it is to just hop on a bike and ride somewhere.
I showed C those first two and she smiled because she realized, as I did, that I've been trying to convince her she needs an upscale bike. (That's not necessarily true, I just believe she needs a better bike than the heavy, poor-fitting, abused bike she currently owns.) It's true, however, that I've been pushing an upscale bike largely because of my employee discount; and it's true that she doesn't need an expensive bike considering she has very little enthusiasm about riding, at least relative to my own obsession. 

Anyway, I find myself around young guys without their own families and a shit-ton of disposable income and free time. What that allows is big stable of expensive bikes with carbon fiber this and lightweight that. And I'm constantly comparing myself to them. It sucks. It's hard to remove myself from it. It's also hard to be surrounded by "nice" (expensive) bikes all the time and not yearn to have one for myself. It's also hard to not feel that having a certain bike would allow me to do all sort of cool things (i.e. tour across America, or win a road race, or become some sort of amazing, fast, balls-y mountain biker), because the reality is I ride my road bike 0.2 miles to work or to the grocery or to pull the bike trailer and I ride my mountain bike pretty slowly and timidly on nearby trails. That's not to sound too self deprecating, because I always enjoy the riding I do, but it's to point out that I don't need an aggressive road racing bike or a crazy spec'd-out mountain rig. I just need the right tool for the job. Something to pick up a couple pizzas when it's time; to haul our girls to the library, pool, or park; and something that won't break when I misjudge an obstacle on the local singletrack trail.

June 22, 2012

Jessica Love Photography

I've been pretty pumped to have a sister who is an amazing photographer, who can document special events or moments in our lives--but now that we have kids, this talent has become invaluable and has provided us with some killer photos of memories we will cherish forever. Check out the latest post on Jessica Love Photography's blog, and while you're there stay a while and look around. Awesomeness. Thanks Jess!

June 20, 2012

Father's Day - remembered

I briefly considered making it a goal to write a blog post about my reflections on fatherhood and the happenings of the day on Father's Day this past Sunday. But that didn't happen. Why? Because sometimes I decide if it doesn't need to be done I'm not going to do it. But sometimes when something sounds great, I'll hop to it. Like making French toast for Father's Day breakfast. It was AMAZING. Apparently I'm the only one that thought so, but I appreciate that my family let me make a breakfast they didn't want to eat.

C kept probing to see if I would prefer to go biking or if there was anything I wanted to do. I really didn't want to go ride a bike by myself--the thought of it was ridiculous. I'm not sure it occurred to me ever before, but on this day I decided Father's Day was going to be a day full of being a dad. That included making a big ass breakfast, like my Dad would do on weekends when I was growing up. He would make some killer waffles or blueberry pancakes and bacon, and maple syrup would flow like rivers.

At the table I received the coolest gift ever: a book--literally, a professionally bound, glossy, legit book--of a story about "Daddy's Best Day" with pictures from the past year. In it C had written a story about a day where the girls and I do all the things I enjoy, including mountain biking and doing graffiti and drinking coffee. I can hardly do it justice. Best gift ever. C really set the bar high this time.

I even got a card designed by Ellie to be hung in my "bike shop" in the garage. Per Ellie's specifications it is adorned with cut out shapes of circles and triangles, Foofa is on it, and it says "Love You." Perfect.

The rest of the day was about hanging out with my family. Yes, it's true I like my personal time, probably more than ever. Biking has become hugely important to me, as you've probably noticed. I am even happy to zone out on the computer and sipping hot coffee. True. Father's Day, however, was not going to be about me chilling by myself. It seemed best to be a time to celebrate the gift of having awesome daughters and being an excuse to eat crazy good cupcakes that C made as decadent as possible.

June 7, 2012

Dream Come True

I'm only slightly bummed I don't have a picture from Tuesday evening when C and I, together, took our girls on a bike ride. We loaded up the trailer--this was Emery's first trip--and attached it to the Surly. C took the helm of the child-mover; I rode the mountain bike. The weather was cool and the sun was setting. We opted for this pre-bed ride instead of the nightly bath. We probably weren't gone for more than 20 minutes, circling the quiet blocks around our house, but it couldn't have been more perfect. In fact, I was stunned to realize how good looking (read: sexy) C was with her thick, curly hair under her teal skater-style helmet, pedaling casually on a rad road bike, pulling our two perfect daughters. I didn't make an effort to pull out the phone/camera as I was just happy to be in the moment and knew this was the first of many rides together. I even mentioned to C that this ride was a "dream come true." Really, it was. I've been waiting for a family ride since we talked about having a baby for the first time. To read that sentence sounds a little silly, as I've had many more, larger dreams about the future of our family; but to ride bikes together as a family--as environmentally-friendly, self-sufficient transportation, as a tool for self-realization and awareness of our surroundings, as exercise--is still a big piece to this puzzle we're putting together.

I keep giving C a hard time about not caring about getting a road bike for herself, but it turns out the Surly is good enough for now--provided we figure out a good saddle height for her.

June 3, 2012

Emery: Peek

When this girl is not pinching, slapping, or trying to bite you, she is killing everyone with cuteness.

June 2, 2012


I told myself I wouldn't post any more until I knew C had watched that video about women mountain bikers. I know she didn't but couldn't wait any longer to sit on these pics from last week. This was Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, just before C took the girls on a trip to Cleveland, leaving me at home to work at the bike shop. We decided a visit to the local cupcakery, The Suisse Shop--which makes buttercream superior to all others--would be a great treat before the girl's long car ride and my long absence from the girls. What's funny is Ellie has little interest in cake of any kind; it's the frosting that she's after.