John of Bonk If You Don’t Know Velocio has a lovely bicycle with a great story. I’ve seen the bike in person, and have one photo of it saved from JimG, when he built a rack for it. But I haven’t been able to find many photos of the bike from my faraway perch in Southern California. How else am I supposed to eye it!?
Luckily, John directed me to his blog, which is the last thin thread connecting him to the Internet. There, I found some photos of this beautiful bike. Here it is for reference:
I spoke with a group of college students from Los Angeles this week, and on Monday I discovered that the school provided a hotel room at a resort in Mission Beach, where the meetings were held. The family decided to come along and we got a little before and after school/work staycation.
I have been nursing a cold all week, so this morning some coffee served as comfort medicine. Its not everyday that the ocean churns right outside the door in the morning, so might as well make use of it:
Sunrise, Downtown SD, and the mountains behind:
Speaking of Rob, his #coffeeoutside is the S24O of the everyday morning. He was the first person I saw doing it – there may have been other innovators/distruptors. My friend Errin has a large group who meets at the Los Angeles River. Other friends Russ & Laura from Path Less Pedaled made this great video showing what its all about without any words. What I love about it is #coffeeoutside transforms something you’d do normally and reclaims a little bit more of a human experience. Essentially, one takes the time in the morning to do what one normally does in the car or at the desk, distracted by the human-built world and workflow all around. But instead, making coffee out-of-doors allows for some deep breaths of (hopefully) clean air, and time with others if a group gathers.
I love coffee, and when camping or touring, beans and brewing hold addictive priority over my mind. The same set-up for a camping trip can be used for #coffeeoutside. Here’s mine:
1. JetBoil I’ve had for several years. Quick boil, everything fits into the canister, no matches.
2. Hario V60 filter cone in plastic: when room allows, its not as fragile as ceramic and does the job very well
3. Helix collapsible coffee dripper: those little wings and the single stainless coil means it folds nearly flat
4. Porlex mini stainless coffee mill. This is so good, I’ve been using it at home lately
5. Montbell double-walled stainless mug. Mugs are not usually worth mention unless they have good graphics, but this is the mug I’ve been dreaming about for a long time – double walled, stainless, nice size, good in the hand. Solid. I found this on a trip to Portland, Ore.
So far, I prefer pour-over with this set-up when camping or doing #coffeeoutside. Its easy to clean, so long as you can find a place to dispose of the grounds and filter. Aeropress is “cleaner” in terms of waste, but requires more rinsing. I may try it at the next #sdrivercampcoffee on Fridays down here, but so far, this stuff does great.
I met Rob (Ocean Air Cycles) in 2010 on a ride through the Santa Monica mountains with a group of Rivendell-themed hobos. I knew him from the Internet, as these things often seem to begin. At the time, he had a small child at home, was sewing frame bags and safety triangles, and otherwise just like the rest of us riding dirt and taking photos when not taking care of kids, jobs, etc. Here he was on his clear powder coated Roadeo that day:
He worked hard to establish a home-based business supplying mostly US-made goods that constitute “useful stuff.” Now he’s opening a brick-and-mortar retail space in Ventura. Anyway, I recently ordered the Helix Coffee Dripper from the webstore, and its become my go-to pour over gear for the camping coffee set-up. Better than that, Rob’s care in packaging and thoughtful swag (proto-batch of Hobo Rouleur coffee & stickers) shows how supporting good people and small business creates a very different affect all-around on otherwise ordinary instances of consumption and commerce.
From the mail:
Helix in Action:
As you can see from the package, this filter cone holder folds nearly flat, as it is made up from one stainless steel coil. Its clean when making coffee outside, as there’s nothing to wash or retain moisture. You just shake it off. As some have noted, it does indeed dip the end of the filter into the space of the mug. For me, this is no problem, as when using a more shallow mug, I just let the brewing finish as the coffee rises by picking up the Helix by one of its wings and letting it fill the cup for 20 or 30 seconds before discarding. Easy.
Ordering from Ocean Air is an exercise in altruism. Rob hung with me (as did Aaron) and provided a handy map when I had mechanical issues at last year’s Redlands Strada Rossa ride. What a good guy!
Manny organized a sloppy trail ride in the Oakland hills on Christmas Eve morning (if that makes sense). We were headed to family festivities in the late afternoon, so I made an early morning car-run to the start at the excellent Timeless Coffee on Piedmont on a dreary, lovely, wet morning.
As I was packing for this trip to the Bay Area, I took the Black Sheep down from its hanging position in the garage, changed the two flats it had from the last time I rode it, prepped some other things I may write about later, and rode it down the street. The Paul Moto-lite BMX brakes need to be set up with new cables, and a squeaky, rubbing ride is not the best thing to bring on a tightly-packed trip. So it was the Pelican for do-all Christmas vacation duty. Given the 32s I have on that bike, I decided to ride with the group up to the top of Skyine and go my own paved way as they made it through the mud. This Hunq was pretty rad:
It was a nice climb up and I had some good conversations, although I can’t remember many names. Fun stuff. I’ll have the Black Sheep with me next time. Every ride I’ve done with Manny and had to leave early, he later remarked “That was smart.” Same thing this time.
While on the Farewell 2014 ride, Jim W. mentioned that I have been a non-participant in e-bike* life. Its true. Read the last two posts. Well, the brand® is back! Joe B. forced me into the #Instagram party on BART that day, and “protorio” was not available, so I registered for this blog name. I look forward to breathing some life into this blog, which had one post last year and 16K views. The Internet must be pretty boring for those 16K people to find my lazy blog.
Here are some resolutions I’m making for myself:
- Acclimate to coffee without half-and-half. I haven’t used sugar in my coffee since college, but I continue to add it to a light brown color. It may be my distant Iberian heritage that inclines me toward café con leche. I enjoyed coffee in Paris in 2011 ordered as a “cafe noisette” which translates to “hazlenut,” referring to the color, not the flavor. It livened up that tiny espresso for the am wake-up. But I want to go black.
- Roast my own coffee beans. Keven at Riv has me convinced I can roast quality coffee with a popcorn-popper. I trust Keven in general. I could put this as a “reach” goal, but I think I can do it!
- More stoke. (ie. bike rides, camping, surfing, bodysurfing, hikes). My “new-ish” job has me on regular hours! I worked really hard getting over-educated so that I could have autonomy over the schedule. But now I’m an 8:30-5er, and often more. More time to sleep outside, get in the water, hit the road & trails! Stoke first! Of course, stoke comes with time well spent with my wife and kids – but let’s just say that goes without saying. This is my damn bike blog.
- Get the vast bike collection in order. Goodness, its embarrassing – not that I have more than few bikes, but they are in stages of disrepair and neglect. I can’t even bring myself to clean my daily-driver Pelican. Stoke breeds preparation. Bike garage will get super functional and bikes will need to be built/parts purchased/miles ridden.
- Attempt to learn an instrument. If I did this the first time I thought about it, I may have already had a notable career in a band. Time to pick something up.
- Blog this blog in a more bloggerly fashion.
- REACH: Brew beer.
- REACH: Qualify for PBP. Again, I am scheduled to teach a course in June in Paris. I can’t imagine affording to eat in Euros for another 6 weeks, but I’d like to try to run an SR series this year and qualify.
* “electronic” biker – someone who poses as a bike rider on Internet forums but mostly rides the sofa.
Part of the mise-en-scène of the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach boardwalk, Slomo confounds and delights San Diego visitors and locals alike. The New York Times Op-Doc Slomo tells his story (may be password protected – check here if so).
It gets really interesting for bicycle riding around 8:45.
Stoke may not be measurable, or a measurable “outcome” that so many of us have to produce at work these days, but I know it when I feel it. That’s why I ride my bike more than any other reason. I’m with Slomo, but I have a family to feed, clothe, and house at this point in my life. So I ride when I can.
I also see my passage about riding and writing from a year ago just a few posts below this one. As some may know, I took an administrative job at my university almost two years ago, and it sure has put a dent in my stoke. I embraced the notion of the “flâneur” as soon as I learned about it in graduate school. As a graduate student living in a great New England town and in close proximity to New York City, the notion of walking through the city, passively observing the unfolding drama around me was very attractive. The more I rode by bike when I moved back to California, I enjoyed flânerie awheel – taking in the city and the country with abandon. Working as a professor, the autonomy and time-shifting that comes with the job allowed for mid-week rides to cafes and even little jaunts along the coast or into the mountains when time allowed.
These days, I work normal hours and often into the evening, even traveling for conferences and representing my university at meetings. So, I’ve lost opportunities for feel like a flâneur, which requires time, and I hustle more than preferred.
Seems Slomo has it figured out. Of course, spinning ones’ mid-life wheels as a highly-paid doctor makes it easier to “do what you want” later in life. But there are models for building simplicity and stoke into everyday, regardless of what life asks at a particular moment. My friend John P. is someone I admire for his stubborn simplicity. Its a good lesson to take. A little bike ride, moving forward, is an easy cure against “being an asshole.”
Here’s a short video illustrating my usual argument for riding a bike around San Diego rather than driving: its better.
Most people don’t seem to understand how it could be better to ride. Most of the time, it is. The reasons as to why its better are myriad. But mental and physical health seem the most glaring to me.
Every time I drive to work, I arrive bummed out. True, the news that carbon dioxide just hit 400 parts per million in our atmosphere (last time we had that was 6 million years ago) really weighs on me and I feel helpless in our global march toward catastrophe (literally!). When I drive to work – goodness – I really get depressed.
When I ride, I arrive to work with energy and some delight in gliding through a beautiful city. Its easier to forget that we’re permanently altering the climate! I encounter people, say hi, make small talk, maybe even learn something. The rhythm of movement fosters creativity in my thinking.
I only wish the bicycle rider in this little video was on a more sensible bike. But I’ll take what I can get.
Thoughts from the Home Office:
Remember Web 2.0? Seemed at the turn of the century that the Internet was moving from a readerly activity to a writerly activity, as user groups matured and blogs, podcasts, and photo sharing made us all authors. Then social media came along, and pretty much stole the thunder of Web 2.0. Rather than writing, people post. Not all is lost – current social media forms are darn fun and deep. But young people generally don’t write on the Internet anymore. I hope more do.
Regarding this blog, I’ve clearly been lax. I’d like to ride more, and I’d like to write more. I remember when blogs first caught mainstream attention, besides first thinking that they were an experiment in navel gazing (that tide washed over long ago), I recall lots of apologies in blogging about infrequent posting. Blogging is about what the writer wants to write in terms of content and frequency, so apologies are never necessary. But I do know this blog gets a lot of hits – 33K in 11 posts last year. That may not be a lot in the larger scope of things, but its enough for me to maybe start sharing more.
So, here’s to more posts. And more riding. And more photos. Hope this goes better than my 2013 New Year’s Resolution described below, which has yet to pan out.
I’ve liked riding dirt on road bikes for a while: blame Grant. I’ve done it with lots of people and enjoyed coming upon a group of riders on full suspension MTBs and kinda smugly shrugging that we rode on the same trails. While “gravel biking” garners chache by the mainstream industry, living in Southern California, a bona-fide mountain bike sure is fun over the rocky, technical trails.
I’ve long admired the Moots YBB for its craft and simplicity – the “soft tail” harkened back to my rigid MTB days in college. So, when I found one on the local Craigslist in the summer, I dove in. This one came with a Rohloff, Hope brakes, Moots post and stem, Chris King headset and front hub, and some nice tires for a complete bike. More bling than I was looking for, but I’ll take it.
The problem is that I’ve taken it out 4 times since then, as work has intensified with new responsibilities. 90% of my riding this fall was the commute to and from work. So, for the new year, I’d like to get this bike out more. And get regular fitness riding in. We’ll see how it goes.