Friday, April 25, 2008

A Thurs afternoon, best spent at the tap room

Yesterday was another great day filled with riding. I had lunch plans with a few old co-workers from the studio. We met up on Music Row so I decided to ride in the 5 miles instead of drive. I through on the flat pedals so I could ride in street shoes and rolled out. I haven't ridden on flat pedals in forever. I've used them on a couple urban rides with my Ventana, but I'm generally useless with them. I've definitely been spoiled with clipless and have little skills with flat pedals. But on the crosscheck I was actually enjoying the carefree feeing of not being clipped in. Sure, I immediately noticed my saddle was now too high, since my pedals and shows were thinner... but I didn't care and didn't feel like stopping to make any adjustments. I wasn't in a race so I didn't care about how fast I was going or how efficient my pedaling was.

After lunch I hung out with a friend in the studio for an hour or so then hit the road. I went over to Cumberland Transit to see Dan for a bit before he left for T.I.4. He was restless to get out of town, which is understandable since J5 and T.roy had already left, and they were carrying his gear since he had to work late and catch a flight. After chatting for about 30 minutes I was thinking of heading on my way, possible to ride through Centennial and just enjoy the weather, with out idea of where to go. Marv, at Cumberland, mentioned: "You should go to the brewery." the earth stopped turning for a second and this nugget hit me. I should go to the brewery.... that was a GREAT idea. Well, I called Beth and she was in for meeting me there and then I spent the next 10 minutes trying to convince Dan that he too, needed a beer before he headed for the little 345 mile spin. He finally got fed up with me and shooed me on my way and declined the offer.

As I was riding to the tap room, I thought of people I could call to meet up for a beer. Right as I think to call Manondale, it all sinks in. duh, it's Thurs. It's team night at Yazoo. I'm just an hour early than normal. Sweet! Unfortunately Manondale is opting to come friday night, so I roll in and snag the last seat at the bar and order up an ESB. Texts go out to the team and start coming back full of declines. Everyone mentions Sharpie's coming... sweet. I talk to Thad for a bit and get an update on their trek to Iowa. Turns out I rode past them on my way into town for lunch, small world.

Beth showed up around 6 and Sharp, Dunsy and Dan D showed up shortly after. As usual, we all drink and be merry for a few hours and decide to hit 12 South Tap Room or Mafiosos for dinner and more brew. Back on the bike we go and head over. Both places were totally bumping but it looks like Mafiosos has more available seating so the decision is made. Pizza, spicy pasta and brews abound as everyone enjoys a night off.

I still wanted to ride home even though Beth had the car there so she headed back and I left with the boys, at least to Belmont Blvd, then we parted. It was a nice ride back to Green Hills. Weather was still mild and the roads were empty.

Good day......

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's tuesday night, 10pm and it's 67 degrees out. Niiiceee.... The high today was around 80, it was glorious!

After working for Freshie and Zero for a few hours, painting a new display, I just had to get on the bike. I'd 'wasted' yesterday's great weather and I didn't intend to let it happen again. Around 3pm I got my gear together and got in touch with a few riding buds to head out to Percy Warner for a loop. Turns out my friend Scarf was available and needed to leave immediately, which was right when I was wanting to go so we met up on Belle Meade Blvd and rolled down into the park. It was a great day to be outside doing anything. A bit hot if you were just standing around, but the wind from riding made it perfect.

I only had plans to ride one loop since I had to be back by 5pm so we kept a good but moderate pace and chatted it up. Scarf mentioned an exit to Chickering Rd that I'd never taken. He said there was a fun section where you could average 30mph for a mile or so. So we head that direction and get onto Chickering and of course, a big headwind was waiting for us. No matter, it was still fun to ride some new roads. We snaked back towards Harding Rd on my side, towards Green Hills. We parted and I rode back to the house right on schedule.

This is what riding is all about to me. Feeling the urge to pedal, leaving your house by bike, exploring and returning by bike. I thought about riding some trail today. I have the desire, I should since I haven't ridden since the Chickasaw Race, but truthfully I just had no desire to drive to a trail. I had an invite to hit Lock4 and Hamilton Creek but I couldn't justify the trip. I'm very glad that I have the Crosscheck now as it's allowed me to get my riding fix right out my front door. Not that I couldn't do it before on my mtb bikes, but it's more enjoyable for me on the Crosscheck. Enjoyable means I do it more, which I like.

I'm trying to take advantage of this great weather while it lasts. The forecast is for some crappy weather starting thursday. I hope it holds out for a tap room ride and I hope it isn't terrible for the folks going to Trans Iowa 4.

This past Sunday, I had to get some time in the saddle after being at the beach for a week. J5 and I met up at Percy Warner for a couple laps and man it felt great! I felt good through the hills and we had some great conversations. We hit up Brueggers for lunch, yum and then rolled back to our respective casas. I managed to take a spill in the park before I met up with J5. Second spill on the crosscheck, now I'm all geeked out and apprehensive. Nothing serious, just some minor road rash and some scuffs on the brake levers. The showroom shine is definitely off the crosscheck now which is good. I'm still getting used to the feel of a more 'road' bike, with drop bars and all. I'm not great at fast decents on the hoods, though I don't even know if this is what you're supposed to do. I'm more confident down in the drops, maybe this is normal. Nothing is normal to me yet on the new bike. I will say I love the saddle. It's primo on the rear end!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bike storage in a parking garage, off of Market Square in Knoxville TN

Beth and I had to stop in Knoxville on our way back from the beach today to pick up her craft tent. We had been storing it at Bliss in Market Square while we were away. There was another show going on this weekend so parking was crazy. We managed to find (make) a spot in a parking garage right off of Market Square. Right behind our car, Beth spotted these "Bike Storage" lockers. How cool is that??!!?? Way to go Knoxville!! They look well built and it's a great idea! Everytime we go to Market Square I see a ton of people riding around on bikes, and there are always bikes locked up in front of restaurants and in the middle of the square. I gotta say, I'm totally jealous!

On a random note... in case anyone was wondering... Yazoo brew tastes great on the beach!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Could you go carless, for 1 year, forever?

I was reading about Sweetpea Bicycles 1 year anniversary of going car-less. I think that is very impressive! Lately I've been trying to ride or walk to more places where I would ordinarily drive but I have a long way to go before I could go car-less. Besides the fact that my wife's business is at least 50% craft show sales which require us to load up her Explorer and drive her tent, tables and display around the country. I personally haven't made the commitment to truly lower my driving as much as I possibly can. It is so easy to decide to just drive and make (good sounding) excuses. I could do more and plan to start.

Excuse one for my wife and for me would be there is no real safe avenue of travel, walking or biking, from our condominiums to the shopping centers in Green Hills. We are lucky to be so close to many of our essentials, but there is still about a quarter mile stretch where you have to walk in the grass of business's lawns to avoid the shoulder-less road. This is very discouraging to my wife. I've grown accustomed to riding this stretch on the road and hoping to not get plastered by a non-attentive driver. I hope that helping organizations such as Walk/Bike Nashville, will bring about city which plans for the needs to the non-drivers of the community.

Sweetpea mentioned their use of Zipcars to help with the errands and trips they can't accomplish by non-motorized means. I checked out the website and this is a great idea! Instead of renting bikes when you travel somewhere, bring your bike and rent a car for the infrequent trips you require. Wanna drive for an afternoon to get all your shopping complete and large presents taken to the Post Office? Rent a Zipcar for a few hours, gas and insurance included (and even parking sometimes).

Gas prices are on the rise so everything is on the rise. When you start calculating how much you spend on each car trip, the Zipcar may make more and more sense. Wanna know what your commute costs you? Gas Commute Calculator The Zipcar is about $8-9 an hour or $50 to $65 per day...INCLUDING gas, insurance, oil changes, tune-ups, tires, windshield wipers etc etc. Currently Zipcar is only available in select cities, Atlanta being the closest.

Here are some links for other cities working towards less cars on the roads.

Seattle One Less Car Program
One Less Car.Org in Maryland
One Less Car News in Baltimore

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

bike riding? I think I remember that.

It's been a long time since I've sat on a bike... since the scavenger hunt last sunday to be exact. I had three full days of work down in Franklin last week and then Beth and I headed to Knoxville to start the 2008 craft show season. Sadly I was not able to bring a bike along with me on our trip. I thought hard about trying to cram one in to the Explorer but decided it wasn't worth it, since we were heading directly to the beach for a week after the craft show, I wasn't crazy about taking a nice, new steel bike to the beach to corrode. (I can hear it at home thanking me from letting it rust away at the beach)

So the craft show was great. We met our sales goal and had a fun trip filled with an 80 degree day, a 65 degree day and then a 40 degree day. We went from short sleeves and heavy suntan lotion to fleece and wool hats. We had a chance to go out on the town Thurs night in Knoxville and enjoying some great dinner at The Tomato Head and beers at Preservation Pub and Woodruff's (Downtown Grill & ) Brewery. It had been a long time since Beth and I had gone out and drank, just the two of us, so we really enjoyed ourselves!

We are at the beach now for the rest of the week. The weather is cold and windy but should warm as the week continues and we're looking forward to relaxing and kickin' back. The cooler is full of beer, we even brought a couple 6ers of Yazoo to share, and the fridge is full of food... we should be in for a fun week!

Monday, April 07, 2008

scavenging beer

Another day, another dollar, another bruise, another scrape, another monday, another hangover.

The Nashville Scavenger Hunt ride was yesterday. I'd been looking forward to this ride for weeks and it didn't disappoint. Dan called me late saturday night and said there was a group meeting at Percy Warner park for a loop and then he was riding over to the east side to help get the Scavenger hunt going. After working 8-5 everyday last week I jumped at the opportunity to add more riding to my Sunday and shooed my work. I could easily do it later after the ride. (famous last words)

So I got up early Sunday and rode to the park to meet up with Dan H, Jeremy N and his wife, Marvin, and Scott M. We had a great ride through the park. Not many people were out surprisingly, for such an amazing day weather wise. I felt great on the bike and we all kept a leisurely pace. After getting back to the arches we all parted ways and I rode with Dan and Marvin towards downtown. Marvin left us after White Bridge and Dan and I continued on to the East side. We took a lot of back roads and enjoyed the weather and somewhat emptier roads. After we crossed the river we stopped by the Nashville Cyclist Criterium training race going on in the stadium parking lot. Dan knew a few people helping put the race on so we chatted for a bit and took them up on their offer of donuts and fig newtons. After another short ride paralleling Woodland, we made it to Beyond The Edge and got settled and hung out with the organizers.

Seeing as I had nothing really to do until the ride started at 1pm and it was only quarter after 11, it's no wonder I had a bit too much to drink with a quickness. 2 for 1s will do that, along with great waitresses! I did manage to be smart and order lunch before the crowd showed up to register for the ride. I made a couple calls to see if any other Yazooers were on their way to make a team. Mannondale apparently enjoyed himself too much saturday night so he wasn't coming, but Troy and Melanie were a few minutes away and were down for a team. John (RedFSR on was already there hanging with me so we had our 4 person team setup. The ride officially started right as we finished registering and got maps and the list of locations. We took some time to get a game plan going, and solidify the idea that we were in no hurry and this was no race. We meandered out about 15 minutes after everyone else and started our journey.

We had a pretty good plan in place to try to get the most number of locations without going way out of our way. We made it clear early, that we were not trying to win this thing, or race around town and get done as fast as possible. We were just out to have fun and ride bikes. We succeeded 100%. We got a couple quick locations done on the east side and then headed over into downtown, going by the Sommet Center (the second time for Dan and I) and seeing all the people in line for some sort of open casting call for Hannah Montana movie. Oh yea, we enlisted Dan to ride with us and help talk photos, to avoid having to use a timer for every shot.
Kinda cheating but we weren't in it to win, and he was a ref anyways, so maybe it would help our cause. (do we have a cause?)

We made great time just riding around snapping photos. We planned a route that would take us by the Broadway Brewhouse. This location was not part of the 30 (but should of been) and also offered 2 for 1s so we stopped for a halfway point break and some refreshments. After a couple Yazoo pints, Dan left us and rode back to Beyond The Edge to help as the groups started rolling back in. We left the Brewhouse and continued on our journey. We ran into a couple other Yazoo team members on our ride, Diamond Dave on Music Row was riding with a lady friend of his and then we saw Dan Werle over at the Crit race. It's always fun to ride around town and run into people, especially when they also riding around town. We also met some interesting people as we asked for help with taking the photos and saw some cool nooks of Nashville that were new to me.

In the end we rode to 16 of the 30 locations. We missed a couple easy ones we could of gotten if we paid more attention but our intention wasn't to really get all of them. 4 teams were 100% successful, but did they get a picture of topless bikers in front of Deja Vu?? We did! I ended up with 50 miles for the day, with riding to Percy Warner and then to the East Side and back. I felt great all day and had a lot of energy. Maybe it was the beer or just the slow pace with lots of stops.

I will post our photos from the Scavenger hunt on my Flickr page and you can view the play-by-play of our journey there. I don't want to write out our enjoy trip... as I know no one wants to read it. I had a great time on the ride! Nashville needs more events like this! It was great to see all those cyclist coming out, I believe there were 65 registered riders! Next weekend is the Crossdressing the Bridge ride which I hope will be just as successful! Word is lots of people are planning on coming out for that one was well. I can't make it due to a conflict with a nice relaxing beach trip, crap!

Of course after riding home from Beyond the Edge, with a few too many beers in my stomach, it was very hard to be motivated to finish my Google work for the week. Beth and I went to Whole Foods for dinner and I made another awesomely huge, protein rich salad which I scarfed down. I put in a couple hours of work after dinner and then crashed. Back at the Bennett House this morning trying to finish up these mastering projects; more Gospel, some Xmas and then some 'Music of the Far East'.... should be a fun day!!

(1st three photo credits to tRoy)

Friday, April 04, 2008

dreary end to the week

This is what i've been staring at from 8:30-5:30 every day this week.

I've been working on a couple mastering and remastering projects down in downtown Franklin at the Bennett House. I started the week working on a 12 CD Black Gospel project then did a quick 2 CD 'Music of Israel' collection. I've definitely been getting my religion this week!!

Unfortunately yesterday was so rainy and gross, riding to the tap room was cancelled. I rode with Thad into town to check out the Green Business Summit at Lipscomb University and visit the Walk/Bike Nashville booth. We headed over to the Yazoo tap room after the summit for a few pints then enjoyed dinner and laughs at Pizza Perfect.

Tomorrow is going to be a big errand day and then I'm helping Beth sell her jewelry at an art show in downtown benefiting The Tomorrow Fund. Should be a good show as it went well last year.

I'm planning on participating in the Bike Scavenger Hunt on Sunday afternoon. I hope there is a big turn out. This sounds like a really fun event and a great way to explore Nashville by bike.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

karma or irony?

Took the plunge and rode into work today. I sucked it up and rode Hillsboro Rd down to downtown Franklin. The temperature was right on the line between wool jersey/arm warmers and a wind breaker. I left the house with the jacket in my bag and quickly stopped and put it on. Well, that lasted until I got to Old Hickory and I was burning up so off it went. Now it was perfect, cool breeze and the sun was coming out. The amateur commuter in me packed way too much stuff so my bag was pretty heavy but I didn't notice it unless I stood and pedaled.

I was riding through the Grassland school district and started hearing a 'tick, tick, tick' in rhythm. hmmm chain rub? flat tire? I stopped pedaling and I could still hear it. hmmm flat tire I bet. I quickly glanced at both tires and didn't see anything as they were rolling. I got about 20 more yards before my tire was almost completely flat. I was at Old Hillsboro Rd so I turned right and made my way over into the nice grassy mounds by the road. Yep... enormous nail in the tire! That's what I get for riding in the shoulder I guess, should of 'owned the lane' more. Well, I would of if more cars and trucks cared or knew about the 3 foot law. Even a school bus passed me too close for comfort.

Since I packed everything and the kitchen sink, I had all I needed to change tubes and get back on the road. I was really glad I had my Co2 with me as one catridge got me right back up to pressure and saved me the agony of my tiny Crank Bros pump. Unfortunately I only have one tube with me today so my commute home will be in jeopardy. Hope my flat tire karma is filled now.

The rest of the ride in was very pleasant. The road widens after Grassland and traffic lessened. It was a joy riding through Fieldstone Farms with the 4 lane road with a full size lane on the sides. I'd say Davidson County could learn a thing or two from this area of Williamson County.

I got to try out my new riding knickers today as well. They rocked! I bought them a few weeks ago from Portland Cycle Wear. They are my first pair of knickers and I love them so far. They are made from a really stretchy fabric which moves very well while pedaling. They have a ton of pockets, and cinch-able leg openings with reflective straps. They have a small chamois built in which I'm not sure I'll keep or not. It's not the worst chamois ever, but it minimalistic, and I wouldn't mind the option to wear whatever cycling short I want. I'm happy with them overall and it was great to have the longer length this morning with the 40-45 degree temps.

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