Friday, April 5, 2013

Ritual and Repetition

Sunny Day
"Business in the front, party in the back, yeah!!!" 

Riding from the grocery store, I stopped on the side of the river path to watch the row boats. A grinning cyclist rode past - pointing at the front, then the rear of my bike in an enthusiastic Contador-style salute

Huh? Oh! Camera bag, flowers. Got it. But before I could say anything, he was gone. 

Sunny Day
Riding to and from work assignments on a warm sunny day feels suspiciously good. Now that the snow is gone, I am making longer trips again, seeing parts of the city and suburbs that I've missed, encountering new characters. 

Sunny Day
Grocery shopping can feel like a chore, except on those drawn out afternoons when the sun lingers and lingers. 

Sunny Day
Back from a hard road ride, my legs feel too restless to sit. Nothing feels better than spinning on my city bike along the river to fetch some groceries. And flowers, to brighten up the kitchen. Sport, transport. Business, party. Weekdays, weekends.

Little Tree, 3 Months Later
On the way home I stopped to visit the Tiny Tree. We replanted this tree (a Dwarf Alberta Spruce, I am told) in some woods nearby in the first week of January. The ground was clear of snow then and we were lucky to get a warm day, when the soil was soft. I found a spot in a clearing that would get some sun. 

Afterward I regretted having planted the tree so close to home: Now I would feel compelled to check up on it. I visited every week. When the snow storms started, it was covered almost to the tip, and I was sure it wouldn't survive the cold. But every time the snow melted, there it was - emerging green as ever. It doesn't look much bigger than it did three months ago. But today I saw some buds resembling baby pine cones. 

Have a good weekend, and, as always - thank you for reading! 

34 comments:

  1. Oh goodness there's something on your front rack. Real stuff. Same with rear. You actually use both.

    Shopping can seem like a chore the more you do it. Of course it can mitigated with a long tail -- fewer trips of course.

    Anyway happy whatever, etc. etc.

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    1. Shopping is the best part of my day, or I should say riding to and from the grocery store each day is something that makes me happy. An with two kids (teenagers) there's always a need!

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    2. I go back and forth in my feelings on grocery shopping. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes tedious. Lately I've been trying to go less frequently and do all the shopping at once. The bike as shown will easily take 4 full grocery bags (3 divided between panniers and one strapped to the front rack), so not too bad for a lightweight non-cargo bike. But I do miss the Radish.

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    3. If one has other things to get them out of the house and socializing, I can see where daily trips to the store can be tedious. Since I work in the house and am otherwise a recluse those daily bicycle rides are meaningful. And absolutely...a lightweight bike with a rack can easily handle all the basics :)

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    4. Except having the freshest possible produce and baked bread (and if you are near a brewery, tapped beer) makes those multiple trips so worthwhile.

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  2. Replies
    1. The problem is that 'finger-bang' means something obscene and I do not know a non-obscene meaning, nor is the obscene meaning translatable into a non-obscene gesture.

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    2. I was using bike language. Let me think of a non-obsene synonym to describe that gesture...

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  3. Hurray for the tiny tree!

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  4. Thank you for writing. I thought you were going to regret the proximity of the tree as it required a shorter ride to see it.

    I feature I have found with respect to my bike commute is that I wish the distance was greater, and therefore a longer ride. I never had that issue in an auto.

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  5. Random question... when you grocery shop, do you bring the panniers into the store with you or leave them attached to the bike? My "errand bike" has some clunky baskets that I got for free on FreeCycle, and I keep thinking that I should get some nice panniers instead, but they're so expensive, and I'd really worry that they'd get stolen. I even worry about the small trunk bag that I do have on that bike.

    Thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. It depends on the pannier. There are clip-on panniers that are meant to be detachable and function as bags off the bike. But double panniers like these are meant to stay on. The attachment method is really too elaborate for casual theft (multiple straps in hard to reach places securing them to the rack), and you could secure them further with extra cords or a thin cable lock.

      The contents of the panniers are another matter. With non-removable panniers, I don't put my laptop, etc directly inside, but keep that stuff in a separate work bag which I take with me when I leave the bike. So the panniers stay on, but they're empty. When I do grocery shopping, it's always at the end of the day, so that I can take them straight home.

      Bt IMO a good stay-on pannier design should include a system for locking them shut - such as loops through which to route a thin cable lock. Again I would not keep valuables in there, but that system would work against casual theft. Some hard core Dutch panniers are designed that way, and the Xtracycle Freeloader bags allow for that.

      The panniers pictured here were sent for review from Brooks; I will post a write up soon and hit on some of these topics.

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    2. Thanks! I'm looking forward to that post!

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    3. The freeloader bags don't allow for an enclosed pocket you can put a flap over or run a cable through but some of the other models can be closed, maybe locked.

      But they are semi-permanently attached.

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    4. I cannot call it lovely, but a basic rear rack plus a square milk crate is incredibly useful. It needs to be set back because it doesn't quite fit under the saddle. Hold it down with large zip ties... you can color coordinate too! Two big paper bags of groceries fit side by side and stuff won't fall out either.

      My fiancee finally decided it was too embarrassing and got me a tail bag instead. So maybe act embarrassing and plant some hints, like me.

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  6. What bike are you riding? It doesn't look like one from your stable.
    Thanks. Laura

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    Replies
    1. s/h Raleigh Silhouette or Misty's are available for pennies in the UK and look just as good. Whether they ride just as well is another matter of course, and 27" is getting hard to source.

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    2. It's not so much a matter of better or worse; just a very specific design. Totally different animal from vintage English mixtes, which are nice in their own right.

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  7. I am so happy to see this adorable tree! Did you add anything to the soil when you planted it or do any maintenance to it later? I would love to try this next year.

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    1. When replanting the tree I made some makeshift mulch out of the rotting fallen foliage that covered the ground at the time and mixed it in with the soil. After it started to snow, I considered digging the tree out, but then thought it might actually be better for it to stay warm inside the snowbank. So I just made sure the top part was clear and it could get some sun. And that's about it. I never watered it; there's been plenty of natural precipitation. Reading up on this, my main take away was that the tree needs sun, moist soil, and a gradual temperature change from indoor to outdoor. Give it a try!

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  8. LOVE the Little Tree. Really great that you returned it to the outside.

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  9. You may need to water that little tree when the weather gets hot.

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  10. Happy fifth circuit, V! Hopefully your enjoyment in making this place what it is just grows.





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  11. No surprise the little tree is doing well despite the winter. After all, as you wrote, it's a Dwarf ALBERTA Spruce. Now I live in the balmy climate of coastal British Columbia. But it's only a day's drive across the mountains to Alberta. Remember the lines from Ian Tyson's famous "Four Stong Winds"; 'Think I'll go out to Alberta...', 'And the winds sure can blow cold way out there...'

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  12. Velouria, I hear you've had a busy weekend! When is the brevet report coming?? ;p

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  13. You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment.
    (Until tomorrow!)

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  14. Spring is so cool!

    About the "row boats" - call me pedantic but i believe that even though
    the sport is "Rowing", the boats are either Skulls or Shells. In a Skull, each oarswoman manipulates two oars, in a Shell each has one.
    I've always thought rowing is like bicycling on water, a similar efficiency of effort thing.

    Nice tree!

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  15. You've probably already answered this before somewhere here on your blog but where did you get the front rack? It's beautiful and exactly what I'm looking for.

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    Replies
    1. It's a Velo Orange Porteur rack (this), without the railing.

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