Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Merry Christmas

Our tree in 2009. I'll get a shot of the 2010 tree before it dries up and falls to dust on the carpet.

Merry Christmas, everybody.


Brewing Journal: Batch #7, Entry #3

Batch #7- fermentation has slowed although there is still a large krausen on the beer. I replaced the blow-off tube and jar of sanitizer with a sanitized airlock and immediately observed bubbles in the airlock, indicating a good seal. 


Brewing Journal: Batch #7, Entry #2

Northern Brewer Black IPA (extract kit with specialty grains. Heated 2.5 gallons of the spring water to 170 degrees and steeped specialty grains (.25 lbs dehusked Carafa III, .25 lbs Chocolate Malt, .5 lbs Briess Caramel 80) for 20 minutes. At the start of the boil, I added what was left of the three pound container of dark liquid malt (some went into the starter) and one ounce of Summit hop pellets, per instructions. At 45 minutes in, the 6 pounds of dark malt syrup and one ounce of Simcoe hops went in.  Then an ounce of Centennial hop pellets at 10 minutes, one ounce of Cascade pellets at 5 minutes, one ounce of Amarillo hop pellets and one pound of corn sugar at the completion of the boil. Chilling was accomplished in an ice water bath in my sink. Holy hop sludge! I had to clean my strainer out twice as I got the wort into the fermenter.  I measured the original gravity at 1.075 and pitched the yeast starter.  I observed active fermentation (bubbling blow-off tube) within three hours, which is a much better (shorter) lag time than I saw with the bourbon barrel porter. I'm hoping the combination of pitching a big yeast starter and the pound of corn sugar will help this dry out significantly more than the porter did. 


Brewing Journal: Batch #7, Entry #1

Batch #7, Northern Brewer Black IPA. This is a high-gravity beer, and I want to give the yeast a fighting chance to work through the projected 1.078 original gravity.  I used a cup and a half of the supplied dark liquid malt extract in 2.6 quarts of filtered water to make a yeast starter.  I boiled the water and malt for a full 20 minutes and cooled the pot in a sinkful of ice water.  I pitched the fully-inflated Wyeast 1422 American Ale II yeast "smack pack" into the starter.  I arrived at the malt and water amounts by using mrmalty.com, an online yeast propagation calculator. 


A Better IKEA Bike

One of the pieces of information that has come to light as the IKEA bike giveaway story (other than this lovely video footage of proud Cincinnati store managers riding the giveaway bikes out on to the floor, forks proudly and prominently installed backwards!)  has spun out is that this isn't the first time they have done this. In 2006, they gave all 9,000 of their UK employees a folding bike:

That bike makes about a million percent more sense than this years' giveaway bike. Especially if the intent is to get people riding to work:
  • It has a chain guard, which keeps grease off your pants.
  • Fenders- so riding on wet streets won't result in the dreaded "stripe."
  • Logical frame configuration- unlike this years' bike, there are no extraneous frame members, no faux suspension, etc. 
  • Rear rack- kind of a nice thing when you actually want to take stuff with you on your commute.
  • Finally, it's a folder, which makes getting it on to a bus or train or what have you much easier. 

Oh yeah, and the fork is on the right way, as opposed to the Ikea bikes in the video I posted above, and in this screengrab:


Something about the Teeth on this Gift Horse

Bike Portland is reporting that IKEA has given every one of its US employees a bike for Christmas this year. Pretty cool. The bike commuter in me would be psyched if 5-10% of these bikes ended up turning their new owners into dedicated bike commuters. Hey, maybe even more, right?

As much as I talk about all of the other barriers to bike commuting that exist once one has dragged oneself out the door in bike clothing and chosen to ride instead of drive, it is true that "lack of a bike to ride" might be the very first barrier a new commuter faces. So, here's hoping the gift of 12,400 bikes gets at least some of their recipients riding regularly.

Still, why did they have to go with the ugliest, weirdest frame I've ever seen in my life? Is this some sort of lesson in Scandinavian humility?
There is absolutely no reason to interrupt a perfectly good seat tube on a non-suspension frame. 

Seriously, this looks like they went to one of the mega factories in China, picked out a Wal-Mart suspension frame, removed the suspension components, and had a frame member welded in to stabilize the resulting franken-frame.

Still, if the components last long enough for somebody to catch the bike bug, more power to 'em.