Saturday, April 28, 2007

Summer 2007 Bike Tour

This summer, in either July or August, I will be going on a two week bike tour of Washington state. As you know, I work for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, a statewide group devoted to cycling advocacy and education. Our offices are in Seattle, so we naturally do a lot of work in the Puget Sound area but we were brainstorming ways to better connect with the various communities across the state. Plus, I wanted to do a bike tour. Barb green-lighted the idea and I'll be going around listening and learning about cycling resources, concerns and conditions in various communities around the state. And I'll probably give some talks as well, but it's more going to be look & learn trip for me. I'll be connecting up with Bicycle Alliance members in various locations, so I may have some civilized places to stay, but I'm also planning on camping some.

I'm telling you all this not so you'll say "gee that Kent has the greatest job in the world" (I do BTW) but to get some ideas and advice. My initial thought for a loop is something like this:

  • Seattle - Tacoma -- Spend a day or so in Tacoma
  • Tacoma - Olympia -- Spend a day or so in Olympia
  • Olympia - Vancouver WA & -- Spend a day in Vancouver. Possible 2nd Day in Portland OR
  • Vancouver WA to Yakima -- Spend a day in Yakima
  • Yakima to Tri-Cities -- Spend a day in the Tri-Cities
  • Tri-Cities to Spokane -- Spend a day in Spokane
  • Spokane to Bellingham via Hwy 20 -- Multi-day touring/camping. This will be more touristy, focusing on the bike tourist amenities in the small towns en route. Spend a day in Bellingham
  • Bellingham to Port Townsend via Whidbey Island and ferry -- Spend a day in Port Townsend/Port Angeles
  • Port Townsend - Seattle -- Done

I'll be blogging from the road and compiling lists of cycling related contacts, shops, resources, etc.

What I'm looking for now is other places I should be going, alternate route ideas, general suggestions, anything you think might be useful. This is still in the early planning stages so almost everything is subject to change.

Maybe my loop idea should be run in the other direction? Maybe instead of a loop the trip should be done as shorter spokes radiating from Seattle? Are there places I really should add to the list. Places I should skip? Please let me know your thoughts.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Earth Day at IKEA

This time of year I wind up going to a lot of Environmental and Transit Fairs. Today I rode from my home in Issaquah to the Seattle Bike Station, loaded the rear basket of my bike with bike maps and brochures and rode south to the IKEA in Renton. A dank parking garage isn't exactly number one on the list of places I'd pick to be on a Saturday, but I was spreading the gospel of bike commuting to the folks down there.

The trip along the Green River was lovely. I saw ducks and gulls and huge heron taking flight. I also saw a river restoration crew setting up for a clean-up work day. I had Peanut M&Ms and Gummy Worms in my bike's front basket, to give me the fuel I needed to haul the maps. When I go to these bike-map intensive events, I actually haul more of a load than I do when I go out on a cross-country tour, but my $20 bike excels as a beast of burden.

At the fair, the bike itself wound up being the subject of a lot of conversations. The recycled fenders and the bar-tape made from old inner tubes fit well with the re-use and recycle theme of the day. I got to chat with a lot of folks about bicycle commuting. One woman said, "I would bike commute, but I have to haul a lot of stuff." I countered that bikes can carry pretty big loads if they are set up right. I pointed to my big pile of maps and said "I brought all this on that" and then I pointed to my bike.

But once I'd made the point about hauling stuff, I switched to the technique that I've always found works the best when folks do the "I would, but..." thing.

I agree with them.

"Yep," I said, "it is kind of pain to haul stuff, but you probably don't have to haul a bunch of stuff every day. And if you can work it so there's one day when you can bike, and for gosh sakes, pick a sunny day, well then you might find you like it." She took a couple of maps. She might even ride some sunny day. She took my card as well and maybe next fall she'll give me a call asking for advice about riding in the rain and the dark. You never know how these things will turn out.

I talked with a lot of folks and gave away lots of maps and advice. There were a bunch of other eco-friendly folks displaying things and pitching their causes. Earth Corps folks were handing out Red Cedar and Douglas Fir seedlings. In addition to maps, I gave out "ONE LESS CAR", "NO POLLUTE COMMUTE" "LIVE FREE OR DRIVE" and "QUESTION INTERNAL COMBUSTION" stickers. The folks over at the National Parks Conservation Association took turns wearing the hot, stuffy bear suit. I'm really glad that the Bicycle Alliance doesn't have a mascot!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mountain Biking the Great Divide

This is coming up next week and the folks at REI put together the breathless prose below. If you're in the Seattle area stop on by and I'll tell you some stories about the Great Divide Race.

26 April 2007

Kent in front of the Grand TetonsThursday 4/26/2007 7:00 PM

2490 miles. Solo. Self-supported. The ultimate mountain biking adventure. Less than ten people each year participate in the Great Divide Race, but even fewer have completed it on a single speed mountain bike--here's your chance to hear the story first-hand from one of those adventurers.

REI & the Bike Alliance of Washington are excited to welcome Kent Peterson, who currently holds the record for a single-speed finish of the GDR. Join us for an exciting look at this ultra-endurance mountain bike race through stories, images, and tips on touring this beautiful wilderness route.

This event is FREE, but donations to the Bike Alliance of Washington will gladly be accepted.

Location: Seattle REI, 222 Yale Ave N
Contact: 206-223-1944

See you there!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Strong and Strange

Over on the iBOB list there was a recent resurgence of the always popular "if you could have just one bike/what is your perfect bike?" thread. This discussion has always been a particular favorite of mine because it goes to the heart of what we value as cyclists and it turns out there are as many answers as riders. (The quotes below are all reprinted with the permission of the individuals involved. If you want more context, browse through the iBOB archives.)

James Black opined:

"Would it have to be an inexpensive beater bike so you don't worry about it when you lock it up? I say yes - I think the one-bike scenario only works if that one bike is an inexpensive beater, such as an 80s Japanese sports tourer that performs very well but can be replaced easily for $100. Any bike that is too precious cannot be the perfect bike."

Philip Williamson countered:

That's just stupid*. That's like marrying the mean girl because you won't cry if she dumps you.


* I realize this is a gross violation of my own code and that of this list, and I apologize, but JEEZ! Did they change the meaning of 'perfect' while I was drinking?

JimG swung the discussion back to the ultimate subjectivity of the question by invoking one of the central metaphors of our age:

No, it's more along the lines of thinking Mary Ann was more appealing than Ginger.



I guess I've always had more fondness for the Mary Anns of the world and I'm reminded of an incident from a few years ago. At that time my main bike was an old titanium Litespeed that I called Smokey. My friend Wayne had a fire in his garage and all his bikes burnt up. Smokey had been a total write-off, the carbon fork had burnt up, the aluminum components had melted. But the blackened titanium frame was still solid and true. Wayne gave me the frame and I built it up. The bike was still scorched and I built it up with scrounged components. It looked like junk and rode great.

At this time my son Peter had a real nice, shiny, bright green Specialized Allez Pro racing bike. Full Ultegra. A sweet bike, but no Litespeed.

One morning I went down to where we used to store our bikes in the parking spot of our apartment complex (note the ominous foreshadowing inherent in the phrase "used to store our bikes") and noticed somebody had moved Smokey. "huh, I thought, that's weird. I thought I locked the bike up." And I had. Someone had sliced through the locking cable. And moved my bike. To get better access to Peter's shiny Ultegra equipped bike which they then stole.

Peter was pissed off. I don't know if he ever got over it, but we did get him a better bike as a replacement. Better as in less shiny. A nice old Bianchi with old-school Campy stuff. And we lock the bikes up in a different spot now.

In Philip's (perfectly valid) view, the beater bike is something bothersome, but I think James and JimG's (also valid) views are that the beater has it's own charms.

For myself, many of the "perfect" bikes are ruled out because I just don't like some of the things that many folks drool over. I know there are folks that love lugs and fancy paint jobs and all that stuff but those things just don't do it for me.

If you can love, really love, a beater, a bike that is valuable really only to you and if you can love the process of building it up and riding it more than the thing itself, well then, yeah you can probably live fine with one bike. Or a succession of one bikes.

I've given away Merckx's. I ultimately got rid of my burnt up Litespeed 'cause it was just too fancy for me. Every bike I get teaches me something and ultimately they'll all go away.

The Taoists tell of the useless tree. So large it could shelter an army beneath its branches. Its wood is too twisted and knotty to make into boards, its leaves to bitter to be tea, it bears no tasty fruit, it is unfit even for kindling. Because it is useless it has lived so long and grown so large.

My ideal bike is useful to me, useless to others. My friend Brad pointed out, it would also be useful to someone like me. "Not a problem," I countered, "someone like me won't steal a bike."

I posted the Taoist Useless Tree story to the iBOB list and Philip wisely noted:

"All bikes can be stolen, even the ones that are strong and strange."
He's right, of course, but the odds favor the odd. Philip pointed me to this little story, a variant of the Taoist story recounted by Tom Waits:

Introducing "A Little Rain" (Congres Centrum. The Hague/ The Netherlands: July 21, 1999): "This is a little story about the crooked tree and the straight tree. Do you know that story? [No response from the audience] Obviously you have heard that story... [laughter]. You see, once upon a time there was a forest and there were two trees in the forest, and there was a crooked tree and there was a straight tree. And the crooked tree used to look over at the straight tree and say, ‘Gee, look at you, you’re straight like that, I wish I was straight like that.’ The crooked tree would look up to the straight tree, and the straight tree would look down on the crooked tree and say, ‘Look at you, you’re crooked! You’re always gonna be crooked! You’re nothing but a crooked tree! You’re crooked and that’s all there is to it!’ So one day the lumberjacks came into the forest... [laughter] and they looked around, and they saw the trees... And one of the lumberjacks said, ‘Just cut off the straight trees!’ And the crooked tree is still there, till this day... growing strong and strange... That’s the story... [a rousing ovation]."

I don't ride my strong, strange bikes out of fear. I have realized however that I don't like the worry that comes with the fancy bikes. My favorite bike right now cost me $20 and I still lock it up.

Yesterday as I was riding into work, I was chatting at a light with my friend Ben Bigglestone (BTW, it is almost impossible for me not to see somebody I know on my commute. The bicycle is one of the most convivial machines ever made!) Ben was on his $9,000 Serotta Ottrott. I'm pretty sure Ben commutes a little quicker than I do, but I think he'd still be quicker than me even if we switched bikes. And my bike has fenders and I don't have to have special shoes to ride it.

I'm not going to switch bikes with Ben. Ben's bike is probably perfect for him. My bike is perfect for me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Practical Pedal

All I know is what I read in my inbox, but this came into my Bicycle Alliance email address. It looks like it could be a cool magazine.


I am hoping you can pass this along to any of your interested members.

The first issue of the Practical Pedal will be out this summer and subscriptions are free right now. We're ad supported so subscriptions really mean a lot to us in terms of sustaining the magazine.

The Practical Pedal exists to normalize bicycling as transportation and drive advocacy from the consumer end. When the demand for bicycle-friendly infrastructure is made both by advocacy groups and unaffiliated transportation consumers, then cities will begin to implement it.

We're a quarterly publication and we cover all things related to using bicycles as transportation -- commuting, load hauling, maintenance tips, riding skills, and coverage of what our cities are doing to promote bicycling as a viable transportation alternative. But we're not just an activist publication. The Practical Pedal is written for the dedicated rider and the newbie alike. We believe strongly in expanding the pool of potential bike advocates by reaching out to those who think saddles are only for horses.

We also provide an affordable advertising venue for the smaller manufacturers that are driving the resurgence in practical bicycling.

So as I mentioned, subscriptions for this first year are free. You can subscribe at

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions you have. And feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think might be interested in writing for us, as we're always looking for new authors and subject matter.

Thank you for your time,


Wiley Davis
Editor, the Practical Pedal

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My New Old Friend Earle

"If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door." This line has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (there is some doubt as to whether or not he ever said this) but history has shown that, at least in the mousetrap game, the world is, in fact, indifferent to invention. Nonetheless, there are still tinkerers in this world, folks who putter in basements and create something new.

Earle Jones is one of those guys. Earle found me through Google and thought I might be the kind of guy who'd be interested in his invention.

Earle was right.

It turns out that Earle lives in my town, up the road on Squak Mountain, so this afternoon I went up to see his invention.

Earle's made a crank that eliminates the dead spot in a pedal stroke. It's clever. It's weird. And the damn thing seems to work. I rode it up and down the hill on Earle's street and it gives the bike an odd surging feeling. But I realized that I'm used to bikes with dead spots in their pedal strokes. It feels like somebody is helping push the crank. It's cool.

Earle patented his crank years ago and has made various prototypes and improvements over the years.

Is this the next big thing? I have no idea. Earle isn't a big company with lots of R&D and marketing bucks. But he is a very smart guy who is a really good machinist.

And he's got an amazing basement. How can you not like an 86-year old dude who has a plasma-jet cutter in his basement?

I've ridden lots and lots of bikes over the years. Light racing bikes, low-down recumbents, fixed gears, $20 beaters, you name it. And they all turn in fairly similar times on my commute. Your basic bike is a pretty darn efficient machine. But, of course, there is always room for improvement. And maybe Earle's crank is a real improvement. I couldn't tell enough from a quick test ride, but I want to learn more, so Earle will be loaning me his bike for a week of test commutes. Stay tuned for more details.

Earle's the real deal. He's not making this thing to get rich, he really thinks he's got a better mouse trap. And maybe he does.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SIR 300K Ride Report

My old physics professor used to warn his students that a particularly difficult upcoming exam would "separate the goats from the sheep." To this day I'm not 100% certain what he meant by that, whether it is better to be a goat or a sheep and which creature has a stronger grasp of quantum mechanics. And while I'm sorry to say that I've retained little of what that man was trying to teach me about physics, twenty-nine years later I still remember his words and apply them to my life.

On Saturday, April 7th 2007 one hundred cyclists showed up to ride the Seattle International Randonneurs 300 kilometer brevet. A brevet is a kind of test, a rider has to cover the chosen course on a chosen day within a certain prescribed time. This is not a race, although some riders are trying to complete the course in the least time. Others are testing their limits to see if they can finish in anything less than the maximum allotment of twenty hours. For some riders, 300 kilometers is the farthest distance they have ever ridden a bicycle in a single day, while others are veterans of longer distances. But this course, which begins and ends on Bainbridge Island and circumnavigates the Hood Canal, is known and named for the hills in the desolate Tahuya region between Belfair and Seabeck. The Tahuya Hills are what separate the goats from the sheep.

Friday's weather had been gorgeous and warm and the human mind tends to remember the sunny days of spring and forget the rain. Experience tends to make randonneurs a cautious bunch but a few under-dressed and under-fendered folks look like they've been suckered by some rays of hope in the weather forecast. As we wait by the Bainbridge Bike Barn for the 7:00 AM ride start, Jon Muellner tells me he'd driven down in rain from Port Hadlock to Bainbridge, the route we will be riding. At 7:00 AM, we roll out into the rain.

My plan for the day is mediocrity. In the past I've tested my limits by riding the Tahuya Hills on a fixed gear. Years ago I learned that while I don't have a speedy nature, sloth also grates on me. So, like any good Taoist, I seek the middle way. The day's limit is 20 hours but the fast folks may complete the course in something much closer to 10 hours. I will listen to my inner turtle, who is slow but steady, and ride at what I've found to be my natural pace, something that lets me ride and do the basic rando stops and cover 100 kilometers in five hours.

With the light rain and a temperature around 50 degrees, it is actually quite nice riding weather for those of us used to the Pacific Northwest. As we roll north, the field of riders splits into smaller groups and single riders as we each sort out according to our speeds and natures. At Port Hadlock I get my control card signed and purchase a pint of milk and three chocolate chip cookies. As I'm munching my snack, Ron Himschoot rolls up. "What are you doing here?" he says, somewhat accusingly. "Uhmm, enjoying the day?" I reply. Ron's been in the club since sometime in the Paleozoic era and he's a very nice guy that he masks with a kind of gruff exterior. He also tends to believe that almost everyone else is faster than he is, a thesis that has been proven false on many occasions. "It's just you're one of the fast guys," Ron says, "I hardly ever see you on these rides." Rather than launch into an analysis of how not-fast I am and how not-slow he is, I finish my cookie and say, "See you down the road."

Pulling out of Port Hadlock, Albert Meerscheidt, explains weather forecasting to me. "You see," he says, "a 40% chance of rain means it's going to be raining somewhere in the forecast area. And if we are out riding, there is a 100% chance that rain is going to be falling on us." Profound observations like this are the key to the club's camaraderie.

One of the fellows I think of as one of the "new guys" (I'm pretty sure his name is Chris) and I are riding along the chipseal of Center Road when an enormous bullfrog saunters across the road in front of us. Wildlife sightings are always a highlight of these trips for me. Already today, when I'd been feeling noble for getting up and out the door at 4:15 AM to ride to the ferry, I'd seen a beaver swimming up the river in South Bellevue. Randonneurs may rise earlier than students of Zen, but I guess beavers go to work even earlier. And frogs have their own agendas.

Chris's bike is a beautiful old Raleigh, decked out in nice rando fashion with the kinds of things you can get from places Rivendell and Velo Orange -- extra long hammered Honjo fenders, canvas bags, shellacked bar tape. His bike is a nice contrast to my coroplast & zip-tie aesthetic.

Chris and I chat about bikish things, equipment and chipseal, riding in traffic and mud flaps, but he's just a bit faster than I am here and he drifts up to chase down Wayne and another rider. I spin along, thinking about frogs and philosophy and sheep and goats.

A bit before Quilcene I see Tom Mage walking along side his bicycle. I start to do the standard "got what ya need" call out but I see he clearly has a problem beyond the circumstances anticipated by my fairly paranoid on-board tool kit. The left crank fell off Tom's bicycle and the outboard cartridge bearing, seeing its one chance for freedom, rolled away to points unknown. Tom and another rider had searched without success and now he is walking and coasting his way to Quilcene. A phone call had already been made and rescue in the form of Tom's helpful girl friend is on it's way. I take a blurry picture with my soggy pencam and ask Tom if he needs any food or anything (I try to be prepared and had both Gummy Worms and Peanut M&Ms). Tom is cheerfully resigned to his fate, and assures me he is fine and sends me on my way.

Past Quilcene the rain seems heavier as I climb Walker Pass. Walker Pass isn't much of a climb but coming down the other side, I'm seriously debating stopping at the espresso stand. I decide to forgo this stop and just a bit later I see the SIR sign board and a bunch of riders pulled over for a secret control. I fill up my water bottles and share some Gummy Worms with some other riders. Even though I have stated on many occasions that I am not a nutritional role model, enough of my fellow randonneurs have adopted my fueling strategies that if I'm too far back in the pack I may find the mini-marts have been cleared of their supplies of chocolate milk and PayDay bars. So I make sure to have a stash of food with me at all times and Gummy Worms are my current favorite.

The weather is nicer by the canal and the rain is lighter. When I pull into Hoodsport at 1:45 PM, I stow my heavy gloves and unzip the arms from my jacket/vest. I snap a picture of a very muddy John Kramer at the control (John made a serious miscalculation and took his unfendered bike on this ride). I buy some chicken strips, a pint of milk and a banana and head south.

At the southern edge of the canal I turn east and follow SR-106 and SR-3 to Belfair. One of the problems with this route is that it has an easy bailout. Once you get to Belfair, it's very easy to choose to go north to Bremerton and hop the ferry back to Seattle. This is what separates the goats from the sheep. The sheep head north and take the easy way out. The goats turn west again, ride to Tahuya and then wander their way back home through the hills. I still don't know if it is better to be a goat than a sheep, but today I am a goat. I head west.

Kay's Corner is an intersection of two roads at the southern edge of the Tahuya Hills. Back in the early days of SIR, this control point was unmanned and each rider would prove they'd passed this way by extracting a little sticker from a plastic baggie hidden at the corner. But over time the club has grown and now Kay's Corner is staffed by volunteers who have a big tent set up with comfy chairs and a camp stove and potato soup which turns out to be one of the finest things I've ever eaten. Of course, the finest food I've ever eaten is a mini-mart hot-dog that I had at 2:00 AM at a gas station in Stanwood, so my culinary reviews are suspect at best. But all the randonneurs seem to agree that the potato soup is damn good.

It's just past 5:00 PM when I roll into the Tahuya Hills. I've ridden these hills many times and I know that they will slow me but I also know that I'll get through them. This is a land where low gears do come in handy and I make use of the gears I have. Last year I was testing myself here, today I'm just riding my bike.

It is just getting dark at 7:43 PM when I pull up at the Seabeck Landing General Store. The folks who run the store are wonderful, keeping the store open late for us, making extra sandwiches and offering words of encouragement. I fuel up with a mix of coffee and chocolate milk, which I use to wash down a bag of Cheetos. I explain one of my slightly gross nutritional rules of thumb to Jim Sprague, "I taste my own sweat and if it tastes good, I know I need Cheetos or Pringles." This is the kind of stuff you don't learn in books. This is what you learn in the Tahuya Hills.

Chris and I are getting ready to pull out of Seabeck at the same time. We've pulled on our reflective gear and turned on our lights. I glance down at my cue sheet and see my cue sheet. Chris glances down and sees darkness. "I'm beginning to see why you guys use helmet lights..." "Yeah," I reply, "they come in really handy for spotting road signs, too." I fill him in on the route ahead, "Anderson Hill Road has three hills on it it. A big one, a heck of a drop and then another hill that is big but doesn't seem to bad and then one last one that's just awful. But then that's it and you're pretty much done with the climbing. A few more little things and you're back to Poulsbo and Bainbridge and you're fine." Chris heads out while I'm eating the last of my Cheetos.

I pass him on the first Anderson Hill climb. He's missed a shift and is walking. I'm still marveling at the wonders of low gears and derailleurs, and for the Anderson Hills I'm sticking to my low gear and not bothering to upshift for the screaming descents. Coasting and spinning and some very slow spinning get me up and over the last three big hills of the night.

The rest of the ride is nice. Clear Creek Road is frog central at this time of year. I don't see any of the creatures but the sound of frogs fills the air. In the old days the Tahuya 300K finished up by following SR-3 up to Poulsbo but over time SIR refined the route to have more frog roads and fewer freeways. The refined route through Poulsbo sticks close to Liberty Bay before finally joining SR-305 just five kilometers north of the Agate Pass bridge.

My goal of five hours per 100 kilometers would mean that I'd finish a 300 kilometer ride in fifteen hours. It's just about 10:00 PM now, and I'm not quite done. But my cyclecompter is telling me I've ridden 300 kilometers since 7:00 AM and then I realize that of course our rides are rarely a perfectly round number. In the case of this ride, it's actually 308.5 kilometers.

It's 10:17 PM, when I finish. There's a ferry at 10:30 PM but the finish line is at the comfy Island Country Inn and Mark Thomas has the final checkpoint stocked with pizza and refreshing beverages, so I don't feel like rushing off. I snack and drink and chat with the other riders as they come in. I run through the calculations, I was just ever so slightly too fast to be perfectly mediocre. There's always room for improvement!

Pictures here:

Results here:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The $20 Bike Gets Coroplast Fenders and Baskets

A few folks expressed concern that my $20 dollar bike wasn't "Kented up" enough. I want to keep this project on a very low budget, and so far the main cost has been a couple of bucks worth of zip-ties. I scrounged the baskets and the coroplast campaign signs are free once the elections have passed. Adding the Princeton Tec EOS pretty much doubled the value of the bike but it's such a damn nice little light and I do a lot of night riding.

The coroplast strip under the basket doesn't keep the basket up, it keeps the front fender down! The front basket is great for holding snacks and a camera.

Please don't send in any "I can believe you are riding without a helmet!" comments. I took the wild risk of riding without my magical foam hat for this photo shoot but kids, don't try this at home!

The rear basket is extremely handy. For rainy weather, I'll wrap stuff up in a plastic bag to keep it dry back there.

I don't think I'll put a computer or Power Grips on this bike but it still seems zippy enough. Stay tuned for some ride reports.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pictures from the SIR 300K

I haven't edited or added any comments yet, but I took some pictures with my infamous pencam on the Seattle International Randonneurs 300K yesterday. You can see them at:

Kent Peterson
Issaquah WA USA

Friday, April 06, 2007

Twenty Dollar Bike

A few weeks ago this guy came into the Bikestation. He'd forgotten his bike on the bus and one of the parts of my job is dealing with the lost bikes for King County Metro and Sound Transit. Anyway it was a nice old Gary Fisher and I complemented the guy on his bike. He tells me how when he moved to Seattle some pal of his had this old bike that had been sitting for a few years and the pal sold him the bike for twenty bucks. I commented that it was a darn nice bike for twenty bucks. The rear U-brake was a little sloppy because of some pad wear, but I took the slack out of the cable and sent the fellow on his way.

And I thought that was the end of the story.

Yesterday the guy comes back and says he's moving to Hawaii. And he's not going to take the bike with him and he remembered how I liked the bike and he only paid twenty bucks for it in the first place...

This is how I get twenty dollar bikes.

The bike has a pretty upright stem and with the stock flat bars it didn't feel right to me, so I swapped the flat bar for an old steel North Road bar that Joe had kicking around the back of the shop. I also added a little bell and a rubber frog that I'd scavenged off some bikes that had been orphaned long ago.

I still need to glue the leather cover of the old Avocet saddle where it's starting to peel off the base and I need to bring in some zip-ties so I can equip the bike with some coroplast fenders but the bike already has sort of a poor man's Atlantis vibe to it.

I sure didn't need another bike, but I also didn't really need that extra twenty bucks in my wallet.