Friday, October 03, 2014

Review: Our Own Day Here by Richard Risemberg

Our Own Day Here is a fine collection of essays, thoughts expressed in concise, passionate, quotable prose. This book is clearly the work of someone who takes the time to truly experience a place and taken the time to get to know people. There is a lot of love for city places in these pages and a fair bit of rage directed at a society that often places cars and corporations ahead of people.

While I enjoyed every essay and found food for thought on virtually every page, a few of the essays would perhaps fit better in another book. I loved the recounting of a bike tour and the humorous misadventures with various sailing companions, but I'm not sure these tales added to the work as a whole. Kind of like adding raisins to a chocolate-chip cookie, sometimes not everything should go in one batch!

But the book is well worth its price and your time.The essay on graffiti and songbirds is just terrific and the late night and early morning walks are recounted so well you not only see and hear them, you damn near smell and taste them. Richard Risemberg has looked closely at his city and his words will make you look much closer at yours.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

My Awesome Wednesday Commute

My main job is at The Bicycle Center in Issaquah, four blocks from my house. While I love Issaquah and the luxury of a quick commute, I found I missed the comfortable vibe of Seattle, the bigger city 17 miles west of Issaquah. I missed the bookstores, the tree-lined neighborhoods, the bookstores, the little independent coffee shops... I also missed seeing a lot of the friends I'd made in the years I'd spent working in Seattle.

A few months ago when my friend Davey mentioned that he and his pal Tyler were looking for someone to help out at their shop, G&O Family Cyclery, in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle I said "well, if you can use somebody one day a week, I'm free on Wednesdays." And ever since then I've been heading into Seattle on Wednesdays to help Davey, Tyler and Donald at G&O.

This post isn't about how much fun it is to work at G&O (it is!) or what a cool shop it is (it is!) It isn't even about all the cool cargo bikes and Brompton's that I get to work on at G&O. No, this post is about my awesome Wednesday commute. I could bike back and forth or take the bus the whole way but I tend to optimize my commutes for fun. And my Wednesday commute is just terrific.

I take the Sound Transit 554 bus from just outside my doorstep to downtown Seattle. I have my NYCeWheels KickPed folded up beside me on the bus. In downtown Seattle I could transfer to the Metro 5 bus but instead I unfold my KickPed and scoot from Westlake, through the South Lake Union neighborhood. At my scootering pace of six to seven miles per hour, I'm a bit faster in traffic than the cars, the bus or the South Lake Union Trolley. I scoot north along the lake. The views are awesome.

You don't have to take my word for this. My android phone has developed this odd habit of tagging certain pictures I take, deciding they're "awesome" and then applying some filter it calls "auto awesome" which turns them into, well, awesome little virtual paintings. I don't know how or why my phone decided to do this, it's just something the Google elves have decided to do. But as you can see below, my commute is awesome.

My extra Wednesday work means I get to spend some more time with pals and I have a bit of extra money to spend in coffee shops and used bookstores. And I get 12 miles of really great scooter riding in every Wednesday.

I know I'm a lucky guy. I live and work in a pretty awesome place with some awesome people.

Keep 'em rolling,