Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Short Bontrager History lesson.

So there I am, cycling my way to work with the kids en tow. There's not a whole ton of nice bikes floating around PdC yet(I'm working on it! give me time!). So it stands out when I see a nice lugged road bike toddle on by. Of course we wave as we approach, but as we pass, as true cyclists, we look at each others bikes. Mine is simple. Not flashy. Unadorned with stickers.

As the other rider passed, I noticed a familiar "B" dot script.

Hold the horses!

I squeeel to a stop(stupid brakes...gotta work on those...) and I shout out. "Hey! is that really a Bontrager?" He looks at me, puzzled, like anyone around these parts should know that name? Yes he says, it is in fact a Bontrager. A lugged roadie, all kitted out in late 80's Shimano Ultegra parts.

We circle each other eyeing up the rigs. His is of course the interesting one. He says there's an interesting story behind it too. He got this bike as a form of payment from Keith. Turns out Ells, as he's known, knew Keith back in the Day, and used his student loan to purchase Keith's first batch of tubing.

Kind of a nice introduction to the day, finding a bit of mountain bike history in my little river town. I look forward to riding more with Ells and maybe even prodding his brain for some stories.

The Saturday ride will most likely happen, though I suspect it may be shortened. I'll be taking pictures at the Showdown on Friday, and a few beers will inevitably find their way into my hands.

Listening to: Hammers. And cordless drills. And saws. Why? you'll see soon!

Monday, June 23, 2008

mmmm. DecoraHHHH.

Had a great ride there yesterday. 20+ miles of singletrack bliss.

Mo is in there somewhere.

listening to: Two babbling kids, chirping birdies, and passing cars. 'nother great day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Unexpected, but welcome guests!

So there I am working away yesterday when pops in one Andy Davis. Who is Andy, you may ask? I don't know! Well, I didn't know. He was just another guy out for ride[a really really long ride] who stopped by the shop. He and his partner, Melissa, stopped by Simply next door to grab some lunch on thier tour through the country. Andy and I got to talking about what they're doing, how they're doing it, and how far they have to go. I"ve always wanted to be one of the locals that folks on a trip like this run into that are able to house, feed, and show a good time. As luck would have it, Lisa and I were able to do just that with Andy and Melissa. We had jam last night again, they pitched a tent in the yard, and took a shower in our house. It really was an honor to have them for the night.

The point of their trip is to highlight sustainable development, and sustainable practices that are happening all across the country, in big cities and small. They're taking photographs, and shooting digital video. They hope in the end to have enough material to put together a movie. Here in PdC, they got two interviews out of a stop that they didn't think would really yield much. They talked to my friend Kathleen and about the project she's headed up - the Farm to School program - that aims to get fresh local produce into the local school system.

They also talked to me about the roles I've played here in town. From City Planner to Businessman, and the differing approaches to community building that each of those postion takes.

I'm putting up a link here on the TPP blog. I hope you check it out and follow along on thier quest. Especailly if you have an interest in sustainability. I'm betting that they're going to uncover more practices than they thought possible. Seems like they already have lots of material!

Oh, and to top it all off, they're getting hitched at the end of the trip. Best of luck you two. It was grand to meet you!

listening to: Boot Liquor. Again. But damn is it good!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Music, riding and sunshine!

In another installment of the art spectrum at the Prairie Peddler, Lisa has been holding jam sessions down here at the shop on Thursday nights. Last week, we threw caution to the wind and brought the kids down so they could see mom play. K&D were thinking the same thing and brought their kids too. It ended up being well worth it. We heard some great music, and the kids had a great time. Got some neat pics too. For you locals reading this, these are open to the public! We don't have a ton of room. Bathrooms aren't open, and there's no food or drink. Just a simple music hearing is all thats on tap. The door is usually open[literally]. Come on in!

Bikes and dancing. Yep, life is good.

Ghost kids.

Now that we have sunshine, and warm temps, the riding has been fantastic! With the rain gone, and warm windy conditions, the trails are drying out nicely. Thankfully we were sparred the flooding that most of the rest of the region has been getting. If you're jonesing to get some dirt on your knobbies, I can help ya!

Sean got a new rig. He likes it.

A long road ride is scheduled for tonight. We're thinking in the 40 to 50 miles range. If'n you're ready come on down! I got fuel for ya if you need it.

Listening to: Big assed construction rollers. Vibrating my world right now. We're going to have a road next week!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Breaking news!

Well, not really breaking for those who live in these here parts. Guitar Ted, the genius behind The Trans Iowa, The Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational and the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo has decided to cancel this years Ballyhoo.

No real surprise there considering THIS is supposed to be ground zero for the weekends event.

Here's to hoping that next years event goes off with out a hitch! And there WILL be a next year.

I'm also here to say that I received a call from Ben Shokey, manager of Decorah Bicycles, and he told me that despite all the bad news coming from Decorah right now, the trails are still VERY ridable. In fact he and Deke from Oneota River Cycles are still going to host an event June 21-22. They have secured a location for camping, vendors from the Ballyhoo are more than welcome to still show up and demo wares, but this WON'T be the Ballyhoo. Chances are there will be some kind of enduro race/ride and other shenanigans. So if you're local, have this weekend already wiped clean to attend the Ballyhoo, come on down and you can still ride your bike! I'll be there.

And to echo Guitar Ted's sentiments, lets hope and pray we break out of this rain cycle soon enough. I just heard that Cedar Rapids is now underwater. Iowa's had enough punishment for being Iowa already!

Listening to: The Weather Channel. This just in! the Midwest is going to float away!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monsoon season?

Guitar Ted suggested it this morning, and after living through it the last few days, I gotta say its true. Decorah was hit hard. I wish I could get there to help, but KDEC is telling folks to just stay away at this point. They have both too much water, and too many volunteers at this point. I really want to head over there though. Normal flood stage is something like 12 feet on the Upper Iowa. Water levels now are at 17+, and all low lying areas are being evacuated.

I've got a good group of friends that live there. Here's to hoping things are going to be ok for them. Hope their homes are up and out of the flood zone.

A few rain totals:
Dorchester IA; 9"
Yellow River State Forest; 2.9"
PdC(home); 1.5"
Lansing IA; 3"
Crescoe IA; 4½"

Due to all the rain, the Monday Mountain ride is off. I may still head out to check the trails at La Riviere, but won't be doing too much riding methinks...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Updates and cool stuff.

Some of you may have been aware that I've been with out a home computer for a while. Its amazing how much time the shop work takes up. Doesn't let me get much posting here done from there. So its good to be back here. I've got a few tasty tidbits for update here.

One; the Family Fun ride Friday went off great! Three families attended with kids far and away out numbering the adults. The jungle gym was played on. Food was ate. Frisbee thrown, and bubbles blown. We really look forward to doing this again. Probably the second week in July.

I've had some cool bikes in the shop, getting work done. Fillet Brazed road bikes. Really nice old school MTB's, more old cruisers. Good stuff. Blingy wheels. Fancy road bikes sold.

A sweet Colorado made GT Edge with Mavic parts. Belongs to local rider, Eric.

And herloom Ross Mt. Whitney with full Shimano Deerhead(precursor to XT for the non-geeks in the house)

A neat old Sears & Roebuck 20" kids cruiser.

And 29" bling. Hope SS hubs laced to Salsa Delgado race with DT 14/15 spokes and black brass nipples. Loud. That's all I gotta say.

Casey bought a Surly Pacer road bike that I lovingly put together for her. I've also got a CrossCheck frame in stock now too. 50cm w/a 54tt. Want it? lemme know!

And all this business despite this:

I understand my friend Ben up in Faribault, MN is going through the same thing. All I can say Ben is, enjoy it while you can. It really is fun to watch these guys work. The business will come. And that goes for the rest of my business compatriots here in Prairie du Chien. Yes, its hard to have the streets ripped up, but they work quick. So long as you are prepared, it'll be ok!

Listening to: KDEC - a great local station out of Decorah, IA. I'm soooo lucky to have them to listen to! We've been innundated with water this week, and the DJ's there are doing a fantastic job of keeping us up to date. They RULE! One day soon, we'll all be able to listen online.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Family Fun ride Friday!

You may have read or heard that we're going to fully institute the FAMILY portion of our shop tag line recently.

This Friday, June 6, we will have the first of many Family Fun rides. Normally, we'd start from the shop, but with all the construction happening downtown, getting out safely is a concern. For that reason, we'll start at BA Kennedy school on Wacouta. From there we'll head out in a big ol' train to a park. What should you bring? Mom's, Dad's, kids, trailers, bikes, helmets, food, frisbee's and a good attitude! Pace will be slow and steady, and distance will be short. Should be fun!

In other news, I'm really excited for the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo coming up here in the next few weeks. I'll be taking over a few bikes for folks to ride, and I'm hoping to ride a few myself. I've got my eye on a couple Salsa's already! For those interested in just what a 29"er is, and rides like, come on over to Decorah and check it out. I'm sure there'll be a 650b or two around there for the even more curiouser out there. Decorah is a great town and well worth the drive to see. And the trails really are pretty dang good.

The shop rides have been going great, despite the weather conditions. Last nights mountain ride was really fun, with a constant drizzle the whole time. Yeah we got wet, but the conditions couldn't have been better. The sandy parts were all ridable, and the dirt was tacky and fine. Thanks for riding Doug!

Watching: Gerke construction rip out my sidewalk. No wonder big equipment guys are paid so well. They're extremely delicate with this big machinery. Impressive to watch.