Friday, December 8

Come do a thing

Just a PSA for Charlotte urban night holiday shredders...

Instead of just doing another "fucking holiday lights ride" around the same ho ho ho hum neighborhoods, Faster Mustache has come up with something, if not better, at least different.

The Tour de Shed Ride

"Join us on a festive holiday lights bike ride through Charlotte on Thursday December 21st.

We'll make a few stops along the way to enjoy a special beverage with our friends and showcase their bike sheds or workshops.

Come prepared to spend the night out on the town with your bike. Helmets and lights are REQUIRED.

Ride will start At Rhino Market & Deli (Moorehead) 6:30. Come early and bring a coat for donation to Steve's Coats for Kids. Sammy and drink specials going on and there is a super special gift for those who show up first (only with a coat!) Make it while supplies last!

Ride is 12-15 Approximate miles. Mini party at sheds will will be around 30 minutes, we will loop back to Rhino after the tour and wrap it up by 10-11pm. Ride map will be published in due time."

I know what you're thinking.

"Old Man Dick might stay out past 10:00PM on a school night?"

Yeth.  He will.  In the spirit of all the things and whatnot.

Come join me in having a sheddy time.

Wednesday, December 6

Needing one in the win column

Me at 7:00AM with plans to get things done:

And me at 7:00PM when it seems like nothing is going as planned:

Honestly, I'm probably staring off into space trying to solve problems in my head ten times more than I'm actually fixing things hands-on.  Not everything needs to be done right away, but I'm not very good at sitting around when something needs to be done.

Doing over sitting always.  Sit when the doings are done and then pass out in a puddle of drool.

That's my thing.

Something showed up last night to address some of my "issues."

Of course being that it's the holidays, only package one of two packages arrived which had two thirds of the bike storage racks but the two thirds that only solves half of my problems and only a quarter of those that I'm prepared to address at the moment.  Also, because I haven't fixed the door bell yet, they sat on the front porch for who knows how long whilst I was inside the house fixing much smaller things (like missing door sproingers).


Also, in the "of course it worked out that way" column, I spent the previous evening putting tiny holes in my living room ceiling looking for a joist where it should be because neither a stud finder app or a magnet found their prey.  After zilching it, I committed to crawling around in the fluffy/stabby insulation up in the attic to find the issue last night... and found the joist was unfortunately way further from the wall than expected, so my using the Topeak Dual-Touch bike stand (the one that hasn't showed up yet) exactly where I wanted to is a no bueno.  Unless I get creative mebbe... which means further staring into space later today. 

Obvs that I hit up Topeak for the racks, being an ambassador and all.  Honestly, this stuff is well thought out, functional, and aesthetically pleasing to my eye.  I did spend loads of time looking at crafty things I could build on my own, but I've got other crafts to keep me busy... like washing machine repair.  Anyways, the Solo Bike Holder is gonna hold the ByStickel Meatplow V.6 cum townie way up high and outta the way in The Pie's office/foster animal area.   I figured the Dual-Touch would crowd the tiny room a bit too much and would also provide a pee pole for young male pups looking for a tree-like object to relieve themselves on if given the chance.

Yeth, instead of daydreaming about where the '18 "season" might take me, I'm trying to find a place to hang my  bikes until I'm dead.

Kind of a big decision in my book.

Monday, December 4


I had told myself that I would:

Not let home ownership ruin my free time.

Take advantage of the fact that all I need to get some quality trail time now was a free hour or so.

Saturday morning was spent knocking out the to-do list of things that could be done without a trip to the hardware store.  Mostly cleaning out the shed (sorry not sorry, roaches) and leaf management, to include gutter cleansing.  This is a task that is not really enjoyed by one with moderate acrophobia.  So glad to find out that the gutters go entirely around the house.  At 47 years of age, twenty minutes crouched up on my honches, I feel as if I did four hundred squats... on the edge of a cliff.  I got done doing the almost all the things in time to get out on the JaBronson before 3:00PM.

Not much of a ride in terms of mileage or saddle time, but exactly what I needed and one of the reasons I moved here.  A pleasant quick escape from all things "house."  I probably only thought about the washing machine that backs up into the kitchen sink three or four times.

Sunday, I woke up prepared to pay back the trail a little bit.  Hubbs was trying to build a dream of a 20' table top he's been eyeballing forever.

photo(s) cred: Hubbs
Living right here next to the trails, I have very little excuse to make for not helping out, even if I have plans later.  A couple hours is better than none hours.

I can't say my contributions on the day were massive, but I can say they were something more than nothing.  Nick and I bailed out after a couple hours, headed towards Renni for the cyclo rossing race, picked up a some Miller High Life and fried meat tube things on the way.

I'm not sure how much grass/sand noodle bar racing we actually watched...

photo cred: Big 'n Buttery
but being prone in the grass and hanging out (and not racing) was better than racing and yard work and staring at a washing machine.

I'm not sure if I'm more wiped out from the physical efforts of the weekend or my attempts to avoid them.

But into another work week with one bag on my back and two under my eyes.

Thursday, November 30

über komüt

The last four or so miles of my old commute have been relatively the same since 2003 or so.  It wasn't the worst commute ever for me.  That woulda been the eleven something miles from Mint Hill into the Queen City.  Miles of 45MPH narrow two lane connecting to miles of 40MPH four lane... shit sidewalks, lotsa pull-ins for business driveways...

That was bad.

But the last fourteen years have been pretty good.  Aside from a couple miles of sidewalk (next to a super busy 45MPH four lane) and the addition of trolley tracks in the roadway the last coupla miles, it's been relatively pleasant.  Those tracks have been a pain in the ass, especially through Central Piedmont Community College, what with all the students getting dropped off hilly nilly (and illegally).  Oh yeah, and the part that goes past The Spoke Easy where you have to choose riding over storm grates (possibly wet) or a narrow strip of concrete that has tracks on one side and a gaping seam on the other, both capable of swallowing the 23mm tires on my tarck bike.

I've seen people go down there, and I've also seen the results.  It ain't pretty.

Mickey, third senior (or second rookie) messenger in Charlotte.  Same same.

Anyways, my new commute... or better yet, new commuteS.

There's at least three decent ways to get to the uptown from my new house.

1. Peaceful neighborhood to bike lane to another bike lane to the path that runs along the light rail all the way to uptown.  It's exposed to the sun most of the way, so nice and toasty for winter commutes.  Added bonus; cars yielding for ME at the crosswalks, so no waiting on traffic lights.

2.  Ride over to the greenway (which is gonna eventually gonna cut through my hood) and ride it all the way to just outside uptown.  This will be a great option when it's hot outside or if I need to stop at Bike Source for... things.

3.  Charlotte Bike Route #2 is super close to my house.  It's more shaded, cuts through tons of neighborhoods, and has plenty of hills.  When I get tired of bike lanes or headphone afflicted path users, I've got a pretty sweet option this way:

I really like the light rail path the most, partially because once I get on it, I can see the big buildings in the distance.  I pass by a bunch breweries, people, and Bill Nye's place... which will be convenient if I have an urgent science-related need.  It's also almost all gradual uphill on the way in, and totes opposite on the way home.  Buenos.

The only real loss of quality in my bike life is that I'm further away from the place where I used to get my greenway junk mile mornings.  It was a pretty ideal locale to mindlessly spin away from cars and people in the mornings, but it's almost eight miles from my house now.  Since I was only bagging 1-1.5 hours of ride time out there before work, it's just not feasible any longer.  I don't know where I'll get those rides in next "season," but it sure as shit won't be the Backyard Trails right near my house.

I won't be the morning spider web sweep guy.  I tried that a few years ago, and riding twenty feet, taking a web to the face, screaming like a toddler, and doing a full-body check for arachnids does nothing for me.

Tuesday, November 28

My Bike (lack of) Room

My last bike room was quite capacious.  That was not planned.  It just happened when a family of three moved into a split level because we needed to move from one place to another.  It was very easy to fit all my things into it with room to spare.  Camping gear, bikes, our home computer, bench vise, grinder... bike tires stored in the fire place.

Like I said before, my long term desire has been to live smaller.  I knew it would have its challenges, but efficient use of space just makes sense to me.  Want to hear me rant, ask me about the first home we owned and that the only benefit of a vaulted ceiling was being able to use my Nerf Hoop.

I would just sit on the couch staring up at all the wasted heat.  Meh.

So yeah. The "fifty pounds of house shit in the forty pound house bag" thing. Most of that shit is my shit. I hate to admit that I'm the biggest problem with my dream of living tiny, but it's painfully obvious when you look around our house.  Why can't The Pie relieve some of my guilt by taking up something more stupid than bike cycling... like SUPing?

The Pie's office in its current state:

It's the smallest room in the house, but she only needs enough space for her desk, a printer, and a thousand foster animals (not all at the same time tho).  I've got my fleet of bikes tossed asunder, and two of them have landed in here.  For now.  That and the home computer ended up here by default because it has nowhere else to go at this time.

Two more bikes in the living room... because... burrito.  Right when you walk in the front door, they greet you.  This will be semi-resolved... at some point in the future.  Notice my tarck bike turning away from the plastic abomination it's sharing a room with.

For now, this is where I get to work on my bikes.  It's a tiny space in the back of the kitchen where I guess normal people would put a small table for breakfast because the gigantic one on the other side of the kitchen is too big for a morning meal?  Who designs these things?

It will be a little tight, but I can always work out in the living room if I need the space.  It's also near the kitchen sink so emergency cleanup can be done with more expedience.  I've pretty much got all the things I need on a regular basis; often used bike tools, riding gear, Turbo Bass entertainment system, and house tools (because I'm probably gonna need them pretty handy for the foreseeable future).

This is a work in non-progress:

We're going to wall in the currently screened-in porch.  Sorry but not sorry.  The Pie and I do not "partake," so the need to step outside to "get our minds right" isn't there.  It's a pretty cool porch as far as porches go, but we really need the space.  It will be a couple months before my buddy Daily is going to have time for this project.  Since I want it done right, I don't think this is something I should do on my own.

I own a circular saw and a corded drill.  And a grinder and a Dremel.

I don't think that will be enough.

Anyways, it should be darn near perfect for the purpose of making great bike cycles molar better.  The floor is just shitty enough that some spilled lube and brake fluid will add character.  A door to the outside makes sweeping clumps of mud out that much easier.  Another door separating me from the family will keep them from hearing all the obscenities I'm mumbling while I'm overcoming mechanical "issues."  The recycling bin is right outside, so easy disposal of dead soldiers.  I'm totally guessing if I want some heat or AC, I'll just open the door to the house (or a window).

The only issue is that the room is big enough to store 90% of my bike gear and tools, camping shit, and messenger related items... but not all my bikes if I still want room to work on them.

My temporary solution of using the lean-to bike storage made out of my old water bed died in the move.  I'm not sure it woulda fit anyways, so as sad as I was to see it go, it was gonna happen eventually.   I was gonna shove it in The Pie's office which woula meant the home computer woulda went... in the bath tub?  Dunno.  Anyways, I've been spending a lot of time staring at all the Topeak storage stands and measuring empty wall space all over the house.  I'm pretty sure that we're gonna end up living in a bike gallery.

I'm okay with that.

Monday, November 27

Location, Location, Location

I'm pretty much blown after four days of moving, assembling, sorting, Tetrising, and organizing things.  Getting fifty pounds of house shit in the forty pound house bag is not without its challenges.  We've got things pretty close to normal so we can make do and live our lives like normal people.  There's still a lot to do, but we're over the hump, so...

I'm gonna go ahead and start with the most selfish aspect of our move.  Trails... and bikes and beer and hardware!

I live within this circle now:

Inside my circle, there is something like fifteen miles of trails (give or take).  All I have to do is pull my bike out, roll down my street, and I'm in the woods in less than three minutes.  I've wanted to live in this circle for longer than I can remember, but for a laundry list or reasons, it didn't make sense then.  Most of those things have changed for the better, the timing was almost right, and the house was a good fit.  IMHOMO, these are the best in town trails in the Queen City.  Loaded with features and choose your own adventure options.  I'll no longer have to drive thirty five minutes round trip or urban sprawl bike commute for an hour plus to get my trail time.  This is so buenos.  I'm also four to six miles away from a couple other trail systems if I get bored or wanna do some road to trail to road to trail kinda days (I really like doing this BTW).

Added location bonuses:

Bike Source Charlotte is basically on my way home (depending on my route), only about a mile from my front door.  They might get sick of me if they aren't already.  Sorry not sorry.

There's a smaller grocery store in my neighborhood about two minutes away by bike.  On my beer run last night, I spent more time in the cashier's line then I did getting there and back.  That was sadly my only bike ride over the four day weekend, but as wiped out as I've been feeling, it was enough.

We're .4 miles from the entrance to a greenway.  Eventually, that greenway is gonna connect from the South Carolina border all the way up past UNCC.  That's really far.  Maybe I'll take up road biking when I no longer have to do it on the road.

I'm stupid close to "Charlotte’s favorite locally owned (and mismanaged) ACE hardware store" that's been there since 1977. You can buy nails, hammocks, avocado storage containers... you name it. Also, free popcorn.

The list goes on and on. Walking distance to Sir Ed's, Brawley's Beverage, Total Wine, Viva Chicken, Lucky Lou's... tons of things. It's the most walkable neighborhood I've ever lived in ever.

But yeah, very selfishly, those trails.  I'm so stoked right now... well, as stoked as a person with very dark circles under his eyes can be.  As soon as I start feeling less like ass, things are gonna start getting shreddy up in here.

Wednesday, November 22

Beans don't burn in the kitchen

Today was the day, the cumulative effect of almost two months of adult bullshit effort.

The Pie and I bought a stupid house.

Not this house.  This is the current bike room situation that is packed and will somehow be remade in a quainter setting... eventually.

So, if you've talked to me about the subject of owning a house, renting some place to keep your stuff, or living the van life, you know where I've stood for years.  Renting a place was working well for us.  It really was.

But then came a point where it wasn't and something needed to be done and the stars aligned (mostly because we pushed them across the sky) and we bought a thing.

Damn it.

We had bought a house way back in the early 2000s.  The process of buying was easier then.  I barely remember it.  This time?  The Pie and I have done everything we could to keep our noses clean and our asses debt free for more than a decade, but that didn't stop all the anal probing of the last month and a half.  It was like a scavenger hunt through a time machine.

But anyways, that's where my brain has been for the past many weeks.  Looking for documents, signing shit online and IRL, measuring rooms and furniture, looking at houses and getting sads and happies, inspectors, realtors, and surveys and... I hope it was all worth it.

They say it will be.

Our lives will be a bit messy for a bit, as we move in over the Thanksgiving holiday and try to get settled into our new place.  Yes, while you're eating turkey tomorrow, I'll be shoving boxes into the back of a 17' Uhaul truck (you're entirely welcome to join me).  I've been wanting to live in a smaller place ever since we moved into this last house (the one the tree attacked a year ago), and now I get the chance.  It's not without its challenges tho.  For the first time in more than fifteen years, mebbe twenty?), I won't have a specific place for my bike shit.  That is to say, not one place where I can keep my bikes, tools, gear and other related sundry items.  Things are going to be scattered about the house for a bit until we have time to do something about it, but we got bigger fish to fry at first, so...

my stuff, like everywhere.

Once again, these are the joys of having a gear-intensive hobby.  Just like when I fly on a plane with my bike for a vacation or a stage race, I start wishing I was a skate boarder or mebbe an ultimate Frisbee enthusiast.

I guess that I'm what people call "happy."

I'll have tons of musings coming regarding the move and related life changes.  Until then...

Thursday: Moving boxes, mebbe some furniture
Friday: Moving leftover furniture if I couldn't get it the day before
Saturday: Start putting things in things' places and spend the evening in a beer fueled Ikea Assemble-a-thon.

Join me. Or not.