city slicker

I fell asleep in my Sidis today.
With my bike under me.
No, I wasn't on some insane 24 hour bike race [unfortunately]. I was on a bus, heading down to a once more familiar city, but one I've never biked in. Groggy from a four hour bus ride punctuated with fits of sleep, I climbed onto my bike for the first time in New York, NY.



In Chinatown, to be exact. Which was, predictably, crawling with pedestrians. Clipped in on a freewheel, I just managed to dodge some old ladies dragging groceries and middle aged men who have to be involved in less than legal business.
This is like Boston...on meth. Or pure PCP. While Boston may be sleepy and nearly deserted at 7am, I can't imagine biking in NYC can ever be as lethargic as my morning ride into South Station this morning. Even navigating the few short blocks from Chinatown to my sister's apartment was more fast-paced than anything in Boston.


My sister told me that I would probably feel stifled if I ever lived in NYC after seeing pictures of Lexington. An NYC bike virgin, I had agreed.
Stifled? Here? That would definitely take a few years.

train wreck

Just a warning: this blog will becoming increasingly...boring...for the next few weeks. At least in the cycling department [which is the whole point of this blog, right?], due to finals.
However, it might be mildly entertaining in that can't-not-look-at-that-train-wreck kind of way. In moments of clarity and sanity, even I'm amazed at what finals can do to me. I woke up this morning to some pretty disgusting carnage.


My knuckles are still sore from typing nonstop for the past two weeks. And there's the final sprint to the finish which consists of a 3 hour exam where no one can manage to type fast enough to get every single issue out on paper. But that kind of fun starts in a few days. Until [and through] then, I'm apparently surviving off [bad] coffee and beer.
I got soundly hammered after drinking less than a third of that beer last night. I drunkenly stared at my notes, feeling guilty enough to try to study but knowing deep down that I was just staring at words that made no sense [although it's debatable if they make sense when I'm sober]. I looked at my rollers, decided that maybe I should wait until the Asian glow subsided to try riding my bike on them, and ended up passing out after just barely managing to brush my teeth.


Never much of an endurance athlete, I'm clearly losing the marathon that is law school [drinking this time last year would have been unthinkable...clearly my priorities have changed]. But the race is already on and I'm almost, almost two-thirds done.
And while what doesn't kill me might make me stronger, my apartment and bike are clearly showing signs of wear and tear [the resulting decrease in value, which, by the way, is not deductible from your income tax return]. I've been reduced to begging the Bianchi to last through the next three weeks [please, please pleeaaase don't break/fall apart]. The dust bunnies in my apartment get no comment.
Except, maybe, that it'll be May [12th] soon enough.

oi oi oi!

I once had the worst crush on a boy who was into ska. We're talking one of those I-can't-even-look-him-in-the-eye crushes. He never knew my name. Probably for the best, as my creepy was definitely reaching "old pedophile" levels.
My best friend tolerated my drooling, and when the crush finally disappeared one day, she proceeded to mercilessly make fun of me. I totally deserve it.
I did have a thing for checkerboard patterns, a good brass section, and the sugary sounds of pop-princess-disguised-as-rebel-punk ska before the crush though [seriously, who can resist the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra?]. And I still love the aesthetics; studded belts are still a must, checkerboard slip on Vans are key, and I love love love my black Chucks.
I understand how Avril-esque that might make me sound; and at 25, I'm way too old to be fronting like I belong in any kind of music scene. But old ID pictures of me with pink/red/orange/purple hair will bring an embarrassed grin to my face as I shake my head at how ridiculous I used to look.


Those same old nostalgic memories of my punkier days flooded back to me last weekend when I saw the spacers on my new bike. Given the sheer amount of pink on the bike, I was almost afraid that it would be too cute; an adjective that I don't tend to identify with. But the alternating silver and black spacers - Erich's signature touch, apparently - looks, well, amazing...and balanced...and though subtle, makes the bike just so much more me.


The spacers also balanced out the cranks and the chainring that got installed the other day as well. Having been tucked away under my bed, fueling dreams of new bike days and matching rims, I finally had a bike frame to put them on. The fruits of my sweatshop labor [Thanks Jason!] finally have a home. And a pretty gorgeous one at that...!


As for the crush, I coincidentally ran into him last weekend as well. Still on my new bike high, I was giddy with excitement and smiling everywhere. He actually said something to me, and looked me in the eye and smiled. My bike-fueled happiness smiled back at him, effortlessly, before I turned and bounced out the door.
That better absolve me of at least some of the old pedophile creepiness.

biek friendz!

Last night, I went home with a guy I had just met.
Actually we parted ways about 200ft after getting on our respective bikes, but I'd been eyeing his bike for a while. A red 'cross Alan; it used to be locked up at the bike rack near the parking lot. I recently switched to the one in front of the law library [mostly because someone seems to own my very same bike except in size "very very tall"], and the Alan's been locking up there too. I took this as a sign that I was meant to be friends with this person. I just had to find him.
Okay, granted, it ended up that I had met him before [at my other home, i.e., IBC], where he was getting his other other other other bike fixed. Still, being sort of bike-friend-deficient until recently, it was fun to jump onto bikes together and roll away from the stress-fueled depths of the library.


Because despite the fact that I can now legitimately say I have [bike] friends who are growing into this big, lovable family [like one I actually am comfortable giving hugs to...and that's big, coming from me], as well as a growing network of internet friends [my Facebook friends count has significantly increased], I've barely gone on rides with any of them. I rode more than 100ft for the first time with Eric last Sunday, my first 10ft with Chris, and now 200ft with a new bike friend from school. The irony is that I've never gone on rides with friends I've known the longest; Jones is in Iowa, and my 1L study group friends are just starting to get back on their respective bikes.


I know, I should start taking my own advice and stop whining hanging out so much and start riding. Because I've been parking my bike next to friends recently. I just don't find myself on the road with them so much.
But with emails from fellow cyclists with gorgeous pictures stunning enough to make me want to go out and train, that's going to change. Just you wait.

bike crush

"Save your crushes for the unattainable."
That's one of the strangest pieces of advice I've ever gotten from a friend. I didn't get it at all at the time. I still might be misunderstanding it. It sort of requires a sense of self-confidence that borders on the delusional, and that sort of turns me off. But it's oddly comforting advice for when you do get crushed by your, um, crush, because in the end, unless they're unattainable, you were way too good for them anyway. And if they're unattainable, the crush wasn't going anywhere to begin with.
I'm trying to save my bike crushes too. It's hard though. What can I say? I fall in love maybe a little too easily.
Or more accurately, maybe I just like falling in love. Unfortunately that sort of tends to lead to poor decision making - like when I'm unable to find a track frame small enough to fit me and I actually start to consider buying another "entry-level" bike when I'm really looking to invest in something a bit better.
But fortunately for me, Cambridge Bikes came to the rescue with some sage advice: Fit's important. Keep looking. Don't buy something that I'm not in love with.

So basically, I shouldn't sell out to the materialistic whore in me that's screaming for another bike. Which seems painfully obvious to any outside observer, but really isn't if you've forgotten - like me, sadly - how not to sell out.
It's time to start retaining my integrity I guess [although I think I've lost too much of it to actually go back to punk rock and pink hair]. And I suppose, like most crushes, the hunt is part of the fun. Even if the whole roller-coater ride of getting my hopes up that a frame will fit, only to have them come crashing down on me, is...not so fun.
But hey, I'm too good for those frames anyway, right?

bike hat redux

new hat mockup

She will consistently fail you when you need her the most. Or at least when I depend on her the most.

She whispered in my ear that everything was fine - good, even! - while I spent sweaty hours at my sewing machine figuring out what worked for the hats and what didn't. She assured me that this was the best way to make the brim, or line the hat, or whatever. She told me everything I wanted to hear.

And then, like most relationships, something happened. I didn't believe in her enough. She didn't want to keep up the endless moral support. She pointed out everything that was wrong with the construction of the hats. I pouted furiously because they just confirmed all of my suspicions and hated her for her dishonesty.

Confidence can be such a fickle bitch.

But a few more frustrated sweaty hours in front of my machine at least gave me some new ideas, and the promise of a better product. The brims are better; hopefully sizing won't be such an issue, and just between you and me, I have some high hopes.

So fuck Confidence. I can roll out new (and better) hats without her.