The past few days, I've been feeling like a smack addict with only visitation rights to her children.
Maybe that's a slight exaggeration.
But with the warmer weather, people talking about the warmer weather, seeing more people on bikes, and shops aren't just therapy - more like methadone clinics. I pedal there, shuffle in, get my fix in the form of bike banter or just hanging out, then pedal home to wait for the next bout of cravings.
I'm beginning to think maybe smack withdrawals would be easier to handle than this anticipation concerning my new baby. It's gotten me doing ridiculous things that, in another life, I would have just not considered doing. Case in point:


I decided that the easiest way to get two deep Vs and a pair of tires to IBC would be to just throw them over one shoulder [I did strap my bag on too, just prematurely took the picture]. Never mind that I could have just taken the T; I figured why not, and once I was out the door with my bike, there's never any turning back.
It worked out well. No crashes, despite the fact that I decided it would be a good idea to go as fast as possible to every single location I hit up yesterday. I blame that decision on this addiction, fueled by my own measure of crazy. And, you know, these darling hubs that were waiting for me:


Yeah I couldn't afford Phils, and to be honest, these are going to outlast my knees equally as well. Besides, they're pretty. And anything with two lockrings on either end will get my attention, stat.
I ended up ogling more pretty things at both Cambridge Bikes and Boston Bikes later where chips and stories of getting people arrested were provided. I even got to touch my very first EAI cog. And while I tried to act pretty nonchalant about the whole thing that nearly black 18-toothed sprocket got me fantasizing. I actually saw it - for 2 whole seconds before the fantasy was interrupted by Dan informing me of its price - pressed against that my Miche hub, cradled by a lockring, and spinning like a good Motown record on a vintage turntable.
The sane part of me made me hand it back, because otherwise I'll be staring at it lovingly until I fail my finals. Still...this addiction really isn't going anywhere, anytime soon [IBC and CB - I can't be back soon enough!].

hats off to hoffman

Last night was the first time I've finished more than a third of a beer in a looooong time.
Actually it was the first time for a lot of things: staying at a bike shop after closing, keeping my bike at closed bike shop to get it later, and grabbing beers [or in my case half a beer] with the bike mechanics I pretend to work with/bother all the time.
It was the first time I've actually seen Hoffman on a bike, too [doing backward circles!]. And might be the last time for a while - yesterday's festivities were due to it being Hoffman's last day at IBC. I had promised to make him a hat for his wife [the one with the bunny on it], and after learning on Sunday that Thursday was going to be Hoffman's last day, I had to make one for him as well.


Okay, it's not like I'm never going to see him again; he's moving to Landry's up on Comm Ave. Still, it's sad, and we're all going to miss him tons. The left hand workspace on the first floor of IBC just won't be the same without his stickered out tool boxes. It just...makes me sad.
I'm sure he'll miss us as well. I'm sure deep, deep down inside, he'll always think IBC > Landry's. Which is why I left open the option of repping IBC.


He promised [although after beers and a couple shots] to wear the hat today to his first Landry's staff meeting. He's going to make everyone jealous - I mean, how can he not? It looks pretty killer on him:


And yes this is before we got trashed. I left mostly sober [after my first time in a closed shop!], but the ride back got my blood pumping beer and I was in a state of slightly-woozy-and-those-lights-are-too-bright drunkenness by the time I got home.
Most fun I've had in a while, even though it was a goodbye party for Hoffman. I did take pictures, though, and as Jeremy said, "pics are totes going up on Facebook [and Flickr]."

lounging regularly

I spent far too much time this weekend leaning over a particular counter in Allston. I'm working on wearing an indent into that space.
It's, of course, the IBC counter. And it didn't involve anything dirtier than bike grease and some of Herrell's heath bar brownie crumbs. Oh yeah, and chips. Chips are crucial.
Well, so are cookies. At least for the IBC Regular's Lounge that should be installed [mostly for my benefit]. Chris has already promised to fund the eternal cookies-and-chips supply for said lounge. I plan on warming the seats for other regulars. Eric, Erich, Jeremy et al. will be providing endless entertainment [possibly involving blood, even!]. It'll be one of the most coveted lounges in Boston.


To make things even better sweeter, I'd even consider busting out these cups [pictured above, not the other ones] for the really hardcore regulars. I got them in the mail as a late Christmas present from my best friend; they're a mid-West vintage find and seriously one of the coolest gifts I've ever gotten.
We agreed that they almost look like confetti cupcakes. Small and just the right size for really good hot chocolate or hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick poking out of it, I'm almost glad it's still winter. And with five in the set, it's the perfect number for a solid group of good [bike] friends.
Can someone start a petition for the Regular's Lounge? A big cup of Irish coffee wouldn't hurt either, especially after a ride in this snow...

rose sky

It's in the 40s today, which means that the cyclists are out in full force. I saw my morning older-bearded-dude-on-road-bike-with-bright-yellow-wind-jacket and the girl-on-hybrid-who-always-looks-really-really-happy-to-be-coasting-down-the-hill-I'm-trying-to-struggle-up. Those are the only cyclists I usually see. Older-bearded-dude usually does either the slight hand raise or nod of what I like to imagine is a seasoned cyclist salute of mutual respect for commuting through the winter. The girl just ignores me in her happiness.
Using the warmer weather as an excuse, I flew out of school after class to drop by therapy IBC [yes, I am quickly becoming the persistent, eternal customer that just stops by to "hang out," i.e. annoy the too-nice employees into listening to my banter when they have real customers to actually pay attention to who probably have more money than me]. I ended up pedaling from Brighton to Allston behind two kids on fixed gears, and was actually able to keep up! And by "keep up" I mean I wasn't trying to act cool with one hand off the bars while my nostrils flared in my attempts to suck in enough air to keep me from passing out. Like, I was really able to keep up.


On my way home under a rose tinted sky, I saw at least four other cyclists - roadies, hybrids, and last but not least, a black cruiser with full fenders and a pretty wicker basket in the front, full of groceries. It was pretty enough to make me sort of want one - despite my slight aversion to step-through frames.
The image sort of slowly died this sad, cringe-inducing death as I watched [and eventually flew past] the woman on said cruiser attempt to crest a slight incline in heels with no helmet.
Maybe I'll file that cruiser for when I move to a European city.

bikes are...forever?

Yeah, okay, I can't keep this secret.
I thought about trying, and then one day being like BAM! NEW BIKE! WHAAAAAAATTT! Buuuuut, that's obviously not going to work out. I was probably the last one to see that, probably because I was busy jumping up and down and clapping my hands in glee. Because Erich had a box for me at the shop today.
He had to actually encourage me to pull this out and unwrap it. It's unreal. I can't believe that she's mine.


And yes, it's tiny: a 45cm track bike that takes 700cc wheels. The only one I could find that wouldn't require a custom job [and oodles of money], and that I could comfortably stand over. The decals are coming off [sorry Terry, but I'm not too keen on advertising your website wherever I go], and it's going to go through lots of changes.
And money. And time. When I mentioned how broke this bike was making me, the conversation inevitably turned to how pissed girlfriends might be if certain guys spent more money on their bikes. We unanimously came to the conclusion, however, that those expenses were almost always justified:
Jeremy: But girlfriends come and go...bikes will...
Me: Last you at least five years.
'Nuff said.
Note: the $$$ Trek mountain bike behind my new frame. That thing is more bike than I could ever hope to own.


It's Valentine's Day!!!
The above statement actually means nothing to me, but I figure I should just put it out there. Okay, that's not entirely true; I did give out kisses [chocolate ones, only!] to my favorite bike mechanics.
Having thrown my chain twice in the past 24 hours, I hustled to IBC today to pick up that new pink chain, and possibly a new chainring. Chris worked on my bike again, mentioning how he had changed the chainring bolts a few days ago:
Chris: They were too long for the chainring so her chainring was wobbling.
Me: Yeah there was a chain guard on there earlier. But I didn't put that chainring on...but...yeah...
Eric: But someone did.
Me: ...yeah....
Me and Eric: .......
Eric: ....that was such a classic "my boyfriend knows so much about bikes" moment.
So true. And so appropriate on Valentine's Day. So maybe this might be appropriate too:

I'm actually going to give this away. That's right. Free. Shipping included in the word "free."
What do you have to do? Well, send me your best bike-related Valentine's Day story. Or the craziest bike-related thing you've done for someone that you <3. You'll obviously have to be okay with your entry - if it wins - being posted on this site, but other than that, all you have to do is send in your story!

The deadline is February 28th. Yup, you have until the end of the month. So get emailing!
In terms of logistics, you might notice that the hat isn't 100% done. That's because I will resize it if you don't have a huge head. It's made right now to fit people with larger heads [about 24 inches around] so mostly everyone can submit a story and not have to worry about the hat not fitting.

Good luck!