Bits and Pieces

As I travel through this crazy world, I often run across something, and think, “I should write a blog post about that.”  (Sometimes, I think, “I should blog about that,” then I slap myself for using “blog” as a verb.) Shortly thereafter, I’m distracted by a honking car and I forget what I wanted to write about. Sometimes, I take a picture. That can help jog my memory, or make me wonder what the hell I was thinking when I took the picture. Then these pictures and blog thoughts stack up in my mind for a while and the next thing you know, it’s two months later and I forgot to write about whatever. I kind of blame the Twitter for this because in a way, I have written about the little random topic. But I only wrote 140 characters. So that doesn’t count. Thus I present another new recurring feature here: Bits & Pieces.

Bit 1:

Recycle-A-Bike!

RAB is RI’s community bike shop. I mentioned this organization a while ago when I took a class there. Then, they invited me to go to some crazy regional convention of community bike shops called Bike Bike Northeast. Shortly after that, I was helping out with Bike Valet and the next thing I knew I was on the board of directors. And thus I was one step further down the spiral of having bicycles take over my life. (Traveling down this spiral counts as a “descent.” I’ll know I’ve truly hit bottom when I enjoy cycling uphill more than riding downhill. I hear that step can only happen after one buys a pair of cycling shorts. I’m still holding out.)

But it’s been a happy descent, one I’ve enjoyed greatly. Recycle-A-Bike has gone through some major changes in the last year: getting our board together and really functioning, putting together different committees to get things done, and oh yeah, moving out of the Steelyard and into our own space! It’s not perfectly set-up yet, but we’re having open shops and classes and helping people fix up their bikes and get back on the road. During bike week, we had an open house for our new location, just to let everyone know where we are now:

The shop is coming along. It still needs quite a bit of work, but it is functional. Check it out at 12 Library Court, in Olneyville:

Right there on a little alley off of Olneyville square. Something called “Smokeez Smoke Shop” is at the corner, just before you turn in to the alley. I don’t know why they call it a smoke shop, seem like they specialize more in decorative glassware or something.

Bit 2:

No skateboarding in the Bank of America skating pavillion:

I did a little bit of skateboarding in my early teen years. It was mostly a means of transportation and an excuse to hang out with friends. (Kind of like cycling is for me today, but without the panniers.) As any teen who has ever skated knows, THE MAN is always out to get you when you ride a skateboard. Shop owners don’t want you riding near their stores because they think you might scare away customers, school principals don’t want you riding to school for whatever reason, and police don’t want you riding almost anywhere (or so it seemed when I was 13). So I was excited when I first moved to Providence to see that teens were allowed to skate on this nice flat surface without getting hassled by the man. In fact, for a few summers, someone even brought out ramps and rails every Thursdays so the skaters could have some fun. Last summer, I saw the tentative, awkward riding of a few people trying out some “fixed-gear freestyling.” But now, the skaters and cyclists are banned from the rink, and it sits empty, mostly unused except for the occasional concert or tape art installation. I’m pretty bummed out by this, when I first saw the skaters there, I thought it was a great sign that the city allowed its young people to have fun. Now, not so much. However, I’m happy to report, that the adjacent park is still safe for adults to park their cars.

admittedly, this is from January, but there are cars parked here every day

And evidently, the skating rink is okay for parking too.

But not okay for skateboarding.

Bit 3: Fenders!

So, I’m a fan of fenders these days. I have a pair of Planet Bike Speed-EZ Road fenders on my daily commuter. I would have installed a pair of regular plastic fenders, but the LBS didn’t seem to have any that would thread through the brakes without some fender reduction surgery. I suppose I could get a pair of more expensive metal fenders and crimp them around the brake calipers, but that’s not really the style of the bike. Of course, I’m not really sure if these “clip-on” fenders fit the style of the bike either:

That “I Voted” sticker does make it look rather smug, so maybe it is my style. They do seem to get the job done. They keep my tires from kicking up roadwater and mud onto my backside and legs. And that’s really all one needs from fenders. A little more length would help to protect my drivetrain a little better, and if I had mudflaps, that would be even sweeter. My yoga teacher recently returned from a visit to India and brought me a present!

A pair of bicycle fender mud flaps! I installed one on my Raleigh for my first post-injury ride, unfortunately, it fell off somewhere between my garage and my office (which I discovered when I got to the office). Luckily, “somewhere” turned out to be in my driveway, so it was easily recovered. Re-installation could require some duct tape.

During my recent travels, I came upon this fine specimen of fendering:

It’s hard to see the rear fender from here, but I wanted you to get an overall sense of the bike’s aesthetic. Let’s take a closer look:

I do admire the 1 by 7 (or 8 maybe?) drivetrain, but that fender is less than elegant.

It’s a nice looking commuter bike until you get to the kludged-together wooden rack and re-purposed plastic fender. Oh well, I guess we can’t all have custom paint jobs like this motorcycle that is often parked downtown:

It’s so patriotic, it has a bald eagle ripping through an American flag to reveal… another American flag!

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