Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coffeeneuring - Third Cup

My mission was two fold: to experience the Burlington waterfront in peak foliage and coffeeneur.

Even the garden grasses were filled with autumn color.
My son had a card for a free cookie at Great Harvest Bread company, which I offered to cash in for him (anything with chocolate, mom!) so my coffee shop of choice it became. After I'd had my fill of leaf peeping I steered inland and pulled up to my destination.

It wasn't until I found the rack, helpfully placed a good distance from the road, that once again I'd forgotten my bike lock. I can change a flat tire en route—no problem—I remember to transfer pump and tool kit, but apparently I'm scattered when it comes to insuring a lock gets stuffed in my front bag. Again, I secured my bike with helmet and bungee cord. I would step inside the store, purchase coffee and goodies and enjoy them at the picnic table near the bike rack.

Of course, any bread shop smells like heaven! I picked up a chocolate oatmeal cookie, a loaf of farmhouse bread, apple crunch bread sample, and sadly only coffee again in lieu of a latte. But at least the coffee was locally roasted—in fact, Speeder and Earl's Coffee is literally right around the corner.

Just the facts:
The Place: Great Harvest Bread Company, Burlington
Date: Friday, October 17
Drink: Speeder and Earl's medium roast
Observation, Bike Friendliness: It's pretty embarrassing that I seem to forget my lock on coffeeneuring outings. Adequate bike rack on patch of grass next to gardens.
Total Miles: 18

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oh, the Autumn Color!

Friday morning is brisk but also sublime. River valleys are ablaze in color - indeed, this is nature's last hurrah.

Checking out North Beach for possible Coffee Shop Without Walls setting.
Could I be lucky enough, second time around, to encounter as lovely skies?
It's a great impetus to get outdoors...

...before glorious leaves are but a puddle.

There are lots of yellow and orange colors, with sumacs a stunning red...

...and evergreens for contrast.

A perfect marriage all together atop dark tree trunks.

At the Winooski River I detour to check out a pocket park. A fisherman is transferring his poles and tackle to the picnic table.

It's a different vantage point. Usually, I'm buzzing across the bridge, listening to the boards rattle under wheel.

It's good to shake things up, so-to-speak, insuring common routes remain fresh and pleasurable. In fact, I'd forgotten about this sign. Soon it will be completely covered in leaves, and eventually snow.

Looking back towards the bridge, I noticed an old utility pole and wondered if it dates back to when the railroad was in use. Funny how I'd never noticed it before.

Leaves collect atop the bridge arches...

...and pool on the decking.

Further south as I pedal over the barge canal, I delight in new rail decoration: stenciled autumn leaves!

Lake level is unusually low. There are sand bars everywhere. I spy Canadian geese and something else.

I push my bike across the sand...

...and I'm pretty sure people have been stacking stones on a rocky ledge. They look like little monuments.

There is an ending to this bike ride. It involves coffee, of course, Words for another time...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coffeeneuring 2014 - Second Cup

Indian Summer snuck up on us, along with intense windy days. I grabbed my mesh sack, already packed with mug, stove, matches, and utensils, added requisite liquid and drink of choice, then set out for Wheeler Park.

The treehouse is a smaller version of the granddaddy treehouse I strolled through last year. though built around a dead and not living tree. However, the location is beautiful, with views of the surrounding flower and vegetable gardens. Until recently a birch bark tepee was a neighbor, and it's hard to beat the stupendous hillsides awash in color with Green Mountains as purplish-blue backdrop.

I wonder how long the foliage will last with these windy days!

I roll my bicycle aboard, delighted to find a picnic bench. I tuck away my gloves and headband, keeping an eye on my belongings, lest they tumble off the platform. Clearly, I won't be cooking atop the table!

Bottles anchor the table cloth: Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate and milk.

Hunkering on the floor, I light the stove twice - it's a difficult prospect, and in fact I give up after a while, knowing the chocolate is lukewarm, but it's drinkable. I hadn't though to bring a windscreen nor wanted to cook beneath the treehouse, spoiling the ambiance.

I wrap an extra bandana around my head to harness the fly-away hair.
Just the facts:
The Place: Wheeler Homestead Park, South Burlington
Date: Monday, October 13
Drink: Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate
Observation, Bike Friendliness: A bright tablecloth (a bandana) lends class to a Coffee Shop Without Walls outing.There's always bike friendly parking when you brew your own drink!
Total Miles: 6

Monday, October 13, 2014

Peugeot St. Laurent Express - Project Complete

I also was delighted to finished painting the railings on our new front porch 
on the same day - culmination of two big projects.
After another marathon session, this time outside in warmth and sunshine, I completed the Peugeot St. Laurent's renovation. In fact, when I finished I was so tickled at the outcome that I knocked on my neighbor's door to thank him again for The Conversation About a Kickstand. Without it, I would never have received the bike.

A break for sustenance and bike maintenance reassurance at the funky table. 
Of course, I left the difficult process of adjusting shifting until last. With my husband's suggestion, I compared the project bike with our current bikes, figuring where to place the chain on the cogs, and when to tighten the cable. A quick spin on the bike revealed I'd done it correctly, however the right shifter is a bit sluggish, and frankly I can't tell the difference between index and friction mode. Anybody's Bike Book says that index shifters work well if set up as a whole drive train package. I had originally used the nice Shimano shifter because I'd hoped to provide easy index shifting for my son. However, now that I know about it shortcomings, I will leave well enough alone. For now. A functioning mismatched pair it is. My son doesn't care one way or the other.

The simple not-very-practical handlebar.
The commuter's handlebar. Gotta have a bell and lights.
(I'd add a mirror too, but that's just me.) At my son's request,
I wrapped a cable lock in the empty space.
I couldn't interest my son in a wire basket or crate secured to his rear rack. He only wanted a bungee cord. But then again, he's pretty new to this commuting stuff. Give him time...

Breakdown of costs:
  • New cables 10.00, bought locally
  • A pair of thumbshifters 18.00 (includes cables and housing, of which I used half), ordered from Rivendell
  • Handlebars 20.00, bought locally
  • Ergonomic Grips 25.00, bought locally
  • New chain 13.00, bought locally

Parts from our stash:
  • front brake pads (original pair proved to be a squealing nightmare!)
  • used tires
  • seat post
  • some housing and cables
  • rear shifter

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Just-Right Bell Handlebar Bag

This bag fits my Trek perfectly. Best of all, the fabric does not scrape the frame, unlike a wedge bag that used to dominate the bar in the Trek's early years. You can see how the paint was worn down to metal.
I'd been on the lookout for a simple, versatile handlebar bag, one I hoped to swap between several bicycles. Something to hold a camera, wallet, keys, and a snack. For a while I thought I'd create my own upcycled bike bag, but the supply of second hand purses was either too large or too small.

Then I came across a Bell brand pouch with easy hook and loop attachment whose style reminds me of a camera bag. Only 13.00. Perfect.

In fact, the bag was quite useful on Hazen's Notch/ Lake Carmi Overnight. In addition to above items I also carried a phone, pen, and a map. Not bad capacity for a mini bag - and all without sagging.

Long hook and loop straps allow versatile attachment to most any bicycle.
The new bag also fits the mustache bars on my Miyata. I now have easy access to my camera while commuting to/from work, especially ideal for burgeoning fall foliage. The nearly flat top also acts as platform for a headlight. I'm pushing sunset on October rides home.

The zipper pull is a cute, oval-shaped mirror - I noticed this feature long into day one of the overnight ride. The only downside: I wish the bag included a two-way zipper, which could be opened with either hand or allow an item to stick out, if necessary. However, it's a minor quibble. I'm tickled to have found this sweet, functional handlebar bag.