May 31, 2010

More on ANT Bicycles.

In researching more about Mike Flanigan and his company ANT Bicycles, I found this video. Parts of this video were used in the digital project which is part of the Bespoke exhibit at the Museum of Art & Design.

May 30, 2010

The stable

To a non-biker, having four bikes seems a bit excessive. But to me, I think it's completely within reason. I use these bikes equally and often. It's not that hard to understand, but I'll break it down for you anyway.
  1. Fixed Gear: Used for grocery runs, spins downtown with the camera, bar crawling with friends and commuting to work.
  2. Road bike: Used for long training rides out in NJ.
  3. Single Speed Mt bike: Used primarily at Cunningham Park & Sprain Ridge when I need my back-to-basics nature fix.
  4. Geared Mt bike: This is my woodland blaster, used for pure adrenaline on all trails.
Being a married cyclist, it's important that your spouse fully understand the necessity of several bikes. Especially when a new one may be joining the family. I got a reply from Mike Flanigan at ANT Bikes. Turns out that a Truss Frame Bike like the one I saw at the Museum of Art & Design will run me close to $4K. (yowza!) I'm going to see where I we can cut some corners on cost. He had some helpful ideas for shaving the cost down while still retaining the perfection that is, his work. Stay tuned...

26 miles on the fixed gear

I set off on the fixed gear this morning with the intention of popping down to MOD Squad Cycles and back. Nothing more than a 4 or 5 mile spin. I figured the fixed gear would save my stitched finger from shifting and braking. MOD Squad is a pretty cool little shop. They're located in South Harlem just north of Central Park. I got good vibes from the people working today and got a little nostalgic for the years I spent working as a mechanic in bike shops. As I was knee-deep into reminiscing about greasy days gone by there was a loud record skip... the culprit: a customer complaining about the shop not carrying a particular type of bike rack. It was then that I decided days gone by are sometimes best left ... gone by. I did pick up a snazzy new Knog cap before leaving and headed back home.

iPhone snap of the RFK Bridge from Queens.

Funny thing about headed back home: I couldn't do it. It was too nice out. Riding, after running the past few days felt so good on the legs, and so I just pointed the bike south and pedaled. I didn't really have a plan but did have an interest in checking out Randalls Island. So, off I went. I ducked into Central Park and took the bike path down to 59th street and shot across the Queensboro Bridge. Once I was in Queens I churned north up to the RFK Bridge. My ride turned out being 26 miles instead of the 4 or 5 I planned on.

iPhone snap, riding across the RFK Bridge into Randalls Island

Riding across the RFK Bridge was amazing. It's narrower than the George Washington and the view is pretty amazing. There are stairs you climb at each end of the bridge and they've built a little gutter at the side of the stairs for you to push your bike within. I planned on taking the RFK Bridge North, off of the island and into the Bronx but the walkway was closed and so I had to take the pedestrian bridge west into Manhattan. From there I pedaled west and hopped back into Central Park to complete the top loop of the bike path and exit at the same point I had entered the park an hour or so earlier. From there it was just a 70 or so block ride home.

iPhone snapshot of my Pista under the RFK Bridge in Queens.

As I sit on the couch drinking glass after glass of water I'm feeling great. I think a quick run ought to just about wipe me out for the day. Looking forward to a hearty supper!

Truss Frame Bike

ANT Bikes' Truss Frame Bike

After seeing ANT Bike's Truss Frame Bike bike at the Museum of Art & Design's hand made bicycle exhibit aptly titled Bespoke, I feel like I have a new bike crush (sorry honey). This is one of the most attractive bikes I have ever seen. What a classic looking, simple, fluid design; its why I love my Pista. The small diameter tubes, painted black lend themselves to the inherently simple form of the bike. The thin tubed springer uprights mounted to the fork give a little suspension to the ride although I've never seen a system like it. I suppose the suspension comes from the spring quality of the steel uprights, as I do not see an actual spring linkage involved. No brakes mounted to this frame further lean it out. In my opinion, fixed gear or coaster brake are the only ways to roll on one of these. The Brooks leather saddle and cork taped bars dovetail nicely with the black framework. And what about those sweeping bars and that stem? The cockpit looks so comfortable! The cranks on this bike are amazing as well. ANT's own design; with a club, heart, diamond and spade cut out of the chainring. Aesthetically pleasing and light weight. Upon close inspection / admiration at the show, I saw that Mike built the bike with Paul dropouts. These are some beautifully efficient dropouts.

Mike Flanigan of ANT Bikes has created the timeless, pure, vintage-modern bicycle. Yesterday I emailed him for a quote and we'll see what one of these bikes is going to set me back. I'll have to start making room in the stable...

May 29, 2010

Bespoke


Busy day today. Did a million things. This calls for a bullet point recap:
  • Kicked the day off with a 2.5 mi run around Washington Heights this morning.
  • Tash and I hopped a train down to Morningside Heights and had a french style breakfast at Le Monde.
  • Enjoyed the Bespoke Exhibit at the Museum of Art & Design. (I now want one of A.N.T.'s Truss Frame bicycles)
  • Browsed the Farmer's Market at Union Square and came very close to buying some free roaming, hormone & antibiotic free, beef
  • Grabbed some food items at the Trader Joe's in Union Square

Time to clean up the house, fix a nice dinner and then satiate my need to know more about Alternative Needs Transportation...

May 28, 2010

Running

I started running this week. I picked up some running shoes, shorts, socks and began reading about running on a few websites and forums. I'm feeling pretty energized from the runs; I sense a change in my attitude during the day and especially right after a run. (I guess its true what they say about activity enduced endorphins) I'm not running far yet. In fact, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I only ran 1.39mi, 1.68mi and 2.12mi respectively. My goal is to be able to run 4 miles comfortably.

One thing that's been a lot of help to me is the Runmeter App for the iPhone. It uses global positioning to track my mileage, pace, elevation et cetera. I can then email a Google map of my route to myself and friends and there is even an option to update my Face Book status with my run or even Tweet it. The app also provides an overview of your running history so that you can view your runs on a calender to compare daily activity. Moreover you can even export all of your data in excel format! This is good stuff!

May 27, 2010

3 year anniversary

Today was our three year anniversary. Tash and I celebrated by sitting our tired butts on the couch and eating pizza while watching The Machinist. Tash picked up our favorite cake from Carrot Top Bakery, which she had personalized with my new nick name, just for our low key festivity. I did get a quick two mile run in tonight, which makes three for this week, so I don't feel too bad about pizza and cake tonight.

I am looking forward to this weekend even though I wont be biking or climbing. The stitches in my finger are a real Debbie Downer.

In stitches

Last night, after returning from a short run, with plans of making a deliciously fattening quatro fromagio pizza; disaster struck. While washing a small juice glass I heard a "pop" and lost my grip on the glass. looking down I noticed a huge flap of skin hanging from my right pointer finger. Oh, and there was blood. A lot of blood. Then my mind switched into what I call Boy Scout mode: Apply pressure and elevate the wound! I grabbed the dish towel and wrapped my finger. In less than 60 seconds I had grabbed my wallet, keys, phone and was out the door. I got a lot of concerned looks as I walked to the train station at 190th Street, on the train, and while walking from 207th street to the Emergency Room at 219th street. I wondered what everyone thought and what I could say if someone asked me what had happened... "knife fight"... "fought some thugs in the park"... something good; something better than "I was washing a juice glass...".

Once I got to the Emergency Room I had to wait about 45 minutes. During that time they called me into a triage room and replaced my dish towel with a proper temporary bandage. When I was called in to be sewn up I was pleased to see the same doctor who had handled my broken elbows a little less than a year ago. We had a short laugh and then she got to work, pumping my finger full of lidocaine and probing around inside for loose pieces of glass and damaged tendons. I was all set to be stitched and so she began. I've posted the "disgusting video" below for you all to enjoy. I wound up with 6 stitches which I'll take out in about five days.

May 23, 2010

Ladies & gentlemen

For no apparent reason... I give you... William Shatner:


Transboro ride

iPhone snapshot of one of the pylons for the Roosevelt Island Tram. Taken from the Queensboro Bridge.

I met my friend, Dave, down in Murray Hill this morning on my road bike. We had planned getting the mountain bikes out today, and heading up to Sprain Ridge but due to threatening weather, decided to keep it local and take out the skinny-tired bikes instead.
Here's a quick recap of my ride today:
  • Penn Station to to Murray Hill (quick stop at Sid's Bike Shop to look for new knobby tires)
  • Murray Hill up to 60th & across the Queensboro Bridge
  • North to 36th Ave and across the Roosevelt Island Bridge to (you guessed it) Roosevelt Island
  • Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA (for 30 minutes)
  • F train one stop to Lexington & 63rd
  • West to Broadway and chugged north all the way home listening to old school hip hop on the iPod
iPhone snap of the 1,2,3 Line at 125th Street. I love this section of track.

May 21, 2010

Got my fix

I felt great all day today. A little sore in the legs but it was a good feeling. Even had a really productive day at work to boot. My friend Kreuter wasn't able to climb at Brooklyn Boulders this evening so I wound up headed home from work at 4:00 with intentions of getting a light spin in before it got dark. As I was walking back to phattire headquarters I bumped into Chris who happened to be free for a ride and so we put rubber to pavement again this evening. I decided to take the fixed gear out because it's been neglected for a while now. While riding I reminisced about the days in Baltimore when I'd hit the county roads on this bike. I have much love for this machine.

Having showered and guzzled a couple of glasses of water (and Emergen-C) I'm quickly whipping off this blog entry while Mozart's 4th violin concerto plays. Time to head out and grab some food at New Leaf.

<--- At left: A quick iPhone snap from the ride cheesed out with the Photoshop app.

Google & Pac-Man


While Googling the material properties of a specific grade of steel this morning, I was greeted with an interesting Google Doodle: The Pac Man Game (which you can actually play using your key board arrow keys). See the full article on Pac-Man's 30th Anniversary.

26 miles

I turned the cranks with my upstairs neighbor / new friend again last night. Chris and I took the same route across the G-dub Bridge into NJ. crossing the bridge my legs felt like oak blocks. I hadn't ridden since last week and it took me a while to loosen up. Once we were northbound along the palisades, the oak blocks softened into wood pulp and I was feeling great. The evening temperature was ideal; it must have been in the low eighties or high seventies and the trees along route 9W provided relief from the rapidly setting sun. It felt great to be riding in a cool weather kit for once. As we infiltrated the NJ suburbs conversation ranged from Italian foods, olive oils, cockroaches, the economy, beer and Philadelphia.
Chris spinning his Cannondale Caad 9
On the way back we latched onto a powerful rider and sucked his wheel for an awkwardly long time. I moved up in front of him to pull the train for a bit only to be passed about a minute later. Recovering behind him I felt rude because I wasn't taking my turn in the wind so I moved up in front of him again. I pulled the train for another two or three minutes before he powered past me and took the lead again. In retrospect I don't think he wanted to share his ride and instead was trying to drop Chris and I (and another rider who had latched onto Chris' wheel). Whatever the case, my legs are pleasantly sore today as a result of my efforts. Feels great to working hard on the bike again. With the sun sitting low on the horizon we entered Manhattan and my thoughts turned towards salmon, potatoes and asparagus which I devoured after hanging up the bike.

May 18, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull Time Lapse

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull - May 1st and 2nd, 2010 from Sean Stiegemeier on Vimeo.

A friend of mine sent me this video and it blew my mind. Time Lapse photography taken to a new level. Kudo's on the use of a motorized dolly.

May 13, 2010

25 miles of road

My neighbor Chris and I have been trying to connect for a road ride during the past couple of weeks. Today it finally happened. We kept a pretty good pace for 25 miles of skinny-tired, drop bar riding. With my road racing days long gone (and with it my fitness) I was nervous that I would be "that guy". You know; a Fred.

Turns out, I'm in better shape than I thought! I guess this past winter and recent weekends full of mountainbiking & rock climbing has left me with a pretty firm grip on my dignity! (Thank you power putty!) Don't get me wrong. I'm far from being in tip top shape and my dogs were definitely barking out there, but I wasn't sucking wind and struggling to keep up. (Can I get a "hallelujah"?)


We rode across the George Washington Bridge and then headed north for a few miles. The traffic was definitely reduced in this area but there was still a steady stream of cars coming and going. It reminded me of those great rides I used to take after work in Baltimore.

Coming home made me a little nostalgic for those lost Baltimore evening rides. Coming back from a ride in the county and seeing the city scape rising up in front of you is a wonderful feeling.

Climbing on

I spent a couple more hours top roping and bouldering last night at Brooklyn Boulders with my friend Chris. BKB built a few more walls which they opened Monday. There are two really fun 5.7 inverted climbs that we had a good time on and one 5.9 that was nearly impossible. Getting beat by the 5.9 was a little discouraging but we made up for it by conquering a tricky 5.8 that we'd never done before. There's also a V3 traverse in the bouldering area that continues to kick our asses. We can both make it past the crux and nearly to the end of the route but then we're forced to use the REALLY TINY holds if we want to top out. At this point in my climbing, I'm realizing that I'm going to have to rely on the tiny two-finger holds if I want to complete routes. The problem is that my finger strength is pretty much nonexistant when I get to the end of this route.... time for POWER PUTTY. Chris gave me this stuff last night and I'm squishing & squeezing away in my cubical this morning. I can see how this stuff could actually help. I will risk ridicule from coworkers if the power of this silly blue putty (but not silly putty) pays off the next time I climb.

May 12, 2010

DH Action.



A video of the North West Cup DH Race back in April. Stumbled upon it over at Kona's Cog.

May 11, 2010

Man, I love mountain biking.

My good friend and riding buddy, Mr.Seinberg took this image last sunday while we rode at Sprain Ridge Park. Soooo much fun...

May 10, 2010

Picture of the day

Taken with Nikon D700 & Tamron 19 - 35mm lens - Exposed for 1/30 sec at f/8 .

May 9, 2010

Mini-epic

Today's ride was short albeit epic. A mini-epic you could say. Sweaty and still panting from the trek back from Sprain Ridge Park to the Hastings On Hudson station I'm currently enjoying an IPA brewed by Captain Lawrence Brewery a few miles north of here. Full report to include pics of the epic upon my return to phattire headquarters...


- Posted from my iPhone

Location:U.S. 9,Greenburgh,United States

May 7, 2010

Another Iphone pano.

Iphone photo stitched together using the pano app.

Last night was beautiful. Strong gusts of warm are swept in from the west. After a friend from work and I fought an Ikea book shelf for about an hour I took a walk down to 187th and had some mediocre sushi at Next Door. Yelp gives this place eleven surprisingly great reviews but I have to say I've never been amazed by their food. In the past, the sushi has been so-so (soft rice). Although last night was. There were bones in a couple of pieces of my eel-avocado roll - unacceptable. I left dissatisfied and took a stroll towards the Hudson to enjoy the view of the GW.

May 3, 2010

William Kentridge


I didn't do justice to the work of William Kentridge in my previous blog entry. I feel the need to post this animation, Sobriety, Obesity & Growing Old [1991]. Just drawing in charcoal and erasing... frame after frame after frame... it's amazing. Like I said earlier, I find it pleasantly depressing. Dvorak's string quartets are an all time favorite of mine as well, so I suppose that helps me connect to the piece. I highly recommend you get over to MOMA to experience three decades of his work and watch all of his animations which are beautifully projected onto large walls. This is not something you want to miss. If you can't make it to MOMA for some reason (being deceased for example) then at least check out MOMA's highly interactive flash website which takes you on a virtual walk through his five themes currently on being exhibited. Enjoy.

Rat Rock & MOMA

Sunday was a busy day. Natasha and I took the A train down to Columbus Circle and walked over to Rat Rock in Central Park. I spent about 25 minutes wrestling with a problem and made a little headway on a tricky traverse. I would rate the traverse as a tough V2. I just couldn't get past the slippery repaired knob shown below. I never really noticed before, but a lot of Rat Rock has been repaired over the years. I'm guessing that whoever reattached the features used JB Weld or some other strong epoxy...
After bouldering we walked over to MOMA to check out all the good stuff going on. It was amazing. William Kentridge makes my head explode. He is now my #1, all time, favorite artist. His animations, completely hand drawn using charcoal and erasing each frame to draw the next really had me entranced. They were sad, deeply thought provoking and pleasantly depressing. I'll be going back to soak up a little more Kentridge.
Also at MOMA was the largest Henri Cartier-Bresson show I have ever seen. This man, not only captured, what I'd say was the perfect moment in every photo, but he also did so just about everywhere he went. He must have photographed everyone... celebrities, street folk, workers, government officials, everyone. Each image; perfectly composed and easy to stare at for a long time. He's such an inspiration.

May 1, 2010

Mountainbiking at Sprain Ridge Park (again)

I had an awesome ride this morning. I took the train up to Yonkers and rode to Sprain Ridge Park to feast on some more of that superb single track. Again, the trails were in perfect condition. When I got there, nobody was in the parking lot, so my plan to just latch on to a group of riders went out the window. Instead I just hopped in the woods and started riding. I was flowing along for about 20 minutes when I bumped into Jose. Jose is part of the Westchester Mountain Biking Association (WMBA.org). He offered to show me the good stuff. I knew exactly what he meant, he was referring to what I've always known to be the "secret power line trail" . He told me that it's actually called "Sandros" and is named after the Portuguese man who made the trail. This was one technical trail. Plenty of steep rocky descents which threaten to pitch you over bars into a less than pleasant landing zone... or in some cases over a cliff. Below is a picture of Jose clearing a drop on Sandros. Turns out, Jose is a neighbor of mine who lives in Washington Heights just up the street. Small world no?

Friday night climbing

Got a few more hours of climbing in at Brooklyn Boulders (BKB) on Friday night. It's become a regular Friday night ritual now and I'm lovin' it. Between top-roping and bouldering at BKB and at Rat Rock during the week, I'm scrambling up rocks less and strategically climbing more. Feels great climbing twice a week and its just often enough to stay focused on improving and to allow my fingers to heal.

My buddy Chris and I have been working our way up the ladder at Brooklyn Boulders. We're climbing 5.8's and 5.9's consistently and hitting the V2's with less and less difficulty. Soon, I'd like to buy some rope and head to The Gunks for some easy top roping - just to get my feet wet on natural rock. That day is getting closer and closer.

Chris just got some new shoes and a harness and was a lot more comfortable climbing. On a funny note, his sweating feet caused the red leather of his shoes to bleed and when he took them off at the end of the night his feet looked hilarious. They looked like a cartoon character's feet look when they've been burned or something. See for yourself! The best part of this whole thing (in my opinion) is that Chris wore flip-flops that night. Despite the red feet he did conquer a few tough problems last night. Check out the video on Vimeo.