Thursday, December 20, 2007


hey all, sorry for the lack of posts... i promise some will follow soon, from me at least... bottke on the other hand, lost his password [shrug]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

email from b.

here's a little story from bottke about yesterdays commute... enjoy. this does prove that he is still alive... barely =)

hey man,
so due to me forgetting my salsa tostadas at my parents place, i had
to give my lightweight cannondale gloves the ultimate test lsat
night. riding itself yesterday was actually pretty fun. plowing
through the snow really put me in touch with my viking roots from my
scandanavian ancestry. now on to the gloves. . .on the way to work
things were perfect as i had the wind at my back and the sun was
shining. the way home was a different story. my hands started to go
numb by the time i got out of the europa parking lot. by the time i
got on waterloo road i was clinching my teeth on my balaclava and
just trying to get home to warmth as quickly as possible. the thought
crossed my mind to call for a ride or stop for a minute but i figured
i had to face it anyways and my phone was dead. i got home threw my
bike down on the porch and went inside to have summer take my helmet
gloves and bag off. i just paced around shaking my hands for about 5
minutes trying to get the feeling to come back. slowly but surely it
did, only to make way for the pain. ouch! it was just a nagging (nay
excruciating) pain that i had to wait out. eventually i took a shower
and almost everything got back to normal at that point. notice i said
almost. as i am writing this to you 12.5 hours after the ride, i
still cannot feel the tips of my pinkie or ring finger on either
hand! i talked to my mom the nurse and she was kind of concerned but
said it should go away with time. typing feels kind of funny, and i
gotta write a 3-4 page single spaced paper today.

so thats my story. i thought it may entertain you. i also read the
new bicycling magazine at work as we had 1 customer in my 4 hour
shift, and one guy over the phone thats going to order an Equinox 7
this weekend, so i guess it was worth it. anyways, there was an
article in there about people that have been killed or severely
injured by motorists, pretty good article. it was weird reading it
right before i got off and rode home in the snow and dark and cold.
kind of like reading a horror story before going to bed haha.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

i *heart* commute by bike.

Not only do I love riding my bike, as many of you know there are plenty of websites out there dedicated to us commuters. One of my favorites is Commute by Bike which is part of the Crooked Cog Network. As many sites do now, you can have them email you updates and articles from the site and today's not only alarmed me but reaffirmed the little voice in the back of my head when riding at night. They attached a graph [because I know how we all love pie charts and bar graphs], that although older data I believe holds very true. It shows when bikes are most likely to be hit.

So be safe, wear a helmet, get some lights, and ride like you're not going to be seen.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Twin Six. Those of you who don't already know, but Twin Six is amazing to say the least. And well, today I got a few things at the shop. The speedy hat and bike nerd bottle, there is so much of their gear that I'd love to have but the funds don't really allow for it. Like this, this, this, this... yeah I could go on. It's sweet stuff and I highly recommend it.

On more of an update of the no drive month, the last few weeks have been difficult because of my schedule and to be honest laziness. Although, I did end up trading for the Schwinn Fixie. It's sweet, and I outfitted it with fenders. Brian and I have been trading a few text messages today and we're coming up with the new challenge for December. More to follow soon... in addition I've got word that I have a new digital camera coming my way. WERD! Holla for clearer pictures!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Not good. Wish I wouldn't have stumbled onto this. Now it's got me thinking. Check out the Wig Website. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Would you, if given the chance, trade an Xbox, 10 games, DVD remote, 3 controlers for this fixie?

You must note, the front wheel is not actually a Race X Lite, but just a X Lite rim with a Select hub and non-bladed spokes. The frame is a old Schwinn Le Tour III and in great shape. Based on your feedback will I decide.

Sorry for the lack of posts. It's been a difficult week. More to follow...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the many faces of 'the bottke'

I was attempting to enjoy my lunch break today at work when I was interrupted by a few picture messages on my phone by none other than 'the Bottke'. Yes, some of you may know him has Brian or B, but not today. Today, he is 'the Bottke' and today I will show you the many faces of this monster. So hide the kids, put down your drink. Take a breath.

'The Badass Bottke'

'The Billy Bob Bottke'

'The 'I drive a 15 passenger van with blacked out windows and hang around elementary schools' Bottke'

All in good fun, I warned him so he knew what was going to happen. I believe all of this facial works of art, no masterpieces, was in response to the 'No Shave November'ists out there. In his words 'just say no to no shave November'.

On a more bicycle related note. Today, I got a new handlebar in for my 1x7. It's the handlebar off of the Trek Soho. The Bontrager Satellite Plus Handlebar. It's 650mm wide, has 30mm of rise and as you can see has a fair amount of sweep. I'll take a few more pictures once I've got it set up on my rig.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

day off.

Wednesdays are typically my day off. And I have a confession, I took the day off too from riding. Although my driving was to a minimum, I still drove. I might as well tell you all now that on Friday I'll be driving my car too. I've got a little Thanksgiving gathering right after work that I'll already be late for since I work until 8. I know I know.

I know that Brian is still alive, although most of the posts have been mine he has assured me that he is keeping up his end of the deal. He's a college student and it's been a bit busy, especially since he's got a significant other. She does deserve his time more than posting on this but hopefully soon he'll be chiming in more frequently during this last half of the month.

Tomorrow should be interesting for me, snow is an almost certainty. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

One of those days

Today, I didn't want to get up out of bed. It was a struggle to say the least. With my dragging of feet, I was running behind schedule and didn't want to ride in. I mean, I really did not want to ride. I don't know if you're anything like me that the whole process leading up to riding just really takes a lot of out me. It's what has too often kept me from riding, which is really odd because as soon as I am on the bike it just puts me in a mood that I can't explain. Bliss? Maybe. All I know that's it's good.

Fortunately, today I did not take the easy way out. I rode. Going down to my basement I didn't know what bike I wanted to ride, the fixie just wasn't drawing me like I normally did. And so I grabbed the Monkey. No, not that monkey. I pumped up the tires and before you know it I was on the road. Almost immediately, I realized some thing was not right. My seat height was all sorts of jacked up, which, given that I haven't rode it in a while I can't be for sure to if I was that far off or if someone else rode it but if I had to make of a list of possible people who rode my bike it would be him, him, him and him. The last two are real possibilities, serious. After fixing the seat height, I made pretty good time given that the Monkey is a single speed and is also has a bit more rubber. Once arriving at the shop, I really got the seat height dialed in which of course made the ride home great.

I do have some thing special to unveil here soon, I've been trying to get all the proper information to be able to do it justice but let's just say I am excited about adding this additional incentive to this months challenge.

I've also decided to possibly part ways with the Karate Monkey and possibly get my hands on this. I've posted it over on the Jackal's sales blog. I've decided to offer it in different options. Complete Bike $1500.00 OBO, Frame and fork $500.00, or Frame $400.00. Questions? Want more pictures or details? Email me at

Saturday, November 10, 2007

daddy like.

Stumbled onto this via it's from Bike POLITE... and I want one but I've got two things going against me on getting my mits on one...

_ U.K. based
_ doesn't look like they have sizes for the big boys in the jacket... what? you calling me fat?

But we'll see if I make some thing work. Plus their made in Germany so that can't be bad, right Kerkove?

Friday, November 9, 2007

2 much wool 2 much

Which reminds me of the classic, yes classic M.C. Hammer song '2 Legit 2 Quit' and if you're anything like me that then takes you back to the days of roller rings and hand motions. Man! Those weren't the days!

Now today on my daily commute, it's getting a bit chilly and so I've been forced to dig through my closet and find all my cold weather gear [which I might admit I don't have much of]. So as with anything layers are the key, and today I layered. Layered a bit too much. Now, there is some incredible wool jackets and jerseys out there. Two of them being what I sported today. After my base layer, which is simply a knockoff under-armor, I put on my 100% Merino Wool Surly Jersey. Soft, warm and black. I topped it off with the new Wool Jacket offered by Fisher. It is more of just a full zip jersey than official jacket but for some reason anything that zips all the way down is a jacket in my mind. I topped all of this off with my North Face inner shell.

And yes, I can say warm. Almost too warm. Along with my booties [a must if you ask me for foot nirvana] I was toasty in all the right places. I did debate on putting my Salsa lobster gloves but stuck with some simple light weight full finger that do the job for now. After arriving at the shop, I was sweating a bit too much for my liking, yes I'm not the smallest in the bunch and like any bigger built men too much sweat can be like a.... well, bad.

So what did I learn today. Layers, good. Too many layers, bad. And by the way, does anyone else miss the the Salsa Long Sleeve Classico Wool Jerseys? I wasn't able to get my hands on one before they stopped making them. Still frustrated by that.

week one

well, i have survived a week being car-less and i must say it isn't that bad. i did have one 10 mile trip to make to get some paint for my parents, but the ladyfriend drove i just rode along. speaking of which, if any local readers see my vehicle out and about and think i am a lying schmuck, look closer and you will notice the driver is someone much better looking than me. girlfriends heater is broken so she's been driving mine while we figure out getting her rolling icebox fixed.

i noticed adam had posted about the nbc green week, which spurred me to want to chip in as well. i agree with adam that it is somewhat counter productive to sit around watching tv thinking that since its green week you are making the world better. i will say though that the information has to get around somehow if people want things to change. so maybe it is a necessary evil? it is somewhat frustrating that doing the right thing has to also be made the cool thing, and because some television program decides to dedicate time to it or certain celeberties fight for these good causes they gain validity. i overheard someone on the today show the other day say that 18% of our greenhouse gases come from meat production and if we all cut back on the amount of meat we consume (he suggested abstaining for one day) that would be quite effective. i figured this out in high school, and for that and some other reasons became a vegetarian for a little over a year. i was ridiculed quite a bit for it, and still am now that i am back at it. i guess it is just sad that individual decisions and conscience are not really given respect, but some dude you have never met can mandate something on a news/talk show and viola people are talking about it or maybe even trying it. its okay guys there is more to eat than just salads!

the same thing happens to me on my bike. im just out trying to do something for myself and i guess for the world around me as well, and people feel it is necessary to call me names tell me to get on the sidewalk etc. i guess next time i get yelled at maybe my reply will simply be "nbc told me to do it"

thats all for now. once i get through todays school stuff hopefully the posts will start coming a little more. maybe i will have adam show me how to put pictures on here so my posts are more than just a bunch of lower-case letters.

thanks for reading

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

birthday grace.

So... earlier today I was sitting on the couch enjoying not only a day off but my birthday and got a little cold. I rapped up in a blanket and as what happens, I fell asleep. I passed out for a few hours, totally unexpectedly but I must have been tired. I woke up in a panic. I checked the clock and it was 5:28 and I had to be at Mars Hill for High School stuff, because I help out on Wednesday nights. It takes 12 minutes via to get to Mars from my house and I had to be there by 5:45.

And so you've probably already guessed it, I had to drive. [I'm hanging my head] And so I'm trying not to make excuses but hope that in the spirit of my birthday, I might have a little grace for today.

But two good things did come out of this unfortunate event. One, I listened to the new Jimmy Eat World album 'Chase this Light'... AMAZING! The other was from a project that Students is doing that I'm going to incorporate into this No Drive, Just Ride challenge to help an amazing cause. More details tomorrow.

nbc goes green.

Ok, a quick rant. This week NBC is going 'green'. Which is awesome and great, which is a unique way to raise awareness and get people thinking about what effect the way they live effects everything around them. And before I go into this rant, I must preface it and say that I do believe that Global Warming is happening, that it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously not only for ourselves but for those that come after us.

With that said. The trend of 'green' campaigns often frustrate me to no end. With things like the Live8 concert a few years ago, to the concert series that Al Gore put on, to 'Green Week' on NBC... all put on to raise awareness. Which is good. Yet what is often forgotten or simply overlooked is the cost. I mean, there is the cost of putting such a event, but then there is THE cost. Take for instance, this Green Week on NBC. I was watching the Today show, in which they sent 3 of there news persons around the world to report on climate change. One to Greenland, one to the equator, one to Antarctica. Sounds good. Yet, it dawned on me how did they get them there... exactly, they flew them and most will tell you flying puts out a huge number of CO2 emissions. Regardless on if they used carbon offsets to offset their flights, I have to ask, was that worth the cost? Also, I find it rather interesting when a television channel has a 'green' week, but by watching TV aren't we then using energy? Energy that must come from somewhere... Coal? Oil? Somewhere. It is a terrible cycle.

I recently saw a film that gave an amazing perspective on our overuse and abuse of the world... Check out the trailer...

'If I said said this a terrible thing we are doing the planet. Then people will either agree or disagree. By not saying what you should see, that may allow them to see their world a little differently' _ Edward Burtynsky

Global Warming I believe will always be disputed in some form or fashion. The thing I don't think anyone can argue is that our consumption, our lifestyles, our need for more more more, is destroying the earth. Do I have an answer or solution to how to solve this problem? No. But until we stop just talking about how things are bad, stop raising awareness, stop using carbon offsets and start really living differently, thinking differently will things really begin to shift.

3 days of thoughts.

The past few days, as I mentioned before were spent in the great lands of Chicago with my parents. I made the trip to Chi-town as a little pre-birthday gathering with them since my birthday is today [and thank you]. When Brian had challenged me to this, I knew of this trip and I had originally thought, how could I get my bike to Chicago. I mean, if you're like me you've always wanted to cruise around the big city, if only for the experience. I soon found out that there wasn't going to be able to get my bike there since I was taking the train and Amtrak did not offer a storage option on the GR to Chi-town... And so my dream died.

The trip did allow me to finally experience the Grand Rapids Rapid, which is Grand Rapids bus system. I am fortunate enough to live in a city that has a pretty dang good public transit. I was able to get a bus that took me a few blocks from the train station. Which is just a great option for me, the trip and then train to Chicago, along with a few trips on the L only cost me around $35.00. I challenge you to find a cheaper way to get to Chicago and back for that.

Once in Chicago, I might add one of my favorite cities around, I caught myself doing what I think every shop rat or avid rider does, check out every bike they pass. Any big city is like being a kid in a candy store. Especially with all the bike messengers and seeing what they might have for set up and then just seeing all the different ways for fixies. Oh my, I get excited just thinking about it. This is just another reason why I love that fixies are definitely becoming a trend. Maybe it's my individualist outlook on things, but seeing how people set things up, and why... and heck, there is just something clean and pure when it comes to fixies and single speeds.

That's all I have for now, time to figure out the rest of the day and maybe a bit of a ride.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

off to chi-town.

I'll be off to Chicago for the next few days to celebrate my birthday with my parents that's on Wednesday, I'll be the big 2-6. I'll be honest, for some reason 26 seems a lot older. I'm not driving there, just to make that clear, I'm actually walking to the bus at 5:30am-ish, then taking a train from GRRR to Chi-town. I'll give you a little some thing when I'm back. Now, it's Brian's turn to fill the pages =)

yeah... about that...

Just watched this video from don quitxote's blog and agree pretty much with him... I enjoyed how in the video it states that the increased that use of bicycles will not only have a positive effect on the environment but lead to a better standard of life for everyone. Yeah! Duh! Yet, isn't it more 'green' to not power a lift for a hill and just have people ride up it? I mean, 3 to 4 mph? I also enjoyed the clip where a parent is riding up the lift while having their child walk along side of it... Shrug.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

why i love my fixie.

This is my fixie. Skid mark brown, ala the old Surly Karate Monkey, with a little flare added by Bottke. Actually, He did it via a frame from Ted via Mr. 24. It's old name was Pink Panther, pretty self explanatory but when first asked what I'd call it now, I jokingly responded with Brown B#*$!... but doesn't really set to well with me, any ideas?

As far as what I've got it outfitted with Mavic Open Pro hoops with Surly Track Hubs with a flip flop hub topped off with a Diggle Cog just to give it some flare. I stumbled upon a 105 crank at the shop that a customer didn't want because he had stripped out the drive side crank bolt, needless to say he didn't want to pay us to take it so just asked for us to throw out the frame/crank. I'm also sporing a sweet Brooks B17 saddle, which is new, but surprisingly comfortable. Trust me, I've gone through my share of saddles lately and wouldn't kid if I didn't like it.

Now besides how simple sweet my fixie looks, the last two days have really given me another reason just to love it. As I mentioned before that it's been rather cold here in the mitten and that's why I choose the fixie for the commute. I'm a coaster at heart, just plain like to chill. I love to push myself now and again, or bring the hurt, but until I got this bike I did not realize how much my cadence was all over the map. By having control and be constantly aware of it, I'm finding that I'm staying warmer with winter fast approaching. I've also found rather humorous ways to entertain myself while riding it but I'll save that post for another day, maybe I'll figure out a way to video it. Let's just say, it involves what we'll call 'happy feet'.

Friday, November 2, 2007

ahhh crap.

So Fridays are typically my day to come in late to the shop. Awesome! Well, not so much today. Waking up for the 3rd day sick, you know the type when it feels like someone decided to run over your head a few times and then clog your nose and throw sand in your mouth. Yeah, that's me today. But I'm not going to allow it to keep me from my bike.

To make things more interesting, if you look closely the temperature gauge at my house is reading about 26 degrees! This is why I love Michigan, and oh that was taken at 9:30am. It gonna be a chilly one, but I'm taking in the the fixie today, I'll post a picture and whatnot tonight... If you haven't noticed, my pictures aren't what you want to call high quality that's because they are coming from my handy cell phone camera, gotta love technology!

it's me!

well it took a bit of emailnagging from adam but i got a profile made so i can contribute to this. i guess i will follow adam's lead and say why i am trying to complete nocarnovember...the main reason is that i don't really like driving. its really stressful to me and the trips to the gas station/oil changes seem to frequent. i also really enjoy riding my bike. it is refreshing, especially on a cold morning, to ride to school or work and kind of be woken up by it. finally, i hope the more time i spend out and about on the roads trying my best to be respectful of everyone will hopefully take away from some of the animosity between cars and cyclists. the roads are pretty big and there are lots of them, we can all use them without childish actions (which i am guilty of myself at times as a cyclist).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

$2.99 to $3.19

Day one. LOVED IT! It was nothing unusual, the normal cruise to work. Waking up last night at random times like when I was in junior high excited about a game that was happening the next day. Waking promptly at 7:30am, I was pleasantly surprise by one of my roommates who was up because an alarm of another roommate, Ryan, had gone off and by no surprise Ryan wasn't there. Regardless Joe, who is not only a professional comedian [no joke] is a master of a few traits himself. One of those being the black goodness. Yes coffee.

I was actually able to use a new thermos for it's real use. The thermos I've got my hands on is the one that comes with the Trek Soho, although it is actually available for purchase. It works great with a bottle cage and heck looks sweet to... I high recommend it.

Two other points of interest that happened today...

The first being would probably be my closest call to date with a nice Chevy pick-up. I often take the stance that they will not see me, or do not see me, yet hold to my right to the rode as a cyclist. Especially when riding on sidewalks is illegal in one of the cities I ride in. Yet on my ride home tonight, I was stopped at a stop light, taking my place in the line of traffic. As traffic lights do, this turned green, there were a good 3 to 4 cars ahead of me. Staying behind the car in front of me, Camry have you, I get half way through the intersection and Mr. Chevy truck was in enough of a hurry to pull out, slam on his brakes, as I am a mere 3 feet from his front in. Oh, to have it in me to give him the bird or even better hit the front of his hood with my fist, yet what do it do. Smile and wave, have you it was a dramatic and overdone wave, so give me a little credit.

The second being that gas went from $2.99 to $3.19. There is a gas station across the street from the shop that I work at and being the slow part of the year, sitting back and watching the cars pile up did bring a bit of satisfaction to this little endeavor. I'm also trying to find out if I'll be able to take one of my bikes on the train with me to Chicago this coming week. I know that certain trains have places but Amtrak being Amtrak hasn't been the easiest in finding out.

Speaking of bikes... This is one of my rigs. Now, I know there are some Surly purists out there who will say what I've done is wrong in a number of reasons, and to that I would say I agree. This is my Surly 1x1 but as you have probably noticed, it is not 1x1. That's right kids, it's got an internal 7 on the back, topped with big ol' white walls, and too many headset spacers. The bike has history, I am the 4th owner of this rig and am honored to be on the list. The original owner was the one and only Vance McCaw, followed by Carlos Bucannondale, and then Mr. 24 himself Jeff Kerkove. SIDE BAR: I would like to take a moment right now, to thank Kerkove for selling me the bike and allowing me to take a good 8 months getting the seat post out. THANKS BUDDY!

Is the 1x1 going to remain in it's present form for good? NO, by no means. One day I do dream of sand blasting it, painting it a smooth gray, redecaling it and outfitting it with all the Chris King pink stuff I can or any thing that can serve as a tribute to my mother as she is a breast cancer survivor.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

a.lo's daily commute

Here's my daily route. Nothing flashy by any means, just a tad over 5 miles. there is really only one hill to speak of, and that only comes into play on the return trip. I'm extremely excited to get this going although, today I have come down with a nasty head cold and constant dizziness. But if you read the rules: no excuses. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be up and ready for the ride in.

Hoping in the next few days to highly the rigs that I'll be riding through out the month, there are five of them: a fixie, a 1x7, a beast, a cycle cross and a single speed monkey. And yes that is what I call them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

what's this all about?

What's up all? Greetings from America's high five!

First off, welcome and thanks for visiting this little blog of ours. I'm sure most of you might be wondering what or why we created this site. To that I say, for the hell of it. But seriously, the whole idea came from Brian, when he sent a random text message to me a few weeks ago, challenging me to a 'no drive November'. Simply that. Of course, it sounded appealing and I was intrigued by that thought of giving up driving [since for the last few months I've toyed around with the idea of getting rid of my car all together to force myself to really get out there and live my convictions].

From my attempts in the past Novembers [since November is a great month to but 'NO' in front of... like the 'No Shave November'] have always failed very early because I often flew solo on them. I knew for this to work, I needed someone with the same passion, the same conviction to hold the other accountable to the commitment. Bottke was that man, and with my continual day dreaming, I knew another way was to post it for all the world to read.

What is real purpose of this? I mean anyone can ride their bike for a month straight, and many do. I speak for myself and hopefully Brian will start to post and share his thoughts on it. For me, I need a challenge. I need to prove to myself that I can do this. So it's part physical, part emotional, and I'd go even to the extreme and say spiritual. And through the course of the next month, the post will mainly be, I'm sure, a simple correspondence between myself and Brian, but also reflections. Points of humor. Whatever this little journey might take us on.

So calls us out on this. If you see us in the next month and we're not on a bike, challenge us. Encourage us, and if you're up for it join us and tell your story.