Hard Headed?

April 23rd, 2010

Friday I was driving on Cambridge St., right near Inman Sq., and I suddenly watch a guy come off his bike… sort of do a face plant and bounce off the street. Apparently, he had run in to the rear end of a van that was pulling into a parking space. (I am not sure of the actual cause or who might be at fault in this accident, not the point of this post.) So the cyclist, who may have dislocated his shoulder, now wears a load of cuts and a fair case of road rash. But, he was wearing a helmet! The fact he whacked his head hard on the street, became a moot point. Another save for helmets!



I have mentioned before that I spent many years as a firefighter/EMT. I responded to all types of emergencies that included many trauma victims resultant from so many different mechanisms of injury. Which gives me an experience base to draw on; I can say that those people that suffered head injuries had the worst outcomes. I mean not just short term (as in died) but the long term outcomes. They survived horrendous injuries to legs, arms, faces, etc. which all in due time healed. However those with head/brain injury, not so much. In fact, how can I put this gently, their lives were forever changed. Having received a few concussions over the years, I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in that fog and have that headache 24/7/365 for the rest of one’s life.




There is plenty of info out there that explains what happens to your head/brain when it is slapped (like a home run crack at Fenway) into the pavement, car, fill in the blank at let’s say 10-12 mph and from about 5 or so feet up. It is clearly not good.

Will a helmet protect you from evil spirits, accidents and all other possibilities? Of course not, so drop that line of reasoning. It is there to protect your head/brain in the event of an impact. It is like wearing seat belts in a vehicle. Most people are killed in what are otherwise survivable auto crashes because they were not wearing a seat belt, period. Check out the stats, in nearly all fatal cycle accidents the riders were not wearing helmets. Hmmmmm, kinda makes ya think!

So let me put this in terms that may indeed be crass, a bit obnoxious, over the top, etc, etc. and that might even offend some…But then again, this IS Bike Me.

What do you call a cyclist who does not wear a helmet? A possible organ donor… enough said?


April 17th, 2010

It’s is back. Boston’s 2nd Annual (we hope) Tweed Ride. Last year’s ride was great fun. Wonderful people and wicked nice rides!

It is the most fun you can have in wool, without getting a rash!

So save the date and meet some of the Boston/Cambridge area’s nicest 3 speed (and of course others) rides and riders!

Her Very First Bike!

March 4th, 2010

So once in a while you get to take part in something bigger than yourself. And at our small and humble shop it happened just this past week. Ok so it may not had been exactly CNN news worthy. BUT it was pretty freakin’ cool! And in my book that is all that counts.

A woman to be known as Lilah came in, with some really great support, looking for her very first bicycle!
Yep, she never had ridden a bicycle before (a first for both me and Vinny). And we got to help out. Like I said, this was pretty freakin’ cool. I’ll let the video, which is very cool on its own accord, tell the rest.

Good Luck Lilah and you are the coolest! And so are your buddies! Welcome to a two wheeled world!

I am 25. from Lilah on Vimeo.

Bikes in Paradise

March 4th, 2010

In February a vacation trip took me to Maui, Hawaii.  While there I, of course, checked out what the bicycle scene looked like.   

Anytime we traveled form one town to another I noticed a good number of cyclists working hard along the rather hilly shore roads on road bikes. (I’m thinking most bikes here have triple chain rings.)  FYI, for the most part there seemed to be plenty of room to ride along the shoulders, although there were a few exceptions along the south shore.  Roads like the one to Hana and others like it, not so much.  Very windy twisting coastal roads with little or no shoulders, hair pin turns.  All this plus constant trade winds to deal with would make for a pretty “exciting” ride.

 What is referred to “Up country” on the slopes of Haleakala are small communities like Haiku, Kula, Keokea, Makawao, Pukalani, Paia, Kuau Bay, Kanaio and Ulupalakua, all a world away from the bustling beach resorts.  Here I saw mostly mountain bikes. With the hills so steep and/or long the low gearing and aggressive braking is an absolute necessity.  Incredible views, cooler weather (a constant 60ish degrees) and wonderful people, many living their dream at every turn.

This is also near the area of the Haleakala Volcano ride companies.  They offer van rides to near the top of the Volcano with 10 -20 of your new best friends.  Then a guided downhill ride for up to 20+ miles of switch back mountain roads with great vistas.  If you would like a zip line ride then you would probable like this sort of cycle ride.  There are off road trails from the summit that with two cars, one for drop off and one for pick up, would seem to be a really cool if and challenging ride, remembering this summit has an elevation of over 10,000 feet.  It is a  oxygen deprived, dry and cold. Because this is a place that can seriously hurt you (being just at 2 miles high)  good planning is required for that type of ride.

In the towns that dot the coast cruiser bikes were most prevalent, as the terrain around most is relatively flat. Here is where I did find some vintage hardware with a mix of personal stylings. It is in places like these the real spirit of bicycles is found.  You know, function solving a necessity of life that makes a real difference to the individual.   

Finally, Bicycle Rentals in Maui seem to be a fairly large tourist business, albeit somewhat focused on the Haleakala Volcano rides, most do offer several style bicycles including higher end roads for up to about $200 per week.   

So if you ever do say Bike Me, head to “Paradise” and decide to rent a bicycle it is about the same per week cost as a cheap car rental. And defiantly worth the ride!

Stay Current, Ride Vintage!

Bikes in Paradise

March 4th, 2010


In February a vacation trip took me to Maui, Hawaii. While there I, of course, checked out what the bicycle scene looked like.

Anytime we traveled form one town to another I noticed a good number of cyclists working hard along the rather hilly shore roads on road bikes. (I’m thinking most bikes here have triple chain rings.) FYI, for the most part there seemed to be plenty of room to ride along the shoulders, although there were a few exceptions along the south shore. Roads like the one to Hana and others like it, not so much. Very windy twisting coastal roads with little or no shoulders, hair pin turns. All this plus constant trade winds to deal with would make for a pretty “exciting” ride.

What is referred to “Up country” on the slopes of Haleakala are small communities like Haiku, Kula, Keokea, Makawao, Pukalani, Paia, Kuau Bay, Kanaio and Ulupalakua, all a world away from the bustling beach resorts. Here I saw mostly mountain bikes. With the hills so steep and/or long the low gearing and aggressive braking is an absolute necessity. Incredible views, cooler weather (a constant 60ish degrees) and wonderful people, many living their dream at every turn.

This is also near the area of the Haleakala Volcano ride companies. They offer van rides to near the top of the Volcano with 10 -20 of your new best friends. Then a guided downhill ride for up to 20+ miles of switch back mountain roads with great vistas. If you would like a zip line ride then you would probable like this sort of cycle ride. There are off road trails from the summit that with two cars, one for drop off and one for pick up, would seem to be a really cool if and challenging ride, remembering this summit has an elevation of over 10,000 feet. It is a oxygen deprived, dry and cold. Because this is a place that can seriously hurt you (being just at 2 miles high) good planning is required for that type of ride.



In the towns that dot the coast cruiser bikes were most prevalent, as the terrain around most is relatively flat. Here is where I did find some vintage hardware with a mix of personal stylings. It is in places like these the real spirit of bicycles is found. You know, function solving a necessity of life that makes a real difference to the individual.

Finally, Bicycle Rentals in Maui seem to be a fairly large tourist business, albeit somewhat focused on the Haleakala Volcano rides, most do offer several style bicycles including higher end roads for up to about $200 per week.


So if you ever do say Bike Me, head to “Paradise” and decide to rent a bicycle it is about the same per week cost as a cheap car rental. And defiantly worth the ride!

Stay Current, Ride Vintage!

Winter Wool!

January 29th, 2010

So last week we had to move around in that last installment of New England Snow, which was like 6-8 inches of Elmer’s Glue. Then we have tropical downpours. Now it is snot freezing cold out with winds that hurt almost as much as the Patriots last loss of this season did. Oh the joys of New England winters! Like the rest of you, this all gets me to thinking about keeping warm and dry… and I thought about long ago when I was a kid. Ya know, I remember being just toasty warm albeit a bit soggy from time to time.

Fast forward a few decades…. Like many of you I have spent a good amount of time outdoors in winter conditions, skiing, snowshoeing, etc. not to mention the occasional bicycle outing. And I have worn all types of winter garments and there are some great high tech materials out there that are both warm and light weight. The problem with such stuff is it can be prohibitively expensive. And since we cater to a generally frugal customer, it got me thinking about how the heck we keep warm back in the day? You know, those days before one has an income that can afford the new/high tech stuff.

In a word, it is WOOL. Yep good old reliable, renewable, recyclable, and I suppose if you look hard enough locally grown wool! Is it the best of the best of the best? Perhaps not, but pound for pound it is the one of the most cost effective materials out there. It is somewhat breathable, water resistant, even once wet just wring it out and it is still warm. Hence my “…just toasty warm albeit, a bit soggy form time to time.” comment. When I was a kid, going out to play meant staying outside until it was time to eat, period. Which meant you got plenty wet rolling around in the snow for hours. Wool used with undergarments, such as Under Armour ®, means your go for very cold weather


Wool pants similar to those above can usually be purchase in Army Navy surplus stores and at very reasonable prices. The billows pockets are great for extra and easy access storage. Food for thought, possibly buy a couple of sizes too large and wear as a over pants(?) A larger pair of wool pants with your regular cloths underneath might work for you. It did when I was kid. Of course there are oh so many wool coats to be had, I happen to own a Navy Pea coat. A wicked warm coat cut high enough to ride with.

Wool glove/ mitten flip glove cross things would work well, but for the coldest of days. With a reasonably warm & thin glove insert would make those great. For those really cold days, there are firefighter wool mittens that I can personally vouch for having worn those many times in very extream conditions. And when the weather is way below zero add a pair of Nomex flight gloves (again Army Navy surplus) as inserts and your hands will never get cold.

So, is wool incredible? You betcha … and who doesn’t like a renewable resource? Plus, you don’t make all those crinkly noises either, ever hear sheep sneaking around, nope… wool is silent. And if you’re an old English 3 speed rider, it might just complete your Vintage World.

Wool, not just another way to say Bike Me….

Stay Current, Ride Vintage!

Got to love beer drinkers!

December 22nd, 2009

I have to agree with one fellow Bicycle Blogger…Bicycles and Beer do go together. At least in my end of the world it does. And I do mean in a responsible manner etc.

So in the spirit of Christmas and good fellowship…I give you the following.

Be happy, be safe…

Stay Current Ride Vintage!

November 25th, 2009

I have had a very unique position in life to have witnessed some truly amazing things. I am thankful for that. I have seen both the best and worst of life from a perspective most don’t get to have. Hard as that may have been at times, I am still thankful for that. I was blessed to have personally served with heroes that would have and did, lay down their lives. Not because they were brave (they are very brave), but because they are honorable people. Something that I am both grateful and thankful for and will be always and forever.

Being Thanksgiving tomorrow I do know, as always, I have lots to be thankful for and I am blessed with my life. I am feeling especially so this year as two acquaintances/friends suffer through searing pain of loss from very recent tragedies. Plus, I got to spend this past weekend with my brother before he returns to the Middle East. After 40 plus years of combined service with the US Army and Department of Defense, this will be his last year in a war zone.

Less anyone forget those who are in harms way… Do You Remember Me? Please, our troops need our support more than ever!

With such things happening, I am reminded that life is short and that saying is Not A Cliché.

With that said, this is no place to say BIKE ME! So I offer this as a Thanksgiving wish…well Blessing.

An Irish Blessing

I wish you not a path devoid of clouds; nor a life on a bed of roses,
not that you might never need regret; nor that you should never feel pain.

No, that is not my wish for you.

My wish for you is:

That you might be brave in times of trial, when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed; when hope scares can shine through.

That every gift God gave you might grow along with you. And let you give the gift of joy to all who care for you.

That you may always have a friend who is worth that name. Whom you can trust, and who helps you in times of sadness. Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.

One more wish I have for you:

That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you, and all who care for you.

This is my hope for you, now and forever.

Author Unknown, translated by Charles Mitchell

Go home, be with those you love and be thankful!

Snow? Say it ain’t so!

October 14th, 2009

WTF SNOW!?!? Yep I said WTF SNOW?!?!?!??!?

I just watched the weather report and they talked about the possibility of snow (although not accumulating) by week’s end.

I have to confess that there was a time, albeit long ago, that I would have been really excited with such a report. But, I was a Ski Patroller back then. Happy to ski all season long for free and I got to cut lines. First tracks and always last off the mountain. It was all great except when there were drunk skiers attempting to get a patroller to “man up”; it was a snot freezing -10 below zero with 15 MPH winds; raining (sideways); lighting (which made for very interesting lift ride); high winds (again with the lift rides); first tracks after an ice storm; I could go on… But no matter what the conditions, we always skied…5-6-7 days a week, all season long.

What does this have to do with bicycling…the weather here in New England/Boston is ever changing and can be downright harsh, especially in the winter months. And as all Bostonians know, as much as there is no such thing as “Manhattan Chowda” (I heard it’s tomato soup with clams in it?), winter around here can be from any time in October and up to and including pretty much all of April.

So to say that you ride a bike here in Boston/Cambridge means you ride in all types of weather…no matter what. Ok, except maybe when there is plowable snow on the ground…and I strongly recommend staying off the roads for that first accumulating snow. You know the one where the driving public re-learns how to drive in snow and that learning curve resembles somehting like a bad EKG read out.

There are oh so many things to “get” about cycling here in the Boston/Cambridge area. To those of you that are new to the area, look, listen, read, ask, etc. You will be just fine. Like I heard so many times skiing. A bad day on skis (or snow board), beats a good day working or doing much else. And it follows, a bad day on a bicycle beats most any day in a car, bus…etc.

What better way to say BIKE ME to our wonderful winter weather (or with my best Boston accent, winta weatha) here and going a little more native… Chowda anyone?

Tweed Ride, Brilliant!

October 6th, 2009

Saturday October 3nd something like 2+ inches of rain? OMG, like we didn’t have enough this summer? Then….Sunday October 4rd starts out dark, foggy, misty, and cool. But by 1PM the sun was breaking out and spreading warmth and good cheer, as will happen after such a dim start.

But alas, there was one more thing setting up to spread good cheer (just as the sun shine would) though out Boston and Cambridge. Nearly one hundred people dressed in Tweed and riding vintage bicycles (mostly) would be cause to stop traffic and pedestrians alike. Most of them taking pictures and asking; “Who are you people?” I had a lot of fun with my replies…everything from it’s a filming of the sequel to “Good Will Hunting” to we just rode in from NYC.

Good cheer was spread by this cheeky throng winding its way over the Longfellow Bridge to the front of Trinity Church in Copley Square. Next, a short jaunt to Newbury St for refreshments. Then crossing back over the Mass. Ave Bridge to the Harvard Foot Bridge for some good hearted competition and judging.

Business partner Vin V (Oldroads.com) & I were honored to be chosen as judges. And I must confess both of us shamelessly told everyone that we were indeed official judges and could be bribed…and yet, nothing! We figured some free beer maybe… actually we did get one each for an emergency repair performed at Copley Sq. Sorry, I digress.

I must tell you, that there are some seriously nice vintage bicycles being ridden here in the Boston/Cambridge area, most on a daily basis. And a few of those, as it turns out, were sold from our shop. Thus, judging for me, I have to confess, was difficult. So may wonderful rides. As much as I like all bikes, a nice looking 3 speed has a special place with me, as one was my first “real” bike. You know, it is like any first; it is something you never forget and it becomes an eternal bench mark.

Ok, so honestly, I must report we got separated from the main group. After that quick emergency repair at Copley Square, the group had got way ahead of us. So we zipped down Dartmouth St. right past Newbury St. somehow missing where 90+ riders went. Zipping right along searching for our fellow Tweeds, we arrived at the Harvard Foot Bridge warmed by the October sun … and waited. Thinking we should have brought sun screen, we still waited until…

We were treated to the grand sights and sounds (bells, horns and of course the clicking of Strumy Archer hubs) of those nearly 100 Tweed Riders stretched out on a closed Memorial Drive. That alone could have made this incredibly nice day, but the community of “Tweed Riders” made it complete. Maybe it was a love or at least an intense crush on vintage bicycles or maybe just a really cool group of cyclists having a good time together. No matter what IT was, it was an incredibly nice place to be.

And, I only wanted to say Bike Me just once to a rather obnoxious (over use of horn) cabbie on Beacon St. Thinking that the event itself had a subtle Bike Me message to it anyway, I stayed (unusually) silent.

So if you missed what is now known as The Inaugural Tweed Ride, please keep an eye out for the 2nd Annual (?) Tweed Ride. This was serious good fun…