Wednesday, May 30, 2012

29,961 Page Views and Counting!

Numbers, numbers, we all live by the numbers.  So I want to brag just a bit about my numbers.

Poppy's Velo Ventures has logged nearly 30,000 page views since it first went up.

Indeed, some 75 of you came to read the latest today.

Thank you, dear readers.  Glad you continue to visit the Blog.  And I hope you enjoy learning about my adventures (and ventures) as much as I do writing and posting them.

Tell me, though: what would you like to see more of? Less? 

Your comments provide vital feedback .. always appreciate hearing from you as I work to make PVV ever better, more expressive and just plain fun.  

Generation-Skipping Keen's.

Do Keen's make my grandson's feet look all grown up?  Or do my big dogs look a little hipper and more appealing next to those little pups?

Either way, and whatever:  the makers of Keen's have the generational thing nailed.

Start 'em young, keep 'em shod in Keen's, and then get a daughter (who prefers Tom's to Keen's) to take a smartphone foto and post it on the blog!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bicycle PA -- In this case Rte. 6 East.

Click On Maps To Enlarge
Route A
The route stretches 199 miles from Erie, PA to Greene County, PA, just north of Morgantown, WV. The northern half is generally flat while the southern half is gently rolling to hilly. The northern terminus connects to BicyclePA Route Z and the Seaway Trail.
Route E
Also known as the Pennsylvania segment of the East Coast Greenway, the current 52-mile long roadway based version takes the cyclist through the heart of Philadelphia. It will be shifted gradually to off-road facilities as they are developed. It’s a convenient connection between Trenton, NJ and Wilmington, DE and connects with BicyclePA Route S along the Schuylkill Trail.
Route G
The route connects Tioga County, PA and the Corning, NY area in the north with Bedford County and the Cumberland, MD area on the south. The 235-mile long course follows numerous northeast-southwest trending stream valleys and is surprisingly flat. It offers a convenient connection to New York State Bike Route 17 on the north and the C&O Canal Towpath and the Allegheny Passage on the south. A highlight is the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania in Tioga County.
Route L
This route extends 225 miles from Susquehanna County in the north (just south of Binghamton, NY) to Chester County in the south (just north of Wilmington, DE). It manages to pass close to the major metropolitan areas of Scranton, Allentown, and Philadelphia, while retaining all of the rural charm that characterizes Pennsylvania.
Route S
The longest BicyclePA Route, it extends 435 miles from Washington County (east of Wheeling, WV) to Washington Crossing Military Park on the Delaware River in Bucks County, and skirts the metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, York, Lancaster, and Philadelphia. Part of the route includes 65 miles along the Youghiogheny River and Allegheny Highlands Rail-Trails through southwest Pennsylvania, a beautiful ride that saves thousands of vertical feet of steep climbing. A recently added attraction is the Pike-to-Bike Trail, an 8.5 mile long route option east of Breezewood. It incorporates an abandoned section of the Pennsylvania turnpike, including two tunnels totaling 2.0 miles in length. Bring your bicycle lights.
Route Y
The second longest route at 409 miles, it generally follows U.S. Route 6 through the deep forests of northern Pennsylvania. It offers access to Routes A and Z in the west and Route L in the east. It’s often the choice for people cycling between Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, or Chicago and the New York metropolitan area.
Route Z
The shortest BicyclePA route, it follows the Lake Erie shoreline for 46 miles, utilizing mostly Route 5. Connecting New York’s Seaway Trail southeasterly to the Ohio border, it offers easy access to downtown Erie and Presque Isle State Park, which annually is the most visited state park in the nation.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Giant OCR 3 Back in Action Again.

It rained buckets last night in the Metro.

I mean -- large buckets -- with hail, spooky clouds, and a lightening storm to delight in the western sky.

When the sun broke through this morning, I needed little provocation to hit the road ... never mind the fluky wind from, well, every direction it seemed.  Not to mention a humidity hangover from 2+ inches of precip.

 We're surely over the 10-year drought by now.

The Giant OCR 3 you see above has been in the garage all Spring, so I decided to put 'er through her paces. No surprise: this machine is way more nimble, and quite a lot faster, than the Trek 720 I normally ride. I didn't get the fit quite right -- still tweaking saddle position, seat post height, and the flat bars, but I had plenty of good fun.

Along the ride route I stopped to catch my breath, take a leak, and snap a foto.  Maybe a loyal reader of Poppy's Velo Ventures pedaled by today?  There sure were a lot of bikes out there!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nick, His Salsa 'Niner, BFF Peter.

My pal Nick is the consummate sales guy at Tonka Cycle + Ski in Hopkins, MN.  I stopped at the shop today to hang out with Nick, exchange a part for my Giant OCR 3, and check out the latest rolling stock.
Nick introduced me to Salsa brand, including the "Vaya" model, which I rode with considerable skill and delight around the neighborhood, before turning it over to my new BFF Peter -- another potential Nick customer -- so Peter could put this mean machine through its paces.

What Peter and I really liked, however, was Nick's 'Niner shown in the pic above.  The bike is shod with big, fat all-weather tires, disc brakes, custom-fitted everything-else.

Nick might have sold Peter a 'Niner  -- "the first new bike I've bought in 30 years," as Peter explained it. "I still have that old Bianchi hanging from the rafters in the garage in South Minneapolis."  

And what about Old Poppy?  Any new-bike plans? Nah, not right now. A fellow can never have too many cool bikes, however; besides, it's sort of my civic duty this Memorial Day weekend to get out there and support my local, independent shop!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Let the Education You Receive Here ....

Inspiring bronze plaque at Choate School (near the Ted Ayres Alumni Center) reads:

"Let the Education You Receive Here Give You the Desire to Learn, to Honor Your Parents, Your Country and Your God."

We don't read this kind of solid advice much any more, do we?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Julie @ Wellness Recommends Bean Wrap!

Holistic Nutritionist and owner of "Wellness Cafe" in Warren, PA, Julie Streich has been a vegetarian since the age of 10.

"Growing up in a houseful of meat-eaters," wasn't easy, as Julie remembers.  "I had to learn to cook for myself -- otherwise I wasn't going to eat!"

Julie got the hang of veggie cooking - her resulting recipes are as nutritious as they are scrumptious. She turned that knack and passion into a retail business (Wellness Cafe) plus a meal-planning consultancy which Julie reports is doing quite well.

Somehow Julie was persuaded to point out the Black Bean Wrap on the menu board.  That's what I ordered -- literally inhaled it I was so hungry. What a wrap ... what a treat ..what an experience.

So, dear readers of Poppy's Velo Ventures:  next time you're in north western Pennsylvania, go to Wellness Cafe in Warren, and get Julie's kitchen to whip you up one of their vegetarian specialities!

And we give Green Stamps, as well!

Somewhere east of Warren, PA on US Hwy 6 (before you head south on 219 on your way to I-80) there's a sweet little auto repair shop named "Seth's."

Since that's my name too (no relation) you know I had to stop and take a photo.

The joint was closed up for the night. But when I peeked inside I'm pretty sure I saw a roll of S & H Green Stamps, just like the stores from my childhood used to give to their patrons.

Everything's changed since then ... but so much remains the same.  Wonder if Seth's Service Center is for sale?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Liquor Litter Patrol, Medina, MN.

Litter bugs in my home town specialize in throwing booze and beer bottles along side the thoroughfares. I was on pedal patrol earlier this week -- couldn't begin to fit all the leftovers into my pannier. Check the 1/2 gal. vodka jug: you'd think the swillers might have the good sense to at least toss THAT bottle into the trash can. Yipes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scoot Dog Wears Eye Protection, No Helmet.

Spring has sprung all over the City, and scootists and pet owners are out in full force.  As Pina and I were on Minnetonka Blvd. this afternoon, we spied this young lady, pedal to the metal, giving her pup the ride of a lifetime. Nancy pointed the point and shoot out the window of the KIA, waited for just the right moment, squeezed the shutter, and captured this priceless shot!

Scoot Dog, cozy in hamper, no helmet (bummer), but appropriate eye protection. You go, girl (dog).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Go to Greta's Paper Hat Gift Boutique.

It's almost Mother's Day, you know.  So I found myself in a shopping mood today, and the spirit moved me to 50th and Penn in Minneapolis.  There I discovered "PaperHat" boutique -- couldn't resist parking the car and going in the store to check out the hand-made gifts, art, pottery, books, and accessories every Mother would die for.

Owner Greta Norland is a skilled merchandiser, has quite an eye for unqiue "stuff." Much of her inventory is from Midwestern artists, and it's well-made and fairly priced.

Plus Greta is helpful, pleasant and outgoing -- makes you the shopper feel pretty special.

I spent a bundle, needless to say.  Can't reveal what I bought, or for whom (don't want to spoil a surprise after all) but suffice to say: get to Greta's PaperHat. 2309 West 50th. (612) 886-3892.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

'34 Ford Steals the Show.

I slammed on my brakes (well, w/bike brakes you don't actually "slam" anything) this afternoon when I rode up to this remarkable specimen of a 1934 Ford Roadster. It's a beaut, I assure you.

The front end is original, so's the tranny; the flat-eight engine block that came with the Ford was enhanced with a Cobra "kit."  Otherwise the motor's pretty cherry as well.

A professional mechanic named Bill is the proud owner.  Bill reports repairing the body where it needed glass, doing a paint job in original "Washington Blue,"and reupholstering the cockpit and rumble-seat in a warm tan leatherette -- better than new!

Bill was on his way this evening to the weekly rod and custom show in Mound, MN:  some 300-500 restored vehicles on display. After that? Back to the garage workshop to make adjustments to his impressive stable of Detroit Iron:  three mid-fifties Chevy pickups, a sixties Mustang, two '46 hump back Fords, and who knows what else?

What a day .. what a ride .. what an auto living legend discovery.  Thought I'd share my good fortune.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wayzata Bay Shopping Center - R.I.P.

Long before Poppina and I moved to MN from CT, the Wayzata Bay Shopping Center served the commerical needs of residents of Wayzata, Plymouth, Orono, Long Lake and Minnetonka.

Now the shoe repair, hardware store, men's store, barber shop, natural products apothecary and the pancake house are just memories of places we all "used to go."  A senior citizen residential complex is coming in to take the place of Wayzata Bay Center -- RIP -- and the builders are wasting no time gettin' 'er done.

I rode by this morning on my bike.  What was a retail landmark barely a week ago is now piles of scrap metal, concrete blocks, glass, roofing material and plenty of dust.

This is progress, I suppose.  But "out with the old, in with the new"happens so fast it takes your breath away.  And it makes me, for one, realize that what was comfortable and familiar, and served our needs better than adequately, can be toast, a memory, in the blink of an eye.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Big Box Bike Shopping Spree.

A very special youngster we know is celebrating a grandson birthday soon.  Pina and I said we'd spring for a rugged radio controlled toy ... Mom and Dad thought that sounded like a fine plan.

So off I pedaled to Target. I just knew I could squish the RC package into my rear rack bag. Wrong, as it turned out: didn't quite fit.

Back into the store I go, find my cashier, ask for another sack, and double up the bagging. Then I sling the package over the handle bars and, moving my feet back as far on the pedals as they'd go, I begin my ride home (about a 5-mile trip into some strong wind).

I lived to tell the tale -- and take the pic.  The Trek 720 held up fine. As did the Target plastic bags.  But Old Poppy here must have been a sight: wobbly in the head wind, awkward foot position,  my forward progress slow as molasses.

Happy Birthday, little guy.  I'll tell you the whole story soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

California Beets Dreaming.

I'm a beet freak. I've always loved beets. Hot, cold, canned, jarred, in Borscht, from a salad bar, and most certainly fresh, still-rooted, as in the pic above.

On the same California road trip where Pina and I were introduced to the Pommelo fruit, we stopped at a farm stand to check out the beet display.  I wish I could tell you we bought a bunch 'o beets to cook up and enjoy, but we were a long way from home and passed these beauties by.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Be like a Flock of Geese.

Geese have mastered something that we humans have not yet accomplished: geese work in harmony for a greater good. They fly in formation, stay together, move in and out of the lead position, use the wind, and their own rhythmical wing-strokes, to go great distances.  Geese arrive at their destination still working as a team. So: be a goose!

                                             Science of Mind, Daily Guides, 5/2/12