Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1669 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN

Sometimes you and your digital camera catch a lucky break.

Like having a bright, sunny day, with nearly purple skies, and brightly colored building facades right "there" for the shooting.

Such was the case yesterday at 1169 Grand Avenue.  I realized after I'd taken the pic, and posted it on PVV, that I'd forgotten to include the street address.

No biggie, but the right address could be helpful if someone wants to see the buildings for themselves.

Lo and behold my artist buddy in Boulder, James Terman, supplied me with the numbers.  He went to Google, followed the little man around, and scored the address.

Thanks, James.  Now we know.

Mpls. "Nice Ride" - Good 4 What Ails U.

The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have been named by Bicycling Magazine as among the best, most bike-friendly urban areas in the country.  From hundreds of miles of velo paths, lanes and trails; to hip and happenin' bike social and cultural events each year; to a high quality, low cost bike rental program called "Nice Ride;" if you like to ride, this is a great place to do it.

Local Business has taken note.

Blue Cross, for instance, underwrites a portion of the Nice Ride program.  And Target Corp. gets into the act with a promotion for looping the lakes (in this case, Lake Calhoun)  -- that is, encouraging visitors and residents alike to stay active and healthy by renting a bike and circumnavigating the lakes.

Bikes aren't likely to be here all winter.  For now, though,  the sun is out, the sky is blue, bike lanes are dry and clear, and there is plenty of looping to be done!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Three Doors, Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN

Leafless-- but hardly Lifeless - in St. Paul.

We celebrated bright sunshine in the Twin Cities today -- a welcome change. I felt its warmth, and squinted my eyes near-shut, as I walked to meet my lunch date at Chatterbox Cafe.

Craig Cox favors this eatery, just off Ford Parkway in the Hyland Park neighborhood of St. Paul. We've been there before, and never had a bad meal.

Coxie wouldn't mind if I were late, I mused, as I admired the almost mystical, shadowy, leafless (but not lifeless), image etched by the sun on the Chatterbox building.

Got to the restaurant's front door just as Coxie arrived, gave my old buddy a big bear hug, and inside we ducked, out of the sun. We were shown to a capacious booth where we would end up talking about everything under the sun, save the shadows of a leafless (but not lifeless) poplar tree, made mysterious and glorious by a robust late October sun.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Motocross Arena Riders Take Time Out.

My cousin Pete built a moto-cross course on the Back 40 at his place in Chillicothe.  He invites professional riders like these two dare-devils to train for the big money pro circuit, and stir up a little Ross County (Ohio) dust.

Pete's got an "arena course," I learned - similar in shape and size, and same kind of dirt as the indoor venues where these boys compete each season in a break-neck, guts and glory sport fit just for the, well, fit.

Rider #6 competes with a broken leg and an air cast.  How he shifts gears and works the brakes is a mystery I have no particular interest in solving.

Oh, to be young again -- and astride 250cc 4-stroke bikes that regularly get thirty-plus feet of "air." 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

China's Flying Pigeon, World's Best Seller.

I was in the Greenpoint Section of brooklyn and spied a beaten-down "Flying Pigeon." See big photo at top of the blog. Learned on the site that "Pigeon" still sells more bikes than any mfgr. on the planet.  Hope folks take good care of these prize possessions. 


Friday, October 26, 2012

West Side Watering Hole Delivers in These!

Manhattan's legendary West Side watering hole, P. J. Clarke's, makes take-out deliveries the old fashion way.

Out of respect for lower carbon footprints ... to keep delivery boys fit and strong ... and to navigate the oft-choked streets of the restaurant's clientele, super-sturdy delivery bikes are the order of the day.

Wonder if the box includes a refrigerator? You know, to keep cool Clarke's famous adult beverages suitable for in-home consumption!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Look, Dad! No hands!

Dad pedals his Jamis velo one-handed as Junior gets the ride of his life.

Mom wasn't sure what to make of it all: was the child wearing his helmet?

What if Dad went too fast? Or his hand slipped from the grip?

Nah. Ride ended without incident -- except the youngster had the biggest smile imaginable plastered all over his little face.

A velo-ster in the making  :)

Transmitter Park, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Once upon a time (say, back in the 1930's) the WNYC radio transmitter occupied this spot along the East River.

Indeed, the single story white building (known as Transmitter House) in the background of this pic held the "workings" of the magic of early radio.

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia dedicated the facility in 1936. A handsome, very business-like plaque attests to this landmark event.

The tower itself, dismantled long ago, once soared skyward from the building, reaching millions of New Yorkers with music, news and entertainment. 

City mothers and fathers got religion somewhere along the line. Nowadays the former site of the radio transmitter is a magnificent public space, the pride of Greenpoint. On any given day Moms and kids in strollers hang out and socialize in a top-notch playground. Bladers and joggers do their thing. And walkers with dogs on leashes also enjoy the world-class views across to Manhattan.

My panorama shot has been jiggered inside the SONY. The "look" is more watercolor than photographic.  The silhouette belongs to a new friend I met in Transmitter Park, who was walking his beagle when he and I struck up a thoughtful, memorable conversation.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Star Bar, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn's Latest Coffee Craze!

Jessica and I strolled past the Grady's Cold Brew sidewalk shop in Greenpoint last week. We hit the barista on her last day selling retail -- "we'll focus entirely on wholesale, once the weather turns," she reported.

This little Enterprise is destined for greatness in the view of cafe-aficionados Jessie and Poppy.   The brew is smooth, with a pleasing hint of chicory.  The entire process -- roasting, grinding, brewing, concentrating, adding the chicory, etc. -- takes place right here.  Wholesale accounts have been opened in the New York Metro, and some of are are hoping the product gets to Minneapolis, pronto.

In support of the brand, I bought a couple of bottles of Grady's to put in my cooler for the drive home.  As soon as I arrived in Long Lake, Jason was there to greet me, and we cracked open a bottle and toasted -- one part Grady's to one part milk.

Now, we're talking ...... !

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pedicure with Lisa, Westerly, RI.

"I've seen worse looking feet," was how Lynn Nails pedicurist Lisa described my old dogs the other day.

You should see them now!

Sky, Jessie and I just had a family pedicure in Westerly, RI -- though I declined the toenail painting.

It was Poppina who gave us the idea in the first place.  She and the gals enjoyed a family foot job the last time we visited the East Coast.

Highly recommend Lisa. Now THIS is what we mean when we talk family values!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Biggest Horseshoe Crab, Ever.

Your automotive answer in Ross County, OH.

Just Left of Madison, WI: real GOP?

Stopped outside of Madison, WI to gas up the KIA Sportage but got distracted by this iconic Pink Elephant.

Could it be making a political statement, I'm wondering?

Do heavy black glasses honor the memory of Barry Goldwater?

Does the color pink confirm support for breast cancer research, and national health care? 

Is there a subliminal message to voters that the GOP they remember from the old days is, like a pink elephant, really a hangover from too much drinking of the koolade?

What do you think?  I'm not sure -- makes an interesting post to the Blog.

Monday, October 8, 2012

35,069 Pageviews and Counting.

Thanks to you, dear readers, Poppy's Velo Ventures has passed the 35,000 all-time pageviews mark. 

While I'm not sure if that's a "good number" -- a little or a lot -- the fact that you read PPV, enjoy it enough to come back again, and occasionally leave a comment -- it's motivation to keep your humble scribe posting pics and perspective about life's random encounters. 

Thank you for your support.  Suggestions, ideas, comments, critiques welcome, as always.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seriously Hot Hookers. I'm Serious!

Poppina and I made it over to the annual Fall Valley Hook-In in Stillwater.  Ran into our pals Pam and Adele -- and the three hookers posed for Poppy's Polaroid (well, digi SONY, actually).

The rug hooking community in MN and WI is strong, vital, and enormously creative.  The work in wool these ladies do (you see a gent or so, but mostly the gals) is breathtaking in its complexity and beauty.

The Hoyts gobbled up skeins of yarn, yards and yards of craft-dyed wool fabric, and linen patterns which will become remarkably exquisite rugs when Nancy is finished working her magic.

I'll attach more pics in an subsequent post.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beat to Sh*t Bike, Steamboat Springs, CO.

How old is this baby?

And what kind of tales could it tell?

Looks to me like a single-cylinder 350 cc from the early 1950's. Probably 2-stroke, made in Europe, long-since taken out of service, and left to dress up a gas station's decor along US Hwy. 40 in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

I once had a JAWA (Czech made, 2-stroke, 125 cc) that looked a little like this bike.  My machine was black w/gold paint trim, comfy, pretty quick for its size, and handled like a dream.

The JAWA was my daily transportation in the Panama Canal Zone when I was stationed there on active duty with the U.S. Air Force.  What a sight I must have been to my Commanding Officers, not to mention the Air Police who waved through vehicles at Albrook AFB.

The brash young Lieutenant, dressed in 1505's and low quarters, dying to do a wheelie at the front gate, but knowing full well that would not have been a cool move.

Unbecoming an officer, and the Bird Colonel would have been right!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mississippi River - Locks + Dam #1

Now  they tell me.

It's taken nearly 15 years to figure out that this remarkable feat of river engineering is right here in my own back yard.

I discovered #1 Locks earlier this week on a ride up River Road West.  One other visitor was at the site -- and he arrived on his bike as well.

Not a boat was in view, though there doesn't seem to be a regularly scheduled filling and emptying of the locks.

My interest was piqued because I've spent time around the Panama Canal, and have a profound respect for what it took to dig the Canal and build + run the locks now.

Back to our country, and the Mississippi River: I'd love to ride the distance between the Twin Cities and St. Louis -- from where the first lock is located to where the last one operates -- sometime next summer.  There's a map for that -- and an App, of course -- and I suspect plenty of road warrior reports from pedalers who've gone before.

Stay tuned for details.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mississippi River Rd., St. Paul, MN.

Another remarkable Twin Cities velo adventure is a trip along Mississippi River Road -- running east and west, up and down the Mightiest of American Rivers.

I had the good fortune to check out the ride today -- as fine, warm, and rewarding a day as one can ever expereince.

My good buddy Hervey Evans pointed me in the right direction: down Summit Ave., past St. Thomas Univ., to the end where Summit hits Mississippi River Rd.  Hervey told me where to park, and how to begin my journey downriver.

And what did I experience?

I crossed Ford Ave. Bridge, visited River Lock #1, met a third grade class from Minnehaha Academy, then worked my way north and east and crossed the river again along the Lake Street bridge.

Pic above was snapped by two new journalist friends -- a writer/producer from WCCO-TV, and her colleague, the station's assignment editor.  I think they were playing hookey!