Sunday, August 31, 2014

Contemplating the Target big box store in Hamel, MN.

We'd pedaled up to Target the other day.  Mission was to pick up 4 x 6" glossies, and lay in a supply of Dunkin' Donuts regular grind and some decaf. 

Sitting on the big, red Target cannon ball Jason sports his Camelback: high visibility green pack with a water supply bladder stitched inside. Our veloster hydrates a bit before he and I pass through the automatic doors to do some power shopping.

"Turn around and face the camera," I suggest to Jason.

"No way," comes the reply. "It's a better picture like this."

And he's right.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adman, Dori, Jason and the Snapping Turtle Incident.

Sunday afternoon, heading west along Dakota Trail.  Jason and I weren't too far out of Wayzata when we came upon a young snapping turtle chilling in the middle of the paved bike path.   We HAD to stop and usher the snapper to safety.

Bikes were not parked in a particularly velo friendly manner.  Along pedals a couple behind us, slowing down, but unable to pass due to oncoming bike traffic. While Jason was explaining the Snapping Turtle Situation, the gent biker (whom we came to know as Todd the Adman) took a spill, tumbling down the side of the path toward the marsh.

J and I pulled Todd up the embankment, helped dust him off, received assurances from wife Dori that Adman was OK.  THEN we began to chat in earnest.

T + D were on their way home from Cov in Wayzata.  Jason, who lives in Steamboat, turns out to know of a friend of T + D who's on ski patrol there.  Since old Poppy has spent a lifetime in magazine publishing, I knew people in the ad agency business, which T + D ran here in the Cities before they retired.

What a day, you might say. Business cards exchanged.  Plans made to stay in touch. And promises that velos would be parked off-path in the future, and that cyclists would aways stop to help turtles get home safely. 

Ed D and Sammy T share "Silverado" Leather.

Ed D showed up in Long Lake last week, towing his "Ski Nautique" sport boat behind the 2010 Silverado.   On his way from Steamboat Springs to a little lake hideaway in Wisconsin,  our buddy Ski King and his family planned a week of boogie boarding, surfing, slalom skiing, and who knows what other kinds of water diversions!

As for the upholstery, Ed explained that the leather was an after-market option, and a local shop in the Rockies did the work.  Even installed gel pads - awesomely comfortable, says Ed.

Meanwhile, Sammy T (a.k.a.  Poppina and La Nancita) joined Ed for a foto op before Ski King headed Up North.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Margaret and Kris Krush YWCA Twin Cities Tri-Athlon.

It's been a week since my friend Margaret Klis and her daughter Kris finished their first tag team triathlon.  

Margaret reports that: "the YWCA did a fabulous job accommodating the 1200 women of all shapes, sizes, ages and races who competed. 

"The 'Y-Tri' stands for empowering all women, and this event certainly went along way in empowering those 1200 competitors."   

Mom Margret and Daughter Kris, as I've posted before, shared duties (though next year each plans to compete in all three events).  

Our gals finished in under two hours, which, while not fast, was Margaret explains was: very good for our first time competing."

Favorite memories?  Margaret again:  "when I was biking toward the finish line I saw my three grandchildren along the road and they were yelling, "Nana Nana".  It was a good thing I was done, because at that point, I had tears in my eyes."

As for the fundraising: they came in first place, raising $1530.  No trophies or medals for our Champs, but bragging rights were enough to inspire our winners to start training for next year, now.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Twin Harbors Lake Superior Smoked Trout.

I know. This seems pretty gross. But believe me:  it tastes way better than it looks.

It?  Smoked trout from Lake Superior. We found it last weekend at the Kendall Smokehouse in Two Harbors, MN.  The fish is caught locally, smoked locally, and sold in the same store, by the same family, that's been doing it the same way for 40+ years.

The fish is firm, and a little flaky.  Not like smoked salmon which can feel slimy to the taste and touch.

The "smoked" of the trout seems local (can that be possible?).  Subtle, mild, sublime to eat.  You don't want too much at one sitting, so a pound lasts a while.

But then it's gone. And the wrapper looks like this.  And if you have nothing better to do with your time you take a picture of the whole deal and write about it on a blog. Hmmmmm.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Your Bike can pull TAKU-TANKU Mini Home.

'Carried by one or two persons or by a bicycle, by a car or potentially even by a boat, TAKU-TANKU is made out of water tanks and can travel through many landscapes to serve as companion and shelter but also as a sculpture that celebrates the vital role of water in our lives.'
Its interior can accommodate two to three people and has a compartment to store some luggage or belongings. 
It is also equipped with solar-powered LED lights. 
TAKU-TANKU is an eco-friendly project that can be easily assembled, built with off-the-shelf and re-purposed materials. 
The structure is composed by two 3,000 liter water tanks connected by a ring of wood that frames the entrance.

Read more:
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Long Lake Hell Train is Running Again.

Produce shopping yesterday at the Untiedt Stand in Long Lake.  

Jason and I selected a half-dozen ears of corn ($4.00), freshly picked raspberries @ $6.00 per pint, a "black diamond" water melon -- "it's so rich in color and taste you're not going to believe it"  -- was the sales pitch.

And then, as pretense for capturing a quick foto for the Poppy Blog, we asked to see a pair of locally grown, organic, heirloom tomatoes right off the place.

Our new BFF counter person was a persuasive pitch-person.  Sharp-tongued, too, so of course we had some fun chatting it up.

While J and I failed to ask the lady's name we did learn that she'd received a text earlier in the day from one of her daughters with the following acerbic message:  "Looks like the Hell Train is Running Again."

Hell Train must refer to the Mom ... but why and what and huh??   More on this in a later post.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Battle of the Brews - Harvest Moon Co-op Style.

Beans and Brew were locked in competition when I went to Harvest Moon today.   

Staffer Katie told me to be sure to vote for my fave blend.  I did:  #2 and 4 (out of six brands) were in my dead heat.

Why the heck the brew-off?  Manager Garland explains his retail service strategy: " ...  it's listening to the consumer.  The customer has spoken."  And co-op members were taking the flavor test, voting their taste buds.

Of course there was time for a photo opp:  (from the left), new-hire Theo, usually on the register, but called to jump into the pic.

And Tim C., sales manager for "Hope Butter," out of Hope, MN, and at Harvest Moon to make a sales call.  Tim made me howl with laughter at this Minnesotan comment:   "At Hope we do it the old fashion way.  There's a 40-year old churn at the plant. Jay makes the butter and I sell the butter.  Then Jay makes MORE butter."  And Tim breaks into hysterics.

Katie is next in line, and to her left, Garland, Harvest Moon manager.

You've got to shop this place. Be sure to become a member, too: so much fun, so much activity, so many iteresting people, and a $20.00 gift card every time you spend $500.00.  What's not to like about our co-op??

The Back Door at Calhoun Cycle in Uptown.

Dunn Bros. iced skinny latte called my name yesterday.  I responded with alacrity.  Ordered an oatmeal raisin cookie as well.  Never a disappointment there.

Dunn's shares retail space with Calhoun Cycle, and Calhoun was my next stop.

The July issue of VeloVision had arrived from England -- not many mags I look forward to reading as much as VV.  Sojourners comes close, and that one is available on the newsstand at Garrison Keillor's store, Common Books, in St. Paul.  And I am always psyched to open  Public Art Review -- not just to learn about the field, but because I'm the ad sales rep for PAR, and I want to make sure my customers' ads came out right.

Back to Calhoun Cycle:  a small handlebar bag made by Banjo Brothers also called my name.  That went into may shopping cart.  As did a pair of Andiamo padded "under shorts," that can worn under, well, anything, shorts included.

On the way to my KIA out back, I tried to get another part of the Calhoun shop. Plus the employee "parking lot." A little sepia tweaking in iPhoto and I was pleased with the way this came out.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

In Memory of the "Boys of our Navy."

Seven Minneapolis sailors, serving in the U.S. Navy during WW I, lost their lives in this War to End All Wars. I came across this tribute to the "Boys in Our Navy" earlier this week when I was Looping the Lakes on my bike.

Tucked in a flower bed and in the shadow of Lake Calhoun, there's a powerfully moving plaque in memory of these seamen.  Names of the fallen are listed - wish there had been room on the bronze plate to tell a bit of a stroy about "Our Boys."

It's been 100 years since the War's end.  I suspect our patriots fought bravely, and believed in the rightness of their mission.  

Wonder how they'd feel about the powder keg world we live in now? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Peace Coffee Delivery Wagon Falls from Bike.

You bikers and java aficionados likely know the Peace Coffee brand. You see it in co-ops, markets, indy coffee shops, other hip and trendy places. I’m not sure if the brand is HQ’d in the Twin Cities, but I know they roast Peace here, and they deliver it by bike to venues all over the Metro.

On my loop around Lake Calhoun this morning I saw the Peace delivery man (he's on the phone in this photo). Thinking he might be selling off the back of his wagon (two women were talking to delivery man) I road over to check things out. I learned the cart had come unhitched from the bike, careening into the right rear fender of a new Prius. What I took to be polite social commerce was, instead, an exchange of insurance info, phone numbers, accusations and explanations.

Don’t know the resolution but besides feeling distressed, the car’s owner was feeling confident that Peace would fix things up as good as new.

Vicki and Will Invite You to Shop Harvest Moon Co-op.

We joined Harvest Moon Co-op a year or so ago. I'll bet I hit the store once, sometimes TWICE every day. Food is good, especially the desserts. 

Best of all? The staff! Like Vicki here and recent-hire Will. 

You can shop anywhere, but it's rare that you'll meet such excellent, high quality folks as these two. 

Go see for yourselves.  Tell 'em Poppy sent you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Parisian Velo Advertising Art, maybe by a Young Picasso?

Bonjour from Paris!  Don't you love this Velo Ad Art, right in the heart of the 5th arrondissement  

It's hard to read the "sell" copy, thanks to graffiti tagging  -- could be the work of a young Picasso, Basquiat, somebody equally famous?  My friend Jim H, polyglot, world traveler and francophile helped with the translation.  Looks like an ad for "gepetto" (these may be  scooters?), and sales, rentals repairs of the working man's bicis.

Carolyn and James T. were at the final Stage of the 2014 Tour de France. James iPhoned the pic to me, thought the velo would be a fine addition to the Poppy Blog.

Attn readers:  what do YOU think this is all about? 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

YWCA Twin Cities Triathalon - Margaret's Update.

I've posted about my friend and former colleague Margaret Klis.  You may recall that Margaret and daughter Kris are in training for this month's YWCA Twin Cities Tri. 

They're training hard, putting in the miles, bringing down their times, raising big bucks for this most important event.

I'm very proud of my good buddy.  And I asked Margaret to keep me in the loop.

"Training for the Triathlon has been a real journey sometimes interrupted by life issues like working long hours, my mother getting sick and me supporting a friend. During a long training program, that happens.  But here I am, one week from the event, and I'm on my way to the course to take one more practice run. After completing  the practice run, I can report that I rode 13 minutes faster than the last time. The training was helpful .  Another good thing:  my daughter and I met our fundraising goal of $1000. At this point we're at $1165 which is the highest of any of the fundraisers for the event.  Of course, we would be happy to make our total even higher, as the YWCA is truly a wonderful organization.  

I have included the link to our fundraising page.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Kickstarter Bike Shift Lever Project from One

As you might imagine there's an urgent need for accessible, affordable bike spare parts in the world's less developed countries.

Shift levers, for instance: when they wear out and need to be replaced, and if they ARE available, may cost the equivalent of a month's wages.

Pedaling to the rescue comes out of Prescott, AZ.  

Exec Dir.  Sue Knaup figures bike spares can be cast locally, made of widely available parts, and affordable by cyclists the world over.

But Sue needs capital to develop her idea.  So she goes to Kickstarter to raise the $$.  I sign up as an investor, and now I'm testing the first batch of shift levers to see how they perform.

Exciting? You betcha.  Proud of Sue?  Ditto.  Eager to see these shift levers in use in Ghana, India, Pakistan, Bolivia, Haiti, and a hundred other countries?  Yup.

For more info call (928) 541-9841, or

This is such a win-win good idea.  Ride on,  Sue.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Danish BULLITT Cargo Bike, Retro-ed as Kid Karrier.

Here's my new friend Mike and his kids. We met this morning in Hamel: I was on my way to the post office and when I saw this EXTRAORDINARY BULLITT CARGO BIKE, I had to go meet the owner and check out his ride. Mike explains that the BULLITT is manufactured in Denmark, and he bought his at Calhoun Cycle in Uptown Minneapolis.Basic BULLITT comes with a cargo box perched over the front wheel, but can be built out to include a kid's compartment, seat covers, waterproof passenger canvas, and other amenities. On the tech side: Nuvinci internal gearing, hydraulic disc brakes, and a Brooks B-19 sprung saddle. Last winter Mike added an electric assist to the front wheel, and now he can go anywhere the spirit moves him, anytime he has the urge.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sweet Corn, Sweet Ride: Sweet Minnesota Summertime.

Minnesota Sweet Corn is here! And nothing tastes better or is more anticipated by cyclists, than sweet abundance from places like Gregor Farm.

Folks are surprised to learn that within two miles of my suburban home there's a vibrant agricultural culture. It's right here in Hennepin County, just 16 miles from downtown Minneapolis.

More good news: there's no corporate farming out this way, no mega fields, but row after row of soy beans and tomatoes, raspberries and cukes, lettuce and carrots, dahlias and roses, and on it goes.  And on it grows!

Lucky me to come upon corn on my ride today. And to find a fellow cyclist whom I could persuade to squeeze the shutter.  There's also a Starbucks nearby, and I headed there right away for an iced trippio, no water, no flavor, a little 2%, all in a Venti cup that would fit my water bottle cage perfectly.

Get out and ride, Minnesota, and go get some sweet corn before it's all gone. Be sure to wipe the dripping butter from your chin!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Old Town Albuquerque is a Trip

Old Town, Albuquerque is a trip -- no matter how you decide to explore this special destination.  Last time NTS and I visited we mostly walked and poked around: taking pics, spending some tourist $$, and sampling food and drink to slake our thirst and satisfy our hunger. 

Next Trip:  we'll hail a ride with this 4-wheeler, pedal cruiser. Passenger seat looks cozy, the guide/pedaler seems strong, well-informed; I'm sure he'll take 'er slow so we can sight see to our hearts' content.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Public Art Review Magazine Celebrates 25 Years.

Artist, entrepreneur, activist and visionary in the upper Midwest, Jack Becker started Public Art Review Magazine 25 years ago.

PAR's mission: bring public art to more people, make it more meaningful, expand creative opportunities and understanding in the field for artists, fabricators, educators, art administrators, here in the USA and around the world.

That the magazine has exceeded such lofty goals is no surprise to the people who know Jack Becker and the professionals he's attracted to work with him.

To celebrate 25, Jack and his wife Nancy Reynolds (pictured above, along with Karen Olson, Executive Editor of Public Art Review) threw a birthday pot luck at their home in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.  Some 80 friends, colleagues, employees, contractors, customers, donors and grant recipients showed up at the BBQ.   Guests brought mounds of coleslaw and potato salad, chips and dip, double-chocolate brownies, exotic wines, and plenty of atta-boys, good wishes and good cheer.

I've been selling advertising in Public Art Review for nearly two years now. While I report to Forecast Public Art Executive Director Stacey Holland, my collaboration with Jack and Karen, and the rest of PAR's staff, continues to inform and inspire.  Lucky us. Here's to the next 25!