Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Spoke Card Etiquette

First, if you are planning any sort of urban ride, Pedalpalooza adventure, alley cat race, or bicycling event wherein your duty is to provide a dandy good time for your riders, and possibly perpetuate the reputation and therefore future attraction to your ride:

You shall provide spoke cards*, **

*except in the case where attendance far surpasses your expectation, or you have gamified the spoke card giving (as in the case of the In Search Of...ride series where riders were challenged to find hidden spoke cards along the route to win prizes).
**or in the case that you're giving away some other prize(s)/memento(s)

Second, these spoke cards must be your own art or imagery, or at least art or imagery you have permission to use.  The art or imagery must reflect the flavor, or branding (if you will) of the event.  Your spoke card must be two-sided and appropriately-sized so that it may be fitted between two neighboring spokes on a standard 32-spoked wheel with a double crossover lacing pattern.

The spoke card you create is required to be weather-proof, which may mean different things in different localities.  For Portland, it means: waterproof.  In Mexico or other points south, this means UV-proof.  Near the ocean?  Salt-proof please.  Etcetera.

If you are offered a spoke card, you may only refuse it if you have radially laced spokes on all wheels on your rig, or a minimum of eight spoke cards already installed and in good condition.  Otherwise, you must graciously accept this handmade gift and immediately install it on your steed, whip, ride, or whatever the heck it is you call your two wheeled tumbler.

Unless you are on a tricycle, cargo bike, or dragging a trailer, you will only have two installation choices for your new memento.  Front wheel or back.  Either is acceptable.  If you already have spoke cards installed, it is best to pair the new card with the existing card by displaying them in the opposing position on the same wheel.

Spoke cards installed on the rear wheel will ideally be on the drive side, where most photography seems to point, and opposite the valve stem.  Spoke cards installed on the front wheel will also need to be on the opposite side of the valve, except when an existing spoke card is present, in which case the new card shall be placed on on the same side as the valve.

The spoke card must not be deliberately removed in any case, with the following exceptions:
  • it is of shoddy quality and is shredding (shame on the maker)
  • it is compromising your aero-ness and you've registered for a triathlon
  • it is compromising your aero-ness and you've registered for a time trial
  • it is making noise and cannot be adjusted enough to be quiet*
  • someone died
  • you have crashed or otherwise "tacoed" your wheel
  • you are having new wheels built
*this condition is voided if your bike is making other noises including but not limited to chain squeak, bottom bracket chirp, disc brake squeal, spoke violin, rim brake-pad rubbing and/or mystery ticking.

If you are a bike mechanic, wheel-builder or somehow have found yourself in charge of someone else's bike which has a spoke card displayed, you may only remove the spoke card if it is required by the scope of work you are performing.  Please do not re-install the spoke card.

In the case of a new wheelset, the spoke card is removed from the old wheelset and handed to the customer (or friend you just did a massive favor for) when they are receiving the new wheelset.

That is all.  Unless it's not, in which case, please add your comments and I will amend this article immediately.

Many thanks to the Missing Link's talented mechanic Matt, who recently built new wheels for me and brought this important issue to my attention.  (He placed the spoke card he removed from my wheel into my basket, which is the preferred and premium method for those of you with baskets).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Portland Society Boot Camp

The mission statement listed on the Portland Society website reads "The Portland Society is a group of professional women who are passionate about bicycling in Portland, Oregon. We work together to support each other through referral, education, and community. We grow our businesses and careers while making Portland a better place to live and ride.".

If I had to elevator speech that (yes, I'm using elevator speech as a verb now!), I'd say "We are Portland women who are driven by our passion for cycling and for pushing each other up." 

We meet every month for an hour of coffee, round robin intros and a presentation on one of a wide array of topics including life balance, finances, legal stuff, public speaking, marketing, how to recycle correctly, or where to tour or even how to affect change in your workplace or your neighborhood or the world.  And once a year, we have a boot camp.  This year we took a whole weekend.  It seems weird to refer to it as a weekend, since it was so much more than a coupla days on the calendar.  It started Friday evening at the rather divine meeting hall near the cabin compound on top of the hill at Stubb Stewart.  I've only had amazing times on that hill, including one of the best New Year's celebrations ever. 
Happy hour kicked us off, followed by dinner and a scrapbooking session led by yours truly.  That's right, I'm a scrapbooker.  It's a dorky sport and I was nervous to share it with this group of thirteen sophisticated and cultured women, some of whom were self-described non-crafters.  I was shocked at how the room quieted as everyone went to "work" making their perfect scrapbook.  I stood stunned in the middle of the room and soaked up the open minded, creative energy.  It felt good.

The next morning, we awoke to yoga at the meeting hall.  Next to the wood burning fireplace.  Everyone participated in the peaceful practice.  It is a bonding experience to share morning yoga with so many friends.  The space made inside myself and my muscles during yoga practice was filled with friendship feelings, which are some of the best.
Breakfast was next.  We enjoyed a small banquet of three types of quiche, coffee and settled in for storytelling.  Our speaker shared her experiences with fear during solo adventures.  It was inspirational, and set the tone for the rest of the weekend, as we'd be talking about fear a lot.

A quick change of clothes and it was time for our branding presentation.  The presenter had travelled all the way from Colorado to teach us how to hone our personal and professional stories.  She asked us what our ultimate project would be.  It really got me thinking. 
I felt like the next presenter was speaking directly to me.  She taught us a heightened awareness of useless fears, learned helplessness and the best and easiest guide to self-care I've ever heard.  I was tearful and it wasn't even lunchtime yet.
It's hard to remember what happened next.  That's not true, I have my scrapbook to refer to.  The next lady who talked with us doesn't ride a bike.  I didn't know it then and it's only meaningful because she was able to see that even though the bicycle brought this group together, we're not a sports club and bikes didn't even come up that much.  She talked with us about creating space for creativity.  She asked us to split into twos and share with our partner every bad thought about ourselves that runs on our daily monolog ticker.  And then the positive things we believe about ourselves.  This made a few remarkable things happen.  First, and most important, no one hesitated.  Everyone jumped up and picked a partner to share their innermost dreads with.  Amazing.  Second, many noticed a marked repeat between the positive and negative sides.  Third, letting these things out into the open air was really liberating.
After lunch, we enjoyed a mediation walk.  I've never done this before.  We started out by standing in a circle outdoors performing leg and arm movement that synchronized with our breath, and with each other.  We spent the following forty-five minutes walking through the woods, silent except for the seven times our leader stopped, chimed a bell and walked us through a chakra.  We meditated on the chakra with our eyes covered, then spent the next section of the walk honing in on the sense associated with the chakra.  Woo woo stuff for sure, but it felt woop woop, not weird weird.
We ran back to our cabins to collect ourselves and get ready for dinner.  The moon was one of those crazy big moons with a beautiful blue haze surrounding it in a perfect circle.  We had another storyteller during dinner.  She'd been on a round-the-country several-month-long tour and we all expected her to tell us about that.  She talked about it a little bit, but then launched into appreciation for small adventures.  She coaxed us to find the small adventures in daily life, and not get distracted by plans for the big adventure.  They all count and they're all fun, but the small ones can be just as great as the big ones and are right here in our daily lives.

After dinner, we talked about our intentions for boot camp and if they were met, highlights and lowlights of the weekend.  My lowlight, or the closest thing I could think to a lowlight, was that I lost my coffee cup for a few minutes after breakfast.  Others expressed a similar lack of problems or low feelings.  I scrapbooked the dinner story and the review round robin, live-time. 

The next morning, half drove home and half of us rode the twenty five flat country miles to the MAX train.  It rained the entire time.  The Banks-Vernonia trail was a treat, even in the wet.  I got a flat tire and had to unload and repair it in the rain, which was also somehow fun.  We returned slowly to our regular world and daily lives, splitting off one by one, each brimming with fresh insights, new memories and fired up friendships.