The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for September, 2010

On the Road……In front of the Minnesota Zen Center

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I made this picture and only later discovered I had stopped right in front of the Minnesota Zen Center.

Too bad my visit was so short. I could have sat zazen and listened to a dharma talk by the center’s teacher — an early student of Suzuki Roshi (founder of the San Francisco Zen Center).

Click here for a rare video of Suzuki Roshi.

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September 30th, 2010 at 11:52 pm

On the Road……Shoreline flora along Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis

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Lake-Calhoun_floraI’m not too familiar with mid-western flora.


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September 29th, 2010 at 10:32 pm


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Espresso Review……Dunn Bros. Coffee + 5 Dimensions of Espresso

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Dunn Bros. SIngle Espresso

Dunn Bros. Single Espresso

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In Minneapolis, I visited Cafe Imports — a green coffee trading company — and was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in a cupping of Brazilian, Peruvian, Indonesian, and Nicaraguan coffees. I also sampled a complex Kenyan auction lot coffee brewed both in a Hario pour-over and in a Clover.

Later, while out riding in the rain, I visited the Dunn Bros. Coffee shop that adjoins Calhoun Cycle, which I wrote about here.

At Dunn Bros., the ambiance was cozy and bright — a perfect spot to enjoy a coffee. The espresso was okay. I probably should have ordered a latte or something because they don’t do a true espresso.

So what is a true espresso? Read the rest of this entry »

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September 29th, 2010 at 10:06 pm


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On the Road……Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, Minneapolis

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Minneapolis shares something with my beloved Marin County.

Each is one of the four select communities chosen to be part of the NTPP (Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Project), a $100 million federal program to test how infrastructure improvements can increase rates of bicycling and walking.

I was in Minneapolis just briefly, but I still picked up a strong bicycle culture (Bicycling Magazine named it the most bike-friendly city in the country).

I circled Lake Calhoun (part of the 50-mile Grand Rounds Scenic Byway) and explored adjacent neighborhoods.

I was a bit confused, however, by some of the signage and rules. The bike path circling the Lake is one-way (note the picture above)!

This is great for recreational use, but for transportation purposes it makes it less useful as a bike boulevard or arterial.

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September 28th, 2010 at 11:55 am

On the Road……Rainstorm over Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis

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I had hoped to spend a day and a half exploring Minneapolis by bike. But the severe weather (some areas of Minnesota received 10″ of rain over the two-day period) partially quashed those plans.

Nonetheless, I overcame my inertia (and lack of full rain gear) to still manage some wet weather explorations on the new Brompton.

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September 26th, 2010 at 11:47 am

On the Road……Uptown, Minneapolis and Calhoun Cycle

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My Brompton was inspected by TSA baggage handlers (they left their dreaded, yet polite calling card).

Whether it was the result of a poor re-packing job by TSA Screener #101906 I cannot say, but the spokes and fender stays of the front wheel emerged a little unhappy after the 3.5 hour San Francisco-to-Minneapolis flight.

My friend in Minneapolis just happens to lives about 2 miles away from Calhoun Cycle, a local Brompton dealer. I rode over in a pouring rainstorm and Kody (pictured above) trued the wheel and straightened the bent fender stay.

The cost: $5!

The place exudes a pleasant alternative transportation, indie bike shop vibe. Plus, it’s connected through a common wall opening to a Dunn Brothers Coffee house (kind of a mid-western Peet’s, but with on-site roasting).

Here’s Calhoun Cycle’s philosophy (from their website):

We think spinning on a bike is a great way to physical, emotional and spiritual fitness. Reducing pollution, road congestion and parking stress are icing on the cake. The bicycles and accessories we sell are designed to help you be successful cyclists, whether you’re touring Nepal or bopping around the corner for milk.

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September 24th, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Gear Gallery……Ladies and Gentleman, the Brompton

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Brompton folded in hard shell case

Folded Brompton

I vowed my next bike would be a folding bike. A planned short trip to Minneapolis proved to be the trigger.

I narrowed it down and compared two very different bikes: The Dahon Mu Uno and a 3-speed Brompton M type.

I plan to have more notes and photos on the comparison and which one I ultimately chose and why. (Although these images of the Brompton packed for airline travel are a giveaway.)

Hardshell suitcase ready for air travel

Hardshell suitcase ready for air travel

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September 21st, 2010 at 1:31 pm

On the Road……Bon Tempe Lake & Reservoir

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A quick bike ride up the mountain to Bon Tempe Lake to recalibrate mind/body.

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madroneA native Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) — one of my favorite trees with its curious exfoliating bark.

sun_setting The fading of the light.

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September 17th, 2010 at 10:05 pm


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On the Road……SF’s Golden Gate Bridge, Westside, North Tower

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September 15th, 2010 at 11:03 am

On the Road……SF’s Golden Gate Bridge

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September 15th, 2010 at 10:59 am

On the Road……Guerciotti on the Golden Gate Bridge

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I recently did some exploring around the Golden Gate Bridge (and down by The Warming Hut).

This view is from the western side of the bridge looking toward the south-west. I believe the Seacliff/Richmond neighborhood is visible in the background.

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September 11th, 2010 at 7:53 am

Random Images……Praying Mantis on the Back Patio

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A Praying Mantis is said to point the way to Mecca


I found this beautiful, nearly 6 inch long, praying mantis in a container plant on my back patio.

Since reading Laurens van der Post’s A Mantis Carol, and learning the Bushmen of the Kalahari regard them as manifestations of God, I always approach these creatures with a special reverence. In the Islamic world, they are also important religious symbols. Plus, their subtle movements evoke meditation and mindfulness.

I like to think this little creature’s visit was a reminder to have more subtle awareness of my life and to not get too caught up in the day’s chaos.

What does this have to do with bicycling?

Well…for me riding a bike is good mindfulness practice: It helps me to regain peace of mind after a hard day and helps me to observe my everyday world with a somewhat greater sense of clarity.

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September 10th, 2010 at 6:29 pm


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Bicycling Culture……City Bike Sharing Schemes

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Is European-style bike sharing coming to the Bay Area?

Maybe so.

The BAAQMD has requested $5.14 million from MTC to fund a bike share pilot project.

The company I’ve been working with Alta Planning + Design has spun-off a new company (Alta Bike Share) that helps cities design and operate these systems. Together with Bixi, we installed an on-street demo for a bike-savvy San Francisco audience at last week’s Sunday Streets.

The Bixi bicycle kiosk system — including the bicycle models used by the Melbourne, London, and Montreal bike sharing operations — was on display.

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September 4th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Bicycling Culture……San Francisco’s Sunday Streets

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This bike share demo was my first experience with San Francisco’s Sunday Streets. (Whereby I also discovered — and highly recommend — the mobile food cart, Chairman Bao.)

Closing down streets to auto traffic began with Bogota’s Ciclovia. Here’s some of the history from SF Sunday Street’s website:

Ciclovía, literally “bike path” in Spanish, is a ground-breaking event that started in Bogotá, Colombia. This weekly event draws more than 1.5 million people to walk, bike, skate and enjoy more than 70 miles of streets opened to people – and closed to automobile traffic – every week.

Nearly 20% of this city’s population turns out every Sunday and holiday to participate in the 7 am to 2 pm event, which includes unparalleled free recreation and social opportunities, including dance and yoga lessons in the city’s streets and local parks.

“A quality city is not one that has great roads but one where a child can safely go anywhere on a bicycle.” Enrique Peñalosa, Former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.

crowdJohn (navy-blue uniform and shades) is the Bixi installation wizard from Montreal.  Brodie (light green shirt on the right) manages operations for Alta Bike Share. Sylvia (cap and light green shirt) was, like me, helping out for the day with public information and outreach.kiosk_bike_2

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The bikes themselves have lots of useful features: built-in generator hubs to power front and rear lights; internal frame-routed cables; height adjustable seats (yet non-removeable, and thus theft-proof); chain and skirt guards; three-speed internal gear-hubs; and, a front basket-like purse/brief case carrier with bungee cord.

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September 4th, 2010 at 2:10 pm