October 2009

Also known as the Ghost Story Ride, we agreed to help facilitate a smooth riding experience, so we had to make some final preparations at the shop to be ready for the spooky event.  We made the happy discovery that our bottom bracket wrench doubles as a jack-o-lantern conjurer.

pumpkin scraper

Aimed at kids older than 8 years, the Iowa City Public Library partnered with the Bike Library and Planet Bike in order to raise awareness about riding at night and the importance of proper light equipment.

It was also a chance to get into the Halloween mood with (a scant few) costumes and scary stories in our beloved Oakland Cemetery.  Below, the she-wolf dons her red hood that she, uh, borrowed from a friend.  Note the xtracycle packed with… packed with… zombie dinner?

ze volf

We met in the ped mall at the ICPL and fueled up on sugar cookies and hot cider.

at the ICPL

Not just grown-up kids but actual kids, too.

kids, too

Ah!  The beacon of the ride, the plastic jack-o-lantern became a glowing head with the simple addition of a bicycle light.

floating jack-o-lantern

And the ride gets underway, led by that feller dressed as a pirate…

haunted bike ride

or was he the third Allman Brother?

the third allman?

We made ourselves comfy underneath the Black Angel to hear the first round of scary stories.  We then went for another spin around the winding cemetery paths to end up at the miniature amphitheater to hear round number two.  The second round of tales was decidedly more frightening with the occasional tiny voice hollering out things like “Ew!” “Gross!” and “Scary!”

black angel

All in all, it was great fun, and our little troupe of around 30 people was well-bedecked in lights, as seen below.  A little blurry but you get the point.

blurry blinky

Additional special thanks to Kris Ackerson (aka the Human Jack-o-Lantern) of the City of Iowa City Planning Department.

human jack-o-lantern

Props to the ICPD as well for formally corking major intersections for us.

P.S. The result of the pumpkin scraping:


The latest member of our cargo biking family, the Touring Townie w/Free Radical!


Already paying for itself, it carried $2.95 worth of empties to John’s yesterday.  Oh the places we’ll go…

We brought in an xtra one, which will be built up onto one of our used bikes, but we can get more if you would like to turn your bike into a truck, too.  Lots of options and possibilities out there, take a look, dream a bit, then do it if you please!  We can help.

A fine combination of riding and sushi-eating and sake/beer-drinking.

We called it the Sushi Roll.

Sushi Rollers

Yesterday a small group of cyclists left our shop at closing time and rode over to Oyama for a maki roll apiece and an accompanying beverage.  We then rode out to Konomi for Round 2.

STP82647 Konomi

By the time we made it to Formosa for Round 3, they had stopped serving food.  So it went, the Sushi Roll in its minutiae was quite small, but in daytime it shall swell into the graceful ride in the land with disrespect to unpleasantness!

Yesterday, I (Cody) started reading Bob Mionske‘s Bicycling and the Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist.  I’ve been avoiding this book, thinking any book on law would have me nodding off in no time, but I’m happily a few chapters in and gobbling it up.

Bicycling & the Law

Being a cyclist anywhere but especially in the U.S. carries a certain amount of danger that is so often due to motorist negligence, a negligence that goes mostly unpunished.  Knowing how to handle negligence, road rage, harassment, theft, etc. is vital.  This book is a smooth-reading guide to historical rulings regarding cyclists’ rights, what your rights and responsibilities are, how to decipher the gray areas of code, and how to be an all-around empowered cyclist.  This is a book that can help us all move toward better equitability on the road.

Know your rights!  Be empowered!  So, the next time somebody says, “Bikes don’t belong on public roadways,” or even “Get on the sidewalk,” you can calmly tell them, “According to Uniform Vehicle Code Section 11-1202, ‘Every person propelling a vehicle by human power or riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle,‘ and most municipalities have codes that reflect this, so stick it up your tailpipe!”

Unfortunately, our distributor has ceased carrying this book, but it’s available at velopress.com.  $18.95 in the U.S.  Also, Bob Mionske has excellent articles regarding this topic all over the web.  A quick search of his name will reveal a heap of handy links.

The first (but surely not the last) of its kind, the 30 Cent Bicycle cap!



How quaint, we are in the phonebook!  Remember those?  Look for us under Bicycles in the “yellow pages” section- it’s easy and fun, too!


Wayne seems to like the book even more now.  If you don’t have a phone book, don’t worry, our phone number is available in many places online, too.  Like right here:  (319) 248-1288

Gotta go, the phone is ringing!

What a surprise, snow this morning!  I (Steve) took the long way in to work and got a nice coating.


While this may be a bit premature, might as well go over the basic rules of biking in the snow right now.  Rule number one:  Do it!  Rule number two:  Do it again!  Rule number three:  Wear appropriate clothing!  Rule number four:  Don’t get cocky.  The golden rule:  Have fun, and we will see you out there, whatever the weather.

If you’re unfamiliar with the “Your Change Can Make a Difference Can” that resides in our humble bike shop, it’s an old coffee can that accepts donations for various local causes.  Since we opened in April, the Can has collected over $165 for good stuff like the Bike Library, the Animal Shelter, and Mayor’s Youth.  We’re happy to report that last month saw $32.94 for the Rape Victim Advocacy Program.

09hawthorn_spNow that we’re moving into the slow days of fall, the next cause will get two months of collecting.  This one is based in Watkins Glen, NY but has operated locally.  The Farm Sanctuary has various projects, among them the Adopt-a-Turkey Project.  It’s good timing for Thanksgiving to support the care of a rescued turkey, one who has escaped the cruelty of the factory farm system.

Sponsorship rates are $25 per rescued turkey.  How many of these sentient, sensitive birds can we save?  Two?  Three?  More?

Pictured is Hawthorne, resident of the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA.