Friday, August 29, 2014

The Hats I Used to Make




The hats I used to make by Mike Beck
   I used to make wide brimmed sun hats out of canvas bank bags. The white ones, stamped ‘return to US mint” that held currency or coin to specific values.  Single layer top and crown, doubled brim, hand stitched with a curved needle and coarse waxed thread. They were pretty good hats, and not too floppy.
   While hitchhiking, a sun hat can keep you from searing your noggin in the afternoon sun. Canvas sun hats can be wetted down, or get wet anyway from sweating, able to provide cooling and shade in one compact, rollable package. I was pretty proud of my hats, made some for friends, had a few versions over the years. I made enough I developed an “ideal” hat pattern.

I lost one once too.

   I was hitchhiking bluegrass country, had caught a ride from a couple of fellas in a worn out jalopy that blew a gasket trying to climb one of the ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains of Kentucky.  Heading west on one of my speed hitchhiking attempts, a delay of a mechanical was going to set me back.
   
  We got out of the car, popped the hood, and the owner peered in the engine compartment, covered in oil from the leak, and grabbed for the first clean looking rag he could find – the hat in my hand! Whether he knew it was my hat and was trying to get out some of his frustrations on the nearest person of little consequence to him, or did it unawares, will never be known.

    I bid them a thanks for the ride and my adieu, with the owner of the car holding my hat, oil soiled and crumpled up, and walked off into the angled afternoon sunlight.

   Having a homemade item of practical value suddenly turned into a grease rag taught me at an early age to never expect things to go the way you’d intended, or to expect even reasonable permanence from ones’ possessions.

   Lesson learned. Sometimes your shade suddenly goes away.” © 2014 mikeTbeck ARR


Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Did a preride last week of a 55 mile gravel grinder route across what really is remote country in the continental United States.  A buddy and I are hosting  the inagural Huron Mountain Crusher, August 24th.

There's going to be more mileage options next year, this year only one distance. The "Crusher" portion of the route is quite stout, and portions of it can be seen in the video.

Upper Peninsula gravel = rocks the size of a football.You can see some of it parts of the crusher in the video.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A video of a gravel grinder event coming up Aug 24th in Marquette County.

 There's some great footage of what passes for gravel in the UP about a minute in.

 the huron mountain crusher gravel grinder

'warning - the crusher eats cyclocross bikes.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

how bout some vintage fat tire bike, circa 1930 NYC


Saturday, February 22, 2014

A little misleading commentary in the 'debate' about bike facilities, from a rider that really should know  better, a cycling instructor! In this fear-laden, misleading article, Cycling Savvy instructor Karen Karabell projects her personal bias that runs counter with the evidence into the bikelane debate."


"in this fear-laden, misleading article, Cycling Savvy instructor projects her personal bias into the bike facilities "debate"

more of the same, tired anti-facilities screed previously associated with the group that called themselves 'vehicular cyclists' -these riders are characterized as willing to ignore the preponderance of the evidence, and make wild claims about bicyclists safety being ensured by first being directly in line with traffic.

It's a ludicrous tautology that even the proponents of cycling savvy don't seem to agree with when discussing this article. many make a lot of asides of course, riding to the side is also safe, as is using bike lanes when safe, and that higher speed roads just aren't suitable for some riders.

 it's a very transparent tautology. suprising it gets so much traction by self-ascribed 'savvy' riders, who all claim to know that controlling lanes is not always required.

 if it isn't - why does cycling savvy's proponents drone on endlessly about controlling lanes to be noticed? It doesn't match up with the control lanes only when reasonably necessary riding styles of some of the ardent defenders of 'savvy' cycling.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

I taught a bike commuting class of 8 people in sub-zero temperatures in Houghton today, windchill to 25 below. Coldest group ride i've ever done.

Houghton averages 18 feet of snow a year. Hardy folk up thataway. 

Bike Initiative Keweenaw Winter 2014 snow biking seminar