28 May 2012

What should I name my bike?

A Giant Defy 2 in need of a name

Since I first got my new bike over two months ago, I've been dreaming up potential names for my new conveyance.  I've decided to open myself up to the power of crowd-sourcing and allow my human blog readers to make the final choice for me.  See the poll to the right to cast your vote from among these contenders, or leave other ideas in the comments:

1. "Red Stripe"
Pro: This was the "working title" of my bike during my training season since it has a red stripe along the top tube.  It's also the name of a beer and a Providence restaurant.
Con: It's a gender-neutral, which could lead to some confusing situations when my bike grows up. 

2. "Unique Potential"
Pro: Shout-out to the Hyde School.
Con: Kind of a mouthful

3. "I'll Have Another"
Pro: Name of the horse who won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and may become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years on Saturday.  Plus the name seems fitting for my second cross-country trip.
Con: "I'll Have Another" could lose the Belmont Stakes and become a historical footnote.

In the running: "Crank Lloyd Wright"
4. "Levon Helmet" ("Levon" for short)
Pro: Name would honor the recently-deceased musical legend Levon Helm.  Also it's a pun.
Con: People unfamiliar with Levon Helm might think it's a dorky joke about leaving your helmet on.

5. "Black-eyed Sally"
Pro: Famous restaurant in Hartford, cool name for a bike.
Con: No particular connection to my bike.

6. "Crank Lloyd Wright"
Pro: Punny.
Con: It's a mouthful.  Plus Frank Lloyd Wright was a real bastard. 

17 May 2012

Training Tribulations

Two months ago the USPS delivered a real treasure to my address here in Maine - the bike I'd be riding across the country with - a 59cm Giant Defy 2.  My bike and I hit it off right away and just yesterday I rode my 500th mile of training on it.

My new bike on its first ride, back in
March, to Reid State Park near
Georgetown, ME.
I broke that barrier somewhere near Lisbon, ME (one of many Maine cities and towns that are comically named after distant, exotic, and unrelated locations) during a trip from Bethel, ME - home of Sunday River Ski Resort, Gould Academy, and, seasonally, the world's tallest snowman - to Bath, ME - home of me.  In order to get to my starting locale, I rode a bus along with the Hyde School men's lacrosse team, who had a game in Bethel (Go Phoenix!).

Along my slightly downhill ride back home I passed through the beautiful town of Greenwood, alleged birthplace of L.L. Bean.  I also passed through the towns of Norway and Paris before stopping for a snack in Mechanic Falls.  Just two miles after my lovely stop a badly intentioned piece of gravel gave me my first flat tire of the season (damn stock tires!).  I was able to change the tube quickly enough, but I couldn't inflate the new tube enough with my crappy hand pump, which made for a difficult ride back.

Beautiful paved road in Greenwood that
betrayed my trust by turning into gravel.
Although I intended to ride all the way to Bath, by the time I arrived in Brunswick (about 9 miles to the west), it was too dark and foggy to continue, so I stopped and enjoyed some Brunswick delights - awesome Indian food and Gelato Fiasco for dessert.  At first my ego was a little sore at having failed to reach my original goal, but ultimately Bethel to Brunswick is still pretty far and, in my defense, I was extremely hungry. 

Mileage for the day: 70
Riding time: 4:20
Flat Tires: 1

16 May 2012

Announcing the Route Tracker 2012

This ridiculous line does not represent
my cross-country bike trip.  But the Route
Tracker sure does!!
Now that Bike & Build's first trip is on the road, the organization has launched its Route Tracker function, where you can see where riders are today, how many miles they've ridden, and how much money they've raised, as well as their photos, stories, and credit card numbers, etc..  (Only one of these things is not true).

Although there is still a month before my route sets off, the Maine to Santa Barbara Route Tracker is ready for action.  Until then, it functions merely as a constant reminder that 0 miles have been ridden. 

I'll also post a link at the top of the blog so that it's always easy to access.  Enjoy!

07 May 2012

Back in the Sattel

You may be confused by what you see before you.  Maybe because you're looking for a blog about funny things that happen in Austria and this looks to be a blog about a cycling trip.  Maybe because you're looking for a blog about cycling and this blog is littered with comical umlaut words.  Maybe because you never understood those silly bikes with one big wheel in the front and one tiny wheel in the back.

On a bike, in Austria
To address these questions: this blog was originally intended to keep my friends and family apprised of my life as an English teacher in Austria and to offer unsolicited lessons in German vocabulary.  It was called "Scott's Fingerspitzengefuhl" - a pun that was amusing to German-speakers with low standards of amusement.  It has since been renamed "Scott's Sattelsitzengefuhl" - a made-up riff on the original title that translates to  "the feeling of sitting on bike seat."  As this is a feeling that will be setting the tone of my summer, I thought it would make an excellent title.

Beginning on June 19th, I will set off with 30 other young adults from Portland, Maine en route to Santa Barbara, California as a Trip Leader with the group Bike & Build, which organizes these rides as fundraisers for affordable housing groups across the U.S.  I'll post info about my trip up here as often as I can this summer, but for all you impatient information junkies, here is a barrage of links:

-You can find more info about my route, Maine to Santa Barbara, here
-You can read my official Bike & Build Biography here
-You can make a small, but significant donation to the cause here
-You can watch a GIF of a dog wrapping himself in a blanket here

Thanks for checking out the new blog and I hope that you will stop by again soon!