Archives for August 2011


August 28, 2011 by cynick | Posted in mundanities

A few weeks ago, I attended an event that was billed as “The Minnesota Garlic Festival”.

When hearing the name of this festival, I pictured something perhaps maybe not in the same league as the legendary Gilroy Garlic Festival, but some kind of approximation to it, with all manner of products made out of garlic. Garlic burgers with garlic buns, garlic soda, deep fried corn-on-the-garlic, and of course, garlic ice cream. Garlic soap, garlic rope, garlic coffee – I had plenty of time to use my imagination on the hour long drive out to the thing.

Upon arrival at the county fairgrounds where it was being held, reality started to set in. I wasn’t really seeing any crowds of people. There was a $5 fee merely to park.

And where was all the garlic? We walked around in there about twenty minutes before we actually saw someone selling any!

The famed ice cream stand that has garlic ice cream? Here it was, just after twelve o’clock noon, and they were completely sold out of it! And this certainly wasn’t due to any crowds kicking down the door!

How about a garlicky pulled pork sandwich? Sold out.

Ooo – a garlic and beef pasty! Now THAT’ll hit the spot. “Sorry, hon, we don’t have any left.”

Dammit, I’m starving.. Look! Someone’s offering a lamb burger!

“Does it have garlic in it?”, I asked. “No,”, the woman replied, “but you can put some garlic salt on it!” – and I was pointed to plastic shaker of Morton’s.

We counted only seven people actually selling garlic. And only one of those was offering samples.

The rest of the place was full of chiropractors, hippie soap sellers, rain barrel makers, and all sorts of other crap that was highly ungarlic.

We shrugged and headed for the exit.

A fitting coda: on the way out, we found ourselves walking right into.. hey! a parade! .. which was a motley affair of a handful of Scotsmen (or wannabe Scotsmen) playing bagpipes, a bunch of kids wearing handmade animal masks, followed by another bunch of kids that were probably from the local dance school, and, bringing up the rear, what had to be the town middle school’s marching band in full out-of-tune glory.

I can still hear their last sour note in my ear: Bwaaah.

If it had been called the “Hutchinson Garlic Festival”, why, what would I have to complain about? Just a small town festival, with accompanying small town expectations.

But as a claimed statewide endeavor, I expected something more. My advice: save your money for a trip to Gilroy.


August 21, 2011 by cynick | Posted in bike-jaunts , gear

’Twas a fine day for a bike ride.

We took an early morning jaunt from South Minneapolis to Jerabek’s New Bohemian, via West River Road, Ft. Snelling, Mendota, Lilydale, and last but not least, my favorite street in St. Paul, Ohio Street. The goal of that trip was to minimize our exposure to traffic and noise, and, except for the Mendota Bridge, we succeeded admirably.

A proposed alternate route up the bluff, through the switchback that traverses the Lilydale Brickyards, ended in early frustration due to the massive rainfall that had turned the trail into a veritable riverbed overnight! It wasn’t a path fit for Bromptons, or, any other type of bike for that matter.

The true highlight of the trip, though, was on the return leg: my odometer hit 10000! It happened just after the site of Cliff Jct., near the I-35E bridge. I had been watching it like a hawk for most of 9999 – trying not to crash – and thus, I actually saw it turn over.

Given all that it’s been through, it doesn’t seem to be too worse for wear, aside from normal wear and tear. I’ve been through roughly ten tires, maybe 15 tubes, three sets of brakes, one chainring, two cogs, five chains, two non-folding pedals, one folding pedal, two rear wheels, two sets of rack bungees, one fold-clamp, three rear lights, two pumps, one mud flap, and many light bulbs.

It has been transported on steam trains, LRT trains, buses, in car trunks and back seats, on a couple of boats, and of course, countless shopping carts. It hasn’t done any air travel, yet, but I hope to correct that soon.

I rummaged around for an early photo of it; the best I found was a shot from mid-Sept. 2007, about three weeks after I’d gotten the bike. I took that photo over to where it was shot, and used it to construct an “after” photo.

Of the visible differences, the most prominent is the upgrade from the 44-tooth chainring to the 54-tooth chainring. That change haunted my legs for some time, but now I’m well used to it.


Of late, I’ve been having some crazy notions about biking out to Montana on that thing, and even crazier notions about biking clear across the country – so I’m thinking that it won’t be another four years before I get to twenty thousand.

Time will tell.