Open for Business

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I have decided to use this blog to make a major career announcement. I’ve been pondering this for quite awhile, but the Texas economy seems to be improving and I’m ready to make a decision. After so many years working for someone else, I’ve decided to open my own business. It’s a big step and I’m not ready to quit my day job, so I’ll start small and cautiously, working this new venture in my spare time. Even so, I’m very excited to hang my shingle and start my new consulting business.

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Pondero, Leisure Consultant

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As this big decision was being thoroughly pondered, I reviewed a few of my prior blog posts. I evaluated my skills and wondered whether I could be good enough. But as I lay in my hammock today, I felt that lake shore breeze flow between my toes. It put me in that delightful state of mind that is perfectly relaxed with no hint of boredom. That’s when it hit me…I’m really, really good at this. Please forgive my boldness, but…truly…I have a talent that must be shared with the world. Basically, its an obligation to society.

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So I’m Pondero, Leisure Consultant, specializing in bikes, hammocks, and coffee outside.

Leave me a message, and I’ll respond back…whenever I get around to it.

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LPTST – The Quickbeam

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I suppose my favorite way to document my bicycle travels is to lean my bike against something (usually a barbed wire fence), step back, and snap a photo. To me, there’s something about that theme, that says, “Here’s where I am, I’m having a great time, I arrived by bicycle, and I recommend you give it a try”. If I can say that a zillion times, it won’t be too much (at least for me)  because that’s pretty much all I have to say.

So this is the post in which I lean my bicycle against things along the LPTST route and snap photos. I am very pleased with my plan (and execution) to use a modern bike, with modern components, and modern touring gear all in the spirit of those British three-speed tourists whose examples we tried to follow. The bike performed perfectly. It performed so perfectly that my original plan to convert it back to fixed mode immediately upon my return has been delayed. What’s the rush? Furthermore, I’ve surprised myself by installing my rear rack on the Quickbeam (instead of the A. Homer Hilsen I usually take for overnighters) for a possible S24O this weekend.

No it isn’t one of those remarkable vintage British roadsters we saw in prior posts, but let’s celebrate the Quickbeam anyway because it accomplished the mission magnificently. So as you scroll through this set of photos, I hope that your prior glimpse of the lovely and peaceful surroundings is magnified. Because afterall…these are the places I visited, I had a great time, I arrived by bicycle, and I recommend you give it a try.

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LPTST – The Brew Up

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As promised in my last post, today’s feature is the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour Brew Up. The photo above is NOT a part of the LPTST Brew Up. It is actually representative (and actually occured this morning) of one of my typical and local “brew ups” …or what I like to call a micro-tour. I’ve included this image to provide a sort of puzzle for my readers. Although there are many similarities between my typical micro-tour and the LPTST Brew Up, there are also a few subtle differences. Can you spot them?

In the image dump to follow, compare with the image above and see if you can find the differences. I’ll go ahead and fill you in on one important contrast that might be especially hard to discern in the images. At the LPTST, we aren’t brewing coffee.

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LPTST – The People

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Someone asked me at dinner, after the tour was completed, what would be my favorite part or thing about the LPTST. I wasn’t prepared for such as question. So as my brain streamed an extremely fast-forward replay of the entire weekend for me, my answer became obvious. It was the people.

My favorite part was the people for a variety of reasons. I normally ride solo, so having a little company during a ride seemed special. Simply knowing that there are others out there that are just as smitten with bicycles, touring, and enjoying the countryside at 10mph with lots of stops was…well…comforting. When I decided to spend so much time traveling to and from this event, I anticipated that I’d love seeing the cool bikes, riding the route, and enjoying the scenery. But I never anticpated the friendliness and hospitality of the ride hosts, fellow riders, and even the merchants encountered all along the way. It was other-worldly in more ways than you can see in the photos. Encounters with people were more pleasant than my day to day world, and added a dimension that I can not adequately describe.

So let’s move on to another bunch of photos.

These photos are grouped together to give you a sense of the people of the LPTST. If you take your time scrolling through, you might notice the ages, the number of ladies present, and the apparel. You might also notice the roads, the surrounding landscape, and a few of the stopping places. You’ll see people riding, standing and chatting, taking photos, and sitting and eating ice cream. You might even see a couple of cameo appearances of me admiring the view from the top of the Bay City hill.

What you probably can not adequately sense, even in so many photos, is the way encounters with these folks can warm the heart. You also won’t see the brew-up activities. That subject will be featured in the next post.

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LPTST – The Luggage

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Once able to absorb the inundation of so much bicycle eye candy, I was able to focus in a little more. The next feature to catch my eye was the luggage. There was perhaps an even greater variety of things to carry, and ways to carry them, than the variety of bicycles on which they were loaded.

These photos were taken over the entire two day tour, but most were probably after breakfast on the second day. Everyone eagerly anticipated, and had their luggage sorted, for the mid-day brew-up in Lake City. There were all manner of clothing, stoves, food, kettles, baskets, panniers, picnic baskets, saddlebags, straps, and…yes…even flowers.

To my eye, it was a lovely sort of mish-mash of each individual’s interpretation of outdoor travel gear, functional flair, and purposeful style. It had a certain “hobo elegance” that prompted appreciation and conversation with one’s travel companions.

Maybe as you scroll through these photos you’ll get a few ideas that you can use in the future…like I did.

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LPTST – The Bikes

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When I arrived at the gathering spot, the first thing that caught my eye was the bicycles. I didn’t really see the people or the various motorized vehicles in which they arrived. All I really saw was wonderful machines in all directions. In fact, I was a little surprised to see cars in the background of these photos.  I didn’t even realize they were in the vicinity.

I’ve been to races, bicycle rallies, and various charity rides, and have seen large numbers of bicycles gathered together before. But I had witnessed nothing like this assembly. To someone who cares nothing for these amazing machines, I suppose it looks simply like a bunch of bikes. But to me, the vast variety of the unusual was overwelming. So I carried my camera with me everywhere and snapped quick photos all along the way.

So today’s post is basically a photo dump of some of the bicycles of the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour (or LPTST for short here on out). While I admire and marvel at these machines, I confess that I am not very knowledgable. I realize that there are many classic Raleigh roadsters in the bunch. But there are a few other brands of high reputation represented as well. See if you can spot them.

I invite you to quickly scroll through just to get a general sense of the bicycles used (105 in all) in this event…or slowly savor and identify delightful details…as it suits your fancy. Maybe you’ll pick out a favorite, and maybe you’ll even spot my dressed up Quickbeam (which will have its own feature post later).

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Looking Back on the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour

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I just returned home from my travels that involved the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour…and so much more. As I look back on all the photos I took, it is easy to see that author and reader alike would not have the attention span needed to take it all in one dose.

I don’t think I’ll do a chronologic account of the entire trip. Part of it involved the hospitality of friends, Steve (GravelDoc) and Cindy Butcher in southwest Missouri on the way up to Minnesota and back that didn’t include photos. And part of it involved a visit to Madison, Wisconsin to meet up with Steve Wagner (Singularitas) which was partially documented via instagram. So I’ll ponder the situation a little, and likely will do multiple blog posts that highlight a few selected topics from the Three Speed Tour itself.

For now, I’ll simply say that it was a grand weekend for a bicycle tour, and there are many photos forthcoming.