Friday, December 10, 2010

Mike Wolfe on his Obsession with Bikes

The American Picker Dream, Part I: Mike Wolfe On His Love Affair With Vintage Bikes

By Ben Marks
As co-host of History Channel’s “American Pickers” and the operator of Antique Archaeology, Mike Wolfe is known to millions of TV viewers as the guy who digs crazy treasures out of barns, sheds, and basements. But he’s always been a vintage bicycle guy at heart—that’s what got him started ‘picking’ at age six. In this first of several interviews, we spoke with Mike about his bike racing days, his current collection of bicycles, and that fateful day in the ’70s when he got hooked by a bunch of banana-seats.

I was walking to school one day and saw all these bikes in the garbage. I was just amazed because I didn’t have one and I found it incredible that anyone was throwing them out. So I gathered up as many as I could and put them all in our garage. They were mostly banana-seat bikes from the ’60s, maybe one was a Schwinn. There was a girl’s balloon-tire bike, too. That was the first bike I learned to ride because there was no bar in the middle—I was little, so I would ride it almost right above the cranks.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where'd she go?

Fall is the busiest time of my work year, as I've mentioned, and I'd not posted much this fall because of the limits in my time.  Once things started to lighten up I somehow landed with a pinched nerve in my shoulder a few weeks ago.  Who knows how?  Probably lifted my coffee cup wrong or something.  Anyway, it gets quite aggravated by long periods at the computer and riding my bike.  Since I'd rather ride my bike every day rather than write about riding my bike, I've opted to only be at the computer for work and not at all other times. 

So, aside from work and messing up my shoulder, I've not been up to much of anything...except putting the Christmas lights on my bike.  I realize that this post is completely worthless without pictures so I'll take some just as soon as possible.  This is my third year with the lights and  I absolutely LOVE the reactions I get.  People roll down their windows at stop lights/signs to comment and wish me Merry Christmas.  I get lots of thumbs up and nearly every single person I encounter smiles big and wide. 

Until this shoulder thing heals I'll still be pretty much absent.  Here's wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Snowy Commute of the Season

This was a week ago but like so much these days, I'm behind.  Had three days of training downtown so I had a little extra commute.  It was fantastic!  As is often the case in Denver, the snow covered the ground but by the time I'd left the house at 8am, the streets were only wet.  By the time I got half way downtown, the streets had dried.  There were a few patches of black ice but they were easy to spot.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gabe's Pies!

Evidently word has spread of the superb eatability of The Baker's pies because one of the coolest neighborhood markets in Denver has asked him to provide all their pies for this holiday season. He's super excited, as are the dozens of customers who've gotten samples so far (many of whom, we're told, have declared it the best pie they've ever tasted!)

Orders can be place ahead of time at Spinelli's Market in Park Hill, Denver.  Or I suppose you can stop by next week and take your chances. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall Keeps Hanging On

These pics were from a beautiful fall morning last week.  Light rain, mid-50's, perfect fall chill in the air.  It was wonderful!  Later that day heavy winds moved in and most of the leaves from these trees were blown far and wide, but we still have loads of trees turning. 

Heading off to work...

The long stretch to the office.  It was alike a tunnel of fire for several days.


We had a great Halloween with a fantastic party, thrown with friends.  Everyone had a fantastic time - young and old alike!

I won the Most Obscure Costume award.  Any guesses who I'm dressed as?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Finally Fall!

I had two goals for Sunday - a bike ride and thrifting.  So, in order to be as efficient as possible, I rode my bike to the thrift store.  I'd been wanting to check out a particular ARC which has been getting raves and it's about 15 miles, one way. Perfect!  The trees are finally starting to turn here in Denver and the entire route was through gorgeous, tree-lined streets.

City Park trees are lagging behind a bit.  Hopefully in a couple more days it will be "on fire".

Wash Park West

I saw several B-cycles.

Leaving Wash Park

Denver Country Club neighborhood.

Outside my office. 

Outside the Museum.

Lovely carpet!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whew! Long day!

Just got home from a great day of talking up the Bike Depot, browsing bike stuff and buying a few things at VeloSwap.  It's one of those events where you really need to go with a purpose because there's just so much stuff.  Browsing can be mind-numbing.  I only walked through twice (takes a good hour to get all the way around) and was talking up the Depot and handing out donation cards so I didn't shop much, but that was fine.  I simply didn't have my $h17 together to do anything serious.  I spent the rest of the day selling Depot loot and gathering interest in our programs and services.

A few random pics....

Bike Depot Board Members and Volunteers talking up the merchandise.

The crowds!!

A stunning Rene Herse and a Boulder Bicycle.

Those Denver Cruisers, along with the folks at Kickstand magazine, know how to chill with style.

Arts n' Crafts...heh.

This guy is always present.  He sells sales samples of Merril and Chaco shoes for ridiculously cheap prices - $15 - $25.  If you're lucky enough to wear one of the limited sizes he has, you can score!

There's lots I didn't capture - The super high end mountain bikes were everywhere, as were road bikes, time trial bikes, cyclocross and on and on.  VeloSwap is a great place to get a slammin' deal on any ride - be it 50 years old or one year old.  Not to mention parts.  Parts, parts and more parts.

Another successful year and once I get my voice back and my feet stop throbbing I'll be ready for next year.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tomorrow's the Day - VeloSwap!

Come on out to the National Western Complex (aka Stock Show Building) and get your bike on.  If you've never been, it's a bike lovers dreamland.  The largest bike swap meet in the country!  Regardless of what kind of rider you are, you will find literally everything you could possibly imagine and often times, you can bargain your way to the perfect price.  Bike Denver will be providing valet bike parking and I'm told shuttles will run around the vehicle parking areas to help you tote your loot.

If you're biking to the event, check out the recommended directions on the VeloSwap site.  If you've ever biked to the Stock Show, Denver Colosseum or Forney Museum you know it can be a bit tedious but definitely do-able.

Make sure you take some time to check out the various cycling non-profits booths: The Bike Depot, Derailleur Collective, Recycle Bikes, Bike Denver, Cycle Colorado, Denver Cruisers and more!

$8 at the door
$6 in advance at REI, Performance Bike or on-line

2010 Schedule of Events
Event hours 9am – 4pm, Saturday October 23, 2010
8am Bike Denver’s Outdoor Bicycle Check Opens
9am VeloSwap Opens
All Day Drop your ticket stub for the raffle at the Kickstand booth #35
10am Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Computrainer competition #116
10:30am-4:30pm Subaru Free Shuttles back to your car with all your new stuff
11am Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Computrainer competition #116
11:30am Yellow Design Stunt Team Performance
noon Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Computrainer competition #116
1:00pm Yellow Design Stunt Team Performance
1:00pm Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Computrainer competition #116
2:00pm Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Computrainer competition #116
2:30pm Yellow Design Stunt Team Performance
4pm Doors Close

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Few of my Favorite Things

Two weeks ago we were winding up the auction which effectively got rid of all remnants of my childhood that we'd not packed up and moved to Colorado with my mother's things.  I did happen on a few very special gems on this final trip though.  Nothing of any monetary value but heavy on memories.

The Coleslaw Bowl
My grandmother always served slaw in this bowl, as did my mother.
Great Grandmother's mixing bowls.  I don't have any memory of these being used but my mother does.  We found them buried deep in the back of a storage closet in the utility room.  I'm sure they are leaching lead all over that salad but they're so beautiful!

A set of Pyrex mixing bowls which were a wedding present to my parents in 1961.  They've never been used and in fact, they were still in the box they came in with the gift ribbon still attached!

I'm a little embarrassed with this lamp.  I bought it at my mother's sale.  heh.  A neighbor put some things of her mother's in the sale and this amazing 1930's lamp of her grandparent's was among the loot.  I couldn't resist and for $10, why not!  It's colored glass with a piece of copper trim around the bottom and bakelite plug and bulb housing.  It looks perfect in my living room!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sunday's Orange Ride

You don't have to be a Broncos fan or even a football fan to appreciate this great event in Denver on Sunday!   Kudos to the Broncos and three cheers for Bike Denver and the Denver Cruisers!)



The first ever ORANGE RIDE will be on October 17, 2010 for Broncos Orange Sunday versus the New York Jets at 2:05 p.m. Denver celebrities will lead bicycle rides departing at 11 a.m. from four different locations throughout the City and converge at Invesco Field’s Broncos Barn, located outside the south side of the stadium. Please read the ORANGE RIDE poster for departure locations and times.

The Promotion and YOUR benefits: Orange Ride participants will gain free admission to the Broncos Barn ($8 value), where there will be food, drink, giveaways, and a chance to win Broncos prizes, including tickets to that day’s game. Plus, you’ll be able to kick back and watch the game (and earlier games) on their massive screen. Beers ($2 and Tacos $2) until Noon. Then the price goes up to $3, still a bargain! The event is designed to encourage fans and the bicycling community to ride their bikes to Invesco Field and enjoy a free pre-game celebration and another great experience at Invesco.

BikeDenver will operate the bike parking corrral next to the Broncos Barn. The bike corral will provide an enclosed area right by the stadium to park your bike. Please bring your bike lock! We’re looking for 60 volunteers to help out in three shifts of 20 (10am-1pm, 1pm-4pm, 4pm-7pm). No experience necessary. Volunteers get a free beverage at the Broncos Barn, a Denver Broncos t-shirt, and the opportunity to participate in one of the largest single-day bike parking corral events in Denver!

Guided bicycle rides to the event will be organized and led by the Denver Cruisers. Bicyclists who participate in these rides are encouraged to wear orange for the day and will be given Orange Sunday Game Day towels.

Most of the ORANGE RIDE locations are close to B-cycle stations. People who want to join the ride are encouraged to B-cycle for the event. Denver B-cycle will waive all usage fees for B-cycle users who ride the ORANGE RIDE.

Broncos and Sustainability : ORANGE RIDE is another example of the Denver Broncos leadership in promoting sustainable practices at Invesco Field. The team has one of the more forward-thinking recycling and energy-saving programs of any team in the National Football League.

For more details about Orange Ride or Orange Sunday, visit ‘’


In other news....I'm exhausted, thus my lack of posting.  Between the finale of my  mother's big move and being in the midst of my annual "busy time."  I'm barely keeping my head above water.  But I am biking a lot and spending a good deal of very quality time cuddling with my kids.  It keeps me sane and centered.  That and wine.  Wine really helps too.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reflections on Bike Commuting from a Five Year Old

On our ride to school today B2 shared some deep thoughts on bike commuting and the general nature of bikes:

"When you ride your bike instead of driving, it's like giving the earth a massage.  It really makes it happy."

"When you skid to a stop it's like a bike fart."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I'm ashamed that I've not put many miles on this past year.  Last summer I started out strong with good training, a metric century, several 75 mile rides and an intended full century, which was thwarted by too much beer and sushi mid-way through the ride.  Priorities. 

This summer has been a season of nothing.  I've done a few quick 25 mile loops but nothing more and I've felt guilty about it all summer long.  What happened to me taking off work for the sole purpose of doing a good strong, long ride?  What happened to getting up early on a weekend day and taking off for a few hours of mom time?  I have the support of my boss (who, by the way, just qualified for her second go in the World Championships of X-Terra Tri's next year in China. Go Chief!) And I have the support of my family....but I've been nothing but lazy.

On Sunday I finally got off my butt and did 40 miles.  It was nice and I felt good enough when I returned to do a few hours of gardening.  Of course I was exhausted after that, but it was Sunday night and all I needed to do was hang low.  It was good to know I had the energy to go and could have gone longer.  I'll do a bump to 60 in a couple of weeks after I return from yet another trip to the heartland this week.  And then keep bumping up.  Maybe look to do a Thanksgiving Century with my brother?  We could take off early in the morning, leaving my mother and the Baker to cook, and return to a traditional turkey day spread after a long day of biking.  Hmmmm.....

Anyway, here are a couple of shots from my little ride.

Ran into an unpaved detour along the Cherry Creek Trail.  Most of it was fine but there was a treacherous little spot winding up a tiny bank where the ground was beyond loose.  I had to walk although many were riding it just fine.

After circling Cherry Creek Res, about 25 miles into my ride, I stopped at a shady little spot for a snack.

It was pretty peaceful, save the dozens of bikes whizzing by.  Several others took my lead and stopped as well in this spot, which is pretty common.  It's shady, quiet and has an acceptable view.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't You Hate it When

You arrive at the office and find that someone has stolen your parking spot. 

Just another day at the office......

Monday, September 27, 2010

Is that you Joan?

Straight from my mother's cedar chest where it had been sitting in moth balls since the late 50's. 
A gorgeous, very soft wool, made in Italy.

Super fine strips of leather accent the neck and two front pockets.

A brooch from Grandma's jewelry box.

Ta Da!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


It began with some newly dug fingerling potatoes from our garden, asparagus and a couple of rockin' steaks.

Then there was some of this....

And then there was this.  Nom!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Raining....Does that Mean Fall is Finally Here?

I had a meeting at Invesco Field yesterday and I knew it was likely to be raining in the afternoon but generally in Denver that means a quick storm that blows in fast and blows out fast.  The meeting was on the west side of the stadium complex and I could see the grey skies start to dump soon after I arrived.  Several hours later when I left, it was still raining, albeit lightly.  I always keep a couple of plastic bags in Vivian's bike bag in case of rain since she's equipped with Wald folding baskets.  I'd also brought along my rain slicker. 
It was a nice, wet ride home.  I enjoyed it because light rain for extended periods is so rare here.

Something that I took note of the whole way back was that folks in Denver rarely dress for the rain.  Lot of bikers, runners and folks just generally walking around but only a few wearing rain gear.  You just don't need it because the rains come and go fast and you dry off so quickly in the desert climate.  Love this place!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Crash 'em up, baby!

B2 and her friend were totally enthralled.  
As it should be.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear Fall,

I'm so happy to see you but why do you keep leaving? This whole deal with greeting us in the morning and leaving by mid-afternoon is just plain silly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Morroccan Meatballs

Letsee, we have lots of tomatoes, onions, garlic and parsley in the garden.  Whatever shall we do with them?  Why Moroccan meatballs of course.  This is one of my favorite tagines and its best when made with lots of fresh tomato so I generally only make it when our vines are full.  Generally  made with ground lamb or beef, I had already thawed some ground turkey so despite the fact that I couldn't get the meatballs quite as small as I'd like, it worked out well.

I start by making the meatballs. I finely chop a small sweet onion, add in a heaping hand full of Italian parsley (chopped) and a healthy dose of good paprika and cumin.  I tend to take it easy on the cumin in the meat as I find it can be a little overpowering if you aren't careful. I focus the cumin flavor in the sauce where I can more easily gauge the flavor as it cooks.  Once these are well blended (adding in bread crumbs only if necessary to soak up some moisture), form into small balls and brown in a good amount of olive oil.  Ideally these should be one nice bite or two small bite meatballs.

Once the meatballs are browned set them aside and prepare the sauce.  Saute finely chopped onion and garlic in the oil from the meatballs.  Add in 4-6 roughly chopped skinned and seeded tomatoes, a large hand full of chopped flat leaf parsley and add in good paprika, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.

Once you have a thin sauce consistency, add in the meatballs cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  Taste regularly to check flavors and because it's good.

More garden goodness on the side - tomato, cucumber and red onion in a sweet vinaigrette.

Serve with a good crusty bread, you'll need the crust to hold up as a utensil.  The baker baked baguettes while the sauce was simmering.

B1's Moroccan influence must have rubbed off well on B2.  She eats like a pro!