The Sunday Post: The White Bike

The bike that reminded me that I like riding bikes back in 2014 and has close to 1,000 miles on it has been slowly getting repaired/upgraded.

The White Bike

It started back in 2014 with a Sunday Funday on bikes. I was on a borrowed bike for the day (since I didn’t have one) and it reminded me how much I liked riding bikes. The next week, I punched up Amazon and ordered this machine, a Critical Cycles Single Speed/Fixed Gear bike.

I started riding around the ‘hood, 2 miles. 5 miles. 7 miles. I keep that going until I started getting brave and pushed it to 10. I remember my first 10 mile ride. Thought I was going to die. I actually had to stop and rest for about 15 minutes when I was less than 1 mile from home. I couldn’t even walk well enough to push it home.

Then I did my first big ride, 20 miles in the shape of a 10 mile to brunch and a 10 mile ride back after. After that I was hooked. Miles started racking up. I even got brave enough to ride it on the street fixed (if the back wheel is moving, the pedals are moving, like a unicycle), managing a 15 mile ride that way once.

So, this is the bike that started it all.

But it is an inexpensive bike, made with cheap parts. It’s a bike made for college kids or hipsters to ride to class or around town. Not so much for clocking big miles. And big miles means parts wear out, and this bike has needed some repairs. Bottom bracket and crank. Tires. A new chain (installed tonight). I also swapped out the handle bars and replaced the seat. Back in fighting shape again.

Now I’m back to riding it.

Sometimes I just want to get out for 20-30 minutes and ride around the ‘hood. With it still getting dark to early and me not liking to ride on the streets with the after-work drivers, getting on the black bike for 15-30 miles just doesn’t work. So I’ll just pull this guy out and go ride bikes.

A few weekends ago, I even used it to do some bar hoping downtown, followed by a very nice bicycle tour. Up until it broke (which is why I replaced the chain). I’ll be using this bike again next weekend for an event ride, because that is what it is good for.

I was thinking about getting rid of it. Selling it and replacing it with a bike that I could use to ride around town for short errands, things like that. Now that I have done all of the repairs, and installed a fresh set of stickers, I’m remembering how good of a riding bike this really is, and why it got me back to riding bikes in the first place. And for that, it stays.

The Sunday Post #111: Arizona

I like Arizona. When I tell people I live here, the first thing that is always said is something about the heat. My normal response to them (especially if they are east coast or midwest) is “At least I don’t have to shovel it”. Usually garners a giggle or two and the topic is dropped.

The part that needs to be told is about the months that aren’t contained within Summer. Those months, especially late February through April and even a little into May, are brilliant. Brilliant because of weather (highs in the 70s-80s, cool nights) and because of everything there is to do in the greater Phoenix area.

I don’t care what kind of nerd you are, there is a festival or outdoor event for you. Me, it’s cars and craft beers. And Arizona does not disappoint in either category, especially the craft beer part.

Besides the number of fantastic beer bars (including a Whole Food across the street), it seems like there is a beer event happening every weekend. And, if it’s not exactly beer related, beer is tied in as a theme of the event. Good beer, beer you have never tasted, beer you don’t want to forget.

Arizona is all about the beer.

And not the big, mass produced beers. Not the beers your server mentions first when you are getting your rib on at Chili’s. Nope. We are talking craft beers, good beers, locally brewed or imported from another state. Breweries you have never heard of that are creating some truly fantastic brews. One of my favorite local breweries is Four Peaks. You might have heard of them for their Kilt Lifter beer. It’s a proper brown ale with better flavor than Newcastle. They also produce an oatmeal stout that is amazing.

Last weekend they put on a beer festival. Live music, food trucks, $5 beers. The weather was awesome, the beer was good, the band was great and I had some pretty awesome company. One of the better ‘Arizona Days’ that I have experienced so far. There is something about drinking when the sun is up with your friends that is fantastic.

So yea. Arizona. Sure it gets hot, but we have better beer than you do and you don’t have to shovel the heat.

The Sunday Post #110: What’s Next

Ok gang. Break time is over. Time we get back to kickin’ ass. Ready?

What’s Next

I’m working on something right now that will be the theme for the year here at donburnside.com; After Social Media. Community, customer service and retention. Less about hashtags, likes and followers, more about conversions, what to do when they convert and how to keep them around.

More and more I see social media as only a small piece of the puzzle. Sure it’s great to have a large follower count or to have that group like, favorite, love, heart, enjoy, +1, the stuff that you share. But what does that do for your business? All of those things don’t have any monetary value, do not drive traffic to your website (directly) or shop, don’t give you the chance to directly interact with your potential customers. Those are only good for your brand in keeping people interested and engaged. If that’s all you are interested, then rock on! You already win.

But what about people that don’t use Social Media? What about people that visit your site or shop and have not discovered your social media presence and all that is awesome about it? At what point do we decided that there is more than collecting followers?

That. That is what’s next. It is going to take some doing, some brain mapping and many words until it’s all together in a state that makes sense. Should be a fun ride. I hope you stick around.

The Sunday Post #108: A Food Adventure

It’s been pretty busy around here lately! I’ve been Mr. All-Go-No-Quit. Today we changed that, if only for a few hours.

A Sunday Food Adventure

Like I mentioned above, it’s been busy. I was in California, then a weekend of nerd stuff capped by a grilled cheese throw-down (yes, it was as awesome as it sounds) and just non stop work. Even this weekend I had mad chores to do, but they did result in a very clean garage.

We decided an adventure was in order. We tossed around a few ideas and decided to do something that I haven’t done but was still relatively close to home. We made a trip out to Queen Creek Olive Mill for lunch and to see what’s what.

Turns out this is a pretty awesome place! First of all, they produce all of the olive oils sold in the store and used in the restaurant. Straight oil, infused oil, specialty oil. Not only that, but as you can imagine, they also do more than a few things with olives including pickled and stuff with things you would have never thought about before.

Besides the store and cafe, they also have a huge picnic area! Today it was populated by people enjoying a local wine and having their lunch. Or just sitting out and enjoying another beautiful Arizona winter day. I also found out they are working toward using the space for hosting weddings in the very near future, and it’s a perfect fit for that.

The only item we brought home was a 4 pack of cupcakes (made with thier infused olive oils, of course) and a few photos. Oh, and Stella made me fetch a letterbox prize for her since it was buried under some scary rocks.

Pretty great way to end a pretty good weekend. Enjoy the photos below and if you ever need something to do on a Sunday in Arizona, a trip out to Queen Creek might be just what you need!

The Sunday Post #107: iStuff

Back to back Sunday Posts? I know that’s never happened before and there is a very good reason for that. But first.

On iPhones and the Macbook Air

Recent addition to my quiver is the 13″ Macbook Air. I looked really hard at the 11″, aka the iPad Pro, but decided the larger screen and SD Card reader were a worthwhile $100 upgrade. Timing couldn’t have been better either as I picked it up barely 24 hours before I had an event to cover with a fair bit of travel. Here are a few quick notes.

  • Fast – Did I say fast? Yes, fast. The best way to describe how fast is by using iPhoto. On my 13″ Air, from click to fully loaded is less than 2 seconds. On a brand new 13″ Macbook Pro (with roughly the same number of photos) from click to to fully loaded was 12 seconds. The speed makes itself known everywhere too.

  • Battery life – I’m not sure about how long it will actually last, but I think the 7 hours claimed is pretty close to being accurate. Not to mention, when the lid is closed, this baby is sleeping and sleeping hard! Over night battery useage with the lid closed so far has been zero.

  • Portability – It’s not as light as the 11″, but close enough. And it’s thinner than my iPhone. Yet, it doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap.

  • The Screen – Something you don’t notice right away, but after you use it for a bit, you start to notice that the screen on this is pretty great.

Comments are open if you have any questions about the Air.

And, for the first time, really, I actually used my iPhone during an event. Now that I’ve had it for a few months and have my groove down, it’s the perfect device for that kind of work. I was able to do things mobile that I always had to rely on external devices to do. For the first time I went to an event with only 3 devices (and it could have been two); an iPhone, my Canon DSLR and Macbook Air.

I’m excited to see what I can really do with these in the field this year!