Ive been cranking the single speed bike for a week or two and I must say I’m feeling it. (especially in my calves). I really like the simplicity and sense of mechanical unity with a bike that light and responsive. When I’m riding I often realise that Im banking a turn or swooping around a pothole without even making a conscious effort to do so. Sometimes it feels like I’m not even turning the handlebars, i just need to go left and the bike does it. Maybe that is what is so amazing about a bicycle, its a machine that (unlike a car) doesn’t separate you from the tactile presence of the world. The smell, temperature, light, the texture of the road, the sound of a car turning a block away are all present, immediate, a part , an important part, of the act of riding a bike.
On top of all that i swear i can actually feel myself getting stronger with every ride, not just in my leg muscles either. My lungs don’t feel like they are going to explode even on a climb and my heart rate doesn’t become alarming anymore, I can and do ride for hours at a time. I may be waxing poetic, but in a very real physical sense riding a bike is making me a better person.
Sick of hearing about bikes yet?
Ok then how about some BIG NEWS? Well its big to me anyway.
It is no secret that for years I have wanted to move the shop. When it was still Eye Candy, Brian and I looked at a few places, even took a few tours with landlords. Nothing ever seemed to fit the bill for us. Partly it was because the rent where we are now is really low, however every year it goes up slightly, after 10 years it has gone up to the point where it no longer feels like the insanely good deal it once was. As the rent has gone up the neighborhood has gone down. I say “neighborhood” but in reality its just the block that we are on that has slid into the shitter. One by one the ‘nice’ businesses went under leaving us with 3 shitty, drug dealer infested bars, a beer store, and various shady cellphone stores and fly by night barber shops as neighbors. The local crackhead/panhandler population is at an all time high and I’m sick of feeling nervous for my clients when they have to walk the gauntlet of cat calling shitbags and scroungers just to get to my door.
When the shop became mine I decided to put some real effort into improving the shop. We accomplished a lot in a short time but I began to realise that no matter how cozy and comfortable I made the shop itself, the area was going to drag down the enthusiasm of my clients. For all I know the neighborhood has already deterred customers.
So I began looking around for locations that would suit my artsy fartsy nature. Anyone who has had the misfortune to hear me talk about this subject knows that I have always had my heart set on South Craig street area. Its only 3 blocks from where we are currently but aesthetically it is a world away. It is home to an assortment of comic shops, art stores, coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores. In short, the kind of place we want to be. Having spent the majority of my life as poor white trash, I’m ready to make the move up to arty pretentiousness (just kidding. . .mostly). Its between CMU and Pitt universities, and I don’t feel that vague undercurrent of criminal danger when I’m there, frankly I can relax walking up and down that part of Craig without having my ‘game face’ and attitude on. After 10 years I’m tired of having to do that.
The first place we seriously asked about was huge and was $4000 a month! My heart sank, if that was the going rate, I figured, I was just going to have to be satisfied with the ghetto. However, the next place I looked was well within our budget, much smaller (which appealed to me) right in the heart of the area I had always wanted to be. Cara and I told the building manager we would take it!
But nothing is that easy.
The buildings owner is a retired Syrian who is currently living in Syria. Tattooing is completely alien to this poor guy and I’m sure this caused him some serious doubts. Fortunately the other tenets of the building know and like us and the manager of the building seemed to dig on us (and the fact that we were ready to jump on it) so he put in the good word. The Owner had the manager call the health dept to see if it was kosher and we finally got the nod.
We sign the lease on Monday.
I cant fucking wait.
There will be some work to be done before its ready, Ill have some pictures up shortly of the progress. Wish us luck!!