Categories ArchivesHistory Lessons

Lyme Literate standard

Somewhere in 2012, I contracted two lyme co-infections. However, I did not get any of the known initial tell tale symptoms: Bullseye rash or high fever to name two. If I was bitten by a tick, I did not catch it in my usual tick-check post ride. I pull so many ticks off myself throughout the summer season and happen to live in one of the most heavily infect states let along counties (Hillsborough county show up as something like 80% of ticks tested being carriers of one or all of the tick-born illnesses). The routine is part of my regiment: Check legs post ride. Strip down buck naked and do another check. Hop in the shower and hose down. ...

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Not just ANY Old Merlin standard

Back in 1999, I was between a few things. Working at a bike shop in Quakertown, PA and had just sent out my application to the design school RISD, when I bumped into the then Design Director at Bicycling Magazine Chris Neyen while on a day off mountain biking in Emmaus, PA on South Mountain in Rodale Press’s back yard. We got to talking, we arranged an interview, I got a job as an intern, and then got accepted to RISD so there were a bunch of decisions to make. Meanwhile as the internship moved along, my duties included helping Chris with Graphic Design, photo shoots, photo correction, coffee breaks and building a handful of bikes that were coming in ...

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A time to get political… standard

Like many of you, I’m a fierce advocate of conservation and preservation of our natural world. I volunteer a lot of my time and expertise to local conservation efforts and projects right here in my little corner of New Hampshire. It’s something small I do and I help where I can on a local level. But recent actions south of New Hampshire have been giving me pause as of late, and one such issue is public lands. If the locations which host our trails and more importantly our remaining open space are not maintained and preserved for future generations in perpetuity, we will lose access to that which we all hold so dear. I’ve been struggling to put into words, ...

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Sunsets and Basketballs standard

When I was home over the holidays, I was reminded of just how sweet the sunsets are at good old 138 Jefferson Street. Being in town has it’s negatives compared to living off the beaten path (it does have some benefits too) but one of the perks of growing up where I did was the sunsets. East Greenville, along with adjoining towns of Pennsburg and Red Hill have the benefit of being perched up on top of a ridge and the area is in a bit of a valley with unobstructed views for a good ways. So when the sun sets, and the sky is clear, you’re in for a show. The above image, which was taken from our deck ...

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My First Precision Tool standard

The year was 1996. I was a student at Penn State University. I had recently been given permission to access a machine shop across the street from my studio on campus. I was turning and machining my own bicycle hubs and I needed my own dial caliper. The cheap one I had purchased from a local hardware store just wasn’t cutting it. So I called Starrett in Athol, MA and placed my order for a 6″ dial caliper. Red face. .001″ graduations. It’s measured parts on projects ever since then and never strays far from my Bridgeport or South Bend lathe. 20 years and still going strong. Thank you Starrett.

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Thoughts on Soil… standard

I feel really lucky to have grown up in the Upper Perkiomen Valley. There’s a strong Pennsylvania Dutch heritage there (of which I share) and as a youngster, my grandparents would share lots of stories, their stories, that painted a picture of times long gone. Part of those stories were a fondness for that “simple life”. Coming back home, you can still get a sense for it if you know where to look. One of those spots for me is back around the reservoir which has ribbons of single track which are cut through the woods. It’s a place I can escape to, find peace in mind and soul and take in the calm from the bustle back in town. ...

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What Season? Hunting Season! standard

Every year, with the coming of fall I’m looking to the state’s resources on when one particular season starts: Hunting Season. And we’ve got our fair share of seasons up here in the Great State of New Hampshire. It runs the gamut with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, but then there’s those pesky intermediate seasons like Black Fly Season. Or Mosquito Season. Or Horsefly Season. Or Mud Season. Grilling Season. And of Scotch Season! But each state has outlined on their Fish and Game website’s when Hunting Season starts and stops and of course there are different layers of what kinds of game and “artillery” us Mountain Bikers’ need to be aware of when in the woods. And I think ...

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Back to School standard

No matter what day of the week it is, no matter what year or how old I am… when I hear people talking about “back to school”, what immediately pops into my head is my first day of first grade. Man was I excited and boy was I nervous as “all get out”. There was this anticipation of something big happening. That first big day. Something big was about to start: My education! Up to this point, I had been listening to stories from Poppy or my Dad or my Mom or Gram or Grandmom about their days in school. What kind of made it different though was the fact that pretty much ALL of my relatives, not just my ...

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Wheel Summary standard

So this is the first 27.5 “Plus” bike out the door of 44HQ.  Really pleased with how this one turned out and I think it’s a high time to give you the cliff notes version on wheel size… If you’re not “hep” to what a Plus sized bike is, here’s the intel you need to know. The mountain bike wheel size was based on a 26″ wheel because that’s what the early pioneers had access to: Lot’s of Schwinn cruisers which had 26″ wheels. However the 26″ wheel has one bad feature: That small wheel size needs constant pedaling to keep it going. Any amount of obstacle sucks the momentum out of it. Early on, a few were playing with the ...

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History Lesson : “Swinging Bridge Road” standard

As I’ve mentioned previously, I love History. Especially when it’s close to home and in this case, it’s to do with my home town. When I was a kid, I’d hear a handful of stories repeated often about our Valley (The Upper Perkiomen Valley to be exact). There seemed to be a soft place in my relatives heart for certain aspects. But I picked up on a blend of resentment or anger occasionally with some stories and they all revolved around what I knew as just “The Lake”. Technically the Reservoir which feeds Philadelphia and it’s suburbs during drought. My Grandmom (Anna Mae Malasky, my Mother’s Mother) had a sort of sarcasm about “The Water Company” as it’s previous owner ...

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