Farmington Canal Trail high wheel bicycle ride.

4 05 2010

Spent May 1st riding on the Farmington Canal Trail with The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop and their high wheel bicycles. We covered 33 miles, very impressive for a high wheeler! There was a stop at the halfway point to consume the incredibly delicious Sweet Claude’s ice cream. A great day!


Pennies from heaven.

13 04 2010

The Devil's Gear Bike Shop's six high wheel penny bikes parked outside the shop.

Six penny bikes ready for action.

Spring Snow of Cherry Blossoms

9 04 2010

The Devil's Gear Bike Shop Penny bikes near Wooster Park in New Haven.

Food Review: Jasmine Thai

22 02 2010

Jasmine Thai is located near the corners of Church and Grove in New Haven.

Today I ventured out with Matthew Feiner for my first downtown New Haven high-wheeler ride. It was definitely challenging learning to maneuver the high-wheeler around traffic and pedestrians. But, I fared quite well and now am getting excited about the possibility of riding in the St. Patricks day parade next month.

Enough about riding, this post is a food review. As a daily commuter I don’t always bring lunch with me to work. One of my favorite places to get good food at a great price is the Jasmine Thai cart near the corners of Church and Grove. Also, since the food comes from a cart I feel like they ‘commute’ their restaurant into New Haven each day. The food is all really tasty. There is usually a choice between 3 entrees. One spicy, one mild, and one vegetarian entree is offered each day. The entrees change day to day so there is always some variety if you go more than once in a week. With the entree you get a choice of Pad Thai noodles, drunken noodles, pineapple fried rice, or white rice. Also, I advise getting a piece of the grilled chicken with your entree. The grilled chicken is exceptionally tasty and the aroma of the chicken grilling with Thai spices draws people down the block to the stand. Today I got the Hot Basil Chicken with white rice and a piece of the grilled chicken. The Hot Basil was very good. A satisfying quantity of tender chicken was enrobed in an aromatic and flavorful spicy Basil sauce with pieces of tomato. The grilled chicken is fantastic. Seriously I would go there just to get a piece of the grilled chicken. It is that good. The rice was perfectly cooked, fluffy, and a little sticky like good white rice should be. With a soda the entire meal only costs $7.00.

Jasmine Thai is a great offering for the downtown New Haven lunchtime scene. Whether you are out and about, on the go, or just looking for something to take back to the office, Jasmine Thai is highly recommended.

The Devil's Gear high-wheelers in front of Jasmine Thai.

New skills for new thrills.

13 02 2010

Left foot up on peg.

So, on Friday it was decided that ‘today was THE day’. I confidently donned my helmet and pushed one of Matthew Feiner’s high wheelers out to the back parking lot of The Devil’s Gear. How hard could this be? I had seen Matt do it countless times with ease. I had faith in the powers of gyroscopic balance. The bigger the wheel the better the balance, right? Right?

Getting started.

I put my arms out at shoulders length and grasped the ends of the handlebars. Then, I took a couple strides and placed my left foot onto the rear peg while kicking along with my right. I immediately realized that it was necessary to time the speed of the right pedal as it came around. Ideally, I thought, mounting the saddle should coordinate with the right pedal passing the apex of the pedal stroke. I stopped and started over again. Hands on bars. Strides. Left foot up. Right pedal coming around. Here we go! I place weight on my left foot. Step up with my right to the pedal. As my weight transfers to the right pedal the high wheeler quickly gains speed and balance. I get my left foot onto the pedal and start off across the parking lot. Whoo hoo! This IS fun! I really feel like the very first time I rode a bicycle. I quickly realize I need to turn. I move the bars. Not much. Quick. I remember Matt saying something about using your hips. I steer left and move my hips right. There we go. Not too bad. I manage a couple of loops around the parking lot before I decide to try to get down. How to get down? The opposite of getting up? Jump? I opt for trying to climb back down. Without thinking I take my left foot off and reach back to feel for the peg. Shoot. Timing! I forget that the right foot is still on a pedal that is connected directly to a large wheel in motion. My right foot rounds the top and the high wheeler lurches forward. I missed the peg and try to remount but, the high wheeler is pitching heavily to the left. I jump off and try to keep the bike from going to the ground. But, unfortunately, I failed miserably. I landed on my knees and left hand and the high wheeler fell onto both myself and the parking lot. I was so disappointed with myself for missing the timing and hitting the pavement. I jumped right back up. I got right back up on that bull. And I rode it around the parking lot for the next 20 minutes. I practiced getting off again and again. Matt gave me some pointers on slowing down and riding it slowly from the back peg. It was awesome. What? Awesome! Next step is practicing out on real streets. After that? Downtown New Haven.

Next stop, downtown New Haven!

High Wheeling with Matthew Feiner

6 02 2010
Matthew Feiner High Wheel Chapel Street

Matthew Feiner high wheeling it down Chapel Street.

I had the opportunity to run some errands downtown yesterday with Matthew Feiner, owner of The Devil’s Gear. Matt was on his new Rideable Bicycle Replicas Superior model high wheeler. Matt is amazingly adept at handling the rigors of downtown New Haven traffic. Of course, most of it comes to a crawl as curious drivers rubberneck. Pedestrians often shout’ “Cool bike man!”, or “How do you ride that.” and Matt eagerly returns their salutations in kind with a smile and a wave. At our stop at the Union Station train depot, a station worker ran inside to gather some co-workers, “Hurry, hurry you don’t want to miss this. Hurry.” By the time I had returned outside a small group had gathered around Matt waiting to see how it was he managed to mount such a tall bicycle. The woman who had gathered the co-workers said, “I was inside and I saw you glide by above the cars and I had to come out to see.” Seeing a high wheel bicycle cruising the lunchtime streets of downtown New Haven is quite a site to see. Especially when the rider is as entertaining as the bicycle he is riding. I hear there are plans afoot for a throng of three or possibly a floatilla of four high wheelers roaming the greater downtown area soon . . .

Matthew Feiner High Wheel near Wooster Park

Mathew Feiner high wheeling past a commuter near Wooster Park.

Humu and High Wheel Locked

The Humu and the high wheeler, locked.