A lack of cycling

Man, I haven’t been riding that much lately. And I’m not excited about it.

Now it’s not just the turn towards winter, with its shorter, colder, wetter days. There’s other factors at play. The biggest one is me quitting The Hostel. A “day job” meant I needed to get there, and bicycling was my preferred method. I could count on a 3-6 mile one way (depending where I was coming from) ride to work, five days a week. Even though I didn’t enjoy work, I could at least enjoy the ride.

Now I “work for myself” whether art or contract work, and these are “work from home” type things that have no set hours. I don’t have to be somewhere five days a week. So my automatic 30 to 60 miles of bike riding a week has been cut to zero.

So, I have to motivate myself to ride my bike. And coming into winter is possibly the hardest time to do that, with the weather and reduced daylight. Of course, winters here are not that bad by any means, so I don’t have as much of an excuse than if I lived in, say, Winnipeg. Still, I have to push myself out the door.

It might be easier if I was a morning person. Go on a bike ride and then get to work! But there’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I am not a morning person, no matter how hard I try, no matter how many New Years Resolutions about “getting up by 8:30 AM every day” I make to myself. By the time I roll out of bed, do my morning breakfast and goof off on the internet thing, it’s already noon. Do I go on a bike ride with the few hours of daylight I have left, or do I get to work?

And since I’ve been getting ready for Bike Craft and working on other projects, I haven’t given myself the luxury of “a day off”. When I worked five days a week, I tried to do something fun like a bike ride on one of my days off. But when one has no real schedule and a list of goals, it’s a bit harder to have a “fun” day.

So I barely ride, and get cranky from not riding. When I do get out on a bike (usually to run an errand and/or work from somewhere not from home), I feel better. A lot better. Portland in December? Yeah, it’s going to be overwhelmingly grey, but as long as it’s not raining hard, it ain’t so bad, with a high usually somewhere in the 40’s F. As long as I’m dressed for the weather, it ain’t so bad.

So I need to motivate myself to get out there and ride. When this Bike Craft weekend is done, I should have more “free” time. One of those days should consist of a good long bike ride. Because I need it!

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A mid-December update

Hey all! I realize that it’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a “real” post here. What can I say, things have been busy. I’ve been travelling a lot and working on getting ready for craft fairs. I’ve been working creatively, but not in a blogging way. I had plans to do write ups of my trips, but as the end of the month keeps on barreling along, I realize that I’m not going to. So, a condensed li’l update!

Texas Trip: Myself, Emee, and her two kids flew to Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday. We were there from November 19th and 27th and spent it in Austin and Houston. It was nice to get away for awhile, and also nice to see Texas again, last time I was there was 2005. We managed to have some fun (so much good food!) but it was good getting home! Houston wasn’t bad and I liked Austin to some degree (but not as much as I thought I would.) But there’s a reason I live in the Northwest. Of course, you can’t beat 70F weather in late November…

Seattle Trip: We were only back a day, then Emee and I hopped on Amtrak (my preferred long-distance travel besides bikes) to head up to Seattle on November 29th. If you’re wondering why we’d leave town so soon, it was because of a work trip for Emee. We were there less than 48 hours. I managed to get a good bike ride on and hang out with my friend Theo.

Other: Getting ready for Bike Craft this weekend has taken up a lot of my time. I just finished up the newest comic, NEW OLD STOCK 333 (available in my store) while piecing together the new SOCIETY OF THREE SPEEDS membership kit. There hasn’t been a lot of time for “fun” activities, but hopefully after this weekend things will open up a bit!

Bike Craft fair this weekend! (15-16 Dec)

Hello friends! The annual Bike Craft Fair is coming up this weekend. What is it, you may ask yourself? I said previously that it’s…“a bicycle-themed take on the traditional (or truer to form, the hipster version) craft fair”, probably the world’s only bicycle-centric holiday gift fair. It has occurred every December since 2005 (with the exception of 2016), and I’ve tabled most of them (every single one from 2005-2011, then 2015, then 2017.). It is the biggest sales-related event that I do annually.

It’ll be happening this weekend, Saturday December 15 and Sunday December 16, 12 PM to 6 PM both days. Bike Craft will be at TaborSpace – 5441 SE Belmont (which is located in Mount Tabor Presbyterian Church.) There’ll be 30ish vendors, listed here – everything from warm winter bike gear, stuff decorated with bikes, bikey coloring books, art made out of bike parts, and so much more!

 Photo by Tomas Quinones. 

The above pic of me is from Bike Craft 2011, taken by Tomas Quinones. If you come to visit this year, I’ll be most likely wearing a tie and sweater, but will lack the floppy hair and Greg Nortonesque mustache from this era. Also, those awesome screenprinted posters are gone.

As for myself, I’ll be selling comics, zines, postcards,  buttons, Postcard Club memberships, and Society of Three Speeds memberships–bascially anything you can get in my store.* So if you are local, swing on by and avoid paying postage and fees!

Hope to see you this weekend. And thank you for your support!

*I won’t be bringing posters. But if you are local and want one, let me know by mid-day Wednesday.

Society of Three Speeds Membership Pre-Sale EXTENDED one week, to Friday December 14! (Plus last day of New Old Stock 333 Pre-Sale)

Hello folks! Thank you so much for all your support! Since my Society of Three Speeds membership kit pre-order went live almost three weeks ago, I’ve gotten over 20 new and renewed memberships! You folks like the three speeds, I can see. And while many elements are now in place, like the patch, buttons, and stickers, there’s a few more things I am working on before the kit goes “live” in January 2019.

So, I’ve decided to extend the pre-order sale ONE MORE WEEK. Now you’ll have until 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Friday December 14 to get the kit for the price of $15 plus fees and shipping. After that date, the regular price will be $20 plus fees and shipping. And no, I’m not going to extend the sale after this point! So get in on it now! The only two ways I’ll be discounting memberships after the sale is over will be:

  1. At in-person events
  2. If you successfully complete a challenge like Three Speed Adventure April or Three Speed October.

And what do you get with the Society of Three Speeds kit?

  • The patch!
  • Two 1 inch buttons of the design
  • Three 1 1/2 inch stickers of the design
  • One year of Postcard Club. You’ll get about four unique event postcards sent to you!
  • A subscription to the Society of Three Speeds email list, where you will be notified of upcoming SoTS events and other items of interest.
  • Some other special goodness!
  • And of course, your membership card with your membership number!

And to clear up some things that have been asked:

  • If you are already a member, you will still retain your member number, you will not be a “new member” per se. (And no, you can’t get a new number if you are an existing member.)
  • At some point (January), existing members will be able to purchase individual stickers, buttons, and patches a la carte. However, I’ve designed it so that the “best” deal for current and new members alike is to get in on the pre-sale. So don’t wait, order the kit!
  • You can “gift” folks a membership. In the notes of the order, please indicate full name, mailing address, and email address of the giftee. If you want me to let them know who gifted them the kit, indicate that as well.
  • Membership to the Society of Three Speeds is available to everyone, anywhere in the world. You do not have to live in the Portland area. While you won’t be able to go on the rides I put on in and around the Portland area, you will still be part of a larger global organization of three speed enthusiasts. We have members from all over the world!
  • Speaking of rides, yes, please do a Three Speed Ride in (insert your town here.) I can’t be everywhere, and while the idea of having a ride in Kansas City or Winnipeg is appealing, I’m not going to be the one to make it happen. But maybe you can? Let me know what you’re planning, and I can try to help.
  • You don’t need to own a three speed…yet. You do not have to currently own a three speed bicycle when you join the club. But you should definitely be into the idea of them, and pursue getting one in the next year or two.

Do you still have questions? Please let me know.

Order the Society of Three Speeds membership kit here.

In other news, today is the last day of the New Old Stock 333 pre-order. Purchase NEW OLD STOCK 333 until 11:59 PM Pacific Time tonight, Friday December 7, get it for just $3! (plus fees and shipping) The regular price will be $4, so you save 25%! Purchase it here.

Last week of New Membership kit pre-order sale, and stickers are in!

Society Of Three Speeds

Hello, friend of Three Speeds! This is the final week of the pre-order sale for the Society of Three Speeds membership kits! Until 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Friday December 7, the price of these kits is just $15 plus fees and shipping. After this date, the price goes up to $20. Act now to secure the good price!

The new SoTS Membership pack will feature:

  • The patch!
  • Two 1 inch buttons of the design
  • Three 1 1/2 inch stickers of the design
  • One year of Postcard Club. You’ll get about four unique event postcards sent to you!
  • A subscription to the Society of Three Speeds email list, where you will be notified of upcoming SoTS events and other items of interest.
  • Some other special goodness!
  • And of course, your membership card with your membership number!

Speaking of stickers, I just got a batch of them from the printer! These…

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Patch sample is here! SoTS new member pack pre-order still going.

Society Of Three Speeds

Hey folks! A bunch of you have already pre-ordered the new membership kit, thank you very much. I appreciate your support!

I have some good news: The sample of the patch has been made by Falls Creek Outfitters. It looks great! See it above. So if you were hesitant about ordering because you were unsure how the finished product was going to look, fear no more!

And there have been a few questions from people who are already members about the new kit. So, to clear it up:

  • If you are already a member, you will still retain your member number, you will not be a “new member” per se.
  • At some point (most likely January), existing members will be able to purchase individual stickers, buttons, and patches a la carte. However, the “best” deal for current and new members alike is to get in on the pre-sale. The prices…

View original post 196 more words

Goodbye, hostel.

It’s official: Friday November 16 marked my last day at the hostel. If you’ve been following along, you know that I transitioned out of full time employment in August, and have been working part-time since then. But that was never a permanent plan, it was a temporary source of guaranteed cash until I figured out another (part-time) gig. That gig is set, and I enjoy it more than the hostel. In fact, I still have been dreading my two days a week at the hostel. I knew it was over.

I feel relieved, like I can finally move on with my life, and reach the next step. I had that job for almost thirteen years (minus the year when I went on The Big Tour), and it’s been too long. Heck, I was done with the job the first time I quit in 2011, but came back to it after I returned. It was the Known Evil, and besides finding a job was pretty difficult in this town up until fairly recently. There were perks like paid benefits and generous vacation time (if you could use it), but they started to feel like gilded handcuffs than benefits.

I think the thing that got me the most was I couldn’t see what I was getting out of the job besides the aforementioned benefits, a paycheck, and a source of frustration. The hostel was fun at one point, when I was younger and closer to the base age of the guests, when we had other staff that I considered friends, when I didn’t have to take the job super seriously. But that’s the past. The biggest source of “fun” I found after all that was the bicycle tourists, but their numbers have been dwindling, and honestly some of the more recent ones I didn’t want much to do with.

There was nothing more I could learn in the job, there are only so many different ways you can answer the phone, check people in, make a reservation, etc. Most importantly, there was no room for advancement. I got as high in rank and pay that I ever could at that location, and getting a job with corporate never seemed in my realm.

Yeah, I’m a bit burnt. Which is a shame, because I used to be such a “believer” in what hostels meant. It’s never been perfect in America (oh, how many times would people walk in saying something like “I didn’t know that there were hostels in the US” yet we’ve had hostels in this country since 1934.) But I’ve seen it erode even more. Hostelling International USA seems more and more intent on forgetting its roots (cheap communal lodging for people who traveled “by their own steam”) by pursuing the “hip urban social-media savvy Millennial” demographic and concentrating on flashy urban hostels, rather than, oh, having a consistent network coast-to-coast.

And yet, there are these “old fashioned” hostels out there. When I did the Big Tour in 2011, there were many “wilderness hostels” in the National Parks of the Canadian Rockies. They were spartan: most didn’t have electricity, heat and lighting was from propane, water from a pump, the bathroom an outhouse (no shower, but some had saunas!) Internet and cell service? Ha! Yet, I had probably the most fun at these hostels than any other. I hung out with the other guests, sometimes making communal meals. We had bonfires. We talked and got to know each other. This felt to me what hostelling was about, not sitting on a laptop all day in the common area.

Oh, there are hostels like this in the US, some even new. I’ve been hearing good things about the Spoke’n Hostel out in Mitchell in Central Oregon. The key thing about these places are they are usually on popular bike touring and/or through hiking routes. Heck, I’ve thought about opening a hostel like this from time to time, but right now the last thing I want to be is an inkeeper.

Anyways, the hostel is now in the past, and I’m happy to move on to other things. I’ve been drawing more this past couple months than I have in years, and I like that a lot. I’m also looking forward to doing more books, more writing in general, and more stuff with bike touring in general. I’m not ruling out a full time gig at some point, but I’m not anxious to get one anytime soon. I want to spend at least a year doing a part time gig and working on my own things. And maybe I’ll find happiness.