Day’s Verse:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

I’m here in Spokane, doing all manner of Bicycle Alliance stuff. This has included:

  • Tabling at REI on Saturday;
  • Tabling at SpokeFest before and after riding the 47-mile course;
  • Giving the Spokane Bike Club a little update on the Bicycle Alliance’s latest activities;
  • Riding all over Spokane, and despite this remaining totally clueless about how to get around;
  • Observing the Farwell Elementary School’s PE teacher as she teaches 3 classes of 4th graders bike education.

I’ve greatly been enjoying Spokane, which seems to combine the best of the West Coast — laid-back attitude, easygoing people, big hills, lots of evergreen trees — with a more midwestern or even East Coast environment. It’s a bit dry here for the East Coast, but they have real seasons here, moderately old and fairly well-preserved buildings, and when you look across the landscape, it’s mostly rolling wooded hills (though you can see the Rockies in the distance). Overall, I really like Spokane. It’s a lovely city that feels like a small town (my hosts seem to know everybody), and the biking is good. I just wish the street paving was a little better.

While in Spokane, I’m staying with Eileen Hyatt, a Bicycle Alliance board member, and her partner, Michael Conley. Michael owns North Division Bicycle Shop, and their house is full of bikes and bike-related stuff. Plates with bikes on them, bike statues, pictures of bikes; everywhere I look, there are bikes! One actual bike (which lives in the living room) in particular caught my eye, and Micheal gave me permission to take it on a test ride.

Merlin Newsboy

It’s a Merlin Newsboy, made in 1995, and it was an amazingly fun bike to ride. I had to wipe my drool off the frame after I finished my rollercoaster 5-mile ride. It was like riding a fighter jet or a hydroplane, but tougher — you could tell it could handle anything and have fun doing it. Good thing they don’t make ’em anymore, or I’d certainly spend some time hanging around the Merlin website. Overall I think I made a mistake taking it for a test ride, because it was so much fun it makes my normal commuter bike (no slouch of a bike, and pretty awesome herself) seem a bit, well, ho-hum.

Michael, if that Newsboy ever needs a new home, I’m serious — let me know!

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