Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sue Butler's SSCXWC Prize

For the 2008 SSCXWC (Singlespeed Cyclocross World Chamionships) I furnished the winner of the women's division with a custom bicycle. It took a while to get it done, but here it is, ready to shred for years to come.

Sue's SS Cross Bike

View the whole set of pictures on Flickr.

Friday, March 05, 2010

How to Poach (eggs, not trails)

Poaching. To mountain bikers this sometimes means riding trails where bikes aren't allowed. For lovers of delicious food it means gently heating something in water until it transforms into something delicious. I have some things to say about the former, but let's focus on the latter.

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I love good food. 3 squares a day. Just like my mom taught me. Many days start with eggs and for the past few years the go-to cooking method has been poaching. Pre-ride I love a big pile of buttered white rice with a couple of poached eggs, salt and Sriracha hot sauce. If you follow me on flickr you've seen this before.

Lately I've been asked by more than a few people how I poach my eggs. No gizmos, no tricks, just some hints from Julia Child and a little practice. Just like framebuilding, there are lots of ways to do this. Here's my way.

Water and vinegarI use a 2qt (2L) saucepan when I do two eggs. I rarely do more than two, but I can get 4 in the same pan. If you need to do more than that, use a bigger pan. Fill with enough water to cover the eggs, about 2" (50cm) deep. Add a glug of plain white vinegar and get it on the heat. The vinegar helps keep the whites together.

BoilI put it on high and get the water to a boil. You're not going to boil the eggs, but it gets the water up to temp fast. Once the water is boiling turn the heat down low. At my old place I had an electric range that kept enough heat and I could just turn it off at this point. With gas, you will need to keep the flame on. I leave mine on "2"--play around with it, this is where the practice comes in.

SwirlNext, give the water a swirl with your slotted spoon and while it is still swirling crack your first egg in. Do it quickly and gently. Hold the egg right over the water and let is slip out of the shell into the center of the pan. If you burn your fingers a little you are probably doing it right. Drop eggsThe swirling water will keep the egg white wrapped around the yolk, which while not totally necessary, is a step close to perfection. While the water is still swirling (and maybe with an additional stir) drop the second egg right next to the first. It is ok if the water bubbles a bit (which actually helps keep them from sticking to the pan), but it should not really simmer and definitely not boil.

Separation CheckSet your timer for 3 minutes and start it. After the eggs have been in the pan for 30 seconds or so, use your spoon to very gently make sure they are separate from each other and not stuck to the bottom of the pan.

CookingGo get your toast going. I usually make my first espresso at this point too (more on that in a future post).

When the timer goes off carefully lift an egg out with the slotted spoon, let the water rain away and give it a jiggle. If the white seems solid you're done, if not keep them on for another 30 seconds and check again. Don't overcook them! It will take a few tries to get a feel for the right amount of jiggle.

Serve them up.

If you did it right they will resemble the shape of an egg in the shell, the white will be barely firm and the yolk will be warm and runny. Enjoy!

#1 most important tip: use good, fresh, fresh, fresh eggs. Just like coffee, even if the eggs were fresh when you bought them a week ago they are not fresh any more. As they age the whites get runny and they will spread into a stringy mess when you drop them in the pan.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

NAHBS 2010 and beyond

Just back from NAHBS 2010 in Richmond, Va. I wasn't intending to attend, but got a last minute offer to go on behalf of the Rapha Continental squad. I've been a double agent with Rapha going on four years, partnering with them as both a rider and a builder. Check out the site to see what we've been up to, riding and telling stories about it. I'm proud to be part of that great team.

It was a very different experience to be at the show without showing bikes. I had the pleasure of seeing old friends and making some new ones, the satisfaction of being recognized by fans and customers (still a slightly strange feeling to have fans) and the inspiration of seeing many beautiful bicycles from both new and old builders.

Highlights included hanging with the legendary painter Joe Bell and listening to his stories, meeting Gary Smith from IF and talking about the business side of things, bellying up with Don Ferris, and getting to know many other people that I don't see too often much better. I think I may be turning into a bit of a business geek and it was really interesting to pick the brains of all the folks at the show.

I didn't take a ton of pictures. Every time I went to look at bikes I'd run into someone and end up talking with them instead of studying bikes. Here are a few. Click on any pics to go to flickr for a bigger view.

Darrell McColloch

The Portland Mafia and Friends
This was towards the end of the show. We were all tired, drinking and very comfortable around each other by this time. Lots of secrets were spoken...of which you'll never hear

VanillaCrates vanilla-booth
Pretty cool to see these crates unfold. Sacha and the Workshop crew have true vision. I am in awe of what they put together this year.

Spent a bunch of time with Marc DiNucci. He's a true master. Look how consistently thin those lugs are. This is the work of a practiced hand. He told met hat back in the 70s he would build and paint 5 frames a week. Even he doesn't know how he did that.

This is the bike Mark built for the Oregon Manifest. It was unpainted then. Won Best Lugged Bike at NAHBS.

My favorite cross bike at the show. Curtis is awesome.

Banjo Crew
Nice folks for a bunch of grungy hippies! Seriously, they were very cool. Happy to know them now.

Banjo Rando
Here's the Banjo Rando Bike. Nice Details.

Mike Zancanato had this impressive cutaway frame. No voids here! He clearly know his stuff. I wish I could see all the builder's bikes like this.

Don Ferris
Don had at least 8 different kinds of whiskey behind his "bar". Very generous of him. Thanks Don! anvilbikes.com

Marty and Scott
Met Marty from geekhouse in person for the first time. He's an a-ok dude. Lives up to the name, for sure. This picture cracks me up.

Sachs Jerseys
Richard had all the different jerseys from his teams over the years. Cool to see the evolution that way.

The area of richmond around the convention center is pretty bombed out--a victim of people moving to the 'burbs. However, there is an undercurrent of art and culture as seen by this painting hung on the outside of a vacant storefront.

Rapha Store Finished
The Rapha booth was a reflection of the many convenience stores that the Conti team visits as we travel around and do our rides. Cary S-H from Rapha did the design work.
Here's the crate the entire store fit into:
Rapha Crate

That was a ton of work and a ton of fun.

I'm inspired to push Pereira Cycles ahead. Part of that will be more regular blog postings. They will almost never be this long, but be sure to follow along for what I expect to be weekly updates.

NAHBS will be in Austin, TX next year. I'm planning to be there.