Wednesday, July 13, 2016

BSNYC Road Jernel Part IV: Classic Cycle!

Back in June I went on a teeny little mini micro-tour of the West Coast in support of my new book, which I chronicled in a series of critically-acclaimed "Road Jernel" posts:

Part I is here;
Part II is here;
Part III is here.

Oh, did I mention I have a new book?  Because I have a new book:


Buy a copy, you won't regret it--or at least I wont, because each copy sold brings me that much closer to buying the swimming pool of my dreams:


And if I write another book maybe I can even get a yard to put it in.

Anyway, since my tour took me through Seattle--the emerald in the soggy crown that is the Pacific Northwest--this afforded me the opportunity to finally visit Classic Cycle on Bainbridge Island, whose ad has adorned the right-hand margin of my blog for quite some time:


Naturally the occasion of my visit to this august institution warranted its very own post, and this is that post.

So let's begin.

On the morning of my visit I awoke in Portland, where I rode to the train station:


Rolled my bike right onto the Amtrak Cascades:


And at high noon I arrived at King Street Station in Seattle, where a very short ride took me to the ferry terminal:


And there I waited beneath the not-exactly-awe-inspiring yet perfectly adequate Seattle skyline, which at that moment was glistening beneath an improbably blue sky:


I had plenty of time to admire it too, because the boat had to swallow what seemed like a thousand cars before a person in a safety vest finally waved me on as a palate cleanser:


By the way, if you're heading over to Classic Cycle from Seattle, make sure you get on the Bainbridge Island ferry and not the one that goes to Bremerton, which I'm told is a mistake people sometimes make:


You'll know you got on the boat to Bremerton if, when you get off on the other side, it looks like this:


And the closest thing to a "bike museum" you'll find is this:


Just kidding.  For all I know Bremerton is lovely--though it's more fun to think of it as an abject hellhole, and that's what I'm going to do until I see it with my own eyes.

Anyway, I did manage to get on the right boat--which I attribute less to my navigational savvy and more to the giant sandwich boards that said "BAINBRIDGE ISLAND" complete with directional arrows that were all over the ferry landing--at which point a crewmember instructed me to tie my bike to the railing:


This caused me considerable anxiety, because as a terminal landlubber I don't know the first thing about nautical knots.  Should I make the "buntline hitch?"


Or perhaps the trusty "double overhand stopper?"


Alas I had no idea, so I just went with a simple "dog owner running in for a cup of coffee" knot and hoped the thing wouldn't roll out to sea.  (I never did see that dog again.)

Soon Seattle was receding in the distance:


So I abandoned my tentatively-moored bike to its fate and made my way to the business end of the boat (or the "bow" for all you Boat Freds) to do some sightseeing.  Upon my arrival I found some of my fellow passengers bravely fighting the powerful wind and marveling at what I assume are the Olympic Mountains in the distance:


"I'm king of the FREEEDS!" I shouted:


Then I headed back to the other end of the boat (that's the stern, I was clearly ready to become a sailor now) and shot Seattle another parting glance:


And then I headed to the galley for a snack:


Alas, the pretzels were not ready:


Which was too bad, because we were almost at Bainbridge Island:


When you disembark from the ferry at Bainbridge Island all you've got to do to get to Classic Cycle is walk straight and then hang a right, and if that's too hard for you there are also more sandwich boards to point you in the right direction:


And before I knew it there it was, the object of my quest, proud but welcoming and wearing a hat made from condos:


Classic Cycle!


At this point you may be wondering whether Classic Cycle is a bike shop or a bike museum, and the answer to this is an emphatic YES.  For while it is indeed your full-service friendly neighborhood bike shop, it is also a living shrine containing a fascinating array of cycling artifacts:


As well as a velvet painting of human rights paradigm Eddy Merckx:


Indeed, when you step into Classic Cycle your eyes will practically spin around inside your head at an incredibly high cadence--not all slow like if you were pushing this gigantic chainring:


Furthermore, no matter where your eyes finally do alight you will find something engrossing:


And seemingly every cycling discipline, era, and region is represented:


Indeed, if you're a lifelong bike lover there's undoubtedly something in here that will stir some long-dormant longing from your childhood, and for me it was this green Haro Master in mint condition:


Bernard Hinault's jersey may have been hanging right beside it, but that was just a run-of-the-mill schmatta next to the bike of my adolescent dreams.

Alas, while I did have a Haro, it was merely the modest FST model:


One can imagine how much more successful I'd have been in cycling and in life if only I'd had access to the Master.

Of course, anybody can fill a building with a bunch of old bike stuff and call it a museum, but what makes Classic Cycle's museum truly great is:

1) The exhibit is incorporated into the merchandise, so it feels less like a museum and more like the world's most interesting bike shop;

2) The delightful curatorial flourishes of Paul (co-owner, along with Jaime), seen for instance in his presentation of this azure relic:


Which sports a notable accessory:


And of course Classic Cycle is a living, breathing bike shop (one of America's best according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association) as well as a museum, but even in that respect there's a sense of history, for in addition to new bicycles they also sell restored and/or updated classic bikes:


Not to mention the finest in cycling literature:


I can only hope that one day I too warrant such a lengthy disclaimer:


In any case, my visit to Classic Cycle was over far too soon, for I had to return to the mainland.  But if you find yourself in Seattle and you don't make a side trip to Bainbridge Island to visit the bike museum then you should probably spend an hour our two staring into a light box because you may already be experiencing the first symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Just make sure to brush up on your knots first:


Sign the guest book if you go, and tell Paul and Jaime I said hi.

64 comments:

Ted K. said...

Note 27. (Paragraph 151) To be sure, past societies have had means of influencing human behavior, but these have been primitive and of low effectiveness compared with the technological means that are now being developed.

Anonymous said...

Early freakin doors. I have one of those new Haro Masters in chrome. So much better than the one I rode back in the late 80s!

McFly said...

If you can't tie a knot.....

....tie a lot....

Anonymous said...

Although I kinda like Ted K's posts, I think the commenters would place me first...

Anonymous said...

Congrats on podium, McFly!

cdinvb said...

Jeez this is early. Even for me. Too bad I gotta drive somewhere and go to work. Means I don't have to make other excuses for not getting on the bike.

cdinvb said...

Hey man. Neighbor has a pool like that near here. Behind a fence. If you are in the neighborhood we can sneak a peek over the fence and watch 'em skinny dippin'. But, yeah. Gotta go to work today. So later.

N/A said...

Early start. Morning, peeps.

Brent Williams said...

My parents lived on Bainbridge Island until recently (moved back to the "mainland") and Classic Cycles was always an essential stop on any trip to visit them.

Interestingly, Classic Cycle was in the habit of loaning interesting bikes from the museum collection out to various establishments in town, including a couple of the numerous quaint cafes that dot the landscape. So you can't really escape cycling on the island.

Except for at my parents' house, since they're in their late 80s and didn't have any bikes from the museum in their living room and were never really into bikes in the first place. However, since it's a small island and people tend to know each other, Paul used to come by regularly and beg them to take a few bikes to help obscure the sweeping vistas of Puget Sound from the couch.

Anonymous said...

FECK I visited bainbridge islan this year and DID NOT go to classic cycle.. had no idea, SHITE!

NYCHighwheeler said...

KING OF THE FREDS?

But you haven't even taken your required Fred Hajj- RAGBRAI!

Only a week or two away...

Be there AND be square!

JuanOffhue said...

Bremerton is actually quite pleasant. I had wanted to go to Bainbridge Island and Classic Cycle on my trip to the PNW last fall, but couldn’t quite work it in. Did make to to Port Townsend, which is a cool place. Next time....

dnk said...

Snob, I love the kid with arms crossed standing in mute admiration of your wheelie.

Please tell me that kid did not grow up to be Donald Trump's twitter handler.

BikeSnobNYC said...

dnk,

He's my brother!

--Wildcat Etc.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Late to the early party, Scranus!

N/A said...

Knot joke:


A string walks into a bar with a few friends and orders a beer. The bartender says, "I'm sorry, but we don't serve strings here."

The string goes back to his table. He ties himself in a loop and messes up the top of his hair. He walks back up to the bar and orders a beer.

The bartender squints at him and says, "Hey, aren't you a string?"

The string says, "Nope, I'm a frayed knot."

bad boy of the north said...

n/a@942am.....ouch!ouch!ouch!lol.
hey,snob.did you find out how many knots that ferry was going?
nice travelogue about your visit to Bainbridge island.
The closest i'll get there anytime soon is Bainbridge avenue in da Bronx.

Anonymous said...

"Land+ho" ... Not fair. She looks like a nice backpacker.

don knotts,not said...

does anyone ride a furley?that's all I've got.

CommieCanuck said...

Wow, you dream big Snob, this is the swimming pool of my dreams.
They look so happy. You can hardly see the urine.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Yep, nice set of legs at the bow of the ferry.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...Can't read the plaque, is that azure Lance Armstrong's bike? I didn't realize that he carried that much grease in a syringe on his bike.

dem_bieks! said...

Snobby,

How does it feel to have a book published that will probably never sell as many copies as Johann's? In the 10 remaining book stores in 'mericuh, your publisher has to battle for a slot next to Sky fan fiction.


Unrelated...
When is British Cycling publishing "Blimey! We May as Well Win: Sky and the implausible rise of British Cycling in one of the most corrupt sports in the world."

JLRB said...

Not Old ... Classic

Still a favorite vessel for my caffeinated beverages! (Thanks!)

I will make a pilgrimage to Classic Cycles on my next Seattle trip, although my PNW travels of late have been to Portland, where I am supposed to go in a few weeks - booked an earlier flight to have time to try to get in a ride to that ultra-green forest you showed us. Will have to check in with River City to see if they rent bikes, so I don't have to haul the travel bike...

JLRB said...

and when I see the "I'm not a robot" button I often get an ear worm of Bob Seagar "I'm not a number" - I hope it's not contagious

Anonymous said...

It's like this:

Make a hole. The rabbit comes out of the hole. He goes around the tree. He goes back in the hole.

You've just tied a bowline (pronounced "bow lin"), the most useful knot on the planet.

BikeSnobNYC said...

dem_bieks!,

Oh, I bet I outsell Johann.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

leroy said...

I think I know where the dog went.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

knot, bend or hitch, doesn't make a difference, just finish tying me to the bed already!

McFly said...

I'll take my pretzel in a Buntline Hitch thankyouverymuch

#whatpretzelknotyourunning

Anonymous said...

"He's my brother!"

1. So you are claiming your brother is not Donald Trump's twitter handler?
b. And you are claiming he is not heavy?


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Anonymous said...

Awesome picture fro the 80's of a little tyke wheelinging in 80's mod clothes.

Yep, been to Bremerton - very nice place - water is cold but great for a swim on a hot day.

Will get to the book store next time.

P.S.: why can't we have mountains here in the East coast to look at, too?

Anonymous said...

That disclaimer has a familiar snarkyness to it............
Ghost written perhaps?

balls™ said...

Couldn't it be said that Armstrong was dominant in an era where it wasn't all about the bike? And, in that context he wasn't just a great rider, but also the most successful doper since Cheech & Chong? (although, Lance never won a Grammy)

FerrySnobWA said...

A Washington State Ferry really has no bow or stern. Instead, it has two numbered ends. The two tapered walkways outside the passenger cabin on either end are called "pickle-forks."

You are more likely to find a pile of scrapped submarine remnants in Bremerton.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Yay I went there a cupla years ago! I remarked that the weather was nice for my visit. One of the guys said, we just say it rains all the time to keep the people away...

I did notice a lot of classic bikes hanging up in places around town from the shop.
Including 2 Dick Powers.

There I said it!

vsk

Anonymous said...

My bigger little brother, who is an arborist, sailor, and all around curmudgeon, offers this bit of knot tying advice for the rest of us. "If you can't tie a knot, tie alot."

Anonymous said...

Shit McFly, I should read through before commenting.

McFly said...

If you're gonna comment on a knot.....

Read a lot.....

JLRB said...

half-baked pretzels don't cut the mustard

N/A said...

I'm half-baked, and I cut the cheese!

bieks said...

As someone who lives within a couple hours drive of Seattle, I feel stupid now; I thought the Museum was a lot farther out of the way. Next time.

BTW, nice disembodied feet by the sandwich board - not even cropped out.

Anonymous said...

FYI,
Bremerton is a hell hole.

JLRB said...

I took another look at the wheelie pop photo - two observations:

1. The tree looks like a crime scene

b. Young Snob is clearly saying woo hoo hoo

i.three-stripe tube socks rock

Bum said...

Anon @4:31

You must be from Bainbridge.

Bainbridge is cute and quaint; Bremerton is divey and real.

dem_bieks! said...

Outsell the hell outta Johann Snobby!

Not kidding.

Some guy from upstate said...


You can tell you're in Bremerton if it looks like this:

http://www.navy.mil/local/PSNS/

Dooth said...

Woo hoo! New Paltz! Spent half the eighties in New Paltz. Had some awesome rides, but not on a bike.

P. Bateman said...

I"m knot sure if this story really falls under the category of inspirational in the traditional sense, but today i saw a fellow with one leg riding a bike. he used a crutch to pump the pedal on his left (port) side.

he also was carrying a some sort of something or another in his right hand. i'll also add that this fellow (who did look a bit homeless) was very likely riding a a little dirty.

so, thats one leg, one crutch, some shit in the other hand all while riding dirty and he seemed to be doing just fine.

so next time Snob posts a crash video of a triathlete falling over after hitting thin air - we should all point and laugh a little harder.

Spokey said...


i did take the seattle / bremerton ferry a few years back and don't recall it looking like that. me old memory is fading but i thought it was a nice little town. and there was a combo locksmith/bike shop a couple blocks from the ferry where i got a new 'puter (mine had gone haywire) and a new map holder (winds ripped mine off the bike during the ferry crossing).

so a pox on that bainbridge one.

Spokey said...

PB

watched about 10min of that brie country race today (yesterday?). some professional rider couldn't navigate this small speed bump and managed to fly in to the air doing a rather nice endo.

That said, I nearly did an endo meself as a car backed out of a driveway today right in front of me as I (in a rare fit of effort) was sailing along at 20mph. A couple hundred years down we met at a light and I yelled at him (window was down). He was pretty apologetic explaining that he thought I was (or would, not sure) stopping.

4rn Policy said...

I think you Yankees need to have yourselves owning even some more guns an' then maybe there'd be less of y'all to mess with the rest of the world.

JLRB said...

4rh policy - where do you live? If the USA stopped securing trade routes, as its done since the end of WWII you might not like the results. Maybe we will find out if trump wins and we go back in time to isolationist policies.

Oddly, it appears our gun deaths and motor vehicle deaths are nearly equal - about 90 per day, 32,000 per year. Too many.

N/A said...

"Oddly, it appears our gun deaths and motor vehicle deaths are nearly equal - about 90 per day, 32,000 per year. Too many."


Too bad there won't be any calls to ban cars, though. No celebrity Tweeters lamenting private automobile ownership. No protests on the ease of obtaining a license/vehicle.

BikeSnobNYC said...

JLRB,

I pointed this death toll parity out in my first book and have gotten emails about it from angry gun nuts. (Is there any other kind?)

--Wildcat Etc.

the right to arm bears said...

NRA(NEVER RELINQUISH ARMS)

JLRB said...

WCRM -

Maybe that is why it seemed familiar!

Were the angry gun nuts upset that guns weren't beating cars?

Sadly. the stat I was looking at indicated that somewhere around 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides. That too, may be on par with people who kill themselves in automobile oopsies.

BikeSnobNYC said...

JLRB,

There was also a guy who got mad that I made fun of the NRA on Twitter and put my book on eBay.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

dancesonpedals said...

Young Snob bro looks nonplussed.

McFly said...

Who's the pigeon-toed cutie pie in the Frilly Boots? I didn't realize they could grow peaches in such a moisture rich environment.

Johnny Weissmuller said...

How many laps to the mile or do you just swim in circles?

Very Slim Pickens said...

Where is Frilly Chick in boots?

Your brother looks likes a really serious dude.

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