Sunday, November 29, 2009


I went into labor around 5 pm on Wednesday, November 25th.
We went to Alma Birth Center (by RadioCab) at 8 am on Thursday, November 26th-- Happy Thanksgiving!
Jasper Louis Proctor was born at 3:51 am on Friday, November 27th. He weighed 8 lbs, 13 oz, and is beautiful.
Around 4 pm on Saturday, November 28th, we hopped in our pedicab and rode home. Thanks, Ryan!

More soon. Now? Nursing, sleep, and dreams of fast bicycles.

At Alma (3)

Hard to Look Away

Ryan (1)

At the South Rose Garden, in Ladd's (2)

At the South Rose Garden, in Ladd's (5)

The Man Himself: Jasper Louis

More photos on Flickr!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Logo!

Our friend Dan surprised us the other night with a new logo for the site. Cool, no? We feel so lucky to have talented friends!

Check out Dan's beautiful web design work over at Numerosign.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

39 Weeks: Date Night

Is the baby here yet?

No, but signs and auguries indicate that it may be coming imminently. What to do? Date night!

Last night, Dave and I went out as soon as he got home from work for a nice little date. We rode across the neighborhood (a quick half-mile) for amazing lamb-pesto pizza at Vincente's, then for a nice walk, and then went to see Where the Wild Things Are at Cinemagic, our awesome neighborhood movie theater.

The only downside was the ride home, where I realized that we have moved from knee-socks-and-skirts weather to full on tights-and-boots weather: my knees about fell off as we zipped home through the 37 degree night!

I feel so blessed to live in such a wonderful city, with genuinely livable neighborhoods and lots of transport options. I feel lucky to live close to interesting people and thriving local businesses. I am surprised and delighted that riding the bike places still feels like an option, and I am pretty sure that this wouldn't be true if our roads felt less safe, or if I had had less support in making my bike stable and sturdy for pregnant riding, or if I were seeking my prenatal care from practitioners who emphasized the risks of pregnancy over its normalcy, or even if I had a husband who worried over my fragility rather than respecting my knowledge of my body and its limits. And I'm grateful for all of these things.

Also? I'd like to have this baby now, please. Because although I feel blessed and loved and simply drenched in luck, this is getting damned uncomfortable, and I'd like to meet our kiddo. I've got this amazing world here, and I can't wait to show it off.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yuba rear hub: final technical detritus

The Yuba rear hub is done and this post has been a long time coming. It is brought to you by a good beer and a spare Friday night between baby-related carpentry projects. So here's the rear hub setup in all its glory, a Halo SpinDoctor Pro DH hub with 14mm axle adapters. By the numbers:

48 spokes
4 sealed cartridge bearings
10mm hollow chromoly axle
30-point engagement, 3-pawl chromoly freehub
9-speed cassette

Yuba Rear Hub Final 2.JPG

Yuba Rear Hub Final 3.JPG

A few words are in order about fitting this part. First: BTI (the distributor for Halo parts stateside) finally has the part numbers for the axle adapters straightened out, thanks to my badgering. You should be able to walk into your local bike shop and order this hub and the adapter and gets the right parts. I received two sets of 14mm adapters for a front hub before I got the correct part. It didn't help that I ordered from a mail-order place in an attempt to save some cash so I had to do all that crap by phone.

Part of me hates to do this because I worked in bike shops for most of a decade and I know what they go through, but I need to call this place out. you need to work on your resolution skills. These guys run a real brick-and-mortar shop specializing in hardcore dirt jumping, DH racing, and BMX. I'm sure that if you walk in with a busted part, you'll leave with exactly the overkill solution you were hoping for. However, here's a few tips for your mail-order business:

Call back when you say you'll call back.
Only say you have a part in hand when you actually do.
Don't send the same wrong part out twice, it suggests you don't know what you sell.
Don't take phone orders if you have no system to track phone orders.
Pick up your phone during your posted business hours.

Anyway, about the hub.

It's loud. Not quite Chris King angry-bee-sound loud, but loud enough that it reminds you that you could be pedaling instead of coasting. I like this. I try to make every other part of my bikes silent, so the freewheel and the tire noise are the bike's voice. This is a big bike, and it's okay for it to have loud voice.

The engagement is fast. 30 engagement points is more than standard and it's nice to be able to put the pedals where you want them to start up a hill from a stoplight with a 100lb load.

The axle is hollow. I know, right? It's supposed to be a DH hub and they make a design decision that can only be justified for its weight savings. WTF?

It's strong anyway. Maybe a solid axle wouldn't help? I'm a chemist, not a mechanical engineer, but I might buy some hand-waving argument that it doesn't really matter that much beacause of the relative cross-sectional area and the surface tensile-str... blah blah blah. I've put 350lbs+ on it (me and Katie plus some cargo) for decent stretches and it's fine. I also tried to bring home a 14" band saw with it, but 250lbs on one side and nothing on the other just made the bike unrideable. I got every thing strapped on and laid the bike down a couple times trying to get started, but the whole bike is fine.

It's wider than the Yuba rear spacing. The Yuba is 130mm, the hub is 135mm. You'll need to stretch the frame to get it to fit. Luckily the Yuba has big-ass H-racks such that you can lean the bike over, stand on one H-rack, and pull up on the other (lift with your legs, not with your back) to get enough spread to fit in the hub.

It is much more nicely made than the Yuba frame. As anyone who's put together a Yuba from box will know, that's not saying too much. These frames are built like tanks and ride like Cadillacs, but examples of precision manufacturing they ain't. The assembly instructions include hammering the H-racks into place! I had to take a file to the rear dropouts to get the 14mm axles to fit into the frame. Most of what I took off was paint, but a little steel was removed as well. I enjoy free-hand metalwork, but others might care more. Incidentally, more filing around the rear dérailleur was needed to allow proper clearance for the spring tension adjustment screw. This can be seen in the second photo above. Most of what I took off there was steel. The chunk of sheet steel that is the right rear dropout isn't cut to close enough tolerances to allow for a standard Shimano LX dérailleur without some filing.

I really like this hub. It does its job, it's simple, it's familiar technology, and it's compatible with whatever industry-standard parts you want to use it with. Also, it has 14mm dropout adapters, even if I'm the only person in the world who cares. Seriously, what frame with 135mm rear spacing also has 14mm dropouts? Luckily for me (and anyone else who wants to run a standard 9-speed drivetrain on a Yuba) they made it anyway.

Recently A Long Walk to Green posted a long-term review of his NuVinci CVT hub. I think if I'd read that before I built the bike I would've gone that route even though it involves modifying the frame for use with a 10mm axle by brazing spacers into the dropouts. I considered it at the time, and even tried to get an answer from the manufacturer on the hub's load rating. I didn't get an answer back for weeks and by that time I'd already built the bike, but they said they'd never tested it for load. Seems to work for him, though.

I'm happy to have the Halo hub, it's a good part. It's a viable option for custom Yuba-builders who want to run a modern geared drivetrain, and fits the dropouts without frame modification.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nudity! Bikes! Music!

A few months back, the Flaming Lips put out a call for naked bicyclists in Portland for a video shoot. I hemmed and hawed about it-- it was meeting on Mt Tabor, and that's only a few miles from our place, but a lot of climbing for a pregnant lady. And there would probably be big crowds, which I don't love. But I do quite like the Flaming Lips. And it was such a delightfully silly proposition. And then, the clincher: what if, when it came down to it, nobody came? Was I willing to let my adopted city fail in its ability to turn out dozens, nay, hundreds, of naked cyclists on demand? No! I had to go. It was a moral imperative.

So, with the power of Facebook I found a friend who was willing to bike up with me, and we slowly trekked up the mountain. That first day, there was some trouble with the police about exactly how much nudity was permitted, and some delightful sneaking around following that, but overall it became clear that although Mt. Tabor was gorgeous, Wayne Coyne (the Flaming Lips' frontman and mastermind of this video) wasn't going to be able to get the shots he wanted. So, he declared that they would get a bus, we'd all meet back there the next day, and schlep out to Sauvie Island to shoot either on private property or on the nude beaches there.

With me being largely at loose ends, and my friend being currently unemployed, it was easy to decide to go back again. The next morning, our bikes went under the bus, we went inside of it, and a long, LONG day of shooting followed. We ended up on director Gus Van Sant's beautiful property on the island, running around naked, riding bikes excruciatingly slowly for the sake of the camera crew, and getting 'birthed' out of a giant furry space-bubble vagina. It was strange, and fun, and relaxed, and beautiful, and never creepy, which was surprising and awesome.

And then we were back on the bus, and it was late, and they dropped us off on Mount Tabor and I had a beautiful ride home in the dark, and it was done. And I somehow never thought beyond this as a chance to do something utterly unique, something strange and delightful that I wouldn't get to do again. I laughed about the notion of having my pregnant belly forever immortalized, but I didn't do a whole lot of thinking about what it would be like to actually be in the video.

And now, the video is here! And I am in it-- quite a lot, actually! The best shot of me on the bike, however, comes at about 4:20, on the right side of the frame. It should go without saying that, because of sound and vast quantities of nudity, this is NSFW.

Embedding isn't working, so find the video here!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bikey Baby Shower

Four of us set off together: me, 36.4 weeks pregnant, on my retrofitted Bianchi Volpe; Dave, loyal husband, on the shiny green Yuba Mundo; Kori, dear friend, adventuring teacher, puma wrangler, borrowing Dave's new black Brompton; and Caitlin, long-absent Ithaca friend, down from Seattle by bike and train, on her own zippy aluminum Trek.

We set off at a pregnant snail's pace: about 6 mph up hills, and about 10 on flats, rolling through the streets of Portland. Halfway, we stopped for sustenance at the Waffle Window. This is the most useful advice I can give to the pregnant cyclist: take pit-stops. If you're out alone, it's easiest to stop whenever something peaks your curiosity: a shop, a restaurant, a flower. When with others, it may be better to pick something fun along the route and schedule the stop in, so you don't feel like your inability to ride more than two miles at a stretch is interrupting everyone else's ride. Also, don't go out with anyone who will find your need to interrupt their ride annoying.

We got a little lost; we were a little late; we didn't have the house number and had to rely on other party-goers to get us to the right doorstep.

And coming home, it got a little dark; the Yuba tipped over during loading because it was so laden with gifts; our hosts worried over our chosen mode of transport. And today, as I've come to expect, I am sore and exhausted from the 9-mile round trip. But happy. Oh, so happy. And independent, and proud.

And that's how we rode to our baby shower.