crankedmag

{ ride a bike… everyday, everywhere }

Sonadei Bicycle Designs

I got an email the other week asking if I’d like to review some t-shirts. Not really an apparel critic, I was a little dubious. But my curiosity was piqued when I noticed this line in the email: Sonadei donates a portion of every T-Shirt sale to The American Cancer
Society and The National Forest Foundation.
So I decided to check out the website; but rather than a simple apparel review why not find out a little bit more about what this Sonadei is all about.

Find out yourself:

CrankedMag: How long have you been doing Sonadei?

Sonadei: Sonadei has been around for two years now. But we have been thinking about it and planning our clothing lines and designs for a long time though. It’s funny actually, but my wife and I became serious about Sonadei during a trip to Victoria Canada.

CM: What happened in Victoria that was inspirational?

S: Well it’s funny actually. We were in Victoria for our honeymoon. And these ideas had been floating around for a while. We wanted to do something together that we both enjoy. And in Victoria we decided to make Sonadei a reality. It may have also been the fact that Victoria is a great town for cyclists. Cyclists are everywhere there. And per capita I would bet that there are more cyclists in Victoria than Seattle, maybe even more than Portland, OR!

CM: Any previous or concurrent projects?

S: We try to sponsor and support as many bike races and events that we can. We sponsor two cycling teams, one local, Hagens Berman, and one in Maryland, ABRT. We continually update our news page on Sonadei with all the events we support. Coming up we have the international Towards Carfree Cities conference in Portland, OR, and the North American Cycle Courier Championships in Chicago, IL. Each month there is something going on, check out our news page for all the info!

CM: I’m from Maryland myself. How’d you get hooked up with Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team?

S: That’s great! I wonder if you know anyone from the team? ABRT is a great team with a lot of members. They are very active in Maryland and on the East coast. One of their members really liked our designs and bought a couple shirts from us. We got to talking and soon after we became a team sponsor. We created some really unique designs for ABRT and are proud to support them.

CM: Anything in the future that you want to reveal?

S: We always have new programs and goals for the future. Something I am really excited about is our new 100% recycled T-Shirt. We plan on releasing it this summer. I think these new shirts are great! They are made from textile waste and clippings that are collected from several pre-consumer venues. Like new apparel cuttings, upholstery and trim fabric, yarn waste, industrial fibers and tire cord. These are then sorted by color and chopped into what’s called shoddy. The shoddy is then spun into yarn and used to produce the recycled T-Shirts. I think it’s a brilliant idea! These shirts require no new dyeing because the color is blended from the pre-consumer textile clippings. We have had outstanding feedback from our retail partners and customers who are telling us that this recycled shirt is exactly what they have been looking for. We are excited to offer it.

For some time now we have also been working on a project that supports bicycling in Africa. We will be announcing it soon on our website. It is something that we and others are working together on, and I think it will do a lot of good for people that really need help. Check our website in the coming weeks for the announcement!

CM: What’s your interest in Africa?

S: Our support of cycling is not limited to one country. We truly want to have a positive affect around the world. There are places in Africa that need help and we are excited to lend a hand. Soon we will announce more about it. We also have projects going on in Japan and Europe.

CM: Are you originally from Seattle?

S: Yes I am born and raised in Seattle.

CM: Where did the name Sonadei come from? And I like to be sure of pronunciations, how do you pronounce Sonadei? Give it to us phonetically please.

S: Sonadei is a name I made up. I thought it sounded a little different and unique. Most people seem to like it. You pronounce Sonadei: so-na-dae

CM: Who else is on the Sonadei team?

S: Sonadei consists of my wife and I. Basically I do the design work and take her input and advice. And together we do the printing. She does the sewing of our logo on every T-Shirt. I wish I could help with that but I am no good with sewing! Friends and family help when we get real busy. For example, at last years Star Crossed Cyclocross race our friend Larry showed up to enjoy the event and help sell shirts. He has a great personality and easily gets along with people. Before I knew it he had, among others, three little old ladies coming over to our booth to buy shirts from us. It was great! I never would have expected our “NO BIKE, NO LIFE.” design to be a hit with grandma! But that goes to show how universally appealing the bicycling message is to people.

CM: Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

S: Everywhere! A lot of the ideas come during bike rides. For example, in 2006 I rode in the STP and RAMROD, and had to do a lot of long distance training. I had a lot of time to just think while on my bike. A six hour ride is fun, but can become boring in its solitude. So my mind would wander and wander. I think I am most inspired on rides with my brothers and friends though. Together we rode Mt. Rainier a lot, Palisades, Sun Top, Skookum Flats… and on those rides we had a lot of fun and made a lot of jokes. We took video of many of our rides and I still go back to them for inspiration.

CM: What’s your favorite?

S: My favorite design usually changes to whatever I am currently working on. But I will always like our Classico design. The Classico design is the first one I did for Sonadei and that I showed to friends and family. People really took a liking to its simple design.

CM: What’s the most popular?

S: Our Classico design is the most popular, followed by the Mountain+Bike design, and then the Bicycle Basket design. People really like our Bike Caps and Crank design too, and give us positive reviews on them.

CM: What is your take on the current bicycle trends on style and fashion?

S: Bicycle T-Shirt designs and paraphernalia are huge right now. I think it’s because bicycling in general is getting more and more popular in America lately. I am sure part of it has to do with gas prices, and “green” lifestyles. But we still have a long way to go if we compare ourselves to some Asian and European countries. For example in Tokyo Japan, it’s not uncommon to see whole blocks dedicated to being a bicycle parking lot. There are literally thousands of them packed tight. Each one being used by someone. I would love to see that happen here.

CM: What’s the bicycle world going to see down the road with apparel?

S: I am not sure. It definitely will be more eco-conscious in how the garments are made and sold. I can guess that professional wear, like jerseys and skin suits, will continue to evolve to help keep riders warm, cool, and dry all at the same time. They will look as sporty as ever. I think it would be great for someone to invent a bike jersey that chain grease cannot stain. That would be wonderful! Casual wear will stay street. T-Shirts, Shorts, and a Hoodie; heavily influenced by the bike messenger scene. Just look at how bike messenger bags are the must have item, especially if it’s made from recycled bike pieces… like Freitag, R.E.Load, and Seattle’s own Alchemy Goods!

CM: Is Burberry or Louis Vuitton going to get into the bike scene?

S: That would be interesting. There’s nothing stopping them from doing it. But when you think of cycling you don’t necessarily think of Louis Vuitton. I can see them creating a shirt with a bicycle on it, but not a whole bicycling line. You never know though. Most likely an established bike brand will come out with a high-end apparel line. It’s easier for them and they bring actual bike credibility.

CM: Do you think the “NO BIKE, NO LIFE.” design could potentially be an affront to sensitive car-type people? Might some take offense?

S: I had someone tell me once that “Too many bikes equals no life.” So I understand that not everyone will connect with the “NO BIKE, NO LIFE.” message. However, I would hope that people would not take offense to the “NO BIKE, NO LIFE.” idea and design. We have received a lot of positive feedback from this design.

In my mind the phrase is a positive.

CM: Talk about the “I Like Today” series?

S: Our “I like today.” designs focus on a positive outlook and active lifestyle. It’s a simple idea and reminder to not get bogged down with our daily frustrations. I had a lady who bought an “I like today.” shirt tell me something funny. She said, “I like today! That’s so true, because it sure beats the hell out of yesterday!”

CM: How about the “Custodian of Paradise”?

S: The “custodian Of paradise” designs focus on nature and preserving our natural habitats. Which is something that is very important to me. I was a Boy Scout and grew up camping and hiking, it’s in my blood. I think the phrase “custodian Of paradise” couldn’t give a more clear description of who we are. This is it, life is paradise. And we need to take care of what we’ve got.

CM: How do you come into involvement with sponsored events like “Star-Crossed”?

S: The folks behind Star Crossed are great! Extremely nice people. I met one of the organizers while at Seattle’s Bike-In. He really liked our designs and bought a few shirts for himself and his sons. We talked for a while and got along well. The rest is history! We get requests for help and sponsorship emailed to us too. And we have had people who bought a shirt from us come back and ask for help with their event later on.

CM: As a producer of consumable goods, what is Sonadei’s perspective on America’s rampant consumption? Lately I’ve been growing more concerned about the burden our possessions have on us and the questionable continual need for “new” things. This is one of the [many] reasons I stopped printing the magazine. I fully understand the importance of clothing ourselves and adding color to our lives, and I find it extremely worthwhile that portions of your sales go to charities. Is this part of the concept of “conscious creativity” seen on your site?

S: Exactly! I couldn’t agree with you more. The idea behind Sonadei’s “Conscious Creativity” grew from many of the same examples you just gave. We don’t see ourselves strictly as an apparel company. That’s not who we are. We focus on supporting and growing positive active lifestyles. Donating a portion of our proceeds is the least we can do to help others out. Part of the reason that we are offering 100% recycled T-Shirts is to cut down on waste. We also use water based inks for our prints. The reason is that the ink is far less toxic to our environment. The prints look great and natural, not like plastic. But these are just small steps. We constantly look at ways to run with a lighter foot print.

From a mix of necessity and want I think, at least in America finally, that we’ve come to a collective tipping point. Eco-living has been around for a long time, and has recently come into fashion for many industries. It’s not a new idea. It’s just the popular idea right now. More and more people are consciously looking at the products they buy and use. We think about where they are made, how they are made, and where they will end up. This type of thinking will only help us for the future.

CM: Describe your inspiration for the two charities your sales contribute to. Why specifically the American Cancer Society and the National Forest Foundation.

S: When we started Sonadei we wanted to make sure the company was formed around positive and helpful principals. We wanted to build a company that contributes to improving people’s lives, and protecting our environment.

Two big challenges that affect everyone are cancer and deforestation. By donating a portion of our proceeds to the American Cancer Society and the National Forest Foundation, we directly support the battle in these two areas. Donating to these two causes are a fundamental part of what Sonadei is. People buy shirts from us because they like our designs and they believe in our message. We are very grateful for all the support we receive.


As far as what I think of the shirts… they wear and they’re bound to get some bike grease on them eventually. The inks are crisp, the cotton feels and looks good, and the stitched logo on the sleeves are a real nice touch. I’m not too much of a fashionista or anything, but I do like to wear something that has more substance to it than making some executive’s wallet thicker. Furthermore, if it’s something that supports and endorses bicycles (not to mention charity organizations), then even better! These shirts do just that I think.

I’m looking forward to a mildly hostile question one day, “You saying I got no life, punk?” No matter, I’ll wear it, and answer accordingly, with pride. My wife was excited about the “I like today.” shirt, so she got that one. She’s been wearing it to work and even on a day like today (diluvial rain in June) she got several enthusiastic comments, and even noticed people smiling about it—putting out a good vibe is what that’s all about.

Sonadei Go!

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No Parking Anytime

I think I’ve mentioned this subject before.

I ride through Fremont regularly, one route I take is along N 34th St in front on PCC. This block is essentially a west-bound one way road for cars with a east-bound bike lane. (There are sharrows included for west-bound cyclists). On the east-bound bike lane are signs that, very clearly read “No Parking Anytime”, you can see that here:

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I’ve posted similar pictures here in flickr. It’s a recurring problem, typically moving trucks, but I’ve seen delivery cars and trucks, even police cars (maybe there was an emergency in the neighborhood, I don’t know). Yesterday it happens yet again. So I decide to call the non-emergency parking violation number I was given by a Parking Enforcement officer I met a couple weeks ago. (Joby also mentioned his instructions and experience, found by clicking the above photo).

Before doing so I ask one of the movers to park the truck elsewhere, to which he replies he’s “just doing his job, the building management told us this is where we load in from, the building does not have a loading area.” He also asked that I not be a dick before he continues in the building with his load.

I dial the number and am wading through the phone tree when a lady from the apartment building approaches me and also informs me that this is where they load from, the building has no loading area. I tell her I’m on the phone with the police, to which she replies, “…that’s fine, we know the meter maids in the area.” I think to myself, that’s interesting, I wonder what that means?

When I finally reach the officer on the phone, he takes the information as to what block it is, doesn’t quite grasp the idea of what a bike lane is, and then when I mention it is a moving truck, he states that “sometimes those trucks don’t have anywhere else to park.” The police are making excuses for this I guess. Not only was the truck taking up the bike lane at 5:00pm, but was also taking up a parking space in front of the building which houses a grocery store and other businesses.

Again, all very interesting I’d say. Are there bigger issues in this city? Yes. But, I have to wonder what’s the point of putting in bike lanes, be they green, blue, or whatever, if they’re going to be shoddily done and wholly unenforced? Why is the city bothering to claim it’s Pro-bike if there’s no priority given to cyclists? Why are our taxes going to any bike projects if the city is incapable of implementing them efficiently or even correctly? How about simply paving the streets somewhat smoothly? I’ll manage the routing myself (I do have to mention I have noticed the new signs getting put up, this admittedly is a step in the right direction, especially if I didn’t know where I was going).

An hour or so later, on my way back by, the truck was there, but so were two fire engines, evidently an alarm of some kind errantly went off. No meter maid, or Parking Enforcement officer ever came to ticket, let alone investigate my reported parking violation—I’m not surprised. This isn’t to say I won’t call again the next time I witness it. I’m not making this a vendetta, I’ve got other important things to do, but so does the city; so for the next few weeks I’ll be calling that number non-emergency (206) 625 5011, I believe it is option 8, for reporting parking violations in this strip I’m sure I’ll see again. I know I’m not the only one this annoys, while on the phone yesterday I heard praise from passing cyclists assuming whom I was on the phone with.

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This bike route symbol is nearly disintegrated completely.

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Follow the Green Gravel Road

I don’t want to come off too negative about these new street features, but I am curious and suspicious at the same time. It does appear the DOT is attempting to accommodate cyclists, and honestly, that’s a good thing!

What features am I talking about? There are several throughout the city now. The one I noticed was just after crossing the Fremont Bridge on my way up to Queen Anne. Like it’s supposed to, it immediately caught my eye as I came off the bridge, a column of what looked like astro-turf crossing the street directly next to the crosswalk.

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I saw this green bike lane appear this Friday past and took some photos of it Saturday morning. Already the gravel material they’ve used is separating from the lane; as would be suspected I think. Maybe this is part of the process and I’m just squawking early, but I’ve seen plenty of lane striping and other markings on the streets here in Seattle. Why isn’t that type of paint being used for these new bike symbols and other bike improvements? Those old bike lanes on 34th going into Fremont still have their bike paint holding strong; when were they painted? Probably when that street was paved (and that was a long time ago by the feel of it).

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A disintegrating cyclist off the Fremont Bridge

It’s often said that the grass is always greener, perhaps so are the bike lanes. Portland has some awesome bike lanes, as well as bike boxes, and dedicated bike routes.
It’s cool that Portland recognizes our attempts at improving cycling infrastructure. Seattle needs to take some more cues from our neighbor down there I think. Maybe at least get the name of their paint supplier.


Portland green bike lane. Photo compliments of peng1

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Kan-tuck!

I received an encouraging bit of news I was forwarded by Jack whom I met at UBI, I’m not sure if he knew or not, but I rarely pick up Bicycling magazine, either way it was a good article to read. Bicycling has rated Louisville Kentucky the most improved city for cycling. I’ve read about some of what they mention in the article, it seems the city government there is pretty into it.

This is encouraging because my wife and I are planning on moving to Louisville. The question of bikeabilty is always a factor when moving to a new city, we’re both adamantly car-free and intend on remaining so. But still, why Louisville? Well, she’s been accepted to a Master’s program at the University of Louisville and frankly, we’re both excited for the change of scenery.



Photo compliments of mrquick

Kentucky, I haven’t hardly a clue of what to expect; it has never been a place I ever considered moving to. The only two things that it meant to me was bourbon—mmmmm, and a remembrance from the movie Last of the Mohicans, just by the way it’s name was mentioned. However, from what I’ve read here and through other internet research, we’re really looking forward to it; it sounds like things might be happening there, and maybe some things are actually getting done.

There’s some time before our departure, but either way, I’ll continue the Cranked blog.

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Two Weeks Past

James and I have returned from the depths of southern Oregon—Ashland. Cool town, nice friendly people, pretty easy getting around via bike, the weather was decent, could have been better/warmer/dryer. Getting to and from Ashland could easily have been more convenient; never had either of us had such a difficult time getting somewhere with our bikes. The irony in this is, of course, the fact that UBI, one of only two bicycle mechanic training facilities in the country, is in Ashland.

The two weeks started off with our traveling to Portland for the Filmed by Bike show. This was, as always, a good time. I wasn’t really up for Friday’s Midnight Mystery Ride, but evidently I was up for something on Saturday night. Being that we were staying in Portland until Sunday to travel to Ashland, we enjoyed the Saturday viewing of the show and were invited by Ayleen, the Rev. Phil, and others to have a smaller “ride” for some lively party action; we ended up on “Pirate’s Island” where evidently I was nearly beheaded by a flying pallet without even knowing it. Good raucous times. Ridiculous. Needless to say, the drive via rental car to Ashland was quiet and subdued.

The following two weeks were spent attending the United Bicycle Institute where we took part in the Professional Repair and Shop Operation class offered there. Barring the results of our tests, we will be certified bicycle technicians. (We’ll be getting our test results back in the mail sometime next week.) As far as the class went, it was pretty cool.

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UBI “training” facility. Some other photos of the classroom can be found here.

We never did actually find out what that old shack was all about, I can only imagine the relief of the instructors when they got promoted from gravel and rusty nails to clean linoleum. The instructors were all-about cool guys, knowledgeable and very helpful. The other students were also about what you’d expect, cool bike enthusiasts; the several we hung out with were all really great people. I’m happy to know I made some friends out there. It was great meeting you all; you too Raul.

The schedule of the class was eight hours, probably about half hands-on, half lecture. At times the lecture grew tedious, but that was really just the factor of the clean and organized walls of tools tempting us to use them. I’m no stranger to most of these tools so that wasn’t the most exciting part; actually learning an exact methodology on using them accurately and precisely however was. Some of what I’ve learned up to this point has been learned through trial and error, a new level of precision has been added to my quiver of mechanical skills. As one fellow student put it, he no longer is the monkey with a stick working on bikes. I’ve also added a level of confidence, especially when working on newer bikes and components (10spd, hydraulics, suspension, etc.). Granted I do still reserve the right to break out the kung fu hammer and “cold-set” some steel when I need to. Calculated persuasion sometimes comes in handy when dealing with less than high-end parts.

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The trip back in Glen’s over-loaded and over-weighted car.

With this added confidence, completed curriculum, and hopefully certificate, I’ll have luck in continuing this line of work for years to come, wherever I’ll be (that town the horses race in in Kentucky is next). Because I really do enjoy wrenching on bikes and I’ve been itching to get back to it at Wright Bros. since about Tuesday of last week during class. Who knows, maybe I’ll have my own shop one day somewhere. What kind of bike shop? Like mentioned in the class, the mom & pop shops are disappearing, being replaced by “retail establishments” that sell bikes. Not sure how I feel about that myself, I guess time will tell.

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Trade School

Is there too much emphasis put into education for computer tech, business, or other such “desk jockey” type jobs? Aren’t hands-on, skilled positions also necessary for society to function? Or are we all aspiring to make our million sitting in front of a monitor? Charles at Wright Bros alludes to this discrepancy at times. His entire point wasn’t included in the PI article, but the notion that more people should concentrate more on vocational trade skills is an interesting one. I agree for the most part, I’d only like to see it go deeper into the bike realm. I’d like to see the trades really accept the bicycle mechanic as one of it’s own. Like a carpenter, an auto mechanic, or an electrician—all professions that necessarily benefit society—a bike mechanic is a skilled technician that, as the price of gas steadily increases and hopefully more people begin riding bikes for transportation and delivery, will be a necessary component to his or her neighbors and fellow citizens.

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This is part of the reason I intend on attending United Bicycle Institute next month. Not neglecting the fact that I have learned extensively under Charles’ tutelage at Wright Bros, rather my session at UBI will be to fill in some of the gaps that might remain, gain a different, comparative, perspective to bicycle mechanics, and to go for a certification in the industry. Maybe it’ll even give me an extra shot of confidence, who knows?

The article in a recent issue of Momentum mentions a bit of the idea I’m talking about. (Check out the Winterborne Bicycle Institute.) Like the article says, being a bike mechanic is not really a trade, not today. In my mind, until there is more acceptance of bikes in our culture, like the editor says people valuing their bikes as vehicles [a mindset that I feel is changing, albeit glacially] it will be tough for this vocation to take off as an accepted trade. Personally, I love it and want nothing more than to continue with it, learning more everyday. I’m being an optimist in this, I think the necessary acceptance will arrive, and I’ll be happy to lend a hand repairing bikes far into the future.

Deciding between UBI or Barnett’s wasn’t too difficult, it’s debatable which is the better school but UBI being closer geographically was the clincher (although we’ve found out that getting there from Seattle is far more difficult than we imagined). Both I’m sure are worthwhile institutions. I’d like to attend a frame-building class sometime soon; UBI has a pretty well known program for this skill, but recently I’ve been hearing mention of the Yamaguchi Framebuilding School, also in Colorado like Barnett’s.

Wish me luck, I’m really looking forward to it, partly because it’ll also be a vacation of sorts. James and I will be heading down to Portland for the awesome Filmed by Bike film festival and then we’ll make our way down to Ashland on Sunday to start classes on Monday; should be a rawking way to start the school.

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Behind Yehuda Moon

I was so instantly impressed and wholly amused by the Yehuda Moon comic that I wanted to find out more. Here’s an interview of sorts I threw together asking the artist himself, Rick Smith. He was quickly responsive, and revealed that he’s a pretty nice and cool guy. Enjoy.

CrankedMag: Where do you originate from? How long have you been in Cleveland or the Midwest?

Rick Smith: I grew up in Cleveland, but only moved back here in 2005. I spent fifteen years in Virginia, Texas, and Colorado before deciding that Ohio was where I wanted to be.

CM: Have you spent any time elsewhere? Do you think the Midwest has shaped your bike mentality?

RS: I biked in all of the above places, and Cleveland certainly isn’t the best spot out of all of them. But there are less people here, and that makes for a calmer commute (sometimes). I think my summer riding during college in Michigan and upstate New York probably shaped my riding the most. I learned to ride long distances, and came to truly appreciate the pastime.

CM: How long have you been commuting by bike? Have you always been “bike-minded”?

RS: I’ve been biking off and on to school or work since 1986. I usually took winters off, but decided to take the plunge and go year round. It’s been a blast. Winter riding takes careful planning, but once you’re out on the road, you learn different things than you do during warm weather riding. There’s so much more to keep track of—gear, clothing, repairs, the ride itself (what with the snow and ice).

CM: What’s your commuter bike? How long is your commute?

RS:
I ride an Azor Mechanic’s Series 108; basically a customized Dutch bike built by the folks at the Dutch Bicycle Company. It’s decked out with Shimano components including a dynamo hub and Nexus 8-speed internal hub. It’s a beast, a tank, but feels luxurious while riding. I’ve taken it camping as well, but will probably get a country bike for those trips. I travel 24 miles a day, round trip.

CM: Your comic is really relatable, many of the themes are like many I’ve experienced personally. Are these comics thoroughly derived from personal experience or what?

RS:
Some of the strips are from my own experiences, while others are from discussions with colleagues (like the Lauterbrunnental series). Most are simply concocted on the ride home. Riding every day gives the strip its sense of ‘relatability’.

CM: Do you relate more to Yehuda or Joe? What or who was the inspiration for Yehuda Moon? Are these characters or the Kickstand Gallery inspired by any shop in particular?

RS:
I speak chiefly through the character of Yehuda Moon. Joe represent the views of a cycling comrade I work with. Many of the discussions or arguments between Joe and Yehuda are drawn from conversations he and I have had about bicycles and bicycling.

CM: I loved the “Lauterbrunnental Leaflet” bit. What brought about that satire?

RS:
I recently bought every issue of the Rivendell Reader from a seller on eBay. The Reader changed me as a bicyclist. Civilians should read it. I’ve offered my services to Rivendell to bind all of the previous issues into four fat volumes. I even made covers for the volumes. I really want to see it happen—there are so many others who should read the Reader.

The LL was a gentle jab at the wonder that comes with each issue, as well as some of the obsessiveness of Riv members. Joe’s a skeptic, and feels the LL is a bit overzealous, and I wanted to capture that in the strips as well.

CM: How long have you been cartooning? What’s up with Shuck and Sulfurstar? Do you have any advice or anything to say to those attempting cartooning themselves?

RS:
I’ve drawn most of my life. Shuck was published independently as comic books and by Top Shelf Productions as a graphic novel. After, I tried my hand at a daily strip and got bored. I’ve also drawn a graphic novel with Damon Hurd called ‘Temporary’ about Envy St. Claire, a temp worker with a terminal illness. Advice? Keep drawing.

CM: Is it a lucrative activity? Do you have a day job?

RS:
I work as a web developer at an insurance company.

CM: Shuck looks like it was once in print form, is it still available? How do you manage publishing? Publishing Cranked Magazine myself is pretty difficult, is publishing a comic similar?

RS:
Shuck ran in print as both a graphic novel and as saddle-stitched comics. Copies are available at shops, online at retail sites, and at sulfurstar.com. Publishing a printed comic is much different from publishing the strips online. Working with the printers, getting colors correct, proofing the galley copies, distributing to shops and through wholesale channels—wow. There’s a lot of work. But it’s very fulfilling.

CM: Is Yehuda Moon in print anywhere?

RS:
Yehuda will likely be in print within the year, in some form or another.

CM: What can readers expect to see in the near future with Yehuda?

RS: Yehuda will have to deal with city council again after he paints the illegal bike lanes along the city’s main thoroughfares. There will be a segment on bike camping. More commuting hi-jinx. More customer interactions at the Kickstand (look for the ‘Bike Whisperer’, ‘New Old Parts’, more ‘Carbon Copy’, ‘Dateline Mom’, and others). More info about the models sold at the shop, and who builds them.

CM: Is there an overall message with Yehuda Moon that you’re trying to put out?

RS: I hope the strip doesn’t exhibit an agenda, just points of view. I want to skewer Yehuda’s message as much as I do other character’s. It’s only fair. If you enjoy riding a bicycle, you’ll find something of yourself in Yehuda Moon.

Sounds awesome, you keep drawing too Rick, I know people that are looking for more Yehuda. Keep him coming. Looking forward to seeing it in print form.

Thanks again for the interview.

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Overdue

If not obvious, this site has essentially become my own personal blog space. It’s a good site, it’s paid for, traffic is already flowing to it, it’ll be here to stay for now, perhaps with some upcoming changes—I ask you kindly to continue visiting it what ever it’s relevance has become. This post is an overdue explanation as to the future of Cranked Magazine; it’s so late because it has been a difficult decision to come to. More accurately, I came to the decision prior to this point, but I’m only stating it now because of the difficulty coming to it. Nonetheless, there will not be an issue six, if anyone out there was still waiting for it.

A little background: the entire magazine became a solo operation run by myself essentially at the beginning of 2007—a year ago now. I don’t know if this comes as a surprise to anyone, but there is no staff at Cranked Magazine beyond myself. Many people have been asking when the next issue of Cranked is going to be released. I have debated this question myself for 9 months since issue five was released. I could say, like Mr. Spengler, that print is dead—and to a some degree I think it is, but that’s not the whole truth. More of the truth to be revealed isn’t necessary either—most of it was already mentioned in previous posts regarding my desire to experience bikes more, and enjoy my summer—by and large, spending time wrenching in a shop has largely displaced my interest in struggling to produce a print publication that unfortunately does not seem to benefit me in any significant way beyond late nights, stress, hunger, and a much emptier wallet. I had a couple people with me issues one through four and even then it was a super stress fest—issue five virtually on my own was no less stressful.

Had I received more support and encouragement from the community the effort would have been worth it and I wouldn’t be writing this post. Many might say they were supportive and encouraging, I know those of you who were and I have always been extremely grateful and appreciative. It’s only unfortunate there weren’t enough of you. There’s only so much effort that can go without reciprocation before one decides it is no longer worth it. Diminishing advertisers is a hard thing to overcome in the magazine game, it’s probably actually impossible to overcome. Just another reason why issue six won’t be released. If ever that proves otherwise and I decide to resume production it won’t happen until a much later date down the road. Times and geographic locales may change, and maybe with that change, the much needed support, encouragement, and perhaps new perspective will be there to see that production occur. If reborn, it’ll certainly be a horse of a completely different color.

What I’m saying is my interests have changed more or less. Or perhaps I should say, with Cranked, my interests were changed and now they are returning to where I’d rather they be. Cranked has been a great experience, but a distraction of sorts nevertheless. Working as a mechanic is wildly more satisfying and actually feels like I’m helping more people and being involved in the bike community more. Wrenching on bikes has provided me the same sense of accomplishment, if not more, I would get while working on the magazine. Besides, sitting in front of a computer all day is no longer very appealing to me (an aside to this is my ignorance as to how there are so many sites out there concerned with bikes: I often wonder what they do for a living? who’s dime are some of these sites maintained on?). More importantly, I’d rather spend the bulk of my time working on bikes, riding bikes, and spending time with my wife.

Cranked to me was a vehicle to inspire people to be into, stay into, or get into bikes; it was intended to be an alternative to the major outlets for cycling “media”. Keeping this website going is continuing that intention by sharing my own thoughts and experiences: a demonstration of what cycling for life is, to me. So in the meantime, keep tuned into crankedmag.com and enjoy my random posts and my own brand of cycling editorial. I’m eating my black-eyed peas and moving on! Happy New Year and always ride a bike!

Filed under: Cranked Magazine, Select

Change?

This video and the message their site is typically putting forth is great. Watch the video, while it’s primarily focused on New York, the message is clear: something needs to change, doesn’t it? When are we going to see change? Soon I hope. We need to start talking about it, continue talking about it, and/or start talk about it louder.

At about the six and a half minute mark, the gentleman being interviewed is talking about free parking and public space, this quote provoked an especially pleasing perspective, “…why is this good for the city that you get to store your personal property in public space?” The personal property the dude is talking about are our blessed cars; the street it’s being parked in is as much mine as it is yours, right? The images that follow: people taking over those parking spaces with grass lawns and picnics is brilliant and wonderfully beautiful. Let’s see some action like that here in Seattle, what’s stopping a picnic from spontaneously forming in an empty spot for a few hours rather than some automobile taking up the space? What about something like this here. Is there any law against that?

The video’s original page here. Personally I think a kerosene soaked cardboard apartment might pose a couple problems with comfortability.

This site (streetfilms.org) and it’s related streetsblog.org are greatly informative sites for these issues. I enjoy reading them, they get me thinking. Locally we’ve got The Daily Score and it’s parent site Sightline also chock full of facts and opinions on these matters. I’m sure a lot of you out there are already aware of these sites and visit them; this post is for those who aren’t familiar with them, they’re all worth spending some time on. No matter what part of the country or world you’re in, I think the issues addressed at these sites are applicable and can at least be used as examples—spread the word yourself on these valuable resources.

Sometimes I get backed up with so much to read with the copious blogs out there, these are a few of the areas I find most intriguing and most important to focus on, eventually I’d like to begin doing more that just reading. I’ve already changed my life substantially in efforts of sustainability. I know there’s still more that I can change—I need to get more involved (as suggested in this recent post at Sightline). Eventually we’re all going to have to change something about ourselves. The sooner the better.

Filed under: Cranked Magazine, Select

Semantics

I know we all have to limit our skepticism and cynicism sometime, but today I don’t feel like it. I’ve been perusing the Proposition 1 overview pamphlet I received the other day and I find it annoying.

Proposition 1 to me seems like a lot of the same rubbish I’ve noticed in Seattle for the ten or so years I’ve lived here. Briefly, here’s my take. I’ve read the bit in the papers about it, and maybe it was just the PI or the Times depiction of it, but the few things I noticed about it really has the hairs on the back of my neck raised.

1.) …of all the various debated “actual” costs of this thing, each projection is A LOT of money. Too much money honestly—likely too much paycheck padding for some undeserving bureaucrats. Of all the proposed quantities of money collected through taxation, they all just about indebt several generations of Seattleites.

2.) …it’s not even definitive. I can admit that nothing in life is definitive, but couldn’t we at least try? Prop 1 doesn’t really give a quantifiable amount of the money needed for these proposed projects. These projects, outlooks, estimates, and supposed benefits: they’re all proposed. That’s why it’s called a PROPOSITION. The government is merely proposing these roads, transit, ease of life, commute benefits, environmental gains, etc. Proposing doesn’t mean promise, no guarantee. Proposing doesn’t mean anything has to be done, let alone began or ever completed. There are no guarantees with Proposition 1. Trust the government? I don’t think so, these people are literally trying to sell us a bridge.

3.) …the only thing that IS guaranteed with Proposition 1 is my point #1 above. The fact that we will be taxed and that they will collect whatever quantity of taxed dollars they want. There’s our guarantee.

I haven’t even mentioned the fact that while it touts environmental benefits it is still endorsing and supporting more roads and how this fact contradicts these environmental gains. They plead with us stating that it’ll move us forward into the future, the future is going to happen with or without Prop 1. Envisioning an actual change on our streets is a real vision of the future: having fewer cars on the roads is the future I would like to happen. Adding more roads ALWAYS puts more cars on those roads—that doesn’t sound like reduced congestion. According to the pamphlet it’s not even aiming high with the road improvements. Their key corridors are proposed to be reduced in travel time by “up to 15 minutes.” What’s the rush? If I’m going to be part of spending billions of dollars on something that’s going to save me time, it had better save me more than that and I had better not have to sit in a car while I’m at it.

Let’s not guarantee the government a pile of money for something they cannot even guarantee in writing themselves. They don’t need a blank check, these taxes are not ever going to go away if they’re enacted. There’s differing statements as to how long this debt will last, I’ll either by 67, or 87 years old when it’s “paid off” by two accounts. Either way, I’ll still be riding my bike to get around. Besides why write a blank check to someone with an already bad track record. Let’s not forget this city’s history of “indecision”: did we want those paired stadiums in Sodo? Where’s our monorail? Are we going to have bike lanes on Stone Way or sharrows, evidently this decision hasn’t been made yet, regardless of the fact that the street has painted one method already. I’m sure there’s copious other examples.

(…this message is paid for by Cranked Magazine).

Filed under: Cranked Magazine, Select

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