We Go to Town

We took one last short ride before departing from Northern Michigan, and stopped in at downtown Traverse City. At Backcountry North, Basil checked out the arctic parkas while I bought a pair of merino wool glove liners.  (My choice was the better one for cycling!)

tt-cndThen we stopped in at our favorite bookstore for a cup of chai.

gt-cfHorizon Books is a wonderful independent bookstore, with an excellent selection of new releases; an intelligent and broad core stock; a vast and well-culled children’s section; an extensive selection of local books (and books by local authors); and a beautifully-stocked “used” section downstairs, along with a coffee bar (on the main floor) and a coffee shop (on the lower level).

The view from the coffee bar looks out on to Front Street.

tt-exBut the view inside is rewarding, too.


Downstairs is a well-patronized gathering place for friends, games, reading clubs, author signings and music events.  Horizon is the community anchor for Traverse City’s charming downtown; the store (and its local owners) played a huge role in its revitalization many years ago when the area was in a slump.


Basil added bricks to the long list of surfaces he traveled over on this trip — and also participated in a demo outside Horizon when stopped by curious passersby.


We rode back along Grand Traverse Bay.  I’m probably biased, but I think Northern Michigan skies rate among the best anywhere.


It was too early in the season for the grass to have died; this is an insulating bed that’s been laid next to an extension of the trail along the bay.


The sky was roiling, but the bay was quiet.


We left as the last of fall was dwindling.  Until the snow comes, though, there is always a little bit of color everywhere — and varied textures, too, across the landscape.


The newest section of the Traverse Area Recreation Trail, which leads from downtown towards Suttons Bay, ended suddenly.  Did the crew stop in a concession to the impending winter?  It seemed an odd choice of termination.


We rode on and paid one final visit to the yellow caboose on the Leelanau Trail, having come from a different direction then previously.  Soon it was time to pack up and continue our travels elsewhere.

Vincita Sightseer Giveaway!

Remember:  the Sightseer Giveaway is still on until midnight (USA EDT) December 4, 2014!  Click here for details, and leave a comment if you’d like to be in the drawing.


Vincita Sightseer Giveaway

12/5/2014:  The giveaway is now closed. 

Thanks to all who entered; the winner will be announced within the next day or two as soon as feasible.

Yesterday I reviewed the Vincita Sightseer Brompton transport bag.  (Read the review here.) Vincita sent a bag for me, but also provided a second Sightseer to give away.

st-bgThis is a terrific set, and I’m really happy to have the chance to share it with a reader.  Here’s how the drawing will go:

  1. The contest is open to anyone with a shipping address within the continental USA, meaning that the winner could live elsewhere, but I will ship only to the contiguous continental states (ie, not to Hawaii, Alaska, or — sorry! — the rest of the world).
  2. Leave a comment on this post before midnight (Eastern US DST) on Thursday, December 4, 2014.  Be sure to put a valid email address in the email field where you write your comment.  (Don’t put your email address in the comment itself; use the field so that it won’t be published.)
  3. Comments will be numbered in the order they are received. Only one entry per person, please; duplicates will be discarded.
  4. At the close of the entry period, a random number generator will select the winner, according to the numerical order.
  5. I’ll send the winner an email requesting the shipping address, and I’ll get the Sightseer off as soon as possible.
  6. The winner will have 48 hours from the time I send the email to respond.  If no response is received within that time, another drawing will be held and the Sightseer will go to the winner of the second drawing.

That’s it — good luck to all!

Gear Luggage

Vincita Sightseer Transport Bag

There’s a never-ending and vigorous debate amongst Brompton owners about the best way to travel with our bicycles when packing them is essential.  No one method suits all, with minimalists going for slipping their Bs into IKEA’s Dimpa shopping bag or the equivalent, and maximalists going tor super-pricey hard cases — with many methods in-between.


Until my most recent trip, I have always travelled with Basil un-shrouded, but I knew the day would come when I wanted either more protection for him or stealth packaging, so that it wasn’t obvious that I was travelling with a Brompton.  I was quite interested, then, when the Vincita company contacted me and offered to send their new made-for-Brompton Sightseer Transport Bag to me for review.


I found the Sightseer very easy to use.  To place a Brompton in the Sightseer bag, you undo the zipper all the way, and fold the padded sides down, around the exterior.  It was tricky dropping Basil in at first, but the second time was easier, and the third time quite easy.  It’s helpful to grasp the folds at the top edge, and give a gentle shake as you settle the Brompton into the bottom of the bag.

A firm base supports the bottom of the bag, and extends up the narrower sides — something I particularly appreciated, as Basil’s rear rack benefits from the additional security the hard base provides.  Hook-and-loop straps (that’s the X you see above) make it possible to secure the bike so that it won’t shift within the bag.


Basil’s bigger than a lot of Bromptons:  I frequently take long rides with him, so I don’t remove his somewhat extensive collection of gear when we travel.  My handlebars are customized so that they lean in toward me when I ride, which means that Basil is wider than usual when folded.  He has a rear rack with Eazy Wheels, a saddle bag that I don’t remove, Ergons, Zefal toe cages, and a squishy water bottle holder that also adds a little bulk.



I wondered if my encumbered Brompton would fit into the Brompton-specific Sightseer; he did, perfectly.  His handlebars do cause a slight bulge, though, which can be seen to the right, below.  That wouldn’t be an issue for most Bromptons, and wasn’t a problem for the Sightseer, either.


The Sightseer isn’t just one bag, actually, but two: an outer case, and an inner sleeve that drapes over the folded Brompton.  That’s the inner sleeve, below.  There are three pockets:  one on each side, and one across the top.  When packed, the sides provide some protection for the bike.  The sleeve drops down to about axle level on a Brompton, and I found that I was able to pack all my biking-specific clothing in the three pockets.  The shoulder strap allows the sleeve to be carried like a garment bag, worn cross-body, or hung up in a closet.


I was not only able to wrap the packed sleeve over Basil, but also managed to tuck my biking shoes and a week’s worth of clothing — I’m a smallish person, your mileage may vary — in and around Basil’s lower bits, beneath the sleeve.  (Featherweight packing cubes are perfect for this job.) Those stuff-able spaces meant that the Sightseer was the only bag I needed for my Brompton and all of my clothing.  The packing cubes also provided more padding for Basil, though if I were gate-checking him on a plane, I’d do something more formal about protecting projecting parts.


The Sightseer rolls on large wheels, which are partially recessed.  I found that it moves easily and well, but people my height (5’2″/157.5 cm) and/or with shorter arms like mine may find it inconvenient to roll the bag far, particularly if it is packed heavily, since the angle might not be maximally efficient for easy pulling.  This would not be an issue for most people, though.


The pull handle is adjustable, and Dr. Diarist, with long arms and greater height, found it easier to roll than I did, as he was able to pull the bag at a more acute angle.  Supporting struts along the bottom of the bag ensure that it doesn’t sag; they support the fully-packed bag and Brompton quite effectively.


Optionally, the bag can be worn on a shoulder; straps are provided, and tuck away into zippered pockets on each side of the Sightseer, so they are out of the way when not needed.


For maximum convenience, Vincita has added a buckle onto the shoulder pad, so that the two straps can be clipped together, preventing them from slipping apart when worn.  Clever!


I’m quite impressed with the construction of both the bag and the sleeve. The zippers move easily and appear strong sturdy; stitching, and the stitched exterior straps which strengthen the bag are well-placed and neatly done.

There are thoughtful touches everywhere like tabs at the ends of the zipper, so that there’s something to grab onto when closing the bag.


The padded pull handle has a buckle, allowing it to separate so that the bag’s zipper can be more easily accessed.


The sleeve has protective corners, which help keep its shape, and should ensure long wear.


A selling point is that the Sightseer and packed sleeve can be ported on the back of a Brompton, held in place with bungee cords.  There’s a loop on the back to hold the bungees in place.


That might be practical under certain circumstances, in a world where, for instance, security requirements might allow someone to ride right up to an airport.  (That can be done in the USA, but it’s not common, and probably not possible at all airports.)  It’s not a feature I’d ever use, but may be one that others would be pleased to exercise.


Here’s Basil with the Sightseer (and hidden sleeve) attached to his rear rack.  The bag widens his profile a bit, but not hugely beyond his M handlebars; it would be important to remember that extra width when riding, though.

I wasn’t sure how useful I would find this system, but I was surprised at how much I liked using the Sightseer, and how simple it made packing and transporting my Brompton.  As a stealth tool, and a solo bag which covered both my cycling and my clothing needs for the duration, it proved a great solution.  It’s one I’ll depend on again and again!

One thing does need changing, though in my opinion:  I don’t want to travel with an obvious bicycle logo on the side of my luggage.  I’d like to see this bag made available without the (admittedly appealing!) bicycle graphic.

I feel so strongly about this that I sewed a flap over the logo before I travelled with the bag; I don’t particularly want to advertise that Basil may be alone in my hotel room on the occasions when I can’t have him by my side.  (I left the Vincita logo, though; it’s discreet, and anyone who guesses what the bag is might be very happy to know where they can find one!)

The other suggestion I’d offer to Vincita is to include a card which explains the features of the bag.  I didn’t notice the hook-and-loop straps, for instance, until I’d used the bag a couple of times.  The Sightseer is feature-rich; I think Vincita should capitalize on all those details — and ensure that owners will use and appreciate them by spelling them out in detail.

The price, in US dollars, is a quite reasonable $159.00; Vincita is in Thailand, so shipping cost to some parts of the world could be an issue.  However, Urban Bike Fitters, in Oregon Fremont, California, is a Vincita dealer, so they might be a possible source for USA residents, and there is an extensive range of global Vincita stockists.

Disclaimer, and a Giveaway!

Vincita  provided the Sightseer and its internal sleeve to me at no cost; keep this in mind if you think that may have influenced my review!  Vincita also sent a second set so that I could give it away to a reader; I’ll be paying the cost to ship it to a winner within the continental USA.  Details of how the giveaway will work will be posted tomorrow, and I will add the link HERE once that post is up.


Basil [Even Further] Above the 45th Parallel

Before we left northern Michigan, I took a trip up to Cheboygan, roughly an hour and a half north of Traverse City.  Before we left Cheboygan,  on a whim, Basil and I took a few minutes to explore before leaving.  With a Brompton, these impromptu trips are easy to do; Basil is always with me.


Except for the summer trade, economies generally struggle in these remote geographies, and the desolate neighorbood we parked in looked particularly hard-hit, with lots of apparently empty homes and way too many “for sale” signs. The state of Michigan itself has fallen on hard times as the auto industry has stumbled and struggled to comeback; that’s only worsened the difficulties in already-troubled areas.


We checked out the Cheboygan Dam; permits are required to enter the parking lot, but we interpreted this to mean that permits were necessary for motor vehicles, boat-launching or fishing, none of which we were, or were contemplating doing.  Regardless, the area was completely deserted, so we clearly weren’t in anyone’s way.


When we peered through the fenced walkway overlooking the rushing waters, it looked as if Basil were being threatened by an enormous, fuzzy albino octopus.


We took the bridge over the Cheboygan River and rode a little bit in town.  Cheboygan is a much smaller, more rustic version of Traverse City; Traverse City without the vast numbers of tourists or any kind of firm economic base.


The streets we rode on were wider and less-trafficed, at least when we were riding.  Many of the houses we saw were simple wood-framed homes, but others were a bit different, like this Gothic creation:


Who wouldn’t want to live in a house with a Rapunzel Tower?  I’m a sucker for porches, personally, like the one above, and those that are seen all over the midwestern USA.  Not that I’d want to clean a house this size — I’d rather be riding my Brompton!

I’m not sure what this fetching little structure was originally.  It’s too small to have been a carriage house, but awfully large and ornate for a tool shed.  Maybe it’s a newly-built eccentricity?  That quirky bell tower recalls those on the classic American one-room school house.


In a more traditional housing vein, albeit with flourishes, is this white home with a quarter-porch and some pretty fancy roof work.  I hope these homes have fireplaces; they’d be lovely places to hunker down during the long, cold, Cheboygan snows.


Though the waterways are beautiful, much of Cheboygan is considerably less aesthetically attractive.  There’s a Walmart, of course, and strip malls, and evidence of industry, too.


And above it all, that fantastic northern Michigan sky.  Sure, it’s overcast here, but that sky is  never static for long.  Wait a bit, and a whole different view is revealed . . . though, this time, Basil and I did not stay put to see, since we had a long drive back to Traverse City.  No matter; we drove under the very same sky.

Note:  Basil and I are out of town (yet again!), so responses to comments and to email will be delayed — briefly, we hope.  The indulgence of all affected is hereby begged!


Traverse City Streets

Basil and I didn’t just ride trails in northern Michigan, but we meandered around Traverse City street a little bit, too. This was sort of a spur-of-the-moment ride, and I was (atypically) wearing street clothes


Way too late I wondered if my Zefal toe clips would scuff up my new, meant-to-be-sort-of-dressy boots.  Much to my surprise (and pleasure), they didn’t leave a mark.  That was a good thing, because I wasn’t going to give up my ride to spare them!


We’d missed the height of fall color, but it hardly mattered, with golds this wonderful.  Traverse City is full of arbor-decked streets just like this one.


One of the joys of more-slowly settled less commercially-developed cities are the eccentric houses, like the stone one above. Housing developments have a harder time gaining a stronghold in more remote communities, where population growth is initially slow, and development inevitably more eccentric.


Often an ancillary result is that flamboyant color schemes are tolerated in easy-going neighborhoods.  Here in the USA, planned communities and/or housing developments often have contracts which specify what colors structures must be painted. Orange is typically not one of  the approved shades!

Rough northern Michigan winters play havoc with pavement, but, in general, maintenance crews are up to the job. This is an average stretch of asphalt, with several obvious previous repairs, and one that’s still needed.


This degree of damage isn’t much of a problem for a snow-worthy car, and it’s not even terrible for attentive cycling.  But it is important to be alert; there’s no way to maintain streets perfectly in this climate.


Basil posed in the midst of curbside leaves; a week’s time will probably mean snowfall, and the leaves will be gone for good until next autumn. Clearing the leaves is the city’s responsibility, once residents have gotten them to the street; bagging this quantity really isn’t feasible, so the collection is done mechanically.


It isn’t as obvious in the photo as it was In Real Life, but this is one reason skies here are such a pleasure:  that’s full sun on the left, and those are gathering thunderclouds in a very dark sky on the right.  We made it back to the house before the storm hit, and happily watched the showers from indoors.


After-Market Hinge Clamps for Bromptons

It drives me nuts that my Brompton’s hinge clamp swivels every time I fold or unfold my bicycle.  I “solved” this problem by cutting an extremely thin strip of plastic, and fitting it, with a spring, to the Brompton bolt.


(The spring was actually longer; I broke it after I removed it from Basil.) This worked, within limits, and didn’t prevent secure clamping.  However, the plastic was frangible, and also crushed easily if misaligned.  In desperation, I turned to the thriving Brompton after-market community.  I found these clamp replacements on a site recommended by a reader who was originally discussing a different product with me.


The site is BIKEgang, and the “Brommie” section is  . . .  amazing!  They appear to be UK distributors for Taiwanese manufacturers.  I was warned that prices would be eye-watering (which they really are, though not too bad for these clamps).  Shipping, even to the USA, is quite reasonable, though, which limits the pain quite a bit.  I ordered two sets of these RIDEA clamps.


The clamps came in a neat little package.  There is a clamp, a spring, and a washer, which I gather is for use with a beautiful handle also sold by BIKEgang.  I’d read, though, that those handles were very uncomfortable to use, and I like the Brompton handles very much, so I just purchased the clamps.


The clamp goes on right where the OEM Brompton clamp goes, and the spring goes against the plate. You screw the bolt on as normal.  There’s an extended lip on one side of the clamp; that’s what keeps the assembly from flipping around.  (That’s it, on the left, above.)  The other side is the same size as the Brompton clamp, so you open the hinge to exactly the same degree as you normally would.


I was concerned that the after-market clamps would not fit as securely, or provide as tight a closure.  This does not seem to be the case.  The extended edge does go right up to the stem, but is not impeded by it, and the closure seems virtually identical to that provided by the original Brompton equipment.  The clamp above is the original one, still on Argyll.

Below is the RIDEA clamp, installed on Basil. In measuring the sides, I can find no significant difference in length.


At the Philadelphia Bike Expo this past Sunday I asked US Brompton representative John McConaghay, if Brompton were working on similar clamps.  He indicated that they were under consideration, and adding that lead time was always an issue with product development.  I asked what concerns there might be regarding after-market versions, and he said that squared-off clamps put excessive stress on the frame.  John wasn’t familiar with these particular RIDEA clamps, but I, too, have seen clamps similar to those he mentioned, with sides set at 45 degrees.

You can easily imagine that sharp angles could lead to undesirable play between the hinge and stem.  However, the RIDEA angles appear to be extremely close, if not identical to, the gently sloped Brompton angles.

rdc-cmp(I know, my photography is awful; sadly, I’m too busy cycling, and, you know, living, to fix this right now!)  I think you can see what I see when I look at the clamps in real life:  the angles are very, very close, if not identical.  (Brompton on the left, RIDEA on the right.)

At a glance, the clamps are virtually indistinguishable from the OEM Bromptons; they’re just brighter, which a chrome-like finish.


Communication with BIKEgang was great; they had a question about the order and responded right away, and the clamps turned up in timely fashion.  The clamps are called “Brompton folding hinge solution (RIDEA)” on the web page; the clamps are listed with the handles, but can be purchased separately.

Note, off-topic:  John says the infamous Brompton water bottle is still under development; I had to ask.  John pointed out that these things take time.  (It’s true!)  I pointed out that, though I’ll probably buy any eventual Brompton water bottle, I’d rather Brompton just kept making excellent bikes, and kept the primary focus there. Perspective, people, perspective!


A Brompton Shop Up North

There’s a new Brompton dealer in Traverse City, Michigan.  Traverse City gets hundreds of thousands of visitors every summer, particularly during Cherry Festival.  Forget the cherry jam, the pies, the tacky cherry magnets and pot holders — people whose home places are Brompton-deprived can now take home the best souvenir of all:  A Brompton!


The shop is called Brick Wheels.  At the moment, they have just three Bs in stock, all six speeds. That’s very sensible; the weight difference between three and six isn’t much, and the range is much greater.  (Basil’s a six-speed; I may be biased.)  There are hills in the area; residents will probably be happiest with six gears, too.

The shop has a blue Brompton with S handlebars and a white one with M bars on the floor. (I don’t know who that is, in  lime, in back, photo-bombing.)


There’s also a handsome raw lacquer with rack, Eazy Wheels, and M bars.  Of course, if you’re a native, or spending a season in Traverse, you can custom order your Brommie.


The store is huge — this isn’t Manhattan! — and crowded with bikes.  As this is Northern Michigan, a substantial part of the main room is devoted to skis, the sport of choice during winter.  And there is also a raft of fat-tired bikes, evidence of a new winter trend.


There’s a workshop in the back room, and an extensive line of kids’ bikes and gear, too.


I like the shop’s jerseys.  They’re high vis — always a hit with me — and have a simple, sharp graphic design.


Basil hung out with the Bromptons, but I don’t think he was very happy about being half-folded. It’s just not cool when the rest of the gang isn’t.


Basil’s Mini O measured up to the full-sized O bag, which is bigger than I realized and looks truly impermeable.  It’s got two huge pockets on the back like the ones on the T bag, but the O’s pockets are removable, offering the option of using one, both, or neither.


Once we got outside, Basil posed unfurled. I could tell he was happier once he could stretch. Perhaps we’ll return one day and be able to cycle with a whole pack of resident Bromptons, in, around, and past all those lovely evergreens.

Basil and I are headed to a completely different part of the USA for the next week or so, and may have limited Internet access. Posts will go up through the magic of automatic scheduling, but response to comments and email may be slow, or even non-existent, until we return home.


Traverse City to Suttons Bay (and back)

When last seen in Suttons Bay, Basil and I were headed back to Traverse City, Michigan, from Suttons Bay, about 15 miles/24 km north of Traverse City.  We’d Coffeeneured, and explored, and then we took to the trail for the return trip.


The route is the Leelanau Trail, part of TART, the regional trail system.  In winter — serious stuff in this northern clime — the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing.


There may not be a better, more comprehensive, slice of Northern Michigan on any other trail of comparable length.  There are private houses hidden among the trees;


wide, well-groomed fields;


farms, some of which have grown eccentrically over the years;


others with vintage, but still used, equipment in picturesque evidence;


orchards and vineyards;


and the occasional assortment of creatures.  These four appear to be a burro (or donkey?) on the left; a pony (Shetland? extra-furry, anyway); a bovine sort (taking a break); and an equine fellow (wench?).  They were the picture of collegiality on their sunny hillside.


This sign was new to me; it appears regularly on the trail (and on others that connect to it in the area).  It turns out to be exactly what it looks like:  a “highway” sign for a bicycle route.  The Leelanau Trail is a section of Route 35 of the United States Bicycle Route System, an interstate, long-distance, national cycling system now under development.


This sign requires no interpretive effort — it appears along the route at various relevant points.


The Leelanau Trail may be the friendliest of all. Though there was a lot of NIMBY going on when the trail was first proposed, people mostly seem to have resigned themselves.  It’s the response of those who have embraced the trail system which is most in evidence now.


There are benches and resting spots scattered along the route for cyclists and pedestrians alike to enjoy.  There is a garden above this bench with a “welcome” sign; tables and chairs below; flowers set out; and a basket of apples for visitors to consume.  (On this day there was also a stray set of cycling gloves, put out in the hope that the owner would return to find it.)


My picture doesn’t do it justice, but Basil and I encountered one more critter here:  A shy fellow who was keeping a benign and friendly eye on the travelers below.

Basil and I are headed to a completely different part of the USA for the next week or so, and may have limited Internet access. Posts will go up through the magic of automatic scheduling, but response to comments and email may be slow, or even non-existent, until we return home.


Basil Makes Some Friends

Basil and I didn’t just Coffeeneur in Suttons Bay; we did a little exploring, too.


The town is something of a tourist destination, but it’s also a little arty and quirky in a very Northern Michigan way.  It’s a little rough around the edges; a little hardy, as opposed to twee or cute.


Well, OK, maybe it’s a little cutesy.  These days, too, the unusual craftings might turn out to be made elsewhere, even if they’re designed locally.  But the whimsy is still a lot of fun, and Basil was particularly pleased to see that yellow and black creature, which reminded him of his London compatriot, Brompton Bumble B.


I think they chatted a bit while I looked around inside the shop.  Off-season, especially, there’s room for a Brompton even in the smaller shops that have been converted from buildings that once were homes.


Most of the shops are rather modest affairs, with their interesting wares discreetly displayed inside. This one has a stunning exuberance, though.  Do they leave every bit of this extravaganza outside during the winter?  Imagine all this bursting forth from banks of crisp, sparkling snow . . ..


Most of the shops, like these, and the one Basil and I visited, are re-purposed along what must once have been a residential main street.


There’s something interesting to see nearly everywhere you look: gables, trellises, walkways, and all kinds of roof peaks, along with a variety of exterior colors and trims.  A fine abandon is in evidence all over the few blocks of the town center.


Michigan is sometimes called “the Great Lake state” which undoubtedly refers to the Great Lakes surrounding it, but the state is covered with lesser waterways, most of which could be fairly described as “great” on their own.


Sutton Bay’s little marina has become more polished than it once was, and it’s quite a sight in summer when all the boats are in residence.  On this day, it was simply pretty, with all that blue water sparkling in the autumn light.


The old train station has become a law office.  (I guess even as heavenly a place as Northern Michigan needs its lawyers.) These particular attorneys have a fascinating garden, round to the right of the building as shown above.


Look at that stunning beast!  It ought to be fearsome, but it’s got an awfully cheery expression, in spite of all those scales and a truly terrifying set of chompers.


He (she?) and Basil hit it off right away.   Travel is so enriching!


We were loathe to go, but the riding home was another wonderful experience.  So much to see!  So much to experience!

Basil and I are headed to a completely different part of the USA for the next week or so, and may have limited Internet access. Posts will go up through the magic of automatic scheduling, but response to comments and email may be slow, or even non-existent, until we return home.


Coffeeneuring: Day 7

Basil and I were home for only one day between trips out of state, so squeezing in our final Coffeeneuring event was on the tricky side.


We have virtually no coffee shops in our area, so that was a stretch, too.  Dr. Diarist mentioned an odd little business as an option.  Not far from the train station in Downingtown, PA is a combination pinball-and-ice-cream parlour.  He thought this might make an unusual Coffeeneuing stop.


And so it did.  We got hot chocolate; it was a cold and windy day.  Apologies were made for the too-big cups; the supplier had sent the wrong size.  That didn’t affect the flavor any.


Behind our table was quite an extensive display of ice cream parlour memorabilia, including old advertisements and antique scoops.  There’s a little something for everyone here.


Dr. Diarist may have taken a few minutes to relive a possibly miss-spent youth.

c8-dmThere was a crowd present, of quite varied demographics, enjoying the pinball games in a surprisingly light, bright, and welcoming space, moderated by friendly and welcoming owners.


The ice cream palour features more or less local ice cream, from nearby Pennsylvania Dutch country.  The motto, Nix Besser, means “none better” in Pennsylvania Dutch.


New versions of vintage candies cover the counter, including some rather horrifying examples of items perhaps best left abandoned by history.  Blue or pink bubble gum cigars, anyone, to announce the birth of a 1940s infant?  Or candy cigarettes (!)?   Maybe it’s easier to get behind the Jaw Busters, just like the ones from decades ago — all they do is contribute to cavities, rather than to outdated stereotypes or to cultivating habits that cause fatal health issues!

Day 7 Observation (for Basil):  Who knew a pinball parlour could be so  . . . nice!  (And still be enticing to pinball fans!)

Tally for the day

Day 7 Location (for Basil):  Pinball Gallery and Margo’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor

Mileage today (for Basil):  3.01 miles/ 4.8 km

Total Mileage for Coffeeneuring 2014 to date (Basil):  66.82 miles/  107.5 km


Day 7 Observation (for Argyll):  Combining complementary small business is a great model.

Day7 Location (for Argyll):  Pinball Gallery and Margo’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor

Mileage today (for Argyll): 3.01 miles/4.8 km

Total Mileage for Coffeeneuring 2014 to date (Argyll): 39.8 miles/63.6 km

Trip: 7/7

Basil and I are headed to a completely different part of the USA for the next week or so, and may have limited Internet access. Posts will go up through the magic of automatic scheduling, but response to comments and email may be slow, or even non-existent, until we return home.