Hello Kitty Is My Watchdog

As mentioned before, there are certain things one can do to hopefully reduce the chances that one’s bike is stolen.

Bike locks. Bike registration. GPS tracking devices. Making the bike ugly and/or girly.

So nice to have a gorgeous winery three miles out your front door.

So nice to have a gorgeous winery three miles out your front door.

This weekend I focused on making my bike (whose name is Lutz, by the way, in honor of my grandmother) ugly and/or girly. I invited everyone to Picchetti Winery in Cupertino to join me for wine tasting and a picnic in the beautiful forested hills, where I frequently go for training rides. It was raining, but that doesn’t matter when you’re indoors drinking wine, and the lush redwoods provided enough shelter to keep the picnic tables near bone dry.

So I loaded up my new waterproof panniers with snacks and biked up to the winery. The key word there is up. It’s on Montebello Road, so that should give you a clue as to what the terrain is like. When I first set out to become a regular cyclist, I had this idyllic dream that someday I would bike up to the nearby wineries for a lovely picnic, but it just seemed too grueling. I knew I could do it, it just didn’t seem like a way I would choose to relax on a weekend. I’ve ridden my bike to Picchetti, but never loaded down with a picnic in my panniers. Well, it took me about 25 minutes to get from my front door to the Picchetti grounds. It was a little anti-climactic for a ride that I’d been envisioning for well over a year now.

You can really taste the... summer berries... and... jammy... and... an assertive... um.... oak... finish? Is that a thing?

You can really taste the… summer berries… and… jammy… and… an assertive… um…. oak… finish? Is that a thing?

Soon people started trickling into the tasting room, and we jumped right into tasting flights of wines. With a few exceptions, we’re not exactly the crowd that gets too snobby about wine. At least Brooks had the good sense to spit out his gum before his tasting. I was a little worried that we were going to get a Marge Simpson moment: “Mmmm, it goes great with the Jolly Rancher I’m sucking on.”

Then we moved out to the picnic tables and ate and drank more wine while going to town on little Lutz. I brought some silver and black permanent markers so that everyone could write on my bike and on my panniers. People also brought all kinds of stickers to cover up the Surly decals. Sorry, not sorry, Surly, but your decals just announce to everyone that Lutz is a quality bike that’s really worth stealing. So now I have all these Hello Kitty stickers all over my bike, among others. If any bike thief wants to go messing around with my bike, they’ll have to go through Hello Kitty first.

My sister drew a barbell, a bike, and a bone on the rear fender. The bone does not look like a bone. Sigh.

My sister drew a barbell, a bike, and a bone on the rear fender. The bone does not look like a bone. Sigh. I thought my days of pictures of not-bones were over when I stopped teaching high school.

Molby fully embraced the idea of making my bike girly and surprised me with the biggest, girliest bike bell I’ve ever seen. Sadly, the screws it came with were not long enough for us to attach it at the moment, but that can be easily fixed.

I had to have him hold the bell away from him so it wouldn't blend in with his shirt.

He had to hold the bell out far away so it wouldn’t blend in with his shirt.

After everyone left, I went for a stroll on the hiking trails with Neal, who’s been helping me by designing my Barbells Bikes and Bones logo, and also just by being a down to earth guy who keeps me on the right track. I took Lutz with us, because I’m paranoid like that. We came across some other hikers who were picking up salamanders and wanted to share them with us. The trails were absolutely littered with salamanders. I have no idea why I didn’t take a picture of them. But I searched on Google and found a nice photo, plus I learned that we were playing with California newts. Apparently all newts are salamanders, but not all salamanders are newts.

You could kill about 2,500 mice with the skin of one California newt, so don't eat them.

You could kill about 2,500 mice with the skin of one California newt, so don’t eat them.

Anyway, I got the desired response from these hikers when they looked at my bike. They kind of looked confused and made a comment that my bike must certainly get around. Read: old.

Success! Once I apply a clear protective coating, Lutz will be ready to go!

Inspirational message from Archie.

Inspirational message from Archie.

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