Thursday, December 31, 2009
I am blessed to have the friends that I have, as well as the family. Many of the connections I have made through this space are ones that have changed my life and enriched it beyond words. I know, without doubt, that many of the friends I have made through this blog and other forms of Social Media will be friends I will have forever. That never ceases to amaze me and is something that I do not take for granted.
Hopefully this year will have fewer stresses and challenges- the economy will hopefully turn around further and the conflicts of the world will hopefully abate. I dream of a day when my kids will be able to feel safe, or at least I will be able to worry less.
As the glow of 2009 fades away and 2010 begins to shimmer, I want to wish the world a better year than the one we've just had. May your days and nights be filled with happiness, love, health, wealth and security.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Today, at work, I rode again for a little less than an hour... and it was easily one of the most painful rides I've had in a very long time. The combined loss of fitness from the past few months has really taken a toll. I dare say, I'm in worse shape than I was when I came back from my crash over a year ago. Granted, the night of the crash I was actually feeling quite fit... but I came back from near death in better shape than I am in right now! Again- ugh...
Thing is, these past two days of really lackluster riding have helped me realize how much I love my bikes and how much I have missed them. I hate being so out of shape and so overweight (by my standards), but I love to ride. I'm looking forward to losing weight, regaining fitness and then hopefully getting back to racing in 2010. It's time to get on the USA Cycling website and buy my racing license and try to figure out how I'm going to find enough time to train. The bruised ego is still smaller than the desire to get out there and race. It's humbling to now be pack fill, but I sure do spend a lot of time smiling at the back of the group.
I won't be fat and outta shape forever- that much I know. So here's a call to all my fellow "wanna get back in shape" friends; let's make it happen in 2010. We'll support each other, share our experiences, offer help, advice and encouragement... and we'll enjoy riding our bikes.
What say you?
Friday, December 25, 2009
I write this blog because I am a blogger and a very social person, but also because of the friends I have made and community that has grown here. I am blessed, and more thankful than you know, that you come here to read the stuff that comes out of my head. I sincerely wish you all the very Merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years- I pray for all of us that the new year will be filled with health, happiness and prosperity.
The past year has been one filled with many different challenges and struggles, but I feel blessed to be doing what I do and to have the friends and family that I do. All of you make my life so much more satisfying- much more than you know.
Thank you for the support and friendship that you have given- it is a much greater gift to me than you know.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Well, anyway, I owe you all many thanks for sticking around this silly little stopping point in the blogosphere. I hope to eventually get back into the swing of things and get some content flowing around here again. For now, let's finish the whole Korea /Taiwan/ Japan adventure... shall we?
The Korean show was really awesome. Sanghoon Yoon, who owns/operates our distributor there Kisong International is a fantastic guy and his partner Jay is also very cool. I really enjoyed being in Seoul and really do hope to visit there again... especially when it isn't so cold! It began to snow as I was leaving- the wind was blowing the snow sideways and about 30mph. I'm looking forward to seeing nice things happen in the Korean market! It was pretty exciting to give 3 magazine and 1 television interview during the one day I was at the show- felt like a really good introduction of the brand to the market.
The booth; nothing other than Masi and Brev M parts! No way I can complain about that.
Sanghoon and I sitting for one of the magazine interviews- under the watchful eye of Faliero Masi. No pressure... no, not at all.
Could this stack of tubes be your next Masi? If you're lucky, they just might be...
In the jig to test mitering of tubes to make sure the stay is mitered properly for the seat tube to be welded to it.
A couple old dropouts used for checking tolerances. They never get ugly to me.
If you're in Korea and looking for a Speciale Premio frameset... be patient, they're on the way!
A rooftop view of Taichung- my home away from home and where I met my wife. Needless to say, I like Taichung a lot.
This "graffiti" was on a wall near my in-law's home in Taipei. Such a cool, random thing.
Once in Tokyo- actually Asakusa- I headed to the temple, like I always do. This year though, the main temple was being restored. Still, it didn't stop me from walking up and saying prayers.
I love this temple. I'm not a Buddhist, I'm more of a religious omnivore- I take and hold onto all the tidbits of religions that feel right to me. Visiting churches and temples of all kinds fills me with great peace and happiness.
The "other" reason for my visit to Tokyo was the annual CyleMode consumer show and the booth was jumping all three days of the show.
The new Brev M parts line was making a nice intro as well in Japan- lots of very savvy riders in Tokyo, arguably the savviest- so it was good to see the consumers hanging around the parts and checking them out. One of the very sexiest bike parts I've seen in a very long time- high flange Suzue 10spd road hub. I must've slobbered over that hub for a good 10 minutes. I kept walking back to it too... I'm a nerd.
Vittoria has reproduced some of their classic road shoes and these red ones with hard racing soles were so sexy I nearly walked away with them... but they were far too small for my size 12 feet... dammit!
Rin Project makes some of the very coolest stuff you can possibly imagine! Oh man... I've been slobbering over their product since the show last year. This year I got to meet one of the coolest cats around, Koichiro Nakamura, whose business card calls him the company Communicator... I love that title. Koichiro is a super cool dude and I thoroughly dug hanging out in his booth for a bit slobbering over the cool stuff they make. The hairnet helmet with snap on visor is on my Must Have list... in case anybody is shopping for me. The knickers are sweet too... too many cool things. Check out their stuff- no US distribution yet, as they are taking their growth slowly and cautiously, but they make some incredible products. Trust me...
We all know how much I love Keirin racing, but I still haven't had the pleasure of getting to a race while in Japan. But I walked up on this display and what I thought was going to be a Keirin discussion of some kind, but all I got to watch was some excellent race footage of the 2009 season. I was on edge watching the racing and really itched to be on my bike in the thick of the action!
Many a Keirin rider in Japan and around the world owes this man a huge thank you- this is Toshiyuki Ogino. Ogino-san is the President of MKS- the son of the company founder- and runs the company with immense pride. It was an honor to meet the man behind the brand- a brand we are SUPER proud to be able to spec on our bikes, even if only on a few bikes. MKS pedals are some of the finest around and there are only a few companies who have the ability to use the famous NJS stamp on their products.
Dessert one night after an incredible dinner- my fantastic hosts never miss a detail- ever! The great people at Kozaki are fantastic to work with and I am extremely proud to have them as our distributor for Japan.
Dinner the last night in Tokyo was at a very prestigious teppanyaki grill... and I think my taste buds died and went to heaven. The Kobe beef was so incredibly succulent and tasty... surreal. The company was also fantastic, making the meal that much more enjoyable.
The train ride to the airport was quiet and smooth- as all train rides in Japan are. If Japan does not have the best subway/ train system in the world, then it has to be among the finest.
I spend a ton of time traveling with this job. The travel has taken me around the world to countries I only ever dreamed I'd see and experience. Korea was all new for me and it is now a country I hope I am lucky enough to return to. Japan is a country I have now visited for the past three years and I am in love with the country and the people. I hope to be lucky enough to return for a bit longer and get out of Tokyo to see more of the land and people... and I would LOVE to have a bike with me! Taiwan is truly my second home now and is the place where I met my wife and now have family and a home. I am very proud of the fact that our bikes are made in Taiwan and I always enjoy my time in Taiwan, no matter where I go. Sometimes I get whiny about the travel, especially when it is during the periods of the year where I am traveling nearly every other week. But, truth be told, aside from the whacked out sleep patterns, the lack of riding, the time away from loved ones at home, I do really enjoy traveling for a living. I dreamed of being a paid cyclist traveling the world because of a bicycle... the dream has turned out a bit differently than I originally thought, but it is no less rewarding.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Taoyuan (Taipei). The past few days in Taiwan have been great- the
Taichung Bike Week "show" was very productive and I am really excited
about a few finds and how thebikes for 2011 are shaping up. It was
also great to have some time at hone with my wife inthe condo she
owns. She's staying until the 21st before returning to the US. I'mon
the train to the airport so that I can go to Tokyo until the 14th
before heading home.
This short 45min ride to the airport is always something I enjoy
actually because I get to see a little different slice of Taiwan and
some more of the beautiful countryside along the way. Taiwan always
captivates me with its amazing beauty which is such a stark
contradiction to some of the industrial areas I visit while here. As I
have said so many times before- Taiwan is an amazing place, filled
with massive beauty and wonderful people that clash with the "uglier"
side of Taiwan's role as one of the manufacturing hubs of the world. I
love this place though and it is very much a hone to me with my wife
being from here and me now having a wonderful family I am proud to be
a part of.
Soon I'll be on a plane to Tokyo and another wonderful place I love to
visit. I'll try to post some pics when I can get hooked back up to the
See you soon.
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Speciale Fixed LTD on the streets of Seoul! I spotted this kid and his friend riding and doing trackstands and wheelies on this pedestrian island in front of the hotel my first night. I was in such shock that I barely got the camera out in time to snap this terrible picture.
I told them I am Timothy- they didn't seem to care.
One of the amazingly beautifl greenways in the city- tons of great open space in such a huge city. This little river trail was amazing. There was a carp in the river that had to be as long as my arm. I was itching for my fly rod!
Seoul played host to the '88 Summer Olympics and I walked by the Olympic Stadium- this cycling sculpture was really cool. The whole road was decorated with sculptures from the variousl events. Really awesome artworks too- I was really impressed.
This building was awesome! I couldn't stop taking pictures of it. I probably took 20 pictures of it. It was so much more impressive in person... trust me.
These 3 young women were playing music in the hotel lounge. It went from traditional Korean music to Beatles covers and was amazing. Each of them looked like they were about 16 years old, but they were amazingly talented. The picture is dark because I didn't want to blind them with my flash, but trust me that they were exceptionally talented.
The Olympic rings at the Olympic Stadium- always an impressive sight.
Typical bike rack on the streets of Seoul- the main market here is simple sity bikes used for transportation. There weren't many on the street because it was pretty chilly- 40 degrees- and drizzly. But nearly all the racks had a few bikes locked into them.
Speaking of bikes... this was one of the two shops I visited. This one was geared more towards the lower price spectrum of family bikes- lots of kids bikes and very inexpensive city bikes. The store was tiny and I didn't see a door to a repair area, but I'm sure it was there somewhere.
This shop actually had some more expensive bikes- Specialized, Scott, Orbea, Gios among a few others. The fixed gear bikes were prominently in the window. The only non-commuter/ city bikes I saw on the street were fixies. They are a big part of the market here.
I'll post more later when I have more time. Heading to the tradeshow in just a little bit, but wanted to leave you with a little sumthin' to stare at until I get some pics from the show floor.