Thursday, May 31, 2012


"Perfect love is rare indeed - for to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain."

 Leo Buscaglia

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jett Grrl Vancouver

There's a few things you should know about me:

I veer between being a ball of energy and doing an accurate impression of a sloth. I like to call it zen!

I hadn't ridden a bike for circa ten years prior to 2011. The last incident in 2001 involved a bike that was too big for me, a bottle of whiskey and a pothole. My bruises had bruises.

I try to support local businesses wherever possible.

I have zero patience for shitty customer service.

However i wanted to get around Vancouver without a car and without depending on the often not reliable transit system (oh hai translink!). I debated between a bike or a scooter and it came down to which was more economical to run and which had more health benefits. I went to numerous bike stores to do some research but noticed that there was an attitude that could almost be classified as elitist from quite a few of them. 

Tip for sales staff in Vancouver: An eye roll following my question does not a sale make. I know it's fascinating stuff but listening as you give your friend a breakdown on last night antics whilst i wait for your attention just makes me want to spend my money elsewhere. 

I started researching, talking to people and the name of one studio came up from a few different sources. My friend had mentioned an amazing bike mechanic that had built his a few years back and it turned out that the recommendations were for the same person: Tracy A. Myerson of Jett Grrl Bike Studio (embedded video below ).

Jett Grrl Bike Studio is a high end speciality shop building custom steel bikes and handbuilt wheels to last a lifetime. "We are trying to promote sustainability and create an Un-Intimidating space for cyclists of every variety. We also do meticulous tune-ups, and sell funky parts and accessories in a super friendly, no-attitude sort of way. We only sell things we actually believe have some lasting value. If you are looking for "just the cheapest" you might have to look elsewhere. As with everything in life, you get what you pay for - the cheaper it is the sooner you will have to fix or replace it. That is not what we believe in. We are passionate about providing a level of quality and service unparalleled anywhere."

My beloved bike which i named Akira. Yes, i am a nerd.

Tracy does the repairs, builds the bikes and the wheels, and lovingly restores the vintage rides. She has been riding a bike since she was a girl living in Natick, Massachusetts and she has been riding seriously since 1991. Having made an appointment i called in and discussed what i did and didn't want. Tracy answered my questions (without any attitude), asked me some of her own, discussed my budget and encouraged me to have a think about it. A week on, i'd come to a decision and went back to put the deposit down. Overall the process of buying a bike from Jett Grrl was straightforward and pressure free. Plus i got some bonus canine hang out time as the studio is home to the cutest shop dog Levi! 

The whole process took about six weeks which was mainly due to the fact that Tracy is the only person working there and i went with having the wheels/spokes hand built instead of buying off the rack. The end result? A lightweight, beautifully built bike perfectly sized to my frame. It's been nearly a year and i've come to love cycling and my bike in a way that i didn't think was possible

Red Detailing and Hand Built Wheels.

To read more about Tracy visit:

Full Disclosure: I am not in any way affiliated with Jett Grrl Bike Studio nor have i received any incentive or compensation to write this piece. I want to support local business and give credit for excellent service!

Friday, May 04, 2012


Long Beach, California. October 1942.
“Annette del Sur publicizing salvage campaign in yard of Douglas Aircraft Company.”
4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information.

Russian photographer Pavel Kosenko dig some digging on Shorpy, a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. He selected a number of 4x5 Kodachrome prints that were taken between 1940-1943. Each photo in the series has a brief info section and photographer info. The Kodachrome prints are beautifully vibrant and have a colour cast and tone that's sadly absent from digital photography.

October 1942.
Workers installing fixtures and assemblies in the tail section of a B-17F bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California.
4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

October 1942.
 “Lieutenant ‘Mike’ Hunter, Army test pilot assigned to Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California.”
4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information.

June 1942.
Engine inspector for North American Aviation at Long Beach, California. 

4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

June 1942.
Truck driver at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Douglas Dam. Amazing
4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer

Shulman’s Market at N and Union Street SW, Washington.
4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Louise Rosskam.

June 1942.
Lockheed Vega aircraft plant at Burbank, California.
 4×5 Kodachrome transparency by David Bransby for the Office of War Information.

Click here to see the full collection!
Original post (in Russian) here
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