Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Incredible Return Of The Tuesday Bicycle Musical Interlude.

I love me some music. These two especially.

This one is greatness too.

Bigger post tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekly Weight Loss Check In and Progress Report.

Here we are at another Monday, and here I go again, checking in. People do read these, even if you are rolling your eyes right now, regular reader.

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I have been counting my calories this week, and exercising, but have not really made any weight lowering type progress. I'm going to assume that is because I am building muscle and burning fat, and just chalk the weight stasis up to that.

I need a pedicure. 

I'm chalking it up to muscle building, because I have actually been working my muscles. The good folks at TRX, in conjunction with A-W fitness have sent me one of their "Pro" suspension systems to help me build up my core and branches. I have used it once already, and think it's a really neat system. Josh at A-W thinks that we should do a before AND after video, so look for two; one with me crying and saying "no, please, I want to die.." and one where I can pull a semi-trailer with my massive lats (and probably eyes) bulging.

"Abby someone..."

Not much to report otherwise on this beautiful Monday, other than to let you know I have actually written a few articles for this week already so you can look forward to some new reviews going up. I have installed the "BikeCharge", and it is fantastic. I have also written my initial review of the 1UPUSA trainer that I have been using. so you can learn more about that this week. 

I'm going to post the link to the donation form for the young lady who had the bad bicycle accident and has no insurance. Please, if you can, donate HERE and help her on her way to recovery. If you are local, please consider coming to the fundraising party as well; there are a ton of great prizes for you to win, and the list keeps growing. 

Details on that party are HERE. I hope to see you there. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Got Recognized!

So since it was so beautiful yesterday, I made sure to ride my bike today - and got recognized by a fellow train rider. I was just trying to be anonymous behind my monstrous beard and clear sunglasses on the train when a lovely young woman boarded, pushing a very nice red and white mixte bike with BFR spoke cards. She and I chatted a little bit about bikes, local parties we might attend, and internal hubs as the train hurtled down the tracks. After we talked gadgets for a few minutes, she demurely brought up this very corner of the web, and asked "Are you a blogger - I think I've read your blog. ". I waved my hand modestly and said "yes". I could tell she was trying to decide what she wanted me to autograph, and I was about to make the offer of my signature (as much as I try to avoid it) when we arrived at my station. I quickly exited to spare us both the awkward interaction I knew was pending. It was nice to meet a fan, but I wish that everyone understood that I need my privacy, despite my public persona.

Once I exited the train and headed for the trail, I spotted this guy.

Those things clamped to his arms are fleece earmuffs - and he was indeed selling them, for $5.00 a pair. He rides the rails, peddling these earmuffs in order to help him afford his $35 a night room; he is helping to support another recently homeless friend of his who has recently renal failure. If you aren't in Texas today, you might not know that we have had one of the warmer Januaries I can remember, and our friend the earmuff salesman was lamenting the temperature. "I have to buy inventory, and then a ticket, so I have to sell at least one a day to break even." I admire his go getter attitude. were I homeless as well, I would probably find something similar to raise money. I commiserated with him about the problems that small businesses face, wished him luck, and then called the police about him selling earmuffs without a permit as I rode away.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Coolest Bicycle Shoes Ever Made - Chrome Pro Series.

I like to use clipless pedals for my commuter. I actually built the Bloggipede up with regular flat pedals, and that is fine for running around the neighborhood, but I don't care for unsecured feet when riding any sort of distance. I wear a pair of Shimano "commuter" shoes now, but everyone tells me they look terrible, and I'm inclined to agree. They do the job I need them to do, but they are certainly not stylish in any way. (Much like the dude wearing them.)


I did a little research, and I emailed a few shoe companies to see if they were interested in doing a "Shoetout" and letting me compare some more stylish SPD compatible shoes. Chrome was enthusiastic, but I didn't hear anything from Keen or DZR - so I unequivocally declare the Chrome Pro series of shoes the best casual SPD compatible cycling shoe in the world. Without a doubt, these shoes are the best looking "urban" cycling shoe I have ever handled, and they are surely the best looking SPD compatible sneaker I have ever had in my office. I wish I was more graphically savvy so I could make them some sort of digital award to post on their site for winning The Plano Cyclist's 2012 Shoetout. In the very least, we here at the PC offices celebrate their clear cut win.

Hells yeah, guys!!!!!
When I told Chrome about the Shoetout, they were excited about the "long term" part of my testing regimen. I always read reviews on the internets that tell me how nice something is when it's new, but I rarely see a longer term follow up on the item as it wears. I plan to do a long term review of these shoes as well, so you can see what you can expect after riding them for a while. For now, however, I will give you my initial thoughts about the winning pair of shoes.

Chrome Kursk Pro
The shoes I chose to test are the Chrome Kursk Pro model - they are an SPD compatible Chuck Taylor styled low top canvas shoe, with a nylon reinforced sole for better power transfer. This pair is in my size, and having tried them on,  I will tell you that they are very comfortable.

Red Sole
Above, you can see the red sole and SPD attachment bolts. The shoes come with a "plug" for the sole, and as you can see I haven't removed it as of this writing. I have a new set of cleats in my desk that I will install tonight so I can really give these shoes a run. So far my impression is that they look sharp and seem very well made. 
This is an Aglet
A great example of the build quality is seen in the the aglets; they are not the standard plastic ones you see on most shoes. The kind that split and fray under hard use. Instead, Chrome went the extra mile to make sure the aglets on the laces will last for as long as the shoes themselves. That small detail shows the thought that went into making these shoes worth the dollars you spent.  

Midway Left, Kursk Right
The photo above shows the other version of the Pro shoes that Chrome offers; the Midway Pro. The Midway has all of the same details as the Kursk, but they fit a little higher on the ankle and don't have the full toe cap that the Kursk has. I have both pairs because the Midways were sent by accident, in the wrong size. I haven't tried these on, but I assume they are as comfortable as the Pros. I'm not a mid-top guy though, so I will stick with the Kursks. 

I am kind of glad for the mix-up, because the good folks at Chrome have agreed to allow us to raffle them off to benefit a local cyclist who had a bad accident and needs money for hospital bills. In fact, after I presented my case Chrome even sent a bag for us to add to the raffle because the shoes are only one size and might have limited interest. All the same, if you are a women's 9.5 or a men's size 8, then you should plan on coming to the party to win these. As an added bonus, I will be autographing the box they come in. I'm guessing that alone will make these a hot raffle prize (and a commodity in the underground "blogger autograph" market). 

I will install SPD's on the Kursks soon and report back how they walk with the cleats installed as that is obviously an important part of the functionality of these shoes. I will also try to go play a round of basketball once I have them installed, per reader request. Look for a fundraiser to bail me out of jail shortly thereafter. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Check in, Mea Culpa, and a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

First, the weight "loss" check in.

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I am still lower than I started (even though it's not reflected above), but I have stalled out a little. This is no one's fault but my own; I have not tracked my calories the way I should have, and I did not exercise at all last week, with the exception of a few halfhearted spins around the neighborhood.

This is the result of all of my hard work. 

I haven't fallen off of the wagon, but I was set back by rain and an intense work week. You will see lower numbers next week, because I did ride today (and plan to ride all the way home) and am counting what I eat very carefully. Mostly. And I am out of beer.
In addition, I am going to be working with Josh over at A&W Fitness to keep me honest and to take what I am doing to the "next level". Soon I will be slow AND have very little muscle definition. This agreement with Josh comes with another review opportunity. Josh and Paul are big believers in the TRX system, and have convinced them to send me a Rip trainer to use at home to increase my core strength. (I'm pretty sure my core is hollow like a rotten tree at this point). I will be talking about the TRX a couple of times, and will even do a video. I'm thinking something with soft focus, mostly nude, but artistic for sure. Keep your eyes out for that (or poke them out, whichever you prefer).

So that's my weight loss check in for the week. I guess I should address my lack of posts last week, but I've got nothing to say other than "sorry". I have been working hard at my real job, and as such just haven't had time to write enough posts for here to get ahead. If you want to read new words from me, go here. While I can generally knock these bicycle posts out fairly quickly, the insurance ones take considerably longer to research and make compelling. (If I have even succeeded at that.) There will be more posts here this week, though it may only be a three day schedule - unless I can squeeze more in. I'll try, but I do have to make some dough to pay for this dumb hobby.

Now for the big announcement.

You need to make the effort to get out to this benefit on the 29th of this month. Once again, the story is here. I am not going to go over it all here (because you can read) but in a nutshell, a girl who has a way cooler nickname than I do crashed her bike and she has no money to pay for hospital bills. While this sucks for her, certainly, some of her friends have put together a benefit at a gorgeous loft. This benefit includes free beer, live music, and one of the longest raffle prize lists I have seen. Since no one has put it out officially, as of today this is the list of prizes being raffled off at the benefit,

1. 4 Sessions with a personal trainer at A-W Fitness
2. A Chrome bag
3. A pair of Chrome shoes
4. A Custom Hula Hoop.
5. A gift certificate to Nova Gastropub
6. 1 night stay at the Belmont
7. A gift certificate to The Libertine
8. VIP treatment at Absinthe
9. A gift certificate from Red Hot + Blue
10. A professional photography package from Can Turkyilmaz
11. A custom leather from Chateau Nifty Pop
12. Scuba Classes from Blue Sea Adventures
13. A pin up photography package from Twisted Tiffany
14. $100 gift certificate from Richardson Bikemart
15. A family pack from Dallas Diamonds Football
16. Gift certificates from Boyd Massage
17. Private circus lessons from Circus Freaks
18  Art from Stephen Snow

I'm sure that there are more prizes as well - this is just the list I was able to glean from the Facebook page for the party. The beer will be provided by Franconia, and there will be live music by the The Bhakti House Band.

This is going to be "off the chain", like the kids say. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more details, but you need to come. If you are local, come and help someone avoid years of crushing medical bills.

If you aren't local, you can still help; donate a couple of bucks here. I encourage you to do so.

I really do hope to see you there. I feel bad for Liberty Kat, but I'm glad to go partay my face off to raise money for her. I assume she would party for me if I needed it.

Though I assume I'll have to put in extra workout time to burn off the Franconia.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Well, I Blew It.

I had posted every day for a while, but I didn't even manage a pithy post like this one yesterday.


I have a bunch to write about, but little time to do it. However, I thought I'd put some links up ahead of my bigger articles I have planned for next week. Chrome has sent me some shoes to review, but they sent me the wrong size first. They have since sent me some other kicks, but I talked them into donating the first pair they sent to the "Wheels that Heal" benefit for a local cyclist who suffered a crash. Then suffered even more for not having insurance. I know a fair bit about insurance, but little about health insurance, other than knowing you have to have it before a crash.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Circumnavigation Diary. Exploratory Report.

In the year of our Lord 2012, I have determined that it is necessary to navigate every mile of bicycle path in the city of Plano. I will document the excursion here in my "web log", and hope that the knowledge I bring will be used well by those that come after me. Should I survive, I expect to be feted and recount the incredible tales of my adventure over countless glasses of sherry. Plus groupies.

On the last day of 2011, I made an exploratory expedition West to put some supply caches in place. I was also raring for adventure and could scarce contain my excitement to begin the larger expedition.

The trails are teeming with life; this crane (or stork, I'm no ichthyologist) appeared just a few miles in. I wondered at his majesty for a bit, then continued my exploration.

Next I beheld the beauty of a wild turkey, probably recently escaped from Christmas dinner celebrations. This bold fellow was acting the part of waterfowl, most likely to ensure his continuing freedom. At least his head looked like a turkey, so that is what I assume he is.

Reaching my unsupported limit I turned back, lest I become lost in unfamiliar lands, leaving only my bleached bones as a memorial to my folly. On the return I took a slightly different route, and found what seemed to be some sort of memorial erected by natives. Pausing to reflect, I raised a toast to unknown warriors, then moved on.

Being bone tired at this point, I counted on my steed to carry me home safe; he did as I wished and brought me back to the very doors of the rooming house I have engaged while waiting to begin the expedition proper. Though only a 15 mile ride on paths mostly known to me, this small adventure whets my appetite for the larger circumnavigation to come. Westward ho!

My faithful steed. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekly weight loss check in and progress report.

Like all of you, I am still on New Years resolution track. Unlike most of you (I assume) I am going to hold myself accountable to a bunch of people I have never met.

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So there it is. I still have a way to go, but I am showing forward progress. What did I do last week to achieve such incredible results? I rode my bicycle to work three days and spent my first hour on the trainer, for starters. To be honest, I am not riding the entire route in to the office, instead I am taking the train the entire way in the morning and most of the way home in the evening. I say most of the way in the evening, but I do get off early and ride about 7 miles of the route home. The Bloggipede is a super fun bike for bombing around on, especially for a few path miles in the evening.

On the training front, I have downloaded a training video from epicPLANET and watched a big part of it, but not on the trainer. The video is an hour and a half long, and man, that is a LOT of trainer time. I will do it, but I am working up to it. So far I have managed to watch Rain of Madness (highly recommended) for one session and two episodes of Pawn Stars for the other session. My plan was to maintain an average speed of 16mph and an average cadence of 85 during my session. I just about managed it too.

Livestrong screenshot. 

On the food front, I am using the Livestrong app on my iPhone to track my calories. I am allowed a little over 1700 calories a day in order to lose 2lbs a month. I stayed under my total every day, and it's actually kind of fun to track once I get in the groove. I have used calorie counting for weight loss for a long time, and I certainly expect to be successful.

I have also added vitamins into the regimen, taking a bunch of pills (like Judy!) to make the weight loss process go quicker. Theoretically. I am not using any diet pills, only vitamin (and one fiber) supplements.

The first time I took one of these pictures of the scale, I held the phone too high. Hawt. 
So far my weight loss has been going well altogether. I am feeling pretty good, and am on track to be really thin AND fit for the first time in quite a while. I expect things to pick up (or drop off) a little more quickly as the month goes on - I tend to pick up steam as I go along.

In the "coming soon" category for the blog, I will be doing a Plano article this week, as well as a couple of review articles - both USA made items again.

On one final note, if you are interested in checking out some of the Moto-optix lenses I wrote about last week, Shawn has sent me an email letting me know that they are offering free shipping through this weekend - I am a guy that loves "free", so I highly endorse this deal. $39.95 flat puts a set of these on your helmet. Very worthwhile, in my opinion. Be sure and use the code austinblog to get your free shipping.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Inaugural Linkdump 2012!

As usual, I have been saving links for you to peruse today.

Brooks saddles aren't just for fops.

Switching Gears have hats that might be.

Wear this under your fop clothes for comfort.

Drink this for even more comfort under those clothes. 

And put it in one of these to affirm your fopness.

Have a great weekend. As usual, big things are coming. I will be posting another nude photo on Monday when I do my weight loss check in, and in fact I'm trying to work up a deal to work out with a personal  trainer and use some special equipment both with him and at home to take my transformation to the next level. This weight loss thing might get interesting after all.

Wish I could just Photoshop the flab away! 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Today I Will Review A Revolutionary Step in Bicycle Eyewear- Moto-Optix Lenses.

I got a Moto-Optix polarized bicycle lens in the mail the other day, and while I haven't had a whole lot of time to write about it, I have had time to use it, and this really is an incredible piece of equipment.  

The lens comes with everything you see here - well, yours most likely won't come with a fancy handwritten note, because you aren't a famous blogger. The lens is a single piece that you attach to your helmet via Velcro. Installation is a snap; peel the included Velcro from the backer, throw it on your helmet, and stick the lens on. 

Make that Velcro "ripping" sound in your head. 

Once the lens was installed, I removed the blue protective film, and looked at my new windshield. 

Then I wore them around the office for a while. 

To protect the PC staff  from my laser eyes. 

My winged over-mantle looked great, and really emphasized the flare of my beard. On the ride home, however, is where the lens really began to shine. I am a glasses wearer when I am not on the bike anyway, so it's not like glasses "bug" me. However, being able to ride without glasses but still have the sun protection my eyes want is incredibly comfortable, since the lenses are not touching my face or head. It really is an odd sensation at first,  but one I got used to fairly quickly. These aren't some cheap smoked plastic lenses either; the Moto-Optix  lenses are polarized to reduce glare and have incredible optical quality. I have very expensive riding glasses that are not this optically correct. 

I can only think of a couple of things that will make these better; I had a little problem with the Velcro included peeling off of the Styrofoam on the helmet when I tried to  re-position the lens. Unfortunately, some of the Styrofoam stayed attached and ruined the stickiness of the tape in the process. It would be nice if the company included a set of back up strips, just in case. Another great thing (I'm an idea man, you see?) would be to lose the wings on the side, make the lenses smooth, and put reflective material on the edges so the extra space can be used as a mirror. Million dollar ideas? I just give them away. 

I like these a lot, and I will wear the hell out of them for commuting and weekend rides, because they really are a revolution in comfort. Moto-Optix is marketing them to triathletes, and I can see where that is a worthwhile market, but I would say that anyone who is riding a lot should really consider them. Especially here in Texas because heat = sweat, and nothing is more annoying than having your glasses slip while you are riding. The lenses are available in either amber or dark grey tints, and are $39.95 a pair, and in my opinion are a real bargain. Once again, this is a made in USA product, so if you don't want to support terrorists, you should buy USA first. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why Be Offended By Winning?

I finally got my trophy from the 2011 Tour De BBQ in the mail the other day. I was (to say the least) very excited to receive it. I haven't won an award of any type in years, and sometimes, like a 12 year old, I need validation. I'm not proud of it, but I am honest about it. Thanks to lots of fundraising, emailing, begging, and cajoling, I was indeed the first place fundraiser for the ride this year. Not second, not third, or someone who merely met their goal, but number one.

First Place

Numero Uno

The Top of The Pops, baby.

Do you know why? Because I worked hard to win the contest. I emailed everyone I know, I wrote blog posts that were far too personal in nature; I asked for money, and then I turned around and did it again. For prizes? No, not really. More for the win, just to chalk one up on my wall. I did this; I made the top of the mountain, I beat these other folks. The end result was money raised for charity, sure. But I worked my way to the top, I went above and beyond  to win. You guys read this blog, so you know what I got up to to make #1.

I'm going to post this once more before they take it down.

Top Ten Fundraisers

Tour de BBQ 2011

  1. Justin Husman - $1,320.00
  2. Steve Tomac - $1,300.00
  3. Carrie Helfers - $1,150.00
  4. Craig Henwood - $825.00
  5. Andrew Warren - $635.00
  6. Titus Fehling - $458.00
  7. Niki Fehling - $395.00
  8. Jonathan Nye - $385.00
  9. Stacey Corrado - $270.00
  10. Marc Meyer - $262.00

And just so you can confirm that I didn't write that in a different font just to fool you, the list is here

So I won, fair and square. 

And when I opened the box, I saw that I was not designated "first place" Individual Fundraiser. 

I was only in the top 5. Like some little league baseball team that doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  

The designation kind of sounds like an oxymoron. "Top Five Individual Fundraiser" 

Am I an individual, or in a group? 

How can I be a top five individual fundraiser - it doesn't make sense.  
Now, I'm certainly ok with them not having my name put on the trophy (though that would have been awesome, now that I think about it), but I don't understand the logic of not having at least 1st through 3rd place designated. That's how it has always been. Top three are rewarded, and Devil take the hindmost. 

Fourth Place doesn't get a trophy. Unless it says, "Hey, good job on not being the absolute worst!"

Every podium has three stands. Not a big box where five people mill around aimlessly. Three. 

The top guy gets girls and champers, and the other two get to be a little jealous, but kind of happy for not being in FIFTH place. Because fifth is even worse than fourth,  and that dude is crying in the showers already, not sharing champagne. 

If you want to give trophies to fourth and fifth, that's fine, but designate them as "top five" finishers. 

"Top 5" is certainly the truth, and I accept that, but I don't think it's the right way to do things.  I'm not the only one who thought this was a little silly, by the way. Everyone in the Plano Cyclist office felt exactly the same way I did, they are just not as eloquent. I heard, "You are going to blog about this, right?"  You bet I am. 

Numbah One! 

So, because I am not the catcher on the Moss Plumbing Pirates, I fixed my trophy.

My attitude is everything, for sure. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kicking Off My Weight Loss Odyssey.

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Big numbers there, huh? Hopefully, as in the Tour De BBQ days, we will see that number reach my goal and beyond.

30 pounds. That would put me right at my goal weight of 175. I know I was talking about losing 25 pounds this year, but my scale told me a very sad tale the morning of Jan 2, 2012.

Fun fact - I am nude in this photo. 

I have a long way to go, obviously, but I do have a plan. I will be using the Livestrong My Plate app to count my calories and keep track of my exercise, I have installed the cadence/speed sensor on my trainer, and am in the process of getting my epicRIDES videos set up on my phone, so soon I will be suffering in my living room.

This is where the magic happens. 

The only methods I'll really be using are going to be calorie counting and exercise. I had considered doing the mastercleanse to kick me off, but it has been a couple of years and I don't know if I'm ready to put myself through that again. Instead, I'm going to use the slow and steady method and see how fast I can lose when I take control of my eating and activity.

My plan for this process is to check in once a week with my weight loss progress, unless something really exciting happens in between my check ins. I will be posting other stuff here, but you can look for a new weekly feature on how much weight I have lost (or gained, God forbid).

Resolutions are a bitch in the cold grey light of the morning.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Octopus Winter Cycling Cap - Made in the USA.

My name is The Plano Cyclist, and I love cycling caps. There, now my dirty secret is out in the open for all of us to process and talk about.

Even though I love cycling caps, I'm not one of those guys who wears a cap off the bike; while I admire the fashion forwardness ( and mustachios) of those guys, I am more practical and just wear them when riding. However, the big problem with cycling caps is that they aren't warm. That is good in the Texas summer, but when the weather cools here (which it most certainly does), I find myself without a cap to wear. I do have one of those technical type helmet liners somewhere, but it makes me feel like some sort of mental patient. Mostly because as the weather gets cooler I tend to find myself wearing less "cycling" gear when riding, and a neoprene skullcap looks pretty strange with khakis and a windbreaker. That's where the Octopus Cap comes in. I contacted them, and they sent me one of their winter caps to try out. Octopus Caps are handmade in Ohio, and can be made to order (there are also some pre-made versions available in their esty shop). Octopus makes these caps Columbus OH from recycled wool and specialty fabrics. They quickly made my custom cap (as you know, I love unique things) and sent it my way.

It's in the eyes. 

As soon as I opened the package, I popped the cap on and did a photo shoot in the office. The (non-cyclist) guys all thought that it looked a little funny, but I felt like I was channeling Yehuda Moon.  
Plano Cyclist

I ordered according to the sizing instructions on the website, and I am mostly pleased with the fit of the cap, with one small exception - the red wool ear flap does not cover my entire ear. (I suffer from a very rare disorder that renders my earlobes both the coldest and the longest part of my body. ) If you are thinking of ordering a "large", you might actually need an XL. The cap is very well made and feels like a very solid piece of equipment, with some nice details like an inside pocket to stash your ID or anything else you would like to store inside your hat. The bill on the front of the cap is not stiff; instead it is kind of vestigial piece of fabric amended to the front of the cap. Vestigial or not it is an important part of the cap, because without it I'd be back in the same boat again, wearing a funny little skullcap. A black skullcap is one thing, but a houndstooth skullcap just screams "crazy". Looks aside, I know the big question you are asking (and why you are reading this drivel): "Does it work?"

It do indeed. The cap fits right under my helmet, and keeps my head remarkably warm for such a small piece of fabric. The ear flap keeps the tops of my ears nice and toasty, and the cap/flap combo made what was going to be a very cold ride home very tolerable. In fact, I was working up a sweat at one point and started to think that it might be smart to vent my head by removing the cap, because it was so warm. Then I rode through a cold patch and rethought my clever plan (wondering why the hell I was riding in the cold anyway). When I got home, despite the ribbing I took from the guys at the office, I found that the ladies do indeed love the Octopus Cap - my daughter (The Plano Tricyclist) immediately whisked it off my head and claimed it for her own. She wore it until bed time, when I gently removed it from her head as I locked her in her cage for the evening. 

The Plano Tricyclist

Since then, we have had long discussions (filled with tears and shouts of "mine!") about who actually owns the Octopus Cap, and once I dried my tears and stopped shouting "mine", she came to understand that as a big time blogger, I have very little impulse control. Sharing is caring though, so I am sure she will have plenty of turns to wear it. Octopus also makes children's caps, so I may even order her one of her very own. 

Octopus Winter Caps are $40, and they are currently available through their esty shop. Custom caps are available here, but the folks who make them are on vacation until January 6th, so feel free to email them, but don't expect a response until after then. In addition to the winter cap you see here, Octopus also makes a heavy duty flapped cap for the same price, or a hat with no ear flaps for $25. Any way you look at it, buying an Octopus Cap is a great way to support a small business in the USA, which is something you should do as a red blooded American.  When you add in the warmth that the hat provides your noggin at 12mph, I think that not buying an Octopus Cap means you are a commie from Siberia. Better get to clicking, comrade.