Sunday, September 25, 2011

Biking Bits

How does cycling and soap relate? They don’t except maybe at the end of a long ride. Or if you ride Hawthorne Trail. Many months ago I met Monica, probably at the Saturday morning Haile Farmers’ Market. As with all soap makers I asked whether she made Bay Rum scented soap. “No,” she said, “but I’ll look into it.” She did and weeks later emailed me saying she had Bay Rum soap. I knew from our earlier encounter where she lived and asked if I could drop in some Saturday morning and buy some. Now, I am a happy frequent user of Monica’s Cococastile Soap.

Monica maintains a sales presence on Etsy where most of her wares are sold. Not overly fancy. Not a detergent. Not artificial anything. Just honest, reasonably priced soap. My concession to special personal care has always been handmade soap. I like how it feels. How it lathers. How when you purchase it from its maker you always have interesting conversations. I cut Monica’s bars in half because they feel better in my hand that way. Hardly a criticism.

One obviously nice thing about Monica’s soap is that on a Saturday morning I can turn south off the Trail just west of the creek (Prairie Creek) running between Paynes Prairie and Newnans Lake (about Mile 4.5), pass under Hawthorne Road (FL 20) and knock on her door. She or one of the family’ll come to the door and sell you as much handmade soap as you want. A shower with some of Monica’s soap after a ride may become a ritual and stopping at Monica’s another part of the adventure and all for about $5.50.

Messenger Mirror does relate to cycling. I like knowing what is behind me and prefer mirrors over neck exercises. Why not a frame or handlebar mirror? Panniers and trekking handlebars. Until recently I used a Take-a-Look. It worked well. A comment about Messenger appear on one of the Touring websites. Resembled the mirror I used twenty years ago and lost during a close meeting with an automobile and its cost made trying it an easy decision. The cost?  $5.99 plus $0.88 postage. The following things are true about Messenger Mirror:

1.      It vibrates. 2. It works.

Whatever problem vibrating may produce, the mirror works well enough in other ways so vibration doesn’t bother me. It is easily and almost universally adjustable and does exactly what I want a mirror to do; alert me of things behind. The Messenger Mirror does it with a small ½ inch diameter mirror that does not interfere with my line of sight. Take-a-Look’s large, rectangular mirror created a blind spot that was exactly in the way.

On tertiary and quaternary roads the Messenger is less than ideal because of its vibration in concert with the rough road. Elsewhere it is excellent. Light, efficient and cost effective. Lots more plus than minus. Much more go than stop..

After a couple hundred miles I am satisfied with my Messenger. It tolerates the abuse of being tucked in my handebar bag, dropped, bent and otherwise mishandled. A moment’s manipulation brings it back to functioning. Bruce, Messenger Mirror’s creator has done a fine job.

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