Notes from a Cycle Tourist

Bike touring is like swervin' around in a big-body Benz with 5 dollaz werfa gazz.  It's like sittin on my favorite couch with the remote in my hand.  It's like being a witch on her broom.  It's like knowing that the mothership is gonna blow so you break away just in time in your individual hyper-space pod. - Gregory Joseph Barnabas Tissi, cycle tourist.

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For the foreseeable future our good friend Greg will be touring this world by bicycle, and we will be sharing some of the tales from his trip.  From Salt Lake City to San Francisco, to Humboldt County, and eventually to Southeast Asia and Paris, we may be telling this story for years.  Greg is a solid gold friend of Keven's and now a friend to mine and of the shop's.  He is a five-spice seasoned cyclet ourist, a dead-eye at Big Buck HD, even a counselor of at-risk children. He stopped into the shop recently on his way to begin an epic tour on his old Surly Long Haul Trucker.  We helped him get equipped and then he and Keven took off on a little trip up

I left Salt Lake City alone anticipating three closeys to roll into the Oakland yard in a few days hoping they were stealthy enough to evade the bulls. The route was from Ogden, Utah and I was stoked for my friends to have a train adventure. My ex partner, Alisha, my good friend, Heather, and another good friend, Dallin were in the championship arena train cast. That left a Nissan Altima (Alisha's suckfest of a car), my Surly LHT, Heather's Surly LHT, Alisha's Surly Cross Check, and of course me, Gregory Joseph Barnabas Tissi as the all-star cast of the road support crew. Thank god the Altima made it to San Fran in a day cause i had been waitin and excited to squeeze my very close friend Keven Bricknell, the service manager of Huckleberry bikes. Keven is originally from Cape Girardeau, Missouri and we met in Columbia, MO like 6 years ago when I was a young buck piecing together my first fixie and lacing up my first wheelset. His approach to bikes and working in shops is not only one of the bigger variables in my own relationship to bikes but is matched by the owners and employees of Huckleberry's. Let me loosely introduce myself as some stupid ass kid who doesn't have any right or wrong answers and is trying his best to use what minuscule time he has in his life cycle to create memoriesto be proud of later in life.   My name's Gregory Joseph Barnabas Tissi (Barnabas was my Confirmation name that I thought would be awesome when I was older. It worked. Not Catholic). I like lots a stuff that you'll prolly catch onto if you read any more of my posts and gear reviews in the months to come and on my International Trip through Southeast Asia and India to Paris. My initial trip plan was just southeast Asia but it has expanded and I hope I can make it happen with the funds I will have. I love relationships and believe cultivating an intimate relationship with how I operate in relationships is a life priority. Record collecting, split boarding, rock climbing, giving and getting stick n pokes, fly fishing, playing dice, and having fun with sweet people are a few distractions I love. It feels like I'm living the dream. That was my preface into the real intention of the post: A Critique of 4 Days Hanging At Huckleberry's. HELL YES. THE HUCKLEBERRY CAST: Jonas Jackel: Employee, Owner, Sincere, Light-hearted, Passionate, Driven Brian Smith: Employee, Owner, Savvy, Warm, Hilarious, People-Forward Zack Stender: Employee, Owner, Mellow, Customer-savvy, Welcoming, The Dude Keven Bricknell: Employee, Service Manager, Caring, Patient, Down, Best Mechanic in Bay Mikey Jacobsen: Employee, Mechanic, The Wizard, Best Musical Taste, Brilliant, Metal Jim Lieskovan (aka Jarms Ballsmoore): Employee, Kiosk Guy, Graphic Design, Do It All Badass Eight months ago I rolled my LHT into Keven's last day at Mike's Bikes after a beautiful ride from Point Reyes to the north. Six Packs of California beers kicked off the celebration of Kev's transition to Huckleberry Bikes and the opening of a new chapter for him in a long line of San Francisco chapters. That very night Keven unexpectedly introduced me to Brian Smith, one of the owners. They brought me to the brand new and empty space on Market they would use to create San Francisco's first and best contemporary urban commuter/Cyclotouring shop. As excited as I was (and I get SO excited in life, in general) I started firing hot n nasty questions from the hip about their vision... Now, eight months later I am sitting at the tall diner-style table in the heart of the service den doing research on my upcoming international bike tour. And in eight months their vision of being able to operate outside of the heavy hand of the sordid bike industry has materialized and continues to grow. Their product lines range from industry classics like Brooks to small local businesses like Plemons or Cedar Cycling, but functional urban cycling focused clothing and accessories are top priorities not to mention the whole wall of new and diverse completes they sell, too. There is also an original Nintendo for folks waiting on repairs and boxes of records being spun all day long. Enough about their stuff, lets talk about them. These folks were so ready to be up outta the big boys in the industry and nail down exactly what they loved: people, bikes, and culture. I asked Jonas what three words he would use to describe their vision and I wasn't surprised: "Friendly, Style, and Expert". These guys go out of their way to not only meet those expectations in the shop but after hanging with them personally it's obvious to see those are the priorities of their personal lives, too. Brian, Jonas, and Keven and I headed to the Rio Grande across Market to grab a few drinks, play Big Buck Hunter HD, and chat about life and what I found out was that each of them have FULL ASS plates on their table. Jonas is a committed partner and father of two (as for as I know), Brian is a committed partner and very invested in the growth of the shop, and Zack is a committed partner and father-to-be. I can't believe I suck so bad at Buck Hunter but screw it talkin trash is sometimes more fun than winning, ya know? At least you get a taste for what these kids are all about: Buck Hunter and beating fools like me. I gotta spray about gratitude for a second cause there's lots to be grateful for. Keven is headed north with me tomorrow July 19th to tour the Unknown Coast and I am happy to say that there is a large possibility he may join me on a leg of my bigger international tour. Supposedly from Athens to Paris through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, And Switzerland. JEAH! Wowzers. Another big one to be grateful for is the opportunity to have a record of salient travel stories and a forum to yell n holler about bangin new gear. So look out for more drivel from me in the future. Until next time, if something doesn't work out? just try again... GJBT