It’s a zoo out there

these are always good

Sketchbook of a GPS Artist

Strava Giraffe This work of Strava art by Stephen Lund required around 115 kilometres of cycling in and around Victoria, BC garmin gps strava art cycling bicycling cyclist This work of Strava art by Stephen Lund required around 115 kilometres of cycling in and around Victoria, BC

Remember that scene near the end of Twelve Monkeys – where Bruce Willis’ character learns that the Army of the 12 Monkeys has set all the animals free from the zoo and then sees four giraffes cantering along a Philadelphia freeway?

Well, that’s what it’s like on the streets of Victoria, BC today, as I spent my morning surprising the city with about 100 kilometres worth of Strava giraffe.

In a straight line from head to front hoof, she measures about 11 kilometres.

I had to use the “Strava OFF/Strava ON” trick for a few sections of the legs as the inventory of roads (especially straight ones) is rather meagre in that area. With the extra dashing about between OFF and ON points, this work of Strava art called for around 115 km of cycling.

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I feel inadequate in my ‘fatness’

This is a quick edit from my first few rides on the Fatback Corvus Fatbike. I spent a couple weeks in Southern California to ride mototrials and was lucky enough to get the Fatback together before I got out there. It was a blast on all the terrain I could find in SoCal, from the beach to the dunes, high desert to low. This bike can handle everything. Dont worry, the skids were on motorcycle trails! Stay tuned for my next edit riding

Quite amazing riding isn’t it?

Fat Video Time

Found this linked to on fatbike brigade …..

The Bedrock Bags and Packs team took advantage of this mild winter weather by heading to the desert. They took their fatbikes to an undisclosed location in the land of awesome, exploring Utah canyons by way of sandy roads, and beautiful river beds.

Saturday Ride – or why I didn’t leave the flat today.

yesterday decided to go down and get the ferry across to the Isle of Arran and do the circle route around it. Looked at the weather and initially it seems to show the weather as being fine with 5 degrees C temp. But this being Scotland you have to be prepared so I had rain cape in my jersey pocket and velcro bootie covers on.

on the ferry I checked the weather again and it said the wind was up to 20mph from the north west so decided a anti-clockwise route was on the cards – that way I would have the wind on my quarter for the west side of the island.

stormy 'changeable' weather
stormy ‘changeable’ weather

Straight off the ferry and the wind came up and the ice and sleet descended. Sheltered behind a rock for a while – luckily the weather arrived horizontally and I stayed pretty dry PRETTYDRYno1

2015-02-21 11.17.34 2015-02-21 11.18.06

then up the road to Loch Ranza – but I had to stop to take some photos of Goatfell and the other hills still beautifully snowcapped.

selfie wrapped up
selfie wrapped up
panorama – click to see larger
that road in detail - sweet
that road in detail – sweet

The descent to Lochranza was a bit cautious as the road was pretty wet still. The west side of the island was then baked in sun but the wind had swung more west so no tailwind for me.

Stopped at the great Machrie tea room (this place is mobbed by cyclists on nice summer days) for a bowl of soup as a toast. Missed squall 2 here PRETTYDRYno2. Today there was only two of us cyclists in  – an older lady from the ferry on a touring bike that was doing a shorter jaunt.

post soup  yumm
post soup yumm

Then further down to Blackwaterfoot – but by now there were squalls crossing the sea every 15min and bringing with them sleet,snow,driving rain and wind.

here comes another squall
here comes another squall

Luckily I made it to Blackwaterfoot just as one hit and took shelter in a bus station – no the chair wasn’t mine – just something a kind local had left in there. PRETTYDRYno3

waiting it out
waiting it out

Then with 11 miles to Brodick and time running out before the ferry I decided to cross the centre of the island up the String road. About 1/3rd of the way i was trying hard to stay ahead of the next squall and as i hit the most desolate section armageddon arrived. I kept going as the thin trees wouldn’t give any shelter. The descent was icy hands blurred vision and failing light.

Arrived in Brodick drenched brushing bits of ice off me.

Quick change – warmed up then got the ferry back to the mainland – and oh how the beer tasted good.

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On strava I seem to have some best sections for 2015 and that includes stopping – not because I was fast rather because the season has yet to start properly.

strava summary
strava summary

Froome getting back on form earlier than expected

From the great

Feb 21, 2015 – Chris Froome produced a stunning breakaway up a steep summit finish on the 199.8km fourth stage of the Ruta del Sol to take a two-second lead over Alberto Contador into Sunday’s final stage.

Contador had held a 27-second lead over the 2013 Tour de France winner after winning their first battle of the season on a mountain finish in Friday’s third stage. However, Froome had his revenge on the gruelling 4.4km climb to the finish line at Alto de las Allanadas to take the stage in 5hr 08min 54sec and grab the narrowest of advantages over his Spanish rival.

Contador was second with Froome’s Sky teammate Mikel Nieve back in third. Froome is now firm favourite to claim the overall win as the final 169.8km stage from Montilla to Alhaurin de la Torre is likely to be decided among the sprinters.

Your Dream Touring Bike

ABOUTCYLING have this great list on their site

I’ve completed an internet trawl to find some of the nicest, most aesthetically pleasing touring bikes getting about and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what’s coming up.

Somehow I’ve ended up with the majority of these bikes made in the USA, so either my taste is for North American builders, or perhaps North American builders are better exposed on the internet. I’m keen to get a more international splash of handmade bikes on this page, so please drop a comment with a bike that you think is just as worthy as these. It has to be pretty special, with nice paint and colour-matched parts – good driveside pictures are also essential.


Out of the 28 bikes on showcase, this is the characteristic breakdown:

  • Handlebars: Drop (20), Flat (8).
  • Brakes: Disc (14), Cantilever (10), Road (1), hydraulic rim (1), V-brake (2).
  • Mudguards: Metal (15), Plastic (6), None (6), Wooden (1).
  • Frame Material: Titanium (14), Steel (10), Stainless Steel (4).
  • Gears: Derailleur (17), Internally Geared Hub (9), Gearbox (2).
  • Shifters: STI (7), Barend (5), Gripshift (10), Downtube (2), Trigger (2), Stem (1), Retroshift (1).
  • Country of Origin: USA (19), Australia (3), Switzerland (3), The Netherlands (3).


This Swiss company works with titanium to make unique touring bikes for purposes from light touring to expedition. We couldn’t pick one to show you, so we settled for three. Many of their bikes use Rohloff 14s hubs, Pinion 18s gearboxes and Gates Carbon Drive. Integrated racks and seatposts, and matching stems finish the Hilite look.

Van Nicholas

This Dutch builder has specialised in titanium over the years, putting together some mighty fine looking touring bikes. The Pioneer Rohloff 29er is unique compared to most touring bikes, in that it can squeeze in wide 700c tyres. Van Nicholas come with all the top end touring gear, including Gates Carbon Drive and Rohloff 14s hubs. Matching stems, handlebars and seatposts complete the look.


Breadwinner of Portland (USA) are Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira. These two builders teamed up together “to get more beautiful bikes to more people who ride everyday”. Although I’m not a huge fan of the green, the matching stem and pump look superb, and make sure to check out the headtube badge in Breadwinner’s website – it’s a work of art. The only thing I don’t agree at all with is the use of Shimano Ultegra crankset and derailleurs, as they’re too modern-looking on such a classic bike. If it were mine, it’d be silver Campagnolo components instead.

Ti Cycles

Dave Levy of Ti Cycles has gone all out on this unique ride. In Dave’s Portland (USA) workshop, he has managed to create a titanium frame that looks nothing like the rest on the list, given the hyper extended top tube. The more impressive features include the custom ti racks with integrated mudguard struts, the u-lock holder and the Supernova dynamo light fittings. My only gripes are the use of yellow on the stem and the Shimano road crankset which seems a bit out of place here.

Horse Cycles

Light blue is pretty much my favourite colour, so it is no suprise that this stainless steel Horse by Thomas Callahan in New York (USA) makes the list. It seems a bit more randonneur than most on this list, but given it has custom front and rear racks we’ll consider it a tourer. The colour-matched ‘guards look incredible, as do the racks and fillet-brazed stem. My only gripe is that the crankset does not fit in… at all. A White Industries crankset in silver would make me much happier.


This stainless steel, fillet-brazed beauty is possibly the wackiest ride on this list, and is without doubt the most expensive. Somewhere between a work of art and a very capable tourer, it was built by Joseph Ahearne in Portland, taking six weeks to build, at 10-12 hours a day with no days off. The estimated value is $25,000 USD, which is presumedly made up in labour costs. Interesting features include the high polish finish which exposes immaculate fillet brazing, KVA stainless steel tubing which is much thicker than any other option, Ritchey breakaway parts, additional support tubing for the seatstay/toptube, custom steel racks with a built-in lock holder, a flask holder on the downtube, a super retro Shimano derailleur and a logo panel made of stainless which has been laser cut and left unpolished on the downtube. This Ahearne Flickr album is a must see to understand the level of detail and work that went into this amazing ride!

Chapman Cycles

Chapman cycles touring bike

This touring bike features stainless steel lugs, fenders and fork crown, which looks beautiful against the stealth finish. The fork has a built in dynamo connector, allowing the dynamo wire to run on the inside of the fork leg for a neat look. This wire powers both the lights and the USB plug found on the top of the stem. The Tubus rear rack has been stripped of it’s original paint, and chrome plated, matching the front rack perfectly. Even the saddle has a custom finish on it, the leather replaced and re-stitched to match the yellow cables. More photos on the Chapman website.



It’s my opinion that Firefly Bicycles of Boston (USA) make some of the nicest titanium and stainless steel bikes in the world. The upper bike is setup with Shimano electronic gearing which is normally only featured on road bikes, but has been fitted to work with MTB parts in this case. The lower two bikes have splits for Gates Carbon Drive which works seamlessly in combination with the Rohloff 14s hub – we certainly love our drivetrain. The Firefly lettering is sometimes buffed up to a glossy finish on the downtube and can be chemically coated with anything from gold to a rainbow effect. Other nice features include built-in rear racks, internal cabling, custom dynamo light mounts and stunning titanium stem and seatpost combos. James Medeiros and Tyler Evans of Firefly have nailed these modern touring bikes. More @ Firefly’s Flickr.


Alex Cook of A-Train Bicycles in Minneapolis (USA) has whipped together an incredibly simple and elegant tourer. The material of choice: stainless steel. This frame uses stainless S&S couplers which bring the packed bike size right down to about half the regular length. The A-train custom racks blend right in to this bike.


I was trying to pick one titanium Bilenky tandem, but just couldn’t do it. These two titanium bikes are probably the nicest touring tandems I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The top tandem, which a bit more of a randonneur, has enough purple to be crazy, but somehow still pulls off a very elegant look (in my humble opinion). The below tandem is long-distance touring ready with a Rohloff hub and some schmick looking racks. The frame is without doubt the most impressive part however, as the curvy, retro style is still very functional and even breaks into three parts so that you can easily get it into an plane. These incredible tandems are manufacturered by Stephen Bilenky and family in Philadelphia (USA).

Independent Fabrication

Indy Fab of Newmarket (USA) have been around longer than most, and as a result, have mastered the frame-building trade. The finish on an Indy Fab is generally 10/10 and these look to be no exception. I also have no doubts that both would be sturdy enough to complete round-the-world trips. Here’s hoping they get ridden regularly! Via Indy Fab.


Jordan Hufnagel has put together this georgeous classic tourer in bespoke bike central, Portland (USA). The paint-matched stem and racks are pure class and I especially love the wooden panels that are inserted into the racks. More images @ UrbanVelo.


Tony Pereira, based in Portland (USA), has built this 650b bike up nice and classic. The high top tube, downtube shifters and birch finish give this bike a timeless look. A colour-matched stem, pump and Tubus cargo rack finish the build very well. I can’t help but think the bike would look much better with some brown leather Brooks bartape to match the saddle.


Darren Baum of Geelong (Australia) is a household name around custom bike enthusiasts. His frames are world class and are always dressed with incredible paint jobs. These two bikes have been put together for two cyclists who completed a charity ride across three continents, documented on the website The Long Road Tour. Check out the Baum Flickr for more.


Pilot make their titanium bikes in the Netherlands; the finishing is top quality! On these bikes you’ll find Rohloff 14s hubs, Pinion 18s gearboxes and Gates Carbon Drivetrains. They’re certainly something to drool over.


This custom Clockwork randonneur was too good to keep off the list! Apart from the stunning looks, there are lots of nice design details to be found including a custom mount for downtube shifters located on the top tube. The matching painted rack and leather saddle complete the look.


Keith Marshall from Canberra (Australia) is inspired by Japanese metalwork, but really, the Japanese should probably be inspired by him! This stainless steel beauty is again a bit more on the randonneur side of things, but damn, look at it! It features S&S couplers to break the frame down nice and small, internal cable routing for the dynamo lights and beautiful Llewellyn lugs (these lugs are best in the business btw). More @ Kumo Cycles.


John from the Radavist takes photos of the nicest custom bikes in the world, but also has his fair share of sweet rides! I love the simplicity and colour of his Geekhouse, which is made by Marty Walsh and the team in Boston (USA). John has the colours and tones on this bike right down to the gold bidons – I love the custom racks too! The bike employs a double 50-32 crankset and an 11-36t cassette which gives ample low-end gearing for the type of riding John does. More @ The Radavist.

Vanilla Bikes

Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles in Portland (USA) had so many pre-ordered frames to build that he no longer takes orders! That’s 5+ years worth, so I hope you’re not lusting for one too badly. This Vanilla is more of a randonneur than a tourer, but given it’s impeccable finish it was too hard to keep it off my list. I particularly love the lugs and the colour matched guards/pump. The stem is a work of art too, check it out on the Vanilla website.


Rivendell are very well known for their touring bikes but this Hunqapillar takes the cake. The diagatube is the most obvious feature on this bike, designed to stiffen the bike up by increasing the triangulation. Wooden guards, a lugged frame construction, retro racks and the Rohloff 14s hub give this bike a distinctive look.

Building a Beautiful Touring Bike

Follow these tips and you can have your very own gorgeous tourer. Remember, it doesn’t have to be custom-made to look incredible!

1. Keep your colours to a minimum. Two colours are enough (not including your black and silver components), three starts to look messy but can be pulled off.

2. Balance your silvers and blacks. Bikes typically look better with a mix of black and silver components. It’s hard to completely avoid black as it’s often found at the lever hood or on the tyres at a minimum. I really like it when silver hubs, silver mudguards and a silver crankset are used with all black components.

3. Match the colour of your seat and bartape/grips. This is the easiest way to make any bike look extra nice.

4. Use metal mudguards. Polished or hammered metal guards are all class. Who cares if they weigh more?

5. Paint your mudguards the same colour as your frame. Colour-matched guards are all class.

6. Paint your stem and racks the same colour as your frame. You’ll notice a number of the bikes featured in this article feature colour matched parts.

7. Use classic-styled cranks on classic-styled builds. There is nothing worse than a modern road crankset on a classic build (see the Horse above). White Industries, Middleburn and Campagnolo make some nice classic cranks.

allaboutcycling – 15 reasons to tour with a Rohloff

exactly How I feel …. well my tourer is normal but my MTB is a Rohloff 


The Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 is the epitome of German engineering. Just look at it!

The Rohloff features 14 gears that are equally spaced over a wide spread of ratios, confined within a sealed bearing hub and weigh a similar amount to a typical mountain bike derailleur system. A singlespeed drivetrain smoothly operates the hub, resulting in hassle free funtimes. Shifting is done via a twist shifter which requires effortless force forwards or backwards to shift to easier and harder gears respectively. Being an internally geared hub, the chain does not have to move between sprockets, which improves shifting reliability and allows shifts to be made without pedalling.

CyclingAbout are pretty much in love with our Rohloffs. They are great when the riding conditions are good and even better when they are not.

If you use a drop handlebar, there are still heaps of options for you available at 12 ways to run Rohloff shifters with road drop handlebars.

Here are 15 reasons why you should also tour with Rohloff:

  1. Rohloffs gears are inside the hub shell
  2. Rohloffs are sturdy
  3. Rohloffs have a wide gear range
  4. Rohloffs are virtually maintenance free
  5. Rohloff drivetrains require minimal cleaning
  6. Rohloffs allow you to shift gears without pedalling
  7. Rohloffs allow you to drop many gears at once
  8. Rohloffs have equally spaced gear ratios
  9. Rohloffs instantly change gears
  10. Rohloffs allow for a straight chain line
  11. Rohloffs are a zero-dish wheel build
  12. Rohloffs are just as efficient as derailleur drivetrains
  13. Rohloff hubs have less dependance on a shifter than derailleur drivetrains
  14. Rohloffs build with shorter spokes
  15. Rohloffs are belt drive compatible

1. Rohloffs gears are inside the hub shell
Do you want your gears hiding, protected in the safe confines of an aluminium hub shell? For touring, of course you do! The Rohloff hub is a sealed unit of cogs which work under a small volume of oil. Being sealed, it is resilient against (to an extent) mud, grit, dust, snow and sand. This means that you will have your gears operating much longer than you would with derailleurs! When the derailleur and cogs get full of grit, conventional derailleur systems have the problem of ‘chain sucking’, often causing bikes to become unridable as the drivetrain becomes seized. With a Rohloff hub, you will not suffer this fate again and will not even be subject to chains falling off cogs or the frustration of slipping gears!

2. Rohloffs are sturdy
A key advantage of running a Rohloff is that there are less parts susceptible to damage. You do not have an exposed derailleur, a delicate derailleur hanger, a brittle cassette or shifters that can fail. Instead these things are inside your hub (except the shifter – more details on that down the post)!

3. Rohloffs have a wide gear range
The 526% gear range provides plenty of gears to get up and over all kinds of terrain. It is not quite as wide as what you can achieve with a conventional drivetrain, so you may miss some of the larger gears. On a touring bike, I recommend setting the external ratio on your chainring and cog to as low as Rohloff recommend. That means that your chainring should be around 2.35x bigger than your rear cog (eg. 40/17). This ratio is roughly the same as 22-34 on a conventional drivetrain! Any lower and you’re better off walking…

4. Rohloffs are virtually maintenance free
Rohloff hubs should get you through a minimum of 100,000km riding and some people have been known to do far more. The only maintenance that you should be doing is an oil change every 5000km. If something more serious does happen to your hub, you will unfortunately have to send it to Germany for a service which is, from what I’ve heard, fortunately often free.

5. Rohloff drivetrains require minimal cleaning
You do not need to get your brushes out! If you’ve ever spent time cleaning conventional drivetrains (or even if you haven’t) trust us, it really is a pain. Getting the brushes between cassette teeth, derailleur pulleys and chainrings is time consuming and annoying. Avoid all this nuisance by using the singlespeed drivetrain of a Rohloff!

6. Rohloffs allow you to shift gears without pedaling
The Rohloff hub allows you to change gears, and be ready to ride without pedaling. This means you are able to choose your gear before you take off at the traffic lights, or select a gear before you pedal on a climb. Very handy on a loaded touring bike!

7. Rohloffs allow you to drop many gears at once
You are able to drop a whole heap of gears in one go. The only limitation is the amount of movement you have in your wrist! I can comfortably change seven gears at once, and trust me, I’ve had to before! Think sand…

8. Rohloffs have equally spaced gear ratios
There is a constant 13.6% ratio change between every gear in the Rohloff hub. This makes changing gears predictable; much like changing gears along a conventional rear cassette. Most other internally geared hubs offer inconsistent ratio changes, which doesn’t make a lot of sense in my mind.

9. Rohloffs instantly change gears
As soon as you change the gear at the Rohloff shifter, the hub is instantly in the targeted gear. There’s no dilly-dallying around here – it’s wonderfully predictable compared with waiting that split-second for a derailleur to change your gear.

10. Rohloffs allow for a straight chain line
Rohloff hubs allow you to run your drivetrain as a singlespeed. The chain line of a singlespeed is perfectly straight.  The chain hence doesn’t have to jump around to different cogs and this ultimately results in less chain wear. Less chain wear leads to noticeably longer chain life and a lessened chance of broken chains. Other advantages of a singlespeed drivetrain are that there is no chain slap on the frame on rough roads and trails, and no chance of your chain dropping off your chainrings. Basically, all the benefits of singlespeed life, but with 14 gears!


11. Rohloffs are a zero-dish wheel build
Rohloff hub flanges are the same height and are spaced equally from the frame on both sides. This means that you’ll be running the same tension on every spoke, resulting in a stronger wheel!

12. Rohloffs are just as efficient as derailleur drivetrains
According to Rohloff data, Rohloff hubs are just as efficient at transferring the power that you put into the pedals and through to the wheel as a conventional drivetrain, and when riding in the mud, they are even more efficient! From my riding experience on a Rohloff, this information feels correct. Hubs such as the Shimano Alfine really suffer here.

13. Rohloff hubs have less dependance on a shifter than derailleur drivetrains
Rohloff use a dual cable system which means that one cable is always pulling the hub into its next gear. Unlike a conventional shifter, there is no reliance on springs inside shifters for making gear changes. As a result, the rohloff shifter has no moving parts which eliminates one element of potential equipment failure: the shifter! Furthermore, as gear indexing occurs in the hub, no cable adjustment is required between the hub and shifter.

14. Rohloffs build with shorter spokes
Rohloff hubs use a bigger hub shell than conventional wheels, and as a result Rohloff-built wheels use shorter spokes than normal. The shorter the spoke, the stronger the wheel! Perfect for touring, as most weight you’re carrying is sitting over the rear wheel.

15. Rohloffs are belt drive compatible
As Rohloff hubs use a singlespeed drivetrain, carbon belt systems are possible! Belts are pretty amazing, we love our Centertrack kit – read all about them at Carbon Belt Drive: Everything you ever need to know.

Quick and easy tubeless set up for a fat bike

Need to go fat tubeless – here is how it is done

Fatbike Brigade

An article by Bullet.

I’ve been wanting to convert the Farley to tubeless for a long time now but wasn’t confident that the process was going to be as easy and reliable as I wanted. I like to over complicate things and feel like a simple solution is generally the best. As it turns out the process was very easy, relatively inexpensive, and the results have been exceptional. Here is how I did it.
Your parts list is simply; a roll of Gorilla Tape ($14.99), a set of Stan’s tubeless valve stems ($12.99), and a 16 ounce bottle of Stan’s sealant ($14.99). You may need a set of tire levers, and an air compressor is pretty important for airing up your tires quickly. I’m not sure you can do this without one.

Step 1 – Remove your tube and tire. If you’re using a standard rim strip make sure it…

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A sub 5 kilo ‘normal’ road bike – well for nearly stupid money

Amazing how the weight limit is dropping – will be interesting to see what UCI does for weight limits.

London Bike show (

This Rose X-Lite Team-8800 custom-made bike weighs in at a claimed 4.95kg. It would cost £4,768 in this build.

The frameset is sub 1,200g, according to Rose, and it is built up with a SRAM Red groupset, Ritchey bars, stem and seatpost, and a Selle Italia SLS Kit Carbonio Monolink saddle.

In its standard version it comes with Mavic R-Sys SLR wheels. However, if you want the super-light configuration shown here, you have to pay a surcharge for the AX-Lightness wheels.

Screenshot 2015-02-16 17.26.06

I want to ride this

put this full screen and on HD

Super lovely video to start the week with – a quartet of riders from Italy tackling one of the most scenic and challenging climbs in the Alps, the Col de Tende – complete with gravelled roads and 48 switchbacks on the descent – on De Rosa bikes.

Starting from the town of Cuneo in southwest Piedmont – if you know Turin, the architecture will be familiar – the riders head up towards the 1,870-metre summit of the pass, which lies on the other side of the border with France, ahead of that spectacular descent.

It’s reputed to be one of the most ancient roads in Europe, laid down by the Phoenicians and later used by the Greeks who had colonised Marseille and, after them, the Romans.

The video is produced by CicliCorsa with the help of De Rosa and clothing firm De Marchi, helping explain why there’s an almost fashion shoot character to some of it.

The riders belong to Cani Sciolti [literally, Maverick Dogs] Valtellina, in northeast Lombardy  – you’ll find many more great videos and more on their website.

Sunday Ride – Meetup Group Glasgow

A large group of us set out – I was joining for the first group ride in months as had new wheels and new Ultregra groupset fitted and wanted to give them an airing … but the ride was a bit chaotic – no cohesion no working together and we seemed to stop every 5km to regroup ….

2015-02-15 17.12.10

But still a fun burn to an area SE of the city that i have never ridden through before. Stopping for soup at a local cafe too – and the weather was pleasant at 6 degrees.

2015-02-15 17.12.06

Chaos obvious to everyone