Trek Allant 2010 17.5"/44.5cm BARELY USED, MUST GO TODAY, $100 OBO (Cambridge): the posting had no photo but just a link to the manufacturer's website. i fell instantly in love when i saw what it looked like. with a MSRP of $640, this was a steal for a barely used 2 year old bike. unfortunately the ad was placed around 10:30 and it was already 12:30. no way would this bike still be available. nevertheless, i gave it a shot and wrote to the seller.

it caught me by surprise when my phone rang 20 minutes later. brian (the seller) told me the bike was still available if i wanted it. he gave me his address in central square (lee street). i biked down there, first making a stop at the bank to withdraw some cash. the address was a little confusing but fortunately brian was outside and flagged me down.

brian used to work at harmonix but quit his job so he could move to berkeley with his girlfriend; they leave tomorrow, hence the urgency to sell the bike. he tried to pack it but it wouldn't fit. apparently i wasn't the first person to respond to his posting, as there were many others. brian sold it to me though because 1) i was local (cambridge), and 2) i said i could come right away.

the bike itself was in like new condition. according to the website, the 17.5" frame has a standover height of 29", which is a smidgen tall for me, but because the top tube is sloped, there's still ample clearance, more than what i have on my trek 800. i even took the allant on a test ride (brian insisted) up and down the street but i was already sold. i gladly paid the $100 and even got an owner's manual and sales receipt (brian paid $490 from somerville wheel works) along with a trek CD.

my original plan was to temporarily lock the allant to a signpost, ride my trek home, then walk back to retrieve the new bike. but i just couldn't resist the allant, so i rode that bike home instead, and walked back to retrieve my old trek (no danger of theft whatsoever). the seat was a little tall and i didn't have any tools to adjust it but i rode strategically, stopping so i could put my foot on the curbstone. it was a great ride, none of the rattling or feeling of pulling some tremendous weight on my trek 800. even rolling over uneven roads didn't seem to hurt as much on these 700x32c wheels.

it was a 25 minute walk back to lee street, but i didn't mind, it gave me a chance to enjoy the local scenery. the new plan was to retrieve my old bike and then go to market basket on my way back. went i got back to lee street, i noticed brian had thrown out a few boxed items onto the side of the road, things he couldn't or didn't have time to sell. when i went to investigate, a man driving a minivan had already pulled up and beat me to the loot; fortunately he didn't take anything except for a plastic mug. there was a boxed space heater next to a large box containing a honeywell air purifier. just so happens i needed one of these! i put the box onto the back of my rear racks, along with an unopened box of prefilter. bonus prize! i would've taken the space heater as well but there was just no more room on my bike.

i wasn't prepared to move such a large cargo so i didn't bring any bungie cords. i wheeled my bike for about a block (one hand on the handlebar, one hand on the box) before i rigged a securing device using a small length of bungie (already on the bike) and the length of my rubberized security cable - together they were long enough for me to strap the box and ride home carefully.

sweaty from all that moving, i took a quick shower before going out again, finally to the supermarket. as memorial day is this weekend, i gathered the necessary ingredients for making my time-honored barbecued blue cheese burgers. market basket wasn't as crowded as i'd feared; probably most people are going to wait until this weekend to do their barbecue shopping.

i had a friendly chat with a senior who came to the supermarket on his scooter (parked by the bike stand). i asked him if he took his rider's test on a motorcycle or a scooter; he told me he got his motorcycle license 30-40 years ago, so it was definitely on a motorcycle. he was riding a honda scooter i'd never seen before, a 150cc SH150i. he'd been a lifelong biker, and although he'd never get back on a motorcycle, in his hay days he rode a 900cc BMW. before i left he turned on his scooter to let me hear the purr of his engine.

wanting to show off my new ride, i took the allant to the cafe. my mother was incredulous that i bought yet another bicycle (so many i've lost count at this point) until she saw the bike and realized what a bargain it was. my father took it on a short test ride, said his favorite part was the ergonomic hand grips (they sell them separately, he can get them for his schwinn 7-speed).

i got a chance to look up the air purifier i picked up: honeywell 18155 silentcomfort™ permanent true HEPA air purifier. it sells on amazon.com for about $133 (list price $200) with an average of 4 stars out of 234 reviews, so not bad. if i were to buy it used, maybe it'd sell for $30-40. this way, i can look at it like i only paid $60 for the bike, and another $40 for the air purifier!

i left the cafe with some braided raisin bread my parents had made.

(i left too early to score any meat buns however.)

now that i have this trek allant, i can't imagine ever wanting to ride my other 2 road bikes, the fuji and the ross. besides having stem shifters - which are a hassle to operate so i end up just riding in one speed - those bikes are also heavy and rickety because of all the old parts. the ross i'd still ride because it had the folding baskets and the drop down handlebars, and the fuji if i want to take a road bike but don't need to worry about it getting stolen. i don't think the allant will replace my trek 800, which is still my best bike for getting groceries. even if i had another set of large rear baskets, i don't know if i'd put them on the allant (seems wasteful making a light bike heavier). the thing that impressed me the most is how light that bike is with its aluminum frame. not as light as the GMC denali, but definitely lighter than all my other bikes.

this morning i began the tedious task of drying then laying out my beef jerky strips. i ended up dumping the jerky plus marinade into a medium pyrex to make it easier to work with (pulling strips from the ziploc bag has a higher tendency of splattering). i began around 9:00 and finished about 30 minutes later with a stack of raw jerky approximately 10 layers deep. that was only step 1. step 2 involved laying out the strips onto the filters. i ended up with 3 layers of jerky filled to capacity. each layer took about 15 minutes to assemble. i finally finished around 10:30, put the filters onto the box fan for dehydration.

if i'm serious about jerky, maybe i ought to consider buying an actual dehydrator instead of going with the whole DIY approach. i used to remember seeing those round stackable dehydrators, but i prefer a square tray for better jerky arranging. the one that i have my eye on is the nesco FD-80 square-shaped dehydrator that sells for $60. it comes with 4 trays that can be expanded to a maximum of 8. the trays measure 14-1/2" x 14-1/2", smaller than my 20x20" filters; but the filters actually run slightly shorter, and factoring in the cardboard margins, the actual dehydrator surface is 18x18" (still larger than the nesco). the dehydrator has a top-mounted fan that circulates the air within, plus the ability to generate 700 watts of heating; that addresses my one main concern, which is the dehydrator might be too much of an electricity suck. with my current DIY setup, a box fan running at maximum speed only uses 107 watts of power. true, the fan might have to run longer (usually 12 hours) and then i bake the jerky for another hour in the oven (at 180°F), but i think that still uses less power than the dehydrator.

with the trek allant at home, i finally had the chance to take a more detailed look at all the different components:

my cherry barb seems fine now. it still swims a little funny, but the fact that it's lived 8+ years means it has amazing durability. maybe it could live a few more years!

i stopped the fan 12 hours later at 10:30PM. throughout the day i rotated the filters a few times, moving the topmost rack to the bottom to get more blowing time. into the oven they went, loaded onto 2 wire racks sitting on bake sheets. i then cooked them for another hour at 180°F. the final result was 3 jars of beef jerky and change. they tasted just as good as the ones i made before, a complexity of flavors (salty, spicy, sweet, smoky, chewy). these have more fat on them than usual, but if they're eaten quickly enough it won't be a problem (only when they're in storage for a long time do the fat parts go rancid).

in the late evening i finally remembered that i had an air purifier to try out. for something called the "silentcomfort™" it's actually kind of loud on the high setting, like the sound you hear riding on an airplane. only on the medium or low settings does it live up to its namesake. for something so big i was curious to see how much electricity it used. measured with my voltage meter, it was 86 watts on high, 57 watts on medium, and 41 watts on low. although i couldn't see it working (maybe better visibility during the daytime), i could feel it working because it's constantly sucking in air which creates a gentle breeze, almost like a floor level air conditioner. the 18155 cleans a space that's 197 square feet, perfect for my living room. having turned it on for a few hours, i can't tell if the air is somehow better. i'd just be happy if it made the house a little less dusty.

i know the fall-spring television spring is officially over, but did anyone watch person of interest (CBS thursday 9:00)? it touts some fine pedigree, with a pilot screenplay by jj abrams and jonathan nolan. i caught the first episode and thought it was pretty good (at least interesting enough for me to want to come back) but i read a scathing review (not sure where, entertainment weekly?) that skewered the show, so i wasn't sure if the show was actually any good. now turns out it was a hit for CBS, and a rare crime drama that isn't a procedural. intriguing plot aside, audiences should also watch the show for one more thing: an amazing cast of the most beautiful brunettes on television. take a look at this line-up (some for a single episode, others recurring characters): paige turco, annie parisse, dagmara dominczyk, and amy acker.

some more random bike detail photos: