So Madison is was a lot of fun. We went into town on Tuesday and bummed around State Street and the capital blocks for a while. I have to say, Madison is a town to bike around, not to drive. I got so turned around looking for a spot to park that wasn't 1 hour metered it was nuts. Had the weather not been so crummy it would not have been a big thing to walk a ways, but it pretty much sucked. 30's and rain really wears on you after a while. Most of the downtown places were pretty protected, so it wasn't bad once we got parked and down there.
The Yellow Jersey is always a fun spot to check into, and it did not disappoint this time around. There are display cases after display cases full of both vintage and modern goodies to check out. There were bikes a plenty to ogle as well. There was a gorgeous Panasonic touring bike, a lugged Waterford with the new Super Record 11spd, and a few tandems that had my tongue on the floor. The thing with having so many goodies around though, is that the prices are pretty steep on the harder to find items. Not saying that is a bad thing, but it certainly put a few things out of my price range. I did indeed find the exact crank I was looking for. It was a period correct Record in 172.5 with 9/16th's pedals and a 42-52 chain ring set. It would have looked and worked well on the Bianchi, but the price of $550 with rings was a bit much! At this point I'll just find a nice used modern crank and throw it on there. It won't quite match, but I really don't care that much. It'll work just as well if not better, and it'll certainly be less expensive.
So that ended the Yellow Jersey experience for the year. It is fun, and is the quintessential weird intercity shop. On the way out of town Meg and I stopped at quite possibly my favorite bike shop, Machinery Row. It is, in my mind, what a large shop should always be. Walking into the turn of the century building right on the bike path 'round Lake Monona, it is floor to ceiling of really nice bikes, sensible commuters, some eye candy, (including a $38000 Litespeed triplet tandem!) and accessories displayed in creative fashion all over the store. The building is awesome, the set up is awesome, the sales staff are great, it's just the whole package. We got some really good ideas to bring back to the shop, and some good inspiration for color choices and ideas to improve on. It was really good for Meg to see the shop, to give her an idea of where I'd like some things to go, and to spark her thinking about some ideas as well.
For most of my time in Faribault, Meg has been largely out of the daily running of the shop. This process of renovation has brought her into the shop a lot more, and I hope to make her ideas integral to the plan overall. It's been hugely advantageous to have her thoughts and eve on the project, and it's a blast working with her on it.
The weather for our last day in the Dells brought us a dose of warm sunny weather again. We're going to try and get out on some of the golf course trails, which have largely been cleared of snow from the rain and sun over the last two days. We have a few things to get done later today before cleaning and packing up for the ride home tomorrow.