Following up on yesterday's entry, which touched on getting out and seeing the city (with a little grub in there somewhere), this morning I walked the dogs over to Old Soul, the coffee shop, roaster, and bakery in the alley between L and Capitol (between 17th and 18th). Alleys in Sacramento are often an afterthought, if not an eyesore, but this alley is something to behold, including Old Soul, a new development idea of three adjoined homes facing the alley called the Stitch project, and next to Old Soul, a business called Edible Pedal. Making alleys more inviting for residences and businesses alike is a new and exciting opportunity.
My little outing for coffee allowed me to absorb more of what is cool and right about our city. As I often say, a big part of city living is traveling on foot or by bike, where you encounter people and things at a slower pace and in a different way. When you walk, you run into others who walk, and you eventually notice that people tend to be friendlier on foot than those you may encounter in cars on four-lane suburban roads. When's the last time a pedestrian called a fellow pedestrian an "idiot" or gave someone the middle finger for some minor slight or misstep (this does not include Tea Party rallies or 49ers/Raiders parking lot encounters)? So, I love getting out and walking, finding ways to fold some errands into my day without making it seem like a chore.
Walking around Sacramento helps you see its potential and what is already great. Yes, there are flaws, including the fact that motorists almost never stop at crosswalks when I'm standing in one.
First stop Friday morning was for a cappuccino, which I ordered as the dogs hung out in the alley. As I waited, I noticed several framed photos of bicycles on the wall. Old Soul tends to rotate the art monthly, giving photographers and artists a chance to display and sell their work. Right now, the photos on display are from the bicycle website Eco Velo, which is produced locally but has a large national (and international) following.
I then took the cappuccino next door to Edible Pedal and sat on the sofa as the dogs settled down on the cool concrete floor. The shop is loaded with bikes, accessories and bike-related gear such as bags, clothing, even jewelry made of bike stuff -- I bought a yellow bracelet (for $15) that is made of bike chain links. It's very cool.
Edible Pedal is also very cool and it's always worth stopping in to see what bikes are for sale and what new bike-related events are upcoming. For instance, Edible Pedal has been leading rides to area farms and has begun co-sponsoring an overnight ride up the bike trail to Folsom (the last ride featured a camp cooking lesson by Chef Rick Mahan, a cycling advocate who owns Waterboy and OneSpeed). Edible Pedal started as a business owned by John Boyer, a longtime waiter who wanted to show folks that the bicycle could be used as a work vehicle. His company uses bikes to make food deliveries at select restaurants. It has evolved to become a bike shop and, down the road it is poised to offer bike touring opportunities. To find out more, click here.
For me, this was a low-key Friday morning and yet another opportunity to share what's right about our city when you explore it on foot.
So, the next time folks who live outside the grid come to midtown or downtown to visit a restaurant, don't fret about the parking. Instead, look at as an opportunity to explore. Find the restaurant you want, then decide to park six blocks away. That will take away the pressure of hunting for a space, and it will give you a chance to see the city in a different way. You'll probably encounter others out there walking, and I bet most of them will be pretty pleasant.