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Saturday, March 31, 2007

I was afraid I might be a vegisexual treehugging technoweenie boy and that the site would hurt me... but there's no acknowledgement of the female gender at all :) However, I only got as far as the second paragraph on the front page, which siad, get out and ride, so I am. I'll look deeper if I need bed rest...

There's breathtaking beauty in the well-formed body,
stretching itself and moving in grace.
I follow behind, joyous breathless clamber
With help from the draft, I'm keeping the pace.

There's beauty as breathtaking, looking around
At the very imperfect, the lame and unsound
Takes as much if not more of harmonious focus
To braid fragments together... we would do well to notice :)

I should catch up to my car today or tomorrow... time to get back out and go into the wind...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We had a delicious ride tonight, the kind you can only have with people you've ridden a lot with and have a genuine compatibility with. I led us out of town and over the Kirby overpass, but whne the light turned yellow, I was the one who stopped... and after that I got to be pulled and just sit back and enjoy the view. Okay, whilst pedaling my bazoongas off.
We'd cruised to teh "if we go the extra mile we're going to have to ride faster" point and went the extra mile, then turned into the 10mph wind, just enough to get me to that "ya know, even drafting, I'm not sure I can keep this up."
And ten seconds later, that sweet anticipation because I remember what happens when I think that. That's exactly the pace that I *can* keep up and it feel soooo good. Okay, every time the pace slowed down a hair I just slowed down - none of this "I'll take a turn" silliness. Hey, nobody else did, either.
We paused for a breather about 2/3 of the distance... and I started out in the lead but then this one-legged rider goes haulin' past me. Switches legs and he's still a-cruisin' :) I called out he needed to tie one hand behind his back, too, and he said "then how will I switch into a higher gear???"
Spring is here :)
Then we got back into town and I got to lead 'cause it was getting dark and my lights the brightest.
there was something about it that reminded me of realizing at Christmas, doing music, that I follow so fast people think I'm leading... and that sometimes leads to confusion. Today it was nice to ... I don't know, it was sort of a blend of following fast and leading slowly and somehow pretty much being in the right place.

Then there was the commute home and another one of those "that was boring, but probably becasue I have good ears and experience." I'm on the Trek with "just" headlight and rear christmas lights & blinkie... no spoke lights. Twice I inferred from the way cars stopped that they dind't perceive me, and I slowed accordingly, and twice they started forward, slowed a bit (when they saw me?), then went on anyway 'cause we weren't *that* close. Almost non-events... but I think this is exactly the kind of often mis-called "reflexes" that people develop driving, forget they developed, and then feel scared during that transition period on a bicycle.

Monday, March 26, 2007

... blogging may be a teensy bit difficult in the immediate future as the laptop is very sick and going to hospital. (I do *not* want to deal with Vista.)
Gas 2.41 or 2.58 depending on which corner. Spring break is over- lots and lots of students and bicycles out there.
Blue bike helped me set personal flat-fixing record of four in a week... and two mroe that others helped with, and I think I'm forgetting one or two. Three known dings with little shnerkles that were *very* hard to find. Three dings and you're out... got a hard-case tyre today. We'll see how easy it is to mount... but I've gotten pretty danged good at this flat fixing schtick. Not quite Indy pit crew...
Animal control picked up my "dangerous dog" statement today. They get the final decision which is OK by me. (I have no reason to think the system's broken, though this *is* Illinois... and no resources to fix it if it is.) Bruises have gotten to that pale blue-grey color and the rest is dryin' up like it oughta.
Polished up "blending bicycling into your life" presentation for "professional development" at the college. If I have time I"ll make an HTML version.
Weather channel said a survey said >80% of people felt changinge their behavior could make a difference in climate change. Climb aboard, good people!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

So! Serious cell phone tag - we were both actively trying to call each other at the same time, and getting voicemail - and I'm connected with Faith from animal control. There are five dogs out there with that same "black with some white and brown" description. Three, though, were lab mixes and this critter just didn't strike me as anything like a lab. Fourth was shepherd... this one just seemed hairier. Fifth is a Rottweiler mix - definitely b est fit and Faith seemed reasonably confident that was the one. Once she said "Rott" I thought "yea... forgot about that kind."
She said she hadn't thought of it as dangerous, but that maybe it had a problem with bicyclists and that was a problem. Analyzing the facts I figured that even if it weren't dangerous to her, I have to file a dangerous dog complaint. Yes, it's a pain for the owners... but the fact is that I *should* be limping still, and people do ride bikes out there.
She was also aware that I'd emailed tbe bike club (small town :)) and asked that I be sure to update them (done). Yes, it took some time - but yes, they took action (and never gave me the third degree).
Rode out to Philo today between flats. Hmmm... flat the day after that harder-than-shoulda-been ride last Saturday, fixed to ride it Friday, flat this morning and flat again on the ride back. *Think* it was a pinch along the sidewall for the most recent one. (Yes, inspected the tire, which isn't that old.) Also managed to knot up the chain (when I flipped the bike upright to release the brakes) so that it took the *guys* five minutes and wheel remove it to get it right ;)
Good news: I'm almost fast with fixing those things. Gotta slow down enough to not leave out the steps, though...

thunderboomers right now - maybe metric, mebbe not. Might just stick to Gazelle... she's been more dependable...

Friday, March 23, 2007

This just in :)
Camargo United Methodist Church Parsonage
106 S Mill St
Camargo, IL 61919

According to a reliable source, Saturday, April 28th, there will be a BLESSING OF THE BIKES at Camargo United Methodist Church at 11:00 am.

A completely unresearched route is at URL for this route is: - it's 24 miles from Meadowbrook Park... a great little day trip... (hmmm... something tells me my Saunterers won't *quite* be ready for that, tho'.)

Day of good drivers. went out for a "test the new bike" ride and did laps around campus; on the way drivers were overtly intelligent. What gives? (Oh... spring break - lower student ratio??) Little stuff like letting me know that even though they'd started moving through the intersection, they'd seen me so that slowing down was real...
Now it's rainging; 200 mileweek might not happen. Only one solution: try for next week!

Google overseas is giving employees bicycles. Don't know about this side of the pond.,,2039988,00.html#article_continue

Sounds like a nifty trend idea...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nice commute in on Gazelle, tho' could have taken the trek since the rain stopped for me. Burning question: how to turn a Powerpoint into something I can do without a computer? Hmmm... remember those three-panel Science Fair stand-up displays? (Cardboard in my day, now some hi-tech weird stuff which by all rights should be made from recycled bicycle tyres.) I'll find a way to do an online version, too - stretch out my Flash skills :) :)

Support the bicycle commuter act:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


OKay, called non-emergency number for county sheriff, who took my name and address ("where are you now?") and ascertained that it happened yesterday and wanted an exact address ("I wasn't inclined to go back and look, it's the only house there"). I told him I"d called animal control but they hadn't gotten back to me, but that I was concerned becazuse it was a very aggressive dog. The phone rang in the background and he said he would see what he could do for me, okay?
... and two minutes later I got a call from somebody who does stuff (who'd read the report) and took more details and said all the right things (as in, "we will do a quarantine and check hte vaccination records and let you know.") And to call her (giving her name) if I hadn't been called by the next time she was on duty (giving that time). So thanks, Person Who Does Stuff. Hope it works out.

SLightly tangential, but Harry Potter has gone a tad green ... will be printed on varying degrees of recycled paper. To wit:,77461.shtml#

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Dog Bite

Dogblog: 2300 & 1600, he bites

That would be Champaign County, corner of 1600 (which is HighCross closer in) and 2300 (which is ??)
About to call animal control (but wanted to be able to refer to this)... dog came out and chased our group for a good half mile; kids were playing with four-wheel drives in their yard so no doubt it was feeling protective. (Kids were in their own world.) Did not take me down. Might have had I not had thick sweatsw and thick tights. We stopped about half a mile down (fully visible; nobody came out to check except the dog who came down to confront us again, but wasn't quite confident enough to take on six of us.) Stupid humans.

(Oh... found it...
First Day of Spring (Garnet Rogers)
... this and "ease into it" are just too delicious for words from his "SHining Thing" album...

The crocus raises up a fragile head
In The snow beneath the trees
Winter was so hard this year
You swore it would never leave
Now the rain soaks in the garden
Sweet scent upon the breeze
Open up your window and breathe it in

It's funny how it happens
It's a mystery to me
Passed you by so many times
You think it's not to be
But then love is standing there beside you
If you had the eyes to see
Open up your heart
And let her in

She's the one whose touch will heal you
She's the one who;ll guard your heart
She's the only one who got the joke
She got you right from the start

She's the one who loves you for yourself
Complete within your skin
Open up your heart
And let her in

While all the trees across the meadow
Bow their heads against the storm
Clouds are racing gray and low
The rain is sweett and warm
This first day of spring is fading fast
By the bed the light is dim

Open up your arms
And let her in

This first day of spring is fading fast
By the bed the light is dim

Open up your arms
And take her in

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Did I say 200 miles? Maybe :) I might have to ride a whole lot Friday. Fortunately there's no work then. SUnday I was still pooped from that 37 miles on Saturday; my rear tire was totally flat yesterday (when I was going to take it to Pete's 'cause he hasn't used his pump since he bought it so it should still work on a PResta valve, unlike mine!) so I was probably working *very* hard. I hope :)
Going to do "blending bicycling into your life" again at Parkland - and realize that there are serious updates since last year - the bike co-op is a hoppenin' thing, the maps are in progress, and I can even mention that there's roadside assistance for bicyclists... and the MAIN thing is last year I didn't actually *have* the blender. This time I can advertise smoothies :)
It'll be interesting to see if little things like inconvenient truths and global warming publicities influence people, too, tho' who's to know how I will know. And then there's the familiarity factor: do more people know who I am now that I'm in Grand Central Center for Academic SUccess?
Time to hop aboard the Gazelle. Looks like I"ll get in at least 22 miles today... 66 so far... tomorrow taking off work to RIDE so it should be worth another 30. Okay, Metric by noon on Friday. Ya you betcha :) (Hit 1000 miles for the year yesterday... but the car has 1341 or some such thing...)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Have every intention of riding 200 miles this seven days to Get Cycling Season Started. Today's 37 were hard work, I dearly hope because I despaired of getting the tires fully inflated. The Presta valve part of my Joe Blow floor pump just wasn't Presta-ing *at all.* The Road Morph did a good job of getting things up pretty far but I got tired of fighting and decided to ride. I replaced the missing piece ... so it was a major bunbite when the danged thing still wasn't cooperating. Might just have to replace it and that shouldn't be; it's only a couple of years old. (However, I don't know why the screwy piece disappeared; could have been toddler abuse at the family gathering and other things could have been tugged and squeezed nad undone. Topeak products usually do better.)
The Sat. a.m. Meadowbrook was coming in as I was going out - at least 10 of 'em. Go guys!!! I did a coupla laps of my favorite five mile loop and managed to hold a 15-16 mph avg. Mile 23 ... stomach started growling and energy started fading. Felt good to push that hard, though :)

Monday, March 12, 2007

From today's New York Times (emphasis added):

"CHARLESTON became a new city in 2005. Once choked off from its northern suburbs by a pair of dangerously obsolete trussed spans, residents can now zip over the Cooper River along the new Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge — a 3.5-mile-long, eight-lane wonder. More than a traffic shortcut, the Ravenel Bridge has fundamentally altered Charleston's psychology. Nowhere is this more true than on the bridge's wide bike-and-pedestrian lane. Suburban moms from Mount Pleasant rub elbows with families from gritty downtown Charleston. And Lycra-wearing cyclists whiz past iPod-clutching joggers from the bustling Citadel and College of Charleston. It's a perfect symbol for Charleston, straddling the Old and New South."

Sigh... why am I pretty sure that the press and almost all readers will think the mix is charming... tho' frankly, when we're talking about a bridge, I think it's a better alternative than shrinking the road down for the overpass and wishing peds and cyclists didn't exist. I just wouldn't *whiz* on such things (or off such things, but that's a different story...) ... tho' of course, what the reporter calls whizzing (8 mph?) and what I'd call whizzing (18-28 mph :0) are prob'ly two different things... and I cringe at the thought of the ipod-immersed... I'm not even a mom...

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Friday, March 09, 2007

Paper or plastic?

Bring your own, dear hearts :)

and... not just bags!!! You know you have 317 mugs rolling around the crevasses and corners of yer dwelling. Disposable cups are most of the cost of beverages you buy anyway - be the one to start the trend!

For your bicycle:

According to, "You can Replace Cup with Cateye HL-500II in for After Dark Riding."

And, of course, the cup could be used for tea for those of us with delicate sensibilities. (Canadian)

and stolen from teh comments:
Dennis at Battle Lake sells a great grocery tote for $14

From Grist:

"So the short answer to your which-is-the-lesser-of-two-evils question is that there is no clear lesser, and neither is exactly evil. Picture this scenario: You're driving down the street and your eye is caught by a plastic bag snared in a tree. "Gross!" you think, "Some jerk has been littering again! Those plastic bags are a wasteful, American consumerist eyesore! Turtles are going to die!"

Guess what? That flapping plastic bag is a distraction from the much more important, yet all-too-often overlooked fact that you are driving. Driving a particulate-spewing, gas-devouring, pavement-loving machine.

And that is the role of the paper/plastic debate for far too many casual environmentalists: an eye-catching distraction from far more threatening concerns."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lumotech Light

I've got the "oval" one - according to Sheldon Brown's site, it's got "German approval" (which the round ones don't?)

I"m about to hop on the Xtra and head that last half mile to the home port. Yesterday I had my generator hub & light installed at CHampaign Cycle and it's very delicious. Also very bright :) The fact that a certain Big Fat Honking light - Planet Bike Insight 15 watter - has decided to show up is of course laughable, but that one requires thinking and planning.
Only one issue with it right now: the off switch doesn't work. Stay tuned ...
I may have authority fantasies, though... I've already got red and blue Tru-Value $3 Special Garrity GLo-lites on the back... and the nice bright Lumotech... and of course I'll wear my black and yellow Gore-Tex suit... all I need is that 15-watter spotlight and "I'm in charge, here..." SNork!

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Today included another one of those conversations as I got ready to wheel home. "I admire you so much! I just can't imagine at the end of a busy work day, then having to ride those miles!"
Well, when you're used to it then it's not even used to it as in somethin gbad, it is something good... well, maybe, but "It's the time. If I could get home in ten minutes..." well, first, I *couldn't* get home in ten minutes; more like 20. The bike takes 40.
And it's time I could spend at a gym... much more efficient than that.
OF course, I pondered the conversation on the way home. Good grief, L, why are you in such an incredible hurry? Are you living that efficiently? I *know* I waste that much time (doin' stuff like blogging...)
The unspoken bottom line, of course, is that I think cars are destructive and that, it's worth spending that extra time and effort to be wreaking a little less destruction.
I still don't think I"m going to catch that midnight LEX fallenover tells me runs from Champaign to Chi-town to Union Station in time for my 10:00 conference presentation next week, and the train runs too late, too. Of course, if I rode my bike *all night...* Hmmm how far is it ;)
Also, the "Bicycling [a quite statement] Against Oil Wars" sign is no longer on the abandoned Trek at my bike rack. (L thought it was a *Very* diligent cyclist's vehicle.) I suspect that rather than being vandalism, there was something about being buried in snow... I'll look around on the ground tomorrow... or it came off and somebody took it who wanted it ;)
P'raps I should replace it with my other one and see what happens...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Drove to Springfield yesterday for LIB meeting. Set that difference between car and bike apart by another 181 miles :(

Returned in the crisp spring air. Dinner in Savoy at 6:00.

Ride or drive?

I *like* riding my bike. Maybe, if I'd ridden to Springfield, I'd have driven to Savoy.

I *don't* want to show up as a function of my bicycle.

I have a plan.

Tights, those soft light thermals, and green khaki pants. Happiness because even over two layers, they aren't too tight :) :) Thermal base, pink turtleneck, pink sweater (my favorite one, successfully darned).

I'm dressed for dinner on the outside, outside on the inside. Yes, I look 20 pounds heavier than I am but hey, that means that when it gets warmer I shall instantly look 20 pounds lighter. Life is relative :)

I put on my lit backpack and tucked the wine in the Xtracycle. Lit the other lights. Took off. Gladness, gladness to be outside and riding, into the wind. I LIKE TO RIDE :) :)

Pulled into the driveway and avoided being seen thru the window :) Parked bike where it wasn't visible from the road. Slipped off backpack and laid it next to bike. Put helmet on bike frame. Took wine bottle from Xtra saddlebag.

Entered. Coats on bed, wine on table. Methinks victory: no "did you ride?"

Wined. Dined. Opined.

Time to go. Headed for back door. "The side door is open and more direct."
Only if I drove, kind sir :) :) But that shall be my egress. A swift-thinking guest says in jest, "Are we parked behind you?" Snork. Guest knows.

Say goodbyes.

Full moon, gentle tailwind, the peace of the quiet prairie... a breathtakingly beautiful wide ride home.

Yes, I could have driven. Yuck.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Took the route already. In the light of day, it's so wide because it's between big campus buildings... not going to be a good cycleway on a school day, period - for me. For folks who less mind being pedestrian like for a little while, it may be preferred to dodging the vehicles on Green Street and the like.
Crossing LIncoln was also a bunbite.
Fun to see my very very own bike tracks in the snow from last night ;)

Ooh! THis just in (from Team Estrogen's forum) - and the first "rating" is Feb. 2007 so it seems to be "hot off the presses." Bicyle as Super Hero film (you gotta pet the bars, that's the secret!). Totally worth listening to the guy's pre-film plug...

Took Clark all the way through to Urbana for my commute back in honor of Unofficial St. Pat's day since going through campus would be almost certainly unpleasant.Encountered one clot of intoxicants on a balcony. THeir raucous invectives (F words deleted) "Hobo?!? Santa Claus ?!? Christmas Tree?!? "
Not the usual *admiration* of those qualities, alas, but yes, I've got a few strings of lights back and feel like myself again!

The route is actually about half a mile shorter, but it cuts through a walkway (or something? golfcart way? It's very wide and concrete, but big curbs at the two streest to cross except for a sidewalk-width cut curb well to the side of the main path meaning ack! I have to like turn my handlebars!), and I have no idea whether it's a main pedestrian thoroughfare during a school day or not. It was absolutely (almost creepily) vacant, but again, it wasn't a normal night.
for the route. Gets across Neil one direction at a time, goes under the RR tracks, and was very, very lightly traveled last night. I'm going to try it Monday...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Posted this Invisible Rider article at BJ and it proved evocative, so here it is again. Now, it seems that clicking through from *here* gets a "spam is not appreciated" message, but clicking through from email gets right to the article. So, that's the link; it's worth cutting and pasting. I read it in Bicycling Magazine and was amazed that they'd done a story on "real" people - and didn't whack it down or sweeten it up. You'da thunk the writers really learned something.
It was a Mary Cliff moment for me (plays "traditions - folk music and things you can see from there" now on WAMU) - a story that transcends political simplifications of issues that are painfully real to the humans in the world.
Gas was $2.55 last night... prices staggering upwards again. I'm seeing more cycles on the commute again, now, and I replaced the batteries in a string of Christmas lights - enough experimenting, I am convinced. Those extra silhouettes make a palpable difference in driver reactions. Besides, I rather liked it Sunday when a lady came into where we were wrapping up the Bike Co-op meeting for the next event in the building and looked at me and said, "I see you all the time on a bike!" (Snork :)) ... and that I had "lots of lights." I'd like to be known as a lady with a lot of light.


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