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Friday, June 29, 2007

News! News!

Monday's club ride revealed that the nastiest piece of horribly patched pavement around, that stretch of road ("old route 10" I think, parallel to the INterstate and what you get to if you ride Kirby and keep on going towards Whiteheath)...


Your intestines will stay place.

This has been many, many, MANY years.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My bathroom said to thank you. I sprinted home to clean it because if it wasn't raining, you would need to change so we could ride. The Slob's Priority List says remove cobwebs and evidence of infestation... then scrub porcelain. THen dirty dishes and clothing from public places. So now the toilet has been scrubbed, and there are no spiders living between it and the sink, and laundry happened with shocking efficiency. Sorry, arachnids.
By the time the backhoe had cleared a path, the skies had established that whilst they had held the rains back from 5:00- 5:30for most of my commute home, they must needs ooze further, despite my proclaimed desire to ride with you.
I was sort of almost inspired by then, though, and even swept the cruddiest dust hares from behind a few doors, stuffed the wild metal objects into the closet and managed to close the door, and opened that Budweiser... and celebrated that, in fact, I had a reason to clean my toilet but that, in fact, nobody was going to see the other 98 layers of crud. Oscar Madison has not been exorcised... but I may get him sent to his room by the end of the weekend.
Then I hopped on the Gazelle to head over here... but the Gazelle said, "I hve no lights and you will want to ride extra on the way home!" So I went back and switched for the Xtra. It didn't say a word. It just turned South and kept going. It stopped raining. The grey skies were alive in layers and texture; the corn was singing its praises and filling its lil' cell walls with turgidity. For a moment I almost understood how visual art could communicate to the soul. Grey speaks a rich and vivid language!
Blue skies are overrated.

"Around C-U" - 41 mile route ( )

46 mile option (which lends itself to cruising through Lake of the Woods, too)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"...a quiet revolution afoot..."

I am rather reluctant to get excited about this, but it's still good to read: this columnist thinks that in the UK the hassle of cars is so much greater than the benefit that it's hit a tipping point and people are making changes.

Okay, and another link from the Xtracycle forum:

Knife-sharpening bicycle. Not for novelty... for real.

I get to join the ranks of Howard of "old people who get amazing compliments." (see his blog June 14, 2007). Those guys in the car with the assorted horn-tootings musta been blinded by the legs and didn't see the spare tire :-) It's another advantage of cycling - you're moving, so imperfections are blurred.
After riding in more populous areas on GITAP I'm ever so much more so appreciative of our low percentage of Nasty Busy Roads.
My poor chain is grinding away. Sunday I had a pretty good excuse - armed and dangerous man at large in the neighborhood, so I figured trips back and forth to the garage weren't a good idea (even if by the time I got home - in a car 'cause sometimes a cage is a good thing - he'd swiped that car and was on his way to Champaign... but I had no way of knowing). Last night I just couldn't find the stuff to clean it... a trip to the hardware or bike store is in order. Bike shop will also tell me where else to put the stuff so I'll pay extra for a different label and get the knowledge, too...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I am back!
I have learned a few things.
I got rained on on Saturday - the last day, so we didn't have to deal with wet things in camp. I learned that a generator light is an excellent thing for when you are in a short-sleeve jersey in a damp cool rain and aren't quite pumping out the calories you want to - turn that thing on and the same speed that keeps you with your buddies and happy on the slimy, twisty, hilly trail also keeps you warm.
And sometimes space is good, I think.
I learned how sweeeet disk/drum brakes feel on a slimy, twisty steep trail when you are a Complete Weenie (I still walked down one of those hills). Yea, other people walk up hills, I know - I did that for one of 'em.
I learned a long wheel base will keep you up whne you slide out on a square wooden dowelly thing.
I learned that you can just power on up a hill if you didn't mind breathing hard for a while -- oops, I already knew that, but hadn't been reminded in a while.
This guy was there on a Waterford similarly accoutrementified and had similar reasons for choosing it for the tour. It is a nifty bike.
There were neat people from Iowa who shared the Sunrise cafe with us in Wisconsin and gave me another nifty light; there were oh, the usual irregulars as well. Karma worked - I told Frank to take the map when I decided to head back to camp earlier on the layover day, and yes, around thea corner were three folks also heading back who had a map but hadn't (as I had) come in that route which wasn't *really* described on the map.
I didn't get tired. I got my picture in the Rockford Register Star in color in psychedelic rainbows and circles and my pig eared helmet. Silly reporter wanted us to ignore her since gosh, I was just smiling right at her that first picture. Snork. She don't get endorphins, do she? I made a point of being *in* the road and not on the shoulder but the caption nonetheless describes us as "along route ___," not on it.
I decided that _The Road_ really isn't a good book that I didn't "get." It really is an absurd, disconnected story with HOllywood schmaltz that Oprah finds moving. Hey, I find lots of schmaltzy stuff moving, too but generally stuff with other endearing qualities. He could have put that whole story into 1/7 of the space and made the "no matter how horrible it is, you can still love your son" point. The plot was predictable and contrived. I mean, (SPOILER) at the end of the survival story and death scene, voila! the kid meets a nice family. What if they'd met that family (and hadn't been afraid to talk to anybody before then) before? Gosh, the stupid story could have ended a lot sooner.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Sometimes a person puts more time into something than it deserves. So it's not worth another email to send this but I kinda liked it so I am posting it. It's my backside, so to speak. Choose joy!

Now it really *is* time to finish packing and take a nap and then head to GITAP. Maybe this will be the year of Carbon Fibre Man...

Friday, June 15, 2007

I will be riding on GITAP all next week so unless we land at a college or something I'll be AWAY from the INTERNET...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

half an hour early also works for Green Street, which seems to be a tiny bit faster than the north route even though I didn't hit the lights too well. I think it's psychological - I want to keep up with the traffic even if it's hypothetical, or perhaps it's seeing the light up there and knowing how fast I have to go to make it. At any rate, the average hovered above 13 even with traffic lights and carrying the cooler and blender and ingredients and ... and... (Tonight's a smoothie ride night!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

... have wallet!! cashed a check!! (ATM card doesn't work, tho'.) That stupid song Dr. Demento would feature is my current earworm... something about "Gotta have my baby back..."

Give Blood for Oil! No, really... the Red Cross says...

Half an hour earlier is even nicer for commuting - talk about a dearth of traffic!

Crystal blue skies... with billows of nasty blue and black smoke from somebody's truck that caught fire.

I was coasting up to the Mattis/Church stop sign and singing something and felt compelled to raise it an octave. Immediately the dog in the corner lot started howling. Pain or harmony? Made me pause and reflect on the unperceived energy frequencies we're absorbing, and how powerful being able to manipulate them in order to cause pleasure and/or pain would be (since long-term effects are something we don't tend to care about).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Had a nice ride out to Rantoul to meet up with the Illini 4000 riders. It's a group from the U of I (here) riding fro NY to San Diego to "raise awareness" of cancer & funds for Camp Kesem. They were really fun to ride with and talk to - they were really friendly and enthusiastic, and also easy to ride with. They kept the pace to about 15 and had an appointed caboose who made sure "the last guy" didn't get too far behind, and stopped totally and clumped up at every single solitary stop sign (which also helped keep the group from getting too spread out). Okay, there was one stretch where I'd rather have gone single file (or a cleaner double) and let traffic by - but that was short.
It also connected "cycle club" riders with "illini" riders - we don't cross paths all that much. Might have some new folks out at the Monday ride :-)
Cultural observation: some of the young males of the cycling culture performed the "chest bump" ritual I have sometimes seen at basketball games. THese guys had a slightly different approach that the spontaneous hurling at each other; one would say "chest bump!" or "chest bump?" and then a more carefully orchestrated simultaneous leap would ensue, generally with a brief commentary on its quality. Perhaps the announcing of social rituals is a workable way of participating in "personal space" kinds of rituals in a diverse society.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The quest is on hold... seems the wallet was loose in the mails. Not the malls, the mails. Rather glad I didn't look for it too hard :)

So this is the day Trek decides :) So I check my email essay to them and ... it doesn't *have* my phone number. Welp, I'm at work, (217) 353-2056 if you're checking my blog :-)

We had an interesting "new member welcome" ride last night - four new folks and two of them pretty strong riders. Hopefully we'll see 'em out there!

And "this just in" my email... Greetings Everyone!

I just talked with Ed Barsotti and he told me that this bill passed unanimously and is on its way to be signed by the governor!!! Whoohoo! Jot one up for our side!

SB0314 95th General Assembly
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Highway Code. Provides that bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be given full consideration in the planning and development of transportation facilities, including the incorporation of such ways into State-funded transportation plans and programs. Provides that bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be established in conjunction with the construction, reconstruction, or other change of any State transportation facility, and special emphasis shall be given to projects in or within one mile of an urban area. Provides for exceptions. Requires the Department of Transportation to establish design and construction standards for bicycle and pedestrian ways. Effective July 1, 2007.

The link is incredibly long so you can get there through the League of ILlinois Bicyclists webpage.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

OH, my... I realized I didn't post my fun fun ride Monday which doesn't qualify as a commute... hmmm...

I rode the 10 mile long-way to the MOnday Manic/ ride with moderate ferocity. That, it would seem, is The Great Effort Equalizer.A Study (long and boring! For the benefit of the housebound...) in Riding Pretty Fast:
When someone I'll call Power Tap Man took off with the Beyond Manic Men, I was challenged... could I last as long as he could? I hopped onto the tail end also and we charged into the 25 mph wind. There was a brief battle with the "You Can't Go This Fast" entity which tenses up the shoulders and arms and, indeed, means that I can't go that fast, and the "Marvelous Machine" entity which relaxes the parts that aren't working and opens the lungs and propels me... well, *almost* as fast as these guys were going! Then Gravel, wind , traffic and a "jog" in the road sent PTM careening off the road (still on the wheels).
One rider and I hung back to pull him up... but the one rider Went Too Fast for either of us (or, perhaps me... but we both dropped back). We glanced behind and the Merely Manic group was just behind, so we ... what?!? slow down ?!? We kept riding hard. I tucked in behind out of necessity thinking, "now we can let them catch us."

Then he flashed the Universal Signal For Changing Places (patted his charming butt). I took a turn, slowing things down just a titch... and he pulled around and that gap remained and The Machine kept rolling.
An Overpass! This excites my machine and I said, "I'll take that hill!" and took over to charge *most* of the way up it, until he said, "at the T, which way will they go? Left is 25 miles, right is 20." He still had breath! I wheezed something. He said, "Let's wait at the T"
The five Merely Manic riders arrived rather quickly and commented on our inspiration , and wheeled to the left without pause. We hopped in, and I inquired of PTM, in the shelter of the group where we could almost breathe, "Why didn't we think of this before?" PTM says, "I would have, except there was this cattle prod in my butt."
"I was just following you!"
"It's all good."

Is it good to be referred to as a cattle prod? It was in the most loving way....
We proceeded merrily, with the two front Merely Manics being the strongest of us all and doing most of the pulling, to the DQ where stories were told of attempts to keep up with the More than Manic group. Then off again! down the well-shaded Sunny Acres Road, when what do we see on the horizon? RABBITS!!! Two MorethanManics ... our two front guys took off, with PTM next, and my slow-accelerating soul keepin' 'em in sight, that alas-not-so-ferocious-wind behind us with the two "last" Merely Manic riders. Magically, we managed to mesh with the Monday Moderates (a third group starting from the same point) - without incident, and we regrouped when our Front Guy had succeeded in catching, but not dropping, the More than Manics Just To Show Them.

I had my commute home - so there is a little bit about commuting! - to cool down the well-cooked legs. I had enough to spin an extra mile out so I'd average 331/3 for June (which I will lose today!) ... but not five miles which would have meant I did a metric.

Endorphins R Us :) :)

WINDY day today.

Got an email that Trek will decide TOMORROW. So, we shall get a test of the accuracy of my ESP, and I can hold my breath for ONE MORE DAY :-) She said there were 2000 applicants - but perhaps only because it was only an e-mail away. I am sure that my essay wasn't one of the ones that evoked tears or whatever... what was I saying about the downsides of Vulcanhood?

A post on the Team Estrogen forum talks about drivers in central Virginia killing cyclists and the subsequent tensions. I still wonder how much I would ride if I still lived in that part of the world. It's beautiful - but windy, hilly roads and lots of pickup trucks going fast. Here's hoping the folks there will get some advocacy moving, and that people can discover there's room for all of us. Now, I don't know *where* in "central" Virginia we're talking about - if it's really Northern VIrginia... welp, that's a different kettle of squid.

I took the South route today because the bike wanted to go that way. I parked the bike lying down to pre-empt being blown down. Now I'm going to ride to the department picnic where we can get all blowed away :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Link deserving of periodic posting:

Efficiency vs. communication

I was riding back with Frank who has lots of urban riding experience. I noticed that he is a bit more efficient than I at any given intersection; he regularly anticipates 'the gap' and accelerates.
I think, however, that this is not a habit I'm going to develop unless/until our traffic flow demands higher efficiency. I'm thinking that there's a Law of Perceived (aha! perception... perceive... is *that* why it's ei after c?)
... back on track here...
A Law of Perceived Risk: if I'm accelerating forward, and you start accelerating forward, even if I'm going to clear our potential point of intersectoin before you, I'm going to perceive a higher risk of collision. I'm going to process, at the back of my fermented brain, "crazy biker! they always run stop signs! I don't know how they survive![they should be on bike paths... where I won't *see* them do that until I hit'em]" even though mathematically his acceleration from that position isn't anythign like risky.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Bradley entrance to Parkland is still closed... I'm thinkng that their projected opening was with a "yea, but it doesn't actually matter until next week when summer classes really start."
Don't miss the car yet. (Haven't canceled the insurance yet, either, though.)
My legs are tired. FAST (for me) miles yesterday in some pretty stiff wind, and a grande total of 58 miles - I did a gratuitous 2 to put me on the "1000 mile month" pace. I didn't, however, have it in me to add 5 more to make it 100 km.
Saw eight bikes or so on the trip in. This is pretty early, though, and will be obscenely early next week when we go to the four-day week - I'm a morning person but the notion of 7:30 *work* just doesn't seem right. However, I've nudged bedtime a little earlier the past few days, prob'ly directly connected to riding HARD... and avoiding Looking For THe Wallet. Haven't remembered to Consider Gravity at the same time I was looking for it though - since it would seem that I should have already found it if it were really Where I Put It Last. THe Invisible Places Like That would be pockets, corners, bookshelves, doorknobs-of-open-doors (since the wallet's on a big string). I am suspecting that it is Where I PUt It Last... and Gravity or Nudges Shoved It Behind Or Under something.
So! Tonight I will devote half an hour to The Quest.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saturday Saunter went nicely; about 25 folks. Back group held up once more by a tire-gouging flat which booted nicely with ductape.
Lots and lots of people dining out - as in outside on tables - in Champaign and Urbana. COuldn't tell how many of them were there for the smoking privilege but it certainly makes it look like businesses are thriving!

Friday, June 01, 2007

The weather was reasonably cooperative. The pretend showers stopped for a 6:30 blast-out-and-ride 20 miler, and then the winds died down again for our moonlight 9-person pilgrimage to St. Boniface. The first ride featured an almost eerie lack of automobile and especially bicycle traffic. Finally we saw one of each towards the end, so we knew the zombies hadn't attacked.
Today was a 'regular commute' with a long loop home. Have almost-calibrated speedometer on the red bike, but it was pretty windy so the fact I was working hard to get to 12 mph doesn't mean I don't want to take Big Red to GITAP which is in a couple of weeks.

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