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Monday, July 30, 2007

Interesting riding weekend. Yes, I got in that metric's worth Saturday, with a few extra laps... and I got in a dawn ride Sunday (I think that was a function of the Belgian Ale). By Sunday night, though, the backside was complaining. There are disadvantages to whittling off the insulation... gonna try raising the seat a hair to see if that helps. is an interesting and plausible (to my not-too-knowledgeable self) explanation of "why are there still all these big doping busts in pro cycling?" (Yes, swiped from Cycle-licious ;))
Need 60-odd miles to make 1000 for July, so it just might be a sleep deprived week 'cause other stuff has to happen too and there are guests around. How do people with real lives do it? I want to run away to Montana :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's raining but I need a haircut and need to go find Ommegang.
How is it that voices are so unique? (Or could a person learn? Of course, if you "cheat" and add the visuals you can be a celebrity imitator; would you have a better chance with just the voice?) Just wondering 'cause I knew that was Carole King singin' at teh beginning and end of that Care Bears movie, and after all that high-pitched care stuff a more resonant voice was nice.
I liked the Harry Potter book better ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What? I haven't blathered enough?

I dropped by MinusCar and found this quote from here tho' the "PDF" doesn't say this so I guess you'll have to listen:
“Many people go out to a garage, get into a car, windows up, air conditioning on, garage door up, drive to parking garage, get out into building, windows sealed, air conditioning, back out, into car, air conditioned, windows up, drive back to home, door up, in, door down, into air conditioned home and then say things like, ah, God just seems far away.”

THis quote resonates with my assorted innards, remembering discovering that feeling of vulnerability commuting on the bicycle - but also that sense of being closer to the real world instead of insulated from it.

And oh, boy, if I were into these things... I'd look at this "monocog"

Got my Trek email blurb... with a completely cheesy "ten reasons to ride instead of driving" that ended with saying they wanted to hear why *we* liked riding instead of driving. Of course, I still had to hunt around to find a way to contact them, and then it was a "question" form that will probably land on a sales desk and somebody who has nothing to do with that blurb... but hey, this is Trek (where, by the way, there are no signs that the touted "women who ride" project ever got its wheels rolling).
I sent 'em a few comments about just how deeply you have to dig on their site to *find* the word "commute." Here's one reason for them: "If you ride in a city and bike during commuting hours you'll love being able to cruise past long lines of vehicles held up at red lights (be sure to watch carefully for right-turning traffic who might not see you)." Yea, city commuting is as simple as that... nOT.
Hmmm.... reckon I'll make my own top ten.
Contenders: "Urban moments" (or "Urbana moments ;)) like the time I made the move to take that big trash can out of the middle of the road on a windy day, and the school bus stopped traffic for me.
Arriving at work feeling awake and feeling GOOD.
The applause when you're a rolling light-fest...
Yes, riding past the gas stations, watching the prices go up and down ... and up.
(Interesting that Trek completely avoided any vocabulary that might be anything remotely related to politics or environmentalism. *Their* top ten reasons were *all* selfish.)
Yes, finding interesting things along the side of the road.
Tallying those miles at :)
People look at you and smile. Some smiles are better than others, perhaps, but the world really does need more smiles. More people smile than give you the finger, if you remember to look.
Oh, yea, then there's definitely the reason in my top ten that's about the reason people like to go hiking and camping... the "here's the weather, be in it!" adventure where you are challenged to be prepared and be comfortable and happy ... genuinely, if you really were prepared and yes, the hand-me-down GoreTex helps with that!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nice, boring commutes these past days tho' I want to find otu why the blue bike is downright uncomfortable past 50 miles.

So now Vino tests positive for... two different kinds of blood? That's so dumb that it makes me suspect a frame... except that when it comes to winning, people do *really* dumbthings. It's the nature of the warrior mentality to gamble it all 'cause you only hear the stories told by the winners, not the ones left on the sidelines or the ones whose gambles didn't pay off. THey should all go out and hunt whales - they have good songs, too...

Trying to think of ways to work in centuries here and there so I can get 1000-mile months for the rest of the year ;) Welp, it would be fitting channeling of unspent other energies.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Yea, I finished Harry Potter. Some neat pictures of the opening world wide are here - shows Aussie's "braving the cold" with frost on the windows and everything!

Fastest commute on record this morning (and no tailwind... just very cooperative traffic and being on the fast bike). YEsterday on the way home from church I spotted an Xtracycle too far away to discern the driver but hoped it was close enough so that somebody saw two at a time ... can you imagine... they might think it's a movement ... :-) :-)

Just before venturing out to see Harry, I got a couple of coats of varnish on the SnapDeck. We'll see if I did it right. And the INternet makes fora small world.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

(Our campus "food for thought" Marva Nelson sent this one out... I'd been missing them on the summer's break...)

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

--Mary Oliver

From yesterday:
I had genuine rain this morning, though not particularly heavy, and knew I'd run late, especially since my power was out. I found that bag of wind up lights with radios in the closet (the Christmas Gift for Everybody and everybody didn't come so there were some left over) and one of 'em worked and the local station didn't say the whole town was out so I got on the Gazelle and splashed on in. We had fairly enthusiastic storms earlier so what was a foot deep yesterday at Country Fair was probably deeper today so I went around. There was also a fair amount of debris.
The Xtra wanted to go but then the left saddlebag holds water and even though it rides great (with the fenders and internal brakes and gears), then I have to do major cleaning. Since the Gazelle even has "internal chain" it's only my wicker pie basket that suffers and it hasn't dissolved yet. (Yes, I was told I strongly resembled the wicked witch of the west yesterday )
Coming home two things: first, on Country Fair, a sudden, surprised shriek: "SIOUX!!!" from a car. I gave a hearty wave back at whoever that was sailing off in the opposite direction, and wondered if that's what it was like to be George Harrison. If everybody rode bikes would that not happen? Or would we still look at people?
Then I went by and had the reverse with that newly constructed house with the really neat flamboyant garden all over its front yard. We smiled at each other and I was compelled to wave "Lovely!" and she laughed...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Here's a pithy quote from KnottedYet at Team Estrogen:

I just saved a lot of money on my car insurance by switching to Shimano!

I can relate, even if I did spend extra on the rental for insurance 'cause I ain't got no auto insurance.

Having put 1500+ miles on a rental car over the weekend (and riding a grande total of 10 miles Friday-Sunday) it was really nice to be back on real wheels today. Might ride the Gazelle tomorrow, by request. We'll see waht I've got to carry... and if I can find the ductape to put a working light on the thing. THe byhootiful generator light won't go on even when I whack at it a lot now :( (I don't *think* I whacked it so much it burnt the bulb out... tho' when I turn it over to the shop I'll include that little box with the spare bulbs.) Rode with the mellow Monday 'cause I was in the mood. Amusement at flat-fixing as our fearless ride leader efficiently got tube out, replaced, and tire back on rim, and then proceeded to pump it with both hands on the pump, the wheel flailing in the air. In delivery considerably better than an attempt at staging it would have yielded, a relatively new rider speculated "It would seem that that would put a lot of stress on the stem... I've just never seen it done that way..." and just after the assurances from fearless leader that it seemed a perfectly good way to manage the task... Whack! the stem is beheaded and all the air escapes.
A compromised rim tape compromised the next tube, but a gu-pack boot and perhaps not inflating to full pressure got us back on the road. We were passed by two ladies in Ragbrai jerseys and I was compelled to pass them to charge to the top of Kirby per the BonDurant Rule (tho' instead of his "Must Keep Accelerating No Matter HOw SLowly On That Hill ON Kirby" - which is hardly even a hill but because it is long, you are TOAST if you do it - I used his other small-incline invective: "20 at the top! Mush, you huskies!" since we were already on the last mile of it. We averaged just under 15 for the ride without anything remotely resembling a paceline (more like 5 pairs of cyclists, three carlengths between each pair); the lack of "formation" has been noted by some riders. Even when we're bunched up, it's basically a "the leaders will pull" deal.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Had a meeting yesterday with public safety at work about the "all hazards emergency plan" (or some such title). Of course, part of the discussion wandered around towards "how to walk around so you're less likely to get mugged." When he mentioned the side effect of having more people greet you (because you're more interactive in your stance and expression, I realized (blink!) that indeed, my "assertive" riding has translated into my walking and *that's* probably why I'm greeted ever so much more often. ]
We had a ChampaignCountyBikes meeting that went well except that by the end of it we were one bicycle lighter ... at least two bikes were "poached" from the rack (one of ours, one somebody else's). Grrrrrrrrr..... I gotta wonder if I'd grabbed the chain instead of the U if the Xgtra might have disappeared, too but the U was closer. (It was a nifty fixie that got swiped. Would hope it was a joyrider who promptly crashed but alas just as likely somebody who recognized the resale value.)
It's not as hot and steamy as it was... it was almost hot and steamy like Virginia hot and steamy like old memories with no where to go if they get woken up. I'm renting a car and driving a million miles tomorrow (yes, I'll *drive* more miles than I ride this month by a factor of at least 2 or 3. Missions of mercy every one tho' this one has crabs at the other end.) I'll log the costs to discern if flying owuld be cheaper (but flying means not taking the bike... but one could start thinking "folding bike" and it occurred to me two people could share one especially since both of us are the types to not want to be selfish about it.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Jeremiah was a bullfrog!

(Just to take a person back...)

Weather is here, wish you were fine! No, weather is pretty peachy, sunny and bright. My silly Xtracycle is like unto a very pregnant goat when I've got the work clothes squished into the bags, which is what I attributed the necessary effort level to last night in trying to hold to 18 mph next to a Madone (that could have gone 28... that wasn't even in the big chain ring...) until I was asked "can you turn that light off?" Aargh. Gotta remember the generator light :) It's a good one - but when I remember to turn it off it does get a little easier to ride!

Monday, July 09, 2007

13.8 avg. on my commute this a.m. and I was really trying to go fast - but dang it, I still stop at stop signs (or at least slow down a lot). And there was one where I knew a lot of people wouldn't have stopped, because it wouldhave been *perfectly* safe to accelerate on through because that one car was 'way back.
However, my current "best fit model" for Explaining Driver Behaviors is the "most driving is all about automatic responses and instantaneous filters of visual input." And according to that model, I am safest when my behavior will elicit the desired "automatic" response.

That one car would not have seen the expected "vehicle accelerating from really slowly through the intersection," but would have seen a bicycle speeding through, and even though there was gobs of clearance, it would have been an automatic alert: "what's that thing doing speeding through where cars should be going slowly?" probably followed by "another cyclist, blowing a stop sign." (Yes. I put the "anal" in "analytical.")

And for the record I made that post below *before* the email saying "not the ride to the depot, Fritz's ride."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I've seen most of the "you know you're addicted to cycling" ... but I do like this one (especially 'cause it happened):

when you say you signed up for a 401K at work, and the spouse says, "I didn't know they had bike rides at work!"

Can I sign up, too?

September 30: Fritz Miericke Memorial Ride ... a.k.a. the Fritz ride.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A taste of Europe in NYC? Congestion Pricing is getting press...

In these parts we've gotten the okay for Goodwin Ave. to be done "complete street"-ly. (how's that for a jargonized adverb?) This includes adding intersection bumpouts at the pedestrian crossings, striping bike lanes, installing new streetlighting, new traffic signals at Goodwin and Springfield, consolidating bus stops with new bus shelters, new striping/signage, and milling and resurfacing the street. This work is slated for summer construction in 2008.

We were float 78 in the parade. Alas, my smoothiemaker's in the mail to me so I couldn't do that, but I think the Giant Wrench from the bike coop was beyond divine. We also had the pushme-pullyu recumbent and Cassie on a recumbent trike, and half a dozen kids, and slogans about cycling to work, and Gary on the Jazz Cycle. I still wondered, though, how many people automatically pictured us as kids riding bikes with their parents along. (And I wondered about the folks squirting the firetrucks and getting hosed back... is that a local or more widespread tradition?)

Monday, July 02, 2007

I have to hope that Tim Wyse - the name is familiar - might be, say, that white XXX 645 driver who's so often tried to wave me to the bike path on Green (despite the fact that it dead-ends where he's turning right and would cut me off 'cause I'm going straight). He is an obviously well-intentioned soul - like ____ists everywhere - who wishes cyclists would move our shadows out of his way. His editorial is HERE.

He talks about cyclists while talking about things we learned as children, and gives us advice which includes the statement that "bicycles are pedestrian traffic."

Yea, we're working on responses to this fundamentally incorrect assumption - yet this is exactly the kind of mindset that is extremely hard to change. Spontaneous generation and the earth being the center of the universe were ideas which didn't fall easily either; "everybody" "knew" that women couldn't... or Race X is superior...

A marketing question:

Sort of a "side issue" approach to this would be to try to convey that we're not "them" or an odd special interest group - that we are legion and many of us are "normal people." Or, our resumes *looke* normal , or we were until we got on that bicycle ;) Hmmm... I think a marketing brainstorming session might be in order. What trains of thought will lead to [insert positive gut-level response here] reaction from Joe Non-Cycling Motorist? For example, when I'm looking my most homeless and pathos-inspiring [pathetic has too many negative connotations] (in sweats on the one-speed Schwinn with my beer-can rattle in the basket), people tend to give me lots of room and it comes down to being the same thing as respect. Or does it?
Or, woudl true respect be a more effective goal, because while they'll be nice to me when I look pathos-inspiring that may not translate into "yes, we should have bike boulevards, so people like her [and other folks who, though of course they *want* to, don't drive] can travel safely." Should we try to ascend from special interest group to Significant CHunk of the Population? Or should we go for Special Needs interest group?

Here's my spontaneous response to the editorial:
THe obviously well-intentioned editorial writer in Sunday's News-Gazette makes one basic error, and unfortunately a common misconception.

The fact is that - both legally and practically - bicycles are NOT pedestrian traffic. Bicycles are vehicles. Yes, bicyclists should stop at stop signs and obey traffic laws - as vehicles.

Roads were, actually, NOT made for cars (check your history), and a corollary error is his assumption that sidewalks were made for bicyclists. The laws clearly state this in several places by excluding bicyclists from using them.

Bicyclists, on the other hand, *are* included as legal users of our roadways. Bicycling on paths leads to more accidents because of conflicts at intersections and the vehicular speed of the bicycle. Bicyclists have more than "a legal right" to be on the roads; it is often the most sensible and safest place for them to be, even if sometimes another vehicle needs to slow down because they are there. Yes, there are ways to design roads and paths to minimize the conflicts and this is where attention should be given, instead of wishing bicyclists would disappear. Roads can be designed to be "complete streets" so that they are safe for bicyclists and pedestrians and automobile and truck drivers and anyone else trying to get from one place to another.

In our society, we often need to make compromises in our efficient travel and daily lives so that we can all get along. It is easy - but does much harm - to make assumptions without a valid knowledge base, especially when it's because things inconvenience us. There's room for all of us if we are a little patient.

Mr. Wyse seems to think cyclists are like children and talks in terms of what we learned as children. Throughout history, people in a position of power have assumed that those they can harm deserve taht fate, and -as he says- that it is "their responsibility" for their safety. If gangs were to move into his neighborhood tomorrow, I could say "those guys are armed. Fact is, in a conflict, you lose. Your safety is your responsibility." Would he feel the same way? I think not. But when he's the guy in the potentially lethal weapon, I'd just better get out of his way.

I believe in the American dream of giving the "little guy" room on the planet, too. God Bless America.

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