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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Did the domestic duties and sailed out the door in time to go that 18 mile route, with an extra lap around campus because it goes a lot quicker without a 15 mph headwind :) It's also a lot nicer going over the interstate on Bradley at 8:40 than 8:52.
Current (as of 11 a.m.) monthly tally: 993 miles. H-216.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Urbana Bicycle Network Plan is online!

I'm among those who, after the bike lanes were put in on Illinois, are thinking about the relative benefits of sharrows in that there's more "you're part of traffic" conveyed, and I'm not relegated to a "lane" that completely includes the Door Zone. I felt claustrophobic on the things...

Yesterday was cool but almost wind-free. Did the BOomerang Ride for the Uni HIgh Students for a Better WOrld, then out for another jaunt in the afternoon... and still had ride left to let out, so I ended up with 103 miles on the day, which is H-188 as of this a.m. No extry miles this a.m., though, since I was trying to tidy up the home front, which I'm notoriously inefficient at. The microwave, however, is less crusty.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Brisk a.m. - overlayered. TIghts and sweats - but then tossed the gore-tex on top. However, yesterday the tights and sweats left me on the fringes of the "you feel fine but your skin will be dried out and unhappy" category. Turtleneck, fleece and Goretex on top - could have done w/o turtleneck (or prob'ly cotton in between). Remember to self: when the layer next to the skin is cotton it defeats the point of wearing the wicky stuff.
"How long does it take you to thaw?" ... don't you mean cool off? Had to procure hot hands to co-worker. Folks on those little scooters... now *they* are cold. Hugs at ya - get a bike with a heater like mine!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So I decided to duck into Freedom for a beer even if parking is a pain. I leave the helmet on the bike and think I'll be inconspicuous, though I've still got my balaclava on, 'cause it's just chilly enough tho' others wouldn't.

I go in and I'm treated novelly anyway. Find two ones... or he does, tucked into my dollars... and I say I don't need a bag and he says yes, I do and I remember as he says to the lady he's chatting with yes, in the state of Illinois... and I'm leaving and he says "don't fly away!!!" and I say " I'm riding away!" and wonder what's up... and then realize that of course, I'm sans helmet but I"ve still got my dayglo camelbak *with* blinking multicolor LEDs.

I"ll fly away, indeed !

Friday, October 19, 2007

Luka Bloom's bicycle song; link stolen from Cycle-licious

Go on, go on, get on your bike ;)

Must be my Celtic (as in /kel-tic/) blood, but hopping on the bike at 53 degrees, blustery and cloudy is an instant rush. I even wore shorts just because.
Last night I had all these wisps of wistfulness winding through my body-mind-heart-soul-continuum and the wisps were starting to get sinewy 'til I checked my email and saw a missive from Clyde who I haven't conversed with in too long. Caught up with the assorted events of the summer, sent back my own feeling like I'd had more fun than they conveyed, but that's because this year has just been a little more alive, which was, I figured part of why wandering wistfulness would come on stronger, too.
This a.m. had its chicken soup/CHarlotte Armstrong moment when I woke up and dredged from the memory where I was and what was on the cafeteria tray of life... and out popped "Oh yea, that's right, today I get a chance to..." and the thought trailed off what?!?!? Mentally check schedule. Grin. Silly dweeb, it's like a fortune cookie. Today is full of chances to. There's your gift, run with it. The keening longing is still there but it's more a spice... the tequila in the margarita including lime and salt, which of course you have to monitor the intake thereof, but much sweeter than that nasty shot you try to swallow, grimace, and wait for numbness therefrom.
Okay, end of soupiness. It's my chance to :)
FIve or six bikes on the way in. Got to Prospect again before I remembered I was going to do New. Turned around because things were backed up *to* Clark from University, then turned around again because I didn't want to deal with the garbage truck between me and New, and in that thirty seconds the intersection had cleared.
It is, howeer, less than 6 miles from current dwelling to Parkland. Laps are in order :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Timing is everything!

Earlier this week I was riding late and approached Prospect and thought, "This is five minutes before the hour...'rush minute.' What are my options?" So I turned up a New Street - hooray, it's not brick! - and went to Church early. (Okay, sometimes I do that at Holy Cross on the way, but I mean Church Street that is westbound one-way.) It has a light at Prospect. Even better, it has no stop signs between Prospect and Mattis. Yippee!

Today I wasn't running late (but not as early as yesterday). I forgot I was going to take new Street until I got to Prospect and it was all busy and stuff (by midwest standards anyway), so I just turned around, for the extra tenth of a mile, ... but crossing University (one way east bound) was a royal bunbite, I *think* 'cause there were people getting to the school on the corner. Oddly, there were a couple of little gaps and both times the car in front didn't close the gap... but widened it by slowing down noticeably. I'm thinking it's a lot of locals who know it's a congestion moment... but I'm going to try to be early or late for it and see how it goes.

Could be interesting weather later today, but right now this chunk of illinois is in a veritable island of "just cloudy and windy" stuff with green all around.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hmmm... it's been how many days ?!?!? It's tough without a computer of my own.

Sunday before last my Xtra was blessed. Well, it's always blessed adjectivally, but this was verbally blessed.

Distraction: ya you bet!!! DIG the volvo ad about "life is better lived togehter" that has the lady endurance biker. DUDES. Bicycling **IS** the new Golf. (Okay, I have also been away from TV... the Weather channel...)

back to regularly unscheduled program: you see, a priest was visiting from Guatemala, going to say Mass at 1:00 in a Mayan language... was at our ('regular' - lots of Korean) Mass, too. So I was leaving helmet in hand and he inquired... and was simply uplifted at the idea that somebody rode a bike. "If more people in America would do that..." THis is a guy who knows from war and real;ity... we went out and I showed him the Xtra and now it's blessed.

Also got funky helmet cover which it hasn't been yukky enough to use yet.

More on the way...
Bike-Thru Cafe in ORegon... with discount for pedalers! No, not peddlers... pedalers!

Now to scurry home between the showers.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cycling *is* getting chic. THe NY TImes felt a blog post about trucks on new bike lanes
worth linking to!

From over there at Cycle-licious:
Car-ectomy... removing the car from dominating life and culture.

Got a little damp last night - tho' I can't blame the weather, really, since I tried to squeeze a lap or two around campus, since I couldn't get back in the office to peek at the radar as usual. It was only raining ... then it backed off... and then I heard a car approaching - except it wasn't a car, it was the downpour.
The multicolored lights on my camelbak are now on all the time (except when I take a battery off). The ones on the frame are fine. Of course, the light on the helmet is fine. THe multicolored one were labeled online as indoor/outdoor, but the box says indoor only... but they *are* sturdier than the Walgreen's specials of last year (and bigger and brighter, tho' I don't know the effect on battery life).

Monday, October 08, 2007

This letter to the editor goes a long way to explain issues with Critical Mass. I would have a lot to argue with the author concerning the narcissism of the sixties' protesters - especially the ones getting firehosed and teargassed - but I'm afraid that too many of this writer's points about CM are painfully valid. (And I am virulently opposed to any action that is justified by "but I was just..." - I've taught middle school.)
I do know most of the words to "It Isn't Nice," too... but in my opinion that isn't what goes on.


Here's a nifty little stencil on the bike path out at Windsor. When I rode by the third one I realized what it was and went back for pictures the next day. Those guys move fast ... tho' I wonder who exactly put that stencil down there. (I have secretly wanted to put a few creative stencils in a few places!)


I had planned to do a play by play of "Sioux INstalls Power Grips." I got the stuff out. Took pictures.
That wrench, my hands, and my screwdriver did not do the job of getting the old toe clips to release. I have volunteered to help at the Bike Co-op Saturday, though, with some low skills stuff, so my secret plan is to ride the red bike there and see if they have better tools than I do.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Going to have to go out tomorrow a.m. and snap a picture of the stencil on the Windsor bike path. Is it sanctioned? Or creative civil contribution? You'll see ... it took about the third one before I realized it *wasn't* just a side view of a bicycle.

Rode into campus town tonight, and back at 9:0 ish. SHould hve been BODACIOUS. AFterall, it is a HOT October night... and the fearless Illini broke Wisconsin's longest-in-the-nation winning streak on thefoodball field today. In other places I've lived (near College Park, MD & Dover DE) this meant "takeanything flammable off the porches and hide your cats" as drunken morons raved in destructive mania.

Yes, there were scads and scads and scads of students out in the streets... probably intoxicated. I dunno... maybe not? They were NOT looking for trouble. Drunken shmurgleheads tend to respond to a traveling light show. It made me wonder... what is it that makes people "look for trouble?" Hmmm... perhaps the liquor industry has found an ingredient to add... a little Paxil in themix? The most rambunctious response I got was pulling out of my driveway not even that close to campus, from a driver, who was muttering... "Ain't nobody gonna miss you!" Not even, "Got enogh )(*( lights?" ... though, what I really like about the current set up is that it's my helmet light and one string of multicolored ones to turn on. That's it. The light up on the helmet RULES, dude.
Saw hokeyspokes going by in the distance and they weren't Peggy's. My, they're bright!
Am being hounded by felines who are pining for their people.

Friday, October 05, 2007

YEsterday was kinda fun. Forgot all about the plan to get up obscenely early and ride long and contemplate graphic visualizations of negative numbers. TUrned out okay 'cause I decided to do balance pan equations instead.
Missed looking forward to the "training for the century" rides with folks, but then rode home via Bondville and recalled what I'd been missing riding out on my own... hard when you want to... back off when you want to: Personal intervals. Even though it doesn't feel like it at all, I started thinking about those indoor time trials and the kind of riding that would be actually training for that... the indoor training rides... and that hey... if I don't get silly, I *won't* weigh 153 pounds for them. This month still 138. Power to weight ratio might just be significantly different... look out, Mr. Searles ;) :)

On that very last loop home I'm going west on church and hit a bump and ... dribble dribble dribble... dang it, lost that bite valve. Foreshadowing? I haven't thought of "Barnacle Bill the Sailor" in years... alas, *this* morning I forgot all about the plan to get up obscenely early and ride out to look for it. However, I've got two other camelbaks and perhaps the bladdrs are interchangeable. (This led me to contemplate how easily a smaller bladder could be tucked somewhere for gin-smuggling into public events... which would matter if I attended that many public events or desired to consume gin at them... perhaps wine...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Completely redundant post hoping that this gets a little viral:

From LIB. Our fearless governor killed the "complete streets" bill. Even introverts can let the legislators know it's not 13 weird cyclists who care - give the answering machine a call after hours!

Dear Illinois bicyclists,

Please leave a quick 30-second phone message for your state representative.
Identify yourself as a bicyclist in his/her district. Thank them for voting
Yes on Senate Bill 314 back in May, and ask for a Yes vote again to override
the Governor's amendatory veto.

Please do this ASAP, as a vote may occur very soon. Find your State
Representative's name and phone number at (it's easy).
During business hours, call the Springfield office. Off-hours, leave a
message with the district office.

SB314 directs IDOT to include walkways and bicycle ways with the expansion
or reconstruction of any state road in urban areas. IDOT has done badly in
this regard in the past, despite calls for reform. The governor's veto
stripped the bill of its effectiveness. A positive House vote is the last
step needed for an override.

(Further background from an earlier bill is at LIB's analysis of
IDOT's bike and ped policies is at

Thanks – your call could make a difference!!!

- Ed

Forgot to mention that Monday night - late - there were still no fewer than 6 cycles encountered on my trip home. Several even had lights (sigh). Must duly note that the stealth bicycles are more likely to be on the sidewalks.
Can't remember which night had the two fellows racing like mad on that downhill stretch of John Street (the one where I would try to get the Schwinn up to 25 when it was my reg'lar route, before I found the Clark/White option).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My 'puter is slightly broken... so postin'gs a bit hard sometimes. Might be shoping... have decided I *don't* want the big wide screen. Small! Small!
Here's the "clif bar 2 mile challenge" - of course, it is only the west. The rest of us don't matter ;) (Reckon everybody but the Eats Coast is used to that!)

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