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Thursday, January 31, 2008

I bailed adn copped a ride tonight. Might not have if Ihadn't left early because of the weather... because leaving at 4:00-ish meant there was a full contingent of everybody else bugging out. Watched one car gracefully spin out on Country Fair - no incident 'cause it was all slow and everybdoy else was going slowly, too -, turned down an offer for a ride because I had every intention of regrouping at Champaign Cycle (and getting that light back on), and even headed off after regrouping but the descent down Crescent caused quailing. Cars were spending too much time just sliding... and those voices of the people saying "okay, now turn to the left" to coach people out of the driveway... I felt guilty at asking Pete to come out and get me until we were heading home and SPringfield was fine. (Okay, the studs were also getting a little overwhelmed, too. Or I was. The balloon ride night was much easier!)
Easy peasy bus ride back to the bike shop tomorrow and I'll get teh bike and meander home... assuming that Parkland's closed which my instincts say will be so.
Torpidity attacks.

Hot Air Balloon Ride!

HOnestly, that's what Tuesday's cruise home reminded me of, except for the temperature.

I'd come in with 46 degree temps and extra clothes in the bag... except I forgot the bag. Went to bookstore to buy the "storm duds" pants which fortunately were *the only* item of clothing there in my size.
Cruised to bike shop to peek at Dahon catalog at lunch. Wind blew me back but it was only 15-20 mph. Returned 2:10, temp. 52 .
Severe thunderstorm warnings with the real thing arriving ... then at 5-ish I peek out and dang it, the yahoo has turned on the light of the Trek that is parked out there with mine. I go out nobly to turn it off; the batteries are pretty worn down. My light's out because of this dingbat. It's the third time s/he/it's decided to turn our lights on (tho' when I'm on the red bike with the generator it doesn't matter). Welp, it shall inspire me perhaps to request on the grounds of Sustainability ("a priority" this year for the college) that we get bicycle lockers. I duly note that there's a sheet of ice over everything and check to find it's 26 degrees now. Winds picking up.

But that hot air balloon thing...
6:00 makes its inexorable appearance. Winds have picked up more. Snow is horizontal and moving fast. I didn't bring my spare head lamp, but actually, because of all the white suspension (that is, nonetheless, not too heavy 'cause of course, there was a break between squalls when it was time for me to leave) the ambient light is 'way above normal.
I hop on the Gazelle, again appreciating the built-in lock that never requires contact between my hands and metal. Take off across the parking lot and all the lights go out. I consider whether taking off in this is foolhardy. I notice that I'm not pedaling, and my 50-pound bicycle and I are coasting... up hill. I turn south and I'm *not* blown around. There's snow and ice but the studs are simply happily munching on it. While waiting at the light a splotch of liquid from somewhere spatters my face and I look around... and realize it probably sailed from some vehicle long gone, 'cause the spray could have been airborne for half a mile.
Eastward again, then South down Country Fair. Cars are giving me plenty of room, and they're not sliding, either; guess the pavement is still warm.
Cross Springfield - bank says it's 13 degrees. Sheesh!
The rest of the route is mostly Eastbound, and I'm mostly coasting in near silence because if you're with the wind, you're just with the wind. It's only that horizontal snow going just a tad faster that tells me just how glad I should be that things aren't in reverse :) There's never anything overtly scary... but I definitely didn't feel really in *control* ... but hey, that's probably true more often than I think.

Today's forecast has all of the Snow Phrases: showers, giving way to steady snow by evening... and then the so lighthearted-sounding "snow, heavy at times" through the night.
I can truly laugh at the argument that kept me from getting the studs at first: "So what do we usually have in a winter... two days where studs would be needed?" I believe we're goin' on 14..

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sweet lumps of delight! Seems the traffic light at Church and Mattis is going to "walk" on every cycle, so I don't have to be poised at the front and charge forth to make it through. This is one of those intersections where, yea verily, I go to the front on the right of a car (there is, however, a dedicated right turn that merges off, which I am beyond and to the left of), because that's what it takes to get across all lanes of traffic.
Forecast for even more wind today... I'm on the Gazelle in case it's snowing by the time I leave.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hot off the presses... safety is more than wearing helmets!

The good news is that it *is* in the press and includes getting off the sidewalk *and* out of the gutter and out into your lane:

From the Netherlands (via Rob on our email list): bike stand with built-in pump (to foster neighbors chatting while pumping)

Back from San Francisco. Felt chunks of the brain reactivating on the a.m. commute - that whole thing about paying lots of attention to what's around you. I realized that I have to almost consciously shut it down for being an urban pedestrian lest every last panhandler sing me a song. They wouldn't have time if I were on the bike, I suppose...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Power to the pedal" bicycle accessory design contest:

C'mon you gals& guys at bike shops with a bit of a lull in workflow... make me some turn signals! That would have global appeal, even.

Hippo Hands might be a good idea, too, for the chillier days, bicycle style. A person could slip a potato in there for warmth...

Yesterday I waved cheerfully at the yahoo who felt compelled to honk both from 'way back (which I don't mind at all) and next to us ... but my greeting wasn't that amicable. C'mon brain... "Blessings on you and everyone you endanger today" would be much better than "Hello, a*****" and maybe eventually I could say it without a snooty attitude ;) Habits, habits. Last week I was greeted by someone with something I swore resembled an undeserved reverence ...and I realized that all humans are due such reverence... we all bear light. And happily on several occasions that respect and reverence came to mind in dealing with people it's a little too easy to feel sorry for, or disdain towards (they'll be different people for me than you but we've all got 'em, eh?). It reminded me of Mary Ann, our student and preacher who had somehow converted a dismally low sense of self-worth into "I am loved anyway... and everyone is as unworthy and worthy of this love" - including some pretty arrogant and hostile people.
Gotta remember that people driving SUV's (yea, of course, the honker was) bear the light along with the horn.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Gazelle is the bike to ride in the cold :)
Tang Dynasty is not the restaurant to go to. Last time we went the wait-staff guy was asked about the ingredients in a dish and was wrong (as in "is there ___ in this dish?" "No." It was full of it. Or *maybe* "yes." and there wasn't.) This time I had a bit of coughing which sometimes happens when this little allergic canary has, oh, chocolate or a spice or food I'm not used to... no biggie... except... no, there was something *back* there. Inhale slooowly, c`ough hard, be glad I"m in chorus and know what happens back there. Third time, wthat spiky thing hat I assumed would be vegetative material came clear... only when I discreetly pulled it back out from under the plate I realized it was metal... looked like school binder wire only a whole lot thinner... so I simply handed it to the waiter and said it was in my food and I had choked on it. (I had coughed enough to attract a little bit of attention, I believe.) Welp, I got the eggplant for free... they were most apologetic and explained it was wire from the wok cleaning brush... and I was suspending judgement as is my wont. Paid for my beer with a 5, thinking "yes, I"ll tip." Except.. you know, I like to decide. THey never brought me my change, nor my neighbors (who'd also *intended* to leave it as a tip). About the only thing tackier than "do you need change" is not even asking, IMO... and while I can be the utter queen of tacky.... welp, that's why I don't work in a restaurant. It was off the rota but the Four Seasons HOuse is gone and I needed soemthign at the last minute, and I figured it could stand another chance. Welp, it had one.

15 degrees this a.m. but warmer than last night's 20 'cause I'm on the Gazelle and get to pedal more :D Tailwinds and dark and ice patches and a smooooth drive train mean... not enough pedaling! This a.m. it was totally toasty. I successfully put the warm layers in the wasy, told myself to wake up in the middle of the night and toss the laundry into the dryer, and did so. Confused the cat a bit.
Yesterday I was heading down Church Street and reminded myself to scoot out in the lane 'cause otehrwise cars don't move over to the other lane even if nobody's there and it gets a little cozier than 3 feet. It's cause of teh sporadically used parking (this might be a good street for the creative lining that makes it look smaller) ... it's a little hard on the psyche when I can see the lightcycle clot of cars approaching from the rear... but when that door opened out and the driver kinda jumped when he saw me... I haven't been doored yet and I would rather limit that experience to vicariosity. Today representatives of two light cycles were impelled to proceed behind me for an extra 9 seconds or so but door memories are inspirational, and whilst one revved the engine the rest didn't show outward signs of impatience. (I was impelled to recall, after gaily waving and smiling at the revver, that it would better behoove me to honestly apply the Mary Ann Bridges treatment to every soul and recognize their inherent if hidden-to-me miracle of their existence, at least until far more evidence of scalawagness.)

OH... and time to get back in to the haiku rhythm.

Scoot out in the lane
Beyond the reach of car doors
Love my new drive train!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Treehugger is looking for paid writers. Starving grad students, take note!

Got the Xtra back from Champaign Cycle with new just about everything. It's awfully smooth and quiet now! Weekend agenda: FIND the bag with the camera in it for pics.
Smooth quiet ride in at 20° (that would be ampersand d e g semicolon to get the degree symbol) . It's good to have cargo space !

Monday, January 14, 2008

Felt very good this a.m. - early to rise and knew where the laundry was. Alas, when i put my speedo in my pocket Friday (rather than leave it out on the bike) it reset entirely and now it's on km/hr. MIght just leave it there for the brainwork.
Left early enough for a gratuitous lap, but stopped at one 'cause it's the first da;y of classes and there was stress in the air. Coming down Church Street I heard sirens and two police cars came by at prayer-inspiring speed.
News-gazoo noticed what I did - lots of those Very Big Cranes in town.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Time trial today ... didn't feel as good as last month, when I took it to 20 somthing and held it and had a little at the end to push. I hoped to do the same thing only faster, only not *really* faster this tiem 'cause it was on a different setup... but I never found "the place" and spent most of the time just hoping it would end soon and going just fast enough not to feel silly about it. Wasn't as tired at the end. Ah, well.
THe question came up: which bike gets the most miles?
I perused my bikejournal spreadsheet. Since the default is the nutra, I went through those and looked for places where I'd forgotten to enter that I'd ridden something else. Even with all those possible rides switched to the Trek, I was surprised.
Trek 7500 - 2812.87 miles
Giant Nutra - 6203.27 miles
Gazelle Impala - 964.35 miles
Trek OCR - 22.2 sweet miles :D

And of course, lookin' over one's journal is an interesting journey. It was a purty good year... and, like the song ("Saying Goodbye To THe ROses") says "nothing endures the whole year long, save hope in the willing heart." Indeed, I *did* ride when it was below zero.
The unofficial 'plan' - tomorrow I get to ride as much as I want to again :D Enough of that just the commute stuff.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Now, here's a bike and a half: TrioBike

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm cruising home from Dos Reales and I hear something like singing from a pedestrian... can't make it out... but I feel compelled to echo the phrasing. Starts la-la-la and turns into "ripple."
And now he's singing out, and I think it's about letting your light shine, shine, shine. Our speed differential separates us...
Everyone should have half a margarita on a Friday night and pedal home. Or... in the words of Dave Carter:
in the redwing valley, on the injun side
upon my daddy’s pony i would ride
now i work in the city on the fact’ry line
and i sing the rock of ages in a midnight choir sometimes

in praise or lamentation, peace or desperation
any way i do, i come into the presence of the lord

in the twilight hour, when the whistle blow
out upon that shotgun street i go
johnny walker on the sidewalk askin for my change
prophesyin thunder, man he’s sleepin in the rain

in praise or lamentation, peace or desperation
any way i do, i come into the presence of the lord

hey, can you hear the trumpet blowin
hey, won’t you come up where i am
sister will you walk beside me where i’m goin
up the shadow canyon
in the pure blood of the lamb

when the midnight special come to take me home
and the toothless buzzard time gnaws down my bones
i will sail on a river in a boat of reeds
cryin, “come, oh come emmanuel, in this my hour of need”

in praise or lamentation, peace or desperation
any way i do, i come into the presence of the lord

(I remember hearing the line about the toothless buzzard on the radio and thinking.. "Dave Carter? yup...)

Another brisk grey morning... felt pretty good cruising in tho' I didn't have any urge to push (Probably because of the 15 mph headwind). On the Trek whilst the Xtracycle gets Attended To - the chain and things it touches are a tad worn. This means I've got the Trek prob'ly for the weekend and that shredded excuse for a memory wandering in the detritus between my ears doesn't dredge up anything for "january 12" so I might do a few miles, tho' January 13 says "inside time trial!!!" and I would like to go somewhere like as fast as last year's middle one, tho' I had my competitive trigger activated then.
Decided that two weeks is long enough to back off the mileage. I don't want to do more miles to do more miles... the legs and lungs aren't counting, but have expressed aversion to flaccidity. I heard 'em discussing it when they thought I wasn't listening.
Classes start Monday... a bit more traffic today.
Seems a reporter not too far away has gotten the riding bug...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm too lazy (and it's time to go home!) to figure out the direct link... but the commute by bik blog (thanx to the homeschool web page yahoo group for reminding me that linking with key words is a good idea... "click here" isn't!) ...
... it's a nifty little world-wildlife-fund about how "the world has changed," with scenes identifying the Old Way (cruising down the highway with kids standing up in the car, smoking doc talking to smoking pregnant patient)... and noting "the world has changed, so can you," and the image is business-clad dude carrying bicycle down the stairs.
Rather effective bit of glurge.
Time to ride home and see if the Oprah Effect happens in NH...

I promise, I promise, this is the last distraction, I'm getting focused RIGHT NOW.

"pledge bank" here's a snippet of Internet culture for you. Somebody sends a pledge in: "I will not drink alcohol betwenn now and X except for V.D. and St. Pats, but only if 5 otehr people will do the same." Snork. The things we do for self-motivation!

How about fear of mediocrity.... back to this project :D

Yes, it was damp this a.m. but yes, as usual, a lot of the stuff is going just North or just around us. I took the campus route (Oregon to Armory? to Hessel to Randolph to John) 'cause it was less likely to be underwater.
Country Fair was *not* flooded - perhaps they've fixed that little drainage issue 'cause I didn't see the "impassable in high water" sign, either.
Got an inquiry at Springfield and Country Fair - "where did you get your carrier?" ... gave her the Xtracycle dot com, no e... didn't get a chance to say "installed at that bike shop right behind us." Who knows, perhaps the tenth or twelfth Xtracycle is in the works, though she could, like me, find the price steep.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Solar powered bicycle light:

Found at "commute by bike" so it should catch up to its own tail over at cycle-licious soon.

Two above zero
fifteen mile per hour winds
The ski goggles rule :D

Year ago today
we lost Fritz.

Still haven't found the hand warmers but figured if I had a flat I'd lock the bike to a signpost and hop a bus. It's not as if I'm actually out *in* the tundra, after all.
Rode the Xtra because I wanted to carry the computer in. The Gazelle would have bene more fun - p'raps tomorrow. (Then it's supposed to get balmy again.) Just a light coating of snow and ice in various and sundry spots, but what the Gazelle did was remove the mental barrier that said "ACK! ACK! YOU CAN'T RIDE THERE~~~" whenever I saw snow or ice. The stuff does *not*, I repeat, reach up and yank the bicycle to the ground. The laws of physics - things will keep going in the direction they're going - still apply.
Probably thanks to the headwind my hands got warm before they got cold. I could feel the cold through the layers and worried a little because I only look hard core ... I do not like pain :D Happily things stayed toasty. Wore two pairs of socks and those digits were okay, too, though I could feel the cold sometimes. Wore my two thin balaclavas, which don't cling too well so it was a wrinkly-frozen crumple of icy condensation after a while. Going to try the thicker one tomorrow, but I kinda like the unclinginess because for a while it was frozen an inch away from my face which was about right for reflecting back some warmth but not making so much nasty frozen condensation. Besides, I like to be able to smile at people.
Ski goggles that are the right size don't block the side vision so that was nice, too.
Too lazy to peel off all the layers and get into officy clothes, tho', especially with sparse human types on campus. Even through four layers I could feel the cold on my thighs - really *want* to find that Gore-tex 'cause none of these layers block wind.
It's already up to 5 out there but I think I'll forego a lunch ride. Tapering a bit and remembering last year's moonlight frosty ride. SOme people leave a genuine vacuum in the space-time fabric when they leave, and it sucks.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Cold and snow arrived
Flurries and nineteen degrees
windy too of course!

The flurries are sticking... but it won't be a problem on the Gazelle tomorrow. Found the ski goggles. It'll be single digits so it will be a four-level day (going to really try to find the Gore-Tex bottoms today!).

Rode over to the house and it felt *good* and I wanted to keep going but I'm enforcing a day of rest. You're supposed to quit while you want more :D and my bum still feels a little bruised. Think those concrete streets whacked it with the seat a few hundred too many times, 'cause on the Gazelle when I hit a bump it feels so good to hit a different place. Aside from that there aren't cumulative effects of the week's riding. No chafing even with all those layers. Prob'ly mattered that these were pretty darned moderately paced miles especially on the snot rocket days (still a little lingering but this experience speaks well for RIDING THROUGH a cold. Unless it was allergies of course!)

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