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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I set my email to automatically feed me the mention of 'dahon' in a blog. Kinda like non-random acts of kindness ;)

... (hereby refusing to attribute all kinds of snotty righteousness upon this kind of act, as Bike Snob does but it *is* funny ;) )

Here's a little rap encouraging people to "use a bike rack!" Another nudge towards mainstream (or, says the devil's advocate, another dweeby establishment attempt at modernity and acceptance by youth).

Nature bats last in little ways, too.

NOte to self: whilst basking in personal pride for having taken the time to swab down the chain after driving through 32-degree rain/slush/slop, duly remember that *everything* got wet, so that when you decide to ride same bike 36 hours later at 20 degrees, cables will be froze-like. Wheels will simply refuse to turn.
Self: also note that if you decide that since you got the wheel rolling, you will simply apply enough effing friction to get where you need to go and melt any ice trapped in the workings, and you're calmly informing your bicyle of this fact whilst getting it rolling in the street, that other riders may happen to ride by and greet you, perhaps speculating on the sanity of someone having a spiced conversation with a bicycle.
The bike did pick up speed but I'm going to try to get it where it can warm up and melt and drain. Perhaps mine own circuits can do the same... as well as the sinuses... Note to self: hold line while launching. Between Randolph and Elm, I heard a little toot behind me. Figured I'd been busted for being disgusting, but noticed that the taxi driver had rolled down his window at Elm... was he going to call me on it? 'twas only to apologize and say that he wasn't trying to scare me, just didn't want me swerving out in front of him (tho' the occasional ice patches along the road were also grounds were holding other than a straight path).
very sunny out there (contrary to the forecast-with-caveats) ... melt! melt! melt!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chills and tears: "Please do not run me over" - that's the essay Austin Miller wrote about a year ago. He's been run over.


32 degrees
sloshing through the sleet and slime
better than the ice!


Monday, February 25, 2008

It's 33. Hoping I didn't lose this gamble riding the Xtra today, bcause whilst our good buddies at WILL said "after midnight" for the changeover, the Storm Warning says after 9 p.m. BUT I am hoping that WILL applies to here, and the Warning applies to a wider area. And besides, I can bug out early and besides, I can ride in wet snow, which it will be. And besides, right now there are only "sowers in the vicinity" (I mean showers, but sowers is kewl too ;) ) as in, the geography is steering stuff around here as usual! Huzzah! Keep it up, geography! I want to get home rubber side down...

"Bike There" on Google Maps - a petition to get that included.

At first I thought, "well, who's going to decide how to 'bike there'?" and considered the whole bike route/ bike lane/ bike path debate, and that in the overwhelming majority of locales, there ain't no established way to bike there. When I googled the map for a route from Loveland to here, even the 'avoid the highways' wasn't going to have a bicycle in mind, just a "not interstate" formula. I certainly wouldn't trust a computer generated map for where I put my dainty tyres :D
Then I figured that lots of places *do* have bike routes and that it can help the "make it mainstream!" movement an awful lot... and that even if (as I suspect) Google doesn't want to open the huge can of worms that "bike there" could open legally, that it would be a great idea if a zillion people told google that they cared about getting there by bike.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Already thinking of riding *bakc* from Loveland instead. So, if we had one of those weird green XO computers could we crank it and use it in the wilds?

Okay, I'm at least going to pretend to be a randonneur... and plot a route from here to Loveland CO and find out just how badly I couldn't afford such an adventure. What's two weeks more from work? I can make many Camtasia files with the famous "how to do direct variation" tapes...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ask for a YES vote on Senate Bill 2311 in
committee THIS WEDNESDAY. make a call to your state senator to keep the money for
bike trails and safe routes to schools. (YOu don't need advanced social skills for this;) )
If you are not sure who your senator is use this locator
Your help is needed on our state bill to improve the state's handling of
federal Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School dollars.
A big result from the bill will be more completed bike trails in

It's public comment time on the recommendations for the Bicycle Master Plan. It's the 'recommendations' that have the good stuff.

If you want to make a comment do it - they already know the public cares 'cause so many of us turned out for the earlier stuff, but reminding doesn't hurt. NEitehr would having them hear the words "be sure to make this part of a "Complete Streets" plan. We should have ways for *everybody* to get where they need to go.

Decided to check out the Speed P8 'cause it has that magic 8th speed. I don't need 24... Bought a mattress next door...

Welp, by the afternoon I figured correctly that the plows had caught up to the little surprises, so I plowed home. Got tired of plowing on Oregon and walked a bit watched a driver have trouble moving again after stopping at the four way in front of me, and turned left... then backed up and made it a three-point-turn and went back the way she came with a wave. HOwever, for the most part it was clear cruising, which I tried to do quickly 'cause cars and buses didn't want to pass me. Hoping I was doing 13 mph or so and that people didn't mind going that fast in the muck for a block.
Warm enough to have six inch icicles hanging off the headlight from the flying sludge from the trip home.

Friday, February 22, 2008

WHew! Scarcely a minute to come up for air... will post *soon* with the planning stuff asking for comments... snork... yesterday I implored the weather to be kind and snow less than predicted. Today we're getting that snow. "1-2 inches" ... only we've already gotten three and the radar would seem to indicate that we've only just begun. The cars are not happy. I'm thinkin' about that bus.

WHew! Scarcely a minute to come up for air... will post *soon* with the planning stuff asking for comments... snork... yesterday I implored the weather to be kind and snow less than predicted. Today we're getting that snow. "1-2 inches" ... only we've already gotten three and the radar would seem to indicate that we've only just begun. The cars are not happy. I'm thinkin' about that bus.

WHew! Scarcely a minute to come up for air... will post *soon* with the planning stuff asking for comments... snork... yesterday I implored the weather to be kind and snow less than predicted. Today we're getting that snow. "1-2 inches" ... only we've already gotten three and the radar would seem to indicate that we've only just begun. The cars are not happy. I'm thinkin' about that bus.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I b'lieve I *am* going to have to try to rattle the cages of oh, Trek, wiht all its spewing forth about promoting practical cycling. Turn signals, please? Oh, and think beyond "just like car signals." Bicycles sometimes need to indicate that we're going straight and not turning right.

If people are going to ride to and from work, for *most* of us, sometimes that means going home when it is dark.

If it is dark, we'd benefit from turn signals.

Even if it's not dark, in traffic there are often times when those of us who aren't professional racer types don't really want to ride with only one hand! As in, when we're negotiating a left turn!

And twice in two days I had an unpleasant interaction with a motorist that I believe might have been pleasant had the driver been sure of where I was going. Climbing up this hill on campus there's a right turn that's great Right Hook Potential - but it's a rarity. I think the reason this (okay, red sports car) driver and I were playing fake-out with each other was because a: the winds werew 25 miles an hour and b: I was leaning right 'cause I was thinking he was going to turn right... so therefore (in hindsight, I thought) he may wll have been proceeding wtih his turn because he thought I was going to turn. I ended up stopping and scowling fiercely and saying something like "learn to drive!" ... and then on the way home that same day or the next, I was getting ready to turn left onto Round Barn from Country Fair, and this driver cruised to make *his/her* left from country fair to Round Barn. I would have liked to be showing the world my directional intentions.
Off to the inside ride...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

and for a completely different twist on CamelBaks, you can get a sports bra with bladders... the "wine rack." Gosh, and I thought ductaping a beer to your leg was clever for getting into that dull commencement ceremony with something cool and refreshing. It even costs less than mine do retail... but they don't come in my size. Darn.
Oh, that's right. WHen I go out, it's to places that don't check every possible liquid container for booze... I could spike my real camelbak or my water bottle if I felt the urge ;)

Brisk and breezy today - 8 when I started with 18 mph headwinds, which are *definitely* warmer than tailwinds. What with winds and that always-on generator and ... would it be a frozen cable that means the back brake doesn't want to let go? ... the ride in took about 40 minutes and the furnace kicked in at 5:19 so even my hands never got a chance to get cold. (Theory: those 25 sit ups as the last thing before I leave help... it's a *little* hard to keep from banging my helmet on the floor but it can be done.)
Two other bicycles on the way - one being loaded onto a bus and the other ridden.
So, why *does* the "1 World 2 WHeels" blog misspell velorution? I hinted at it in my comment and didn't get an answer. Ah, well, "COming through with my grandma" is what cycling's about anyway :D

Dragging brakes and wind
Generator always on
Sweet joys of winter!

Big Eight Fahrenheit
Condensation snow abounds
Make tracks in the drifts.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Normal Commute :D

Had a major snork last night surfing tv channels. Here's this silly movie wiht a team of some sort in the locker room, getting ready to forfeit because there are two no-shows... and one of the late arrivals being hijacked by a cheerleader and that pair going off to win some cheerleading contest - except their uniforms say "Donkeys," so I don't change channels, and then Lance Armstrong is talking to the *other* no-show in such a parody of "we were just going to give up when..." films. I b'lieve it was Dodgeball... no, it didn't hold my attention past the ad break but it was a great clip.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The part of me that detaches from the horrific carnage at Northern Illinois almost immediately wondered "what meds was he on?" and "what did he do online?"
How many people in different places in the world experience this regularly? And how detached are the 'deciders' executing those scenarios in the name of what?
COuld it be that when leaders preach and practice pre-emptive violence as a solution to fear, that even if the feared peoples are kept at bay, the poisonous attitude seeps back into their own culture and erupts?
Or are they actually remote from each other... since the world of political leaders and the world of the likes of graduate students aren't exactly intertwined?
Such are the abstractions. THe grim realities need to be faced and shouldered. How will these newly-fueled agonies manifest themselves?
WHen springtime comes and, as that principal used to note, the "sap rises," will we channel hope or despair into the mass movements that are sure to arise?
Here's to hope. It definitely has a history of better results.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

AVis has gone and done it! "No wonder Avis is your other car." No overt green message or 'cut back' message (good marketing in this 'NEVER MAKE A SACRIFICE' era), but the car pining for its owner who is going to leave it for Avis on that trip is an older, smaller car.

Took the Speed D7 out for a real spin - 12 miles. Soon as I was out of the parking lot I lost the "it's smaller" sensation and really enjoyed how its teensy tinesy wheels squirted out from intersections. It cranked so nicely over the Kirby overpass and got the doubletakes from passersby. It was happy charging into the wind. It was enough like the position on the red bike - or perhasp it was just hte texture - that several times I automatically tried to twist the grip back onto the handlebars 'cause it always works out on the Giant.
Everything was peachy until I turned for the last three miles home. That sixth and seventh gear were just like the tippy top gears in the middle chain ring... making the same funky clatterings. There was also an extra vibration at maximum load.
I got back and asked "where's the *big* chain ring?" and we went to SHeldon Brown's website to discern gear inches and that, in fact, I had many fewer inches than the 7500 FX. We looked at bigger chain ring effects... and then I remembered that I wouldn't mind higher RPM if I had toe clips.
What it boils down to, though, is how much would a better bike be worth? OUt on the open road... I wanted POWer. I wouldn't have cared in town... welp, except what I didn't like at all was that the high gear didn't seem happy to be there. It seemed to help to twist the grip past the click point. Must email accordingly.
So. I like the bike lots and lots... and it could be a nice "fling" bike ... but maybe I want something a little more serious ;)

Stand aside, Tupperware... people are having EcoMom Parties. Seems it's a palliative, at least, for ecoanxiety.

Hmmm... I'm a *little* surprised that it's not product oriented ( there's a marketing idea, triballife! Perhaps that's just because that's what it's being compared to... here's the thing - you need to spin the concept to the local culture. In waht cultural contexts do people gather for synergistic energy to make lifestyle changes? Hmmm... if one wanted to make a cultural change, could one find those venues and infiltrate? THose Wednesday religious gatherings in the South ... Weight Watchers... hmmm...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You can rent dahons from your traveling quarters in London :D So sayeth treehugger!

So... the Republicans argue over who's "more conservative" as a positive thing. Hmmm... Will the democrats claim to be more... progressive? than the other?

Rode Xtra today - figure I should be nice to those poor studs and not drag them over clean pavement, even though the forecast for later in the day is slightly dubious. Oh, and I *do* like being able to get up to 17 mph here and there.

Creating bicycle culture at college: Ripon College is giving bicycles to freshman who don't bring cars. I wanna go back to collij :D

Besides being a nifty idea, the idea that Detroit News would consider this worth printing says something. (Now, it could say that some computerized bot deemed it had enough of certain key words to spew it forward... could bicycling be rising on the list of 'key words' for AP?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This picture from Richmond from my visually and verbally creative sister-in-law just has to be set out big enough to see some of the detail, and even that doesn't do it justice. I'll get it over on the template where it'll have to shrink some. It's got so many little thingies a practical cyclist needs. It's just a picture I can crawl into and around (but some people have a gift for taking pictures like that...) Up close there are more little twist ties and bungies than you can shake a spoke at!

Rode the Xtra today so I can take clothing home and 'cause I felt like it, even though the dusting of snow I requested was pelting me with teensy ice crystals the whole way. Note to self: ski goggles would have been really nice for that, and last night when it was 17 degrees; no need to wait for the single digits. Still, once I warmed up, those parts warmed up, too. 17 degrees.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Okay, I decided to cruise generic 'web stuff by the bicycle industry'to compare the various brands' contributions to the world wide web. It's kinda fun. So far most of 'em *try* to have something "just for women" with varying degrees of interest.

I found the winners to the 'innovate or die' contest - it is a pedal-powered water-filtration-and-transportation device. Elegant use of plastic. for the youtube version.

Coupla links that have been sent my way today:
Cyclist and racer designs bikes for kids with disabilities
has a video and an article about a racer who's designed different ways to make bicycles for two accessible to people with disabilities (the diversely-abled :) )
Then This article from theUK suggests that "Two senior Church of England Bishops have called on people to give up carbon rather than chocolate for Lent." Now, their idea of "giving up" carbon is... wow... "This year they will be asked to think about their own carbon footprint and follow a few simple steps designed to help cut CO2 emissions. They include:

* avoiding plastic bags
* giving the dishwasher a day off
* insulating the hot water tank
* checking the house for drafts with a ribbon and buying draught excluders

Those taking part in the Carbon Fast will be asked to remove one lightbulb from a prominent place in the home and live without it for 40 days. On the final days of the Fast they will be asked to replace it with a low-energy bulb which over its lifetime will save 60kg of carbon dioxide per year and up to £60."

Truly 'avoiding' plastic bags for 40 days and making that a habit would be a significant impact, I suppose ;) Gives me a little parochial pride, though, that oiur local UU's promote carbonless travel to your place of worship and other utterly radical things.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Jill in Alaska

She notes that it really is hard to ride 36 miles in 6 degrees at five degrees, being as one averages 9 mph. Finally, someone who understands :D Her tires are phat, dudes.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Now here's one that will either flop or fly.
"INsulate it yourself." Tuck whatever you want into the insulation pockets in the tradition of stuffing newspapers & leaves... hey, it's "only: $99 from merrell... found it on the REI site (from Grist ) Hmmm... newspapers in a $99 jacket... better be some nicely engineered seams, or something...

A Speed D7 is being shipped this way to Champaign Cycle . I am also thinking about the Mu P8 'cause I want to be able to do, oh, a century if I feel like it, wherever, whenever... and I can't remember which bike the site said that there were fenders on the picture but that was for Europe, not USA. I like fenders and racks tho' from a few blog posts the rack doesn't hold a mess of stuff.

Of course, I have every intention of seeing how nicely it will fit on the saddlebags of the Xtra.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Obit for Sheldon.

It's Ash Wednesday, time to revisit Bicycling as a Lenten Practice for a why and Friends don't let Friends Drive for how...

Very wet - though I didn't have to pedal through pedal-deep ponds like last night. Oh, and I got hit in the parking lot... but at such a near-stop that though it knocked that little plastic piece off the back of the Gazelle, it didn't even nudge me. The driver did stop and I made a point of leaning over to make it really, really obvious that I was getting his license plate - even though I had already memorized it ten minutes before when the same guy had passed unnecessarily close at the entrance to the college. THere's a two lane entrance and most folks, him included, make an almost immediate left turn. (Google doesn't have an aero shot of these boonies ) So it struck me as notable when this guy hugged close to me and *then* cut over to make his left... so I snagged his lice3nse and considered getting one of our "warning" fliers (it's a pdf linked partway down the page) and filling it out and I was making up wording to add like "two of these warnings will mean your license information is added to the KNown Aggressive Drivers list" - and it would, it would be *my* personal known aggressive drivers list... and I pulled into my parking lot where because it was five *after* nine people were frantically groping for the parking spaces and there he is... and oops I was a digit off on that license, it was X85 not X75 7323... and I'm cruising through and he clips me!
So... after I've made that obvious mental snapshot, window rolls down, "you okay?" "Yes, I'm fine but you need to stop driving so closely to bicyclists! What were you trying to do?"
"What flew off?"
(I locate the plastic thing which I'm thinking prob'ly didn't fly off my bike... but it's the only debris right there and it turns out it did).
"I had already gotten your license plate out there coming in... I couldn't understand you driving so close to me when you were making a left turn anyway. I was thinking you didn't like bicyclists!"
"I'm just trying to get a parking spot. I"m sorry."
"I know how that is. Have yourself a reasonable day and don't drive so close to people!"

(Then I described this to my office mate who at 9:15 had begun to get concerned... and I noted that he prob'ly assumes I'm a student... and she noted that he might get a big surprise if he mentioned in a class, say a Math class that he had hit a bicyclist, 'cause there might be five people rising up saying "You hit SIOUX ?!?!?!?" ... snork...)

But what I was *going* to say about this a.m.'s ride was that like last night I was wafting in acute doldrums (hey, they're my doldrums so even if that's an oxymoron I'm allowed) and... the sensation of the 35-degree rain starting to leak through the assorted places just leaked happiness into my being. Maybe great-grandma really *was* a penguin.

And I still might stick a warning on that car.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

(from my other blog but I gotta share)

My hero Britney ! Taking folding sheets to higher levels :D

Thick fog last night - really just clouds sitting on us 'cause where there was snow the warm air was over it and the wind blew and you could see the condensation swirling around... that was after most of it had melted so it was coming off the piles in the parking lot. It was pretty much like special effects - same deal as dry ice but cheaper.
Today is supposed to be rainy ... but right now, it's 8 degrees colder than the hour-by-hour so I am grabbing that silly truck Gazelle on the grounds that if it chills faster, that rain could turn into something else.
Figured out lock laces. Got the Big HOnkin LIght on. Also had the helmet blinkie and one $2.00 string of LEDs and another blinkie on the back. WHen it was locked-in fog I fished out that economy yellow arrow light but by the time chorus let out things were just swirly... glad to have the Xtra 'cause I wanted to go fast 'cause of tha tlittle line of t-storms headed our way. At ORegon & Race a paternal fellow in a truck announces. "Nice lights. Very nice lights." Okay, borderline sanctimonious... I could hear the "unlike those other sinners out there!" Snork... but I'd seen two of 'em already, swirly silhouettes skirting the shadows.
Time to vote!

Monday, February 04, 2008

We lost Sheldon Brown. Sadness.

Foggy today - damp warmth coming in over cold snow = midair condensation. Rode the Xtra with the intent of figuring out how to use the lock laces to hold the big honkin' light on. Also need to figure out the precise logistics of taking off that steel plate and givin' it something to keep it from simply rusting into oblivion. I am thinking to prime and paint it (I got paint and primer a few years ago with the unrealized intention of turning my black Schwinn Racer into a Faux Trek One Bovine Design - giving it cow markings and udders and maybe road apples to drop from the baskets). Assume that doesn't make it too much less magnetic, especially if I figure out those lock laces. And I need to figure out where I put the rest of the pieces parts to the power grips.... but it was nice on the Xtra - much swifter than the Gazelle.
A few lousy drainage spots along the way (and one poor soul on the sidewalks, up to his ankles walking his bike through).

Universal Design lost ground with this storm, though. Yesterday I noticed that yes, the walks at the U have been so nicely cleared... oh, but the path goes straight to the curb - as in the one that drops off. Forget the incredible effort (SARCASM HERE) it would have taken to clear the cut curb at the three spots I rode by. Did it save the person... a minute?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Here's a tax I could get into: The NY TIMes says that in Ireland plastic bag use has dropped precipitously (94%) since they tacked a 33 cent tax on each one (with lots of publicity and awareness ahead of time).
Sounds like a good St. Patrick's day theme...

"freezing fog" in the forecast today, but it looks okay out there. I was going to do the Xtra but I think I'll stick to Studly.
Just spent ten minutes on the Virginia Gov't sit that it would **seem** will link me up to that little bank account that lost me between my moves and the bank's merges. Gosh and golly, the account in question is just big enough to pay for a Dahon *and* storm doors...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Illini CHill today! about 50 or 60 of us... not as many as last year and the weather was much better. (Last year I wasn't there.) The Gazelle was touigh to push around and I was nearly the caboose on the way out ... only because a couple of folks got a late start... and brought up the rear on the way back. That was, of course, ahead of the dozen or so folks who went out 3 miles and found things a tad too icy and turned around. I was, I'm afraid, the dabbing queen, much to the despair I am sure of the sag van behind us crawlin' along. And that with studs. The fast folks... took abouit 45 minutes to get out to Royal, then streaked around the long route and back.
It's good to be tired, and I'm kinda glad the speedometer doesn't work at all. I have a feeling I was going about 9 mph. Got home in time to catch some of Mary Cliff, though. LIttle Mardi Gras music, some civil rights tunes... kinda puts life in perspective. (But...)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Chill registration is 6;30-9:30. So ... reckon I'll get out as soon as I'm able, 'cause breakfast will be waiting for me!

So... thinking Dahons... Mu p8 or Speed D7? Former is more 'spensive but has things like adjustable handlebars so I can be "sporty" or "comfortable." And it's lighter. Latter is set up for commuting.

Took the 5W Green out to Country Fair & Springfield. Chatted with the Oregonian who was standing on the bench at the bus stop. She got here in July and finds the climate somewhat intemperate. Also finds it hard to get to the fitness center at Lincoln Square - "it's always too hot or too cold or..." ... very much a "I know I should, but..." scene. These are the folks to try to inspire to get on a bike, eh? Because it is so addictively fun whereas the gym isn't... tho' I was talking more in terms of "I started out just riding in on sunny days when I was part-time."
Which, I suppose, may be the key - to start in small fun doses instead of "Get Thee INto Shape Quickly!" doses, which the body resists returning to (welp, at least mine does).
Got the bike. ROde it back. I am the dabba dabba queen ... musta walked a spell at least five times, but *sometimes* I convinced myself that just a little sliding was not the end of the world, since I have 35 mm and studs to mush around on. Got passed by a guy on a basketed bike with regular tires (but it *was* on a clear campus street). Drivers were nice. It is a good thing to feel that scary feeling like the first time you're riding a bike once in a while in life. Where you have to trust your motion in balance even though you would much rather stop and balance, stop and balance. Sometimes we have to cross streams and we need the momentum of motion and there isn't room on the rocks to put both feet down. If you try to, *that's* when you fall.
Of course, if you're a klutz you might just fall anyway.
Now, when does that Illini CHill start?
State street was nasty by the way, but I still think Randolph will be the way to get to Papa George's tonight... but Green Street is *awfully* tempting.

Instincts were right. U of I still open but Parkland closed (so it's not like last year's Valentine's Day storm - and it isn't. It's basically over now, not still 30mph winds!)
So I'll get to have my very firstest Ride On The Bus today to head out and retrieve the bicycle from Champaign Cycle - and peruse that "inventory reduction" list to see if anything matches my needs. Alas, the assorted gloves are too small...

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