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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I believe these are the abandoned bikes to be picked up andsorted thru Friday (I won't be there to help :( ). Lots of bikes!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Woke up to Ed Kieser saying (no kidding!) that if I were heading to the west, say the eastern mountains of Colorado, that it will be quite warm and even hot there. I've heard of personalized radio but that's ridiculous - I *am* heading out to Colorado tomorrow.
Yesterday on LM_NET a librarian asked about comments on her blog that seemed to be glorified spam... I suggested delete it, and gosh, today I got some of my own. Don't people realize that form letters have their very own taste and smell? Yes, it's related to my blog but I ain't buyin' it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Hey!!! THe widget works!!!

I went to the Trek website just 'cause there's a link... and to check out the "women who ride" blogs. No real surprise that they're not linked to from anywhere I went, including the "Trek life blogs" link. That would require considering those blogs as, um, "real" bicycling blogs, not just some offshoot marketing thing.

Really did wake up in time to go out and do 20 miles before the Saunter. Then after the saunter I took the folder out to test its calibration on those grid roads - seems pretty accurate. Managed to get in 67 miles in the mix - and enough cans so I think I have a dollar's worth.
H - 1.5 right now... Howard rode 8.7 miles yesterday to the memorial service for a bike advocate in Fort Collins who got killed by a drunk driver. (The driver has been arrested. Seems there have only been four bicycle fatalities in ten years in Fort Collins - and that's not because nobody rides a bike. Makes me want to put speed bumps everywhere so nobody wants to drive and so drunk people will throw up.
Leaving for COlorado Wednesday unless I get so packed and prepared that I decide ot go a day earlier. Guess I'll go to my house and get htat process going :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Did a can cruise. Snagged 20 of 'em - and saw a big ol' plastic bucket and thought, "A person can always use a big ol' plastic bucket" - except this one still had its contents, except for the three or four 3-inch chlorine tablets that were on the ground next to it, killing hte grass rather thoroughly. I rode the five-mile loop around (confirming that yes, that half mile of Old CHurch Rd. East of Philo is still totally nasty gravel) and then put the stuff on the bike. We'll see just how bleached the saddlebags get. Alas, I am reasonably sure that I touched enough of the stuff and touched my clothing that that particular black blouse will have bizarre and conspicuous white streaks after its next wash. I should hve changed to a cylcing t-shirt :(

I suppose now I'm ready for whatever natural disaster would mean I needed to purify water...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

another urban homestead tangential link (I'm not lookin' for 'em, but they keep plopping by):

(and I am *not* going to raise chickens. I am allergic to feathers and it would trigger an entropy field the likes of which the planet cannot handle.)

And even more mainstream media going xtracycle at (which is so ad-infested I generally don't bother going there). This fella from D.C. went the Xtracycle route and even got the blender :)

Maps are here!!In Urbana

Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine
Urbana Public Works
Urbana Free Library
Strawberry Fields
Durst Cycle and Fitness, University Avenue
Urbana Business Association Office in Downtown Urbana
Urbana Park District: Phillips Center, Nature Center, Administration Offices, and Maintenance Building
IMC (coming soon)
theBikeProject (coming soon)

In Champaign

Champaign City Building
Champaign Police Department (coming soon)
Champaign Public Library (information desk, 2nd Floor)
Champaign Public Library Douglass Branch (coming soon) and the Bookmobile
Durst Cycle and Fitness, S. Mattis
Champaign Cycle
Fiesta Café (at the intersection of the1st Street Bike lanes and White Street)

In Champaign CampusTown

That's Rentertainment

"Time for a little fluff, because my ACHING legs will not allow me to do anything of substance. I am trying my very hardest to be one of those eco commuting biking chicks. For lots of reasons. I'm just fed up with the whole gas thing. Traffic in Seattle makes me homicidal. Parking makes me omnicidal (want to kill everything, not just people.) And, frankly, I'm vain as can be and want the hot bod that all that biking will give me. So, here's some insight into being a successful cycling executive - specifically a CHICK."
From Seattlepi .
I have to agree that what firmly plants some folks in the "cycling is a wonderful concept but beyond me" camp is the fundamental fear of Looking Silly - or of Being NOticeably Different ... or being categorized as being in an "outlier" social group. (Of course, one person's outlier is another person's in group...)
Who knows, enough press like that and helmet hair could be the new "got milk" moustache :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From today's "Food for thought" that one of our English professors sends out... this is formal and tastes of testosterone and I still like it... it doesn't necessarily say it's a *good* thing ot be brave...

Let Each Man Remember

There is a terrible hour in the early morning
When men awake and look on the day that brings
The hateful adventure, approaching with no less certainty
Than the light that grows, the untroubled bird that sings.

It does not matter what we have to consider,
Whether the difficult word, or the surgeon’s knife,
The last silver goblet to pawn, or the fatal letter,
Or the prospect of going on with a particular life.

The point is, they rise; always they seem to have risen
(They always will rise, I suppose) by courage alone.
Somehow, by this or by that, they engender courage,
Courage bred in flesh that is sick to the bone.

Each in his fashion, they compass their set intent
To rout the reluctant sword from the gripping sheath,
By thinking, perhaps, upon the Blessed Sacrament,
Or perhaps by coffee, or perhaps by gritted teeth.

It is indisputable that some turn solemn or savage,
While others have found it serves them best to be glib,
When they inwardly lean and listen, listen for courage,
That bitter and curious thing beneath the rib.

With nothing to gain, perhaps, and no sane reason
To put up a fight, they grip and hang by the thread,
As fierce and still as a swinging threatened spider.
They are too brave to say, It is simpler to be dead.

Let each man remember, who opens his eyes to that morning,
How many men have braced them to meet the light,
And pious or ribald, one way or another, how many
Will smile in its face, when he is at peace in the night.

--Josephine Jacobsen (from In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems, John Hopkins Press, 1995)

Somebody else has finally said it: "Cars are the new smoking." Okay, it's wishful thinking - and smoking's grip is a different sort - but I've always found them similar and when folks who didn't like restaurant bans for smoking would say "If you ban smoking you should ban driving," I'd say "sounds good to me!" (Okay, it never happened. THe former was said, but not to me, so I couldn't answer directly.)

Time to prepare for that CO trip. What about those blender accessories I thought I had plenty of time to order and get delivered?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Much rain last night - and much wind, too. Lots of sticks to dodge in the roads and a fair number of bigger things along the side. Roof didn't actually drip yet. Must call roof docs :)

"Garden Girl" site came up when I clicked my "stumble" button. Interesting concept - keep those chickens and your vegetable beds together so tilling and fertilizing happen... less cleanup, less work.

I"m allergic to feathers. My garden is glorious... but then I figure that nothing's been grown in that ground to deplete it. Next year, though, legumes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh, dear. Radar says we could be on a train of storms, and I didn't get that call to the roofers in... welp, nothing is actually dripping yet...

If this one doesn't set off your bloviated pomposity meter, nothing will ... one of these years I'll figure out how to put a "radio voice" into my writing, eh?

Yea, my rain luck didn't apply this a.m, though it would have if I'd not overslept, 'cause fifteen minutes earlier woulda done it. The storms *did* at least abate to just rain, not "severe thunderstorms."
Then on the way home stopped at WEFT for "life in the bike lane." And I'd wondered if there would be dead air. SNork. More like diarrhea of the mouth :) I'd practiced a "radio voice" on the drive back from MD (hey, it's good for a few miles!) ... and sometimes I could carry that but usually it was the "just a little nervous and trying to anticipate" voice.
If I'm back next week and if it's online as well as on the air, hey, I'll post it 'cause it could be call-in. It would be 6-7 central time... welp, it will be any way, whehter or not I'm the guest!
Of course afterwards I thought of a couple of directions I really wanted to go in... but at least they were directions I thought of before hadn but forgot. I got in the stuff I wanted to get in, like the MAPS of the cycling route, the "selective attention" and lane position information, and the League of Illinois Bicyclists being a worhty org.
But in trying to explain why cycling was a lifestyle change but in a good way, not a "dang it, I *sholud* be doing this, I have to make myself" way... I didn't get to the part about getting back to nature. Okay, two things. Yes, I did get to posing the equestion "is this reason you're giving for not cycling a *reason* that you are open to solution for, or an excuse ... and any one will do?"
But I didn't get to the part where... okay, is your "elephant in the living room" - the *real* reason that you can't admit to - simply that you really are, honestly, simply afraid you'll get run over?
Welp, I'm going to go inside and ponder that... beause if I stay out where where the connection is live I will be devoured.

... pondering that (cut and paste quick! before the 'squitoes find me again)
Pondering that!
I think that the main reason most people don't want to ride their bikes more is that, in fact, they are afraid that they shall be hit by a car and killed or crippled. Or perhaps they're worried that they're more vulnerable to some kind of robbery or assault.
The fact is that the traffic stuff iss a real risk.
The fact is that it requires either denial, foolishness or courage to get on a bike and get on the road.
To me, the benefits of cycling include having to be brave and thoughtful. There are two reasons I embrace the risk.
Many people seek “back to nature” experiences, often with risk involved, where we're forced to think on our feet and what we do actually matters. We revel in it; we're 'More alert' and we notice things we don't notice in day to day life.
I don't know, maybe just getting in nature activates things so it doesn't have to be increased risk for the same hormones to take over – but if that's the case, then I think after a while it doesn't work. Thus people go out and do incredibly stupid things in nature and expect to be rescued...
When I am out on my bike, I am IN nature. It's a different scenario of nature; instead of mosquitoes or storms or bears or avalanches ... it's ... mosquitoes or storms or squirrels or gravel or traffic. Just as if I were camping, I have to plan and have the right gear and think on my feet and think for myself. I have to be more alert and I have to notice things, and I learn all kinds of tricks... and I embrace it because that's living.
And just as when we're out in nature, or facing wild weather, it can bring out the best in community spirit – being on the bike can do the same thing. (It can bring out the worst, too. We have more influence on which one than we think. That would be another essay. Perhaps I shall write a book of Bicycling Homilies.)
Practically speaking, all that practice being brave and alert carries over to all the risks I don't think about in life. Therefore, I conclude that the increase in risk while I'm riding leads to a decrease in risk in all other aspects, leading to a net decrease in risk, especially if factoring in the other health benefits of cycling.
The other reason I do it is a more political/spiritual one. Yea, out on my bike... at any second, a moron in a car in a moment's attention can ruin my life.
I can sit in my padded comfort and sympathize with the people all over this weary world who are many-fold times more vulnerable to risks they have no control over. IN fact, many of those risks are from wars and pestilences that, welp, if we're honest... my lifestyle and my country's politics contributes to. People will ride 150 miles “to raise money” for a cause. Why not just beg for the dollars? Somehow it's better if we do something... People will spend the night in a cardboard box “in solidarity” with the homeless, and it does give at least a small insight into what cardboard feels like... welp, when I'm the little thing on a bicycle and the big cars are whizzing by and I am at their mercy, I lift all vulnerable beings in prayer or something kin to it. All the folks who have to suck up to somebody, no matter what, because of the (perceived or real) control that person has over their lives... and I think there is value in learning to be humble and cultivating honest humility including towards oppressors; The most raging moron out there bein' one of God's children.
Then there's that other angle. By getting out there in my vulnerability, it is sometimes excruciatingly clear just how much horrendous local and world-wide carnage is, honestly, caused by our dependence on the automobile. Slavery sucks – but it's very, very hard to shake. When slavery was part of our lifestyle it was very hard to get people to perceive its inherent evil. We'd have to accuse ourselves (and then forgive?!? and then who *else * would we have to forgive, for what???) – not to mention generations of people we have been loyal to. Most of us can't do it. Talk about risk – the folks at the forefront of those kinds of moral sea change usually pay the price with their their livelihoods, if not lives. But sometimes when I'm riding I almost feel willing to answer that call if it came.
And slavery is just has hard to shake if you're the slave... think for ourselves? Figure OUT what to do without a car? Without this dependence that so happily dictates our priorities?


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Trek "go by bike" challenge...
... I bet CHampaign-Urbana could get their attention if enough of us put our little zip codes in there - our Per Capita Commuting is reasonably good. Of course, I don't need a 7.2 in my fleet, but I could find it a home...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Have rental car. About to take off for Maryland and its crabs.

Not sure anything would work on days like today but here's a little blurb on sweat-free cycling

It's odd to be in a car. (Um, no, I'm not typing this in the car ;) )

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The spokelits are staying lit now.

They're very big and bright - lots of light for the energy. At this point I'm thinkin' they're worth the seven bucks apiece, though I'll want some night riding when there's traffic and that doesn't happen 'round here in the summer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tried the "spokelits" first time.

It was rather difficult to get the red one out of "try me" mode, so it kept going off after X seconds. I *think* I have got it there now, but I"m not sure.

Took a good two *minutes* to install - but only because I had to figure out how to nestle them into those spokes. The're just wedged in, and it probably *Does* matter whether you get them right or not. I have my special skill for getting things upside down and backwards - but I also know the rules and put them on so that the spokes pushed the little wings one way adn the main spoke the middle was on went the other way. (Picture will come - except alas, my flogging camera seems to be doing like the other one and killing batteries. I changed 'em on Friday's trip and these are dead already and they're the ultra-long 'just for elecronic' ones.)

SPokelits were at my doorstep last night. Opened the box this morning. Seems installation is simply shoving them on and wedging them up into the spokes because the plastic is thick and flexible (sort of like what I'd expect in swimming flippers). First thoughts: how fast do they get brittle? If I shove too hard, will those spokes get stressed?

A reference to them on Team Estrogen said "wouldn't put red on the front." Hmmm... I'm not sure that matters one whit, especially on a spoke and when I've got a headlight. Don't think folks will confuse my direction... but it's worth considering.

In emails to the company, of course I suggested turn signals :-)


Fourth of July Parade Picture :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008


... and White HEath... if you click on the image and get a bigger one you can see the ridge of cloud up in the sky that created enough shade to keep me from melting. It's where the fine white-heathens come from... some of the finer ones gone to Fiddler's Green...
and if you click on who posted that bit about Fiddler's Green you will get the page with the motto: "Get it off me." Now, there's a motto. And the caption: "...vow to never found and administrate a collaboratively filtered database again. "


Ivesdale Post Office and Water Tower. You can almost tell it's hot :)


Next Pic - Paul from Atwood. I think like me he was just "out for a ride." Said a group of Amish guys had called him 'cause they were going to take a bike trip to California and seems that night they were coming by his place to see his slides from his 10,000 mile trip, and hey, he'd only seen 'em once. And that they'd be riding, no doubt, in their reg'lar clothes and Amish hats... he invited me - said "just go to Atwood and ask for Paul, they'll tell you." (Especially since I'd say "I met him on my bike." But I'd be on mine. They'd know.)
Get out and ride - it's how you meet people :)


Here's the preliminary pic to describe lots of my double metric yesterday. Started out about 6:30 without eating enough... but I tossed the rest of the bagel with cheese into the bag.
Carrie and I cruised down 900 (Duncan) South towards tolono and turned East at 800. At First Street she went north and I went South. I aimed for Pesotum from the East. I found some circles with dashes in 'em a la a bike route for somebody so I followed that out of Pesotum and yup, it aimed me towards Sadorus. I went West where it went East, getting a little warm... had some good Gatorade/tea in the bottle and a camelbak half full so I was nicely hydrated. However, heat simply and totally removes my ability to eat.
Got to Ivesdale ... thought about the Blarney Stone but decided to munch on my bagel instead adn drink. I'd seen a fellow on a bike as I pulled down Main Street ... as I munched he reappeared and asked if I knew where I was going... we chatted for a bit. It was Paul from Atwood who I suspect is the fellow who's been written up in the News-Gazette for some of his bicycling adventures, including getting creamed by a driver in the C-U area.
I aimed at Bement... saw INterstate and figured I could count on food... at a gas station there I got some "sweet and salty" trail mix but... no nuts... so I got nuts, too. Nice thing about nuts is you don't feel like you're eating, really... and I was a little boosted by the break and the a.c., but at 40-some miles I was telling myself to pay attention to the heat 'cause I was pretty far away from anything.
I'd planned a direct shot to Monticello on the east side of 105 ... but I think I was looking at a different chunk of map so it didn't happen. I went a few miles further west than I'd intended but operated on hope and vague memories that there weren't endless stretches of nothing... but I got to where "if there isn't a way north in the next three miles I'm turning around." Two miles later, trees and water, and North I aimed... and I was happy to see a slightly faded white arrow of the Peter Davis sort so I knew I was on the Allerton Park route ... and there was the MOnticello water tower and the roads were freshly paved and the wind was behind me.
Pulled into MOnticello and rode around the block three times before finding the Brown Bag ... yea, I was hot. Line was long so I could cool off and contemplate the menu :) Only ate 5/8 of that bagel... did I mention what happens to my appetite? and a bottle of Ginger Ale... poured the half-tea-half-lemonade into the Gatorade bottle and went outside and ... BLACK clouds to the west. Welp, whatever... they weren't close enough to merit bailing so I figured i might get wet.
SNork... I've seen the storms fall apart as they cross the county line on radar - I got to watch 'em just stay piled up behind me for pretty much the rest of the ride. White Heath and then ... yes, it was cooler and I felt lots better, and I still had CUAP brochures to pick up at Office Depot so I went there via Mahomet (but didn't pause at Casey's... some of the clouds were leaking over and I could see a *ferocious* cell to the north with some amazing cloud-to-ground lightning every four minutes or so). The miles down Market Street from Hensley SUCKED. Especially since I wanted to get to 126 and I was only at 100, I should have cut further east and then back at Olympian. Doing the "proper lane position" worked for everybody but the FedEx truck which was too close for comfort, but no, I don't like when cars are backin' up behind me ... lots more outgoing than incoming traffic.
It was drizzling at Office Depot but happliy not enough to get drivers doing the "oh, no, it's raining, so I can't be expected to see everything!" thing, and tho' it was 4:30 and there was more traffic, it wasn't too bad.
Now the sky was totally ominous to the South, though, so with 12 mile to go I didn't go six miles South but did things like drop off some brochures, take the long way to the grocery store for some Fat Tire "enlightend black ale" ... and take that pic in the Schnuck's parking lot because the storm (of course!) stayed to the South.
Not so this a.m. as storms rocked on in... and yea, I better get out to Parkland if I"m gonna do that before the skies liven up again.
COuld I do 300 K? It wouldn't have been fun this time. P'raps with company, more food earlier, cooler weather ... oh, and the blue bike which I am pretty sure would be 2 mph faster all around.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

wlp, actually it seems none of those softwares will work. So I do have to do some realignment with the karma...
Swapped for the Xtracycle at the shop. Oh my!!! the sound of nice bearings... should have taken a picture of the old ones.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Welp, the weather yesterday meant I left in a hurry.
That meant I left my fanny pack in the loo.
That meant public safety called and I went to get it. (Note: the cleaning crew goes in just after 5. That's why they'e found my fanny pack 3 times. They recognize it now...)
I ducked into the bookstore.
Windows is $85 for the educational version.
Last night I *didn't* install the $140 one because... I didn't go get my puter 'cause it was raining.
Even with restocking fees, I'll be ahead.

Good rain!

Got to ride upstream last night. Yea, I got caught in the downpour and subsequent flash flooding. Fortunately I got past the formerly bad-draining Country Fair spot (which still backs up *some* but not as it once did - I'd seen 'em working in that area... this tiem it took, hooray!) but at Round Barn ... welp, I ducked into IGA for a bit until things receded. Plowing up a slight grade in five inches of water flowing quickly towards me on 20 inch tires is interesting.
Then (of course ;)) things abated for long enough for me to get *almost* home ... and I was inside before the lightning got crunchy.
On the very last stretch on Anderson I was passed by a light blue not-too-recent sedan, 779 1986 or 1987, I do believe, who not only passed within inches of my delicate self (and I *did* have the blazing blinky goin' in back and was visible) but when I gave the three-finger (as in "three - three feet") slowed just a tad as if deciding whether to escalate. I went past my abode on the grounds that I didn't want to give that information away... and realized its abode was probably nearby since Anderson isn't that much of an artery.
Of course, other drivers were going out of their way to be cautious, as the weather prescribed.
Hopefully driving through that cleansed my karma from the two doses of ugly I dished out at work... that poor fellow who I put through half an hour of "orientation" stuff before figuring out he was there for math (and I was wondering about his attitude...) and... those words about the bad coding to the tech guy... doesn't matter, you don't say "bad code" to a tech guy unless you're asking for tissues ;)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

("spoiler" - nothing bad happened ;) )

Note to self: *before* it's dusk, jsut make the stop and get all thelights going. Otherwise one can slip into "well, I'm *almost* home... it's still dusk..."

Another local guy posted that he notices people give more room when he's wearing a hi-viz vest (and I'm hearing hi-viz is showing up in the mainstream now - "the new black" ) ... welp, they drive like they don't see you if all you've got is one little string of Christmas lights going. So that guy at the foour-way stop who stopped and then proceeded... welp, from his apologetic gesture I surmise he didn't see me.

Will get that ductape out and stick that light on the Folder. SHould get to pick up the big one today.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Did some looking at a 200K "daisy" ride for Friday. Welp, it will be a two-loop daisy - the smaller one being 38 something miles and a basic "Sidney, Block Philo Tolono" not quite loop 'cause it goes in to Windsor and Duncan where a person could sdo espresso royale or somehting.
The next big loop does Sadorus and Ivesdale and MOnticello before cutting back oh, as far as Bondville Road. Sigh. Dunno why but I *am* thinking "what are the randonneur rules about this?" so I didn't include "easy to take a short cut" stuff. So a person could cut back there... or go on up to Mahomet and then ... oh, I forget :) Yes, (
) up to Fisher (a hypothetical 'checkpoint') and then East... but remembering the Rottweiler, *not* to Thomasboro. Just back South to LEverett Road and then East to the wonderful 1900... then South to HOmer Lake road and in. That would be 92 miles. So a total of 130.
Of course, it could turn into close to 300K if we went down to Allerton Park... Yea, I figured that route out too. Now I need to compare it to the IDOT bicycle maps ... and get those trail mix ingredients!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Welp, it's time to progress from a hypothesis to a theory.
Five times since May I have replaced tubes on the front wheel of my Xtracycle. First time: since I'd tried to feed my shoe to the tire and the fender had chewed it up, I replaced it. Yes, it was holding air, but in something like four places layers were flapping in the breeze.
This meant the tube was still peachy. So, I considered it "partially inflated" as recommended by the Directions For Fixing Flats, tho' I let all the air out I could through the valve.
Twice, that time, I got the tire on with great effort and fervor and leaving it near the halogen light to get warm... and both times sacrificed the tube in the process.I don't remember if the tube had air in it the second time...
The third time I put in a new tube without any air... and it went on sweetly and easily.
Last Thursday I am greeted with a flat tire and snagged a healthy tube from another bike... it hadn't been inflated since January but there was still air in it.
Tube sacrifice. Six hands tryin' to get that tube on. Fun, but it didn't work.
Next time I got that fresh, new tube and figured I"d even be careful tucking it neatly and deeply into the tire. (THey're 32's, by the way.) My lil' thumbs needed only the usual "we are mighty!" incantations.

I've heard people recommend against buying Hard Case tires 'cause they're so HARD ... to put on... but I wonder if they've tried it with flat tubes.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

So... are bikes more popular? Clevercycles has had to close its doors... well, sort of :) Seems they've sold out of so much they're taking a vacation 'til they can have more inventory. "We are reluctant to present bicycling for transportation as a response to hardship, because it is a pleasure and privilege. But gas prices are on so many lips, we can’t pretend that they have nothing to do with this year’s blistering business. Word is that some local bike shops who sell car racks and bikes appropriate to them aren’t doing so well. Easy driving is over. Few of our customers are refugees from rising motoring costs, because we live in a city. But everything’s connected, and even urbanites have family, or friends, or enemies of friends hooked on the “freedom” of driving. Too many of them live in cities, too."

Couldn't get tire on Xtra without destroying tube again. If the new-tubed tire goes on as easily as it did before, I shall operate on the assumption that it's because there's NO AIR in the tire that it's workable.

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