Sunday, April 30, 2006

this past weekend was filled with college reunioning, but this evening i came across this interesting link from Kent's Bike Blog from the Seattle area. The link is actually from this page: Eric, which looks like a listserve of some sort. I'm not too terribly savvy, but the discussion struck me, blending quite elegantly the optimism and "can-do" of cycling and cycling commuting, with the worldview and acceptance of Buddhism.

I'd be less than honest if I said I love a good freezing rain on
a morning commute in the dead of winter, or an aggressive driver
crowding my wheel with their horn going, But these things happen.

Rarely.

My commute is far from idyllic, it's downtown DC in the rush hour
both ways. Five years of this, daily, and I feel I qualify as "not a
newbie." But there is always something new to learn.

The most difficult thing, I think, other than mastery of the machine
and the environment, is to learn to abandon value judgements based
on incomplete evidence. It is very easy (I have done it) to curse the
SUV, the luckless pedestrians who plod cluelessly against Don't Walk
signals, even the very infrastructure.

But, I submit, it's unproductive to do that. It took me a while to learn
how to play the cards that were dealt, and how not to stress out over
the inevitable vicissitudes,

The successful bicycle commuter, and by extension the bicycle tourist,
can and should develop qualities of forgiveness and acceptance, but
these cannot be allowed to outweigh strength, technical skill, and
preparedness. Only the total package of good humor and competence
can serve to make these experiences enlightening, in my opinion.

But I have run on beyond reason, I hope to leave you with this: cycling
is not about tribes, anger, or competition, or blissful nirvana either. All
of these things are contained in cycling, though. Cycling is just another
metaphorical vehicle for the attainment of enlightenment.

But unlike other vehicles for the attainment of enlightenment, you actually
cover physical miles. Even if you don't get to enlightenment, you DO get
to work.

Sincerely,

Eric


if one delves further into that listserve, you can find other, more harried and angry viewpoints, but i sure as hell enjoy reading this one more. i hope we can all learn from this. patience, acceptance, compassion, consideration. those aren't too common these days. let's practice them on the bike, and in life as well.

buenas noches

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Conejos!!

Date: April 25
Mileage: 16
Ride type: Commute
Bike: 925
Temp: 58a.m./62 p.m. + p.m. rain
April mileage: 77
Year to date: 502


took my 2nd commute in a row!! i have't looked through my records, but it's been a while since i've had two in a row. this a.m. i set the 925 up for a fixie ride. i mounted the Niterider light- simple there- and the seatpost rack, which includes a C'dale pannier. and finally a rear light. i had re-mounted the toe clips- sans straps- the other day, so i was set. the a.m., as mostly ever, proved quiet, except for the issue in the blog title- conejo means rabbits in Spanish. whilst riding about halfway through this a.m. i almost hit a rabbit. he had come up from under the wheel of a car. i turned so quickly that i heard his nails scratching on the asphalt. pretty exciting really. if he had run out under me, i'm sure i would've biffed hard. i also ran across a roadie this a.m. in the neighborhoods. i pulled in behind him and distantly drafted for a couple blocks, before letting him take a right while i continued straight. i know it's annoying and lacking in etiquette, but it's fun to pimp those roadies while i'm on the fixie with the rear rack and Chuck Taylor shoes.

Oh, the 3rd thing abt the morning was that i took on a pretty steep hill on the ride, a hill that i spin out pretty well on a freewheel bike. long story short i got winded riding downhill. there was no way to count pedal revs, well with me trying not to crash, but i had to go at least 150/min say. maybe not, but that's the fatest my legs have ever moved on a bike. and right afterwards uphill in the fixie gear. and slightly winded again.

the afternoon proved slightly more eventful. i rained buckets for a while, so the roads were damp, but no actual rain. i went pretty straight home, taking a sidetrip to Highland Ave. and later down Bardstown. i figured out today that Bardstown is so enjoyable b/c it's urban riding, stores, cars, neighborhoods, pedestrians... but first there are fewer lights so you can make some time, and secondly there are 4 lanes, two filled with parked cars. it still gives you an extra 1/3 lane to ride in. safe but still in the mix.

today, though, the extra lane almost proved my downfall. there was a long line of cars up the main lane, so i was making great time heading down the empty lane. to my left a car had left a gap, allowing a car to turn into a gas station. no prob, i'd recognized it. BUT WHOA!! as i arrived at the gap ANOTHER car was turning left. Now, on a normal bike i coast, clamp on the brakes and put my ass way back and i'm fine. the fixie, though, keeps on going. i think i actually locked the back wheel up, thereby causing that the back wheel NOT rotate and the pedals to NOT rotate. it was pretty exciting. handled a little differently i would've T-Boned the side of the Volvo. are you surprised, a Volvo? and even though i was paying attn, i'm sure everybody would've blamed me even though i had right-of-way.

no blood, no foul. 16 solid miles. it may be a little less- with no computer on the 925- but i used the calculator to do the time/approx speed thing.

Monday, April 24, 2006

More bikes

as an addition to today's ride, i'll also have to say that, unless i'm greatly mistaken, i'm seeing more bikes on the road. don't know if it's $3.00/gallon gas or just a fad. who knows? but i'm seeing more bikes out. and these aren't lycra-ed roadies, or even strict mtn bikers. these are folks on a variety of good and bad bikes out just doing it! we live in a somewhat "crunchy granola" area of the 'Ville. it's not all hippies. there are too many traditional Catholics for that. but we do have our fair share of hipsters, and they seem to really like the bike thing. seems there are a few more posts on the local listserve with commuter comments. let's hope it's not a passing fancy. at $3.00 per, it probably won't be.

and a very few quick words abt two bikes i saw today. first was one on Taylorsville Rd this a.m. this is a 4 laner. at 6.25 or so i someone going straight down whilst i was cutting through neighborhoods. what amazed me was the complete lack of lights, reflectors, etc. etc. this looked like a "cyclist", instead of some unfortunate soul who can't afford to drive. i was astonished to be honest. i'll take my illumination.

2ndly, this p.m. going to pick up Indian food, on Bardstown rd., i could swear i saw someone on what looked like a Rivendell with the customary brownish-taped Moustache bars. i would've loved to catch and chat with him. hipster type. no helmet. straigh-up shoes. but it had that distinctive look of a Riv. one of the roady types of frames. GOOD FOR HIM!

Back on the horse

Date: April 2
Mileage: 17
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 60a.m./75 p.m.
April mileage: 61
Year to date: 486

after several inconsequential rides on the 925, i got back on the LHT today for the first commute in a while. as stated i was/am mad at my tennis team, so my exercise came first today.

the LHT felt like a new bike. the 'Stache bars are more comfortable, the stem was reasonable than the 925. and gears! and a freewheel! to be honest though, i've gotten sort of used to the challenge of the fixie, so a freewheel is gravy. i think i might be pushing a slightly bigger gear too, more mimicking the fixie ratio on the 925.

the a.m. proved uneventful, just like it should be. the afternoon, after the match, i had perfect mid-70s and sun. i stretched the mileage just a tad, and had a blissful and satisfying commute. hopefully more of them to come.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Plant portage

Date: April 23
Mileage: 7
Ride type: Fixie Barrio
Bike: 9.2.5 + LHT
Temp: 70 p.m.
April mileage: 44
Year to date: 469

no, not another epic, but a little time spent on 2 wheels. today is Earth Day, so our church had its service outside. praise be to Deity Unit that it was PERFECT weather, 70 and sunny, nice breeze, perfect blue, non-hazy sky. i jumped on the 925 intent on NOT attending church but rather just to roam around. guilt o'came me and i ended up singing. the trip there and aback was maybe 4 miles +. on the way back i went by Farmington (historicfarmington.org) which was having a plant sale. there was NO way i could carry plants while fixie riding it, so i went home. after muddling about driving the truck, i jumped on the LHT, Carradice bag and all, and headed off back to the plant sale. it worked pretty well. i fit 5 plants in the Carradice, and kept the flap open so as to not crush the foliage. 2 different neighbors said that, in effect, i had plants growing out of my ass. hmmm...

i'm so pissed at my tennis team that i'm riding tomorrow. first commute in weeks. i plan on riding 3 or 4 days this week. the tennis kiddies can deal. but i'm ready for some miles.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Paris-Roubaix


man i'm BUMMED. when i left for church at 9.30 (had to sing this a.m. i try to go sparingly, but am willing to morally support the fam, as i should) i briefly looked at cyclingnews.com's live coverage of PR '06. to my elation i see that there was a group of 10-14 favorites a minute ahead of the chase. in this group was Big Tom Boonen, Cancellara and PVP, but to my joy i see Georgie Hincapie AND Hoste and Gusev. Disco had FINALLY gotten one over on Boonen's and Levevre's QuickStep brigade. i spent several instances at church imagining George's victory, one that he's deserved and worked toward for year.

and to my COMPLETE and UTTER DISMAY, i come home to find out that George has crashed out with a broken bike and a couple injuries, and that Disco's 2nd and 4th were disqualified for a train stop. from the BEST American PR '06 situation ever to one of the most disheartening.



ya' think Trek is feeling like Mierda with one of their space-age carbons in pieces right at the critical moment?

Terrible Day. as much as i've enjoyed Greg's 3 and 2 Worlds, Lance's 7 (freakin' 7!!) and 1 World, Andy's Giro, Tyler's LBL...this win would be the greatest American win ever.

Sad!!

Early Morning Sun

Date: April 9
Mileage: 17
Ride type: Fixie Road
Bike: 9.2.5
Temp: 35 p.m.
April mileage: 37
Year to date: 462

after a despondent march, and a less than (bike) active april, i decided to change tack and got up first thing this a.m. for a ride before church. i knew i had lots of crap on my plate for later, so if i could just get out and get moving i would be fine this a.m. i took the 9.2.5 out again, finishing the package with my black Chucks. don't know why but they're quite comfortable on the fixie, so i'll continue to wear them until otherwise. the most UNcomfortable thing on the fixie is still my hands. they ache from the weird, notyetdialedin position. nonetheless i head out, doodled around and finally went north on an empty Bardstown road towards the river. i've always like to ride B'town, especially went it's empty. once downtown, i headed across Washington, a quaint little, VERY old street that will be heavily butchered by the reconstruction of 'spaghetti junction'. the sun came into view going back toward s home, as it was just up on the eastern horizon and directly in my eyes. i was constantly afraid of running a light b/c i could see nad really couldn't stop that well on the fixie.

it felt great to finally get a good ride in. my plan is to get myself very setup for the mornings, recharged lights and all, and get an hour in every (most :-) ) mornings before school. a noble achievement, but something i must do. i'm as or fatter than ever, and it's due to inactivity- the irony of coaching a sport where THEY are running, while i "coach".

Thursday, April 06, 2006

DAMN...INTERESTS

i finished writing a really nice entry, which proceeded to lock up the damn computer. i'll paraphrase, but don't have the gusto for the original.

Firstly, i've created a new blog @ Tex's Luavull Garden. i do more and more gardening, so i decided to diversify. this also got me thinking abt priority of interests, something the good Missus and i were discussing the other day. my interests are as follows:

#1 Family- the boys- Z and L- are great. they are 50% me, only much better. and the Missus, M, is very noble to endure my 15 years of shit. kuddos to her.

#2 Cycling idealized- those of you few folks who've read my site understand that i have WAY MORE BIKES than i need. But damn they're great. i love the idea of sustainabilty. of freedom. of a car-free environment. of the...yes, freedom of it all. it's just that i don't always act out the Ideology of it.

#3 Gardening- i love it. i need it. it's now part of what i do.

#4 TIE- Music and Cycling- i love Music. i listen to it. we have something like 1,500 CDs here- classical, jazz, grunge, classic rock, folk, alt, alt-country, country. we have it all. and we still sing in the church choir continuing the fact that i've sung officially in choirs since 7th grade. But cycling is there too. i've done that "officially" since the early days. i really did mileage my senior year of high school, and more so in college. i wish i did it more, but i've put myself in a position to commute, and my urban thing is what gives me strenght. yes, country miles on empty road is great, but the bike as TRANSPORTATION is the future, and the lack if it is the demise of the bike in this country

#6 i've had enough wine tonight to not remember what #6 and on is/are.

i'll revisit this entry late...and more clearheaded. the original was better, but the techno-gremlins threw a spanner in the works.

New Blog

this is a recovered post. Netscape has been locking up on me lately, so i've switched, unfortunately, to Explorer for the moment. although i paraphrased this in the follow up, i figure since i wrote the damn thing, i'm posting it!


i just started a Garden Blog @ Tex's Luavull Garden. this cycling blog will contain only cycling stuff. the other will contain...garden stuff. enjoy all.

oh, i was thinking the other day abt how i would rank my interestslist:

#1 family- good folks. gotta do right by 'em. trying to inculcate the boys into the ways of bikes and sports and tennis and esp. L with gardening. let's hope they grow up productive and courteous. and the good Missus has endured a lot. thanks.

#2 the essence of cycling- for those few who have read my cycling blog, you may recognize that i have too many bikes and ride too few miles to justify them. i really idiolize the idea of cyling. the idea of commuting. the idea of cycling sufficiency. the idea of a life without the deathbox. it's just that my actions and ideals sometimes correspond and sometimes not.

#3 gardening- i've grown to love it and to need it. it's my expression of the outside world. the more i do it the more i want to do it. the more i want to create both a spectacular flower garden, but also raised veggie beds filled with (mostly) organic foods that are tasty, good for you, and reasonably safe from chemicals like what's found in the store.

#4 TIE- Music and Cycling- i love the idea of cycling, and really like cycling as an activity. it's just that my participation in it ebbs and flows. big months on. big months off. Music, on the other hand, is a constant. i have to listen to it, and sometimes sing. the ideal would be to sing it more and better. that's tough with only a marginal amount of talent.

#6 Spanish- i teach it. i'm good at it. i've really improved since college. i've been to Spain 5-6 times, Costa Rica 2x, and Mexico 1x. i like it and pride myself that people's sons and daughters are in a classroom with a compotent professional.

#7 Professional cycling. i bought a Renault-Elf cycling hat abt 1983. i followed Greg's first win (if you don't know who Greg is, then please educate yourself). i have a poster from Winning magazine of Andy's '87 tour, which is the one after his second Tour of Switzerland win. i love it, Lance be damned. i love 7-11, Motorola, Indurain, Lance, George, Disco, Paris-Roubaix, the Ronde VanVlaanderen (sp?), Eddy freakin' Merckx, the list goes on. CyclingNews.com is the place to start. there are others, but that's the greatest single source. and P-R is coming this Sunday. Praise be to OLN as well. however lacking their coverage is, we're a LONG WAY from finding the results to P-R 2 months later in Velonews. i'll settle down this Sunday @ 3.00 or whatever to watch le'Enfer du Nord live. Go George!!!!!!

let's see, crumbs include UK basketball, tennis i guess. i coach it and i enjoy it, but it's way behind cycling and gardening. books. Faulkner. Beethoven's 9th. Carmicheal's Bookstore- that's where the Missus works, and owner Micheal Boggs has great taste in fiction, good wine- i have assloads of Italian Chianti and Brunello at the moment, friends.

i'm done. bikes here. plants there.

More 9.2.5

Date: April 5
Mileage: 5
Ride type: 'Hood creep
Bike: 9.2.5
Temp: 55 p.m.
April mileage: 20
Year to date: 445

i tried updating this last night (this morning) abt 1.00, but stupid computer locked up.

after putting in 2+ miles with the boys on a leasurely family ride, i went back out on the 9.2.5. last night. i rode to choir practice abt 6.00 on the fixie, just a 2m flat ride through the 'hood. after choir the crew decided to convene at a local watering hole, so i scooted over to my mom's house and stored the bike- she lives pretty close- and then went "watering". afterwards i ended up yakking with my mom for a while, bringing me to a return commute at midnight. so, here i am on the fixie, no helmet, no lights, no reflection, Nothing! the ride was uneventful, but fun. i think it's easy to get too encumbered with our riding rituals- clothes, shoes, helmets, gloves. and i'm entirely guilty, esp. commuting b/c that entails even more extra crap.

early impressions of the 9.2.5. are as such.

#1 starts are interesting. in fact, i've taken to doing them cross style and just jumping on and finding the pedals. in a normal start, you push one crankarm down and coast until situated. on a fixie, that next crank arm has already escaped to another weird position.

#2 the biggest difficulty, by far, are minor little adjustments that you take while coasting, but never realize you're coasting. a hole or bump in the road created a situation where you coast to better think abt what you're doing. on a fixie, you barrel on. this esp happens preparing for stops. you just want to coast in the driveway, but instead HAVE to slow down somehow.

#3 i've taken mostly flat routes, but i can see the comfort level on hills rising pretty fast as long as they aren't HILLS.

#4 backpedalling- or back pressure- to brake is effective, and i find myself using that more and more, even at this early stage. this bike came with two sets of brakes; many fixies have 1 front brake or none. i like having two right now, but can see the "aesthetic" appeal of fewer.

#5 my ass hurts, as i haven't dialed in the appropriate saddle fore/aft etc. position yet. i'll get there.

it's rainy today, but i'm getting out this afternoon, preferably on the old, beattohell Trek. either it will take the abuse, or will just fall apart and i'll move on.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bernheim Beaut!

Date: April 5
Mileage: 2+
Ride type: Family ride
Bike: 9.2.5!
Temp: 64 p.m.
April mileage: 15
Year to date: 440

today was certainly the nicest weather forecasted for Spring Break, so we decided to do a little hiking and biking at Bernheim Forest near Louisville. It's a 14,000 preserve established by some old industrial magnate some years ago. It now hosts a variety of trails, short and long, several lakes, a nationally-recognized arboretum and a recently focused educational mission. Fact is, the place is great, and only a 25-min drive from town. we first had a picnic, and then the kids fooled around at hte playground. there is a new "smell exhibit" where you smell these weird tubes- fire/burnt shit, honeysuckle, skunk as examples. we then fooled around the new visitors center, which is very eco-friendly and tasteful to boot. then a hike around the arboretum. later another hike on the creek trail. it's interesting b/c this one is a fav, and used to take a while, but now the boys are bigger and it didn't take much time as all. THEN a little bike ride.

now, i'm miffed at myself for having not ridden in a month, but the good spouse hasn't for something like 10 years. we took a closed road loop and went pretty cautiously, as i was on the fixed 9.2.5. and she on her Trek which she hasn't been on in forever. the boys and i then did a further big loop around the main road. i'm trying to teach Z the older to better deal with cadence. he rides a Trek 6 speed/gripshift that a neighbor boy gave him. he rides in 1st or 2nd b/c they're "easy", but then spins out on the hills. he won't seem to listen to gearing down and moderating the effort. L the younger did great. he's got a very small bike (for a 6 yearold) with comensurate small wheels and small gearing, so he's constantly out of the saddle getting some extra speed. i'm afraid in a few years L is going to be able to outride Z on both strenght and guile.

i'm strongly considering taking a ride tonight after choir practice. it'll be warm and rains are forecasted for the next two days.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

9.2.5

Date: April 4
Mileage: 13
Ride type: Bike jog
Bike: 9.2.5!
Temp: 60 p.m.
April mileage: 13
Year to date: 438

I'M BACK! after more than a month off the damn bike i finally took a ride today, albeit under questionable circumstances. can you imagine, though, not taking a bike ride for one whole month? that was March for me. i've stated in this blog that once tennis- I've coached the school tennis team for 6 years, and have coached tennis 9 years overall in my teaching career- starts, my athletic life ceases, and March proved the ultimate example of that.

today, though, was different. it's spring break, so i have some flex time and some time away from tennis (and school). after a stormy weekend and a weekend in Detroit seeing those awsome Pistons, i took a sedate, leasurely ride today through the neighborhoods. this, though, is not the end of the story.

i received a little bit of "fun" money from my very generous father, who lives in Detroit. he keeps me in entertainment $$ on occassion, esp. given that the insurance business he runs is doing bang up business. i went over to my fav LBS, Clarksville Schwinn- previously mentioned here, to get a wheel worked on. i thought it just needed some trueing, but Bob found that it was pretty mucked up and need a clean-up job. whilst Bob was cleaning, Chris the front room guy got me looking at a new and interesting set of wheels- a Redline 9.2.5.(redlinebicycles- 9.2.5)



Chris' comment was that he had mentioned how "ugly" my LHT was with it's 'Stache style and funky, usefulbutnotracy set up. Redline has introduced similar but different mount, road in nature, but a SS w/ it's own version of the 'Stache style. please go to link for info. you may remember my mention of the very nice Bianchi SS setup, one that i mentioned coveting here. the Redline is different with its 'Stache bars, but fundamentally you have a roadbike setup, tapered fork, front and rear brakes, and this time a flipflop hub, free AND fixed. had i not had a recent infusion of free cash, there would be no discussion on the table. BUT, i DID have some recent cash. i though and fought and though and fought. Fact is, Chris gave me a price of $400, a hundred less than MSRP. i HAD to. i HAD to. the challenge then became setup. i test rode the 9.2.5 in the parking lot/access road and found the gear WAY too big! Chris swapped out a larger fixed gear and a larger freewheel to keep the chain happy. i took it home, guilty but excited.

this evening i took my first fixed spin. oh yea, there is a flipflop hub, but what would be the point of a freewheel? played. done before. the norm. i had to go fixed. and fixed i went. my first ride was done of the very flats of the area. there are hills around, but i took the flatish possible. i was out an hour, and be damned i never really stopped pedalling, so i'm giving myself 13miles. it may have been less, maybe more, but that's the credit. tomorrow i'm going to give some first fixed impressions.

and my wife doesn't know yet. :-)
Email to mysurly69@yahoo.com