Friday, August 29, 2008
Weather: 90F, pegajoso otra vez
August mileage: 305
Year to date: 1733
playin' hookey today, haciendo novillos. we're heading to family camp and #1 i had things to do like get new truck tires and #2 was ready for a non-school day after the amazing stress and business of what seemed like all summer and especially the first week of school. i'm sure tired as hell of leadership, and this weekend's repose at family camp will help to center me and alleviate some of that. today's mileage was neighborhood in nature, the best kind really. i'm still trying to plot to get a ride in tonight, but we'll see, and if not, alright. peace.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
i read a good article in Shambhala Sun, which i picked up during the boys' soccer practice today. i had to go to competitor Border's, but it was close. within 4 pages, the article posited nothing more than the Pause. in the midst of bats, freeways of random thoughts, scattered droplets of rain falling not on crops but on windows and fresh laundry, one just needs to Pause. 3 breaths of awareness and mindfulness can bring those 3 instances, those 3 moments to a relaxed halt, to the moment of not scattered thoughts, not intense grief, stress, brooding. to Pause is to take 3 breaths and realize that the mind is working against itself, against your non-self, against your inflated notion of self. just to take 3 breaths, "cleansing" "mindful" "aware", whatever the hell you want to call them , and just realize that to be alive and aware of that life and promise is more important than any task or any thought or any emotion that is shrouding the mind at that moment.
as a westerner, Kentuckian raised in a Southern Baptist Church (barf!), i find difficulty in giving in to the "message", to images and notions and prophesies first espoused by small little black-haired Asian people living thousands of miles away thousands of years ago. But i do know that 3 quick breaths can tell me that i'm alright, and that being there is more important than what i will accomplish, might accomplish, want to accomplish.
i have returned to listening to Podcasts. 2 that i can always return to and derive great satisfaction from are Reverend Kusula and his UrbanDharma and Gil Fronsdal from AudioDharma and Zencast. i enjoy Kusula for his big heart and matter-of-fact truths that he seems to get to. he's a guy from the Midwest who seems to hold no pretense. Fronsdal is more the yogi, the Yoda, and I say that in a good way. he is kind, generous, thoughtful in his speech and i can trust that his intentions are good, or that his practice is intentional, Right Action as it were. Skillful. i have not of late b/c the books are still boxed up downstairs- that's a longer story that is worth telling- but Tich Hat Nan holds a place for me, or that i hold a place for him. i claim absolutely zero expertise, but his notion of loving kindness and mindfulness provides me the strength of possibility. in the days to come i will branch out to read other authors, but i will read those that are non-dogmatic or too terribly provincial, no, territorial in their view.
it's about stopping to smell the roses and nothing more, and nothing less. i bet your can do that on your bike ride better than in your car, or in front of your TV. peace and have a great weekend.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Weather: 87F, windy
August mileage: 279
Year to date: 1707
Date: August 28 Thurs
Weather: 93F, pegajoso, as my hispanohablante friends would say, sticky and icky
August mileage: 294
Year to date: 1722
Tuesday- another commute. my early morning was disjointed, so i left a bit late and did the "classic" route of 6m. in the p.m. i wanted to go a bit long, but within 5-6m i was crawling at 10mph into the westerly winds. i took in theBeargrass Path and then came through Cherokee...slowly. I took pics but am too lazy to download them
Wednesday- first non-ride of the school year. had a 2.30 meeting at school and 4.00 meeting with superintendent, the Big Boss, about annoying crap beyond my control. Because of the need to not be completely soaked and smarmy upon arrival at "the third floor" (where the special people work), I drove. boo hoo.
Thursday- I left early intending to take the Cherokee route, but instead saw a flashing light on Woodbourne that I needed to chase. I made progress towards B'town, but he went a different way. He turned onto Douglass ahead of me (going straight form the east) so I chased some more. He turned again, this time on Speed towards Newburg, which is dumb route. I went straight on Norris and left on B'castle and then right onto Newburg and caught him at EasternPkwy. Going down and up the TylerPk trough he tried to big gear me, but I nestled right in for a comfy pace and road behind him going into Winter. Gave my greeetings and turned left towards work. What was going to be a 11mph wake-up ride ended up being a 20mph interval session. Fun! In the p.m. I took the old route via Brandeis and through Shelby Pk, crossing EstPkwya towards Audabon, the "southern route". Because I could, I took a foot bridge which took me through the Camp Taylor area. This was an honest-to-deity military camp during WWI. The barracks were converted long ago into small apartments. If you didn't know the history, you sure would know about the base. At some point I turned left and went up a grassy climb which was sort of interesting but hot as Hades. From there home via Ashwood. While it was the "southern route", I made numerous variations to keep things interesting. Tomorrow I'm playing hookey to get new tires in preparation for Family Camp. I could buy a decent commuter bike for what the tires are going to cost me. The benefits of minimizing family vehicles.
Monday, August 25, 2008
August mileage: 235
Year to date: 1663
Date: August 25 Mon
August mileage: 263
Year to date: 1691
Sunday's trip was to church and back with the boys, taking the Lakeside route there and the Seneca Gds route home. Today's was a nice commute both ways. I was up quite early- 4.50- and so I left early and did the 8m route to work. I had no great insight on dog hill in Cherokee, but it was a clement trip. In the afternoon I met up with 'Lance' and his son 'Luke'. 'Luke' is a senior in high school and is riding with dad. It's funny to have a very fit 17 yr old riding with him and me b/c he's SO much stronger and gets bored dawdling with the old guys. We went straight to Crescent Hill and I then did a St. Matthews loop before heading into Cherokee for 3 hills. I alsmot came home a bit sooner, but school's XC team was training in the park. How could I wimp out when they were doing hill repeats. Boy, did they scoot up those inclines. It must be nice to be 16 and have no body fat to speak of. Peace.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
- Even this early in the year, I can remember that fall rhythm of in-week commutes and weekend other. I'm proud of myself for having ridden all days both this and last week, but it saps my weekend riding jones. It's also the case that the weekends are filled with family activities (no soccer this weekend) so there are just fewer minutes and more yard upkeep.
- I swore I wouldn't watch the Olympics and instead I watched them a ton. Typical. Highlights? The Aussie diving dude beating the Chinese last night. Water polo. Volleyball. The U.S. inability to win sprints now. Usain Bolt. If he's clean he's more a freak of nature than Lance. One of the biggest athletic freaks of all time. Shawn Johnson, cute, spunky, and very well-spoken for 16. I teach 16 yrolds and they aren't what I would call well-spoken.
- Lowlights? I don't care about Olympic basketball although I still want the U.S. to win. Cycling. Didn't watch much, but it wasn't on much either. No table tennis televised. And I get very tired of being pandered to with gymnastics and swimming.
- I have alot of yard work to do over the fall. I'm looking forward to the finished product, but not the process, some of which will be back-breaking.
- The good wife, 'Z' and I saw The Dark Knight last night. We all thought it was very good,but not the earth shattering cinema that everybody kept telling us. And Heath Ledger was very good, but again...I've done some theater and it's not that hard to be over-the-top. It's the nuanced, reserved roles which still reel you in that are difficult. With a Joker performance like Ledger's, you just go over and keep going. Energy isn't a prob either b/c it's film and you can go/rest/go/rest, unlike if you were on stage. I'm not dogging the guy; he's dead. But if he were alive I think many folks would give him a slap on the back and not gyrate so intensly.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Right now, though, I'm think of how to enhance the cockpit on either the Bleriot, the LHT or the Blueridge depending on the ride. I like the possibility of a camera, snacks and other cositas up front in hands' range.
This below is the standard RBW Baggins Bar tube at $56.00.
Another option is a RBW Kevin's Bag turned around backwards, or obviously forwards if you want it that way (I would have to see). The RBWKB runs $48.00, and I like the look too. I'm not sure of the handlebar bag application, but you never know.
A 3rd RBW option is the more crusty Nigel Smythe bartube bag at $75 and the one below, the NS Compartmentalist, which runs $95. I justo don't think I can do tweed, even though the Compartmentalist is slightly larger and has some pockets. It's a nice offering, but Tweed?
Next we have the offerings from Acorn, with its handlebar bag, which runs $78.00. I've seen these nicely reviews from bikelovejones. I've also heard that Acorn is a bit sketchy with delivery time, but hey, why be in too big a hurry if you're ordering canvas, hand-sewn bags. I like the rear pockets for a camera and glasses, for example.
Acorn's small saddlebag can also be used in the same way. It runs $40.00. It doesn't open rearward, but that's prolly alright.
The next option is from Frost River. Doug in MN recommends these, and I think he bought it/them from Hiawatha, birthplace (well, put together) of the Bleriot. This, the Sawbill Trail Bar Bag (quite a title) seems awfully similar, if not identical, to the RBW BBT, and goes for $37.
And finally we have yet more competition from a new offering from Banjo Bros up in MN. They've introduce a new line of Minnehaha canvas bags. It's small saddlebag, which again could be used upfront although not dedicated, runs $45. They don't have another handlebar-specific bag.
I almost finished up this entry when I just remembered to look at the Velo Orange offerings. They're doing an awfully good job standing toe to toe with RBW right now, and seem to be offering new products every day. When I check out their blog I found a recent entry on new bags. Let's take a look.
This is Velo Orange's "Baguette Saddle bag". It sells for $35, which is a nice price. My Q is about finishing touches. It seems to have no side rings for lashing it down, and I'm not sure it has a 3rd side strap either. Seems like it would wiggle alot, but it has an attractive price, and it must be of reasonable quality.
These are all offerings under $100. I could also go in the direction of one of the larger bags from Ostrich/Velo-orange, but the Bleriot and RBW bike in general aren't built for front loads. It's also a bit of overkill. The one thing missing from all the bags listed in a map holder. I've noticed on my longer rides that I'm a map guy and not a cue sheet one. While a cue sheet is small and tidy and can fit in a pocket, maps are large and call out for a pocket. None of the aforementioned offer a bag such as that. A quick search of Performance brought this basic black handlebar bag with a map pocket for $30 (Isn't everything at PerformaNashbar on sale?). I can't imagine it on the Bleriot, but could see it on the more-utilitarian LHT. Nashbar has several options of bar bags, but, Man, once you've drunk the RBW Kool-Aid, it's hard to go back.
Feel free to chime in dear reader who has more miles than me, and the ones who don't.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Weather: 92F, humid
August mileage: 216
Year to date: 1644
Date: August 21 Thurs
Weather: 90F, humid
August mileage: 223.5
Year to date: 1652.5
Date: August 22 Fri
Weather: 92F, humid
August mileage: 232
Year to date: 1660
I finally fixed the LHT flat Tuesday night after our outdoor summer meal of BLTs and fresh corn. The good wife bought some store bacon and I had bought some from the farmers' market. With that we had fresh tomatoes from her boss, along with fresh corn from the store too. Good stuff all, although I remember now why we never make bacon. That's some messy stuff. Wednesday's afternoon ride was market by some serious sluggishness. I'm not sure if it was dehydration or illness or what, but I felt like complete crap when I got home. En route I saw one of my neighbors downtown. Our brief conversation, while moving, led to the fact that he needed a presta adapter. I had fixed a tube of his, but didn't have any Schraders, so at the time I used a presta and a valve nut to stabalize it. His pump didn't work. By chance I happened to be going by The Bike Depot to get a new tube. The old one was shredded from a big hunk of glass that had lodged in the tire. It was so thick it went through the thick, beefy portion of the tire. From the bike shop I head east and took Indian Hills up and through Seneca. I never once felt strong or comfortable and by the time i was home i was sort of light-headed.
Today I took the short southern route in the a.m., a rare change-of-pace for me. In the p.m., missus had an appt., so I rode down to school and scooped the boys up for a ride home on the #21. 'Alberto' had stated that the route had been cut in July, but little did he know it was fine and dandy. Our A.D. also gave me some bus passes, so the trip for the 3 of us cost only $1.50, my fare. It made for a short mileage day, but I enjoy that afternoon bike/bus/walk (only .10 of a mile) experience. I feel like a real city dweller. Peace.
**(sic) I'm adding Friday into this mix. I did the same bike/bus route Friday as well. The good wife needd some help, so it was the afternoon #21. It makes for shorter mileage, but oh well. It's pleasant.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Weather: 90F, sunny
August mileage: 175
Year to date: 1602
Date: August 19 Tues
Weather: 91F, sunny
August mileage: 191.5
Year to date: 1618.5
Since i've been too lazy to fix the flat on the LHT (about to right now, though), i've taken the 9.2.5. fixie the last 2 days. like the 'bent, it's not my notallthetime preference, but it's fun in reasonable doses. Monday's only interest was that i couldn't find my backup back flashie and my clip-on flashie wasn't working, even with new batteries. this morning's route, to contrast, provided me both unusable flashies. i found the back-up Knog attached to the Blueridge. i fiddled with the cateye at a normal time of the day, and not at 6.00a.m. and it worked, so i used both. the plan this a.m. was to meet 'Alberto' and 'BB' at 6.25 at the meeting corner. i was out the door at an efficient 6.00 and toodled to meet 'Alberto', cutting him off at the chase near his dwelling. He didn't show. i rode to meet the more dependable 'BB'. She didn't show. i rode, though. the only other notable was a minefield of glass on St. Catherine. It seems as though someone decided to throw a beer bottle into the street every 10ft. great.
the morning became more interesting right before work. i hear something strange amidst my MMJ on the ipod and turned around- remember this from last week?- and lo and behold it was 'BB'. She apparently had been a little later and saw me leaving in the distance. she the got a good workout chasing me the 4m or so, and she did catch me. i liked that story. it was a good way to start the day. this afternoon was less dramatic, but riding home was sure better than being stuck under the neon lights at work. peace.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Yesterday evening, from 5.00 to 11.30 I had perhaps my best night of experiences in my entire life. Our local boys My Morning Jacket played a local show during their Evil Urges tour (recent release). This group started out in local clubs, while recording in a grain silo, and has since developed into perhaps the best live rock group in the country. They'll play Madison Square Gardens on New Year's Eve in NYC this year. Their recordings started out with country rock/jam band vibe and have since mutated, er, developed into a multi-faceted do-it-all sound: rock, club, soul, funk, you name it. Evil Urges has been panned by some critics and praised by others, but you don't love MMJ for the recordings; you do for the ridiculous live shows. I've seen them twice, with the good wife seeing a 3rd show when they opened for our biggest fav, Wilco. A friend of ours, a non-characteristic party hound engineer, recently attended Bonaroo in TN and of the 3 stages and hours and hours of music, MMJ by far brought the house down, all in the middle on the night during a 4-hour show.
The show last night took place on our Riverfront Great Lawn. This area has been used before, like during the Los Lobos show we saw earlier this summer. Last night's crowed, though was HUGE, 10,000 strong. It transformed into an "event". Sure, there was many non-MMJ fans; I'm sure there was lots of "to-be-seen" folks there, but who cares? The crowd was pleasant and courteous and the vibe was just so great.
The wife and I started out at El Mundo with a meal of enchildadas and a daquari or her and swordfish fajitas and 2 blueberry limeades for me. The boys stayed at Mom's so we had a date dinner. Although Mundo can amazingly crowded with the many "pretty" people of the 'Ville. You know, the 25 year old set that needs to seek out others who have shopped intently for their accessories along with.... Move on. We met our friend 'D' after dinner and headed down to the riverfront.
We were greeted by enormous, ENORMOUS, crowds down there. We walked to the entrance only to find that the entrance line wrapped around the corner. We started seeing many familiar faces. We tend to go to shows for music. Many others in town saw this as a "to be seen" event. I found out tonight (Monday) that the mother of one of 'L's classmates went, and she is the last person I could imagine with a bunch of hippies down on the riverfront. We grabbed some beers upon entering, fortunately getting in a short line- one that would metastasize later (I'm sorry for the word choice, but it's apt).
As much as I want to wax poetic and poetic and poetic, the work week has started and I've run out of gas, or at least time. Just imagine, though, this scene. We're facing the stage, due north. To the west, a brilliant pink, purple, orange sunset through the 2nd street bridge. As the sky darkens, Polaris due north, with the handle of the dipper doing it's business. Cassiopeia is doing her thing to the NE. While the sunset is still burning, the full, perfect, brilliant alabaster white moon comes creeping up from the ESE. Directly behind us, hovering over the new riverfront condo is a brilliant and extremely bright Jupiter. the temp is a perfect 80F humid free. The vibe is beautiful. The music is outofthisworld rocking. During "Aluminum Park" off the newest album 100s, if not 1000s of small glow sticks go rocketing in the are. they're personal fireworks. Simply amazing. truly behind the musical. the community of it. just perfect. Peace.
'D' has the pics, which can now be found at his flickr site cdale's MMJ. I especially like the full stage rock shots and the Squallis Pupeteers. If MMJ comes to your town, take a stab. It's a beautiful vibe.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
As for 'Cross, the 'Ville has become quite the 'cross playground. The last couple years we've hosted some big races and doings on our new riverfront park are going to include a 'cross area. We have numerous races, all part of the Ohio Vally 'Cross series, which also includes Cincy, Indy and Lexington. That all said, I happened across a link from some page or another today to find a flyer for the Viroqua 'Cross Series in WI. Every Monday for a month they have various races for all abilities. What struck me was the populist gesture of the $5.oo entry fee. Five bucks. That's all. I couldn't find a link on the ovcx.com site, but I cannot imagine entry fees at only $5. That's a new, fun experience that many a non-dilettante could embrace. I'm all for attending national-level US Gran Prix races. It's fun and the pace and ambience are hot. That said, if you want to grow the sport, give the peones a chance. $5. That's my style- and commensurate with my level of fitness, too. Peace.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Weather: 85F, sunny
August mileage: 162
Year to date: 1589
I've been blogging about old boringass savetheworld bike commuting and no one seems interested, so today I'll write about old boringass savetheworld bike commuting, but on a different bike. to begin, the darth vadar machine seems to be working b/c i bounced up again out of bed at 5.15 with nary a complaint. it could also be that the newness of the new school year is still palpable and i haven't yet descended into that ignominious rut that the public school education/all jobs can be. because i was too lazy to fix the pinchazo on the LHT from yesterday i had to pick from my varied stable of noble steeds for the commute today. Options:
- Bleriot- have to use rechargeable light, the one i forgot to plug in last night. don't really want it as my regular commuter. too pretty. Carradice Longflap is a tad small for my usual needs (clothes, lunch, papers), but it's workable too.
- 925 fixie- basket ready for basic commuter load. no lights. i was going to ride this one but forgot the light thing.
- Rans rocket- again, a bike i rarely ride, but now that i have a 'bent, i'm not going to sell it. it's good for occasional trips, and if the "walnut-sized organ" ever flares up, i'm set.
(Useless side anecdote- I had the Eos mounted to my helmet last year at some point with a random nylon/velcro strap i had laying around. at some point i took it off. i then wanted to remount the Eos on the original stretching headlamp strap. in looking for the stretchy headlamp strap i found another random strap, this a little stretchy and numerous velcro placements. i have zero clue what it's for, but it has ended up being a good mounting strap for my helmet, more secure than the previous. as for the headlamp strap, ??)
i met 'BB' for our first commute of the year (together). there is so much grief brewing around school right now, so the morning topics covered that ad infinitum. she's a tough nut, a former journalist, but she also can be very insightful. this time i was the one bitching about the whole scene and her reasonable observations helped chill me out a bit. the 'bent did fine and i had to keep from leaving 'BB' b/c i felt pretty good.
after work, we decided to use the Friday afternoon for a little extra mileage. in the fall our usual, that's to say our as teachers, is to meet up for libations on the patio at a local establishment. this year instead, b/c everybody seems so @$#@@# pissed and worked up over the principal thing i saw nor heard nary a word about connecting for drinks. And i'm not mad about it either. i needed to use the pedals to turn the stress away and just be away from it all. 'BB' and i left via Algoinquin and returned via Bank St. back into the downtown area. From there we came Kentucky and up through the Highlands. At about mile 15 in the afternoon my knees starting talking to me. while the 'bent isn't inherently bad on the knees, b/c we were in the city there was alot of starting and stopping and that wore on them after while. i think i was pushing too big a gear too. i came home refreshed (except for knees) and glad that a very trying, no, miserable week was over. it's a strange spot where i am excited to teach the kids, but the office politics are truly, and completely, out of control.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Weather: 85F, sunny
August mileage: 136
Year to date: 1563
While the morning offered nothing special save a smooth cruise to work, the afternoon was filled with a few incidents of minor note. Actually this morning I was casually rolling down St. Catherine. At the green light at Shelby the road veers northward, but I take the straight cut. This usually takes me getting in the left lane somewhere long the straight, downhill stretch. This morning I look back for cars (my helmet mirror needs new adhesive. Any ideas?) and to my surprise, directly behind me was the tell-tale flashing LED of a cyclist. B/c I had the ipod on I never heard him, but it was a youngish dude on a mtbike toting a messenger bag. I veered left b/c that was the plan and he, pushing a big gear, went on his merry way, "like 2 ships passing in the night."
This afternoon I was on Shelby listening to the Roots when I heard a weird chirp, which I assumed was a sound effect. About 10sec later I heard it again but and thought nothing more until a woman leaned out her car window and said something and motioned to my rear. I looked back and, surprise, it was 'Sheryl' trying to catch me. I waited up, and certainly solved the puzzle of the 'sound effect'. We ended up talking bike pumps on Highland Ave. b/c her tire were really low and she couldn't find her schraeder adapter. In my infinite wisdom and bicycle experience I extolled the virtue of my original Zefal floor pump and my nice modern Topeak (?) with adapter.
At Highlands and B'town, the bike gave me a wonky squishy blast of flat-tireness. Right at the moment of my amazing declaration of "proper inflation" yada yada, I was in the midst of my first flat on the Conti TravelContact. It's been a long, @#$%^ week and I didn't have the spirit to fix it. I ended up defeated, borrowing a bus ticket from 'Sheryl' and coming home on the #17. My exit left me .6m from the house, leaving me a nice amble home. In my 10+ yrs commuting it's the first time I've jumped on the bus in times of need. Life is about new experiences, right? Blah blah blah.
The first week of school is wearing everyboy out, me included. I'm already imagining tomorrow afternoon. Ah those liberting Fridays.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Weather: 85F, sunny
August mileage: 125
Year to date: 1552
More banal, very pleasant commuting today. I had some systematic/systemic/system distress in the middle of the night, so I'm sort of surprised I woke up to ride, but I did. In fact, I felt pretty good this morning. I was out the door quicker than expected and did the Cherokee route. Climbing dog hill- my "insight" spot you know- I was greeted with the thin wispy pink yellows of dawn rising just over the fog-shrouded park. It was great and I wish I had had a camera. I might have to get another cheap pencam at some point (the other one fell and has never focused well since).
I sort of goofed up the afternoon. I was supposed to get home promptly and take 'L' to get a pic made, but in the maelstrom of work and principal revolt I forgot. I ran across 'Lance' and 'Sheryl' and rode home with them for the first time in a long while. It was all obnoxious shop talk, esp. with 'Sheryl' who either enjoys bitching about work or talking about her muscles. At least 'Lance' branches out into paddling- about which he is passionate- or his many home improvement projects. We ended up ditching 'Sheryl' at Highland Ave. and 'Lance' and I went in to Cherokee for a bit. He's just getting his cycling fitness back, so it as nice to be the stronger one for a change. I suspect if the calendar allows we'll do the long Riverwalk loop several times this fall. Peace to all beings, especially my pissed off coworkers. Some need more peace than others.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Weather: 80F, overcast, cool 60F in the morning
August mileage: 109
Year to date: 1537
I'm into a bit of a good rhythm wherein I'm commuting every day. It's not "recreational", but it feels good just to get to work under my own power. Things have been superstressful at work. I'm on the committee to replace a long-standing principal, a high powered one at that. I've learned more about politics- workplace ones- in the last month than in the rest of my 15-year career combined. Who knew? I thought it was about teaching kids what they need to know to be productive adults and citizens. So yesterday I worked a 10-hr day and today an eleven-hr one. I'm utterly exhausted and I've only had students 1 day. I feel more like a zombie than they look, and I went to bed at 9.30.
Both yesterday and today's commutes were marked with horrific smells out of Swift today. There has been movement, nay protest, afoot to have the Swift Packing company move their facility. Nothing like have burning pig flesh occasionally waft through the neighborhood. What was strange the last 2 days is that my route takes me at least 2 miles south of the "plant", and I don't think I've ever smelled it so strong. I would think part of my a.m. commute is even stronger and I could practically hear Wilbur crying, "NO!!". Other than odiferousness, my commutes were just that, but a hell of a lot better than in a car. I saw another commuter, one without helmet and with messenger bag, this morning on Taylorsville Rd. at 6.20. I'm surprised tattoo boy was up so early. The rear mech on the LHT is starting to get gunked up or something, so I might have to pop on another bike for a day or 2 until I have a chance to get it adjusted or cleaned this weekend. 'Nuff said, but it's back to work to make some bacon. Poor Wilbur.
Oh, and after my quickie entry yesterday I talked 'L' into going up to the pizza joint with my on 2 wheels while his mother and brother went on 4. No value judgement. Just glad to have his company. I love 2-mile commutes with either of my boys.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Weather: 83F, sunny and breezy
August mileage: 93
Year to date: 1521
Nothing to report really. Tomorrow students arrive and today I sat in the same room- admittedly with breaks- and listened to 5 interviews for a new principal, and then had the 2 hour discussion of whom to hire. I sit here at 6.30 and am completely mentally exhausted. The Spanish word would be agotado, dripped dry with gota being a drop. I sort of wanted to do a little more in the p.m. b/c the weather is great, but I just had to come home. And tomorrow, when I have to deal with new students and a meeting at 4.30 it won't be any better.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
"The reign of the purists is over". I found a link via another good review of commuter style on BikeCommuter.com. This is from the Washington Post. It's a bit longer and broader, but it still has that East Coast urban vibe. It's hits the crux of the matter than the "trends" are changing; gone is the lycra and drop bars and entering are bikes used for real use, not play. There's nothing wrong with play; it's that the bicycle can do so much more, especially in times of need such as now. Yes, there is definitely mention of hte aesthetic aspect of retro-cum-nouveau, but I saw multitudes of 2-wheelers on my NY trip and I assume this article speaks to the nation's capitol as well. Love live the bike!
I had already been looking at the possibility of bike camping at Camp Horine, which is part of Jefferson Co. Memorial Forest (the largest urban blah blah). It's an old boy scout camp that has been turned into a campground/conference center/team building center. A family tent spot costs $15/night, which is a bit steep, but each spot has a fire pit, trashcan and picnic table, and there are port-a-pots and a water pump nearby. As a family we don't actually camp at all, save using the tent in a few instances over the years at my parents' old farm. This time, the schedule worked out perfectly took multiple advantages. Firstly, we had a family reunion to attend in Bullitt Co. nearby. This is my mom's extended batch of aunts and uncles and distant cousins. It's one of those where, although I wouldn't call it "fun", you nonetheless have to put in an appearance to placate moms and grandfathers and such. We went there first, from 3-7. The wife and I caught up with closer family and the boys generally had fun on the trampoline with their cousins. With evening approaching we graciously excused ourselves and began the camping portion of the evening.
We first had to run down chocolate, marshmallows and ice (for refreshing beverages). I was going to go straight across Brooks Rd., but the metropolis of Brooks has nothing save gas stations, so we had to drive 15min south to Shepardsville to pick up our goods. The advantage of the reunion was that we didn't have to cook; we already hate the reunion pot luck fare. Camping, though, must have 'smores, so we grabbed those requirements, and ice for my personal requirement. Once there, we encountered a challenge that would ultimately be our undoing the next morning. This area is only open by permit, which is important. It's in a rural (read, redneck) portion of the Co., so there are multiple gates to keep the riff-raff out, and the campers in. We saw a worker and asked him about our permit packet. According to him, we would find it another 2m down the hill at the visitors' center for the entire Forest. This gave him a chance to get our firewood ($10 for a 1/3 rick). He let us through 1 gate, but the next was locked up tight. He had stated that it would be open. I saw him take a cut-through on his 'gator, so I followed and fit through the snug gape in the brush to the road, SNUG being the key word there. Once there at #5 we got set up.
The good wife enjoys her modern amenities, but she also has more camp experience than I. I had the task of the tents, she of the campfire. I was quite glad to have already worked with the 3-4 tent several times, but this time I was completely sober. The previous times it was usually at the end of an evening at a farm party, so the 12-pack or so I had consumed didn't lend itself to tent maintenance. Campfire girl got her fire started faster than I had either of the tents up. Because of the clement conditions, I didn't use a fly on either tent.
Aside from our campfire and 'smores activities, we also plan the first round of a hand-and-foot game on the picnic table. We had to use 2 of the flashlights to finish up. If we go again, we might have to buy a lantern for such activities. 'L' won, as he often does. Cardshark! After cards and food we settled down to enjoy the fire. As it approached 10.30, 'L' was getting sleepy, so he, his brother and mom settled down to read while I also settled into the Comet to read as well. The tent wasn't too terribly big, but it provided me enough room to read, and that's about all you need. The pad and bag fit in fine. I'm glad I'm not 6'3". At only 5'7" I felt I had about the right amount of room. We all read for 30min or so and then lights out, under the stars.
MGNS and I both woke up about 4.30. It sounded like rain, but none seemed to be dropping. The wind had picked up in the middle of the night, and I assume it was dropping leaves or branches or something. We were safe and comfy below the canopy. The boys stayed asleep the whole night, for the most part. I woke up at 7.00 and read a bit before getting up. I took a very brief walk on one of the trails. Horine Reservation has more than 6m of trails. You could work up a good appetite taking a big walk before settling down. This trip the plan was to leave by 9.00 so the fam could attend church. We all got up about 8.30 and got working. My Comet came down quite easily, and the Kelty even easier. I stacked the wood in the truck while MGNS bagged up the other stuff.
I looked at my watch when the truck was packed: 8.59 perfect. We headed out. The trip took a brief-but-dark turn from here. Remember the snug portion? When I was exiting the same way we all heard a big "crack!". I got out to find that a log or something had hit the base of the truck body just behind the rear door and in front of the wheel well. It's a big, nasty dent, with damage to the side panel and panel behind the rear door. I don't want to begin thinking of the cost to repair it. It's all cosmetic, hurting neither the door nor the rear wheel, so I have a feeling it'll be awhile. I was just thinking of saving some $$ for a Big Dummy, but now that will have to wait a while. Or the hell with it! It's just a car, and it runs. It was a bummer way to end our little CCS24O, but the rest was great, and I don't think it'll be our last.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Weather: 83F, sunny and breezy
August mileage: 76
Year to date: 1504
A nondescript commute today except for a couple useful bits. B/c school is starting up again I stopped by Kroger's this morning to pick up some bottled water and Diet Pepsi. I drink little of either, but it's nice to A) have bottled water b/c sometimes the water in our old building is a little funky and B), although I'm not drinking many sodas, sometimes it's nice to have one for a change. I think the d.p.s are onlyh 10oz or something, and they don't have caffeine. How was that for a run-on sentence? I stuffed the drinks in my empty right pannier and managed to get them in there along with a pair of crocs for the day. In the p.m. I came home with 'Alberto'. I took Tom's seeming advice to be a little more patient and less driven, so we took it easier. He only died 100 deaths instead of 1000. He asked me why I wasn't a beanpole, implying that my reasonable cycling fitness should make so. I replied that genetics plays a part (My dad is a natural 6'3"/275lbs. My mom's family is decidedly endomorph) and my diet isn't conducive to be a super skinny dude. After dropping off 'Al' I ventured through the park for a couple hills. It's beautiful today, low 80s and low humidty, but it's Friday at the end of a busy stressful week and I'm going to play tennis w/ 'L' instead. Time well spent, if you ask me. Peace and happy weekend.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Weather: 90F and muggy
August mileage: 59
Year to date: 1487
I rode with 'Alberto' this morning for the first time on a commute. He lives quite close and I'm trying to steer him in the right direction. He's not unlike me. He sees the potential and idealistic vigor of the commuter/green life; the action is a bit more challenging. The story of today begins last night, though...
We went to ever crappy Phoenix Hill to see a fantastic concert of What Made Milwaukee Famous. I first saw this band on Austin City Limit when they filled in for another band while still unsigned. I really like the vocal style and bigness of the band's sound. (Youtube selection of older lineup) I don't think they've have too much impact, although I heard they played Lollapalloza this past summer. It was easily one of the best $8 shows I've ever seen. They rock and have a great ear for harmonies and vocals. Well, after the show the good wife and I at a late meal while the boys were at Mom's and eventually got home 12.30ish. I set the clock for 5.35 to get a reasonably "official" commute w/ 'Alberto'.
I woke up at 6.05. Oops! Looks like that @#$@# clock didn't work. I was supposed to meet him, on the bike at 6.20. I set the record for a departure of any type. In 15min I got dressed, stuffed other clothes in the bag and grabbed a frozen burrito. At exactly 6.20 I arrived at the Loop to meet 'Alberto', with him arriving a smidge later than I. We took the usual route and he seemed to die a thousand deaths, all at 10mph. Seriously. He does have some exercise-induced asthma, for which I feel bad, but for a skinny guy he's damn out shape. We got to work, though, in one piece.
The return home was less eventful, even mundane, but good in that way. 'Alberto' managed to get his wife to pick him up from work and he came back with his car. I guess he's taking his bike home in the car. I want to give him much credit for trying, but the score can't be too high b/c he couldn't even manage to get the bike home. Phil says, though, that "he will live to fight another day".
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Weather: 86F and muggy
August mileage: 43
Year to date: 1472
I'm still confused about my mileage here. The Y-T-D is both the for Sunday's 'bent ride and today's. I think I'm just stupid.
a.m. Relatively cool (75F?), or at least not too humid. I went through Cherokee, up Cherokee Rd. and across Grinstead. The highlight of the morning was running across another commuter at Grinstead and B'town. He was on a 70s'/80's steel road bike, rack and 2 weathered but useful panniers in back. He seemed to know what he was doing. I loved running across someone in the a.m. b/c it never, ever happens. He stayed a little ahead of me down Grinstead/Winter/Oak, but we stopped at the same light at Oak and Schiller. I stopped. He didn't. He just went through it and continued on St. Catherine. After he went through, he looked back in my general direction. At bottom of the "hill" on Mary at Swan, I saw him on the cross street turning on to Mary. Hah! He ran the light and I still proved more efficient. He didn't come in front of me on St. Catherine, but I think he was in my draft. I didn't bother looking back too much.
(Grinstead-Winter-Oak-Mary-St. Catherine. Many names, but it is roughly the same east running street with a few bends in it)
After I turned on to 1st (going south) from E. Ormsby I saw him again! He had taken the wrong route a 2nd time. I was slightly, but only briefly bothered that I never interacted with the guy even though I see very few commuters; it's a small tribe. Every time I would've spoken to him he either tried to leave me in his wake, or he preferred to hide in mine. Oh well.
p.m. I went downtown, out RiverRd. and up Spring to the Beargrass Trial, then up Grinstead towards the Seneca Loop and then home. I felt really good and was able to ride a bigger cog or 2. Fun after going so damn slow all summer. Maybe I built a bit of fitness. Or maybe not. I don't know that I care greatly. On the commuter bike again, though.
Monday, August 04, 2008
I don't know. They've proposed a big Lexington-Ashland trail- a 125m one (I just made that number up) and I don't think it's going anywhere. KY is so lame sometimes.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Weather: 88F and sunny
August mileage: 21
Year to date: 1471
I'm close to being finished updating my mileage after the computer debacle. July became a messy blur of lost or irretrievable data. Given my lack of math skills, I'm surprised how attached (oops, bad word, right?) I've become to maintaining good mileage figures. I find it motivating, but my type-B doesn't always allow me to act on the motivations. The updated 'Duc' document doesn't agree with mycyclinglog, but I really don't care. I'll go with what I have know. Today's ride included the Rans Rocket, which is a rare participant in my cycling ventures. I don't seem to ride it too often, and mycyclinglog didn't even have an entry for 2008. I hardly ever ride it, but the one time I had a prostate/bladder infection I swore I would always have one as an option. Try sitting on a walnut with jagged spikes ripping at your 'taint. Today's ride was in no way revelatory, but it sure was grand: blue skies, sun, cooling breeze, lower humidity, easy-ride bent, great shuffle on the iPod. It was just fun and relaxing after a stressful week. We also managed to spend all afternoon at the pool yesterday, and I just got back from another 3 hours today. We're all trying to finish the summer in style. I'm sure to be at work 3 days this week, and perhaps another day too. It's time to generate income, income to buy bike stuff of course.
I hope everybody had as pleasant a Sunday as I. You deserve it.
Which ones of these appeals more to you? I would like a different apparatus for carrying crap with the Bleriot than my Carradice Nelson Longflap. Not that the Carradice is bad; it's just a smidge too big for casual rides. It's great for a mega ride, especially in colder conditions when an extra jacket or something is needed, but I might like something a bit more demure. The price of the $56 Bar Tube is more attractive than the $95 Big Loafer, but the Loafer obviously has more carrying capacity.
I also failed to remember that I had looked at a 3rd option a week or so ago. This below is an Acorn Medium bag, made in the good 'ol USA (like the Baggins' bags too). This is a saddlebag design instead of rack one (The Bleriot has a rear Nitto rack; I don't remember which one exactly). I like the roundish, clumpish shape of this one. It seems more svelte than the Carradiced, but still allows for an extra jacket, lunch, etc. The profile pick seems to indicate a very agreeable compact shape. The Medium bag can be had for $70, but there's a bit of a wait for Acorn bags. They're hand made one at a time. If it's good, though, it must be worth the wait. More importantly to these options, such a lavish expenditure is not going to happen right now, and shouldn't. Maybe the November bday will offer a possibility.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Walkable NeighborhoodsWhat makes a neighborhood walkable?
- A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernable center, whether it's a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.
- Density: The neighborhood is compact enough for local businesses to flourish and for public transportation to run frequently.
- Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.
- Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.
- Nearby schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
Streets Designed for Everyone
Complete Streets are roads are designed for everyone who uses them, including bicyclists, pedestrians of all ages and abilities, and people getting on and off transit vehicles. These streets are:
- Accessible: There are wheelchair ramps, plenty of benches with shade, sidewalks on all streets, etc.
- Well-connected: Streets form a connected grid that improves traffic by providing many routes to any destination.
- Built for the right speed: Lanes are narrow or traffic calming is in place to control speed.
- Comfortable: Pedestrian medians at intersections, count-down crosswalk timers, bicycle lanes, protected bus shelters, etc. make the street work better for those outside of a car.
This is the 4th day in a row I've had a good walk. Later after some car-bound errands I'm going to get on the bike. I hope it stays cool. I've had some issues dealing with the heat this summer. I got extremely hot on a ride not long ago, and the last 2 times I've played tennis (and not what I would call strenuous tennis) I've really withered. I keep waiting for another ticker episode like I had a week or so ago. I just wanna' be healthy.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Next week I'll have 3 days of commuting, and the week after 5 days of motivating mileage. I've never been a foul weather a.m. commuter, but $4/gallon and a tipping point have adjusted my mindset. I'll be an every day guy now. My yearly mileage, according to mycyclinglog, is 1398. I think that is short of the 'Duc' mileage, but I'll have to retrieve that when I can.
Date: August 1 Fri
Weather: 92F and Humid
August mileage: 0
Year to date: 1398
*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: http://superissimo.com/the-cu...