Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why L'Ville is different

I remarked previously that it didn't seem like many people actually biked to the Bike Summit II. Roaming around tonight I found an article via Rocbike of Albany, NY and their first public meeting to discuss their new city bike plan. The author states,

Almost 200 people turned out — but you would have been able to predict that even before entering the building: Every available sign and stachion on the sidewalk had a bike locked to it.
I don't want to dog our fair city and its efforts to increase bike facilities and usage, but I'm just simply struck by this observation. It seems like their attendance, about 200, is similar to our Bike Summit II. Their metro population, 850,000 (including some other local cities), is about the same as our own. But what is different is that there were not bikes coming our of the woodwork at our local meeting. Furthermore, the article states that the central premise of the meeting is to discuss the development of functional bike paths which will connect the city and will get people out of their cars. Our entire morning session was nothing more than an Ad campaign for a suburban park that you won't be able to get to without a car. I just have this sneaking suspicion that bike usage in Louisville is overwhelmingly recreational, as opposed to functional, and that many of our long-term goals (the 100-mile Louisville Loop) mirror this usage, as that of recreation and not as something transformational, like the bicycle as transportation. Just a thought.

Bike Paths

Our local utility cyclist listserve has been discussing dedicated bike paths- not lanes- of late and I'm very intrigued, even jealous. I read all the tales of those many cyclists in Minn./St. Paul and am regularly amazed by the options they seem to have.

As of you out there who sometimes read this blog (All 4 of you), please feel free to give me your 2cents about your experiences with off-street dedicated bike paths. I would like to enrich the local discussion as to their efficacy and popularity elsewhere.

Crosscheck Cruising

I pumped out an 18-miler this afternoon on the Crosscheck, which I'm using with the Pasela-shod Mavic wheels from the Blueridge. That wheel/tire/pedal/frame combo makes for some reasonably spiffy handling, but withe 32c comfort as well. Today was also the first time in a LONG time using a Polar heart rate monitor. The heart doc suggested it to see if I can catch a 'moment' like I had in early January, thereby having the data to analyze if needed. I sent the unit off last week for a full battery replacement, and they sent me a new chest transmitter too; I guess 10 yrs is too long for them to work? Anyway, after being overly interested early on with my heart rate, I got down to just riding in the 32F, occassional sleet and had a good time of it. To be honest, it felt damn good. Not unlike Lithodale, with tennis I don't have mega hours to just roll around the city at 12mph taking it all in; I need to maximze my short time so I'm doing more tempo, which certainly has me gravitating to the Crosscheck or something else and away- this time- from the LHT. I don't know if I can manage to ride an hour at 5:00 a.m., which is the only time I can ride during the week normally, but that's what it'll take to get any mileage this Spring. The Buddha says to live for the moment, and the moment this afternoon was very satisfying. Of course, the Buddha also says I shouldn't enjoy it too much, or at least get attached to that moment of 2-wheeled bliss, but it's hard, no?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Commute No. 14

Ahh, the bliss of a found commute today. The forecast was for rain, which we received in copious amounts overnight. I almost didn't wake in time this morning, but eventually I dragged myself out of bed for a work commute, given that the rains would nullify the ability to hold tennis practice outside. I was going to ride the FrankenTrekSS but all my stuff didn't fit in the Carradice so I grabbed the LHT for a short-stuff a.m. commute. I quickly encountered a back brake that was epically rough, noisy and seemingly self destructive. I laid off the rear completely, but the front wasn't any better. This afternoon, before leaving work, I fiddled with the V-Brakes to find a brakeable solution only to find my brake pads almost complete toast. It was obvious aftermath of last weekend's RCCS Brew2Cruise. My afternoon errands first took me to OYLC for new brake pads, in this case some Avids that he had in stock. Afterwards I ventured by Krogers to pick up a prescription and then to home, giving me 15m on the day, with the afternoon portion at a LithoDale-ish "banging" pace. Given my lack of miles the legs feel good. I going to fight for whatever miles I can get during tennis season, morning, noon or night.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Banging one out

Using Lithodale language, I banged out a 19-miler this afternoon after work. Rain beget practice cancellation beget an afternoon quickie, well, not that kind. Given my lack of miles, I took the path of faster=more calorie burning and rode hard the whole way, giving me 19 miles for less that 1.5 hrs ride. The ride avg was right at 15mph, which ain't quick for many out there, but is a nice, brisk pace for my normally slow commuting pace. I was greeted with stiff headwinds at discreet junctures through my park foray, giving me a chance to push hard not only on the park hills but in the flats as well. The two observations that come my way are, first, that I really like flat pedals and riding without cleats- my feet are happier- and secondly, I love riding and have to buckle down and get some mileage during tennis season. It's so challenging to come home from an 11-hour day and want to ride at night or get up early for that matter, but it felt great to test the legs.

It's a strange day when you hope for a forecast for rain, but that is what we have tomorrow, which means a wet commute to work and not to have to stay after school with tennis regalia.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I made the decision late last year to start a 2nd blog b/c I thought people bored of reading inane sports and routine "I commuted" entries. I then realized, at some point, that it was stupid to have 2 blogs, even if Nobody actually read any of the entries. Given my recent decision to return to the all-encompassing one blog with inane, boring entries, I thought I would celebrate an excellent sports day yesterday. In December, I bemoan being a loser in the field of sports fan and viewing. On that day the 'Cats, Cowboys and Merengues all lost. Yesterday was a much better day for my sports cheering pleasure

  • The 'Cats beat Tennessee for the 2nd time this season, this time at Rupp and without a mega-scoring night from Jodie Meeks. For a true blue UK fan, there is nothing better than beating TN; I would put it ahead of beating UL in my own book.
  • On the futbol front, Real Madrid mauled Real Betis 6-1 to pick up 3 points.
  • Even better, Barca finally lost again, in Barcelona deri to Espanyol 1-2. The 12-point has shrunken to 7. You never know.
On a different note, the wife and I saw The Reader on Friday night. Reviews have been mixed, but I thought it was/is an excellent portrayal of the messy psychology of the Holocaust and of the human psyche. Kate Winslet gave griping rendition as a rapist/Nazi guard/murderer/illiterate/old woman. Reviews have hit on the unevenness of the narrative, but to me, those times were inordinately uneven. German culture post WWII has been uneven. The guilt generated by such behavior has been uneven. Unlike Revolutionary Road, which didn't do much for me, I very much enjoyed The Reader, regardless of all the nakedness.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brew2 Cruise

The 2009 pet project RiverCityCyclingSociety hosted our 2nd ride today, taking us to 3 brewpubs and to a total of 35 miles. To add to such an event, let's also throw in 35F, driving rain, driving snow, windy peril and excellent fun. Today's will go down in the books as one to remember. After week of sloth, I can think of no better way to kick of the doldrums than that.

Tennis has started, but the goal has to be to get out in the mornings, even if it's for 30min. Miles beget miles beget miles.

"Epic" S24O...and not mine

Please follow this link to check out Reverend Dick's full fam S24O. He's got kids everywhere and his Big Dummy maxed out with paraphernalia. I'm in awe and highly jealous. Part of this is/was made possible by location; our trip through the 'Ville wouldn't be so scenic, rustic or amenable. We live in a "real" town.

On another note, the Brew2 Cruise hosted by the RCCS, takes place today, quite possibly with accumulating white stuff on the ground. Last time we had 17F, this time rain or snow. I've already scheduled my April ride and I'm gonna be making plans for a RCCS S24O for summer. It'll be a 35-miler to Clark State Forest in IN and back. I had opportunities to ride this week and just didn't but today I'll get my distance in on the RCCS ride and maybe that'll jump-start the engines.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ride Stoppage

I seem to have stopped riding my bike. In the mix right now are:
  • normal work/school stuff
  • start of tennis season
  • help organizing World Language Festival (nightmare)
  • other random work crap
  • grading mega-required readings that aren't written in the language I teach
  • boys still doing 4 sports
  • being nice to my wife (trying)
I'm feeling a little swamped and overwhelmed. I could have theoretically ridden today, but I couldn't have imagined the organization involved with multiple trips to school, tennis tryouts etc. Yesterday morning I visited the Cardio doc for a follow-up on my 2 episodes. I wore a Holter last week and, of course, there were no aberrations. Which is good, really. I have the doc's permission to ride hard when needed. He wanted me to wear my heart-rate monitor, but not be a slave to it, so I sent that off today for a battery update. I got the heart rate up to 179 when I wore my Holter, so I know I'm on target for MHR for zone calculations. I don't think I'll do much zone training, but I guess it's good info to have.

His primary, meh, only suggestion? Lose weight. Surprise there. I gotta get serious b/c my blood pressure was up a bit for the first time. I'm already on a heart med and am really, really, really not in the mood to do that whole BP thing unless it's necessary. And it's not necessary if I can control it with weight reduction. So, I'm going to have to read fatguy religiously and buckle down, biking or not.

We also have a good friend in a dire medical state, so I better count my blessings and get on the horse and off the ice cream. Peace.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fashion sense

You may jest, but I wish I could pull this off. I have no fashion sense, mostly because I've been fat all my life and fat people don't fit into fashiony clothes. I like his beard (mine's woolier). I like his wool. I like his glasses. I like how he dresses and wish I could do so myself, not like a 39 year old boring dad.
(courtesy of BicycleFixation via Jim)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cherokee/Seneca Pics

I took these in December but never posted them. In perusing the set (and those left un-uploaded) I find that like them just as much as when I took them in the first place. This was a single-speed mountainbike ride on the Redline. I remember having enormous fun that day, even with 1 gear. The Monocog is about the most unloved bike I own. I ride it. I stick it in the garage. I ride in in the snow. I let the chain rust profusely and lubed it with 3-in-1 oil, of all things (it was really rusty). If you ever feel the need to hit the trails in the 'Ville, Cherokee/Seneca offer a bit of this. Instead of providing details, I'll let your imagination fill them in.

Commute No. 13

There was nothing special except for the opportunity to commute Friday morning. I woke up refreshed at 5 after a nice night's sleep. I almost didn't ride out of complacency, but I took the LHT for both the short route there and the short route home, using Audobon each time for a change of pace. I had to hightail it home b/c we went on a double date to ZFushion for a VD dinner. We had an excellent meal and I encourage whomever to give it a try; be prepared to have adequate cash :-). We spent about $100 for the 2 of us, but had every course and split a reasonable bottle of wine. A 'Benjamin' is a good sized wad of cash these days, but it was worth it, I think.

After the meal we went to see Son Volt. It was probably the wife's 10th time or more seeing them and my 6th or so. I found myself feeling nostalgic, thinking of seeing early Son Volt shows before 'Z' was even born. Jay Farrar seems to be glancing back into a country vane/vain?? like the early alt-country records, and I found the show more enjoyable than anticipated, even with the 2 drunken idiotic women who were swaying into everybody's space.

Bike Summit II part 1

I've been busy since Thursday's Bike Summit to give any thoughts, and even now I don't have anything coherent to add. Above is a pic of a nice Bianchi I saw there. Our favorite agitator Jimmy made a cogent observation that the building which hosted the Summit didn't have bike parking so they used some barriers as seen above. You can also have a looksie at Crankedmag's 2cents. I would further add that I was surprised by the lack of bikes. Out of 200+ participants, there were maybe 20 bikes locked outside. Maybe 30, but that's a high estimate. Much of the program focused on making cycling routes more available, but IMHO it focused on recreational routes and not functional routes. I'll discuss this later, but I'm glad I went and hopefully it gets the 'Ville even further into the discussion. I've lambasted our fair town before for its lack of focus, but after Thursday I think there is at least an earnest desire to see Louisville as something better than purely car-centric.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Louisville Mega-Comment

I must have been in a post-storm induced haze, because I missed a good, local blog-o-flame war recently, courtesy of Barry's Blog. I met Barry last fall and he seems like a really nice guy and a passionate, rational one for cycling issues and advocacy. The flame war regarded red lights and stop signs, always an interesting topic. Bikeolounger and I had a nice little on-line discussion just Monday about the topic. It a way, it's good that we have a variety of perspectives here, and that we have advocates who care enough to pipe in. Cycling matters!!

Commute No. 12

Date: Feb 11 Wed
Weather: 50F/60F
Mileage: 15 (LHT)
Year to date: 390

I sit here for a quick report listening to train-like roar of the wind outside. We had a straight-line storm move through at lunch and we're now feeling the effects of the tumult behind it. I presume that this is the same system that caused the tornadoes and deaths in OK. Bad stuff. We're all wondering -gun shy- whether the weather, whither that weather, will wound us again.

I rode today, but had to make some adjustments to make it happen. Usually I have to do tennis on Wednesdays, but I also had a quick appt. @ 4.00 for medical purposes. Instead of being glum about the occasional heart hiccups, I was proactive and made some calls. As such, I'm now wearing a Holter for the next 24hrs. Fortunately, tomorrow brings the Bike Summit II, so instead of commuting to work, I'll ride hard on the commute there and then to the doctor's office to return the monitor. It's rare that I wish for an "event", but this is one of those times.

I'm also looking forward to what the Bike Summit provides. It's sure I'll have pics and info to come.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Commute No.11

Date: Feb 9 Mon
Weather: 35F/67F!
Mileage: 17.5 (Trek)
Year to date: 375

To hell with 2 different blogs. I don't really care if anybody reads this one or the other anyway. If people do, great. If they don't, then they, YOU have used your time more constructively.

This was the first "real" ride of February after a horrendous and miserable ice storm. Today on the Beargrass Trail I saw the tattered remnants of Old Man Winter, with several sections almost impassable due to downed trees. I felt slow and lethargic, to no surprise. I took the Trek, but tomorrow I think I'll rotate over to the LHT to give me a lazy gear if I need it. Let's be clear too. This afternoon brought 67F and breezy. A complete delight in all respects. We're in for higher-than-normal temps all week. It's too bad I couldn't go for a long one today, but it'll do. It's better than driving. This week brings some medical stuff Wednesday relating to the heart issue, and Thursday is the Bike Summit. That should be interesting.

Today felt good though. Blood in the legs and air in the lungs. Life as it should be.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

a ride-ish

No, I didn't ride either day of a beautiful weekend, with near-60F temps and nice skies. I spent the time well, though, cleaning up yard debris, playing 2 games of 21 with the teenagers (won both. :-)) and took a 2m ride to Norris Deli for Guinness and Brooklyn Oktoberfest. That gives me 2m for February, but I'll be on the bike for a commute tomorrow, rain or shine.

Pope Benedict XVI

Anybody creeped out that a former Hitler Youth- "he was forced to..."- has reinstalled a Holocaust denier back into the fold? Good to see that responsible minds are fighting back.

Caveat: I'm not close to Catholic, but politics is global.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Been uugghhh. Cold. Frozen. Wet. Blase. spent afternoon cleaning yard up and now supposed to endeavour on 2 wheels but uugghh!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow & Ice pics

Sad roof with 2 different branches laying on it

Old dogwood which almost hit wife's car.

Comely cherry and front grass bed.


Just checked that message machine and it works. That means power after 5 days without. I'll be bike commuting again tomorrow. Mom has been great but it's time to go home.

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: