Monday, March 29, 2010


It's been a slow March on 2-wheels. I was shocked when I entered my commute miles for today that I hadn't been on the bike for 2 weeks. Suffice to say, though, that today is a grand day! About 1 hour ago I FedExed my "box" to the NBPTS headquarters. The grand National Boards portfolio is finished and sent, two days early even! I've been nearly giddy all day with the thought of getting this burden off my shoulders. I think I did a quality product and hope to score well enough to "pass" come November. I do have the test left, or in modern parlance, the "assessment", during which I have to prove that I know Spanish, which I do. I'm confident. I'm leaving nothing for chance though; if I fail (i.e., don't pass the first time), I won't be crestfallen. I know of many others who befell the same fate.

I did ride today, some 14 total miles on a slow-n-easy commute on the Ute. As much as I planned to ride more during tennis season, it's been the evening soccer that has demanded the attention. Tomorrow, for example, I have practice until 4.30. No biggie. But 'Z' has a game out in the SW part of the county at 5.30, so I'll have to make big decisions. I also have to go outside and change a flat tire on the wife's car. Arrggg! It's always something.

But at least 1 big monkey has been sent to the house!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


  • Sunday a great 55-miler with the RCCS in Southern Indiana. What a great place to ride!
  • Monday a quick hour on the fixie during 'L's soccer practice.
  • Wednesday, today, a quick 4.5 commute n back to a meeting post-school. I was thinking en route that all bicycle households should have a long bike like the Ute.
  • the cycling world is abuzz at googlemaps adding a bicycling route feature. I tried it for my neighborhood and save a poor decision about a .5m section, it has my commute down pretty well. Interesting how that goes. TheBigLead, a sports site I really like, has a snarky message about those damn law-breakin' cyclists. Why doesn't TBL bitch about all the stupid-ass mouth breather motorists wasting our oxygen while eating MickeyD's and smoking, all at the wheel of their '91 Buick, you know, the one with the shiny plastic hub caps?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Ute Commute

Snappy title, eh?

Friday and sunny weather sands evening family activities mean a "tennis" commute, a central premise behind the Ute purchase. It was uneventful in every good way, and a great way to steal 14m of bike riding instead of burning dead dinosaurs.

This is a left view of the Ute. The rear smaller bag is the one I use for school-related items such as my school clothes, papers and lunch if need be. You may be able to see my Ipod nano in the webbed pocket there on the outside. The zipped pocket might be a better idea, but whatev. To the left of the pannier is my smaller metal tennis hopper, this time without balls. It's lashed on with toe straps up top and the extra bungee and another toe strap on the bottom to keep the bottom quiet. So far I'm unimpressed with my lashing on technique. Drew at OYLC suggested the manly toe straps, but either I'm affixing them incorrectly or Drew is full of crap b/c the weights makes them slowly loosen, hence the use of the extra bungee. It held fast, at least for this ride. The challenge is to haul a full hopper and haul it safely and securly

The right side has the Big Bag (like the Big Salad!). As you can see, this holds a racket, cones, footwork ladder (in big black bag), a student's lost lunchbox (idiots!) and before had that white sweatshirt too. And there was *plenty* of room left.

  • Big Bag
  • buckles both underneath bag flap for snugger packing or outside for bulky items.
  • bags and mesh pockets
  • handling with a balanced load. It proved much more stable the second go round
  • ability to ride home in sweats- and non-cycling clothes- without too much hassle. It was a bit less comfy, but it worked
  • I/Grant be damned, I like the trigger shifters. I like them alot and I/Grant will have to deal with that
  • for anyone thinking about this, understand that the room along the top bar in between the wood flat board is compromised. That is to say the gaps aren't big enough to fit the head of a bungee. I think this is a solvable problem, but a big one none-the-less. It compromises lashing options and deserves some tough questions about the overall usefulness of the design.
  • length- that's to say I'm slowly getting used to taking the tank in and out of doors. It's one thing to lock it in front of the coffee shop. It's another to go in and out of the outside and inside doors at school/work, much less working the elevator. It's a learning curve issue, but in the end not a big deal.
  • the upright position when needed to get home in time to pick a son up from a practice. That is to say, it has an awesome position for toodling, but for picking up the pace, it's a challenge.
  • finally, climbing sucks. It's just RFS- real ###### slow
  • Oh, almost forgot. The bags have this strange gap on either side at the top under the flap. The contents below are secure, but things can work up and potentially escape out that outside gap. It's a little worrisome. Valuables belong in the more secure pockets or deep in the bag.
In my short time, I'll give the Ute an A-, the knock against it being the issue of the lashing options along the top deck. It's a cargo bike and it needs to be as flexible as possible, and it's not. On the other hand, it rides better than expected and is still very handy in ways normal bikes are not. There will be many more rides on the Ute, so maybe an end-of-Spring review will be in order.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Nothing much except a nice commute today on the Ute. It was a toughie as I left at 6.15a.m. and got home at 7.15a.m. That makes for a long day, but doesn't it for everybody. Tomorrow I have a release day for NBPTS and I'm gonna take a pic of the Ute doing a little cargo load. Below we have a few more things to note:

Crosscheck in new monstercross mode. I like the ugly green bar tape; it matches the green of the tubing sticker on the seatpost tube. Notice, too, the reentry of the moustache bars and the new Firecross 45c. Those are ridiculous, fat tires.

Aside my glove, this is an attractive view of a very dead rat I saw in my Sunday ride in Cherokee Park. Yummy!

QB, silky smooth

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: