Saturday, December 30, 2006

My only friend, the end

what would ray do?

Ever since I was a kid, the one thing I truly had a talent for has been sleeping. I've read that an increase in sleeping is a sign of depression. If that's true, I'll probably sleep about 20 hours a day if I get truly depressed. My personal best is 17 hours straight, back in high school. I don't even remember why I would have been tired. But the family was out of the house for the day and I didn't wake up until 6:30 in the evening. And the only reason I got up is because my friends were downstairs knocking on the door. You see, we were supposed to see a play that evening at 7. It was that late spring-early summer time of year when 6pm looks a whole lot like 6am. I was so disoriented that I staggered downstairs, answered the door and said "What the hell are you guys doing here at 6 in the morning?!"

The fact that I voluntarily set my alarm for 6:30 on a Saturday morning would shock most people I know. But I did it on this last Saturday of 2006 to get another Hiawatha ride in. I can't think of a better way to end the year. We headed North on the parkway and made our way to Birchwood because I'd never been there before. If nothing else, the Saturday ride is a good way to learn about the Minneapolis coffee houses within a 10 mile radius of the Shop. After coffee and various goodies we headed West on the Greenway, then cut South on Bryant. Emboldened by the experimental bikeway markings we took up as much of the road as 5 riders could. Ray brought the Clown Bike and honked at anybody who got in our way. It made me feel safe, anyhow.

After a quick detour to CRC we zipped back to the shop. Jim forgot to leave the secret security code, so no sales could take place. So much for his plan to take over the world "tens of dollars at a time." I was hankering for one of those snazzy Planet Bike taillights. Next time.

I'd like to thank everybody who stops by and reads this blog, both on a regular and irregular basis. It's been a lot of fun in 2006 and I'm looking forward to 2007. My resolutions are to eat more, work out less and sleep later (Saturday mornings excepted). When you set the bar low, you'll make your goals. Have a safe New Year all y'all.

Date: December 30
Mileage: 28
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha Ride/Schwinn
December mileage: 183
Year to date mileage: 3174

Friday, December 22, 2006

Just under the wire, snow

snowy bicycle commute
Minneapolis/St Paul finally got some snow that has a chance of staying through Christmas. If we're lucky. I can still see patchy grass in the backyard as I sit here in the living room and type. A good sunny afternoon could wipe away this slightly-white with no effort at all. It's one where I'm not even sure it's worth putting shovel to pavement. Of course, my sloth could also backfire if temps drop. I'd be stuck with a driveway full of ice until March. Still, at this point I'm willing to take my chances. Maybe the afternoon will see me in a different mindset.

The photo above was taken on the new section of the Minneapolis Greenway on last night's commute home. There was maybe an inch of snow, and that's being generous. The bike lanes were in horrendous shape, at least for someone who hasn't ridden in snow in 9 months. But the bike lane on 10th St had those irregular patches of slippery hardpack, and Portland was a slushy mess. After only a couple blocks I opted to leave Portland and side-street it over to Franklin. Franklin doesn't have a bike lane, but traffic was moving so slowly that I felt infinitely safer. Even on the good days Portland puts a little fear into me. That's the street where people are trying to go as fast as vehicularly possible to get to the next red light. Franklin, at least between 11th and Minnehaha Ave always has more of a laid back vibe, which I appreciated.

Once I made it to the Greenway it was smooth, if slow, sailing. This is the first time I've had the Raleigh out this year with the studded tires. I was amazed in the morning how much slower they feel than the 100psi cross tires that I've moved from the Raleigh to the Schwinn. And on the way home that feeling of slowness was compounded into downright sluggishness going through the snow. But I was glad to have the surefootedness. I only had one potential crappie flop, going down the hill on West River Road near Lake Street. I'm not sure what happened, but I nearly biffed it. But I recovered nicely and rode the rest of the way home without incident.

The commute felt good, but it left me overtired and cranky for the rest of the evening. The stinky Vikings didn't help matters any. But, I'm off work until January 3 so a lazy day is in order. Woo.

Date: December 21
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
December mileage: 155
Year to date mileage: 3146

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What did I do?

OK, let's recap. Yesterday I forgot the battery for my light and was looking at a 14 mile commute in the dark, with traffic and no front lighting of any sort. I did have a tailight, but that's not really even half the battle. I received many helpful, and some not so helpful, suggestions. Let's start with the not so helpful.

I think option F - stay overnight at work.

Staying overnight at work is just wrong. I do everything I can to ensure I only work somewhere between 35-40 hours per week on a regular basis, and I certainly don't want to change that. Thanks Snake, but I'm sending you to the remedial class.

Dude - you forget option G: buy another battery!

I'm currently rockin' the Planet Bike Alias light for my commute. It looks a little something like this:
planet bike alias headlight

I can't imagine anywhere downtown that would have one. Plus, I don't really want to shell out in the neighborhood of $70 for another battery. Nice idea, but loses something in the execution.

Doug wins the prize for what I should have done. He's absolutely right, I can always use another light. All my bikes should have blinkies front and rear, permanently mounted instead of shuttled back and forth. This scenario is the perfect proof as to why. But, since either of the bike shops I wanted to go to required miles of riding in traffic, I decided not to go with this one.

Oddly enough, the first comment hit the nail on the head. Minus Car (aka mytzpyk) guessed choice b right away. And that's what I went with. I took the train from downtown to Fort Snelling and rode the remaining 4 miles home. From Fort Snelling, it's pretty light traffic and nice wide shoulders. No worries.

Thanks for playing!

Date: December 20
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
December mileage: 135
Year to date mileage: 3126

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tagged!

Crap. Not only have I been tagged, but double tagged. I guess that means I gotta do it. So, five things that readers would not know about me. I'll leave it to the readers to decide if they are interesting things or not.

1. I've had more jobs than pretty much anyone I know. Going from memory in chronological order: Busboy at Perkins, working on a pick your own strawberry farm, Busboy at Esteban's, perfume salesman, grocery store stocker, Blue Bell ice cream man (I drove the truck and everything), various light industrial temping one summer (mostly warehouse work), recycling truck driver, car wash 'dude who wipes your car down after it's been washed' (I had that job twice), pizza delivery guy, pizza cook (after I lost my drivers' license), stereo/appliance salesman, telephone transaction agent, Service Recovery agent, Process Consultant, Service Manager, Project Manager and Senior Business Analyst. And I know I'm missing one or two in there somewhere.

2. I still have scars on my hands from stair sledding. Way before youtube was even invented.

3. I lived in Huron, South Dakota, for nearly three years. I'm still not sure why.

4. I played the Alto Saxaphone in high school band. Yes, that's right, I was a band geek. I also played the triangle on our band trip to Florida, because we were short a percussionist and the piece we were playing needed a triangle.

5. Once we found one of those old vibrating belt exercise machines. The kind from the 50s where you wrap the belt around your waist and it jiggled you to weight loss. It still worked so we would have contests to see who could stay in it the longest. I still hold the record, because the next person who tried it totally broke the belt.

And for the hell of it, I'll tag some folks. I tag Karl and Baggie. I think everybody else has been gotten.

Date: December 19
Mileage: 10
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
December mileage: 115
Year to date mileage: 3106

Decisions, decisions

It's now quittin' time and I've realized that I forgot the battery to my 10w headlight at home. And the bike I rode in doesn't even have a blinkie on the front. So, do I:

a) Ride home with no light?
b) Take the train most of the way and ride the remaining portion with no light?
c) Ride to The Hub and buy a light?
d) Ride to Hiawatha and buy a light?
e) Call the wife for a ride home?

Tune in to see what I decide!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why shouldn't mythological creatures love one another?

The reports of people falling down this morning make me glad that I drove today. I've been doing that a lot lately. Pretty much ever since somebody decided that a presentation was called for, with only a week to prepare. Then said somebody delegated the creation of the presentation to some low level lackey (i.e. me). And it's been hell on wheels ever since.

In most cases biking to work is a stress reliver. It's nice to deal with various things all day and then be able to pound out any frustrations on the 14 mile ride home. But when stress hits a certain level for me then bike commuting becomes and added stressor. The stuff I take for granted, like having warm clothes packed and getting all my gear lined up on a day in/day out basis starts adding to the problem instead of taking away from it. I've learned to just go with it and drive when things get to that point. I've already reached my mileage goal of 3,000 for the year so it's not a huge loss. Next year I think I'm going to try Kevin's "ride 100 miles for every year of your age" goal. So that means my goal would be 3,800. That's only 316.66666 miles per month. In theory, very possible.

This has absolutely nothing to do with biking, but it made me laugh out loud for the first time in days. Make sure you have the volume on. Enjoy.


Date: December 7
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
December mileage: 85
Year to date mileage: 3076


Date: December 8
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
December mileage: 105
Year to date mileage: 3096

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dang!

Check out this video, it's only a minute and a half long. You've got time before your next meeting. This guy has some mad bike skilz!


Here's the youtube link in case the embed doesn't work in your browser. Found via goclipless.com

Date: December 5
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
December mileage: 65
Year to date mileage: 3056

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fenders

We had a dusting of snow this morning when I woke up. When I was riding through Ft. Snelling one of the groundskeepers was using a leaf blower to clear off the sidewalk. And yet it was enough to stick to my tires and make a mini-snowdrift from the brakes. I really need to figure out my fender options if I'm going to keep riding the Schwinn any longer this year.

Date: December 4
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
December mileage: 45
Year to date mileage: 3036

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mmmm, forbidden doughnut

Another fun ride with the boys from Hiawatha. It was a balmy 16 degrees when I headed out from the house at 7:15am, and it didn't get much warmer. We managed to accidentally ride through the Lifetime Reindeer Run at Lake Harriet this morning. People say I'm nuts for riding my bike in the winter, yet nobody seems to have any issues with these idiot joggers running through 3 feet of snow. What gives?

I don't have any clear idea of where we were most of the morning, so I guesstimated a route that's probably more conservative than what we took, what with the indecision at the beginning of the ride. We ended up at Melo-Glaze bakery which doesn't seem to have a web presence, hence they get no linky goodness from me. When we walked in, the only people in the place was another group of cyclists. Who would have thought that on a 16 degree December morning two different groups of cyclists would have a random meeting at a doughnut shop? That's Minneapolis for you. Melo-Glaze's coffee was less than stellar, but the glazed doughnuts were good. I can still feel them sitting in my gut at quarter to five, and that's the sign of a good doughnut.

Date: December 2
Mileage: 25
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha Ride/Schwinn
December mileage: 25
Year to date mileage: 3016

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Vision Correction to Vision Protection

Karl asked a good question the other day in the comments. He said, "So now will you be riding with some kind of non-corrective eyewear to keep the bugs, dust, and beer cans away from your new investments?" Now, I know Karl and know that he rides here in Minneapolis. I'm not sure what part of Minneapolis, but obviously a different part than me. Getting a flying beer can in the eye has never been high on my list of things to worry about.

I have, however, been thinking about what to wear on the old eyeballs. Both in the first month following the surgery where the mere act of turning my head fast causes my eyes to get dry and me to run for some eye drops. But also for the long term. I've never ridden any distance without the specs on, at least since I was a kid. They were no safety glasses, but they did offer a modicum of protection from the wind and elements. And flying beer cans.

Today was my first day back on the bike after the surgery. I decided to give the old ski goggles a try. I have a pair of ski goggles that I picked up at a thrift store last year and have never worn. After one day, I'm hooked. The goggles were great. My eyes weren't tearing up like they have in previous cold weather riding. And the top half of my face, previously my Achillies heel in winter armor, was snug and comfortable. I did have issues seeing clearly on the way home in the dark, however. I hadn't cleaned the lenses very well after buying them, and there was residue from the thrift store price tag in front of one eye and residue from something I'm sure I'm glad I don't know what it is in front of the other eye. But a few minutes with a rag and some windex tonight and things are all "cleared" up. That's a joke, son.

The goggles did have one drawback. They seem to ride low on my nose. Or perhaps it's because my nose is larger than average. But either way it felt as though I was wearing the opposite of a Breathe-Right strip. Call it a Breathe-Wrong strip. The goggles pushed down and instead of magically opening my nasal passages they made it harder to breathe through my nose. I'm hoping that some adjustments to the elastic strap will help with these issues. Either that, or perhaps a pair of goggles that costs me more than $8.

Date: November 29
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
November mileage: 80
Year to date mileage: 2991

Monday, November 27, 2006

I know you've been worried

It was a busy holiday weekend for me and mine. I had the Lasik procedure on Tuesday, which shot that day to hell. By Wednesday morning I could see really well. It's like a high-tech miracle. I spent Wednesday with my kids, getting used to not wearing glasses and getting used to the eye drop ritual. Wednesday afternoon we went to my one day eye follow-up appointment. The hottie doc told me I was already seeing 20/20 and sent me home.

Thursday we had the traditional Thanksgiving with my family, and I ate until I was sure I'd gain a few pounds. To make sure I'd keep those pounds on, Friday we hopped in the car and headed to Bemidji to see family, a parade, and fireworks. The kids swam in the hotel pool Friday night and Saturday morning. I hot tubbed, but no swimming (gotta keep the eyes dry for 7 days). Then Saturday afternoon we drove back home.

Sunday I did manage to burn some calories, but not on a bike. After a morning spent drinking coffee and cleaning the house I made waffles for the girls. Then I changed the oil in our van and watched a bit of the Vikings. The Vikes didn't really hold my attention so I put up the outside Christmas lights and cleaned the gutters since all the leaves are down from the trees.

The way things are going, it's going to be Christmas before I can even turn around.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Low miles and eyes

I'm going to be lucky to break 100 miles this month. I'm currently sitting at 60, and looking ahead I don't see a ton of miles in my future. I worked from home yesterday and today and I'm scheduled for Lasik this afternoon. After that, I'm off work the rest of the week. This may be my lowest mileage month in over a year. Which is a bummer, because it's been an awesome November for bike riding. No snow and decent temps. The few days I have been out have been wonderful.

Speaking of Lasik, I can't believe how nervous I am about the procedure. Stuff like this usually doesn't bother me, but I've been finding myself obsessing over it for the last few days. And I'm not normally the obsessing type. I'm sure it will all go according to plan, but I wish they would have given me a couple day supply of tranquilizers. Just a little something to take the edge off. Ah well, nothing ventured nothing gained.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sweet ride


Now this is a sweet bike. Quick, take up a collection for the "buy Pete a cool old bike" fund. Found via craigslist


Scratch scratch

From the stall where I change into and out of my biking clothes:

I hope this guy had better luck with his other business than he did with the scratch-off he brought into the stall.


Date: November 15
Mileage: 20
Ride type/bike: Commute/Schwinn
November mileage: 60
Year to date mileage: 2971

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cue the crickets

I haven't been riding for over a week. I had a big training class last week that made commuting difficult, and Friday I worked from home. So to blow the dust off of the blog, here's a 4 page article about bike relations in New York, from The New Yorker appropriately enough. That should keep you busy for a bit. It's Sunday morning, pull up a couch and some coffee. And read nuggets like this:

Of course, some people’s fun is another person’s nightmare. The completion of the thirteen-mile greenway along the Hudson has inspired a great many people—five thousand, on a good day—to ride their bikes. According to Michael Smith, a veteran city cyclist, the new riders tend to wear spandex and helmets and go very fast, with a great sense of purpose, on expensive machines. Smith is a member of Right of Way, an organization “dedicated to the overthrow of car tyranny.” On its Web site, he wrote, “Back when we were all fighting the cars on the street, I felt a certain sense of solidarity. But now that we’ve got this dedicated—or sorta dedicated—space, I’m finding out that a lot of us are, well, assholes . . . just like that Guido in the S.U.V. who nearly killed you on Sixth Avenue last week.” Smith longed for a return of that “good, mutinous urban attitude” about cycling, where “we’d just laugh at the stoplights, and give the finger to the indignant, honking drivers. And we’d all feel like comrades or co-conspirators or something.” The “drivers on bikes,” as he called them, are really suburbanites in disguise. “Will they—please God!—move to fucking Scarsdale as soon as their kids are born?”

Discuss.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vehicle Update

It's been an unproductive week here at the Velocipete HQ. The kids picked up some kind of plague and now it's been transferred to Mrs. Velocipete. I've either already had an extremely mild version or I'm coming down with it, and I can't for the life of me figure out which. This is causing not much to get done. Yesterday I was on a quest to get my blinkers to blink on my 1990 Montero. I've been driving around for at least a month manually moving the blinker wand up and down to get an artifical "blink" from the turn signals. I know that the left rear signal is completely non-functional, and it's bothering me a bit. So Saturday I did some interweb digging and found a salvage yard in Rosemount that was supposed to have a Montero. I drove out there with one daughter only to find they didn't. We stopped at Checker on the way home and bought a new flasher. But the one they sold me had three prongs and I couldn't find anything under the dash that remotely resembled it. I spent probably an hour taking apart the dash with no luck. So I did some testing and found that the true flasher only has two prongs. I removed it and took the part back to Checker. They don't carry one that will work. So I either need to find a vehicle at salvage with the flasher and rear taillight assembly or go the dealer. This is a whole lot more work than I'm interesting in doing for a vehicle I'm probably going to unload soon.

I spent some time in the garage this afternoon cleaning a whole lotta stuff that has been piling up. The garage is now in a state where, once my current basement shelving project is done, I'll actually be able to park both cars in there again! And more importantly, I've got space to do bike repairs. So I took advantage of that and replaced the brakes on the Raleigh during the Vikings game. I got a pair of NOS Coda cantilever brakes from eBay for about $20, so I won't be too heartbroken if they're trashed come spring. Now I can confidently brake with both front and rear brakes. What a concept! Now I just need to do something about the drivetrain. Work, work, work.

Date: November 2
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
November mileage: 20
Year to date mileage: 2931

Date: November 3
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
November mileage: 20
Year to date mileage: 2951

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trek or Treat

halloween bicycle pumpkin
It looks like Ms. Witchy traded in her broomstick for something a little more exciting. Possibly with carbon fiber. Happy halloween from all of us here at Velocipete!

Date: October 25
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 291
Year to date mileage: 2891

Date: October 30
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 311
Year to date mileage: 2911

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

D'oh, a deer!

I had a bit of excitement last night on the way home. As I was riding down Highway 13 a car passed me. So far, nothing out of the ordinary. Cars pass me on Highway 13 all the time. It's after it passed me where things got interesting. The car was about 100 feet in front of me when suddenly the driver hit the brakes, hard. The car skidded and left long black skid marks on the pavement and created a huge cloud of blue smoke. As my brain registered this it also figured out what was going on. A deer had run out of the ditch in front of the car.

I saw two things happen almost simultaneously. First, the car hit the deerand the deer flipped over onto it's side. At the same time, I saw a second deer in the ditch that had been getting ready to follow the first onto the highway. As soon as the first deer was hit, the second reversed course and headed for the hills.

The car pulled off to the side and the passenger got out and walked back to the deer, where I had stopped my bike. The deer was alive, but it didn't look good. She looked sort of shocked by the whole incident. Her husband was looking at the car, which appeared to be undamaged. Because I was less than a mile from home, I offered to call the Highway Patrol for them. They were dressed up and looked like they had someplace to be. They accepted and I went on my way.

I got home and called the Highway Patrol and told them what happened. They said they would send someone out to "dispatch" the deer. This morning on my way in it was still lying on the shoulder. I wasn't looking forward to riding past that corpse every day, but by the time I came home tonight it was gone.

Date: October 23
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 251
Year to date mileage: 2851

Date: October 24
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 271
Year to date mileage: 2871

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Note to Self: Don't Bike to the Airport

I saw this story in today's Star Trib about a man who parked his bike at the airport, only to return and find it destroyed. I won't post the entire article here, but please read it here:

Leave your bike at the airport? Not a good idea, rider says

I am first going to start out with the unpopular position that the cyclist had a small part of the blame here. I say this because he locked his bike up inside the terminal. Not including the underground parking garage at my work and Jim's shop, I can't think of a single place where I can lock my bike up indoors. Locking your bike inside of a building is asking for trouble. But, this is a very small part of the story. If I had done this, I wouldn't be entirely surprised to come back after four days and find my bike had been removed. I would be incredibly surprised to find that my bike had been cut in half. It's a bit like parking in the handicap spot, only to find that instead of being impounded your car has been sent to the crusher.

The saddest part is that no matter the outcome, this man has lost a bicycle he's owned since 1957. Nearly 50 years. Each scratch on the frame had a story that is now gone. Every small modification made by the owner to increase his satisfaction cannot be duplicated. Another Raleigh 3-speed, while the same bike in theory, can't come close to replacing what has been lost. Every time Paul rode this bike, he was likely reminded of a lifetime of biking and adventure. He will never build this type of connection again, and that is the true crime here.



Date: October 10
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 130
Year to date mileage: 2730

Date: October 12
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 150
Year to date mileage: 2750

Date: October 16
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 170
Year to date mileage: 2770

Date: October 17
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 190
Year to date mileage: 2790

Date: October 20
Mileage: 10
Ride type/Bike: Fun Ride/Jamis
October mileage: 200
Year to date mileage: 2800

Date: October 21
Mileage: 31
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha Ride/Raleigh
October mileage: 231
Year to date mileage: 2831

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oh Merry Men!

First of all, let me say that this post is long overdue. The the most overdue part is a big thank you to Michael from andsoforth.com. For it was Michael's generousity that makes this post even possible.

Way back in May, Michael posted that he had an old Raleigh Robin Hood that he wanted to give to someone who would appreciate it. At the time, I felt I was that someone. Michael drove out to my place one morning and dropped of this beauty, my first foray into the world of English Three Speeds.




When I got it it had two brand new tires on it, but the front was flat. I didn't want to take pictures of the bike with a bum shoe so I waited. I finally got a couple of 26" tubes since the front was completely blown and went about replacing the tube. I pumped it up and all was well.




We went for a spin around the block and I noticed the seat was really loose. So I decided to tighten up the bolt that holds it together. Apparently I don't know my own strength, as I snapped the bolt in two. So the bike was hung in the garage again. And at some point while it was hanging, it blew the front tube again.



Fast forward to October. It's been a busy summer for me, and I'm behind on the scheduled maintenence on the bikes I ride regularly, let alone keeping up with the Hood. But after a cold snap that brought some light mid-October snow we had a gorgeous 60 degree Sunday afternoon. So I pulled the bike down again and replaced the front tube again. This time I sanded down a couple of burrs inside the front rim. I also found a bolt that fits the seat, pulled out the dremel and spent some time re-grooving the seat supports that were worn down and causing the seat to slip.




I took it out for a short ride yesterday, and I can see the allure of the bike and why people enjoy riding them. I think the seat needs a little more love, but I could possibly be ready for Lake Pepin next spring.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weather

The forecast is calling for snow on Wednesday. This means I need to start wearing long pants. And socks.

For the record, I will not be biking on Wednesday. I have an early meeting. Nothing to do with the forecast.

Date: October 4
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
October mileage: 54
Year to date mileage: 2654

Date: October 5
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 72
Year to date mileage: 2672

Date: October 6
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 90
Year to date mileage: 2690

Date: October 9
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 110
Year to date mileage: 2710

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another great day

I was pulling the early shift today so Yon Saucy Wench can attend her Tuesday night class. Between the early hours and the forecast calling for rain I was planning on driving in. When I got to the car I noticed that the dome light was on, dimly. The seat belt catch was caught between the door and the jamb, preventing the door from closing all the way. I tried to turn it over, but there wasn't enough juice in the battery. So, quick change of plans, grabbed a different bag and some clothes and hit the road on the Schwinn. I was about 20 minutes late to work, which wasn't bad considering about 15 of those were due to oversnoozing the alarm. It worked out well because today was another October smoker.



After the bus dropped daughter #1 off we grabbed their scooters and headed to the school to pick up daughter #2, who had Mad Science after school. The two of them scootered home while I hoofed it. The sky was darkening up with every step, but I never did get rained on. Nice.

Date: October 3
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
October mileage: 36
Year to date mileage: 2636

Monday, October 02, 2006

Perhaps I really do like Mondays


I'm sure us Minnesota folks are starting to sound like a broken record by now, but it was just absolutely gorgeous out today. It's not often that I ride home in October in shorts, short sleeve shirt and sandals. I realize it's only the second day of October, but I'm not going to quibble over the details. It's October, it counts.

I was riding home on the Greenway thinking that this day just really couldn't get any better. And because the universe loves to prove me wrong, it did get better. As I slowed down to cross 26th Ave a guy on a bike passed me. I rode along behind him for a bit thinking "That bike looks familiar." I finally put all the clues together and realized I was riding behind Kevin. So I pulled along side and we rode together for a few miles. He peeled off toward home at Lake Street and I continued down Minnehaha Parkway.

I decided to stop and get the above picture of the parkway sign with my bike leaned against it (bike dork picture #8). As I was doing so, a friendly guy walking along offered to take my picture so I took him up on it. Hence, the shot of me in my majestic glory you see before you.


And to top it off, once I got through Minnehaha Park I saw Kevin's wife Linda on her way home. We exchanged smiles and waves. I should get some kind of prize for spotting the two of them on the same day.

Date: October 2
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
October mileage: 18
Year to date mileage: 2618

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Add on


Here's a photo from Friday's commute. I had meant to add it to my prior post, but couldn't find the ferschluggin' cord to upload pics from the camera.

We also made some beer this weekend. And tonight I made bread and rolls from the leftover brewing grains. Is there anything better than fresh baked bread? Especially when it's made from beer?


Saturday, September 30, 2006

All Fall Down

Don't let them kid you. Those people who are hanging their bikes up in the rafters of their garage right now. This is some of the best time to ride. Yesterday on the way home I could feel the coming warm front. In the tepid drizzle I could almost convince myself that this was a spring ride, and long summer days were just around the corner. It was so different from the cold and rainy days over the last week. The changing leaves that were mostly still on the trees, but starting to fall on the path told the truth about my internal lie, however. We can only delude ourselves if we ignore the obvious. It's easy to do.

Fall truly is my favorite time to ride. It's cool I feel like I could ride all day. Even the occasional warm fall day isn't the same as a warm spring day. There's a certain undefinable quality to the air that's not there any other time of year. There should be more organized group rides this time of year. People don't know the beauty that they're missing.

Date: September 25
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
September mileage: 154
Year to date mileage: 2582

Date: September 29
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
September mileage: 172
Year to date mileage: 2600

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's raining, it's pouring

Apparently yesterday was World Car Free Day. Good thing I rode my bike to work. It was actually a nice day to ride. It was misting/sprinkling in the morning so I wasn't drenched. And on the way home it rained pretty hard but I was plenty warm. I don't mind riding in the rain unless it's a really cold rain. It's tough to get that chill out of your bones sometimes after a ride in cold rain.

I was riding the Schwinn with the new Panaracer tires I got at the bike swap this spring. I realized how dry a summer this has been when I was cornering on the wet roads. I still don't fully trust these tires in wet conditions. Not that they've done anything to make me mistrust them, but I just haven't ridden them in the wet enough to inspire confidence. I thought about it as I was on the greenway sprinting across Hiawatha trying to beat the walk signal countdown (I did). As I was halfway across I had a vision of my tires slipping on the crosswalk markings. Probably just paranoia.

It does pose an issue though. When I got the Jamis my initial thought was that I could start riding the Schwinn in the winter when the paths were clear. If I go through with that, I'm going to need some different tires. Probably cross tires with a slight knob on the sides for grip in the corners. Clearance could be an issue. And I'd probably need to figure out some fenders. Otherwise, it's the Raleigh again. Which needs some work. Decisions, decisions.

Date: September 20
Mileage: 20
Ride type/bike: Commute/Jamis
September mileage: 118
Year to date mileage: 2546

Date: September 22
Mileage: 18
Ride type/bike: Commute/Schwinn
September mileage: 136
Year to date mileage: 2564

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?

I took t' trike for a pretty decent commute ayeterday. Yon saucy wench had t' day off so I had no time constraints. I decided t' take t' river road t' t' greenway, since I'd only ridden t' new greenway in one direction. Me an' t' greenway are only on a nodding aquaintance, but I knew I was headed into t' other side o' downtown so I could hit t' Y. So instead o' departin' at yon Portland Avenue exit I rode all t' way t' Bryant. I headed north on Byrant not knowin' how I was goin' t' get t' downtown, but in fact it worked out beautifully. Bryant went t' Davy Jones' locker-ends near Hennepin Avenue, but feeds starboard into what appears t' be part o' t' Kenilworth Trail. There's a bonny bike bridge that crosses 94 and brin's you starboard t' Lorin' Park. By t' time I got in I was wishin' I had worn socks, and maybe even long pants. It's supposed t' get down t' 37 tomorrow mornin'.

TLAPD

Date: September 19
Mileage: 30
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Trike
September mileage: 98
Year to date mileage: 2526

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ray was right, lawnmowing is hazardous

I was all set to write about riding on the new section of the Greenway tonight. But when I got home, the family was still swimming at the Y so I decided to take advantage of the solitude and get some chores done. Specifically, mowing the lawn. I'm not all anal and obsessive about the lawn, and usually only mow when the grass starts to wave in the wind like something out of The Lion King. But the weather forecast over the next week or so will make people start to wonder what exactly a cubit is, so I figured that this was the time to do it.

We had a lovely Honda riding lawn mower for about 2 years, but this summer the transmission decided to shuffle off this mortal coil. So I've been mowing with the mini-mower, a little unit that we bought when we lived in South Dakota nearly 10 years ago. It was cheap as all get out ($79 I think) and has been a workhorse ever since. But the 20" cutting width just isn't cutting it for our half acre lot.

I fired up the mini-mower and started mowing. I usually mow in concentric circles. Again not because I really care about lawn patterns, but because it just seems easier. Our yard has a ton of trees and other things to mow around, but the majority are around the edges. So if I start at the outside and work my way in most of the hard part is over first.

I'd made two laps around the yard. On the second lap I put a pretty good scratch in my shoulder from a tree branch. And then on the third time around I felt something poke me in the leg. That's odd, I thought. I wasn't anywhere near a tree or shrub. Then something else poked me in the back. I looked down and saw a bee on my shirt. Then I felt another poke (or sting, I realized) and figured out what was going on. I shut off the mower and started running like a cartoon character, running while twisting, turning and swatting. As I ran toward the house, I could feel that one was on my back and I started calling to my wife so she could come out and get it off me. But it stung me instead. Nancy came outside just in time to hear me curse and swat some more. I took my clothes off on the patio (what will the neighbors think?!) and went inside. As we watched, two more bees crawled out of my shorts!

I decided my mowing was over for the night, went inside and took a shower. After getting doused with calomine lotion we counted 7 stings. And when I went to look, those two bees were still buzzing around my clothes, trying to find something to sting. I went back up and got the lawnmower, and I think I saw the hole in the ground where the bees are coming from.

Tomorrow, me and my friend the gas can are going to burn those bastards out.

Date: September 15
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
September mileage: 68
Year to date mileage: 2496

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Random Photo Dump

I finally went through my phone and uploaded the pictures that were on it. Judging by the snow, it's been a while.

My Peace Coffee bottle I got at the 2005 Bike To Work event is on the left. The one I got at the 2006 Bike To Work event is on the right. But you probably could have guessed which was which.


Sledding with the kid.




I ride by this bike almost every morning. It's cool.


Who knew a fifty cent kiddie merry go round outside a grocery store could get such big smiles?


Sorry for taking your picture at work, Christopher. And doubly sorry for posting it on the internet.


I really don't know what I was thinking when I took this.


Gopher hockey!


I don't even know what this is.


Date: September 11
Mileage: 16
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
September mileage: 50
Year to date mileage: 2478

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dairy Run

Yesterday afternoon my wife called me at work.

Nancy: Did you drive or bike today?
Me: I biked.
Nancy: Oh.
Me: Why?
Nancy: I wanted you to pick up some sour cream on the way home. But I guess we can do without.
Me: I can pick up sour cream. No problem.

And I picked up that sour cream, all 16 ounces.

Date: August 29
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
August mileage: 291
Year to date mileage: 2405

Date: August 31
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
August mileage: 314
Year to date mileage: 2428

Date: September 6
Mileage: 16
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
September mileage: 16
Year to date mileage: 2444

Date: September 8
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
September mileage: 34
Year to date mileage: 2462

Monday, August 28, 2006

Creaky Snake Goes Dancing

It seems as though just when one thing starts working right, something else fails. Especially with bikes. Case in point, the Jamis. Saturday I put 24 miles on it with no issue. Then I installed a rack. Then I rode 6 miles home. So far, so good. I hooked up the tag-along and rode another 15 miles without incident. Then later I did another 12 miles. On the last 12 miles, my Flightdeck computer stopped working. But in the strangest way. It is showing me current speed, estimated cadence and the odometer is updating normally. But it won't track individual ride time or distance. How the frell can it pick up my miles per hour but not record distance?? Grrr. I cannibalized the battery out of the wife's bike computer, since Shimano didn't see fit to pack a battery with the unit. I'm going to try a new battery and see if the issue goes away.

Then this morning on the way to work I developed a creak. It sounded like it was coming from the bottom bracket, but that seems too easy. I tried pedaling with my feet unclipped and it still creaked, so I don't think it's a pedal issue. It only creaks when I'm pedaling, not when I'm coasting. I tried stopping and moving my pannier from the left side to the right, thinking the weight might be causing it. No change. So I rode the rest of the way getting annoyed by the creak. Then, on the way home, no creak. I'm not sure what to think at this point. I hate trying to track down creaks.

Date: August 28
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
August mileage: 268
Year to date mileage: 2382

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Long Saturday = Lazy Sunday? Not so much.

I finally had a weekend at home when I didn't have about 1000 things going on, so I got permission to do the Hiawatha Ride on Saturday morning. I headed out from home around 7:15 and met up with the group for the 7:45 flight time. It was a much bigger group than the last time I rode with them, which was sometime back in May or early Jume. Have I mentioned that it was a busy summer? And there were women! The previous Hiawatha Rides I'd been on had been all XY. Good changes, all.

We rolled out and made a lazy loop around the Mpls lakes and up to the Greenway. We jumped off the trail at Uptown for some refreshment and caffeine at CRC. I'd never been before, and I liked it quite a bit. Nothing quite like drinking coffee surrounded by bikes hanging on the walls, bike stuff for sale (including the bikes on the walls), and even a fairly complete-looking repair station for that unexpected mechanical.

Once back at Hiawatha, I started shopping for rear racks for the Jamis. The Jamis is a great ride, but I don't use it for commuting all that often because I have to wear the messenger bag to do so. And I really don't like commuting with the messenger bag. I'm more of a pannier kind of guy. The frame has braze-ons for a rack, but most of the racks we tried interfered with the rear brake. Big thanks to Jim and Kevin for letting me open up damn near every rack in the place to find one that would fit. I had started with the most expensive rack in the place, and found that the cheapest one fit best. The frugal part of me loves it when stuff works out like that. So I'm all racked up and ready to roll.

Nancy called as I was finishing the rack install and said she and the girls were back to school shopping and told me to meet them at Old Chicago for lunch. I got the bike home with just a hair over 30 miles on it and went for lunch. While there we ran into one of Morgan's school friends, Laura, and set up an impromptu playdate for that afternoon. Laura came to our house around 2 and our other daughter Emma tried to pal around, but she doesn't know Laura and felt kind of left out. Nancy quickly suggested that I take Emma for a bike ride with the tag-along. So I hooked it all up and off we went. Nancy also called Emma's friend Sophia and set up a playdate for 5:00.

We had a great ride. I took her up along my normal commute route and we stopped off at Minnehaha Falls. After fooling around at the falls for a while we headed up the trail a bit more. After a couple more miles we turned around because Emma didn't want to be late for her playdate. We buzzed back home and I had 45 miles for the day. Emma's a good little pedaler, but it's still hard work pulling her and the tag-along.

After Nancy took Emma to Sophia's, Laura's folks picked her up and Morgan and I were on our own for dinner. Morgan looked at me with the big puppy-dog eyes and asked if we could bike to the waterfall. So I changed back into the bike clothes, hooked the tag-along up again and off we went. We saw the falls and tacked another 12 miles on to end up at 57 for the day (for me). This was the longest distance either of the kids had done on the tag-along and it went great. We'll be doing this more often.

I wanted to take it easy today, but ended up taking the kids to the Fair for nearly 6 hours this afternoon. A lot of walking. I think I'm gonna hit the hay.

Date: August 24
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
August mileage: 165
Year to date mileage: 2279

Date: August 25
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
August mileage: 188
Year to date mileage: 2302

Date: August 26
Mileage: 57
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha/Kid/Kid/Jamis
August mileage: 245
Year to date mileage: 2359

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rocket Power!

My sources have informed me that there is currently a rocket powered bicycle on display here in the Twin Cities. In Bloomington, no less. I did some preliminary web snooping and came up with a picture of said bike:
rocket powered bike Gizmo

The bike was built by Ky Michaelson, the self-described "Rocket-man". A former Hollywood stuntman who clearly took one too many blows to the head, he is now completely obsessed with rockets. How obsessed? He's built a rocket-powered toilet. I shit you not (pardon the expression).
rocket powered toilet

But there are more intriguing items to be found on his website. My personal favorite is this one, titled simply "Jeff on paules jet"
rocket powered bicycle

Who is Jeff? Was he stupid/brave enough to actually ride this rocket powered bike? Is that helmet ANSI approved? Is that bike really a Hawthorne with BMX handlebars? What happened to his shoelaces?

And this one. A potential winter commuter?? It certainly gives a new spin to the term "track bike."
track bike

I might need to make a pilgramage to the Bloomington Art Center.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Pod Person

There hasn't been a lot of riding lately. There hasn't been a lot of posting lately. There hasn't been a lot of reading done. I'm a month behind on both of the magazines I subscribe to, the bookmarks are at the early part of last month's issue and the current month's issue is sitting unopened, mocking me. I've been mainly skimming everybody else's blog posts, and I certainly haven't been commenting (sorry about that).

There has, however, been an explosion in the amount of music consumed. The House of Velocipete has finally entered the 21st century and gotten an iPod. And it's taken over. And that's just a little bit of all right.

Right now the lawn needs to be mowed, there's a few downed trees that need to be cut up and dragged to the composting place, more trees that need to be trimmed and/or removed. The place could use a good cleaning. The bathroom sink is plugged up. The garage needs to be cleaned and reorganized.

3398 songs, 8.8 days, 11.67 GB. And counting.

Date: August 10
Mileage: 24
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
August mileage: 96
Year to date mileage: 2210

Date: August 14
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
August mileage: 119
Year to date mileage: 2233

Date: August 15
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
August mileage: 142
Year to date mileage: 2256

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Run, Floyd, Run

Amazing video of local police as they attempt to take Landis in for questioning:


OK, so maybe it ain't Landis. ;-) But stay tuned to the end anyway. It's totally worth it. Found via cyclelicio.us

Date: August 9
Mileage: 24
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
August mileage: 72
Year to date mileage: 2186

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This here's a holdup

As I was sitting at the stoplight on Lake and Minnehaha the elderly gentleman next to me rolled down his window and asked if I wanted to race. I said sure, but told him I'd take it easy on him so he wouldn't be embarrased to lose in front of his wife (who was in the passenger seat). He said it would be especially embarrasing considering he'd just paid over $70 to fill the tank with premium. $3.39 per gallon. Then he quipped, "The oil companies have a knife in our ribs, don't they?" and laughed. At $3.39 per gallon I'm sure he's gotta laugh to keep from crying.

Date: August 7
Mileage: 24
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
August mileage: 24
Year to date mileage: 2138

Date: August 8
Mileage: 24
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
August mileage: 48
Year to date mileage: 2162

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Phlandis Phinished?

As expected, the B sample has come back positive. The Phonak statement is:

The Phonak Cycling Team has learned today from the International Cycling Union (UCI) that team captain Floyd Landis’s B sample has also resulted in a positive finding of doping. As a result, Landis will be dismissed without notice for violating the team’s internal Code of Ethics. Landis will continue to have legal options to contest the findings. However, this will be his personal affair and the Phonak team will no longer be involved in that. Team owner Andy Rihs deeply regrets this development. At present, he is clarifying with all parties involved what consequences this may have for his company ARcycling AG, the operator of the Phonak Cycling Team. Andy Rihs and Team Manager John Lelangue will make in-depth statements regarding this matter at a media conference to be held in the next couple of days.

The Phlandis statement is:

It is widely known that the test in question, given as a urine sample after my victorious ride on stage 17 of the Tour de France, returned an abnormal T/E ratio from the “A” sample. I want to be entirely clear about one point of the test that has not been fairly reported in the press or expressed in any statements made by international or national governing bodies; the T value returned has been determined to be in the normal range. The E value returned was LOW, thus causing the skewed ratio. This evidence supports my assertion that I did not use testosterone to improve my performance. I emphatically deny any claims that I used testosterone to improve my performance.

At this point there's not really much to add. Phonak has cut Phlandis loose and the conventional wisdom says that we won't see him on a pro bike race for two years. Buenos tardes, amigo.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Almost Famous

Woo, I got mentioned on Cycle-Licious!

Monday, July 31, 2006

You know she's gonna leave you well done

I missed out on the coldest day of the year so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on one of the hottest. I filled up one water bottle with total ice water, and it was still warm half way home. The other one that spent the day in the parking garage was like drinking hot coffee, minus the coffee flavor. Nasty. I think I prefer it when my water bottle was caked with road salt and half frozen.

Date: July 31
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
July mileage: 292
Year to date mileage: 2114

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Phinished?

We've got houseguests for the weekend and upcoming week, but I've been able to slip away and read up a bit on testosterone. And the latest report from cyclingnews.com says that the testosterone found in Floyd's blood was exogenous. Which is making it pretty hard for me to believe Floyd.

There's a guy who's done a lot more thinking about t/e ratios than I'll probably ever do posting at freefloydlandis.blogspot.com. Great reading, if for no other reason than to help me understand what the tests mean and why a positive IRMS for exogenous testosterone sounds darn near proof positive.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Testosterone

Interesting read about testosterone in sport. From Drugstore Athlete, originally printed in The New Yorker, September 10, 2001.

Perhaps the best example of the difficulties of drug testing is testosterone. It has been used by athletes to enhance performance since the fifties, and the International Olympic Committee announced that it would crack down on testosterone supplements in the early nineteen-eighties. This didn't mean that the I.O.C. was going to test for testosterone directly, though, because the testosterone that athletes were getting from a needle or a pill was largely indistinguishable from the testosterone they produce naturally. What was proposed, instead, was to compare the level of testosterone in urine with the level of another hormone, epitestosterone, to determine what's called the T/E ratio. For most people, under normal circumstances, that ratio is 1:1, and so the theory was that if testers found a lot more testosterone than epitestosterone it would be a sign that the athlete was cheating. Since a small number of people have naturally high levels of testosterone, the I.O.C. avoided the risk of falsely accusing anyone by setting the legal limit at 6:1.

Did this stop testosterone use? Not at all. Through much of the eighties and nineties, most sports organizations conducted their drug testing only at major competitions. Athletes taking testosterone would simply do what Johnson did, and taper off their use in the days or weeks prior to those events. So sports authorities began randomly showing up at athletes' houses or training sites and demanding urine samples. To this, dopers responded by taking extra doses of epitestosterone with their testosterone, so their T/E would remain in balance. Testers, in turn, began treating elevated epitestosterone levels as suspicious, too. But that still left athletes with the claim that they were among the few with naturally elevated testosterone. Testers, then, were forced to take multiple urine samples, measuring an athlete's T/E ratio over several weeks. Someone with a naturally elevated T/E ratio will have fairly consistent ratios from week to week. Someone who is doping will have telltale spikes--times immediately after taking shots or pills when the level of the hormone in his blood soars. Did all these precautions mean that cheating stopped? Of course not. Athletes have now switched from injection to transdermal testosterone patches, which administer a continuous low-level dose of the hormone, smoothing over the old, incriminating spikes. The patch has another advantage: once you take it off, your testosterone level will drop rapidly, returning to normal, depending on the dose and the person, in as little as an hour. "It's the peaks that get you caught," says Don Catlin, who runs the U.C.L.A. Olympic Analytical Laboratory. "If you took a pill this morning and an unannounced test comes this afternoon, you'd better have a bottle of epitestosterone handy. But, if you are on the patch and you know your own pharmacokinetics, all you have to do is pull it off." In other words, if you know how long it takes for you to get back under the legal limit and successfully stall the test for that period, you can probably pass the test. And if you don't want to take that chance, you can just keep your testosterone below 6:1, which, by the way, still provides a whopping performance benefit. "The bottom line is that only careless and stupid people ever get caught in drug tests," Charles Yesalis says. "The lite athletes can hire top medical and scientific people to make sure nothing bad happens, and you can't catch them."

Innocent until proven guilty, or...

When Operación Puerto hit the Tour, it hit both the presumed guilty and the innocent bystander. The biggest examples of the presumed guilty are Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, both top contenders who were not allowed to start the Tour because they were under suspicion of doping. It also had collateral damage effects, best illustrated through the Astana team. Astana had five riders implicated in Operación Puerto. And while Alexandre Vinokourov was not named, he was also not allowed to start because his team did not have enough riders. Collateral damage in the war on drugs, or something to that effect.

In many conversations about Operación Puerto, the theme I noticed most often was that people were surprised that the riders were suspended. Here in the land of the free, raised under the idea that we're all innocent until proven guilty (unless you're a suspected terrorist, of course), the idea of suspending suspected riders didn't seem to sit well with most folks. And it didn't sit well with me either.

Today, the five Astana riders were formally cleared of any involvement in Operación Puerto. The Spanish court issued a statement confirming that "there are not any type of charges against them nor have there been adopted any type of legal action against them." Too bad, so sad, sorry Vino you missed your Tour for nothing. In more ways than one. But hey, this is a war. And if a few people get screwed it's worth it to have a clean race, right?

Maybe not. Also on the news wire this morning is a story that a "high profile rider" is said to have tested positive for testosterone after Stage 17. You remember Stage 17 as the stage where Floyd Landis went crazy and took back nearly all of the 8 minutes he'd lost the previous day. And while the UCI won't reveal the rider's identity until the B sample comes back and the accused rider is given the opportunity to have a counter-analysis done, The Times has made sure that Floyd is the #1 suspect until proven innocent. Landis' name is mentioned seven times in the article. Total of other riders who participated in the Tour that received a mention? None. It should be interesting to see where this goes.

Date: July 25
Mileage: 23
Ride type/bike: Commute/Trike
July mileage: 269
Year to date mileage: 2091

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tour wrap-up

Saturday night my wife told me that she was keeping up on The Tour by reading about it in my blog. This is the news equivalent of keeping up on what's happening in the middle east by visiting MySpace. I can't even make accurate pre-race predictions. Though considering Operation Puerto pulled two of my podium favorites, I did OK. I had Floyd picked to place second, and Basso first. Since Basso didn't start, Floyd automatically slides to first and I should get credit for that pick. Right? I did nail Rasmussen in the Polka-Dot jersey, but Boonen was a major disappointment. He was probably too intimidated by McEwen's Jolly Jogger celebration to do anything. And I should also probably get half credit for Cunego taking the white jersey. He doesn't have a mullet, but I've never heard of him.

Call me an American fan-boy if you want, but I was glad to see Floyd pull of his win. I root for the US in the Olympics too. I guess I'm just a root-root-root for the home team kind of guy. And I hope Floyd keeps piling on the wins. If for no other reason than to see more of Amber Landis. Rrrow.

In other American cycling news, there's some changes afoot at Team Discovery. I'm sad to see that Eki is retiring, but at the same time wondering who they're planning on signing. According to Chris Brewer (registration required), they're announcing something tomorrow morning. Stay tuned...

Edit: Discovery announced tonight that they've just signed Levi Leipheimer. Via tdfblog.com. I wonder if they're done...

Date: July 24
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 246
Year to date mileage: 2068

Friday, July 21, 2006

Suitcase of Courage

Mr. Landis, the bellhop has your luggage waiting outside.
floyd landis suitcase of courage


Date: July 19
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 200
Year to date mileage: 2022

Date: July 20
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 23
Year to date mileage: 2045

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's Comcastic!

So I get home from work yesterday, make a couple of minor tweaks on the trike and pick up the kids. They want to ride on the new tag-along bike I picked up this weekend. So I hooked that up and hauled 7 year olds around behind me for about an hour and a half. That's not a lot of mileage because we were just cruising the neighborhood, but it does make for 3 1/2 hours on a bike yesterday. I cooked dinner, we ate, and I cleaned up. Nancy is reading Prince Caspian to the girls, so while they started in on their latest chapter I snuck downstairs to catch some Alpe d'Huez action. And, horror of horrors, the cable is out! So is internet. So I call Comcast, and long story short there's a guy coming to the house this morning between 8-9 to try and figure out why. But I missed all of possibly the best stage of the Tour. Man.

On a positive note, I was sitting at a stoplight on the way home yesterday afternoon and a little pickup truck pulls up next to me. The driver leans over and says, "How many miles per gallon does that thing get?" I said, "As many as you want." He laughed and laughed at that one, and we both went our seperate ways as the light turned green. Nice to have some pleasant interaction with my fellow travellers once in a while.

Date: July 18
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 177
Year to date mileage: 1999

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Race Report: TransPhalen

Saturday it was hot as blazes. Or as we used to say, 'wicked hot.' I drove to Lake Phalen for the annual TransPhalen Regatta, a race between all the instructors and instructor assistants in the Red Cross Sailing Program. I've raced this race for the last 6 years and have never won. Other than the heat, it was a perfect day. The skies were blue and the wind was blowing. We rigged the boats and hit the water at 11:00.

The course was set up with a buoy at each of the four "corners" of the lake. The route was a one time circumnavigation of the lake in a counterclockwise direction, cross through the start and once again in a clockwise direction. Normally I botch the start somehow, and then spend the rest of the race trying to catch up. But not this year. This year I had a fabulous start. I crossed the line second and headed on my first tack right behind the guy who has won the race the last two years running. When I came about the first time is where things all went to hell. I tacked, but it seems like the wind shifted at the same moment. So the boat turned, the sail crossed, but I was sitting there doing nothing. So I started falling off and finally found the wind. I sailed that tack but gave up way too much of the lake and fell behind. And after that, I spent the rest of the time trying to catch up. In reality, I spent the entire first lap trying to figure out what the hell the wind was doing.

Once we changed directions I felt much more in tune with the boat and the wind. I had fallen to fourth place by this point, and I knew that first or second was out of reach unless one of those guys capsized. So I just raced my own race from that point. I had several great tacks where I was hiked out the full length of my body. It may not be the fastest point of sail, but it's one of the most exciting, especially on a Sunfish. I managed to make up some time and did pass the third place sailor. She's fairly petite and the wind was really pushing her around, so I think I passed her based on weight, not skill. I held on and finished third.

This was my first regatta of the year and my first time out on a boat this year, so I was really rusty. And it showed. I'm happy with the finish, because usually I finish further down, but lack of time on the water really showed. But the most important part is that it was a blast, as always. The people who volunteer for the program are great, and it's always fun to get to see them and sail with them.

If anybody is interested in learning to sail, I can't say enough good things about the Red Cross program. For a mere $100 you get 8 three hour training sessions (that's only $4.16 per hour), and with the exception of the first night every session includes time on the water. If you would like more info about the program, feel free to contact me.

Date: July 17
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 131
Year to date mileage: 1953

Date: July 18
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 154
Year to date mileage: 1976

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sorry, Paul

Conversation I had with my daughter this evening:

Daughter, after coming downstairs and finding me in from of the Tour: Oh, you're watching bike racing again?

Me: Yes.

Daughter: Who's that guy talking?

Me: That's Paul Sherwin.

Daughter: Can I make fun of him?

Me: No!

Daughter: Oh. OK.

Date: July 12
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 89
Year to date mileage: 1911

Date: July 13
Mileage: 19
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 108
Year to date mileage: 1930

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Nice rack!

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I made an effort to get a rear rack for the trike, but exhausted my professional options. So here's a recap of how I made my quick and dirty pannier rack for the Sun EZ Tad. First, I made a trip to Home Depot and bought a bar of aluminum flat and four 5mm bolts, two longer and two shorter.


I got out the drill and drilled two holes in the aluminum that line up with the two eyelets on the rear of the trike. Then I trimmed the corner of the aluminum with a hacksaw so it could clear the rear quick release. Here's the results after cleaning up the cut with a dremel.


Then it was time to test fit. I mounted the flat on one side. So far, so good. Then I test fit one of the panniers. Again, good.



From there, it was basically lather, rinse, repeat. I bent the aluminum twice so the remaining portion went back toward the other side of the frame, cut it to length, drilled matching holes and cut a notch. Here's the whole thing bolted on.


And finally, the entire deal with both panniers mounted.


After about 65 miles, including two commutes, I'm quite pleased with the results. It seems pretty solid and the panniers are staying where they belong. And what's more, it doesn't even look like it was slapped together by a halfwit in his driveway.


Date: July 11
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 66
Year to date mileage: 1888

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Tour

I've been off work since last Thursday, and today is my first day back. My routine, since Saturday morning has been:
Roll out of bed, usually around 8
Make coffee
Turn on Tour coverage
Drink coffee, read blogs and watch the Tour until 11 or so
Get on with the rest of the day

So now, do I try to avoid any tour coverage during the workday and watch the updates in the evening? Or do I keep hitting refresh on the live update sites like an addicted lab monkey trying for his next fix? Either way, my employer shouldn't be able to require me to work between 7:30-11am during the month of July. It's inhumane.

Date: July 5
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 43
Year to date mileage: 1865

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Shakedown Street


The rear rack I ordered for the trike came in last Friday. I picked it up at Calhoun Cycles and immediately noticed that it had no support for a pannier's bottom clip. I talked to the guy from Calhoun and decided to try and take it home and make it work. He told me if I couldn't make it work at home to bring the rack and trike in once it was mounted and they could fabricate something. Over the weekend I took the rack out and realized that the folks at Sun decided that including enough bolts to mount the rack to the bike was not a needed feature. Since I would need to make a trip to the store anyhow, I decided to take everything back to Calhoun and see what we could come up with.

So Monday I loaded the trike in my van and drove to Calhoun. A different guy was working in the shop but he came out to take a look. His lack of enthusiasm for this project was immediately apparent. He mentioned a few things, and expressed his surprise that Calhoun would have even supplied this rack. When I mentioned that it came without the lower mounting bolts he went inside. I waited outside for at least 10 minutes before I went inside. He said, "I've got two 5mm bolts for you there [edit: I needed 6mm]. You can have them for free if you don't ask me any more questions about that rack." Ok then. I asked about fabrication. He said that it would be minimum of $30 plus parts and would be ready Friday at the earliest. Less than impressed, I headed for home.

I stopped off at Home Depot and purchased $8 worth of parts and spent an hour or so in the driveway and whipped something together. By this time it was about 6:30 and I told my wife I was going for a shakedown ride. I took a quick peek at my bike map and decided to ride down Highway 13, cross the Minnesota River on the bike/pedestrian bridge, head back on the west side of the river, cross back on 494 and then home.

I'd never crossed the pedestrian bridge near Highway 77, but I knew it was there from time spent exploring the nature preserve. The bike map said to follow Kennebeck Drive. I rode down 13 and never saw a sign for Kennebeck. When I got to 77 the shoulder ran out, so I turned around and started doing some exploring. I finally found Kennebeck but still couldn't figure out how to get to the bridge.

After yet another dead end I saw a security guard walking down the road. He worked for the Seneca Water Treatment Plant. I stopped and asked him if he knew where the road to the bridge was. He pointed toward the plant and said it was down that way, but he couldn't let me go that way. But, he helpfully explained, if I were to come from the other direction (meaning going up to 494, crossing the river, riding down to the bridge and crossing from west to east) I could gain entry to the plant and he would then be authorized to open the gate to let me out. But he was not authorized to open the gate and let me in. They couldn't let just anybody in because of the possibility of terrorists. He was very earnest, and I didn't want to cause him concern by pointing out the obvious. So I thanked him for the info and decided to ride that loop another day. Instead I headed east, wound around and eventually found 149 which I followed back home.

I had one stop to readjust my camelback, because the mounting position I started out with caused the fender to rub against the rear tire when the bladder was full. But all in all a successful test run. I think I'm ready to commute on the trike.

Date: July 3
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Shakedown
July mileage: 20
Year to date mileage: 1842