Monday, January 30, 2006

Another local bike commuting story

Courtesy of Lunatic Biker, aka Ray, there was another story in the paper about a guy who commutes year round. A decent, bike-positive story, which we can't have enough of in my opinion. Here's the link:

It takes two wheels and a will to commute

Edit: And, I just found out that TOB got interviewed! She didn't make the article (must be some kind of communist plot to keep the wonderfully creative out of the limelight), but her comments are available at her blog.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Canadian Messenger attacked by motorist

A photographer in Toronto captured a motorist attacking a bike messenger. It's a pretty amazing story. There was inappropriate behavior on both sides but wow, talk about a reaction.

And here's a statement from the courier:

Hello all! I am the girl in the pics. My name is Leah and although I am a courier, I was WALKING my bike up Agusta when the incident took place. He was driving and opened his door (while driving) and yelling profanities he threw his beef patty on a bun out of his door. I walked over to his car, and right or wrong, I opened the door and "gave" him back his food (which he MUST have dropped by accident!) He then lost it, and jumped out of his car and threw 2 large Timmies at meand then grabbed me by my helmet and tried to toss me around a bit.It was at that point that my bike lock key (that I wear on a bracelet around my wrist) scratched his car. I have read all the postings about people sympathetic to the car driver due to the expense of repairing the scratch but sorry folks, i doubt that it will cost him anything to repair as it was a 1.2cm mark in the clearcoat only(did not damage the paint) but regardless a scratch none the less. Then with some "encouraging" from some helpfull bystanders he got in his car and drove away...or so I thought! People were comming up to me and saying that I should have him charged but at that point I just figured I had made my anti-littering point and and eye for and eye with the coffee shower, I mean I did throw that patty right. But just as I was getting on my bike to ride home he came running back and thats when the photos start. He had driven half a block and decided that the scratch was worthy of a more thorough beating I guess.
Now for a bit of clarity on a couple of things...
The blonde girl is his girlfriend...she also makes a pretty good shield from an angry mob!
I was NOT punching anyone! especially not with keys in my hand! I was just trying to save my bike (I just built it a week ago!!)
And as for the police charging him....
He took off in his car as soon as he heard the sirens....they chased him down but it is not a crime to leave the scene. They were going to charge him with a variety of things including assult with a weapon x2, mischief x2, aggravated assult, etc, but the police informed me that if I went ahead and placed those charges then they would have to charge me with mischeif for the scratch.
So in the interests of good karma (and my own sanity) I have opted to "let it go" and allow the universe to repay this angermanagement case in its own way.
And finally to those who say that i must have had a sudden case of self ritousness in regard to littering.....YOU ARE WRONG! I hate littering and NEVER do> In fact I am constantly picking up litter and make my son pick up litter at the park. I just feel that it is such a fixable issue in the world today. If everyone would not throw their own piece of litter then there would be none!! What a concept eh!?
enjoy the beautiful winter riding!

All I've got to say is, Toronto women rock. Leah totally stood up for herself when he came after her (regardless of her part in inciting him). And check out the woman in the black vest who is the first bystander to try to restrain the guy.

A cautionary tale for everybody who considers trying to do anything in retribution to a driver. There are about 15 photos of the event located here, plus opinions a-plenty.

Strangers on a train

He boarded the train and stood near the bike rack. There were no seats available. She was nearby, oblivious. I watched as his eyes boldly travelled up and down her form. He took in every detail, curves, bumps, lines. There was no attempt at subtlety, anyone could see his stare. Then he looked away. Had he found appeal? Did he want her? Or had she been measured and found wanting? It was unclear.

As more people boarded the train at future stops he moved closer. Casual, yet calculated. Another boarded the train, and the process was repeated. I wondered, which did he prefer? The second was younger, sleeker, sexier. But there was a solid, comfortable presence about the first. Something that said that she had been places and done things. The hard won look of experience.

He left the train soon after without a word or overture. The two bikes remained in the rack, uncaring.

some dude was checking out my bike on the train earlier this week...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Dream Weaver

Date: January 27
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 227
Year to date mileage:227

This has been a long week on the bike. I'm not used to 5 riding days in a row, I guess. Monday was the hard commute on the packed snow. Tuesday I had the wind at my back and kind of let it all hang out, riding faster than I probably needed to. Wednesday was the mock-fixie day, and yesterday was the headwind from hell. Today was just your average commute, but it felt like there was a headwind. My legs need a break this weekend, because I'm feeling it tonight. It doesn't help that I've been up later than I should have been every night waiting for that damn treasure hunt clue. It's always depressing to know that it's been found but at the same time there's a sigh of relief, knowing that I can start getting decent amounts of sleep again. And speaking of, I think I'm off to bed. Before 11:00. On a Friday. Party on, Wayne.

Turn out the lights, the party's over...

The clues explained

The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt medallion was found
at Battle Creek Regional Park on St. Paul's East Side at 9:35 a.m.
Friday. Here's the explanation of the six published clues and the six
unpublished clues.

Clue No. 1
Treasure hunters swarming amidst global warming
Make it hard to park our loot.
Look for snow and ice,
enough to suffice,
To shorten your winter pursuit.

Explanation: Our winter is mild, without much snow. The prize is hidden
in a park. Hunters should look for areas with enough snow and ice to
cover the medallion.

Clue No. 2

Son of Pear, hometown fare,
The nut of this year's quest.
Sweetest patty, never a baddie,
Covers the prize at rest.

Explanation: Pearson's Candy Co., based in St. Paul, is the maker of
the Nut Goodie, and its wrapper covers the medallion.

Clue No. 3

Men with a garter
should have been smarter
Than to mix drink with their vulcanic activities.
You would be wise
to look for the prize
By taking up a child's

Explanation: A red garter — a reference to the infamous "garter ritual"
that got the Vulcan Krewe leader in trouble last year — is wrapped
around the medallion. It is near a sliding hill behind Battle Creek
Elementary School and rec center, a favorite of neighborhood children.

Clue No. 4

For the brave of heart,
it's time to start
Searching hill and glen.
Pitch a tent if that's your bent
But stay within your ken.

Explanation: "Brave" and "tent" refer to Indian braves, who fought the
battle in 1842 for which Battle Creek Park is named. Hill and Glen
refer to Hillsdale and Glenridge avenues near the park. The Scottish
reference to "Braveheart'' also alludes to nearby 3M, known for its Scotch

Clue No. 5

If you're aerobic and hardly tree-phobic
You might make your outing pay.
Don't be left in a lurch, do your research,
This could be your red-letter day.

Explanation: The medallion is located on a hill, requiring a stiff
climb, near some oak and pine trees. The "red letter" refer again to the 3M
sign, visible from the hill.

Clue No. 6

On a whim you may take a swim
Or go in and out of the woods.
Twixt high and low, we hope there's snow
To cover up the goods.

Explanation: There is a water park at Battle Creek, which is both
inside and outside of the city of Maplewood. The third line refers to Upper
and Lower Afton roads, which are the north and south borders for the

Clue No. 7

Not west, but East, lies the feast.
Here you searchers must tarry.
Stay in St. Paul, near basket and ball
Where a medallion owner would bury.

Explanation: While the park is in St. Paul, it is on the East Side, not
far from Woodbury. Our hiding spot is near the Battle Creek rec center,
which has a basketball court.

Clue No. 8

You're off the mark if you stray from a park
And miss the point of it all.
Tips are legion in the region
Up to the verge of St. Paul.

Explanation: Reference to Point Douglas Road in Battle Creek, which is
a regional park on the border of the city.

Clue No. 9

The father, the son and one other one
Lost their lives near this watery place.
But now there's fun where those killins' were done
Woods, hills and wide open space.

Explanation: An attack by the Chippewa on a nearby Sioux village killed
Sioux Chief Kaiboka, his son and one other tribe member. A battle raged
along the creek, and it became the source for the name "Battle Creek.''

For Ph.D-level clue solvers, there is also a buried reference to Bob
Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited,'' in which `God' asks Abe to "kill me a
son," and Abe wants to know where he wants "this killin' done?" Highway
61 borders Battle Creek park.

Clue No. 10

Once the home pristine of Mr. McLean,
It was named by a dealer in teas.
In order to stake her, he gave 30 acre,
Did this man who so did love trees.

Explanation: The pristine area of Battle Creek was once a community
named after Nathaniel McLean, a newspaper publisher, Sioux agent and
veteran of the War of 1812. But the name Battle Creek was suggested by
William McMurray, a coffee and tea dealer, who gave 30 acres to the city for
the park in 1922.

Clue No. 11

Roaming like cattle near the creek of the battle
Let Winthrop be your pleasure.
Yon mount is better, above skier and sledder,
Twixt pines and poles sits the treasure.

Explanation: Battle Creek is identified, as is Winthrop Street, the
mountain above ski trails and sledding hills, and a location between a
stand of pines and two light poles.

Clue No. 12

Find and seek in Battle Creek
Near a center for athletic skill.
Out the door to the south, scarf over your mouth
Climb atop yon sliding hill..

Two posts can be seen, a wire between
Form a line heading to a row of pines.
Twenty-six strides straight, six to the left.
In the brow of a hill you will find,

Oh ye who were fickle, our medallion-sicle
Wears an iceberg disguise.
The package, as we said, is swathed in bright red
Candy wrapper, garter and prize.

Explanation: Directs hunters to the site atop the hill behind the
Battle Creek rec center. Aligned with two posts connected by a wire, walk 26
paces toward the stand of pines, then six to the left. The medallion,
wrapped in ice, candy wrapper and red garter, sits in some high grass on
the brow of a hill.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Insert Title Here

Date: January 26
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 209
Year to date mileage:209

This morning, instead of riding the train from Ft Snelling to the Government Plaza station I got off at the Franklin Ave station instead. It added about 2 miles to my morning, but I still got to work about the same time. Which is cool. 20 miles is easier to add than 18. The wind on the way home was brutal. It was like every great thing I posted about on Tuesday, but in reverse. With the warm weather tonight there were tons of people walking on the path. Here's a tip. If you're walking your dog, and you run into your neighbor who is walking his three dogs, don't stop to chat right in the absolute middle of the path. Two guys and four dogs are impossible to get around.

I shook my fist in anger at a car tonight on the way home. But it was a move of solidarity. I was riding on the River Road path at a point where the path is really close to the road. There was a guy on a bike coming toward me, but he was riding on the road rather than on the path. Which is cool with me. You want to mix it up with the cars, go ahead. Me, if there's a decent path alternative I'll take it. Anyway, this guy was riding a little out from the curb and the car behind him had to slow down and wait for an oncoming car to go by before passing the cyclist. As the car raced past the cyclist the driver blew his horn at the biker for a long time. So I shook my fist in the air. Take that, buddy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Clue #5

Clue #5
If you're aerobic and hardly tree phobic
You might make your outing pay
Don't be left in a lurch, do your research,
This could be your red letter day

All I'm really getting out of this is that it will be somewhere on a wooded hillside. It may be somewhat of an aerobic exercise to climb up or down to the location. The red letter day is killing me, because I can't think of anything to make sense of it.

Oh, and I have a slight correction. In clue #4, the word "vent" is actually "bent." My source dictated it slightly wrong. Not a huge deal, but it takes care of that Circus JuVENTas tie-in I had going.

I ain't too old to hurry

Date: January 25
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 189
Year to date mileage:189

Another good commute, though not as good as yesterday with the big tailwind. As I rode I was again amazed at how great the bike path and roads are right now. In fact as I labored up one of the hills on the bike path, on the heavy bike turning clunky tires with the superfluous studs, I thought to myself, "Maybe tomorrow I should ride the Schwinn." It sounds appealing, but my tires were awfully white when I got home. Not from snow, but salt. I don't need another bike that will start rusting to oblivion.

Speaking of rusting, the freewheel on the Raleigh is not freewheeling again. So I rode it home in mock-fixie fashion. In other words, no coasting. Because when coasting, the chain droops way below the chainstay and swings alarmingly close to the spokes. It's a little interesting going downhill in this fashion. On a fixie you can just let your legs relax, or you can actively slow the bike down by applying pressure in the opposite direction. Can't really do that in this case. So, the trick is to try to pedal hard enough to keep the chain engaged but not so hard as to increase your speed on the descent. I find it's easiest to pedal just hard enough to get slight resistance and then keep the front brake slightly engaged. Tonight when I got home I hit the hard stuff. I skipped the Finish Line and went straight for the Liquid Wrench penetrating oil. My dad always had a can of this stuff in the garage. Not aresol, but the little 3-in-1 oil style can with the screw off tip. Works wonders. So like father like son I always try to have a can as well. We'll see how it goes. I have a feeling I should start scouring eBay for a new one as the LW will only be a temporary solution, if it's a solution at all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Clue #4

Clue #4
For the brave at heart, it's time to start
Searching hill and glen
Pitch a tent if that's your vent
But stay within your ken

This clue sounds decidedly Scottish. Brave at Heart (Braveheart). Hill and Glen (Scottish glens, Glenlivit, etc), and "stay within your ken" sounds like it could have a distinct Shawn Connery-like brogue. Couple this with the previous Pearson Candy clue (Pearson's is located on 7th, just south of Highland Park), and it looks like we're being steered toward Highland Park.

This part isn't my own thought, but it does fit. A "child's proclivities" could be a reference to a circus. The circus theme also fits with the "pitch a tent" line in today's clue. There is a local circus called Circus Juventas (youth in Latin). Juventas was the greek god of youth. And Circus Juventas headquarters is located on 1270 Montreal Ave. And Montreal Ave just happens to be the northern boundary of Highland park. Very interesting.


Next year's Tour de France will start in...(wait for it)...London. How weird is that?

To be free again

Date: January 24
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 171
Year to date mileage: 171




If yesterday was the strangest and longest commute of the winter, today was easily the best. When I woke up this morning, I could really feel last night's ride in my thighs. Then I heard about the above wind advisory while listening to KFAI (sorry, Alana!). Both of which nearly had me driving. But I decided to ride. The ride in was slow going due to the wind. It was especially bad on the Highway 55 bridge, where it was pretty much head on. I toughed it out and hoped the wind would hold until evening. It did.

When I left work I got on the River Road bike path and just started cruising. The wind was at my back and the path was completely clear of snow and ice. For the first time in several months I wasn't completely concentrating on where I was riding, and wondering if there was ice or not. I was just riding. This was like a summer commute, where the only thing that dictates my speed is how fast and hard my legs can turn the cranks. It was a joy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Clue #3

Clue #3

Men with a garter should have been smarter
Than to mix drink with their vulcanic activities.
You would be wise to look for the prize
By taking up a child’s proclivities.

Clearly a reference to last year's "incident" involving a few Vulcans and the waitstaff at Alary's bar. Alary's used to have a website with pictures of their waitresses in various stages of near-undress, but it's been disabled since shortly after the incident. As an aside, you can still go to google and do an image search for "Alary's" and turn up some, shall we say, interesting photos. That short piece of dubious history aside, all this clue really tells us is that there probably is a playground or something similar. Could be a way to weed out parks that don't have a playground, or could be a clue as to which part of the park. I'm not really sure just yet.

Sweet Surrender, What a Night

Date: January 23
Mileage: 11
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 153
Year to date mileage: 153

Wow, what a strange commute. It started this morning when I had to drop a friend's car off at Ft. Snelling. She was in Vegas for the weekend, and was planning to take the LRT from the airport to Ft Snelling since neither Nancy or I could pick her up in the middle of the day. So this morning I put my bike in her trunk and drove to Ft. Snelling. I took the bike out and boarded the train.

Then this afternoon, I ran out of time to ride over from Minneapolis to St Paul so I took the bus. Not only did I run out of time, but I still can't figure out a good way to commute by bike from one downtown to the other. I can get as far as Ramsey St, but once Ramsey becomes the Ramsey Hill there's no good way that I know to get to downtown. So I rode the 94 to downtown St Paul with my bike on the front rack and then pedaled to Metro. I was getting a little nervous, because my freewheel was acting up. Whenever I would stop pedaling it wouldn't "freewheel" and the chain would go slack and try to bunch up. So whenever I had to stop at a stoplight I could take my feet off the pedals and they would rotate nearly a full turn to equalize out.

After class I rode back to downtown St Paul and headed toward Kellogg Park. I swung by the Pioneer Press and saw one lone dude keeping the vigil, waiting for tonight's clue. I cruised through Harriet on the lovely cleared path and then switched to Water Street when the path became not so lovely and cleared. Water Street treated me well, I saw a total of one car, and it was headed toward me. When I reached the yacht club I turned onto the Big Rivers Regional Trail. A trail which, for the first 100 yards or so is nicely plowed. But then, not so much. So I ended up riding the next 1.5 miles in this:

In a word, it sucked. It's not that nice soft, cut through like a knife snow. It's that hard, hasn't been plowed all winter, people have been walking all over it, bumpy as hell snow. You can see the nice 3-4 inch deep rut that I got to ride in. That was a chore. One good thing about it, all that jostling seems to have knocked my freewheel free again. I applied some Finish Line lube liberally to the freewheel and surrounding areas when I got home, made myself a couple of chicken and bean burritos (not-microwave) and had a Newcastle. Now, it's time for bed.

Clue #2

Clue #2

Son of Pear, hometown fare,
The nut of this year’s quest.
Sweetest patty, never a baddie,
Covers the prize at rest.

A simple "what's it in" clue to start off. Son of Pear would be another way of saying Pearson. Combine that with nut and hometown fare and I'm thinking that the puck will be inside a type of candy made at the Pearson Candy plant on 7th. My guess is either a Nut Goodie or a Mint Patty. So now we know what we're looking for, if not where.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Clue #1

Clue #1

Treasure hunters swarming amidst global warming

Make it hard to park our loot.

Look for snow and ice, enough to suffice,

To shorten your winter pursuit.

There you go. I've nothing to offer on this one. Not even a city v. county clue.

If you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, today is the first day of the Pioneer Press Winter Carnival Treasure Hunt. More details are available here. It's a modern day hunt for buried treasure, $10,000 to the victor. I'll be following it closely for the next 12 days or so.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

And I looked and I saw that it was good

Date: January 18
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 142
Year to date mileage:142

Praise god and pass the ammunition. Somebody finally plowed the Highway 55 bridge bikepath for the first time this year. Yesterday morning I churned my way through and broke a sweat doing so. I was prepared to do it again last night, but no. When I left the street in Fort Snelling and started riding toward the bridge I steeled myself for the upcoming effort. But, as I turned the corner I noticed tire tracks on either side of the trail, and a noticeable absence of ruts. A plow! I knew the bike portion of the bridge was too narrow to get a truck with a conventional plow through, so I figured I would still need to slog across the snowy bridge. But it looks like somebody took an actual snowblower and made a couple of passes across. It's not down to the pavement, but it's still gorgeous. I need to figure out which municipality did this so I can extend the appropriate kudos. I'm thinking it's Mendota, but I'm not sure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bicycles and beer, a winning combination

Earlier this month I posted about a happy coincidence involving a bike company named Surly and a beer company named Surly. Now, there's a less coincidental tie between bikes and beer. Town Hall Brewing has just released a new seasonal Belgian Amber called Alpine Pedaler. It is "named for those crazy folks that cycle all winter long in our (usually) harsh northern winters. Our coffee is delivered by bike messenger, we've got Town Hall workers that bike to work. We all know cyclists, let's hoist a pint to all the folks that break out those fat winter tires and don't give in to Old Man Winter" according to their beer release memo. Tonight is the official release for this beer, and between 5-6 pm pints are just $1. Town Hall does this $1 a pint new release Wednesday about once a month, but this is the first one I've seen that is directly bike related. Town Hall is located right at 7 Corners, and it's a great place to hang out. They also sell growlers for around $13, depending on the beer. It's a convenient way to get some of their tasty brew on the go. That reminds me, I've got a couple empties at home I should bring in and refill.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Date: January 17
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 124
Year to date mileage:124

It's a little snowy out there, eh?

Once again, kudos to the Minneapolis parks & rec people for getting out and clearing the paths. I had a great, incident free ride home again even though we got a couple of inches last night. The sticky snow you see above was all picked up between Ft Snelling and the Highway 55 bridge.

I'm not sure what the difference was , but I felt totally at ease riding in the snow tonight. I met up with another cyclist while riding on the path along River Road, and we rode together for about 4 miles until we went our separate ways in Minnehaha Park. He was a total veteran, been doing the whole winter riding thing for about 15 years. I could tell he felt very comfortable on his bike, because whenever we would get to a hill or turn and I had the instinct to slow down he just kept on motoring. I kept on too and realized it wasn't that big of a deal. Then when we split I got into the deeper stuff you see above. It was like a game of memory match trying to remember where the clear portions of the trail were hidden under the new snow. But I had a whole flow kind of thing going on and just rolled through it. Didn't even dap once. Maybe it's because I was going through at a little bit faster pace that made the bike just want to get through it. It was rutty, twisty, lots of body english and handlebar twisting. But that was at one level. At another level, it all just felt smooth. I wasn't thinking about it, I was riding. Very zen like.

Can you tell I didn't shift much?

Fourth Rotor

So during the day (mostly, but not always on my lunch break) I read some local bike blogs. One of the ones I read is written by a guy who calls himself Gundog99. I first started following his blog because I really liked his pictures. I believe most of the pics on his blog were designed and made by him. I even used a few for my web project for school last semester. Great stuff.

But, you could knock me over with a feather when I saw his most recent post. Here it is, and I quote:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Currently Listening To:
Follow this Link
Fourth Rotor - Woodland Taco. Cool rock for cool kids. The link above is to the mp3 download page, where they offer up thier songs for free. If you like 'em you can buy the CD from them.

posted by gundog99 @ 4:13 PM
Make a comment! | No trackbacks!

And I'm all like, hey, I met those dudes (and dudette)! I knew I should have gotten autographs!

Shred the SKyway update

The Red Bull ride the skyway thingie made it into the St. Paul paper on Sunday. The article is still available on-line but you can't get the snappy map of the course on the website. If you've still got your Sunday paper and access to a scanner, you could do the world a favor and scan the thing. If you're like me, and the paper's recycled (he still gets an actual paper? how quaint!) and you don't have a scanner, you e-mail the guy who wrote the article (Richard Chin) to see if he'll e-mail you a jpeg of the map or something. He wouldn't, but he did e-mail me the course description. Here it is, in Richard's words:

"start at Galtier Plaza, head west to the Northwest Center. Head south to Lifetime Fitness. Head west again towards the Pioneer Press, down the stairs to the tunnel after Landmark Towers and head northwest underground toward the Xcel Engergy Center."

Again, that's Feb. 8 from 7-10 pm. Or thereabouts.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have. This is where I am, and this is where I'll stay. I will not be moved.

Date: Friday the 13th
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 106
Year to date mileage:106

Plans come, and plans go. My original plan for the weekend was to get out on the bike and do some utility cycling. I need to get a book for the new semester that started on Monday. I need to buy some basics, like deoderant and body wash. And then I want to reorganize my garage. Then, I changed my mind and was going to go to breakfast with my buddy Sparky, and join up with a TCBC ride at 11:00. Then Annie invited me to come ride this morning at 9:00. Then, my wife decided she wanted to go out of town.

Now, no out of town. Sparky called and cancelled breakfast, sounding sleepy as all get out. I would have had time to get to Lake Harriet, but I decided to give Annie's friends the opportunity to smack her around for even offering to invite me (That guy gives me the creeps, don't tell him where we're riding!). I could still make the 11:00 ride, but I'm not feeling like an organized ride today. So I'll go back to the beginning and plan to ride to Metro State, get my book, stop somewhere for some bathroom basics and take my time. Utility cycling alone. Sounds good to me.

cycling + commute

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Strangers on a train

Date: January 12
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 88
Year to date mileage: 88

I had a nice chat on the train this morning with another bike commuter. Through our chat we discovered that we pretty much commute the same way. In the morning, 4 miles to the train station (5 for her) and then take the train the rest of the way. Then ride the entire way home. We chatted the whole way in. I told her about the new bike path that runs between the dead end road at the south end of Minnehaha Park and Ft. Snelling and she seemed pretty happy about it. Once she realizes that she never has to climb the monster hill on the other path, she'll be loving life.


Had to get away

Potential weekend revision. The Mrs. called and has a yen to get out of Dodge. Her requirements are:
-within two hours or so of the Twin Cities

My requirements are:
-someplace to ride my bike
-sauna (more of a desire than a requirement)
-hottub (also optional)

Anybody ever taken a winter bike vacation that didn't involve going someplace warm?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!

Date: January 11
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 70
Year to date mileage:70

On the way home tonight I noticed that a fellow cyclist had a flat on the Highway 55 bridge. I didn't offer to help fix it though. The main reason I didn't offer is that the person was no longer there. So how did I know they had a flat? They had considerately left their tube and empty CO2 canister on the bike path.

I stopped and picked the junk up. I'll throw away the CO2 and see if I can patch the tube. It seemed to be holding some air because I couldn't get it to completely compress. And I'll offer a big thanks to the cyclist who left his or her crap on the side of the road. I find it hard to believe that, in this weather, there wasn't a pocket you could have stuffed this into to be disposed of correctly.

In happier news, I've got the entire weekend free. My kids are going to be down with their grandparents and my wife is going to be working on a project of her own. I need to do a couple of things, but I want to put in some miles on the bike. I need suggestions. Where should I ride that I haven't ridden before?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Think Fast

Pop quiz, hotshot. When I say Surly, what do you think of? Beer, right? Well, maybe this was a trick question. After all, anybody who reads the SurlyBlog has a pretty good idea that, when they're not making some fine bikes, the folks at Surly like to have an adult beverage or two. But now, some local upstarts have started a brewery bearing the same name. Kismet? Coincidence? Only the shadow knows. But it is eerie that two of my favorite things are now sharing the same name and are both based right here in the Twin Cities. It almost makes me want to rethink this whole "intelligent design" thing.

In other news, I didn't ride yesterday because I woke up feeling weird. I spent most of the day at work wearing my jacket because I was chilled. I climbed into bed last night about 10:00 wearing sweatpants, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt. I pulled the three layers of covers over me, which includes a down comforter, and froze. I'm officially sick. But, I slept on and off for about 16 hours and other than a lingering sore throat I'm getting better.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Shred the Skyway

Ever dream of riding your bike at top speeds through the skyway? Have no fear of clipping doorways or wiping out on tile? Think "janky" is one of the best words ever? A Red Bull-sponsored event in downtown St. Paul's skyways on Feb. 8 will give 50 local riders the chance to prove that winter riding in Minnesota isn't just about studded tires and those funny-looking balaclava face masks. Expect high speeds and sharp turns.

Sweet. Maybe I can score some free Red Bull...

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Date: Jan. 5
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 52
Year to date mileage: 52

I was riding down the road one day and
Someone hit a possum
I was riding down the road one day and
Someone hit a possum
The road was his end
His end was the road

I guess today was the day to see stuff. It started out with a dead possum in the middle of the road in the morning on the way in. Then, on the way home I saw:
2 bikers
lots of walkers and joggers
lots of dogs being walked or jogged
1 raccoon, alive
1 rabbit, also alive
1 child sized inflatible floatie ring (pictured)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Revved up like a deuce

Date: Jan. 4
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 34
Year to date mileage: 34

I had a nice ride home tonight, even though my meeting ran late. I took the bike path along The River Road and I think that was much faster than my Minnehaha Ave route. With the bike path being much clearer than the bike lane I can cruise along with no stoplights. And now that the Raleigh has the studded tires, keeping momentum is critical. This is also a safer route. I'm on the road for a few blocks downtown and then I'm away from the cars until after I cross the Highway 55 bridge. Ironic, since I bought a big ol' rear light yesterday. I went with the Cateye TL-LD1000 taillight. It's sweet. And super bright. And nearly the size of my fist. I was amazed when I hooked it up to the bike last night in the garage. I picked it up at The Hub on my way home. They also gave me a bundle of AAA batteries with my purchase. 14 of them! The TL-LD1000 takes AA batteries (included, nice work Cat Eye) but all my other blinkies take AAA so I'm hooked up for a while. How cool is that?

Speaking of the Highway 55 bridge, the warm weather of the last two days has really made a difference. On Friday morning when I went to work I was the second person to cross the bridge and it was smooth as silk. When I rode across yesterday morning the bridge was all rutted and just plain horrible. I think it took me close to 10 minutes to cross. But yesterday afternoon and today it was much better. It's weird though. The bridge itself is much better, but the short sections of trail on either side of the bridge are not in good shape. I don't know why the snow would melt faster on the bridge. I know it's not a difference in traffic, because to cross the bridge you must ride/walk on these sections as well. The bridge is concrete while the trails are asphalt. Theoretically black asphalt should melt snow faster than beige concrete. My theory is that when the plows go by on the car portion of the 55 bridge they throw snow over into the bike path. That snow has salt mixed in with it and helps the snow on the bridge melt faster.

There was an oddity tonight. I met another cyclist in Fort Snelling. I see cyclists in Minneapolis on a regular basis. I saw 5 yesterday on the way home and tonight I passed one on the River Road trail. But I haven't seen anybody that far south in over a month. I see plenty of trails in the snow, but it's rare that I see a rider. Tonight when I was in one of the bad sections leading up to the bridge I was riding way on the left side of the path. That's where the cleanest line throught the ruts is. When I looked up I saw another cyclist coming toward me in the same line. We both pulled up and stopped for a minute. General chit chat, Sorry for being on the wrong side. Not a big deal. Where are you headed? I'm going south to Eagan. Have a good ride! You too! It was nice to see another soul out and about. Though I miss the guy I used to smile and wave to every day during the summer and fall. He was riding through November at least if I recall correctly, but I haven't seen him for a long time. I think he may have given it up until spring.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy 2006

Date: Jan. 3
Mileage: 16
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 16
Year to date: 16

So here it is, the obligatory "year end wrap up" post. I managed to get in just over 1800 miles in 2005. And I'm having a hard time with that number. On one level, I'm happy about it because I set my original mileage goal for the year at 1000 and I passed that easily. But at the same time, when I read about other folks who have ridden 8,000 miles it doesn't sound like much. Oh well. I am satisfied because I know that I didn't ride over 100 miles in all of January or February combined last year. I started commuting full time in March, but as I look back at my log I realize that the majority of my commutes between March and May involved LRT, most involved LRT both ways. So the bulk of the miles I put on last year were from mid-May forward. Obviously I was a bigger weenie than I remember.

This year I'm going to try the "header thing" with miles to date, etc. The idea was blatently stolen from Jill and you'll get no apology from me. I changed her format slightly. Since most of my rides begin in the morning and end in the evening (commuting) having a "temperature upon departure" category would be confusing at best. I'm adopting this format to make it easier for me to track my year to date progress. My battered notebook isn't the greatest thing for totalling up all the numbers.

I hope everybody had a nice 2005 and is going to ride more in 2006 than they did last year. Except you, Ray. You're already making the rest of us look bad.