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


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


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

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

Monday, December 04, 2006


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