Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Name is Pete

I'm a big believer in karma. Not that I believe that karma is going to cause me to come back in the next life as a dung beetle or anything like that. But more along the lines of what goes around comes around. If I do something nice for somebody, it makes them happy. This makes the world a better place. The end. I've apparently done something to get my bike karma out of whack, as I've had three flat tires since the first of the year. Prior to that, I think the last flat I had was last summer. It's weird.

So last night as I left work there was another fellow suiting up to do bike battle with the elements. We chatted for a bit and he asked me if I thought the downtown Target would have inner tubes for his skinny tires (he's riding 700/23s in the winter, brave or crazy). I told him I didn't think so. As we talked I noticed his tire was completely flat. I pulled out my frame pump and we pumped his tire up. It seemed to be holding air quite well, and he rode off with enough air to get home. In an effort to fully appease the god(s) of flat tires, I spent the evening last night patching up all my tubes and finally fixed the flat on my Schwinn. Just in time for snow.

Date: January 31
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
January mileage: 309
Year to date mileage: 309

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Two Minutes for Hooking

Somebody out in San Fran managed to get some video of a cyclist getting hooked by a car, and of course now it's on youtube. Pretty quick reaction time by the cyclist, if you ask me.

Date: January 29
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
January mileage: 269
Year to date mileage: 269

Date: January 30
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
January mileage: 289
Year to date mileage: 289

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Feel better, ya bastard!

So much for my plans. Shortly after laying out my grand scheme for today my body decided to have an impromptu evacuation drill of my entire digestive system. I spent Thursday curled into a ball on the couch in the basement, hoping I'd die soon. I went in to work on Friday because I had to facilitate a meeting. (insert sarcasm here) That went well. Last night I slept for approximately 13 1/2 hours and today I'm feeling somewhat human again. Just in time for mexican food tonight at Boca Chica. Yum. I think.

I hope somebody made it to the ice races today and posts some photos. At least Jim got a flat on the Hiawatha ride today. I flatted on the way home from last week's ride proving Jim's theorem of "they come in threes."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Son, you got a panty on your head

Sheesh, almost missed the 2007 Ice Races. This Saturday at 10am on Rogers Lake, near my neck of the woods. I'm thinking I'll get up early and hit the Hiawatha ride (two weeks in a row, that's some kinda record!) and then peel off and head for the lake. Or, if I'm tired and/or cold I can head for home to get the car. We'll see how late I stay out on Friday.

Date: January 23
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
January mileage: 229
Year to date mileage: 229

Date: January 24
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
January mileage: 249
Year to date mileage: 249

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hello, I Love You

The trails were in dismal shape tonight, almost as bad as the bike lanes. I feel so betrayed. Minneapolis Parks, how can you let me down like this? Even the Greenway, normally the Gold Star Standard of bike trail maintainance, was covered with icy sheets. While I was slowly heading down a hill on the River Road bike trail a woman on a bike called out "Coming by on your left!" and totally blew past me. I shouldn't even admit that I had studded tires on.

Date: January 22
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
January mileage: 209
Year to date mileage: 209

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Camera phone not acceptable substitute for real camera

I had this sweet picture of my Schwinn with the snow buildup from this morning's ride. I was going to say that it makes me more aero and faster. But for some reason the photo from my phone won't enlarge more than this. So I'll have to go with this lame photo of Ray instead.
lunatic biker

Date: January 20
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha/Schwinn
January mileage: 189
Year to date mileage: 189

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Titles often Elude Me

So we finally got some snow here in Mpls/St Paul. I decided to be adventureous and ride the trike today instead of toddling along on the studded tires. I haven't ridden the trike in quite a while, and when my thighs were screaming Uncle! after about 10 miles I kind of remembered why. Damn, that thing's heavy. And slow. Probably almost as slow as the Raleigh with it's studs on.

But, it's a whole lot of fun. I was chugging along up some of the Eagan hills, cursing the heaviness and lack of plowing on the shoulders. When I hit the Highway 55 bridge I was pleasantly surprised to find it was plowed. But for some reason the plow left little piles of snow every 100 yards or so. When I hit the first one the trike slid sideways. There's nothing quite like sliding at about a 30 degree angle to the bridge pavement. But that's when it hit me. If I was on an upright, I would have been down. Sliding sideways on a bicycle is a unique feeling. I did it several more times on the way to and from work. There's a feeling of impending doom coupled with an endorphin rush, but no real danger. When I was flying down a hill on the river road that wasn't plowed well and started to shimmy, twist and vibrate, I actually giggled.

So it's heavy. That just means stronger leg muscles eventually, right?

Date: January 17
Mileage: 28
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Trike
January mileage: 166
Year to date mileage: 166

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stuff I Ate

We went to Chicago this weekend. Spent some time visiting with family and friends, and also some time being total tourists. And we spent a lot of time eating.

We ate lunch at the airport on Saturday, because our morning flight was cancelled and we were rebooked. I was super hungry and ate my entire cuban sandwich from Axel's before I could photograph it.
cuban sandwich

When we met our friends, they took us to the local mexican eatery, El Cid. I had the fish tacos. Best fish tacos I've ever had.
fish tacos

I also had an avacado tostada on the side.
avacado tostada

Sunday morning we had a pretty darn good brunch that I forgot to photograph. Between our kids and the relations there was way too much going on. But Sunday evening we had a killer thai meal. I can't even remember what everything was, but everything I tried was good.
thai food

Since we were in Chicago, pizza seemed appropriate. But we couldn't get Chicago style delivered. We settled for this.
pizza box

We made a pretty good dent, considering the girls were asleep and didn't help.

English didn't seem to be the pizza guy's first language, and when we placed the order we weren't sure they would be able to find us or get the correct order. They succeded on both counts, even though this seems to be all that was written down.
pizza receipt

I ate other stuff too, but most of it was too unremarkable to photograph.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Frigid Bits

I felt pretty good all the way home tonight, despite the single digit temps. But with about two miles to go, I realized that I need to improve my layering technique for "my boys." They was cold, they was.

Next stop Chi'town, Lido put the money down

Big snowstorm heading for Chicago this weekend. Coincidentally, I am also headed to Chicago this weekend. Fortunately my two flight days, Saturday and Tuesday, are the clear ones. Enjoy the leaderless Hiawatha ride, and have an extra baked good on my behalf.

Date: January 12
Mileage: 22
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
January mileage: 138
Year to date mileage: 138

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Here a flat, there a flat, everywhere a flat flat

Last Thursday I woke up to a flat front tire on the Schwinn. I was already bundled up and fortunately I have other bikes I can ride. I once read that you're a true bike commuter if you have a back-up commuting bike, just in case something happens to your primary commuter. So I fired up the Raleigh and went to work. That evening I fixed the flat and I rode the Schwinn the next day. I rode it again Monday and today.

Tonight as I left work I got flat number two on the Schwinn. It was the rear wheel this time. I knew I didn't have a spare tube, and I didn't really feel like messing with a patch because they never seem to hold when applied in cold weather. So, I rang up my lifeline. Can you come get me honey? But, I had forgotten that the piano tuner was coming. So my honey was home with the kids and a semi-tuned piano. Think fast, rabbit. I hopped onto the train. I knew I'd never make it before Hiawatha closed, so I got off at the Lake Street stop. I walked the bike the couple blocks to The Hub and bought three tubes. I fixed the flat outside the store on the sidewalk and rode home.

Before last week, I couldn't even tell you the last time I had a flat. But now, two separate tires within a week's time? Bad karma, that. I wonder what minor deity I've offended. Or, maybe I was just due.

Date: January 9
Mileage: 14
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
January mileage: 116
Year to date mileage: 116

Monday, January 08, 2007

Let's do the time warp again

Where the heck did the weekend go? One minute I was watching Meerkat Manor with the kids and the next I was at work on Monday morning.

Thursday morning I woke up to a flat tire on the Schwinn, so I rode the Raleigh and listened to the crunch of the studded tires. I wasn't thrilled. So Thursday night I changed out the flat and rode the Schwinn on Friday. I rode it again today, though it's making me a little nervous. I don't have a spare tube for the Schwinn right now, so I'm kind of without a net. I'm sure it will be fine. I was going to grab a tube after the Saturday morning ride, but I didn't actually make the ride.

I did manage to get something done over the weekend. Saturday night I helped a friend of mine get his website up and semi-running. And Sunday I cleaned out the garage while half paying attention to the football games. I'd started a shelving project several months ago and the garage was full of various shelving crap. After yesterday, I can finally park both cars in there again. Don't worry, there's always been room for the important stuff. The bikes.

Date: January 4
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Raleigh
January mileage: 46
Year to date mileage: 46

Date: January 5
Mileage: 28
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
January mileage: 74
Year to date mileage: 74

Date: January 8
Mileage: 28
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
January mileage: 102
Year to date mileage: 102

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A tale of two commutes

This morning I decided to take the Schwinn without the studded tires. I figured it wouldn't be too bad. It wasn't. But the ride over the Hwy 55 bridge sucked ass. I finally lifted the bike over the barrier and rode on the shoulder. When I got into Minneapolis I decided to take Minnehaha Blvd. The bike lane on Minnehaha wasn't in great shape and I spent a lot of time out in the main lane. Fortunately traffic was light. But everywhere there was snow it seemed really slippy. I was probably just paranoid, this being the first real snow of the year. No crappie flops, but I was nervous the whole way in.

On the way home I did the smart thing. I took Portland to the Greenway. The bike lane on Portland was in decent shape, which is good because traffic wasn't light. The Greenway was beautiful. The only way I could have fallen there was by wiping out in a pile of salt. When I got to the West River Parkway trail that was pretty good as well. But, it was 40 degrees out. Even when there was snow, it was really just snow-shaped slush. There was one clown coming northbound on the trail. No lights and riding on the wrong side of the trail. He was heading straight toward me, even though my 10w headlight was shining right at him. I waited until I couldn't wait any longer and then yelled at him. "Head's up!" And he followed instructions to a T. His head snapped up, he realized that he was going to have a head on collision and he nearly overcorrected right off the path. Other than that it was a great ride home. Even the bridge was rideable. All in all, I'm glad I didn't take the studded bike.

Date: January 3
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
January mileage: 26
Year to date mileage: 26