Saturday, January 30, 2010

Racers Wanted

Tomorrow the good wife and I will be participating in the First Annual 'Why the *!%*!" do I live in MN-Saunders 5K'. I'll be participating on foot, against my wishes. So feel free to join us. There's a whole half a weekend still left. Run, walk, ride your bike, it's all good. And if you participate, let me know. I'll expect Race Reports. "I did it." will be good enough.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back in a saddle

I know, the phrase is "Back in the saddle" not "Back in a saddle" but it seems more appropriate this way.  I've ridden my bike three days this week.  Normally I move my Brooks B67 from my Kuwahara to my winter bike once it becomes studded snow tire season.  I love my Brooks, but they are pricey enough that I can't afford to outfit the entire fleet with them.  So I have a B17 and a B67 and I move them around, based on what bike I'm riding a lot at the time.  But I haven't moved the B67 to the winter bike because at some point in the last 3 months one of the bolts connecting the springs to the frame of the saddle fell off.  I stopped in at HCWHQ Tuesday and Jim gave me a bolt that may do the trick.  I'll probably give it a whirl this weekend.
I've been riding to the LRT stop at Ft Snelling, which is a route I probably haven't taken in a good 9 months.  It's amazing how many things come back almost unconsciously, like remembering certain potholes and which intersections are scary (like the off-ramp for 94 that basically dumps into a residential neighborhood).  But it's also surprising how much has changed.  Monday morning was the first day the platform extension at Ft Snelling was open, so the train stops at a different point.  Screws up my normal positioning for a clean shot at the bike rack.  Monday afternoon I left work and headed for the Warehouse District stop.  I normally go there rather than Government Plaza because it's the first/last stop on the line.  That means there are very few people on the train that I need to fight past to get to the bike rack.  I headed over to Hennepin and realized, hey, there's no bike lanes on Hennepin any more!  Marq2!  Had to backtrack to Nicollet.  Then once I got to the Warhouse District I realized it's no longer the last stop on the line.  Target Field!  Northstar Line!  But Tuesday I was already adapting to the changes and by next week, assuming I keep riding, it will probably seem like it's always been that way.

Monday, January 04, 2010


I managed to get a chilly 8 miles in on Sunday afternoon. Temps were a balmy 9 degrees F when I left the house. I rode up to Fort Snelling, mainly to see what condition the Mendota Bridge was in. Most years, I would give it a B-/C+ as it was hard packed and rideable but not smooth by any means. But this year with the dumping of snow we got, followed immediately by 33 degree temps and rain, I'll give MN/DOT an A for effort. The ice is still all over the roads in my neighborhood, and that's with cars driving it every day.

I enjoyed the ride quite a bit. But it left me wondering if I need to explore some new handlebar options. Over the last few years, I've put Albatross/North Road style bars on several of my bikes, including my primary summer and winter commuters. An hour of riding (that's right, 8 miles in an hour) had my left wrist reminding me that it's not fully recovered. I tried switching hand positions, but on the Albatross style bars anything other than the ends of the bar is really a kludge of a hand position. I've heard many good things about the Titec H-bars, though they seem a bit on the pricey side. I've also talked to a few people who seem to like the On One "M" bars (Mary, Midge and Mungo). However, the On One bars don't seem to be out there in internet world. Makes me wonder if they're discontinued? I also wonder if any will work with the bar end shifter I'm currently using to run the Sturmey hub in my rear winter wheel? In that regard, Origin-8 has a Gary bar that claims to work with bar ends and also is comparable to the Midge. Time to ponder.

I didn't ride in to work today, because it was too darn cold. And I think I need to ease back into riding. I also think there's a reason why most people don't start riding in January. They either go through the fall season, acclimating, or they take the entire winter season off.