Friday, December 26, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Video Library Player: Riders Through the Snow
During the Iditarod Trail Invitational, racers brave hundreds of miles of frozen Alaskan wilderness on foot, ski or bicycle.
This video focuses on two men training for the race by bike. Talk about tough winter riding!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
This Associated Press article was published a few days ago. I thought this deserved attention, especially given Adam's post on Cycling and Health (Dec. 16).
P.S. Current temp = 0 F with 23 mph winds from the West. That brings windchill to -24 F. Forecast high temp is 5 F.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Time to go charge batteries for lights...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Unlike other pedals I've used in the past, there's no purchase area for a traditional pedal wrench for installation/removal. I was completely clueless about how to securely mount the pedals and sent Chris Kulczycki at Velo-Orange a rather arrogant note informing him of this problem and suggesting he change the design to allow for use of pedal wrenches. His simple, one line response?
Like many modern pedals these are installed with an Allan wrench from the back of the spindle.Oh..! That solved what was clearly "my problem." Thanks, Chris, for the great pedals. They work wonderfully with Power Grip Straps installed.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I've had the new KickBack on my X for a few days. Here are a few thoughts about it.
1) It was easy to install
2) It holds loads solidly. I just got back from the grocery store loaded with 80 to a 100 lbs of grocries (long story). No problems loading or unloading with the KickBack whatsoever. This would've been much more difficult with the Greenfield (?) kickstand.
3) It looks sleek and blends in well.
1) feet and axle ends are plastic plugs with screw-on plastic knobs. The knobs were not really securable by hand - they rattled loose quickly. I used a channel lock wrench to lightly grasp them and torque them down snugly.
2) Spring tension is fine, though the stand "bounces" up and down a bit over significant bumps in the road.
Suggested fixes to the Cons
1) a very thin, flat rubber washer would help secure the feet/ends in place without fear of over-torquing.
2) Would be neat if there was a "latch" of sorts that could be added to the chainstay and "catch" the left side leg just enough to keep the stand from "bouncing." I don't think spring tension alone will do the trick. The latch/catch could be an inverted plastic U shaped fitting with low profile nubs on the inside of the legs of the U (internal serifs??). A bolt could pass through the legs of the U and, with a bushing to protect against scratches, secure the U in place.
These are simply brainstorms and would need much more refining - I have no illusions about convenient quick-fixes to #2.
It's worth it. I can feel pretty confident that my X won't fall over as I load and unload as long as I'm not being very foolish. I'd strongly recommend this to anyone with an X or a Big Dummy.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The rolling resistance is much greater than the smoother, road-friendly tires I use during warm weather. Guess I'll be in even better shape soon!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Went through bike withdrawal today. I overslept and had to drive to work. My routines are all out of sorts - I'm a creature of habit. My son even said, "Dad, don't drive up to the bike racks, okay?" on our way home to pick up his sister.
Last, just heard that the Bianchi frame and fork were delivered for sandblasting and painting this afternoon. The choice of color? "Safety Yellow." Gee! :-)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The Chain Reaction Bicycle Project (Goshen, IN) is holding its first workshop Saturday July 12, 2008. The workshop is titled Road 1: Safe Cycling and will be taught by League of American Bicyclists licensed instructor John Yoder. The Road 1 course is designed for current or prospective bicycle commuters, recreational riders, touring or club cyclists, parents that ride with their family, or people that just want to get around town. Both beginners and more experienced riders will learn how to safely and confidently use their bicycle for transportation in all types of road, traffic and weather conditions. The course includes several hours of on-bike experience, practicing the techniques that are taught.
For more information visit
or contact Eric Saner, director of the Chain Reaction Bicycle Project. 574-903-3056 or
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Sometime last week I was riding home afterwork. I was moving along at an average clip (about 15 mph) on that sunny day when, WHAP! Out of nowhere, a bee suddenly came into view and bounced off my eye wear. I had a split second's awareness that a bee was suddenly in front of me before it hit. There was no time to react, only hindsight (so to speak) to recognize what had just occurred. The bee would've been a direct hit on my right eye ball (bullseye on my eyeball?) with out time to even try and blink. Lord knows how bad that could've been if I'd been stung, too. I'm simply relieved to know I can write about it as a close call, not an accident.
So, please wear protective eye wear. You don't have to spend lots of cash on brand name eyewear. You can find decent, inexpensive protective eye wear at hardware stores or Big Box staores if it fits your budget.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
An aside, I've recently realized a nice transition of driving/riding awareness: I sometimes forget I'm in a car and want to go park where I'd normally park my bike. I sometimes forget I'm on my bike and forget I'm exposed to the elements. This last experience leads me to what happened today.
My ride was going very well this morning. I was enjoying the rain, staying safe, and making good time. As I got close to work, I crossed into the left lane on the state route that passes the grounds of my workplace, Oaklawn Hospital. I'd checked behind me and there were no cars coming. I looked ahead and waited for traffic to pass before turning left into the drive. As I waited, a semi-tractor trailer appeared in the oncoming traffic. Remember the rain? I was completely caught off-guard as I caught the full spray from the truck as it passed me by. The spray felt like a blanket of fine water drops drenching the entire front of my body. Luckily, I had my old Oakley Factory Pilots protecting my eyes. I stayed upright and could make the turn safely.
What a rude awakening! I was suddenly shocked by the reminder of just how vulnerable I am to the weather and to cars/trucks. While I can laugh at it now, I will remember this experience for a long time and be better prepared the next time.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Rode only 3 miles yesterday and only about 1.5 today. Hope to commute tomorrow.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Cycling for Everyone: Lessons for Vancouver from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany
John Pucher, professor of planning and public policy, Rutgers University
May 15, 2008, Vancouver
This is long, but may be very useful for bike advocacy. Notice this is by a professor of planning and public policy.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Saw this on the Surly blog and found it amusing and wise.
Rode about 3 miles yesterday with Benjamin on the X. We spent time at our local bike shop and though we could've spent $300 on a new Trek for him, chose to spend about $90 for a used Giant MTX 225 for him. The shop will tweak it a bit and get it ready for safe riding (new brake cable and new shifter). Looking forward to him being able to keep up with us and ride much longer distances than he has in the past on his much smaller single speed.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Late this afternoon I participated in an organizing meeting to re-energize our nascent bike advocacy/action group. I'm excited! We'll hold at least one more "organizing meeting" before holding more advocacy/action (and socializing) meeting.
Riding home this evening, I kicked into high gear on the major downhill portion of my commute. I managed to hit 33.1 mph. Whew!
Rode about 9.5 total miles today.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Spent time on the Bongo board in the evening. Attempted juggling while on the board. Needs more work...
Saturday: Rode to church house and back - about .5 miles - BUT, rode with an extension ladder strapped to the X - Fun! Rode to Farmer's Market and back - about 1.75 miles. Rode to pick up dinner for the family at El Camino Real - 2.5 to 3 miles round trip. Total miles: 4.75.
Saturday was incredible weather - 72 degrees, light winds, clear skies... glorious!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Chose not to bike commute this morning due to a variety of afternoon errands. Did bike to pick up my daughter from childcare and took her to Monday night at Grandma's. My wife also rode over. Going home, we swapped the trailer from the X to the "red bike" and my son rode home on the back of the X. Earlier, we bought and delivered balloons for a birthday gathering, not thinking that my wife would also be biking. So, we simply put the balloon weight in the trailer and had the balloons bounce around behind. So, we had a small, two person bike parade on the way home. :-)
Total riding today: maybe 3 miles.
Off to bed!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Rode about 6.5 to 7 miles today. About one (+) mile was with son on the back of the X.
I heard there was a Critical Mass ride in our small town earlier this evening. Chose not to go and take it very easy instead.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Rode about 6 to 7 miles, including commuting and going to vote today.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I wound up going home, off-loading the cardboard, then returning to get groceries. Wasted (?) about 40 minutes of time in the process. I was sorely tempted to toss the cardboard in a dumpster, but chose to wait it out and drop it off elsewhere sometime later this week. At least the weather was beautiful and the wind light. The ride was easy.
Total riding today: about 5 miles. Two trips to the area grocery store, a bit of riding about in search of bins, and round trip to church. 1 mile with son on board.
What was amusing/interesting to me: I took my bongo board along to the roast. I've been using a homemade bongo board (1" x 12" x 30" shelf quality board with grip tape and a 4" OD PVC pipe about 18" long) to work on my balance and core strength. I also bought a wobble and balance board for use inside with my kids a couple of months ago. Along with all the biking I've been doing, my legs are getting pretty strong and my sense of balance is getting pretty good.
Back to the roast: I broke out the bongo board and invited some friends to try it out. I demonstrated for a while, not realizing I was keeping the board off the ground for an extended period of time. I also shuffled my feet in to center myself while I had my hands in my pockets (I was a bit chilly). My friends joked I was making it look easy. I wasn't trying to - I was simply doing what I do. Well, just about everyone else wound up see-sawing side-to-side, banging the board hard on the sidewalk. One friend took quite a flyer and, thankfully, didn't get hurt. I had no idea I'd gained that strength/capacity. I later took the bongo board to the real party (many guests and lots of great food). The board was great entertainment for kids and a few adults.
Total mileage yesterday: maybe 2 miles. The weather was very blustery and colder later in the afternoon. We would up using the cars in the evening.
Friday, May 2, 2008
The blustery part: We once again had very strong southerly winds this afternoon - 25 mph average with stronger gusts. I was lucky enough to miss out on the thunderstorms from earlier in the day. After my last battle against the wind, I decided to simply go slow and steady and not exhaust myself trying to maintain any kind of speed. It was a much nicer ride home and I was able to enjoy the sensation of the wind this time around.
This evening, we rode over to our local ice cream shop and enjoyed some delicious cones. We decided to simply park out bikes and trailer in one car's space. Amusingly, we got lots of stares. Not amusingly, it amazed me how many people left their cars running while waiting for family members to pick up their orders. So many youth are still pouring tons of cash into tricked-out cars. Then again, my nehru-style "bike jacket" may have drawn a bit of attention, too... We bought this a few weeks ago at a boutique having a great sale. It's reversable, with the other side black with white bikes. Of course, I'm not going to wear something black while riding about, so the white side gets preferential treatment.
Total riding today: about 7 miles. 5 on the X with my typical workbag full of clothing and 2 toting my 50 lb son.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
No entry from yesterday due to illness. I rode to work and felt horribly cold when I arrived. I managed to make it through the day, then spent hours in bed after work. A belly bug and low grade temp knocked me out most of the evening. 5 miles total biking for the commute. I'm giving myself a break physically today and not riding at all or very little to allow my body to rest.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
So here's a photo of the X with the RST suspension swapped out for the Surly 1x1. The ride is much more stable than with the suspension fork. I can ride no-handed easily. Accelerating feels confident and strong. I'm very glad I made the switch. I rode by myself and with my son on the back today for a total of about 5 miles. We rode from his school to home, home to grandmother's, grandmother's to home, home to Krogers, Krogers to the Credit Union, then CU to home.
I skipped biking in to work today after waking up feeling like a truck ran over me. I'll bike commute tomorrow morning, despite the just at or below freezing temperatures forecast.
Monday, April 28, 2008
And speaking of tomorrow, the temps are to drop into the mid to lower 30's tonight. It's already about 39. Back to chilly morning rides for the next couple of days at least.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Hope to pick up the X tomorrow afternoon. Weather is supposed to be cool and rainy. Daughter was ill much of the day today and Carol and I will trade time at work and childcare tomorrow . I'll be cutting it close to the shop's closing time. Could be a cold, wet time riding home.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I am so glad to have this stand - it makes working so much easier, then folds up and sits patiently in a corner. I used the workstand to tweak the rear brakes of the Specialized Ground Control (1998?) and make a few other adjustments. After riding the X for so long, riding "the red bike" is like riding on a cloud. Nice to have the new pads adjusted well so this can stop on a dime. Also adjusted my son's brakes and replaced(!) the cheap pedals after one broke in a "traffic accident" with a neighbor's son. Another neighbor joked, "Are you setting up a bike shop?" No, but it's nice to not have to take our bikes in for simple maintenance and quick repairs.
Total riding today: about 3 to 4 miles over 30 minutes for local errands. Once again had stiff headwinds.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Off to the local bike shop tomorrow for some chain degreaser and lube. Time to learn how to clean my chain, gears, and derailleurs.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Hope to bike commute tomorrow, though the forecast looks bleak/dreary. May be my first commute in the rain, who knows?
I had two co-workers ask me about bike commuting today. One noticed my high-visibility jerseys and another mentioned how she asked others "who is that person riding their bike to work?" This is good news, from a bike advocacy perspective. I hope this inspires others to bike to work as well. I've asked a co-worker to clean out a bunch of old/kids bikes that were left locked up in the bike rack all winter long. They're a mess and take up lots of usable space for other bike commuters to park in. The bike rack is located in a covered shed by the parking lot. It also serves as a horse and buggy shelter for Amish clients. There's a wall separating the two areas. It's fun to see the buggies and bikes side by side. I'll work on getting some photos of those to post later on.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Today, I commuted by bike to work. It's a 5 mile round trip. There's one big hill on the way in and a few scary spots along the way (rural highway with little or no shoulder).
There was heavy dew and mist at times. It was hard to stay comfortable in that cool super humid weather.
Rode home with a nice tail wind and really flew along, kept pace with some traffic. Fun to do on my X.
Got home, attached the child trailer, then went to pick up my kids. Daughter rode in the trailer and son rode on the back of the X. That was another 2.5 or so miles. Rode back later to help my mother-in-law - another 2.5 miles. Picked up my son after kid's group at church - another mile.
Got to play with the new Ultimate Sport Mechanic workstand that arrived today. Great tool! (thanks for the referral, Devian). Figuring out how to use it with the X is fun. So much easier to work on the X. Also learning to use a few other tools. Scraping the rust off old memories of bike maintenance. How satisfying to easily adjust brake cables and derailleure and immediately feel the improvement. Hooray!
So, a total of about 11 miles riding today - and that's all for work and chores. Nice to know that saved about a third of a gallon of gas or so. Fantastic weather, too.