Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A forkful of haulers

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.

Here's another angle of the X.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fork on the road

The new fork is now on the X. I hope to get some photos of it up later. I've only had time to ride it home from the LBS in the rain, but already notice some differences. The 1x1 is about 20 mm shorter from crown to axle than the RST suspension forks, so it lowers everything. The pedals are suddenly noticeably closer to the ground, the ride seems more stable, and I feel much more confident somehow. Is that just new gear thrill? More after commuting tomorrow.

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.

If NYC has plans...

Just saw this in the online New York Times:

It’s All About the Bike

and there's a link to the NYC DOT Strategic Plan (also has graphics with LOTS of bike/biking photos)

Looks like there may be some great content!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sabbath and surprises

Spent an hour with my son out at a playground, shooting Arrowcopters and Flywheels up into the brisk wind. We rode to the playground and back - maybe 3/4 mile round trip. Spent more time lubing bike chains and tweaking kids bikes this afternoon. Bought a toolbox and compiled tools from various places in the house. Discovered we now have three chain tools and a variety of spoke adjusting tools. We have more bike stuff than I realized. Guess we're just getting back to where we "should be."

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

Changes and tweaks

The X is in the shop for a fork transplant. I'm swapping out the original RST suspension fork for a Surly 1x1. The suspension was simply too "squishy" a feel for me when I was pumping hard. Since I don't have the know-how to do major surgery like that, I'm leaving it in the hand of my LBS. I may have a bit of withdrawal the next couple of days without the X (a Trek 4300 with Xtracycle extension).

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

Head wind

We had very warm, humid temperatures of just over 80 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon with SSW winds frequently hitting 25 mph or better. It was crazy hard to ride all the way home into that wind this afternoon. When I stopped at the co-op for some groceries, I couldn't believe how hot I felt out of the wind.

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

good excuse

Spent little time on the bike today - needed to drive in so I could do a 20 mile round trip mid-day. Rode into town to pick up some tamales at Universal Tamale. Yum! Having folks over for daughter's belated birthday gathering, so don't expect any more biking/maintenance tonight.

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


This blog will be a way of tracking my bike related activities. I don't really anticipate a lot of traffic here, but if so, you're welcome.

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.