Tag Archives: commute

Crunch time !

Monday I had the pleasure of chatting up The Bike Project - and at 9:30, after Chorus, I’m wondering where my coat was. Couldn’t remember where “weird” I had been, so thought I’d have to chalk it up to draping on a too-open chair (I vaguely remembered draping it somewhere unusual but couldn’t reconstruct where) and somebody deciding they liked it, and since it’s less than two weeks old and ArcTeryx (splurged at Sierra Trading Post), it might have been a temptation, ‘cept most folks back here are known entities.  Dug out a knit top and put that on top of everything and too my surprised, three layers were enough for all but the insides of my elbows to be toasty warm.  Shouldn’t have beensurprised – everywhere but the inside of my arms has a healthy amount of insulation ;)

I was cruising home reasonably quickly so as to generate sufficient heat, in that low gear on the Gazelle, having snuck down during lunch to ascertain that yea, it needs a new cable or five and how about a hub overhaul… also want to scope out some replacement parts on the chain coverage assembly.  Did a complete mental walk-through of the day to determine the window of wandering for the bike, and got to the “was wearing it  riding from the bike shop, and then …” oh, indeed, then I was snagged from behind my desk and taken to the television studio and forced to remove my outergarments.  I did some sprint spurts in celebration (but not enough to sweat and freeze – it was 32), and tracked that little sucker down the next morning.

Yesterday I rode the Xtra because things would only deteriorate to Nasty, including for the Prairie CYcle Club annual meeting/holiday party.  About 17 present and all voted us back into office, and would have canceled the term limits had we followed the procedure for making bylaw changes (which ncludes announcing that there will be votes in the newsletter).  The wind did pretty much take the tree down – I need to get another tube in on the action – but while I was out it was only drizzling.  Left El Toro with perfect timing so I was going through campus as people were leaving the b-ball game (Illini won again :) ) but even the fallen tree had enough lights. (I have been informed that the dim flashlights in front make passing me and going back over a little challenging — they’ve been refreshed, though, and tonight I’ve got the Fenix).

Tonight’s plan, though, is to drop the Gazelle off at Champaign Cycle and take the bus home.  I do hate loathe and despise standing in the cold, waiting for a bus … but ain’t nothing but a thing.  It’s 20 degrees now with 26 mph winds gusting to 46 (they were over 50 for a while) … so it’s as good a time as ever to take the bus (and it’s not as if I don’t have four  more bicycles at home ;)) … just might do the chat from my house, though, with the low temp of 9.   THis morning’s gusts crossed that threshold to *genuine* not-really-fun, not the stuff that other people *assume* is uncomfortable, though at least 30% of the discomfort was just knowing that assorted things aren’t really working, and another 30% my extremely low threshold for havign to respond quickly to changes (as in wind speed from 20 to 40 mph).

“car free day”

Twitter told me via Xtracycle that CNN was doing “I report” spots on people going without cars for a day.  (Alas, I checked it *after* the deadline, or I might be on cnn…)

Reality check here/ – (I googled “CNN car-free”) — here are the “typical American” responses.

Possibility Cheque here – Wisconsin man doing the grocery shopping.  Oh, let’s insert it. <object width=”450″ height=”370″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.ireport.com/themes/custom/resources/swfplayer/mediaplayer.swf”></param><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent”></param><param name=”menu” value=”false”></param><param name=”flashvars” value=”height=370&width=448&autostart=false&autoscroll=false&showstop=false&showicons=false&showdigits=total&controlbar=34&backcolor=0xFFFFFF&screencolor=0×000000&frontcolor=0xDEDEDE&lightcolor=0x00A2FF&logo=http%3A//www.ireport.com/themes/custom/resources/swfplayer/data/images/ireport_wm.gif&file=http%3A//ht.cdn.turner.com/ireport/big/prod/2009/09/15/WE00326225/1064900/pbcarfreemp4-1064900_web_flv.flv&image=http%3A//i.cdn.turner.com/ireport/sm/prod/2009/09/15/WE00326225/1064900/pbcarfreemp4-1064900_lg.jpg”></param><embed src=”http://www.ireport.com/themes/custom/resources/swfplayer/mediaplayer.swf&#8221; type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” wmode=”transparent” width=”450″ height=”370″ menu=”false” flashvars=”height=370&width=448&autostart=false&autoscroll=false&showstop=false&showicons=false&showdigits=total&controlbar=34&backcolor=0xFFFFFF&screencolor=0×000000&frontcolor=0xDEDEDE&lightcolor=0x00A2FF&logo=http%3A//www.ireport.com/themes/custom/resources/swfplayer/data/images/ireport_wm.gif&file=http%3A//ht.cdn.turner.com/ireport/big/prod/2009/09/15/WE00326225/1064900/pbcarfreemp4-1064900_web_flv.flv&image=http%3A//i.cdn.turner.com/ireport/sm/prod/2009/09/15/WE00326225/1064900/pbcarfreemp4-1064900_lg.jpg”></embed></object>

Both say much for the importance urban planning.  The Wisconsin man has roads he can ride on and a good place to park. On, Wisconsin!

aphids in the air…

(exchanging glances?)

Alas, I don’t ride fast enough to splatter them onto my jacket, just get ‘em to stick.  So, when I go into the house… htey fly around.  Blecch. Hey, I’d rather have aphids than floods. (Interesting that the Weather Channel didn’t give a Promo Name to the flood event in Atlanta.  Is it because the new owners don’t want them to, or because it’s jus ttoo close to home?)Rather have aphids than dust storms a la Sidney.

Monday, as I cruised by the bike shop at 10:00 at night, I shifted gears… and they wouldn’t cooperate.  Serious floppage aroundage of hte chain.  Had me hobbling the bike along enough to inspire a motorist to turn back and make sure I was okay.  Then I found a gear it would ride in and didn’t change it.  I figure the puir wee cycle was trying to get into the bike shop nad was simply informing me that no, I really should NOT do just a thousand more miles and wait ’til “off season” to get the maintenance that, um, I didn’t get three thousand miles ago.

So I stuck the Dahon on top today and cruised it in. That kid who passed me in the alley gave it several glances…

Must also decide what to do about its original wheel… the one with the drum brake and generator hub that simply devours bearings in a year.  Time to hit ye olde bike forum and see what opinions are lurking out there…

Selle Anatomica Blues

… no, it isn’t blue, it’s brown, but … I think I”ve worn that puppy out.  Made some major adjustments to it on the Capital City Century, with that Allen Wrench and sliding it back, and that kept my back from simply refusing to continue, but basically I think I’m riding without a seat on that excuse for one.  Perhaps if I lost 20 pounds, an unlikely prospect, it wouldn’t be so bad.

They’re back :)

And it’s not just more auto traffic.  Scads more cycles.  I was led into temptation by playing accordion with a lady on a Trek — I’d pass, then hit a stop light and she’d be gaining… at First Street, I didn’t wait all the way to green, then reconsidered the example I was setting… it’s tough to be an introvert in the morning ;)  Then a fella caught up to me on Church Street on his sleek old  Schwinn and was all over the Xtracycle concept.  In both cases I thought maybe I should grab soem maps to hand out… but Mr. Schwinn seemed to know exactly where he was navigating.

Back to making maps…

C-U Across the Prairie’s coming

… volunteer gathering tonight at Jupiter’s — you can come, too!  (7:00… the one in downtown CHampaign, *not* the three-story mega-zprawl zoo thing out on Windsor and Duncan).

Over from Cyclicious:  Celebrities in Well-Established Lane Position ;P ( “taking the lane” in our current car culture unfortunately connotes  a zero-sum situation– taking it *away* from something… its assumed-to-be-rightful owners the Cages.)   The perpendicular-in-four-dimensions take:  “Performance” -  bike snob rap that is so bad it’s good.  Yea, I *know* that persona.

Monday heading out to the ride I had a veritable train behind me goin’ over the INterstate.  Might have been the Flash Flag … the tag on the car (SUV?) as it passed was AVE JOE .  I contemplated the equal-opportunity hymn that could be describing and googled to see it’s hip-hop (with a Starbuck’s image here and there).  Of course, that driver could just be from St. Joe down the road…

Yesterday I timed the time trial… yea, I wanted to get out there and do it on a fast bike, even clipped in — sure, I’d fall down at the end but I’d wear those scabs proudly.  Might just sneak out on the hybrid next time anyway — but no, not with the squirrel pelts in my wheels in lieu of disk wheels…  (if you click to see, don’t blame me…) Today I chirrupped two of the critters into turning around and contemplated doing a “with chirping and without” study of squirrel behavior, but they move out of my way too predictably for me to want to risk changing my behavior, even if it’s just superstition.  Yes, I *am* giong to stick the camera on my back end (the bike’s back end) and do a lane position movie, sans flags.  Maybe next week and the next since the Students will be Returning.

calm before…

going to try to go out and scout CUAP routes today because of tomorrow’s forecast.  Though the forecast improves with every update, since it started with  “violent storms” it’s only gotten to the “chance o fshowers in the afternoon” … but dewpoint so incredibly high that any instigation will prompt a deluge, any time.

Co-worker expressed frustration at a bicyclist with the gall to go over the Duncan overpass on the road, and in the discussion, frustration with the rider being “out in the lane.”   I defended with the explanation that the sidewalk has a ledge in it that may, in fact, not be there any more.  However, fact is that since we can absolutely count on cyclists not being considered until they complain, even if this might be one of those cases where the sidewalk’s safer (it’s not as if pedestrians use it), you can’t count on it.  However, that would be an arguable thing and so I stuck with the reality that our overpasses simply aren’t designed to accommodate their traffic, and therefore, yes, you need to sit behind the cyclist until they get to the top, even if they’re working hard to get to 8 mph.  Yes, I said unto her, the rider is smart to move *out* and make you do that, because otherwise cars will pass regardless and suddenly there are two cars *and* a bicycle in that space.

I also didn’t bring up that  notion that really, honestly, slowing TF down for a full 30 seconds on an overpass might not be horrible day-wrecking ordeal unless you let it be thus, though I recognize that we’re biologically arranged for that imposition to inspire secretion of stress hormones and it takes conscious effort to reframe the thought structure and prevent that.

Crept up a tad in the bikejournal ranks this week — left NancyBoy from Australia in my wake, though of course he’s in winter.  Some of the fokls I ranked close to by the end of the year last year seem far away — NEVERSTANDFRED at 633 miles ahead… velosaurusrex 422… and the fact is that once teh semester starts my Mondays go from 50+ to 14 miles, which really makes a hit on the totals.  I’ve also tried to convince my wiring that, um, bj ranking and the accolades for doing 10,000 miles in a year will pale under the light of … oh, that online interactive math or spelling lesson that’s brewing on my back burner.

new season, new riders

Maybe I was imagining it but I saw a fair number of riders on the way to church today — couple of fambly type units, and several trailers.  Some of  the riders seemed to radiate newness.  Reminded me that I want to assemble a hypothetical “committed commuter package” of my favorite accessories — flash flag, big ol’ foxfire light, spokelits and… something else that had nothing to do with night riding but I can’t remember. (No, not the whole floggin’ Xtracycle :))

Office depot has flashlights for $3.95 if I didn’t say it yesterday.  Yes, the batteries work if you take out the cardboard ;)

Rabbit, rabbit

… so I was one, I think.  Went by a fellow on Country Fair.  I get to the light and he’s cutting over to the left to the sidewalk — yea, the “wrong way down the sidewalk” — and his strategy is to cross when he’s halfway down, and dodge traffic to get across.  Welp, I’d say he’s less likely to land under a minivan ’cause he is actively dodging traffic, but … it ain’t worth the ten seconds gained, IMO.  Hey, just ride faster :)

I’m on the Trek because it’s Monday.  Still (barely) on 1000-mile-July pace. Got online CUAP and PCC registration done :P :) :)   … will link to CUAP online reg once otehrs have found the mistakes that have to be there…

Saw my video!

Don’t get too excited, but I watched all 38 minutes of yesteray’s commute, as shown by the camera I taped to my Snapdeck.

Okay, I fast forwarded a fair amount.

Okay, I grabbed hte mouse and dragged the little pointeer thingie a few times…

It’s a zen thing.  Do you know how much traffic there isn’t on an early morning of a summer day? It’s rather calming.  Soon as I figure out how I’ll post it for your narcosis needs.

I felt a tad invisible today, though, even on the Xtra.  It’s a summer thing, I think – since there is so little traffic, people aren’t looking for it.