Category Archives: bicycle

Return that car…

So, another day of driving, heading out and marking the Thursday routes for the Grand Illinois Trails and Parks ride.  The two of us got it done reasonably efficiently and Lexington, IL *is* a completely awesome place to pause if you’re traveling.   Kemp’s Upper Tap has all kinds of craft beers and burgers and fried food… and the coffee shop’s open 7 ’til 2:00 with … coffee… and panini and probably delicious good for you stuff.

Made me wonder whether the INternet wasn’t helping them — w/ people like me spreading the word — the same way that it is hopefully inspiring people to avoid Farmer City… just go to LeRoy 🙂   Then you get get on the LeRoy Lexington Blacktop and be there in no time!

… and I’m trying to think of things to do with this car with an extra hour… maybe pick up some mulch.   Thing about Urbana is that it really *is* nicer to get from here to regular grocery via the bicycle.

I”ve got some pics to post but … let me get rid of that car thing.


Well, crap, ridewithgps

So  I just automatically paid my premium membership at ridewithgps and … voila!  It doesn’t work any more.   Oh, if I have my laptop wiht me on the bike I can download things, well, except I’d have to buy the wifi hotspot too… but no, on the phone I am no longer a member.   I even made sure to Log In as the right Sue Jones in case “log in via facebook” got it lost.

It’s really, really annoying to be told to upgrade my account.

So I go out onto the internet and log in and … “open in the app”  — oh, sorry, that web page not available.

And SUnday is hardly the day to expect a support ticket reply and I am pretty darned sure they’re not going to be able to help.   They don’t even know how to label their form as email address to get android to pull up the right keyboard (much less trigger the automatic completion).   (Note to self:   if you put that into your app, do that)…


Rainy days

Yesterday was a day I would have done better with a car…. I didn’t want to wear concert black to ride in and work all day… but the bag with the gear was not in my office at 5:30.   I couldn’t hop into my car and buzz home… ended up calling another second tenor and getting a ride.

I was happy that I could just hop the bus.  People, learn your bus systems — they’re great options… I wasn’t so happy that I don’t have my bus pass because my wallet is still AWOL (today’s goal is to utterly clear out the office and make sure it’s not here, SOMEWHERE, since this is the place I’m most likely to Just SHove It Somewhere Weird.)

I used the other credit card for the groceries & came out as a couple was trying to figure out how to carry their two or three plastic bags on their bikes … they hadn’t intended to shop… I realized that one of the bags I’d grabbed was a Stowaway string-backpack, complete with pocket for ID and reflective parts… He accepted it (I ‘splained it was swag from a ride & I had several but there was also good old-fashioned “I’ll  accept help & learn from my elders” in the air :))  & I suggested he find a way to just have it On The Bike and they marveled at how much it held and proclaimed to each other as they rode off that they’d be using it a lot.

Welcome to bike culture, people 🙂   Nobody markets it so you have to think a bit, but there’s stuff out there that works.   Oh, and we’re a friendly bunch.   I was on the nice new Transport so I wasn’t “That lady on the weird bike with the surfboard…”   I hope they’ll start thinking “bike culture,” whether or not they have a car…

New “verb”

While I generally eschew and often despise turning nouns into verbs, sometimes it’s an effective way to reduce an entire phrase into a word.   The fact that you probably have no idea what I mean is irrelevant, eh?

My new verb is “roundabouted,” and it’s what I did at about five intersections on my commute with all-way stops.

If you couldn’t infer what it is…   when *nobody* was there, or an approaching vehicle was going to arrive a mess of time after I did, I slooowwed and proceeded on through.   If I was goign to have to wait my turn, I slowed early so our arrivals weren’t really close (and yes, the other driver roundabouted, too)… and then proceeded through.   Oh, and plenty of times… I stopped and waited my turn.

It’s how one would behave at a roundabout… now, “roundedabout” at least treats a verb like a verb… I”m not sure…

They’re baaack…

We’ll see if I’ve got it recorded — I stuck the goPro on my helmet for the ride home, and decided to stick to Bradley and yea, verily… got mildly harassed by a man in a jeep convertible. I watched him decide not to go into the left lane to pass — he had the chance — and then lay on the horn… so I waved him around. He hollered something, so I duly informed him that he had a full lane, going the same direction and that, by the way, he was being recorded. (I don’t want to be committing wiretap offenses, after all.)
He shook his head disgustedly as he went by on Country Fair… he was on Bradley so he wasn’t coming out of Parkland, so perhaps a new U student… so much for a video of a totally dull ride.
However, the experience makes the point that okay, once every few years somebody actively dislikes me being “in the lane.” THey honk. THey holler.
They *don’t* run over me and then weep because they “didn’t see me.”
Interestingly, when I was coming ’round the bend on the perimeter road on campus there were four or five young boys riding bikes in one of the parking lots. One hollered out to me, including a “ma’am,” that there was a car RIGHT BEHIND ME, and I might get run over. I said we were both vehicles on the road, and thanked him…

They’re baaaack :)

Move-in day for teh Mother U isn’t ’til Thursday, but this Monday is Parkland’s first day of classes. 

On my commute in — it’s my later-arrival day — I saw two other bike commuters before I beheld the first car on the roads (Washington, east of Vine).   Then, not once but *twice,* there were three of us cycling commuters with no cars between us.   Twice I had to navigate around another cyclists (on the University’s sidewalks, dodging the construction and the lip-service-to-bike-friendly infrastructure).

    As soon as I got past Mattis, yes, the Weather Changed; no heat island effect so the fog hadn’t cleared, tho’ I *could* see the college unlike earlier arrivers 😉 

    This weekend is CU Across the Prairie… thinking of doing the “Family in town” ride as a “trip down town.”   

I’m insured…

At the Bike Summit, I learned that car insurance can cover the medical bills if I’m clocked by an underinsured or uninsured driver. I also would rather not pay the liability etc. when I rent a car.
I was told “Progressive & Safeco do it, but you ahve to go through a local agent.”
I had Brown, Hobbs & McMurray recommended to me.
Welp, it took a while… but since I went to my “ignore delays and holds and repeat explanations — go to your Yea, I’m Marginalized, but it’s not going to raise my blood pressure” place … and now I’m covered. It averages out under $20/month and I will still have to pay comp/collision to Enterprise.
Of note was that they noted taht yes, they do have others with a ‘named non-owner’ policy… I don’t think “car-free,” but they considered that they should prepare for more people like me, because The Times Are A Changing… not in a political or ‘society’s values’ context, just a practical, financial “this affects our business” one.
The margins are shifting….

Sinewave Saga … not so good match with my GPS.

So I’m hearing the reviews of folks using their Revolution on the road, “out in the wild.”  

Well, my first ride with it wasn’t so wild and yes, I’ve found a mismatch:  GPS and stop and start riding (my commute).

(Important note, though: YES it is rainproof. Yesterday, while I didn’t have it running ’cause I hadn’t located my GPS, it got rained on, and rained on hard. When exactly the same thing happened to my “high end” Luxos U, things got wet and the handlebar mount switch to turn on the light *always* drew power, enough so that the light went into “daytime running light” mode instead of nighttime brilliant because it didn’t have enough power; I had to unplug the handlebar switch entirely. The Revolution, which cost less, is unfazed.)

  Also, this is *not* what I’d consider the reason to get one of these.   My GPS doesn’t use much power on my commute anyway — like to use my GPS on the commute if for no other reason than to know what time it is, and because yes, I log those miles in the nationalbikechallenge and if I do that extra lap around the campus perimeter, I want a log of it..

I noted that one reviewer said that the sinewave still charged a phone with ease “when the mobile network was disabled.”   I wonder if that setup was like mine, 

YOu see, my GPS has several features that annoy me every time I use it, and I haven’t found a place in the settings to change it.  First, if I arrive at work and hit the stop button, it assumes my trip is over.   Do I want to save or delete?  Second,  If I power down, the trip is over. 

Oh, and it also will automatically shut down — tho’ it gives me 15 seconds to touch the screen and tell it not to — if it gets unplugged. 

Can you see where this is a problem with a power source with no storage on a morning commute?   It was beeping at me roughly every four to ten seconds either powering up or down, and if I didn’t get to the touch screen in time, powering off

I have to wonder about what this will do “in the wild” at GITAP.   I have to assume that if my GPS is attached, my trips will “end” with every town that has a stop sign. 

I can’t do it before GITAP but I may wander down to MakerSpace again and see if, perchance, I could re-wire it so that it feeds off the battery in my light, especially since it was set up with a USB port originally (but failed with the first rain shower– Luxos U == thrown away cash; I hope Peter White figures this out).   

Tonight’s task:  to try to install my handlebar bag which I think could hold my phone, so I can charge it tomorrow.   

Could be that I need to abandon the Garmin and go with the phone app… 

Luxos U — FAIL

Yeaz, it’s been a while since I posted here — I’ve been academically inclined 🙂
Feel like I need to post a review of my new light setup — especially since, if you’re considering getting one, you should know that essentially: it’s not water-resistant. The directions had assorted dire cautions about the need to make sure you didn’t try to charge a device in the rain, and to make sure the little seal was sealed, but in my very gentle use, there are exposed wires and yes, the first rain I got caught in — despite making sure everything was as sealed as it could get, but not having taken extra steps like putting a plastic bag around it — has rendered the handlebar mount inoperable and if it’s plugged into the light, it’s always draining it.
Except for its total and complete failure, it’s a wonderful product. It was great until it wasn’t.
I had my bike shop install it, but only because I do that. It was within the realm of “basic skills with basic tools.” I got a very short USB cable and a phone mount and SWEETNESS. (Mainly I like to know what time it is on my morning commute).
You see, I’m pretty horrible at remembering to charge my phone and remembering which pocket I dropped it in. If it’s on the bike… charging…
So. I might just head down to MakerSpace and see what they can make of it…

happy happy goy goy :)

I’ve been collecting those experiences where a person can make a connection from being on a bicycle, and Friday I got a n ew one.
I crossed Lincoln… a guy on a rusty Triumph preceding me perpendicularly from Lincoln onto Main.
A man on the sidewalk says, “Could I request your assistance?”
“For what?!?” the Triumph man says, clearly not comfortable (I’m a little wondering, too)…. “It will just involve pushing a bucket.” The guy on the Triumph says something, the guy on the sidewalk says something, and it clicks. I had Made a Mental Note one Saturday … this was the house that I had seen people walk to, discernible first by gait and then by garb, to be observant Jews. And it’s Friday night, and he’s wearing what Google tells me is tallit katan. I feel like a Safety Patrol Girl from elementary school as I get my hi-viz self off the bike and say, I can help … and he starts to explain that he can benefit from electricity but not work with it, and this is a holiday, and I say I know, that no, I’m not Jewish but I’d be glad to push the reset button (not bucket) so the lights will work…