Category Archives: xtracycle

A little breezy

Grist has an article about “real stats” regarding how much law-scoffing really happens in NYC by bicyclists… and it’s legion — as it is with pedestrians and drivers, too.

Today was pretty windy going in.  I’m afraid I was inspired *not* to call in and pledge to WILL simply because hearing how they provide what I need while the weather wails outside, instead of actually telling me **anything** about the weather that I couldn’t get a little further down the dial at the automated weather was incredibly annoying.  In fact, the recitation of the weather script was interrupted by a tornado warning (for other counties), but absolutely no notice was made thereof.  Okay, I **am** mildly curious about why they can’t say “this is what I see on radar.”   Personal refusal to pretend to be weather-savvy out of loyalty to the canned?   Edict from on high regarding What You Can Say about the Weather?  Radar is considered intellectual property and therefore describing what you see on The Weather Channel on a radio station is illegal transformation of information?  Complete and utter ignorance that people actually care about what’s really happening?

I changed the radio channel to WWHP and they *were* talking about the weather, albeit in Farmer City.  However, two Right Wing Political Ads and four Seriously Redneck Songs later, I had to bail.  I’ve got nothing against the survival of long-haired country boys, but there’s more to the world than that. Oh, WHFS (“4853 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland.”), the sweet memories… no, it didn’t survive time either, so I can’t get it online.

Today, at just before 7, I am informed that it was rainign in Decatur and… two minutes later, it starts pouring on my awning. It abated a bit later and I went to the porch and got on the INternet, which I’ll have in the house at the end of the week.  Radar told me this would pass, and I got inside before the next deluge hit. Thursday is the estimated connection date for my very own connection – but I’m not supposed to try to hook anything up until 8:00 p.m.

Ride in was pleasant and delightful.    I stopped to snap a picture — which, alas, I don’t have the cable to upload and share — of the Brand Spanking New Cut Curb on Goodwin and Main.   This lets me cruise from Main straight on up through instead of having to cut sharply right to get to the crosswalk cut curb.  This is the U, so no telling whether they’ll do the same at the other end, but it’s nice.

I am pretty sure, though, that the honk-and-point that happened on Church Street, coming out of the  of Prospect, was a driver wishing I were on the sidewalk.  That’s the first time that’s ever happened out there — it’s two lanes, one-way with parking on both sides.  At the honk I”d automatically responded with the standard full-body grin and wave ’cause maybe I’m s’posed to know you, and the driver slowed exactly as one would who was considering further response, but then kept going.  I checked my baggage and nothing was falling out (the far more common reason people honk and point).  Ah, well, A65 4328… I hope you were just waving and nobody has to pay later today if you were frustrated. A lane and three quarters really ought to be enough for ya, though, since nobody else was there.

LIghts went out here… just a second, but everything reboots. Autorecover worked for all for whom it mattered but now they know that lights do go out…I’ve been singing “Jesus saves and so should you!” an awful lot the past few weeks…


Not Too Tired

Came in through campus today.  It’s a bunbite – more traffic and lots of construction and confusion – but it has that “urban appeal” with lots of chances for drive-by greetings. Crossing Lincoln is a real challenge at Oregon – going to do the Illinois/Goodwin bike lane thing next time.

My tyres, that is.  Looked over that rear one that had been slapping and it’s dinged and worn but maybe I’ll get a few hundred more miles out of it.

Lots going on in cycling – Sunday is the “resurrection” of the Ride to the Depot in honor of Fritz Miericke.  I’ll never forget the early words of the pastor at his memorial service saying unequivocally that if anybody was interested yes, Fritz was getting into heaven (or was already there, or something like that), and I wondered exactly he considered justification for that, or whether he just said stuff like that.  Welp, by the time that memorial service was over, I knew and agreed, tho’ it wasn’t the stuff of official beatification because the officials don’t like to look that closely at the underbelly of the world.  The ride… we’ll see how I’m feeling but hey, I might make a century + out of it… a double metric, even?

The *next* Saturday will be the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride — a Trek/CHampaign Cycle effort with 10 & 25 mile routes.   Then Sunday will be … oh, a possible informal “10 x 10 on 10/10.”  NOte to self:  make poster for former, find possible routes for latter with 100K and 100 Imperial options. Oh, and get out of here on time to be at Bike Project Meeting. Find Credit Card and/or ATM card?  long shot…

too busy riding to blog :)

This weekend was ridign, riding, meeting, riding, rideing…Successful Saunter, tho’ the 10 of us were *all* goin’ 13 + mph.  which is *not* “level 1,” especially since we prettymuch charged out and charged back.  All happy campers, though.

Then to bike project, where no other staff showed… ‘cept that nobody had *said* they would… and apparently an older flier was on the stand that said hours SUn Wed THurs.  so I figured a Decision Had Been Made.   It “was all good” in that special, “well, not *really* but it worked out okay” way, with two new members and several people managing to get tehir bikes fixed.

Then off to church where I insisted that we did so have to sing the “Sequence,” since I decided I would Make Singing Happen since the singing deficits at my brother’s funeral service.

Then up in the morning and to the store for munchies to serve, then ride otu to Parkland and maneuver thru Public Safety and Seriously Ding my Shin with the pedal, what with the groceries shifting the weight. It poofed up *instantly* because I have gained Elderly Skin, which made me think it was all bruise and not open, which is not true, so I **hope** last night’s scrubdown is sufficient, because that was not a *clean* pedal that pierced my delicate blood vessel there.  Then 14 mile ride to Rising and the Hobbit House.  THen home, and quick grab of BLENDER and fruit concentrate and Xtracycle to the Races!!

Of course there was ice available and assorted other ingredients that appeared.   So, that’s TWo appearances this month… and now that I’ve realized the magic of Just Slushies, who needs yogurt or any thick proteinaceous ingrediments?  Wonder how gatorade would do…

Then out to Panera for the PCC meeting, and back.  47.2 miles on the day and even tho’ it’s a just-long-enough reach for 1000 for the month, I didn’t push to 50… but NOW I’m going out to lunch for at least 2 laps, or until I melt.

Happy New Year~

Since I didn’t go east, and spend 22 hours (min) driving, I could spend an extra 4 today riding, right?  Answered burning question:  yes, the body can sustain warmth for 2 hours at 9-14 degrees.   (Did 1.5 hours on the Xtra, ate, then 2.2 hours on the Trek.) (Yes, once you stop, that cold air between the layers gets *cold* even if you’re inside. Shed ’em quick!)  A little disappointed that I just didn’t have it in me to turn it into even a metric – 42 miles was “stick a fork in me, I’m done,” but my inner coach reminds me that the only way to get there is to go out and work up to it, and yea verily, I worked. He also said that I should have eaten more 😉   (I am also confident that under these conditions, there’s a very slippery slope from “discomfort” to “danger,” and I’m a middle aged lady with no desire for danger. Endorphins, not adrenaline, I seek. However, I *did* do some charging into the wind… p’raps I should find ye olde heart rate monitor…)

I also wonder whether or not the drive train gets sluggish in extreme cold. I kept both bikes inside overnight, and they each seemed to require more actual force to propel the pedals as the ride progressed.

Nice little purple gloves were enough — no discomfort on the first ride, which I preceded with six minutes on the trainer.  Had to go through a “this hurts – it better get better or I’m going home!” phase that ended at about 15 minutes in (longer than the usual 7 that it takes for a work commute). Didn’t feel like I could take them off (as is possible at 31).

Keen San Antonio boots (uninsulated) over cotton rag socks and thin poly socks were totally peachy – I traded for sneakers between rides and the toes got a little chilly but maintained.  Still in search of something warmer than the sneakers but with more traction, tho’ I might just go for those spiky shoe covers, the tracks of which I detected when I went to shovel my walk. Also, tights/thermals/sweats made my thighs chilly still so I added the faux gore-tex for the second ride. Might be able to get away with three layers if the outer one breaks the wind; perhaps I’ll try tomorrow.

Time to go drop off some cookies… but no desire to make it into a 20 mile ride.

better than east coast :)

Yea, we’re getting snow… sort of.  It’s 31 going on 35 degrees — most surfaces are warm enough for stuff to melt.  Mailed the bills (except the one I forgot) on hte Gazelle but it was not needed, really, so switched to the Xtra.  THanks to the inside training rides Tue & Thurs at Champaign CYcle (lovely male to female ratio of 6 to one ;)) I remembered there was this thing called pedaling faster, and that I used to do it a lot more, back when the bicycle thing was still just a tad novel and not the thing you sat on to go somewhere, and that sixtysecond pedal-hards are fun (they’re not sprint threshold — I’m not wired for that without provocation — but kicking things into “this will get you tired in fifteen seconds” and then sustaining it for longer).  However, since I’ve only ridden about 8 miles, it’s not the stuff of getting in shape.

Kinfolks back east are getting A Big Storm From The Gulf, and one that is Lasting A While.  Looks like it’s almost done, though.   I looked back at last year’s log and boy, was the weather here crappy! Read my musing that since I have a deadicated snowbike in the Gazelle, I prob’ly should have gotten Truly Studly Tyres for the Crappier Conditions.  Not sure… in between days are still probably what we get most of.  *Two* dedicated stud bikes is a little much  — but then, studs for the Dahon would not be the removal project that they present on the Gazelle. Also need to scout out where I can get a replacement chain guard.  Found places that sell the bikes here, but no mention of parts.

Oh… and I haven’t heard anything from CUMTD — last time I made a complaint (buzzed rather badly coming out of Parkland), I got a form letter — but it was snail mail, so perhaps it’s on its way.

Oh!  Stopped at CHmpaign CYcle yesterday and took the LED Busch-Muller light for a test ride.  I do like it.  It’s pricier than halogen … I decided my goal is to burn out the light bulb 🙂 I’ll officially purchase it Mon or Tues.

flash flag

I emailed cycle9 to inquire “ever put one of these on an Xtracycle?”

Of course, Elise replied, I have one on mine.  She sent pictures of how she used a hose clamp to put it on the back.  Now, soon as I have both a flathead (for the hose clamp) and a phillips head (for the flash flag) and a wire cutter (to make room for the screw from the flash flag in the hose clamp), and the flash flag and the xtracycle all together at one time, I’ll make it happen.  In the meantime, I wrapped it around the buckle strap and it’s sticking out to the side or straight up but being a nice flaggy flag.  Yes, it’s   Retroreflective *really* grabs oyour eye stuff and yes, I got three of ’em so I can share.

A little more trash than usual on Bradley at Parkland – but not much.  More a testimony to people not walking on teh sidewalk than their cleanliness, I fear. Lots of fireworks signage left but it seems they were mindful of keeping the sidewalks accessible. I thought about the fascinating potential for making Civic Impact with bicycles at big-crowd outdoor events. They wouldn’t be any faster, perhaps, getting through people crowds — but I could be wrong.  Hmmm…. how ’bout some experiments?  Would riding slowly or just using the thing as a “plow” of sorts be the best?   It’s the traffic stuff that could be more interesting… sticking hte right lighting on the Xtra and people could think it was Official.  Then there are the interesting potentials of car-bike combos.  A folding bike to escape through car-impassable territory… with a car to toss it in …

TIme to get productive 😉

Dahon on Xtracycle

dahon on xtracycle

dahon on xtracycle

Yesterday’s “top searches”

toe clips,  oxidized bicycle,  gitap 2009,  “peter davis” urbana, il,  and windy has stormy eyes.

Yes, my bike’s a tad oxidized in spots.

Looked at some footage at my attempted filming.  That video camera doesn’t have a view finder of any sort so lots of ’em are not at an ideal angle.  Basically, it’s not really the best instrument for the task.  Re-considering the “FLIP” camera.

Yes, I was right.  Riding through the celestial sprinkler yesterday was much more comfortable and pleasant than slogging through the sauna today.

Bumped up the bikejournal ranks a little yesterday (still not on Howard’s page, but getting closer!) and could make a 1000 mile month.  Friday’s forecast is 91 so I might just do a morning metric andthen, oh, cleanthe house and find my keys or something.

Just the commute in, being drizzly and with lots on the agenda today.  I also checked my stats and I’m a full 100 miles ahead of 2007, which I didn’t realize had started that slowly, with soemthing like 236 miles in February.  Of course, I had 1100 and 1200 mile months later, and 930 miles in December, which may be hard to replicate, but hey, if I graduate to a 300K and the training to get there (Dairyland Dare is a tad unlikely … but who knows?)

can’t plow a forecast, honey

Or:  When in doubt, stud, though no bad consequences.

This a.m. the forecast was a “winter advisory” until 11 a.m.; that some freezing rain and snow would move through  The radar showed blue right over head – but almost gone, and there were but scant flurries.  Therefore, there should be less than scant flurries when it was gone.  Possible snow showers tomorrow.

COnsidered taking the Trek in so I could do the inside ride.  Decided that since I had frittered last night instead of making Progress On The HOuse (putting stuff back in the newly painted kitchen and living room), I should go straight home and do that tonight, and take the Xtracycle instead.

Checked weather before leaving at 5:15.  30 degrees – balmy enough to toss the Smart-Tex in the backpack.  Clear radar. I’m hoping to get in some good laps before going home, which I’d tried to do at lunch time but there was this meeting that I’d forgotten about…

Not so clear skies… and what’s this stuff falling from the sky?  It’s barely heavier than fog… but, I thought, p’raps the 30 was airport and the guys had put salt *everywhere* and here might be heat island enough so I could just do llllapsss… that was my foot skating on the parking lot just a teensy bit, enough to make me laugh at the timing and say, “Yes, weather, I hear you.  You promised *better,* not good.”

Happily, everywhere I put my foot down things were basically damp, not icy.  HOwever, I was grateful for having had enough assorted musical experiences so that, indeed, I could hear the subtle difference between the swish of tires on damp pavement and the rice-krispies-treat crunch that meant the mist had frozen there.  Oh, yea, and my bike had just the thinnest crust..  However, when I shrugged, my jacket didn’t crackle, so it wasn’t but *so* bad.

I was also grateful for having enough cycling experience to know it was even more important to claim my part of the lane – that this would make motorists, perhaps thinking foul thoughts of my inconsideration in being out in this weather, be sensible and give the extra room merited… instead of hugging the line and having drivers focusing on the conditions not see me at all.  I noticed the same tendency for drivers *not* to want to go into the left lane when passing (on the one-way two-laner at State). And I was glad I had the SPokelit on the wheel… I think I might have had at least one Airzound Moment otherwise, and I’ve been off the Xtra for weeks so I’m not in the habit of hov’ring near it when approaching a perpendicular driver.

And!  I found the business end of the Turn Signal, so as soon as I find the strap again, which wasn’t lost anyway, I can re-unite them and give it a try on the left arm.

Tomorrow, it’s the Gazelle.  I’ll even have to apologize to her 😀  Maybe we’ll ride a little extra to make up… I could and *would* have done laps with the studs tonight on this teensy bit of slipper.