This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and develops a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bike Packing 101.1

I decided to update one of my most popular posts Bike Packing 101 since I upgraded a few pieces of equipment.  Essentially it packs the same, except that the self-inflating pad I am using compacts very well and I no longer have the frumpy looking foam pad on top of  my saddlebag.
The big red bottle is a fuel bottle, I feel it's safer than in a bag. I normally carry a coffee press in the lower cage and a water bottle, but today I am just riding around taking pictures.  The much taller tent is, of course a huge improvement, only adds 8 oz and still fits in the one front pannier. 
The pole rides easily under the flap of the saddlebag. 
Inside you can see the pad and red fleece sleeping bag liner.  I think a 3 season tent stays warm enough to eliminate the need for a heavy sleeping bag. 
The pad, sleeping bag, hand axe and kitchen all fit in one front pannier together.
The axe is handy for collecting firewood to avoid buying and lugging it around on the bike.
Most woodsy areas have enough downed wood nearby to make a nice fire
with nothing more than the classic Estwing scout hatchet.  
I have changed the stove I carry when I travel alone, which is most of the time.
The kitchen spreads out this way, The cooking pot and pan nest to create a container.
Just to the right is the Trangia alcohol stove, behind is the Vargos wood stove, which is a backup in case I need fuel. Next from right to left is an 8 oz cup, two SOS pads and matches.  I keep the matches in a medicine or vitamin bottle to keep them dry, with a bit of the matchbox abrasive inside the lid.  
My son added some utensils when he borrowed my equipment last summer.  There is a web pocket in the front panniers and he used one for a selection of plastic cutlery.  A bit excessive in my opinion,
 but I try to deal with the extra weight.
There it is, not a big difference from the original, the biggest change is reducing to the alcohol stove since denatured alcohol can be easily found.  I will carry the two burner and larger pans when I have a companion.  But just as before, 3 days of clothing in the saddlebag with personal hygiene items,
don't forget a pocket knife, tool roll up and a good attitude.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Hero has turned on me!

I am definitely forlorn and lonesome now.
The Barbie police doll has gone and done it, she snapped and is running amok threatening cyclists.
Even though I may never look my Barbie doll straight in her big blue eyes again,
this is not a funny thing.   Laura Weintraub is making fun of killing people with a car and it is sick.  Of course, it once again raised the ire of and brought attention to the cycling community and everybody is all a "twitter" over the rights of cyclists.     This time I don't care if her target was Rob Ford.
Well lookie there, she destroyed the evidence!
You can still see her disgusting idiocy here.
There is a police officer out there on the road who thinks using an automobile to kill is good humor.
Her boss, the chief of police, thinks it's "cute."  Forget the denial and the apologies, they are both meaningless.  Of course they would post a carefully worded apology after they expose themselves.
The questions are simple.  What kind of person thinks vehicular homicide is funny, or "cute?"  I'm no expert but I think psychologists and sociologists have a couple of very uncomplimentary terms for this behavior. 
The second, and only important, question anybody should consider is; should a person like that have a position of responsibility involving public safety?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

N+1, Truth or Philosophical fallacy?

Somebody told me I have an unusual "collection" of bikes. 

 I was insulted.   We all know the  inviolate truth.  The proper number of bikes one must have is expressed by the simple mathematical formula, N+1. The word collection, in this context, refers to a purposeful accumulation of related objects.  The definition does not, nor has it ever, since it's first known written usage in 1460 (I'm not kidding, I think of shit like this.), ever implied a use or action.  A friend told me, "One cannot have too many bikes."  He is a Doctor,  I have to trust him.  (He is a PHD, but hell, still counts, right?)  Was he considering a collection?  N+1 can always be applied to the collection,
 especially here in the heart of American Consumerism.
I consider mine a "selection."  That is why the question has become one of metaphysics rather than simple mathematical truth.  I am wondering, can one realistically reach a point bordering on the remote possibility that all his dreams have been fulfilled?  Of course not.  One may have all the bikes needed from which to select, but never enough in his collection.  However, in a warped reality it may be possible to function without wanting an additional bike.
That is why I have a "selection" not a "collection." 
Selection is a word referring to a carefully chosen quality and characteristic as in "natural selection" or breeding.  The word isn't really that old.   It's first written usage was 1646 and of course comes from the word select which is a surprising spry youngster among words itself.  As a verb, select implies a choice of quality for some use or other.
So, there you have it, it's no wonder I was insulted.  

My bikes don't just sit around together like a bunch of postage stamps.  They have purpose.  On behalf of their usefulness I must pursue their defense.  Now that the metaphysical has been narrowed down, how do we translate this into physical and mathematical truth.  I have irrefutably (in my world) established that the application of the inviolable truth, N+1, applies to a collection of bikes. When usage is satisfied and all available selections are utilized during the resolution of the needs, how can we express it mathematically ?  Is "N" too simple an expression?  I think  -1 represents the elimination of need, N still represents the current number of bikes owned and +1 equals the continuing desire for frivolous accumulation.  
So, the rational cyclist can reach a mathematical equilibrium with a balanced equation -1N+1=N.
That is how I talk myself out of building a fixie!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

One Helluva non-Strava experience

  I don't think the revolution created by the internet/gps industry will have a truly negative effect.  I used to use a cycling computer.  For years I liked keeping up with the rolling increase in my average speed during a season as well as the mileage.  Then gasoline reached $2 a gallon permanently and I found myself reaching my mileage goals in July.  The computer went in the trash and I haven't been distracted since.  At One Helluva Ride this past weekend, all the spandex hamsters were a twitter (pun intended) over their Strava figures, or their Map My Ride goals and talked about their concerns over the battery life on the unit etc.  
There were a few groups who flew by
 like the jerks in this video,
but overall it seemed that people are using these programs to reach personal goals.   I poke a lot of fun at the recreational cyclists who take themselves too seriously.  I think they do, but this sport is probably the healthiest way for competitive people to find an outlet.  These little programs keep the
weekend warriors on track where team sports do not.  
I still think it's a little silly, obsessive and distracting but I have non cycling friends with whom I played team sports who have become professional spectators 
with gambling problems.  
They have to win.  So they keep trying to win.
As silly as the spandex hamster is when he sends out daily reports of wind trainer performance to his friends, it's still better than gulping beer in front of the TV
and looking up the lines on the afternoon games.
 The rest of the day was unparalleled.  I got to compare my faux vintage Hillborne to the latest and greatest.  That enclosed recumbent trike was cool as it looked and made the weirdest whirling sounds as he passed me on the course.  The owner told me it is just obscenely, stupidly fast. 
 He was running up to
40 MPH on some flat stretches of the course.
 The weather was incomparable, cool in the morning and just touching 80 F at the finish where they filled us up with a truckload of ice cold watermelon. Sam and I finished the metric within 5 hours.  Considering I spend between 45-60 minutes at the rest stops or stopping to talk with people,
I averaged between 15-16 MPH as best as I can guess.
That's good enough and they gave me a badge for it, WOOHOO!