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 helps us develop 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.

Monday, December 10, 2018

If you want something worn out or busted, I can get it done.

        For several weeks I was having some newly discovered pain in the nether regions and couldn't figure it out.  The saddle on my Hunq would not seem to stay in adjustment and it was really irritating (in more ways than THE one).  Every couple of days I was tightening the bolts , THINGS got more and more sore.
      I figured it out after the lower plate on the seat post broke.  Oh, we  need that?  So that was a bit of remedial education for me.  It is a Velo Orange Gran Cru seat post and I wrote to see if there were replacement parts available.  I told them when I bought it and sent a photo, unfortunately they no longer have parts lying around for those.  I was stuck with having to replace the whole seat post.  As a consumer I've had experience with this system.  When somebody doesn't support their product, I buy from somebody else.  That gets complicated.  I am an American.  It was an opportunity (spelled "excuse") to spend much more than I needed to fix the problem.  There are a lot of seat posts out there and I could have bought a new one for $55 dollars from VO.   This was the first problem I had had, I am still happy with the one on my Hillborne, but what a great excuse to upgrade.  All this temptation to spend money dangled in the face of an experienced consumer was too much to bear.
     I sprang for the Nitto/Rivendell lugged seat post which is reputedly the strongest on the market and has 40mm of setback as well as the double bolt design which allows true micro adjustment of the angle.  Wait!  There's more! 
     I also thought of getting a black saddle for the Hunq since I had changed the color scheme.  I was tempted to try the new Brooks C series saddles because several tourists I've met really love them.  It is the "latest, greatest and most revolutionary" thing that Brooks has thought of in decades.   I was skeptical since artificial saddles made me unhappy in the past, but here I was with every excuse to spend more money than needed.

      I ordered a C-19 version which is a little wider and modeled after the legendary B-67 saddle which has been making butts happy for generations.  My first impression of the saddle was that it was really hard.  I thought "this can't change, the leather saddles would conform to our bodies and this plastic/fabric thing will not."  Now that I have a few weeks behind me and have compared the ride to the B-17 on my Hillborne, the C-19 is really comparable, it doesn't feel much different than the leather.  The first impression seems to have left and may have been my own defense against change, but I really do like the design, the feel and the fact that it's a weather proof Brooks.  Don't get me wrong, I think the hand wringing worry about getting leather wet is a bunch of nonsense.  Cowboys never came in from the rain and my Brooks saddles have all been sopping wet at one time or another without any ill effects.  I feel good now.
       I made my American heritage proud by spending 6 times what was necessary to effect a repair.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The boring end of biking has begun

         Thank god that's over.  You don't know what I'm talking about, but some very strange and neurotic people completely overwhelmed nearly every aspect of my life for the past few months.  They are people old enough they were never diagnosed because that area of psychology was not developed when they were young and under other people's care.   I know enough to recognize serious obsessive paranoid behavior and four of these nut bags were in the same committee driving each other to new limits of mania and screwing with me for months.  I've managed to extricate myself and can get back to my own benign manias.
      It's almost the end.  People are discussing their indoor trainer setups on Instagram and Facebook.  It's so pathetic.  One brave soul said there were still several weeks left in the season.  I mentioned there was 52 more weeks in the year to ride.  The season is just a matter of adjustment and people can't get it.
 I know this is Michigan and we get 8 feet of snow each year but it gets plowed from the streets and the cold weather gives us an opportunity to ride our butts off without sweating through our clothes.  Nobody listens, soon it will just be me and the court appointed cyclists struggling through the icy ruts on their way to the liquor stores.
I don't get a lot of riding in, but just the commuting and utility riding feeds the addiction and is a lot more fun than some computer program pretending to be a road.  It's OK, I'll just be ready with the studs and enjoy some thing like mountain biking during the cold season.  In the meantime the season of advocacy will be warming up.  Up here in the northern edge of the fly over zone, people actually try to get some things accomplished and make some infrastructure commitments happen before the spring.  All the trainer bound cyclists are organizing meeting to review the city transportation plans, organizing next year's bike week celebration, new events and routes for rides and even holding training meetings for bus drivers about yielding space for cyclists.  It's nice that all these people work so hard to create a bike friendly environment for people like me to use.

Friday, October 5, 2018

An historical weekend

     It was time for a long weekend.  I wasn't in the mood for a three day bike trip but wanted to visit a couple of special sites.  I drove across the state and set up a base camp at the Pontiac state forest planning a mini spoke and hub tour.  The plan was to take a ride on Friday to a special site but it was cold, rainy and unhealthy so I just cooked dinner, had few drinks, talked to some fellow campers and crashed early.
Saturday was sunny, bright and the temps in the mid sixties which made for a pleasant day to make the wrong turn and log some extra special bonus miles over  gravel roads through a forest.  It led me on an inspiring wild goose chase extending an 18 mile into a 30 mile ride to the Michigan Renaissance Festival.
If you haven't ever been to one, a Renaissance Festival is like going to a county fair pretending to be 500 years old.  This one is well developed and collects a great crowd.
Vendors were selling all kinds of esoteric goods and jewelry imitating old stuff and fantasy.
Carnival games are built aroundthe good old days and presumed customs.
The Society for Creative Anachronism is hugely involved which explains how the costumes and characters never seem to accurately portray any particular historical period,
and how they can justify a real modern fencing tournament to go along with spear tossing and live jousting contests.
All in all it was a great afternoon.  I was well amused, ate, drank and bought some old looking stuff I really liked and didn't need before enjoying another great, but shorter, ride back to camp.
After a great day in the quasi-historical world, I went on an odessey to take the Hunqapillar to visit his presumed roots (that's right just slipping farther and farther from the real world).  The weather didn't cooperate to make the 15 to 20 mile trip but I was on a mission to unite the Hunqapillar with his history.
I drove down to the Clinton County trailway where I rode a few miles to an actual historical site where a Mastadon was discovered by the road commission.
It gave the Hunq a brief but important moment to commune with it's relative history.
I know, somebody is going to correct me
because Wooly Mammoth's and Mastadon's are not exactly the same, but they are close relatives and, hey, any excuse for a bike ride!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Alien life form

         I realized how completely alien I am to the average american cyclist.   I was in a local bike shop picking up some chain lube (Rock 'n Roll, I've never tried it, people say it's ok).  Along came a "serious" cyclist.  He's been at this a number of years he said and was preparing for a big charity ride.  He needed the bike mechanics to decide if he needed new tires.  Yep, the "serious" rider needed the bike shop kid to make that decision.  I listened as he explained his strategy for "attacking" the upcoming ride and not make the mistakes he had made in previous rides so he could improve his speed.  He went on to brag that he expected to break 3,000 miles this year.  By then, the owner had come around and, knowing me quite well, stood back with a secret smile anticipating what I might say.  I told the guy that I really don't keep track of mileage but guessed that I passed 3,000 miles sometime in April.  He was amazed, but then I told him I take a different attitude towards riding,
I go places on my bike.
He was perplexed. 
        He stared, the owner laughed,the "serious" cyclist was still staring at me as I walked out the door and rode away on one of my prize bikes
which looks nothing like his carbon crotch rocket.
      It goes deeper than that.  In my quest to "go places" I have replaced the need for speed with conservation of energy.  When I see a hill, I don't jump from the saddle and attack to save my average speed.  I decide which gear will get me up with the least amount of energy.  Years of touring have taught me to reach my destination with some gas in the tank so I can enjoy where I have gone.  
    That kinda gets me to the latest greatest thing, riding with GPS, whether it's Garmin, Strava, RwGPS Map my Life or whatever else has come up lately, they leave me cold.   I plotted a new map of a ride to our club's RwGPS account and hated myself for doing it.  It took hours to figure out how to turn the damn app off.  What a pain in the butt, who cares where I actually went?  I think that stuff is good for the compulsive competitor, it gives them a constant outlet, some recognition they crave and is healthier and cheaper than golf, although probably just as time consuming.   At least with expensive gadgets people are likely to get out more often than the weekly club rides, although they seem compelled to ride the same routes to compete with their friends rather than trying to just enjoy a trip going somewhere.

Mileage goals are counterproductive.  Just ride your bike, enjoy the ride and you will ride more often.  Possibly, you'll gain more from it.