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.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Even the worst crap can turn out well.

      Sometime things get really screwed up.  It's gotten to the point where I will be able to make some realistic contributions to the blogosphere again, but, jeesh, somethings just ain't right but turn out ok in the end.  I had a few days back in August when even made my insurance agent feel sorry for me.
      The week after one of my cats died from cancer, I was at the grocery store 
and my bike was stolen. 
      I had it locked with a cable from the bike rack and the ring lock on the rear wheel which could not be removed with out a grinder.  So somebody had to cut the cable and carry it off.  Further, the wheels are secured with anti-lock skewers, so the damn fool stole a bike that was practically useless to him.  Worst of all, the store does have cctv but it is trained from the store out to the parking lot and didn't reveal anything under the awning in front of the store.  Despite the fact that I provided a photo and the serial # of the bike, the police could find nothing to file about the theft except my statement.  There was no evidence of theft to back up my statement so I am totally screwed when filing an insurance claim.   After 45 years of urban cycling day to day in 7 different municipalities, it should not be a surprise that I lost one bike, but spending that much time with something between your legs makes you rather fond of it.   I hope I never run across the dick who stole it.  
      The following day, I was doing myself a favor by adopting a cat to replace the one who died.  My other cat and I had grieved enough and it was time to save another one.  While driving across town a young woman drove through a red light, broadsided me and totaled my car.  She wasn't on drugs, hadn't been drinking and wasn't on her cell phone; she just ignored the light and plowed right into me.  After dealing with her, the police and the tow truck, I was determined to have something go right so I took an UBER to the SPCA where I did adopt a cat to companion my surviving cat. 

      Believe it or not, I am not telling you this story as a matter of self indulgence (not totally).  There are some bike-centric lessons to be shared from all of this.   After losing the bike and the car I went more than 6 weeks without a car, wrestled with the insurance and tried to decide if I wanted to buy another.  Since the bike I lost was my dedicated townie and grocery-getter, I had  to compensate so I bought something I'd considered before;
Burley Travoy for grocery shopping.
Most of the time it sits in the hallway collecting my returnable cans and bottles for the next trip.  Now I can use that with several other bikes and it makes a convenient hand-truck for an apartment dweller.  
It hooks up to the bike seat-post easily for the trip to and fro 
and works nicely as a shopping cart at the store.  

With the new Shop and Scan app at the store, I can scan items as I put them in the cart, and checkout without  re-bagging.  Yehaw!
      So with that problem worked out I had the car thing to think about.   During the weeks following the accident, I scheduled an UBER to use when I needed one.  I realized that the money I would save on insurance alone would more than pay for the UBER rides I might use, so the question of even buying a replacement was troublesome.  The car destroyed was a 14 year old Malibu so it didn't provide much in settlement.  On the other hand, it only had 45000 miles on it, so it should have lasted 'til the pretty nurse took the keys away.  I don't use a car  more than once or twice a week so I didn't want to spend a lot. All this created a dilemma, then my son chimed in to complicate everything; "Dad, you should get a classic, I can see you in a vintage Porsche or Corvette."  I disagree, neither of those fit.  There are a few cars I  have liked over the years. I found one, a 1988 Cadillac Allante which has only 57,000 miles on it,  a complete service record, and 3 year mechanical warranty for only $6500.  
Now I will have more fun driving a couple of times a week.  
The pretty nurse will  have to wrestle for the keys.
       Now with that behind me I had to make a decision about replacing the bike.   With the Travoy trailer, I would not need a dedicated grocery-getter.  Despite my affection for classic lugged steel, and my love of the Mixte frame design I had lost, I erred to the practical and went for a dirt cheap 29er to keep the good bikes off the street in the winter.

There's not much to say about it, the aluminum frame and disc brakes should be better for the winter time and I can keep the good bikes away from all the corrosive crap on the road.  I changed the handlebars immediately.  It came with a hideous straight bar that was 790mm wide!  What a joke!  Now it has some reasonable comfort installed.   But, all problems were not solved and the saga continues later.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New Book out, I finally got something done.

           Things get a little crazy sometimes and personal family situations and demands have kept me from doing any bike travel this past year.  Which, of course is largely why there hasn't been any new activity to talk about on the blogosphere.  Most of my bike riding has continued and but only at the level of commuting and few club rides.  Since I haven't been doing much traveling I decided that the vicarious thrill of writing would have to suffice.  So, I wrote a book about bike travel and my opinions on the difference between touring and club riding to help other people understand that it's not the difficult leap or commitment that many think it is.  The book is called Ride Places not Miles and is available from Amazon for $3.99 as a Kindle version.  I may make a paperback available but am still on the fence about even bothering,   It's a cheap and easy read for anybody curious about expanding their biking experience.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Just glad to be a small part.

  Last October I had the pleasure of hosting David Haywood through Warmshowers. He was beginning his attempt to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle. He laughed and said he may just get to LA and say screw it, but he planned to try. I just checked his Live Track Website and he has found his way back to London after France, Spain, US, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A better workout.

          I've never really been much for the electronic gizmos.  I used to have a Cateye thing and a mileage goal, but when it became obvious that gas would be over $2 a gallon for eternity,I decided to stop participating in the fraud and bought another bike for commuting/utility riding.  I was passing my mileage goal in May of each year and ditched the computer.  Things have evolved and GPS became a part of every spandex hamster's kit.  I think that Strava is great for the compulsive competitor and will probably save many people from gambling addiction, but I've no use for it.
         My son boughta Fitbit for me a few years ago and I do use it.  It's basically a heart rate monitor but it extrapolates a great deal of information.  I like the way it tracks my calorie usage and monitors my sleep.  It also tells me when I have been riding my bike, which brought up an interesting comparison the other day.
         I took a ride on my Sam Hillborne, a 24 lb everyday all purpose ride. and a couple days later rode the same route on my Hunqapillar, a 40 lb all-terrain touring bike.  As you can see from my cute little Fitbit app, I used up nearly 60% more calories on the Hunq.
         The life lesson here is:  If you want a better workout, ride a heavier bike.