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.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Another decade down.

  ... and I don't feel any older.  Most people don't think I look much older either, I think cycling has kept the scars on the inside.   It seems that I did hardly any cycling because I took no week long trips this past year.  That is how I have come to measure my life.  Family and personal life can interfere and hopefully the spell that was dry of adventure is behind me and I can move ahead.  Things progressed despite  lacking long distance travel and riding daily was still the norm.  Although I did rack up more drive time it was still only 3K miles and much less than anybody I know.  
      I noticed that last year I started by talking about the regional map of commuter routes proposed here.  I am pleased that it has been accepted by all the municipalities involved.
What is more important is that all but the largest two have committed to having the signage in place before the end of 2020.  Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope they succeed despite the bureaucratic morass they face.  
It will be the first such commuter network
 I have heard of in this country, maybe it'll set a trend.  
      The most interesting group ride I encountered all year was the memorial ride for Randy Smolinski a former frame builder from Grand Rapids.  His work is still beautiful and the ride brought together classic bike enthusiasts from the upper Midwest. 
      I received an e-mail from David Haywood late in the summer.  He completed circumnavigating the globe by bicycle.  He had stayed with me one night in October 2018 as a Warmshowers guest.  I was just glad to be part of it all.  Good luck David, I'm sure you will make the rest of your life an adventure. 
      The only other notable event in my most boring year of cycling yet, was THAT DAY.  One 24 hour period when just too damn much happened.  It all ended up for the better.  I now have a bike that can survive the Michigan winters better, a lighter quicker commuter and, after weeks of considering carlessness, an Italian/American sports car that is a butt load more fun to drive when I rarely do.

Oh yeah, with the time off the adventure road, I wrote a book. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

      Winter is coming, the signs are showing up.  Christmas decorations have been placed around the city and the festivals of giving have begun.  I can't help but think of how my new bike fits in the festive landscape with reflective tires.   They show up so well I'm beginning to think they should be on all sidewalls.
      Soon the snow will be flying around here and I will be left on the streets alone with all the court appointed cyclists.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Just another NBD.

      Dealing with stressful situations is a challenge to us all.  The best thing to do is get a new bike.  The Giant mountain bike was not a reasonable solution to the loss of the Soma Buena Vista.  The Giant came off the shelf, ready to ride, and didn't really satisfy the "tinkering" hanker from which I suffer severely.   I really loved the mixte but I have to admit that I had it highly over geared.  I really didn't use it as extensively as I imagined when I built it. I toyed with the idea of buying another, but by mid November had convinced myself I'd done enough and would just be guilty of over biking.  Then, I received an e-mail from Soma offering 20% off on everything.  Don't you hate it when they do that?  I really had talked myself out of it, but had no choice when faced with $110 savings.  The day you don't shop is the day you don't save, right? Well hell, there I was, and they make it in red.  We all know red bikes are faster.  There was really no choice.
      I built it leaner, basically raiding the parts bin for stuff I hadn't used on other ideas.   A left over pair of wheels with a 7 speed "mega range" freewheel works with a single ring FSA crankset and will get me around as well as the Nuvinci hub which suffered from extra weight and less efficiency (although I still loved the Nuvinci).  I put a lot of unused parts to good use and spent less than $700 out of pocket.  The end result was a fun commuter which can be mounted easily when towing the new grocery trailer.   After all the crap, another NBD! 

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.