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.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Sticker Shock

Sticker shock is a common problem in the bike industry. Everything is more expensive than anybody wants to discuss, but the bicycle pump market has remained pretty stable. The Brompton has caused a dilemma. It is the only bike I have which requires schraeder valves. Every pump I have owned has had a really lame to totally ineffective schraeder capability. At best you have to take the chuck apart move this gadget or that, put it back to gether, hope for the best, reverse the process and hope you got it right. And, three of the four I've owned just plain didn't work. That didn't bother me too much because the nearby Lowe's has a free air pump for their customers. Being the only free auto air pump in 4 counties these days, it got trashed. It really wasn't built to handle bike pressures anyway and the gauge, well...you know.
So I checked out some reviews and it seems that the Silca Pista Plus is a lifetime thing. It looks like other pumps except for 3 feet rather than the normal two, and the fancy wooden handle.
The chuck was the selling point for me. It is all metal, the presta adapter screws into the schraeder for and airtight fit. When I used it on my presta valves it fit more tightly than any I have seen. There is no lever to lock it into place. It simply gets pushed on until the user hears a satisfying click. There is a nifty bleeder valve to release excess air in the hose before removing it. The gauge seems to be more accurate. When I started my tires were about 15 lbs lower than I expected and the bike rolled much easier when the tires were inflated all the way. Hmmm! Makes me wonder how "leaky" my other pump must have been.
The schraeder chuck is a machined metal fitting which should last for years and more.
It screwed on nicely and fit in the tight clearance of the Brompton's little wheels without a lot of wrangling around. That is a big plus. It looks like a forever pump like most reviewers claimed and I should, I hope I will, be pleased with the purchase over time. It's an impressive piece of craftmanship, but I'd like to kick myself square in the face for spending one hundred and sixty five f@#%ing dollars on a goddamn bike pump. That's all I gotta say.

Monday, January 17, 2022

When I stopped for a beer the other day, I ended up having an interesting conversation with guy next to me. After we talked about cold weather riding he told me he liked to ride, but stayed on the trails. He didn't even feel safe with the bike lanes developed all through town. I can't say I blame him, but said we have to consider that 99.9999999% or more of the drivers don't want to live with vehicular man slaughter on their record or their conscience, and I have found the vast majority of drivers are overly cautious around cyclists. The most dangerous activity I see on a daily basis are people yielding when they shouldn't. They cause unexpected traffic stoppage, risk getting rear ended and frighten the hell out of the cyclist trying to follow the rules of the road.
I suppose he would feel more comfortable in a "protected" bike lane like the Dearborn cycle express in downtown Chicago. It certainly does make things easier in city traffic. Do the plastic bullards provide protection? Nobody in their right mind would want those plastic wands to touch their Mercedes, but what protection does it provide against a drunk, drugged or distracted driver? If anything the bullards provide a visual distraction keeping drivers from focusing on the cyclist. We still have to worry about driveways the same as we do riding sidewalks. I guess if it makes people feel safer they will use them and with more people on two wheels, the better off we'll be.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Changing the pace

It is nice that winter finally got here and we have a chance to ride around on the frozen roads and trails. Our parks department does a pretty good job of keeping the trails nicely cleared but there is always ice and all the footprints in the sludge get frozen into place. It just reminds me of the need for studded tires and how usefull they are.
It makes the commute a different form of challenge, like attacking a really treacherous MTB single track. It won't take long for the novelty to wear off, but winter will be over by then. In the meantime, it's just fun to do a little different riding. I stopped for a beer on the way home and the bartender (a former student) asked if I had ridden my bike there. She, of all people, should have known better, but a guy next to me asked how I could stand the cold. I said: "I worked up a bit of a sweat getting here, did you?" "No" he said. I replied, "I guess I was warmer." He just stared.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

That time of year

       We haven't even seen winter yet.  It might be unseasonably warm but it's still the time of year when I usually cuss myself out for being a madman on my way to the garage, then two blocks down the road am unzipping, unsnapping and pulling back the hood to cool off.  

Well, it just ain't happening that way this year.  Christmas Eve day the temps were in the 50's.  Just cool enough for a jacket and gloves.   A twenty five or thirty mile ride was nothing but invigorating.  I saw a number of people out with like minds enjoying the roads and trails around town.  Maybe we'll see a few weeks of winter, but the days are officially getting longer and the potential is getting shorter.