Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Ride of 2007

I didn't work today, either, it's my last vacation day of 2007. I get 20 new ones tomorrow. My last ride of the year was 35.89 miles. That makes my total for the year (over there, in the list, too) 2287.24 miles. Low, I know, but I only rode about 400 miles through the end of March, then stopped riding until the end of July because of the building related illness I mentioned before. In July I decided that I had to ride. I'd gained 15 pounds, and my blood pressure was way up. Riding controls them both, I've only managed to lose 10 of those extra pounds so far, though. The best thing about riding for exercise is that I love to do it, so it isn't really exercise at all. Now, if I could find some riding partners....

Have a safe New Year's eve.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Could Not Resist

It was 68 degrees today. So what if it was cloudy and the roads were wet. I had to ride. Winter, or what passes for winter here in North Carolina is scheduled to return after the first of the year, so a day like this can't be wasted. It was the first time this year I rode in the wet - there hasn't been any rain. Still hard to believe, though, a short sleeve jersey day at the end of December. No complaints from me.
So, my total for the week was 128.13 miles (including the 30 on the trainer) with an average of 16.1 mph. Slow, I know, but I'm working on it. According to my heart rate monitor 7081 calories were sacrificed for those miles. Don't know how accurate that is, and for sure I don't know, or even want to know how many I've taken in this week. I don't know how many were in that piece of birthday cake over there, but someone needed to eat it, so I did. It was good.
This is kind of old news, but in case you didn't notice, N.C has a new "safe red light" law. It's designed for motorcycles, but it probably applies to bicycles, too. Although I don't think I've ever waited 3 minutes on my motorcycle, I have waited at least 2. On my bicycle, I tend to just turn right on red and then make a u-turn. don't ask why, I don't know.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sweet Pea

I saw Sweet Pea today. Sweet Pea is a dog with short, tan colored hair. I first saw her about 2 years ago when she was a puppy. She ran out in the road to chase me and was promptly hit by a car. I heard the thump, and I looked back and saw the car had stopped, so I kept going, since there wasn't anything I could possibly do. I didn't see a dog at that house anymore, at least for several months, so I figured it had been killed. Then I went by one day and this dog came running out. It had a pretty good angle on me so I thought I was in trouble. When it got to the road, though, it turned and ran alongside me. I asked around and found out that it was the same dog that had been hit, and her name was, of course, Sweet Pea, and she liked to chase bicycles. She doesn't, though. She likes to RACE bicycles. Now if I go by when she is out she races me to the edge of her territory and I encourage her. Unfortunately it's uphill, so I top out at about 23 or 24 mph and she always wins. But she never sets one foot in the road.

Getting Some Miles

It's been a good week for riding, especially since I only worked one day, and the weather has been good. So far I've gotten in 95 miles, and only 30 of that was on the trainer. That was last Sunday when it was raining and windy. It's so nice to be able to get out in the late morning, but this vacation thing ends on January 2. The weather was almost perfect both yesterday (31 miles) and today (34 miles). Yesterday was mid 50's and sunny, today, mid 50's and cloudy. Can't ask for much better than that at the end of December.

Still have far too many Christmas sweets around the house. I've OD'ed on them. Then there's going to be the withdrawal when they're finally gone. Is there someplace to go for sugar shock rehab?

Got my eye on a couple of bikes on EBay. I need to expand my collection a bit so can get the Fuji off the road long enough to strip it and paint it, and save it.

I saw this over at Drunkcyclist, then on Velonews. I guess we're sub-human. Who deserves decapitation. You don't have to look very hard to find idiots.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Critical Mass Greensboro


So Sad

I don't have enough info to say much of anything, but I have to wonder if there would be no charges filed if the little girl had been a pedestrian. It's such a terrible thing, no matter what, for everyone involved.
Fox News

The more I think about it, the more taking some of the money being spent on things like bike lanes and mounting a massive public awareness campaign about bikes, following the drunk driving and seat belt templates, seems like a good idea. Any takers? How do we get it started?


I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas, I sure did.

I am looking at all the cookies and candy and other foods I've been indulging in over the past few days as a way to replenish all those calories I've burned riding. So they're "empty". So what? I'm going with this, don't try to talk me out of it. There's still some left, and I can't let any of it go to waste.

Had to go back to work today, but it's the last one I have to work 'til next year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas. I am.

Looks like this is the Christmas of music at my house. Santa brought:
Annie Lennox: Songs Of Mass Destruction
The Eagles: Long Road Out of Eden
Led Zepplin: Mothership
Nirvana: Nevermind
The Killers: Sawdust
Eric Clapton: Complete Clapton

Going to be a lot of transfers to mp3 players today.

We also managed to score a Guitar Hero 3 for the WII! Just happened to go to Walmart Sunday to finish up some last minute shopping, so I went back to electronics, for no real reason, and there they were. We'd given up. You never know... It's fun to play, but I suck.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Local News?

Where do people go for news about things that happen in and around Liberty? I heard someone was killed last night in a collision with a train in Liberty, so I looked at all the sites I could think of - WGHP,, Courier-Tribune, News and Record, and nothing. I even checked out the Liberty Leader, but I don't know why. It's a bi-monthly paper publication, but, hey guys, you have a website - you could put local stuff on it daily. If anyone out there knows what happened - send it over. Maybe this blog should become the place to go to for local news.

At last, Saturday I rode on the road. The weather was ten degrees cooler than the Weather Channel promised, the wind was a bit stronger, and it was misting, but it was a nice ride. I got in 36 miles. I am getting closer to the fitness level I had last year before having to stop riding due to asthma caused by, of all things, a building related illness (try convincing your employer that their building is making you sick - HA!). Sunday I stayed in and rode the trainer for 30 miles. It was warm enough out there, and I don't mind riding in the rain, in fact I kind of like it, but the 15 to 25 mph wind talked me out of it. The trainer does give a good indication of any improvement in fitness, since all the variables are controlled. This 30 mph workout averaged a full .6 mph faster than last weekend's, at less effort, so there may well be some benefit to the torture.

Well, it's Christmas Eve, and I'd better wrap some presents.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Believe In Father Christmas

Especially if he brings me a seat post (carbon?) that'll let me get the seat height on the WorldSport high enough so I can use it on the trainer while I de-rust the Fuji.

I pulled out my Emerson, Lake & Palmer cd The Atlantic Years to listen to I Believe In Father Christmas - the only reason I bought the cd many years ago (it's CJ's favorite), but for once I took the time to listen to the whole thing all the way through. Pretty good. I decided to rip it to my mp3 player to listen to when torture myself on the trainer. The only correct album info on the web is for disc 1. Nothing on disc 2. More work for me.

It was pretty much unanimous among the co-workers I told about my bike incident with the tractor trailer. I was wrong because bike don't belong on the road. This, in a state that states that a bicycle is legally entitled to use the entire lane, not keep to the right like most states. I think it's time for some serious re-education of some motorists. Look at the success of the anti drunk driving and seat belt campaigns. Why not one for bikes?

Looks like the weather might actually cooperate tomorrow. High of 51, dry and not much wind. Hope they're right.

I'm all for saving the planet, but is congress and Bush? Energy Bill

I've always thought turning our food into fuel for our cars was a bit short sighted. Ride a bike instead.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beer or Gas?

That is the question.
Gas is the answer. It won't be long before it's food or gas. I hope food wins.
I need to commute on the bike, but not until the days get longer.

Well, coach Troy says I'm doing great. Wait. Maybe he's talking to the cyclists in the DVD. No road rides since the 11th, and there won't be until at least the 22nd. The trainer is working out ok. Those one legged and cadence drills really do make a difference. Smooths out the stroke.

I had the bike set up in the bedroom for Sunday's 30 mile ride, and happened to glance at the mirror and notice the lack of leg extension on my pedal stroke. I stopped and adjusted the seat height. It was 5/8ths of an inch too low! So that's another advantage of having the trainer - I can make adjustments and try them out without going any place.

I want to ride. Outside.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Ok, then, this past weekend really was better for cycling indoors. I managed 30 miles both Saturday and Sunday. It's more like work, but some Led Zep and Guns & Roses on the Mp3 player makes it bearable. That's something I can't do on the road.

This trainer thing seems to be more about keeping the heartrate in the desired zone, and it's easier on the trainer. I hope this work pays off on the road. May be the weather will cooperate next week and I can go play in the traffic again.

Be afraid... The Register

Share the Road II

Check these out. If we don't speak up when we are put in danger, who will?

Velonews, Risks of Riding
Bicycling, Broken

I never got a reply to the email I sent to Allen's about nearly being hit by one of their tractor trailers. I guess they either just don't care or are too busy to worry about it. I posted the email in Bicycling's forum, and it is below.

I feel that I must relay to you an encounter I had with one of your tractor trailers between 1:00 and 1:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, December 9, 2007. First, let me say that I am one of many bicyclists in this community and ride nearly four thousand miles each year on the roads in and around Liberty and Staley. I fully realize that each time I ride I am putting my life in the hands of total strangers. I trust them to be sober, I trust them to be paying attention and see me, I trust them to afford me the same respect they give any other vehicle using the public roads. In short I trust them not to endanger my life, not to kill or maim me. Sometimes my life is put in danger, most times I think it is not intentional, but once in a while it is. In any encounter with a motor vehicle, I will come out the loser.

On December 9th I was riding on Rt. 49, just north of Liberty . I had come out of Hinshaw Shop Road as was heading toward Liberty . As you may be aware, this portion of road is straight for a long way with very good visibility. I could hear a vehicle approaching me from behind, and from the sound, it never slowed. I was also aware from the sound that it probably was a large truck. At the same time, another vehicle (an SUV) was coming toward me in the other lane. When the truck got to me, it moved slightly into the other lane, endangering the approaching SUV, and then quickly moved back into the correct lane. Although the tractor portion of the truck cleared me, the gap between the trailer and edge of the road was disappearing and I had no choice but to ride off the road and onto the shoulder in order to avoid being run over. I was, at that point going nearly twenty miles per hour, and was either skillful or lucky enough to keep control of my bike. Falling would most likely have put me under the wheels of the trailer. Your trailer. I did not get the license number of the truck, but I did note the Allen’s logo on it.

I am letting you know about this in the hopes that you might take the time to educate your drivers about bicycles, their legal right to use the roads and stress the responsibilities your drivers have to afford them, and really all other vehicles using the roads, the utmost respect. It wasn’t a bicycle that your driver almost hit. It was a person. It wasn’t an SUV that your driver almost hit head on (the SUV did, in fact have to take evasive action to avoid being hit as well) it was an SUV full of people.

I hope you will do your part in helping to make the roads safer for everyone

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I always look forward to the weekends, I get to go for long rides, and this time of year they are the only rides I get. I guess I got spoiled over the last few weeks with the temperatures ranging from lows in the upper 50's to temperatures like last weekend in the mid 70's. Today I got up and the thermometer said 45 and it has been dropping ever since. It's cloudy and there is a 15 mph wind. I'm probably going to wimp out and ride on my trainer. About three weeks ago REI had a Kinetic fluid trainer on sale -$70 off - so I got one. I've been using it and the Spinnervals DVD that came with it for my weeknight rides. I thought I was in pretty good shape. The DVD seems to indicate I am not, but not way out, either. Anyway, since I have the trainer, I might as well do a long ride in the house and avoid the weather. But it's nowhere near as much fun as riding on the road. The road isn't exercise, it's playing.

I hope something falls from these clouds.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Not Your Usual...

Seeing a herd of buffalo in North Carolina is something I sure didn't expect. I ride this route once a week. They were there 2 weeks in a row. I don't know where they went, but with the lack of rain I don't think there was much in that field to eat.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Well, I finally ditched the steel wheels on my Fuji about three weeks ago and put some aluminum ones on. It cut about 2 pounds off the bike. Now it only weighs 30 pounds. The wheels came off a mint condition Schwinn Worldsport with a frame too small for anyone around here, so I figured, "why not?". I took it out for a ride, expecting to go faster, but, to my amazement, I didn't. I was slower. Consistently. I tried harder, but it never seemed that the speed matched the effort I was putting in, and I couldn't figure out why. Put on lighter wheel and have my average speed drop a full mile per hour. It didn't make much sense. Saturday morning before I rode I decided to pull the bearings apart and clean and grease them. When I did I found 9 balls on one side and 8 on the other. I didn't have enough balls! Fortunately I had some of the right size bearing balls in my tool box, so I cleaned and greased everything and put it back together. Saturday's ride was a half mph faster than before I changed wheels, and Sunday's was 1.5 mph faster - and it was a recovery ride, so I wasn't even trying. Lighter wheels sure help, but only if you have enough balls.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Share the Road

I am getting a little tired of being run off the road. Especially when it is intentional. Today on an otherwise terrific ride on a day that was amazing, I was run completely off the road by a tractor trailer from Allen's Family Foods. It was on Route 49 just outside of Liberty, on a long straight section of road, so there was no excuse. I heard the truck coming for quite a while, and when it got to me, rather than give me any room the driver moved over just enough to let the tractor clear me and then moved back, letting the trailer squeeze me off the road. I was going about 20mph, and hit the brakes when I dropped off the road. The shoulder was smooth enough so I kept control of my bike, but still... This is the third time in the past few weeks I have had something pulling a trailer come close to hitting me. I am probably going to write to Allen's, but I doubt it'll do any good. It would be nice if they'd educate their drivers. Bike BELONG on the roads.

Christmas Parade

I try to get long rides in on weekends now that the time has changed and I can't ride after work. Saturday was no exception, and it was beautiful. About sixty five, sunny, and almost no wind. My usual route takes me through Liberty and Staley twice and I end up with about a forty mile ride. I didn't realize that this Saturday was the Staley Christmas parade. On my second trip through I was surprised to find people lining my route on both sides of the road. The road wasn't blocked off yet, so I kept going, feeling a little self conscious since my bike was the only vehicle on the road. I guess I was the pre-parade entertainment. Most of the people ignored me, a few waved and smiled and said "Hi", and one little boy, about seven or eight, shouted "Love your Speedo, man" which, since I was wearing a cycling jersey and tights, didn't really apply, but I was glad to see that his parents were raising him in the red neck tradition of loudly displaying your own ignorance.

I slowly rode through the staging area and saw all the fire trucks, antique cars, tractors, and horses. Looks like they had a pretty good parade, and I know they had a great turnout to see it.
Next year maybe I'll find out when it is so I can avoid being part of it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Gettin' the Bird

We leave my house to go for an after work bike ride. Nice day, warm and sunny. About a quarter of a mile down the road live some people who fancy themselves as small farmers on about an acre of land. There are a couple of goats and a small flock of six or seven guinea hens. The hens, of course, run free.
This part of the ride is slightly down hill, so we are slowly picking up speed, I am in the lead, and my riding partner is drafting. As we get to the house I see the hens are in the ditch on thr right side of the road. When we get a little closer the start to run parallel to the road. No problem. Until we get along side them. They turn left. Checking my computer after, I find we were going 19.9 mph at that moment.
One bird hits my front wheel and at the same moment my partner hits my back wheel and we both go down. On my way to the ground I see a pickup truck going passing us. He ,fortunately, moved all the way into the other lane. I also see one of the hens run straight into the side of the truck. Then I hear the crunch of my helmet hitting the pavement. The next thing I know I am trying to move off the road and asking my partner if he is ok. He is - he fell in the grass on the side of the road. I am a little less than ok. I find out later that I had been unresponsive to questions for a little while, so a concussion was evident (especially given how I felt the next few days), My left shoulder and arm hit next - road rash and some bruising - followed by my left hip. Huge black, blue, purple and yellow bruise and swelling. Of course I refused to go see a doctor -a few days later I regretted that decision, but it was too late then. If I had known I was unconsious I'd probably have been smart enough to let someone else make that decision. Maybe not, though. Who knows.
So, one new helmet, new handle bar tape, and having to true the front wheel, plus the time in pain and healing when I couldn't ride. Thanks, birds. Of all the dangers out there from people in cars (more on THAT later) I never thought a flock of birds would try to kill me.