Sunday, November 29, 2009


Ignore the fact that my ineptitude as a photographer caused me to include a closeup of one of my fingers. I'm new to this camera in a phone thing. This bike caught my eye, first because it was parked at the gas pump, and second because of the unique handlebar installation. I am not sure how the brakes might operate, but, maybe it's a practice thing. The electrical tape is a nice, but I'll bet somewhat sticky, touch. Not sure I'd want the sharp ends of those brake levers pointed at me. Not long after I saw that, I came across this, too at Riding Pretty :

So I guess what I saw is the '09 small town North Carolina version of 1970's California beach coolness. At least his bars and brake levers will only puncture pedestrians.

It was a weekend of half rides. Saturday I intended a 100k ride, but ran over something 34 miles in and flatted the rear tire. Although I had everything I needed to repair it, I just called home and had CJ come pick me up. I figured by the time I got the tire fixed my motivation to ride another 28 miles would be gone.

Lately my Sunday rides have been 40 miles, but today I decided to use up some of the leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes in Potato Rosemary bread (we have a huge rosemary bush in the garden) so I squeezed a 20 mile ride in during the second rise. Truth is I'd spent a lot of time raking vast quantities of leaves this weekend, and 20 miles was plenty.

The bread was amazing, by the way. CJ made turkey soup to go with it, and it was a good combination.

About 326 miles to go to get to 5000.....

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Thinking that those three days off the bike I mentioned yesterday had left me rested and ready to flatten hills and battle moderate headwinds I set out on a 100k ride. I felt good when I set out, but about halfway through my legs told me they'd had enough. I kept going, even though it was a struggle and finished 100k with an average of 16.1 mph. My legs were stiff and sore, and tired and the usual apres ride stretching was. uh, difficult, to say the least.

Don't really know what the problem was, but I feel like either my allergies are acting up, or perhaps I am coming down with something. Hope not. Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be better than today's (which was pretty nice, even though the wind was 10 to 15 mph) with light and variable winds. I have come to the conclusion that "variable" is a euphemism for " no matter what direction you go, the wind will always be in your face.

But I got 100k in today - so I accomplished what I set out to do.

Friday, November 13, 2009

When up on the roof there arose such a clatter

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. With apologies to Clement Moore.

Much to my dismay, it was not Santa and eight tiny reindeer. No, it was what was left of hurricane Ida bearing the gift of a lot of rain and 40 mph winds. This pine tree became so excited it decided to swap vertical for horizontal, and picked the only direction where anything could be damaged. I don't think I ever went from sound asleep to fully awake that fast before.

We had someone come this morning and remove it from the house. I would have, but I don't do heights, and climbing on a roof doesn't do anything except instill fear in me. So I paid someone with a bucket truck to do it. That truck is neat, though. Now, if I had one of those..... Anyway, it turns out there are two holes in the roof where branches punched through. We repaired those by slipping a couple of pieces of sheet metal under the shingles. Should be pretty watertight long enough for us to get repairs scheduled. The sheet metal, by the way, was cut from an old cookie sheet. Use whatever you have handy, I guess.

Ida brought my riding streak to an end at 28 days, and now I have been off the bike for 3 days. Yeah, I could have ridden the trainer and kept it going but there are parts of my body that are thanking me for the time off. Tomorrow, though is supposed to be sunny and in the 70's so those body parts better be ready.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Dressing for a ride this time of year seems to be a no win thing. Trying to find something that might be comfortable when it's about 45 degrees at the start and 70 at the finish is next to impossible. I manage to dress so I span the entire range from too cold to too warm, but, for a brief period in the middle, I'm just right. Shades of Goldilocks there....

Now that I'm riding both bikes it amazes me just how different they are, and how much faster and easier to ride the Roubaix is. It can't all come down to weight, can it? Of course I can't put a rack on it and convert it into a commuter, anyway. Maybe pedaling that extra 12 pounds of bike plus about 10 more pounds of stuff back and forth to work is good for me. Can't hurt.

Got in a little more than 100km today (actual was 64.05 miles) and averaged 16.5 mph. This also was my 25th consecutive day on the bike. Should be able to make 30, easily. So now I'm at 4307.19 miles with eight weeks left in the year. Is 5000 miles really possible? That would be an average of 86.6 miles per week. This week was 154.54, so maybe....

Giving Credit

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but with procrastination being one of the things I do well, it keeps being put off. Since I am waiting for both the sun and temperature to rise before setting out on a bike ride, now seems a good time to take care of it.

Besides - it moves some other stuff to the back burner. That's always a good thing - means I'll have something to do later.

Way back in December 2007 I posted this about a close encounter of the frightening kind with a tractor trailer owned by Allen's Family Foods along with a copy of the email I had sent them complaining about it. I never got a reply, but that doesn't mean it was ignored.

Allen's operation in Liberty is pretty big, and it is rare to go for a bike ride without encountering at least one of their vehicles, whether it's a car, pickup truck, or tractor trailer. Since I am out there so much, I see them all the time, and ever since I wrote to them there has not been one single instance where one of them has passed me with anything less than a wide berth and care. They always stay behind and follow until it is safe to pass. For that, I am grateful.

I can't know if my writing to them caused this, but it doesn't really matter. The respect and responsibility their drivers show for other traffic should be commended and an example for other vehicle operators - cyclists included.

I see, all the time, in cycling blogs and sites the complaints about how we are treated by drivers of motor vehicles, and it is all valid. It takes a lot of courage and faith to go for a ride on public roads. I guess we should give some time to pointing out when an effort is made to reduce the danger, and give credit to those who do that. Maybe that's a step forward in the process of educating drivers that bikes belong. Maybe getting the support of corporations through educating the drivers of their vehicles would be a good place to start, and maybe it would trickle down to everyone.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Shoe Repairs

While both my bikes are fitted with Look pedals, I wasn't paying enough (any) attention when I bought the ones for the newer bike. Because I don't RTFLable (neither will I RFTM, when one is available) I ended up with pedals using the Keo cleats on the new one, while the pedals on the old bike use Deltas. I ended up not riding the old bike anymore, and there was an ancient pair of Performance cycling shoes stowed away in the closet, anyway, if I wanted to, so there really wasn't a problem.

Then, a month ago I started this commuting thing....

The first few days I wore my steel toe Red Wing work boots, which felt a little weird pedaling on clipless pedals. but it seemed to work ok. After about a week of that, though, I decided to leave the boots at the office and wear the old cycling shoes to ride. Wow, does it ever make a difference both in comfort and efficiency.

Within a couple of days I noticed the soles were separating from the shoes, though.

Not wanting to buy another pair of shoes or pedals, plus being cheap and broke, I decided to fix them. Here's how.

I got some Loctite 480. It is great stuff. I have used it to stick two pieces of steel together, and was amazed at how much it took to break them apart.

Here is how I applied it.

And then clamped them together to let the adhesive cure. I let them sit like this for about three hours, which is overkill, but I had the time.
So now the shoes are as good, if not better than new. And, much to my amazement, I did all this without gluing my fingers together - something I usually do when I use Loctite. All in all, a success.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Today would have been a good day to bring the bike in and set up the trainer. Suffering inside for an hour or so looked like my best option for getting a ride in and extending my consecutive day record to nineteen. It had been pouring all night, the wind was 10 to 15, with gusts to the far side of twenty five, and it was kind of cold (53) for wet riding. For some reason though, just before my mind was made up to stay in, the sun peeked through the clouds, and I changed my mind. An outside for me. Of course the sun stayed out just long enough to suck me into that choice. Within 15 minutes it was raining again, and that wind - from the north - was strong enough to force me onto the small chain ring on level ground. When I turned south, though, I flew. Riding with a tailwind is always a joy and makes me feel fast, even for an old guy. But man did I pay when I turned North. I rode 37.26 miles, averaged 16.4 mph and got home cold, soaked (my fingers and toes looked like prunes) and tired, but it was still a better than riding in the house.

This is what the road in Fogelman Acres looked like this morning. Not just wet, but wet with a layer of drenched leaves. I usually get through this corner at about 25 mph in the dry, and 20 in the wet. Today stopping to take a picture and then coasting around it at about 10 seemed a good idea. It still felt slippery.

October's miles were 469.89 with 24 rides. Commuting really adds to the ride total, even though it doesn't do that much for the mileage - just 57 a week. Now that I am doing it, I can't believe it took me this long to start riding to work. Not having to buy gas is nice. In the past five weeks I figure I've saved about $60. Not bad - a little exercise and a little extra money in my pocket. I like that.