Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A much needed update

It's been a while. Well, there are a couple of reasons...

First, I was off the bike almost all of last week. I wasn't very careful with a hoe last weekend and cut my foot pretty good. It's a dumb story with dumber actions, so I won't go into gory details.

Second, school has been kicking my ass. I am not sure how many of you are parents. If you are a parent, please rest assured that your child's teachers have much better things to do with their time than make up stories just to get your precious child in trouble. Chances are, your kid is lying, not the teacher.

Third, my overly hopped homebrew IPA tasted pretty good. I have a personal rule about staying off the internets when I have been drinking. I had a bad experience once with eBay and a credit card.

So there you have it. Three lame excuses as to why I have not written.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stay at home week

The latest attempt to save gas is coming from ABC. Conserve gas by staying at home during the week of the 21st. In a very altruistic move, ABC has decided to help our pocketbooks and the environment at the same time.
Thanks ABC. Only two-thirds of Americans are overweight. With your help, we can get that to 100 percent.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When did it become us vs. them?

While searching Google News for something interesting to read, I came across an article from Fort Collins, Colorado. They have installed bike friendly sensors at their stop lights. My first thought was to post a "we need this in Columbus" type of post. After all, I can wait to turn left at the light at Kenny and Treemont every day. I'll admit it, I typically run that red light because it does not know I am there.

When I read the article, I was not expecting the negative comments. I expect them whenever a bicyclist complains about drivers. "We'll respect bikes as soon as the follow the rules of the road." Yeah, we have all heard it. There is nothing new there. I expect the negative comments whenever a cyclist is injured (or killed) by a car. "Roads are for cars. Take your toys on the sidewalk."

Cyclists respond in the familiar way. We say, "Laws are on our side," or "You can easily kill us with a single mistake." This argument is played out whenever the word "bicycle" finds its way into any article.

It's the same argument over and over. I grew tired of it a while back and excused myself from all discussions. To be frank, I have no idea why the negative comments in the article caught me off guard.

Why does it have to be this way?

Last weekend I was stopped at a stoplight in a small town. A guy in a pick-up truck pulled up next to me and said, "Pedal your ass right out of town city boy."

A few weeks ago, a guy in a dump truck told me, "I could run you over and never notice."

What encourages people make comments like that to a complete stranger?

A while back, I was passed with inches to spare. Then, the same driver stopped for a group of geese in the road. The driver waited until all geese were out of the road before passing.

Why do geese get more courtesy than a human being?

Why does it have to be us vs. them?

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yesterday's windstorm (with Xtracycle pictures)

I have ridden my bike in countless thunderstorms, in a blizzard, and now, in hurricane force winds. I was lucky. Nothing bad happened to me other than a mess of tree limbs and leaves in my back yard. We only lost power for a few minutes.

Here are some pictures of yesterday's storm.

This is the fountain in the neighborhood pond. Usually it sprays about ten feet straight up. Not yesterday. It sprayed about ten feet to the side.

This is one of countless trees that were snapped.

A street sign was also destroyed.

Another tree cut down by the wind.

My neighbor's tree and playset.

What is one to do after a storm like that? Go out and help the people who need it. The Xtracycle was the perfect tool for helping neighbors. The yard sweeper (I took off the bag because it was like a sail!) fit perfectly on the wide loader. The snapdeck was the perfect place for a rake. The other freeloader held the sweeper's bag, a small saw and yard waste bags.

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, September 14, 2008

OHM's portable charger

I have been seeing OHM's newest charger on a few gadget websites. The idea behind this is that you put some rare earth magnets on your rear rim and a dynamo under your seat. Viola! Instant power for your iPod, cell phone or whatever rechargeable device you have.

It's a great idea, but I have some serious doubts about how well it work. I'm no engineer, so I could be way off base here. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am.

I currently have a pair of Reelights. I love the lights, but they were kind of a pain to install. Here's why... the lights needed to be really close to the magnets for them to work. Try holding rare earth magnets a few millimeters away from something and you will understand what was so hard. (The hint is to screw the lights on to the bracket until they are almost tight, then align the lights and magnets.)

If the light and the magnet were about a half inch apart, there would be no light. There just was not enough power created to light two LEDs.

Now imagine your read rim and your seat. I think they are a bit more than a half-inch apart. If the power to light two LEDs is not enough at a half-inch, do you really think an iPod could be charged with a gap of a couple of inches?

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stolen bike story from Hubbub

I often wish I lived in Cleveland just so Hubbub could be my local bike shop. Diane and Brian are amazing people who know bikes. Here's one more thing that makes them amazing...

Here is a true story that still blows my mind...

Brian and I were on our way home last night (September 12th), just about ready to take the left turn onto our street. I'm driving - Brian suddenly says "follow that bike"! I'm thinking WTF???? But I know better than to assume he's nuts and pull back out into traffic, following a small turquoise bike being ridden by a medium-large African American man.
You can read the rest of the story here.

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Obama/Palin is your new bicycle

This was sent to me from a good friend. He agrees that it is fun, but kind of silly. I'm sure someone out there knows what this is about. For maximum enjoyment, refresh the screen for a new comment.

For my Democratic friends...

Barack Obama is your new bicycle

For my Republican friends...

Sarah Palin is your new bicycle

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, September 5, 2008

From the useless stats department...

I like to use Bike Journal to keep track of my biking miles. At the start of the year, the miles were a rough estimate. This spring, I won a GPS off eBay and the miles got much more precise. Although I still loathe the speed function, I have grown addicted to the estimated time of arrival function.

Earlier this year, I was in the top 1000 on Bike Journal. It lasted until mid-February. I know that I have no chance in getting back into the top 1000. (Right now #1000 has ridden 1333 miles more than me.) But it is my goal to get back into the top 2000. Slowly, I am getting there. Today, for a few hours at least, I slid under 2100. I don't know why I care. It is just a fun way to keep myself motivated.

Speaking of ways to keep myself motivated, I have currently ridden 80 miles five days into the 300 miles in 30 day challenge.

While we are talking numbers, how about these:

Money not spent on gas: $346.50
CO2 not released into the atmosphere: 1960.29 pounds

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

300 miles in 30 days

I saw that Zach's Bicycle Commuting Blog mentions Map My Ride's 300 miles in 30 days challenge. I'm game. 300 miles in September. It will be done.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, September 1, 2008

More on lights

Earlier today, I had to refill a propane tank. So, of course, I took the Xtracycle. After grilling a nice meal of kabobs, I decided to take the kids to the park. So, of course, I hooked up the bike train. After riding around for a while, it was time to bring the kids in and get them ready for bed. After reading Knuffle Bunny, I had to head back outside to put away the bikes. I was looking at the bikes lined up on my driveway and had the brilliant thought... Let's take a picture of all of the lights.

So here are the bikes...On the far left is the Trek with the trail-a-bike attached. The Trek has a Superflash on the seatpost and rear rack. The trail-a-bike has a Superflash on the chainstay.

In the middle is the bike trailer. I have the generic Performance Bike Flashpoints on that. Inbetween the Flashpoints is my helmet. I have Blackburn's Mars 3.0 attached to the back.

Finally is the Xtracycle. There are two Superflashes on the back of that.

Here is the picture....
(You know, I took drafting in high school. The only thing I remember from that class is that lines pointing at things should not cross. I'm glad I am not an architect right now.)

So I have the lights... Let's kick on the flash and see what we get. The piles of reflective tape really show up under the flash. Take a look...

Sphere: Related Content