Thursday, December 28, 2006
Temperature at departure = 39° F (4° C)
Okay, the bike computer is cool and I am hooked. I'm sure I'll get into the groove and use it for just tracking my progress, but for the time being it is challenging me -- every time I get on the bike. It's almost a whisper "Go faster, you've got to the that Average MPH up there and can't you get a higher Maximum MPH than 32.3?" Okay, it's not a whisper, it's a shout! Now, I wonder if there is a heart monitor and calorie-burn counter I can find out there to make my spreadsheets even more numberific...
Thank you to Mike 3D for the public photo.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
My family is very happy that I became so serious about bike commuting this last year. Finally, they've got something they can use when they buy presents for me; before they were at a loss. Thus, I reaped a bunch of cycling stuff for Christmas: Bright florescent yellow jacket with reflective stripes, new gloves, balaclava, mega-tool and bike computer to name a few.
Before I opened the bike computer I had never really thought I'd want one. Once open, I couldn't wait to get it installed and tested out. It's very cool. Once I made it to the office I set up a new data base to track the data for each trip. I was interested to see that I'd miscalculated the distance to the office; I thought it was right at 5 miles but it turns out to be 5.647 miles. Guess my spreadsheet tracking the last 6 months is off by a mile a day. I was, however, very close on my estimate of average speed -- I guessed 12 MPH and today's average was 12.3.
Biking and data mining, gotta love it.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Actually, I don't think that really counted as my being naughty as much as just starting down a clumsy path. Still, our Christmas trees have certainly changed over the years.
I was talking to Dad about Christmas lights a couple weeks back and he told me how the huge treat for him when he was a boy was the Christmas Tree at church. He says they would light candles and clip them to the tree with special holders and then the tree was hoisted up to the rafters with a rope. Dad said he'd just sit there and marvel as the tree would rotate around. [He also mentioned that there were two men sitting in the back of church with a couple buckets of sand; just in case...]
How things have changed since the early 20's when he was a little boy. For him, simple candles were the special effects. For me it was tinsel and those big bulbs - and then, later, those alluminum trees with the color wheels were all the rage. Now our kids see computerized light shows to Mannheim Steamroller music. Same with Sunday School I guess as the Flannelgraph was the high tech media I started out with before going big time with filmstrips. Now our kids get videos, powerpoint presentations and more. I'm going to have my dad talk to my kids about what his Sunday School was like when we get together in the morning. In the mean time, Merry Christmas.
Friday, December 22, 2006
In the mean time, until I get a chance to get back on the bike, don't let THIS happen to you...
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I'm down in Dallas this week and haven't been thinking too much about the blog or bike. Did a search and found the following oddities:
Forget 29er's, check this out.
Thanks to Siti for the photo
And then there is THIS. Spinners for bikes? That is taking it a bit too far, isn't it?
Anyway, I wouldn't be able to ride today if I were home due to the lousy weather. Still have a bit of shopping to do which is difficult when away -- but, I'm hopping to get everything wrapped up before Sunday...
Friday, December 15, 2006
Uneventful ride in today. So, we harness the power of the internet to bring you the following stories:
Ikea gave 500 workers flat-pack bikes. Cool.
CNet has an ARTICLE about a study on teen media habits. "Americans aged 13 to 18 spend more than 72 hours a week using electronic media--defined as the Internet, cell phones, television, music and video games." So, what media that is near and dear to my heart is missing? Radio isn't mentioned at all. No surprise, really; if my kids are downstairs I can pretty much guarantee that at least two will be playing video games, at least one is going to be on their laptop with the others will be watching their siblings while text messaging. The industry really needs to figure out how to make radio relevant to that demographic. Quick.
Public photo by jody9. I loved this when I saw it because it includes two of my interests... Plus, I think the rusting "RADIO" is kind of a metaphor...
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Temperature at departure = 45° F (7° C)
I had almost forgotten about Friday's incident until we waved at each other this morning. Granted, it had been an incredibly stressful weekend which included taking my dad to the ER, having him in ICU for a day, a plumbing repair I was trying to effect which was interrupted by my daughter calling to say her car was stuck in the center lane of five west-bound lanes in the middle of the post Chief's game traffic... I digress.
One of my sons decided he was going over to a friend's house and was riding his bike. Now, although it was in the teens in the morning, the cold front had passed and the temperature was in the 30's. He hit an ice patch wrong and took a spill. One of our neighbors, who is as sweet a person as you'd ever meet, happened to be driving by at the time and offered to take him home so he could put some ice on his leg and have some hot chocolate. [I hesitate to mention her lovely daughters because they may or may not have anything to do with his agreeing to go...]
So they tried to call me at work, but I was on the phone helping a customer with five radio stations off the air. They then called my wife to explain what was going on and that he was fine. The neighbor was concerned that we'd allowed him to ride his bike in this kind of weather... My wife explained that she couldn't leave her job site but if my son needed me to come home I could, she then told our neighbor "it will take a half hour since he rides his bike to work."
Tick, tick, tick. And there it is -- she delivered a plump healthy baby "Oh..."
Public photo courtesy of JIGGS at flickr
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Many thanks to my buddy John from Sprint for the moment of clarity during lunch yesterday. As we're sitting there I point out someone out riding their bike, to which he replied "Oh look, someone's driving a car." I will allow two points.
BTW, he's a cyclist too -- just doesn't have the opportunity to commute to work. Yet.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Mist and light fog with visibility of 2.5 miles. I mention this because of an exchange I had with the driver of a big ol' Cadillac towards the end of my ride in the twisting roads running through Corporate Woods. The time was about 8:20 a.m. and I'm on the main road with the right of way when the Cadillac was pulling out of a parking lot. I can see him plainly through the small trees that line the road so I'm fully expecting him to NOT see me. I slowed down as he pulled into the intersection in front of me and stopped, rolled down his window and said "Why don't you have your lights on?" Well, it was one of those times when you really don't need lights -- but on the other hand he had a point; but so did I as I replied "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." He looked down at his dash, chuckled, turned his lights on and gave me a wave as he drove off. To be honest, I normally wouldn't have said anything but this guy looked like a really nice guy and he made his comment with more of a nice, concerned tone rather than an "I own the road" tone. I smiled when I replied, which probably helped my case. So, we both drove/rode off with our lights on and without any real road rage. Bonus.
Okay, I don't know why I like graphs as much as I do -- but here was one I came across from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that explains why women don't like to bicycle. I'd be interested to see the data for men; my guess is it would be similar.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Last night my youngest boy was bragging about how his was the only bike in the bike rack yesterday. We had our Tim Allen grunt moment and exclaimed to all within hearing distance (his 13 year old brother and the two dogs) that we are indeed tough and rugged. So this morning I had two boys accompanying me on the morning commute...
I do have something new to look out for on the ride home -- icicles! I narrowly missed one hitting me in the face as I rode under a bridge this morning. With temperatures the way they are I'm sure it will be there as I ride home in the dark. Some new excitement.
I did the plastic bag over the toes thing I mentioned yesterday and it seems to have helped a bit. Next time it is in the low teens or below I'll just add another pair of socks and have the plastic layer in the middle.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
|You know, I think I may have seen this in grade school. I actually think the lessons are taught pretty effectively. Maybe if they remade it with Mark Wahlberg and some of the other cast from the 2001 Planet of the Apes...|
Windchill was 0° F (-18° C) standing still, no idea what it was coasting downhill at 20 mph... New record low for my morning commute. My body stayed nice and warm except for my face and toes. Looks like I need to drop plenty of hints about the balaclava I'd like for Christmas.
As for the toes, several blogs I read suggest cutting the corners off a plastic grocery bag and putting them over your socks. I'll try it tomorrow as it is supposed to be a little colder.
By the way, here is a picture of the Liberty Memorial lit up that shows the gobo (lighted logo) a bit better.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
New record low temperature for my ride with the previous low of 25°. I added long john bottoms today and stayed toasty warm the whole ride in. The only thing that got a little chilly was my face for the first mile and a half.
I met a guy out walking that I always seem to run into just as I'm getting on the bike path. He looked at me this morning and asked "You joining the circus?" I said I almost felt like it today. He simply chuckled and said "It's going to take an acrobat..."
I quickly found out what he meant; a good deal of the path was ice that people have been walking on which has refrozen into 3 or 4 inch jagged peaks around their foot prints. Also, there were several areas where there was just a large patch of smooth ice. I'll be honest, I had a blast. Once off the path and back on the roads, things went very smoothly. I'd almost say people are paying more attention and giving you more room because, well, they think you must be a side show freak or an idiot who should be watched carefully and avoided at all costs. Works for me.
So, acrobat, side show freak or clown, take your pick. I made it to the big top so let the show begin.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sufice it to say, my wife has some cool toys.
|From CAT lights KCKCC|
After two snow days last week and two days off the week before, home with the kids, I was ready to be back in the office. We got to eat at the Plaza III Saturday night for my office party and with the snow on the ground, the Plaza was beautiful.
I even got to try the official version of Plaza III Steak Soup. My wife has a recipe for the soup that was passed down to her from her mom and we make it often for "Soup Sunday" (during the Fall and Winter we do soup for our after-church meal - a little family tradition we started several years back). The first bite was interesting, tastes exactly like what we make. If I get ambitious today I'll type it up and have it available.
Anyway, hope to be back in the saddle tomorrow.
Thanks to Kansas Explorer for the public use photo from his flickr site.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Here is a DIY project that, um, whatever.
Made me laugh, anyway.
Instructions here if you are looking for a home-made present for a cyclist in your life (other than me).
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Seriously, 60° in the morning on November 28th. I wish it would last -- but tomorrow it is supposed to drop to below freezing for my commute home. Back to Winter. I did get to battle wet roads and sprinkles on the way in that the weather dudes said were gone for the day. I wonder how tough it is to get a gig as a weather person? I mean, all they appear to do is guess for a living (and not get too much guff if they're wrong) and if they are having a rough time coming up with a good guess they can just go to the Weather Channel or a host of other sites and change the numbers by a degree or two and call it a day... Then, I suppose, they have the grade school appearances with Fluffy the Weather Poodle and the PowerPoint presentation on cumulonimbus clouds.
And see, there is plenty of material right there on wikipedia (thanks for the picture). Sweet job if you can get it.
What did this morning's ride teach me? I need to get some fenders. Okay, they're now on my Christmas list.
And in the One Bad Apple Department: "The city of Yakima has received complaints about an inconsiderate bicyclist on one of its park pathways, and to deal with the situation it is preparing to adopt an ordinance that most likely won't be enforced." So, quick reminder: play nice.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Supposed to be bad weather today so, since there is a very good chance it will be storming when my youngest gets out of school -- I drove the van instead of riding the bike. This also gave me a chance to find out if the status of the temporary path over 435 that had been promised for
August, mid-September, October, November and finally Thanksgiving Day. Nope, still not done.
Reminds me of the scenes in Money Pit where Tom Hanks' character would ask the contractor how much longer a project would take and the answer would always be "Two weeks."
Thanks to Treadly and Me for their post about how many people enjoy their commute. Check the post HERE; but here is a sample: "19% of workers who rode their bicycles to work reported that their commute was the most pleasant activity of their day; in contrast, this was true of just 2% of workers who drove to work."
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Nice to be back on the bike; even had the just right combination of layers to make the ride comfortable.
I recently wrote about Katie's and my evening at the Dad/Daughter Dance. I think it is not only a right, but it is a parent's duty to occasionally embarrass their children. Well, mission accomplished...
Actually, as proof that there is no such thing as bad press; Katie says that she got a lot of compliments on the article and other students have been telling her they thought she has a "fun dad." In any event, the gal that was taking the pictures was following us around for quite a while and we were teasing her and tangoed towards her making faces. Yeah, not a great plan in retrospect. One of her anonymous friends even blew the photo up and had it framed for her in a nice frame that says "Family." Fortunately, Katie thinks it is all pretty funny. Still, perhaps if some guy asks her out that she would prefer not to date -- she can just show them this picture.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Nice post by Paul over at Bike Commute Tips Blog regarding Denmark's experiment on making their thrid largest city a lab for bicycling. More bike commuters = less illness.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Drizzle and winds gusting to 30 mph
I've now heard back from OP and KDOT and looks like the temporary bike path over 435 should be done late next week. That will be something to be thankful for...
Cool, wooden bicycle frame
Car-wash business run from his bicycle
Study: Radio Advertising Clutter Lower Than TV
Don't do this at home:
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Magical Red Tape Ineffective in Healing Signals
Overland Park, KS -- City workers were surprised to find that recent attempts to heal the crosswalk signals at 110th and Metcalf had failed. The newly acquired "Magical Red Tape" had been placed on not only the crosswalk buttons, but the signals themselves. "Yeah, we're scratching our heads over this one," commented a worker who wished to remain anonymous "the guy we bought it from said it should work." When asked how they'd come up with the idea for applying the tape, the unnamed source said "At budget time they had funds for either Magical Beans - or - the red tape; they decided on the tape. Live and learn, I guess." Local residents are encouraged to direct "possitive thoughts" towards the buttons, specifically, to see if that does anything...
Okay, seriously, yesterday morning I got to the crosswalk and found this red tape on the buttons and signals. I crossed when the signal would normally have lit up. Once I got into the office I called the city offices and was quickly directed to Jay M who heads up the department that handles the signals, his office had not been notified of the problem. Within an hour or two, he had talked with their signal specialist who trouble shot the problem and scheduled the signals to be fixed this morning. He called me back and left a great message with a lot of detail. I would officially like to say that Jay M in the Public Works office ROCKS! Thank you Jay. I really appreciated your quick action and follow up.
In other news, 10 year old boys invited over to help rake leaves will quickly find something else to do...
Monday, November 13, 2006
Nice weekend but no biking. Katie and I won the dance contest at the Daddy/Daughter Dance on Friday night. We had a really nice time. A student called me Saturday and interviewed me for the school paper asking why we went, what was our favorite part, etc. I told her we've been going to father/daughter dances since Girl Scouts in grade school and wouldn't have missed it. Favorite part - getting to spend some time with my daughter without her four brothers being around. I don't want to even thing about next year's dance being the last one...
So, Malta has a program where you can park your car and use a bike for free ... nobody's using it.
And for Fritz:
What can cure it's pride?
Wild Turkey blocking my path -
Webber Grill, four hours.
Friday, November 10, 2006
I'm a bit jealous of Jonathan who is going on a boy scout camping trip where they get to ride part of the Katy Trail. I'd love to go, but that would mean missing the Father/Daughter dance with Katie tonight and we haven't missed one yet. That, and the Cub Scout pancake breakfast tomorrow and 50 bazillion pin oak leaves will keep me pretty busy this weekend.
Here is a little validation for those of you who braved even worse weather today than I would have faced: "Some dedicated bicycle riders keep rolling through the snow"
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Temperature at departure = 55° F (13° C)
This is a shot of my entrance to the first slice of the Overland Park bike path I use on the commute home. I took a shot using only my bike headlight but it was completely dark -- so this one is using a flash. Still, you can get the idea that it is pretty dark and closed in.
At least I finally got a good night’s sleep last night. For several nights I’d been waking up progressively earlier each night; I figured a couple more nights like that and I’d be getting up before I went to bed. I knew it was bad yesterday when I realized at one point in my ride that I couldn’t remember anything about the previous mile. Nothing. It was a blank. Later in the morning I felt under my chin and realized that I’d missed a big V shaped spot while shaving that morning. Then I thought: “I don’t remember shaving this morning…” Scary. Anyway, a really good night sleep always makes me a bit sluggish so I going to grab a cup of coffee.
But, before I go, I noticed yesterday that Cycleicious had a link to a bike haiku -- so in a lame attempt to get his attention if he stops by again:
Blinking lights are on
I pedal into the night
Drivers, please see me
I'll leave you with one last thought; if a traveling bicycle salesman could only be described in one word, would you call him a pedaler or peddler?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Temperature at departure = 51° F (11° C)
Another beautiful morning. Cold temperatures should be back by the end of the week.
Okay, this is going on my Christmas list; a Solar Powered Cyclist Kinetic Sculpture Lamp [lamp uses a 40 watt bulb]. You can check it out HERE.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Speaking of fog, the Urban Commuter over at Cycling London has an interesting post with a link to a cool series of pix showing how much space cars take up. Fog, London, get it? Wait, I'm cracking myself up here. Gotta go get coffee.
Okay, I'm beginning to think that there may actually be a deer plot of some sort. This morning there was an 8 point buck standing on the bike path and he wasn't wanting to go anywhere. Ding ding went the bell and -- nothing. I yelled "Get off the path" but he acted like he didn't understand English. Finally a combination of the previous two ideas along with pedalling towards him made him bound off about 8 yards. I'm serious, I don't want to be that guy on When Animals Attack.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Overland Park master plan provides more trails north
I was happy to see that they're planning on adding more trails to my area, but then the line "which could take more than 20 years to complete" hit me in the face. Still, at least there IS a plan. Perhaps with a little more involvement from the cycling community, more people can get interested in cycling and increase the priority level a bit. Or, I could take advantage of what others have said is my resemblance to the mayor and push things along. [Reminds me, I need to rent MI3]
Now, if they would only get the "Temporary Path" over 435 finished that they said would be ready in August, no, mid-September, uh wait, October, no, strike that, November... I've been trying to e-mail the contact from the Parks and Rec. department who said "Feel free to contact me anytime for an update" but am not getting any replies. I may take Emril's advice and "bump it up a notch."
Friday, November 03, 2006
When it is dark in the woods, sound seems amplified. Changed. Alien. A squirrel in the brush sounds like a charging Cape Buffalo, not that she'd ever heard a charging Cape Buffalo. "Stop it," she told herself, "you're loosing your focus." She knew the importance of this mission; "The Boss" had made that quite plain. He'd even taken it upon himself to conduct some of his own surveillance earlier in the week. The fool; intel hinted that he'd been spotted. Sure, he'd been a field op once -- but times had changed.
And then it was time. Time to put all that training to use for the grim purpose ahead. It wasn't a job she relished, but orders were orders. It wasn't personal, it was just a job that needed to be done. The sides were clearly defined and the target was on the wrong side. It was that simple. The wait was over. The gleam of the headlight was approaching and she zeroed in. It was time to find out if all the effort and money spent on the computer models and field tests was worth it. They'd set it up and tested the triangulation a week ago and all she should have to do is wait for the target to reach the mark. She forced herself to relax. Breathe in and hold it. And...
She'd missed. Missed by five yards! It wasn't possible. They'd been over this time and time and time again. Time. What was it about... That was it! They'd not taken Daylight Saving Time into consideration when they'd set up the computer models. Of course it worked last week, it was still light out. Now, the darkness must have forced the target to move slower on the path causing her to lead the target too much. The idiots. All their trust in their high tech systems for what? Nothing.
She looked back across the path and the rider was moving away. She had failed and there was nothing she could do about it now; this opportunity had passed. She turned and headed for home, her fauns would be getting restless. She knew that there would be other nights, other opportunities, she just had to wait a little longer.
Temperature at departure = 33° F (1° C)
No deer spotted on the way in this morning. But I know they're out there -- watching...
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Ahhh, my first sub-freezing bike commute; first time riding on iced over puddles as well. Still toasty and warm in a tee shirt and lined wind breaker. My face got cold, but fellow office bike commuter Jim and I still haven't come up with a good solution for that. He's tried the balaclava but that tends to fog up glasses. Any suggestions would be welcome.
I've come to pretty much the same conclusion that Nick makes over at commutebybike. Nice post this morning showing clothing options by temperature.
This is Arthea. Every morning I meet her on my commute in at almost the same exact point in my trip. We always wave and yell "Good morning" to each other, it's one of the things I enjoy on the trip in. Monday I took some extra time on the way in to take pictures of the commute -- if you're bored you can check them HERE. I was hoping to see her on the way in so I could get her picture -- sure enough, same location, there she was. I hopped off the bike and got the camera ready and said good morning to her. I asked if I could take her picture because I was trying to get pictures of the things that make me happy on my ride in to work. She broke into a huge smile and said yes. We then got to chat a bit; she told me she rides a bike too. I told her I'd been seeing her walk or ride in the area for several years. She just rides in the afternoons now, but what a great role model. Of course we're back to shouting "Good morning" again, but at least now I can call her by name. Her smile seems bigger too.
I'm glad I took the time to take the pictures Monday; perhaps the below freezing temperatures are the cause of the trees dropping their leaves this morning. It was raining leaves on me. Seriously, leaves were falling on the path faster than the falling leaves on a spy-ware laden screen saver. All in all, a beautiful morning.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I'm not trying to step on cyclicious' toes but thought I'd do a quick search for Bicycle news and found a couple articles that were interesting. I don't think I'm going to do this often as there are way too many articles about accidents ... but what is the old axiom? "If it bleeds, it leads."
San Antonio seeking to increase bike paths
I think it is very cool that they have a full-time bike-pedestrian coordinator ... I don't think Overland Park even has a part-timer.
Ohio drunk driver sentenced to only three years after killing a year-old boy and critically injuring his 8 year-old brother. The boy killed had a working tail light. Just too sad.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Temperature at departure = 33° F ( 1° C)
By the way, tip of the hat to Jill at http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/ for the idea for noting the temperature when I leave for my ride. She's up in Alaska and braver than I.
Well, I made it home. Actually, if traffic got scary, I just moved off the road and waited until it cleared out. The parts of the commute home in the dark that were unnerving were the times I hopped on the Overland Park Bike Trail. The path is 8 feet (2.5 meters) wide and goes through the woods; my headlight did a fair job of illuminating a spot directly in front of my handle bars but I kind of felt like I was in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" - or - "The Blair Witch Project." It turned out to be a bit of excitement on what was becoming a routine ride home.
1) Slow Down - especially when I'm on a dark, wooded path. I actually found myself off the path and riding in the grass at one point where the leaves confused me a bit.
2) When I get to the previously mentioned Bridge of Death -- REALLY Slow Down. The picture is the bridge in the daylight -- just under 4 feet wide with the railing at the same height as my handle bars which are 2' 2" wide.
3) On leaves, Really REALLY Slow Down.
Monday, October 30, 2006
So, the big topic of conversation before church yesterday went something like this: “Wasn’t it great getting an extra night of sleep last night?” “Yeah, I love the daylight saving time change this time of year.”
Must be nice. WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THE TIME CHANGE TO MY DOGS!
Yesterday was a beautiful day though, sunny with a high of 76°. After four days off my bike, the 14 mile round trip to my Dad’s was just gorgeous with the sunlight filtering through the yellow leaves. Only problem was all the little flying bugs that decided this was their last chance at nice weather as well. If bugs bother you on your ride, you might want to consider THIS – but, um, probably not. Nice morning today as well; probably the last day I’ll get to wear just a tee shirt to ride in as the low drops back down to 35° tomorrow morning and is forecast to be even lower the rest of the week.
Tonight will be my first commute home in the dark. I’m a little nervous, but that is probably a good thing.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Words just can't express... Is this for those who just can't give up their treadmills but still like the idea of cycling? Check the website HERE. Anyway, it's my third day of missing the bike commute due to rain. I know, I'm wimping out -- but I'm still going to try commuting in the dark starting next week so cut me a little slack here.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I was actually hoping it would be a degree or two colder so I could say this was the first time in my adult life that I've riden a bike in below freezing temperatures. Probably won't get the chance tomorrow as the rain is heading back this direction and I'm not equipped for the foul stuff (on many levels...).
One of the cycling blogs I like to check has an interesting comment about radio. I love it when a post combines two of my big interests - and - they said a lot in one short sentance about the state of radio commercials in London. Guess radio is pretty similar whichever side of the Atlantic you're on. Read for yourself here.
Next, our new devision vice president mentioned a discussion he was having with his 22-year-old about the future of radio; sounded a lot like some of the conversations I've had with my kids. He made a comment, I wish I could remember it word for word, to the effect - I'm too old to imagine a world without radio, she is young enough that she can.
Couldn't have put it better myself.
Monday, October 23, 2006
I saw Katie's school's - October student news magazine on the floor this weekend and picked it up. The magazine was turned to a pretty funny ad that Peter and his buddies took out. I flipped back a page and there was an article dealing with a conversation that Katie and I had back in September. Turns out there are no bike racks at the high school; hasn't been a rack there since 1987 when the existing one was taken out by a car.
Interesting quote from the principal that I'm sure is a little out of context. The clip must have been part of a much longer statement; but I found it odd. To paraphrase: we haven't rebuilt the rack because no one uses it.
Um, yeah. Put another way, wouldn't that be 'no one uses the rack we didn't build'? I'm pretty sure no one used the library or football stadium before they were built. Anyway, tough call. I think he might have been trying to say (or actually said, but it didn't make it to the article) either:
a) there weren't that many people riding their bikes to school in 1987. Or...
b) there aren't many people riding their bikes and chaining them to the trees out front now. Or...
c) no one has been asking for a bike rack.
19 years is a long time for the comparison and, I believe they'd see more people riding their bikes to school if it appeared to be supported. Parking a car costs $60 a year and the traffic before and after school is very congested. Since the Overland Park bike trail runs right next to the school (which wasn't the case 19 years ago) I'd like to see them give it a try.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Temperature at departure = 37° F (3° C)
Perhaps I'm being too much of a newbie when it comes to the colder weather riding, but I'm really enjoying it. Beautiful fall weather today, plenty of sunshine, leaves turning colors - lovin' the ride in. Why didn't I try this before? I'm staying REALLY warm with just a tee shirt and jacket on. We'll see if the honeymoon is over when it drops below freezing next week -- but I think I'm still gonna love it.
The ride home should start with temperatures close to 70° F (21° C) but there'll be an issue. I noticed several "Additional Event Parking" signs as I was navigating through the round-about [pictured above] by the convention center this morning. That means some convention is starting and there'll be additional traffic about, including busses and cars that aren't quite sure where they should be going and how to get around this circle thing... I'll just keep my eyes open and take my time.
So here is my new experiment: I'm going to try to modify my traditional, left arm out with the 90° up angle at the elbow, right turn signal. Some guy returned my "wave" the other day and I just get the feeling that some people don't understand that the signal means I'm going right. I'm going to endeavor to just point right with my right arm -- but this 40+ year habit may be tougher to break than I thought.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I was having a beautiful ride in this morning; passed 4 deer that were standing about 5 yards off the bike path. The fauns are almost as big as Mom now. A blue heron startled me, or maybe it was me that startled it. Lots of ducks in the creek. I approached the turn to the last bridge before my office -- 4 feet wide and 15 or so yards long -- and I was thinking to myself that I hoped no one had stopped to look out over the creek this morning; it makes for an awkward situation that I just didn't want to have to deal with today. And then, it happened. There he was, right at the apex of the bridge, looking like the keeper of the Bridge of Death: a chipmunk. It just stood there staring at me. What to do, WHAT TO DO?
Understand, chipmunks may be the stupidest animals on God's green earth. If you pass one on the trail you can pretty much bet it is going to be so confused about how to get out of the way that it is going to end up trapped in your spokes. Didn't want to deal with that suspended over the "Gorge of Eternal Peril" this morning so I got off my bike and started towards it, slowly.
I kept waiting for it to speak and say "Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see" and then ask "What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" [The Holy Grail: Scene 23] But it finally got the message and ran the correct direction away from me.
Anyway, nice to be back on the bike this morning. Temperature at departure = 36° F (2° C) -- must be a Thursday thing since I had the same conditions last week. Nice way to compare clothing options. This week I dropped the sweat shirt and added a long sleeved tee shirt. I also opted to just use the hood on my wind breaker (under my helmet) rather than the head band I tried last week. My glasses fared better but the hood cuts out my peripheral vision. Still too much clothes. Today's lesson, at 36° I can get by with a tee shirt and lined wind breaker.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
This last weekend was Camporee (Boy Scouts camping with other troops) and Troop 257 invited our Webelos den to join them. It was cold to begin with but Saturday turned beautiful and the boys had fun with most of the activities. Saturday night we were prepared for the cold -- what we weren't prepared for was the rain. Rain wasn't in the forecast when we left. Sure we had our tents and rain gear (be prepared) but the tents I took are pup tents we've had since our two oldest were small. The rain started at 1:15 a.m. and never stopped on Sunday. It wasn't too bad for me until around 4:30 when I rolled over and found out that I was sleeping in a small pond of rain water. The tent floors have become rather poreous over the last 15 years.
You know, as much as I want to grump about being cold and wet, that is really, kind of, what we went out there for. Camping trips need some sort of adversity in order to have really good stories or memories. Perhaps we just want the bragging rights... Ask the boys about the trips that had picture perfect conditions and they don't remember much about them; but suffer through the heat, cold, rain, wind or snow and now you've got something to talk about.
Anyway, that is my excuse for not riding yesterday. Still, when I don't get to ride to work my attitude isn't as good and, for some reason, I eat more than I normally would; junk too. I'm rambling. Later.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Temperature at departure = 36° F (2° C)
Last year, when I started doing the bike commute thing, I stopped around this time of year because it was getting dark too early and the temperatures were dropping. I don't think I ever tried biking when it was below 50. So, this is the coldest my bike commute has been thus far. Not too bad really. I'm still going to do my best to stay on the bike for most of the winter.
Borrowed one of the kid's head bands, but they press my glasses down into the bridge of my nose and smash my forehead down making me feel like a Neanderthal man ... without the spear. My good buddy John recommends THESE and I've put them on my Christmas list and let my kids know. The head band and gloves really helped but I haven't got the clothing thing figured out yet.
Tee shirt + sweat shirt + sweat shirt lined, nylon hooded jacket. With the backpack that ended up being just too much. I guess it is just going to take some more experimentation.
What I know so far: 56 and above I can get by with a tee shirt and shorts. 50 – 55, I need a long sleeved tee and can still wear shorts. 45 – 49, I add the work out pants. The rest will be trial and error.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
A study shows walnuts can fight strokes and heart disease. This article says "A team from Barcelona's Hospital Clinico recommend eating an ounce (28g) of walnuts a day." I agree, but my agreement has nothing to do with the health benefits; I just want to get the things off the bike path and the squirrels haven't been keeping up with their end of the bargain (another story). You see, walnuts have a dark side; an insidious, twisted secret that these, so called, "scientists" have turned a blind eye towards: Walnuts are intent on world domination. That is right, world domination. And they've started with a plan to eliminate bicycle riders on the Overland Park bike paths.
You see, walnuts have developed the ability to congregate on the bike path at strategic points, like sharp, blind turns -- they even have learned to hide themselves in the fallen leaves. Trust me; hitting a walnut in the middle of a turn is no fun. So, go ahead and believe the hype; just start eating more walnuts -- if you're looking for a free supply, just take a trip on the local bike path. Just be careful out there, the acorns may be in on the plot.
Here, this will get you started... Recipies galore.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
To be fair, we plowed through 18 large loads of laundry on Saturday and packed up Curtis to move him down to Peter's room on Sunday allowing Jonathan a room to himself for the first time in his life. Yesterday was nice riding weather but today, I wouldn't have the time to ride home after work and the wet pavement roads and bike paths wouldn't have been fun to navigate. It has been a long time since we've had a decent rain and today we had such a small amount that all it has managed to do is to combine with all the road oil and make the streets a slippery, dangerous mess. Lots of accidents on the roads this morning. The bike paths recently had the grass and leaves next to the path mowed and the crews that did the mowing blew all the debris onto the path. Wet leaves and oil soaked roads ... I decided to take a break for a day and drove the van.
I am going to do my best to still commute through the majority of the winter -- but am still waiting on the temporary path through construction over I-435. I really don't want to be riding in the dark and with the change to daylight saving time at the end of the month; it will be pitch black when I leave work. If they get some sort of path in place where I don't have to be riding in traffic, I'll keep riding. If they don't, even with my new flashy lights, I'll skip it for a while. The temporary route was supposed to be done in mid-September. I called the city on 9/15 and they told me it would be October. Called again the other day and now they are saying November. We'll see.
Here is another blog entry announcing the end of radio as we know it. Scroll to the bottom and it discusses how auto makers are going to make car stereos more iPod friendly. True, it would take a little market share out of the drive time audience, but, in my opinion, not nearly as much as they think it will.
Friday, October 06, 2006
2) Chewing gum while riding the bike path isn't a very good idea either. There must be something in the scent of your breath while chewing gum that makes small flying insects want to be right there in the middle of the action. Now, they do add a nutty flavor and some interesting texture to the gum, but you won't find that interesting for very long.
3) Always watch a Lexus. Other blogs I've read warn against the dreaded SUV; for me, the car that always seems to be the one that is going to cut me off or get REAL close is the Lexus.
Yesterday I mentioned that there were chipmunks everywhere on the ride in. Same was true on the ride home last night. This morning ... zero. So, I have two theories: they either have a very strong union and only have to work one day a week - OR - conversely, yesterday was a chipmunk holiday and the reason I saw so many was that they were out enjoying the day, this morning they are all too hung over from the "Chip N Dale Day" festivities last night.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Normally, I've been seeing around 2 to 6 deer per trip to and from the office -- until the last couple of weeks. They're gone. Sure, I know, the seasons are changing; but this is normally the time of year when you see more deer around dusk -- and that is when I'm riding home.
Next, I usually encounter about 2 chipmunks and more squirrels than I can count. This morning I saw 6 squirrels but more chipmunks than I could count. Chipmunks everywhere. At one point, coming through Corporate Woods past one of the bigger buildings there was a chipmunk standing on top of the curb every 10 yards. Five of them, one right after another, and they all made a high pitched squeal of some sort when I went by. Very, very strange.
Oh, and then there were the 2 woodchucks (groundhogs). Haven't seen one since July and today I almost ran over two. At least I didn't run into the bobcat today.
Couple other quick notes:
My two youngest said that there were more bikes in the bike rack yesterday than they normally see. I'm hoping the word about International Walk to School Day got around.
On my way home, busiest intersection (that's the one in the picture) and I'm at the front of the line waiting for the light. My light turns green and I zip across the intersection moving to the right to get out of the way of the cars behind me. After I make it across, the car that had been directly behind me tooted the horn. I noticed that it was a gal from our church; so, I guess there are three possible explanations: she either recognized me and was saying "hello," she doesn't like bikes on the streets or she appreciates toned calf muscles... I guess I'll be able to rule out one option Sunday by seeing if she mentions, or doesn't mention seeing me...
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I've had a wonderful few days off. Thursday I headed up to KSU to take Peter to lunch for his birthday, back in time for high school parent teacher conferences, done in time for cub scouts and finished with that in time to make it back to South to see the play Katie has been working on. Friday saw more parent teacher conferences at the middle school, got some bike riding in with Curtis, grade school "Fall Family Mixer" and then fell asleep while attempting to watch Munich.
Saturday was beautiful and the perfect weather for the Overland Park Parade. This year our Cub Scout pack didn't have a float so we decided to just go and watch Katie march. Peter had made it home for the weekend and he, Curtis and I decided to ride our bikes to the parade; only a three mile ride and that way we wouldn't have to hassle with trying to find a place to park... We saw several people from the kid's schools and several times got the comment "You rode your bikes? You must be crazy." Some commented that they couldn't remember the last time they'd ridden. I think I've mentioned before that I get similar comments when Curtis and I walk or ride to his school which is only a half mile away. I don't know if they're jealous or if they think having kids walk or ride bikes is abusive.
With that in mind, I'd like to let everyone know that tomorrow, Wednesday October 4th, is International Walk To School Day. Here is a nice link to walktoschool.org that has some wonderful information about why it is a good idea. And no, I'm not crazy. I'm getting to spend some time with my kids doing something fun and healthy.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
It was nice getting to ride with them and I'm glad they're still at the stage where riding a bike to school isn't considered anything other than another means of transportation. I asked Katie if anyone ever rode a bike to the high school and she said no, there aren't even any bike racks that she can think of. I was curious because of an article I read; Fun, Fast and Fit: Influences and Motivators for Teenagers Who Cycle to School (tip of the hat to Cyclelicio.us for pointing me to that one).
The study "shed light on influences and motivators for six Vancouver teenagers who were old enough to drive but regularly cycled to secondary school." It is a pretty interesting article (around 6 pages for the real stuff...) and I like the fact that it says "a parent who rides a bicycle for local errands, family bike rides, or the commute to work is modeling the bicycle as a viable, alternative transportation option for their children." Did my part this morning with a trip to the bank and the mother-in-laws. Also had a couple errands that I ran with Curtis over the weekend. I'm also riding to my Dad's house on Sundays instead of driving. I kind of hope that I might be able to convince the younger ones that it would be okay to ride a bike to high school. Wouldn't be a bad ride since they'd pretty much be able to ride on the bike trail for the majority of it.
Okay, I rambling. Gotta go.
Friday, September 22, 2006
2) Least traffic on a road for the ride in, down hill, wind blowing from the direction of a Bar-B-Q place.
I believe I'll take door number two.
Okay, bear in mind the survey was done for a radio consulting group; but: Radio Remains Primary Source to Learn About New Music.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
"Man, I just ran out of steam. Let's put that on the back burner for a bit."
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
It has gotten down to around 45º the last few nights which made for a chilly ride into the office. [Note to self: gloves, something to cover the ears and develop some sort of automated Kleenex device...]
Some Radio links:
The wheels on the bus go round and round -- and the radio on the bus now has a captive audience.
At least someone is trying to come up with a unique radio campaign: NBC Starts Unique Radio Tune-In for Heroes
Friday, September 15, 2006
Another reason I prefer the bike commute to the van: the landscaping at some of the office buildings is beautiful right now. So, instead of driving by thinking "Thts prty." I can ride by on the bike and think "Thaaaaaat's prettyyyyyyyyy."
Here is a well thought out article on the state of radio. Remember, content is king.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I seriously doubt I'd try to ride over this one ... way more effective than speed bumps. Still, one of the bridges I cross on the path is four feet wide and the span of my handle bars is two feet two three inches and I blow across that bridge pretty fast with no worries. Still.
Beautiful ride in today, and it put me in a great mood to start the day. A quarter of the way into the trip I noticed a deer on the bike path ahead of me. I slowed down quite a bit and it turned and saw me then moved slowly to the side of the path. I passed it with just over three feet of space between us. Cool. I then took a little different route once I got to the office park. Lots more trees, lots less traffic. Great ride in.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Got the new chain Sunday but didn't ride yesterday because most of the kids decided to leave a lot of important school things to the last minute... Anyway, the new chain cost around $30 so I hope it lasts more than the 2 and a half months the last one did. Granted, I put over 500 miles on the thing -- but, still. A couple people commented that 30 bucks seems kinda steep, but how much does a tank of gas cost?
I know the new chain is "high performance" and all, but I really could tell a difference this morning; shifted much smoother and I think I'm getting more out of each crank. But what a morning, 60° and gusty winds (especially gusty at the point that I was going up the steepest hill) and then it started sprinkling. LOVED IT! You can tell Fall is getting nearer though, Fall colors on the path and we're starting to get some falling leaves; wet leaves on the path makes the ride interesting.
So, that isn't my picture but I loved it and thought it fit the day. The photo is available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonsai/154280995/
Friday, September 08, 2006
One of those days yesterday. Capped off with my chain breaking at the worst possible point in my ride home. Just outside the entrance to the office park I noticed that it seemed the bike was trying to shift on it's own. I was trying to make it home as quick as I could because the middle school's Back to School night started within an hour of my getting off work and it takes around 30 to 40 minutes to get home. It was getting to the point that I was going to take the bike into the shop to get it adjusted anyway; around 3 months and 500 miles. I make the turn at the turn-about by the convention center, am about a quarter of the way into the bridge across I-435 and SNAP!
So, I've got a concrete barrier to my right and traffic to my left. Oh well, it is just a chain. Bike coasts pretty well...
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Late August, temperatures are down (63 degrees for the ride in this morning) but with the drop in temperatures comes a new element for the bike ride to work: spider webs. This is the time of year that you start noticing spider webs everywhere when you step outside. Now, this normally isn't much of a problem on the roads or bike paths -- except for the last leg of the bike path at the very end of my ride in.
This morning, since I was probably the only one who had taken that stretch, I got nailed in the face with a big web. Ick. Once I got to my office I took my backpack off and started brushing the web off my head and arms when I noticed it: I'd brought a passenger along with me. Strangest spider I've seen around here. The body was triangular with a big white triangle on the top. Not a problem now but I've got to wonder; if it had bitten me...
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Anyway, it was a beautiful morning and I had a wonderful ride in. Now it is time to get to work checking some of my other tasks off my list. Woo Hoo!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Fox taps Clear Channel Radio to market fall TV line-up
Monday, August 21, 2006
We grabbed lunch, got his books and I dropped him off. Yeah, within a half hour I was missing him; still do when I'm walking through the house and realize he's not there. Sure, the four others are still around and I'm sure I'll go through the same thing with all of them.
Kinda glad the oldest was back in the house; last night he came out of his room and said he thought he smelled an electrical fire. Sure enough, one of his outlets was melting and the wall above it was hot to the touch and a brown line was showing through the paint. Must have been a problem in the top socket of that outlet because it was completely melted on the inside and the wire attached to it was pretty toasty. Swapped out the outlet and all is well. Again, glad he was around...
Other than that, I had a nice bike ride to my dad's house yesterday (a bit over 7 miles to his house). It was a beautiful, although somewhat humid, day.
So, Country music stations will always have a presence in the K.C. market -- but if Country stations are disappearing in the major markets, will some of the K.C. outlets flip soon?
New Group Seeks to Keep Country Radio in America's Largest Cities
Thursday, August 17, 2006
As much as I like the Smooth Jazz format and as much as I'd like to see it back in the Kansas City market, I have to agree with this guy when he remarks about the upcoming R&R Convention 06: "Why is it that this gathering of radio industry employees is not being treated to formal talks on the latest online trends, digital communications in sales, or the changing competitive landscape?"
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
To be fair (to me) the guy has those professional cyclist legs and is cranking along in the highest gear. Still, some competitive streak in me seems, somehow, offended by his audacity. I bump up to the next rear sprocket and then it hit me – I’m not in a race, I’m enjoying my ride in. I drop back a gear and coast while he is peddling like crazy. I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the ride in. Passed another deer that was grazing within 10 yards of my path. Cool.
A couple radio links from the past couple days:
Sprint offering major league baseball games on some of their phones for $5.99 per month. How will this impact sports radio stations in the future? Tough to say, but worth watching.
"A Short, Yet Provocative Treatise on a Possible Future for Music Radio"
Yes, it is a bit of a pitch for their own research company services, but still -- well worth the read.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I can add another species to the list of wildlife around our office: bobcat. Big one too; much bigger than I expected. We'd heard, last year, that a bobcat lived close by but hadn't spotted it until yesterday. I've got to admit, on the way in this morning I kept my eyes on the woods a little more than normal.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Temperatures were 104 degrees on Sunday, 101 on Monday and 98 on Tuesday. Brutal, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard teachers or coaches say that in all the years they've been doing this, this year's kids were the best. I never believe them. I'm tempted to say it about this year's boys though, but I don't want you to doubt me so I'll put it this way: the boys were great! Well behaved, fun in camp, respectful. The first and second year boys played well together. I couldn't have asked for a better group of boys for my 8th and final Webelos Camp.
Special thanks to Parker O. who took one for the team and volunteered to be our entry in the belly flop competition.
Special thanks for Jared R's sharp eyes; missed stepping on a copperhead by thiiiis much. That caused quite a bit of excitement in my campsite at 9:15 p.m. as the snake slithered under my tent. I explained to the boys that it was long gone by 9:30 and most of them gutted it out and handled it well.
We got 2nd place in the desert cook off - but I think our chocolate covered strawberries should have won 1st. We had a couple other packs come up and ask a bunch of questions about how we did the in-camp cooking ("walking tacos"); one pack even took pictures so they could do the same thing next year.
I had an absolute blast and got a little misty as I was leaving. Webelos Camp has been a big part of my life as a dad - I've been 8 times out of the last 12 years and I will miss it. Some of my boy's best memories have been the times it was just them and me out at camp.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Surprise 1 – Just outside of the driveway for our building the road has a nice wooded area next to it where the first 3 or 4 feet are mowed and then there are weeds about 3 feet high. I startled one of the fauns that lives close by and for about 10 yards it ran right next to me about 3 feet away. Kinda cool.
Surprise 2 – To the owner of the building close to the Overland Park Convention Center where they’ve not quite got the angles on the sprinkler system figured out: Your error in calibration was much appreciated. The blast of cold water was shocking, but at 103 degrees with 20 minutes on the asphalt, WOW, it felt good.
Surprise 3 – So, I’m three houses away from my house when my youngest (10 years old) met me in the street with his friend and friend’s dad. They wanted to know if they could ride their bikes to the pool, but since the electricity was out … !?!? he couldn’t get his bike out of the garage. So, 104 degrees by now and no air conditioning I got the garage open, but without electricity the pool would be closed. They rode around for a bit and I made a HUGE glass of iced tea. Within an hour the power was back on.
A couple radio links that I’ve found over the last couple of days:
Tip of the hat to lifehacker.com for the link to yes.com is a nice little tool that allows you to enter your zip code and see what songs the stations in your area have played within the last 24 hours.
Short article on a station that is “selling their morning show” on eBay.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The first time I took to the path and actually used the bell I noticed that it really didn't have the effect I was looking for. Don't get me wrong, it is still effective - it's just that it puts out a rather, how should I say this, dainty but loud 'ding ding' sound. Now, rather than just move to their right when I yell, people kind of turn around with this "what?!?" look in their eyes. So, it gets the job done.
There are times when it just doesn't cut the mustard though. Since I have to ride an alternate route now, I end up having to ride on streets and cut across a couple of major streets. There is one where I have to be very careful when I cross. The street I'm riding on comes out of an area with several apartment buildings, crosses the major street that has all the construction that I'm trying to avoid and turns into the main entrance for our office park. I always wait my turn and only ride across with a green light. Problem is, the traffic on the main street that wants to turn right into the office park has been diverted a bit and 9 times out of 10 people are pulling up to their red light and just slow down and turn ... without bothering to look to see if anyone is, say, crossing the street on a bicycle.
All that to set up my issue from a couple days ago. I get my green light and start to cross, some gal pulls up to the red, slows and goes; missed my by about a foot. ding ding! goes my little bell. Just didn't seem to express the emotion of the moment. Perhaps I should have rang it three times. ding ding ding! No, probably wouldn't have helped.
Anyway, here is another example of a radio station trying to do something offensive in order to generate some word of mouth. I still think that being offensive isn't a very good, um, offensive strategy...
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Like my info says, I tend to deal with radio and bicycling a lot so was saddened to see the following story on another blog:
Local radio show promotes hatred towards cyclists.