Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Charts and Graphs

It has been a year since I talked about New Year's Resolutions. Even if I wasn't employed by Google, I would be an avid fan of Google Docs. The ability to share spreadsheets, etc. makes a big difference. I'll give you an example of how accountability plays a part in successfully keeping your resolutions. Below is a shot of two of my resolutions side by side. The one on the left I had shared with my two brothers-in-law. The one on the right was a resolution I kept to myself and, obviously, had trouble getting started on.



It turns out that only one of my bro.s looked at the list, and then I believe he only checked it twice. Still, the fact that they COULD look at it was a minor motivation to honor my promise to myself.

As the year draws to an end, I share with you a chart that shows my bike milage for the year. My goal of 2,500 miles for this year was meager compared to Noah, Dave, cDude and others -- so perhaps I'll bump it up to 3,000 for next year. Still, this chart proves that I am a goal oriented person.



Everyone have a safe and happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wild

Freezing rain this morning, so I chose to drive. Please don't think less of me.

Anyway, here are a few shots outside my office window from a couple weeks ago. A doe and three fauns were hanging out all day long. As I was taking these pictures (excuses: through a window, with snow falling), the deer spooked and ran. Before I could move the camera a fox came up to the same spot, dug it's nose into the snow and pulled out a squirrel. It's like Animal Planet, right outside my window.













Hope you all have a merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yes, I am Serious

Temperature at departure = 2° F (-17° C)

I'm fighting a little bit of a cold that I picked up in Dallas, so I debated with myself about getting out to ride this morning. That is, I debated with myself for about 10 seconds ... 2° would beat my previous low temperature of 6° set back in February. So, I bundled up and started to head out the door. My niece, who had spent the night, looked at me and said "You are not serious."

I decided to stay with a route that was entirely in traffic today since I was on my nice bike and it appears the bike path is still mostly ice covered. Didn't take long for me to realize that the drivers that passed me must have been thinking the same thing as my niece, "You are not serious" -- they gave me plenty of room.

At mile 1.5 I got the feeling that my bike was saying "You are not serious." Suffice it to say, the rear derailleurs were a bit sluggish.

At mile 2.5, my body was saying "You are not serious." I made the mistake of closing my eyes for a moment at a red light and a few seconds later when I opened them I found that my eyelashes had frozen together a bit. No big problem. Breathing that cold air felt a little funny at that same time.

At mile 3.5 everything seemed wonderful. My sinuses had cleared up a bit and with the exception of the end of my little fingers, I was toasty warm. Fun ride.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trip Pictures

A couple pix from my trip thus far:



Looking out the window at Kansas City International. I'd just gotten my Vente Peppermint Mocha. Ahhhhhh.



This one is blurry for a number of reasons. It was rainy, I was taking it through the window of the shuttle and traffic, although bumper to bumper, was moving along pretty well. This is a gal who was head down text messaging. Sheesh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bike Accounting

WebCPA asks: "Start Documenting Bicycle Expenses?"

Shouldn't be a problem. I've got a "Bike" expense category in Quicken and keep a bike spreadsheet that is WAY too anal retentive. I should be covered.

p.s. Dallas was icy when I got here. People were freaking out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Regrets

I'm sitting here moping about not being able to get out and ride this morning so I could break my low temperature record of 5° by a degree. I'm sure there will be other opportunities in the months to come. In preparation for a trip to Dallas, I decided to work from home so I could pack, etc. while waiting for calls.

The other reason for some sourness is the loss (possibly) of my snow bike. Friday, while on the ride home, the back barrel that is welded to the back sprocket broke when I leaned into the pedals for a bit of a burst uphill. I've not contacted the folk at XYZ Bikes yet -- I will wait to pass final judgment until then. However, it is starting to look like this $100 bike may be the most expensive bike I've ever ridden. Why? In the slightly less than one year that I've had it, I've only really put 123 miles on it. Factoring in a new inner tube and shipping ... this bike may cost $1 per mile to operate. Doing the math it looks like my Trek has cost me less than 25 cents per mile and is in great shape. So, I'll send XYZ a note later this week and see what can be done. I don't want to ride my other bikes in the snow and gunk and the XYZ is a blast in that stuff.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Black Ice and Re-Freeze

Temperature at departure = 29° F (-2° C)



There were a couple short hours Wednesday when the sun was shining and the temperature approaced the freezing mark. Those two combined caused the snow that wasn't in the shade to melt. After the sun went down, the run-off froze again.

Here is the deal; I don't mind riding on snow-covered ice. I don't really mind riding on ice created by freezing rain. Riding on this re-freeze stuff is trecherous. If you can't ride around it (like I did yesterday morning) I suggest slowing down a bit and sticking your feet out like pontoons.

Today was even worse. Beginning around 11am yesterday, temperatures were above freezing and stayed that way until 4am today. Starting around 11pm last night, the area was covered in fog and mist also until around 4am. The result was black ice.



When going down hills I kept one foot on the pedal for the XYZ's coaster brake and the other dragging the ground. Made it with no problems. There were several motorists who wish they could have said the same. Once I made it to the office I decided to just lock the bike up to the rack they installed for me to let it drip outside. I won't park my expensive bikes here ... they come into the office with me.



And, lastly, from The System:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crunchy Ride In

Temperature at departure = 13° F (-11° C)



Had anyone wanted to track me home last night, it would have been pretty easy. I followed my tracks in the snow all the way from home into the office today. Seems there wasn't anyone along my route feeling adventurous, but that isn't true for the entire metro. Noah pointed out that he saw several other people out on bikes yesterday.

Last night was the first time I've ever ridden home in the snow in the dark. The XYZ Bike had been set up with lights, but it is almost as though I shouldn't have even bothered. The snow was reflecting the moonlight and street lights to the point that I didn't even need the light while deep in the woods. Looking forward to doing the same several more times this winter.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oh, What Fun

Temperature at departure for the ride home = 23° F (-5° C)

According to Channel 5:

The evening commute for many in the Kansas City metropolitan area was a treacherous one after the city received its first significant snowfall of the season.

I, on the other hand, had a really pleasant bicycle ride home through crunchy snow. It looked like I was going faster than the traffic on I-435 in spots. While stopped at the crosswalk at 99th and Metcalf a couple motorists gawked (that is the only way to put it).





With aplogies to John Pierpont:

Dashing through the snow
On my bicycle XYZ
Over the paths I go
Laughing and saying "Wheeee!"
Bells on handlebars ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A biking song tonight.

Here Comes the Snow

Temperature at departure = 30° F (-1° C)

There is a winter weather advisory in effect until 6pm tonight.  I'm glad I took a few minutes over the weekend to get the XYZ Bike ready to go.  

"A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet, or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving."


Yep, I'm prepared ... to make the drivers along Metcalf and my neighbors think I must be nuts to be out on a bike.  Truth be told, I'll be much safer on the way home than anyone in a car.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Canadian Air and Canada Goose

Temperature at departure = 14° F (-10° C)

With the temperatures this low, I set out not expecting to encounter anyone else on the path during my ride in.  Decked out in tee shirt, fleece shirt and my reflective jacket, I warmed up enough by the time I was two miles into the ride that I unzipped the jacket half way.  Then I heard what sounded like someone indicating that they were going to pass me.  Hadn't expected that.  I turned my head and there, five yards to the left and three yards up, a Canada goose flew past me.  It was worth a chuckle.

Decision time came and I was still warm enough to ride the extra three miles.  It helped that there wasn't much wind...  At mile six I was even unzipping the fleece shirt.  

I love riding in this weather.

I'm heading back down to Coppell in a couple weeks and noticed this in the news.  Kudos to the principal.  She could have just walked through the hole in the notebook paper ... but she rode her bike.  Cool.  Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Failed Preconception

Temperature at departure = 20° F (-7° C)

Prior to leaving the house I thought I'd be making a comment here about how temperatures of 20° or below would be the reason I skip riding the 3 extra, just for fun, miles on my way into work.  When I got to the turn off for the office, I was still nice and warm and the sun was shining, hardly a cloud in the sky and no one else on the path.  I guess the cut off is going to have to be lower than 20°...

Pay no attention to the following; I've noticed that Adwords has been a little confused about what this blog is about, so in order to try to get things back on track:

Bicycle, bike, bikes, commute, ride, Overland Park, Kansas, Kansas City.

There, that ought to do it.  Oh, wait:

Awesome, manly.

Okay.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sorry if I offended you...

Temperature at departure = 48° F (9° C)

I was getting out of the shower today when the phone rang.  I hustled over to pick up and heard the following:

"It's not too late to activate your Warren T coverage."

Ironic.

Sidenote: In adding up all the calories I've theoretically burned riding bikes this year, it adds up to around 42 pounds which aren't on my body.  I haven't really lost that much weight and my doctor told me that I'd shed fat but put on muscle -- which weighs more.  Still, what it seems to boils down to is: riding my bike has allowed me to eat like a pig if I want to.  Works for me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Black Friday Ride

Temperature at departure = 29° F (-2° C)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

Peter was home from school and we took advantage of the one nice day in the forecast (Friday) to go out and ride a section of the Haller trail.  We rode from Shawnee Mission park north to Nelson Island.



Here we paused a couple minutes to watch some gulls.  I'm still amazed that there are gulls in Kansas.



Proof that I was there.  Shortly after taking this picture I snapped the cable for my front brake. Made for an interesting ride back.



That's the Kaw on the right.



Riding up hills without reliable brakes is easy.  Riding down hills is a different story.  I had to walk down the hill right after taking this shot because there is a sharp right turn that would have caused me some serious pain.

Since we were close to the Trek Store, we stopped by real quick so I could see how long it would take them to get brake shoes in and installed.  They were able to fix my bike on the spot -- took about 15 minutes.  I was a bit surprised that on Black Friday there were no other customers.  I asked a couple of the staff if they'd been busy and they said no.  I suggested they open at 5 in the morning like the other stores.  Yeah, that got a laugh.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mild Panic

Temperature at departure = 18° F (-8° C)

I approached my bike to get something out of the trunk bag yesterday afternoon and noticed that my rear blinky was GONE!  I had it clipped to the back of the bag and should have known better.  

I have to admit that I had a sinking feeling knowing that I'd be riding home in the dark without the blinky.  Sure, I had my reflective jacket and ankle straps ... but I was worried.  A co-worker came to my rescue.  During his lunch hour, he made a trip to Wal-Mart and, knowing the predicament I was in, bought me a little stick-on triangle with LED lights that flash.  The think is advertised as something that could be stuck to the back of your helmet or bike seat.  No way it would fit on either in my case, so I stuck it to the back of my little under the seat gadget bag.  It is just far enough above the trunk bag as to be visible.



I think it did more for my piece of mind than it actually did as an attention getter, but what a nice gesture.  

So, this morning I kept my eyes peeled but never saw my blinky.  I may make another sweep during lunch but am resigned to the fact that I now need to get a replacement for both the Mendota and Bucephalus.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bike Hero

Temperature at departure = 41° F (5° C)

Forgive me if you've already seen this a hundred times...


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life Photos on Google


Disclaimer: I work for Google -- but I'm not associated with search, be it image or anything else.

Google is now hosting around 10 million photos from the LIFE photo archives. I went to the link and searched for bicycle and there are TONS. The above photo caught my eye and I thought it was someone talking on a cell phone. Um, since the photo is from 1949 I'm going to rule the whole cell phone thing out.

Anyway, give it a try. Lots of old celebrity/bike photos, like Rita Hayworth, Eartha Kitt, Bob Hope and more...

Crisp

Temperature at departure = 25° F (-4° C)

Perhaps it never happens to you.  The daily ride is always fresh and never routine.  For me, it's been getting a little tough to get excited about the ride lately.  Oh, sure, there are lots of excuses -- lack of sleep due to doggie health issues, the end of marching band season meaning a change in the runs to school, blaa, blaa, blaa.  

I am happy to say that I've turned the corner and am having a blast again.  Why?  Baby, it's cold outside (and dark for the ride home).  The colder the temperatures, the more fun the ride seems to be.  This morning was the first ride of the season where I needed the balaclava.  Oh yeah!  We're probably still a month or so away from snow, but I'm really looking forward to getting the XYZ Bike out again to give the neighbors something to talk about.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taken Aback

Temperature at departure = 38° F (3° C)

It was a crisp, clear morning and the bike ride in was going to be great.  When the temperatures drop, so does the use of the bike/hike path.  A couple miles into the ride I finally spotted a pedestrian walking a hunting dog off the leash and pretty far ahead of her.  I normally ring my bell about 3 times prior to saying "Good morning, coming up on your left."  Today I figured there would need to be some extra warning so the walker could get her dog under control.  Wrong.

After ringing 5 times without her head moving a fraction, I finally said my "Good morning, coming up on your left."  Her response was unsettling.  "I don't care."

It's true.  "You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!"  Wow, lukewarm is disturbing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Worksman Bikes featured on NPR today

There was a really nice piece about the US's oldest existing bike maker, Workman Cycles, on NPR's Weekend Edition today. You'll find the article and audio HERE.

I've got to finish up some chores here in the kitchen and then make an excuse to get out and ride. Oh, that's right, I've got to return a couple things to the library...

Friday, November 14, 2008

In the event of an emergency...



...exits are located -- everywhere.

Hmmmm.  I wonder...

The Library of Congress has some wonderful old photos on flickr.  I know they run over a little bit, but I'm too tired to re-load them.

This one would have made a nice post for Veteran's Day.  
Have a nice weekend.

Temperature at departure = 48° F (9° C)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's just a few sprinkles

Temperature at departure = 43° F (6° C)

Nice to see I'm not the only one feeling a bit blasé about bloggin' recently.

Sure, I suppose there's stuff to talk about; Daylight Saving Time, Deer rutting season, etc.  The fact is, I love riding this time of year.  Cooler temperatures mean fewer people on the path and more strange looks from drivers and the people at my office building.  Riding through the woods in the dark is a blast as well -- the old familiar path becomes an adventure again.  I seem to love not knowing what is making that crashing sound in the woods 5 to 10 yards to starboard...

Anyways, here are a few pix from the wet ride in today.


Puddle jumping.


Wet leaves mean slow down.


I could pick up the pace here ... a bit.


Progress.  No one at the bank drive-through seemed to think it odd that I was on two wheels.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Where's Warren?

Temperature at departure = 61° F (16° C)

Let's just chalk it up to the stuff of life; family, work, pets, etc.  Anyway, sorry I've been flying under the radar the last week or so.

I will try to sum up by saying that the autumn weather has been wonderful.  Yesterday circumstances realigned to allow me to ride the long route again (for one day).  Temperatures in the mid 60's, hardly anyone else out on the path (except a couple bobcats) and lots of fall colors to enjoy.


Speaking of the path, it is tough to see it in some places.  This is especially challenging when riding home in the dark.  Several times you just have to guess where the path is and hope you're right.  No problems so far this year...

I've been riding with my new trunk bag and will do my best to get a review up in the next day or so.  Cheers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stop 3

Temperature at departure = 42° F (6° C)

Another one of the things drivers hate about cyclists is that they don't seem to pay any attention to red lights.

Yesterday morning, JLT and I pulled up to the intersection at 103rd and Metcalf and watched as close to 20 cars east-bound on 103rd ran the light after it turned red. As I headed home and pulled up to the same light - 10 east-bound cars ran that red light as well. This morning I decided to take my camera along.

Unfortunately, by the time I started recording, the light had already turned red and I missed catching the first light runner. Still ... I count 11 red light runners here.

video

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where did I put those citrus wipes?

Temperature at departure = 40° F (4° C)

Wow, yesterday's rain did another number on the bike path.  Lots of mud and debris this morning so I took the shorter, though still non-direct route.  Sorry to be brief, but I'm running a bit behind this morning and need to get spruced up.  Here is something to think about ... UK women say that being sweaty and getting helmet hair are the reason most of them won't get on a bike.

Funny, when I was talking to a couple gals after the last scout campout, they found out that I ride my bike to work and their main questions were about getting sweaty and helmet hair...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Forgetful

Temperature at departure = 48° F (9° C)


I decided to run a couple errands this morning and was only a couple blocks away when I realized that I'd left without my helmet and ankle straps.  Oh well, thought I, there are plenty of people who ride without helmets (some are almost militant in their non-helmet wearing).

I made it to the post office, dropped my mail in the box and headed back home to get my helmet.  I just felt funny not having it on.  It's like forgetting to wear a seat belt ... it just feels weird.  So I made it home, got my gear and headed back out.  As you can see above, the leaves are starting to change which is part of why fall is so wonderful on the bike path.  Here is the flip side...


The path becomes covered in leaves, sticks, acorns, walnuts, etc.  You just need to pay a little more attention.  Anyway, another great start to the day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Someone isn't Happy

Temperature at departure = 50° F (10° C)

Part of the bicycle safety lecture I give the scouts before we ride on the multi-use path is: when you are on a downhill run that you think would be fun to ride as fast as you can, that is the time you need to slow down and be as careful as you can.

It's not that I'm trying to take the fun out of it -- it is an experience thing.  

From the looks of things this morning, someone over the weekend could have used that advice.  I've written before about the monstrously steep, curvy hill on the south side of the Deanna Rose Farmstead.  This morning I came across a brown Specialized road bike that looks like it is/was a really nice bike -- in a heap at the point where the path takes a sharp turn at the bottom of the hill.  I just talked with a police officer and let them know where to find it...

So, to review, when you start down a hill on a multi-use path and think to yourself: "Self, I think I'll go as fast as I possibly can."  Don't do it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Gave the Mouse a Cookie

Temperature at departure = 39° F (4° C)



Another crisp, lonely morning. Only one pedestrian on the trail. I thought it was over 40° when I was leaving so I ditched the ear warmers and long fingered gloves. It wasn't an issue and I'm going to have to modify my list of winter clothes again, for three reasons:

1) I can take a couple degrees cooler temperatures this year (I think I've mentioned this before).

2) The list was created when I was always riding < 10 miles to the office.

I know the days of my riding the long route are numbered as winter approaches, and the couple long rides I've taken lead me to believe I'll have to move the clothing options up a category -- for example:

Last year's list included the following:

38 - 44, tee shirt, sweat shirt, work out pants, wrap around ear muffs and ditch the no finger gloves for full gloves.

This year, for trips less than 10 miles, I seem to be able to wear this combination at 40° and feel fine. For trips over 10 miles, I think the numbers are about right.

So, the > 10 mile list will sort itself out over the next couple of months, but my < 10 mile list has been adjusted to the following:

53 and above I can get by with a tee shirt and shorts.
46 – 52, I need a long sleeved tee and can still wear shorts.
40 – 45, long sleeved tee, work out pants and I replace the ankle socks with longer socks.
35 - 39, tee shirt, sweat shirt, work out pants, wrap around ear muffs and ditch the no finger gloves for full gloves.
32 - 34, tee shirt, lined jacket, work out pants, wrap around ear muffs and full gloves
25 - 31, tee shirt, long sleeved shirt, work out pants, jacket, two pair of socks, balaclava and full gloves.
24 and below, tee shirt, long sleeved shirt, long john bottoms, work out pants, jacket, two pair of socks, balaclava and full gloves.

3) I'm going to be ditching the backpack for a rear rack and bag.



You've got to guess that the backpack keeps you warmer since it is strapped around the torso and is weighing down the back. I have always arrived at work sweatier in the winter months that I am the rest of the year.

I got the Topeak Explorer Bicycle Rack with Disc Brake Mounts and Spring thinking that I'd just strap my backpack to it. Once I put the rack on I quickly figured out that there was no way my current backpack would work; It is too big and there are too many straps dangling around. So, I've ordered the Topeak MTX Trunk Bag DXP that is made to snap into this rack and should be getting it within the next week. It's been years since I've ridden with a rack like this. I'll let you know what I think after I've used it a few times.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lonely Ride

Temperature at departure = 37° F (3° C)

[Okay, here is what I was thinking of posting this morning prior to almost having a sheet of plywood dropped on me...]

As I was riding to work this morning, two songs kept running through my mind:




I'm not sure if it was the drop in temperature or the drop in gas prices, but there was no one else out on the path during my ride in.  I love riding in colder weather.

This is not a test

Thursday October 16, 2008
Overland Park, KS

This is an EBS (Emergency Blogging System) activation. Cyclists using the section of the Indian Creek Trail that runs under 435 should be aware that construction workers are dropping construction material on the path. At 07:43, a cyclist was almost hit by a sheet of plywood dropped from a gap between ramps 20 feet above the path. Again, if you are riding this section of the path, be careful.


View Larger Map

Seriously, they missed me by two feet. I'll post what I was contemplating before the event a little later today. Right now I'm going to grab some coffee.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Of Rainy Days, Reading and Robots

Another rainy day so I drove. I suppose in the future I could just have a robot ride to work for me...



Being a rainy, gray day, it is perfect stay inside and read weather. In the September edition of Scouting magazine (the adult version of Boy's Life) there is a wonderful article about getting boys to read. There is a quote from Jon Sciezka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, regarding fellow author Gary Paulsen: "He understands that, for a good book, you need weaponry and vehicles. Or you need to be out in the middle of nowhere and just have your hatchet to survive."

For over 20 years I've said that there are three criteria for a good movie - a chase sceen, heavy weapons and a body falling from great heigths. Now, I have a new way to evaluate the worthiness of a book; does it have weaponry and vehicles?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rack Bottle Water

...now with more fiber!



The weather for this year's Camporee was beautiful. The only problem with that is the lack of stories it generates. Per aspera ad astra, and all that. No one sits around a campfire and says "remember the time that we had beautiful weather?"

Bike stuff? Oh, sorry. Yeah, rode yesterday and headed home early to finish the day working from home. Just beat the rain; I rode through a fine mist all the way. See what I mean? Boring.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My Alternative Fuel

Temperature at departure = 52° F (11° C)

From General Bike Pix


This nutritious breakfast provides 490 calories, the fuel for 8.6 miles if I'm riding an average of 13 MPH.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Observations

Deer are starting to bleat. Time to start watching for bucks.

Be careful of what a love of cycling might lead you towards. Thanks Kimbo.

I need to edit my list of bike clothes for all weather to adjust it down a couple degrees per category. I dunno, maybe the fact that I'm riding more has changed my metabolism to the point that I can take cooler temperatures...

I love it when the temperatures get cooler; I've got the path, practically, to myself. I only saw two other cyclists this morning during the 17 miles into the office.

Last night I attended perhaps the most enjoyable high school concert I've ever been to. Mark Wood (of TSO) teamed up with the school's orchestra in a not so typical strings concert. The guy has a heart for encouraging kids to play strings and what better way than to put on a rock concert with the kids as the stars? He rotated 6 kids at a time to the front of the stage to strap on one of his electric violins or cellos. Most telling for me, Curtis (my 12 year old) took his Nintendo DS and never turned it on. He was as pumped about the concert as everyone else in the packed theater.

Special props to my wife, who helped get the school's theater lighting system up to snuff for an incredible rock concert. Oh, and I have to admit I have a new found appreciation for the music of Metalica...

More Construction on Indian Creek Trail

Temperature at departure = 41° F (5° C)

From General Bike Pix


The Indian Creek Trail is torn up from just east of Metcalf to where the path runs under 103rd. I met a guy out walking that I say "Hi" to just about every morning and he said that they're straightening it out and have taken out a few trees in the attempt to keep the roots from damaging the pavement.

Yeah, I guess it needed to be done, and there is a work-around; use the cross-walk to get to the southeast corner of 103rd and Metcalf and carefully make your way through the Wal-Mart parking lot to the Prairie Life Center parking lot and you can pick up the path just south of the 103rd street bridge.

There are now three places along the Indian Creek/Tomahawk Creek Trail where the path is gone. Two of these are easily bypassed. The missing section just west of Mission road is a deal breaker.


View Larger Map

Here is a map of the three sites where the pass has been torn up. The city has been pretty busy re-paving some of the sections that have been rippled by tree roots. I can put up with the imposition for a bit, knowing that the end result will be a nicer ride.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Slow Ride

Temperature at departure = 65° F (18° C)

This morning's ride is the first time I've ridden solely for transportation in a long time. The rain from early this morning left the streets and bike path wet. That means it is time to slow way down. If you try to ride over the thin layer of mud that the rain combined with dust on the trail creates at anything other than a perfect 90° angle -- you're going down.

The chorus from this song kept running through my mind for more than half the ride.



Man, I've gotta get some fenders.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Drive Thru

The other evening was just going to be too busy to do anything other than fast food. I hate to admit it, because I'm not a fan of fast food, but with a ton of errands to run and just Curtis and I around to do it, I didn't have the time to cook.

If I turned right at Metcalf and rode for an extra 1,500 feet, I could just go through the Taco Bell drive through and pick up a few tacos and we'd be on our way. Simple. I pulled up to the speaker and ordered and then rode around to the window. Things almost got complicated for some reason, but the manager on duty handled it well.

Drive Thru Employee to manager: "It's a guy on a bike. What do I do?"

Manager: "Hand him his food."

Bonus: 22 cents on the ground. It is a little known advantage to riding a bike ... drive through discounts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Catching Up

While I've got a couple minutes to myself, I'll post a couple of things I meant to put up Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

From General Bike Pix


Here is a shot of the scout 25 mile ride from this last Saturday. I took them on my normal loop. We only got 4 boys and one other adult to go this time but we had beautiful weather. Took twice as long as I normally make the trip, but it was twice the fun.

From General Bike Pix


From General Bike Pix


Looks like I may have to find a temporary detour in the near future. It will be worth it to get one of those bridges set up across the creek where they now just have a raised section of concrete.

One last thought, with gas prices coming down, so have the number of other cyclists I see on the way in to work. 5 on Monday, 4 on Tuesday. However, the number of people out for recreational rides after work is way up. Gotta run. The kitchen needs cleanin' and I've got to come up with something to fix for dinner.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fortune Cookie Games

So, our office ordered Chinese food today and, of course, as people began to read their little strips of paper they added the traditional "...in bed" tag line. Then came my turn.



Um, no. That's just creepy and so wrong.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Surprise!

Temperature at departure = 58° F (14° C)

What is missing in the picture below?

A) Warning sign
B) Traffic cone
C) The mangled bodies of other cyclists
D) All of the above



It was fortunate that the Mendota has really good brakes. I had come around that corner at around 12 MPH and had to stop suddenly to avoid what could have been a really bad scenario. A little warning would be nice.

Looks like it will be beautiful weather for the 25 miler with the scouts tomorrow morning. Have a good weekend.

Misadventures

Temperature at departure = 56° F (13° C)

No cyclists, pedestrians or critters were harmed during the following events.

I recently read on Shamus' blog that the detour for the Indian Creek Trail closure around Fox Creek Park was itself closed just west of Mission road due to some post flooding issues. It has been a couple weeks since I've had a chance to check it out and I have a ride with our Boy Scout troop scheduled for the big loop this Saturday.


I left home a few minutes later than usual this morning but figured I'd hit a snag at the detour and have to find an alternate route shortened a bit by riding up Antioch from 137th to 117th. That was my plan.




I was smug and self-assured when I got to the pedestrian bridge which forms part of the detour. At least I wasn't stuck in THAT.




Yep, it's still closed and completely torn up. So, I guess it is time for Plan C. I worked my way up to College Boulevard and worked my way through several parking lots until I made it to Nall and could pick up my alternate route.


I was thinking to myself about how I'd told the boys that one of the things they've got to check on a regular basis is their brakes. Meanwhile, my brakes are shot and I need to get them to the shop tonight if I'm going to have a chance at having this bike available for the Saturday ride. The back brake is adjusted all the way and is pretty much worthless. The front brake is just about gone as well and I could tighten it two more clicks. I decided to take it a bit easy for the rest of the ride.

By the time I turned off Nall at 127th, it was a half hour until I needed to be at my desk and if I tried to ride the rest of my normal route, that would be about 12 miles... I stopped to do some math and to check a map on my blackberry.




I figured out that I would still have to stay on the path until 137th and Antioch, like I figured I would, but could cut up Antioch and shave about 5 miles off my normal route. Off I went.


Riding on Antioch wasn't as bad as I remember -- until I got to the construction at 119th and had to get off the road, try to find the sidewalk (which is mostly missing) and try to work my way through the construction cones, chewed up streets and stressed drivers. I made it to the office about 10 minutes late.


On the way home I had just turned a corner and started down a long down hill portion of the path when the cable for my front brake broke. That's right, I now was headed downhill and had no brakes. I rode off into the grass and walked down the steepest part of the hill and rode home VERY carefully.


I guess I'll bring out the Mendota tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back to Work

Temperature at departure = 52° F (11° C)

Another cool thing about cycling -- it's nature's Mucinex.  'Nuf said.

I opted for the 6.7 mile route instead of the 20 this morning.  It's a good thing our KATY Trail campout was rained out; I was sick as a dog and it sounds like portions of the trail have been washed out.  We're going to try to make up for it a bit with a 25 mile ride on the Indian Creek Trail with the scouts this Saturday.  I'm sure I'll be ready to go by then.

Elle Macpherson Topless?


...and by that I mean, not wearing a helmet...  [hmmm, Google Analytics will be interesting tomorrow]

Okay, at least the kid has a helmet on.  The Mirror shows the supermodel out with her five year old riding on the handlebars while she dangles a trash bag in her left hand.  Um, no.