Thursday, February 26, 2009

I should know better

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

When heading out on the bike after the TV weatherman said "The rain in the metro is over for the day" -- I will regret not having a front fender.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Coasting

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

I have decided
My commute would be better
Downhill all the way


I'll admit, this looks like a very cool way to commute; but I still think riding my bike to work is more fun. I can bicycle to work in Overland Park all year round -- the water slide would freeze up in the winter. Still, it would be nice to have a route that was all down hill...


[I know, I know. This one has been making the rounds in bike blogs quite a bit lately -- but what a fun concept.]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Smokey Seems Sad

Temperature at departure = 36° F (2° C)

As I pulled up to the stop sign behind the Honda with the obvious oil leak, I had an opportunity to pause and read his bumper stickers.

1) Tree hugging dirt worshiper
2) The earth is our mother, treat her with respect

...and then he threw a lit cigarette butt out the window. I had to laugh. I enjoy the irony.

I came up with this later in the trip (Fritz, no need to link):

I'm one of the few
I commute by bicycle
In Overland Park.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Solitude

Temperature at departure = 24° F (-4° C)

It was an uneventful commute into the office this morning. That isn't a bad thing... Still, I'm looking forward to warmer temperatures and some green. The landscape has been the same dull yellow/brown for way too long.

Saturday's ride was a bit strange. The temperature hovered around freezing and since CAT and the kids were all off doing other things, my 6 mile roundtrip ride to the library turned into a 20 mile ride to check out the Leawood side of the Indian Creek Trail.


It was nice to see that they're clearing out a lot of the scrub brush along the creek.


The most surreal part of the trip was my loop around Leawood Park. This place is normally packed with people in nice weather and you would expect to see some people out even when it is cold. There was no one else there. Weird.


Heading back towards home I decided to see how serious they were about the trail being closed the the north of I-435. Yep, they're still serious.

It was nice to have the trail to myself. Spring, with its dog walkers, joggers and other cyclists will come soon enough. Until then I will keep bundling up and blazing trails.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Think PSA

I am a huge fan of Tom Vanderbilt's book, Traffic, and How We Drive blog and am honored that he used one of my posts as an example in one of his recent posts. His latest post (as of a few minutes ago) has a video of a Think UK PSA that is powerfull. After watching, I had to see more so clicked on some of the associated links to find this:



As someone who rides a non-motorized bike, I truely wish that we could get these PSA's run in the states. "Think. Take longer to look for bikes."

Rockin' Robins

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

Well, I made it back. The trip home was uneventful ... which was wonderful. My bag even made it home! In fact, my bag always seems to be one of the last to make it off the plane at the Kansas City airport; this time it was one of the first.

Dinner was waiting for me when I walked in the door. My wife had whipped up some comfort food for me -- Aunt Wilma's Casserole. Perfect.

I'm still trying to get over the jet lag. I've gotten out to ride the last couple of days just to get some sunshine during what my body needs to think of as daytime. Hasn't helped. I figure I've got a couple more days before I'm reoriented.

I was very happy to see flocks and flocks of robins during my ride. Good grief, they're everywhere.



Anyway, it's great to be back home. The days are getting longer and spring isn't too far away. I'm looking forward to seeing some green on the ride into work.

For those of you who've sent me notes of concern about the job situation -- I've got no news. I probably won't know how Google's putting Radio Automation up for sale is going to affect me until someone actually buys us. Until then, I'm doing my best to take a "business as usual" approach to the day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Intentional Tourist

I awoke Friday morning to some interesting news, prior to my presentation to the Techtel sales folk. I wrapped things up early enough to go see downtown Sydney. Here are some pictures from the last couple days.



The elderly gentleman jaywalked across this busy street during morning rush hour without regard to the on-coming traffic. As a bonus, someone was riding a motorcycle on the sidewalk. Weird.



Same intersection, next day. Seems like every cyclist I see is wearing a backpack.



I finally got a few hours to take in some sights. The rain stopped (for the most part) and I hopped a bus to The Rocks. Above, the Sydney Harbor Bridge.



Proof for my family that I saw something besides the office and motel.



The view from the downtown restaurant where I had lunch. Finally, I got to eat somewhere other than the two places I've had access to. Another cyclist with a backpack.



The risotto was wonderful.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Prodigal Bag

Three and a half days and four continents later, I opened my motel door this evening and...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

They speak English there too...

Well, they found my bag. The following video shows where it is now and where it needs to go.

video

Yep, for some reason, American Airlines sent my luggage to London's Heathrow airport instead of Sydney Australia. So, I'm hoping that I'll still see it sometime in the next couple of days. As it is, the folks I'm training will see me in the same thing tomorrow as they saw me in today.

It would be nice if there were someplace where I could run out and buy a new shirt, but there are no shops within walking distance. I could get a taxi, but that will add $50 to $100 to the price of the shirt... We'll see.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Walk About

I made it to Sydney after a rather awful trip. Mechanical problems, delayed flights, lost luggage, a 14 hour long flight with no leg room. Ick. I didn't have a good attitude going into the travel part of this trip ... but I'm here.



The first of several lines to get from the plane to the outside of the airport. This is just the area that leads to where you line up for customs.



Couldn't take pictures in Customs, baggage claim, lost baggage window or Exit/Quarantine. This is part of the queue for the taxi stand. 2 hours from plane to taxi.



I'd been up for over 40 hours (lost count) but it is summer and I wasn't tired. There is a reserve within walking distance of my motel so I went on a bushwalk.







Having walked for an hour, it was time to find something to eat. The only place close (that was open on a Sunday afternoon) was a pub that has a GREAT chicken burger.



I sat and watched rugby and cricket for a while. I have no clue what was going on in either game. Every single person I've met has been incredibly nice. I think it will be a good week.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I see I have the machine that goes "PING!"

Temperature at departure = 9° F (-13° C)

Back in December I mused about what temperature would be my breaking point for not riding the extra loop on the way to work. Turns out that temperature is 9° F. Yesterday, at 10°, I was fine and rarin' to go the extra miles. Today, same kind of clothes, skies and wind ... didn't want to do it.

My bike even complained a little. After sitting in the office for a few minutes it started making several pinging sounds. It happens whenever I ride in temperatures this cold ... I think it's the spokes thawing out. Freaky.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The International Space Station

How very cool! I made it home in time to walk in the door, tell Curtis to put a coat on and walk out in the back yard. We looked up in the sky and there it was. The International Space Station, just as bright as could be. I'm so glad we had clear skies tonight.

When we went to the cosmosphere a couple weekends ago, they told us about a web site where you can plug in your location and get the best times to go out to see the ISS. Check it out at Heavens-above.com

G'Day for a ride

Temperature at departure = 10° F (-12° C)

Nice ride in this morning. Not another living creature out on the path. Still, I'm getting pretty tired of the cold. Just a few more days and I get a break; I'm headed to Sydney where it is summer! I thought I had planned things so that I'd have Saturday to recover from the 33 hour trip and then could actually see some of Sydney (and hopefully find somewhere to rent a bike), but as it turns out, I'll get there Sunday morning and will need the day to recover so I can jump into training bright and early Monday morning.

So, I'm scheming, trying to come up with a rationalization for buying or renting a bike for transport between the motel and office that would make sense to the powers that be. Had I been renting a car it would have been a no-brainer; but I was planning on walking the half mile to the office and back every day. So, regardless, I'll get some exercise in the nice summer weather next week...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Howling at the Moon

Temperature at departure = 24° F (-4° C)

The ride home tonight was interesting for a couple of reasons; the sun is setting a little later now and there was still some ambient light out when I left the office - and - there was a news truck with it's lights on in the parking lot of Founder's Park. As I rounded the curve through the woods I took a closer look and saw that the truck was from Channel 9. I figured they were doing a story regarding the city council's pending measure to trap coyotes.

When I got home I checked the station's web site, and sure enough, there was the story. I like the part where they say:

"the area near Antioch and 435 is a good example of why people in Overland Park are encountering wild animals in their yards."


Oh, come on. The site of the January attack on the pet dog was at 141st and Switzer ... 4 miles away. I suppose the news crew just wanted to find the first place off 435 with a parking lot that backed up to a bunch of trees. Had they asked me, I could have told them that there aren't any coyotes around Founder's Park, but there are groundhogs, bobcats, deer, beaver along with the ever present and pesky squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks. I would have gone on to say that I don't fear the coyotes, foxes and bobcats ... but I am constantly having to dodge the little mammals.

Of course, the coyotes I've seen in the area aren't the monster variety in the news report.

"Coyotes can grow to a large size: up to 4 ½ feet tall and as much as 45 pounds."


Hmmmm. I wonder, did they mean 4.5 feet long?

So, here's a thought: If they decide to trap the predators, release them at the park so they can get rid of the pests. Don't euthanize them.

At dinner, I told my family about the news crew and we all agreed that had I been close to them when they were airing the live segment, it would have been interesting to get as close as I could and howl. Fun to think about.

p.s.
I would make a comment about how people that move into houses by the woods should expect to run into wildlife ... but we had a coyote in our yard a couple years back and we're a good mile or so away from a park that you'd think would support a pack of coyotes.