Friday, March 30, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Lots of rain overnight and it looks like we’ll have plenty more tonight with severe thunderstorms forecast. Perfect for the Boy Scout campout my two youngest and I are going on… I keep telling myself that “it builds character.” Actually, we’ve been through it all before and even though it is not necessarily much fun at the time, it makes for great stories and great memories later on.

So, I drove today because I need to leave early and get packed up, etc. I found out it only takes me 6 more minutes to ride my bike than it does to drive. I also saw a squirrel cross the road staying inside the lines of a crosswalk all the way across the two lanes. Eh, made me chuckle.

Have a great weekend, I’m looking forward to what a bunch of pre-teen and early teenaged boys are going to come up with for the adults for April Fool’s Day on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weekend Plans

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

10 miles of hiking, biking and running trails may soon be added to the land adjacent to Shawnee Mission Park. The hearing is tonight. Thanks to my buddy John L for the link to this article.

A boy scout campout is going to prevent me from the 56 mile ride in Wamego ... so I'm going to map out a longer ride in town which will run through Shawnee Mission Park and hooking up with the Gary L. Haller Trail. I've heard it is a beautiful trail. The more I think about it, why drive 5 hours roundtrip to ride my bike? Rationalizing, I know, but it helps ease the pain of what looks to be a rainy campout.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hi Ho

Temperature at departure = 60° F (16° C)

Spring Break is over and it's back to work. I wish we would have had nicer weather but we had some really nice moments over the last week or so; I even got a few bike rides in with the boys.

I almost wimped out Sunday because the winds were gusting to 35 MPH. On the way home from church I saw some other people out on bikes so I was kind of taunted into riding to my Dad's house. After I got home I was still in the mood to ride so I talked one of my sons into riding another 6 miles with me making the total 20 miles - not bad for a day I almost skipped riding...

The wind was bad a few places on the way home, but on the way to my Dad's house I could take advantage of the tail wind. So, I've been driving a car for just over 30 years and have never gotten a speeding ticket, haven't even gotten a warning. As I'm coasting down 67th street, where the speed limit is 25 mph, I noticed a police officer with a radar gun in the church parking lot at the bottom of the hill. I looked down at my computer and noticed I was doing 31.7 mph... The officer just smiled and waved, thankfully. I had a nice laugh with my Dad about that one, wouldn't it have been ironic to have gotten my first speeding ticket while riding my bike.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Delayed Gratification

It has been a rainy Spring Break. I managed to get the kids out of the house yesterday and we all went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit now on display at Kansas City's Union Station.

I'm sure CAT and I enjoyed the tour more than the younger kids. Most of the post-tour comments we saw seemed to have been made by early teens or youger and could be summed up with one word: boring. What they don't understand is the, perhaps, once-in-a-lifetime chance to see history. I hope that later in life they'll look back on this outing and remember it that way.

There is a precedent; I'm reminded of the volksmarch we took at the Crazy Horse monument several years ago. My daughter, in particular, was in no mood for the 6 mile round trip hike up a mountain. The hike ends up on top of the arm of the memorial and I kept trying to explain that in years to come she would be able to tell her kids that she'd stood up next to the face of the memorial (some day that will no longer be possible). I still bring that trip up, occasionally, and she still rolls her eyes - but I know she'll remember it fondly. I've got the picture waiting for her whenever she is ready...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Kids Gone Wild

Spring Break and I've decided to take the week off since my kids are all out of school this week. I was hoping we would have some of the gorgeous weather of the last couple of weeks so we could go to the zoo, take some bike hikes, hang out at the park, etc. Well, here is the forecast:

So, looks like I'll get to spend some time listening to how bored the kids are. There are a few indoors activities I had planned so the week won't be wash.

I wanted to go to the Liberty Memorial, the only museum dedicated solely to World War I. It was recently reopened and is said to be a wonderful experience for all ages. The people that I know who have been say it is extremely cool.

Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. Carolyn has done some of the lighting for the exhibit and says that it could have been called the Dead Sea Post-it Notes exhibit as the fragments on display are about that size. I still want to see them and don't want the kids to miss out on the opportunity to say they've seen them as well.

I'm not going to get too discouraged; the forecast is really only accurate about 4 hours out. I hope, I hope, I hope.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Full Force

Here is a little biku for Fritz

Retractable leash
Dog and owner, far apart

Good news and bad news: The weather is so nice, there were tons of people out on the path for tonight's ride home.

You know, after around 5 months of having the thing pretty much all to myself, I miss the solitude.

Happy Pi Day

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

I was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to discover that my children have been laundering money.

Happy Pi Day! In honor of 3.14, make sure you have at least one slice of pie today; just make sure you calculate the circumference by slicing all the way across, measuring the cut (diameter) and multiply by 3.14.

...oh, and ride a bike -- the wheels are circles and ... you get the idea. It was so beautiful out this morning that I extended my morning commute by 4 miles just to run an errand and ride around the park for a bit. Tomorrow is supposed to be back to normal ~20+ degrees cooler.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Flash Back

Temperature at departure = 51° F (11° C)

What a beautiful morning; the weather was nice enough I could ditch the workout pants and put on shorts. [Didn't want anything rubbing on the band-aids on the knee] It was nice to see 5 bikes in the elementary school rack yesterday -- that means we're up to 1.8% of the students who don't ride the bus, riding their bikes to school.

As promised, here is a shot of Peter coming out of Starbuck's with our bikes chained out front. We hung out for a while at the table on the left. My planned route of 14.1 miles was stretched to 17.7 with some extra miles in and around Leawood Park to look at the soccer fields that Peter used to play on. Had a great time reminiscing. The route was also a little hillier (hilly-er, hillish, ???) than expected. All in all a nice trip with good conversation and a peppermint mocha at just the right time! Sunday's ride to my Dad's is the first I've made since I got the bike computer. I had thought the trip was 14 miles on the nose -- close, it ended up being 13.5. It was a solo ride so I tried to push it a bit harder and averaged 14.4 MPH. Wasn't too winded; need to take some longer trips in the weekend ahead to get ready for THIS 52 miler.

Monday, March 12, 2007

End of Debate

Temperature at departure = 49° F (9° C)

I know, I know, I haven't posted since Wednesday. Sorry, my family has had a lot going on. Anyway, I intended to write about what a wonderful weekend it was (another great ride with Peter on Saturday - nice ride to my Dad's yesterday) but then - this morning. I'll write about the weekend tonight or tomorrow.

So, I've read a lot of different opinions about whether or not to wear a bike helmet. I've worn one since my children started riding bikes, to be a good example. Now, wearing a helmet is a habit. There was one time last fall that I didn't put one on when I left home and I felt so weird riding without it that, a half mile from home, I had to turn around and go get it. Well, in my opinion, the debate is over.

It was a beautiful morning. The pavement was a little damp from a very light, short rain last night. The ride had gone well, I even came across two other bike commuters that I've never seen before. When I got to Founder's Park at Corporate Woods, the loop back towards the creek was a little muddy. Slick mud, not the big piles of mud from the previous week. I really should have gone with my gut reaction and just headed into the office -- but I decided to take the extra 3 mile loop. When I approached the next bridge I started regretting my decision; a long patch of the slick muck. I made it past that to the dry pavement beneath the bridge. Before reaching the other end of the bridge I rang my bell a few times, just in case someone was approaching from the other side; the other end has a sharp, blind turn and short, steep hill. I'm not sure how it happened but I hit another patch of mud and down I went. Smack! I felt my head hit the pavement hard - but, thankfully, the helmet took the whole force of the impact. I also had put on my fingerless gloves for the second time since I've had them. It wasn't cold enough for my big gloves and I just decided the day before to wear these when it was warmer. Glad I did, my palms would have gotten pretty torn up.

So, the entire damage to me seems to be a scraped left knee and a nasty looking knot on my right thigh where I must have landed on a rock, bolt, pedal, something.

Oh, just noticed my jaw. Well, we'll see how it goes. Please, please, please, always wear your helmet. If I hadn't today, I would have been passed out on a blind curve on the path or in the emergency room...

p.s. I'll be fine. I'll post the picture of Peter and I at Starbuck's later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Temperature at departure = 33° F (1° C)

It appears I spoke too soon about the increase of the number of bikes in the bike rack. Yesterday afternoon, 66° and my son's bike was the only one at school. There were encouraging signs this morning though; second day in a row that I've been passed by a guy with a recumbant in the bed of his pickup. I think he is headed to the bike path trailhead that is around a mile from our neighborhood -- he could park the truck there and take the path on his bike. That is my theory, anyway. Later, when I was taking the extended route to get a few more miles in this morning I passed a guy going the other direction. He was pretty spandex'd out, but I won't hold that against him. On the way back to the office after the extended loop I saw two other cyclists. Not bad for temperatures hovering around freezing.

Yesterday turned out to be a great day. I achieved all but one of my goals for the day. I've taken the goals I worked on last Friday and modified Ben Franklin's 13 virtues sheet to plug in the "virtues" or goals that I want to make sure I work on daily. Nice article here on how to do it...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bridge to Terabi... oh. Hmmm

Temperature at departure = 32° F (0° C)

The folks in Disney's promtions department did a fine job of selling Bridge to Terabithia to my ten year old. For a couple weeks he had been asking me, no, begging me to go see it when it came out. I checked IMDB and it looked like it was going to be a nice fantasy movie. Based on the trailers he had seen, he was expecting The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; instead, he got [Spoiler] - kinda. Don't get me wrong, it was a VERY good movie, but when asked if it was what he was expecting, C replied "not at all."

So, a word of warning: if your child wants to go to see a bunch of special effects creatures, etc. - they will be disappointed.

Anyway, it looks like it is going to be a beautiful day again. Afternoon temperatures up in the 60's. I was happy to see 3 bikes in the bike rack at the elementary school and hope to see more today.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hello Mudder

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

I took the day off on Friday and took advantage of a quiet, empty house and reworked some of my goals and objectives. Exciting stuff? For me it is, I like to get things down on paper and set up some way of keeping record of how I'm doing. So, I spent some time jotting down ideas and creating some more spreadsheets. I know, geek. I then got to go over to the Sprint campus and have lunch with my buddy John. Great turkey burger!

I haven't been out riding since Wednesday. I figured that the majority of the mess from Wednesday night's storm would have been taken care of. I took part of Friday to scrub my bike down, give it's teeth a good flossing and re-lube the chain. As I rode down the short hill with the sharp turn under the bridge, I found out how wrong I was regarding the post-storm mess. This part of the path is low (I did mention it takes you under a bridge) and runs next to the creek; I saw the mud about 6 feet before I hit it. I didn't have time to stop until my front tire (tyre for Kimbo) was stuck in 8 inches (20 cm) of glop. I hopped off into about 4 inches of mud and backtracked up the path to the road. There were a few other places where mud was still on the path next to the creek, but all of those had a way through without getting into the muck. So much for my pretty, clean bike...

So, it's back to work -- and I swapped the yellow reflective jacket for a grey hooded sweat shirt. See previous posts about my reasoning for that.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Catch 22

We were pounded last night! At 5 p.m. it was sunny and 70° F (21° C). At 6 p.m. half the sky was covered in ominous clouds with occiasional horizontal lightning. At 6:30 p.m. heavy rain and marble sized hail started up and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. Heavy thunderstorms continued until about 1 a.m. Light snow in the forecast this morning so with all the storm debris and chance of snow, I drove the kids to school and myself to work. I’m glad I did, there were several portions of the bike path that were still covered in standing water and I’m sure the parts that are close to the creek are covered in tree limbs and mud. Here is a shot of some of the hail that still remains this morning.

In a continuation of yesterday's post, I spoke with one of the crossing guards and with the school principal yesterday regarding the number of children who walk to school. The guard (who is stationed about a half mile away from school) says he gets about 8 to 10 kids a day. The principal said that there are a few more that walk the other direction, but not many more. She thinks that on nice days they'll get 20 -25. She then told me that we are fortunate to have the ones that we do as the city requires 15 children to warrant a crossing guard. She had to push hard to get the guy .5 miles away - but that is a very busy intersection and the city, rightfully, agreed to the guard. Fortunately, once a guard is in place it is very difficult for the city to pull them off that site.

So, most parents aren't letting their kids walk because of perceived safety issues. Additional crossing guards would, most likely, increase the number of people walking -- but, we can't get more guards until we get more people walking... Arrrrgh.

Thankfully, there are organizations like Safe Routes to School. I'm going to be contacting them to discuss our area. [I can't believe I'm turning into an activist.]

Now, for some good news -- I think my waiting by the bike rack for my son every afternoon is starting to pay off. Yesterday I heard a little girl ask her mom if they could ride their bikes to school. The mom said "Honey, I'd have to get Daddy's bike down to do that." So, I think I'll keep showing up to ride home with my boy. I do think I'm going to ditch the bright yellow jacket with the reflective tape and just wear a sweat shirt or tee shirt, just to make sure the "I don't want to have to buy all that stuff" excuse can't be used.