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.

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


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 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


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.