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


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


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.


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."


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.