Sunday, January 31, 2010

Library Rant

Sunshine and 33° F

Nice weather for a ride to the library to pick up some DVD's that they had on hold for me. Yes. Videos. You see, I'm cheap. I don't rent videos often (two trips to Red Box last year) and I don't belong to NetFlix. Why should I, when I can put a hold on videos when they come out and check them out for free? Thank you taxpayers of Johnson County. I'm not really happy that the library had to resort to competing with Blockbuster in an attempt to get people in the doors. I'm sure it was a rational decision, so I can rationalize my using the service. I would imagine that the majority of the items checked out from the library now are DVD's and video games. Sad. But, like I said, I'm cheap. If I think about it, is checking a movie or music CD out any different from checking out a book? It is still a tax subsidized way to circumvent paying an author for their work. Last year I read 20 books, 17 of which I borrowed from the library.

But I digress. Using my trip to the library to pick up the videos on hold for me as an excuse to get out on the bike, I saddled up and away I went. I locked my bike up to the otherwise empty bike rack and headed to the self-checkout section. I had four items on hold and only one item (a music CD) was there. I went to the desk to ask if they could check in back for the three DVD's and was told that a bunch of DVD's were stolen the day before and the ones I had on hold were among the missing. The librarian made a comment about $15,000 dollars worth being stolen. I don't know if that is a yearly total or if it was this last weekend's loss. I said I was sorry to hear it and she said "I'm sorry. It's your tax dollars." And it is. But should we be spending this much money on providing free DVD rentals which also appear to be so easily stolen? Do we spend more tax dollars on security systems or personnel to protect the DVD's? Do we stop libraries from buying DVD's and have them gradually revert back being a source for reference books and books that we want to read but don't want to own? I don't think there's a good answer for any of these questions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We're Back

Temperature at departure = 26° F (-3° C)

As I suspected, fall's bumper crop of acorns has produced a bumper crop of squirrels. Tons of rodent toddlers on the path this morning. Looks like the deer are back as well. There haven't been as many out the last two years. Perhaps the herds in Shawnee Mission Park are tired of being shot at and decided to migrate south a few miles. Whatever the reason, I welcome their return like the bike path seems to have welcomed mine.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

38 Days

On Sunday, the streets had finally dried out for more than an hour or two. It had been 38 days since I'd been on my bike. My excuse, snow Packed streets for close to a month with temperatures well below freezing and the resulting melt off keeping the air and streets wet and foggy for another couple of weeks. So when I finally got a day with dry pavement and at least a little sunshine, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride to the library. I could tell I'd been away...

Yesterday was a bit better. I had time after dropping kids off at school to take a quick ride. The temperature was 28° F so I layered up and took off on the Indian Creek Trail.

I was amazed at how quickly I'd made it to Leawood Park. I was averaging a little over 17 MPH with ease and felt great. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy winter riding. Yeah, that should have registered a bit of a warning, but I decided to extend the ride to State Line. When I turned around to head home I realized why I'd made such good time on the first half of the ride: tailwind of 21 MPH with gusts to 29 MPH.

The ride home was a lot of work. I don't know what the wind chill was and don't want to know. I pedaled for all I was worth and by the time I'd gotten home, my average speed was down to 13.5. I was tired and sweaty and (according to my wife) my eyes were as bloodshot as all get out. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy winter riding.

It's colder today and I've already got my lunch-time ride planned. It is good to be back.