Thursday, March 29, 2012
Here's the real reason for snakebite punctures:
Lord only knows where the original is from; I got it from Oddman.ca.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I might need one of these:
Especially in view of the fact that I've never been able to find light-up sneakers in my size, I might have to get one of these guys for my helmet. I have my eye on that long, blue number at about 0:46.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The contractors putting in the new kitchen cabinets were gone by 1:15 pm, so I got on the bike, intending to do the Coppermine Loop, but winds averaging over 20 and gusting to 38 changed my plans. I did a short (for me) 15 miles, and you can tell which way the wind was going: my average before I turned around was 16.6; my final average was 18.1 (I can evidently cook when the wInd's at my back!).
Now I'm back home, wonderin' how we're going to feed ourselves for two weeks with no kitchen counter, no dishwasher, no kitchen sink. This will be a challenge for The Excellent Wife (over which I have no doubt she will reign triumphant).
After yesterday's bike porn, I realized that not everybody thinks that those old lugged frames are the bee's knees. So I found this chopper today, and I just love it. I love the suspended forks, the tiny chain ring (you've gotta do some crankin' to get that guy movin'!), and especialy the wicker basket behind the saddle - just the touch of old English civilization on that bad boy.
From Atomic Zombie, bike plans for choppers, recumbents, and other pedaled weirdnesses.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Between weather, a promise to the excellent wife that we could go to Quaker meeting, and cleaning out the kitchen so that new cabinets can be installed tomorrow, I didn't get a ride in today.
I spoke to my mother, who's recently widowed, selling the house she's been living in for over a decade, moving away from the home and friends she's had for a quarter of a century, and panicked about having to make decisions and deal with responsibilities she's never had in her life. She's afraid, and tired, and cranky, and some of that is rubbing off on me today. It's not my best day.
So here's some bike porn. It might assuage my crankiness, and it will be your payment for putting up with this crazy, cranky post:
Saturday, March 24, 2012
I did a few extra miles: I stop at Bagel Street on Plainsboro Road in Plainsboro, treat myself to a bagel-and-a-bathroom, and then ride in the four miles to Cranbury (that's the tail at the upper left of today's route). The group did 35 miles; I did 43 (and with a tailwind, I was cookin' at about 25-26 mph on the way back from the park to the car!).
I had a pleasant surprise: Ken L, who had been in an accident last Mother's Day, and whom I'd only seen on a bicycle once since, came out with us today. I am glad he's riding with the group again. He talked about leading rides, which would be great, but I'm just glad to see him. (If you look at the map, you'll see that little jog near Hightstown - that was a pleasant jaunt through a condo that got us out of both the wind and the traffic for a mile or so; it was Ken's idea.)
With a group that big, abilities and experience levels were all over the place: we had one rider who said this was her first group ride (and she looked like she had a good time and might come back), and others who have been riding with the club for decades. I swept. The cast of characters in the back changed often enough to be interesting, but not so often that I couldn't see that one or two seemed to be struggling to keep up. Our pace on this fairly flat group ride was about 14.6, below the 15-16 average for "B" rides. It's early in the season; perhaps we will get stronger as people ride more (although I might have close to 1000 miles by the end of next weekend). On the way back, we got split up (not unprecedented with such a crowd), so not everybody may have done the same route.
A good day. Tomorrow to Quaker Meeting with the excellent wife (she insists, reasonably, on spending some time with her husband; I'm flattered!).
There's gotta be more to it than just organics and exercise...
(Original from Twenty-Two Words.)
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
So I went along today. About 54 miles total. They sometimes get as many as 25 or 30 riders, but just ten today; there was early-morning fog(and drizzle, in some places, but not on us), and the clouds never broke. But it was a warm day, the first day of spring (although with the cherry blossoms and magnolias in full bloom, you'd think spring had unpacked her bags and was doin' dishes and makin' the coffee already). I met a rider I didn't know, and another I didn't know well who said he'd been reading this blog (hey, Bob - am I doin' OK?), and I got to flog both this and the "Charity Rides - Central NJ" blog (and I might get out a couple more linkbacks and some more traffic - on the other hand, now that people are looking at this, I've gotta clean up my mistakes, and be a bit less incendiary!).
A great ride, both the ride-to-the-ride and the bigger group ride. I managed not to run away with anybody this time (I've developed a bad habit of chasing fast riders). Many nice roads I don't think I've seen before, and a stop I don't think I've ever been to. It's pleasant to have such good places to ride so close to home. On the way back, Al L, my fellow-traveler for the idiotic back-and-forth windy-day ride, had a cut in one of his tubular tires, and gave us a lesson in how to change tubulars (racing tires that are lighter than the more standard "clinchers" that most of us use), and what I mostly think he did was succeed in making us secure in our resolve not to try tubular tires - yes, they're lighter and faster, but what a PITA!
Now the sheets and towels are in the washer (along with the bike gear), and the bed's made up with fresh sheets. tomorrow, back to work. Weather for the weekend looks wet, so I'm glad I got this one in today!
Sunday, March 18, 2012
What a lovely day, and a great time I had! The bike was running great; my legs were in good shape, all four of us are strong riders; there were stretches where we could just open up and rip. Magnolias and cherry-blossom trees were in bloom (and winter hasn't ended!).
On the way back, Larry decided to change things up, and include a trip on part of Aggress Rd (possibly the only real hill in that area; it's the hill after the dip at about mile 33). I resisted the urge (but barely) to make puns about getting Aggress-ive and working our Aggress-ions out (I'm even sorry to bring that up here, but sometimes a bit of catharsis is necessary...)
So 45 miles. It means I have 100 for the weekend. On the way home from the ride, I bought a new water filter (I like going in to normal stores in my tights and bike kit, and having people try to act cool around me while I'm in that outlandish outfit), and now there's a whites load in the laundry. Her excellency, my wife, will be home soon; she went to a Polish-language tour at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and then it's time for dinner, and girding our loins against the onslaughts of the work week.
Laura's got her pics up, so I'm pirating a few. That horse:
...and a picturesquely-tumbledown remains-of-a-house we passed today:Laura's post.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Seven starters: six of whom I more-or-less knew, and one complete newbie, whose name I got and then promptly forgot. He stopped without warning me across a path I thought I could take, and I fell down behind him early in the ride; sitting on my hard office chair as I write this, I still have a bit of a reminder. This accident is similar to one that stopped my riding with the club the first time (I made a veiled reference to it in my sweep post), except I wasn't hurt bad enough, even to have to leave the ride. Still, my pride was hurt, and I didn't think the other guy was properly penitent, so I'm afraid I was less-than-welcoming; he rode off the front late in the ride, and now I wish I could have a word with him... although perhaps I'm only being egotistical thinking that his reason for leaving was that incident (except I know I would have been most uncomfortable for that reason... oh, it's time to shut up about that).
We did Pine Hill Road early on, a two-stage hill like Federal Twist, although shorter; the second section is harder than the first. After that, Laura OLPH, our leader, seemed to be looking for extra hills and miles; she referred to this (in a private email to me) as a "penitent ride", and made a Lenten reference during the pre-ride orientation. There was some... shall we say, discussion?... about the difficulty of this ride, and about how Laura is stronger than she thinks she is, and consequently, her rides are more demanding than she thinks.
Along the way, we met a delegation from the Morris Area Freewheelers, among whom was a woman in a recumbent bike (I likes me some recumbents!), and a kid who couldn't have been thirteen, who was just smokin' those cranks! I kept up with him for a bit and let him go. I'd like to think I could have kept up with him, but he's half my weight and a quarter my age.
About 49 miles. The day started raw and foggy, but warmed up quite a bit when the sun came out;I think all of us shed a layer; some shed more, and your correspondent should have shed another but had no good way to carry it. Crocuses, daffodils, and pink dogwoods (we think) were in bloom along the way. It turned out to be a pretty day, and despite my complaints, it was a pretty and fun ride (with some rippin' downhills - I have a goal to improve my downhill riding, and an unofficial goal of breaking 40 mph; got to 38.8 today, not a personal best, but not bad).
After I got home, I took the commuter bike on a six-mile round trip to the bank. I'm an idiot.
The Latin in that third-to-last one means roughly, "...and to avoid and despise those who seek to entrap and inherit", probably an imprecation against gold-diggers.
Not to marry a young Woman.
Not to keep young Company unless they reely desire it.
Not to be peevish or morose, or suspicious.
Not to scorn present Ways, or Wits, or Fashions, or Men, or War, &c.
Not to be fond of Children,
or let them come near me hardly.
Not to tell the same story over and over to the same People.
Not to be covetous.
Not to neglect decency, or cleenlyness, for fear of falling into Nastyness.
Not to be over severe with young People, but give Allowances for their youthfull follyes and weaknesses.
Not to be influenced by, or give ear to knavish tatling servants, or others.
Not to be too free of advise, nor trouble any but those that desire it.
To desire some good Friends to inform me wch of these Resolutions I break, or neglect, and wherein; and reform accordingly.
Not to talk much, nor of my self.
Not to boast of my former beauty, or strength, or favor with Ladyes, &c.
Not to hearken to Flatteryes, nor conceive I can be beloved by a young woman, et eos qui hereditatem captant, odisse ac vitare.
Not to be positive or opiniative.
Not to sett up for observing all these Rules; for fear I should observe none.
I can't "boast of my former beauty, or strength, or favor with Ladyes, &c", because, frankly, that's a fiction that I simply couldn't sustain even to the end of the single sentence!
My favorite part is that it was dated 1699, when the good Dean was 32 years old. They are goals to which I could aspire now, at near twice that age (although, despite my pretended curmudgeonliness, I do have a fondness for children... but, most of the time, I would rather eat worms than admit it).
Friday, March 16, 2012
And my own club, the Princeton Freewheelers, has links both to that and to this blog!
I'm looking forward to being inundated with traffic!
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I'm thinking of using part of it for a new profile pic. I like that one of me in the hat, but the big version shows me about 45 lbs. heavier than I am now... also, doncha think I need a bike-related profile pic?
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Today is my last update for Calamities of Nature. And I'll be perfectly frank about the reasons. My full-time career is in academics, and I need to put everything I have into it if I'm going to have any chance of keeping it that way. As much as I love this comic, I can't have it taking precious time away from my work. It's time to move on...I'm sorry to see you go, Tony.
When I first started this comic, I was just excited to see my scribbles appearing on a computer screen. Then I was just trying to write a halfway decent joke. But then slowly something amazing occurred. The more niche I made the comics with respect to my own interests, the more widely people seemed to feel the comics were speaking to them. The more I tried to share my own personal world views, the more I found other people who shared many of the same ideas, interests, worries, insecurities, frustrations, and hopes. And from this I grew an audience that was more than I ever deserved. Thank you for being a part of it.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
- That it gets some more traffic, and
- That some people actually find it useful.
Anyway, go check it out if you haven't already. If you've done any of the rides, leave a comment about your experience in previous years.
...but that isn't what I want to talk about.
In more than one post, I've written about my disappointment with the Selle An-Atomica saddle, and whined that I wished Specialized would bring back the now-discontinued BG2 saddle (here's the review on MTBR.COM). I despaired of ever finding such a thing again.
Well, Knapp's Cyclery has recently opened a satellite location in Cranbury. There's not much stock, and the main location must have sent up a bunch of stuff they didn't think would sell, because I found, not one, but TWO
of the BG2's in the store. I bought one right away, and came out crowing to Laura OLPH and a woman rider she was talking to. They suggested I buy the other one, too, but I got in the car and drove away... and got less than a block when I decided they had had a good idea; I went back and got the other:
One is already mounted; adjusted for height and setback according to my readings of the saddle it replaced.
Found it! I feel like the Indiana Jones of Central NJ.
I also wanted to post a bit of silliness: some time ago, I got a shorter stem for my handlebar so I wouldn't be quite so stretched out on my bike. The bar was a little loose in the stem, so I needed to make a shim, and I knew one of the best shim materials was a cutting from a soda can. Last time, I mounted it inside-out, os that only grey metal showed, but I went a bit crazy yesterday, cut a new piece, and mounted it so that distinctive Coca-Cola script shows through:
It's the only piece of corporate logo stuff I have, other than labels on parts and clothing. But that window in the stem means I can show things that are about 1" square, so other stuff may appear in that space. I'm conflicted about beer logos there; after all, it's not like beer ever treated me all that well, did it?
Saturday, March 10, 2012
I feel like SuperHacker.
Short ride today, colder and windier than I would have thought. We started with five, and wound up with two: Ken decided to break off a bit over halfway, and Tom (the leader) and his sidekick Herb went to go investigate an accident site with an overturned car. Dave H and I made it the rest of the way back to Etra Park by ourselves. I've been thinking the desertions were a Hill Slugs thing, but now I'm beginning to think that I'm the omen... I'll be looking for a ride I do where all the same people finish that started.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
- I only sweep on a ride that's rated a pace lower than I can steadily ride. I'm a B+ rider in most situations (I'll except a particular Saturday ride rated as a B+; I went on that once, and I wondered what that series of “clunking” noises was; it turned out to be me being successively dropped by pretty much everybody else in the group), and I'm pretty fast on uphills (my goal for this year is to reduce my terror on downhills). If I'm sweeping, I may need to sprint to catch up, or to speak to the leader, and I need the speed to do that.
- When I ride in the back, I like to keep at least one eye on the traffic behind, so I use mirrors: one on my glasses, and one on the handlebars. I am a right-wing, fascist mirror partisan. For my money, it's the mirror that is the real piece of safety equipment. The helmet only comes into play when it's already too late, when the accident has already happened; the mirror, properly used, might prevent the accident in the first place. (I know mirrors are a pain, and take getting used to. Clip-in pedals took some getting used to, but I got them to work OK!)
- I carry two bottles of water, a multi-tool with a chain tool and spoke wrenches, speed chain links, two tubes, a pump, and CO2 cartridges. Even though I haven't had a flat in over a year, I've gone through both tubes, one of the CO2 cartridges, and had to offer the use of the chain tool. I also keep the ride leader's cell number in my phone, if he has one.
- I am blessed with a voice that carries. This is useful when I'm announcing to riders in front that traffic has appeared behind us, or that I am taking the lane for a left turn, for example. (Don't get me started on riders who don't pull to the right when there's traffic behind...)
- I won't always be the last person on the ride, although I'll usually have a good idea where the last person is. I'll keep track of the people I pass, and wait when the opportunity is right to allow them to pass me again. It's rare that I drop people, and rarer that I lose them,
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I've had back pain the past several days, and chatted with the doctor about it when I saw him. He thinks some curvature there, and has ordered a couple of X-rays, but the Excellent Wife points out the problem: suppose they find something - what are they going to do? It's neither frequent enough nor intense enough to risk back surgery (I've worked in addiction for over a quarter of a century, and I've seen plenty of back surgeries with terrible outcomes), nor am I willing to take opiates or "minor" tranquilizers. I'll probably get the X-rays, but I probably won't do much about 'em. (Other than that, I appear to be in good health. My doctor is likely afraid to recommend too many things to me, because I weigh about half of what he does.)
So after I got home, and after the dryer vent guys left (about twelve minutes after they arrived). I got this ride in. I hadn't been down to that lower part in Princeton for years, and part of it's been repaved (yay!). It includes a nice, whippy down hill along Herrontown Road. I had hoped to go up to Colonial Park in Franklin Township (see the detour-lookin' thing at the top), but the road was closed; I risked a bit of it and then chickened out (I have rarely had successful interactions with constabulary; they are not my favorite people, and they generally make it clear that I am not on their list of who to buy Christmas present for, either).
Tomorrow, back to work, visiting Burlington County.Time to go figure out where I'm spose to be goin'.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Sunday, it turned out the birthday observances were later than initially expected, so I showed up for Winter Larry's ride (Laura OLPH had a ride scheduled, but I would have been back too late from that one). My back pain made itself known again; it was hard getting on & off the bike, and I've since been using one of the specimens in my cane collection (and isn't it sad that I have a cane collection?). Started with a still day and seven riders, and went off to Battleview Orchards on this route. Even before the break, we had one that wasn't keeping up, but I kept him in my mirror; I saw him at an intersection behind me where he MUST have seen us turn right... but the road curved, and he never came around the curve. Two of us went back to find him (that's that little appendix you see at the bottom left of the route at Perrineville), but he was gone. We figured alien abduction, perhaps. We left a message on his cell, but didn't hear from him again for the rest of the ride. I was cranky; he's only the second person I've dropped when I was trying to keep track of 'em. I spent the rest of the ride complaining to myself and pushing hard into the wind. Still, it was a good ride.
After I got back, I got an email from the other rider who had left the cell message: he'd heard back from the missing rider, who said he had called out he was turning left where we turned right. Yeah, like I could have heard that. Still, he got home OK, so I guess that's most important.
At the very end of the ride, the Garmin GPS turned itself off. I had charged it the night before, and it turned back on when I hit the button, and it connected the ride data, but if you look at the last little bit of the ride route, it looks like we're not keeping to the roads (which I assure you we did). I have the invoice saying I bought it in July; we'll see if problems continue. I'd like to be sure it's OK, but I also have a habit of making permanent solutions to temporary problems.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
The disks came (I bought one for Fedora 16 and one, just in case, for Ubuntu 11.10). When they came, they both appeared to have errors... drat! But the Fedora disk has a memory-check-at bootup facility on it, so, just for ha-ha's, I ran that... and came up with hundreds of errors.
I did a quick web search to find out how many errors were normal, and the number quickly came back: none. It seemed my memory was, in the words of a memorable Dixie-ite of my acquaintance, "low sick". Replacement memory was about $40 shipped, and came quick from Newegg. I popped it in, and the memory check facility showed no errors. Yay!
So between last night & today, I backed up everything and completely reinstalled the operating system (Fedora 16 again). The install went smoothly; the hard parts were the backup (I back up to three places, because I HATE losing stuff) and then resetting all the programs and utilities. Getting a computer set the way I like it takes hours: reinstalling all the keyboard shortcuts and macros, putting in all the special directories I save to, setting up the backup facilities... I'm mostly done, but I expect I'll find a dozen or so little things to do over the next few days.
Still, it's a great relief to find the (probable) solution to a number of things that have been wrong with this computer (other than the PEBKAC ones), and to have it fixed so inexpensively. Poor memory explains so many things that have been wrong - I wish I'd thought of it sooner.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Also from Tae Likes Bikes. I've been working my way through all of his posts over the past few days. Mostly bike porn, some personal info, some videos (I first found the "Sh-t Mountain Bike Girls Say" spoof there; I'll probably post that here sooner or later).