Thursday, March 29, 2012

the real reason for snakebite punctures

Cyclists have been told that a "snakebite puncture" occurs when a tire is underinflated, and the hard rim pinches the tube in two places as the wheel goes over an edge, such as a curb or the rim of a hole.


Here's the real reason for snakebite punctures:

Lord only knows where the original is from; I got it from

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

stylin' helmet accessory

Oh. My. Heavens.
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.
From Fohawx!.

Monday, March 26, 2012

into the teeth of the gale

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

cranky day

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:

It's a 1959 Jensen, beautifully restored. (I found it on BikePorn).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

big group, windy day, pleasant surprise

Early morning brought an email (in response to mine the night before) that the threatening weather was supposed to hold off until after we expected to be back, so Ira's ride was on for today. It's only late March, so few rides are planned; the weather prediction suggests tomorrow will NOT be good to ride; and Cranbury is a popular start, so we had 22 in the group. There was an eastish-northeastish wind that could not be ignored, and there was rain in the forecast for later today, so Ira kept us reasonably close to the start, with a stop in Clarksburg.

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!).

gotta be more to it

Yesterday I came across a video (that I can't find now) in defense of genetically modified foods (it made a pretty good argument too: for much of the world, the foods that are available don't provide adequate nutrients; GMO's provide a way for these folks to survive). Then today, I was stumbling around, and found this:

There's gotta be more to it than just organics and exercise...

(Original from Twenty-Two Words.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

old guys ride, with ride-to-the-ride

Today was one of my Wednesdays off, so I got to go out with the Old Guys. I've referred to these rides before, but perhaps a more complete explanation is in order (or perhaps not, but I'm doin' one anyway). A subgroup of the Princeton Freewheelers, a group of mostly retired men (although there are several women who show up more than just occasionally) ride three times per week (weather permitting) from local parks. The leader for all the rides is the same guy, although recently (perhaps because of the cold weather) I see that another rider is taking some of the leads. On Wednesdays, they leave from Byron Johnson Park in Allentown, NJ. Well, that's about ten miles away from Etra Park (the park they leave from on Mondays and Fridays), and, in order to get some extra miles in, there is a small group that rides from Etra Park to Byron Johnson Park, then does the ride with the bigger group, then rides back to Etra Park (if you look at the ride route, you'll see that string pointing northeast: at the top is Etra Park, and Byron Johnson Park as at the top of the middle loop).

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

just the four of us

Early grey weather must have scared off all the others, because at ride time this morning, Winter Larry only had Mark, Laura OLPH, and your correspondent. Larry had a couple of routes, but we went with the flatter of the two. We went down to see the Russian Churches, as we had done earlier in the season. On the way down, we passed the most picturesque horse (not a grey, but a blonde, shall we say?). Laura took a number of pictures on this ride; when she posts 'em, I'll link (but she's not as obsessive as I, at least about this stuff).

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:

One of the Russian churches:
(I love the bright gold, contrasted with the oxidized copper of the bells in that one.)

...and a picturesquely-tumbledown remains-of-a-house we passed today:

Go check out Laura's post.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

erin go bragh? slugs go up? jim go boom

St Patrick's Day! and I forgot to load the green bandanna on the bike for today's ride with the Hill Slugs. It was a ride of some incident, the least of which, I'm sure, was that I forgot to turn the GPS back on for about six miles after the rest stop - we weren't really cuttin' across all those back yards and farmer's fields after about mile 25.

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.

swift: when I come to be old

I was stumbling around the internet at oh-dark:30 this morning, when I came across a post from a site called Lists of Note; I went to the main site, which is a store of riches. Here's one from Dean Jonathan Swift (the site credits him with Gulliver's Travels, but my first thought of him is always A Modest Proposal), cautioning him of what to do and avoid in order to age gracefully. It's headed, When I come to be old:

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.
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.

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

incoming links! yay!

So guess who's got a link (at least temporarily) from the Bedminster Flyers Bike Club? My Charity Rides - Central NJ blog (see the news item dated 2/14).

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

after last summer's anchor house ride

A friend has finally figured out how to send the pics on her phone, and sent me this she took of me the day the Anchor House Ride got to QuakerBridge Mall last summer:

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?

(Thanks, Libbie!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

calamities of nature ends

Alas, this is the end of the Calamities of Nature comic. From the artist's accompanying blog post:
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...

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.

I'm sorry to see you go, Tony.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

email announcement of charitiy rides blog

I just got the email from the Princeton Freewheelers Bicycle Club with the link to my new "Charity Rides - Central NJ" project. Here's hoping:
  1. That it gets some more traffic, and
  2. That some people actually find it useful.
I've found some more rides; there are now about 17 listed, and I hope to be able to do about half-a-dozen this summer. I have a side goal for this thing, too, if it works out: I'd like to actually do every ride I list (before I shuffle off this mortal coil...), so I've gotta keep making enough cash to go on the expensive ones!

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.

mark leads for winter larry, and the finding of the holy grail

Winter Larry couldn't come out to lead today's ride, so Mark led for him. Mark only found out about this late last night, so he did yeoman service considering he didn't have much time to plan a new route; he decided to go to go close to Clarksburg, as we have often done, but to stop at a fairly clean and new Wawa, rather than some of the seedy locations we frequent. Flat ride, but mostly at a good clip, despite some slower folks being along. I had fun talking to some people I don't see often, and burned a few calories riding into the wind, and everybody who STARTED with us FINISHED with us, for heaven's sake...
...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

ubuntu on the netbook, & another cold ride

For all my raving about Fedora Linux (see here & here), it's been less-than-ideal on the netbook; the Atheros wifi card has been locking up, and there have been other minor problems. Now that I can get a decent copy of an install file, I decided to try Ubuntu 11.10 on the netbook again. So in the midst of an insomniac night, I got a new copy, verified the md5sum, and installed it on the netbook, did all the updates and installs... and lo and behold, it's running nicely and the wifi card doesn't lock up (at least so far). And it turns out the controversial Unity Interface is written on top of a partially crippled Gnome, so a number of my tricks and tweaks are working. (E.g., I like the old interface where you could keep files on your desktop; newer programmers evidently like a cleaner look - or maybe newer devices don't support that - in any case, it's disable by defaults, and you have to jump through a number of hoops to turn it on again, but I was able to do it in both Fedora and Ubuntu.)

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

on riding sweep

At the March 2012 Membership Meeting of the Princeton Freewheelers, I was given a gift for having swept on so many rides. One of the board suggested I might want to write something up about sweeping. Here's a draft: it's too long, but I don't know what I would cut out. (I got Dan Rappaport's permission before I used his name.) Let me know what you think.


A couple or three years ago, on my first ride back with the Freewheelers after a multi-year hiatus (that's another story, that won't be told here), I saw that there was a woman who had arrived late, who quickly fell to the back of the B-rated ride... and then continued to fall back, far behind most of the riders.

Now, I'm always lost; it's always safe to presume that Jim doesn't know where he is (that's the reason I don't lead rides). And I was afraid that if she got lost, she wouldn't know where to go, either (she didn't look like she was at the top of her game, so to speak). So I fell behind the rest of the group, so that I could see the group, and she could see me, and she wouldn't miss any of the turns.

I didn't know what it was called – I didn't even know it was anything anybody had done before – but that was how I got started sweeping on group rides.

I took to riding in the back, partly because in the earliest days of my return to riding it was easiest to learn the etiquette of group rides there, partly because I found some friendly people who like to ride in what I call the cheap seats, and partly because, as I got stronger, I found I liked to keep an eye on the folks in the back who appeared to be struggling. Or perhaps I could stay behind with someone who was making a mechanical adjustment, and then we could catch up to the main group together. Or perhaps I could sprint up to the leader and let him or her know that someone was replacing a tire, or was falling behind (and maybe it would be a good idea to allow that person to catch up when we got to the next stop sign).

Most of the time, I don't think the leaders always knew I was sweeping for them, unless I came up to tell them something, although on a few occasions I was surprised by a ride leader's offering of thanks for the sweep.

As I understand it, sweeping on a ride means I keep track of the folks on the ride, and make sure they're keeping with the ride and doing OK. If people ride off the front, it's clear to me that they have the strength to keep up and go where they need to (although their navigation may be suspect – I have gotten calls from riders who went off the front, rode to where they thought the next instruction was, and then got worried when the rest of the group didn't appear). I don't worry much about the folks who ride off the front. When I sweep, I help to see if someone is on a ride beyond his or her ability, or has a mechanical or tire problem, or a nutrition or hydration deficiency. When it works right, all the leader has to do is lead the ride: pick the route, maintain the pace, and make sure we're safe and having fun. I think that's enough for a leader to do, so as a sweep, I try to make sure we're all together, and also that we're mindful of traffic behind us (or sometimes, like when it's time to take a lane, that traffic is mindful of us).

Here are some of my “ride-sweep checklist” items:
  • 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,

At the March 2012 Freewheelers membership meeting, fellow rider Dan Rappaport suggested that any ride with more than ten appoint a sweep. I've been on rides with almost 30 riders (it is not unusual, at an All-Paces Ride, for the B-pace rides to have more that 25 riders, and I've seen that many on some C+ weekday rides). Most of the time, if I'm on the ride, and you're a leader who needs a sweep, you won't even have to ask. I'll be at the back, riding a little to the left so I can be seen (unless I see traffic behind). I'll see you when we get to the next T-stop, and I'll let you know how the folks back there with me in the cheap seats are doing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

back pain, a windy solo 30 miles, and other complaints

Today was one of those Wednesdays off, and (hoping for inclement weather) I made an appointment for my annual physical and to have the dryer vent cleaned (a biennial requirement of the condo association - grump, grump: while it's true that the single largest cause of condo fires is dryer vents, it's also true that the raw number of such fires is pretty low, so I think it's an undue burden. But I'm on the board, and woe betide if I were the one to suggest we remove the requirement, and then there were to be a dryer-vent fire ever thereafter...). Alas, sunny and mid-60's today, so I really missed having the ride with the Old Guys this morning.

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

unexpected ride opportunities

This weekend was the in-laws' montstroboso 5-birthdays-in-March celebration, which was set for Sunday afternoon, and all week I'd been seeing rain predicted for Saturday, so I wasn't sure I was going to get ANY riding in: grump, grump, grump. And sure enough, Saturday started out grey and wet, but after my post-lunchtime nap, I awoke to sunny skies and surprisingly warm, so I got a quick 20 miles up to Colonial Park in Franklin, NJ. The GPS wasn't working (more later), but I was pretty fast, and a backache which had made its presence known earlier in the day was much improved by the speedy ride.

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

bike porn

From Tae Likes Bikes, a Tumblr blog (the original is bigger there):

Oh, sweet heaven, there is not much wrong with that. Brushed metal, lugs, paint around the lugs, and a beautifully-machined brake. Had we but world enough and time...

(stuff) mountain bike girls say

This is a spoof on the genre of the "shit XXX-folks say" video, as well as on the image some male riders have of female riders. I'm sure the girls in the video are having fun with it, and I'm just as sure that the women riders I know are nothing like this... or they wouldn't ride as much, or as well, as they do. But the video is fun. German, with änglische subtitles:


may have fixed a computer problem

For both of the operating system upgrades in the past year, I've had problems with the main computer. Recently, I've also noticed other problems (mostly that my .epub program, Calibre, wouldn't load). I decided to try a reinstall of the operating system again, but this time, I would buy the disks from On-Disk, seller of many CD's & DVD's, mostly freeware or inexpensive utilities, which they make up for the cost of the disks an many cases. I'd had problems burning my own and thought that this would solve the problem.

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

another bike diagram

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).