Thursday, August 30, 2012

role reversal

My eight-months-widowed mother moved a thousand miles away from her whole life, and every friend she's had for the past twenty-five years, after my father died, placing herself in a supported apartment near the home of my sister and brother-in-law in Buffalo, NY, seven hours away from The Excellent Wife (TEW) and me.

Last week she complained about some gastrointestinal distress that did not get better, so my sister spent all day in the emergency room one day getting mother into the hospital.  It turned out she required gall-bladder surgery, and mother is now in a rehab for recovery from the surgery. During the hospitalization, and since then, my sister has provided support, interpretation with hospital staff (sister works in a doctor's office, so she speaks a bit of hospital), and numerous other services for mother.  Mother's responses to her have ranged from gratitude, to (apparently) wishing to die, to demanding that my sister give up her whole life and care for mother exclusively. Sister, of course, is confused, angry, bewildered... showing signs normally associated with PTSD.

Mother's behavior, and my sister's responses, indicate to me that they have switched the roles that we normally associate. Mother has been acting the child, and my sister is acting the adult. Under the circumstances, I'm suggesting that my sister set some limits with mother, and I have told my sister that I will support her in whatever he does (I have every confidence that she will not do anything evil, although she may make mistakes - and, when she does, I have every confidence that she will fix them).

At the time of my father's funeral, my mother called me one morning at 5:30 am demanding I be there for the period she stated. I agreed to do so, because of the funeral, but I resolved at that time not to accept unacceptable behavior from her anymore. When she acts like an adult, I will treat mother like an adult. When she does not, I will treat her as her behavior warrants. I hope my sister can do the same.

TEW has shown me some family dynamics which appear to describe our family (and which are not appropriately discussed in this space). I'm glad to have TEW's independent observations and interpretation; it makes my resolve a little bit easier to maintain - and, I expect, setting limits with mother, and keeping to them, will ultimately mean improved relationships all around.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

charts that won't work

The title of the article is, "Three Charts To Email To Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law"

They won't work.

People, including me, don't vote on facts. We vote on how we feel. These charts, and most others, won't change that for most people.

I can think of only one instance where facts have changed my position, and that's unemployment insurance: I believe it really should be limited, because a study (that I cannot now find) shows that many people will avoid finding work until they have to. I have never seen any good evidence that people change their minds based on facts; we believe what we want, or what the people with whom we associate (or want to associate) believe, or we believe what we are paid to believe.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

in which john w is bugged

OK, today's route needs some explanation:

I was planning to do Bruce K's early ride, so I drove to Plainsboro to park at Cliff H's office and ride into Cranbury. When I got there, though, there wasn't time enough to get to Bruce's ride... so I set the GPS to lead me a route from Cliff's office to Etra, from which Gary W's ride would be leaving an hour later. And while the GPS gave me great directions (there's a pretty part of the route right through Hightstown), I forgot to set the timer, so that part of the route didn't register (which is why the route starts at Etra Park - D'OH!). By the time I got to Etra, I had loads of time before Gary's ride was to start, so I decided to look for the beginning of Aggress Road, which has some of the few hills to be found in this area. Instead, I found the beginning of the Assunpink hill (that's that out-and-back to the south of the route). Then back to Etra.

Gary led us a route through Perrineville, Monroe, and up into Jamesburg, where we stopped at the excellent Mendoker's Bakery, full of food without redeeming social value, appealing solely to the prurient interest. Gary had given us a choice of stopping there, or at a Wawa on Cranbury Road. We decided to stop at both, because while the comestibles were delightful at the Mendoker's, there was not (ahem!) plumbing available.

Then on towards South Brunswick. It was the closest to home I've ever been on a group ride!  On this part of the route, John W had some kind of bug fly into his mouth and get stuck there; had had a very tough time getting its remains to go either down or up - we rode a bit, stopped for him, rode a bit more, stopped for him to cough and spit. We offered to send for an ambulance, but John knew it was a temporary problem, and it was... but he was obviously having no fun until it passed.

A beautiful day; not hot, clear, some few clouds in the sky. Some headwinds on the way back. A few of the riders were a bit tired by the time we got towards the park, some went off on their own to be home on time. I rode back from Etra to Plainsboro where the care was parked (that part DID register), so I actually did about 7 more miles than the route shows. A great ride. Now back to work tomorrow; the coworker is off because her kids are out of camp, and school doesn't start until next week.  (Laura OLPH tells me that Laurel, who was on yesterday's ride, also bike-commutes, over the same route as she, to the next building to hers. I'm looking forward to more news from Laura/Laurel on that.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

laura's posts

Laura OLPH has already put up her post about today's ride, which includes a few pictures. We had gotten to talking about my editing pictures in GIMP, and my delight with one of hers of canoes from last week. She edited it, but I wanted it cropped even more - so that it looks like this:

To me, the interesting stuff is the canoes, not the sky and grass, so I chopped them out.

She also got a neat one of the ridges from Cider Mill Road. I went a little nuts with that, playing with the brightness & contrast:

That one might wind up as a computer desktop photo, with a little more work.

seven women, two men ride

Slow ride today; I was sweeping a hill newbie. I gotta give her credit; she had a lot of courage to get through it all; I hope she comes back.

The ride was chiefly notable to me because it had seven women and two men (Blake and me). I don't remember all the women's names; Cheryl led, of course, and Laura OLPH, Erin, Jen-the-triathonner, and Laurel, a geology prof at Princeton... and two others, a younger woman from Canada via California, who was rippin' up some hills (was her name Vanessa?), and a part-time Kentucky, part-time Jersey resident whose name, despite her telling me, is simply gone. (Sorry...)

This route.Most of the hilly stuff was in the second half. Cheryl said she got 3000 feet of climb, but Garmin says 2729 and Strava says 2485. Much prettiness (which we made a point of looking for). Laura got a picture or two; check out her post in a few days (she doesn't get her posts up as quickly as I, but she's much more detailed, and her memory of what went on is much more reliable).

Now back; doing the last-minute cleaning of the house before the in-laws come to inspect the new kitchen and other recent upgrades. Hopin' for no rain, so I can go on Gary W's ride tomorrow.

Friday, August 24, 2012

dave c's first ride

Dave C says this was his first bike:

Nice. Chrome fenders, two-tone saddle with matching bag, contrasting chain-guard. Nice.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

pics from the tired, aching ride

In the post about my achy, tired ride, that I was probably too worn out to do, from last weekend, I said I'd steal some pictures.

Laura OLPH has her post up.

Go check it out.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

old guys ride, many loops, long way home

Shortly after I sent an email yesterday asking if there would be one, Erich sent out his email inviting us to the ride-to-the-ride for today's Old Guy's Ride. Dennis W, the usual leader, couldn't be there, so Ira S led us today. He wanted to use the shorter route for the McBride Ride, but that was a bit too short, so he led a short loop first - then back to the starting park - then the McBride loop (more of less) - then back to the park.

After the ride, Lynne M led a mutiny of the ride-to-the-riders, and took a different, somewhat longer route back, which recapitulated some the the route we'd done (Erich and Al L were, I think, the only ride-to-the-riders who went straight back).

Here's the route. You may not want to play it in the player, you might get dizzy.

I chatted with Bruce K at the break. The rumor was he had retired, but it sounded more like he had been forced out, although he seems to be OK financially and have a good plan for how to proceed. And, frankly, he looked better than I ever remember seeing him. Whether it's retirement or unemployment, it looks good on him.

Tonight and tomorrow are the memorial service and funeral for the late Frank Angelucci. Several of the Old Guys were talking about attending the obsequies (or explaining why they would not). I did not know him well, or the family at all, although I wish them well, and they are in my thoughts.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

a club member has died

Freewheeler Frank Angelucci has died. See a pic, video, and his "Member Focus" on Laura's Blog.

tired, aching, gun-shy ride

After both of the rides I wanted to do were rained out yesterday, Laura OLPH decided she would do Tom H's Lake Nockamixon Loop today, and after discussing the options with The Excellent Wife (TEW), I decided to go on this ride, today, too.

I probably should not have; my back has been achy, and my left knee was a bit pained after overdoing it yesterday. And about six miles in, on a stretch of Callowhill that couldn't have been a tenth of a mile long (but had a grade of about 20%), somebody crossed my front wheel, and, to avoid them, I went into the oncoming lane to the other curb. Luckily, there was no traffic, but I didn't have the energy to ride the bike up the rest of the way from a standing start on that grade, so I walked it up to the crest. For the next several miles, I was gun-shy about getting too close to someone in front on an uphill.

That said, on this fairly hilly route (Garmin only gives me credit for 2300 feet of climb, but one of the other riders had over 3000 before the last five miles), I didn't do badly:14.4 average and top speed 33.6. Blake, Dave C, and Tom H also went

The lakes are beautiful, and there was a nifty old lady (from somewhere in England; Dave C, who's also English, and she were trading "do you know about" stories) who knew all about the history of Lake Nockamixon, and about sailing on it, and told us about it in a most entertaining manner (although my back was complaining that I shouldn't have been standing up that long). Both that lake and the lake at the Peace Valley Preserve are artificial. Tom and Laura both got pictures, and I'll link or steal them when I can.

But my knees and back are tellin' me it's time to take a day off. (In other news, I have 2,995 miles in for the year, already!)

left-wing idiot

I'm no longer the leftest-wingest person I know. But this guy's so far to the left that he may, actually, be leaving earth's gravitational field. He wants to nationalize Facebook.

Oh, please.

Not that the rebuttal on Forbes.Com is much better.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I couldn't decide which ride to do today: it was between Don S.'s Belmar Century (slogan 1: "The shortest distance between two points has nothing to do with the way we go to Belmar"; slogan 2: "Slow and steady gets you back with enough energy so you don't fall asleep on the drive home"), and Laura OLPH's Pennington to Round Valley Reservoir ride, but I didn't have to decide - due to rain this morning, Laura cancelled her ride, and Don postponed his for a day.

Instead, The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I, after a leisurely morning (and where's that "I before E" rule in that word "leisurely, huh?), went out to see Paranorman in 3D. It's a nifty stop-motion story about a kid who sees ghosts, and it's got themes in it (as TEW pointed out to me) that are topical to bullying and Columbine. (But it is, first and foremost, a good story.) We went to the 9:45 am show like the budding senior-citizens we are. On the way back, TEW and I were discussing whether I should get a supply of t-shirts that ask, "Where's my d-mn Senior Discount?", or whether I should just have it tattooed across my forehead.

By the time we got back, the sun was out, so I got in this ride. And how come the average is 19.3 on that page (Garmin), but 19.4 on Strava?

Tomorrow, I hope to do Tom H's Lake Nockamixon ride, if I can find the starting point by 8:30 am.

I'd better leave by 6.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Over the past few months, my car radio has taken to spontaneously changing stations, changing the volume settings, or both. Over the past few weeks, the automatic garage door has developed a problem closing: it will sometimes close partway, then reopen (we left it that way for over a day once, without realizing).

I'd blame this on poltergeists, if I believed in such things, but there's a more likely explanation. I suspect that the radio has to do with the dodgy bluetooth connection with my phone, or some such (there's also the possibility of a conflict between the stereo controls on the dash, which are intermittently unresponsive, and the controls on the steering wheel, which are more reliable). As for the garage door, I took it off the automatic closer and moved it up and down, and there is an increased resistance at two points of the travel. I increased the force of the motor, and it seems to be OK now.

It's a relief to live in a world that responds to science, investigation, and laws. But it's also a bit of a disappointment: sometimes it would be more romantic to live in a Harry-Potter-esque world of magic, enchantment, and fantasy. Of course, as I remember, the magicians had no idea how an airplane works.

Technology is technology, whether it's wifi or oculus reparo.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ezra jennings on divisiveness

Jennings said, "So now Mitt Romney is trying to take the higher moral ground, complaining that the Obama campaign is 'about division and attack and hatred'. He sounds like the Democrats in 2010."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

ezra jennings on another typical republican

Jennings said, "So Paul Ryan is trying to get cred from his self-made, hard-knock existence? His family owns Ryan Incorporated Central, a huge corporation, started by a great-grandfather. And by the company's own admission, they made much of their money, in the first 60 years, from highway construction - public projects.

"And his father died when he was young. So from the time his father died until he turned eighteen years old, Mr. Ryan got Social Security Survivor Benefits - the same benefits he now wants to forbid to everyone else."

Jennings continued, "I stand by my earlier comment about Republicans.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

3-club super-century

The title of my email to Laura OLPH included the phrase "dumb (i hope) question".

Laura had had the idea of hooking up with the Philadelphia Bike Club's 74-mile ride from Etra Park to Belmar today. We contacted some Hill Slugs, including the "Boys in the Hood", some members of the Central Bucks Bike Club who all live close to one another, and suggested that we make it a century (a 100-mile ride) by riding to Etra from the Mercer Park. Sounded good to me.

By Saturday morning, it occurred to me that Laura would plan to ride one of her bikes from home to the Mercer Park. So I emailed her to ask. It turned out she did plan to ride from home. I had visions of her, exhausted after riding over 100 miles, riding home on her own. Chivalry would not allow that, so I invited myself along for the ride with her. (She was happy for the company, but even if she had not been, I might have boorishly tagged along, anyway).

I got to Laura's house at some ridiculous hour this morning; if she'd had a rooster, I would have had to wake him up. After a plumbing break and bike setups, we rode to Etra, where we picked up Jack H, and the Boys in the Hood: Dave C, Shawn R, and Rich B. From there we rode to Etra.

Etra was a little crazy; there were 22 riders to Belmar. I offered my sweep services to Philly club leader Linda (who accepted with grace). I met Darryl, who had been one of my roommates on last year's Anchor House ride, he gave me a couple of CO2 cartridges (he doesn't use them), and we had some conversation.

We went via this route.As is common with a group that size, there were faster riders off the front, and slower riders (including the "Boys") in the back. My sense of the time and distance was off from the miles I'd ridden prior to the start of the official ride; by the time of the first rest stop, I was ragged and ready for some Gatorade! I kept the back of the group mostly together, and I think Linda was glad of my services; she waited at a few stops to make sure I could report that the folks in the back were there (well, I was gratified!). At one point, I got by her, she mentioned I was so trim, and I offered to put on a bit of weight for the next time I swept for her, but she indicated that she thought that was unnecessary.

Belmar was entertaining. The influence of the "Jersey Shore" show was in evidence, in the attitudes and fashions (and some of the people with the attitudes and fashions did not appear to have the physiques to justify them). Food is, of course, expensive. There was a substantial legal presence out today, but we went unhindered, and we got up to see the Shark River inlet before heading back. One of the Philly guys pulled a spoke and messed up a wheel true; we opened his brake so he could make it home. Then Shawn had a flat, which he fixed quickly, and we only had about four or five on the advice committee.

We stopped in Farmingdale again, and the group split up; some stayed, some wanted to go farther to a stop. I went with Laura, and we almost left behind Rich and Shawn. We got them but got separated again; I did a turn back (and added a couple miles, I'm sure) when I didn't see any of the people I'd left with (I was feelin' strong and showin' off at about 80 miles, and Rich also had a flat he fixed).  Laura, "the Boys", and I stayed together for the end of the ride; we stopped at Etra to see if Jack H was waiting for us (he'd gone off ahead, and he wasn't waiting), then to Mercer again to drop off the "Boys".

The Excellent Wife (TEW) had called to make sure I was still alive during this last leg of the trip. I knew I didn't want to hang around at Laura's for long, because TEW might be nervously waiting (I shouldn't have worried; when I got home she was napping, which suggests that her worry level was low to nonexistent), so I refilled one of my water bottles and drove home.

Good ride. Don S has his Belmar Century next week, and I'm likely to do that one, too, barring weather, insurrection, or the Zombie Apocalypse.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

short, fast ride, & museum visit.

The weather prediction is iffy today, so The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I opted to try to get to see Measure for Measure at the NJ Shakespeare Festival, but when she tried to get tickets, there were no good places available. I had gone to bed last night by the time she tried, and woke up to an email from her to that effect (we have interesting communications styles for a more-or-less happily-married couple). Instead, we decided to go see the Michener Museum in Doylestown today.

That means leaving the house at about 12:30 pm. She went to see a movie this morning. I hate being stuck in movie theaters (I have none of the same qualms about live plays; crazy is as crazy does), so I didn't go. Instead, I did a quick ride from home, down Canal Road to 518 and back. Just about 20 miles, 20.1 average before the cool down. I bonked a bit; I didn't really have it in me to go that hard, and I couldn't have done the hill at Coppermine Road at all today.

Laura OLPH is planning to join the Bike Club of Philadelphia on a ride to Belmar from Etra tomorrow; with an early start and an adjusted start location, we can make a century out of it. I'm planning to do that, so I'm not feeling cheated about today's short ride - and an occasional unplanned date with TEW helps to keep the marriage wheels turning smoothly, as well.

If the Michener museum is cool, I'll update later.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

triumph over what

I stumbled over this page this morning, and saw this from the ReflexStock.Com blog:

If chaos is your society's problem, that may be true. In our society, we need to triumph over regimentation. We need to triumph over the mundane. We need art for that.

Original from Master88 at Deviantart.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

weather changes & separation ride

Erich sent out his usual ride-to-the-ride invitation for today, calling for a 7:40 departure from Etra to arrive at Byron Johnson Park in Allentown by the planned 8:30 start of the main ride. I drove through fog to Etra, and when we left, it had not lifted. I turned on my saddle light to let the traffic behind know of our existence, and rode in the back for the ride to Allentown, as moisture collected on my glasses and dripped from my rear-view mirror. Besides Erich and me, there were Bob W, Spence, Mary F, and Steve and his daughter (Marci? Marcia? My memory fails...).

Once at Allentown, Al P led us (in Dennis's absence) on a route similar to one we had done two weeks ago (see the entire route, including to & from Etra). The fog eventually lifted, and the day didn't get hot until we were nearly back. We totaled eighteen riders, including one who got the time wrong and drove into the parking lot at about 8:34 as we were pulling out!

We stopped at the Olde World Bakery in Mt Holly (not Pemberton, as I wrote last time), and, on the way back, Steve's new saddle slipped out of adjustment, so the group stopped while Steve paid some attention to it. As we were leaving, Luciano discovered that a staple had used the opportunity to puncture his tube... but by the time he noticed it, most of the group had left. Six of us stayed with Luciano, and leader Al P came back...  but now we had two groups, out of communication with each other.

We wound up with three groups; those of us who had stayed with Luciano met with most of the fast group back at Allentown, but Erich, Marci, and Mary F were not there. There was some fretting and concern, and calls (that went unanswered) to Mary's cell phone, but a few minutes later, up they rolled, after having taken a slightly longer route (and Marci would have her first metric century by the time the seven of us extra-milers rolled back to Etra).

Then home to washing the sheets and towels, and some high drama after putting too much stuff in the washing machine and having to make a plan to deal with it without dripping all over the new laundry floor (and incurring the ire of The Excellent Wife). All is well now, but there was laundry suspense for a while there!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

bruce gordon bikes gallery

Oh. My. Stars... but I like beautiful, handmade bicycles.

You can keep your carbon fiber anything. If I could afford one of those carbon fiber superbikes, I'd turn around and buy something like this instead. Custom lugs, old-fashioned drillium, fluted cranks (all modern cranks look the same, and they're all ugly - time was when the Campagnolo stuff was beautiful as well as technologically superior; I'm not sure that either are still true). Yummy,

Got 'em from the Bruce Gordon Custom Bikes gallery; go check it out.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

lying to ourselves

I work in addiction treatment and prevention. This was on PostSecret today:

One of the hardest times for parents going through treatment is when they realize that this was a lie they told themselves.

And if you aren't checking out PostSecret every week, you probably should be.

post event ride

Gary W and his wife did the century, the 100-mile ride on the Princeton Freewheeler's Event yesterday. I'm not sure he thought of that when he agreed to lead today (ride leaders make the commitment three to eight weeks in advance, I understand), and he was complaining of the pain in his legs, and warning of the slower-than-usual pace he planned before we left today to do this ride.

The map might need some explanation: I drove to Bagel Street in Plainsboro, then parked behind Cliff H's office in the office condos adjacent, and rode to Etra Park for the start (that's the route cutting across the middle, towards the little loop below Twin Rivers, towards the southeast on the map, which is Etra Park).  Then we did the route Gary picked, stopping at Pierre's in Monmouth Junction, way up north, then went back, and I retraced my route (mostly) back to Cliff H's to get the car. I figure the ride was about 42-43 miles, and my ride to and from the car was on top of that.

I thought I'd have to pull the whole way today, since Gary, his wife Donna, and Dave H had all done the century yesterday (the other riders were Dianne, Sherman [whom I don't think I've met before], treasurer Peter F [who didn't get to ride the Event yesterday; he was taking care of the finances], and Don S - and me, of course), but it sure didn't work out that way. I kept waiting for Gary to slow down, and he kept saying he thought his legs were about to give out, but I bet we were less than ten miles from the end (and into a stiff headwind) before he really slowed down. Don't let my average fool you: I was staying back with the slower riders, and the hotshots were up front waiting at several of the stops. These guys are tough! (Bob W and a woman I don't know came to the start, but left to do their own ride; I suspect hearing us complain about how tired we were might have put 'em off. )

We don't go in that direction much; there were a number of roads new to me (I knew that even though I'm always lost) and a few intersections I recognized, and then immediately I would lose my orientation when we'd turn in a new direction, onto a road with which I was unfamiliar from driving. These roads are also pretty, and I hope to do more up in this direction - there might be places I could ride from home!

Thanks, Gary. I'm impressed. (And how, exactly, do you pronounce your last name?)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

neat photo

I was taken with one of the photos I got for the previous post; I edited it a bit, and set it up as a desktop image for my 1600x900 monitor:

That's a bit too busy for a computer desktop (it's hard to see the icons), so I lightened it up. If you have any interest, I've made 'em available for download: get the original picture, or the lightened one I'm now using for my desktop. (Open in new tabs, of course.)

Edited in GIMP.

event volunteers, tew & i

I agreed to volunteer again at one of the rest stops for the Princeton Freewheelers Event again this year. Seven rides, ranging between 20 and 100 miles, were laid out, and the stop at which I was posted last year was the first on the longer rides. I asked for, and got, a post at that stop again. The Excellent Wife (TEW), in a bid to have a date with her husband, agreed to come out and volunteer at the site as well.

Because it's the first stop, and because riders start early, we agreed to get to the stop by 7:30. The first rider came by not much later, long before we were set up, and explained that he had ridden from home and expected to meet his team there (he must have noted th look of chagrin on our faces!).

We got to work. I didn't get all the last names... are Bill, another volunteer, and Al K, location captain.

Above are TEW, on the right, and Ron S, newly back from his accident (note the air cast on his left arm).  He told me he is deciding whether to try to resuscitate his bike, or buy a new one.

There's Cheryl M cutting up some bagels. (I did not obtain a photo of myself.)

The church is gracious to us; they provide their location, which includes a pavilion, and the use of some folding tables. Three of these were stored in the rafters of the pavilion, and may not have seen use since we used them last year; they were that dusty (TEW's clothing my not recover from the dirt from working at one of those tables).

The official count was something under 800 riders, although I was sure we had over 1,000. Here's a photo before I got too busy pouring water and mixing Gatorade to use the camera:

It's pleasant to be a support to rider friends, some of whom have never seen me in civilian clothes (some may not have recognized me until they heard that distinctive Long Island accent). I saw people I have not seen in months; some since last year's Anchor House ride, another in several years (since two or three jobs ago!). 

It's a hard day; hours on our feet (we brought lawn chairs, but between the busy-ness of the stop and the others getting to them first, I did not get much opportunity in them), and while there are bagels, fruit, and granola bars to eat, there is not a real lunch. We were done by about noon.

I was exhausted. I got a nap in this afternoon; I woke up, tried to get a short bike ride in (I got rained on), and I still don't feel well. Here's hoping the weather and my health hold for Gary W's ride tomorrow - he and his wife rode the 100 mile "century" today, and I'm, frankly, jealous!

the excellent wife changes a tire

The Excellent Wife (TEW) is trying to build up her bicycle skills to the point that she can do a group ride (I've promised her that when she is able to do a "D" ride of about 20 miles, I'll lead at least one so she gets the opportunity).  Her rear tire has gone flat a couple of times in the past week, and, with some reluctance, she offered that she wanted to learn how to change it herself.

We set last evening for the time. We had the replacement tube on hand, as well as her mini-pump and bike toolkit. We went through all the procedures: putting the chain on the smallest cog and chainring, opening the brake, removing the rear wheel, removing the tire and tube. She blew up the tube a bit to give it some shape, and was able to get the tire back on, one bead at a time, without using her tire levers.

The mini-pump almost stopped her. She pinched a finger in a poorly-designed handle, and then couldn't get much pressure in (because she doesn't have the arm strength). When I talked to her about CO2 cartridges, she acted as if I were holding out the secret of eternal youth: d-mn the expense, it's still way better than the mini-pump! (I've got to get her a better system than the screw-on one she now has, though).

She's going to have some difficulty with the chain routing when putting the rear wheel back on (which is, admittedly, confusing; it took me a while to catch on, too). But it did seem like she got the hang of the quick release, and about how much resistance it should have when closing. I'm sure she feels more competent, and, with some patience, she'll be able to do it when she has to. And perhaps she'll be a little more confident about riding with others.

old school

Like you could EVER do this on an "ordinary"*:

Original from Oddman. I have no idea where he got it; probably neither does he.

*Actually, it's apparently the kind of thing that happened frequently, which is why the current, same-sized-wheel bikes we use now are called "safety" bicycles. The problem is not the stunt, but the recovery...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

minimalist track bike

Now I see the attraction of track bikes. If there were cheesecake pics of bikes, this would be one.

Get the full-size one. I got it from StumbleUpon, so I have no idea of the source.