Wednesday, April 29, 2015

the bike you won't be able to ride

Yeah, that's a reversing-gear assembly in the steering. Push the handlebar left, the wheel turns right. It turns out you can't just jump on it and ride. In this article called You Won't Be Able To Ride This Bike on Nerdist, author Kyle Hill has some discussion about the video below:

Destin at Smarter Every Day has some thoughts about learning and brain plasticity in youth that I don't think will stand up to scrutiny, but I was impressed with his observation that knowledge does not equal understanding. (I wouldn't say it that way, but in the recovery biz, we've known for decades that knowing how to recover from addiction, or even knowing how not to relapse, is not the same as actually doing it.)

And no, I don't want one.

not me

Although there is a certain resonance, the guy in the background of this .gif is not me.

He's far too young, for one thing.

From today's Oddman.

Monday, April 27, 2015

still no pushups

In other news, I still wasn't able to do pushups this morning, as a result of my crash.

This is already old.

2015 tour de franklin (maybe last...)

I had a team set for the Tour de Franklin yesterday, but some complained of back pain, and others went on one of Tom H's "High Points" rides (he's planning to hit all the highest points in each county on rides this year, and I haven't been able to go on any of the rides yet), so my team was two: Dave H, and Raj N, a comparative newbie (at least to me) who I met at the Spring Fling the day before.

(I'm teaching a bike maintenance class, and one of my students came to ride the 40-mile ride. I heard she did fine. Here's Samantha S, below:)

Even with just the three of us, we got a bit of a late start (the TdF expects riders on the 100km route to depart by 7:30; when I've had big teams, we've often been the last to leave). We started out quite strong, and kept a good pace until the stop in Kingston. The route was different this year from the past few, whether for construction, safety, or just variety. WE blew off the stop at Six Mile, but we did stop at Kingston.

After the stop, I came up on someone who was struggling, and said, as I often do, "Car back! Keep your brains on!" I didn't mean any insult, but he took it that way, and I had to apologize to him. I noticed Raj and Dave chatting with him in my mirror, so I hope all was well with him after that.

WE kept on strong through the next stop, run by this young lady, who wins my award for friendliest rest-stop volunteer of the day. We can certainly do these rides on our own, but it's a lot more fun with the volunteers helping out.

Just before the stop at Six Mile on the way back, I started to bonk. As usual, by the time we got there, they had almost no food; I got a couple of starchy green bananas to fuel up with, but I was not strong on the way back. Raj and Dave did the pulling as we got back to the municipal complex on DeMott Avenue:

... where there was the usual baked ziti, but also sandwiches, and a table of veggie fare. I ate enough to make up for the bonk, and then some; I actually gained weight after this ride!

The Excellent Wife (TEW) and two of her friends did one of the shorter rides. Here they are lookin' all accomplished:

(TEW is turnin' into a real biker. She was complaining about slower riders and saying she could definitely have gone farther. I'm impressed with her, and beginning to worry a little bit.)

The GPS got wonky at the last rest stop, too, so I don't have a route-and-rate link. I asked the guys about our speed; we'd been above 16 for much of the ride, and finished about 15.8. The route was posted, but I found that the posted route, the cue sheet, and the road signs didn't always agree, and when in doubt, we went with the road signs. (We DID pass close to where I had the crash a few weeks ago... but I didn't stop back to see if I could find any parts of my face that I left there.)

This will probably be the last one I lead. The TdF management has asked to partner with the New Brunswick Bike Exchange to have a maintenance and tune-up station, and I'll probably plan to do that in future; my wrenches are gettin' itchy.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 princeton freewheelers spring fling

The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I decided that, for my first real ride after my crash, we'd go to the Princeton Freewheeler bike club Spring Fling and do a ride together. She had thought to do the C ride, but found it was to be a towpath ride instead of a road ride, and didn't think she wanted to try to keep a C pace on the towpath on a less-than-ideal hybrid (and she was right to think so; a report from a person who had done part of that ride confirmed her suspicion about the pace). So we decided to do the D+ ride to be led by Max F.

The spring fling is an all-paces-ride event, so we get to see people whom we seldom see, or seldom see together, so I made a point of getting pictures; I'll post a few here, but you'll really want to see my 2015 Spring Fling Album to get all of them. (Even that won't be all; I edited out the ones with the worst yawning-faces and whatnot.)

We started off with five: Max, TEW and I, and Donna and Kathy. We went up the Canal Road from the Kingston Masonic Lodge where the event started, but we were only a few miles along when Max noticed that his rear derailleur was stuck on the big gear. It seemed to be a problem in the shifter, which I could not fix on the road (or maybe at all). We were at a stop, and Max decided to ride ahead; we could catch up. We turned the curve where Suydam connects with Canal, and saw Max fall over. I didn't see any injury and Max didn't complain of any, but he decided to go back and gave the list to me to lead the rest of the ride. Shortly thereafter, Kathy remembers she'd left her lock under Max's car, and went to find him.

TEW, Donna, and I continued. We went up Canal, into Millstone, and over to Colonial Park, then (because this was NOW a Plain Jim ride), we went back by exactly the same route we'd gone up. When we got back, we saw Kathy, who said Max was OK, but he'd left (probably to take his bike to be serviced).

So TEW and I sat down to lunch and saw some old friends, and met some new people. I was sorry to see some folks (Joe M, John P) not riding. But we had a good lunch... and when the awards were to be given out, I was all for sneaking away, but TEW bade me stay. It turned out I won an award for leading the most D rides for 2014 (which only proved that there weren't many!

Some pics below as a teaser...

... but check out the rest on the 2015 Spring Fling Album.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

governor christie on marijuana

I work in substance-abuse treatment and prevention in New Jersey. This is a statement from my governor:


Pic from today's Oddman.

Monday, April 20, 2015

new brunswick ciclovia april 2015

Yesterday was the first of three 2015 Ciclovia days in New Brunswick, at which the cisty closes a route of several streest to cars, so that they can be used for bikes, skating, and who knows what. As for the past several, I went with tools to assist at a bike maintenance and repair station for the New Brunswick Bike Exchange, a project of PRAB. PRAB supports us partly by allowing us to use their van to transport stuff to the site (at the Ciclovia, the streets are closed, and I'd never get those stands and pumps in on my bike!).

PRAB also set up a site at the Ciclovia, and PRAB staffer Cuqui runs an all-day party, with music, toy giveaways, and who knows what else; they were on the other side of the van (with the speakers pointing away; still, sometimes conversation was difficult!).

WE probably attended to well over 100 bikes over the course of the day. Many, of course, just need tires inflated, but some need tubes changed; many needed simple adjustments, but I was able to fix several broken or missing brakes, and even was able to cut and re-route a brake cable on one youngster's BMX. They're mostly "toy-store bikes", with components that don't match well (and some of them have never been adjusted), and my contention is that if I can get those things to go, working on higher-end bikes, where the standards all match, is a piece of cake.

I rode in from home. Below is the new Krakow Monster, loaded up with a tool box and a blue bag I wear on my back (those are my morning bagels in the brown bag):

Below, Cuqui, settin' up to rock the neighborhood.

Wen Shu, below, was a volunteer from Rutgers. He was marvelously helpful; I'm still recovering from my crash, and he was great about helping to get bikes on the stands, bending to fill tires, and stuff. It wasn't glamorous work, and he did it in good humor.

Fellow volunteers Dan Brooks, left, and Thomas Hillman, rear, with Wen Shu. I haven't seen these guys in a while.


The young women in the green vests were high-school students who were also volunteers. They were great, especially with the little kids.

Below, Annie, in the pink sweatshirt, came along with Thomas. I didn't get to talk to her much.

It's a tiring day, but I love to do it. The folks are always so grateful (except when they're not!), and I get to play with bikes for a day. I'm starting to get good at it, too; I may have to go pro!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

he would have done it for free

I couldn't improve on that if I tried with both hands for a week. Original at today's Diesel Sweeties.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

on bicycles and friends

After my crash, as word got around to people with whom I ride, I got many wishes for speedy recovery, messages of support, and signs of sympathy. I was touched by the depth of feeling in many of them, and more than a little surprised by seeing who sent them. It appears more people have been concerned about me than I thought.

I know, though, that if I disappear from these people's lives -- for example, if I never get on a bike again, if I never see them on rides or at shared activities -- I will fade from their consciousness. I may not disappear entirely, but I won't have the presence that I do now. And as new riders come around whom I have not met, Plain Jim won't be part of the memory that all of these people share together.

It's not incumbent on others to remember me, or to reach out and be friends with me. Nor, do I think, is it my place to artificially insert myself into situations where I would not naturally be: for example, if I could no longer ride for some reason, it would be wrong for me to continue to show up at ride starts and PFW occasions to see people with whom I used to ride.

I would, of course, still like to see these people; one of the reasons I ride is to satisfy social needs. I choose to ride with the people with whom I ride because I like them, and because we go at a pace at which we can converse. (If you go back over past "Member Focus" articles in the PFW newsletter, you'll see that a number of them have tried rides at a faster pace than they liked, and have gone back to slower-paced rides for reasons similar to the ones I mentioned. And the chosen pace depends on the individual rider; there does not seem to be a pace where there is a cutoff: "Below this pace, chat; at this pace or faster, shut up and pedal".)

I'm going to look for ways to be in contact with my riding friends when I can't ride. I expect I'll be on the bike again in a month or less. But if I have another crash, or (perhaps) over another wet and snowy winter, I may suggest meeting for non-bike activities. If you have bike-y friends with whom you want to stay in touch, you may want to think about this, too.

(It's not enough to do this blog, or to email. There is some evidence that people benefit from in-person contact in a way that they don't from simple texts or email [those articles is not the one I was looking for, but they are the best I could find as I'm writing this].)

So, I hope to see you around... whether I'm riding or walking.

Friday, April 10, 2015

dratted luck

In other news, upon further investigation, I find that the front brake on the Yellow Maserati was bent in the crash. I've got a replacement on order.

The front rim was bent, of course, so I got a new one. During a bout of insomnia last night, I disassembled the bent wheel, and discovered the hub has a grind, and I can't open the hub to get to the bearings. So a new hub (and spokes, since the new hub is a different size from the old) is also on order. I had hoped to spend part of this weekend building a new wheel, but no such luck; instead, it's back to waiting for package delivery again.

New helmet, new tights, new outer jersey, new brake, new hub and rim. And I might need a new left control.

If I do, I might go with these from Gevenalle:

Gevenalle CX and Shimano STI comparison. from Gevenalle on Vimeo.

I like the fact that you can shift multiple gears at a time in either direction... and I like the bike-y weirdness of it. Plus, the whole group is under $325.

But I still can't do pushups yet, and I needed help getting the bikes onto the stands at the class I'm teaching at the New Brunswick Bike Exchange. I'm feeling old and weak. (We had to turn away two at the class last night; it was oversubscribed. If the current crop of students likes it, I'll do it again; I'll let youse know.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

not for my birthday, please

Yes, I've got a birthday coming up; yes, it's got a "0" in the second digit. But just don't do this.

From today's Oddman.

In other news, the road rash on my face is clearing up. The stuff that's usually covered by clothing is healing much more slowly, and the stitches come out tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

no future - or maybe...

I find it an eerie coincidence that today's Oddman ran this cartoon on the same day that Rand Paul announced his candidacy for the presidency:

However, later in the same post, there was this:

So there's hope.

Monday, April 6, 2015

two days later

Friend Dave C asked for a post-crash selfie:

Need another?

Can I sing the praises of that brace on my right wrist? I had have a wicked sprain, and that brace is keeping the wrist straight; I've been able to sleep with it the past two nights. I'm not back together yet (I took off work today), but that brace is helping a lot (although typing with it is troublesome).

Saturday, April 4, 2015

what the doc in the box said and did

You may want to read Laura OLPH's report on her blog about the ride today and my... uh... incident. We finally went to pick up my car, and while we were there, Laura persuaded us that I should get my wrist x-rayed to be sure that there's no fracture. There's not, but there is a wicked sprain, and I have a most picturesque wrist brace (that is actually helping quite a lot). I also have five stitches in the forehead, and a dramatic assemblage of road rash; I could model for Harvey Dent.

Laura thought my handlebar might be bent. It doesn't seem to be on first review, but I haven't given it a close look, nor have I tried the shifters. (The bar was twisted around to one side, but I was able to adjust the stem to fix that.)

I feel so stupid.

fall down go boom

On Laura OLPH's annual Chocolate Bunny Ride today, I hit a ridge in the roadway (I think) and fell on Amwell Road on the way to Milltown.  I have lacerations on my face (which didn't need them; I'm scary-lookin' enough), and on my shoulders and knees, and I seem to have sprained both wrists (the right is especially bad), although I can manage well enough to type this (it may be a while before I'm back to my pushup regimen, though). I took a shower after The Excellent Wife (TEW) got me home, and I've been bleeding profusely; I've ruined a number of towels and at least two tee-shirts (and, of course, the jersey, tights, and bandanna I was wearing are torn and bloody, and are going the way of hazardous waste).

An ambulance arrived, along with a police officer, shortly after I went down; my thanks to the Hillsborough EMS and police. They may have been called by a passing car; I did not call them, and they were on the scene quickly.

TEW was able to pick me up from near the accident scene. The worst part of the wait was being in the wind until she got there - it was colder than I expected.

I'll need a new helmet, tights, winter jersey, and a front rim for the Yellow Maserati. I can't tell yet if the controls are OK. The frame has a dimple, but I didn't find any cracks.

My first thought was that TEW was going to try to make me give up riding entirely (I did give up the motorcycle after the second accident in 15 months). That's not the case, but I haven't been able to persuade her that I wasn't riding beyond my ability by going out on such a windy day (I don't think the wind was a direct cause of the accident; I think I let my attention drift, and I may have been too close to the person in front).

I'm home now; I'm not bleeding (although TEW tells me I'll have an enviable shiner in a few hours), and I'm warming up. She will be going out for food later.

Mostly, I feel sorry and stupid. TEW's parents, The Excellent In-Laws, are ailing, and worrying about me is the last thing she needs right now.

Still, soon I expect I'll be ordering a new rim, and calling up Dave Kim for a new helmet.

It could have been worse.

the news

From Fox News to Alternet.  Even the weather sites and mail portals are devolving to this. It's all the same.

How are we going to know when there's really something to get concerned about?

Original from today's Oddman.