Sunday, December 31, 2017

end of the year

Between another activity that's frankly, none of your business, and being sick, and working like crazy, and not much riding, it's been a while since I posted.

I don't do New Year's resolutions (I don't do much on New Year's; as a person in addiction recovery, we refer to it a "amateur night", when all the amateurs go out and try to prove they can party). We'll be going to The Excellent Mother-In-Law's today; tomorrow, I'll work the holiday, which is a "gimme" for a person in recovery with no kids (see previous sentence).

Work will be tough, though; due to some less-than-ideal planning we had a large number of clients whose coverage ended and had to be renewed for 1/1/17. We issue a 366-day authorization, so they come up again on 1/2/18. I 'spect I'll be busy tomorrow.

The illness is probably flu; I've heard that the flu sibyls didn't guess right this year, and the variant that's going around is not one against which the protection was included in the vaccine cocktail I received. Still, the conventional wisdom is that the vaccine will mitigate the virulence of the attack, and that seems to be the case for me; there were only a couple of days on which I couldn't work, and one of those was a scheduled day off. I wake up coughing and have to drink water (the air is SO dry, and the humidifier keeps TEW awake), but that's about the worst of it.

TEW is also under the weather, so there's a small amount of disorder about the house. It makes her nuts, but it's so much better than my place was in my bachelor days that I don't even notice.

Here's wishing you a pleasant New Year's celebration. Get home safely, and don't be too stupid. Stay warm. Let's keep in touch, OK?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

bike is wounded; healing to come

On that last ride, the Yellow Maserati fell over, and did something damaging to the right shifter; the brake lever disengaged. I fixed it enough to get home, bu it hasn't been right. I was examining it today, and the plastic housing that holds the fulcrum pin for the brake lever just came apart in two pieces.

The pictures show the broken plastic pieces, the lever-shifter assembly, and the fulcrum pin. Boo-hoo.

Now, this is the set from those great Gevenalle shifters that I just love. They have a rebuild service for under $40. But wait...

I know from my researches that they are just rebuilding existing parts, and that sure looks to me like a Tektro lever. Well, there's a Tektro 520 that might fill the bill... and an examination of the lever assembly shows the number 520 molded into the inside of the lever. Hmm.

A SET (both sides) of the Tektro 520 levers is only about $27 online. And they're available from one of the online shops where I do a lot of business. I can just buy a new lever, pop out the fulcrum pin, replace the lever, and mount and go. Even expecting some problems, it should only be a couple hours work.

And working on the bike for a couple hours? Now THERE's a crisis.

The order's already in. The worst part will be waiting for the shipping at this time of year.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

hill slug flat ride (hah!)

Yeah, it's been a minute since I posted anything, huh?

Well, between another activity that's none of your business, and no recent rides or bike-related news, and my inability to post anything political without devolving into grunts and profanity, there hasn't been much to say (although I'm very disappointed in the complete lack of critical thinking shown by some of my relatives in their political news gathering).

Enough of that. There WAS a ride today.Laura OLPH sent an email around to The Usual Suspects about her plans for a road ride on either Saturday of Sunday if weather permitted, and trail rides if they were better options. But Friday's snow precluded a ride yesterday (good thing; it turned out the auxiliary battery in The Excellent Wife [TEW]'s Prius needed an emergency change, so that was my chore yesterday).

Today, however, was better. I met Laura at her house at 9:30 (almost missed it; no lights were on and I was late-ish, and I thought she'd left without me), and we rode to the ride start at Twin Pines. Laura had neither a route, a distance, or a stop in mind; we thought we'd go and see what the roads were like. The one rule was not to go into the Sourlands where there was more likely to be ice on the roads. That implied a flatter ride, which was OK by me!

Eight of us started: Laura and I (of course), Joe M, Chris C, Andrew A, Ricky G, Dave H (does he even ride this side of route 1?), and Peter G, the first time I've seen him on a bike since knee surgery.

The day was cold and a bit damp, with cloudy skies.

I don't remember where these were:

We did bobble about. I know at one point (it might have been Titus Mill at 31) we went left where Laura would have gone right

We wound up doing more hills than I would have thought. Some of the downhills were a bit concerning; I didn't see ice on the road, but it was cold enough that it was a possibility.

We stopped at Boro Bean in Hopewell, where Dave couldn't decide if he was better staying out or in; he finally ensconced himself in a corner easy chair.

Bike pics:

Below: Laura names her bikes after Muppet characters, and keeps a mascot on the seatbag. Which bike did she have today?

...and Chris is not only unafraid of colorful tights; even his saddles don't settle for basic black.

Somewhere along the way, Peter went off home, and Andrew did as we got into Pennington. The rest of us got back to Twin Pines. Ricky wanted extra miles, so he rode with us almost all the way back to Laura's before heading back to Twin Pines.

Ride page. Flat ride nothing'; near as makes no difference to 2000' of climb!

Enough. I'm done. Back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

borrowed tire

Laura OLPH and I had just ridden from her house to the ride start at Twin Pines when Chris C noticed that my back tire was down to the fabric...

... in more than one place.

I don't know where I got the idea that I could get more than 3000 miles out of a rear tire, but Chris had thought the tire was wearing a few weeks ago, and I poo-poohed his concern. This is the second time, at least, that he's been right about a mechanical issue. I need to pay more attention to him.

Luckily, Chris had a tire in his truck that I could borrow for the duration of the ride.

Laura didn't have a real plan for this ride; she was planning to go to Sergeantsville, but she got to talking to Ken G about routes and roads, and the next thing I know we were heading to Rojo's in Lambertville. It was a pleasant day, and I didn't really care.

I noticed the barn...

... before I noticed the self-satisfied cat sunning himself on the windowsill.

I think these were on Brunswick, after the climb up Woodens Lane.

And, since we were going to Lambertville by way of Alexsauken Creek, we stopped in at Mt Airy to chat with the girls.

There was another rider at Rojo's, and Ken G went and invaded his table, as did Laura and I a moment later (Chris had disappeared for a few minutes). I would not dare do that on my own!

(Chris keeps telling me I need more color than my black tights. I keep telling him that if there were a bicycle-kit-equivalent of a button-down collar and a bow tie, I'd be wearing it. And don't bother showing me those faux-tuxedo jerseys; that's not what I mean at all.)

From Laura's, just under 46 miles and 2400' of climb. I didn't eat enough (can you believe it, this close to Thanksgiving?) and I was a bit under it at the end of the ride. But I'm glad I got it in.

Friday, November 24, 2017

no love for team social security

Laura OLPH and Tom H (I forget who was first, and I'm too lazy to look it up right now) sent emails around about a ride for today, the day after Thanksgiving, when many of us are off from work, and many of us are regretting the overindulgence in empty calories we indulged the day before. They agreed on a ride to Etra this morning from Tom's house, to join up with the usual Team Social Security ride, the guys who go out three times a week on weekdays for morning rides (you don't HAVE to be retired to ride with 'em, but you do have to have the available time, and retirement is one of the opportunities that offers the time).

I had commitments this afternoon and couldn't do the extra time, so I drove to Etra.

Not afraid of color, is he?

The regular parking at Etra was locked; we parked in the athletic lot across the road. One of our number was baffled by the locked gate, and didn't turn around to see us until another went over and rapped on his car window. (I'm always pleased when I'm not the one who does dumb stuff like that. I do enough dumb stuff that I don't usually tell youse about.)

Shortly before departure, Tom, Laura, and Robert N rolled in.

Team Social Security splits into a C and C+ ride these days. Al P led a ride of 18 on the C+. I think overeating guilt and acceptable weather helped to bring out the peloton.

It was only a bit above freezing when we started out, although it warmed into the 50s by the time we finished. Some of the guys seemed to be struggling, and I'm blaming it on cold weather.

The one cloud on this otherwise sunny ride was that three times, we had drivers pass and yell at us to get off the road, or express their displeasure that we slowed them down. I've ridden with Team Social Security on a number of occasions, and it's true they're often less than careful about keeping right and sharing the road with traffic. But there was nothing today that earned the poor treatment we got.

Perhaps the drivers in question used up all their thankfulness yesterday, and only had ingratitude and grouchiness left in their personality baskets today.

At the stop in Jackson:

As far as the guys struggling, the ride page shows we were near the top of the C+ range...

As for me, I got the chores done after the ride; the last of the laundry is rolling around the dryer as I type this. Tomorrow, we'll see what devilry Laura has in store.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

didn't count on november rain

When I emerged from Rojo's to check on the bike, I noticed the freckling on the sidewalk that suggested the rain had started.

(So did that get your attention?)

Before that, though, we had begun to warm up from a cold ride start. Laura OLPH had decided on a ride to Lambertville today from Pennington; she'd offered extra miles, but I'm just not up to it these days (well, maybe I am; we'll see). So at shortly after 9 I was in the Twin Pines parking lot, looking at Ricky G's and Jack H's cars (I like Twin Pines; there's a porta-potty there). Jack was undoubtedly off doing his pre-ride miles; Ricky showed up on his bike after a minute while I was setting up. He rode off to see if he could meet Laura on the way in.

Shortly after, Andrew rolled in, then Tom H, and Robert N, and some other guy.

Laura rolled in, did the speech for the new guy, and off we went on a moderately hilly ride to Lambertville. Laura picked a few roads with some hills; we figured she was getting back at us for some pictures; we'd sent when she wasn't riding with us (she was blowing glass instead). One picture had a group of about twenty riders doing a middle-finger salute; another had three of us making finger hearts the way the cute Korean girls do in the videos. Knowing Laura, she was probably crankier about the latter than the former.

About three miles in, Ricky had a worrisome sound emanating from the bottom bracket, and an even more worrisome display of metal where he was used to seeing some kind of seal. He decided to go back and see if he could get Jimmy Bruno to take a look at things.

Laura usually stops for cows, but I guess sometimes she stops for horses.

New guy turned out to be Rick, who's been doing C+ rides and triathlons. He's talked to Laura and was sure he would be able to keep up on the bike. He did, We're trying to decide if the barrage of bad jokes, insults, and profanity will keep him away, or perhaps the frequent picture stops or the long breaks.

Breaks like the one today at Rojo's.

You know: upscale coffee place, too many hipsters, good junk food. You already know the most dramatic thing about the stop.

We took the most direct route home, dodging raindrops as we went. We STILL got over 40 miles, 2500' of climb.

Maybe someday, I'll be warm again.