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.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

cranksgiving 2017

I'm always surprised when real, actual people come out on my rides. I'm especially so when, as today, the temps were below freezing at the start time, and people were gonna hafta pay money and maybe carry stuff.

The Princeton Cranksgiving ride starts at the firehouse in Dutch Neckl, goes to the McCaffrey's on Princeton-Hightstown Road, then to a ping-pong parlor near the Princeton Junction train station, then to the Trader Joe's on Route 1 (don't worry; you don't actually RIDE on Route 1), and then back to the start. Along the way, we buy $15 worth of groceries, and either leave them with volunteers at each stop, or (as I did) carry them back to the start. The food goes to a local food kitchen. It's a 20-mile route.

I had the idea of leading some Freewheelers on it last year, and posted it on the new website this year. 20 miles didn't seem enough, so I advertised that we'd add miles from Cranbury and back, for anybody who wanted; anybody who just wanted to do the 20-mile route could meet us at the firehouse. The cold almost put me off, but I decided to go, and, as I was waiting in Cranbury for what I was sure was going to be a solo ride, in drove Joe M, and then Ricky G rolled in... and as we were rolling out, we met Tom H.

We were ridiculously early (now THERE's a surprise) and decided to take a trip to Mercer Park to see the lake.

When we got back, riders were assembling.

We met Jerry F, who lives close by, and took off on the route.

The folks at the McCaffrey's didn't know what to make of us; we were bobbling around the store looking for items (different people had different lists) and there was a certain amount of confusion, but taken in good spirit, apparently.

We started to ride to the next stop to buy socks, and Jerry was falling behind; he was on a heavy bike. He said he was near home, and so I sent the others ahead and rode with Jerry to his place, where he swapped out for his road bike and we caught up with the others.

The team at the ping-pong parlor (really? There IS such a thing?) were cheerful and polite. They agreed to this picture and laughed at my stupid jokes.

On to Trader Joe's.The planner's found us the least fatal way in, and the volunteers met us with water (not yet frozen on this chilly day) and energy bars.

Then back to the firehouse from which the ride started. Some riders had left their pickings with the volunteers at the stores, but Joe and I carried our groceries back.

Jerry and Tom went home from the firehouse. Before he left, Tom (and Joe, too) gave me some good advice about a lower-traffic route back to Cranbury... but it was a bit longer, and with the cold (and the wind, on which I had not counted), it was a quiet ride back.

Ride page.

It was a fun, inexpensive charity ride. You ought to come if it's five degrees warmer next year!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

put it on a t-shirt

The Excellent Wife (TEW) has resolved that she wants to be more engaged with people and wants to try more new things. "I'm going to try to err on the side of 'Yes'," she said.

Well, "Err on the Side of Yes" is nearly perfect. If she had more time and energy, I'd be trying to get her to print some and sell 'em on Etsy.

Err on the Side of Yes

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

new domestic job title

The Excellent Wife (TEW) had a cleaning person in for the first time yesterday. The woman gets a premium hourly rate, but TEW is happy enough with her work that plans are being med for another visit in a fortnight.

Coincident with this, I seem to have developed a new duty as Messer-Up in Chief and Director of Disarray.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

philly bike expo 2017

Well, I said I was going to the Philly Bike Expo this weekend to see about a new helmet mirror and maybe some tape for the bars of the Krakow Monster, and maybe a lead on road bike tires since Vittoria doesn't make my plain ol' Rubino Pro's anymore; now you've gotta choose weight or flat resistance (or something; it's too complicated)...

... but I really go to see the pretty bikes, the gadgets, and the assembled bike tribes. (And as far as the assembled bike tribes go, it's becoming inescapably clear that I'm far too drab; with no facial hair, no interesting haircut, no tattoos, and no unconventional clothing, I'm not sure they'll take my admission money next year.)

Besides, the mirror gal wasn't there; nor was my favorite clothing vendor, and nobody had interesting bar tape.

Outside the hall, these young ladies were collecting for the Neighborhood Bike Works, like our Bike Exchanges on steroids: sales, teaching mechanics, providing a place to work on bikes, and for all I know, foiling bike thieves and painting bike lanes. They looked eager to do anything.

One of the first booths I stopped at was this one: many old bikes, tools, and parts:

 Above and below: restored early-20th century bike with bar-actuated brake, oversize chain, and footrests on the fork.

Below, Ergon saddles had a device to measure the distance between the "sit bones" for optimal saddle width fit. Mine came in at 13.2cm, or 132mm, and I call BS. I've sat on saddles 144mm wide and felt like I was going to be spatchcocked. I need a saddle at LEAST 150mm wide.

There's always some neat bikey weirdness. This startup has decided to mount LED's in the cap to your water bottle. If they can bring the price in right, I might go for it (the light also fits your Go-Pro mount).

On a ride yesterday, we got to discussing chainring sizes (that the size of the gear or gears attached to the pedals). Laura OLPH will give up her competition-sized 52 53-tooth chainring when they unclip her dead feet from the pedals; Tom H was riding a conventional 50x34 road compact; I've downsized to a 46x34 (smaller gears up front make it easier to pedal). Below, Velo Orange sells a 46x30, which will be easy on my tired legs when I'm older and creakier than I am now. They say they'll also sell other sizes of gears. (I get quite a bit of stuff from Velo Orange; they sell bikes and part for those of us who like to ride distance but don't want to race.)

My favorite saddles, Selle Anatomica. Ass-hammocks. No break-in needed, and good for 100-mile days. They should pay me to advertise for 'em.

Lovely parts...

...and utilitarian stuff from Twofish. He's a master at making stuff that won't fit, fit anyway.

(My boss's name is Mars; she'll get a kick out of that picture above.)

I like the Jackson Pollock drip on the bar above.

Wooden bike frames! The woman said they're about the weight of steel, and the finish is more durable than paint, because with a little steel wool and finishing oil, you can bring it back. I couldn't get enough of these.

Bike tools as jewelry: the Silca hex wrench set. Rosewood box.

Silca makes pumps that will last forever, and you can get them without a mortgage, but mortgages are available.

With all that, all I bought was some socks. It's time to get back to my local bike shop for some real stuff I'll actually use. But I do like the pretty bikes. And maybe hanging around with these people will vicariously raise my hipness quotient.

HAH! Not likely.