Sunday, March 31, 2019

lifetime member

In January, I wrote about joining Weight Watchers after that hanging-gut picture that Marty G got of me; in February I wrote about hitting goal.

Well, it turns out that if, six weeks after hitting goal, your weight on their scale is within 2lbs up or down of your goal, you can be a member for life, and continue to use their tools and meetings without continuing to pay, as long as you weigh in once a month and you're no more than 2lbs above your goal.

Which is fine, except I kept losing more weight after I hit goal at 178; at one point, I was 6½lbs below goal, far more than the 2lbs allowed. I thought of trying to eat junk until I was closer to goal, but that seemed too risky; what if I just didn't stop? (It didn't help that their scale had me 3-3½lbs lighter than our scale at home did.)

Well, I got around it, and last Thursday I tipped their scale at 177.2. The charms on the ring above my congratulations card are, from right, the blue 5lb, the purple 10lb, the gold-with-stone for hitting goal, and the rose-gold-with-stone for lifetime. (I qualify for 15lb and 20lb charms, but the last thing I need...)

So it's worked for me.

serfas does it again

Once again Serfas has come up with a product I like, and once again, they're discontinuing it.

I wrote about the riding glasses I liked in 2014.  Two years or so later, Serfas decided they weren't making enough money on them, and stopped selling them.

More recently, they began manufacturing a pure silicone bar tape in three colors: black, red, and white.

They were selling it at $45, which I think is just stupid. But recently I saw it for $7, so I decided to try it.

I like it a lot. It's self-sticky enough that if you start wrapping at the tops, you can stuff the ends into the ends of the bars at the bottom and use the end plugs to hold it in place, and you don't need finishing tape. It cleans up nicely, and the red stays bright. If you're careful with it, you can re-use it (hint: don't use their bar plugs: the sharp rings cut the tape).

But it's $7 because Serfas is discontinuing it. Now, I suspect that $7 is pretty close to the cost of manufacture, and I further suspect that there is a price point between $7 and $45 where they could have sold a bucketload of it and still made money. I would have gone for it regularly at $20.

I'm fed up with Serfas. But I've got a roll of this tape on the bike, and have three rolls backed up.

(In other news, Serfas has a line of fabric tapes that will certainly stain. Who is going to be the market for those?)

june ride in march

Laura OLPH has already uploaded her post on this ride, reporting the best joke of the day, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to post it, too.

When the end of March comes around, and one of the weekend days is predicted to be 70°+F, and the other day is predicted to be rainy, you can expect a large number of cyclists to be out. Laura had called for a flat ride to a stop she wanted to try, and seven of us took her up on it: Chris C, Bob N, Andrew A, Peter G, "Front Wheel" Ricky G (more on the nickname below), and new-to-the-Slugs Dave (he cracks jokes like a Hill Slug and can keep up with the discussion, but I'm not sure he can reliably ride slow enough to make it through the arduous initiation).

Laura, true to her recent behavior, wasn't even cutting it close on the start; we had way plenty of time for ride sheet signatures, the obligatory pre-ride speech, and the usual abuse and character assassination.

But also at the Mercer East lot was a group of probably twenty others, who claimed to be a group from Bernie's bike shop in Hamilton.We let them go first.

After all, there were many more of them, they appeared better-organized, and they would have rolled over us as if we were so many bugs.

We rolled out..

... and OF COURSE there was a bridge out:

...but just because it's closed to motor vehicles doesn't mean it's closed to us.

Laura's choice of stop was a place called Charleston Coffee. I liked it a lot, and I hope we get to stop there again. There was the usual assortment of baristas with interesting hair, a bagel shop in a communicating store, available toilets, and they treated us like folks (which is enough for me to like a place). Laura didn't like the vanilla in the cold brew, but since I am a coffee Philistine, that didn't bother me. I hope we get to go there again.

Uh... No thanks, my tremor is bad enough. Below, Laura show us one of the dance steps she learned at the Hill Slugs School of Deportment:

While at the stop, Ricky got to talking about last week's ride where he had left his front wheel behind when he had driven away afterwards; Andrew told me that Ricky had given him a ride one day and had almost left before giving andrew back his front wheel. I want to start calling Ricky "Front Wheel', in hopes he'll not make that mistake again.

Also at the stop, Bob pointed out that we had not had any flats on this ride. He must have awakened the ire of the goddess of flats, because it wasn't too long before...

Yeah, that was on his front wheel.

We had a discussion abut the goddess of flats, Pneuma (or Πνευμα, if you're fussy about the Greek. I felt like being fussy). Edit: I've discovered that, on some computers, the Greek letters don't show. Oh, well.

Bob felt lucky that it was his front wheel, and I said we should mark this day with a white stone, in the ancient Roman custom.

Laura asked if Pneuma like white stones, or grey or black. "Bridgestones", I said, with a little more self-satisfaction than the joke could really bear.

Pneuma must have been upset, because a few miles later, she smote Ricky's rear tire.

How many Freewheelers des it take to change a tire? (If you come to my tire clinic after the Spring Fling, I'll tell you.) Also in that picture above, chis is holding forth about an insulator he'd found. He rode back with it. It didn't slow him down much.

Laura had got lost a bit, so we wound up with a little over 50 for this 47-mile ride.

And today, in the rain, I've been cleaning off the grime of winter from all the bikes, and giving them a polish and lube. The chain on the Krakow Monster is showing rust (I only take it out in the worst conditions, and it knows it). There might be more maintenance due. I need the occasional rainy day to keep up with the mechanics!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

cosmically disorganized

(Above, in one of my few organized moments today)

With The Excellent Wife (TEW) out of town for a few days (and needing to pick her up at the airport this afternoon), I decided to list a short ride so I'd have time to clean up and be at the airport at a reasonable time after her flight landed. So far, I haven't messed that up yet, but there's still time, as I write this.

After I got up , I made coffee and potted around the house, keeping an eye on the clock to make sure I left on time. I realized I hadn't responded to an invitation sent a week or so ago, and the RSVP date was four days past. Just in the nick of time, I called, an was informed I'd made it in enough time that I could still go. Whew!

I kept an eye on the grandfather clock in the front room to make sure I had enough time to get to the start. I'll bet I checked it for 35 minutes without noticing that it hadn't moved from 7:05, until I looked at another clock and saw I'd barely have enough time to pack up the care and get to the start.

Which I did. Peter G and Ricky G were waiting. I told them about my mishap with the clock and got myself set up to go. As I was doing, Jeff B, Dave H, and Chris C came in.

We left without incident, and did one of my usual routes; a 35-miler. The ride itself was uneventful, although pleasant; a much nicer day than yesterday's wind.

We got to the stop at 206 (Peter had ridden off on his own) to find a number of bikes already there. I had to go see what kind of idiot people would ride a bike in this weather.

Yeah, I thought so.

Ricky's got a new-old Cinelli, and the pictures don't do it justice; it is the most excellent Tyrian purple that just doesn't come across in the photos.

I loves me some bike bling.

And back. I packed up to go. And then I got a text from Dave; Ricky had left a wheel behind, and Jeff was taking it. I called Ricky and let him know; he asked if I could text him the contact numbers.

I did. But I sent him, not Jeff's numbers, but Dave's. I had to correct that.

There's been a lot of "I had to correct that" recently. It's probably not a good idea to trust me with sharp stuff for a while.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

st pat's day ride

After all of the trouble going on with my mother, both The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I agreed that a ride today would be A Good Thing. The only ride listed at the time I looked was Steve S's C+ ride, advertised at 35-45 miles. I signed up to go and figured I could add a few miles by parking in Plainsboro and riding to Cranbury.

I got to Plainsboro stupidly early, and rode a circuitous route that doubles the usual four-mile distance, and then rolled around until a few others showed up at the start.

Chris is rockin' those four-leaf-shamrock tights, ain't he?

Steve is one of the few leaders in my experience at Cranbury to take advantage of the fact that the wind regularly comes from the west; he led us on a route that went westward into the wind to start, so that we could have a tailwind on the way back. That almost makes up for the fact that he underestimated the hills on this route. (Tom H, are you reading this? There's more coming; you may have a protégé.)

But the bridge at Alexander Road was closed to vehicle traffic.

The sidewalk was open, though, and we continued. (Tom? Did you get together with Steve and plan this?)

Steve had warned us about the hill on Alexander Road, but he missed the info about the climb on Cherry Hill. One of our number was recently recovering from a respiratory ailment; had trouble on the hills and was thinking of turning back. Eddie L, sweep, and a few others ran in for cheerleading duty to ensure she knew she could make it. (She did.)

We rolled around until we got to the bagel place on Route 27 near the Kendall Park post office (about two miles from my house!)

And then back, through roads I have lived near for almost twenty years and never ridden on. Some of the crossings were a bit hairy, but the roads were great, and I gotta see if I can find 'em again. (I'll be more likely to if I take a look at the ride page... which includes my twelve-or-so-mile ride in and my four-mile ride back.)

Here's hoping you're having as happy a celebration as I. Erin go Bragh, and suchlike. Go read some Yeats or James Joyce, or something.