Monday, December 28, 2009

Bluetiful Monday

Rode Bluetiful twice today, once on a Tour de Starbucks and this afternoon on a trip to Batteries Plus. Also drove the car once, to pick up some food for the kids before they left to go down south.

Score: Bikes - 7, Autos - 3.

Weekend Update

Rode The Roadley twice yesterday, didn't have to drive the car at all. Score: Bikes - 5, Autos - 2.

The kids came up from southern Arizona yesterday, bringing little Keira with them. One of their friends just had her own baby yesterday and they had a lot of newborn diapers and an extra car seat for her.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday Report

Rode the bike for a second time yesterday, and drove the car twice. Score: Bikes - 3, Autos - 2.

I would have only had to drive the car once, but I didn't have a couple of things on the list. Also, I needed to check out an After Christmas sale on an item which wouldn't have fit on the bike.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Auto Limited Week?

So, Thanksgiving Auto Free Week was a bust and this long, Christmas through New Years holiday/vacation week is definitely going to require an automobile.

I'll call it an "Auto Limited Week."  I'll try to make sure to collect all the errands requiring a car into as few trips as possible, and use a bike for as many of the others as I can.

Christmas Day I did not use a car at all, rode Bluetiful on a grand tour to find an open Starbucks, and this morning (12/26/09) I rode The Roadley on a Tour de Starbucks.  The current score is Bikes - 2, Autos - 0.

36°F at 6:30 AM!  Felt it in on my ears and fingertips, the BMX gloves just barely work at that temperature.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I've been busy, but I just wanted to drop a note here and wish everybody, especially all you bicyclists, a safe and happy holiday season!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 7th, Memorable for Another Reason

Monday, December 7th, 2009, 11:00 PM, my lovable old Labrador woke me up, wanting to go outside.  Usually, he only does this if he is sick, or I don't get a chance to walk with him before I go to bed, and is in desperate need of a potty break.  This time, he just stood there in the back yard and watched and listened to the brisk wind.

We went back to bed, but he stirred again a few minutes later and started panting; a sure sign he is upset about something.  Once more we went out into the back yard, once more he did nothing other than stand and listen, and once more I convinced him to go back to bed.  The wind seemed much stronger.

Fifteen minutes later, at about 11:20, I awoke to the wind howling around the house.  My Lab was in his bed, but his eyes were open and he raised his head and looked at me when I got up and looked out the bedroom window.  The trees seemed to be squirming around in the air and there was a good, driving rain.

I got up and had the dog follow me out to the entertainment room.  It was so noisy, it sounded like the room was traveling on a freight train.  I made a cup of tea and sat with my Lab until things quieted down about an hour later.

The streets have been a mess and I have been unable to commute for the last two days, even though it only rained Monday night.  It was the most violent storm I can remember in a long time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Grill Next Door

There is a little burger joint about two miles from my place which has all the elements of a perfect exercise ride.

This is a poster in the window:

Here's a picture of Sami, who I believe is the girl in the poster, with Bluetiful:

See what I mean?  All the elements of a perfect exercise ride:  gets your heart rate up, is obviously bike friendly and has great scenery.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The OFFICIAL Beer Truck

Even though the No Auto Week is sort of a bust, I'm still riding a bike as much as possible for daily errands.

Today, I needed to get lottery tickets and beer.  Bluetiful is the Official BluesCat Beer Truck:

My main concern was not if the six-pack would fit, I knew it would, but if the jostling of the ride would make that first beer unacceptably foamy.  I can report with joy that the beer completed the 2.25 mile trip without a trace of "ride stress."

What kind of beer does BluesCat, the rider of Bluetiful, prefer?  Look closely.

Chain Mark Solution?

I wear regular clothes when I ride my bikes.  I've just never gotten into the whole Lycra-sealed riding mode.

When I wear my Wrangler relaxed-fit jeans on The Roadley a velcro ankle strap is all I need to protect my jeans from chain marks since the bike has a big plastic chainwheel guard.

The chainwheels on the recumbent Bluetiful do not have a chainwheel guard.  And because the rotation of the way-crank-forward pedals puts the calf of my leg crossing the plane of the top of the chain, the loose fitting jeans rub the chain and I get a big patch of black chain lube on the calf of my jeans.

I've solved it by rolling up the pants leg above my knee:

Um, this ain't very stylish folks.  (Can you tell where the top of the sock ends and my platinum calf begins?)  What do all you other riders use in weather too cold for shorts?  Leg warmers?  Cycling pants?  Knickers?

Day 4 Was a Bust

Started out okay, made an early Starbucks run on Bluetiful. I looked at my phone and saw I had forgotten about a haircut appointment at 10:00 AM. My barber shop is too far away for a simple errand run, I would have to plan for a big commute. I figured I would just roll the haircut in with a stop for gas for the car for next week and a swing by Trader Joes to get a fresh turkey. My Auto Free Week effort might still work.

Then my son called me from southern Arizona.  He was headed to the hospital with possible appendicitis.  He would know more when they performed a CT scan.  I finished my haircut/gas/turkey errand and just hung around the house, waiting.

In the early afternoon my son called again and said they had him in for observation but were not positive they were going operate.  In the evening the doctors decided to go with the appendectomy and they began prepping him for an 8:00 PM surgery.  They didn't get started until much later and finished around 10:30 PM; we got a report from Shannon that everything had gone well.

This morning I got a call from the boy and he sounded pretty good.  They're talking about releasing him from the hospital later on today.  We'll have to play it by ear for the rest of the week.

I rode The Roadley over to Starbucks for a celebratory vanilla latte.

Man, it has been one heck of a year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Trucks

(Say that three times, really fast!)

Continuing on to day three of No Auto Week, I had a whole set of Honey Doos I needed to do.

First chore: I needed to get some cat food for the seven feral cats we have adopted that live in our front and back yards. The Roadley seemed the best candidate for The Cat Food Truck:

A couple of bungee cords on the dry cat food bag draped over the rear rack and we had it done.

The fellow at Petco was helping an elderly lady out with her own big bags of pet food as I pulled up.  He said "You can park your bike inside next to the shopping carts."  There's the reason I shop at Petco, which is a half mile further away than another big franchise pet store.

Interesting factoid:  the Purina bag weighs 16 pounds, that's the amount of weight I have lost since I bought my Sun EZ Sport in February, 2009; almost ten months ago.

Second chore:  I had some items I needed to drop off at the Goodwill donation center.  Since the panniers were on the EZ Sport, Bluetiful, this task fell to her:

It wasn't much:  an old desk lamp, some housewares and an old CD/DVD reader.  It all fit very neatly in the panniers on Bluetiful.  When I pulled up to the drop-off, I set off the bell when I rolled over the pneumatic cable, and heard them call out "Bike!" on the inside.  The attendant smiled when he saw me, I said "The bike stays with ME" and he laughed.

After that, it was a run over to The Bike Barn to pick up a Christmas gift for my son and then ride back home.

Three days without using a car!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2nd Auto Free Day

Didn't drive again today. Spent most of the day doing chores: cleaning the pool, sweeping the porches, etc.

Did make two runs to Starbucks, one on The Roadley and one on Bluetiful.

Also, I updated the blog with the story of Bluetiful.


Addendum to 1st Auto Free Day

I guess I should have mentioned that I didn't simply sit around the house on Saturday, 11/21/09, my first Auto Free day.

I got out on the road on The Roadley a little before 9:00 AM and did six miles worth of errands. First was a required visit to Starbucks. Then I swung by the Post Office to drop off some bills in the outside drive-thru box.

I needed AAA batteries for my taillights, so a swing by Batteries Plus was the next stop. I really like this store, they never charge me labor for replacing batteries and testing the electronics in my UPS units, even the big, eight battery cartridges for the APC 3000 rack mounts. The Werker house brand alkaline dry cells seem to last as long as any from Duracell or Eveready, and they are cheaper. A bonus feature of the particular store I go to is they have glass windows on a good portion of their exterior: I can park the bike right next to the door and keep an eye on it while I'm at the counter; no need to spend time locking it up.

The last errand was to the liquor store to buy lottery tickets. I can go through the drive-thru window to do it, so here again I do not have to lock up and leave the bike. Sometime on this week off I'm going to need beer, and if I bring Bluetiful with the rack bag I can probably get the six pack of Blue Moon in the bag if I unzip the expandable top.

Later today, I have to take a small load of stuff to Goodwill. I think I can get everything in the panniers and rack bag on Bluetiful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Auto Free Week?

I have all of Thanksgiving week off. I'm going to try to make it an automobile free week, and only drive the car when it is something I need to do with car (such as getting gasoline, getting the tires rotated, getting the wife's car washed, etc.).

I didn't drive the car at all today. One day down!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Complete Bluetiful

Well, the best bike on the planet is now complete. The week of November 1, 2009, I got the last of the accessories in the mail and got them on the bike.


Bicycle - 2008 Sun EZ Sport CX
Pedals – Shimano PD-A530 Multipurpose SPD

Rear Accessories
Rear Rack – Zéfal
Panniers – Jandd Economy
Rack Bag – Jandd Rack Pack II
Bottle Cages – Standard on right, Bontrager Insulated Cage on left
Tumbler – Starbucks Miller Gentlemen Tumbler
Pump – Serfas Big Stick mini pump
Seat Bag – Sunlite Tubular
Taillights – Serfas, Blackburn Mars 1.0, Blackburn Mars 3.0

Front Accessories
Headlight – Blackburn Voyager 3.3
Handlebar Bag - Mountain Handle Pack I
Computer – Specialized SpeedZone Analog
GPS – Garmin eTrex Legend w/Garmin handlebar mount
Bottle Cage: Standard on right

The handlebar mount for the Garmin was the last accessory piece I was waiting for, here's a closeup of the completed dashboard:

You can see how nicely the straps for the Jandd handlebar bag fit between the bolts for the bottle cage mounts and hold the bag up at just the right height.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bicyclists Disrespecting Bicyclists

I regularly visit the site, because it very often has interesting articles and advice on one of my main bicycling activities, commuting. Recently, one of the writers there, Bike Shop Girl, started a series of articles about Building Your Perfect Commuter Bike. In one article, Bike Type, I naturally put in my vote for recumbents as the ideal bike type. My opinion was met with this response by a fellow named jamesmallon:

"God, recumbent riders are like herpes: unwanted and impossible to get rid of."

I responded with this:

jamesmallon: So, your objection to recumbents doesn’t have anything to do with the suitability of the bike for the task which Bike Shop Girl has set here (because you haven’t refuted anything I’ve said about them), and everything to do with the fact you simply don’t like the people who ride them.

Why is that, I wonder? The median age of recumbent riders seems to be my age: late fifties. Do you have a problem with folks who are older, wiser and more mature than you are?

A lot of the male bent riders seem to be war veterans, too; mostly of Vietnam, but some of Korea and even a smattering of WWII vets. Because of their age, and/or some of the injuries they sustained during their service, riding a conventional upright bicycle is simply not an option. You have a problem with people who have served their country honorably and bear the scars to prove it?

I really am intrigued by your answer.

If you'd like to follow along on any further developments, here's the link:

The Perfect Commuter Bike Type

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Me As A Tourist

I couldn't resist changing my route to work this morning. I had purchased a Starbucks Miller Gentlemen Tumbler a week or so ago, and discovered it fit perfectly in the bottle cage on the right seat strut of Bluetiful, my 'bent. There isn't a Starbucks on my direct route so I decided to change things up a bit and go to one slightly out of my way.

It really didn't add any distance, but I did wind up going down a rather busy street. Looking at Google Maps and my Garmin eTrex afterwards, I discovered a route which will take me on local streets through a housing subdivision which will parallel that busy road.

I also discovered a road which is marked as a bike route but does not have any marked bike lanes on it, as my regular route does. This can be an advantage: the road has very wide lanes, which means you have already "taken the single lane" and there is less of a problem with motorists trying to squeeze by you on the left and drive you towards the curb. Multiple school zones mean less and slower traffic. It will probably become my regular route.

Riding around, changing direction to check things out and sightsee, my 30 minute trip turned into an hour. It was fun being a relaxed tourist on my commute.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nashbar Trekking Handlebars are back

Once again, I need to say how great the Nashbar Trekking handlebars are. They make such a difference on long rides on The Roadley.

After a three month hiatus, I see that Nashbar has brought them back, so I have ordered a set for my son for his mountain bike.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Keira has H1N1

The kids were going to come up from southern Arizona this morning, Sunday, and stay through Monday, 10/19/09. But Justin, my son, was antsy; wanting to get to Phoenix so he could get a jump on a number of things he wanted to get accomplished. So he and Shannon piled 7-week-old Keira into the car, along with their laundry and everything else they needed, and came up last evening. In retrospect, it was an excellent idea.

Our little granddaughter had a rash, but during her regular visit to the pediatrician last week they had looked at it and felt it was minor and Shannon was treating it topically. Then, last night, Keira's rash got worse and she started running a fever.

One of the advantages of living where we do is that Phoenix Children's Hospital, one of the premier children's hospitals in Arizona --- if not the nation --- is literally just down the street. Justin and Shannon bundled Keira into the car and went over to their emergency room.

After a whole battery of tests, including blood tests, urine samples via a catheter, and a spinal tap, the results came back this morning. Keira has the swine flu, the rash she has on her bottom is a yeast infection which could be what compromised her immune system and left her more susceptible to serious disease. The good news is that the doctors at Phoenix Children's are confident they have caught the illness soon enough to avoid any complications like pneumonia and Keira should recover fully and very quickly.

That is not the case with some other patients at Phoenix Children's who presented symptoms for just a day or so longer than Keira did. Some of them have contracted pneumonia. Some of those have responded favorably to antibiotics. The other, more serious cases have all been successfully treated via a procedure called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, where a special machine is used to oxygenate the blood. Phoenix Children's has the capability of treating four patients at a time with this procedure, so even though it appears it will not be needed in Keira's case, it is comforting to know she is in a facility where such care is available.

Hey, folks, for the sake of all your babies and grandbabies, and everybody else, know the symptoms of H1N1:

. Fast breathing or difficulty breathing.
. Inability to drink/keep down fluids.
. Fever with a rash.
. Flulike symptoms that subside, only to return with a fever and cough.

. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
. Pain or pressure in the chest.
. Sudden dizziness.
. Confusion.
. Severe or persistent vomiting.

At-risk Groups:
. Patients who are pregnant, obese, have diabetes, asthma, high-blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, lung disease or a neurological condition should call their physician at the onset of flu symptoms.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Luxury Bike Parking

Recently, I've read some horror stories about bike commuters who are losing their bicycles to theft or damage as a result of being forced to park them outside in an unsecured area. I realized that I have it extremely lucky with the arrangement I have with my employer.

Here's my EZ Sport, Bluetiful, parked at my office, in my ...

Luxury Bike Suite

This room used to be an office, but it was too close to the exit door to the hallway for anybody to get any work done (it is a main route to the restroom, and people are coming and going constantly past this opening). The door is just to the right of a wall which is seen as that white triangle on the right side of the picture.

So this room has been converted to a sort of meeting room by removing the desk and putting in a small, round conference table and chairs (on the left side of this picture) and that mobile white board you see right behind Bluetiful.

Since the door to the hallway is always locked to anyone but company employees, and since the room is used very infrequently, and since our company is big on promoting alternative modes of transportation, I have struck a deal with our office manager to use this room to park my steed. There is enough space here for another employee to park their bike next to mine. The room is so comfy, it even has better carpeting in it than I have in my own office!

An added bonus to this setup is that I empty my panniers into the black stuff sack you see on the seat of Bluetiful, exit out that door to the hallway, walk another hundred feet and I'm at the showers of my gym.

What is bike parking like for all you other commuters?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stem Extension

I promised a picture of the handlebar stem extension on The Roadley:

You can see that the extension adds literally twice as much height to the butterfly bars, another 3 inches. An added benefit is that the bottom velcro connection of the handlebar bag now reaches and connects to the stem. It had just been able to reach the cables and was loosely held to them before.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Weekend for Riding

Rode almost 30 miles this weekend.

Had a chance to thoroughly use The Roadley with the new stem extension. The bike is even more comfortable now with the more upright riding position. Dropping down on the forearms on the butterfly bars does not feel like that aggressive a position now, but more relaxed and enjoyable. (Still haven't seen the bars back on the Nashbar site, hope they actually do bring them back.)

Looks like the weather this upcoming week will be perfect for riding.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Too Busy to Ride ... Again!

Has it ever been a tough couple of weeks.

The kids were up from southern Arizona with the new baby. She just gets cuter by the day.

Monday, September 28th, we had a corrupted index on one of the main data drives at the main office, so I spent Monday, Tuesday, and some of Wednesday recovering all of the files on that SAN drive.

Friday came along, and my head started to get stuffed up with the same cold my wife has. Yesterday, Saturday, October 3rd, I was so miserable I didn't get a thing done around the house, let alone get a chance to ride.

One thing I did get a chance to do Saturday was get the 3-inch stem riser on The Roadley. The wrenches at the Bike Barn put it on and all I had to do was adjust the angle of the handlebars. It took me twice as long to do as a result of the sneezing and nose wiping.

The installation of the Expedition saddle and the Butterfly handlebars resulted in the seat being higher than the handlebars, so I ordered a black, 3-inch stem riser to bring the handlebars higher. The regular position in the saddle is now much more upright and "touring comfortable." When I drop down to my forearms on the Butterfly bars, I no longer feel like my butt is way up in the air. When I get back to riding, I'll get a picture of the stem riser.

I'm hoping to get back in the saddle tomorrow morning. I'm taking the week off so maybe I'll get a lot more riding in if I feel better.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday Was a Hoot

The last few days have been extra busy, but I finally rode to work on Thursday.

As I suspected, there was a road closure on 20th Street for about an eighth of a mile. I was very happy I rode The Roadley because there were a couple of times I had to angle up a pretty steep curb. The new butterfly handlebars and the Serfas Drifter tires worked very well. I doubled back at one point and found a path through a parking lot which will work great for the EZ Sport recumbent.

I had the best times ever for going to work and coming home on The Roadley. This next Tuesday is going to be a little warm, but I think I'll be able to do it on the recumbent as long as I take it easy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ready to Ride

The Roadley is all packed up with my work clothes. All I have to do is put my camera bag into the rack bag tomorrow morning and I'm on my way riding to work for the first time in over two months.

I would take the EZ Sport, for a fast dash into the office, but I saw some closure signs on 20th Street earlier this week and road work in progress is never easy to negotiate with the road tires.

I'm jazzed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Busy Day, Busy Rides

Ran around like a crazy man all day, catching up on things which needed to be done in the main office.

The bike rides were no less frenetic. On the EZ Sport in the morning, I have never seen so much traffic at 5:15 AM. It was all I could do to stay out of the way. Several times I had to stay behind cars, spinning in a very low gear, until the way was clear and could crank faster.

In one of the regular neighborhoods I ride through, the irrigation had overflowed the yards and created a river running down the street, carrying all sorts of leaves and other trash into the roadway. The road tires on the recumbent inspire zero confidence in such low traction environments, so I darted around in the road picking the least flooded spots with the cleanest water.

In the evening, a wind had kicked up blowing out of the northeast. I had taken The Roadley, and did not know how gusty it was until it caught the side of the bike while I was in the middle of an intersection. On the recumbent, I would have hardly felt it, but on the mountain bike I had to lean into the wind. The grip of the Serfas tires was pretty reassuring, along with being able to put my forearms down on the Trekking handlebars to get a little more aerodynamic.

On the way home, I sat up as tall as I could and caught the wind at my back. I averaged over 20 miles per hour for the first time in seven years of riding the Giant.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back in the Saddle (sort of)

Got out on the EZ Sport for a super ride this morning, will be making a Tour de Starbucks this evening in a little while.

AND it looks like Thursday will be below 100 degrees so just maybe I'll be back to bike commuting!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Work Overrides Riding

I had to run around like crazy this last week; carting hardware out to the other office, moving things around in the main office.

Worked 12 hours on Friday, 13 hours on Saturday, was all tuckered out so I haven't ridden any at all for about 36 hours.

Definitely going to take an extended Tour de Starbucks trip this evening. If the heat lets up, I hope to commute on Tuesday and Thursday of this upcoming week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Nite Light Show

Made a Tour de Starbucks this evening on the Roadley. There were dark clouds all around the Valley, the heat islands of concrete and asphalt were keeping them at bay, so we probably won't get any rain.

The clouds were filled with lightning, from big bursts of it behind the clouds to steamers of it walking down the sky. All the way home, I caught a tail wind which must have been around 20 mph.

Great ride.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This morning, just as I was at the end of my ride and approaching the last intersection, I hit a rock with the front wheel of the Sun. The thing was about an inch and a half in diameter, and I didn't see it in the road, until the very last second, since I was busy looking both ways, clipping out, etc.

As usual, the little 20" front tire just climbed up the edge of it and spit it out to the right like an overgrown Tiddly Wink. The unusual part was the fact that the front wheel popped up about three inches off the ground and a little sideways to the left.

I was only about a block from the house, so I rode in carefully, listening for the telltale sound of air escaping from the tire. I heard none, and when I checked out the tire I found where the tire had hit the rock by the dirt and gravel and a very slight mark on the tire. That is one tough little tire!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the Drivethru

Was just about ready for my morning exercise ride, and realized I hadn't filled two prescriptions last night.

So rather than speeding around on the Sun, I popped the empty bottles into the handlebar bag of the Roadley and headed up to the Walgreens. As I approached, I saw that the drivethru was open. I figured I would save some time so I pulled up there and hit the call button.

I have heard that in some corners of the country bicycles are not welcome in the drivethru lanes, but I didn't see any signs prohibiting me from using this one. The pharmacist didn't even bat an eye, but smiled and told me "20 minutes." I took the long route home, took off my helmet, brushed my teeth, washed my face and shaved. I was back in the drivethru lane in about 25 minutes. The pharmacist saw me pull up, waved, brought out the scripts and I was back home about five minutes later.

I may make this a regular, fun monthly errand.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Birth of a Nut

Well, it's official: I've become a true recumbent nut.

One of the little college age baristas at the Starbucks this morning pointed at my Sun parked outside and said "You mind if I ask you a question about your bike?"

"Not at all, what would you like to know?"

"Why does it have a smaller front wheel?"

So, I launch into a whole sermon about how the smaller front wheel has lower rolling resistance and is also therefore more maneuverable on the long wheelbase bikes and how some people actually modify my bike by getting an after-market fork for a 26" front wheel and I'm just starting to get into the whole "smaller front wheel makes the whole bike more aerodynamic" spiel and I look at her face and realize that I'm giving her WAY too much information so ...

"Anyway, it works well."

She smiled, said "That makes sense," gave me my drink and I beat feet out of there.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


It must have been the rain.

Last evening I went out on the Roadley for a Tour de Starbucks. It had cooled down quite a bit so I left the house about an hour earlier than I usually do.

Coming back home, I was banking around some lame pedestrians walking right down the middle of my lane when something smacked me in the mouth. At first I thought one of the punks had thrown something at me, but then in the dual headlights of the Roadley I saw all kinds of flying critters.

They were all over the place, they started bouncing off my face, my bare arms and legs, and I could hear them banging into my helmet and the bike. For the rest of the ride home, there were pockets of them which were so thick I had to make sure I kept my lips closed tightly to keep them from crashing into my teeth. They were swarming around my porch light when I got home.

This morning I made a morning jaunt back to the same Starbucks, and ran into a Sunday morning regular there who knows something about insects. I described them to him and he said "Sounds like termites."

"Termites?" I asked, "Not ants?"

"Termites," he explained, "Have wings about twice the size of their bodies, like you described, and their two-pair wings are all the same length while ants have a smaller wing and a larger wing on each side."

He added that after rain storms the termite drones and queens will take off to mate and then the queens will find new, drier wood places for new nests.

Interesting, it makes me happy I spent the money to have the house treated for termites just a week ago!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Morning Errands

Usually I run my Saturday morning errands on the Roadley.  It is much more maneuverable than the long wheelbase Sun recumbent, and a much more comfortable cruiser than the Batavus.  Sometimes, though, I have a To-Do list with a route which makes a pretty nice ride to take on the Sun:  no sharp turns, lots of long straightaways, etc.  This morning was that kind of ride. My first stop was at the Starbucks, which is right in the shadow of the Talley building. This picture was taken about a half a mile away:

  The folks at the Starbucks know me and always ask how my ride is going:

I have to apologize for the picture quality, I forgot my camera at home and these were taken with my Moto Q.  That green Starbucks cup you see on the planter bench fits perfectly into the insulated bottle cage on the left rear seat strut of the recumbent.

Looking to the east this morning I see a storm approaching:

There is a Chase bank back behind the trees in the picture above.  It was one of my errand destinations.

I finished the trip and got back to the house just in time.  The rain has been steady since I pulled into the driveway.  Hopefully, it will quit in time for my evening ride back to Starbucks.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Busy Week

Tremendously busy week around the office.  I had to go in early today so I had to skip my morning ride.  And I REALLY missed it!  Spinning myself awake has become almost a necessity.

Again, I realize how antsy I'm getting about riding to work.  The weather looks good for next week.  Maybe ... maybe ... maybe.  (sigh)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Bicycle Cellar

There was a great article in this morning's Arizona Republic about a bike hub which opened up in Tempe last week:

The Bike Cellar

I hope this is wildly successful, and spawns a bunch of others around the Valley

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Grandchild / New Pedals

All of Friday we waited for the phone call.  Finally, at around 7:30 PM MST, my son called me:  little Keira was born at 7:22 PM MST:

We went down to see her Saturday morning.  I told my son I guess devastating good looks skip a generation, because Keira obviously got hers from her mom and her Grandpa.

I was sitting outside at Starbucks on Friday night, talking to another customer about being grandparents, and I reached over to just idly spin the right pedal on the Giant.  It didn't spin, but turned in a very jerky manner that said "bearings."  Sunday I stopped by The Bike Barn and got a new set of platform pedals for it.

New baby, new pedals, all in all a pretty good weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nashbar Butterflies

Nashbar emailed me yesterday, and said the Trekking ATB/Hybrid "Butterfly" Handlebars will be back in stock in October.  No details, but it is certainly great news.  If they are the same price I paid ($22 USD) for the ones on the Yukon "Roadley," I may buy two more:  one for my son and one for "backup."

I have to (continue to) rave about these bars.  If you grab the front loop of the Trekking bars, and rest your forearms on grip portion at the back, you are down every bit as low as you would be on a drop handlebar.  Plus the fact that, unlike a drop handlebar, you are expending virtually no energy holding yourself up.  A bonus is the fact that the Trekking bars are aluminum and much lighter than the original, flat handlebar of the Giant.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I See More and More Bents

This morning, on the MUP which parallels 48th Street between McDowell Road and Indian School Road in Phoenix, I saw a fellow on a handcycle walking his yellow lab.  They were making pretty good time.

Yesterday morning, on Dreamy Draw Drive just north of Glendale Avenue, I saw a pair of tadpole trikes, their riders in full spandex gear.

Four recumbents, including mine, in just two days; that is definitely some sort of record.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Hate Speedbumps

Not only for the car, but also for the bike.  I could probably average a couple of MPH faster if I didn't have to slow down for them on the recumbent.

Yeah, yeah, I know, they keep the kids from speeding, but couldn't they make a hole in the middle big enough to get the bike through?  They do in the parking lots, and I can keep the speed up.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Giant Morning

For a change of pace this morning, I rode the Giant Roadley rather than the EZ Sport.  Although it was interesting, there is no substitute for the feeling of "flying low" through the pre-dawn streets on the recumbent.  I noticed that the maximum and average speeds I made, even pushing it by dropping down on the butterfly bars, were two miles-per-hour slower on the Giant than on the Sun.

Speaking of the butterfly bars, there was no contact from Nashbar today about the future availability of the Trekking bars.  We'll see if there is something tomorrow.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No American Butterflies

I noticed that the Nashbar Trekking ATB/Hybrid "Butterfly" handlebars, the type I have on the Giant Yukon "Roadley," are no longer listed on the Nashbar site.  I sent a chat message to them, asking if they were going to be coming back, and received a response that they would get back to me this coming Monday.

I was thinking of getting those bars for my son for his Specialized Hardrock.  He is living in southern Arizona and is using his bike more now to save money. If the bars are no longer available from Nashbar, it means I will have to go overseas to get them.  I cannot find another American manufacturer, so I'll have to get them from either Modolo, BBB or Raleigh; a much more expensive proposition.

I'm really curious about the Nashbar's being taken off the market, since there were several reviews on the site which gave them high marks.  Hopefully, it is just a glitch in production and we will see them back soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Stormy Weather

We had some decent winds, lightning and rain last evening, right about the time I usually go for my Tour de Starbucks, so I stayed in and tried to convince my twelve-year-old yellow labrador that everything was going to be okay.

This morning it was a nice, cool 76 degrees.  A little rain spitting every so often, but not enough to dampen my shirt completely.  Starbucks was pretty busy, and that was surprising for early on a Saturday morning.

I took the Giant Roadley rather than the EZ Sport, the new Serfas Drifters tires did not slide around at all when I purposely changed direction very quickly on clumps of damp leaves and pine needles on the wet road.  I think I'm going to like these tires.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Kids are ... Alright??

I took the day off today to get some chores done around the house. But first I hopped onto the recumbent this morning to do a casual, Tour de Starbucks run.

At 7:15 AM there is much more traffic than at the time of my usual, hard pedaling morning exercise run at around 5:00 AM. This includes pedestrian traffic as well as motorists and fellow bicyclists. I will usually ride on the sidewalks on busy thoroughfares for this reason. (Riding on the sidewalk is not illegal in Arizona.)

I had gotten my drink, stowed it in the insulated bottle cage mounted on the back, left seat strut, sat down in the 'bent and worked my way out of the busy parking lot. Immediately I came up behind a college-age gal in jogging shorts and top, walking and fiddling with something in her right hand.

My usual procedure has always been to first call out "On your left" in an elevated, but friendly voice. If I get no response, I say it again in a louder, more forceful manner: "On your LEFT!" This has almost always worked in the past, but if it doesn't ... I have "Plan B."

I called out "On your left" and then noticed she had the earbuds of either an iPod or an MP3 player crammed into her ears and probably didn't hear me so I shouted "On your LEFT!" with even more vigor than I usually do. She still showed no sign of being aware of my presence, so I initiated "Plan B."

"Plan B" always happens when I am right up behind an obvious individual blocking the path. I simply let out a primal "AHHHHHH!" at the most blood curdling volume I can muster. I was particularly satisfied with this "Plan B" because I saw some brake lights of passing cars go on in response to it.

But she didn't ... even ... hear ... THAT!

It wasn't until we got to a driveway a few yards further on, which had a wheelchair ramp for the sidewalk wide enough for me to safely pass her, that she became aware of me and started as I scooted by.

Now, I am 59 years old, and I have listened to loud music all of my life (I even played bass in a rock band in my late teens and twenties), and I still put on the Boneyard on my Sirius satellite radio to listen to hard rock, but it astounds me that some young people seem to get so into whatever little electronic gadget they have that they can become totally unaware of what is going on around them.

For the rest of the morning ride, I studied the pedestrians, motorists and other bicyclists I came across. It seemed like everyone in the age range of 40 and above were busy with the task at hand: driving, riding or looking both ways before crossing the street. Everyone under the age of 40 seemed to have a cell phone or some music player stuck to the side of their head, which meant they could be a danger to themselves and other people on the roads.

I worry that the kids truly are NOT alright!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Excessive Heat Watch

The Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for tomorrow, so it appears I won't be able to commute on the bike after all.

Looks like, in order to get some miles in, I'll have to stick with an early morning run and a late evening Tour de Starbucks adventure.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bike Gloves Work

My good old Specialized bike gloves started falling apart. I was in the local Target store over the weekend and noticed they had the Bell Pro Gel cycling gloves on sale. Since I had a gift card in my wallet, it wasn't going to cost me anything to try a pair of them.

Been using them since Saturday, and they are definitely more comfortable than my worn out Specialized. I discovered an added bonus, too: I had developed a pain in the wrist of my left hand, almost like an ever-present cramp. As of this morning the pain is gone ... it's gotta be the gloves!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weather to turn cooler

It is supposed to get a little cooler this week. I may be able to get back to riding the bike.

The 110º+ F temperatures made it really brutal to ride through July and the first half of August. I'm looking forward to getting back in the saddle.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

725 Miles on the EZ Sport

This is something of a record for me. I don't think I have ever put 700 miles on bike in less than a year, even when I was a kid.