Monthly Archives: January 2006

Slow Ride…nana…take it easy

Bike Miles today: About 14

Nothing really special about the daily commute. Tough ride home from the wind but that is about normal here in Iowa. I hit the road at lunch for a little ride and it was kind of interesting.

I haven’t really ridden much around where I work, mostly just to and from work. So this morning I took off West from one of our parking lots figuring that it shouldn’t be so bad. I remember from a jog once that it is down hill for a while here at the beginning (I was jogging the other way naturally) Besides, it’s nice to try new and exciting things right? Right? Things were going great until I got a fork in the road. I wasn’t sure which way to go because I hadn’t ever been either direction. To quote the keeper from of the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, “I did not choose wisely.”

I decided to go straight, which was also a Dead End road. I figured I could just cruise down it and then turn around and go the other way. Not exactly. Not 50 yards from the fork I see the side of a cliff in front of me. I’m game to give it a go as they say. I immediately downshifted to the granny gears and started churning. THIS IS THE PART OF THE STORY WHERE I GET PASSED BY A CIVIC THAT CAN HARDLY MAKE IT UP THE ROAD. About halfway up the road goes vertical, I’m not kidding, I thought I was going to fall over backwards. But I kept chugging. I figured I was doing OK because I wasn’t having any chest pains (This is usually my sign to know how things are going). I ignored the pain in my legs and kept focusing on my breathing and avoiding the urge to throw up( Doing this makes the time go more quickly). And I made it up the hill. I was definately stoked. Even more stoked when I started over the top and found a nice little down hill section on the other side…oh wait..this is kind of long…slow down…brakes…that was a long hill. I hit the end of the road and see the road I just came down in front me and I have to climb back up.

At this point I wish I was dead. I’m down by the river and I contemplated just tossing my bike in the river, but I couldn’t quit like that. So I start pedaling. I actually made it up the first part of this hill in higher gears and then downshifted. Then off to my left what do I hear? Dogs!! Some mangy looking thing and a golden retriever start after me. Oh boy, I’m a dead man. I’m already going top speed (which is just north of a snail’s pace) and these dogs are going to enjoy a fat ankle/Nike/biker snack today. But they didn’t. The loud one (I’m guessing it was the female) just sat in the street and barked (sitting in the street also confirmed it’s sex) while the other one ran alongside me wanting me to play with it and obviously oblivious to the serious amounts of pain I was feeling. But I focused on the dog for a while while pedaling so maybe the biking gods sent this dog to me to help me meditate out of my brain during this event.

I kept chugging and made it up that hill too. This one was longer but not as steep. So, needless to say by the time I fought the headwind back to the office I was seriously cooked, and I still had my afternoon commute to go. And to top it all off the entire ride was like 5-6 miles. It felt like 20 when I was done. Hard to explain. You want to know what was at the end of that dead end? Nothing. A house, a river and some high school kids that looked like they were up to no good. It was a little bit of a letdown, but I guess I did learn a little about myself.

I mentioned where I was to a co-worker. He says, “Oh yeah, I go up there sometimes because it’s like the highest point in the city and you can see the whole city from there. But I drive. It’s kind of hilly.”

“Really? You don’t say.” And then I gulp down a couple Tylenol.

FGLB

Nothing like riding with a wet road

Bike Miles today: 9

The ride today was pretty nice. The weather is certainly above average for this time of year. It was sleeting a little on me this morning, but not too bad. I don’t have fenders on my bike so it was hard to tell if it was coming from the sky or the tires. I hate the stuff that comes off the tires. It gets all over my back and face. Not to mention the kind of yuck in that spray from the road. My stomach rolls thinking of some of the stuff that is coming off the road. Some of the people at work can’t believe I would ride in this kind of weather. I tell them I can’t imagine driving my car in this kind of weather!! Besides, riding a bike to work on a crappy day beats riding the bus to work on a crappy day.

I felt bad for my poor bike bag today. It was it’s first day out in the rain. It performed well, but it wasn’t raining that hard. It certainly isn’t as pristine looking as it was. I guess that’s OK because I certainly want it to look like it is being used, but it would have been nice for it to be shiny a little while longer.

If I’m going to ride in wet weather a lot perhaps I should get some fenders. I’ve been eyeing them for quite a while, but I haven’t wanted to make the investment. I have a mountain bike that would require some custom configuration to get the fenders installed (I want the full on wrap around fenders not the moto-cross style) and haven’t wanted to chance that they wouldn’t get installed properly. Plus, I know at some point I’ll be getting a road bike so I am thinking I should limit what I put into the old mountain bike. Who knows, maybe I’ll give myself a birthday present this year.

FGLB

Hairy little pistons

Bike Miles today: 9

Enjoyed the nice weather on the daily commute today. I felt really strong today. I think this had to do with the warmer weather and how quickly my legs loosened up after I started riding. It hit 51 as the high so that is certainly nice. I wonder if it is global warming or a nature cyclical warming trend? Or just a strange winter.

This morning on the ride to work I spent an inordinate amount of time watching my legs pumping up and down on the pedals. Have you ever noticed how much they look like hairy pistons? (OK, maybe it’s just mine) I always find that amazing when I’m pedaling along. The next time you are out riding and you are on a good stretch of road where you can get a nice steady cadence going check it out. It makes me wonder if this motion was the impetus for pistons in the internal combustion engine. The layout and design seem so similar. It seems to be an extremely efficient mechanism for movement too, at least when utilized on a vehicle with a fairly low weight. Unfortunately most engines in America are saddled with about 5000 lbs of SUV metal. Unlike a 25 lb bike. Bikes are pretty amazing little machines when you think about how far they can move with a small amount of effort from their driver.

I saw a news article about a company in Seattle that makes messenger bags by reusing old parts from cars, bike inner tubes, etc. I thought I would paste the link here in case anyone wanted to check it out. http://www.alchemygoods.com/index.html

FGLB

A little mid-afternoon delight

Bike Miles today: About 12 (I don’t have a computer so I’m estimating)

The weather was so great here this afternoon that I stayed out a little longer on my way home. Stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things too. It’s always nice to run errands on the bike. The winds were brutal today though. For the great winds I had on Tuesday I was paying it back today.

I noticed that the illustrious Tim from Bicycles and icicles mentioned that it is OK for me to use my self-imposed acronym. Thanks for coming by Tim. Your blog is obviously one of the ones I read (as shown by my links to the side) but your blog also helped me get motivated to start my own blog. Not to mention how Tim lives in Alaska and rides his bike in winter. I feel kind of bad wimping out with our weather here sometimes.

I’m being short tonight. It’s late and I’m wiped from fighting the evil forces of the Trojan Virus. Shall they rest in peace.
FGLB

Karma?

I was out of commission for a couple days because some lonely computer geek who was tired of watching Star Trek on TV made a virus that my computer wasn’t ready for. Here is the post that I wrote for Wednesday that I’m posting today. FGLB

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Bike Miles today: 0

The weather man scared me this morning so I wimped out for the daily commute. But it turned out to be nicer than the weather guy made me believe. I guess that is what I get for listening to the weather man. What is it with weather people and their accuracy? If any of us were as accurate at work as the weather person was we would be fired. I think it stems from the fact that the weather person always makes the weather seem worse than it is so that if they are “wrong” the weather is nicer than people’s expectations, and thus, the people are happy. If they are right then it makes them look halfway intelligent. What a job.

Yesterday when I was riding to work in the morning I came upon a fellow bike commuter. As we passed I warned this person of ice on the trail ahead. Who knows if they actually heard me. When I looked back shortly later, justifiably concerned because this person was moving very quickly, I saw them take a tumble on the ice, which was placed in a bad spot on a corner and it was on the inside of the turn. They very quickly got up and took off, I think embarrassed by their little tumble. I’m trying to figure out my role in this. I feel less guilty because I warned the person (and frankly, just a few minutes before I was watching the road well enough to see it in front of me with no warning from another biker, and I moved to the other lane safely) but I still feel a little bad about it because maybe I didn’t warn the person well enough. Now I have to wonder when we pass in the future in the mornings will this biker be hostile to me? Who knows. Not to mention after the person took off I had a smile on my face because of the wreck. That’s probably wrong too but it’s kind of funny when people wreck and they aren’t hurt.

FGLB

Fly with the wind my friend, fly with the wind!!

Bike Miles today: 9

Tough ride to work this morning. I should have had a sign in front of me today when I was pedaling warning of extreme headwinds ahead. I soldiered on hoping that I would get the return benefit on the way home. And boy did I.

The wind was blowing a lot harder in the afternoon, and I was literally flying down the road. I had the gears wrapped all the way up and my chubby little legs were just hammering up and down on the pedals. I don’t even remember a lot of the ride I was focusing on churning the pedals and using the tailwind so much. I can’t remember having a tailwind that strong before. It is a great feeling to be flying up and down the hills and passing cars as they slow down for traffic. That’s a feeling you can’t replicate in the gym.

I promised a messenger bag review today but I’m going to try the bag for a few more days to make sure my love of the bag isn’t too quick. God knows I don’t want to fall head over heals on the first date. After riding home from work in the snow last Friday I have to perform a little TLC on the trusty steed tonight before it revolts on me or something.

I’ve decided to start referring to myself as FGLB. Is it OK to give myself a nickname, if that is what this is? I don’t really know the rules on nicknames. Are you only allowed to use a nickname if someone bestows it upon you? Do acronyms count as a nickname?

I tried to search the net for a list of nickname rules but came up empty. So I’m left to wonder the etiquette of nicknames. In college we would bust the chops of guys who would give themselves a nickname, but we busted everyone for anything we could find so does that really count? I don’t know. All I know is that I just wasted 5 minutes of my life writing all this dribble about nicknames.

FGLB

It’s a Monday, just remember that…

Bike Miles today: 0

No miles today. I couldn’t get the commute in today as I had to be home right after work for my wife to flee off to a job interview, even though later that was delayed by 45 minutes so I could have ridden my bike after all. And could have enjoyed less trouble.

I got to my car after work and I had left the lights on. (This is a common occurence for me as I don’t drive as much as you would think and I have horrible memory for this for some reason.) So the car wouldn’t start. I had to scramble and change in $1 worth of nickels from my work drawer for a bill from a co-worker and catch the bus just as it pulled into the parking lot. That was nice. I don’t mind riding the bus but I don’t like running around first.

Bus driver says I was the first person he has ever picked up at that bus stop. Not surprising, I haven’t seen him before when I ride. Most people I work with would rather call in sick or die then ride a bus.

We did get the car tonight but not without some pushing to get it in position for a jumpstart. So I guess I did get a little bit of a workout.

The wife’s job interview was at Primerica. If you want to read some interesting stuff hit google or yahoo and search for “Primerica”. There are some people who are certainly not happy with that place.

I was in the running for a Banjo Brothers Messanger Bag on the Fat Cyclist website but I couldn’t pull off the victory. I would like to get one of those bags sometime. I did purchase one last week from Bagforme. You can check out the exact bag here. Tommorrow will be my first day using it so we’ll see how it turns out.

All for now.

Fatty