Archive for July 2008

It’s possible!

July 31, 2008

We weren’t sure if it could be done, but we did get the tandem in the back of the Prius for out trip to the League of Michigan Bicyclists West Shoreline Tour.

We’re out of here after work tomorrow.  We’ll post a report when we get back!

 

Tandem in Prius

Tandem in Prius

 

From Front Seats

From Front Seats

Oh, my aching ears…..

July 29, 2008

We found this morning that the front brake adjustment I made to the tandem over the weekend only made our squeeling problem worse.  As Pam put it this morning, “That’s loud enough to wake the dead!”.  I’ve tried adjusting them square on the rim, toe-in, toe-out, and have sanded the rim.  Toe-out with a sanded rim gave us the best results, but only temporarily, and having the things toe-out seemed to reduce our braking power.

If I’m gonna get it resolved before our trip, I’ve really only got one shot to do so….tonight.  Since this really started when I changed the brake pads earlier this summer, I think I’m gonna try a new set of pads and work from there.  To do that, I guess I’m gonna have to ride my bike to Sunshine Bike at lunch or on the way home tonight.  Heck, I guess if push comes to shove, I can try the old ones again. 

Edit…New brake pads seem to be the answer.  I got a pair of generic looking MTB pads from the bike store, mounted them with just a slight toe-in, and based on several runs down the hill in front of the house (both alone and with Pam), they don’t squeel.  Good deal!

This morning’s ride was a pretty good workout.  It seemed like Pam woke up about 1/2 way back from the high school and wanted to go fast.  Prior to that, I had been working pretty hard, but didn’t feel like we had anything special in terms of speed.  Once she decided to go for it, she worked me really hard.  She wanted to try for a lot of speed up Sunshine, so from the time we turned off of J Highway, I was pretty much gasping for breath the whole way back.

Our average speed ended up at 17.6 mph. 

The commute in was just that….a nice ride through town.  I really enjoy that 8.6 miles….it’s pretty flat and I can get “in the zone” pretty easy.

At lunch, I rode 10 miles to buy $8.00 worth of bicycle parts.  I picked up a different set of brake pads…pretty generic ones at that, but that’s what was on the tandem in the first place. 

As I was leaving Sunshine Bike, riding south on Stewart street, an old man in a van nearly pulled in front of me, causing me to lock up the rear wheel and skid a foot or so.  I don’t have a clue how he couldn’t see me….we were facing each other for a period of about 4 blocks, and there were no other cars on the street.  When he started to make his left turn in front of me, I yelled, hit the brakes hard, and made a big motion with my arm to catch his attention.  Then, as he finally stopped and I passed, I shook my bony finger (not THE FINGER) at him to let him know I was unhappy.  His carelessness or not guaging my speed correctly, or something boneheaded on his part put me in harms way, and that makes me angry.  I do my part to make myself visible and follow the traffic rules as they apply to a cyclist, doing everything I can to ensure my own safety, but I’m still at the mercy of a lot of drivers who don’t have a clue that I might be out on the streets with them.  Unfortunately, in this summer of high gas prices, there are a lot of cyclists out on the street, and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.  I know I’m ranting, but the fine citizens of Springfield, MO need to learn to be more bicycle friendly…….

By the way, in the last week and a half, I’ve noticed a significant up-tick in the number of folks who look like they’re commuting by bicycle.  Unfortunately, a lot of them aren’t wearing helmets…which is another rant in itself!

By the time I get home tonight, I should have at least 47 miles for the day. 

God bless…

TW

Saturday Fun

July 26, 2008

We got up and out early this morning….I know, that’s not like us on a Saturday, but Pam needed to be someplace by 10:30, so we decided to break tradition and hit the road by 7:00. Our goal was to ride out to Strafford for breakfast at McD’s.

Pam wasn’t feeling very well at all the entire trip out there. She had a salad last night that didn’t agree with her, and I could tell that she was pretty quiet this morning. Needless to say, we weren’t exactly a ball of fire this morning. When we got to the Golden Arches, she was careful about what she ate, but still had some stomach cramps that concerned us as we started back. Just a few miles out of town, however, she started feeling better. I could tell, because she started talking again!

Our lone wildlife sighting was a couple of turkeys way off in the distance in a field. It looked like they were a hen and one of her young, but we were so far away it was kind of hard to tell.

After we got home, Pam went in to shower, and I jumped on my single to ride up to the pharmacy to pick up a script. Not a big deal, but another chance for me to do something by bike that we would normally do in a car without thinking.

When I returned, I started cleaning up the tandem for our Michigan trip. It took a while because it was kind of nasty, but by the time I was done, it is shining as best as it can, and has been lubed for the trip. I spent a little time resetting the front brakes because they are still squealing really bad. I don’t really think I made anything better, but at least I tried. I suspect we’re just going to have to put up with the squealing until the next time I put new brake pads on it. I’ll probably try another brand and see if they’re any better than the Kool Stops I put on this time. I measured the timing chain, and it’s looking like there is some noticeable “stretch” on it. You can get by with letting them wear a little more than the normal drive chain, but I probably need to plan to replace it in the off season.

By the time I was done, I realized that I didn’t have much lube left to take on vacation with us, so I hopped back on the bike and rode up to Sunshine Bike. The annual Pancake Ride was this morning, so there were a lot of folks in the shop picking up stuff and dealing with problems they had this morning. In spite of that, Kay (the owner) took time to chat with me a little bit. It’s nice to feel like a valued customer, even if I only bought a $7 bottle of lube.

Total mileage for the year is 2,664. 988 on the tandem and 1676 on the single. I’m kind of disappointed in the low number of miles on the tandem, but this year has really stunk in terms of getting to ride consistently on the weekends. I’m thinking this will be our lowest mileage year in the three that we’ve owned it. Oh well….the key is for Pam to enjoy it.

Here’s the GPS Track for the day. I ended up with 43.66 miles.

God bless…

TW

At least I impressed someone….

July 25, 2008

George, the security guard at work always takes an interest in the fact that I ride my bike to work.  We have an enclosed courtyard in the back of the training center, and he is always good to ensure that the gate to it is unlocked every morning and then kept locked throughout the day. 

This morning, he saw me through the door as I was parking the bike under porch overhang and came to let me in so I wouldn’t have to walk around to the regular entrance.  While waiting for me to get the trunk bag containing my clothes off, he asked “How many miles do you have on that bike?”.  Two quick clicks of the computer button provided the answer.  5325.  That nearly blew him away…he just couldn’t imagine how anyone could amass over 5,000 miles on a bicycle. 

I just smuggly smiled to myself, and didn’t tell him that this bike was only 2 1/2 years old, and in that same time we had put 5,700 miles on our tandem.  Prior to that, I think I remember that the Specialized had a little over 6,400 miles on it when I got rid of it.  It’s amazing how the miles add up when you’re having fun!

There was really nothing special about this morning’s ride and/or commute.  I did the same “out Sunshine, back Kinser Bridge” route as last week, and it really felt much the same.  By Friday, I don’t really feel like pushing extremely hard, but it ends up being a fairly hard ride.  I think my average speed was 17.5 when I got to the house to grab my bag and by the time I got to work, my legs were tired and my clothes were soaked.

Since we didn’t ride at all last weekend, my weekly mileage total is going to be 112 after the trip home tonight.

God bless…

TW

Winding down to vacation

July 24, 2008

For some reason, we just didn’t have much in our legs this morning.  It may have been the longish walk we took after supper last night…I’m not sure.   Or, now that I think about it, maybe it’s staying darker longer.  I know in years past that’s slowed us down a little, but it could just be that we were tired.   I know my back and hip was hurting when I got out of bed this morning (desperately need a new matress!).  We ended up with a 17.0 mph average speed.

We leave for Michigan after work a week from tonight.  We’ll just have to trust that as a team we’re ready for a weeklong trip of 425 miles.  I know I can do it, but I’m not by myself on a single this time.  Life has conspired to keep us from racking up a lot of big mileage tandem rides to this point so I’m concerned about the need to pull down several 50-60 mile days in a row.  We’ll probably handle it just fine, but I worry just the same because I want riding to be fun for Pam.

Here’s the plan for getting ready to go (yup…I’ve got a plan for everything.  It comes from laying awake at night).  This weekend we’ve got time for a breakfast ride Saturday morning before Pam needs to be someplace mid-morning.  After that, I’ll thoroughly clean and lube the bike.  Also on tap for the weekend will be to get our camping bag packed.  I’m also hoping we can squeeze in a 20-25 mile ride on Sunday afternoon after church before I need to be back there for a 3:00 meeting.

After we ride on Tuesday, we’ll wash all the cycling clothes and get them packed.  Wednesday evening, we’ll finish packing and attempt to load the tandem and our gear in the back of the Prius.  It may be a stretch, but by taking both wheels and the rear rack off, it may barely fit if we hold our tongues just right when we’re trying to load it.  If it doesn’t, we’ll go to plan B and just drive the truck.  Pam really wants to take the Prius…it’s not only more comfortable for the 14 hour ride to Mackinaw City, but it will cost us 1/2 as much to drive as the truck.

We’re really looking forward to this trip.  We’ve never been to that area of the country before, and it looks like this ride takes us to a lot of neat and unique places.  We do, however, have one big concern….Pam’s mom has been in the hospital for nearly a month now.  She nearly died three times, and is only one step down from the ICU, but appears to be on the road to something of a recovery (or at least stabilization).  It was only last night that we finally decided that we were out of the woods and were as safe as we were going to be to go.  Still, there’s always that nagging thought in the back of your mind about what happens if something should happen when we’re a couple of days into this trip and we need to get back quickly.  I guess we’ll just cross our fingers and pray that we don’t have to deal with that.

One final thought…. I started this blog for my own personal edification and enjoyment, but now that its getting some traffic (like wow!  6-8 hits a day), I’m curious about who’s finding me.  If you see this, please do me an honor and drop me a comment letting me know what led you here.  I know a lot of folks are coming from the Oklahoma Freewheel site, but I’m curious what other things are leading you to me.

God bless…

TW


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