Archive for September 2009

Gotta get my act together….

September 30, 2009

After having a day off work yesterday, I really had a hard time getting my act together and getting out the door this morning…..

The key to a successful bike commuting experience is planning and preparation.  I always pack my pannier and lunch the evening before (a post about that coming sometime soon), and I did that OK yesterday.  The trouble started this morning.  Actually, it probably technically started last evening when I failed to make note of the fact that the forecasted low for this morning was significantly cooler than we’ve experienced this fall. 

The morning started with Pam deciding at 5:00 am that we should sleep an extra hour instead of going to the fitness center.  She’s got a birthday coming later in the week, and she’s fully into what I call the “milking your birthday for all it’s worth” mode.  That woman can celebrate her birthday or Mother’s Day for weeks on end!  So today, we went back to bed in celebration of the big day to come!

When we did get up, I got ready to head out the door as normal, then had an “aha” moment when I realized it was 44 degrees on the back porch.   I’ve been wearing a vest, arm warmers, light gloves, and tights (occasionally) in the morning.  On the way from the bedroom to the kitchen I decided I needed my skullcap with earflaps and warmer gloves today.  Unfortunately, those two items were buried in my “cycling accessories” drawer.  I’m sure you’ve got one of those…it’s the drawer that you just fling everything in for storage.  Mine is full of cycling stuff…ranging from booties to ear warmers.  And, it’s all black.  And jumbled together.  And actually spread between two drawers.  It’s not the place you want to be digging through at the last minute on the way out the door.  After several growls, I finally found what I was looking for and headed to the kitchen where I had to dig around for the right pairs of glasses (amber lenses for the morning and sunglasses for the afternoon). 

That done, I put on the amber lenses and just about had a heart attack!  They were dirty!  I can’t wear dirty glasses….it’s just not in my genes, so I had to stop and clean them.  Opening the garage door, I felt the coolness of the morning air and immediately decided my vest wasn’t going to cut it.  I considered whether it would be easier to take my blue jacket off the pannier or go inside for my heavier black one, and opted for the black one.  I slipped it on, then realized I had better take my arm warmers off or I would quickly be roasted! 

After all that, I finally hit the road only to realize I wouldn’t have complained if I had some warmer gloves and my booties!  It wasn’t too bad, but my hands and feet did get chilly on the way to work.  Good grief!  I’m gonna do better tomorrow…..

As I pulled into the courtyard at work, Betsy followed me in.  I’ve known her to ride to work on occasion, but this is the first time in a long while that I’ve seen her do it.  Good job!

betsy 001

Say 'hello' to Betsy!

 

God bless….

TW

Chasing a Rabbit…busting a gut!

September 28, 2009

On the way home from work the other day, I noticed a guy on a  mountain bike pulling out onto Catalpa from a side street about three blocks in front of me.  It looked like an older gentleman, wearing sweatpants, a t-shirt and tennis shoes (no helmet).  I didn’t pay too much attention initially, but after following him a block or two, I noticed I wasn’t gaining on him.

That became a challenge.  I didn’t know which direction he might head, but I decided to give chase.  The rest of the way down Catalpa, I chased hard, but it was all I could do to gain ground.  What gives with this guy? He doesn’t look like he should be fast!

At the intersection of Catalpa and Eastgate, he turned south, so I kept my head down and charged up the hill in hopes of catching him.  Man, I was about to bust a gut, but the distance between us was slowly getting shorter.  I was now close enough to see that he was, in fact, an older guy in tennis shoes and sweatpants, but I never did catch him until we rolled up to the stoplight at Sunshine. 

At that point, he went between the two lines of cars all the way up to the light.  Not a cool move!  As I sat several car lengths behind him, I began to notice something different about his bike.  It looked like he had some hard-sided panniers on a rack, and what looked like a drum brake from a tandem on the hub. 

When the light changed again, he took off and I had to wait for several cars to clear the intersection before I could cross so he got a pretty good lead on me again.  I pretty much gave up on catching him at that point, but I sure was aggravated that I couldn’t catch him.

Heading up the final hill on Blackman Road in front of the fire station, I saw that I might have one more chance to run him down.  I pushed hard, and saw that I would finally overtake him just before I had to turn on Sunset to head for home.  As I finally caught him, I realized from the “hum” coming from his bike that I had been chasing a stinking electric bike for the last three miles!  This is what the guy was riding:

ezipelectricbike

Good grief!  No wonder I couldn’t catch that old fart!  If I had known he was riding with battery power, I wouldn’t have bothered!  Oh well…at least I got a good workout in!

God bless….

TW

Columbia, MO – Dichotomy in Action

September 28, 2009

This

vs.

This

Of Saddle Choices

September 25, 2009

After 20 years of working at this Utility, I finally got a new chair today!  Wow!  It feels so good!  There are lots of features (tilt, lumbar support, spring loaded height adjustment) that make it a pleasure to sit my tail in it!

chairs 002

Ain't it a beaut!

Interestingly enough, I got my new chair on the day that Bike Noob posted a question about bike saddles, so I thought I would share my experiences with my saddle(s).

Now, I know that saddles are a very personal cycling subject, and what works for one person will be totally wrong for the next, so take this for what it is….my experiences and my butt!

For the last 15,000 miles, I’ve used this saddle on my road bikes:

chairs 001

chairs 003

It’s a Terry Dragonfly.  Notice that it has a long nose, a pretty slim rear section, a nice cutout for the important parts, and what the picture doesn’t convey is that it has very little (almost none) padding.  You can tell from the pictures that the leather is wearing in places, but as far as I can tell, there’s still a lot of life in it. 

Obviously, having ridden on this saddle for 15,000 miles, I like it.  It fits my sit-bones perfectly, and is comfortable enough to ride all day long without having saddle issues.  I’ve never had any numbness or tingling on this saddle, and with it’s titanium rails, is light enough for a casual recreational rider like me.  Unlike some of the weight wienie saddles out there, there is no flex in the wings or rear of this saddle.  As far as I’m concerned, I’ll keep riding this until it literally falls apart under me.  Unfortunately, it’s no longer being made, so if this one does die, I’ll need another alternative.

I use a similar Terry saddle on the tandem:

terry fly

This is the Terry Fly TI.  With titanium rails and a leather cover, it’s as close to the DragonFly as I can come.  The differences are actually pretty minor, but I think I could tell you without looking which saddle I was sitting on (if that type of test were possible).  This one is ever so slightly wider in the tail section, has just a tad more padding, and in spite of the embossed leather skin, is slicker than the Fly.  I wouldn’t call it uncomfortable by any means, but I do believe the extra padding makes something of a difference.  Granted, riding a tandem is an entirely different experience than a single bike, but I’ve got about 7,500 miles on this and have always been happy with the choice.

I’ve often wondered what would happen if I would swap saddles on the two bikes?  Would I suddenly find the ride on either one less comfortable than it is now?  Would I end up hating one of these saddles?  I’m not willing to find out!

On the commuting front, I was overjoyed to come outside this morning and see stars in the sky after so many gray and dreary days.  The temperature was in the low 50′s, which I think is the coolest it’s been this fall and the day was gorgeous! 

Unfortunately, I doubt that I’ll get any kind of a bike ride in this weekend.  We’ve got church stuff tomorrow and wedding stuff after church on Sunday.  Bummer.

Oh yeah!  I almost forgot about this.  If you think you’ve got good bike handling skills, check this out!

God bless…

TW

Runners Everywhere

September 24, 2009

Wow!  When Pam and I went out to run at 5:45 this morning, we were amazed that almost everywhere we went in the neighborhood we saw runners.  It seemed like we always had someone else in sight in one direction or another.  I’ve also been seeing a lot of folks out running in the neighborhoods around MSU on my way home in the evenings.  It must be the time of year that people are getting motivated again to start training for the plethora of organized runs and races scheduled throughout the fall and early winter here in Springfield.

two_runners

Interestingly, the majority of runners we see in the pre-dawn hours in our neighborhoods are women.  We can’t figure out why that is.   Where are the men?  Any ideas?

After our run, the ride to work was a carbon copy of the past several.  Dark, gray, humid, and damp pretty much sums it up.  The enjoyable thing about that is the moisture seems to put a damper on noises.  It’s been so quiet and peaceful every day this week that I’m getting kind of spoiled.  I like peace and quiet!

I was hoping that the sun would come out by the time I left work, but no such luck.  It was still so dark and cloudy that I didn’t even switch from my amber lensed glasses to my sunglasses.  Maybe tomorrow….

God bless….

TW


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