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Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Linked Baiku For Today's Ride

A ride through the past
On the old familiar trails
Under a gray sky

My face still hurting
From wearing a constant smile
Looking at the trees

Florida maples
Ample rain, no killing frost
Aflame with color

Saturday, December 26, 2009

At Last, A Bike Ride In Florida

In the morning, I am doing the Sunday!Sunday!Sunday! ride in Gainesville with the TT crew.  It should be fun.  I'll get to see the trails in the daylight and get in my first ride in nearly a month.  Sorry there have been no posts as of late.  After driving across the country to get here, I've spent most of my time in the car.  More soon.  We get internet at the house next week.  I hope.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm Going Home

I head out for Florida in the morning, away from the cold and snow.  My stops include Bluff, Tucumcari, Dallas, Louisiana or Mississippi, and the Jacksonville airport to pick up Patty, Lupine, and Lucky.  Yes, the cats are coming to Florida.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not Bicycle Related

I spent way too many hours listening to the radio yesterday.  I was on U.S. 6 working on our wildlife cameras.  I listened to President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.  I listened to the analysis.  I listened to coverage of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. I listened to Democracy Now.  After listening to Obama's speech, I was feeling comfortable with the contradiction of winning the Peace Prize and escalating a war at the same time.  Then I had some doubts.  Today, I have more questions than answers.

Are we in Afghanistan to protect our country from terrorist attacks?  If so, is this really cost effective?  We currently spend $3.6 billion per year there, and it will cost another $30 billion per year for the troop increase.  That's an extra million dollars per troop.  How many special operatives/spies/agents could you employ to protect us for a fraction of $30+ billion?

Are the terrorists really in Afghanistan?  Didn't the 911 hijackers live in Saudi Arabia and Germany while planning their attacks?  If you were a terrorist, would you be living in Afghanistan while planning your attacks?  With 30,000 additional troops costing an additional $30 billion headed for Afghanistan, wouldn't you go somewhere else to plan?

Does the President really mean what he said in his acceptance speech, or is he playing to the middle class moderates that got him elected?

Will the United States ever get serious about a meaningful climate change treaty?

Again, I have no answers.  But, it feels good to ask the questions.

Comments are welcome.  Just click the button and type.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Seriously Cold

It's 9 below 0 this morning.  That's minus 9 Fahrenheit.  The current temperature in north Florida, you ask?  It's 58.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One More Thing

I wanted to say a little more about cargo bikes.  Here is the link to the NPR story again, in case you missed it.  Yes, there is a revolution right around the corner, not just in Portland and Boulder, but in every sized town across the country.  I have said all along that the recession was not, and is not, about financial collapse but about fossil fuel/energy use and CO2.  Consumer economies based on fossil fuel will fail.  We all will be riding bicycles and building sea walls sooner or later.

My plan to build Car(e)free Bike Trailers is my attempt to do one small part to facilitate the coming revolution.  Cargo bikes are great, but I think the trailer is a much better option.  All you have to do is unhook the Burley hitch, and you can ride your regular bike, not a 75 pound, long wheel base, expensive monster.  Think about it.

Winter Shocked

I think I may be snowed in by the end of the week when I'm scheduled to start driving to Florida.  How will I ever get over Soldier Summit and the mountains near Alpine, AZ?  I can't believe how fast the weather has changed here.  Camping roadside along the way is going to be pretty tough, and perhaps permanent.

I want Michelle Shocked's latest cd for Christmas.  Listen to a song here.  There's a quote I really relate to on her site.  She says, "I think people have to choose between living with contradictions or painting themselves into a corner. I have a lot of contradictions."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cargo Bikes On NPR

The revolution is coming.  Here is a link to a report on NPR this morning.

The Big Swing

The season has changed.  Winter is here in full force with winds out of the northeast strong enough to blow garbage cans down the snow packed street.  The temperature is in the single digits this morning.  I feel like I'm being blown away too.  It's time to head for the warmth and familiarity of my Florida home, the sand hill cranes, the bald eagles, the live oaks trees, and the sound and smell of the wind coming off the lake rustling through the chalky broomsedge.

I look forward to being in Florida for a while.  I'm very happy to be out of retail.  I've learned some hard lessons that I plan to take with me on my new path.  I know now that you can't make everyone happy and you drive yourself crazy if you try.  So, I'm done.  Next Spring when the snow melts, I'll be spending every Saturday with my family or going on long bicycle rides rather than standing on my feet for 12 hours of retail stress pulling myself in three different directions at once.

I say this, but last night I was working on a customer's bike in the living room and delivering it to his house so he could have it to get to work this morning.  "How much?"  Don't worry about it, I said.  I still care about what the customers say and feel.  So, yes, there will be bicycle repair to do in the spring.  There will be plenty of debts to collect.  There will be plenty of "full of myself" advice to give.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Last Chance...

...for me to get up off the couch and do a cyclocross race in the morning.  The forecast calls for snow and very cold temperatures, well below freezing.  I really do want to go.

Here is a great video.  Enjoy.

Cyclocross from M.C. Preman on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bike Fit And Snow Tires...

...Just because it's time for a rant.  I tried to give some bike fit advise today, but no one listens to me.  I've gone off many times already about bike fit.  Here is a post from February of this year:

I'm not going to go on a long rant here, I promise. I talk a lot about bicycle fit. How do I do it? Good Question. Is it 0.67 x inseam? Is saddle height 0.883 x inseam? Do I use the FitKit? Here is a link to learn more about the many "systems." One thing for sure, if there are so many systems, they can't all be right. It would take a long time to read and understand all this information. So, make sure you read this one by Peter White. I really like this article. I use Peter's basic philosophy along with some formulas and 30+ years of personal experience.
So, if your bike does not fit, buying a new fork is not going to help one little bit.  Your hands hurt?  Tilt your saddle up.  I would never tell an engineer how to build a bridge or a doctor how to remove a gall bladder, but this I know; if your saddle height, saddle tilt, cockpit length, and bar height are not dialed in, you are going to hate your bike.  It's not about the bike, it's about the bike you are comfortable riding.  Now, go back and read Peter White again.  Bike fit is something that takes time, and you may never get it perfect.

Snow tires:  Studded snow tires provide no advantage on snow.  On ice, yes.  They are heavy, inefficient, and very expensive.  Make your own?  Been there and done that, wood screws, sheet metal screws, carbide screws, rolls of duct tape, it was all a waste of time.

Bottom line:  I've been riding in the snow as a commuter and mountain bike rider for over 10 years now in both Montana and Utah.  If the snow is dry, ride a fat mtb tire.  If the snow is wet ride a skinny cross tire.  In the winter (and the rest of the year) ride a fixed gear.  Slow down.  Let some air our of your tires.  If the road is covered in ice, don't ride.  If there are icy spots, learn to recognize them, and slow down.  Never hit your front brake on the ice.  On packed snow, just ride.  Slowly.

Now go out and buy that $800 29er fork and those $238 Nokian studded tires.  You need it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's The Plumber...

...I've come to fix the sink.

No, this is not a post about bicycles.

Yesterday there was water under the washing machine and food all around the floor drain and the laundry standpipe in the basement.  Weird.  We never eat in the basement.

Today, being a great plumber, I turned on the water in the kitchen sink, and sure enough, the water backed up and out of the laundry standpipe downstairs.  Real plumbers have real snakes.  Mine is really short, the type you turn by hand and get all that sewer grime and grease on your palms that never come off.  The solution, you ask?  I attached my cordless drill to the tag end and started rootering the standpipe.  I got past the trap but not to the clog.  Next, I went to the kitchen sink, removed the trap, and inserted my snake.  No luck.  Next, I went up on the roof and inserted my short snake down the pipe.  Again, no good.  Did I say how steep my roof is?  Old men like me do not like steep roofs.

At this point I was ready to call a professional.  When you call a real plumber, you might as well hand them $200 just for getting out of their truck.  A real power snake would cost more.  Gloves would be nice too.  That would include a trip to Lowe's and another two hours of dirty hands.  So, I gave up.  I called.  I paid.  He had a longer snake.

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