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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Won't be Commuting for a While...

I was going strong for the last few weeks. 3 or 4 days on my bike riding to work plus our family Tuesday night ritual of riding to Chik Fil A for dinner and the library for Story Time (me hauling the boys in either the trailer or the Madsen).

However, I was notified Wednesday morning that my position was eliminated. So, now I've got to find another job. Hopefully, I'll be lucky enough to get one close to make bike commuting likely (that or get enough grit in me to ride further for work... my commute is honestly short compared to some).

On the brighter side, I'll have time to just ride while I figure out the rest of my life...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Madsen: Quick Update / Impressions

So, tuesday night, we (I) rode our boys from our house to Chik-fil-A (Family Night) and then by the Library (story time). Here's some various impressions:

  1. Ride's great. Very smooth. Weight distribution takes some getting used to, but that's not a big deal.
  2. Boy's LOVED not being sheltered away in the trailer. They especially loved being able to talk with my wife (mommy) when she rode behind us.
  3. My youngest would occasionally lean back against me as I rode, which was pretty cool.
It's not without some things I need to tweak, though.
  • I'm going to be putting Schwalbe big apples on it. More volume + kevlar belted should be nice (more cush + flat resistant).
  • I, personally, need a different handlebar. Just felt kind of... cramped... with the default one. Not such a big deal at speed because the normal stabilizing effect of bike wheels at speed, but when going slower I had to consciously tell my self to relax. Kind of hard to explain.
  • Need to figure out how to deal with my youngest nodding off. He's 1.5 yrs old, so on the way home he likes to doze... doesn't work so well with him on the bench, he couldn't get comfortable with where to lean against. I'm thinking about relocating the seatbelts lower down and padding the bottom of the bucket and sitting him down in it.
Oh, and the boys got a little chilly after dark. However, that was kind of expected. Apparently, Madsen is working on some sort of weather cover, and I can state without reservation that I'll be ordering one as soon as it's available.

Also, got to ask Madsen about the screws on the top tube and downtube. They aren't spaced for water bottle cages.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Madsen Came In!

Okay, so much influenced by Totcycle's review, I've been wanting to get a Madsen for a while. It showed up. I bought one on the scratch clearance for $200 off. Hard to tell where the scratch was...

Anyhow, we had a couple test rides as soon as we opened it. Handling's a bit "twitchy", some of that is likely because I was riding at fairly low speeds and getting used to it. We'll take a longer ride tomorrow....

Here's a slideshow, the Picasaweb Album has a couple videos...

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Arkel Stuff?

Okay, so I do love my Arkel Commuter, but noticed some new Arkel goodies previewed in Eurobike coverage of Velo-Vision magazine (a publication I enjoy reading and subscribing to via Exact Editions... I hate paper copies of nearly anything). Neither are on Arkel's website yet, and I've yet to see any mention on any other websites either...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Handlebar Reelight?

Yeah, I'm so grabbing this when it's launched for sale. standard reelights are already great. This would be like adding a dyno to any front wheel.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Me / Family: 1, Virus: 3

Well, the Dark Side Ride was a no-go for me. My boys got viruses this week (their eyes erupted into pink-eye... both eyes... on both of them), which I wound up contracting (strep-like symptoms for me) Thurs Night / Friday Morning (probably because I stayed home with the boys on Thurs). I was in no shape to ride 30-50 miles late Friday night (though I took a small ride around my neighborhood and found a really cool park we didn't know was there Friday afternoon... my back was tired of laying down... but 1-2 miles tuckered me out).

The only upside is that the wife didn't get sick.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

KS > MO Dark Side Ride? I'm so there...

Guess what popped up on my reader list today, or maybe yesterday (courtesy of KC Bike Commuting)? A group ride I can actually make it to! 9p-12midnight. I may even "man up" and ride to the 8 miles to the meet point. (which would put total miles awfully close to 50). Depends on when the wife and I get done with the cookout we're going to before hand.

Get your lights charged... it's time for another Dark Side Ride! < KC Bike Commuting

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rain: 0, Me: 2 - Woo Hoo!

So, I was dense enough NOT to check the weather before I headed out yesterday. The sun was still down, so I didn't notice how thick the clouds were. About 1/4 of the way to the office I thought "Hm, I'm pretty sure those weren't headlight flashes". About 1/2 the way, "Yeah, that's definitely not headlights." Grabbed my coffee to go (rather than sitting down for 20 minutes to eat my banana and drink my coffee there, like I usually do), got to the office, sat down... 5 minutes later... KAPOOOSSHH! the sky dumps...

Then, I get out of the office a little (15 min) late... start pedaling... notice the sky "Oh, crap, I should've left on time..."... Lightening, Lightening, Looming Clouds... Pedal Harder... hit all the green lights... it's spitting when I roll into the garage. Dumps about 10 minutes later.

So, I out ran the storm twice on Wednesday.

Of course, now that I've bragged about it, I'll probably get swept away in a flash flood or something tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Door Zone Video - Holy Crap!

I suspect that anyone reading this has already seen this video posted on a number of other blogs. However, if you haven't, it's worth passing on / clicking through.

Door Zone - A Real Eye-Opener!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Collegiate Ride Impressions

So, I got around to actually riding the Collegiate more than just around the block. I rode it about 3 miles round trip to the coffee shop and back. Here are my impressions:

1) Wheels are horribly out of true (just one more thing to work on).
2) Ride is super upright (not a bad thing).
3) Can't wait for a rack (holding a book while riding was doable, but not comfortable... should have used a sling bag).

Also, the bottom cable guide slipped, which was a pain because I could figure out why it was hard to ride (stuck in 3rd / high gear). I'm going to get something to help it stay gripped to the frame better.

Friday, August 7, 2009

3 Things Made Me Happy (in the last 24 hours)

  1. Twice on my commute yesterday, I tripped the optical sensors at fairly major intersections by myself. Now, I'm not slight, but I'm no clydesdale either. So, it's always fun when I can cast a big enough shadow, or whatever they're looking for, on my bike trip those sensors.
  2. On my way home, I heard a a car approach and slow down behind me. A lady in a minivan was, apparently, giving me time to swerve around the parked cars before passing me. She could have passed me safely without slowing. However, I guess she decided it would be nicer not to spook me. When I got around the two cars and pulled back over, she passed me, smiled and waved.
  3. Something was waiting for me when I got home. It was the Ex-Officio Trip'r SS (Jade) I had ordered. Fit is good, it's really lightweight, breathes well (wore it on the ride in today) and, I think, looks sharp.
Oh, and a bonus 4th, I found a quarter in my pocket when I got to work.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kansas Chic? Nah...

In an attempt to cheer up a friend, who recently despaired of the lack of chic in NYC cyclists, here are some pics from my ride to work this morning. Though it is all performance fabrics, it's at least suitable office apparel. Regardless, it's probably as close to Chic Cycling as you'll see in suburban Kansas.

Bern Helmet, Oakleys, Ibex Merino Polo

Nau Wearever Slacks, Pants Clip (the reflection)


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Khaki Hack Update

So, I added lower snaps and took some still and action shots. the location seems to work fairly well. It seems to be just high enough to keep the hem out of the chain and keep some wind on my legs. Also, an interesting byproduct of the new location (6-7 inches from the hem) is that it allows for extra security if I roll them to my normal knicker-roll height (just below my knee).

Still Shots:

In Action:

Panda Shots

Finally figured out how to hold my camera and ride at the same time, so I got around to taking some Panda Shots tonight. A lot of them were crap, these worked though.

PS - From the Panda Flickr Group "Why are these called "pandas?" Well, ya see, there's this rad chick who goes by the name faster panda kill kill. She takes rad self-portraits while riding her bike. They are so rad, in fact, that a group was formed to record similar self-portraits cuz, really, just about anyone who has a camera and rides bikes also takes these self-portraits."

Trusty Steed

I realized, the other day, that I've modified my Soho S enough that it's worth posting a couple of update pics. This is still the bike I ride to work.

Side View

Front View

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Khaki Hack featured by Bike Hacks

FWIW, Bike Hacks featured my Khaki Hack

Monday, August 3, 2009

Khaki Hack

So, I've been brainstorming ways to make my work clothes more biking friendly. I really like by Rail Riders Backcountry Khakis. They fit great, breath great and are pretty tough. I normally roll / fold them to knicker length when I ride. However, sometimes roll isn't good and comes loose, which is a pain. Then, the other day, I stumbled on to the Prana Stretch Zion which have a pretty nice built in snap for rolling them up just high enough to help keep them out of the chain.

This gave me an idea for modifying my khakis to something similar. Using the inseam I was able to attach snaps ($4 total for snaps and setter @ hobby store) pretty well.

Location of both snaps.

Lower snap detail

Upper snap detail

Snapped - inside out

Snapped - right side out

Unsnapped... Using the inseam means the snaps are unnoticeable from the outside

So, how do they work? Pretty well, except that... I believe I placed the upper snap too high. You see, I have very well developed calves. The upper snap is placed between my knee and the swell of my calf muscle. With the pedaling motion, my calves had a tendency to friction-grab the hem. This led to discomfort and the snaps coming undone occasionally.

I believe I need to locate the upper snap just below my calf muscle rather than above.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Collegiate is Re-Assembled.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Collegiate is assembled and working. Here are the promised pictures:



Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Alive!!!!!

Okay, so finished getting the '83 Collegiate assembled last night.

I promise I'll get some pics up soon (most likely this weekend).

At present, everything works beautifully.

The coaster brake is about 90% dialed in. I played with it just enough to get it working last night. There's a sweet spot that I'm looking for, too little and there's no power, too much and it drags while pedaling. It's presently on the looser / weaker side of adjustment, BUT it's powerful enough that the rear wheel can skid if done just right(talk about bringing back memories).

I'm pretty sure I'm going to swap the tires for something less basis, but I'm torn between practicality or cool. Since these are 590 rims (remember, this is a Tawain / Giant built Schwinn), there are limited supplies. However, Schwalbe makes a Marathon Plus (imminently practical) in 590... other strong contenders are the Schwalbe Delta Cruiser (Cream, Whitewall or Gumwall), or Panaracer Col de la Vie... decisions, decisions...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Summer-Weight Bike Hugger / Ibex Wool T's

I have a suspicion my wife isn't going to like me... My heavier-weight Ibex / Bike Hugger Wool T is, by far, my favorite t-shirt. However, it can get a bit warm (especially if the sun is shining since it's black). I doubt I'll be able to resist buying a light blue...

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Project Bike ('83 Schwinn Collegiate)

A couple of weeks ago I picked up an '83 Schwinn Collegiate (Ser. G 0383) that was in surprisingly good condition. For now, all it needs is:
1) Cleaning & Lube
2) New Chain (probably doesn't NEED it, but the old was fairly rusty and I had a KMC Rustbuster sitting unused)
3) Adjust the shifter
4) Adjust the Coaster Brake
5) Oh, and a rack. I've got a Wald Rear Rack (in chrome) on the way.
Later I'll probably replace the grips (one is split a bit).

So far, the only challenge was removing the seat tube. The saddle came off the seat tube leaving the seat tube jammed in the seat post (it had been adjusted all the way down). Thank goodness for WD-40 and Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil (only needed a touch of each).

Interestingly, this is an early Taiwan / Giant outsourced Schwinn Collegiate. It has the Shimano 3CC rather than the Sturmey Archer rear hub.

Here's some pics sans-grime.

Friday, July 24, 2009

4-for-5 again...

Suffice it to say, I didn't ride in today.

On the positive side, at least I got through 4 full days before missing one.

Ah, well, I guess

Thursday, July 23, 2009

4-for-4 and tomorrow is supposed to be great weather

Should, finally, break land a 5 for 5 week.

PS - Last Sunday I purchased a used '83 Schwinn Collegiate that needs just a tad bit of cleaning / polishing and a bit of adjustment and I'll have a second bike. I'll post pics whenever I get it cleaned up.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Got Through Hump Day

I *think* today will have been the most challenging to ride in. It was supposed to rain (thunderstorm actually) all morning, and I have a couple of errands I need to do. However, it wasn't actually raining when I got done with my shower, so I rode in. Here's hoping for a 5/5 week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Averaging 4/5 for a couple of weeks...

Not a whole lot to report. I've been hitting 4 days out of 5 for a couple weeks now. Usually I've got some lame excuse for missing a day during the middle of the week. Something like "I woke up and was really tired".

Need to update pictures of my bike sometime soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good & Bad

The Good: Yesterday, on my way from work to the chiropractor (who's phenomenal*, by the way), I managed to awe a couple of high school boys with the speed I took a flat bit. They caught up to me at a light in order to express said awe.

The Bad: My youngest was having some anxiety issues or something so hardly slept last night. This meant I hardly slept, which meant I was too exhausted to ride into work. There's always next week.

*Molly @ ProC.A.R.E. is one of, if not the, best chiropractor I've used.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday, Friday

Well, I didn't ride yesterday because my legs hurt when I got up (classic overdoing it pain). So, today I made it to Starbucks faster than I ever have, and that included time spent going out of my way to redeem my Einstein Bros Free Bagel Fridays coupon (which I'm enjoying as I write this).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Heavenly(?) Birthday Present...

So, the heavens decide to disgorge rain on me on my ride home yesterday (which also happened to be my 30th Birthday). Sad thing is, if I had left 15 min earlier (my colleague was already fine with me leaving 1 hr early due to my BDay, so 1 h 15m wouldn't have mattered) I would have missed it entirely. On a better note, I'm pretty sure it was one of my fasted rides home.

PS - You can't tell it from the pictures but my pants are completely soaked.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yesterday kind of sucked

It was hot and windy on the way home, and my bike was clanging like crazy. After 2-3 miles I figured out what happened, apparently one of the bolts securing my rack to the axle braze-ons fell out. I had to go to three different hardware stores to find a match (though that's my own fault as the one I knew would have a match was more out of the way so I wasted a lot of time and energy going to two that were only partly out of way).

Oh, and I'm thirty today.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Week's off to a great start

I was a beautiful ride in this morning. I was exhausted, but I'm really glad I rode rather than drove. I thought I might even be a bit late, but wasn't. Even had time to stop to get coffee.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rained today... I'm okay... in case you were worried...

So, since I was running early this morning* I stopped by Starbucks for a Triple Espresso on Ice** and to sit and read my book***. Anyhow, I was sitting there about 10 minutes when BOOM! PSSSH! the skies of Kansas let loose with all their fury. It had been lightly misting on my way in but my first thought was "Crap, I shouldn't have stopped 0.25 miles from work..."

Luckily, though, it tapered off to a mild sprinkle before I needed to brave it to get to work on time. I was damp, but dried off in no time.

Doesn't my life sound exciting? ;)

* Due to getting up earlier and getting faster.
** Even my just-turned-three son knows I take my Espresso iced, he corrected a barista the other day when she handed me me "espresso" (it was iced, she just didn't say it was iced when she handed it to me).
*** My reward for getting up earlier and getting faster.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Missed a Day

Well, I successfully made it through all of Bike to Work Week. Monday was a vacation day (recovering from my wife's graduating on Sunday), Tuesday I rode, today... not so much... I was completely exhausted when my alarm went off. Ah well, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

5 out of 5!

Well, I successfully rode in all five days this week. Of course, shortly after I got to work I had to ride home to meet the AC guy. Unfortunately it was a 15 min fix... so my buddy at work said he'd cover so I didn't have to come back in. Also, I've ridden quite a few errands this week too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 4 - Rode In

One more day to knock out the week. My leg's are feeling the fact that I hadn't biked for a while and they haven't had a rest day. Of course, my routes not that long so they should adapt fast.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 3 - Yay Me!

If you sound it out, the title rhymes. Anyhow, I was exhausted but rode in anyway. In reality, it's my own fault I'm exhausted. My wife and I have been staying up rather late and I've not been getting enough sleep to really recover... however it shouldn't take long for my body to adapt. I consider pushing through today to be part of the adaptation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One More Thing (or maybe two, depends on how you look at it)

Wore my Nau pants that I've had for a while as well as my Rockport / Adidas Torsion Banstead dress shoes. The shoes were actually really comfortable on the bike... the pants not so much. The material is much thicker than the Rail Riders Backcountry Khakis, also they have a DWR coating. Altogether, in this weather they were really hot even while rolled up. So, the RRBKs still reign surpreme for roll-to-knicks length pants.

BtWW - Day 2

2 days down, 3 to go. I met another bike commuter today. Tim, he works at the Garmin satellite building and he was able to show me a couple of shortcuts / off-the-beaten-path routes that really helped. Coming home they're not quite as handy as they are going to work, but going to work they help a lot.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chilly Start to Bike Week

Bit chilly this morning, but wearing a wind breaker actually made me warm / sweat towards the end of my commute. I've been working on a couple of guys in the office and hoping they'll manage to ride into work this week. However, they'd have much longer commutes than I would.

Oh, and I may have found a nicer route to work... it was pretty good today. The only part that I didn't like was that I had to ride the sidewalk on 135th in order to access the bike trail (the access is only on the south side)

View Route to Work v2 in a larger map

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Favorite Ride to Work Pants

Rail Riders Backcountry Khakis

From the MFR, my interpretations in italics

Soft Oxford Textured Allure' Nylon
= No Wrinkles @ the Office when I roll the legs back down
Even Waist Sizes
= Better than generic S/M/L
Jean Fit
= Me Like
Articulated Knees
Gusseted Crotch
= WIN!!!
Deep Front Pockets
= Stuff is on top of your thighs so it doesn't pinch your hip
2 Zippered Back Pockets
= No snagging the saddle
Dries Instantly and Packs Small
Great Fit!
= Especially since they come in 30" inseam for my short-ish legs!

I snagged these on sale last fall, but I'm going to be paying full price for another pair.

FYI - I ride to work in my "office clothes". Pants like these + Merino Shirts + Ibex Balance Running Shorts is all I need.

2 Days & Counting

Today was a bit chilly, but man I'm glad I rode in. I plan on getting in a full week even before Bike to Work Week.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New House = New Route!

Okay, so I've not been posting because I've not been riding. There are good and bad reasons for this. The bad is that I've not been motivated, the good is that MY WIFE AND I BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOUSE! We got a heck of a deal too... anyhow, with the new house comes a new route and with Bike to Work Week coming up, I figured I ought to get off my duff. Anyhow, the ride was great, part of it was on the Olathe Extension of the Indian Creek Trail... anyhow, the route works great. I'm linking to it in my links on the side bar and, if this works. Embedding it in this post.

View Route to Work (Public) in a larger map

PS - Google maps is placing it at ~6 miles vs ~ 5 miles by car.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Brand New Bamboo Sample

mmm... Bike Hugger's coming out with a new shirt. I dig my Hugga' Wool, but may have to pony up for this too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carefree Signature Pedals + Vibram Five Fingers = ???

These pedals combined with Vibram Five Fingers would be a blast... it's funny, because I've been wondering how to bike with Vibram Five Fingers and some sort of foot retention for a while now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Fibre Flare = Krill Light? (a fund blog to follow, FWIW) posted about Fibre Flare. For anyone who can't wait for the cycling specific FF, you can always do a similar thing with a Krill Light...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Winds came rolling down the plains...

my goodness, the winds were high today... flats felt like I was going up hill... ouch...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nice, Inexpensive Wool Balaclava

Well, I just received my Minus33 100% Wool Base Layer Style 720 Balaclava, it was pretty inexpensive at ~$15 + free shipping.

The feel is pretty nice, I'm looking forward to trying it next week (and possibly more of the Minus 33 wool in the future.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Commuter (Modified Trek Soho S)

Wide-View, originally uploaded by j.dmitch.

Figured it was about time to post some pics of my ride. If you click through you can see the entire Flickr set, with explanations of the various angles and shots and components.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bike Umbrella?

So, I saw a post for Nubrella over at The Goat, and I thought "Why am I not hearing this on the Bike Blogs?"... well, they have a pic of a guy wearing it while bicycling on their "Why Nubrella?" page.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not Riding Bugs Me...

I've often said that lack of sleep is really my main weakness when it comes to biking to work. Well, Tuesday that's what it was. Both my sons were restless all night... which meant neither my wife, nor I got much sleep. On top of that, I think (today) I'm getting sick (that's part of why my sons were restless. So, since the beginning of the year, I'm 1 for 3... of course if I were a professional baseball player I'd love to be batting 0.333...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Route Update

I figured I'd post my new route, Google Maps calls it right at 10.1 miles. Add another 0.1 for the distance from the intersection to my house.

View Larger Map

First Commute of 2008

Well, if you have a goal of riding to work everyday in 2009, you can't skip out on the first day because it's cold. Boy was it cold... but it didn't take long to warm up.

FYI, here's what I was wearing (top down)

Ibex Meru Hat
Icebreaker Apex Hat
Icebreaker Quantum Chute Neckwarmer
(note, I have a merino Balaclava on the way to change out for the above.)
Ibex / Hugga Wool T <= Awesome, BTW
Full Zip Red Moon Wool Sweater
Icebreaker Conquest Jacket
Wind Breaker
Wool Gloves <= Yeah, that wasn't enough...
Ibex Balance Running Shorts <= Also Awesome
Wool Long Johns
Synthetic DWR Pant <= Look like dress slacks, super comfy...
Injini Wool Tetra Sock
Smartwool Hiking Socks
TNF Arnuva Boas

All told, I stayed toasty (even had to unzip the windbreaker a bit)... except for my finger (pretty cold) and toes (barely cold). Adjusting the neck warmer up and down as my face would warm and cool was a bit tricky with gloves.

Oh, and my eyes were cold for the first mile...