31 December 2009

Crunching the numbers

The end of the year always seems to bring with it a bit of reflection. A little over a year ago, I was inspired to start tracking my mileage. Throughout 2009, I dutifully logged all the miles I pedaled, and here's the rough breakdown:
  • 211 total rides for a distance of about 13,000km (8075mi)
  • 157 commutes to work (6992km ~ 4344mi)
  • 17 Randonneuring events (4100km ~ 2545mi)
  • 12 MTB/off-road rides (245km ~ 150mi)
  • 25 other rides (1668km ~ 1035mi)
The neat thing about statistics like this is they're so concrete -- they certainly quantify the miles I spent my bike.

What the numbers miss though, are all the laughs shared with friends and the quiet miles alone with my thoughts. The tailwinds and the headwinds. The pain and suffering of a tough ride. The feeling of freedom, adventure and shear euphoria of simply going for a ride. The lovely sunsets and the crunch of fall leaves under my wheels. An ice cold soda on a sweltering day. A hot cup of tea after a biting cold commute to work. The frustration of chasing dogs and inattentive (or aggressive) drivers. The pleasantness of a sharing a smile and "Good Morning" with another person on the greenway trail.

All in all, I had a wonderful year on the bike -- hope you did too. Best wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year!

14 December 2009

Time Capsule

I have a bit of a collection of bike books -- dozens of books from the late 1800's to the modern day covering everything from Tour heros to repair.

A Christmas or two ago, my parents gave me a copy of Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual (5th printing, April 1974) they picked up in an antique shop. Glenn's Manual was undoubtedly one of my inspirational sources when I was first learning how to repair bikes. I poured over the pages of Glenn's Manual (as well as several other books) absorbing the technical photographs and drawings -- figuring out how everything worked and how these beautiful machines all come together.

This Glenn's Manual my folks gave me wasn't just any Glenn's Manual however -- there was something special about this copy. Inside it's covers was a treasure trove of articles patiently clipped from newspapers and magazines in the mid 1970's. Clearly, the original owner of this book was very much into bikes too and keen on collecting all the information they could find.

But there was something else special about this book -- it was originally purchased from Bike World Inc. at North Hills Shopping Center here in Raleigh on June 8th, 1974 (I was just a little over 2 years old then!). Bike World is long gone now, but I can't help but wonder what kind of treasures that shop might have held -- maybe a couple Schwinn Paramounts -- a gleaming white Peugeot PX-10 (probably a fleet of cheap Peugeot UO-8's) -- a few Campy Nuovo Record parts in the display case....

I also find myself thinking about the original owner of the book. How did they get into cycling? Are they still alive now -- do they still ride? What kind of bike did they have? Where did they ride, what adventures did they go on, what sights did they see?

Just for fun, I've scanned a couple of the "artifacts" and attached high resolution images below. Enjoy!




04 December 2009

Scenes from the Commute -- Flora obscura

Um... Hi there...

I spotted this interesting plant growing along the greenway on the way to work this morning. And yes, it's exactly what you think it is -- it's Cleome Hasslerana also known as the "Spider Plant" (or Spider Flower). At a quick glance though, it could be easily mistaken for something else...

16 November 2009

Newest North Carolina Randonneurs

Today is a big day for the NC Randonneur family as we add two new junior members!

My wife, Jeneen, and I welcomed our new son, Jack Finn Morton, into the world. At 8lbs 13oz, he's hearty lad with a healthy set of lungs to boot. He says he'll be ready for his first 200k in 6 weeks or so. Guess I need to hurry up and get him a bike built up...


Also, please join me in extending a hearty congratulations to fellow NC Randonneur, Branson and his wife Loree who are also welcoming a new addition to their family too! They'll be returning from South Korea soon with their new son, Aubrey Kimball.
He's quite the dapper chap and certainly knows how to work that suit.

Happy trails!

15 November 2009

Terrific Tarheel 200


Dean put out the call early this week for a running of his Tarheel 200 Permanent. With temperatures forecast to rise into the mid 70's in the middle of November, well that was just too hard to turn down. Since this was the last real "free" weekend around my household, I jumped at the chance.

With a 7am start, it meant we had the potential to finish before dark. 8 riders signed on for the fun: Dean, Tom, Mary, John, Janice, Andy, Geof a myself. We were greeted with temps in the low 50's for the start and thick patchy fog. We all stayed pretty closely together through the first two controls. The fog finally burned off by the time we rolled into Steadman.

Shortly after Steadman, Tom, Mary, John, Geof and I broke away for a brisk run into the turn around. On the final turn to the turn around, we lost Tom -- we weren't quite sure what happened. Mary road back to check on Tom. While hanging around the parking lot, a driver told us he'd seen a rider go down just a mile or two back. Must be Tom. Doesn't sound good

John, Geof and I had a bit to eat at the control and began the return trip. Just a little bit down the road, we saw everybody else, Tom was up and riding and yelled out he'd had a flat. Not sure if he went down or not, but we all hope he's OK.

The three of us stayed together for the rest of the afternoon, rolling in to the finish a few minutes before 5pm. Finished with sunglasses on.

Altogether, an absolutely wonderful day in the saddle. Given the weather we had on the last Lake Loop, this was like riding in heaven.

Happy trails, everyone!

03 November 2009

Lake Loop Epic

This past weekend, Geof, Brian, Branson, Mike and myself decided to ride the Kerr Lake Loop Permanent. A week or so earlier, Geof and I were talking up the Lake Loop to Brian who was interested in getting his first 200K ride in. From a distance, it looked like we'd have good weather for Sunday. As we came into the weekend, things were looking considerably less rosy.

With a near 100% chance of rain, near steady temps in the low-mid 50's and a tough headwind for most of the route, this was to be an epic day. On the way to the start, my Shuffle queued up the Pixies, "
Stormy Weather" -- good theme song for the day.

Not long after the first group, we split -- Brian, Geof and I dropped back letting the fixie twins, Mike & Branson go -- the three of us stayed together for the reminder of the day.
For the first 70 miles or so, I alternated between being moderately comfortable and pretty cold. Any stop for more than just a couple minutes and it was tough to get moving again.

My biggest mistake of the day was experimenting with plastic bags in my shoes. I used a couple of the newspaper bags over my socks inside my shoes. For the first little bit, it felt pretty good, but water began to work into the bags, soaking my feet. I ditched the bags and put on shoe covers at the first control, but it took a long time to get my feet feeling warm again.


A tip of the chapeau to everyone for finishing such an epic and three cheers to Brian for finishing his first 200k! After this trial, they'll all seem much easier.

Mike D. also has a good write-up of our adventures. As you may have guessed by his photo, I was a little "under enthusiastic" before the start.

28 October 2009

Some thoughts on helmet lighting for commuting


Fall is upon us and I've started racing the sun home in the evenings.

In this post, I'll cover some helmet-attached lighting options I've tried. For primary illumination, I prefer a good, generator based light mounted to the bike, however, having a light attached to your helmet can be very useful.

For me, helmet-attached lighting basically servers three purposes:
  • map/cue sheet reading
  • sign spotting
  • catching driver's attention
For commuting purposes, catching driver's attention is the only concern -- don't need to read a cue sheet or signs -- I know where I'm going. The sign spotting and cue sheet reading are specifically a randonneuring concern -- especially on unfamiliar routes.

Over the past couple of years, I've been experimenting with a number of different lights for commuting and randonneuring. Most of the lights that are designed to be mounted on your head seem to be geared around
hiking/camping. For what they are designed to do, they work very well. However, my complaint is that many of them weigh several ounces -- having an extra 3 ounces or so hanging off the front of my helmet is less than optimal -- for me, at least.

So, what I'm basically looking for is something light weight, bright, preferably with multiple modes (flashing, high, low, etc.) -- decent run time and easily replaceable batteries are a plus too.

Here's some of the stuff I've tried with their pluses and minuses:

Princeton Tec Scout LED headlamp: ~45grams (with batteries)
I picked up one of these right before PBP in '07 for reading cue sheets. First one filled up with water and died. I got a replacement unit which has held up very well throughout a number of rainy commutes and brevets.

+ Very light -- don't even know it's there
+ 5 modes (high/med/low/fast flash/slow flash) Fast flash is excellent for catching driver's attention. You could probably limp home on high if all else failed.
+ Decent run time -- manufacturer listed run times seem pretty accurate (High: 24 -- low: 48)
+- Adjustable angle. Handy for aiming, but real easy to bump out of place.
- Uses 4 CR2032 batteries -- not always easy to find and not cheap
- Switch is damn near impossible to operate with full finger gloves
- May not always be waterproof....

Planet Bike Spok light: ~16 grams (with battery)
As light as a puff of breeze. I've been using one of these for about the last 10 months for commuting. It's ok for commuting, but not great -- better as a map/cue reading light for randonneuring.

+ 2 modes (steady & flash)
+ Extremely light
+ Best thing going for reading a cue sheet, though not a concern for commuting.
+ Mfr advertised "100 hour runtime" -- on flash, of course. Run times seem pretty accurate.
+- Single CR2032 battery. CR2032 batteries aren't cheap, but at least it only takes one.
- Output is weak. Flash is ok for catching drivers attention, but is a little weak. No way you'd have enough light to limp home on steady.
- Not sealed from the weather at all. Remarkably, mine has remained functional through some pretty rainy commutes -- could be a problem long term, though.

TANK007 TK-568 Cree LED flashlight: ~75 grams (with battery & mount)
Basically, it's a tiny flashlight. I started experimenting with one of these little "torches" a few months ago and, well, I'm still startled by how bright it is. It's also handy since it can run on multiple battery types: AA (alkaline & rechargeable) and Li-ion "14500" 3.6v rechargeable batteries. I've been running mine in strobe mode (even in daylight) and find it certainly gets attention. Problem is, the strobe is so fast, it's kind of overwhelming, therefore, I won't run mine in strobe when it's completely dark -- just daylight/dusk/dawn/overcast/etc. Once it's dark out, I switch over to one of the steady modes.

I had a chance recently to really give this light a test on a night ride. It was unbelievable. So bright on high it drowned out my Lumotec IQ Fly. Worked extremely well for picking out street signs and providing spotlighting for high speed descending -- especially on unfamiliar roads.

So, how do you mount it? With a
Twofish Lockblock through the vents in your helmet. Or if you have a helmet with "channel" type vents, you can put a little velcro around the light and in the vents. Super easy to do and you can attach/detach the light very easily.

+ "HOLY CRAP" bright. Don't look directly at a reflective sign, or you'll blind yourself. Will light up street signs 100+ meters down the road.
+ 5 modes (med/low/high/strobe/SOS)
+ Versatile batteries -- can run on AA's or Li-ion "14500" 3.6v batteries
+ Easy to turn on/off and change modes (even with gloves).
+ Automatically remembers the last mode you left it in.
- Short run time -- only about an hour on high -- maybe two hours on low
- Strobe is seizure inducing.

Caveat Emptor: Have you ever read all the warning stickers inside your helmet? Yeah, me neither. Well, while reattaching my light the other day I actually read the warnings. Let me trim all the legalese fat out for you -- "if you attach anything to your helmet, you will die". Can't say you weren't warned.

Personally, I'll take my chances with a little light attached to my helmet. If the extra visibility helps keep me from crashing or one inattentive driver from mowing me down, I'll take the chance of the light piercing my skull like a can opener.

23 October 2009

Loosing the love

Crack is bad, m'kay.

I've been using Crank Bros. pedals for a little over 2 years now. For the most part, I think they're great -- they offer a variety of different pedal platforms -- the same cleats fit my Egg Beaters and Mallets. Clicking in and out is better than any other pedal I've used and their generous float keeps my knees happy.

But not all is bliss. On the way to work this morning, I broke the third spring in just over two years -- including one earlier this year. Same exact failure every time. Yeah, I can cobble together a fix to limp home, but I can't articulate just how pissed I'd be to snap a spring half way through PBP…

Guess it's time to contact the folks at Crank Bros to see what they say…

Scenes from the Commute: King of Snakes

It's been unseasonably warm here for the past couple days. It was still 75 degrees when I left work last night and I though I might see a snake or two getting in a last minute hunt before the weather tuns cold.

Low and behold, I spotted this beautiful Eastern King Snake in Umstead Park. It was totally dark in the park, but his black outline stood out against the white sandy roads. This is the first King Snake I recall seeing out in the park and they are certainly an interesting species.

Did you know the King Snake is immune to the venom of pit vipers and will even eat poisonous snakes such as Copperheads?? Yikes!


Happy trails!

12 October 2009

Oh Snap!

Do you get the American Randonneur (RUSA) newsletter? Yeah, so do I -- there's some good stuff in there, don't you think? A while back, buddy Mike D. asked me if I would write a few technical articles about roadside repair. As fate would have it, the last piece I wrote was about what to do when a derailleur cable breaks (Vol. 12, Issue 3).

So, I was riding home last night, reached for a shift and.... snap. My rear derailleur cable broke. No warning whatsoever. No visibly frayed wires and no lousy shifting. It just simply failed. It's not an old cable -- only 6~8 months old.

The weather last night was perfect for a little road side repair -- mid 50's, pissing drizzle and totally dark. I jump off, quickly remove the cable and run the high limit screw in to hold the chain in the second cog (17T) on my freewheel. The rest of the ride home was uneventful -- had a couple of good chuckles when I flipped the "dead" shifter trying to change gears. Did have to get off and walk one bit in Umstead -- couldn't get enough traction on the wet, loose rocks.

Remember kids, keep an eye on your equipment and be prepared when things go pear-shaped.

01 October 2009

Scenes from the commute: Sunset

You missed a beautiful sunset at Lake Crabtree tonight.








29 September 2009

Watered Down Hoedown (updated)

For the second year in a row, the Brighleaf Hoedown in Yanceyville, NC has been marred by wet weather.

Back in 2006 Adrian started a little tradition of getting a group of riders together and riding up to Yanceyville for the annual Brightleaf Hoedown. Sure, the Hoedown is fun in and of itself, but it's becoming a tradition. A chance to get together with old friends and new ones for some beautiful riding and camping. This year, Chloe sent out the call and a hearty group of 6 signed on.

(from left to right: Melissa, Dave, Chloe, me, Moshe, Ian & Adrian in front)

The plan was to meet at Mellow Mushroom at Brightleaf in Durham on Friday around 7pm for a 8pm roll out. Well, we didn't get out of there till nearly 9pm, but the later start worked out perfectly, providing a nearly rain-free ride into Yanceyville. On the way up, we split into two groups -- Moshe, Ian and I rolled in at exactly 1am. The rest of the group weren't far behind. By 2am, everything was sorted out, tents were pitched and it was time for a bit of shut eye. The gentle rain pattering on my tent fly sang me to sleep.

Saturday morning greeted Yanceyville, with steel-gray skies, but at least it was dry for now...

(vendors setting up under ominous skies)

The Hoedown kicked off with a musical performance by the Bartlet Yancey High School marching band and followed shortly with the mock tobacco auction.

(tobacco auction in full swing)

(sold!)

If you haven't guessed by the name of the event, the Hoedown is all about tobacco -- brightleaf tobacco to be specific.

For Yanceyville and Caswell county (as well as much of North Carolina), tobacco was once one of the most important cash crops. These days, tobacco's role in North Carolina's economics is greatly reduced. I'm not a big fan of the stuff and understand it's inherent health risks, but at the same time, I worked on a tobacco farm during my teenage years and also understand it's importance in the lives of the farmers in our state.

We all spent the day wandering around town checking out the vendors, reporting back on who had the best eats and people watching.

Chloe and I decided to go ahead and head back to Durham on Saturday night as opposed to Sunday morning. We both had plans for Sunday and just decided an earlier departure would be easier. We rolled out of Yanceyville, a little after 5pm into a gentle mist.

(getting ready to roll out of Yanceyville)

One of my favorite parts about Adrian's route up to Yanceyville is how quiet the back roads are. I think I could count all of the cars that passed us (until we reached Durham) on one hand. Temps were mild (probably in the 60's) and rain was mostly a faint drizzle -- English weather. We were both enjoying the ride and chatted for miles and miles.

Overall, it was a great trip! I wish the weather could have been better for the Hoedown -- the scale of the festival has been greatly reduced for the past couple years. Maybe the folks in Yanceyville will catch a break next year and the Hoedown will continue to prosper. I'm already looking forward to next year's trip!

For me, one of the highlights of the weekend was a little side trip to check out one of the old abandoned houses in Yanceyville. Here's a series of shots I took inside the old house:


Addendum:

Ah yes, the skunk. We had a bit of an encounter of the odoriferous kind. Not sure what road we were on, but we were pretty much all together when Moshe called out "hey, what's that in the road". I turned my helmet light on and spotlighted a cute little skunk bounding along in the left lane and called out "SKUNK!!". He had his tail up and in the "ready" position.

As we rolled past, there was a bit of confusion and touching of brakes and Melissa went down very close to where the skunk was. At first, I though she might have been sprayed, but fortunately, no. Had one of us been sprayed, it sure would have been a different weekend!

We also had "visitors" at the camp. I got up sometime in the wee hours of the morning to, um, take wee, and noticed two small critters checking out Moshe and the bikes in the gazebo. Couldn't tell what they were -- probably opossums.

Also added a pic of my bike packed for the trip and another shot from the old house. Enjoy!


02 September 2009

Scenes from the Commute -- YAWS (Yet Another Water Snake)

Hey, remember the little northern water snake I blogged about a little while back?… Yeah, well I think I've found it's Ma (or Pa).
I spotted this fat bastard on one of the bridges along the Black Creek Greenway in Cary the other afternoon. At first glance, I though it was a water moccasin -- and that's basically what the water snake wants you to think. Moccasins are bad asses and everyone knows to leave them alone.

As a defensive posture, water snakes will flatten their body and head to make themselves look bigger and their head will take on a triangular shape mimicking a venomous snake. However, sometimes mimicry can get you in trouble.

Problem is, most people see the water snake and think "yikes, it's a moccasin" and the next thing you know, they've grabbed a shovel and it's "off with ye' head". It's kind of a shame.

I'm not sure whether this fella had just finished a large meal or the eaten' is good in his neighborhood, but I was impressed with just how "hefty" this snake was. Overall, it was probably a good 2.5 feet long and 3" across at the widest point -- which is about as big as these snakes normally get.
I love the coloration and detail in it's keeled scales.
OK. I think this'll be the last "Scenes from the Commute" for a while… unless I see a unicorn, of course.

25 August 2009

Scenes from the commute -- Hey, who you callin' a stinkpot!?


Why, that'd roughly be you, Mr. Turtle.

Say hello to
Sternotherus odoratus better know as the Common Musk Turtle -- aka: The Stinkpot.

Much like myself, the common musk turtle will secrete a foul smelling musk from their anal gland when threatened (hence the name). Perhaps this little fella went easy on me, seeing how it's a Tuesday and all and even though I picked him up, he didn't feel threatened enough to share any of his 'secret sauce'.

I caught up with Mr. Turtle on the dam at
Lake Crabtree this morning. We hung out and chatted about the weather for a bit, then each went our own way.
Vaya con Dios, Mr. Turtle.

20 August 2009

Scenes from the commute -- ongoing herpetology studies

Grrrr. Of all days to forget my camera... While rolling through Umstead Park this morning, I noticed a small black squiggle on the trail. Being curious, I turned around to take a look -- it was the smallest snake I've ever seen. A tiny little ringneck snake, probably only a couple days old -- if that. Barely 4" from nose to tail.

He didn't seem too keen on me picking him up (don't blame him) but once in my hand, he must of liked my body heat and tightly wound himself around and between my fingers. Had to force him off my hand and back into the safety of the underbrush.

I found this photo of a ringneck snake on the web -- it's pretty close to the same size as the one I saw this morning.

Not a mile further down the trail, I saw the perfect track of a side-winder snake in the sandy trail. Wonder if it was a rattlesnake -- or a copperhead -- or...?

02 August 2009

Rainy Ride

It's pretty much a tradition: Geof & I ride on Sundays. If it's warm enough, it's a 'weather be damned' ride -- today was one of those days. The radar was showing lots of green just to the west of the Triangle this morning so I grabbed a fendered bike for the occasion.

We rode a great little route including an assault on the Col du Lystra. Geof was riding 'strong like bull' today and I spent most of the morning trying to hang on to his wheel. I just didn't have the power today -- I felt like a shadow.

Being able to map out the route is kinda fun. Sure, we've ridden the same roads a hundred times, but there's just something neat about seeing the day's efforts drawn out for you. I used my little GPS to record the route and I've posted a copy to MapMyRide:
One could say we had a good ride in spite of the rain, but I'd say we had a good ride because of the rain.

29 July 2009

Commute Route

About 4~5 years ago, my folks gave me a little Garmin eTrex GPS unit. It's pretty basic -- can't load maps, etc. -- so I really didn't use it much.

Recently, I've been working on mapping out some new routes so I broke it back out and began playing with it. At first, I didn't think there was much I could do with it -- Garmin doesn't offer much in the way of software to work with it.

After digging around online, I found a couple GPS utilities that would allow me to pull a GPX file from the eTrex that I can upload to Bikely, etc.

I set it up this morning to record my commute then used a nifty little app called
LoadMyTracks (Mac) to pull a GPX file off of it when I got to work. A quick upload to Bikely and there you have it -- a nicely mapped out route: The elevation profile info seems really off -- there were times on the ride where the speed seemed to be really off -- possibly because of dense tree cover in Umstead park, etc.

Overall, it looks like it'll be pretty handy tool for mapping out routes. Ain't technology grand?!

21 July 2009

Scenes from the commute -- Sea Monster!!!

Well... not quite. Actually, it's a juvenile Northern Water Snake.

I spied this little fella' sunning himself on a rock in the shallows of Lake Crabtree in Cary, NC.


10 July 2009

Scenes from the commute -- something scary, something cute

I see more copperheads than any other snake when I'm out on the bike -- probably 8~10 so far this summer. I nearly ran over this juvenile copperhead (note the green tipped tail) tonight on the way home.
When I turned around to take his picture, this little fellow was in the strike position and clearly agitated. Given his agitated state, I didn't feel like getting 6 inches a way from a venomous snake for a close-up shot -- hope you readers don't mind.

And for something cute. I saw this little cotton tail bunny munching on wildflowers near Lake Crabtree. He didn't seem to mind me taking his picture one bit!


04 July 2009

Back in the saddle



A "surprise" day off presented a chance to get in an early Permanent for July. Dean put out the call for a run at the Kerr Lake Loop -- I happily signed on with buddies, Mike O'Connor and our local RBA, Alan Johnson.

We were treated to a beautiful rollout from New light. The morning weather was almost cool with low humidity -- at least for July. A cooling wind from the northwest proved to be a surprisingly persistent headwind/crosswind all day, though the breeze helped keep things from feeling overly hot.

Al and Mike O. were fresh off of Bike Virginia and were both riding strong. Al was riding his first 200k ride in nearly 3 years and is quickly rebuilding his randonneuring form -- he also mentioned he's thinking about PBP in 2011...

Rolling out of the Oxford control on the return, Al took the pull. When Al drops into his aero bars, watch out! He put in a pull so strong for several miles that, to quote one of my favorite Liggettisms, I had to "dig into my suitcase of courage" to hold his wheel! As the saying goes, you're only as old as you feel and at 66 years young, Al is certainly riding like a much younger man.

Dean and I are both "veterans" of the RUSA R-12 award and I believe we've found a couple new recruits in Mike O. and Al. We're both looking forward to many more rides with you guys!

Enjoy some shots from the road:
Hay bales and maillot janue... could this be Le Tour?!?

The Spoon of Oxford. Caught my attention for some odd reason...
I've also posted a couple more images from Dean and myself on Picassa.

Bon Route!

01 July 2009

Scenes from the commute

A brown snake makes his way along the Black Creek Greenway in Cary, NC:


Are you ready for your close-up Mr. Brown Snake?

Brown snakes seem to be extremely common in North Carolina -- I regularly find them around the house in the spring and summer. This particular brown snake had a very reddish color whereas the brown snakes I typically see are a bit more grayish in color.

26 June 2009

Heron

Mr. Blue Heron fishes for breakfast at Lake Crabtree.

So.... what's up with all the wildlife shots? Well, I have a great commute route into work -- about 2/3rds of which is on greenways and park roads. I see tons of wildlife, so I decided to start carrying my digital camera and shooting some of it.

Bon Route!

23 June 2009

No Regrets -- A great day to not ride a bike

I drove to work on Monday. I prefer to ride to work as much as possible -- anytime I drive, I tend to regret not riding.

Monday started out no differently. I wasn't thrilled about driving -- I needed my truck for errands, but damn, it was a beautiful day and I'd rather been on my bike.

As I left work yesterday evening, I witnessed a highly impaired driver round the turn onto S. Harrison Ave. from Dry Ave. too wide and hit another car at the intersection. The driver then overcorrected and drove up into several yards, running over a small block retaining wall, flatting the right rear tire on their car. Of course, when you're shit-faced, small things like that don't stop you so the driver continued on his merry way.

I got a call into 911 -- I hope they managed to pick this idiot up and get him off the road. No telling how much other damage he'd already done.

So, why was this a great day to not ride a bike? Well, if I was riding, I could very well have been in front of this idiot, pedaling away down the road.

I'm glad I wasn't on my bike on S. Harrison Ave. yesterday evening. Be careful out there.

Guess Who?

Guess who I saw on my commute yesterday morning? Why Mr. Turtle, of course!


On my way home last night, I saw his buddy, Mr. Bunny -- actually I saw three rabbits -- but this was the only one I was able to get a decent photo of.

Happy trails.

07 June 2009

Small things -- Part I

Randonneuring is about big things -- long distances, long hours in the saddle, epic climbs, and epic weather. But sometimes small things can make a big difference.

I got hip to electrolyte tablets several years ago and they've made a big difference in my riding. Initially I carried my stash of tablets in a film canister -- it's compact, waterproof and carried all I needed for a 200~300k ride. Problem with the film canister is that it's tough to open & close while in the saddle.

A season or two ago, my buddy Lin turned me on to a better solution: M&M minis -- actually the tube they come packaged in. The little tubes have a hinged lid with a lip that makes it real easy to pop the top open and close it with one hand while riding. And as a bonus, you get to eat the M&M's too.

Of course, you can also get the tubes from
Hammer Nutrition, but you won't get any M&M's that way.

So, next time you find yourself wandering the candy isle, grab a tube of minis and refill the tube with electrolyte tablets (or your performance enhancing drug of choice) for your next ride. Oh, and by the way, the tubes work great for carrying M&M's too.