Friday, December 31, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I saw this utility bike from Box Cycles at the Whole Foods in Silver Spring a few days ago. A dad rolled up with a kid inside who looked nice and warm. It was very cool to see this on the streets of Silver Spring instead of in Cycle Chic. This one gets filed under "If I only had a garage".
Monday, December 20, 2010
Vail Colorado, governed by assholes.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
This past weekend I decided to make the "Chocolate Chunk Cookies With Nutella".
Everything was going fine until my two year old got a hold of one of them. With that much bittersweet chocolate combined with Nutella she didn't have a chance. After the cookie took hold it was hard to even recognize her. The once sweet little angel had been transformed into a terrifyingly cute little monster driven mad with the desire to destroy all cookies in her path using only her face.
Monday, December 13, 2010
It's pretty straight forward. I butchered two semi-worn cassettes I had laying around and got my little girl to help me paint the bottom on to look like a wreath. Then I tied it all together with picture frame wire.
PS. Any home cold remedies are welcome. The wackier the better.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
I love riding a bike. I ride a bike almost every day. I love riding a bike. Yesterday I took the LHT (yeah you know me) on a grocery run. It was beautiful out and as I said before I really do love riding a bike. I was feeling good so I threw a few more errands into the trip. Taking shortcuts through the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Silver Spring, I was able to avoid the main roads which are no fun. I hit the grocery store and with panniers stuffed full of food I headed home. The whole trip was pretty uneventful.
After a few hours of puttering around the house and playing with my daughter, my wife said "Oh, so how was your ride?". I had to stop and think. How was my ride? I honestly couldn't remember. I could clearly see myself at the bank and the grocery but I had no memory of the ride.
My first thought was, "Shit, has riding a bike become as mundane as driving a car?" I quickly dismissed the thought because it was silly. What lingered was the desire to do some more recreation oriented cycling. I need to get mountain biking and fast. There is a big difference in your state of mind between riding your bike to work and riding your bike to see where the trail leads.
I have been pretty busy as of late. Whenever I get an invitation to ride with a friend I usually decline because there is so much crap to do on the weekends. My friends give me shit about it and rightfully so. I justify this shit by thinking "It's ok, I ride my bike every day and that's a hell of a lot more than my friends do." Which is true, being able to ride to work is great. I can't really put into words how bike commuting has improved my life, but at the end of the journey I'm at work and that kind of a ride shouldn't be in place of actual cycling, you know... for fun.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I started biking (again) in 1995. My first mountain bike was a 95 Giant 870 ATX which I still have and ride on occasion.
For something I held (and hold) so dear to my heart I treated it brutally. Over the years I've ridden it into the ground only to dig it up and trash it again. My friends and I used to race right down the middle of Difficult Run. The water gradually got deeper and we would reluctantly float away from their bikes as the frames clung to the bottom of the creek. I remember the time the hub bearings seized while I was riding around the monuments with my girlfriend (wife). This of course was the result of too many creek races. One time the drive side crank sheared off while I was booking down 16th street on the way to work. The chain bounced and skidded on the pavement while I was left going full speed through traffic, my right foot aloft with a crank arm and chainrings dangling, still clipped into my shoe.
Through these experiences I've learned to take better care of my bikes. I don't ride them into the ground anymore but I come pretty close. There is always that question, "How hard and far can I push this component before it brakes and I'm left walking?". That question was on my mind as I cleaned my horribly impacted chain this morning in the 40 degree sunshine. It was pathetic, the drivetrain looked and felt like someone melted black crayons into it while I was pedaling down the beach. I'm glad my neighbors didn't come out while the embarrassing de-funking was taking place.
As I de-funked I noticed that my 36t chainring was beginning to shark-fin which meant that besides the teeth wearing down the chain had stretched. In the past I wouldn't have given this much thought. I probably would have let it go for another few seasons until it snapped or got so bad that my friends made fun of me.
Nowadays I'm trying to find that sweet spot between gear longevity and ride quality. Sure I could probably push these components another season or two, but what kind of seasons would those be? There would be lots of extra friction and shifting issues, and then I would have to replace more parts all at once as the drive train components would wear down together. Getting as much as I can out of a piece of gear is the goal but no longer will I compromise the ride as an experience to get it.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Someone else in my building is rocking a LHT (yeah you know me). Small world, I'll have to keep a look out for a like minded individual. It's easy to spot a Long Haul Trucker commuter. Just look for the person who seems happier than everyone else.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Last month I swore off synthetic jerseys for good and made the switch to merino wool. Now the act of swearing something off seems to imply that the line has been drawn in the sand, the switch has been made, and said behavior would end the very moment the swearing took place. The problem with this particular swearing off is that merino wool is kind of expensive.
It's taken me a month but I finally purchased a couple of wool jerseys and so far I am very happy. Both jerseys were purchased on eBay where I avoided the sometimes ridiculous cost of super fancy wool. The first is a short sleeved retro jersey by Sombrio which includes a shifty looking dirtbag with every purchase.
"Our fine clothing is made from the pubic hair of freaky man/sheep centaur things we find wandering around middle earth, I mean New Zealand"It's been too warm to really give them the proper going over. I did wear the long sleeve Icebreaker all last week where the temperature ranged form 45° to 70°. In the mornings I had to wear my vest to block the wind as that seems to be the only thing merino wool can't do. The wool regulates temperature extremely well. I was warm at 45° and warm, not roasting at 70°.
The 260 weight wool is not ideal at 70° but it's doable and I can't say that for a thicker synthetic. For additional versatility I got the short sleeved lighter weight Sombrio jersey. On warmer fall days I can wear it combined with my wool arm warmers if they're needed.
As a bike commuter this flexibility is priceless, (almost). This time of year I usually have to stuff my bag with additional jerseys and arm/knee warmers to combat the temperature fluctuation. With the wool at least I can leave the extra jersey and arm warmers at home.
Monday, October 25, 2010
This 2010 Silver Spring Zombie Walk was this past Saturday. To put yourself in the right state of mind please watch the following video before you look at the photos below.