Friday, January 30, 2009

This Week On The Capital Crescent Trail

Any of you out there who commuted through this week on the CCT know what I'm talking about.

This video  sums up the experience quite well.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Battery Turgidity

In the fall I took a moment to mention my man/gear love affair with the Nite Rider Extreme helmet light which has lasted me over 8 years now. I haven't treated it well. It's not something I do to gear. In fact I'm not sure what defines a well treated helmet light. At some point I must have crossed a line and the battery decided it has had enough. Today while charging it for the ride home I noticed a startling change in its shape. It became rather turgid which is something I wasn't aware batteries could do.

At first I was scared it might blow up releasing toxic acid fumes into my workplace (which wouldn't be so bad). I backed away not sure of its intentions. Then made a quick call to the folks at Nite Rider, who assured me that this "off gassing" is perfectly normal for an older battery and it might be time to replace it. They went on to say that I could release the built up gas by sliding a paper clip in where the cable enters the battery housing. I think I may wait until I am outside to attempt any off gassing. Needless to say one of my oldest and sturdiest bike accessories will need replacing... you will be missed old friend... and then quickly forgotten when replaced with something even more kick ass.

Onward and Upward...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First Snow Day Continued... AKA Second Snow Day

This morning rode in on my Rocky Mountain which I now dub "The Ice Breaker". Finding a line in frozen footprints in not an easy task.  It felt like I was hauling a trailer.

Bamboo over the trail.

Last night's ride home on the slick tires.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Snow Day And The Great Trail Cycle

Here are a few pics of the snow on Sligo Creek Parkway. I didn't see any bikers, but I was not the first to lay tracks this morning.

Of course I had a blow out last week and had to put my slicks on just in time for the snow.

Last week I lost a tail light when I dropped off a curb crossing Connecticut Ave. This annoyed me to no end. I can't stand buying tail lights because the obvious mark up. I know most bike gear is grossly marked up nowhere is it more evident then with tail lights. Plastic and a few LEDs shouldn't cost $25 or even $10 for that matter.

So as I was getting closer to work, stewing about the prospect of buying another crappy little tail light, I came across something in the middle of the trail. You guessed it someone else's crappy little tail light. Somewhere ahead of me on the trail was somebody toiling with the same misfortune I was facing. I scooped up the light and headed on my way. I didn't see anyone ahead of me for the rest of the ride. Feeling a tinge of guilt that I may be benefiting from another cyclist's misfortune I take comfort in that this same rider could stumble across the light that I had dropped somewhere on their return trip. The trail giveth and the trail taketh away and the great trail cycle keeps rolling along. Gear lost, gear found... gear lost again. I hope that in the future, when I drop this newly found tail light, the person who finds it will see the cosmic forces that brought the two together... and not just try and sell it on Ebay.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Bike Lane, Not Yours

This is just a concept but it's something I would love to have. It's not often a product comes along that could make me feel any more entitled douche bag than I already do. Enter the Light Lane concept from Alex Tee and Evan Grant.

The idea of having one's own bike lane lines projected around their bicycle is a dangerous one. We cyclist already feel like the entire world is our bike lane already so adding demarcation to this would only make us more obnoxious than we already are. Right? Anyone? I know... just kidding.

Seriously though, not only does this idea kick ass, it would be a pretty cool safety feature and I would rock it reckless aplomb.  Nice concept guys!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Holiday Haze, NJ Biking, and Wet Hops

My holidays came and went like a steamroller over a harpsichord. They were busy enough that I have just now recovered. Here are some of the highlights.

Having a 5.5 month old complicates the usually over complicated space of time leading up to and between Christmas and New Years. My wife and I spent Christmas at my folks house (1 hour away) and a few days after at her folks house (4 hours away). Strangely the level of effort it took to pack up the family and kid paraphernalia and arrive at the destinations was almost the same.

Aware of this fact my wonderful wife suggested I bring a mountain bike to her folks place and take a morning off to ride. Before she could finish her sentence I had found a what looked to be a suitable trail within a few miles of her parent's house. It was a large park with many trails of which no bikes were allowed, save one. They had recently opened up a 3.5 mile loop to bikes which is cool. 3.5 miles is not enough but I figured I would do a few laps, besides, I shouldn't complain when thrown a bone.

This 3.5 mile loop was not however built with bikers in mind, poor drainage and bad lines made this one of the less enjoyable trails I have ridden. Then I figured out why the park authorities had decided to generously dedicate this sloppy mess of a loop to mountain bikers.

Because no self respecting walker/jogger would dare tread there! That's right this stretch of heaven in the back corner of Cheesequake Park in NJ given so generously to the brethren of the bike is on a stretch of the park that runs up against the Garden State Parkway. Pretty much wherever you are on the loop you can see, hear, or smell exit 120 on the GSP. As I said before, I shouldn't complain. I was happy for the nod from the wife and the chance to hit the trails over the hectic holiday mess.

Something else unique to the State of Gardens is tackiness. I know many other states enjoy their fair share, but there is something amazing about New Jersey tackiness. I should say now before any NJ'ers get too miffed I spent five glorious years in NJ so don't get your lawn ornaments in a tangle. The tackiness I am referring to reaches it's flash point around Christmas. Everyone has that house in their hood that has so many lights it can be seen from space, but unless you are in NJ that house still holds onto a sliver of dignity. Below are a few examples:

One of the highlights to the holiday season was the Harvest Ale from Sierra Nevada. This is a "wet hop" ale which uses hops fresh instead of dried in the brewing process. I don't know much about brewing intricacies but I do know this, me likey the wet hops. Give it a try if you can find it.