Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Riding Companion

I had something new on my commute yesterday, a riding companion. A neighbor, co-worker and friend asked if he could join me. He used to ride one-way with another neighbor, but they went on the roads. He road his old Trek road bike with tri-extensions. He seemed to like the greenways. He wants to cleanup his old mountain bike and get a rack and small bag to carry a change of clothes. He is talking about riding every day (well the 4 workdays) next week.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A new wheel

Late last year I managed to dent my rear rim. I was able to true the wheel and get it better but never really good. Yesterday I finally broke down and got a new wheel. I was thinking of just buying a rim and some spokes and building a new wheel. I built wheels for my road bike that came out very nice. But it cost less than $10 more to just buy a wheel. When I was getting it ready last night, I decided to mount my old Continental Town and Country tire on it. One of them had given out and this one shows some wear, so I had replaced them. I got Michelin City tires because they were available and had reflective sidewalls. But i carry a lot of weight in my rear panniers and I felt that the City tires did not handle as well. They have a lower TPI count which makes then longer lasting but less comfortable. So as an experiment I put the Town and Country on for now. During this morning's ride the bike seemed to handle better. I will give it a few more days. I think I can get a Schwalbe with the reflective side walls and the high TPI comfort.

This afternoon's ride may be a good test. It is pouring rain right now.

Seen on this morning's ride: 1 hawk, 3 rabbits

Monday, May 24, 2010

Saturday Errands

I had some nice rides Saturday. My teenage daughter has been asking to ride to our CSA, Hilltop Farms, to pick up our weekly vegetables. This is the first weekend that the schedule worked out for this. She has outgrown her Specialized Hot Rock and I have been cleaning up a single speed cruiser she has started riding around the neighborhood. The 15 mile round trip with hills, one particularly steep, is more than she is used to and a decent challenge on the cruiser. Saturday morning started out with rain and we thought we were going to have to change our plans. But 45 minutes later the rain let up and the radar looked good for the rest of the morning. So off we went. Her cruiser has big chrome fenders and my commuter has Planet Bike fenders, so the little bit of water on the road was no problem. She had to walk on the steepest part of the one hill, but she moved along pretty well on the rest. We got Swiss chard, mustard greens, lettuce, snow peas, green onions and tatsoi. She mentioned being sore by the time we were heading back but she pressed on. I think she is considering doing it again.

After lunch I still needed to get the rest of the groceries. I got back on my bike and logged another 6 miles round trip to Harris Teeter. I took my panniers in the store along with my canvas grocery bags. I did self checkout and put the large items (milk, orange juice, etc) in the canvas bag and everything else directly in the panniers. The canvas bag got bungeed to top of the rear rack. The bike carried the load well even if it wasn't 400 pounds of bananas. Seriously if you haven't seen the video of transporting 400 pounds of bananas on a Yuba Mundo check it out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bike to Work Week: Friday

I have achieved my goal for Bike to Work Week. I road all 5 days. I have commuted to work by bike a lot in the last year, but one thing or another has always kept me from a complete week. I thought Bike to Work Week was the perfect time to finish a complete week.

The ride home was broken up by two stops. First I was meeting part of our group for lunch and a long meeting at a local place that is right on my route. That meant I was about 1/2 way home when it was time to head that way. I can make a slight detour from my normal route and stop at Performance Bikes in Cary. I did that to pick up some new brake pads, cables and housing. I love doing errands on my bike.

Bike to Work Week: Thursday

I don't use an alarm to get up in the morning and usually I wake up around 5:15. Today I slept until about 5:45 and I had an early morning meeting I needed to be on time for. So I road faster than I have in a long time and made it in plenty of time.

On the way home I was once again in a hurry. This time the family wanted to go out to eat before my daughter's high school sports award ceremony. So again I rode faster than I have in quite a while.

I did notice all the regular bikes parked at work plus a few extras. Some people like to park up next to the building under the overhang instead of in the bike rack. I take care of my bike but I don't baby it like that.

Bike to Work Week: Wednesday

Wednesday was a pretty routine ride. I waited at home about 15 minutes for an early morning rain storm to move off. I often see a lot of wildlife on the trails I take, but today I saw a turkey for the first time. I have been a little disappointed to not see more commuters on the trail. I think people would like it much better than dealing with the cars.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bike to Work Week: Tuesday

I don't think it was raining so much as the trees were still dripping this morning. The weight of the water made some limbs droop so that I had to dodge them. There was not too much debris on the trail. There was one tall but thin tree laying over most of the trail in one spot a large, apparently dead, limb almost completely across the trail in another spot. The first one appeared to have just slowly bent to the ground. The second one looked like it would have killed you if you had been under it.

I ran into two women cycling. They were riding down a residential road that I cross. I quick shouted exchange determined that they were riding as part of Bike to Work Week, but I did not get a chance to find out where they were headed. The next thing up the road they were on is a Middle School. They could have been teachers or they could have been going somewhere farther.

They are having a road ride at lunch tomorrow where I work, but I am sticking with the Bike to Work theme. I don't think I can keep up with the advertised 18 MPH pace on my commuter. Maybe I'll go over for the start just as a show of solidarity.

The ride home was on the cool side. Where was this cool weather Saturday when I was cooking on a metric century ride? I had to leave early, so I didn't see any other commuters.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bike To Work Week: Monday

The Monday morning ride was a little wet but kind of nice. There was just a light rain and it was about 65 degrees. It makes for a nice ride given a rain jacket and fenders. The trails were nearly empty. I saw one dog walker and one jogger right towards the end. I saw one other bike at the gym and it was one I did not recognize, so maybe it was a new rider. It should be drier later in the week and hopefully I will see more riders.

The ride home was really wet. The rain started just a couple of minutes into the ride. It ranged from heavy to steady. I ride along a creek. I watched at each of the many crossings for signs that it was rising. But it was fine and I was heading upstream, so it only got better. The rain lasted until the final 2 miles (of 12.5 miles).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DIY Light Bracket

I felt my handlebar was getting a little crowded, so I decided to build a bracket to hold two lights that would mount where a reflector currently mounted to the bolt through the fork. It came out lookling like this once I mounted my two headlights on it.

I built the light bracket from parts at Home Depot for a total of about $3. I found all these in the plumbing section.
  • PVC tee, threaded on the single side
  • PVC plug
  • galvanized metal bracket
The tee looks like this. The single end is threaded the other two are smooth.

With the plug partially threaded in and without the metal bracket it looks like this.

I trimmed the corners of the metal to round them a little. Then I had a friend with a drill press drill a 1/2" hole near one end. Then I bent the bracket and screwed the PVC plug into the tee going through the bracket. A little sanding (very little) and I started painting. First a coat of primer and then some black, both of which I had on hand.

In the picture on the left you can see the tee and the bracket. On the back you can see the plug going through the bracket where it is threaded into the tee.

I think this will soon be shown on

Friday, May 7, 2010

Preparing for Bike to Work Week

I have volunteered to work with new bike commuters at my company for Bike to Work Week. So far, no one has contacted me, but I hope some will. Next week we will have a class on Cycling Safety by LCI certified cycle instructor, Ken Kaye of Bike, Walk Durham.

Click on the logo for more information on Bike to Work Week.

Park Your Car and Ride Your Bike

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Raven Rock Ramble

I was asked which I enjoyed more during the 105 miles, the wind, the heat or the hills?

Well I started with my team, the Spiritual Spinners, at we rode to the first rest stop together. That was a nice section. We made a good pace line into the wind and picked up a few riders. It is nice to ride in a line with people you are familiar with. Most of them were riding a shorter route and we went our own way from there.

I rode the next section solo. There were a few downwind sections but mostly headwind. I didn't see anyone else until I got to the second rest stop. I talked a small group into waiting a couple of minutes. I drank, ate, and filled up my bottles. I left with a small group.

We had a lot of headwind and it was nice to have some company. There had been a few hills up to this point, but in this section I found I was actually fairly strong on the hills. But I was working to stay with the group on the flats and downhill. Still we pressed on and even rode along Broadway and to the next rest stop. Here I had my first bad sign from the heat. As I tried to bend my leg to swing it off the bike I got a cramp. I ended up laying the bike down and stepping over it.

I refueled, stretched and left with 5 other riders. We rode somewhat together but I started to loose contact. I could feel some more cramps and had to ease off but I was able to keep going. I caught up at the last rest stop. I again refueled and stretched. I was moving pretty good when I started on the final leg. It was on Old US 1 in an area I have ridden several times. It is mostly rolling hills. I has making pretty good progress. I caught and passed a couple of riders, but after a while I started feeling the ramps coming back. By pedaling very smooth and just spinning I was able to make it to the turn towards the finish. From there I stopped a few times to clear a cramp. It usually just took 30 seconds or so. I was passing another rider who was walking some, but if I stopped for a cramp he passed me back. In the end I was able to keep going and passed him for good.

I rode into Harris Wake County Park to the finish. I enjoyed an ice cream sandwich and plenty to drink before riding the mile or so back to my car. The ride home was uneventful, but once I got home I had trouble bending my legs enough to get out of the car. The cramps were back. I finally made it inside and some rest, plenty of water and finishing off my Shot Blocks cleared up any cramping feeling by bedtime.

The next few days I felt pretty good and the only real soreness I had was from some sun burn and the muscles that had been cramping.

I still enjoyed the ride. I am going to come up with a better hydration and electrolyte plan for the next ride.