Monday, April 18, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

Scottish poet Robert Burns said the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. So was the case of my plan for a Sunday bike ride in Pune, Maharashtra, India.

I was planning to ride on little sleep but I figured it would help adjust to the 9 1/2 hour time difference. Besides I figured it wouldn't be any worse than the last 100K of the 300K I rode last month.

Fog on Friday morning in Chicago started the break down of the plan. Chicago O'Hare is the third busiest airport in the world after Atlanta and Beijing. Once they are behind it usually takes until the next day for them to catch up.

I had a business trip to Pune and had asked a co-worker from the Pune office if anyone in the office was a bicyclist. He said none of them where but he had a friend who was. He put me in contact with his friend and the planning began. He borrowed a bike from a friend, planned a route, and shared advice about what I would need. We were set for a 5:00 am start to avoid both traffic and heat. Some of our planning was about water. I packed two bottles and a Camelback with the intention of filling them with bottled water at the hotel before leaving for his house. We were going to ride 60K or maybe up to 100K depending on how the ride went.

The plane we were meant to take from NC to Chicago just flies back and forth. It was delayed leaving Chicago and we watched our departure time get later and later. In the meantime the schedule for our flight from Chicago to Delhi remained unchanged. Eventually it became clear we were not going to make the connection. They rebooked us for the next day, we went home and our extra day in India was lost.

The next day (really 2) after 33 hours of travel, 6 hours in the hotel (maybe half of it sleeping), we headed to the office Monday morning.

But the goal of riding in India was not dead. But more about that later.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dopers Suck

While I follow bicycle racing, it is not what this blog is about. And I don't intend to go off on a rant about doping, but I am going to sum up my feelings. Dopers suck.

And I guess I am not alone, because Sock Guy sells socks saying the same thing.

And Twin Six as well.

Enough said in this forum.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Friendly Wave

There are a lot of kinds of cyclists out there. They ride different bikes, different styles and with different attitudes. I would be among the people who detest the race face when you are not even in a race. You know the face, the rider is concentrating so much that they can't even acknowledge your existence. Is the race in your mind so important that you can't give a little wave to build camaraderie with other humans? Do we really want to see this (in fairness maybe he just forgot his chamois cream)?

Rather than this?

Even this cyclist, who should probably be worried about unseen holes in the road, has time for a wave.

Wave training starts young with your very first bike.

So give a friendly wave and maybe a smile whether you are alone

or in a big group.

By the way, I don't even want to admit how many tries it took me to spell camaraderie even close enough for the spell checker to find it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stayin Alive

Maybe you can't remember when Saturday Night Fever was the number one album. You could be too young or just have blocked it from your mind. But I am not going to write about the Bee Gees. I am going to write about being safe on your bicycle.

As I started thinking about this, I realized there are a lot of things that go into being safe. So instead of one really long post, I decided to start a series. So far I plan to cover safety issues related to equipment, skills and awareness. Like most things, everything I will cover is common sense but sometimes we don't see the obvious. In fact the longer you have been riding, the more chance you might have started ignoring things that you know better than to ignore. But that is human nature.

So watch for a series of safety posts around once a week.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Take A Seat

There is a new TV show coming on tonight that I feel is worth mentioning even though I haven't seen it yet.

In 2006 Dominic Gill took a fully loaded tandem and a trailer to Alaska and rode it to Chile. Notice I didn't mention another person to ride the tandem with him. Dominic invited people along the way to ride with him. Sometimes they rode for a few miles and other times a few days. This adventure is documented in the book Take A Seat.

But that is not what the TV show is about. The show is 10 episodes documenting a ride across America again on a tandem, but this was planned with a partner, Ernie Greenwald. Ernie is a 74 year old cancer patient. But the plan required changing when Ernie's condition worsened. So the extra seat was filled by a serious of people. But not just your ordinary cyclists, but people with various conditions which makes riding a different kind of challenge. Dominic's partners include blind riders, as well as people dealing with Parkinson's, MS and other conditions.

To me this is reality TV worth watching. It is on Universal Sports which in my area is shown on the second digital channel of the local NBC station. Search this out, it should be well worth it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Looking For a New Bike

I am giving up on keeping my 15 and 24 year old bikes going. I thought about going old school but I can't really afford enough tweed outfits to really pull this off.

Then I started thinking about all the shoes around my house. I have two kids who were cross country runners, so there are plenty of old sneakers.

So then I looked at some more modern frame designs. This one was interesting but in NC I really need a water bottle in the summer.

So then I thought, why limit myself to just two wheels? But this one doesn't really have a place for panniers.

So I moved on to something that would give me an advantage on my commute. Maybe I should get up above the traffic?

This design is even better than an e-bike to give a quick boost up a hill. Plus the jet exhaust flame would keep the cars from following too close.

Or maybe it is not too late for me to train for the 2012 Olympics.

Hope you enjoy April 1st.