13 June 2016

Tales from the Commute - I'm Faster than a Bus!

Well, not any bus, the UTA route 460, which is the bus that I took when I still wasn't able to ride.

The green line represents the route of the 460, the red is my route to work. 

Today, as I pulled out of my neighborhood (the top yellow circle) just in front of the 460. I didn't see the bus again until we crossed paths at the middle yellow circle on the map. At that time, I was waiting at the light, and it was almost a minute before the 460 came into view from the next block down. At the final yellow circle, the bus was still up the street. 

Yes, there are more direct buses from my suburb to downtown SLC, but they don't matter to me because they don't run at the time I needed in order to get to work on time. 

It may be a small victory, but I'll still take it! 

13 April 2016

T-Shirt of the Day

As I was perusing the social media sites instead of doing more meaningful things - such as work - earlier this morning, I came across a t-shirt that needed to be posted.

Maiden Belgium

An awesome mashup of Eddy Merckx and Eddie the Head from Matthew Burton Illustration. Click on the picture, or on this link here to go to his site and order this shirt. Also while you are there, peruse some of his other work. 

Again, awesome! 

18 March 2016

Facing Your Fears, and Telling Them to get Stuffed

Sitting back and continually whining about being scared to do something will accomplish two things: You won't get anything accomplished, and you will annoy the hell out of everyone within earshot.

That is where I was earlier this week. As I mentioned last post, spring had sprung, and I was lamenting my fears of commuting to work.  My dear, sweet wife - whose patience with my complaining I'm sure was wearing thin - was beginning to ask when I was going to start riding with increasing frequency. She was even going as far as suggesting that I take a "practice ride" around the neighborhood to gauge my readiness for commuting by bike again.

Yesterday - along with commemorating the arrival of Christianity to Ireland by wearing an overabundance of green and drinking in some cases an obscene amount of green beer - was the opening day of Salt Lake City's bike share program for 2016 (Green bikes + St. Patrick's day = good marketing strategy). As an enthusiastic supporter of the bike share program, I had to take one of the bikes out for a lunchtime roll.

Partly because of the nagging (my own, from inside my head, not my wife's. She really doesn't nag me) I decided to go on a longer ride than up to the local 7-Eleven for a drink.

After work, when I recounted my exploits of the day, My wife - along with being happy for my accomplishment - asked me "does this mean that you are going to ride to work tomorrow?"

The answer to that question turned out to be yes.

So... this morning, I gathered up all of my cycling necessities (except for the keys to my lock - I had to turn around a half-mile down the road and go back for them), and rode away into familiar, yet uncertain territory.

My commute is normally not one that warrants long, drawn out stories, wrought with harrowing close-calls and edge-of-your seat action. Today was no different. I made it to work with no problems to report. my leg survived - in fact it did better than my left leg. I'm sure that is a by-product of the one-legged squats that my physical therapist had me doing to strengthen my right knee. No KOMs were threatened this morning. 

Monday, I'm sure that I'll be back on the bike. My wife texted me later in the day and asked if I enjoyed it. You know what? I did enjoy being back on the bike. Even though it was tougher than I remembered, and I'm more tired than I was last time I commuted, I am happy that I rode. 

I'll leave you with this short quote, as it is appropriate for this, and many other situations we face in life...
The road to confidence is paved by daily accomplishments.                                                 KEITH JOHNSON

07 March 2016

Swapping the Couch Cushion for the Saddle

According to Newton's first law of motion:
An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside unbalanced force...

Instead of starting a discussion on the physics of how a bicycle moves, there is another reason that I am quoting Sir Isaac.

It has been just over 9 months since I broke my leg and wrist. Old man winter's icy, cold fingers are slowly loosening their grip from around our throats, and we are able to breathe in the warm fragrant air of spring once again. The huddled masses of coats and scarves scurrying around the frozen tundra are once again beginning to resemble actual human beings. The roads are starting to look less like slalom courses for cars only and more like the multi-modal avenues that they are supposed to be.

And yet, I am still taking the bus to work.

It's not like I am still physically unable to ride a bike, I have been on the trainer all winter (although admittedly not as much as I should have been), and last fall before the bike share bikes were tucked away for their winter hibernation I ventured out on numerous short trips.

Still, I am hesitant to dust off my trusty Motobecane and resume my commute to work.

A good part of that hesitation is fear.

My accident was not bicycle-related (although everyone asked me if I was hit on my bike), so why am I scared to get back on the bike and start commuting again?

I believe that a good part is that I feel fragile. I know I have enough titanium holding me together that those two joints should be bombproof, but the fact that they broke - and in such a catastrophic way - in the first place has made me feel less than superhuman. I also feel weak. Even though I can walk now without a noticeable limp (mostly), I am still far from being even close to 100%. I can't run, jump, kneel. Squat (I can't do that either).

How do I overcome this fear? Common logic says to just get out there and do it, but illogical fear is much easier to listen to, and at times much more appealing.

The longing is still there, as the weather warms, and there are more cyclists out on the roads, my soul longs to be out there with them. If only my soul could convince my brain, "you got this, bro..."

02 March 2016

"Oi", Can You Hear Me? (Kickstarter Product Review)


Some municipalities require them on your bike. Aside from that, they are usually better than yelling "get the $&@;#);%* outta my way" at cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists. If you commute, it just makes sense to have a bell.

I received an email the other day for a Kickstarter project from Knog. I love Knog, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I've been using their lights on my commuter bike for a couple of years now, so when they said that they were coming out with a bell, my interest was piqued. 

Most bells look like, well, bells. By that I mean the same dome shape that has been the standard for countless years. Not exactly sleek or sexy. Those two adjectives would, however, do a good job at describing the Knog Oi.

The first thing you notice, is that it doesn't look like a bicycle bell. And, that is the idea. It is meant to blend in on your handlebars, and not look out of place, no matter what bike you are putting it on. 

They also come in 5 different finishes: brushed aluminium; brass-plated; copper-plated; and black. The top of the range, "treat yourself” model is made from titanium. 

And two different sizes: small for 22.2 mm diameter bars, and large for bars up to 31.8 mm.

The mount has been designed to not interfere with your brake and shifter cables. 

Interested, like I am? Go to their Kickstarter page here, to learn more. I'll be ordering one. 

Update:  Their Kickstarter went live only a day or so ago, and they have already blown away their $14,000 goal. 

15 February 2016

Two Great Tastes that Together Should Equal a Restraining Order

Happy V-Day yesterday. Hope your day was full of whatever you expected from it.

Myself? She who must be obeyed and I enjoyed an evening of binge-watching TV shows from previous weeks, and shooing the kids off to bed at an age-appropriate time. We did all of our Valentine's Day activities on Saturday.

Still, my Sunday was not just church and Hulu (which I assure you is not the same as Netflix and chill). While I was bored at church yesterday, I made some wholly inappropriate V-Day memes.

Hopefully you remember my favorite creepy/pervy Cat1 cyclist:

Still no idea who he is, but thank you, kind sir, for the picture I found on the innerwebs.

And no doubt, you have all seen lists on the innnerwebs for the top pick-up lines for cyclists (such as this one)?

Well, when you combine them together in meme-form, the creep/perv level rises to gloriously uncomfortable levels:

And my personal favorite:

Enjoy. That uncomfortable feeling you have will subside after a good cold shower.

10 February 2016

I Have a New Favorite Anime Superhero

First off, I don't watch that much anime. Almost none, in fact.

Still, Last night, my 18-year-old son wanted to show me his latest favorite anime show, One Punch Man.

One of the lower class superheroes in the anime caught my attention, and quickly became my favorite superehero. Mumen Rider, Cyclist of Justice!

He has no super powers, and travels around on a bicycle - which he also uses as a weapon to varying degrees of uselessness. 

When he needs to get somewhere quickly, he uses his "Stand-up Peddling Mode!"

Also, since he is a hero, he obeys all traffic lights - even when on the way to fight a villain or monster.

Still, he is awesome!