25 July 2016

Product Update: Bolle The One

Back in October I posted about Bolle's new helmet-shaped offering, The One.

I also mentioned in that post that I would follow up once I had recieved a helmet. 
Is he ever going to write that review?

Well, I received a helmet, and promptly forgot to write that follow-up post. Until today.

Not only did I receive one helmet, I recieved two. The first one was too small -as Goldilocks would say if her head was above average in size as mine is - that helmet was given to my willing co-conspirator, Mrs. Bike-Junkie for her usage. The next one was just right. 

Mrs. Bike-Junkie and I at this years Bike Prom (think fancy dress party on bikes), along with our co co-conspirators, Steve and Miss Piggy (James). 

Blurry no-lookie selfie. Nothing but the best for this blog!

Seeing as I have been using the helmet non-stop for the past few months, I think that I can say that I definitely like this helmet. As well as being on the largish side, my head is also a bit oblong front to rear. Some helmets tend to not fit in the fore and aft positions, The One gave me no such trouble. The vents provide ample airflow when not covered up by the aero shells.

The only negative that I can think of is the optional LED capsule on the rear of the helmet. Since I primarily use my bicycle to commute these days, I installed the LED capsule, and have used it on my commutes where the sun isn't quite up. The capsule is powered by a button-cell battery, and has ran out of juice. If it was possible to change that to a USB rechargeable light, the helmet would be flawless. 

The One, Jack of all trades, master of all. 

12 July 2016

Thought of the Day - Zen Edition

I read this earlier today and it resonated. It's been floating around on the innerwebs for several years, but like I said, today it struck a chord. 

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"
The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the student, saying, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do."
The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path." The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world."
The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."
The fourth student answered, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings." The teacher was pleased and said, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."
The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, "I am your disciple."
Riding is my meditation, when my mind is cluttered, and there is too much weighing me down, it is freeing to get on my bike and focus on the sound of the tires on the gravel, the chain on the sprockets, my labored breathing as I climb because I am out of shape. I could drive into work, and deal with traffic and finding a place to park. Or, I could take the bus. It's easy, conveniently close to both my place of "work" and home. But then I would miss out on riding. Sometimes riding your bike is all you need.

06 July 2016

Checking Back In: Bike Shops USA App for the iPhone

Apps come and apps go,

I first wrote about the Bike Shops USA app for the iPhone over four years ago, and it is still one that I still keep on my phone, and use on a regular basis. 

The features are the same - they still don't have the websites for the shops listed - but what it does it still does admirably. 

And one of the things that still works is the report button. 

I just returned from a vacation in the nice little seaside community of Brookings, Oregon. To my knowledge (which included looking on the afore mentioned app, and checking RideOregonRide.com), there were no bike shops within 2 hours of Brookings. One evening, we went to eat at Superfly (I highly recommend this place, stellar food!), and across the street I noticed... a bike shop! Well, more of a catch-all sporting goods store, but they do have a full bike shop complete with bike mechanic. 

Thanks to the fact that they still update the database, Escape Hatch Sports is now listed on the app.

The app is still free, and it is so worth it! 

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..."