Friday, May 22, 2009


Not too much to report recently. Still being encouraged to bike to work every day since my truck is in need of new tires and begins to vibrate madly at 40mph. Those will come Saturday, with any luck. Interesting event to report from this morning though...

They have been repaving along part of my commute. For those in the know, I am speking of Indian Ripple Rd, specifically near the North Alpha Bellbrook intersection. I come up N Alpha every day and then turn left to get to work. It is both lower in traffic and a less steep grade (though higher elevation change) than taking Factory to Indian Ripple and turning left.

Anyway, Wednesday's commute had me waiting for a little while at a four way stop while they worked on a bit of paving. The far side of the road where I would be riding had been done for a while, and thankfully I got through before they put the tar down on the near lane....I think riding through that would be challenging at best. I made my left turn and then hammered as hard as I could up the hill because I wanted to get through as quickly as possible and not delay other people too much--not only could no one pass me on the single lane, but traffic was stopped the other way as well becase only one lane could go at a time. So I arrived at work quite tired and sore. I need to work on exerting myself more on rides, right nw I just kinda cruise at a comfortable speed. Pushing myself is the only way I'll improve. But I digrress.

Fast forward to Thursday's ride. I get to the same point at the top of the hill, wait way longer, and then when traffic goes through....I sink. Apparently a big guy on a bike has higher pressure on asphalt than a big car with 4 wide tires on the ground. It was like riding into a patch of mud. When I turned the handlebars left, the front wheel washed out and left a big divot in the asphalt, like a big black sticky snowdrift. It was like sudedenly itting 3 inches of mud. I didn't go down since I got my foot down (I was probably only going 5mph or so at the time), but I ended up getting asphalt stuck to the end of my shoe as well. Thankfully it didn't stick in the cleat area so I was able to clip in with no problems. I ended up riding the .7 miles or so to the office with asphalt-encrusted tires, listening to the crunch of them on the pavement, hoping that there wasn't sticky tar and rocks all over my braking surface.

I wore my cycling shoes all day at the office, and whenever my right hand was free it was feeling asphalt off my left shoe. So there is a little pile of it next to my desk. It looks like the bike didn't come out of it too bad, just the tires got asphalted and the center tread is clear now after running on pavement for a few miles. There's still some on the sidewalls, but I am just going to leave it. It looks like there was just a little bit that got on the braking surface as well, but it scraped off pretty much immediately when I stopped the bike next, so that's not a worry either. Guess I came out of it all pretty well, considering. Maybe now I will finally treat myself to some new bike shoes. And brake pads, since mine are pretty much worn out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Funny. I had nothing to post for a long time, but now I have stuff to post but I keep missing chances to post it!

Saturday waqs the day to take my truck to the mechanic to investigate the mysterious squeaking noise. This means throwing the bike in the truck, driving to the mechanic, and biking home, since it's about a 1.3 mile ride and I really don't relish the idea of spending a few hours sitting in the lobby there.

A bit after arriving back home, I got the call that they had discovered the source of the mysterious squeaking noise: $375. Carrier shaft bearing. I like my driveshaft to spin.

I am never going to get to invest in more bikes if I keep pouring money into the truck. And now I'm at the point where I can't afford a new truck but I also can't afford to keep fixing this one. It will remain parked for all purposes except visiting the girlfriend, I think. This is the perfect time to go car free.

Sunday was a much happier occasion. Went to look at accessories for the girlfriend's bike (I already got her a water bottle, bottle cage, and computer, but she needs lights and fenders), then we went to the park for a picnic.

We actually got pics, something that this blog is sorely lacking most of the time!

Here's me cruising down the trail. Note the fat. Note lack of helmet. Almost always wear a helmet when I ride, but this particular path is completely free of cars. Plus Erin doesn't have one yet.

Here are the bikes at our picnic spot. Erin's brand new Cypress in the foreground, my travel-weary Long Haul Trucker in the background. Pannier contains blanket and KFC. Trunk bag contains an extra water bottle, a cable lock, some rain pants, pump, spare tube, tire levers, multitool, kitchen sink...

Another view of the bikes, this time with me holding one up.

We rode about a mile down the Mad River trail. There's downtown Dayton.

And there's the river. Grrr, mad.

All told, we did just shy of 11 miles Sunday, which is great for someone who just got a good bike and has barely ridden this year. I predict a happy summer full of more rides for us.

Yesterday was an extra long commute that took me to my brother's house for cat-feeding in the morning...that extended my full commute to 26 miles. It was nice in the afternoon though, a nice retiree rode up next to me and we talked for a while. I ride much faster when I'm with someone else, even if we're side by side. I think my speed went from about 14 to 18, and I wasn't straining much. It's just hard to convince myself to work very much harder when I'm riding alone.

And that's it for this update, hopefully I'll have more to write about soon, and not just end up doing a batch entry. Keep the rubber side down!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Who's a failure? I'm a failure!

So today is National Bike to Work Day!  And here I sit in Panera, after a

I tried hard though!  I did!  I got up later than I had originally intended, but I was on the road by 8--over an hour before my normal  departure time.  Why so early?  Free pancakes for cyclists at the 2nd Street Market downtown.

Upside:  Aweseom, free food!
Downside:  Where the heck is this place?

I knew the general location, so I headed off, opposite the location of my workplace.  After about 8 miles, 2 wrong turns, and questioning two people, I found it.  It was actually not hard to find for someone with rudimentary navigational skills.

The setup they had was pretty sweet.  Tons of (giant) free pancakes, lots of information booths, and a surprising number of people there at that time (around 8:45 I suppose).  I ate my pancake as quickly as I could, and was back on mybike at 9:00.  I was iffy as to whether I could make the 8 mile ride to work on time considering I also had to ride 8 miles to my apartment first.  Hmmm.  If I averaged 16mph and changed in under 5 minutes, I'd just manage it.  I was pushing into the wind on the wayback though, and my pancake-filled stomach and out-of-shape legs didn't like pushing me any more than 14 or 15.  Sadder yet, when I turned south on Creekside my left knee starting giving some pretty serious pain--I'm not sure what it was, but it was not good, and I cut my speed down to about 10mph, resigning myself to driving.

Oddly enough, Bike to Work Day was one of the only days I didn't ride last Spring as well.  I may have a problem.

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures as my camera died before I could even take one shot.  Hopefully it just wants new batteries.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

...I've been away

Been away from posting for far too long. After my deep snow commute I burned out on cycling for a while, and it's hard to start it up again after stopping for very long.

I think I've finally gotten back into the groove though, since I have been seriously enjoying the wonderful weather we've been having, and my girlfriend also just bought a Giant Cypress so we can go on rides together. That means more biking and more biking with someone else, which are both good things. Unfortunately she lives about 45 miles away so we can't see each other and ride every day, but we should be doing lots of riding on the weekends. I just have to make sure I find the right balance between taking it too easy on her and wearing her out so much she decides that she hates bikes and hates me.

I'll follow the advice I saw in Mountain Bike Action about taking new riders to the trail....I'll just ride behind her so she will set the pace she is comfortable with.

Today's commute was extra long. After work I jumped off the bike path and rode to the Performance store, which I reached at about 7:50. It turns out they close at 7:00. And open at 10:00. Coincidentally, I work from 10 to 7, so I guess I won't be going there on weekdays. I rode across the street to an outdoor mall called The Greene though, and visited a shop called roll: (the silly puctuation is all them). It's a pretty sweet shop, and I grabbed the GF (let's call her "Erin") a few accessories for her new steed. These will be picturd in a later post.

I think it's definitely time to update my mileage log, it looks like I haven't ridden at all this year.