Friday, December 29, 2006

Car Washes

Odo - 3065.8

Ah yeah, I've had like a week off so I haven't been riding much. I know kind of backwards huh. My bike's just been sitting there looking at me. I noticed some rust on the chain and it was covered in mud. We don't have a hose here at our apartment so I took it to a local car wash and gave it a spray. I then cleaned the chain, let it dry and lubed it all up. The next day I rode out to Alki and noticed some strange noises coming from the rear hub. Great my hub is going out I thought. Cheap hub only lasts 3000 miles. I stopped by the Bike and Brew to see what they thought. Turns out the hub just needed to be re-greased. The high pressure washer I used at the car wash shot water inside the hub. It was like soup in there. So don't use high pressure washers on your bike.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

3000 miles

Od0 3010

I broke the 3000 mile mark on my bike during this morning's commute to work. This makes 1300 since the middle of July. Not much to some cyclists but a lot to me.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Critical Mass Take 2

Odo 2915.3

Well so as I said in my last post I was going to Critical Mass again. And I did. There were, as expected, only about 1/3 as many people as last month. This made a huge difference in the group. While there were still enough people for a fun, interesting, ride, and enough to get our point across, there was a lack of organization. First, and most important, the group was split up by a huge gap on more then one occasion as people in the front rode to fast and didn't wait. The problem with this is A) it's not as fun and B) you can't very well block traffic for the mass to get through if 1/2 of the mass is 1/4 mile away. Second of all Critical Mass always claims to have no leaders, so you never really know where you are going to ride, or end up. While this can be a good thing we at times ended up stopped with indecision. In the end the split up group kept breaking off in different directions until I was with like 8 people. At that point I dropped out. The highlight of the evening (for me anyway) was riding through Seattle Center, into and around the fountain, even though I fell and skinned up my knee. I love the look of wonder and awe on people's faces as 50-100 bicycles come riding out of nowhere hooting and hollering. Still next month will be around Christmas and I won't ride unless one of my friends wants to go. I'll wait until spring brings the numbers back up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Weather, Turkey Day, Critical Mass

Odo 2875.3

Commute to work - Rain, Hail, Lightning?!? Thanksgiving is on Thursday. Critical Mass is on Friday. With Thanksgiving and the weather like it is I'm thinking the turnout is going to be much much less then last month before Halloween. However my internet weather forecast service says that there will only be a few showers on Friday and just clouds with a chance of rain Friday night. And since Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, what better time to hold Critical Mass? It's going to be cold though.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Must Heed the Weather Report

Odo 2860.8

The weather report today said rain, but at 12 noon it was sunny with blue skies. Still I packed my rain coat, pants but not my booties. I did my ride downtown, did some shopping and had a mocha with a friend. By that time it was raining. In fact the rain hit us before the clouds moved in. Well that's Seattle for ya. My feet were soaked by the time I got home. I guess after being gone for 2 years I forgot how quickly the weather changes.

An article in the Seattle Times stated that this could be the wettest month in history for Seattle. The wettest month in history here was December 1933, when 15.33 inches fell at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle, before the weather service set up its rain gauges at Sea-Tac. Since Sea-Tac has been the recording station, the wettest month was January 1953, with 12.92 inches. As of late wednesday the monthly total was 11.63 inches of rain. The news on the tube today said that almost 2/3 of an inch fell betweeen 3 and 5 pm (the time I was riding home). That pushes the total pretty close to record and we got 10 days left this month.

Update - This was a new record for total Seattle rainfall in one month. The end of the month total was 15.63 inches.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Proposition 1 'Bridging the Gap' Seattle

Odo 2772.7

My greatest speed ever on a bicycle, the same bicycle I have today, was 45 miles per hour. I did this riding down Admiral Way toward Avalon Way/Harbor Ave. I believe the speed limit there is 30 but what the hell? It's a good down hill stretch. Smooth asphalt, no side streets so no cars to stop/turn in front of you. Plenty room/time to slow down at the end. I tried it again yesterday. 37.5 mph. I rode back up and tried again. 38.5. Grrraah! Why can't I even hit 40? Was it my original tires? Was it the extra winter clothing? Was the weight and drag of my fenders, rack and pannier bags and my camera I had in them? Or was it just plain fear of petaling that hard at such a fast speed. 30 plus mph on a bike does scare me. Sometime soon I will have to strip the weight off and try again. Sometime when it is not raining.

On my morning commute to work today I realized that I've slowed down a little. I'm just riding. Which is ok to an extent. I realized this when 3 other bike commuters past me by. I'm not putting any effort into this. While it doesn't have to be a workout every day maybe it should be a few times a week. I raised the bar a little on my ride back home tonight.

The puncture resistant tires I now have and/or the tuffy strips I have between the tires and the tube are working well. On examining my tires I saw several tiny cuts. Most 1 or 2 millimeters in length. Upon probing I pulled about 20 pieces of glass from these cuts, between the 2 tires. A few weeks ago I did have a flat. I wasn't on the bike at the time. I just looked over at my bike and the tire was flat. The hole was on the rim side. I blame this on rim strip failure. The high pressure caused the tube to press to hard against one of the spoke nipples. It was a cheap, plastic rim strip and I replaced it with a nice cloth one. I bought a patch kit and fixed the tube. I normally just replace the tube with a new one but it seems like such a waste and the patches are so cheap.

And finally Proposition 1 passed here in Seattle. What this means for cyclists -
  • Nearly quadruple Seattle’s annual investment in Bicycle and Pedestrian programs.
  • Increased access and more biking options for the thousands of Seattle bike commuters and countless recreational riders.
  • Complete network of urban bike trails, including the Burke-Gilman, Mountains-to-Sound, Duwamish and Chief Sealth trails.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Park Tools and Ball Bearings

Odo 2758.0

I was in REI going crazy, again, the other day. Christine noticed that I was 'damp' even with my rain coat so she let me buy another one. Just for cycling. A Novara Stratos. Yellow. Pit zippers for ventilation, back pocket, fold down rain flap for extra protection in the riding stance. Waterproof, windproof, breathable. Expensive, but I'll use it, for sure. It's far more effective then my 6 year old Eddie Bauer, which I will still wear when I'm not on the bike.

Then I picked up Park Tools Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. It's a good book but in some areas not as detailed as I'd like. In others, very much so. A few Park Tool wrenches and I find myself in the living room surrounded by tiny, loose ball bearings as I dismantle, clean, inspect, grease and reassemble my front hub. It worked again today for 18 miles so I guess I did it right. Well see what happens in a few hundred miles.

I noticed my stopping power is much less in the rain. That got me thinking, "Are there different types of brake pads?" The answer is yes. REI had a poor selection but the sales man told me to look for the salmon colored ones. Today at my neighborhood bicycle repair shop I found them. Managed to get them on the bike. Tested them. They don't squeek so I guess I got the 'toe in' set right. They feel good. We'll see in the next few days.

Yikes it's almost 1am! I got to get to bed.

Six years later and the Novara Stratos raincoat is still holding up well.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Torrential Rain

Odo 2705.2

The weather service I look at online called for Torrential Rain tonight. I don't know if I would classify what I rode home in as torrential. I've seen some serious late summer monsoon downpours in Arizona but I would agree that at times the rain was 'heavy'. It was a perfect chance to test out all my new rain gear. A few days ago I posted how my ride home in the rain left my feet soaked. My Bellwether Aqua No Booties took care of that. They slip on over your shoes and zip up the back. They have holes in the bottom for your cleats and fit over my mountain bike type shoes. Next my Pearl Izumi Gavia Gloves kept my hands quite warm and mostly dry. They are rated as AmFib so in the heavy rain your hands will get a little wet as mine did. I was in it for 40 minutes and I would say that after 20 is when they started getting wet. Lastly was a Sugoi Bosui stretch helmet cover. This cover has reflective panels for night and kept all the water out.

2003 Fuji Ace (Musette)

Odo 2698.0

Not that anyone cares but I was pondering what year I actually bought my bike so I did a little online research and came up with the complete specs. Some modifications I've made in red. It is a 2003.

BB Shell Width: 68mm English
BB Spindle Length: 116mm
Bicycle Type: road/sport
Bottom Bracket: sealed cartridge, 116mm spindle
Brake Levers: Shimano Sora STI Dual Control
Brakeset: Pro-Max Forged Road, Dual Pivot brakes, Shimano Sora STI Dual Control levers
Chain: Shimano CN-HG50, 1/2 x 3/32" Now a SRAM.
Chain Size: 1/2 x 3/32"
Chainrings: 30(28)/42/52
Chainstay Length: 42.0cm
Colors: Was - Olympic Red/Platinum. This bike is also highlighted with black and white. Now painted in "leather" brown. Handlebar tape was changed to shellac over cloth silver and black but now is brown and honey colored leather woven.
Component Group: Road Mix
Crankset: Cyclone Forged Road, 30(28)/42/52 teeth
Fork Brand & Model: Fuji
Fork Crown: aero
Fork Material: chromoly, aero crown
Fork Rake: 4.50cm
Frame Angles: 73.0 head, 73.0 seat
Frame Construction: TIG-welded
Frame Tubing Material: Elios 1 chome-moly
Front Brake: Pro-Max Forged Road, Dual Pivot
Front Brake Lever: Shimano Sora STI Dual Control
Front Derailleur: Shimano Sora Triple, bottom-pull/clamp-on 28.6mm
Front Derailleur Type: bottom-pull/clamp-on 28.6mm
Handlebar: aluminum drop bar
Handlebar Stem: Was - aluminum Fuji. Now a tall Nitto Technomic.
Head Tube Angle: 73.0
Headset: 1" threaded sealed mechanism
Headset Diameter: 1" threaded
Hub Front: aluminum, Q/R
Hub Rear: aluminum, Q/R
Hubs: aluminum, Q/R
Largest Rear Cog: Was - 26. Now is 28.
Num Rear Cogs: 7-speed
Pedals: Wellgo road w/clips and straps (Now Clipless)
Rear Brake: Pro-Max Forged Road, Dual Pivot
Rear Brake Lever: Shimano Sora STI Dual Control
Rear Cogs: 7-speed, Was - 13 - 26 teeth. Then 13 - 28 after I wore out and replaced the drive train at 4459 miles. Now 12 - 28 as this drive train is spent again and replaced at 7800 miles.
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Sora GS
Rim Front: Was - Alex RP-15, 32-hole. Now Campy hub and Mavic rim, 36 spoke, hand built wheel.
Rim Rear: Was - Alex RP-15, 32-hole Then - Torelli Master, 32-hole (Had to rebuild because the cheap spokes kept breaking.) Now 36 hole Velocity Fusion (Re-rebuilt because I bent the rim on a pothole)
Saddle: Was - Fuji Sport Anatomical. Then a Brooks B-17 N, now just a B-17.
Seat Post Diameter: 27.2mm
Seat Tube Angle: 73.0
Seatpost: aluminum micro-adjust, 27.2mm diameter
Shift Levers: Shimano Sora STI Dual Control
Sizes: 49cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 61cm, 64cm
Smallest Rear Cog: 13
Spoke Brand: stainless steel, 14ga. (2.0mm) straight gauge (And then - DT Spokes in back) (And now - Phil Wood Spokes in back)Spoke Gauge: 14ga. (2.0mm)
Spoke Holes: 32-hole (Now 36)
Spoke Material: stainless steel
Spoke Nipples: brass nipples (Now stainless steel nipples in back)Spoke Type: straight gauge
Sugg Retail: 519.00
Tires: Were- 700x 26c Kenda Kontender Now- Schwalbe, Marathon Plus 700 x 28c rear & 700 x 25c in front.
Top Tube Length: 55.0
Weight: 24.0 (Not with my rack, packs, lights, computer, and fenders. :) )
Wheelbase: 100.0cm

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's a wet, wet, wet Seattle ride.

Odo 2665.1

I have to say the last 3 days have been very cold for Seattle. Lows in the 30's. On Musette I've been keeping an eye out for ice in the mornings. Well that all changed today. Overnight our weather went back to something more predictable and started raining. This brought our temperature back up into the 40's - 50's. The morning ride wasn't too bad. Drizzle turning to rain as I neared work. I remembered to ride slower and stop early as last month I almost skidded through a red light. The ride home was something else. Heavy rain. This has to be the wettest I've ever rode in. Some huge puddles to avoid. Or at least to avoid the splash of a passing car. My gloves were soaked in about 1/2 a mile. After about 2 miles I could feel water running off my rain pants and into my shoes. My feet were soaked soon after. At about 5 miles I could taste salt as water ran down my head and face. I always thought it was sort of silly seeing people wear shoe covers while cycling but I may pick some up tomorrow. I'm also thinking about a helmet cover and some new gloves. What was cool was how many people were still riding. Two people passed me since I'm still unsure about riding on wet surfaces. I stopped to see if one guy had everything to patch his tire. I presume these were fellow commuters as it was about 18:00.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Perception

Odo 2651

Now I'm going to explain what my last post was all about. The other day I rode over to the grocery store, locked up, went in. When I came out to the bike rack a lady was there locking up her bike. She had a Trek SU100, I believe. We said hello to each other and then she said, "Do you race on that thing?" Well I had to say with a smile, "No. I race to work, downtown, everyday." What followed was some short conversation where, as per her inquiry, I told her the best bike route to get downtown. But after I rode about a block I got to thinking what she said. I found myself talking to my bike. "Did you hear that? She called you a thing." Like Musette was some kind of wild bucking race horse or something. What later sunk in was that she asked me if I race. Musette is a low end, all steel Fuji Ace road bike of about 4 years in age, currently outfitted with fenders, a rack and panniers. To me this does not scream race bike. I see people riding road bikes all the time, everyday. It's a road bike, not race bike.  I guess what it all breaks down to is perception. Everyone's is different.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Urban Sprawl and Critical Mass

Odo 2610.8

Recently I've come to learn some interesting facts.  The way I understand it, from what I have read, paved roads were actually first created in and around cities for bicycles. This is when the automobile was not invented or very few were around. There was not really a need for paved roads as people traveled by foot, rail, horse or horse drawn cart, except for the bicycle which is hard to ride on cobbles, mud, and rutted dirt roads. Sometime after this the automobile became more popular and started to use these same paved roads. Some large industry, namely, automobile makers and oil got together and somehow started buying up rail and trolly and putting them out of business. This put the demand on their products, auto, bus, truck, and oil. People, with their new found freedom of movement (the auto) moved farther and farther out of the city. Urban sprawl. Suburbia. People get more dependant on the auto. Traffic gets worse. Here goes all our public space. Think about it. A highway with 6 lanes travelling in each direction takes up a huge amount of space. Then you need space to park all these cars. More space taken up equals greater distance to travel equals greater traffic. Meanwhile the single car driver, travelling all this way to work and back, angry, supporting the oil and auto companies, and throwing out a ton of money for his/her car on payments, fuel, insurance, and maintence, has a mind set that the whole road belongs to him/her. They are unwilling to share the road with the bicycle. The road which was created with the bicycle in mind in the first place. Our society needs a little shift in direction.  We need a more efficient mass transit system. We need to create and redo neighborhoods to support themselves so people can live close to the work and the goods they need.

Most of this I've read to some extent on various sources on the web. Much of it I learned from reading The Immortal Class by Travis Hugh Culley. In this book Travis writes his story as a bike messenger in the city of Chicago. It's a great read. In the last chapter he describes a neighborhood in Chicago that is changing for the better. One of the last paragraphs in the book goes like this-
Uninterrupted by the light surrounding conversation, I have shut my eyes and begun to listen. I am trying to imagine what it could be like, to live both dense and peaceful. I am trying to see it as I scroll through her tired streets in my mind, a sustainable Chicago covered with bike-only streets, quiet trains, a patient, car-free, delivery-based roadway. I envision inner-city schools that thrive and parks that are in use. I see rich, diverse, and colorful city, where the blackness that we now fear can just be sprayed off our buildings with a high-pressure water gun.

Among my internet surfing I have also come across Critical Mass. (Check out this Video.) They are a group that celebrates bicycle advocacy by show. Once a month, in over 200 cities around the world people from all walks of life meet and ride. In MASS. They take back the street. Stoplights mean nothing. We had about 300 riders tonight. A few of the riders would ride ahead and block traffic while the rest of the group rode through. It's actually quite safe. Our "mass" took up about 4 city blocks. It was a great atmosphere. We had all kinds of people riding. Bike messengers, commuters, recreational cyclists. People riding mountain bikes, road bikes, commuter hybrids, fixed gear, BMX and one slick, low recumbent. There were a few bikes that had 2 frames welded together, one on top of the other, so the rider sat about 6 feet off the ground. It's close to halloween and many people were in costume. One man wore nothing at all. One was towing a sterio on a trailer so we always had music. Some people hid beer, some were right open about it. We traveled from West Lake Square past the market, through Pioneer Square, up and across the Aurora Bridge, into the U-district and to Green Lake. The pace was easy, about 8 miles per hour. I rode about 34 miles including my trip to and from the ride. It was a great experience and one I will definitely do again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tail Wind

It was a great ride to work this morning. The weather was perfect. Cold at the start but good. I was dressed perfect. Not dressed to warm as I have been lately. And I had a beautiful tail wind pushing me all the way. Of course this really shouldn't count, with the help of the wind, but I got a new record time to work.

Distance - 7.21 miles
Maximum speed - 34 mph (Which 4 months ago used to scare me but now is nothing.)
Time - 23:40
Average Speed - 18.2 mph
Odometer - 2576.9 miles (On this Bicycle)

Tomorrow . . . Critical Mass!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Inspiration



A friend of mine, David, is a beer brewer. The All Grain Evangelist. I must say the beer he produces is of a most excellent quality. Well a few weeks ago he mentioned that someone was inspired by his blog to do their first all grain brew (http://hunahpu.blogspot.com/2006/10/welcome-to-fold.html). Well the inspiration must be contagious because he called me yesterday to say how he and his wife decided to go out and buy some bikes after reading this blog.

Today they told me how they went on their first ride and how they loved it. They rode for about 2 - 1/2 miles, had coffee and a smoke, felt guilty for the smoke, and returned back the 2 - 1/2 miles. Well I think this is just fantastic! They've got their bikes, they're loving it, they're getting outside of the house, and it might possibly be because of my stupid little bicycle blog.

They chose Trek Bikes 7100 and the 7100WSD. Hybrids.  Some of the features of those bikes are front fork and seat post shocks, 21 speeds, a more upright, comfortable riding position, and 700 by 35c tires.

Dave strapped his GPS on to the bike. He told me about this and I found one. Yes, a GPS/bike computer. Check out the Garmin, Edge 205 and 305. About 270 to 500 bucks. Yeah! Some day I got to get me one of those. Map where you've been, how far you went, chart the hills you conquered! Welcome back to cycling Dave and Julie. Maybe well be doing the Tour de Tucson someday.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Panniers and Handle Bar Tape


I kind of went hog wild at the bike store. I got a second light that attaches to my seat pack for added visibility to motorists, some nylon strap and clips that I sewed across the top of my pannier bags to compress them when they are not fully loaded, a new water bottle, some 'urban camo' colored handle bar tape, and some White Lightning bicycle lube for my chain.

Nothing much else on the bicycle front. No real training yet except for the regular commute to and from work. The autumn leaves are beautiful. It's getting colder and keeps threatening to rain. I have to wear more clothing and the panniers are really coming in handy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Golden Rooster


Under the West Seattle Bridge one can occasionally catch a glimpse of The Golden Rooster. Someone on the hill there must own this bird and it comes down from time to time to scratch and peck by the bike trail. Lately it hasn't looked as big and magestic as the first time I saw it when all of it's feathers appeared a golden yellow with flame red on the edges. But I've decided to think of it as good luck whenever I see it. New commute record travelling to work -
Distance - 7.04 miles
Maximum Speed - 31.5 mph
Time - 25:08
Average Speed 16.8 mph

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fenders




Gah! Looks like I got my new fenders just in time for the rainy season here in Seattle. I picked them up at REI. I chose some Freddy Fenders by Planet Bike. I used to have a pair of SKS before I moved back to AZ but I like the shape of Planet Bikes better. Although I needed to do a little more work with zip ties and a little modification with Planet Bikes fenders over the SKS. Some of this will show in the pictures.

On top of it all I had the focus before leaving work to make this my fastest time riding home. The weather was beautiful with very little wind. Although I was sore from previous riding and tired from not enough sleep I rode with a determination and got my best time to date.

Distance - 7.09
Maximum Speed - 23.5 mph
Time - 28.53
Average Speed - 14.5

Monday, September 11, 2006

Cycle Computer

Well my Cat Eye cycle computer went kaput last night. The top 'mode' button broke. I was thinking about upgrading to one which tracked cadence and heart rate but I just couldn't justify forking our 180 bucks for all that so I just picked up the same model. It lasted 2135 miles so I figure it was worth the 33 bucks. Plus with the same model I didn't have to reattach all the wiring.
Commute home times today a record again -
  • Distance - 7.13 miles
  • Maximum Speed - 21.5 mph
  • Time - 29:37
  • Average Speed - 14.4 mph

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Brian's Evil Cycling Twin?

I left work tonight around 22:45. It is Sunday, there was very little traffic, and little to no wind. While I was still riding through downtown I passed some dude getting on his bike, about to take off. As I was cruising along the multi-use trail under the viaduct I looked over and there he was, in the street. Slowly passing me. Now when I'm riding to and from work and I see someone else on a bike I'm always up for a chase. If the person is slower then me, well victory is mine. If the person is faster then, often, I can get up behind them and draft, cutting my workload. So the multi-use trail ended and I cut out accross the street to the bike lane. It was fairly easy catching up with this guy and I figured I'd pass him. Then we started talking. Now this is where it gets weird. Weird isn't really the right word since he was cool and not a "weirdo." We both have Fuji Road bikes, with almost the same colors and lights. Although his was a single speed. We both bought our bikes at Recycled Cycles. We were both commuting home from work. To West Seattle. Both of us work at hotels. We both work in banquets. He grew up in Phoenix. I grew up in Tucson and lived in Phoenix. He moved up to Seattle about 7 years ago, which is about the same time we made our first move to Seattle. Biiiiiizarrrrroo. Which brings me to some new commute home records!
  • Distance - 7.12 miles
  • Max Speed - 23.5 mph
  • Time - 30:25
  • Average Speed - 14 mph

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New commute home record

Yeah, it must have been another week of rest off the bike because I really felt good going to and from work today. I almost beat my time to work and I set a new record coming home by 2 minutes. It was pretty much a dead calm again, both ways, and I wasn't really trying that hard.
  • Distance - 7.15 miles
  • Max Speed - 24 mph
  • Time - 31:28
  • Average Speed - 13.5

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Training

So a few friends and I were talking about riding next years STP (Seattle to Portland) Bicycle Classic. Of course we always talk about this and then blow it off but I think we may actually do it this time. So I dug out my copy of the Lance Armstrong Performance Program by Lance Armstrong and his old coach, Chris Carmichael. Before starting the program you determine your level of fitness with what is basically a 3 mile time trial. I headed out to Alki. Alki has a stretch of 3 + miles, today was cloudy so there weren't that many people and it is mostly level. I had a slight tailwind for about half way but as I rounded Duwamish head it was in my face. I feel my intensity could have been more. Maybe a 3-4 on a scale of 1-5.
  • Distance - 3.01
  • Max mph - 25
  • Time - 9:04
  • Average mph - 19.9
Nine minutes puts me in the Intermediate fitness category.
On a side note I saw a pod of orcas in the bay.

Commute Stats 3

Maybe it was having almost a week off to rest my legs, but more likely it was the dead calm wind that gave me this great commute time to work.

  • Distance - 7.05 Miles
  • Max Speed - 30 mph
  • Time - 25:30
  • Average - 16.4 mph

Work to Eat,
Eat to Live,
Live to Ride,
Ride to Work.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Commute Stats 2

Record time heading home.
  • Distance - 7.06 miles
  • Max speed - 21.5
  • Time - 33:48
  • Average speed - 12.4

My Planet Bike head light flew off my handlebars right in the middle of 1st and Madison. I must not have clipped it on all the way. Busted into a bunch of pieces. I picked them up, put it all back together and you know what? It works!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Commuting Statistics


I have a Cat Eye Enduro 8 cycle computer which I love. It cost me only about 30 bucks and features - Current speed, Maximum speed, Average speed, Total Distance (Odometer), Trip distance, 2nd trip distance, Elapsed time, 12/24hr clock. It's been on the battery that it came with for almost 2000 miles and about 4 years.

Here are my best statistics for commuting to and from work since I've been back.

To work-

  • Distance - 7.04 miles
  • Max speed - 30.5 mph
  • Time - 27:45
  • Average speed - 15.1 mph
The timer on the computer can be set to run from the beginning to the end of the ride, non stop or to run only when the wheel is spinning (while the bike is actually moving). I choose the second setting since then if I get stopped at a bunch of stoplights on the way it won't totally ruin my time. Although, in a way, it's still a luck of the draw since you still have to slow down and speed up from a stop, even though the timer is stopped when you are. My actual time getting to work is probably closer to 30-35 minutes when you take in to account the time spent sitting at stoplights. I will have to try the timer the other way someday and see.
My average speed is closer to 17-18 mph up until I turn into Pioneer Square and ride on First Avenue up hill to Pike Street.
There is a really bad section of road on Delridge way, just past Oregon Street, going north, under the foot bridge, where I could keep up some good speed if the road was in good condition. This particular day I had a slight tailwind.
From work-
  • Distance - 7.15 miles
  • Max speed - 22 mph
  • Time - 36:36
  • Average speed - 11.6 mph
Coming home from work always produces worse stats because of the gradual rise up Delridge Way.
After my ride to and from work tomorrow I will have surpassed 2000 miles on this bike. I will probably only post my commute times again if and when I surpass these or if I change my place of residence.

Friday, August 11, 2006

West Seattle Tour

It was a lazy morning yesterday. I woke up late, sometime around 10, read a book, fell back asleep. At about noon I decided I had to get out. So I hopped on the bike and took a little West Seattle tour. It was a slow ride, like my morning, but a pleasant one. I woke up to rain but now the air was crisp, fresh with a few sun breaks.

A mile and a half took me to the local smoothie shop for some energy.

At about 3 miles I stopped at a little park outside the Fauntleroy, Vashon, Southworth ferry terminal and watched disgruntled drivers sit in their cars waiting for the ferry. Poor souls. They probably had to work today too.


3.85 miles and I was riding through the heart of Lincoln Park. This is a great wooded park, right on the water with a few baseball diamonds, bbq's, a salt water pool and plenty of trails for walking, or in this case riding.















8.95 miles and I was at Alki beach for my usual latte (today a mocha) and biscotti. And no I'm not sharing any on it with that seagull. I watched some little kids (kids are crazy!) swim in the 50 degree water and use sea weed for necklaces.









Alki Beach park is a good 2 mile stretch of beach, benches, vollyball courts, cyclists, inline skaters, sunbathers, coffee shops, resturants, and fantastic views. On a summer saturday it is also packed with bumper to bumper traffic. When we first moved to Seattle, about 7 years ago, Christine bought me some inline skates which I used, on Alki, at least 3 days a week. You never know what to you are going to see there. Weightlifters, martial arts, artists, car shows, food and the general whacky public.
















At the northern most part of Alki beach (Duwamish Head I guess they call it) is a little park that juts out into the water (at high tide) where you can see all the way down Alki, to the west and Elliott bay/downtown Seattle to the east. This is 10.63 miles into my ride by the way. It was here, about 4 - 5 years ago, on a windy April day, that I proposed to Christine. At low tide, about 100 feet out from the seawall I buried the ring in a treasure chest, called Christine, told her to meet me there and gave her a treasure map.

About 1/2 mile more down the road I chatted it up with a local SCUBA diver. The vis in the water was about 30 feet which is actually really good for the Puget sound. I can't wait to dive again.

From here I rode up California Way/California Ave to Hamilton Viewpoint park. 12.16 miles now. A great place for views of the city. Then about 6 more miles back to my home. About the only 6 miles where I put any effort into it. 18 miles all in all.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bicycle Banter

For those of you who joined us from the Neutral Buoyancy blog I apologize for the reprint of this post. It is here for people solely interested in hearing my bicycle tales . . . which is probably no one.

Originally posted 08 August 2006 on Neutral Buoyancy.

So it's been a while and nothing really of interest has happened. I've just been working, drinking lattes, talking to Christine on the phone, ruffing up the cats and cycling. So I'll bore you with a lot of mundane cycling chatter.
Probably about 4 years ago, the last time we lived up here in Seattle, I decided I would start riding my bike to work. It worked out fairly well. It's only about 7 miles, most of it on nice bike trails or smaller streets with less traffic. It took me about the same amount of time as waiting for and riding the bus.
I had a "mountain" bike at the time that I purchased sometime around 1993, so it was about 10 years old. Well it wasn't long before I was set on buying a new improved mountain bike with shock absorbers, more gears and even fatter knobbier (heavier) tires then the ones I had. Although like so many 4x4's and SUV's I would probably never take it off road on a trail. Once I had the money I started looking around the local bike shops and my quest took me to Recycled Cycles.
Now I had an old beat up 10 speed when I was in high school (this was in the 80's) that I got at a garage sale somewhere for 50 bucks. Skinny tires. Electric tape on the handlebars. Wheels all out of true. Shifters that barely worked. One brake. The front one. But I took that bike all over the neighborhood. In the desert, through sand, cactus. (Why did I never get a flat?) Over small jumps that my friends little brother had set up. (How come I never broke a spoke?) So anyway, the "road" bike wasn't unheard of to me.
So when shopping around I decided to test ride a few. GAWD! It was so fast! So light! So easy to ride! And this is on a bicycle that still has a steel frame. What I was looking for all this time and I didn't even know it. This whole mountain bike craze that came up through the 80's and 90's was just foolishness for us city dweller/commuters. I had found my way back to what cycling should be like. (Flash forward 4 years. Eventually I settled on a touring bike but that is another story in the not to distant future.) After test riding a few, I settled on one that was in my price range. Although the shop is called Recycled Cycles, I purchased a new bike from them. A Fuji Ace.  I think it was around 400 bucks. Cheap for a road bike. And it is sort of cheap as far as road bikes go. But it's the best bike I've ever had and what's low end today was high end at one time right?
I have a bicycle computer and when the odometer read something like 800 miles one of my spokes broke. My neighborhood bike shop replaced my spoke and trued my wheel while I waited. A few weeks later another spoke broke. Same wheel. The back wheel. The one that most of the weight is on. This is where low end (cheap) comes in on the bike. Aluminum spokes. Oh yes they say they are lighter and faster. Folks . . . if you are buying a road bike for commuting or any sort of long term riding on bumpy, pot hole infested city streets, don't get cought up in these racing wheels with the new fangled, light weight spokes. Get yourself a good, strong, handbuilt wheel appropriate for the amount of weight you will be loading on it. You won't regret it. There's a reason you still see them on touring bikes. They last.  OK, where were we? Ah yes, the second spoke broke. Needless to say I had the shop build me a new wheel which, at almost 2000 miles now, I am still happily riding on. You can't complain with that. 
Recently I stopped back by the shop to have the wheel trued and a strange noise down in my crank looked at. (Which they did again, while I waited.) They noticed 2 other safety issues with the bike that had to be addressed first before they would do the other work. First was a brake cable housing that was to short. Second was a hole in the front tire that the tube was pushing through. They said a blowout in the front and you're gonna crash. I don't want to crash so I got 2 new tires. Schwalbe, Marathon Plus. They got a rubber layer built in the tire (shown at right) that you can't push a thumb tack through. This seems to be true as I rode 30 miles yesterday and at the end of the day I pulled a 1/4 inch piece of glass out of the tire (hole at left) without a problem.My next and latest dilemma involved a pannier pack and rear rack I purchased. The rear rack (at right) was allow-ing the pack to hit the spokes. But I exchanged the rack for another (left, mounted on bike) and now there are no problems. Note how the second racks bars extend farther to the rear on the bottom. This keeps the packs clear away from the spokes. This last picture shows the reflective pannier packs mounted on the rack.  No more hot sweat soaked shirts from wearing a backpack.

Seattle Cycling

Originally posted 25 July 2006 on Neutral Buoyancy.

During the short time that I've been back to Seattle I've rediscovered my passion for cycling. With the cooler climate, scenic beauty, slower traffic and greater number of bike trails, why shouldn't I? Watching Le Tour de France everyday (Good job Landis!) and not having a car right now has helped to encourage me. To me, the bicycle is a romantic piece of machinery. A wonderful transference of energy from the body through the pedals, cogs, chain, wheels down to the pavement. It's beauty in motion. When I lived here in Seattle before I would frequently go on 10 - 60 mile rides, and commute 7 miles to and from work. This I intend to do again.

The other day I was actually pulled over, by a cop, on my bike! I had come to a stop at a redlight. A neighborhood stoplight at an intersection that didn't have that much traffic. All the cross traffic had gone by. All clear. I decided to go. I know it was against the light, but hey some people walk against the light, some people ride. Just as I start I look up and sitting directly across from me was a cop. I don't know how I didn't see him. Well I was already starting to cross. He knew I was crossing. I knew he knew I was crossing. To late now. He gave a little chirp on the sirien. Great. Fraking great. I nodded to him and rode on. Then he actually turned around and pulled me over. I stopped and he got out of the car.
Cop- "Could you step off of the bicycle?"
Me- (((((Thinking))))) (((((This guy can't be serious?!? Like I'm going to try to make a get-a-way on my bike something.)))))I step off.
Cop- "My name is Sargeant A**hole. Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Me- (((((Ah I guess because you are a big, fat jerk!!!))))) "Ah because I rode through that red light."
This is the point where Sargeant A**hole asks me why I would do such a thing and I try to explain that some how I didn't think it really mattered on a bike and the how intersection looked perfectly safe, there were no cars, etc, etc, without looking like a complete moron. When in realty Sargeant a**hole, I and the rest of the world know that I just didn't want to sit at that stoplight and it was perfectly safe to cross.
Sargeant 'A' (This is how we will refer to the role of 'Cop' from now on.)- How is your driving record?"
Me- "Excellent!"
Sargeant 'A'- "Can I see your drivers license or ID card please?"
Me- (((((Are you from another planet?!?))))) "Sure." (((((I bet he didn't even think I had one on me.)))))
Sargeant 'A' takes my drivers license to his car, and procedes to run it through his computer showing him that indeed I do have an excellent driving record and no warrents out for my arrest unlike most of the other people I see around me. I pretend to look at the flowers and landscape at the house I'm next to when in reality I'm looking at all the hoodlums and gangster wannabe's driving by that live in this neighborhood and still thinking "You pulled me, on my bike, over?" Sargeant 'A' comes back.
Sargeant 'A'- "Do you know that it's an 81 dollar fine for running a red light on a bicycle?"
Me- (((((Now why would I know such a thing?))))) (((((I DO NOW))))) "No."
Sargeant 'A'- "Don't ride through any redlights again."
Me- (((((What? He's actually not going to give me a ticket? I guess we can change his name from capital 'A' to small 'a'.))))) "I WON'T."I ride away on my bike. Scene fades out.

Then, about 2 days ago, after passing 1700 miles on my bike computer odometer, I came as close to falling while riding as I ever have. I know it's just a matter of time. It scared the hell out of me. The culprit was a crummy section of roadway that I hit while trying to avoid another crummy section of roadway. And I must admit it has been hard for me to get used to the old saddle again, but it's only a matter of time. I'll stick with 14 to 20 mile bike rides to work or Alki beach for now.

Rest . . .

"Rest. Sleep is good for the Blood"