Archive for the 'Bike' Category

Things that Matter to Those on the Rim

  • Thing the first:  It’s not the glass.  It’s never the glass.  It’s always metal.  Sharp, pointy metal.  The last flat I got, was from like a little piece of 28 gauge steel wire.  Tiny little thing; I see how it could poke you in the finger ow dammit, but all the way through a tire?  Not a road tire now, a cross tire.  If I tried to stick that through a sheet of saran wrap I’d have to work at it, and it goes all the way through my tire and tube?  Not that anything got me today, it just occurred to me as I was crunching over glittering fields of glass on my brand new Vittorias.
  • Thing the front and rear:  Is that a good brand?  Well it’s good in that it was on sale at Performance.  Which, since I bought that pair of Novara shorts at REI last month, I’ve felt a lot better about.  Performance, that is.  Their house brand shorts beat the pants right off the Novaras, for the same price.  Anyway, the Vittoria Randonneur seems like a decent mid-range cross tire.  It certainly corners better than what my bike was born with.  And I think they weigh about the same.  I like the reflecty sidewalls, and the reviews all say they’re way puncture-resistant.
  • Thing the sad:  I totally missed the very short season for the snack bar alongside the trail in that little development across from the race track in Bowie.  The snacks were just getting ripe last month, and now there’s nothing left but thorns.
  • Contextual silliness:  Why is it that, when there are people who spend their working lives actually studying the best wording for road signs, we end up with things like:
    • Yield to trail users Well that’s content-free. If you’re on the trail, you’re a trail user. So everybody yield to everybody else. And more me in the monitors.
    • No unauthorized vehicles beyond this point Yes, I knew that. Since it’s always true, everywhere.
    • Road closed Um, what?  No it’s not.  I can see houses on it, with driveways and stuff.  And there’s those stables down the bottom of the hill, next to the trail.  There’s nothing blocking traffic from the road, and it looks fully maintained.  Just a white sign on the side, Road Closed.  They used to do that in Connecticut when working on the interstates, put a big sign on the side: “Road Legally Closed:  Pass at your own risk.”  Does that actually have any legal meaning?
  • Gotta get my timin’ right: The bridges on the WB&A are slowly rising, relative to the trail. Glad I wasn’t on sewn-ups when I mistimed the jump onto the High Bridge Road bridge.  BAM! Man, if I had a million dollars, I’d buy a paving machine. Oh, wouldn’t that be fun! And all the fanciest pavement. Dijon pavement!
  • Course I should be on my way to Maine, but it was a nice ride, so no complaints.


Upon a time, I had two screws
Within my life, upon my shoes.
Held in tight, against my sole
Where I could not refuse.

Then one day most unexpected,
Solid threads had been rejected,
Leaving open space that I had
Thought was well connected.

The clip I hear, just as before;
Like tap-dancing across the floor.
But half the power holding strong
Is not there anymore.

Now one is left, and though it might
Still keep me pumping through the night,
There’s something missing in my world.
Next time I’ll use Loc-Tite.

Flower Power

It’s all about the bikes.

Bikes here, bikes there. Bike rush hour! In Soviet Netherlands, bikes take precedence over cars. Vaaaht a caahntry!

The daily ride from the hotel to the university, about 2 miles, is bike paths all the way.  Some roads go like this, in cross section:

  1. sidewalk
  2. grass median
  3. Northbound bike path
  4. grass median
  5. curb
  6. car parking lane
  7. Northbound car lane
  8. Southbound car lane
  9. car parking
  10. curb
  11. grass median
  12. Southbound bike path
  13. grass median
  14. sidewalk

Even in downtown Utrecht, bricked tight as any old-school European city, the bikes win.  Wide lanes on the sides of the street, and the cars have to fight it out for the middle.  A park right in the middle of where you need to go?  No worries, there’s sure to be a bike trail across it.

And no hills!  Nothing but flats.  But no glass on the road, so not that kind of flat.  Although always a headwind, or so they say.  I haven’t particularly noticed.

Check out the tornado-shaped plastic flower arrangement here at SRON, apparently made from discarded bike tubes.  With the talcum powder still on.  I love it!

Note to pedestrians:  The word “fiets” sounds like a cognate for “feet”, so you might think “fietspad” means footpath.  Wrong.  “Bike path”.  Really, that should be your first guess.  I’ve been here five days and haven’t been in a car yet.

It’s all about the bikes

Chicks Love a Ride

Looka what happens when you leave your fresh set of wheels unattended in Kensington.  At least, if said wheels include a rack.   ‘Round midnight, and here’s this note on the windshield. Written on the back of a set of David Letterman timings.  What??  Only 7 and a half minutes of local avails?  Scandalous!

Interestingly, the rack is not currently set up to carry a bike.  Nor will it ever be, on account of this car is better suited for a spare-mount bike rack.  But maybe a ride of some sort is desired:  I hear it’s a big hill to get up to Kensington which, she would be tired.

Alas, ’twas a tease.  Next day I had to pedal my own self around the Mt. Airy test track, with super-biker squeaking about not being able to keep up.  Did I go too fast?  It’s always easier with a stiff frame, but oh the cost.  Maybe cheaper components.  Shifter?  I hardly know ‘er.

But it seems the days of beautiful exercise, fresh air, sunshine, helmet-head, pounding heart, burning quadriceps, raw throat, sweat-soaked clothing, near collapse from dehydration, and all that wonderful stuff draw nearer.  Huh.  Maybe I should just get a kayak.