Wednesday, April 15, 2015

he would have done it for free

I couldn't improve on that if I tried with both hands for a week. Original at today's Diesel Sweeties.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

on bicycles and friends

After my crash, as word got around to people with whom I ride, I got many wishes for speedy recovery, messages of support, and signs of sympathy. I was touched by the depth of feeling in many of them, and more than a little surprised by seeing who sent them. It appears more people have been concerned about me than I thought.

I know, though, that if I disappear from these people's lives -- for example, if I never get on a bike again, if I never see them on rides or at shared activities -- I will fade from their consciousness. I may not disappear entirely, but I won't have the presence that I do now. And as new riders come around whom I have not met, Plain Jim won't be part of the memory that all of these people share together.

It's not incumbent on others to remember me, or to reach out and be friends with me. Nor, do I think, is it my place to artificially insert myself into situations where I would not naturally be: for example, if I could no longer ride for some reason, it would be wrong for me to continue to show up at ride starts and PFW occasions to see people with whom I used to ride.

I would, of course, still like to see these people; one of the reasons I ride is to satisfy social needs. I choose to ride with the people with whom I ride because I like them, and because we go at a pace at which we can converse. (If you go back over past "Member Focus" articles in the PFW newsletter, you'll see that a number of them have tried rides at a faster pace than they liked, and have gone back to slower-paced rides for reasons similar to the ones I mentioned. And the chosen pace depends on the individual rider; there does not seem to be a pace where there is a cutoff: "Below this pace, chat; at this pace or faster, shut up and pedal".)

I'm going to look for ways to be in contact with my riding friends when I can't ride. I expect I'll be on the bike again in a month or less. But if I have another crash, or (perhaps) over another wet and snowy winter, I may suggest meeting for non-bike activities. If you have bike-y friends with whom you want to stay in touch, you may want to think about this, too.

(It's not enough to do this blog, or to email. There is some evidence that people benefit from in-person contact in a way that they don't from simple texts or email [those articles is not the one I was looking for, but they are the best I could find as I'm writing this].)

So, I hope to see you around... whether I'm riding or walking.

Friday, April 10, 2015

dratted luck

In other news, upon further investigation, I find that the front brake on the Yellow Maserati was bent in the crash. I've got a replacement on order.

The front rim was bent, of course, so I got a new one. During a bout of insomnia last night, I disassembled the bent wheel, and discovered the hub has a grind, and I can't open the hub to get to the bearings. So a new hub (and spokes, since the new hub is a different size from the old) is also on order. I had hoped to spend part of this weekend building a new wheel, but no such luck; instead, it's back to waiting for package delivery again.

New helmet, new tights, new outer jersey, new brake, new hub and rim. And I might need a new left control.

If I do, I might go with these from Gevenalle:

Gevenalle CX and Shimano STI comparison. from Gevenalle on Vimeo.

I like the fact that you can shift multiple gears at a time in either direction... and I like the bike-y weirdness of it. Plus, the whole group is under $325.

But I still can't do pushups yet, and I needed help getting the bikes onto the stands at the class I'm teaching at the New Brunswick Bike Exchange. I'm feeling old and weak. (We had to turn away two at the class last night; it was oversubscribed. If the current crop of students likes it, I'll do it again; I'll let youse know.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

not for my birthday, please

Yes, I've got a birthday coming up; yes, it's got a "0" in the second digit. But just don't do this.

From today's Oddman.

In other news, the road rash on my face is clearing up. The stuff that's usually covered by clothing is healing much more slowly, and the stitches come out tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

no future - or maybe...

I find it an eerie coincidence that today's Oddman ran this cartoon on the same day that Rand Paul announced his candidacy for the presidency:

However, later in the same post, there was this:

So there's hope.

Monday, April 6, 2015

two days later

Friend Dave C asked for a post-crash selfie:

Need another?

Can I sing the praises of that brace on my right wrist? I had have a wicked sprain, and that brace is keeping the wrist straight; I've been able to sleep with it the past two nights. I'm not back together yet (I took off work today), but that brace is helping a lot (although typing with it is troublesome).

Saturday, April 4, 2015

what the doc in the box said and did

You may want to read Laura OLPH's report on her blog about the ride today and my... uh... incident. We finally went to pick up my car, and while we were there, Laura persuaded us that I should get my wrist x-rayed to be sure that there's no fracture. There's not, but there is a wicked sprain, and I have a most picturesque wrist brace (that is actually helping quite a lot). I also have five stitches in the forehead, and a dramatic assemblage of road rash; I could model for Harvey Dent.

Laura thought my handlebar might be bent. It doesn't seem to be on first review, but I haven't given it a close look, nor have I tried the shifters. (The bar was twisted around to one side, but I was able to adjust the stem to fix that.)

I feel so stupid.

fall down go boom

On Laura OLPH's annual Chocolate Bunny Ride today, I hit a ridge in the roadway (I think) and fell on Amwell Road on the way to Milltown.  I have lacerations on my face (which didn't need them; I'm scary-lookin' enough), and on my shoulders and knees, and I seem to have sprained both wrists (the right is especially bad), although I can manage well enough to type this (it may be a while before I'm back to my pushup regimen, though). I took a shower after The Excellent Wife (TEW) got me home, and I've been bleeding profusely; I've ruined a number of towels and at least two tee-shirts (and, of course, the jersey, tights, and bandanna I was wearing are torn and bloody, and are going the way of hazardous waste).

An ambulance arrived, along with a police officer, shortly after I went down; my thanks to the Hillsborough EMS and police. They may have been called by a passing car; I did not call them, and they were on the scene quickly.

TEW was able to pick me up from near the accident scene. The worst part of the wait was being in the wind until she got there - it was colder than I expected.

I'll need a new helmet, tights, winter jersey, and a front rim for the Yellow Maserati. I can't tell yet if the controls are OK. The frame has a dimple, but I didn't find any cracks.

My first thought was that TEW was going to try to make me give up riding entirely (I did give up the motorcycle after the second accident in 15 months). That's not the case, but I haven't been able to persuade her that I wasn't riding beyond my ability by going out on such a windy day (I don't think the wind was a direct cause of the accident; I think I let my attention drift, and I may have been too close to the person in front).

I'm home now; I'm not bleeding (although TEW tells me I'll have an enviable shiner in a few hours), and I'm warming up. She will be going out for food later.

Mostly, I feel sorry and stupid. TEW's parents, The Excellent In-Laws, are ailing, and worrying about me is the last thing she needs right now.

Still, soon I expect I'll be ordering a new rim, and calling up Dave Kim for a new helmet.

It could have been worse.

the news

From Fox News to Alternet.  Even the weather sites and mail portals are devolving to this. It's all the same.

How are we going to know when there's really something to get concerned about?

Original from today's Oddman.

Monday, March 30, 2015

reply to comment

This blog host frequently refuses comments and replies, so this post is a reply to the comment on the last post.


This group is a club. I ride partly for social needs, and, if that appeals, I highly recommend starting or joining one. This club is well-established, with dozens of rides scheduled even in winter (of course, weather often interferes), and special events throughout the season.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

krakow monster maiden voyage

Regular readers of this blog (and now you, especially if you go and click on the link in the next few words) know that I built a bike that I've named the Krakow Monster. Today was the first day I took it out on a group ride.

Snakehead Ed ad a ride planned in the hills, but Laura OLPH contacted me about a bike parts question, and it was easier to show than to tell (and I wanted to take the Krakow Monster out anyway), so I went out to Winter Larry's ride today. Eight of us started, but Chris C had a tire problem that just would not let up, so he went back, and the rest of us did this route. We stopped at the Battlefield Orchard and did a quick roll around the battlefield park (nothing officially opens until May). That put the stop in the first third of the ride, which is not ideal... but Mark H had a flat on the way back, which gave us a breather.

I have flat pedals (not clips or clipless) on the Krakow Monster, and the saddle height had slipped to about 15mm lower than I like it, but I was still riding on it very well, keeping up with the group and pulling sometimes (there was enough wind that we traded pulls). The Monster has friction shifting, to which I'm still getting accustomed, and, despite the long wheelbase, it feels "twitchy", as responsive to steering inputs as the much-shorter-wheelbase Yellow Maserati, my titanium bike. I had two pedal strikes on turns, until I learned I needed to lean off the bike to keep it more upright if I want to pedal through turns. I've adjusted the saddle (and headset; there was a bit of cockpit weirdness that needed some attention), and I'll be grateful when I can steal the M424 pedals off The Excellent Wife (TEW)'s bike and put 'em on the Monster.

But I really like this bike. (Now, I'm not claiming that this bike is so hot based on my riding today - before you make any assumptions, go back to the route link and check out the average speed for this ride; NOT exactly stellar. But I like this bike anyway.)

Don't you love Chris's tights in the pictures below?

Below, Chris has tire trouble:

Below, Mark changes a tube:

Friday, March 27, 2015

'spensive bike wheels

What would you do if you found you'd crushed an axle on a hard ride?

Laura OLPH (and possibly Snakehead Ed, as well) sent me an article about two Japanese brothers, and their solution. From the article:

Nobuo, the president of the family business, had just trounced younger brother Yutaka in an endurance race. Yutaka blamed the bike and took apart the rear axle. Sure enough, it had been partly crushed during the four-hour ride.
So what did they do? They developed the new Gokiso wheel. From the article:
 The Gokiso wheels the Kondos have made out of titanium and carbon fiber provide what they say is an incomparably smooth ride. Spin ’em on a test rack at 18 mph, and the bike wheels take six minutes to come to rest, compared with about 90 seconds for a high-end, resistance-impaired competitor. But it’s a level of quality few can afford: Each pair costs $7,900. In four years, Kondo has sold 30 and about 1,000 of simpler models that go for less than $3,300 a pair.
The sole voice of reason in the entire article:
Alberto Moel, an analyst at portfolio manager Sanford C. Bernstein, says a big part of Japan Inc.’s problem is that engineering, not marketing, often drives product development. His take: “You made this stuff on the expectation that your customers would pay more for it, without stepping back and asking whether they really would.”
Japan is weird.