Thursday, November 27, 2014

two from today's oddman

I snack on popcorn before The Excellent Wife (TEW) comes home from work. I usually (read: always) do it in the recliner in the front room, and frequently drop some bits. I think this is how TEW imagines me:

On the other hand, I saw this today, too. I can't imagine how costly it must be:

Both from today's Oddman.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

nbbx ride 11/23 report

Last week, I had no idea what kind of weather today would bring, but it came out clear and above 40° at the time I was leaving the house for the ride; it turned out to be a much better day than yesterday. I stopped in to get my breakfast bagels, then rode up to the New Brunswick Bike Exchange to see if anybody was there to ride out...

And there I met Julene, a young lady from the Bloustein School who had come out for the ride. Shortly thereafter, Tom H, one of our regular volunteers (and also a Bloustein student) rolled in. I saw another rider pass the turn for Sandford Street, and in a few minutes, he came rolling up; a lifelong local, Andy didn't know where the PRAB building was until today. So we were four, and left to do what has become my preferred NBBX route (that link includes my rides to and form home, and the average is a bit high because I ride faster when I'm alone).

Andy and I rolled on ahead, while I kept Tom and Julene in my mirror. Andy is a bike advocate who has become disappointed with the way North Brunswick has managed its land use; he's got the possibility of an opportunity in San Francisco, and may move there. We spoke some about bikes, and a lot about bike trails and rights-of-way, land use and misuse, and official inattention. When I told him I intended to travel a short way on Middlebush Road between Bennetts and Skillmans, he decided he didn't want to go that way, and went off on his own, after giving us a spiel about the history of the area. So Tim, Julene, and I proceeded to Better World Market (one of my favorite local stops), where Tom had lunch, and I had a couple or excellent vegan ginger snaps (sharp finish; let the snacker beware!). I waxed rhapsodic about them so eloquently that Tom bought me two more to take home.

The remainder of the route went by Tom's childhood home, and he regaled us with stories of his upbringing. Then to Jersey Ave, and the long slog back up to PRAB. Tom said he could have led back from there, but I let him know that I needed the extra miles; I've been eating as if the holidays are already upon us, so home I rode.

If the weather holds, I'm hoping for another ride in December. We'll keep youse posted.

Pictures. Julene & Tom at the start:

Andy over my shoulder, with Tom & Julene behind:

Andy at Amwell Road. Below that, Tom and Julene crossing Amwell Road.

Andy instructing us.

Tom and Julene being instructed.

Julene has a neat old Raleigh, and Tom has an aluminum-with-carbon-seatstay Trek.

At Better World:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

nbbx ride 11/23

I've planned another ride from the New Brunswick Bike Exchange for this Sunday, starting at 10. Easy ride; we'll go at your pace... although there will be a couple of places where you can sprint if you'd like; I'll let you know when we get there. We'll all collect at turns and intersections.

Wear helmets!

We'll go about 17 miles. At about mile 10, we'll stop at Better World Market for coffee, junk food, and plumbing.

The usual: no attitudes, lots of stops, nobody dropped. I promise not to lecture you on technique... although if you get me talking about bikes, your ear might fall off.

Keep a weather eye out: temps below 32F at start time, or rain/snow, will cancel the ride. If there's a question about the weather, I'll update this post about go/no go on Sunday morning.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

back pain is a pain in the neck... wait, what?

Maybe it's because of multiple celebrations of The Excellent Wife (TEW)'s birthday this past weekend (which means my weight's up a couple of pounds), or maybe it's because I slept in a couple of days (one day, I didn't get out of bed until after 8:00am, which is incredible for me... but then, I'd been up in the middle of the night, which is almost predictable), but my back's been bad. I can get physical therapy on my medical plan, but I need a doctor's referral, and I no longer have off on the day my preferred doctor at my practice works... so I've either got to change my doc or take a day off.

(My back is usually a bit off on rising from bed, but it usually improves over the course of an hour or two. The worst things seem to be standing for a long time, and staying in bed a long time. Sitting too long in my office chair isn't great, either; I walk around the office frequently, saying "hi" and imposing on my coworkers.)

I've been doing some exercises for the back (I've added them to the morning routine) and they help. But at the suggestion of TEW, I've been using a probiotic, and the back seems to be worse since I started. It may simply be a correlation in time rather than a cause-and-effect relationship, but still...

I USED to be able to count on a 40-60 mile ride to straighten things up and reduce pain in that dorsal region, but that hasn't been effective recently. Drat. As I so frequently say, all my parts are as old as I am.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

better mousetrap?

EZY-fix uses a reusable plastic screw-in dingus for tube repair:

Is this really better than the glue-and-patch system? I think this was a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

vertically stiff, laterally compliant

From Classic Rendezvous comes this pic of a frame which answers the burning question, "Just how stiff is stiff enough?"

They've got other oddities, as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

3:2 hilly ride with vicencio & orlando

I called Kim's yesterday and spoke to Benny, who verified that there would be a ride today; I thought he said for 7:15, so I left early enough to get bagels for breakfast and get to Kim's... but when I got there, the only one I saw was the shivering Orlando:

Shortly thereafter, Vincencio rolled up...

... and announced that we were heading up into the hills. He wasn't sure if Dave was coming, so at about 7:20, we left and began this ride. It wasn't the usual Kim's route; we went up the hill to Watchung (First & Second Mountain). Vincencio gets a kick out of watching me on the hills, and likes the pretty views about as much as Laura OLPH, although he doesn't stop for pictures (and I don't have enough history with him yet to ask to do so). 

We noticed that Orlando was falling behind, and heard some ominous noises that Vincencio initially thought was a bottom bracket, but after a while, Orlando's cogset just fell apart; he could only use the three or so gears in the middle. 

Riding behind him, I could see the larger cogs loose and swinging on the freehub. He called for help, and we limped home to the place where Orlando could get picked up... and then Vincencio and I traded places in the wind, sprinting on the way back to the shop. We weren't really racing (he could leave me in the dust, I'm sure!).

But when I got home, there was a message from Dave saying the group was leaving at 7:30. I wonder if another group went out after we did? I'll have to find out later.

faaabulous for vlad

From today's Oddman:

Friday, November 14, 2014

guest lecturer & tew first birthday celebration

Earlier this week, I made a reference in a post to something I'd be doing on Wednesday. Once or twice a year, I get an invitation to address the graduate-level OT students at NYU (I'm an acquaintance of one of the prof's; I kind of cornered him into an invite at a party, and then was good enough that I keep getting invited back). Wednesday was the class, so I went into the city (on the train! By myself! And took the subway, and found the location at a building that was new to me!) and did the lecture.

I didn't prepare adequately, and didn't have the handouts I like to have, and left out a couple of things I like to cover. But I don't prepare a specific talk; I have an outline of what I want to cover, and then let fly, responding to the questions and comments that come up (Powerpoints don't work for me; they limit the direction and the content; I can't be as flexible as I'd like to be). I have a lot of fun, and I think the students do, too. I get paid for it, but I'd do it for free, just for the bragging rights that I'm a guest lecturer in the graduate school at NYU.

I promised a couple of exam questions, so here they are:

Of the substances I talked about (heroin, benzodiazepines, cocaine, amphetamine, tobacco, alcohol, and the others), the ones that cause the most deaths are:
  1. The opiates.
  2. The non-opiate illicit drugs.
  3. The "legal" ones.
  4. All of them are equally dangerous.
 The reason that heroin causes so much more damage to people's lives than other opiates is:
  1. Heroin is intrinsically a more dangerous drug than the other opiates; that's why it has no legal use in this country.
  2. Heroin by itself is not more dangerous, but the "cut", the other substances put into heroin to increase the volume, is often dangerous.
  3. The lifestyle of the street heroin user is so chaotic and uncontrolled that it is the lifestyle that leads the user into trouble.
  4. 2. and 3. together are correct.
OT's need to have a basic knowledge of substance abuse because:
  1. Many OT's work in substance-abuse facilities.
  2. Many of the clients with whom OT's will come into contact will have problems caused by, or exacerbated by, substance use.
  3. Some of the clients with whom OT's will come into contact will develop substance use problems due to overuse of medication or other factors.
  4. 2. and 3. together are correct.
I would be an easy "A".

Today was one of my Fridays  off, and The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I went into Philly for one of her birthday celebrations (she likes to have a number of small ones, and spread 'em out). We went to McCormick & Schmicks, for which we had a gift certificate, and then to the Town Hall to take the elevator up to the tower... but it turns out that you need a reservation (the elevator only holds four people), and we were locked out. So we went to the Reading Terminal Market and bought some chocolate and other contraband to smuggle into the Garden State (we had thought of doing the Art after 5 at the PMA, but my back is making its presence known - I was on the cane again today - so we're back in Jersey now, with laundry in the dryer).

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    travel with care campaign

    Over at PeopleForBikes, they've started this "Travel with Care" campaign to put a human face on those of us above the pedals, to them behind the steering wheels.

    Good as far as it goes, but first, that chef with the knife looks a bit scary.

    Second, while we'll never get all riders to be sensible and polite, we could take on a lot more responsibility for knowing about the traffic conditions and drivers around us, and being polite and thoughtful. BikeSnobNYC has had a gazillion rants recently about how drivers can kill riders with impunity, and he's right to be upset about that; I don't deny that problem in the least. But I've ridden with more than a few people who, if they got clipped by a car, I would have silently applauded.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    either princeton blows...

    Either Princeton blows, or New Brunswick sucks. There's no other way to explain the persistent southwesterly wind in this area, which is especially noticeable on Route 27.

    Actually, it's possible that both are true: Princeton blows AND New Brunswick sucks.

    Anyway, my 12-mile ride to Jersey Ave station in New Brunswick to get train tickets for tomorrow (about which, more later in the week) turned into just shy of 40, with lunch at the Main St Cafe in Kingston. I'm blaming the wind for my low average.

    (Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if that prevailing wind were part of a "keep the riff-raff out" effort by the residents of Princeton and environs. It would explain why property taxes there are so high.)

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    spoke magazine. i hope they make it.

    So there's a group of kids (hey, they're young enough to be MY kids) in Philly launching a print, dead-tree-edition, ink-on-paper, hold-it-in-your-hands magazine about bikes in Philadelphia. They're gonna give it away for free in "coffee shops, bike shops, and bike-friendly businesses throughout the city."

    They had a table at the Philly Bike Expo to which I went yesterday. I'm not sure if I think the print magazine is gonna fly, but I think the idea of a sensible, local bike publication is a good one.

    They're calling it Spoke. There's a lot of facial hair among the staff, though, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a plethora of tattoos. They certainly don't care about the thoughts of a pushin'-60 who doesn't even live in town.

    Still, I wish 'em well. I may donate to the Indiegogo, and I'll certainly look for the mag when I'm in the city next year.