31 May 2008

This is my ride home. Where I live, pickup trucks outnumber bicycles by...well, a lot, but there's not a lot of traffic in general, and there are some really lovely roads to travel. This part of my route goes past several acres of horse pasture, and the only loose dog is one I know, who wags his tail when I call out hello.

Odometer right now is at 130; I think I started the week at 79.2. In addition to my commute, I rode to the new natural market (yay), and to the hardware store to get line for the stupid weed whacker. (That was the same errand, and a short one.) Weed whacking is just slightly above cleaning the bathtub on my list of hated chores, but I was mad at the time, which is when many onerous tasks are completed.
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30 May 2008


I rode my bike to work and back twice today (scheduled for long lunch, and didn't pack my lunchbox). At lunch, I grabbed the grocery panniers so I could stop at the store after work.

At the store, I placed the bags on the conveyor belt, side by side, with the items that fit in them lined up neatly behind each one. The annoying bag boy took my panniers, put them in the grocery cart, and then put my groceries in three separate plastic bags. (I was distracted by fishing out my discount card, paying the bill, etc.) I try not to have fits in public, but I did, a little bit.

Right after, though, I ran into a neighbor I hadn't seen in quite awhile, with her darling children. That took the edge off. A little.

Tomorrow's commute will bring me to six consecutive days, and approximately 50 miles.

29 May 2008

ye gads

Sometimes things take on a life of their own. I called my mom as soon as I got home to find out the name of the artist at her gallery who made the bigger knit? felted? bike bags that inspired my little bag. Cindy Krushenisky showed a series of bags at the art gallery my mom is a member of last February. Hers were much larger, designed more like a traditional front basket, but they gave me the idea to hey! knit something for my bike.

I finished a gift project yesterday. It will probably be late arriving to its recipient, but only by a day or two. I am rarely on time, but I try.

My odometer rolled past 100 today. I'd intended to photograph it (geek), but I was too busy thinking about the near-miss slow speed accident I avoided. Note to people in cars: you have to check crosswalks before you turn! Really! And turn signals are good, too.

28 May 2008

my bike is a supermodel

but also charmingly utilitarian. I just took this photo because it kind of cracked me up. By the time I reached my driveway, I was tooling along with a hat and pair of mittens in the handlebar bag, plus two pennies I found in the street; my coffee cup; a small tote bag containing a knitting project, three catalogs I got in the mail yesterday, and my lunchbox; mail from today; my bike lock; and a loaf of bread. Amazingly, the bread didn't really get scrunched--I just fastened the cargo net between two slices in the middle of the loaf.

This was my lunch from yesterday--simple coleslaw with radish slices, potatoes and chickpeas roasted with nutritional yeast, some almonds and corn nuts (left over from the bike ride with the kid), and some baby carrots with a Vegannaise dip. The kid and I both use Laptop Lunches bento boxes, which are the most awesome lunch boxes evah. They make it super easy to pack a varied lunch, and we generate no lunchtime waste. (I carry a bandana as a napkin, and I'm quite certain the kid uses his clothing.) Plus the plastic boxes ride around in lead-free insulated cases which have room for a small water bottle (which comes with the kit). I usually freeze the water bottle, and then don't worry about refrigerating my lunch.

26 May 2008

photo frenzy

We went for a five mile ride on a rails- to-trails trail today. We had a 2 1/2 hour window from the time we set out until we needed to be back at the house for a matinee of Iron Man.

We initially turned back at this gate, because the kid thought we shouldn't skirt around it. I hadn't ridden this trail before, and thought there was at least a chance that it was closed on purpose--the snow pack melted FAST last week, and the rivers are high. However, we ran into a park ranger, who told us that it was just the equivalent of an ecology block to keep the cars out.

We stopped to snack on corn nuts, dark chocolate M&Ms, and water.

There were more photos with crazy faces than not.

My new adjustable water bottle cage not only holds my awesome coffee cup, it will take my liter sized Sigg bottle, too.

The kid worked out a call system with his bike horn--one honk for yes, two for no, four for "MOM! STOP!!!" There was a lot of that, as the trail had a fair amount of loose gravel. We both lost patience toward the end of the ride, when I finally exclaimed, exasperated, "It's NOT that big a deal if you fall on soft gravel going four miles per hour!!"

My ride time was 48 minutes, with an average speed of just a little over six mph. We were gone for quite a lot longer than that--the computer wasn't counting the time when I was stopped to wait for the kid to catch up.

Still, I think we'd do it again. He was ready to call it a day at around 3.7 miles, but I pushed him to make it to five, and in retrospect, I think he was glad I did. He was annoying about it there for awhile, though.

I stopped to talk to my friend John, who sold me my lovely bike, and he told me he'd had several other customers report that they'd seen me out riding my bike and, "it's like she's barely pedaling!" Grrr. 1) How lovely of you to note that FROM YOUR CAR, since I don't encounter that many other cyclists on any given day. And 2) my cadence is not super fast, but whenever I check it, it's in the 60-70 rpm range--whether or not I'm using the pedal assist. Which is reasonably normal, especially since I tend to grind, rather than spin.

I will get over my bad self now. My bike is AWESOME for the kind of utility cycling I (mostly) do, but it is not a free ride.

I did get the rear tire changed on the Bianchi--much more expeditiously than the last time I did it. Both wheels on my e-bike are quick-release, but the most time-consuming part of the replacement job on the Bianchi was finding an adjustable wrench for the rear nut.

Current National Bike Month stats: I've ridden 15 out of 21 possible work days, and of the six I didn't ride, two were out-of-town training days, two were scheduled days off, one I had plans immediately after work plus it was raining HARD in the morning, and the first one, I just forgot. 100% would be lovely, but I guess we'll roll with 75%.

20 May 2008

local color

This is slightly off my route home, but I pass by it on a regular basis for other reasons. Photo was snapped with my phone's camera--it's pretty decent for this sort of thing.

Not so much with the mileage so far this week. I was not scheduled to work today, and it was too yucky out (read: windy & cold) to get up the gumption to ride recreationally. And tomorrow, I have another training, so I'll have to drive.

I discovered that my Bianchi has a rear flat the other day, so I have a repair to do. I've changed out the tires before (a couple of years ago), but I'm not sure if I've ever had to repair a flat. Discovering your flat at home, on something other than your regular ride, is, of course, ideal.

The one downside of having a day off (other than not getting paid for working, that is) is that I yell at the radio too much.... Election years are really stressful.

18 May 2008


That's the odometer reading on my bike computer. Plus I rode to and from work on Monday (i.e. before I installed it), so my mileage for the week was around 56 miles. Today, I attempted to visit a toy store by bike, but arrived three minutes after they closed. So it was just a ride.

(A windy one, and I reset the computer for the trip home, to compare. On the way to town, my average speed was between 16-17 mph. It would probably be higher, but there are several intersections where I either come to a complete stop, or slow down dramatically. Coming home, I think my speed was right around 14, riding against the wind with the pedal assist engaged.)

Tomorrow is my kiddo's birthday. He'll be nine, and he is awesome. We did not get the kind of kid you can just phone it in with, but it is totally worth it to live with such an interesting and complicated boy. Not easy, hardly ever, but totally worth it. (Hint: the background is the important part of this photo.)

14 May 2008

I rock.

Not as hard as some people, but. Today I was scheduled for a stupid two-hour lunch, so I rode my bike home and back again. Total mileage for today was 15.2 miles, total ride time 1 hour, 2 minutes, average speed 15 mph (obviously), and warp speed was 32 mph. (And that was with trying NOT to just bomb down the hill, since the pavement was wet this morning.)

It's supposed to be 90 degrees here tomorrow (will believe it when I see it). That could be interesting....

13 May 2008

radar. bring it.

New toys. I got a blinky, and an adjustable water bottle cage, and a bike computer. Took me a while to get the magnet that cues the computer's sensor installed last night, and I cut my hand doing it, but today I had stats. It took me 12 minutes and 44 seconds to get to work, and about 18 minutes to get home. My average speed over the course of the round trip was 14.9 mph, and my top speed was (on a downhill) 29.4 mph. I rode 7.68 miles. Note that the 29.4 mph was on a stretch of road where the actual speed limit is 25, so bugger off, you pesky cars. I'm speeding.

10 May 2008

national bike month - update

Mental comment to self last night--"You are TOO riding your bike tomorrow, you wuss!"

For May, my bike commuting progress has been as follows: May 1, hadn't realized it was NBM, and didn't ride; May 2,3,5 rode to and from work; May 6 had out-of-town training and did not ride; May 7, day off (weird!), escorted kid which equaled two round trips to the school; May 8, rode; May 9, drove in the morning, but rode back from lunch and back home; May 10, see above. Also: May 4, recreational ride with kid.

I have biked through my espresso stand once, biked through the ATM once, transported food for the NALC food drive in my grocery panniers to the office, picked up a few groceries on the way home, and carried home packages from the PO twice (personal mail).

And some battery stats: I charged last Saturday when I got home, and rode every day but Tuesday since then. I've previously said that I rarely use the pedal assist when traveling SE and downhill, and usually use it when traveling NW and uphill. Additionally, two days this week were insanely windy. On a fluke, I checked the battery when I was gearing up to go this morning and discovered that perhaps I'd better bring the charger with me, and plug it in at work. The indicator has four lights to indicate the charge, and the first light was just barely flickering, which is as far as I've depleted the battery. You can't tell from the riding performance, because the pedal assist works--until it doesn't. In other words, you don't gradually lose power--it's all or nothing.

09 May 2008

the windy ride home.

As threatened, Wednesday was "Bike to School Day." Just for us--there was no organized event, and from what I could tell, about three other kids were bike commuters that day. (Sad! But understandable, given the location of the school relative to a street with a speed limit of 45, and lack of really usable bike paths serving it.)

Anyway, the ride there was great, filled with exclamations of "I wish we could do this every day!" (When we actually arrived at school, I was almost instantaneously mama non grata, but that's a different story.) The ride home however, was a different story, my favorite bit of which was, "Mom! My bike's not working!" Uh, no, the wind is just blowing against you at around 30 mph. Awesome! A real life lesson in wind resistance! It took us about an hour to get home, and for reference, this portion of my ride usually takes me about 10 minutes. Kid also fell off his bike, and yelled, "I'm NEVER going to ride my bike again!" "Okay," I calmly responded, hoping his recovery would be quick. Luckily, a trio of border collies (accompanied by their humans) came bounding up and dropped a stick at his feet--a better than average distraction.

04 May 2008

Sunday ride.

I am currently scheduled to have Wednesday off, and my plan is to escort the kid to and from school by bike. The distance is eminently bikeable, but he's not quite nine, and there's a local-use highway to cross, and no crosswalk or crossing guard, so accompaniment is necessary for my peace of mind.

In advance of this plan, I decided that he needs a new bike helmet. It probably should have been replaced last year when he flipped over the handlebars of his bike and thumped his noggin, but it wasn't. So we walked down to our bike shop today, and got him a nice Bell helmet that should last for the next five years.

With a new helmet in hand, and blue skies overhead, the begging quickly commenced. "Mom! Can we go for a bike ride??" And who am I to say no to that? We live next door to a large developing resort, which has a great paved trail system. I have issues with many aspects of the resort, but a local citizen group worked really hard to, among other things, preserve public access to the land. My kid learned to ride his bike in an undeveloped cul-de-sac there, and it's a great place to ride together. It's a little hilly for him, so he has to hop off and walk up some of the steeper slopes, but his attitude was great, and we covered about four miles. First time my e-bike has been on the bike rack, too!

03 May 2008


I plugged my battery into the charger last night, and checked before tucking in. The charge was at about 75%, so I left it plugged in overnight. In the morning, it was still at 75%, which was a bit disconcerting, as full charge should be reached in less than four hours.

I worried about it, and figured I'd try to charge it again before making any panicky phone calls. Then I remembered: my husband vacuumed last night, and both plugs in the outlet he uses were in use, meaning something would have had to be unplugged.

The charger had been, and I charged the battery to full power.

It's National Bike Month, and I'm going to bike to work for as many days as possible. I missed Thursday, and I have an out-of-town training next Tuesday, but otherwise, I plan to ride. I just wrote that. In public.

02 May 2008

leak. proof.

This awesome mug is actually leak proof. AS in, fill it up, turn it upside down, and nothing comes out. There's a review of the pink, breast cancer research model on Amazon, and one of the three reviewers says that it leaks. If the cap is put on correctly, no, it doesn't.

This revolutionizes my working life. I made my first morning ride into work this a.m., all because my coffee was in my mug, strapped to my bike rack, and it was hot and all there when I arrived at the office.

I bought another manufacturer's leak-proof mug, which was not, not at all. But this one is absolutely water-tight. I bought it for $15; the other one was $25. (And will be returned.) Plus, it matches my bike. And the leather sleeve is not real leather. Score!