30 June 2008

eleven billion degrees, and some photos

These were from yesterday, when it was also eleven billion degrees, but I was riding my bike instead of driving around in a convection oven, so it was actually quite pleasant.

Today, I was ridiculously hot and filthy by the end of my shift, and I had NO qualms about using the assist all the way home. I was tired, but more importantly, I couldn't afford any delay that would keep me from the shower.

29 June 2008


I just realized that the camera went to California, but the memory card stayed behind. To be fair, I thought that the other camera was going, and I also thought I had put the card back in the camera last time I uploaded pix, but apparently not.

Right now is the earliest my guys could get back, like if they didn't have to pee at all on the road.

My total mileage for this week was 72.47 miles, and I rode every day. There was the regular commute, Monday through Saturday, plus a trip back into town to see the cycling film, and today was our UU congregation's annual garden tour. I parked at the church (under a wonderful, wonderful shade tree), then biked the 15 mile loop in 17.12 miles. (I made a navigational error traveling from the last stop back to the car.) I tried to use the assist as little as possible, but there was a gnarly bit going through a freeway interchange positioned on an overpass, and then toward the end I was starting to get tired, and wanted to finish up my errands and get back home to finish cleaning up the house. Oh, did I mention that it was 100 degrees out today?

(T-storm right now.)

I need to pay bills, but then perhaps I'll go sit on the front porch, wait for my guys, and listen to the thunder. And hope for not too much lightning. It's not super dry yet, but the fire danger got boosted from low to moderate in the last few days, and I suspect most of our fire fighters are in California right now.

i suck at going to bed.

Back at my old blog, I had this busybody reader who would periodically nag me about posting at 3 am. I was doing freelance work after the kid went to bed then (and he, like his parents, is a night owl), but you know--Charlotte knew best.

I forgot to link to Evan's website yesterday.

I think my windbreaker got ripped off while I was at the movie last night. It is just an orange nylon windbreaker that stuffs into its own pocket, but geez, people. I'd be less irritated if it was actually cold last night. It might have flown out of my pannier somewhere, but I've retraced my steps three times now, so maybe not.

I've been rearranging furniture tonight. Not sure if it is an improvement, but the bookcase is such a pain to move it's going to stay this way for a bit, anyway.

27 June 2008


I went to see Evan Schmitt's new film tonight, his second, which at the age of 18, is really kind of amazing. He's got a great eye, and oh my god, I could watch cyclocross racing forever. I kinda think I want to go watch Star Crossed CX for my birthday.

Also: this was my odometer reading when I rolled back up to the house after the film tonight. 299.9 miles. Guess I will pass 300 tomorrow.

I ordered the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith bundle for the Wii today. Decided that if I wait for Guitar Hero World Tour instead of Rock Band, the guitar compatibility issue should not be a problem.

I should go to bed. I am really not excited about going to work tomorrow. I would much rather stay home, make lemonade, and finish my room rearranging project.

26 June 2008

reason eleventy million

why I love my local bike shop:

Today, riding to work, and then home again, I noticed a shimmy in my front wheel. It was ridiculously windy, and I was trying to convince myself that the crosswinds were causing the wobble. Then I started thinking about stopping by the shop on Saturday after work, or, or, or. I ended up riding straight to the shop, and asked John to look at it.

Turns out I'd bent the rim, and the wheel was out of true. On the one hand, ugh. On the other, I'm weirdly gratified when I am paying attention to my instincts AND I'M RIGHT.

John trued it up in short order, and then informed me that adjustments were included in the original purchase price of the bike. Dude was turning down money, because I am happy to pay for people to help me with things I don't have the skill to accomplish myself, but okay. Excellent, excellent customer service.

Also: my dog is awesome. She was crated for most of today, though I gave her breaks at decent intervals (before work, at lunch, after work, when I came home later at night). She is a very nervous dog, but she handled the day well. Even though we got her for my kid (ostensibly), she has been *my* dog from the time she was a puppy.

25 June 2008


I'm spending the week with the animals, trying to keep on top of the chores I normally don't do, and trying not to kill the lawn with benign neglect. My boys went to California, and due to some kind of ugly circumstances, I couldn't get the vacation time off to join them. At least not without a huge amount of drama.

Before they left, I bought a pay-as-you-go cell phone to send with my little monkey. Nine year olds get VERY excited if you get them their OWN cell phone. But I'm pretty reliant on my phone, didn't want to send it, and couldn't imagine not talking with the kid (and his dad) a few times a day.

Problem is, my little one is *sad*. He is the human equivalent of the border collie (in all respects, really), and he does NOT like it when his pack is not all together. Hopefully his cousins will distract him a bit--the purpose of this trip is a wedding, which will add two to the three he already has.

Sure miss them.

22 June 2008

61.01 miles

That was my total for June 16-22. I hadn't ridden anywhere today, then decided Dilly Bars would be yummy for dessert, and then further decided that if I wasn't willing to ride to get them, I didn't really want one. I ended up riding all but the big hills coming home in manual mode, as I realized I wouldn't have enough electric power to make it all the way. It wasn't that bad--just slower than I like (about 10 mph vs. 15 mph).

Friday left me less enamored than usual with the driving public, as I would have been creamed (or nearly so) three times if I wasn't a VERY careful cyclist. (All three incidents involved failing to signal and/or yield. I am ALWAYS prepared to yield, because right of way is meaningless except as a social nicety when you are a bike.)

Any photos this week will be limited to lo-res cell cam pics, as both cameras will be on the road. I made a really fantastic vegan pizza with garlic, mushrooms, garden greens, and sundried tomatoes, but you will have to imagine it. And feel free to note the discrepancy between making a lovely vegan pizza and then biking eight miles to get Dairy Queen for dessert.

19 June 2008

and another weird thing

I carry a Timbuk2 Metro Messenger bag. Tonight, due to a tedious sequence of events, my stuff went home in the car, while I went home on my bike. And I discovered that the strap of my bag feels like a seatbelt, and I feel really, really weird riding without it.

I have two, or possibly three, trips to a nearby town planned for next week, but I have a goal of not driving otherwise.

18 June 2008


I had a two hour lunch break today, so I rode home. My coworker was having a memorable birthday, and dinner plans were being formulated, but weren't perfectly clear yet, so I rode my Bianchi back to work, figuring it was easier to a) leave at work or b) throw in the back of somebody else's rig if need be. (It's MUCH lighter than the e-bike.)

It turned out that dinner wasn't until 6:30, leaving me time to go home and change into civilian clothes if I scammed a ride. I did, with the birthday guy, and we picked up a (known, local) hitchhiker, who rode in the bed of the truck with my bike.

Dinner was fun; large sombreros were worn. Not by me; though that might be on the horizon in a few months...

17 June 2008


I had a "scheduled day off" today (euphemism for weekend comprised of non- consecutive days), and almost the first words out of the kid's mouth were, "Can we go for a bike ride?" He knows the answer to this is nearly always yes. He's no dummy.

However, it was really windy, and a little cold. Since swimming lessons were on the evening agenda, I decided to load the bikes on the rack and drive us a bit further to the Yakima Greenway, a 10 mile paved path that parallels the Yakima and Naches rivers. (Yakima is typically 10-15 degrees warmer, and a bit less windy than home.) This photograph was taken at a huge playground which we have seen from the freeway many times, but have never been to because (kind of gloriously) it is not accessible by car. You have to walk or bike about a mile to get to it. My kid devised an obstacle course for himself, complete with a crazy scoring system and video game style "boss battles." A girl, several years older, stopped with her father while we were there, and he was surprised at how long she wanted to stay. It's a really nice playground.

We rode a little over four miles out to a point where the path continues, but involves crossing a busy overpass and riding in a bike lane in traffic. If I had been alone, I wouldn't have hesitated, but with the kid, it seemed the appropriate place to turn around. We finished with the wind at our backs, pedaling past lots of folks fishing, and there was a park volunteer scooting around in a golf cart, offering cold water served in those cone shaped paper cups.

I rode my Bianchi because I knew there would be no need for the electric assist, and it is so much lighter than the e-bike. Much easier to maneuver on the rack.

We went to look at refrigerators, but did not buy one. The kid liked the big stainless steel, french door, bottom freezer model, on sale for a mere $2700. The salesman told him he had excellent taste.

I also did not go put a deposit on Rock Band. This was more a time crunch than any kind of good sense on my part. Oh, and we watched a commercial for the Aerosmith Guitar Hero game, which made me laugh (in a good way). "Sweet Pandora, smelling like a flora" being one of the most awesomely bad rock lyrics ever.

16 June 2008

will wonders never...

I previously posted this photo, sans arrow, with a description of the electric assist controls. Later, I edited that description when I realized that the indicator lights correspond to the battery charge, not one's speed. Or maybe it's the amount of assist being employed. I'm not 100% sure, and the owner's manual for the bike is weirdly mum on the subject. It's also weirdly mum on the subject of the thumb lever the arrow is pointing to, and which, up until today, I thought was an unused control within the U.S. market. TURNS OUT IT'S LIKE A POWER UP BUTTON. I was just messing around on my way home, and accidentally discovered this.

Potential uses for this feature (though obviously, I've been getting along without it just fine): accelerating from a stop (the assist doesn't come on until about 10 mph otherwise), going up the steeper hills I usually go around, and accelerating up the hill I have to ride without any kind of bike lane or shoulder.

I am trying to convince myself not to buy Rock Band or Guitar Hero until the guitar compatibility issues for Wii are sorted out. On the other hand, if I buy Rock Band, then eventually someone should make a controller playable with both games, which could then function as the bass guitar. On the other other hand, we still need to replace our refrigerator....

15 June 2008

my electric ride was rode this week.

Except for that one day when it snowed. But Monday, and Wednesday-Saturday, I rode. If I go straight to work and back, my round trip is 7.67 miles. If I ride to lunch somewhere, it's 8.13-10. If I add errands, it's another half-mile to mile. I forgot to note my beginning and ending mileage, but my total for the week was about 40, and I rolled the odometer past 200. I'm trying to figure out what a good yearly goal would be. Whatever I decide, proper clothing will be key to making it happen. I have been pretty disciplined about riding--my standard rule is that if I'm not going to, I need a specific, concrete reason that is better than "I don't feel like it." However, even with the electric assist, the wind kicks my behind, and even if it it's not that cold otherwise, the stiff "breeze" can make for a chilly ride.

In other important news, we got to borrow Guitar Hero III for the Wii this weekend, and oh my goodness, I rock. I realize that the Guitar Hero franchise has no shortage of positive reviews, but I was amazed at how much crazy fun it is. Obviously, it's not exactly equivalent of playing the guitar, but there is real musical value to it--you have to listen for the guitar melody within the full song, you need the same types of fingering skills (even if there are differences), and you need to find and keep the beat. I beat the game on easy mode, but I probably will have to get a copy of our own so that I can conquer medium, difficult, and expert modes. I will also need a timer, because it is a giant, fun time suck.

10 June 2008

yes, really.

 This didn't last long, but ugh.
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09 June 2008


 I was biking home in traffic, but pulled over to snap this shot of the sky. THAT was a big, black cloud. Not too much later, it started to sprinkle. I stopped to get a pizza for dinner (using my bungee cargo net to fasten it to my rear bike rack), and a few blocks from home, it was raining hard enough that I made an emergency call--"Meet me at the post office!" I was afraid the pizza box would get too wet and start disintegrating. The P.O. is only a few blocks from home, so the trip to rescue the pizza didn't negate the benefits of riding to and from work. Also, I rode my bike back home after handing off the pizza, and beat the boys by at least 30 seconds.

Now, it's raining even harder, and people have been saying all day that the snow level is supposed to drop to 2500 feet tonight. We're at 2280. So yeah. Juneuary.
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06 June 2008

not complaining.

I love beautiful sunny days, with a light breeze, especially late in the afternoon when the very slowly descending sun makes the forest all around me glow a warm, deep, golden green. I hope we will have some of these days this summer.

I also really enjoy it when other cyclists ride on the correct side of the road, with helmets, and when, if they are riding three abreast, they drop into a single file line when I pass them.

I am very appreciative of the road crews when they sweep the shoulders of broken glass. Also, I like it when weekenders take their beer bottles home with them for recycling, instead of tossing them onto the road.

Automotive UV film that allows me to make eye contact with drivers (who would not dream of talking on their cell phones while driving) is awesome!

Relief from huge propane bills is a welcome sign of summer! I hope it's coming!


It's been a bit of a long week; you can read between the lines for my petty complaints. Hopefully I will boost my mileage a little tomorrow--it was raining hard Tuesday morning, and today, and I wasn't scheduled to work on Wednesday. I did ride back to work from lunch today, but got quite damp. I considered picking up pizza on my way home, but I was too tired to contemplate waiting for it to be cooked.

On the brighter side of things, the elementary school spring concert was this week, I got to spend a big chunk of my day off with my guys, and my little guy called my cell phone while I was at work, just to tell me he loves me. And also, the third graders kicked the fourth graders' butts in kickball.