Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bike Lane: A Decision

Since mentioning bike lanes in a previous entry, I decided to ride them whenever I could and read about them. I couldn't find anything like people who advocated bike lanes as the best thing ever. But I found a few negative items (on the internets) about bike lanes.

A couple of the comments I received on my posts were really the most helpful.

With that, I've formed an informed opinion of bike lanes. Here it is.

Bike lanes are useful when built correctly. Bike lanes are really awful when built poorly. Of the places I ride, Minneapolis has built the worst lanes and St. Paul has built the best.

I'll try to post photos of some of both types.

River Bottoms

I finally took a bike off road this past Sunday. I rode the Minnesota River bottoms trail. It's so green down there, it's hard to believe. Everything is tinted in green.

The trail includes this stump in the water. It always looks worthy of a photo. I remembered to stop this time, but the CreepyCam was soaked in sweat, because I had it stored in my jersey pocket. So, the effect you see here is the sweat effect. Nice.

I cleaned the little tiny lens and this is what I got. Not much better. I probably would get better results with CreepyCam if I kept the lens cleaner -- no pocket fuzz and no sweat.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

No Off-Road Ride

Last night, it rained cats and dogs. This closed the Murphy Hanrehan trail. We did not ride and we are now officially disappointed.

Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tomorrow I Ride a New Trail

I'm going to ride Murphy Hanrehan off-road trail tomorrow with Jack Rabbit Slim (a.k.a. Red Thoughts (a.k.a. Jasmac (a.k.a I. Scooter Libby) ) ).

I rode the old trail with the vomity hill many, many times. It was one of my favorite trails in the Twin Cities area. It had one outstanding hill and lots of fun, fast roller-coaster style hills. It had some problems though. I understand the maintenance was too difficult, lots of erosion issues.

So the park system rebuilt it as woodsy, twisty single track. This type of trail building reduces the erosion problems. I'm eager to try it out. I plan to ride my legs off. Maybe Jack Rabbit can pick them up and carry them back to the trail head for me.

I'll try to take some photos and post them. Off-road riding is fun. I feel like an excited little kid.

I'm going to watch out for the Wild Parsnip though.

I made that part up about Jackrabbit Slim being I. Scooter Libby, 'cause he's in jail now, right?

A Tall Rider

I found someone to ride the Fuji Special Road Racer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Fuji Special Road Racer is Weird

I measured the Fuji Special Road Racer that I posted about yesterday and it has some strange dimensions:

  • 62cm seat tube (center to center)
  • 54cm top tube

What sort of strangely shaped person was this bike built for?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I built a wheel for a friend who had this old Fuji Special Road Racer leaning in the corner of his garage. I admired it out loud and he gave it to me. He has plenty of other bikes anyway and wanted the space more than a dusty, broken bike.

The rear rim was cracked. I figured I would salvage the crankset, because it's a 110mm bolt circle with holes for a third chain ring. I also fancied the Nitto I-beam style stem. I had plans to sell the frame on Craig's List after stripping the good stuff.

After looking at it for a while, I realized it might be worth saving as an entire bike instead of cannibalizing it.

I happened to have a spare 27" rear wheel . I installed the wheel, replaced the rear derailleur, and tuned lots of items. I didn't remove a single item for my own use. Each time I worked on it, I began to like it more and more. The checker board Fuji sticker caught my eye every time I walked in the garage.

The rusty finish became beautiful to me. The faded yellow is not available on any bikes today. It reminds me of the '65 Mustang my dad brought home when I was a little guy. All the neighbor guys gathered around to see the Mustang. It was a similar light yellow color. He was the coolest dad in the neighborhood that day and I was his proud son.

Too bad this bike way too big for me. Even if I pushed the seat down all the way, it would be too tall. Somebody else needs it. I rode it and it feels really light -- in a way that none of my bikes matches. If it were my size, I'd love to keep it for regular rides. Maybe there's a 56cm Special Road Racer out there for me somewhere.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Found Items

I found this on Stinson Blvd. in Minneapolis yesterday. It's a 12mm. I don't use those very often, but free tools are good tools. Yeah.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More Followup on Camping

  • I did not find a grilled-cheese sandwich making device. I'll keep looking.
  • I found delicious coffee.
  • I bought a foam pad for my light-weight son. Thermarests are for people who weigh more than a handful of leaves. I have one and it made camping fun. BF (Before Thermarest) I hated camping, because I always felt like a bag of crap the morning after.
  • It was primal, because I feared someone would get hurt by a home-made spear. Instead, while being chased by a home-made spear, one kid fell and landed on a stump. The edge of the tree stump chopped into his leg right above the knee. I saw white stuff inside the gash and fat on the edges. He received 5 internal stitches and 12 external stitches in the Mora Hospital ER. He was back by 2 a.m. Saturday night and enjoyed standing on the shore and watching the canoeing and riding in the shuttle car on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Camping was a Success

As usual, the camping trip was great. The boys ran around in the woods like wild animals. They caught tadpoles and crawdads. They were as dirty as pigs. They sharpened sticks and I half expected it to turn into Lord of the Flies, but they didn't have any enemies to fight. It was primal.

Each year before going on this trip, I feel indifferent to canoeing. When I get in the boat and start down the St. Croix river, my indifference melts away and I realize I enjoy canoeing very much. I have thoughts of getting a canoe and how to transport it.

When I get home, I see my bicycles and realize canoeing would take away time for riding.

My son is the guy in the front of this canoe with the paddle (not the red head). My son thought canoeing was boring until he got to steer. I let him paddle in back and he did a great job.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Camping and Canoeing

I'm going camping this weekend. It's our third Father-Son Camping and Canoe Trip. I brought out all the camping gear and I need to go grocery shopping. I'd like to buy another sleeping pad -- one for my son. I'm tired of hauling the air mattress and pump around.
I'd also like a set of those things that hold a sandwich in place for grilling over the fire. A grilled cheese sandwich sounds really nice. This would also allow a little bit of toast heaven while camping.
By the way, this is car camping.
The most important part of camping is making sure the coffee fixin's are ready. I tested my little camp stove by making this morning's coffee on it outside in the back yard. I use an Italian espresso pot over the open flame. It tastes different, but it's very good in a raw, untamed way. I also need to buy ground coffee fresh from a local coffee place.
So I need to go to a camping supply place, a coffee shop, and the grocery store.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Funny Beer

Thanks to the person who gave me this beer. It tasted really nice with tonight's fake-meat tacos. I wanted another, but one is enough.

Bike Lanes Part 2

I finally got around to looking for information on bike lanes. The first link in the first google search I conducted pulled up ample pile of bike lane information. The linked information tells me this subject has been dragged through the mud many times. So I'm not sure I can add anything useful.

If you have time, read the linked page and let me know what you think. It's an impressive pile of bike lane related information, isn't it.

Perhaps if I look at it from the local perspective, it will be useful information.

Security Flaw in the U.S. Census Website

I recently received a census form to fill out from the U.S. Census Bureau. It looked like a perfect phishing scam using snail mail instead of the typical route of email.

Being slightly skeptical, I checked out the U. S. Census Bureau website. I clicked on the "Embargoed Releases" link in the right column. It asked me for a user Id and password. Of course, I don't have one. I clicked the Cancel button and it displayed an error page. The error page tells me what kind of operating system and webserver they're using and it shows me the versions of those items. This makes it pretty easy for hackers to try and break into their site. It's information that shouldn't be displayed to the public.

Big deal, right? It's just another poorly secured website. But I think it's a really big deal. They tell me I'm required to fill out the census form by law. But I can't trust them to protect my information if they can't even get the basics of a website right.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Somewhere in Iowa along I-80

Warning: No bicycle content!

I visited family this past weekend in Hastings, NE. On the way back to Minneapolis, I shot lots of photos along I-80 in Iowa. A couple of them were memorable, for me at least.

The horizon is not blocked by trees and buildings out there. And a reminder that not all gas stations make it.

Hey, get off the road!

Maybe we need one of these in the cities.

I like Buster Bars.

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