Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nearly Abstract Post

I'm changing the tires on Main Bike Number One tonight. I'll put on the fat, smooth tires that don't make all that dang noise. The studs sound like crackling, as if I'm riding over gravel all the time. It's gotten to be a symbol for slow riding, darkness, and cold.

If we get anymore snow, too bad. I'll just have to rough it and ride without studded tires.

I've been riding Auxiliary Bike Number One this week. It has smooth tires and is a great commuter, but it's not as well suited to me as Main Bike Number One.

I think I'll take some photos to help identify which bike is which.

By the way, I've almost completed the old, rusty Hiawatha coaster-brake cruiser. It's ridable, but I want to wait for the roads to clear, as I don't want any salt getting on the frame. The frame is 90% covered in a rusty patina. I like the looks of it. The seatpost is frozen in the frame. That's a problem, because it's not frozen at the right height for me.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Commuter Basket

I've wanted to install a basket on the front of my commuter bike for a while now. This morning, after the HC Saturday ride, I bought a used basket from the shop. I mounted it with zip ties. I carried some wrapped-up tires home from the shop. It handled well, as expected. This is a low trail bike and I assumed it would handle a front load nicely.

Time will tell, but I'm pretty pleased with it.

The ride was fun. A couple of inches of snow awaited us. We went to the Hard Times Cafe.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Have You Decorated Your Easter Eggs Yet?

We had a little Easter Egg Deocorating party at my house.

This one is mine.

Here's a bowl full.

The bunnies held the dye. Fiesta ware is good for something.

This is a portion of the eggs.

These kids were pretty serious for a while.

Later, they had a competition to see who could make the ugliest egg.

My stomach felt a bit sick looking at these while the stench of boiled eggs still hung in the air.

The competition got out of hand when they began smashing the eggs in their grubby little hands and eating them on dares. We put an end to it then.

The Playmobil guy was helpless to stop the atrocities committed against the eggs.

A Somehwhat Narrow Sidewalk

I had my car windshield replaced last Friday morning. The glass shop told me it would take about 4 hours, so I dropped off the car and walked to a coffee shop to work using the laptop. The walk to the coffee shop took me across the bridge shown below. It's Lyndale Ave. over I-494 located in Bloomington, MN. The sidewalk is only wide enough for one person.

Take a close look at the sidewalk. The sidewalk is only wide enough for one person. If you walked across this and encountered someone coming toward you, one of you would have to step down onto the street. That would be a dangerous move, because this is not a street for pedestrians. The traffic lanes are very narrow and the car drivers are thinking about their next high-speed move.

The photo makes it look like the sidewalk might include some of brown stuff left of the snow-covered path, but it doesn't.

When I got to the other side of the bridge, I watched a city bus unload several people. Most of them walked over this bridge to their destinations. So the sidewalk is used frequently.

I believe they're replacing this bridge in the next year or so. I hope they improve the design for pedestrians. I have a feeling there will be more of pedestrians in the near future. I posted this, because I walk lots of places and I get frustrated by the terrible walking facilities. This is a perfect example.

I took the photo from the location of the red arrow in the satellite image below.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Star Wars Video

This Star Wars re-enactment is fun and proves that you don't have to do it well to be great.

New Blog Name

Given the number of comments the post about keyboard shortcuts received, I'm going to rename my blog Keyboard Shortcuts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Trip to Museum with Family and Friend

We visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Sunday afternoon. Disclaimer: This post contains very little bicycle content.

My wife wants us to build a smaller version of this shelf for our house. But that's not my wife in the photo.

I was impressed by this chair. It doesn't look like it's strong enough though. Since it's behind glass, I'll never know. I took these photos in the modern commercial exhibit.

How big do you think this dog is? A photo that provides some scale is located below somewhere.

I enjoy perspectives like this stairwell.

The county jail? No, silly. It's an art museum.

The dog is huge. They had drawing supplies available at this exhibit. My kids enjoyed drawing most of all.
The security guys took the guy away in the blue shirt because he was doing inappropriate things with the dog.

If I get run over by a car, I want it to be by this car driven by an exotic looking woman smoking a cigarette in a long cigarette holder. She will be wearing high heels and she won't stop to help me. But she'll deeply regret the small dent my bike makes in the body work.
The car is a Tatra.

Sunday Ride in the Snow

I didn't get out for the Saturday Hiawatha ride again. My excuse this time is that I attended the DFL* Senate caucus for my district as a delegate. I and about 1100 others gathered at Roosevelt High school in Minneapolis to decide our party's platform and which delegates would go on to the next level. Other districts had their caucuses in other locations on this and previous weekends all over the state.

This was my first time serving as a delegate. Getting to the next level beyond this would take a committment of time and heart that I don't have. It was a great education though and I'd like to do it again. I once served on a jury for a criminal trial and found that to be a wonderful education about a slice of the legal system. I see serving as a delegate the same way. It provided me a small glimpse into the workings of a political party.
On Sunday, I went for a lonely ride. I mention that it was lonely, because I ride alone all week to work and I look forward to the group ride on Saturday. I have another conflict for this upcoming week, but I'll try to rearrange things to allow me to ride with the HC group.

With that in mind, I present the Lonely Guy Collection.

* For you out-of-staters, DFL stands for Democrat Farm Labor. It's Minnesota's Democratic party. It's a leftover from the days when the party was made up of farmers and union members. Those guys are nearly extinct now, but they kept the name anyway.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

More Off-Topic Tips

If the topic of this blog is supposed to be something about bicycles, then this post is off topic.

I read a tip on for getting to Gmail quickly: type g in the address bar of your browser and press Enter.

With that new knowledge, I tried to r for reader. That didn't work, but "reader" does. I tried b for blogger and that didn't work either, but "blogger" does. I'm a fan of keyboard shortcuts. It all started with WordPerfect for DOS. I think VI is pretty fun also, but I don't use it enough to retain the key commands very well.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My Daughter's Sketch Pad

My daughter has a secret sketch pad that includes lots of interesting things. When she falls asleep while drawing in her bed, I take a look.

This drawing is from the secret sketch pad. I don't know the story behind it, because I don't hear much yelling around here like the kind shown in the sketch. Maybe it's my daughter's fantasy to yell like that and she's feeling guilty for the thoughts. I don't know.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual

I bought a used copy of Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual from one of the Amazon sellers. It was a bargain. As I remembered the manual is full of very nice directions and illustrations for working on bicycles. It was written in the 1970s and reflects that time very well. Just check out the socks on the cover.

It contains detailed instructions for overhauling various hubs of the day, including the Komet coaster brake hub I recently posted about.

This girl reminds me of how my sisters dressed in the 1970s. The belt is right on.
This could have been me.

In the category of "strange but true," this mechanic dresses just like they do at Hiawatha Cyclery today -- mechanic's smock and neck tie.

Today's HC Ride and a Bold Comparison

I made it to the HC ride today. We rode East to St. Paul- into the wind. About two blocks from our food destination, Andre's front tire flatted. He brought the wheel into the cafe and fixed it. I wish I could do that when I have a winter flat. I mean drinking coffee while fixing a flat is pretty nice.Last week, I had a slow leak on my ride to work and decided to stop and fill it instead of fixing it. I had to fill it twice before I arrived at work. In warmer weather, I would have fixed it on the spot.

Another interesting thing about today's ride is that I chose to ride a bike that does not have studded tires. The ice has receded enough to make riding without studs pretty safe. The decision process I went through was notable, because I've become a real chicken regarding riding on ice. This is because I've become accustomed to riding studded tires and now think riding without them is dangerous. I only started riding with them two winters ago. Before that, I rode less in the winter, but I definitely rode on ice without so much trepidation. I've become a pansy and I blame studded tires.

I'll tell you why this subject is important. Riding studded tires is a compromise between safety (traction) and ease of pedaling. Studded tires are much heavier and I believe the studs slow you down. This is so noticeable that I've come to see studded tires like wearing a condom -- they almost ruin the feel of the bike, but I'd hate to have an accident.

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