Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Folding Bicycles

I've wanted a folding bicycle for quite a while now. I'd like to take it along when I travel. I travel light so it would be my second piece of airline check-in luggage or it would easily fit in the trunk on car trips.

I used to have a Hon (before they were Dahon). It was the most flexible bike in the world and made of stainless steel tubing. The new ones I've ridden are in a different league of stiffness than my old wobbler. I've also noticed within the last couple of years, some manufacturers of mainstream bicycles have offered folders too.

I occasionally read A to B magazine. It's about commuters, folders, electrics, and work bikes. Their writers seem to love the Brompton as the all-around best folder. Dahon has recently introduced the "Brompton killer." We'll see about that.

I'll attend this weekend's Bicycle and Travel Fitness Expo. I heard it will include a test track. If I'm lucky, one of the Expo vendors will have a folder or two to try.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Today's HC Ride

We didn't have a big turn out for today's HC ride, but what our group lacked in numbers, we made up for in cheer. The predicted 3-6 inches of snow didn't come, but we rode over a crunchy layer of sneet.

We stopped at Brewberry's in St. Paul on the way to Mellow's awesome garage workshop. I forgot to take photos of his garage, but let me tell you, it's the most wonderful bike workshop in the world. It's a combination of all the bike tools you need and a bike museum.

There's are a few chunks of ice on the Mississippi.

We did not get hit by the bus.

We rode the Minnehaha bike trail west over the edge of Lake Hiawatha. I tried to get the camera flash to fire and illuminate the snow flakes, but no luck. This was Rookie Rider's first ride on his newly installed rear derailleur. He installed it himself. Congratulations, Jim.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What rhymes with orange?

A couple years ago, my kids invented words to rhyme with orange.

forange: tickle me
norange: stop tickling me

I doubt they'll catch on outside of my house, but they have meaning around here.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dog Training

My kids want a dog. I'd love to have one around, but the work involved is more than I know my household could stand. We don't keep up with the day-to-day stuff well enough as it is, much less with four more legs running around.

I told my kids to train themselves for a dog by cleaning up the droppings in our neighbor's yard. We have three neighbors with dogs and I bet they'd be glad to have the help. The Minnesota winters make removing the droppings less unpleasant, because they become solids after an hour or so. The kids thought that was pretty funny, "Yeah. Right, Dad."

It reminds me of a story my sister told me about my nephews. I'll probably get some of the details wrong. But here it goes anyway.

They were little guys, under 10 years old for sure. Their job was to pick up their dog's droppings. They had quite a bit to clean up and used empty bread bags to collect it. They got into a fight and started whacking each other with the bags of droppings. The bags broke open and they both were covered in the mess.

When my sister discovered the disaster, she made them take baths. They understood the need for a bath, but they were really mad because she also made them wash their hair and it wasn't their night to wash hair.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Vein Harvesting

My mom just had open heart surgery. My sister wondered why they call it open heart surgery when it's really open chest surgery. I said they don't hyphenate open heart so they don't mean that they open the heart anyway.

The medical people told us they were going to perform an ultrasound examination on Mom's legs to find the right veins to harvest. That word really bugged my sister. She's always been bothered by veins and things that stick out. The word harvest when associated with veins really gave her the jim jams.

For example, if she saw a fast motion film of grass sprouting, she'd get the heebie jeebies. I once bought her sons a Play-Doh set with an extrusion machine. It spit out Play-Doh like a pasta maker. It drove her nuts. When she saw those little ropes of Play-Doh being squeezed out of the machine, she'd cover her eyes. I shouldn't have bought it, but that' s what brothers are for, you know.

So back in the hospital, her husband and I were thinking up all the stuff we could to bother her about harvesting veins and things sticking out of holes. He said something about a field of growing veins swaying in the wind like a wheat field. Then he said he'd like to harvest them with a scythe. She got a combination of the willies, the heebies, and the jim jams all at once. Then we laid off the subject.

Mom seems to be doing fine. They have her walking up and down the halls already and she'll probably go home by the end of this week.

I Know a Guy Who Loves His Toast

I know a guy who loves toast.

I think Jonathan Richman could have written a song about a guy who loves his toast.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why I Have Not Blogged Lately

I haven't been blogging lately because I went to Ft. Collins, CO to visit my mom who is in the hospital.

Sitting around in a hospital gives one lots of time to think. I have a few things to say about the hospital. I'll post a few when I get some free time.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Childhood Misconceptions

The subject of childhood misconceptions is funny to me. I've wanted to write about them but haven't had the chance until now.

Number One
The other day, my son told me one of his and now I'm telling you.

He's 10 years old now. He said when he was younger, he thought everything had a soul and that the soul of these things stayed around after the things died.

Based on that, he thought the soul of a corn dog he ate inhabited his closet. It puts some funny pictures in my head and I understand why he was afraid of his closet.

Number Two
My niece thought Santa Claus was Jesus' dad and the angels made the presents.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

His Cake

My family made a cake with chocolate mousse filling for my birthday. Before they frosted it, it had a perfect dome shape.

Here's a shot of the chocolate filling. It tasted great.

They bought me a new seat bag (Frost River banana bag) for my bike. It'll look just right on the Davidson 650B conversion.

They also bought me an Us magazine and defaced all the celebrity photos in it. They cut out photos of me and my dad and pasted them on some of the celebrities. My head looks really good on Jennifer Aniston's body. Wait, that doesn't sound quite right. Nevermind.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Happy Birthday

A few years ago, someone told me that on their birthday, they ride the same number of miles as their age. I think that sounds great, but my birthday falls on a traditionally unpleasant weather day. So I'll never get that tradition going, but I like the idea. So I went for a run instead. I stay plenty warm when I run.

I had a little trouble seeing, because I had something on my eyelashes.

My family always makes a really cool cake for me. I'll try to share a photo of that tomorrow.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm Not Riding Today

I'm not riding my bike today. I can't keep my toes warm.

Send help.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

Occasionally, I read the Bicycle Retailer website. Today's quote of the day brought back lots of memories.

JANUARY 31, 2007 -- "It's no secret to anyone who has ever endured an encounter with a grease-stained, eye-rolling, heavily sighing bicycle shop employee that customer service in this industry has historically ranged from sullen to supercilious to overtly hateful. (It's one of the few retail industries where a condition for employment seems to be utter contempt for the customer, says one industry executive)."

-New York Times, Nov.6, 2006

I worked with some of these people who seemed to hate the customers. Not all bike shop employees show this contempt, but most shops employee at least one of them. I suppose this same thing happens in most retail businesses, regardless of the product they sell.

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