Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What good are painted bike lanes?

I took my old route to work today. It's the route with scenic beauty, low amounts of traffic, and it's a couple of kilometers farther than my current route. After riding it for a few blocks, I remembered my experiences riding bike lanes in downtown Minneapolis a few years ago. And I remembered how much I think bike lanes suck.

I have lots of reasons why I think so and I'll probably list them sometime, but for now I want to talk about my knee jerk reaction to bike lanes. My opinion is based on experience, but is it based on reasoning? That's what I want to work on here -- arriving at a conclusion based on reasoning.
For now, I withdraw my opinion that bike lanes suck and I'll spend some time researching them. I'll post my findings here and ask for your opinions. I expect this to take more than one or two blog posts. I also expect you to leave your opinions in the comments. Let me know when I'm full of crap, please.

Then I'll decide. I realize this is probably not a totally fair way to approach the question, since I can't truly put aside my opinion. However, I'll try to be a fair and impartial judge. The research will do me good. I'll probably become more familiar with the problems of trying to accommodate bikes and cars. I also want to know where the LAB (League of American Bicyclists) stands on this issue.

If you have any useful links to information about bike lanes, please leave them in the comments.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Wild Flower

I can't identify this flower, but I like it.

Do I Need a Counselor for my Kid?

Here's my son's latest big board drawing.

He's 10. I was pretty fascinated with shooting and all that when I was his age too. I suppose lots of guys are.

My daughter's big board drawing is a contrast.

These come from a 4'x5' white board we have in our house. Our kids and their friends love to draw on it. It seems to be more popular than the TV or video games for now.

My daughter had an interesting thought yesterday. She said it would be fun if we all looked like how we draw ourselves. This led to the invention of an entire world where we get to draw ourselves again on each of our birthdays. Toddlers look like scribbles and some people are incomplete. I wish I had recorded it all.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Three-Speed Tour Photos

I uploaded lots of photos from the 2007 Lake Pepin Three-Speed Tour. Take a look, please.


I finally got a good chance to take a photo of this astroturf-covered Toyota Previa minivan and I only had the CreepyCam. The lighting was brilliant. A rain storm had just passed through the area and a spotlight of sun came through a break in the clouds to illuminate this van. I hopped onto the sidewalk and rode to the perfect spot to take a photo.

My CreepyCam photo is very disappointing, but here it is anyway. Someday, I'll capture this beauty with a better camera and show it again.

Monday, May 21, 2007

3-Speed Tour

I took about 150 photos during the 3-speed tour last weekend, most on the first day. It was a very nice ride.

I think I enjoyed exploring the dirt roads around Lake Pepin the most.

And I liked seeing all the interesting bikes.

I camped at the Wabasha city park camp grounds.
I had ear plugs so the RV generators and snoring people didn't keep me awake. I packed a thin sleeping bag that wasn't warm enough and was kept awake by my shivering body. I sabotage my camping trips with poor equipment choices. I vow to do better next time.

I'll upload more photos. I need more time to review them first.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rhododendron Time

Here are a few more rhododendron shots.

The whole bush

A pink one

A red one

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Week of Bikes in Photos

Broken axle



Thursday, May 17, 2007

An Old Mushroom Photo

Last fall, I took some photos with the CreepyCam while on an off-road ride. I found this photo still on the CreepyCam the other day. I didn't like the quality of it back when I shot the photo, but now I love it.

This week, I've ridden four different bikes to work (not at the same time). I rode the Maruishi and broke it on Monday. I rode the 3-speed on Tuesday with its new drop bars. I rode the Lemond road bike on Wednesday. That was my fastest commute so far this year. Today, I rode the Davidson 650B conversion. I think my kids would ask me which is my favorite bike. I don't know. I like them all, but I had the most fun going faster than I'm used to on the Lemond.

A Trip to Target

At Target the other night, I noticed an overwhelming number of brands and models we have to select from (or from which to select, for you no-prepositions-at-the-end-of-sentences folks) in almost every product category.
My family and I were shopping for items to fill an Iraqi relief package. The package included shampoo, towels, soap, toothbrushes, etc. While in the shampoo aisle, I turned around and counted 20 types of hair dryers on display. There were more models under the shelf.

That's a lot of hair drying capability.
At the end of the aisle, I gagged at the smell of hunderds of types of perfume.

In every aisle, I saw the same thing -- way more choices than I could handle.
I've noticed it before, but I always quickly pushed it out of my head.
I'm not even sure if I have a point to this, but it seems worth noting.

For the package, we weren't buying the same stuff we usually buy. This gave me a chance to look around more. When I shop for myself, I don't think about items, I just look for my brand. For example, when I buy my shampoo, I look for Head and Shoulders, then pick the store-brand version next to it.

This experience caused me to see the vast selection of products in a different way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Rhododendrons

Are these the last rhododendron photos you'll see on my blog?

This is the 3-Speed Blog

Sometimes I forget the name of this blog.

Last night, on the way home, I felt a lumpy sensation in my rear wheel when I used the brakes. I figured I'd worn the brake pads down to metal. When I got home, I checked out the brake pads and found they were still adequate. Then I noticed a strange pattern on the rim. It had a crack in it along the braking surface. The sidewall was worn out. I've never done that before. I built these wheels in 1993 or so and commuted on them most of the time since.

I decided to pull the freewheel off to install it on a backup wheel. As I removed the freewheel, part of the axle assembly feel into my hand. The axle was broken. The backup wheel is spaced incorrectly (it's 135mm and I need 125 or so). Crap.

Time to order parts: rim, axle, new fork for mountain bike (this is unrelated, I know), etc.

"Which bike should I ride to work tomorrow," I thought. How about a 3-speed? So there it is.

It's ready for the Lake Pepin Three-Speed Tour this weekend. I installed drop bars to allow me to use my handlebar bag. The bag will contain my big camera. I rebuilt the wheels with alloy rims to improve braking. It's unusual in that it has 27" tires (630 bsd) instead of the usual 26" (650A or 590 bsd). Oh, I almost forgot, it has a bell on the stem. Ringggggggggggggg.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rhododendron Day 2

A couple buds were opening this morning. Here's one of them.

While trying to find the spelling of rhododendron, I found the American Rhododendron Society.

For those of you who are wondering what the heck this has to do with bicycles, just wait. I'll tie it in somehow, soon, but not today.

I suppose my interest in these plants has grown over the 12 years we've owned the house. The rhododendrons were already here, planted by the green-thumb lady who lived here before us. I didn't pay any attention to them at first, but each winter, they stayed green and kept their leaves. Up to that point, the only plants I'd seen that kept their leaves were pine trees and other evergreens. People who came to the house during winter noticed them also.

Their leaves get a little brown during the harsh winter months, but they have always come back to total green by mid-summer. I'm impressed by them.

Friday, May 11, 2007


We have two rhododendron bushes in front of our house. Disclaimer: I'm not a gardener, just a fancier of the two bushes in front of our house. If you aren't familiar with this plant, they come in two types: deciduous and evergreen. Apparently, we have the evergreen type. It's nice to have some greenery during the winter that isn't piney.

The buds have just appeared on ours and I'll take a progression of photos as they bloom. The flowers are big and beautiful.

New Idea for Blogging

I've been thinking about this for a long time and now I'm ready to introduce my new idea. I'm going to become the Copycat Blogger.

Whenever I see a good post and I think, "Hey, I could have done that," or "I have a similar idea," I'm going to do it. Yes, it's theft.

When I post a copycat blog entry, I'll provide a link to the original that you can just ignore, because my entry will be so much better. Or you can judge my entry next to the original and tell me what a loser I am. You pick.

Here goes my first installment. Mr. Longburn has a post about his shoes. Here's my photo of shoes just like his.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another Batch of Photos from a Ride to Work

Ridgeway Parkway NE in Minneapolis. It's a nice overlook.

The bike was tired and it wanted to sit down for a minute to enjoy the sunrise view.

This is the golf course shortcut.

Terminal Road

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Today's Ride Photos

This time of year, I see the sun rising during my ride. That's from about 5:30 to 6:15. And today I forgot a useful camera.

So instead, for your viewing pleasure, I present the CreepyCam photo gallery (with commentary by me)!

These are America's gods. They bring us everything we want.

This is Broadway and Industrial, for anyone who cares. The interstate on-ramp in just ahead. Drive faster!

This is a very short dirt trail along my ride. When I take this dirt trail, I miss the most frightening road on my route: Walnut Street which leads to Terminal Road. The city recently repaired some of the chuck holes along Walnut. When I looked closely, I realized they filled the holes with the bodies of bicyclists.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Man Superglued to Bike Seat by Robbers

I just read this story about a man being robbed. Most unpleasant.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today's Ride Photos

Although it's hard to believe by looking at this photo, this hill is tough.

Tasty exhaust
When I rode through this intersection, it didn't feel as empty as this photo shows.

The leafy green Neon
The Zapcar

I've never seen the inside of a grain elevator before.

This dirt trail is a nice detour.

Blog Archive