Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Did you guys send me the wrong part?

I'm feeling a bit lazy, the camera is put away and the shifters are on the dining room table up the stairs and halfway across the house, So no pics. I'll line up all the parts when I get them in. I'll document the transformation from flat-bar comfort bike to somewhat nimble (but still heavy) gravel and snow monster when the time is right.

I ordered some Shimano Ultegra SL-BS64 8 speed Bar-End shifters from Amazon last week. $64 and some change shipped to my door in six days.

I was worried: the box they came in says Dura-Ace. The additions from the seller provide some re-assurance that I received what I ordered: The packing slip says Ultegra. A bar code sticker on the back of the box says Ultegra.

The box had been opened and re-taped.

I was worried because the top-shelf Dura Ace 8 speed shifter offerings from Shimano from the early 90s only worked with the top-shelf Dura-Ace derailleur, while the lower end Ultegra works with just about all 8-speed SIS derailleurs made since.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I opened the box: a sticker affixed to the right-hand shifter says "Not for use with Dura-Ace" and the instructions say "Shimano 600 Ultegra SL-BS64". These should index properly (read: "click with each shift") with my lower-end Acera derailleurs. If not, then I'll learn to use friction shifters (read: "hunt for the right gear and no noise").

I'm a bit amused: the instructions are copyrighted 1991.

I might have to start harrassing the other sellers about my other parts, I got a bike to build here!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't stop playing!

There's an old proverb which says something like "we do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing."

Local racer Nancy Brown hasn't stopped playing. Here's an article at the Journal Star detailing her cycling at world championship events at age 68.

My favorite quote:

"So many people, they hit their 60s, they move to where there's a bunch of old people. Pretty soon they're walking like them."

Don't stop playing. You'll become ONE OF THEM.

Cycling Map of Lincoln

At one point I had an idea for a smartphone app that would allow me to update a map with one click and a pic for bike-friendly facilities. Others could add pics and places with a single click while out on a bike ride. It would be epic as it moved worldwide.

Two problems with this dream: I lack the time to develop such an app and I lack the smartphone needed to utilize the app.

But I'm not a complete spoil-sport: I'll provide a "go for it" and moral support for anyone else who thinks this is a cool idea and has the time to form it into something great.

I however, have found that I have time to click a Google map and add a few sentences. Cycling Map of Lincoln was born. I'll update the map as I find more bike racks (and theoretically more cycling-friendly businesses in the vicinity of said racks).

If you want a location (or locations!) pinned to the map, add it in a comment below!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall is here!

45 degrees this morning. 62 at lunchtime. High at about 75. Fall is finally here. In Nebraska that means we probably won't see the other side of 80 until mid-April 2011, and then the probability of freezing after we see our first 80 degree day is still really high.

I decided to bust out the wool socks for this morning's ride to work. My toes were a bit chilly, but I'll take that over "my toes feel like they're going to fall off".

(Both my bikes have the same S on the head tube. The things I own, own me.)

I'm going to savor this weather. There's only a few weeks left before the white stuff covers the ground...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Had to drive twice this week.

I woke up Tuesday and both bikes had flats. I'm not sure how I have two flats on the road bike. I fixed the not-road bike Tuesday night and found a small thorn in the front tire. I replaced the tube with a thorn resistant version. Sure it's heavy, but speed means nothing if you have to take 7 minutes to replace a tube.

Today is Thursday, my wife works late, I pick the kids up.

I often think about how much of a waste driving is when I don't ride.

Kiplinger estimates that replacing my 14 miles of driving with cycling saves me $5.66 a day. Most folks work 19.3 days a month on average, that amounts to more than $1300 a year.

Two problems with that computation:

1. Kiplinger assumes I replace a car with a bike, since it bases the savings off of 50c/mile, that number includes insurance and depreciation. My '99 Cavalier has no value to begin with, so depreciation is of no concern to me. I put far less than 7,500 miles on it annually, so I have "recreational use" insurance on it.

2. I eat an additional 750 calories a day, which costs more than $2.

On the other hand, I haven't filled the tank up in two and a half months. I got that goin for me, which is nice.

When I do drive, I take G/Randolph street from 17th to 33rd (or from 33rd to 17th). When I take A or O street, I often sit through two red lights at 27th street. G street is lightly trafficked, I often see 3, maybe 4 cars going in the same direction I am. I have to hit the 4 way stop by Lincoln High and then the lights at Capitol Parkway and 27th, but the wait is so short: I'm often the only car there in all three of those instances.

This distinct lack of traffic on a secondary road that traverses Lincoln's Core is why it makes perfect sense for the city to designate G/Randolph as Lincoln's first "Sharrow" street from Capitol Parkway all the way to 4th street. It will be marked in the coming days/weeks with a bicycle and two chevrons to alert drivers that cyclists will use this road.

The Sharrow will be celebrated on October 10, 2010 with a Massive Bike Ride.

I have converted a friend. She hasn't had a bicycle since high school and bought a $40 Huffy from Craigslist. I know: Friends don't let friends buy Wal-Mart Bikes, but all the not-wal-mart bikes on CL are $70+ and she's moving. Besides, this bike is super freaking clean.

She's moving to Havelock and has a 4 mile commute to work each way. Instead of adding a car to Cornhusker highway, she's adding a bicycle to the Dietrich Bikeway.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Some people Bungee jump, I pedal through tornado watches.

I should have remembered the camera. This was an awesome ride home.

I checked the weather before I left work. I allegedly had a 20mph wind from the SSW, that usually means I get home in about 17 minutes.

I walked out and it was calm. The sun was peeking out from behind a few clouds. Hmm.

And then I saw a massive front moving in from the north as I approached the bridges at 27th and highway 2. So that's why there's no wind.

The wind started blowing out of the northeast about 1/4 mile past highway two and kept getting stronger. Same effort that started out at 19mph turned into 17, then 15, then 13, then 9.

I don't know how it happened, but one minute I was grinding it out against the wind and the next minute I had a branch stuck in my derailleur. I couldn't pedal. I had to fish it out with a terrible wind blowing and rain falling all around me.

The wind had shifted and strengthened after I passed under Capitol Parkway and 27th. I was pelted with all manner of small debris from there to Randolph street. One normally doesn't have to wait for cars at Randolph street, because there aren't any.

Of course that doesn't happen today. No sir. Today I had to wait for 8 cars from each direction. That's when the wind really picked up. I got hit by a few small objects that stung a bit.

I honestly thought I was going to get picked up and dropped in Oz just as the light let me go through.

I saw a branch fall off a tree and land across Capitol Parkway at Lincoln High. Tires screeched as cars tried to avoid it and each other. I pressed on. I turned on to J street and headed up the path, where small branches, leaves, signs, dirt and assorted house debris blew across the path in front of me. I stopped under the O street bridge and let the worst of it pass for a few minutes.

It was at that moment that I realized I had been laughing the whole time.