Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Morning Observations

Well, I didn't ride this morning; however, I have noticed that since I started over a year ago. I'm seeing more commuters. On my drive this morning I took the time to study the world passing by as I made my way to work. One of the trends I'm seeing is that some seem to have divested themselves of backpacks and the like and are actually using panniers. On my way home last night I even saw someone using a good set of lights; however, my excitement was offset by the fact that he was eastbound on the sidewalk of the westbound feeder of I-10. I'm still seeing a high percentage of Hispanics on "yard sculptures" Cheap Huffys and the like from Wallymart. However, I'm overall optimistic about cycle commutng in Houston.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Additional Engineering

Well, after contending with a tail heavy, bag flapping Mountain bike for the past couple months I decided to take the plunge and do something to the bike to re-balance the load. Last Saturday afternoon I took a trip to the new Performance Bike Store and I found a front rack solidly stuck on my hot little hands as well as one of their Metro Panniers.

The metro pannier is roughly the same size as my Computer tool bag, but with the advantage of being bike mountable. As for the front rack the Performance Transit front rack is pretty vanilla it works well, but I have a quibble. It was not designed for use with fenders and the spacers that came with it had to be hacksawed down so that there would be enough space for the longest screws to get purchase on the fork eyelets through the loops of the fender stays.

I'm looking forward to making a run soon to see how well the new arrangement works, but commuting is on hold as I'm spending more time on my road bike training for the MS150.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Friday 10/12 Run

Yeah.. I know I'm blogging about this a little late; however, I figured I needed some time to reflect on it. I finally wound up taking a commute run this past Friday as I found myself awake at 4am and everything close to ready (Or so I thought). I kept forgetting small items so I kept bouncing back into the house to make sure I had everything.

Finally, at 5am sharp I rolled out of the driveway and wound up only going 50 yards as I was greeted with an annoying grating sound as the wheels spun.. No Joy.. I had to stop and figure out what was rubbing. Much to my dismay my U-lock which is usually tucked in through the top of my rear rack and on the outside of the racks' back stay was on the inside. Translation: all bags on the left and top of the rack had to be removed and the lock reseated; however, even under the street light it was too dark to see where I had to tuck it so I wound up pulling it and shoving it into my left hand pannier. I then strapped everyting back down as best I could and continued on. The bike still creaked a little as my tool bag put pressure on the rear fender.. (Something that even when I have everything perfect is never a completely happy situation.)

Things were working well enough that I felt that it would not be a deterrent, so I pressed onward. It was a clear and warm predawn morning and I was making good time even heavily laden with panniers full of clothes and computer tools. I was seeing an average speed of 13 to 14 MPH and a cumulative average of 12 mph. In short order I bumped into Brian the-Memorial-Park-Horticulturist and we rode single file down Antione to Memorial Drive. As we reached the light I saw a road biker cross the intersection so that when we turned we were an 800 yard petalon of 3 cyclists. Which is by far the greatest number of cyclists passing through that section of Memorial Drive at that time of the morning I've seen to date. It gave me a minor thrill. I continued on through the park and on down to Westhiemer in record time. As it turns out I made it to work in an hour and eighteen minutes, a new record for this leg.

Usually, when I commute I start counting my work hours at 7am which is usually the time I'm dressed and ready to take cases; consequently my end time is 4pm. However, I usually begin winding things down by 3pm as I begin packing and getting ready by to get on the road and step off the campus at 4pm. The reason is that the section of my homeward route from Shepherd to Memorial drive and also running through Memorial Park to the 610 Loop becomes extremely hazardous from the rush hour traffic coming out of downtown. I found that the best and safest time to ge through this area is to be past the 610 loop before 4:30pm and to definitely be past it by 5pm. Otherwise I can gaurantee to be passed every three seconds by ignorant sheeple who don't have a clue to yield the far right lane to cyclists.. Something that can be most disconcerting.

Now, there is a second window of egress, but it doesn't occur untill after 6pm. On this day I planned to stay later and use this second window as I had a backlog of cases that I wanted to try to clear. However, I got caught on a case and rather perversly I didn't get on the road untill 10:30pm and home by 12am. The ride home wasn't too bad; however, it was a little disconcerting as it was one, Friday night and two I had to pass a number of bars in Houston's gay quarter. I was afraid that some gay lush was going to pull out and T-bone me; however, once cleared the gay zone and I made it past the Irish Bar on Shepherd I began to relax a little. Once, I made it past the 610 loop onto a familiar section of Memorial the ride became relaxing.

The only fly in the ointment on the ride was that my tool bag had flopped to one side and my griding noise was back.. My though at the time was "I have to rethink this" as I can't rely on picture perfect rigging to have a good ride. All in all despite being caught at work for too damn long it was a good day and one of the better rides I averaged an hour and 21 minutese there and back which is a new record..

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Another Short Rant.

Another thing that you should never do is use cycling underware in place of cycling shorts. If it's got a flap fly on it you should take the hint that it should be under some other item of clothing.

There is a park rider who is always in blue Cycling underware that is so tight his flabby body is extruded from all it's openings. To make it worse it's often the only thing he's got on and this land whale has a tatt0o of his waterborne cousin tattooed above his ass. He's got a dolphin (which in some circles is a synonymous symbol to the gay rainbow) tattooed on the small of his back. He either doesn't have a clue as to what the apparel he's wearing is for or he just doesn't give a damn that he's effctively riding around nearly naked. Simply sickening.