Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 1/27 Commute.

On Monday I saw that we were going to have one more warm afternoon with temperatures in the 70s so I decided to commute Tuesday morning. I almost hate saying it, but the morning run was routine there really wasn't anything to report. As a first leg of the ride though I was seven minutes off my "average" of an hour and 20 minutes. Like I said before though not bad for being out of practice. I was just glad to get some mileage in before the weather changed.

The ride home was truly wonderful as the temperature was right around 70 and I still had sufficient daylight left when I left the campus. This ride home was probably the most commuter filled I have ever seen to date. I know I saw at least three as I was coming down West Alabama. Two of those based on what they were riding in what they were carrying were true cycle commuters like myself. I even had the rare pleasure of bumping into a female cyclist as I was coming down Wesleyan; however, I did not have an opportunity to speak with her. As I arrived to Wesleyan I started noticing that the clouds were starting to build and the wind was starting to pick up. Consequently, I started picking up my own pace as the last thing I needed was to be caught out in the weather. By the time I got a third of the way down Tanglewood Road the cold front rolled in and announced itself with a nice hard gust against my front wheel and the temperature went from a nice balmy 70° down to 55 in the span of 15 minutes. Once I got onto Chimney Rock I started putting on the coal as it was then I started to lose daylight. I passed under I-10 and onto Wirt (same road as Chimney Rock, but gets renamed north of I-10)and somewhere around Wedgewood Lane I was passed by a southbound commuter who was riding on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, there was no time to really stop and chat, but we didacknowledge each other as we passed. I have no clue why he was on the sidewalk, but I'm guessing he was going to pull a left and did not want to contend with traffic. The remainder of the ride had nothing to report other than being a race against daylight. I did choose to use my NiteRider USB backup light instead of my primary Cyglolite for the ride down Westview. The Cyglolite is a bit of a pain to chargethat it has to be timed exactly to six hours due to a lack of power regulation/smart charging circuitry and I didn't feel like dealing with it when getting home. I found the NiteRider USB to put out sufficient light, but nothing to write home about. I definitely prefer the power of the Cyglolight; consequently that is why I use it as the primary headlight. I made it home right as it was getting completely dark and it felt good to have another 31 miles in for the year. The next couple mornings are to have morning lows in the mid 30s to upper 40s; consequently, I'm not feeling inclined to ride because I still lack good cold weather gear to contend with those temperatures comfortably.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The 1/23 ride report a couple days late

Yeah I know I'm late and I should have done this back on Friday or even Saturday; however, life tends to get in the way and I was still digesting a bit of insight from the ride. Anyhow, on Wednesday I saw the Thursday and Friday weather was going to be passable. Unfortunately I had a meeting on Thursday that I wasn't sure I would be able to ride to due to time and security constraints, but Friday was in the clear. So even though Thursday night I was half in the tank I gritted my teeth and got my gear together to ride.

The morning ride broke no records as I wasn't expecting to seeing that my last full on commute was over three weeks ago. It wasn't too bad though as I was about 7 minute off average and I saw some signs of cycling life as I made my way through Memorial Park. I saw a petalon of rec riders headed west as I had just cleared the park. Other than that the morning run in was dead routine.

The ride home was routine up untill the turn from W. Alabama onto Weslayan about a block from there I was passed by a mouthy little high school dropout/kid and his girlfriend who were absolutely convinced that all bikes belonged on the sidewalk. As they passed me this stupid kid flipped me the bird and yelled "dude, get on the sidewalk!" Unfortunately for them the light changed to red and I was able to catch up with them. When I looked in the window I told them, "under state law I am a vehicle;" however, it was wasted breath because no sooner than I had uttered it it occurred to me that these two kids were just brain-dead. Their only response to me was, "dude, get on the sidewalk." It then occurred to me that no matter what the law might be these kids just wouldn't care. The only thing that mattered to them is being inconvenienced by having to go around me and the only way that they would learn the lesson was if their provocation lead to a horrible accident. In a way I'm thankful to them because I made the realization that there's just some people that have no redeeming qualities and deserve whatever horrible outcome that these qualities bring upon them. Somehow, I shouldn't be surprised that I had this altercation. Every time I wear a blaze orange jersey as I was wearing one this day. I seem to have a conflict with a motorist. The rest of the ride was pretty much routine.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

BikeHouston Annual Meeting Announcement

BikeHouston Annual Meeting-January 27, 2009

BikeHouston’s invites you to attend the Annual Meeting on Tuesday, January 27, 2009, at 6:30 p.m., in the Houston Environmental Center, 3015 Richmond, 1st floor conference room. Please join them in their efforts to make Houston safe and accessible for cyclists. Food and refreshments will be provided by El Meson from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM with a meeting start time of 7:00 PM. The guest speaker will be Dan Raine, AICP LCI, who currently serves as the City of Houston Bicyclist-Pedestrian Coordinator. Dan will be speaking about the Houston Bikeway Program and the measures that the City is undertaking to improve our on and off street bikeway network. Dan Raine is a Transportation Planner with 15 years experience, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and a League Certified Instructor (LCI) with the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Prior to joining the City of Houston, Dan was the former Pedestrian-Bicyclist Coordinator with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). In addition, Robin Stallings, Executive Director of Bike Texas/ Texas Bicycle Coalition, Austin, Texas will provide a legislative update on bicycling initiatives pending before the Texas Legislature.

BikeHouston is a local Houston organization promoting bike access, safe bicycling, education, and public awareness of the personal and community benefits of cycling.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The First 15 of '09

Houston has had some mild weather for the start of the year. It was 64 Degrees when I left my house this morning. It was a thoroughly delightful ride to TSU. The only glitch (if you can call it that) is I believe I forgot to take my morning meds so I might not be very wakeful for the rest of the day. The ride itself could not be any better. Granted, it wasn't record time as I got to the back door of Hannah hall in an hour 20 minutes, but the senstations of the morning were worth the trade off.

Either we had some morning showers or a lot of sprinkler systems had run long, but the last portion of Westview and the north portion of Antoine were well soaked and I enjoyed the wet earthy smell of the wet street and felt very grateful the I speced out the '07 Sirrus with Planet Bike Cascadias as I would have been well striped without them. I also kept hitting chuck holes or seeing road irregularities that just turnd out to be shadows. Other that that, I came across a bike ninja on Hazard St. just after crossing Westhiemer and after Greeting him I warned him, "Dude! Get some lights!" I didn't hear any replies, but I found myself annoyed at him for his unsafe practice. Hell Even if he road with a flashlight in hand would be better than nothing.