Thursday, July 31, 2008


Indian Pale Ale.  I can't stand the stuff. It just tastes sour to me.

But we just slow-cooked some chicken in an IPA based marinade and it was awesome.  For the record IPA was not in the recipe, but the Horn Dog we have in the fridge wouldn't exactly have worked with the spices.  So we cracked the last bottle of IPA we keep in reserve for folks that like really hoppy beer, and tada!

On today's ride home from work there was one of the speed signs with the radar gun, and it clocked me at 19.  

I was pretty excited.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Solving the world's problems

Today’s ride home had its high points and its low points.

The first low was when I couldn’t keep up with two guys crossing the Mendota Bridge. I usually pride myself on being able to keep up with others, and I just couldn’t do it. My excuse is that when I started riding home I pedaled really hard and my thighs were not warmed up yet, and hurt the whole trip after. Weak excuse but that is how I perceived it. As one of my friends named Jim says: “the problem young people have is they don’t know how to pace themselves.”  

my bad.

The second low came just as I was coming up along the exit from 55 to Hiawatha. I was being passed by a polite guy on a red lugged Trek and a small sparrow flushed out of the shadows missed him and hit my front spokes with a “BONG!”

I think I killed it....

I don’t know....

So I entered Minnehaha Park not feeling so good. I felt slow, dehydrated, and like I had just run over a song bird.

But then a chance to redeem myself!

A person in distress! Pushing her rusting yellow Schwinn Collegiate with a flat rear tire.

“Do you need a pump, patch, or a tire?” I ask pulling up. She wasn’t sure. So I triied putting air in. No good. So I call Shannon’s phone tell it I’ll be 15-20 minutes late. The nice thing about dealing with older bikes regularly is that you come prepared for working on older bikes. The back wheel was held in place by a 17mm bolt. I happen to carry a 17mm socket. It took but a moment to pull the wheel and then the tire off, and another to find the tear. Less than 15 minutes to patch and reassemble the wheel. The tire was old and the rubber was starting to crack apart so I pumped the tire up to 60 psi not the 90 it prescribed.

We hopped onto our bikes and headed our separate ways. I had new energy, becasue I had been of some use.

If you are reading this, your bike needs new tires. they can be had cheaply, two for as little as 20 bucks or so, but you’ll be happier for it. Patch kits are nice and also cheap. And a crescent wrench can solve a lot of the world’s problems.

I finished off the evening with a nice Barley Wine style ale with some delicious chicken tacos Shannon made. I’m feeling pretty good about the day as a whole.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The taste of metal

Actually a pretty good short story if you are in the market for one.

This is not the material of a good short story, but me thinking about how long I've been doing the same thing.  A lot has changed in the last 4 years. But I am starting to notice a different something about things.  And it makes my ears prick...

I like my job most days, but... I don't know what.

mostly I lack a unified theory of beer.  I really just cannot stand IPAs.  They taste metallic to me. maybe I've just had  a bad run  of IPAs.  But I love a good dark ale or a stout.  Like a thick oatmeal stout served in a large snifter...

I used to believe in the opacity test, but that really lacks causation.  Mostly I really like stouts which are opaque, but there are some belgian beers that are quite translucent and 11.3%.  There was this Roquefort I tried that was very distinctive, and knocked me on my ass.  I'll have to keep an eye out for it again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Run Away!

We didn't make it to Elysian. A thunderstorm chased us back to the car. But we did get twenty miles in on the Sakatah trail before fleeing.

Shannon has a really good post about our adventures.

Things that we figured out on this ride were:
1. cannot be trusted
2. Food is heavy
3. The thunderstorm is never going the other way

It was a beautiful day though thirty miles east. And we still had a nice day of riding though it was divided between trails.

Frenchie did just get out of the shop again. The new wheel works so much better than the old one it is like comparing apples to hermaphroditic sloths.

Also, our new camera can attach directly onto the handlebars, which is wicked cool. No having to dig out the Ammo box right now.

Here is us in Cannon Falls after our ride.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

As the wheel turns

So the old rim and spokes were pretty well shot.  What was suggested was that a new rim get laced onto the old hub and we start fresh.  Shannon picked Frenchie up from the shop today, and I think it looks pretty good.

So tomorrow we will bike from Faribault to however far we feel like.  If we make it to Mankato perhaps we'll terrorize the folks we know in Upper North.  We'll at least go as far as Elysian, cuz I mean really.  It begs for slap styx comedy.

pictures to follow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bloody hell

I'm glad it waited for a work day and didn't break a couple miles outside Haistings. God that would have been terrible if the spoke broke coming down that hill...

So yeah, another spoke broke. I am now inclined to start thinking about having the wheel rebuilt. And then I think... I wonder how smaller wheels might feel... would certainly be easier to get the back wheel out of the frame.


maybe what I'll do is put a rack on the three-speed and pump the tires up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Longest day of the year

No, I did not mean the Summer Solstice.  That party has been and gone.I mean the longest day of riding I have had yet this year.  It was a store ride from Hiawatha Cyclery.  We went around Lake Pepin, clocking 72.37 miles. Longer than my previous longest day by almost a factor of 2.   I would have needed another 8 miles.  I set a new top speed on Frenchie at 38.6 miles per hour. It was a nice sized group of 11 people.  I was happy to be able to keep up with everyone else.

The morning started off humid and cool.  But as the clouds and fog burned off it turned into a beautiful sunny day.

We stopped at the Smiling Pelican.  The Cherry Popper I had was about five minutes from the oven.  A buttery sweetbread with cherries in the middle.  

We stopped in Wabasha for lunch at the Eagle's Nest.  I thought we were heading to Austria, but appreciated not have to ride through the Alps.

It's Jim!

the refuge

Frenchie being a good bike.

Everyone in Lake City cooling off in the shade.  I'm pretty sure the population is more than 11.  It was all of our group hanging out at this time.

I think it is time to figure out the water problem.

Monday, July 14, 2008

maybe if they had some lava

I'm not a big fan Pulp Fiction, but John Travolta's line from the bathroom just keeps popping in there.  Just look out for Marshmallow men.

Here is one of my favorite of the volcano pictures. I think Shannon took it.

on this screen it looks a little yellowish, but it should be reddish. at least it was in Photoshop...

And those damn CR2 formats. errgh.  I had to open the picture in Preview and save it as a TIFF just to have the privilege of opening it in photoshop.

The website is down

I saw this on Blood Sweat and Gears.

I laughed so hard I got a bloody nose.

Airport security

I don't dress up to travel.  Some people are in the security line looking like they just stepped out of Tiffany's.  I look like I am about to go hiking.  I like loose fitting clothes, zip-off pant legs in case I get cold or warm.  But I also get searched a lot going through security.

Some people suggest it is the Mamiya that causes the trouble.  Not a lot of people travel with large cameras like that.  And I usually travel with it.  I like the 6x4.5cm format.  I like the way the math changes on exposures.  Through an x-ray machine it prolly looks like something gruesome.  I don't know, they never let me look.

But I was searched at the airport going from Hawaii to Oahu and leaving Oahu heading for home.  And they were the most pleasant airport security people I have ever been searched by.  They were just as thorough as the grumbling people at MSP, they opened all my camera bags and swabbed everything down, but they smiled and made small talk about our stay in Hawaii.  I actually enjoyed being searched.  I felt like I had taken part in some sort of happy exit poll.


I don't mean that those guide books were wrong about much else at all. The restaurants they suggest were excellent.  And the beaches where they said turtles could be found had turtles.  

I am just saying: there is biking on those islands. 

The place we stopped for shaved ice was just down the street from that other place, and the nice people behind the counter were precisely that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Big Island Revealed and Oahu Revealed were wrong about something

Biking specifically.

The only roads that did not have bike lanes, or share the road signs that I noticed were H1 and H3.  

I would venture that the islands are very bike friendly.  But then, were are getting used to more urban biking and the authors prolly expected people looking for island biking to have off road mountain biking in mind.  

But all day and on every road we saw cyclists.

We watched a guy bike up to the Pali lookout on the old highway (which is now a paved trail for pedestrians since the road goes through the mountain now rather than over it) and then go screaming back down. Not Tarzan screaming, but his knobby tires made that TIE fighter "CHWHAAAAAAAAAA" sound.

So don't forget to bring your Travelers Checks with you.  There is beautiful biking in Hawaii, though most of it is going to be on a bike lane.

wool socks

yes I when I was wearing socks in Hawaii they were wool.

Nice light Smartwool socks.  Awesome.

In that picture of me: woolens

Signs of Hawaii

I think this sign is trying to tell us not to drive down the dirt road to the southernmost point in the United States.  

Specifically not to offroad, but since the road more or less ends a couple hundred yards from there and what continues are two tracks in the grass what are we to do?

As a side note: Kapu used to be punishable by death in Hawaii.  

This next sign was at the ranger station by an old lava flow in Volcanos National Park.  

And the seals are also out to get you

And so is the lava.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The first of many vacation posts

It's early, but not early enough for a long post.

We've been home from vaca for a couple days now and I've been building up to the first post about what and where we've been up to.

Just before leaving I had a discussion of bike helmets with an RN.  And she made some compelling arguments for me to wear a helmet.  But that just wasn't enough.

I saw on a friend's Facebook page pictures of him getting stitches and his busted helmet. And that scared me a bit.

But the second day we were in Hawaii, I was riding shotgun and looking to the left when the motorcycle next to us got taken out.

caveat: The motorcycle did pull in front of the other car.

But watching the guy roll over the windshield shook me.