Saturday, December 31, 2005

Month and Year End Totals

The total miles for December (2 rides) is: 21.4 miles.

The total for 2005 is: 1,296 miles!! Not bad.

Party Graphic

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


When I checked the local Weather Channel page at 3:45 today, it reported the temperature at 51°. I quickly decided that a ride was in order and left work early. My office is in a basement, so I can't see what the conditions are like outside. I was happy to find a sunny day with not too much wind. I drove home and changed clothes.

Unfortunately, the sun was covered with clouds by the time I got outside. Still, it was at least 45°, so I headed towards Granville. The ride was uneventful, but it felt good. I arrived at the bridge pretty quickly.

Muddy Wabash River with Ice
Ice and debris in the Wabash River

Heading back home, I took River Road past the Gourd house and the Fort, and returned home on Newman Road. The horses were having supper.

Horses at Supper
Horses Having Supper

Will this be the last ride of the year? I thought the last one was.

Miles Ridden: 10.0

Friday, December 23, 2005

Just a Couple of Errands

I've been watching the weather reports all week, and I knew that this was maybe the last day when I could get a ride in for December. The above freezing temperatures yesterday and today have been melting the snow and ice on my street. Without the thaw, I would have to walk my bike down the hill to the main road. Since I'm not equipped for very cold weather riding (the pants didn't work out - more later), I'm not planning to head out for a 20 degree ride. Today was the day.

However, I was doing a great job of talking myself out of it. I planned to leave at 3:00 - the warmest part of the day - so I laid around all morning, and took my daughter shopping after lunch. As I was driving home, a nap was sounding much better than a cold ride. Right before the designated time, I sat down here web surfing instead of getting ready. I finally convinced myself that I would do better if I went into town to run some errands than heading for Granville. Right then, my wife called needing a pick up at the mall. I figured that I had missed my window for today, and I headed east in the car. On the way, I kept thinking that I would regret it later if I missed my only chance for a December ride, and I decided to head out as soon as I got back.

That nap was really calling me! I made the mistake of sitting down in the recliner and actually slept for about 5 minutes. I finally dragged myself out of the chair, changed into my improvised cold weather gear (bike shorts, sweats, t-shirt, sweat shirt, and windbreaker - way too much cotton), grabbed my grocery bag pannier, and left around 4:20.

Things started well, even though there was still some snow and slush on my street. I wished that I changed my tires, as the slicks did not find much purchase on that little downhill. Still upright, I found Newman Road and headed up the hill. Immediately, I was warm and sweaty under the sweatshirt. I toyed with the idea of taking it off, but my cold ears told me that things could change quickly if I exposed that damp t-shirt to the wind. I tooled through the nearly empty campus and traveled up Grant and Salisbury Streets towards the video store. The bike lanes were full of snow, ice, slush, water, and trash and were pretty much unusable. With very little traffic, it was no problem sharing the lane with the cars.

From the video store to Ace Hardware, I decided against joining the much faster traffic on US 52. So, I had to ride the sidewalks and parking lots for about half a mile. There were several portage points where I hefted the bike over concrete car stops, snow piles, and mud holes.

When I arrived, I noticed that it was getting dark a little more quickly than I had planned. I bought a pack of AAA batteries for the rear blinky light in case it was low (it wasn't). After I left my final stop at the convenience store for milk, I was wishing that I had a headlight. I took the Cattail Trail from Northwestern and Lindberg to Stadium and McCormick to avoid auto traffic. At one point, I was racing a squirrel that was running along the fence next to the trail.

The final leg along SR26, Newman Road, and Division was uneventful. The temperature was apparently dropping, as I was no longer feeling warm. By the time I got home, my ears were feeling pretty cold. Here it is after 8:00, and they are still kind of tingly. I need to get one of those headband things to keep my ears and forehead warm.

Miles Ridden: 11.4

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Where Will They Be Delivered?

I was thinking that it is taking a while for the bike pants to arrive. Looking at the tracking page, I now see why.

Click to embiggen

Look in the left corner where it says "No address provided by shipper". I guess they will just pick a house, throw them on the porch, and run away.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Still Going Nowhere

It's day 2 on the stationary bike. Today, I "travelled" 7.5 miles in 32 minutes, burning 273 calories.

I mentioned yesterday that I'm not counting these miles in my annual total, but my legs disagree. I think that I work a little harder in the club than I do on the road.

Also, my thumbs are getting a workout as I am filing these reports via my Blackberry. I'm looking forward to getting back to my keyboard.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Does This Count?

I'm attending a conference in Chicago this week. I didn't bring along my bike this time, so I'm not riding the cold downtown streets. However, I was able to put in some time on the stationary bike.

I love these computerized machines! This hotel has installed all new equipment since my visit last year at this time, so everything was all new. I was able to watch TV on the screen (A&E Classroom) while pedaling. The computer told me that I had travelled 6.5 miles in 30 minutes, burning 241 calories. There was another metric called METs. I'm not sure what that is, but it required the entry of my weight. (The weight entry screen defaulted to 150! I was pushing the "up" arrow for quite a while.)

This bike was a recumbent style machine. I don't know if using it is anything like riding a real 'bent, but if so, I'm not likely to get one. My rear went numb abouit 10 minutes in.

I'm not going to count these "miles" in my annual total, yet I still feel pretty good today.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

New Tubes

After dropping my daughter at the movie theater today, I walked over to Hodson's Bay Company for some new tubes. I've never kept spare ones at home. I've only had one flat since taking up biking almost 10 years ago. Sure, I'm tempting fate here. Anyway (or as we say in Indiana - Anyways), I thought I would pick up a couple before changing my tires.

I'm switching to my other tires. They aren't knobbies, but they have more of a tread than the slicks I have on there now. My plan to ride at least once in each month of the year will require some snow riding in December for sure, so I'm going for a little better tread to help my chances of not wiping out.

I've never been much of a mechanic, and while I'm not ashamed of it, it is a bit of a confidence drainer when asking questions at the bike shop. (Imagine how freaked I get at the auto mechanic!) Luckily, the bike shop guys are very patient.

I had my son read the tire size off the tire hanging in the garage (26 x 1.62). I told the clerk that size, and he asked the dreaded question: Schraeder or Presta? I know that these are different valve types, but I can't never remember which is which.

"Whichever is the normal one" I answered - looking at the floor.

He gave me the Schraeder valve without laughing.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

So Far This Year

[Tape Measure]

I finally measured the missing mileage from the ride on June 18, so I can report my total for the year so far.

1,275 Miles!

Not bad, don't you think? I had an unofficial, secret goal of 1,200 miles this year, so it looks like I made it. For this last month, I'd like to just ride at least once. I'm looking for one semi-warm, sort of dry day.

On Ferry Street

Bike chained to fence in snow

An homage to Martino.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Pants on Order

Gill® Freedom PantOK, so I found some bike pants to try from Performance Bike. We'll see how they work out.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sorry, It's Not Going to Happen

I guess I'm not just a 'ride in the winter' kind of guy. For one reason, I don't have the proper clothing. Where does a guy with a 42" waist and a 30" inseam find bike pants to keep the wind out? I bought an XL pair, and I couldn't even pull them up! I thought that The Amazing Shrinking Man! had found something, but no pants, only tights. I used to have a pair that I got from Performance Bike or Bike Nashbar several years ago, but I lost them in a move.

The weather hasn't stopped these brave souls:
I guess Stormcrowe and I will have to try another day.

(OK, now I'm looking through the Performance Bike site, and a couple of the pants look promising. More later.)