Saturday, August 29, 2009

Have No Fear, The Great T Shirt Is Here !!

Thanks to Rich Wharton and PM at Cycle*Dallas, I got this awesome T Shirt pictured below.
I picked up this T Shirt at the Bike Shop at REI Dallas, where Rich had dropped it off for me. I put it on right away. I love this shirt. It is so bright that even a "blind driver" can see me. The material is so light you can hardly feel it on your body. I couldn't quite tell how well it wicked moisture because of the superb weather in Dallas today, but I am sure it will do just fine.

Thanks, Cycle*Dallas!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Front Carrier on The Americano

You may recall from my last post that the front Reelight on the Amreicano was getting in the way of installing the front carrier. Well, after pondering about it last night, I finally decided to remove both the front and rear Reelights from my Americano and install the Front Carrier.

I will be installing the Reelights on the Cannondale T-800. The front carrier is also made by Tubus and it is a lowrider, Tara.

This installation took me about 30 minutes. I had to retrace my steps based on my memory of how I had installed it on the Cannondale T-800.
Here is GCMA (Green Co-Motion Americano) unloaded!
Here is GCMA (Green Co-Motion Americano) partially loaded! Once I add my front panniers, it will be a wrap!!
The bags on the GCMA are:
  1. Small Handlebar bag
  2. Tail Rider
  3. The Bug
  4. Utility Basket
All my pannier bags are made by Arkel. I especially love Arkel because they are excellent bags and they are made in Canada, where I believe workers are paid a decent wage. It is NOT a sweatshop product!! Plus, I went to school in Canada.

I use The Bug and the Utility Basket when I am riding around town. For my future self-supported touring, I have the G-54 and I plan to buy a pair of GT-18 or GT-18BP for the front.

Well, this wraps up 50% of my recent project list. I still have to fix the scratches on the bike.

Peace :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rear Carrier on The Americano

Tonight I completed one half of the 2 projects on my list from yesterday. I removed the Tubus Logo Rear Carrier (Pannier Rack) from my Cannondale T-800 and installed it on the Americano.
Now, this ain't rocket science but takes a little bit of work. If you have done it once, you can do it again in about 20 minutes. The first time might take a bit longer.

Here is the rack before installation on the Americano. I used Adobe to make the background in this picture!
Here comes the custom light holder that I co-invented with a friend of mine.
This special part is made of a portion of an old seat post and a little bracket that takes two bolts and a connecting piece, which we just rigged out of some old bike parts that were laying around. My friend welded the parts together. Now you may be wondering why all this fuss about this special part. It will be clear to you soon ...

Here is the Tubus Logo, all cleaned up and ready to be installed!
Now, back to that special part I was showing off earlier...I use it to mount my Dinotte tail light. I basically bolt the part to my Logo. Here is a close-up of the special part!
The installation of the rack, as I mentioned before is fairly simple. As with any installation, some people like to follow the instructions provided to a tee and some don't. I do read the installation instructions.

The next 3 pictures provide a closer view of the installed rack. The one right below shows how the rack attaches to one of the stays near the rear axle.
The Americano comes with nice seat-stays which makes the installation of the Logo a breeze. See below for a close-up view!
And, a different POV of the same detail.
I like to make sure that the rack is parallel to the ground so the pannier bags do not slide. In order to accomplish this, I use a level. I leave a level on the rack during the installation so I can make sure it is installed properly.
The only other tool I used for this installation is my nifty Allen wrench.
Here is how the rack looks once it is all done!

Tubus provides various accessories to their carriers. I did not need any special parts other than what came with the rack. The rack basically comes with some Allen bolts (the kind you use for mounting a water bottle cage) and that's all.

I was planning to install the Tubus Tara Front Carrier on the Americano tonight. I have Reelights on my Americano. The installation of the rear carrier was not affected by the rear Reelight. However, I have to remove the Reelight in the front in order to install the front carrier. The clamp to which the Reelight is attached to gets in the way of mounting the front rack. That's the next half of the rack/carrier installation project!

Peace :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not a long way but still a nice commute to work!

This is my bike route to work from my neck of the woods.
Over and above partially tooting my horn about the beautiful neighborhood of Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, where I live, this post also serves another purpose. This great purpose is to teach myself how to embed a Google Map into a web page or a blog :)

This information is available in public domain. Your guess is correct, no, I did not invent this LOL!


View Larger Map

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two New Projects!

I would like to start working on two projects this week.

  1. Remove the rear and front pannier racks on the Cannondale T-800 and install them on the Americano. I plan to start riding the Americano more often on weekend rides, preferably at least partially loaded.
  2. Fix the scratches on the Americano. I have never done fixing up of scratches before. So, this will be my first project (kinda nervous actually).
That's what's new in my neck of the woods. How is it by you?

Peace :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

If you build it, they will come!

Well, we all know the famous lines, "If you build it, they will come".
When I moved to Texas in 2008, there was no bike rack at my work.
I used to park my bike in the bridge, which they did not mind at all.
There were only two of us then, myself and Mr. E.

I did not have to lock my bike or anything.
I would simply park it in the bridge and it would be there when I left for home.
Towards the end of 2008 or so, I was informed that they were going to install a bike rack. And, true to their word, they did install a really nice rack, in the 2nd floor of parking garage.

I park my bike in the bike rack since then and so does Mr. E.
And, we two are the only ones parking in this really beautiful and expensive rack. No one else has joined us yet.

The bike rack has been built. Will they come? :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Really Cool Pickup Truck!



MKS Lambda Platform Pedals

I have not used Clipless pedals for a while now. For a while, I wasn't sure. I pondered about the "efficiency" factor. Then, finally decided they were not worth the hassle. Now, all my bikes have platform pedals.

Last week, I replaced my MKS Touring pedals on the Co-Motion Americano with a pair of MKS Lambda pedals. Now, these may also be called Grip King pedals. I compared the information, both quantitative and qualitative (pictures), on both the pedals, and arrived at the conclusion that they are exactly the same pedals.

Now, for these pedals, Rivendell Bicycle Works charges $62.00 ($54 + $8 for UPS Ground) and I found Niagara Bicycle Works (through Amazon.com) charges $36.84 ($32.50 + $4.34 for UPS Ground). I bought mine from Amazon.com!

I have ridden close to 40 miles with these pedals now and I am absolutely loving them. They look bigger than the MKS Touring pedals but surprisingly weigh about the same (11.6 ounces).

Through the picture below, I have tried to compare the dimension of the Touring and the Lambda pedals. Both these pedals have bodies made of Aluminum and spindles made of CrMo.
MKS claims that these pedals (both Lambda and the Touring) can be serviced in a traditional manner. It has been eons since I opened up a pedal and serviced it. For now, I figure I will ride'em the way they are until any issues arise. Then I will think about servicing them.

I have ridden the Lambda pedals with my Keen sandals (regular Keen sandals, not the commuter) and the pedals are grip the sandals very well. I have also found that Stealth Rubber shoes, such as the FiveTen Impact shoes, pretty much glue themselves these pedals. I am pretty confident you can ride these pedals with any shoe and you will do great!

Peace :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ass on the roadway!

FreeDictionary.com defines the word ass as follows:

n. pl. ass·es (sz)
1. Any of several hoofed mammals of the genus Equus, resembling and closely related to the horses but having a smaller build and longer ears, and including the domesticated donkey.
2. A vain, self-important, silly, or aggressively stupid person.

In this post, I am referring to the kind in definition # 2 above!

Well, I ran into (figuratively) one of them yesterday. Rather it almost ran into (literally) me.

Here is what happened :

So, yesterday morning, I am headed to work. At the intersection of Cimmaron and MacArthur, I am stopped behind 2 cars in the left turn / straight lane. The right lane is a Right Only lane at this intersection. Once the light turns green, I start rolling and so do the other cars, and I hear someone honk.

Well, I usually ignore honks.

Next this guy in a Lexus (I thought it was a Jeep at first) cuts me off from the right lane and travels 100 feel ahead of me, all that just to pull into the parking lot on the left, by the Irving Public Library.

Normally, I would say "Heck with it" and move on but this morning I was particularly tired and didn't feel like putting up the rudeness (I thought it was).

So, I rode up to about 50 feet from where this "gent" was parked and took a picture of him and his car.

All I really wanted to do at this point was to take a picture of his vehicle so as to let him know I am not taking his balderdash lightly.

So, the professionally dressed jerk goes, "Why are you taking a picture of my car?".

I am not good at altercations and hoping he would not ask anything more, I simply reply, "I wasn't taking a picture of your car...".

Then, he goes, "I am just curious. What were you taking a picture of?".

I say, "None of your business. It is a free country. BTW, you cut me off at the intersection".

He tries to justify it by saying, "I did not cut you off! I was driving properly". I said, "Yeah, Right", and moved on.

What an ass!

I am sure y'all have come across these types and I am looking for y'all wisdom :)

Questions:

1. Did I break the law by taking a picture of this jerk?
2. Should I mace these jerks next time? (J/K).

Suggestions please, my comrades!

Thanks a bunch in advance!!

Peace Smile (I mean it but I too get worked up at times).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Don't think I need to call a Shrink but it does hurt :(

Well, you know how it felt when you found that first little scratch on your auto. It ain't no different when you find that first annoying scratch on your bike either. I found some scratches on my Green Co-Motion Americano and it hurt like crazy :(
I know where these scratches came from. They came from the Cannondale F6's platform pedals. They must have rubbed on the Co-Motion, while in the truck, during transit to the WRL, last weekend.

It sucks and it is painful...But, I have to move on, I suppose. This too shall pass :)

Arabian Knight ...

I rode to Whiterock Lake (WRL) from Irving today. Total mileage : 52.

I hop on the WRL Trail at Medical City (near Forest and Hillcrest).

Liquids consumed : 3 liters of water and two cups of iced-coffee.

I always eat before I ride. It helps me a great deal!

Breakfast
: 3 fried eggs and 2 fresh tomatoes!

I think today's high was around a 97 degrees. In spite of that, I saw lots of people, out, having fun!

Kids were playing soccer on the fields adjacent to the WRL Trail. I always stop and take a picture of these kids. No matter how hot it is, kids always seem to have fun! Boy, what would I not give to get their energy :)
The Tennis Courts near Fair Oaks were busy and hopping also.
Last Sunday, when I rode the WRL Trail with my kid, it was flooded in some parts due to some heavy downpour we had the previous night. Today, the trail was dry as it can be. No excess rain water on the path! The creeks were still abundantly filled with water and the usual inhabitants of the trail where making it all worth it.
I usually go around the WRL once before I eat my lunch, somewhere under a tree. I did the same today and it was especially nice to take a break from the sun beating relentlessly on me.

Lunch : 20 Ounce Peace and Blueberry Shake with 2 scoops of Jay Robb Egg White Protein, 1 apple and 10 raw almonds, 10 raw walnuts. Eaten under a nice shady tree :)
Lots of riders were on the trail today, both on the way to the WRL and on the path surrounding the lake. There were plenty of sailboats. The blue sky and puffy clouds made it all look really picturesque!!
After lunch, I completed the rest of my usual ride around certain other parts of the WRL. I always make it a point to go by the Dog Park. The pooches were smart and they were having a ball in the water.
Please, y'all - Don't tell these two that I went and played with other pooches :)
After watching and visitng with some of the pooches and their humans, I rode back to Irving to feed the hungry monster :)

Dinner : Mildly seasoned Cooked lentil curry with Tomatoes with 4 Corn Tortillas!

Epilogue : As much as I love riding my bicycle, I also love to sleep in, on weekends. I usually am up, pretty late, during the week and I catch up on sleeping over the weekend. Anyways, this translates into starting times later than 11 AM for my weekend rides. This combined with the torrid North Texas summers, usually means I get roasted in the sun. Well, today was no exception! I did get hot but I temporarily turned into a desert traveler and survived burning my neck. Well, see for yourselves :)
I have seen many a cyclist wear different types of head-gear while traveling through hot places. I always wondered why and today I know :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

What keeps me going: an interview with Peter Gostelow

Peter Gostelow is an inspiration to me!

What keeps me going: an interview with Peter Gostelow

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Yak-A-Doodle-Do :(

My ride to work yesterday was almost uneventful. There was hardly any traffic, on my usual route, on Cimmaron Trail or Vally Ranch Parkway :)
There was no traffic on La Villita, as usual, which is one of the reasons I take that road. I do not like to be hassled in the mornings.
It was all good and the ride was great, until I got on Las Colinas and headed South towards Royal Lane. Again, there was hardly any traffic. I kept riding as usual, enjoying the nice view and the pleasant warmth of the morning sun.
Heading South on Las Colinas is really enjoyable for many reasons, the biggest one of which, for me at least, is that it is downhill all the way to Royal and there is hardly any traffic on that road. So, I kept cruising at 18-20 mph (I normally do not ride at this speed on the flats).

There is a 2-Way Stop at Las Colinas and Fluor. Those coming down Las Colinas do not have to stop. Anyways, there I am going at a good 20 mph, down Las Colinas. At Flour, this Yak-A-Doodle-Do in a red fancy car, does not see me coming down the road and pulls into the road and I almost ran into the PDA (Personal Dumb Ass).

I braked with all my might and luckily I narrowly escaped a major accident. The PDA drove away as though "it" didn't have a care in the world. Arrrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I shook my head in disbelief and went on with the rest of my commute. Of course, I could have taken a photo of the license plate and called the Police. I will definitely do that next time.

How often do you guys come across these types? How do you deal with their behavior? :(

For the record, I do own a cell phone and I talk on it from time to time but I try not to talk on it when I am driving. I do have a Blue Tooth Hands-Free contraption, which I do not carry with me, most of the time.

One day, I hope to be free of a cell phone!