Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Unbikely and unlikely!

While I don't do this everyday, today I put on my salesman hat and went to work and sold a bunch of homemade products (soaps, jewelry and limited edition photographs). So, here is a cleaner picture of the otherwise grungy looking me !

I haven't rode my bike in a few days now. I am getting the itch. May be I will ride the next 3-4 days.

Peace :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Newly acquired tool

After much deliberation and research, I bought my very first tent (yes, you read it right, my very first). Now, I am a proud owner of a REI Camp Dome 2 tent. I ordered this item from REI during their recent Members Only 20% off sale. I brought the tent home last night. The footprint for this tent is on backorder so I won't probably get it for another two to three weeks.

I hope that this tent would enable me to go bike camping, bike touring, do a few S240s. I have camped only once or twice and that too was facilitated by a good friend of mine. So, I did not move a finger unless asked and they did not ask.

Now that I have gotten brave enough to procure a tent of my own, I presume I will try it out in the next couple of weeks, either in the patio or out in God's country somewhere.

Stay tuned for a detailed review (from a novice)!

Peace :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lots of rain in DFW!

 It rained cats and dogs, pretty much all day today. Many parts of DFW are still under a flashflood warning till tomorrow. I stayed pretty dry though I rode in the rain because I had great gear: Burley Rain Jacket, Pearl Izumi AmFib tights and Pearl Izumi X-Alp shoes and grocery bag under my helmet. This combination worked great. The only drawback of the PI Shoe was that it was not grippy on my MKS Touring pedals. On the way back tonight, I put on my Salomon shoes and they worked perfectly.

Apparently, there is some rain in the forecast for tomorrow also.

Y'all be safe out there.

Peace :)

PS. Photos courtesy of WFAA

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rainy Day Tomorrow, they say!

Well, this is me from back in the day :)

Tomorrow is supposed to be a rainy day. I usually do not mind rain. But thunderstorms are a bit scary for me.

I plan to ride tomorrow, rain or shine.

Below is the weather for tomorrow, courtesy of AccuWeather.

Wednesday, Oct 21


High: 70°F RealFeel®: 70°F
Showers and gusty t-storms in the afternoon; otherwise, a morning t-storm; mostly cloudy and breezy
SE at 14mph
Wind Gusts:
25 mph
Max UV Index:
Low (2)
Thunderstorm Probability:
Amount of Precipitation:
Amount of Rain:
Amount of Snow:
Hours of Precipitation:
3 Hrs
Hours of Rain:
3 Hrs
Hours of Daylight:
11.2 Hrs

Peace :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Ride, The Peeps and Fort Worth Texas

Well, it started as a possibility and then turned into a probability and finally and eventuality and then a reality!
I am talking about the BABBLE ride that took place October 17, 2009, in Fort Worth Texas.

There are great accounts of this ride at Myles', Paul's, Steve's, Chris', to name a few.

Irving had some kind of runners' event in Valley Ranch. This event must have been something big. There were police officers at many corners directing traffic and such. One of the officers directed me not to ride in the dedicated runners' lane. A little while later, I asked another officer if I could ride in the runners' lane, given no one was running at that time, and she said, "Go right ahead". Boy was I lucky? I had  my own lane!!

The ride was to start at 10 AM in Fort Worth. I decided to leave catch the 9:08 TRE Train to Fort Worth T&P Station from the West Irving TRE Station. I guess I spooked myself thinking, "I am seldom late". I missed the TRE by roughly 4 minutes. I got to the West Irving Station at 9:12-ish. I decided to wait for the train and go to Fort Worth, anyhow. Rantwick must have some great connections (see below)!

The next train to Fort Worth wasn't until 10:42 or so. That's an hour and thirty to kill. Plus the thought of all those angry cyclists waiting to kick my donkey made me very nervous :) I called Myles and Steve right away. They were nice enough to let me join them for lunch. Myles gave me crystal-clear directions to the restaurant where we were going to do lunch.

I spent the next hour and half waiting for the TRE at the West Irving Station. I had the fortune of meeting an older lady, who was extremely intelligent and great to talk to. We talked about the current state of health care, polity, food and a bunch of other topics, including bicycling. This lady was 82 and she was very disappointed in her doctor who had advised her not to ride her bike :(

I have only lived in Dallas for about an year and a half, to date. I have taken the TRE one other time to go to Dallas. This was my 3 trip on a TRE train. As this was the Texas-OU game weekend, all the traffic was headed East from Irving and not west. So, there were only a few people on the train.

There is lots of room on the TRE to take your bike along. There are also nice and cushy seats. There is an upper level and a lower level in the TRE. I have still not explored the upper level.
There are four stops between West Irving and Fort Worth T&P. Pictured below is the Inter Modal Transportation Center station. This station was hopping with lots of tourists.

I got off the TRE at the Fort Worth T&P station. I was a bit TRE-lagged and I had to ask the one of the operators for directions out the station. Photo below - coutesy of TRE .

After I got out the T&P, I used directions given by Myles to the restaurant and the directions from my 705 as a backup. This nice paiting was on Vickery Avene. It was a Sportswear store. I guess they may be catering to the horseback riders or selling western gear.


To my surprise, there were also some older looking buildings on Vickery. There was even a street named St. Louis, appropriately named, perhaps :)
This building at Vickery and Jennings had the Dickies sign on it! I just looked it up. It is a Dickies Outlet Store! How cool is that?
While Fort Worth did not have as many skyscrapers as does Dallas, it had some unique "tall buildings", such as the one below.
The Montgomery Plaza on 7th Avenue was a really nice looking building. Lots of history behind this building also, although the original Montgomery Ward Stores or the Catalogue is not around any more. It appears that Swiss Colony bought the intellectual property assets to Montgomery Ward in 2008. Swiss Colony is head-quartered in the quaint little town of Monroe, WI. Been there :) Brrrr... :(
I rode west on 7th to get to Fuchs and 7th, to La Familia. Myles told me he had made reservations for 15 people there and I decided to go in and get a soda (Club Soda with a slice of lemon)! La Familia was a really nice experiece. The crew were extremely courteous and prompt. My glass was always full. The food was quite good. I would definitely go here for lunch again.
The chips and salsa at La Familia were great. I loved both the salsa and the chips. The chips were mildly seasoned with some chilli powder and the salsa was just right, not too hot and not bland. It was well garnished with fresh cilantro. Feast your eyes on this great salsa, in the next two pictures.

Salsa with flash :)
Salsa without flash! Believe me, this salsa did not need the flash :)
The gang showed up, after their nice ride, thirty minutes after I got to the restaurant. It was so great to meet everybody, for the first time ever, in person! There were self-introductions, Rantwick-ized group photos (we all held the Rantwick logo in front of our faces), great conversation, good food, great everything!

Special thanks to all BABBLE organizers for organizing everything so well and especially for including me in the great meet-up, even though I was late!
Steve and Reed shooting the spokes :) Special thanks to Steve for bring a bike with a internally geared hub (my request so I can see how these things work).
Chris posing with this fine Rivendell Homer Hilsen. Special thanks to Chris for bringing his bike with a SON and a E6 headlight. I had requested the group that someone bring a bike with a hub dynamo.

After lunch, the group split-up. Some went on to a brewery. Steve was kind enough to show I and Reed around downtown Fort Worth. So, off we went riding into downtown Fort Worth, which is quite bike friendly (based on first impressions).
The famous Sundance Square of Fort Worth! We saw a bunch of bicycle policemen (white helmet) here. There were also private security guards (yellow helmet). Other than the difference in the color of the helmet, these two groups of law enforcement officers had similar uniforms and bikes.
The  next stop was the Fort Worth Water Gardens. This place was delightul experience, quite soothing and non-commercial. I have never seen anything like this before!!
There were several fountains at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Here is another shot of the Fort Worth Water Gardens.

After visiting the Fort Worth Water Gardens, Steve, Reed and I headed back to the T&P station to catch the TRE back to our respective destinations.

In all, I rode about 30 miles. It was a great day to ride, so pleasant and sunny out. It was especially nice to visit a new city and meet some really cool people.

Peace :)

PS. There were some other beards at this meet-up but none was a threat to my beard-hood :)
PPS. In the group picture(s), I tried to suck in my gut as much as I could but ... :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2009 Texas Custom Bicycle Show

2009 Texas Custom Bicycle Show

Posted using ShareThis

Ride of Mud and Fog!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
Fog is a cloud that is in contact with the ground. A cloud may be considered partly fog; for example, the part of a cloud that is suspended in the air above the ground is not considered fog, whereas the part of the cloud that comes in contact with higher ground is considered fog. Fog is distinguished from mist only by its density, as expressed in the resulting decrease in visibility: Fog reduces visibility to less than 1 km, whereas mist reduces visibility to no less than 1 km but less than 2 km. For aviation purposes in the UK, a visibility of less than 2 km but greater than 999 m is considered to be mist if the relative humidity is 95% or greater - below 95% haze is reported.

The foggiest place in the world is the Grand Banks off the island of Newfoundland, the meeting place of the cold Labrador Current from the north and the much warmer Gulf Stream from the south. The foggiest land areas in the world are Menomonie, Wisconsin, Point Reyes, California, and Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, all with over 200 foggy days per year. Even in generally warmer southern Europe, thick fog and localized fog is often found in lowlands and valleys, such as the lower part of the Po Valley and the Arno and Tiber valleys, as well as on the Swiss plateau, especially in the Seeland area, in late autumn and winter.

It was a very foggy day in DFW today. I woke up rather early today, around 5 AM. The morning news folks were preaching not to drive unless one absolutely had to. I did not ride yesterday and I was starting to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. So, I had to ride today.

I like riding in the fog and mild rain, although I do not enjoy getting my glasses wet. On days like these, I really miss wearing my contacts. I have to get my eyes tested for contacts again and get a new set of disposables, soon.

For some unknown reason, Windows Vista crashed on me tonight and I lost 3 photos I had taken earlier today, along with some from a few days ago. Rats :(

So, while I do not have a photo of fog to post, I have this one, which I took over the weekend, which you might enjoy!

And, this one here is for the nature lover in y'all!

One goofy thing about the fog is that it makes my beard wet. I guess it is the moisture in the air.

I guess Rantwick is in the hair, I mean air :)

Peace :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Campion Trail Riders, please be careful!

Last Saturday, I saw a 4 foot snake on the ramp to the Campion trail from VR. I do not think it was a rattle snake. I do not know if it was a poisonous one.

While I have seen my share of snakes, both venomous and some that were not, I am NOT fond of running into snakes. I decided I would post a post of caution on my blog and let know prospective Campion users.

Be safe out there :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Free Shower - A Ride in the rain

On Saturday, I decided I will ride rain or shine. The weather folks had predicted some rains in the evening. There were no severe thunderstorm warnings and I said, "Heck with it", or "Yeehaw" or something like that and got on my bike and rode.

I have been carrying a little more stuff in my panniers, these days, just to practise for a future tour. This time, I also stopped at the fruit vendor on Valley View and bought 4 big California Naval Oranges, 4 Bartlett Pears, 8 Bananas and 1 Cantaloupe. These along with the 3 liters of water I was carrying loaded my rear panniers pretty well and Gikma rode like a Caddy :)

I saw many riders on the road. One of them even asked me if the MPG on my vest meant "Miles Per Gatorade". Hmmm! Not sure what to think! Naw...I am sure that fella knew MPG meant Miles Per Gallon and not Miles Per Gatorade :)

Ran across a bunch of roadies! A few of them passed me in the same line, many on the right hand side, though this was a 3 lane road. They didn't even care to warn me while they was doing it. This fellow in the picture is one of them modern bicyclists, who yaked on a phone while riding. Luckily, this was not the highlight of my day :)

Many people was out getting their coiffeur fixed at Ray's. It was nice to see people getting out and doing things. I have always wondered if I should stop and get a haircut at this place, but time and again I have resorted to doing it myself. It has worked so far, no one has given me too much grief about it! I have thought about getting some professional help for the maintenance of Mr. B (my beard). But the thought of someone else butchering Mr. B does not sit well with me. If someone is gonna butcher Mr. B, by golly, it is gonna be ME :)

I stopped at REI Dallas to use their facilities and to browse at their nice selection of products. This handlebar basket from Topeak caught my eye. Looks really cool, doesn't it? I wonder if it comes with the produce, as seen in the picture :) 

I was told by the REI bike techs that my nephew took a couple of classes there. In small  towns, word spreads like wildfire, ya know!

After REI, I rode down Northhaven through Highland park to the KT Trail. I passed by The Hockaday School. I have rode by this school several times. I never knew how fancy this place was until one of my co-workers told me about it. I read about how much it costs to go to this school. Wow!! Not even my GED cost that much!

At Welch and Northaven, I ran into this fine youngun. He was only 2 and such a well mannered boy!! Did I mention I love animals? I am a bit skiddish about snakes, spiders and crocs/gators. I won't harm them, intentionally, but I probably will not have them as pets!

Lunch at Cafe Madeline! Spinach salad with Raspberry vinaigrette, topped with Strawberries and roasted pecans! Yummy!!

Well, a little after 2 PM, it started Seattle-ing. So, it wasn't heavy or anything, just a dull rain. As it is still warm in Dallas, I didn't bother putting on my rain gear. I left them in my panniers. Gikma and I both took a nice shower.

I continued riding in the rain and reached KT Trail Dallas, my destination for the day. The trail was less crowded, perhaps because of the rain. Unbeknownst to me, there could have been a Cowboys game or something!

Here is Gikma in Ninja mode, trying to disguise herself and blend in with the surroundings :)

In this post, you may notice that all the panniers (except the handlebar bag) are protected by the rain cover. I have not bought one for the handlebar bag, yet. Honestly, I have been out where it has poured cats and dogs. Nothing inside the handlebar bag has ever gotten wet!

 I used to take lots of pictures of flowers, nature and architecture, when I lived in St. Louis, where I lived right across from  the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I haven't taken lots of pictures in Dallas, quite yet, especially of my favorite subjects, flowers. However, during this ride, I took two pictures of flowers. I am not ashamed to admit that I do not know what kind they are (you may educate me)!

Having said that, here is pretty flower number one!

And, here is pretty flower number two! I like the way the Macro mode in my Nikon worked well in taking these two pictures.

Now, I still can't figure why they have to have a billboard here? It looks so ugly and out of place!

I rode till the end of the KT trail, which ends close to the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Then, rode the trail back and followed the route-in to get back home.

I tried taking couple of videos today. The first one is a peak at the crazy traffic, even on the weekend, on IH-635.

The second video, is of riding in the rain. I am still working on perfecting my "deshaking" skills. So, please bear with me :)

One thing that I saw next to REI, on my way back, was this GM/Chrysler dealership. They must have gone out of business recently. It must have been a happening place in its heyday. Ain't that terrible? 

Stopped briefly at REI Dallas to fill-up my water bottles and to use their facilities before heading back home! REI was hopping! Now, that I guess could be construed upon as a sign of economic recovery! Let's at least hope that's the case for everybody's sake :)

Peace :)