Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What are these widgets for?

So, I was riding back home around 10 PM and I rode over one of these glow-in-the-light thingies. I wasn't expecting to run over anything on an otherwise smooth part of Cimmaron Trail in Irving, Texas. I became curious about where they were placed in the lane and so I rode further than my street off Cimmaron to check out if there were any more of there and yes there were a bunch. However, all of them were right smack in the middle of the lane(s).

What purpose do they serve? I suppose they can tell you where the middle of the street or the lane is. However, if they are in the middle of the lane, what purpose do they serve? I am lost!

I look to you experts to understand this enigma.

Thanks in advance.

Peace :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nice and Crispy!

It was a nice and crisp 35 degrees when I left for work this morning. That's right, I did leave earlier than usual today. Lots of agitated drivers this morning. I thought I would get some extra miles in this morning. However, that plan did not go very well. I had to go straight to work instead of riding the Campion Trail for a while.

In 2007, I rode close to 1000 miles and in 2008 I think I rode 1200 miles. In 2009, I did 2200 miles. This is total mileage, i.e., including commuting miles, quasi-trekking and recreational miles.

I want to increase the mileage this year. May be I will shoot for 3600. In order to achieve 3600 miles, I will have to ride about 70 miles a week. If I commute all days of the week, this would in fact be quite easy. Through commuting, I would accumulate 50 miles every week and I could simply do a 20-50 miles over the weekend and increase the probability of achieving my goal. Doesn't sound too hard now, does it? My schedule (working later at night) sometimes gets in the way of my waking up on time to ride to work. Perhaps, I should follow Chipseal's motto and become car-free or let Rambo play with my car keys! He will hide it in one of his secret cat places and I will not be able to drive my car.

Rambo --- he is such a studious cat!

Peace :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beautiful T-Shirt

All participants of the Traffic Skills 101 class conducted on Jan. 16 and 17th were given this beautiful T-shirt pictured below.

It is an awesome shirt and it almost glows. The shirt was photographed on a supermodel but I have just shown you the back of the shirt. I believe these still might be available through the great folks at Cycle Dallas.

Please do me a favor. Please wear bright clothing when riding and be safe out there.

Peace :)

I love "Bugs"

Another great day in DFW and I rode to work! How much better can it get?

Oh, did I tell ya I love "Bugs"? Not the insects. I meant the Bug from Arkel. My Bug has carried loads of stuff to work and other places. It is still going strong. I love you, Bug!

The Bug is one of the panniers out there. It is practically bulletproof. I carry my laptop, change of clothes and my tool kit in it every time I ride Gikma to work. The Bug is an extremely well-made pannier and it is made in Rantwick land.

All my panniers are Arkel. I wouldn't even dream of buying another kind as I am really satisfied with Arkel's quality and workmanship. Also, it is made in a country which respects human and animal rights :)

Peace :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Remembering the Fallen!

Well, it was a slow day today! I worked mostly indoors, on PCs, laptops, on Shaggy and did not ride. This gave me bit of time to think about things and about a comment someone made yesterday. Mind you this person is a cyclist. The comment was, "In Texas, if you ride on the roads, you WILL get killed; they will run you over".

It made me think a bit more than usual and about cyclists killed on the roads.



Here is to those great fallen cyclists - RIP y'all!

Now, the rest of us, let's be careful out there!

Peace :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Co-Motion Americano - As American as Apple Pie

Here is a great article about the Co-Motion Americano written by my friend Neil Gunton of CGOAB.

Now, they also make the Rohloff equipped Pangea, which I am lusting, of course :)

Peace :)

PS. Image of the Pangea courtesy of Co-Motion Cycles.



Rudy Project - Guardyn Glasses



I am contemplating getting Rudy Project's Guardyan glasses. I went and tried out a pair at Left Opticals on Lovers Lane.


The Guardyan comes with some really nice features:
  1. It is RX-able
  2. The temples can be removed and fitted with an elastic strap (see picture below).
  3. If you want both Photochromic lenses and polarization, it can be done. No problemo!


The frame is not cheap but Rudy has a great reputation and the lenses come with Rudy's Replacement Lens Guarentee (RLG).

The pair I have in mind will have transparent Photochromatic lenses. So, I can actually use them as regular prescription glasses.



Some might think this frame is a bit dorky but I say it goes well with my pocket protector :)

I will write a more detailed review once I get my own pair.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Peace :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

LAB's Traffic Skills 101

Over Jan. 16th and 17th, I took LAB's Traffic Skills 101 offered by LAB. This class was organized by BikeDFW.

This was a two day class. On the first day, we were in a class room for about 4 hours (including breaks). We split just before lunch. The first day covered topics ranging from identifying bike parts, how to smoothly shift, the rules of the road, how not to be intimidated by traffic, fixing a flat and most importantly what is likely to be on the test :) We got the manual (pictured below) with lots of information.

We had 2 great instructors, Gail and Richard, both LCIs with the LAB. Both were great teachers, not just in explaining the theoretical aspects of the course, but also at riding a bicycle, as we came to find out during the practicum portion of the course on the 2nd day. Here's Gail!

Here is Richard explaining the proper positioning of a bike's saddle. He also went into great detail explaining how the sit bones' positioning on the saddle can affect comfort. Gail talked about the genesis of today's fine saddles.

Richard examining Sheila's saddle.

Here is Steve showing Dorothy how the app on his iPhone worked. I think Steve is very attached to the iPhone.

The second day of the class started with lots of drills in the parking lot of the JCC. Although the temps got up to 60+ on the second day, the morning was a bit cloudy and hence chilly. Here is all of us pushing our bikes towards our instructor.

Note: Steve checking out how well balanced his bike is by rolling it holding only the rear of the saddle!

One of the hardest drills, at least for me, was to scan for vehicles before making a turn. I am so used to using my rear view mirror, although I do turn my head and check as well. However, on the 2nd day of the class, it dawned on me that I do not have such a great mobility when it comes to turning my head to the right. It is hard for me. Another thing I realized is that the temples of my eye glasses actually create a blind spot.

Yet another view of the blind spot!
 

Steve excelling at scanning!

The most challenging part, for many of the participants was learning to avoid a skid. Steve did the best  in this category. However, just as he was about finish, a monster ate the top half of him. No, I am just kidding! Steve did such a great job that the instructors asked him to hold the position (stomach on the saddle, that's tough) so others can really take a good look at the great maneuver.

We also learned how to make sudden right and left turns. These would come in handy if a car came too close to us or if a car made an illegal turn and put us at risk.

The participants and the teachers brought some of their fine bicycles to the class. Below is Richard's bike.

Eric's fine Norco!

Steve's Buddy, a fine light weight bicycle!

Ms. Sally's pretty Trek Madone!



Concluding remarks:
  1. This class was a very enjoyable and an informative one.
  2. I strongly recommend this class for anyone wanting to ride on the roads (or currently riding on the roads).
  3. I thought adding a video or animation showing typically challenging traffic situations would have benefited the course.
Well, it has been another beautiful night and it's been fun talkin' to y'all but I think it is time to go to bed (or so say the kitties)!


    Peace :)

    PS. The coffee the LCIs brought was awesome :)

      Friday, January 15, 2010

      Exciting Bicycling Class Tomorrow

      This weekend I am taking the BikeDFW's Traffic Skills 101 Course. Steve A is also taking the class. I am looking forward to learning all that there is to learn about cycling in traffic.


      I have ridden in a few different cities in two continents so far, but in all fairness, I have to say DFW has been the most difficult of them so far. Who knows what is in the future?

      I will try to post on the class and my opinions about the class, perhaps on Sunday, but you never know. I might post some tomorrow, if time permits.

      That's all the news for now.

      Peace :)

      Tuesday, January 12, 2010

      Monday, January 11, 2010

      Snow Dog :)

      Shaggy when he was barely a year old! He still loves the snow though we don't see much of it in my new home of TX.

      Peace :)

      Withdrawl symptoms!

      Due to lots of work and very late hours, I have been off the saddle for a while. If I don't ride, I often don't have much else to write about.

      So....

      I won't keep y'all waiting too long, I promise.

      Be back in a jiffy :)

      Y'all be safe out there!

      Peace :)

      Sunday, January 3, 2010

      A Possibility or a Choice!

      While I have talked about the many niceties of my Gikma, I have never mentioned one of the nicest features that Gikma has - the ability to function as a Single Speed bike, should the rear derailleur break or the rear derailleur hanger bend/break.


      The Gikma comes equipped with dishless, symmetrically laced tandem rear wheel with a 145mm axle. The left side of the axle is thredded so that one can fit a freewheel on it.


      While I have never had to do this (knock-on-wood), it is comforting to know that this option is available. While I was at REI today, I did look at a Shimano freewheel which was a potential candidate for this purpose. It looked like the one in the picture below.


      Image above courtesy of Amazon.com

      Folks, this is uncharted waters for me. I am hoping y'all will post enough comments that even I can figure this thing out in complete detail! I will conclude this post, on that note!

      Peace :)

      PS. As evident from the pictures of Gikma's axle, I guess there is still some dust on the bike gotten from the infamous Ramble :)

      Music to my ears!

      For safety reasons, I do not use headphones while I ride. However, I do like to listen to music when I ride. I contemplated buying a widget with speakers which can play my iPod through its speakers but that project did not go any where beyond the dreaming stage.

      A couple of days ago, while rummaging though my zunk (good junk), I found my old bike radio thingy that I bought in 1998 from RadioShack.


      While I never used it on my bike until today, I decided I will take it along for the ride today. It was nice to listen to NPR. This widget even has a horn. I think I paid $10 for it.

      This radio can even be mounted on the handlebar. It has a quick-release mechanism that allows you to carry the radio with you while you park your bike some place.

      I wish it had a digital tuner but then that might be too much to ask for $10. I am not sure if this thing is weather-proof, but I can keep it inside my Small Handlebar bag, like I did today.

      Apparently, SONY introduced a bike radio for about $50, but that is currently not available anywhere.

      I think I am content with my $10 widget, for now.

      Peace :)

      Saturday, January 2, 2010

      Measuring Chain Wear

      For a while, the thought of having worn-out chains on my bikes has been bothering me. So, today for therapy, I sought help from Sheldon. While Sheldon's suggestion to use a regular tape measure might work for some, I decided to go all-out and buy myself a Chain Wear Indicator from Park Tool.
      This tool is really easy to use (which is exactly what I was looking for) and it appears to be really well made like any other Park Tool. I am a proud owner of a Park Tool Pedal Wrench PW-3, a really great product  made in USA!


      Image above courtesy of REI.com
      This wrench has made my life so much easier when it comes to removing pedals. It provides superb torque that even I can remove any ole stubborn pedal.

      Now, back to where I digressed :)

      The Chain Wear Indicator comes with crystal clear instructions.

      I followed the instructions in English :)
       
      Gikma's chain appears to be in good shape :)
       
      The chains on the Cannondales F-6 and T-800 and my wife's Raleigh also passed the test. Hooray :)

      At least for the time being, I can rest easy that I won't have to replace any expensive sprockets due to uneven chain wear.

      If I can do it, so can you. So, you may want to check your chain ASAP :)

      Peace :)




      Rido Numero Uno of 2010

      Today (1/2/2010) was a great day to ride in DFW. I did not ride on New Years Day. Today I rode to REI Dallas and back. Got honked at twice, once on Valley Ranch Parkway and once on Valley View Lane (near Alpha). The first honker was a minivan driver and the second honker was a Acura RSX driver. I think the second one trying to let me know he/she was driving in the adjacent lane - perhaps a little "Hiya! I am over here, right next to you?". I had no clue why the minivan honked. Oh well :)

      On my way to REI, I saw this motorcyclist down LOL! There might have been a battery issue :)

      While at REI, I had a chat with their Customer Service about my dissatisfaction with the Patagonia Men's Active Boxer Brief's durability. I bought a pair in May 2009. It had developed close to five holes before the end of December 2009. For a pair of underwear/shorts costing $29, I expected a bit more longevity. The folks at REI were nice enough to let me return the defective pair for a brand new pair of Ex-Officio  Boxer Briefs. I hope these last a while!

      Please don't get me wrong. I like Patagonia's products, ones made in the USA, like my Patagonia Capilene 3 Long-Sleeve Zip T (pictured below in its full glory).

      Image above courtesy of REI.com

      I bought my Zip T in 2007 and it is still going strong! This Zip T is quite warm and wicks moisture very well. I use it as a baselayer when it gets cold (40 and below). I also use it as a jersey at times.

      On my way back, I saw this handsome friend playing along the Trinity river. The beauty of nature, so wonderful, so grand compared to everything else!

      Thank you, Mother Nature, for your bounty!

      Peace :)

      Friday, January 1, 2010

      Happy 2010

      Happy New Year everybody!

      May 2010 bring you lots of good health and happiness!!

      Peace :)

      PS. I rode my last commute ride for the year today. I was a somewhat cold and blah looking day in DFW.