Monday, August 30, 2010

Wholesome Soaps + Bicycle Delivery = Great Earth-Friendly Soaps!

Did I mention I deliver our soaps on my bicycles?

When we were in St. Louis, I used to deliver our Homemade Handcrafted Luxury Soaps on my bike. We have tried to continue the same tradition here in DFW as well, as much as possible.
I know some of my readers are our soap customers and we thank you for the same.

For those of you who haven't tried our soaps, I strongly urge you to try'em!

If you are in the DFW area, I will even deliver them to you, personally, at your residence/business or at a mutually convenient location, on my bike, and help reduce your carbon footprint, if you so desire! We can ship almost everywhere globally! Thank you for your business!!

Peace :)

PS. I edited this post and removed the designation of "Organic soaps". This designation, technically, requires approval from different agencies and such. That said, we do use wholesome and organic ingredients in our soaps!

Cool banner + New Book + New Tires for Meera!

There is always something to learn that is new. Well, even relearning old tricks can be a great exercise, sometimes. I saw this banner at the West Irving TRE Station. The banner sounded as though it was meant for cyclists!
Adventures (which can be sometimes as simple as riding my bicycle to work) PLUS riding bikes for fun/commuting PLUS reading good books. I just started reading, "The Lost Cyclist". Between that and the newest issue of Bicycle Times, which has an article about bicycle commuting in DFW, I can't decide which to put down.

Picked up a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus 20x1.75 tires and tubes for Meera on Saturday from Trinity Bicycles. Trinity Bicycles courteously agreed to dispose off the original tyres (Raleigh branded, perhaps the original pair that came with the bike).
I hope to get a lifetime of riding with these tires.
What's new in your world?

Peace :)

Licensed to Chill!

As my kid gets older, I see that the gifts I get for occasions such as Father's Day, Birthday, etc., are outdoor activity related. For instance, I got a gift card to REI for Father's Day. I bought myself a nice pair of cycling gloves with that.

Here is another lovely gift from my kid! How lucky I am!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lovely Ahwahnee!

It was my first Mountain Bike in the USA. A lovely, hardy bike she was, my Yokota Ahwahnee. I picked her up at the LBS in Columbia, Missouri, in 1993, when I was a first year grad student. She cost me close to $220, with taxes and all - quite the luxury for someone on a Teaching Assistantship.

She was a beauty. I rode her over many unpaved roads and paved roads, not as avidly as I do these days, but she got to see quite a few places.

She was my car, my grocery getter, my commuter bike, my mountain bike, my snow mobile and all that and more!
Last seen in my old apartment's laundry room, in St. Louis, around Summer 2004, until someone with a key to the laundry room stole her!

Peace :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fun Project: Rear-view Mirror (RVM)

I have used different rear-view mirrors in the past. Of the ones I have used, I think I like the Tiger's Eye brand the best. One thing I missed in all of the manufactured RVM's I used was a larger mirror. Recently, while browsing the web and exploring my options, I got an idea for making my own RVM. Below, I have described how I did it.

Parts needed: See picture below!
  1. 6" long 1/4" Loc-Line flexible tubing ($6.00)
  2.  2 small and 2 large Zip-ties ($0.50)
  3. Pocket Mirror from Wally World ($3.00)
Total cost $10.00 (approximately)!

Step 1: Remove the pin that holds the two pieces of the mirror together.
In order to remove this pin, I used an Allen Wrench to push it out. I used a hammer to tap the pin out, gently. Then I used a needle-nose pliers to pull the pin out.
Step 2: I used the bottom piece of the mirror unit. The top had some design on it which I did not want to use. Insert the pin back into the original slot, which resides in the bottom piece. Use two small zip-ties to secure the mirror to the front end of the Loc-Line tubing. I used two zip-ties, both going under the pin which we re-inserted into its slot, earlier.
Step 3: Loop two of the larger zip-ties through the helmet's vents. In order to secure the Loc-Line to my Nutcase Caution Helmet, I looped the zip-ties as shown below. In case of a road helmet or a traditional Mountain Bike helmet, you may want to loop the zip-ties through the vents on the side of the helmet.
Step 4: Insert the Loc-Line tubing through the zip-ties loops as shown below, tighten the zip-ties to secure.
Does the mirror look dorky? Well, it perhaps does. I care more about the functionality!
Does the mirror work well? You betcha!
Once I am confident that the zip-ties do not need more tightening, I will trim the zip-ties.

Possible Advantages of this design:
  1. Larger mirror permits easier view of the traffic behind
  2. The Loc-Line tubing is very flexible and easy to use.
  3. The total cost of this project is $10, practically play money!
I am sure I will think of ways to improve this setup. I will let you know my thoughts as and when I improvise.

Peace :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can you lay off me man?

The truck that followed me kinda too close yesterday morning!
I didn't appreciate being followed so closely by the behemoth, so I fumbled around with the camera hung on my belt loop and started taking pictures and tried to make it obvious that I was shooting pictures or a video with my camera. Posted above is one of the pictures I took. The picture hasn't been rotated or modified in any fashion and hence the distorted reality. Well, that's all it took in this particular instance. I think the driver backed off once he/she realized that I was taking photographs/video!

Hope you had a great week! One more day to TGIF, can't wait!!

Peace :)

That's a cart load of Chickpeas!

Getting enough protein for vegetarians is not always really easy! So, I set out to get some Garbanzo beans last night, on my way back from work.

Little did I realize that I was carrying 6 + 4 + 4 = 14* pounds of chickpeas on my bike. That's the largest amount of chickpeas I have bought in one shopping trip, ever!

14 pounds tends to be substantial when carried only on the handlebar!

What's new in your neck of the woods?

Peace :)

*6 pounds of canned chickpeas and 8 pounds of dry chickpeas

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cabbage + Chickpeas Curry and Spicy Spinach!

For dinner tonight, I prepared two dishes: 1) Madras Style Cabbage + Chickpeas Curry (called Moottai Kos + Kondai Kadalai Curry in Tamil) and 2) Spicy Spinach (called Keerai Kootu in Tamil). Presented below are my recipes!
Cabbage + Chickpeas Curry (Moottai Kos + Kondai Kadalai Curry)

Head of small cabbage shredded
About 12 oz of Chickpeas** (canned/fresh-frozen)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
2 Tbsp shredded coconut (fresh/frozen/dry)
1 Tsp Mustard seeds
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp White Lentil (Urad Dal)
1 Tbsp shredded ginger
1 Tbsp shredded curry leaves
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Asafoetida

Heat up the oil in a large pan.
When the oil is hot, turn down the heat.
Add the mustard seeds and let'em splutter.
After oil cools a bit, add the White lentils, asafoetida, cumin, shredded ginger, curry leaves, coconut.
Next, add the chickpeas. Stir, so the mixture doesn't stick to the pan.
Add the cabbage, turmeric, chili powder
Stir occassionally, cook until the cabbage turns slightly brownish!
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro!
Add salt to taste!

**I prefer using what are called Kala Channa or Black Chickpeas instead of the traditional Chickpeas for this recipe. I have seen this product for about a buck at the Indian Grocery Store, here in DFW. It is probably available at other major groceries as well.

Chickpeas cooking in the pot, just about ready to join the shredded cabbage :)

A close-up of the finished product, Mootai Kos + Kondai Kadalai Curry!

Spicy Spinach (Keerai Kootu)

1 cup cooked lentils (Toor dal)
2 Lbs frozen spinach
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
3 Tbsp shredded coconut (fresh/frozen/dry)
1 Tsp cumin
5 red chili peppers

1 Tsp White Lentil (Urad Dal)
1/2 Tsp Tamarind Paste
1 Tbsp shredded ginger
1 Tbsp shredded curry leaves
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup filtered water
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Asafoetida

Cook the Lentils and keep ready.

In a blender or a food processor, grind the red chilis, cumin and the coconut into a paste.

Heat up the oil in a large pan.
When the oil is hot, turn down the heat.
Add the asafoetida, frozen spinach, curry leaves, ginger.
Add the cooked lentils.
Add the spice paste.
Add the turmeric, tamarind paste.

Cook until the mix is not runny (until added water has evaporated) and spinach is not raw anymore, stir frequently.

Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro!

Add salt to taste!

Finished product(s) served with fresh chappathi/roti! Can also be served with rice!!

Bon appetit' :)

Neatly Put Away!

Meera the Raleigh Twenty, neatly folded and put away, during my commute to Trinity Bicycles on Saturday!
There was enough room for Meera to fit within the space around the seat shown in the picture.

Initially, I was sitting in a row with three seats in it and I had the bike parked in front of me. The people that were next to me were very nice and accommodated both myself and Meera. But once this seat (shown in the picture) became vacant, we took advantage of the fact that Meera is a folder and rode all the way to Fort Worth. I did not realize the full potential of Meera's folding-ability until then. I think that's pretty cool!

Peace :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Takin' it easy --- too damn hot out there!

I just got back to work this week after almost 3 weeks off. I spent my time with my daughter engaging in a variety of activities, including some bike riding (at night). It is too hot to go for long rides. 100+ is NOT my cup of tea, never was and may never be.

I rode to work twice this week. I can't wait for it to cool down!

The torridity has worn me out and I am layin' low and doing things indoors for a while. Know what I mean?

Peace :)