Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In Thing

New bike seen at work! Hooray --- I guess cycling is catching on :)

It would be lovely to have a dozen bicycle commuters at work. We hardly have four now. One somewhat regular, the other three off and on!Perhaps, next year...

Peace :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pursuit of Happiness - The Brompton Way!

Brahma and I went shopping on Saturday. First stop was Home Depot, where we picked up a big glazed clay pot and a fountain kit for making a little fountain for our home. The next stop was PetSmart. We were only there to pick-up some small items, so we didn't need a trailer or big panniers. Even if we had picked up a few extra items, we could have easily accommodated them in the T-bag. The Brompton T-bag is quite spacious!
Next stop was at Sam's Club, where we admired this splendid red trike. The seat height was not adjustable and that was a deal breaker :)
Last but not the least, we picked-up a couple of little items at Sam's and some Gladioli for my love. I used to grow lots of Gladioli in a past life. So, I still have a special spot in my heart for these lovely flowers.
So, Love, Brompton, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Peace :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scenes from a morning bike ride

I am not a morning person and I am perfectly cool with it. This summer has been really hot here in North Texas and I have not been able to ride any longer rides, because by the time I am fully awake on weekend mornings, it is already too hot to go for a long ride. There are some who do it, in spite of the heat, but I simply don't care to ride in such intense heat. Some of my blogger friends from North Texas have been posting about their early morning rides and that motivated me to get out of bed early this morning and go for a 30 mile ride. I have ridden more than 11 miles in a long time.

I got up around 6:15 AM and I was out the door by 6:50 AM, a record for me! The sun was starting to rise in the east and the temperature was in the low 80s, I think. It was actually pleasant.
Another view of the sunrise! At this point, I headed west towards DFW Airport. My plan was to go down West Bethel road and then go east on Royal to get to Campion Trail.
The roads were deserted and that gave me plenty of opportunity to stop pretty much wherever I wanted, safely, and take some photos. Since the day I got Brahma, late in May 2011, I have not ridden the Americano. I rode the Thorn MKII a couple of times, when I went to Home Depot, but since I hadn't gone on any long rides since May, the Americano wasn't ridden much. But today changed that and it was very pleasant to ride Gikma. Here is Gikma, posing proudly near the railroad tracks in Coppell.

On my way to Campion, I stopped at work to use the facilities and fill-up my water bottles. When I got to Campion, there were hardly any riders, initially. My buddy, McCrane was there though; patiently waiting for the right opportunity!
I rode all the way to the southern end of the Campion and then headed back towards home. There are many exercise stations, with exercise equipment, on the trail. I seldom see anyone using these. I stopped at the rowing machine today and exercised for about ten minutes before heading north towards home.
Recently, a new section of Campion Trail was opened, which heads further north into Valley Ranch, along the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. This section was opened this summer, I believe. I had not checked it out before and so I decided to do just that today. The new section is exceptionally nice; will be better once they plant lots of shady trees along the new section of the trail.
If you simply ride the trail at top speed, you will miss many a pleasant view and many wonders of mother nature, such as this one pictured below. To see this, you will have to dismount and walk down a steep bank to the tip of the Elm Fork. Lots of the McCrane family can be seen hanging out here as well. This is one place I want to go back to with my telephoto lens.
McCrane and Co, Irving, Texas :)

McCrane & Company - in an on-site meeting with Ducks & Co!
I told ya - you have to dismount to enjoy all the fine features of the trail!
More sections of the Campion are not yet open to the public, such as the one pictured below. When all sections are open, I believe the Campion will be a substantial trail system!
I had my doubts about an early morning ride, given my laziness. But, I found this morning's ride to be a very delightful one. Perhaps, I will try doing this next weekend as well.

Hope your weekend was a fun one!

Peace :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What am I up to?

Wanna read more about an exciting event I participated in? If so, please click on the photo below.

Peace :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ridin' in style

I used to wear dress shoes to work (or at work) as well. But that too has changed since 2005. Below you can see one of my new "dress" shoes, which I wear to work. These days, I wear Dansko clogs. They are easy to get in and out of and kept polished and clean, they can look pretty decent. The spots you see on this particular pair was caused by bleach, while cleaning the floors. Oh well...

And, there was a time when I wore dress socks to work (or at work). Now a days, I simply only wear cycling socks. Here is a close-up of my favorite Donkey socks! I am not trying to make a political statement or anything, but I simply love the picture of the donkey on my socks.
Better yet is the caption on the bottom. Keeps me motivated :)
Well, the Donkey socks is showing some signs of aging, but who cares, ya know? I am gonna wear these until there is holes in'em.

I have three pairs of no-gas socks too, but they are perhaps a topic for another day...

What's new with you?

Peace :)

Doing the "right" thing!

At work, I am a member of the "Green Team". GT brainstorms ideas and comes up with ways to make both the employees and the company, "green".

As a part of publicizing the Green Team, today we had a Green Team event. At this event, we had several booths setup, with each booth highlighting one way of reducing one's carbon footprint.

I had my own booth for Bicycle Commuting (although I did share it with a colleague, as we ran out of space). At the Bicycle Commuting booth, I displayed the following on the table:
  1. Bicycle Commuters Essential Tool Kit (Multi-tool, spare tube(s), tire levers, patch kits, zip ties, etc)

  2. My helmet with all the lights on it

  3. My reflective vest

In addition, I had two great posters on Bicycle Commuting (courtesy of BikeDFW; thanks, Marc).

The second poster, talked about Bicycle Commuting in words. Topics covered were: a) Why Bicycle Commuting?, b) What kinda bike to use?, c) How to see and be seen, d) How to carry gear, e) Cleaning-up at the destination, and f) How to go Multi-modal. All these with a DFW Bicycle Commuter in mind, of course! In addition to the visual aids, Brahma personally participated the event and that got both of us a lot of complements.
There were other booths. For instance, we had invited DART to participate and educate people of many ways to commute to work, including mass transit and using DART as a part of a multi-modal commute.
 We had our Van Pool provider at one of the booths. VPSI is one of the largest, if not the largest, Van Pool providers in the country. VPSI talked to participants about van pooling and answered questions. In addition, VPSI brought one of their commuter vans (which was quite luxurious, for a commuter van, if you ask me) for people to check out.
 We had great turnout. I needed 4 centipedes to count the number of participants, without using the same centipede twice, to count. It was a great event and we had a ball.

There weren't any very difficult questions. Some people wanted to know if I had any printed route maps, which I didn't, for one big reason: It is a Green Event :) But, I directed such questions to well know forums such as the DORBA Commuter Forum, and other tools such as Google Maps. In addition, I assured them that they can contact me if they really needed help with a particular route.

I played a lead role in bringing DART and VPSI Inc., to our Green Team event and I got a lot of personal satisfaction out of the event. It was a great day, indeed!

Hope your day was great as well!

Peace :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I think I can...

I ran some errands on MKII today. First stop was at Sam's, getting Shaggy and Chaka, a bed each. Next stop was PetSmart, where I ran into this really well groomed Old English Sheepdog. I stopped to pet the dog and chat with the owner for a bit. It is rather rare to see these beautiful dogs in this part of the country. I have seen many more in St. Louis, MO.
I bought Chaka some dog food at PetSmart and then headed back home. It was not terribly hot when I left home, but it the temps slowly went up, before I got home. I wasn't sure I could haul all the loot in one trip, but I did just fine, as seen below; two dog beds & a 30 pound bag of dog food and other items in tow :)

Shaggy tested the new bed and approved it right away, though he says it is a tad warm.
Chacko kept me company while I posted today!
The reward for being a good help around the home was evident in the lunch served : Faux-Meat Ball Sandwich with Carrot-Almond salad and Cucumber Melon Salad :)
Hope your day was a great one!

Peace :)

Passenger with Seatbelt fastened

Brahma and I took a ride (in a car, that's right) to see our buddy Sam, in Frisco, TX.
Brahma has not taken a drive anywhere in our sedan before and it was quite exciting for Brahma, even though we do not have a working a/c in this auto. Let's just say we are working on making the a/c work; the auxiliary a/c fan is busted and needs to be replaced. However, yesterday was a cold day in Texas - it was only 85 degrees when we drove :)

We chose to drive because we had some stuff to bring back. You can see what we brought back, here.

We are not opposed to driving in a car when we have a situation that warrants the use of an automobile. We prefer not to drive, if we don't have to for two reasons: 1) it is environmentally friendly not to drive when it is not necessary and 2) it is often lot more fun to ride.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Peace :)

Bike Project

I drove to Frisco, TX, see my buddy Sam yesterday. Sam and his uncle worked on our sedan's a/c and Sam and I did some business: I got a complete bike, a reasonably nice frame and a frame with a bent fork and some usable parts.

Here is the loot for your viewing pleasure!

The frame I would like to use to build a new bike is the AMF Scorcher frame. I haven't done any research on the frame, yet, but it may be from the 70s. There are no dents or cracks on the frame. I suppose it could be used to build a pretty decent bike, for tooling around town.
The original AMF Scorcher decals!
The complete bike, the one leaning against the garage door is a Montgomery Ward species. I am not familiar with that make, but I figure it can at least be used for parts, or learning how to repair bikes. On this particular bike, the gears and brakes are all jammed up, possibly because of non-use.

I do not know what brand or make the 3rd bike, the gray one, is. However, that doesn't matter as much to me as does the fact that it has a usable handlebar, crank, and a front derailleur.

I may have to the wheels from the Ward's bike, in my new bike build, or get some used wheels. The wheels; on the Ward's bike are heavy; they feel like they are made of good ole' steel as well.

I would like to repaint the orange frame. Not sure of the color, when/how to do it, yet!
Most interesting for me is that I have no clue how to any of these and I will have to learn a lot. I figure I ain't got much to lose, especially if I keep a close watch on my wallet.

Your thoughts?

Peace :)

PS. I wonder if I can build a bike with a SA/Nexus IGH with Gates drive!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lost gloves

When I went to  Lake Lavon, earlier this year, I misplaced my bicycling gloves somewhere. I am contemplating buying a new pair.

What do you guys think of GloGlov?
Image courtesy of GloGlov

Your thoughts and suggestions are always welcome here!

Peace :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blueberry Kesari (Dessert)

Cyclists & Vegetarians need something sweet, once in a while too, right? :)

I was in the mood for some dessert last evening and didn't feel like eating any commercially produced dessert. So, I made my own somewhat healthy dessert.

Kesari is a dessert from South India, which is made with semolina / cream of wheat. I have seen it served with breakfast in Bangalore, but not necessarily as a dessert.

Here is my recipe:

  1. Semolina - 2 cups
  2. Sugar - 1.5 cups (optional)
  3. Ghee (clarified butter) - 1 cup
  4. Cashews - 1/2 cup
  5. Raisins - 1/4 cup
  6. Pineapple chunks - 1 can
  7. Blueberries - 1 cup
  1. In a large pan, roast the semolina, until it turns golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer to a different bowl.
  2. Wipe the pan clean (of semolina dust, pieces of semolina), add the ghee and turn the heat to medium.
  3. When the ghee is warm, add the cashews and raisins and fry them until the cashews are golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the ghee to cool. Add the raisin as the ghee starts to cool off, but is still somewhat warm.
  4. When the contents of step # 3 are relatively cool, add 3 cups of water to the pan with the ghee and cashews, and turn up the heat. Bring the contents to a rolling boil.
  5. Add the sugar (sugar is optional) and stir.
  6. Next, in small quantities, add the roasted semolina and stir frequently so that no lumps are not formed.
  7. Add the pineapple chunks and the blueberries and stir frequently. Turn down the heat to a notch below medium. Cover and cook on lower heat for a few minutes. Stir frequently so that the contents do not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  8. Turn off the heat and let cool a bit.
Serve hot or cold! I prefer serving it hot!!

Bon appetit' :)

PS. While the sugar is optional, it definitely enhances the sweetness of the Kesari. I try to minimize sugar, hoping that it would be a healthier dessert.

Potato Masala

For dinner tonight, I prepared Masala Dosai, which is a crepe made with rice and lentil batter, stuffed with Potato Masala.

Dosai is also called Dosa in certain regions of India.

In order to make Masala Dosai, one needs to prepare the Potato Masala and also prepare the Dosai. While it is not hard to prepare the batter for Dosai, today I took the easy way out and bought the batter. We have a great outfit in DFW that supplies all sorts of batter to the Indian Supermarkets.

If I were to prepare the Dosai batter, this would be my recipe:

Dosai Batter Recipe
Soak 3 cups of rice, 1 tsp of fenugreek, 1 cup of white lentils (urad dal) in water overnight (at least 6 hours). Drain the water and grind/blend into a thick batter in a blender/food processor. Add a pinch of salt to taste.

Potato Masala Recipe

  1. 3 large potatoes - boiled, skin peeled-off
  2. Sesame seed oil - 4 Tbsp
  3. Finely chopped Ginger root - 2 Tbsp
  4. Finely chopped Curry leaves - 1 Tbsp
  5. Finely chopped Green Chilies - 1 Tbsp
  6. Lime juice - 2 Tbsp
  7. Cashes - 1/4 cup
  8. Onions - 2 Large - diced
  9. Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
  10. Asafoetida - a pinch
  11. Finely chopped cilantro - 1/4 cup
  1. Heat-up the oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot, add the curry leaves, asafoetida, ginger, onions and the potatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium. 
  2. Add the cashews, turmeric and cook for another 3 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add the lime juice. 
  4. Garnish with cilantro. Add salt to taste.
Preparation of Dosai
  1. Heat-up a large skillet/griddle. Coat the griddle with butter or ghee or sesame oil.
  2. Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of batter on the hot skillet and spread the batter evenly over the skillet. Some people prefer spreading the batter thinly. Restaurants do; I don't sweat it too much.
  3. Pour a tsp of ghee/sesame oil around the edges of the batter.
  4. Once the edges of the batter start to turn brownish/crisp, carefully turn over the Dosai and cook the other side for a minute or so.
  5. Once the other side is cooked, the Dosai is ready to be served.
Please note: Making Dosai takes a little bit of patience. If you don't get it right the first time, don't fret; you will get it right sooner or later :)

I served the Dosai with Potato Masala tonight. Dosai can be served without Potato Masala as well. In the picture below, you will see that one of the Dosai was stuffed with the Potato Masala and the other two were not!

Pictured below is tonight's dinner: Masala Dosai with Coconut Chutney and Onion Sambar

Bon appetit' :)

Coconut Chutney

Coconut chutney can be made with Pottukadalai (Fried Gram or Roasted Channa Dal) or without it. Each preparation has its own uniquely exciting taste. For dinner today, I prepared Coconut Chutney with Pottukadalai.

Here is my recipe for this incredibly easy to prepare chutney!

  1. Shredded coconut - 2 cups
  2. Roasted Channa Dal - 1 cup
  3. Green Chilies - 3
  4. Tamarind paste - 1 Tsp
  5. Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
  6. White lentils - 1 Tsp
  7. Cashews - 1/3 cup
  8. Finely chopped Curry leaves - 1 Tbsp
  9. Finely chopped Cilantro - 1 Tbsp
  10. Finely chopped Ginger Root - 1 Tbsp
  11. Ghee (clarified butter) - 1 Tbsp
  1. Grind ingredients 1-4 in a blender/food processor. Remove from the blender jar and put in a bowl.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat-up the ghee.
  3. When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds, asafoetida. Cover immediately, as the mustard seeds will splutter. Turn down/off the heat.
  4. When the mustard seeds are done poppin', add the cashews, white lentils, ginger root. These ingredients should turn golden brown and not be charred.
  5. Add the contents from step # 4 to the coconut chutney in the bowl, from step # 1.
  6. Garnish with Cilantro and add salt to taste!

Bon appetit' :)

Clean-up and such!

I normally clean my bikes in the garage or outside of our home, usually. But this summer, it has been so hot both outside the home and in the garage, it is impractical to attempt cleaning the bike anywhere except inside. So, Brahma was mounted on the repair stand and we had work to do.

The first thing to do was to lube the chain. I haven't done it ever since I got Brahma. Luckily, I had good help, as you can see. This year, I have switched to ProLink lube. I like it so far.

After lubing the chain, I went over Brahma with an old TShirt and cleaned thoroughly. Brahma is back to lookin' brand spankin' new, again!

What's new with you and your Brompton? Drop me a comment!

Peace :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What to do?

It is too hot out to ride.So, I am working on reading some good bicycling books. I am almost 1/3 of the way through "Two wheels and a taxi", which by the way is a great read. I strongly recommend it if you want to read a entertaining cycling story.

I also have at my disposal, the very detailed, "Bicycling Science". It is quite intense, in terms of the technical details. So, it is not my bedtime book, it is still something I am fixin' to complete readin' soon.

I didn't ride to work Wed-Fri, as I was very busy at work; plus, I had to Shaggy to the vet for his surgery. Shaggy had a cyst removed. He is healing very well.

What's new with you?

Peace :)