Monday, January 30, 2012

It IS my cup of tea!

Two Saturdays ag, I rode the Americano around DFW, on one of my 25 mile routes, again. Below are some photos from the ride.

I did three things differently on this trip.

1. I listened to music on my iPhone, as I ran out of juice on my Sansa Clip+. My bad: I didn't charge the Sansa!

2. As it wasn't totally toasty out, I carried some Masala Chai with me. It was refreshing to drink it during a break. This was the second thing that I did differently. Usually, I only drink water if the distance is short, unless the purpose of the ride is to go to a cup of java.
3. The third thing I did differently was that I pushed myself to go faster. I seldom do it on my weekend rides, as I feel it takes the fun away. But, on this particular day, I managed to shave off roughly 33% from the usual ride time for this particular route. In a way, it felt good to know that I wasn't completely out of shape.

I am not sure going faster is my forte, but riding my bicycle IS my cuppa tea :)


Have a Great Week!

Paz :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Do I need long-reach Allen Keys?

As you can see from the photo below, the time has come to adjust the chain tensioner on Brahma. Having only on full-size bikes, I'd wager that it is a bit tricky working on the Brompton. It is quite compact (which is its asset) and so it is hard for me to get my fingers in tight corners and adjust the tensioner. It could also be that I do not have the right repair stand, but that takes a lot of money to replace and not an option, at least not yet.
I think I would benefit from having a set of long-reach allen/hex keys. Don't you?
I went to Home Depot today to look for some, but they didn't have any that I liked. Yes, they had some big kits, which I do not really need. I need to look online, I suppose.......

Do you ever work on your Brompton? Perhaps on the chain tensioner??

Any suggestions??


Paz :)

Rajma with a twist

It has been a while since I posted on this blog. I have not cooked anything new in a while, so I didn't post much here.

For dinner I made Rajma with a twist. Rajma is a Red Kidney Beans curry. I made slight modifications to a recipe for Rajma, so I can enjoy the Baby Portabella Mushrooms we had.

Ingredients:
Onion 1 Large - chopped
Ginger root - 1 inch long piece
Red Kidney Beans - 3 cups cooked
Cloves - 10-12 pieces
Coriander powder - 2 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
Red Chili powder - 1 Tbsp
Grape Seed Oil - 2 Tbsp (other oils are fine too)
Tomatoes - 3 diced
Garlic paste - 1 Tbsp

Preparation:
  1. Grind the onions, ginger into a fine paste in the food processor
  2. In a large pan, heat up the oil and add the cloves, cumin and the paste from step 1
  3. Turn the heat to medium
  4. Add the tomatoes, garlic paste, turmeric and chili powders
  5. Add the beans {I did forget to mention this step in the original post, but I figured most of you would have figured it out anyways :) }
  6. Cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes. Stir frequently
  7. Add salt to taste
Can be served with hot steamed rice or chapatis or eaten over a bed of your favourite salad or baby spinach!
Bon appetit' :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sock Review: Col d'Lizard Darn Tough Socks

I first came across Col d'Lizard socks back in 2006, when I started riding all through the year, in St. Louis. I might have gotten to know them through the IceBike website. Back then I bought a pair of their Merino Wool Skiing socks and their PolarTec tights. Both the socks and the tights saved my butt on many a cold day.

Since I was so good in 2011, Santa brought me a bunch of Col d'Lizard Socks for Christmas and I was delighted that I got them.
Just like the name says, Darn Tough they are! Worth every penny!!
I have used Col d'Lizard's products for a few years now. In fact, I still have the original pair of socks I bought back in 2006 and the tights. They are still in great shape. I use the Darn Tough Skiing socks (not pictured in this post), when the temperature drops below 25 degrees F. They still keep my toes nice and toasty.

If you are in the market for a good pair of sock, give the Col d'Lizard socks a try. I would recommend them to anyone, wholeheartedly, because they are so Darn Tough!

Paz :)

PS. Next post: Salomon XT Wings 2 GTX Shoes

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interesting Bike Commute Trends in the USA!

Via the LAB, I came across a rather detailed article containing some very interesting statistics on Bicycle Commuting Trends in the US.

Click here to read the stats!

How are the stats from your city/state looking?

Austin-TX's statistics look pretty decent, but I say, DFW's are rather dismal :(
Hopefully, this will improve in the future.

In the meantime, I am going to do everything I can to ride as many days as I can :)

Paz :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Green Pride

I started highlighting, in florescent green, days I commuted by bike on my wall calendar last July. The calendar looked reasonably colorful at the end of the year.

Here is my new calendar for 2012! I have added a dark green check-mark to bicycle commute days, as you can see. I hope to make it a green calendar by Christmas.
I don't display a lot of stuff at work: no photographs, no chachkis, nada. But, I am proud to display my bicycle commute statistics.

How do you display your Green Pride? :)

Paz :)

PS. TC = Telecommute, D = Drove an automobile to work

Review: Buff Headgear

I bought a wool buff and a couple of classic buffs this fall. Since then, the buffs have pretty much replaced my headbands (which I use on warmer days and during Table Tennis) and my "lost" Outdoor Research balaclava (which I use on colder days). On very cold and windy days, I use a combination of the the wool buff and the heavier-duty balaclava I have.

Here is my secret to layering. Layer one: Wool buff!


Ask anyone from colder climates and they will tell you it is best to layer clothing. I think the same is true for winter headgear as well. Layers keep you warmer!

Layer 2: Balaclava on top of the wool buff!
With the helmet on, I am ready to rock and roll!
Buffs can be used in different configurations around one's head and neck. I have so far found them extremely useful.

Here are some benefits:
  1. Keep one's head warm during cold days
  2. Use as a sweat band
  3. Use as a head cover, more like a bandana
  4. Use as a scarf around the neck
  5. Use as a hairband, if you have a ponytail
  6. Buff is great for all seasons
Buffs come in plain colors and attractive designs. I have one with drawings of bicycles on it. Need I say more?

Here is a picture of my other buff! Worn on the way to the Cycling Savvy class this summer.
Hope you are having a good week!

Paz :) 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shopping on Brahma!

I didn't buy up boat loads of stuff for Christmas. I have no interest in it, really. But I did buy a shirt for a photo-op at work, which I never used. So, after Christmas, it was time to take the shirt, which I didn't need, back to the store. Believe me, I was so glad I drove my bike and not my car. The parking lot was full! And, it doesn't make a lot of sense to drive my car to this particular store, as it is less than 3 miles from my home. I have never taken my Brompton into a clothing store before. Well, I can't say that no more, can I?
After returning the merchandise at the clothing store, I had to go to the beauty supply store, to get some supplies for my lovely wife. This requires crossing the monstrous highway 635, pictured below. I crossed the highway via the bridge near the Home Depot near my home. However, the highway on-ramp starts at the foot of the bridge. So, it was a bit tricky to ride through there, but nothing a confident and careful cyclist could not manage.
Another view of the monstrous 635! My wife calls this the Death Highway. People do drive like nuts on this highway.
After the on-ramp, one can continue on the Service Road, all the way to MacArthur Boulevard, another arterial road in my city. A very congested road! I try to avoid MacArthur simply because it takes the fun out of riding.
After taking care of business at the beauty supply store, I went on to check out the beauty of the Campion Trail. It was a great day to ride, clear blue skies, warmer temperature, and all.
It is always so much fun to ride and enjoy nature!
Hope you're having a great time riding!

Paz :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Different kinda ride!

I managed to squeeze in a short ride on Friday evening. I took the Thorn Nomad MK II out for a ride. My initial thought was to hit the paved trail and ride about 10 miles.But, I ended up riding the unpaved, construction vehicle route adjacent to the new section of the Campion Trail.


The truck route is on an incline along the trail. I rode up the incline and it was challenging, particularly given the earth was a bit soft. And, yes, that little shadow you see is me :)
Here is a better view of the incline.
Now, I am up on the incline. I can ride close to 4 miles on this incline, as I came to find out during today's ride.
One needs the right tool for the right job! A cross bike (or the Americano) will work as well. But fat tire bike with low tire pressure is comfy on the incline, with loose gravel.
You can see the paved path, extension of the Camption, beyond the bike, in the distance.
In some parts, riding the incline is trickier, at least for me.
The incline goes past the Bride Not Too Far, all the way to MacArthur and Beltline. But that's where it ends, at least for the time being. I hear of plans to connect this to trails in Coppell.
BNTF in the background. It is quite lovely here at sunset. It is very picturesque!
Another view of the incline from the little path along the canal in Valley Ranch.
If you are in Irving, I highly recommend riding the incline. I am not certain how long it will be around. I expect they will eventually build some kinda path over it. But, while it lasts, it provides a different kinda riding experience to some!

Paz :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How green is that?

My two-dollar plant has gotten much bigger. It is the best plant I ever bought.
I am a proud parent of a great looking plant. The Americano is proud as well, as you can see! After all, both the plant and bicycling are quite green. Hope your week is going great!

Paz :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

I am back from vacation and I hope to get to posting regularly soon.

Wish you all a Very Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Paz :)

New Harmony, Indiana - A photo essay!

While on vacation in Indiana, over Christmas, we visited the historic town of New Harmony. This was one of the highlights of my vacation. It was nice to meet our friends in New Harmony and make some new friends. I had a blast!

New Harmony is a great town with a lot of history and lots of great people. There is so much more to New Harmony than I can tell you. You can read about New Harmony here

Below is an assortment of photos from New Harmony. The captions tell it all, for the most part :)

This was my first stop in New Harmony - The Yellow Cafe and Bar. Very laid back, I loved it!
Next stop, the Coffee Shop! 
I didn't buy any coffee here, but we had a great conversation with the owner.
Sometimes, I need a large cup of coffee :)
Antique Schwinn outside the Antiques Store!
Inside the Gallery, an interesting piece of art!
More from the Gallery...
More from the Gallery --- Is my Hawaiian reader looking at these? :)
 
Catholic Church in New Harmony?
Outside the Roofless Church!
Statue outside the Roofless Church!
Another view of the Roofless Church's compound with the Wabash River in the background!

The Roofless Church was designed by Phillip Johnson, who was also the architect for the Water Garden in Ft. Worth.

A quick peek at the Roofless from outside the gates!
Finally, the famous Roofless! So, calming!
Inside the Roofless!
Looking at the "ceiling" of the Roofless Church!
Down the road from the Roofless, looking at the Atheneum!
Trees at Tillich Park
Trees at Tillich Park
Trees at Tillich Park. I could spend hours at this park, with a book or my journal!

One of the several historic cabins built by the settlers.

Circa 1819-1822 and still standing!
 
The infamous Atheneum - A must see!

Interesting quote # 1
Sarah's - A delightful place for refreshments!
Beautiful older building in New Harmony!
A lovely cabin that caught my eye.

More Gorgeous houses!

My friend's Peugeot bicycle. It had the same kinda fenders as Steve's. Blumels!
Black Kitty famous even in New Harmony!
Interesting quote # 1. This resonated very well with me.
I would love to go back to New Harmony again :) Hopefully, some day soon!!

Paz :)