Monday, February 27, 2012

What is the magic number?

Today was an interesting commute day. Yes, it really was!

I don't write about ignorant drivers all the time, although I see a fair share of them in this fair city, but never as many as five/six in one day. Today, was one of those days.

I counted five/six weird behaviors:
  1. Honked at twice, once in the AM and once in the PM, while lawfully operating my bicycle
  2. Yelled at, at Royal & MacArthur: something akin to "get off the road, you moron"
  3. Passed on the left, by a large SUV. A close call!
  4. Passed on the right within the lane and cutoff
  5. Almost got ran over in a 3 lane road, while riding lawfully in the right lane
#3 and #4 happened very close to my home, on a relatively calm road, with one lane in each direction. There is a parking lane on this road. I guess some of these auto drivers are expecting me to drive in the parking lane, cut in and out, as need be. But, I will not do that. It is illegal to do that and furthermore, it only further obfuscates my intention to the other drivers.

I just don't get it :(


Hope all is swell in your neck of the woods!

Paz :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Long-reach Allen Wrenches

A while back, I posted on the possible need for having a set of long-reach Allen Wrenches, just so I can work on Allen bolts in hard to reach areas.

I explored various options, including the ones available at hardware stores. I finally settled for Park Tool PH-1 P-Handled Hex Wrench Set. This set comes with 8 metric Allen Wrenches (includes 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10mm). The kit comes with a tool holder, which is mountable on peg-board in the shop/garage.
Many of these wrenches are at least 3 inches or longer. This long-reach feature helps me reach bolts in those otherwise tricky to access. I would say this is particularly useful when working on compact folder like a Brompton. Don't get me wrong - I am NOT saying Bromptons require lots of tinkering.
Some of the Allen wrenches have a ball head. The ball heads allow usage of the tool at an angle. See picture above!

Since I got the new tool kit, I have made put it to good use. I know there are some other alternatives than the Park Tool brand. I bought the Park Tool brand because they are reliable and very well built.

I will post more test results in the future.

Paz :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recycling Jar Lid!

I guess I had too much time on my hand. I recycled lid from the the Maranatha Almond Butter jar.

Behold the power of the homemade small parts holder (tool dish). You can put your little Allen bolts and such in the tool dish. If you are lucky, it might even stick to your repair stand!

Cost: about 25 cents (the price of 1 piece of magnet). The stronger the magnet and possibly the higher number of magnets used, the better the stability of the tool dish, when placed on a metallic surface. I might put another magnet on mine.

Hope your week is going well.

Paz :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

TV Show with bicycles --- Yay!

I have been a long time fan of the Television Series Inspector Morse. I enjoy the show because it is more sophisticated than some of the other detective shows I have seen. But that's not the only reason I am attracted to the show. Much of it is filmed around University of Oxford and I get to see people riding utilitarian bicycles. You know: the kind with pannier racks, fenders, lights, baskets, etc. In a few of the episodes that I have watched, the characters are shown riding a bicycle to get around. Below is one such a scene, with a nice bicycle, from "The Settling of the Sun".
I was also surprised by see someone with a Mizzou Tigers (I went spent a few years at Mizzou)
T shirt in one of the episodes.
I guess Mizzou is world-famous :)

I like small cities, university towns and such. The Inspector Morse series reminds of so many of my favorite things: Cycling, music, arts, etc. I do hope I get to live in a quieter, smaller city some day and enjoy the benefits of that lifestyle.

Have a Great Week!

Paz :)

PS. Images courtesy of the Inspector Morse show!

Recycling jar lid

I guess I had too much time on my hand. I recycled lid from the the Maranatha Almond Butter jar.

Behold the power of the homemade small parts holder (tool dish). You can put your little Allen bolts and such in the tool dish, while you work on your bike. If you are lucky, it might even stick to your repair stand! Just kidding - it will stick to you repair stand, unless your repair stand is made of carbon fiber or something like that.
Cost: about 25 cents (1 piece of magnet).

Hope your week is going well.

Paz :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to Wear a Helmet - Unveiled

Seen last Sunday in Valley Ranch! I am hypothesizing that the person behind the veil is a woman.That's no cycling science!
But, what caught my attention was how the person wore the helmet. It wasn't properly worn (look closely), possibly affected by the wearing of the veil.

Helmets are supposed to sit level on the head AND low on the forehead, but that was not the case in this case.

If you sport a helmet like I do, please make sure you know how to wear it properly. Believe me, I didn't always know how to wear a helmet the right way. There are many resources with this information. Here is such a link.

Be safe out there and have fun driving your bike!

Paz :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guess who else uses a helmet? :)

Apparently, I am not the only one using a helmet when driving my bicycle. My elder brother sent me the picture below, from a billboard in Tiruchi-India, where I did my undergraduate studies.
If it is good for Ganesha, it is good for me. Need I say more? :)

Have a Great Week!

Paz :)

PS. Apparently Ganesha likes Bell helmet. Whoda thunked?
PPS. For the overly analytical, I know the helmet pictured looks more like a motorcycle helmet.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nice Parking Job!

Brahma parked neatly at the salon! So very compact - I am loving' it!
Brahma is so compact and stows so easily and neatly that most don't even think twice before letting us both into their establishment. I am really enjoying my decision to get this folder.

Need I say more?

Paz :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shoe Review: Salomon XT Wings 2 GTX PLUS Five Ten Tennie Talk!

Salomon makes trail-running shoes with GORE-TEX, which makes them shoes waterproof. These shoes can usually be found in Salomon's trail-running shoe line and are denoted by the "GTX" in the name. I buy the trail-running kind simply because they provide great support and I like having the GTX feature. These shoes ain't cheap!

I bought my very first pair of Salomon trail-running shoes with GORE-TEX (I can not remember which model it was) sometime in 2004. That pair lasted me close to 6 years. In Fall of 2010, I found that the old pair was not waterproof anymore. If I rode in the rain, my feet got soaking wet. Plus, the support had worn away.

By the way, I only use my running shoes for a) use on the treadmill, b) Table Tennis, c) general purpose walking and d) cycle commuting. I am not a runner!
After the old pair died in Fall of 2010, I bought a new pair of Salomon XT Wings 2 GTX sneakers, in late December of 2010. The new pair provided the same great support as did my old pair. They were stylish. People line-up by the boat loads to see me stylin' etc, but they were not waterproof for even one year. Last week, when I rode back home in the rain, I found my feet were in puddles of water inside my GTX shoes. What a shame! Again, let me remind you: These shoes ain't cheap!
Heartbroken, I contacted Salomon through Email and described my problem and asked them if they would replace them through their Warranty Program. Within a few hours, I got a reply from Salomon, directing me to contact their Customer Service by phone and I did.

To my surprise, the Customer Service people listened to my problem, asked me for a few numbers from the inside of the shoe and told me that they would replace them for me free-of-charge. Next, they helped me select a comparable pair of shoes from their current line-up. In fact, the shoe I picked was not even on their website yet. It was "that new"! I was delighted.

I wasn't expecting the replacement pair to show-up for a couple of weeks, but they did show-up at my door on Monday this week. What a pleasant surprise! Thank you, Salomon!!

Pictured below are my brand new X Ultra GTX shoes. They fit and feel very comfy.
They have a different tread pattern on the soles. But still I haven't tested them in the rain.

Well, guess what? It is supposed to rain on Friday and possibly even on the weekend. I will be testing these puppies to see how waterproof they really are!
While on the topic of shoes, I found this Five Ten Tennie pair on sale at Zappos.
Five Ten uses a special compound called "Stealth Rubber" to line their soles. Stealth Rubber is super grippy! Hence, they make a great pair of shoes for riding your bike, especially if you use platform pedals like me. I have had a pair of Five Ten Impact Low shoes before and they were virtually indestructible.
I plan to use this Five Ten pair for Table Tennis as well, especially given that we play on a wooden floor at the new Cimmaron location of the DFW Table Tennis club.

I will post more about the new Salomon pair and how it fares as I test them more.

Paz :)