Friday, August 31, 2012

Learning the Fundamentals is very important

My nephew is on deputation to Palo Alto for a few months. He is here to teach his extraordinary software skills to the developers at his company's HQ here. Very brilliant young man. Knows his fundamentals in Computer Science very well.

My nephew wants to ride a bicycle in Palo Alto. He called for some pointers. I referred him the BikeEd website, which has good information.

I am a big believer in learning the fundamentals right. Especially now that I know where I should have paid more attention in school :) How does that song go? "Wish I knew what I know now, when I was younger..."

While I have played around with theory during my quasi-applied years, I believe it is very important to put theory to work. Text book examples alone don't cut it for me anymore! I want my nephew to be safe and ride vesicularly, just as I attempt to do.

So, I reached out to some LCIs in Palo Alto. Lo and behold, I found at least three that were willing to give my nephew some riding lessons, in traffic, riding alongside with him and teaching him the ropes. You know - the real good instruction and insight.

My nephew has decided he is going to rent a bike from Stanford. Great idea!
Once he gets the bike, he is gonna pay one of the LCIs and take some lessons. I say great!

Oh Yes - It is important to learn the fundamentals correctly! There ain't no two ways about it.

Have a Great Labor Day weekend!

Peace :)

PS. I am a happy uncle today! I haven't had an opportunity to teach a nephew something about cycling in a long time!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I am unable leave a comment on any blog except mine!

Folks:
I haven't been able to leave a comment on any blog except my own.
I can not get past the robot test.
I type the letters I see, but it simply doesn't go anywhere past that.

I hope when I become human again, which may be a day or two or three, I get to leave comments on blogs.

Until then...

Peace :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pleasant day, great ride

It rained again yesterday and today's high was sub-100, which made for an unbelievably pleasant day in DFW. I had originally planned to ride my usual Royal Lane loop with my friend. However, my friend had to stay behind as something unexpected came up. So, I didn't leave the house until later, around noon. However, it was a sunny and very pleasant day to ride.

I went up Campion Trail and saw my friend Mr. Heron, who was patiently waiting for some breakfast. You know it is going to be a great day, when you see Mr. H.
Next, I rode by the river to see if it was still swollen. There was plenty of water flowing. The rain did some good I suppose.
The path to the riverfront where I like to hang out, to meditate, was very muddy. I got a bunch of mud on the Americano's tires and I didn't feel like risking falling down and hurting myself. So, I got out of there in a hurry. The path in the picture above less muddy just a couple of days ago.
Further up the trail, near Northwest Highway, there was a portion that was flooded. I took my chances and rode through it. The water was deeper than I had anticipated, so my feet got wet, but the mud came off the tires and the mudguards. I saw a couple of mountain bikers, walking their bikes up on the grassy ramp. Not a bad idea to do that!
 There was signs of rain everywhere. Here you can see it!
And, here too. You can see the water gushing into the pond from the other side (pictured above). This particular area is a favorite of mine, where lots of big birds congregate. Great for photographing herons and cormorants, if you are patient.
As I didn't have any place I had to be, I took a detour and rode up Riverside Boulevard, by Las Colinas Boulevard, by the spiffy condos.
Eventually, got back on the trail, just in time to meet my friend, Mr. Turtle! I stopped by to take a photo, but the visiting hours were over with. Mr. T simply went in and shut the door.
In all, I got close to 20 miles, not a long distance, but better than couch surfing. The best part was that I hardly felt it.

Hope you had a great weekend also!

Peace :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kale, Ginger Smoothie

I am hooked on this smoothie. It is very simple to make.

Ingredients:
1 Small piece of ginger root
1 cup of kale (fresh or frozen)
Almond Milk 2 ice cubes
1 scoop of Pea Protein (Optional - gives a creamy texture)

Blend in a Vitamix or blender and enjoy!
Bon appetit :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ridin' in Traffic

Driving one's bicycle in traffic is not as scary as it is sometimes purported to be. I have been riding a bicycle in traffic for many years now and I am fine with it.

What can be unnerving, however, is that occasional encounter with an automobile, which can sometimes escalate to a nasty altercation. I have had my share of such interactions as well. In spite of all this, I still love riding my bike.

Summer temps in Dallas are hard on me as I may have noted before. I admire cyclists who love riding in the torrid summer weather. It is simply not my cup of tea.

Hot or not, during my various rides, including commutes to work, I see a splendid variety of enriching, amusing, intriguing and entertaining things. The whole process of interacting with other vehicles in the traffic, communicating with the other vehicle operators, negotiating, etc, can be a lot of fun.

I share with you though this post, a rather longish, but detailed video, of my ride from near my home to work. The first 3 miles of the ride has been deleted for brevity.

The video shows me riding through Las Colinas Boulevard to Tuscan to Love Drive to Royal Lane, before turning on to the little street near my work. Las Colinas Boulevard has a sizable operation of Citibank, in addition to serving as a connector street to Highway 161. So, during the rush hour and normal business hours, this street has a good amount of traffic flowing through it. Royal Lane has a lot of traffic on it, during many hours of the day. Royal Lane can be very packed during the rush hour. I have not found it hard to negotiate with other vehicles on Royal Lane or Las Colinas Boulevard. In fact, on both these streets, I take the lane and vehicles go around me, in a calm and respectable manner, almost all the time. I am not denying that there is the occasional, "I will teach you how fast my car can accelerate compared to your pathetic bicycle", type of behavior. But, we all know, that we can not let a few bad experiences spoil the fun for us. No way!

Anyways, I hope you enjoy the video.

Please share with me your thoughts, if you like.

Have a Great Weekend!

Peace :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rain - Finally!

Yes, it really rained. Yes, it really happened. It was not a dream!

It really did rain last night. While it wasn't a whole lot, given how little rain we have gotten this summer, it still wasn't too bad.

I swung by the river viewing area on the Campion Trail, near Valley Ranch, to check out the river. The river appeared swollen from the rain. However, no part of my usual ride on Campion Trail was flooded.

I wasn't sure how muddy the trail would be. So, I drove the Nomad to work today. The Nomad is my all terrain bicycle. It plows through most stuff without any difficulty. You need a good engine, that's all :)
It was not a very hot day. I took my time enjoying the scenery on the way back. The ducks seemed happy, basking in the sun. So, I decided that I would do the same and hung out with them for a short bit.
The forecast for tomorrow is a 100, Friday 102. Saturday and Sunday are forecasted to be in the 90s with a high probability of rain. If it doesn't pour all day on Sunday, I might ride with my buddy Arjun. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Peace :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The possibilities are endless

One day, I would like to be car-free. I am not there yet. I may never get there, but I am not going to stop that thought from what I can do right now. I can ride my bike, as much as possible, and avoid driving my auto, when unnecessary.

For the world to be less polluted from exhaust fumes, it might take a whole bunch of like minded people. I hope I live to see that day in this world!
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Hope you are having a great week!

Peace :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

STOP sign means STOP!

I am a vehicular cyclist. I obey traffic laws. I stop at STOP signs, red STOP lights and use caution when the light is yellow.

I shot this video on Saturday, last weekend. I am not going to call anyone out in the video, but you can hopefully appreciate my sentiment.

It is my opinion that everyone should follow traffic laws. Cyclists are not exempt. Not obeying traffic laws can cause accidents to a cyclist, which can be very expensive. Plus, you are breaking the law if you don't follow traffic laws.

It worries me to see people running red lights and not stopping at STOP signs, intentionally.

There are certain exceptions, such as a defective traffic light, when one might use caution and cross the road, even if the light is red. But that is not what I am talking about when I talk about breaking traffic laws.

Peace :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Two Bicycle Jokes

Steve A of DFWPTP asked me a question yesterday on my post about The Green Sheet, which I did not answer right away, because wanted to make a post of it, shall we say? To answer Steve and also to entertain my dear readers, here are a couple of bicycle jokes:

  1. Why was Cinderella a bad cyclist?
  2. Why can't a bicycle stand on its own?
See answers below:
  1. Ⴁɔɐoɔ ɐ ɹoɟ u!ʞdɯnd ɐ pɐႡ әႡs әsnɐɔәq
  2. pǝɹıʇ oʍʇ sı ʇı ǝsnɐɔǝq
I hope y'all have great coaches and are feeling jolly good this weekend.

Peace :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Restin' up!

Rambo restin' up for the big all-kitty party tonight!
What plans do you have for tonight?

Peace :)

The Green Sheet provides Cycling Safety Tips

At least in the USA, almost every community has its own free publication, usually weekly or a bi-weekly, which contains information about all that's happening around town.St. Louis has the publication Riverfront Times. Dallas's publication is The Green Sheet.

Guess what I found in The Green Sheet today? Cycling Safety tips. The last page was full of them.

Some of these make up the ABC Quick-Check!
There were instructions about signaling - Hooray!
A look at the entire last page.
Although controversial, there was information about being a Helmet Head! I don't mind this one bit!!
Overall, I am impressed. I am not certain how many youngsters actually read The Green Sheet, but if they browse through it and happen upon the last page, perhaps some of the goodies will sink it.

Not bad for a free publication, in my humble opinion!

Have a Great Weekend!

Peace :)

PS.
We re-purpose the past versions of The Green Sheet for lining our cats' litter boxes. Now, if I knew how and had the inclination, I could possibly compost the material from the litter box, somehow, but that might a topic for a future day/post.

PPS.
I wonder if Rambo got confused by the word STOP printed on The Green Sheet. He chose not to use the litter box today :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cardboard Bicycle

I am not sure if y'all have seen this one yet, but here it is. I don't want to tell the story. It is better told by the creator of this neat bicycle.

Peace :)

Source:Discovery.com

Venn Pongal - Time to rejoice!

Last weekend, I made a traditional dish, that I have not made in years. It is called Venn Pongal, which is made with Rice and Split Mung Beans. It is a delicious dish that is served for the special occasion of Pongal Festival and also for breakfast in many a South Indian home/establishment.

Don't get me wrong: I ain't saying it is a low-carb dish. But, anything done in moderation, does not lead to disaster, if you ask me.

Pongal is often served with Sambar and Chutney. In South Indian Brahmin homes, Pongal is served with Onion Gotsu, a sour and spicy gravy. I made the Onion Gotsu on this particular day. In addition, I made two different kinds of chutneys: 1) my usual coconut chutney and 2) a Tomato Chutney, for which I got the recipe from Chitra Amma's Kitchen.

People also serve Pongal with Medhu Vadai - a deep-friend white lentil patty. While I seldom deep-fry things, I did make some Masala Vadai on this particular day. I have not posted any pictures of the Masala Vadai, because I only made a couple and I ate them before taking a photo - Oops! But, not to worry. I still have more batter in the fridge. I will make some more and post some pictures of the Masala Vadai and the recipe.

Recipe for Pongal

Ingredients:
1 cup rice
1 cup Split Mung beans
2 Tbsp finely diced ginger
2 Tbsp finely chopped green chili
2 Tbsp black peppercorns
20 whole cashews
1 Tbsp finely chopped curry leaves
1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 Tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp Ghee
2 cups of water
Pinch of asafetida, salt

Preparation:
Cook the rice and mung beans in a rice cooker or pressure cooker. Cook them mushy.
In a large pot, heat up the ghee. When hot, add the mustard seeds and turn down the heat.
Once the mustard seeds are done spluttering, asafetida, add the black peppercorns, chopped curry leaves, ginger and cashews.
Add the water, bring to a boil.
Add the cooked rice + mung beans.
Stir in the salt.
Cook on very low heat until all of the water has evaporated.
Garnish with cilantro.

Recipe for Coconut Chutney (my version)

Recipe for Tomato Chutney (from Chitra Amma's Kitchen)

Recipe for Onion Gotsu

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp tamarind paste
1 Tbsp finely chopped curry leaves
1-2 cup diced onions
1 Tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp Sesame seed oil
2 cups of water
Pinch of asafetida, salt

Preparation:
In a large pot, heat up the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and turn down the heat.
Once the mustard seeds are done spluttering, add the asafetida, chopped curry leaves, onions and stir for a minute, until the curry leaves are sautéed.
Add the water, bring to a boil.
Add the tamarind paste, sambar powder.
Stir in the salt.
Cook on very low heat until the mixture thickens - should not be too runny, should be more like a chunky thick salsa!

Pictured below - Venn Pongal last seen with some good tasting coconut chutney, tomato chutney and Onion Gotsu.
Bon appétit :)

This Cycle Stops At All Animal/Reptile Crossings

Visit from a buddy on the trail!
Of course, he/she had the right of way. I stopped to let him/her pass.

What sorts of creatures do you run into on your rides?

Peace :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Forest Park - Photo # 1

Pictured below is Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Quite possibly one of the most beautiful parks I have had the pleasure of visiting. This was part of my bicycle commute for over a year when I lived in St. Louis, Missouri. Even on days I did not commute, Forest park wasn't that far from our home, so I would ride there just for fun.
If you are ever in St. Louis, Missouri, I highly recommend visiting Forest Park. It is well worth your time. In the Fall, this park is breathtakingly beautiful, with fall foliage.

Peace :)

About the book I am reading and stuff

A buddy of mine has loaned me William Sanders' book, Backcountry Bikepacking.
Alright, alright - I love reading about bicycles. Yeah - you got me, alright :)

I have read about 30 pages of the book so far and I can hardly peel myself away from it. I only get to read late in the evening, after all my work and non-work activities for the day is done. This includes work-work (the one that helps pay the bills), walking PHD and MHD, and exercising on the treadmill or going for a walk (if it is not a zillion degrees out), blogging, etc.

I hope to complete reading this book, taking my own sweet time. I don't have a deadline, in this case.

What's new with you? Are you reading any new cycling books?

Peace :)

PS:
PHD = Professional Herding Dog -> Our Old English Sheepdog, Shaggy
MDH = Mongolian Sheep Dog -> Our Chow-Chow, Chaka

Update: Rudy Project Guardyan Prescription Sunglasses - 2 years and going steady!

I got my Rudy Project Guardyn sunglasses, roughly 2 years ago. I use them almost everyday. They have been used for rollerskating, cycling and also for just casual non-sports related activities. I think these are by far the best pair of Sunglasses I have had, with the possible exception of my Prada pair, which I seldom use anymore, as I do not wear contacts.

My original intent was to get clear photo chromatic lenses, but then I changed my mind and chose the ones pictured here. I call the polarized pair I have, "my happy glasses". You put this pair on, everything looks so rich in color. I think these glasses have mood-enhancing properties :)
After two years of use, this pair still rocks. I am not sure I will buy another pair of Rudy Project glasses anytime soon. But, if I get a new prescription, I would like to get a set of clear lenses for the same frame, which would come in handy for night time explorations - photography, in particular.
Two year and still going steady - yeah!

If you are in the market for sunglasses, I would highly recommend Rudy Project. They are worth every penny.

Peace :)

Green Beans Poriyal

A few weeks ago, I made a Green Beans Poriyal for dinner. It is a very simple, but delicious and nutritious dish.

Here is how I made it.

Ingredients: 
Cut Green Beans - 1 LB
Sesame seed oil - 2 Tbsp
Channa Dal (yellow split peas) - 2 cups
Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chilies - 3-4
White lentils - 2 Tbsp
Curry leaves - 4 - finely chopped
Cilantro - a few strands for garnish
Asafoetida, Turmeric powder, Salt - a pinch

Preparation:
Soak the lentils in hot water for an hour or two. Next, Cook the lentils al dente, drain and keep aside
Cook the Green Beans al dente, drain and keep aside

In a large pan, heat-up the sesame oil.
When the oil is hot, add the curry leaves, red chilies and turn down the heat.
Add the white lentils, asafetida
Add the Green Beans and cook on low heat for a few minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium.
Add the cooked lentils, shredded coconut, turmeric and cook for another two-three minutes, covered.
Stir occasionally.
Add salt and garnish with cilantro.

Finished product!
Bon appétit :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Energizing Shake

Energizing Veggie Shake

Ingredients:
2 Persian cucumbers
1 piece of ginger root
5 strands of parsley
1 piece of beet (skin removed)
Pinch of Turmeric
Pinch of powdered Cinnamon
3 ice cubes
2 cups of water
1 dropper of Stevia
Preparation:
Blend finely in a blender and drink when while the shake is still cold.

I find the cinnamon and turmeric to be especially therapeutic.

Bon appétit :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Playing with Pounds - not GBP!

I have been playing with the PSI in tires of my Thorn Nomad MKII. I wanted to drop it and make the ride a bit cushy, but I suppose I dropped it too much. I got a flat, which I tried to fix.
I tried to fix the flat, but not much luck getting the patch to stick. I am getting rusty in my patching skills. Indication of using good tires and proper tire pressure for a long time or is it a skill I really suck at? I wonder :)

As I couldn't fix the flat, I popped a new tube in and the old one is hanging in the garage. I will try and fix it once more. I wonder if I need a new patch kit and some patch glue...

For a 26x2.25 tire, what is the lowest PSI you would use? I think the side wall of my Marathon Extreme HS402 says 45-60 PSI. I took a chance and went down to 35-ish.

As a result, I got a Snakebite - Dang! Ouch! Oopsy!

I am still interested in making the ride cushy by adjusting the PSI. So, it is back to more testing. I will post anything I learn, especially if it worth sharing.

That's all the news from the GreenComotion HQ for now!

Peace ;)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fine-tuning the SA hub

I heard some grinding noises when riding in the highest gear a few days ago. First I thought it was the derailleur. But it turned out to be not the derailleur. But it was the SA hub, which needed a little tweak.

I tried watching the Brompton Technical Videos to figure out how exactly to do it. But following their advise didn't get me the desired result.
So, I went by my own gut feeling and moved the indicator rod is even with the end of the axle, when in 2nd gear.
This seemed to alleviate the situation.

Do you run into this sorta thing ever, with your Brompton, or with your 3-speed IGH? I would love to hear what you did.

Peace :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chasing that sunset

I still remember this day, like it was yesterday, although it was back in 2004, when I shot this photo. I wanted to capture the sunset and I ran to the fountain at Tower Grove Park, as fast as I could, but the clouds beat me to it. I ended up photographing the sudden cloud formation.
In any case, the photo turned out well. Or at least I thought it did...

Peace :)