March Mileage Madness

March 31, 2008

My March mileage? 200.77 miles.

Making that my second best month ever (I did something like 230 miles in August). Up from 181 in February, around 29 in January and none in November or December.

Go me!


Turn Signals

March 17, 2008

I want, I want, I want…

Sadly, this bike shirt is just a prototype, designed by Leah Buechley, a Ph.D. student in the University of Colorado’s department of computer science. According to Gizmodo, “LEDs embedded in an arrow formation flash to indicate the cyclist is about to turn left or right, warning motorists, and so, hopefully, preventing any unnecessary squishing.”

I approve.

Special Guest

March 10, 2008

We were honoured to play host to Cycedork this weekend. A racker up of ridiculous amounts of mileage (did I hear 700 miles in a month?), dispenser of sage (and yes, occasionally unsolicited) advice and all-round cool guy, Cycledork came laden with delicious home brew (a bottle of which I’ve just finished) and his super-light Trek road bike. I’m a little chagrined to admit that I didn’t join Ladymacsquish and Cycledork on their Sunday morning ride to Stone Mountain (pleading hangover day two as my excuse). But he gave me wise advice about riding post-broken wrist that paid off on today’s 14 mile ride (hint: don’t put weight on the wrist!). All hail the dork!

Efficiency, if you don’t get a flat

March 4, 2008

Oh bollocks! My quest for a weekday ten miles was thwarted by another flat. Close inspection led to the inevitable conclusion that something pointy was lodged in my tire. So it’s new tire time tomorrow.

That’s two thwarted rides in three days. However, this quotation makes me feel better:

“A bicyclist is by far the most efficient traveler — three times more than a horse, five times more than a car, ten times more than a sea gull or a dog or a jet plane, and one hundred times more than a blowfly or a bumblebee.” — Bicycling! (1973) (as quoted in David B. Perry’s Bike Cult, p. 189).

Tube Mishaps

March 2, 2008

The tire gods really haven’t been smiling upon Lady MacSquish and I this weekend. Not only have we each had a flat, but we were also semi-stranded yesterday thanks to a weird mutant tube.

The weather has been gorgeous, so we decided to head out to Stone Mountain, Atlanta’s own Confederate Mount Hatemore (except that, thankfully, the town itself is now 70% African-American, despite the not so benevolent granite visages of various Dixie secessionist leaders looming over the municipality). We were having a lovely ride, generally kicking ass, when about a mile out of the town of Stone Mountain LMS got a flat. No problem! We both carry tubes and CO2. Except that her spare tube was comically much larger than her tire. Not through buying the wrong size, but through some sort of strange mutation. It was also freakishly thick on one side when inflated. My spare tube was no good either, as my wheels are thinner.

Luckily our friend N. graciously drove out to rescue us in her tiny Nissan. Which, to my delight, managed to contain our two bikes and all three people. And although she got there as fast as she could, we still ended up feeling pretty forlorn (and chilly) as we sat by the side of the road for 45 minutes. It turns out that wearing lycra sort of sucks when you’re not cycling, it’s windy and the sun is going down.

We did get a chance to observe the camaraderie (or lack thereof) of our fellow cyclists. About 1 in 10 people asked if we were okay or if there’s anything that we needed. But the rest either smiled benignly or averted their eyes. One person in an SUV also asked if we needed help. We did look like we were clearly waiting for someone, but still… I’m a little surprised that more people didn’t ask if we were alright. Those who did tended to be the more serious-looking cyclists, rather than people out for a short spin on their mountain bikes.

And then today, on the way home from a solo ride out almost to Stone Mountain, I got a flat myself. This time, though, my tube was the right size, and I had the tire changed in 15 minutes or so. Which meant that I felt smug. Oily, but smug.