Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Am So Embarassing!

It’s not too rare when I’m waiting for the red light to become green that my daughter’s yellow school bus with its black windows pulls alongside me, leaving me alongside my daughter and 30 of her schoolmates. It’s at this moment when she puts her hand in her face because …she’s embarrassed? Laughing? Don’t the school kids think I’m cool? Am I not deserving of my daughter’s pride in my exercising and keeping another car off the road? She tells me I am so embarrassing, but I hope the damage isn’t long term!

Very hot on the ride in to work. I seek even the smallest shadows – from street poles or trees – to provide shade while waiting at intersections.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fifteen Bucks!

I am a big fan of recycling, found objects, dumpster diving, and of course, used bike sales. This past weekend was no exception. With kids in tow we came upon a blue Nishiki Blazer for $15! Frame is in excellent shape, although bottom bracket, while still functional, will soon need an overhaul. We swapped its worn tires with those on my son's now seriously damaged Diamondback and voilà -- very nice bike!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bikeful Day

Many things coalesced yesterday (Thursday) that made it a very bikeful day. Not the least of which was gorgeous weather to pedal through on the way to the paper processing facility (AKA the office). As I moved through Camp Hill borough and then up 21st Street, I saw three colleagues in their cars (and they saw me thanks to the new day glow orange jersey). Collegial street encounters are more common than I realize, as more folks at various social occasions tell me they’ve seen me on one road or another. Good that they see me, lest I become squished. 

I rolled in behind the corporate office center and locked up.

It was another 90 minutes at the office when I realized that a conference presentation downtown was on a schedule not anticipated by yours truly. It was to start in seven minutes. I figured I could make it (hmm: 2.3 miles, but a third of that downhill).  I zipped from my office down to the bulging Susquehanna, then across it via the Harvey Taylor Bridge, and eventually pulled into the Hilton, making a quick change of clothes before stepping into the “Delaware Room”…not bad for rapid commuting!

And then, thank you bike for getting me to more errands: clothes at Boscov’s, printer cartridge at Staples, organic stuff at Giant. What could make more sense?

This is all happening in one biking day, and to top it off, my lovely wife rode her bike into town today as well.  Great job, sweetie!
My lovely wife riding a bike in the Netherlands about 28 months prior to Thursday.

But there is more biking news today, taking place even after the sun met its zenith and fell behind the horizon. At about that time, the phone rang and a friend asked if he could drop by to fix a defective rear-brake on his Mongoose. Together we discovered the role of a missing washer, and within 20 minutes had improved  the cantilever brake significantly. Very satisfying! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hartford Cycling

I can't say too much about cycling in Hartford, CT, but in my brief stay here (Monday-Tuesday) I located only one bike shop in the center of town and they don't rent bikes. A fellow Connecticut bike blogger indicated there are no bikes for rent in his state. Oh my! This is a sizable disappointment, as I endeavor to cycle in every city I go to.  I watched several pedalers moving around during the morning rush hour here. I had hoped to be one of them, even if awkwardly scrying safe pathways through traffic lanes I don't know well. 

In short, all I can offer about cycling in Hartford is my modified photo of two neglected bikes chained to a tree in the center of town:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Preferred in Trexlertown

I learned only recently of a fantastic gathering of cyclists who assemble twice annually in Trexlertown, PA. Each Spring and Fall the Valley Preferred Cycling Center is a dense gathering of bike shop owners, bike manufacturers, and individual cyclists with cash in hand to buy clothing, parts and bikes inside the confines of a velodrome. There are tattooed, black-clothed types mixing with streamlined shiny road bike types, there are the old and young, commuters and mountain bikers. Blankets are strewn on the grass and tables to sell wares; mainly cogs and derailers and wheels. 

I found for myself two nifty posters, decals, a new helmet and a new reflective orange short-sleeve jersey. And for my offspring a classic bicycling cap and poster (they are so, so lucky)! If this were not enough, this event is ripe for striking up conversations with so many cyclists, which is highly unlikely on the daily commute. For one, I met a bearded and beer-wielding connoisseur of antique American bikes, who waxed on the design and build of a 19th century velocipede birthed in Chicago. "..all of its components are from Illinois...Had you ever seen a bike link tread?" By this point, yes. And hopefully again in the Fall...