Tag Archives: cycling

It’s me again

I haven’t posted in close to two months. To be honest, I just don’t have that “passion” for self-expression that other writers seem to build on. On top of that, I get little to no feedback, including from the person who encouraged me to write almost daily, as she did. (She said she wanted to stay in touch, but she didn’t say anything about the posts. Her health deteriorated since then and she has passed on.)

Also, I’ve been taking classes online through an outfit called edX. They are free unless I want a certificate to prove I took a given class. I’m just taking them for fun, but they take up a good bit of my time.

Digital Camera

I think I posted about the front shifter cable breaking on the Diamondback. During the winter, I didn’t worry about it because I didn’t have enough energy to use anything but the low gears anyhow. As the temperatures have risen, so has my energy level. I finally fixed the cable last week and got back to riding that one, which is still the “good” bike as far as actually riding.

4-24-2017 Stream near Eureka Ave on Camp Chase Trl

This picture comes from the trail that runs near my place. I couldn’t find a name for the stream, but the trail crosses it a 5-minute bicycle ride from home. By the way, this is in the Hilltop neighborhood, near Eureka Avenue. We have more going on here in Columbus and in the Hilltop than the crime you see on TV.

One of my goals for a while now is to ride a bike to London, Ohio, and camp for free at a little facility along the trail. I will give myself a day to ride the 22 miles, then come back the next day. One way I’m building up to that came today. I rode to Batelle-Darby Metro Park and back.

Batelle Metro Park 2

(These are cell phone pictures on a free phone. The quality kind of stinks, but I didn’t think to bring my camera.)

I didn’t remember to take breaks on the way down, and I only took one bottle of water. When I finally reached a place in the park (south part of it) that had water, the water was rusty and it didn’t clear up when I kept pumping for a while. Coming up the hill when I headed back, I realized that I had a wind to my right front. I made my way home with three breaks.

The good news is that I did it. The bad news is that once I sat down here I did nothing for three hours. I need much more stamina to do this distance (18 miles) without quite a bit of misery afterward.

I also need to improve my system so that I have much more water onboard. I might need to buy still another bike when I can. I’ve owned a couple of recumbent bikes in the past. Those are bikes that have a very different riding position, sort of laid back as in the next picture, which I found on the Internet. (This one is a Rans V, which I’ll never be able to afford.)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Rans_V_recumbent_bicycle.JPG/512px-Rans_V_recumbent_bicycle.JPG

Recumbents do far better riding into the wind, and the wind blows almost all the time in this flat country. I won’t have the money (mostly $500 and up) for one of those any time soon, but eventually I’ll probably get another recumbent.

Other than that, Loretta and I finally got our dissolution of marriage. We got a bill for it, too. It will be 50% each, and that will be payments. We’re still friends.

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New Bike, Old Chore

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So this is the folding bike I got with my back pay from SSI. (I got some other stuff, but this is the biggest thing.) It’s kind of a delayed-reaction impulse buy. I saw it in the window at a local bike shop one day in late December and decided to buy it because it’s similar to the Dahon I really wanted but about $170 cheaper. When I finally got the money, I bought it first thing. Dumb decision (which is why I’m not giving the brand or model). Buy a Dahon or another good brand if you can. On this one, the low gear isn’t as low enough for climbing, headwinds, or heavy cargo; the handlebar height doesn’t adjust to my size; and it has other drawbacks. Oh, well. At least it’s pretty.

That green thing on the seat post is not part of the bike. I’ve been carrying that gadget, called a Traileron, for years. (The black bump above it is a tail light.) It allows me to pull almost any cart behind the bike without any other hardware. This is actually the first time I used it. In this case, I towed my hand truck with my laundry as the cargo.

The detail of the Traileron is not as easy to see as I’d like because I’m not as good at editing as I’d like. The handle of the hand truck goes into a notch in the Traileron and is secured by a heavy-duty O-ring bent into a shape that works for the purpose.

How did it do? Pretty well. The O-ring is the brilliant part. It gives enough flexibility to let the hand truck adapt to the bike leaning or turning but is tight enough to keep it firmly attached. The sad thing is that Trailerons are not made any more.

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Here’s the “home and dry” picture. I wish the Traileron were still made. I would certainly recommend it as cheap way to get much more work from a bicycle. The user doesn’t even need a luggage rack, and the trailer can be any of many things, such as a child’s wagon, wire grocery cart, or even a golf bag cart. There’s a second O-ring provided that would give more choices. Thus, there’s less need for a trailer custom-made for bicycles. I imagine a good do-it-yourself person could probably make one, but there would be work involved that most poor people don’t have tools, shop space, or know-how to perform.

Need, Plan, Benefit

“Need, plan, benefit” is a format used to write proposals. It’s also a sound way to address issues. In this case, the need was to organize an overflowing cardboard box (upper left) between my bag chair and the door into a more useful and less unsightly “staging area” for my car-free lifestyle. The first picture shows the need, although this picture is too dark. (All of these have captions, too, but they got lost somehow.)

The plan: buy a big, cheap shelf unit and sort stuff onto the shelves. Also, use the top shelf to hold a lamp I bought for that area. I bought the shelf unit from Home Depot (lower left). As you might guess, the bus driver looked at me doubtfully when I brought that big package onto the bus, but she didn’t say anything. I got home, rested overnight, and assembled it the next day. Due to a quality control failure at the factory, I had to trim waste material from the ends of all the poles, but that’s part of getting things cheap.

The benefit: organization and easier trip preparation. The lamp sits on the top shelf, along with some hats and gloves. The next shelf is bicycle tools, parts, and equipment. The third shelf holds the many and varied bags I posted about a few months ago, except the barracks bag and big rucksack that are just too big. The bottom shelf is “miscellaneous” stuff, including rain gear and the bag for the bag chair.

 

Bike ‘n’ Bus Adventures

Bus Bike and “Proof of Concept”

So here’s the bus bike again. The picture on the right shows it after I changed the seat post. I took the seat post from a bike I brought with me that I found in someone’s trash in Mount Vernon. It took me several tries to get it out of the frame, but it’s exactly what I needed.

This bike is a Huffy Rock It. I have seen those in red and neon green, but only this one in blue. Therefore, it has an identity, the blue Rock It. To lessen confusion, I’ll call it Blue Rocket.

I got the seat post on, changed the seat, and so on yesterday. This morning, the weather warmed quickly and the forecast looked good. So today, I rode the Blue Rocket on her maiden (for me) voyage. We went down the Camp Chase Trail, came back far enough to take some streets, and took a bus to Walmart on Georgesville Road, then home via a different route with two more bus rides. She passed all phases of the test. I can ride her a couple of miles easily, and putting her on the bus rack or getting her off is much easier than past bikes. Neither she nor I was perfect, but I certainly have what engineers call “proof of concept.” That is, I’ve shown myself this was a really sound idea.

Another Adventure via Bike ‘n’ Bus

After a break, I found myself still with some energy. The wind had picked up, but I wanted to ride more. For lack of a better idea, I decided to see if the bus drivers would let me put the Diamondback (big bike) on the bus and how that would work out. I only wound up putting it on two buses, the #10 and a #4 that would put me in the area of my favorite park. Neither driver gave me any trouble about the height of my bike, but this thing weighs 45 pounds (20 kg) and takes up every inch of its space on the rack. I put about three times the effort into loading the Diamondback as I had the Blue Rocket.

While I was Downtown, I noticed that  the weather had cooled and that the wind was coming through my hoodie. I wished I had brought another layer, but stubbornness prevailed over good sense and I went on. I got off the bus on Indianola Avenue and coasted down the hill to High Street. By this time, I felt so cold that I stopped at a McDonald’s and had coffee to warm up. Then I coasted on down the hill to the park and decided to take some time in the woods there that I enjoy. I noticed that the most of the under-story plants beneath the autumn-leaved trees looked green and alive, although some had turned golden. We’re expecting below-freezing temperatures tonight, so that may change.

I took a phone call in that beautiful setting, during which I realized that I did not want to climb back up the hill I had coasted down. If I rode the nearby trail back toward home, I would not only have a “net” downhill ride, I’d also put the wind behind me. I needed that. By this time, the wind speed had increased over the 16 mph (25 kph) that Accuweather told me it was blowing when I left home.

That’s what I did. Tired or not, I liked riding downhill with a tail wind. Eventually, I left the trail (and the tail wind) for McKinley Avenue, then back to a trail at Eureka Avenue. By that time, I just kept downshifting and wishing I was already home, but I made it okay. I think the only lasting effect will be a day or two of sore knees. However, after all of that, I could barely stay awake for about four hours. I refuse to take a nap after 6 p.m., but I could not tell you much about that time because I was incredibly drowsy. Now that it’s past my bedtime, I’m waking up. Oh, well.

All in all, I had a very good day. I learned how the “system” of bikes and buses will work, visited a place I love, and had a nice ride for several miles.

Bus Bike & Updated Picture

Ain’t She Pretty?

Well, maybe not. In fact, I’d rather my bike isn’t too pretty. Pretty bikes have a higher theft rate, I think. They sell for more. This is my “bus bike,” meant for riding to and from bus stops that would be a little far to walk. My first destination will be a park that I enjoy. It’s about 7/10 of a mile from the #2 bus line.

The Story

I realized yesterday that I had enough cash to buy one of the things I need. Maybe two, depending. Not wanting to ride the big bike that far, I took the bus to the  Volunteers of America thrift shop out in Galloway. They had a microwave, but it cost $20 and was pretty heavy to carry back to the bus. No TV that I wanted.

I’ve been wanting a bike I could handle easily on the bus racks and count on the drivers not turning it (and me) away. The big bike is great to ride but might not be allowed on a bus because the handlebars stick up so far. Then I saw this bike. It’s the same model as one a grand-kid has, but a different color. It needed a rear tire and tube, but I had those stashed from trash finds back in Mount Vernon about a year ago. I finally found the price. It was a good deal at $10.10. The only other item I found was a little thing like a bedside stand for $8.08. Good deal, but hard to carry. I bought the bike and I will go back when I can to look for that stand or something like it when I have my trailer to haul it.

I got the bike back to the bus stop okay and loaded it onto the rack as easily as I’d hoped. Once I got home, I went to work. Then I did maybe the dumbest bicycle fixing mistake I ever made. I had a really good tube and absent-mindedly kept pumping it up with my hand pump until it blew up. Ruined the tire, too. I still had the funny-looking white tire shown in the picture. It was pretty late for me to go out, but the longer I sat, the more I beat myself up mentally for doing that dumb thing. I headed out to Walmart for another tube.

That went well. I caught a bus Downtown. At the High Street and State stop, an old friend got on, clearly tired and stressed. She lit up at the sight of me. I didn’t need to do anything but say “hi” to help her out. I guess a Greater Power wanted me there. I’m glad I could help.

Today, I put the bike together and rode it a little. I’ll still need a longer seat post (22.2 mm or 7/8″), at least 15″ long to give me enough height to pedal correctly. I’ll go to the co-op Saturday. They should have one cheap.

New Picture

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Here I am tonight. As you can see, the clean-shaven look didn’t last. I kept cutting myself shaving where the goatee grows, and I just like the way I look better with facial hair.

Stalling

I need to get a picture or two to put with my next post, so I’m not ready yet. The good news is that it’s not about the election or anything political. It’s a bicycle thing with a little inspirational note. The bad news is that the “adventure” continues until I get everything put together. (The bike you’re used to seeing here is just fine. The post is about a “bus bike” I’m putting together.)

Bike and Bus, Not Combined Yet

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My Diamondback Edgewood with the BMX handlebars set back toward the rider.

I have my bicycle handlebars in the strangest-looking setup I’ve ever used. I pulled them back and down with the idea of making them acceptable to bus drivers for their bike racks. I still don’t know if that will work, but I discovered that they’re very comfortable for riding. I expected them to hit me in the side on turns, but that has yet to happen. The only issue I have is mounting the bike, and that’s a good trade-off for comfortable riding.

So I followed that up by heading to Walmart without the bike, only wanting a tire and tube for my trailer. It would have been a better idea to ride the bike to the nearest Walmart. The exercise factor riding the bus to Walmart is walking to the nearest stop, changing buses Downtown and then walking from the East Main stop to the actual store. As with most Walmarts, this one has a gigantic parking lot.

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You can sort of see the front of the Walmart by looking at the post on AutoZone and seeing the roof line behind it. It’s a long walk, at least a quarter mile and maybe more. Of course, Walmart doesn’t put sidewalks anywhere for pedestrians. They’re built around automobiles. The whole walking distance is at least 6/10 mile each way, 1 2/10 round trip. For the same amount of energy, I could ride one way to the nearby Walmart and part of the way back, without putting up with the crowded bus or taking well over an hour each way.

At least I had good weather for yesterday and today. We have had near-record highs yesterday and today. For some reason, the local CBS station’s weather forecaster mentioned his opinion that this is not an effect of climate change. We have month after month each of which is the warmest of that month in history. I guess he thinks we’re dumb enough to buy that “fluke” idea.

The rest of the time, I have been sleepy. On top of the usual hypersomnia, I slept poorly last night, so today has been mostly lost. I’m going to stop here and try to follow Game 7 of the World Series.