Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for November, 2007

A night ride, and a cool commute

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Last night was a good night for a road ride. I had some questions I needed to answer, such as: how cold could my feet possibly get in an hour at around 30 degrees? And, how dark is it on Moore’s Creek Road at night? As it turns out, the answers are: very freaking cold; and incredibly dark — really too dark for the lights I have. I’m not afraid of the dark, really, but it was kind of creepy being somewhere that remote. I’m pretty sure I passed within three feet of a deer (or something!) but I could only hear it shuffle around in the leaves and snort a little bit. I went right by part of the lake and couldn’t see it at all. I would have stopped to let my eyes adjust but I knew I’d get too cold if I did that.

I really need some booties or warmer shoes and some better lights. I find it interesting though how much more comfortable I feel riding through town at night, even on the busier streets. This ride reinforced the need to devise some good around-town routes. Still, it felt great to ride.

I know this is nothing compared to the weather that a lot of other cyclists are dealing with right now, but I woke up this morning to find it 23 degrees with a windchill of 15. Not insanely cold, but the coldest it’s been so far this year, and cold enough that I needed warmer gloves, and once again my feet were cold. It was a beautiful morning to ride to work, though, and smirked as I rode past vacant cars idling to warm up and wait for the defrost to kick in. I wore a scarf and that worked better than I expected. I arrived at work feeling invigorated.

Suspicions

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Update: Sarah reminded me of a few things I forgot to mention before. I’ve added them at the end.

I don’t usually care for memes, but Schmutzie’s list of things of which she is suspicious (which I found via Squublog) was pretty interesting, and Sarah made a similar list. So, here are things of which I am suspicious (not really in any order):

  1. The government.
  2. Anarchy.
  3. Fluoridation. Anything you can’t opt out of makes me suspicious (see #1)
  4. Fruit in beer. Oddly, I’m OK with some fruit-flavored beers such as Abita Purple Haze and Oaken Barrel Razz Wheat — but God help you if bring me a beer with an orange slice in it.
  5. Decaf anything.
  6. Diet anything, although I actually drink diet sodas now. I’m still not convinced diet soda isn’t terrible for you, but it has helped me lose weight.
  7. Anyone driving while talking on a cell phone.
  8. Digital photography. I do it, and I love it, but I worry about the longevity of the images. You can still make prints with 100-year-old negatives, but will we be able to read DVD+Rs in 10, 20, 50, 100 years? What about JPEG? It uses patented technology — what if the company goes under or stops allowing JPEG reading/writing software to be written, or someday charges inordinate amounts of money for it? Actually this logic also applies to word processing files, spreadsheets, mp3s — really any digital media.
  9. The RIAA/MPAA.
  10. Microsoft.
  11. Apple.
  12. Religion.
  13. Moral relativism.
  14. Yippy little dogs.
  15. Cats.
  16. Memes.
  17. Processed cheese products, especially Velveeta. The stuff can be surprisingly good in certain contexts, but once they stopped pretending it should be refrigerated, I realized just how unnatural it must be. Yikes.
  18. Discount cards at supermarkets, etc. If I let you track what I buy, you’ll give me a discount? What?
  19. Disney World. You need to fingerprint me WHY? Please check your identity at the gate. You won’t be getting it back.
  20. Being asked to leave my backpack at the counter.
  21. Being asked to show the items I’ve JUST PURCHASED as I leave a store.

Riding with Dan On Bike

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Saturday found me riding on the road with Dan of the excellent Dan On Bike blog (here is Dan’s write-up of our ride). Dan e-mailed me a while back saying he was going to be in the Bloomington area for the extended Thanksgiving weekend and asked about routes. I offered to give him the local’s tour and he accepted. I figured riding around Lake Lemon would make for a good route.

We met in the Unionville Elementary School parking lot. I just rode to the meeting place, since it was close enough and part of one of my regular routes anyway. We both arrived a few minutes late; Dan was apologetic but I literally beat him there by about a minute, so it was perfect timing.

It took a few minutes for us to get settled into a pace, but once we did we found a great conversational pace. It was slower than I would normally ride, but I usually ride alone so there’s no real point in keeping it conversational. I really enjoyed having a more leisurely ride. We took Tunnel Road over from 45 and then flew down the big hill on South Shore. We followed the lake for a while and rode across it on the causeway, which is always fun. We stopped and Dan took a few photos. In hindsight maybe some more photo stops would have been good, because I sure didn’t take many and most of mine didn’t turn out too well.

It was really cool to meet a fellow cyclist blogger, and Dan is a really cool guy. We both work in computer-related fields so we talked about our education and computing history and some geeky stuff like zip codes, DNS, and estimating the value of barns. But we also talked about other cyclist bloggers, in particular Noah (KC-Bike), Doug (MnBicycleCommuter) and others. Noah helped Dan with some DNS issues and Doug has recommended some pretty impressive Lake boots. Both have a wealth of cycling information on their sites so you should check them out if you haven’t already.

Once we crossed the lake on South Shore, we headed up to North Shore to go back. While South Shore is pretty flat, we got some good hills on North Shore. It starts out with a few rolling hills but also has a couple of good climbs. Since he’s from Lafayette, which is very flat, I knew Dan was a bit nervous about the hills, but he did a great job. He only walked one and it’s one I’ve walked many times myself. Nothing to be ashamed of there.

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Dan riding up a big hill

Once we got around the lake, we still had a ways to go on Anderson Lane and then up Old State Road 37. We stopped for a couple more photos and turned on our rear lights.

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View from Old 37

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Looking down on part of a long climb

Before long it got dark but Dan was a good sport and was well prepared to deal with it. We turned on our lights and kept riding. I know some riders who freak out if it gets dark, but not Dan. He was comfortable with it, and I’m glad he was because otherwise I would have felt bad about it.

We rode back to the school and Dan suggested a group shot — something I had intended to do but forgot about. His flash didn’t fire for some reason but it turned out to be a cool photo. I’ve ripped this off from him.

Apertome and Dan On Bike
Apertome and Dan (photo ripped off from Dan’s flickr page)

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