Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for January, 2008

Zero

Friday, January 25th, 2008

I woke up this morning and groggily walked into our second bedroom, which serves as our office. I looked at the condensation on the windows — frozen solid. Usually it’s at least partially liquid. I switched on my monitor and weather.com told me it was zero degrees Fahrenheit. I wasn’t surprised — I knew it was going to be cold, but it’s still sort of a shock to see that big fat 0 on the screen. That’s a tie for my coldest commute so far. I took a shower, leaving the ventilation fan turned off since our humidifier couldn’t keep up. There wasn’t even fog on the mirror after my shower — I guess the air just soaked that steam right up.

The ride itself wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t windy and I enjoyed the crunch of the snow beneath my tires on the bike path. The rest of the ride was on clear streets.

I think I need some better shifters, or mine need maintenance. My left shifter often doesn’t catch when I’m trying to shift to the big chainring. It’s worse when it’s cold, but it does it all the time. The right shifter usually works OK, but today it was acting just like the left one, I tried to push it down and the lever didn’t catch on whatever it’s supposed to push to shift gears. I found myself pushing the trigger repeatedly without anything happening. I guess in all fairness, these Shimano Alivio (low-end) shifters came with the bike in the mid-90s, so maybe it’s time to upgrade.

I wore an extra layer on my legs, a pair of Pepper Skins (athletic long underwear) and I had forgotten how well they work. My legs were warm; they’ve been cold during my commutes for some time, and they felt warm in 0 degree weather! I also wore my ski jacket shell instead of my Descente Element jacket and that was really overkill.

I keep thinking about Noah’s suggestion from yesterday:

We need to get you a sticker for the bike. Something along the lines of:

Warning: Do not lick bicycle.

It should have a Cross-out through a silhouette of someone licking a frozen pole, too.

That cracked me up, because I was actually thinking on my way to work yesterday about how cold the bike gets and how you could get your tongue frozen to it like you’re always told happens to people who lick poles in the winter. I’m seriously contemplating trying to find a way to make such a sticker. Anyone want to design one? Marty, maybe? Anyone? I’ll pay in beer (or beer money, since it’s illegal to ship beer in Indiana). Or we can trade art for art, I’ll send a print of one of my photos to anyone who designs such a sticker.

I’m also torn whether it should say “Warning: do not lick bicycle” or “Warning: do not lick bicycle when cold,” implying it’s OK so long as it’s not cold. Or maybe it only needs the graphical part, I can’t decide.

Seven degrees

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

During my ride to work this morning it was 7 degrees Fahrenheit, with a windchill of -7. I could really use some goggles; for a while, I thought my glasses were going to freeze to my face, especially when I crested a hill and was greeted with a blast of extremely cold air. Otherwise, I was fairly comfortable, although I could have used another layer on my legs.

In cold weather, my bicycle gets some condensation when I bring it in the building. When it’s really cold, like today, water condenses on the bike and immediately freezes. All from being out in the cold for about 15 minutes. Granted, this is nothing compared to what some Minnesota commuters are going through, but for here in southern Indiana, this is extremely cold.

Back at it

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

I was out sick on Monday and worked from home yesterday since I still wasn’t feeling well. But I’m back in the office today, and I rode my bike to get here. I actually considered driving since I suddenly got a little dizzy and off-balance yesterday, but I did fine. In fact, even though it was only 10 degrees outside, it felt great to ride to work.

There was a fair amount of ice in our apartment’s parking lot, but the streets were clear. The bike path, which I assumed would be icy, must’ve stayed just cold enough to prevent the layer of snow from melting, as it was still snow. Firm, crunchy snow, but still snow. So I had great traction even on the bike path.

It felt great to be back on my bike, even if only briefly. I hope to do more riding later in the week.

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