Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for January, 2008


Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

I get some interesting reactions to my riding to work in the cold.

There’s a guy who works part time where I work, and part time at the public library with Sarah. This affords us opportunities to swap stories and in particular allows me to call him by his nickname “B Money” (or B$, as I’m told it’s written) at my workplace, which is a less casual environment than the library. I think it makes him a little nervous, but I make sure only he hears me. Anyway, apparently Sarah was talking to B$ yesterday and he made a comment that I ride to work “NO MATTER WHAT!” I’ve talked about bikes with him a few times, and he uses a skateboard as transportation at least some of the time. I don’t know if he ever got his bike back from where it was being stored in Maine.

Of course, true to form, I rode this morning. It was about 15 degrees, with a windchill of around five degrees and a thin layer of snow covering everything. I was pretty comfortable and found a new trick that worked well for me. I wore wool socks over my work socks, so I just had to remove the extra layer and didn’t have to fiddle around trying to put on different socks. I’ve started getting some predictable comments as I walk in, particularly “Brisk ride today?” The funny thing is, I get that comment even when it’s in the upper 20s, which is really a pretty comfortable temperature range, at least for my brief 15-20 minute ride.

At an office meeting last week, we were talking about the fact that there’s insufficient parking here, and my boss jokingly said, “If only Michael would ride to work again.” I told him I’m still riding and he and my other coworkers seemed pretty befuddled.

So, a lot of people around here seem to think I’m crazy, but truth be told, I’m having fun. I don’t mind the cold nearly as much as I mind rain. In the rare case I drive to work, it always reinforces how much better it is to ride. I didn’t even start my car yesterday, and it felt good.

Road riding 2008: So far, three consecutive flat tires

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I rode the Water Works route on Saturday and suffered yet another flat tire. That means I’m 3/3 so far this year: three road rides, three flat tires. The first was mysterious, and I couldn’t find a leak or any obstructions in my tire. The second and third were from riding over glass, which got stuck in my tire and punctured the tube. I guess there must be more road debris around here during the winter. I patched my tube without incident this time, and several other cyclists rode by while I was working on it. They checked to make sure I had everything I needed — I did.

This brings me to the one downside to my Rivendell Roll-y Pol-y tires: they are damn near impossible to get on and off my rims. I didn’t care much once I got them on and road over 400 miles without a flat tire. But now that I seem to be getting regular flat tires, it’s becoming a real problem. I don’t know whether it’s because of the tires, or my rims, or if they just don’t play nicely together for some reason. But it’s driving me crazy. And of course, so are the flat tires, but I don’t blame the tires for that. Sure, if I had kevlar belts in my tires, I probably would’ve been OK, but I intentionally did not buy tires with the belts because of their weight. And I had no problems until recently. Maybe I need some tougher tires for winter.

I also scratched the paint on my top tube — I guess I leaned my bike against something abrasive. I’ll have to be more careful about that in the future. I finished the ride and enjoyed it a lot, once I was rolling again.

Pate Hollow Trail

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Sarah and I went hiking on the Pate Hollow Trail yesterday, a 7.7-mile hiking trail near Paynetown SRA by Lake Monroe. We did the shorter 3.8-mile eastern section. Initially, I thought it might be better not to take Rob (the dog), as I figured it’d be really muddy and didn’t feel like giving him a bath after our hike. But as we started getting ready, Rob somehow figured out what was going on (I know I didn’t tell him) and got really excited, begging to come with us. We couldn’t resist, so Rob joined us for this hike.

It was a dreary, slightly foggy day in the upper 20s, snowing a bit on and off. Really the kind of day that makes you want to sit at home and not do much of anything, but it really was beautiful once we got moving. Sarah and I have found that we much prefer winter hiking to intense summer heat. Granted, it hasn’t been extremely cold on our hikes thus far, but in colder weather, we can always add layers. In the summer, the heat can be brutal, and there’s little you can do about it. We don’t have to carry as much water during the winter, either.

Pines along the Pate Hollow Trail

The trail starts right behind the Paynetown DNR office and is pretty close to the highway at first, but before long you are away from it and it’s surprising how quiet it is, given its proximity to the highway. The trail starts on a ridge and gradually descend into a valley. You barely even notice you’re going downhill. The trail crosses a creek a couple of times and then begins a gradual climb that doesn’t feel too difficult, but before long you realize you are way above the valley, and in fact higher than you were at the trailhead.

Rob, running

The trail was well-marked, with maps with yellow arrows indicating your current location, at each intersection. Since we were doing only part of the trail, an old dirt road served as a shortcut.

The old road

The trail followed the ridge tops for a while longer, climbing higher before descending into another ravine and climbing back up the other side.

Rob peers across the ravine


Rob and Sarah

Hills in the distance

This was a really cool trail, and we want to go back and hike the whole thing. The western half of it goes near Lake Monroe, so it should be even more scenic.

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