Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for March, 2008

Dave is back in the saddle

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Back on January 3rd (wow, it’s hard to believe it was that long ago), I wrote about my friend Dave’s mountain biking accident. Since then he’s been making a gradual recovery. He fortunately didn’t have to have surgery, and he’s been hiking increasing distances the past few weeks, and riding increasingly long sessions on his trainer. Dave is a mountain biker, but as part of his recovery, he’s going to have to do a bunch of training on the road before he can go mountain biking. Last night, he called me and said he wanted to ride, and felt ready. I headed out to his house, and we rode a good 10+ miles. Dave did great job. The doctors said his balance might not be too good, but he didn’t have any problems. The only real problem he seemed to have was a little numbness in his left hand and leg. He said he couldn’t feel the wind on his leg, which must’ve been weird.

It was great to ride with Dave again, even if it was on the road. Now he can ramp up to longer rides and before long, hopefully he’ll be back on the trails! And the doctors initially said he might not ride again — BAH!

Almost springy

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

As the weather warms up, my commutes get easier and more pleasant. The flipside of this is that I don’t feel like writing about them as often, since those rides are pretty routine at this point. Somehow the harder winter rides — where I’m struggling to stay upright on the bike — were more memorable, and better blog fodder.

Lately temperatures have been around 30 during my rides to work, and reaching highs in the 40s and 50s. We’ve had some rain, some wind, even some hail yesterday. I guess spring is here in terms of unpredictability, but there have been few good opportunities to ride in springlike weather thus far. The only signs of the new season during my commutes are some budding trees, and some flowers which have been planted on campus. The birds seem to think spring is in full effect, singing and darting around me, especially as I ride on the bike path.

Sarah and I are going to Fort Wayne this weekend. It’ll be a bit cooler there, but I plan to bring my bike and ride somewhere, either with on my own or with the Three Rivers Cycling Club, with whom I’ve ridden before. I’m itching for some longer rides.

What happened to spring?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

It wasn’t a very good weekend for riding. I was planning on riding with my friend Chris on Saturday, but his bike was in the shop. Besides that, it was in the upper 30s, windy, and drizzling intermittently. I went for a ride anyway, but I rode the 45-minute Mount Gilead ride, rather than a much longer ride that I was hoping to do. It felt good to get out, but a little disappointing. I thought about riding further, but I felt chilly. I dressed pretty warmly, but the wind just cut right through me. Alas.

Sunday was slightly warmer, but it snowed on and off throughout the day. It was too warm for the snow to stick, but still chilly. In fact, it was warmer on Christmas than it was on Easter (yesterday). It was so weird.

Now, I certainly could have ridden anyway, but I’m just plain tired of this cold weather riding. Heck, 40 or so isn’t even that cold, but it felt colder to me than it was outside. Instead, I took the opportunity to do some work on my bike.

A little background: I suck at working on my bike. I almost always break something in the process. But last week I successfully installed a new left shifter on my old mountain bike. I even had to use a hacksaw to get rid of parts of the old shifter, since it was integrated into the brake lever. I had hacked off the old right shifter Saturday night, and I installed the new one on Sunday. Surprisingly, I didn’t break anything, and I seemed to have everything adjusted properly on my first try. And I’m truly astounded at how easy it was.

New shifter New shifter

Along the way, though, I destroyed the grips, and that bike has bars that I guess I can best describe as mountain bike bars with built-in bar ends. A non-standard grip, in other words. So I decided to put some cork tape on them, and do the whole twine/shellac thing. I meant to get natural cork tape, but they were out of that, so I got white instead. And I got amber shellac, with the idea that I can use it on my road bike and hopefully get the tape to be a closer match to my Brooks honey brown leather saddle.

Bars, with the white cork tape and twine Bar end
White tape, hemp twine, pre-shellac

After three layers of amber shellac

Things turned out a little more orange than I intended, but I think it looks pretty good on the green bike.

The whole bike

Another angle

This morning was colder — 25 degrees when I rode to work. It’s looking like it’ll warm up, which would be most welcome. I’ve been riding to work in my work clothes lately, instead of changing once I get here, and so far that’s working out really well. It saves me time and I haven’t destroyed any of my work clothes, yet.

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