Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Commuting' Category

Biking less, walking more

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I posted anything here. The reason for that is simply that I haven’t had much to report, on the cycling front. School has dominated my time and energy. I’ve been commuting on my bike most of the time, but even that has taken a bit of a hit, with some rain relegating me to the bus, and now I’m sick, and have no interest in riding, even for short commutes.

Tim and David and I were supposed to head down to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky for a weekend of cycling and camping the weekend before last, but it didn’t happen. I was completely worn down and on on the verge of getting sick and Tim got sick, also. So I’ve been fighting varying degrees of sickness on and off for a couple of weeks now. Finally it blew up into a nasty cold over the weekend, but I’ve still be chugging along on projects and such. I hope to get a little bit of a break tonight, but otherwise my workload looks like it will remain intense for a while.

I haven’t even had much desire to ride, which is a weird feeling. It shouldn’t surprise me, because it happened last semester too, and then I did a lot of riding over the summer. I just can’t do everything at once, I suppose.

Thanksgiving weekend brings the Gravel Grovel, a metric century gravel grinder. I’m planning on riding it with Tim and David and Timothy (all Louisville people). They seem to be training for it more than I am, and treating it more like the race that it is. I am a little nervous about it, given my lack of training, but I am looking forward to a good day on the bike with friends, so I’m trying not to worry.

The upside to the days I take the bus is that I get to walk more, once I get to campus. I love walking, sometimes even more than riding, although it’s not practical when getting from point A to point B quickly is necessary. But walking allows you to slow down more, make more observations, and brood. Brooding is something I do well, and enjoy. I like to listen to music and just live inside my head. It’s wonderful and therapeutic.

I do have one rather significant bit of news to report, and that is that I’m quitting my job, where I have worked for two years. My course load is picking up to the extent that I just don’t have enough time available to make it worthwhile. I’ll do some small contract projects when I have the time, but that’s it. Actually, I’ve had some projects on hold so now maybe I can pick those back up again.

Despite the stress and workload, school is excellent. I love academia, I’m learning a lot, and every single one of my classes is interesting. I’m spending by far the most time on my photography class, but it is extremely rewarding.

Random weather, and other ramblings

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The week before last, we had temperatures in the 90s, tipping topping out at nearly 100 on Saturday. All of a sudden the temps dropped and we had cloudy, drizzly days most of last week, in the 50s-60s. Some of my favorite weather, really.

Now we seem to be in a middle ground — in the upper 80s the next couple days, lows around 60.

This weekend was a total loss though, I spent Saturday throwing up and otherwise feeling miserable due to what must have been a nasty combination of a hangover and food poisoning. It was truly awful. Sunday I was much better, but still dehydrated and weak … I tried to keep it a restful day, spent recuperating, with a little cleaning around the house.

My mountain bike is now fixed again, I ended up having the shop upgrade my rear brake to an Avid BB7, instead of the BB5 I had before. I haven’t had a chance to try it out, but I’m excited.

I had a couple hiccups with the LHT, the first being a flat tire. I lucked out — I walked out after work and found my front tire flat. It was hot that day but I just sat in the shade and calmly changed the tube, rather than fighting with it by the side of the road. The hole was right by the valve stem, so there was no patching it.

The shifting is getting fidgety on the LHT, as well. I’ve made some adjustments, but the problem seems to be getting worse. So, I just threw my barend shifter in friction mode, and it has been a lot better. In fact, I’m rather liking the improved control I get with friction shifting.

Unfortunately, I think my cassette may be wearing out. The brakes are also not quite right, and my front shifter is stiff. The bike needs work, and it may need a professional’s touch at this point. I’ve done a good job of keeping it tuned up for a while, but it’s getting to a point where it just needs more than I can confidently do. At this rate, I’d say it definitely needs a good solid tuneup before winter strikes, if not sooner. That’s probably a good idea, anyway, I suppose.

Back to school

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

School started back up on Monday. I’m taking a full load again this semester.

I didn’t feel ready for school to start, but I’m getting back in the swing of things pretty quickly. My classes are all interesting, and once again, as a General Studies major, I get to take a variety of classes:

  • Social Informatics
  • Roman Culture
  • Production
  • Photography

In addition to being interesting topics, my production course is actually hands-on this semester, which is exciting. We got to see the TV studio where we’ll be doing some of our work, and it’s very impressive. I can’t wait to learn how to use some of the crazy equipment they have there.

Photography is in the darkroom this semester. I’ve done darkroom work before, but it’s been a long time, and I’m very excited.

The Social Informatics class is a prerequisite for another class I want to take, but it looks interesting in itself. It looks at how technology shapes society, and vice versa.

Roman Culture fulfills a cultural studies requirement. I chose it because when I was growing up, we always studied the Greeks, with promises that we’d cover the Romans later. But, we never did. The topic isn’t as fascinating to me as some of the others, but it is interesting, and it’s cool to have such a different kind of class. It’s going to involve a lot of reading, and I’m actually looking forward to some of it. Also, the professor seems engaging, which could make a huge difference in a class like this.

I’m trying a different approach to carrying my junk to campus this semester. Last semester I used a milk crate, and it worked OK, but it was a little cumbersome having the weight so high on the bike, and it took a good 10-15 minutes to get the crate on and off.

I looked into some messenger bags that could attach like panniers, but they were all expensive and I wanted something more flexible. So, I bought a grocery pannier. I ended up with an Axiom Hunter model, I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, just picked up the best one the shop I visited had. They had a Blackburn model that seemed sturdier, but it was smaller and less flexible, and I’m pretty sure my backpack wouldn’t have fit. Here’s my new setup:




It’s not perfect. Sometimes my foot hits the bag (though I think I can adjust that problem away). And it’s still cumbersome sometimes, but it’s a lot easier to get the grocery pannier on/off when needed, and the weight is lower, even if it’s a little unbalanced. We’ll see how well this setup works out.

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