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Archive for the 'Health' Category

Wonder, frustration, and hope

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

It’s a beautiful day. I walked outside to go to lunch and the sun was shining brightly … and for the first time in quite a while, the sun felt warm. 42 degrees has never felt so great. As I walked through downtown Bloomington, I felt a sense of wonder at the bright sun, deep blue sky and small puffy clouds in the distance.

Minutes later, I found myself brooding. Just as winter’s grasp begins to weaken, I have to have surgery. I won’t be able to take advantage of the nicer weather for at least a couple of weeks. Hell, I won’t even be able to walk to lunch for a while.

The further I walked, the more my foot hurt. Soon I was limping along, still enjoying the sun, but having a little trouble getting around. I’ve had a few doubts about my surgery, as my foot really doesn’t hurt too badly most of the time. But at that moment, I realized, quite clearly, that the surgery is definitely the right thing to do. And that in the long run, I will recover and be better off.

All of this feels a little melodramatic. My foot doesn’t hurt too badly now, and the surgery is supposed to be relatively minor. But, now I feel much more relaxed, focused, and confident. Sometimes a good walk does wonders for clearing your mind.

Commute Video

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

We are in the midst of moving to our new house. So, I’m more or less just going to be posting a video from a recent commute. I was going to post it in its entirety, but YouTube has a 10-minute limit, so I had to edit some parts out. I removed 4-5 minutes to make it fit in the allotted time. Like the previous video, there’s nothing particularly interesting about this ride, except this one is the commute I ride every day (or I *did* ride every day — my commute will be completely different now that we are moving).

When I posted the test video, I was surprised at how much attention people were paying to various details, and some of the comments talked about my riding style and traffic controls in the brief ride. So, I’m curious what people will see here.

Before I post the video, I have a few unrelated comments.

  1. For quite a while now, I have been having some problems with my little toe on my left foot. Nothing has worked to get it to heal on its own, so I will be having surgery next Friday. It’s fairly minor and routine, or so I’m told, but I’m very much not looking forward to it. I will be off the bike for at least two weeks. After two weeks, the stitches come out and I can do whatever I’m comfortable with.
  2. Moving, and doing some work in the new house, is proving to be very time-consuming. So I have not done much riding. We also don’t have Internet access in the new place yet, so it’s proving difficult to blog much.
  3. My new commute will be close to twice as long as the old one, so things are going to get more interesting on the commuting front. I already started riding the Trucker when the weather isn’t too bad, and I have to say, it makes my commute much more enjoyable.
  4. I tried to make a video of a fantastic night ride I did with my friend Dave. It was cold, dark, snowing, windy, and we were riding on hilly gravel roads. It was phenomenal! Unfortunately, the helmet cam does not handle darkness very well. I’m not sure yet if any of the footage will be salvageable.

Anyway, back to the commute video: I hope you enjoy it!

Cracked Velo-Orange Fender

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

I’m still sick. No more rides to report.

But I wanted to revisit my fender problems. My front fender developed a crack on my ride to Tunkhannock, during a bumpy chipseal descent. These are Velo Orange 48mm fluted aluminum fenders that I bought in mid-August of last year and have about 2000 miles on them. The crack is where the fender attaches to the L bracket that joins it to the fork crown. Here are some photos of the damage.

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Whenever a piece of gear fails, it makes me think: was this a defective sample? Did I install it wrong or otherwise abuse it? Or is it an inferior product?

In this case, I honestly don’t know. I installed the fenders with leather washers, although I realized when I removed the fender that I did not put leather washers on the underside of the two bolts above — only on the top of the fender, by the bracket. I do a lot of riding on gravel roads and a bit of trail riding on this bike, so maybe the fenders have sustained more vibration than normal. But I don’t think I used them in ways they weren’t intended to be used. I sent an e-mail to VO to see if they have any thoughts, and to find out if they are under warranty.

My experience with these fenders has been mixed. They look fantastic, but I found them very difficult and time-consuming to install. I justified it by telling myself that they would last for many years. Now, even if VO replaces the front fender (which I doubt), I have lost a lot of confidence in them. I think aluminum may just be too brittle for this application.

I’ve also noticed that my fenders show a lot of wear. I’m not someone who babies his bicycle. I ride on all kinds of surfaces, I lean my bike on the ground, or up against things, without thinking about it too much. And I sometimes carry my bicycle on a trunk rack on my car. All these things can cause some wear on a bicycle, and that includes the fenders.

Fortunately, I don’t care if my bicycle looks pristine. However, this fender looks beat up enough for me to think that maybe they’re not rugged enough for my needs. Looking at the photo below, man, that left stay is bent.

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I’ll see what the folks at VO say, but I assume this damange won’t be covered under a warranty. I plan on getting some Planet Bike Cascadia or SKS P* fenders instead. I have SKSes on my old mountain bike-turned-commuter, and I’ve had a great experience with them. And I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Cascadias as well. I’m leaning toward them, mostly since they have built-in mud flaps.

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