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Archive for the 'Rant' Category

I hate stickers.

Friday, October 12th, 2007

I hate stickers. No, not all stickers, just ones on bicycles. No, not all stickers on bicycles, just the ones that come on bicycle components, loudly advertising the manufacturer and often even the model of that component. Specifically, wheels are generally the worst offender.

One of the first things I did when I got my road bike was to take off most of the stickers. Well, actually, Sarah did a lot of it because it’s damn near impossible to get those things off, and she’s better at it than I am (not to mention incredibly patient).  But a couple stickers we left on there because it just looked like too much of a pain to take them off.

Since I got a new wheelset, I removed all the stickers. These stickers weren’t as loud to begin with and were actually surprisingly tasteful, but my bicycle looks so much better with nice clean, unobstructed rims. In fact, it looks faster, too. It wasn’t hard getting these stickers off, but they left a gummy mess of glue behind that was really difficult to clean off, even with my new can of Finish Line Citrus Degreaser. This stuff cuts through the gunk on my chain like nobody’s business, but even with it, it took me probably 30 minutes per wheel to remove the gunk from the 5 stickers.

I think it was worth it. I should have taken before and after photos, but I didn’t. I really wish manufacturers would (a) not put stickers on their stuff or (b) at least have the common decency to use stickers that can be removed cleanly without a lot of fuss.

One of these days, I should take the rest of the stickers off my mountain bike wheels, too …


Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Pansies. No, I’m not talking about those pretty little flowers. I’m talking about my fellow man.

It’s been raining here yesterday and today, but I’ve ridden to work anyway. I’ve lucked out and it hasn’t rained in the morning — usually, I decide whether to ride based on that. I don’t mind getting wet on the way home, but I don’t want to show up at work drenched.

There were some storms rolling through the area yesterday afternoon and around 5-5:30 pm, it was very dark outside, raining hard with some thunder and lightning. I heard someone complain, “How am I going to get to my car?” There are two places you can park if you work for my company: right next to the building or right across the street. I thought to myself, “You’ll walk! And you’ll get a little wet. Who cares?” I heard various other complaints about getting a little wet, and even one person debating whether it was safe to drive. What the hell?

I mentioned I rode my bike to work, garnering astonished looks from a couple of people. One of them offered me a ride home, which I appreciated, but politely declined. This brought more astonishment. They seemed to be thinking, “What kind of masochist would ride a bicycle in the rain?”

Honestly, I was looking forward to it. It’s still warm outside, so I can take my preferred approach to riding in the rain and just accept the mantra, “If you ride in the rain, you’re gonna get wet.” I wear clothes that won’t get too waterlogged and that dry quickly. But I get wet and I dry off and change my clothes when I get home. I don’t understand this fear so many people have of getting wet. They aren’t going to melt.

People act the same way about the heat in the summer, the cold in the winter, the dark during the night, etc. They ask things like, “How can you ride in the (heat/cold/rain/dark/snow/mud)? Won’t you get (hot/cold/scared/snowed on/dirty)?” The answer, of course, is YES. If you ride in the heat, for instance, you’ll get hot. You can dress appropriately and try to make it more comfortable, but if you go out in those conditions anyway, you’ll get used to it. You might be a bit uncomfortable, but so what? Why let the weather stand in the way of doing the things you love? I know that sometimes the weather really will make it impossible or undesirable to do some things, but why is so many people’s threshold for discomfort so low?

I do understand how sometimes weather will make people lazy. It almost happened to me this morning. It looked like it could rain at any moment, so I wasn’t sure whether I should ride or drive to work. I decided to ride, and I’m glad I did. It was a beautiful morning, with the smells of the rain we got overnight. It was overcast, but everything basked in a warm glow. It was pretty muggy, but I rode slower and I was fine. It was a perfect morning to ride to work, and I got more astonished looks when I walked in carrying my bicycle helmet. I’ll probably get rained on again on my way home — and I am looking forward to it.

Not meant to ride today

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I had a distinct feeling this morning that I wasn’t meant to ride to work today. Everything was going wrong: I couldn’t find my tire levers and patch kit (I don’t like to go anywhere without them), I was out of coffee, I almost forgot to pump up my tires, and I was running late. The temptation to drive to work was strong, mostly so I wouldn’t be late. However, I really wanted to ride — especially since I only got to ride to work one day last week.

So, I decided to ride anyway. I figured if I was going to be late to work, I might as well hit the ground running once I got there, so I went to Starbucks. I was going to go through the “ride through,” but there were a bunch of cars backed up there, so I leaned my bicycle against the front window and went inside. There was only one person in line. I got my iced coffee and a scone (splurging calorically) and left.

I rode over to my usual route and kept going. I turned onto the path that runs through IU’s campus, which I have been taking lately since 7th Street is under construction, and I saw EMS people and firefighters everywhere, with police cars and ambulances along the path. It looked like they were gathered around someone on the ground. I turned around and left to find and alternate route to my alternate route.

As I rode up Jordan Ave., the car behind me seemed interested in passing me. However, I had just had a truck turn a little in front of me while I was in the bike lane, and we were approaching an intersection. I took the lane. After I rode through the intersection, I was going to turn left into the library’s parking lot. As I approached the turn, the guy passed me on the left (i.e. in the wrong lane), cut me off, and then turned left himself! He could have just waited for me to turn left and turned after me. I followed him into the parking lot and resisted the temptation to ride up to his car and give him a piece of my mind.

The rest of my trip was uneventful, but I ended up getting to work about 30 minutes late.

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