God Save the Queen

Lots of good stuff comes from the UK. I’ve already gone on and on about Brooks saddles, but two more pieces of British awesomeness came to me in the past 24 hours:

1: Bike Bag

I got my Carradice Bike Bureau last night. The design is brilliant! It switches from pannier to laptop bag (and back) in about 10 seconds. I’ll get some pictures soon.

I didn’t manage to commute today (pedal issues), but I took the laptop in the Carradice anyhow. It would kick ass even if it didn’t clip onto a bicycle.

2: LugRadio Season 3

In other news, LugRadio Season 3 Episode 1 is out. You can listen in MP3 or Ogg Vorbis*.

If you like to hear a bunch of dorks talk about Linux and call each other wankers, Lugradio is the ticket.

*Bike nerds, Vorbis is to mp3 as Campagnolo is to Shimano. Vorbis is a more elegant design and you get all the street cred for using it.

Stank-Ass Bicycle Commuting

I have been pretty lax in my commuting lately. It’s pretty much my general inability to get out of bed on time that keeps me in the car.

The time differential between driving to work and cycling isn’t all that much, it’s the overhead that’s a killer.

  1. get up
  2. put on my bike costume
  3. pedal to work
  4. shower
  5. Put on corporate costume
  6. work
  7. change back into bicycle costume
  8. pedal home
  9. Pack corporate costume in saddlebag for the next day

That’s a lot of extra work.
I think that since it’s cooler out in the mornings now, I’m going to just put on my office outfit at home, ride in (perhaps a bit more gingerly than normal) and if I stink up the place – so be it.

To that end, I’ve put regular non-clipless pedals on the Trek. I love my SPDs, but it’s just too much of a pain in the ass keeping track of all my shoes. I need my SPDs for bicycling, brown corporate office shoes for work, and sneakers for at the gym. I look like a traveling shoe salesman half the time. If I could find a comfortable brown sneakerish thing that I can do everything in, I would be set.

Update 10-31-2005:

Those pedals suck. I made it about 20 feet and turned around. I’m going to switch out the BMX pedals on the diamondback tommorow.

Sprawl – Huh! Good God Y-all

It was nice outside again today, so I decided to go exploring.

I found some embryonic sprawl.

Sprawl!

A few miles later, I found some more – larval, I’d say

Sprawl!

By springtime, people will have moved into these houses, and started bitching about how the country farm roads are too small for their SUVs.

At long last, I was out of the sprawl!
Scenes like this are pretty much the whole point of these rides.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful - quit building shit all over the place

It looks like the Libertarians are out in force for the election this year. There were signs like this one all over the place. They will make excellent bicycle fenders.

Give me Liberty or something of equal or lesser value from your glossy catalogue

In theory, I agree with most of what these guys stand for. In practice, however, they are completely bat-shit insane.


My Route

Overall, it was about 23 miles. This is the longest ride I’ve done in a while. I feel good. My face is windburned and my legs feel heavy. I’ll sleep like a log tonight.

Einunddreisig

It’s official. I am now a grown up. 31 years old. Holy crap.

My mom came down to visit last night, and we went to Passage to India, where I had the most wonderous lamb vindaloo in the history of the universe.

My present: A Carradice Bike Bureau from Wallingford! How awesome is that?

It’s still in transit from New Orleans (by way of Lafayette), but it’ll kick ass to be able to transport my laptop in style.

There is a WiFi lounge in the grocery store where Brandi works, so it’ll be nice to ride over, hop on the web and grab a coffee.

I’ll have the most stylin’ laptop bag in the whole grocery store. :-)

Bicycling to Escape the Undead Legions

In his book “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead,” Max Brooks has dedicated a section to the pros and cons of several different types of vehicles that can be used to evade zombies. I was quite happy to see that the bicycle ranked as the hands-down favorite land-based vehicle (only the hot-air balloon was a better choice overall.)

Book Cover

The relevant verbiage:

The Bicycle
In a class by itself, this vehicle offers the best of both worlds [the silence of the horse, and the mobility of the dirt bike]. The common bicycle is fast, quiet, muscle-powered, and easy to maintain. Add to this the additional advantage that it is the only vehicle you can pick up and carry if the terrain gets too rough. People using bicycles to escape from [zombie] infested areas have almost always fared better than those on foot.

I got this book in the buy-one-get-one-free rack at the bookstore, and it is actually surprisingly good, despite the silly subject matter.

The Ghost in the Machine

It was a beautiful sunny day today. Cold and fiercely windy, but beautiful. I rode out Trindle Road to Hollenbaugh Road. I stopped there and looked at the scenery.

It was nice.

Then I turned around and went back the way I came. I got home and I was *beat*. I don’t know why, it was only about a 17 mile ride. The only rides I’ve been getting in lately are commutes, and those aren’t very long.

I guess I should probably start doing some longer training/recreational rides.

Those of you who know me in real life already know that I am wierd. This next bit might be new for the rest of you…

Once upon a time, I wanted a car, but was poor. So my dad and I bought a book and some Volkswagen Beetles (the old kind) from a junkyard, and gathered enough parts from them to build one functional Beetle. This was my first car.

This beetle was my pride and joy, and we rode all over the countryside and into the mountains and to the beach and everywhere together. It got to the point where I could ‘feel’ if something was wrong with the car a week before I could measure it with the feeler guages. I once wired a broken throttle linkage together with a scavanged cotter pin and some duct tape, and drove her 200 miles home from Virginia that way.

Ultimately, the salty winter roads got the better of her, and I had to sell her.

I was very sad about that.

Today, I was on the Trek, blasting down the road, with the wind at my back and a cyclone of fallen leaves swirling around us.

I got that same ‘one with the machine’ vibe I used to get with my old Volkswagen.

She was back! The reincarnated soul of my old VW is alive and well in my bicycle!

Woo Hoo!!!

can you hear me NOW?

verizon sucks
Verizon_TeleMarketer: Hello bone, want free caller ID and call waiting?
Bone: Free?
VTM: Yep, free
Bone: OK.
VerizonBill: $27.00 extra for “free” bullshit
Bone: Prepare to die!
— Update: 10-19-2005 – Stickin’ it to the man —
Verizon refused to reverse the charges for their fraudulent service. So, I am no longer a Verizon customer. My landline will be disconnected tommorow morning. Jihad, you monopolistic mofo’s!

Time is Linear, Mr. Wrightstone.

Time is linear
Memory is a stranger
History is for fools
Man is a tool in the hands
Of the great God Almighty
– Roger Waters

It was about 70F today, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I had been spending all my attention on the Diamondback for the past two weeks, so it was time to take out the trek for a ride.


Ain't she a beauty?

I headed out for Carlisle, I think it was about a 20 mile loop. On the way back, I took a shortcut through the Mechanicsburg Cemetery. I know I’m not the only one who does this. I know I see a lot of cyclers cutting through the St. John’s Cemetery, too.

Anyways, as I was riding through the cemetery, I was thinking about how much the pathways in the cemetery resemble those on the greenbelt.

See?

The cemetery paths sure do look like bike paths

This got me thinking about my last trip to New Orleans. While I was there, I took a tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1. The tour guide told us that back in the day, people treated cemeteries as parks. They would even have picnics in them.

I know that a lot of the Rails-to Trails people refer to their trails as “linear parks.”

While I was riding, I stopped to get some pictures of a tree whose leaves had turned a bright red. I came upon the grave of a Mr. Wrightstone. Actually, there were two Mr. Wrightstones on the grave marker. It seems that they were father and son. Sadly, Mr. Wrightstone Jr. died before his father. They were buried in an old part of the cemetery. I think Jr. was buried in 1933.


Pretty Leaves, No?

I don’t know whether there are any remaining Wrightstones who come to visit the graves of their ancestors. I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t.

Today, at least, they had a visitor.

I wonder if people might be willing to pay a bit more for a plot in a cemetery where large numbers of people are likely to happen by.

I wonder if there isn’t a better way to build cemeteries without using up lots of open land.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we built linear cemeteries?

The living get a usable park/multi-use path. The dead get a steady stream of visitors. The whole apparatus can be maintained by some wierd consortium of Churches, Funeral Directors, and Rails-Trails type organizations.

The cost of the grave plots can help offset the costs of right-of-way aquisition.

Why not?


Yggdrasil

apt-get dist-upgrade

I just issued the magic words to upgrade my laptop to Breezy. I’ve never had something like this work before, so I have my fingers crossed.

Update:

It worked! Easy, Breezy, Beautiful!

Mountain Biking!

My crazy frankenstein hybrid bike took it’s first real ride today. I hadn’t been mountain biking for years, and I forgot how rough it is.

We did about 15 miles around Blue Marsh Lake, and I am exhausted. The bike did better than I expected. I was in the drops most of the time, and my triceps are blown apart from having to act as suspension.

We took lots of breaks, and so I took a few pictures:

Here is the bike next to big bales of hay.

Giant Bales of Hay

We stopped for a break. There were big log benches.

Logs to sit on

Here are our bikes at a scenic spot for a break.

Our Trusy Steeds

See, isn’t it scenic?

Some scenery

We had to cross the road in a few places. This memorial thing was along the road. As I backed up to get the picture, a truck almost took me out.

Something bad happened here

Somewhere along the route, my cyclocomputer must have abandoned ship. It won’t be missed.

A wooden Bridge over the swamp

More scenery.

More Scenery