Girlie Bike

I scored an old motobecane mixte from ebay last night for 51 bucks. Not too shabby.
Motobecane Mixte

I’m going to swap out the saddle for the Brooks b72 I have in my box-o-bike-parts, and hopefully, that will satisfy Brandi’s cushiness requirements without further expenditure…
The Fed-ex man should be dropping it off in a couple of days. I’ll have a better idea what I have to work with then.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

A couple of my co-workers took me out to a Chinese restaurant for my farewell lunch today (tomorrow is my last day with the company). At the end of the festivities, the waitress gave us all fortune cookies. This is what mine said:

Doing what you love is freedom.  Loving what you do is happiness.

Maybe I’ll just lay down that fortune for my exit interview tomorrow.

Buddhism and the Boy Scouts

When I was a boy, I was a member of the Boy Scouts. I probably grew up to be such a tree-hugger because of all the camping, backpacking, and canoeing I did with the scouts.

When I was about 13 years old, I got all atheistic and decided I didn’t want any parts of a club that made me vow to be “reverent,” whatever the hell that meant. So, I quit.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why it seems like most kids don’t really give two craps about the outdoors. I was wondering if scouting might actually be a good thing. So, I got to thinking; If (hypothetically) I were to have a child, would I want him to participate in scouting?

Would the BSA be welcoming of a non-theistic/Buddhist child in the first place? If one can judge from a cursory reading of the by-laws, it certainly doesn’t look like it.

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.
Bylaws of Boy Scouts of America, art. IX, ยง 1, cl. 1

Well, there we have it. You can’t be a good citizen unless you believe in God. Apparently, non-theistic children are not welcome in the Boy Scouts. Bummer. Maybe there are secular-humanist-scouts, or Buddha-scouts I could enrole my hypothetical child in.

Just for grins, I typed in “buddhist” to the scouting.org search engine, and I was surprised to see that the BSA does indeed cater to Buddhist children.

Scouting serves an important role in youth development in the Buddhist community. Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing crews chartered to Buddhist organizations can be found throughout the United States. Scouts can participate within units chartered to Buddhist organizations or as members of units chartered to other organizations.

–BSA Fact Sheet on Buddhism

They’ve even got special medals for Dharma, Metta, and Sangha!
Boy Scouts Dharma Award Boy Scouts Mette AwardBoy Scouts Sanga Award
BSA Dharma, Metta, and Sangha awards

There appears to be a contradiction in the BSA’s reasoning here. If you have to believe in God to be a scout, and if Buddhists don’t believe in God, then Buddhists shouldn’t be able to be scouts.

So atheists are OK, so long as they’re also Buddhists? Is that really the BSA’s position?! Are there any Buddhist scouters out there who can enlighten (har-de-har) me to what the deal is here?

It’s too bad about all this religious horse shit. The scouts would be a worthwhile organization without it.

Shiny Day

It was beautiful out yesterday, so I managed to squeeze in a quick, 16 mile ride to burn Thanksgiving calories and do a little commute reconnaissance.
Willow Park
Willow Park

It appears that the best / safest route to my new gig will take me across the infamous intersection of 21st St. and the Camp Hill bypass.
This intersection is a textbook example of what you get when you outsource your urban planning decisions to a troop of drunken baboons.

Simian design

It looks like it’s going to be about 13 miles each way for my commute. There is a grocery store with a big parking lot about half way, so I might just drive to there and bike in the 6 miles from the grocery store to the office. At least until I get myself used to the idea of doing 26 miles everyday.

Mixte Project

As some of you know, Brandi does not go bicycling with me. She had some sort of horrible bicycling accident as a child and is afraid of bikes.

Until now.

She recently agreed to go riding with me, only on rail trails, provided I procure “a really cushy bike” for her to ride on. If I were a man of unlimited means, I’d pick her up a Rivendell Glorius, which is, well Glorious, but costs a small fortune.

The Rivendell Glorius
The Rivendell Glorius

I conducted a quick risk-benefit analysis. The risk is that I spend all sorts of money on building her a bike, and then she doesn’t like bicycling. In order to mitigate the effects of this risk, I intend to equip her bike with components I secretly lust after for myself. That way, if she decides cycling isn’t for her, I’m only out the cost of a frame.

So, today, I followed the Rivendell frame sizing guidelines, measured her saddle height, and set out on Ebay in search of mixte frames size (47-51cm).

I put in a bid on one such bike:

Purple Mixte
A mixte

It has 27″ wheels. I don’t think anyone makes a cushy, trail-worthy tire in that size, so I’m probably going to go with the much balleyhooed 650B wheel size. If Brandi decides against cycling, those wheels will end up on my Lemond, and maybe I’ll actually start riding that bike again.

I’m also planning to put Albatross bars on it, with bar-end shifters. The bars will go nicely on the Diamondback and the shifters on the Trek, in case I end up as the only cyclist in the house.

Calamity!

As I wrote this blog entry, I lost the auction for the purple bike, so I’m in the market for a Mixte frame with a seat tube between 47 and 51 cm long. If you have one for sale, let me know.

Skank

I have decided to use what’s left of my two-weeks notice at my old job as an experimental platform for non-shower, anti-stank bicycle commuting strategies.

So, I cleaned out my locker at work last week, and today, I did the following:

  1. shower at home, pre-departure
  2. under dress (and nearly freeze on the way in)
  3. deploy unscented baby wipes to potentially smelly body parts, upon arrival

I think it worked pretty well nobody told me I stunk, and I doubt my coworkers would refrain from saying so if I did.

I didn’t feel the need to bother with the cold water/washcloth business described in the Bike Refugee article, but today’s commute wasn’t a good simulation of my real one, so I think next week, I’m gonna get up extra early and ride a longer route with bigger hills to simulate my new commute.

Chicks dig Wool

Girtong2 and I spent some time this morning checking out the Thun and Exeter rail trails. These trails run along the Schuylkill River, which recently flooded. Some of the trail was covered in mud and silt from the flooding, so I was glad to have fenders on today.

Mud
Mud

The river was still in a pretty bad mood, even though the rain was a couple of days ago.

The river
The river.

The trail runs through a pretty industrial area near Reading, and we got to see some trains.
Choo Choo
Freight Train

Check it out, gen-you-whine ghetto gangsta graffiti.

For shizzle
my bicyizzle on the trailizzle

For those of you who don’t speak snoop-dog’s pig-latin, that’s my Trek up against a bridge support.

It was kind of cold out today, but I didn’t care at all, as I was decked out, head to toe, in merino wool. I don’t mean of oversell this, but the Ktena merino skins (available from Riv) are seriously the finest articles of clothing in the universe. The bottoms are tight enough to not get caught in the chain, but not so tight that joggers can guess your religion. The weave is tight enough that just enough air gets in to dry up your sweat, but not so much that you get cold air blowin’ ‘twixt your nethers.

Bike Seat
Flood

We pedaled past a top-heavy hottie-pants jogger lady, who was all decked out in underarmour plastic jogging clothes. And she was totally staring at my woolly britches.

Warm, comfy, and chicks dig ’em. What more can you ask for in bicycling attire?

New Commute

Topo USA 6.0 has a much better 3D engine than version 5.0 did. It’s a feature that I almost never use, but sometimes it can make cool pictures.

3D view of my commute route
My new route to work (click for high-res version)

This is a bird’s-eye view of what would be my new commute if I rode my bike.

If you look in the upper right, you can see the Appalachian Trail (red dashed line) on the top of the mountains. After getting some words of encouragement from Mr. Peterson, I’m hopeful that I can make bike-commuting work with this new job.

Lost in the Dark

I charged up my headlight and took the Trek out for a nice 20 miler tonight. I was exploring roads in the general vicinity of my new commute. I ended up getting a little disoriented and going in circles, and now that I look at the map, I see why. I was trapped in a neighborhood surrounded on three sides by water.

Route
Where I got lost

You’re not the boss of me now!

I have spent the past eight and a half years working for a huge-ass company. I spent the four years prior to that working for an even huger-ass company.

After twelve years in “corporate america,” I have had enough. Today, I quit my job to go work for a non-profit.

For the first time in a couple of years, I have a spring in my step, a song in my heart, and the future looks like it might actually be better than the past! Yeehaw!

I dunno how feasible it will be to bicycle commute to my new gig. The new office is about 12 miles from my house, and I don’t think there are any shower facilities there.

I am now probably a good candidate for a stokemonkey, but, alas, I can no longer afford one…