Mapping the Sprawl

I’ve been doing some armchair mapping of the West Shore area for OSM.

The whole area is a gigantic clusterfuck of sprawling housing developments and go-nowhere roads. It’s easy to get lost in there, and have your 10 mile bike ride turn into a never-ending marathon of dead end roads, cul-de-sacs, and near misses by Volvo driving soccer moms.

OSM Map West Shore area near Harrisburg, PA

Once I get it all mapped, maybe I’ll put together a “bicycling guide to the West Shore”. I know I could have used one when I started out.

New Year Resolution Update #2

I said I was going to blog about my progress with my new year’s resolutions. Not that any of my readers give a rat’s ass about my resolutions, but because I’m hoping that being “publicly accountable” for them might give me more encouragement to keep them.

We’re three weeks in to 2011. I’ve lost 13 pounds, and ridden 25 miles for the year. Bicycling continues to be seriously curtailed by crappy weather. We get a few inches of snow every other day, and then it melts / refreezes, etc. It was 7°F (-14°C) outside this morning. They’re calling for a blizzard this week.

I know all you jokers in Minnesota ride at absolute zero and drink liquid nitrogen from your water bottles, and I’m a big sissy for staying inside. Sweet Jesus, even Dottie’s out in sub zero weather. How embarrassing.

In other news, I’m pretty pleased with how the whole Primal / Paleo thing is going. We’re only 6% through the year, and I’ve already lost 25% of the weight I set out to. Maybe I should have aimed higher.

I just finished reading Why We Get Fat. I’m no scientist, but what it says makes sense to me.

Anyhow, enough rambling about shit nobody but me cares about.

New Year Resolution Update

I said I was going to blog about my progress with my new year’s resolutions. Not that any of my readers give a rat’s ass about my resolutions, but because I’m hoping that being “publicly accountable” for them might give me more encouragement to keep them.

So, we’re about to start the 3rd week of the year. I’ve ridden 25 miles so far, and lost about 7 pounds.

My stated goals would have me at 70 miles and 2 pounds right now. So I’m way behind in miles, and slightly ahead of the game in weight loss.

In my defense, the weather has been for shit. The roads are covered in snow, salt, and slop. My dedicated snow bike is still wanting a frame (probably going to be a cross-check). In any case, the frame won’t be coming at least until after I get my income tax refund; at which point, the snow may all be melted anyways.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I keep track of my mileage in dailymile. It’s a pretty nice website for that sort of thing. They even give you an annual report at the end of the year, to show you how much of a failure you are.

They also have silly little widgets you can put on your webpage so you can tell everyone how many donuts or cheezeburgers you’ve burned off with your riding.

See. Isn’t that cute?

Review: Justin Charles Expedition Weight Merino Wool

So, people at work are giving me the whole “You are crazy / Hardcore / Idiotic.” Then they say “Don’t you get cold?” If you bicycle commute in the winter, you know the routine.

Anyhow, no, I don’t get cold, because I have a secret weapon. This.

Expedition Weight Merino Wool Crew

It’s the most heavenly woolie ever. Wear it right next to your skin, no base layer. A (base layer would spoil the effect anyway.) Throw a windbreaker over it, and you’re all set down to about 20 degrees. Probably colder, but I can’t say for sure, since it hasn’t gotten below 20 yet this year.

It’s the least scratchy wool ever. The inside is kind of fuzzy, kind of like the inside of a sweatshirt. It feels like you’re getting a nice, big hug from big, fluffy polar bears the whole time you’re wearing it.

It costs a lot of money, but that’s probably because it’s THICK. There’s probably a whole sheep’s worth of wool in it. I’d guess it’s about three times the thickness of the Ktena stuff Rivendell sells (which is pretty nice stuff in its own right.)

It also comes in a 3XL size, which fits a bit looser than Rivendell’s “Jumbo” size, so it will actually fit over my beer belly!

Hooray!

The only downside it that it’s not really meant for cycling, and so it should maybe be a little longer in the back. Sometimes it comes untucked if you’re really bent over the bars. It also has a stupid little leather tag on the one sleeve, which is kind of annoying, but you could probably get that off with a seam ripper, if it bothers you.

One of these days, I might pick up the pants and balaclava from the same line, and then I’ll be able to ride to the North Pole on my bicycle.

Noodle Bars and a Hobo Bag

I put the noodles back on the Trek. Everything instantly felt better.

Trek with Noodle bars and hobo bag

I scored an old Rivendell Hobo Bag on eBay a month or two ago.

It’s a lot bigger in real life than I thought it would be from looking at pictures on the internet.

Trek with Noodle Bars and Hobo Bag

Anyhow, I went out for a short ride (6 miles or so) to fiddle with handlebar height, angle, brake lever placement, and all that stuff. I’ll probably continue to fiddle it with for a few days before I re-tape the handlebars.

I’ve already ridden 500% more miles this year than I did all of last January 🙂