Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Endless Velo Love is riding for charity

My friend G.E. of Endless Velo Love is riding in the Venus de Miles at the end of August and would be extremely appreciative of donations to support the Greenhouse Scholars who provide support -- both personal and financial -- to under-resourced, high-achieving college students. She's even offering incentives and prizes to people who donate. Please take a look at her page and help her out. She's a good egg. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let the group rides begin

The Back Roads Century is a mere two months away and I've registered the Hubs and myself for the thirty mile route. Yeah, my goal this year was to ride either the metric or full century but 1) I suck at goals and 2) my friends (and more importantly, Hubs) want to ride the shorter route. I'm an agreeable sort. I do hope our weather is as conducive to an enjoyable ride as last year's.

A foggy start for Bel, Cat, myself, and Scott on last year's ride.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet Clyde

Clyde will be my bicycle for the zombie apocalypse.

The friend who pointed it out to me said we could even get me a basket to put on the front. She also suggested at least one flame thrower. The husband would definitely approve.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Almost there...

The C8 has finally shared her name: Beatrix. I was trying to hard with the other names, but when I glanced over at her last night, "Beatrix" was the first thought to pop into my head. Scott thinks that's a perfectly wonderful name as well. (He wasn't too keen with any of the other options I'd floated.

I keep adjusting the saddle and handlebars because I'm still not completely comfortable with their positions. The Selle Royal Contour saddle may simply be too narrow for the upright posture. I find that I keep pushing myself to the very back of the saddle which makes my arms straighten out uncomfortably. So now I'm leaning towards a Velo Orange Model 8 which is nice and wide and sprung. According to a quick perusal of the intarwebs, it appears that the Pashley Princess and Linus Dutchi 3 I test rode both had saddles about the same size and with springs.

I'm also thinking about changing out the handlebar for something that sweeps back a bit further... but I'll wait on that until I get a new NEW saddle and see if that improves the ride quality of my city bike.

Any opinions in blog land?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I've missed my bikes so much that I simply had to grab the C8 and take her out for a spin. I noticed during the last commute, though, that the brakes felt squishy and her stopping power was less than optimal. The front brake is now good and tight but the back break still needs some work. I haven't figured out how to tighten it enough without clamping the pads down so much that the wheel can't spin. There's a happy medium in there somewhere. It may be that the back tire stops spinning but doesn't have enough traction to catch hold of the pavement. Ah well, I can stop well enough with both brakes and they're soft enough that I don't think I'll be able to throw myself over the handlebars.

Knock wood.

I also noticed that with my new saddle position, it felt like my arms were at a full extension to keep hold of the grips. I raised the handlebars a few centimeters and that made all the difference in the world. My elbows can bend gently and I'm finally in a comfortable position for a ride.

This evening's quick spin about the neighborhood made me feel a tiny bit better about not riding to work for the past few weeks. The air temperature was in the lower 80s with a matching humidity. Guh. And that was post thunderstorm and with the sun down. Were I wearing a hat, it'd be off to you brave souls who stay in the saddle during this awful heat wave. As for me, I'll get back to bike commuting in September.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Still here

Nothing particularly bikey is happening at the moment. I may go riding with a friend in the park near the Junction of the W&OD and the Custis trails on Saturday. According to Google maps there are a number of intersecting trails in that area and it's someplace that I haven't ridden through dozens of times. Plus, there are trees. That will be good if the day is hot and sunny. (If. Heh.)

My bike club is riding from the Herndon depot to the Vienna depot and back tonight. I wanted to participate, but not badly enough to risk heat exhaustion. I may brag to my friends that my thin southern blood helps me deal with the oppressive heat and humidity. However my southern brain knows that the best way to deal with the aforementioned heat and humidity is by laying low and not moving much.

Just because I talk slow don't mean I'm stupid.

(Yes, I know that's grammatically incorrect.)

Egad, I cannot wait for autumn. I am definitely a cool/cold weather rider.

In other news, I'm in the market for a new bike rack. I traded in the gas-guzzling Highlander for a gas-sipping Turbo Beetle. Well, it'd be gas-sipping if I weren't driving like a Formula 1 racer. It'll be a sipper on the next tank of gas. Anyway, there's no tow hitch, nor will there be, on the new car but I still want to haul bicycles. The Saris Bones 2-Bike is en route and will, hopefully, do the trick. There's a pretty significant spoiler on my trunk but I think the arch will fit over it. If not, the carrier will definitely fit on Scott's car and that'll be our bike-hauling vehicle.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

That French bicycle race

I've been watching the Tour de France this year.

Not only have I been watching it, I've been enjoying it.

Not only have I been enjoying it, I've been explaining to Scott what the different jerseys and cycling terms mean.

Good gravy. I think I've been replaced with Folgers PowerGel crystals.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Belle Helmets

A live action phrenology chart. Brilliant!
As I perused the July/August issue of Momentum, I noticed a lady on page 50. What caught my eye was her cute dress but then I saw her unusual helmet. Curious about the maker, I fired up ye olde firefoxe and took a gander at Belle Helmets.

Thought 1: Wow! Those are gorgeous (and hysterical, in a good way).
Thought 2: Wow! Those are spendy.
Thought 3: Oh, they're hand-painted hence the spendiness... Wow, those are gorgeous.

My favorites are Red Apple, Solar System, and Escher Sphere. If money were no object, and I didn't already have more helmets than bicycles but mostly if money were no object, I'd snap up Phrenology Chart in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vacation recap

The most interesting thing I noticed while riding on the Memphis and Germantown trails was how friendly everyone was. The second most interesting thing I noticed was all the "learning stops" on the Wolf River Greenway.
Map of the Wolf River Greenway.

Electric Overlook.
Aquifer Island.
River History Plaza.
Beaver Boondocks.
This is what most of the trail looked like.

The third thing I noticed was how ~new~ the Wolf River Greenway was. There are parts that are still under construction. In fact, there was a bit of a traffic jam with some backhoes, but I couldn't begrudge them building additions to the trail such as this new rest area:

The Shelby Farms Greenway was more out in the open.

 The Memphis Greenline was a mix of openness and a tunnel of trees.

That's either I-40/240 or Sam Cooper Boulevard.
Closer to mid-town.

Unfortunately, there was no more cycling after Monday's trip which meant that I didn't get to try out any of the brand new bike lanes heading downtown. And it was too stinking hot in NW Alabama to even think about getting on a bike, plus we would have had to drive a couple of miles to reach a paved road. Yes, directions to my folks' under-construction lake house includes the phrase "turn off the paved road". We did, however, spend many hours in the lake and being swung about wildly on tubes behind the boat. I have what looks like road rash on both elbows from the tubing adventures. And I put my strong bicycle legs to use by figuring out that I could hold onto the tube, in a matter of speaking, by clamping my thigh down while being swung out on the super wide turns. Scott tells me that I did some pretty spectacular roll/dismount/crashes before I figured out the thigh trick.

We finally left the new family homestead on Saturday and took our time getting back to Virginia. We stopped just outside of Chattanooga so we could See Rock City! It's actually fairly beautiful for a kitschy tourist trap. The Fairyland Cavern was rather creepy, but the rock formations, gardens, and vistas were breath-taking. Literally. I clung to the rail as we crossed the bridge over the falls.


We saw several cyclists climbing the steep, twisty, two lane road to the top of Lookout Mountain. That was seriously hardcore. The ride back down must be terrifying! We also noticed lots of bike lanes, sharrows, and wayfinding signs from the bottom of Lookout Mountain and through an industrial area to Chattanooga. Who knew?

The only other bikey part of the trip home was our smuggling the bikes into our hotel room when we stopped for the night. Typically, we'd have pushed on home but, once we crossed the Virginia border, we'd already spent eleven hours on the road -- including our two hour tour of Rock City -- and the thought of another five and a half hours in the truck made me want to cry.

We got home safely Sunday afternoon and pulled the bikes off the rack well before the storm hit. Although, considering all the bird poop I had to clean off my bike, it might not have been to bad to let nature give Lily a bath...

Please stand by

Flash is once again not playing nicely with Firefox and I can't append photos to my post until I use my home computer (hopefully). I should have a post up this evening.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Southern Happenings

Having a wonderful time; wish you were here.

This will be fairly short as I'm hunting and pecking on the hub's iPad, but I suppose that's better than typing out a post on my phone. Anyway, I have traveled the Greater Memphis Greenline from its farthest point in Germantown to its unceremonious terminus on the edge of Mid-town and east Memphis. The eastern end is absolutely gorgeous with scenic overlooks of the Wolf River and little "learning areas" about the aquifers, local flora and fauna, and history of the Wolf River. The section through Shelby Farms was also picturesque but that trail is in the open unlike the Wolf River's tunnel of trees. The Memphis Greenline proper picks up next to the prison (whee) and continues a straight, tree-lined path next to the north loop of I-240 for about six miles.

I took dozens of pictures during yesterday's short jaunt and today's 20 mile trip to my friends' home in the Cooper Young area (I would have made my goal of cycling to my sister's house, but she wasn't home). Unfortunately, photos will have to wait until I'm reunited with my laptop.

There are a few things I noticed during yesterday's and today's rides. Everybody is ~so~ friendly. Of the hundred or so bikers, joggers, and walkers I passed or overtook, all but a handful smiled, waved, or gave a verbal greeting. Welcome to the south. :) Also? It's ~so~ flat. That's great because there are few hills to climb and that sucks because there are few hills to coast down. I giggled when I saw warning signs for slippery switchbacks -- these signs are plentiful on the Mount Vernon Trail the farther south you go -- but the switchbacks here were gentle and mostly flat curves. Bless.

One of the more fun things to happen today was meeting Cort of FIX MEMPHIS while shopping for a new saddle for my friend Scott at the Highland branch of Peddler Bike Shop. The clerk and I geeked about Memphis' burgeoning bicycle infrastructure and I mentioned I'd been keeping up with the growth via several blogs. He asked which ones I read and I rattled off several of the blogs in the "Memphis Area Blogs" sidebar. He put his hand out and introduced himself. That was pretty damn cool. So, if you've found my blog, hi Cort!

Oh and one more cool thing: I won a Six Corners Wristlet from Po Campo because I posted a picture of the new bike with Po Campo pannier and purse on their Facebook page. Hee!