And you are?

Holy crap I had an entire peloton to get around this morning on Lincoln. I've been trying to take it easy and go a little slower when there's more people out, really I have. But when someone's fiddling with their ipod versus going through a green or passing on the right while they're pedaling their little legs off on the granniest gears they have, it's just too hard. In the end it's less aggravating to get to work slightly sweaty than to sit behind a line of people who have good intentions but seemingly have no earthly idea about how commuting actually works and fume about it. I applaud your efforts; now get out of my way.

That last bit really makes me sound like a snob but what the hell, sometimes I am. And as much as I enjoy biking, Monday mornings are not my finest or fairest hour. Add to that ANOTHER instance of nearly getting blindsided by someone running a red while other bikers (ME) have the right of way and you have someone a little on edge. In a perfect world I'd be able to shrug it off and be much healthier about it but that's not really happening today.

In a perfect world, I would have been happier with some of the bikes I tested this weekend too. I can live without the hit my wallet's going to take when I do find something but with so many options for bikes and stores I thought I would at least have some options after some rides. Nope. The funny thing about testing some new, nicer bikes is that they don't feel like my frankenbike, which is an absolute piece of junk but I'm on it everyday and the fit just feels right by now. I have at least one more option locally so I'm not ready to give up but after that it might be time to start thinking slightly out of the box on this.

I'm going to keep looking b/c I don't think I'm quite fed up enough to completely give up on the bike commuting. Yet. Days like today are pushing it, but in a few months it will be cold again and I'll be slogging along alone on the streets. In the meantime I'm going to pay extra attention to the good moments, and hope there are enough of them to loosen me up a bit.

Current beer-scale: 6.3


Jack Johnson has been known to work miracles in the eyes of my wife and I, but today just might be out of the realm of possibility. He's not really improving my mood, even with only a few hours left until a ride home and possible night out at a local establishment. What can I say, it's been a long week and it's very likely I won't unclench without a trip to the dog beach after a late morning of sleeping in tomorrow.

Current beer-scale: 8.9 (including the impact of imminent imbibing)


I love riding in the rain. As long as it's warm enough, there isn't a rain that really bothers me too much to ride. My bike's crap anyway, so it's not like it's doing any significant damage. It's even more fun sometimes to see rain clouds coming and try to race them home, but if the rain's already started it's almost as good. My favorite ride ever was one from downtown last spring. Clouds were forming over the lake and as soon as I left the office it started to thunder. Racing down the path by Oak Street beach, lightning was flashing. The rain started by the time I hit Fullerton, but that frantic race down the path was a blast. Nothing quite that exciting this morning, but still a good summer morning ride.

The apartment search is on hold, which is good b/c the bike test-riding can resume. In the end, it sounds a little easier to stay and put up with loud neighbors than spend the next month packing with our fingers crossed that we can find a suitable place in time. Plus, I didn't want to buy another bike just to have it add to the things we had to move. Now that we're not, maybe I can pick something up if I like the ride in the next few weeks.

Woo hoo.

Current beer-scale: 7.4


I don't know which terrifies me more, the idea of new 22-year old neighbors new to the city with no responsibilities yet, or looking for a new apartment and actually starting the moving process. It's cliched but I'm too old for this shit, and can't really handle another summer of new neighbors out until 3 in the morning on a nightly basis. One downside to living somewhere there's stuff to do is that when you're not out, there are plenty of poeple who are.

Current beer-scale: 8.6 (fucking high)


That was one for the record books, folks. Two teams, practically mirror images of each other, slugging it out on a softball diamond at sunset. Dusk settled as each squad struggled, one to get its offense going, the second to keep the defensive clamps on with its biggest lead of the season. Each inning bled into the last, and when the game was finally over the winning team looked around unsure. Was it possible, to actually keep it together for an entire game and win?


Okay, so it's hard to take it too seriously, but finally getting a win felt pretty great last night. I was still enjoying the games but the motivation to bike back to the park for 7:30 games was starting to wain. It's great being close enough to go home for a while but on days like yesterday, it just makes me realize exactly how tired I am when I get home. Fortunately, softball isn't exactly the most taxing game to play. Besides, it would be impossible to play any worse than we did last week; our collective arrow had to be pointing up.

It was a strange feeling, to be up big and feel like we weren't about to blow up but still waiting for that inning where things fall apart. I lose track of score and inning every game anyway, but I didn't even make it out of the second inning last night. When the game did end, most of us weren't sure we had finished until the high-five line started. Still, a fun night and just what we needed as the season comes to a close.

The rides back and forth last night? Not so much. June in Chicago in a busy neighborhood; I understand that things aren't always easy and bikers especially need to watch out. But christ on a cheeto, bike-friendly Chicago has a long way to go sometimes.

Current beer-scale: 1.4 (a few rounds of celebratory flip cup last night took care of that rather nicely)


Whew! One look west this morning walking out of the apartment was all I needed to get a move on. Utterly gray and moving in awfully fast, I just beat the rain to work (while following all the rules of the road and being as conscientious as possible). Good times.

Yesterday's trip to the old town art fair was a nice excuse to visit village cycle, which could have been a huge mistake. I've been slowly working towards switching Frankenbike to a single-speed; converting an old wheelset, removing a broken front derailuer instead of replacing, breaking another old chain and testing the fit with the converted wheel. It's about as mechanically-inclined as I get, but the closer I get to actually making the switch, the less happy I am with the project. Technically it would work but looks really sloppy, which is hard to do for a set up that's supposed to be steamlined and less complex. Throw in the fact that the bottom bracket is practically shot and needs to be replaced so it's rideable at all, let alone as a single-speed, and I'm starting to think there are plenty of commuter-aimed single-speeds out there that I could test ride.

With some replaced components and knobbier tires Frankenbike would still make a nice winter bike--something beat to shit but still able to take a December through March pounding that I wouldn't want to put a new bike through. One reason I couldn't bring myself to drop huge $ the last time I was looking (besides not having any huge $ to drop) was the idea of spending close to a grand on a road bike I was just going to clobber everyday and possibly even crash if I kept commuting. I'm not a small or coordinated guy and was at first at little dubious at the thought of something as simple as a bicycle carting my 200+ lbs 5 five times a week. The thought of having a newer bike for nicer weather and keeping Frankenbike around for the hell of Chicago winter is an idea that's growing on me.

But speaking of yesterday, holy crap how good was Tiger on Saturday! I can't imagine anyone else being enough of a draw to keep me tied to the tv for golf, but a finish like that is why it's usually a good idea to stay tuned. Damn that was awesome.

Current beer-scale: 3.3


As my work week's overlap with the Bike to Work challenge ends (on top of leaving early today, and not a moment too soon), I look back on another week that I am behind in spirit but despise in execution. If I was a new bike commuter this week, I think I would rather roll my bike through a busy intersection and never pedal again than put up with the crap that goes on this week. Biking through the neighborhood avoiding buses and cars is difficult enough w/o having to worry about avoiding bikers running red lights W/O THE RIGHT OF WAY! Is that so hard to understand? If you're running a red light good for you, but you don't have the right of way!

If I was a noob starting back up at a stop light about to get run over by someone not realizing there's more than just car traffic about to cross, not only would I resent the hell out of some douche who's only worried about his path, I'd be sorely tempted to keep driving to work and not be all together friendly to bikers when I did. I'm already pissed at the guy, and I understand where he was coming from.

I had the luck to start riding on my own and figure out things like the best route to take and how to manage different traffic situations without having to deal with the flood of other inexperienced riders at the same time. Everyone has to start somewhere, but in cases like this I think it's better to do so solo. I still bike b/c I enjoy the experience of actually biking, whether I'm passing new people or looking out for speed-freaks or not. The only way to improve my commute would be to give me a free beer at each bar I pass on the way home, and even then I'd probably try to figure out how to take them to go. Driving doesn't help, walking isn't any better and it's a lot slower. The bike is only way to go, and it's worth putting up some aggravation along the way. But jesus are we talking a LOT of aggravation some days.

Current beer-scale: 5.1


I'll admit to feeling slightly shallow when another crushing softball loss has me a little down only to hear about 35 articles of impeachment getting levied against our sitting President when I get home. It kind of put my night in context. Yes I had a crappy game, dropped a line drive and overran third base, but at least I'm not that guy...

Current beer-scale: 8.3 (it's been a long, hot day)


Well crap. That's the last time I talk about how much of a douche I am on Sunday mornings. I almost got hit twice on the way home, both times by people who sped up to turn directly in front of me instead of pausing for a second for me to get by. The first guy practically plowed me into the garage door of his condo in his haste to get into his driveway. No signal, no brakes, just next to me and then trying to turn right directly in front of me. Fan-fucking-tastic. I'd say it was about 3 inches between my front tire and his right rear door before I braked and turned into his driveway with him, where I could suggest he might have an easier time seeing with his head out of his ass.

Fortunately, the adrenaline rush from almost getting killed made the next guy trying to turn left onto clark from the other direction easier to take. That guy just got a shout to make sure he noticed me flipping him off as I slammed on the brakes again. In both cases, if I had been driving there would have been major, major accidents. But since I was on a bike I was inconsequential enough to ignore as people went about their business.

So if you noticed someone biking west on belmont on Sunday afternoon, shaking his head and cursing even more than usual, now you know why.

Current beer-scale: 9.4
Sunday has a tendency to turn me into an ass. Commuting early on a Sunday is very different from the rest of the week. Traffic is a lot thinner and it can make for easy conditions to be an absolute douche in. I roll through stop signs, and basically turn into everyone else that bikes in the city that I complain about during the rest of the week. I only feel bad about it b/c there's no point to it. My ride is short enough already that riding like a jerk doesn't save me any real time, or at least not enough to sleep in any later. So I'll try to remember that next Sunday.

Current beer-scale: 2.0



Much easier to be tired when your team ends up on the winning end. Of course they were inches away from another overtime game that would've went who knows which way but at the end of the night everything worked out. I can't quite believe that this is the first team captained by a European to win the cup, but no one's a better first than Nick Lindstrom. Great job Wings, and thanks for a fantastic season that was a blast to watch.

Speaking of blasts, I took one made of bus exhaust yesterday that I'm still coughing out. I think I reduced the 77's carbon footprint by a pound or two at least. It felt like there were chunks in it, literal chunks of carcinogens and pollutants that I had to stop and barf out before finishing my commute. Stopped on belmont, hunched over on the curb with drool and mucus dripping out my nose, I had to wonder if there was actually a point to trying to ride a bike or if I was just making as ass of myself. I did manage to keep everything off the bike though, and the rest of an uneventful ride was enough to remind me that biking doesn't have to have a point, it can just be biking. The goal at the end of the day is to just get home, and biking for me is the best way to achieve that. Still, if I could take a baseball bat to each and every bus in the entire city, I would be hard-pressed to say no.

Current beer-scale: 6.6 and rising.



Wow what a perfect ride. From the moment I left the office, to the moment I hopped the curb, I didn't have to stop once. Caught every light, wasn't blocked by anyone, didn't get cut off by any busses. It was bound to happen; everything has to come together sooner or later and tonite, for one glorious ride home, it did. Now to sit here and visualize that kind of success at next week's game.

Current beer-scale: 1.1
Dammit. 34 seconds. That was all that was stopping Bettman from handing Lindstrom his fourth cup. Penguins score, and two hours of edge-of-the-seat hockey turns into a triple-overtime slugfest that you can't turn away from after seeing this happen a handful of times already. Once you've seen Steve Yzerman win one from the blue line in a third overtime, you can't justify going to bed with hockey to be played ever again.

Do I regret staying up until midnight and having to get up early the next day? Not really. Would that have been a lot easier to get through if Detroit had won instead? Absolutely.

Current beer-scale: 4.3



Okay, starting to get a little concerned about the clicking noises coming from Frankenbike's crankset. I spent some time last weekend doing what I could to clean and lube everything but I'm out of my element when it comes to taking arms off and actually checking the bracket. If my worst fears are realized, the bracket is shot and needs to be replaced. Right now I can't afford tools to do the job myself, let alone replace parts. My wallet grimaces already. Maybe I'll get lucky during Bike to Work week and win the office's free tune-up prize. One can only hope.

Current beer-scale: 6.4