The only people who haven't taken this week off are bike commuters and volunteers. I saw more bikes this morning than I have in the last month total, and of course our office is always full of volunteers.

At first glance you would think only the crazies bike in this kind of weather but the more I'm out in it, the less crazy it seems. Today was the same as yesterday, a great sunrise into a slightly cloudy sky with temps in the 30's. The only thing I have to worry about on a day like that is getting the gigantic hole in the crotch of my pants caught on my saddle if I shift around too much. It's no different than biking in October.

It's too bad though, b/c I was just thinking about spring and how it's going to bring out a lot more bikers than I've seen lately, and suddenly there's a whole group of them as I'm riding in. I like it so much more when I'm the only person out. I can't help it--I'm antisocial that way.

Current beer-scale: 3.3 after a handful of smithwicks last night.


And that's why you ride your bike.

A block after that, there's an opening by a park and the sun was absolutely fantastic. Winter isn't so bad sometimes.

Current beer-scale: 6.1


I think I'll stay inside thank you.

Ow. I got my first fall of the season in over the holiday, thankfully it wasn't on the bike. Friday was treacherously icy and it wasn't a question of 'if' but 'when.' So I've felt like an old man for the past two days b/c I apparently landed on my left shoulder, which has ached like hell ever since. But not too old to bike to work today. Gotta get back on the horse!

And I'll take days like today for the rest of winter, thank you. The bike lanes are full of all sorts of road debris and trash, but there's no ice and the sun is out so it's passable. Windy as hell to the point where I'm practically standing still at some parts, but after the last three days' worth of weather this is a picnic.

And true to form, a good bowl game from ND was enough to put me in a great mood regardless of weather, holidays, or family obligations. Here's to finishing 7-6, and to a slightly brighter spring.

Current beer-scale: 6.8


Yeah, endorphin rush or not, I doubt even the craziest excuse would get me on a bike if I was working today. Thankfully, an hour out there was enough to tire out the dog so now it's coffee and bike cleaning time. This maintenance thing is a bitch.

Current beer-scale: 3.3


There must be something wrong with me. True, I did get a perverse enjoyment out of biking home yesterday, even while fishtailing down lincoln waiting for a car to put an end to me. But I get up this morning, and any excuse I can think of, I'm biking instead of driving.

"Well, the temperature is already out of the teens..."

"If it's going to be freezing rain tomorrow I might as well bike if I can today..."

"I can stick to streets with bike lanes and should have enough room..."

I was still convincing myself as I took a few wobbly steps to push off on the bike on belmont. I was already on the bike!

What it comes down is, if I can make it through the snow last night I can make it in the next day. And it's still better than driving. Now let's just see how bad this ice storm everyone is talking about will be.

Current beer-scale: 6.6


Wow. I feel like I really conquered something today, controlling the fishtails and making it home in one piece today. Awesome.

Current beer-scale: 4.3
What a glorious day to bike commute. And I'm actually being kind of serious. The cold makes everything seem clearer on days like this. I was hyper-aware of my breathing, the noises the tires were making, the sound coming from my bottom bracket as it groaned about having to start from a full stop again. Through it all, my head was laughing at how much pain the rest of me was in. Singing christmas carols, even.Not the most pleasant day to get clear on though. The salt on the roads blurred into a gray that matches the sky as we get ready for more snow this afternoon. Even if the colors sucked I was happy to have the salt down. Once I had safely made it to the corner where it's time to walk the bike into the office I felt like laughing hysterically; I had beaten the odds and made it in on a bike one more time. I'd have to be insane to keep biking in this so it's a good thing I feel like I'm going a little nuts these days.

ETA: Ah, there's that snow we're expecting. I hate this time of year.

Current beer-scale: 2.1 after a handful at the department party last night.


Gah! The Saints just intercepted Orton again and now my ride home doesn't seem nearly as cool. Dammit.

There were other people crazy enough to bike today--it was like this insane fraternity of weirdos out in the cold. In the dark, breathing into my face mask, I had to wonder just what the hell I was doing out there. But now it's a weekend, and I'm not doing a damn thing until I have to go back to work Sunday. Here's to sleeping in.

Current beer-scale: high, but nowhere to go but down.


well holy crap

Wow. That was a simple ride. No flats, no screeching brakes; a slightly scary stretch on a side street but other than that nothing to write home about. Maybe winter biking won't be so bad.

Current beer-scale: 6.7


slow leak + fat man = rough ride home

The rain came just in time for me to realize this is why so few people bike in the winter. My fourth flat in three weeks, and 3 of them were holes along the valve stem which means sliming them would do little to no good. But instead of leaving the bike at work and walking or getting a ride, I decided to do what I could with some rubber bands and packing tape. It was enough to atleast stay inflated just sitting in the office, and even if my weight was enough to start a slow leak, I was willing to stop and pump some air in if I had to.

At diversy and cannon, I had to. Things were pretty nasty out, to the point where the entire episode was amusing enough that I took this shot with my phone.
It's even crappier today but rainy crappy, and not something I wanted to bike in even after fixing everything up last night. I have given up on the cross tires for now and put the skinny tires that I never had a single problem with back on. They might not be ideal for these conditions but the roads get clean pretty soon after a snow so unless I'm riding in a blizzard, I'm willing to chance it. I'm not riding in an ice storm though, and that's what today is starting to look like. Outstanding. I hate this time of year.

I'm biking to all my various christmas parties out of spite.

Current beer-scale: 6.7


Yes! One more fucking time!

So I missed two days at the end of last week and told myself not to feel too bad about things. Yes driving sucked but it was balls cold and I don't think I could have handled another flat. I worked late last night and used that as another excuse not to bike, running home instead. Which might have been an even worse idea but that's neither here nor there.

But I'm back on this morning, with a new tube that fits and ready to rock. I even switched back to an old wheel so the spokes wouldn't be a problem. Of course, I flatted in like 5 minutes. Awesome. But fuck it, I'm still riding home tonite and checking the tire out at home versus leaving it in the office again and driving in tomorrow. At least I've got beer at home.

Current beer-scale: 7.7


No, seriously, it's alright

Really, it is okay to miss a day every now and again. If you have three flats in two weeks and don't feel like taking care of things right away (or have no idea exactly how to take care of things) it's alright to commute different for a day or two. Of course, after a day and a half of driving, I feel like I'm going to claw my eyes out, but whatever.

I have some suburb time coming this weekend due to a party upstairs and some suit shopping for the wife, so maybe I can get something done in my spare time. If not, I guess I'll just drive for a while longer. Grrrrrrrrrr. Maybe I should take the "maybe" out of that equation.

Current beer-scale: 5.4


"muffled curse words"

Dammit dammit dammit. Another flat, and at this point I'm ready to just chuck the bike over a random fence in the neighborhood and walk away. This one was a little closer to work, so I just said "fuck it, I'm not turning around" and trudged my way in. Not the smartest thing in the world and definitely not the safest either, but I made it in.

I'm starting to get sick of this sight.

What's so aggravating is that switching everything seemed to go well last night. It was an easy fix, and everything seemed ready to go by the time I was done. Next thing I knew, I was trying not to lose it on some ice and I was bouncing around on a flat tire. Well fuck.

Ultimately, I think I've over-tightened some of the spokes to keep the wheel from rubbing to the point where they're sticking out of the inside of the rim and they're popping tubes everytime I go over a small bump in the road. Honestly though, fuck if I know what's causing it. All I know is that I'm probably driving to work for the rest of the week, and that's not really helping.

Current beer-scale: 8.4


that's why you always write a note

Well fuck. If that's not the price I pay for being lazy, I don't know what is. Frankenbike flatted yesterday just before I turned onto Belmont on the way home. After a long day, walking the last mile or so home didn't really put me in the mood to deal with replacing tubes and all that so I just decided to ride the Rush Hour in today. Ooops. The first real snow of the year was on the ground, if not the roads. But screw it, driving wasn't an option. And the ride wasn't awful. The roads were fairly clear, and I managed to stay up the entire time. That's still not something I want to put a new bike through on a daily basis though. At points I was wishing I had a pair of 30's on instead of the 23's. They were a little thin for some of the slush this morning. So tonite it's time to settle in and get some tires back together. Oh boy. It keeps getting whiter and whiter out there though, so my hopes for the ride back are not nearly as high as I would like them to be right now. I'm not quite done regretting not putting a new tube on last night.

Switching tubes would have been a better way to spend Sunday night than watching the Bears blow one against the Vikings, but oh well. When you can't punch it in from the 2 in 4 tries and then let up a 99-yard TD pass the very next play you really don't deserve to win anyway. Between the flat, the Bears, and the tivo deciding it didn't want to work with our wireless network at home anymore, it was an aggravating night. Thankfully, that's all in the rearview. Eventually the tivo and I worked things out, and I still rode today so I'm taking it on faith that this week will get better as it goes along.

As long as I can get used to things looking like this. Crap.

Current beer-scale: 6.6