No chance to stop in the rain and take another picture, but if I had it would have been of me whizzing down Belmont past everyone backed up after some imbecile hit a pole getting on to LSD. Fantastic. Frankenbike performs admirably in the rain, so I'm trying not to complain about the postal service losing the package containing the tires I ordered almost two weeks ago. I'm stuck on the old bike until I have tirest that are still in one piece, but in the rain that's not an issue.

What could become an issue if it does indeed stay crappy is my growing refusal to keep wearing pants on bike rides. It's time for shorts, dammit. Or at least old pants hemmed into knicker-length bike shorts. I'd take a picture of my soaking wet shorts from today, but that would have meant crotch pictures and it's not that kind of blog.

Hopefully we don't have rain tomorrow, when the Cubs limp back to Wrigley after getting their asses handed to them last night in Arizona. Fingers crossed.

Current beer-scale: 6.1 (and krausened like Old Style)


I now see how someone could train indoors

Fighting through the wind this morning by one of my all-time favorite summer establishments, I realized I was practically sitting still and decided to try and take a picture while not falling down.As I laughed at that, I also realized I felt faster sitting still on a trainer this weekend than I had for most of my commutes this week. That wasn't as funny.

The in-laws were on a fitness kick this winter and decided to buy two in-door trainers with crazy fancy 3D rides programmed in and additional tour de france videos to ride to. I thought it was cool, but was busy trying to get through winter and didn't really try them out. They're out of town getting swine flu this week (cruising around Mexico) and we stopped by to check on the house. The 'burbs can be pretty boring, so I let the dog out into the backyard and hopped on the trainer.

Part of feeling fast, I think, is having gears to change and different grades to ride up and down. Even though I wasn't "moving," the trainer's pretty sophisticated as far as resistance and virtually simulating hills. Once I had figured out my mother in-law's Trek and its ultegra triple it was time to see what I could get done. 30 minutes later, I staggered out of their garage covered in sweat, having busted out about 12 miles in what looked like Seattle.

I'm not running out to buy another bike any time soon, and even if I was, it would be another single-speed that could make it through all kinds of Chicago crap. But I had forgotten how much fun shifting through multiple gears could be. I'll have to find an excuse to go back out now.

Current beer-scale: 5.9


Well no shit I keep getting flats. When there's a quarter-inch gash in the tire things are going to go wrong. Back to frankenbike for a while I guess.

Current beer-scale: really high.

ETA: A crappy ride with Frankenbike this morning convinced me to take a closer look at how those tires are running, and they were awfully low. I took it out this morning without checking anything, which was dumb, but what the hell I was pissed. I've had nothing but flats since January. So I spent a few minutes at work pumping up each tire as much as I could, and had a much better ride on the way home. There were still all the bad noises and it still felt like the entire thing would fall apart out from under me, but the wheels felt better. The whole thing finally drove home that tires are the most important part of a bike. Drivetrain makes it go, frame keeps it up, brakes make it stop, but tires are what's actually on the ground. If tires aren't right, you're in for a rough ride. My ride was a little less rough, but now that I'm closer to beer my score on the scale's even higher. Nice.


To the driver of the 77 bus, #6743;

I wasn't sure you had seen me that first time, which is why I probably looked so surprised when you wagged your finger at me as I tried to get by while you were picking people up at Racine. Oblivious is one thing, rude is another.

So I may have over-reacted when I gave you a different finger when I passed in front of joey's brickhouse. Still, I don't think that was any reason to cut it so close as you passed again. I know it's my-turn-your-turn in situations like that, but me riding a bike and you driving a multiple ton bus means we should at least try to get along. But hey, if you're a rude dick instead of a clueless idiot, I should expect to practically get run off the road.

So why don't you go fuck yourself, and I'll see you back out there tomorrow. Fantatstic.

Current beer-scale: 8.1


My favorite sign that better weather is forthcoming?

A great morning at the dog beach.

More enjoyable than the ride I'll probably take later today, even more enjoyable than a cold beer at an outdoor patio in the sun. To each his own, although that beer is a close second.

Current beer-scale: 3.8


The wife and I were passed last night out with the dog by a lady on her bike, with a six of stella in her front basket. This made me smile, but what really made me laugh was the wife suggesting I should start doing all our grocery shopping like that. I readily agreed, but only on the condition of getting a new bike to equip with the proper baskets or paniers. Maybe even a baskfiet or cargo bike that I could pile all kinds of crap in, and get the dog to the beach in.

In all honesty, the only reason I agreed so quickly is that kind of purchasing is well out of our reach these days, and there's no way I'm outfitting the raleigh with that kind of equipment. I'd shop by bike in a heartbeat though with the right carrying capacity. The bike part is no problem, it's the grocery shopping part I can't stand.

Current beer-scale: 6.1 and rising


Tax day. And you want to spend it "protesting" the "socialist" policies of the current administration? You start now? NOW? Are you fucking kidding me?

Where were you when the richest 5% got more tax breaks, and the economy was de-regulated straight into the toilet. Where were you when war funds weren't part of republican budgets b/c they were "unforeseen" expenses and didn't have to be accounted for. You sat back and watched the MBA-in-chief shred rights to privacy and shovel out no-bid contracts to one of the shadiest companies in the history of corporations. That just happened to formerly be run by Darth Cheney. And now you're protesting? Go fuck yourselves.

To even try and compare what's going on now as President Obama is dragging the economy out of the gutter to taxation levied by the Brits in the 1770's is absolutely ludicrous. Fucking insane. This is an "Onion" article come to life. This has to be a Borat-level prank by someone at Fox News. No one in their right mind would sit down and come up with "teabagging" as a relevant way to protest.

Okay, cleansing breath. It's not all bad out there. Someone actually stopped to wave me through an intersection today as I was waiting to turn left. It's the little things that make days enjoyable, not the big retarded awful things. Good lord. I'm just gonna have to learn to better ignore the idiots now that they're not in charge.

It's not all bad out there. Spring is here, kind of.

Current beer-scale: 7.3


I think I will absolutely lose my mind if I see any idiots out "teabagging" tomorrow.
Current beer-scale: righteously high


Don't go don't go!

Looking for any excuse to either stay away from the office for a few extra minutes or bike a little more to get not quite so fat, the commute got a little longer this morning. Longer, but not any faster b/c someone absolutely dropped the hammer on me after we turned onto the lakefront path. I wasn't on her wheel or anything to begin with since she pulled onto the path from the north-side of the street's sidewalk and I was making my way on the street, but sweet jesus did she take off.

It didn't hurt my pride too much. I wasn't in any rush so to make sure I got in late today, I went a few extra exits on the path. It wasn't too windy, and the sun was just starting to try to break through the clouds over the lake. Wet, sandy, and cold but all in all well worth a few extra minutes.
Hard to take a picture from the bike sometimes though. I wanted to be late, but not "let's stop and dawdle with a cell phone" late. Still fun to try, especially now that it's pouring and I have a semi-clear reminder of some sun and sand. So much for that cubs home opener today.
Current beer-scale: 5.1


Woo hoo, product review time!

I can't really review anything yet since I'm not going open-eared until it's consistently in the 50's and today was the first ride with a slime tire-liner in, but I'm crazy about both products so far. Guess I could have saved the helmet until after I'd replaced the pedals, but whatever.

After another slow leak Thursday, I took a closer look at the 23's on the good bike and still couldn't find anything that would explain another puncture. There are some tire wires fraying out of the side wall, but lining them up with the tube, they weren't anywhere near where the leak was. Rather than give up and buy a new tire set, I picked up said tire-liner. It was actually slimy, which surprised me, but after fitting it in over a new tube, the tire's rock solid and delivered a really smooth ride in this morning (which I extended about an extra mile). Fingers crossed this actually leads to a solution for an extended time.

The big news was my helmet arriving this weekend though. As if I wasn't looking forward to warmer weather enough. I literally cannot wait to start wearing this around. Helmets might not always be the highest of fashion, but if I'm going to wear one it might as well be one that makes me laugh every time I see it.

Ah, spring. Good times.

Current beer-scale: 6.1


Now that was a city ride. Easy going, nice sun, Jesse Jackson outside the pancake & waffle house on clark...I had a hard time not laughing hysterically after getting a "Morning" out of him as I rode by. I was awake enough to notice and give him a "Morning Reverend" as I went by, I should have stopped and asked for a picture. Oh well. It's a little easier to believe this will be a good day now.

Current beer-scale: 5.8


Wow. That was the most pleasant encounter I've ever had on a bike. Just a nice comment from a fellow biker. Spring is in the air people.

Current beer-scale: 7.1


It sucks to be right

All in all, yesterday's commute wasn't terrible. Windy in the morning, rain/sleet in the evening, but just awful enough to be funny. What sleet there was was falling awfully hard, which was a nice contrast to earlier in the day. When the sun was out at about 11:30, I was foolishly optimisic the snow wouldn't come. Oh well. Sucks to be wrong sometimes.

Didn't have such a good feeling about this morning getting up. The snow might not have stuck everywhere, but it took way more effort than it should have to get out of bed. Popped a dayquil, crossed my fingers. Took the dog out and slogged through the April crap covering the neighborhood. Layered up and hopped on the bike.

I've been putting off replacing the pedals on my (relatively) new bike for a while now. The plastic around one cracked at the end of last summer, and I've been looking for new platforms to put on but haven't really made it a priority. So this is the morning it breaks all the way through and nearly dumps me onto clark.

Not a huge break, but enough to give me the feeling I was going to spend the day wishing I was back in bed. Joy.

Ah, whatever. Chuck's on tonite, I'll talk the wife into stopping with the dog to get some beer, it'll be alright by the time the day ends. Good times.

Current beer-scale: 8.1


when to say when

Whew. With one day left, muscling through a headwind with legs that hadn't gone into oxygen debt like that since the Turkey trot, I was thinking another Friday ride just for the hell of it probably wasn't happening this weekend. No big deal. It's spring in Chicago. Who knows what it'll be like tomorrow.

Current beer-scale: 5.9