rethinking the plan

I love this city. In the right circumstances, when someone almost runs you over to turn against traffic and cut through a parking lot/alley combo, only to say "Hey, you should try stopping brah," there is a 100% probability that they'll end up stopped themselves by traffic when they get to whatever street they're cutting to. So I-er, you-can feel free to trail after them and play the game that's sweeping the nation, "Guess who had the right-of-way!"

And in my case, it's a chance to take care of my serious case of "Last-word-itis," where if the guy hadn't said anything and just pulled into the parking lot, I wouldn't have thought twice. But hearing him say I should stop, when I've got the right of way with the flow of traffic, and he's pulling the dick move of cutting through a parking lot anyway, then I'm following him to give him some choice words. Which took a lot less time that I thought it might, and actually got the guy into a frothing rage as I turned back around to head home. All in all, good times.

It also made me re-think my plan for showing up for dinner on my bike but sans helmet, all cool in street clothes. I'm always in street clothes anyway, but that way I don't have to carry the helmet home. Today made it clear to me that it's worth having to carry a helmet home when who knows is going to be driving out there with you. Helmet it is. And now, off to dinner.

Current beer-scale: 9.0


Saw two really weird run-ins involving bikes yesterday evening out with the dog.

The first was a chick who ran a stop sign in-front of a cop turning onto Damen. When he said she should have stopped, she replied she did which got him worked up enough to come up and stop her, asking for ID just as the wife and I were walking by. This chick had a couple strikes against her already; cubs traffic, aggravated cop, no helmet, the last thing she needed to do was tell the cop he was wrong. But evidently she didn't get a ticket, b/c she ran the next stop sign down the street, and the cop just watched her do it. Whatever.

The second not so whatever. Walking back east on School, at the Lincoln/Marshfield/School intersection, we were waiting for the light to change to cross Lincoln. Up from behind us comes a couple on bikes, but the guy's got a kid-trailer (with a kid visibly in it!) as he rolls right up and through the intersection. Traffic was crossing! I was terrified, my wife was terrified, even the dog was wondering what the hell this guy was doing. The chick with him even yelled for him to stop, as he was getting honked at by someone slamming on the brakes on Lincoln. Christ almighty, why some people decide to have kids is beyond me. He might as well have put a bullseye on that trailer and rolled it into traffic.

Check those mad photoshop skills

I'm not perfect biker, and I have my share of close calls. In fact, I plan on riding a bike on which I may or may not be able to stop to dinner tonite. But jeez, I'm not endangering my genetic offspring. Maybe he's doing everyone a favor; having already ensured his traits surviving, he's trying to correct the situation by having his kid run over.

Current beer-scale: 7.3


Now, will it stop?

Fun times today, with a new brake lever coming in the mail and setting it up on Frankenbike.

I've had the flop & chop done for months, and wasn't planning on setting them up until after a pass with some rattle cans (managing to actually buy spray paint was an entirely separate adventure, but more on that in a few weeks). Fitting everyting together was practically installing it anyway though, so why not strip the old bars and use them to wrap the bullhorns. What the hell, it beats packing for a while.
Again I'm not the most mechanically savy, but this is pretty simple stuff. Work through the new cable, put the cover on, line up the lever, adjust the brake, you're all set. I was done before I even thought to take the normal maintenance shot, let along a before and after. But I have those anyway.
Before: the old set up after a long BTD

After: looking spry and ready for a test ride.

Not crazy with how short the cable got before the brake was actually completely closing and opening, but it seems to be working fine. Now, the question above: will it stop?

We'll see. I'll likely test it this weekend, before a ride downtown to meet the wife after work for our three-year anniversary dinner. Something I definitely have to make it to alive, so hopefully everything is all set.

Current beer-scale: 5.9


More of the same

Another butt-shot, as my mother in-law likes to say.

This time, I was the guilty party, drafting after the two ladies in the shot flew by. They were both on what looked like Fuji track bikes, and since I have a track-ish bike, I went to see if I could keep up. Evidently I could, well enough to dig out the phone for the second day in a row.

I feel slightly bad about it, seeing as how I try my damndest to drop anyone who comes even remotely close to drafting off me. In fact, I was practically tugging on this poor chick as the one in front started to pull away as my fat ass pulled the second one back. I thought about passing and trying to catch up, but I was already past my normal turn around. Plus since yesterday was a Tour rest day I didn't have any real racing jones either.

The phone came out again b/c as you can see, the closer one is fully spandexed. Enough to maybe raise an eyebrow, but hey, she pulled it off and what do I care. The whole incident was enough to make me laugh. Playing tag, seeing spandex, it's a good summer.

Current beer-scale: a middle of the road 5.7


Hey Frenchie!

Ah yes, the annual return of the spandex-clad commuter. A rare breed, they habitually migrate in solitary patterns during the 3 week stretch of Tour de France coverage. Although photographic evidence is notoriously difficult to capture due to both the terrain covered by and the speed of the species, these commuters are instantly noticeable in their skin-tight, day-glo uniforms and obvious disdain for commuters in less clingy fabric.

After a day moving a friend into their new house, I was happy just to be able to stand, let alone bike today. Seeing someone commuting with a big bag over their shoulder while in complete road-kit gear only made it that much better. Now if I can only stand back up out of my chair...

Current beer-scale: 6.1
Ha! I love this city. Mock and ye shall find. Note the tight fabric in bright, coordinated colors, bulging knapsack, and slumped-but-not-quite-in-the-drops posture. This particular specimen was particulary noisy on the way by, announcing his presence with the squeak of a chain that sounded like it needed to be lubed. It gave me plenty of time to dig my phone out and steady myself to capture the evidence of his passing. Vive la France!


Well that was humbling

Woof. After a few fast rides this week, I have to admit I was starting to think I was pretty hot shit. So my ride home today hit the perfect note to take care of that.

I had made my turn and was headed back south to belmont on the lake path, when I look up and ahead of me, there's a guy in a Half Acre jersey. "Wow, that's cool" I thought. "I should tell him that as I pass him."

Something as simple as that, yet full of ego. It might not be as bad as that, but apparently I'm so used to passing roadies I just take it a given now. Or at least I used to. B/c no sooner than my thinking that, the guy absolutely took off. Dropped me like...well, like something really heavy and slow. Zoom.

I was already nearly sprinting, trying to find a good rhythm. This guy stood up for a second, and was gone. It was fantastic. I've had a few moments that felt like that on a bike, but haven't seen one as a spectator. Even as I was getting absolutely smoked, I had to appreciate that it was happening. Very cool. Makes me want to watch more Tour coverage.

Current beer-scale: 5.1


now for the downhill

Humpday (for me at least) has thankfully come and gone, leaving only the week's descent into a long weekend. Today had me looking for my suitcase of courage however, and seeing just how fast I could get the tires to spin on the way home.

Of course, once I got home, I realized to my dismay I was unprepared for dinner, which is my responsibility this week with the wife on summer hours. So after walking the dog it was back on the bike for a quick Jewel run for various sundries. Pineapple among them, thank god, b/c I could drown the juice in Sailor Jerry's and start drinking early.
So here's to a quick end of the week, to Lance figuring out which Lance he's going to be, and to getting ready to do some moving this weekend. Woo fucking hoo.

Current beer-scale: 8.6


Buy a fucking leash!

This is hard to say w/o sounding melodramatic, but while my own dog makes my commute start a little later, this morning someone else's dog nearly wrecked it altogether.

I don't really care to show up on-time on Sundays, so I extended things a little this morning. The plan was to stay on the path until the chess pavilion, then take the tunnel back into the neighborhood. Of course, someone was calling their dog from the North Ave bridge and it came screaming across the path to catch up to them.

I saw him coming and was able to stop in time, probably about 18 inches away from where this dog came running across. Close enough to send pictures of the lab that got run over at the tour a few years ago through my head, but not so close it was in danger of actually happening to me.

Watch that video. Look at the dog get up and limp away in slow motion. I'd like to headbutt the guy who let that dog actually get on the road like that, and I feel bad for not doing it to the douche calling his dog this morning. Did he think that was funny? Does he care so little for both his dog and the other people on the path that he can just let the dog run wild? Even thinking about it now I get overly worked up. That dick deserves to run over by a truck, so his dog can find a better home.

I'm going to take a deep breath now, and finish listening to the cardinals self-destructing in the first game of today's double-header. See, there's always a bright side...sometimes you just have to look a couple places for it.

Current beer-scale: fucking high


My mornings are going later and later, with my commutes consistently starting a few minutes later each day. If I was concerned, I'd be reading into it. Someone that doesn't want to go to work usually won't feel pressure to leave on time. There might be something to that, but there's also something to it finally being nice out and wanting to walk the dog longer.

For whatever reason, just a few minutes later makes a huge difference in who you see on bikes and how traffic patterns change around you. I get stuck behind people fiddling with their ipods or doing whatever else people do when they only ride a few months out of the year. Basically they do the opposite of what I'd be doing at lights, or with someone blocking the lane, or going around other commuters. Which actually hasn't been bothering me, b/c I tend to speed up around these people and still get to work relatively on-time. So while they're out there taking up space, they're also saving me a few minutes of time each morning.

Of course, I shouldn't complain too much, b/c I can't still can't avoid losing a few leg hairs each morning bashing my calf on a pedal. Ow. It keeps me humble. At least a little.

Current beer-scale: 7.2



Not only the sound wet tires make, but also the raspberry I give to this entire day. To waking to up to July and below 60's temps, to having one more day before a long weekend, to a long gray day. Here's to beer.

Current beer-scale: 7.3