Thursday, February 25, 2010

You know your a cyclist when...

I saw this today and thought it was hilarious. I have a long way to go but a lot of these comments do apply.  At least I know what they all mean.  Enjoy!

You Know You're a Real Bicyclist When....
1. You think that working on your bike is almost as much fun as riding it
2. At some point you caught yourself wondering if your bike might look good if you added a carbon fork.
3. You discover that you have forgotten to remove your reflective ankle straps hours after you have arrived somewhere by bicycle
4. You would recognize that threaded washer from a Presta valve stem anywhere
5. You actually KNOW what a Presta valve is
6. You make decisions about car purchases based on which one more easily accepts your bicycle rack
7. You skip that last beer because there is a group ride the next morning
8. You own any kind of carbon or titanium bicycle accessory
9. sent you a Christmas card last year
10. Your bicycle(s) are worth more than your automobile
11. You know what the difference is between Ultrasensor, Core-Tech, and Microfiber jersey materials
12. You have ever said, "Once you try bibs, baby, you'll never go back!"
13. You can tell your significant other with a straight face that its too hot to mow the lawn then take off and ride a century.
14. Your bike rack and attachments are worth more than your car.
15. You pull up hard on the steering wheel trying to jump your car over a pot-hole
16, The first thing you ask when you regain consciousness is "How's my bike?"
17. You actually move farther from work so your bike commute will be longer.
18. You take a perverse pride in your mid-thigh and mid-bicep tan lines, and even more in that funny little circle on the back of your hand
19. Your learn you have some money left over after paying bills and the first thing you do is reach for the nearest bicycling catalog
20. Most of the tools you own are made by Park or Blackburn
21. Someone in a car asks for directions and you give them a route that bypasses freeways and busy surface streets

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Enough already!

Ouch!  So I'm late to work this morning and I hear the worst sound you can hear while traveling through Billings.  Ding ding ding ding....  Yep, its the train and this ones is carrying coal.  These coal trains are the longest trains I have ever seen.  Some start with three locomotives, then have two more thrown in the middle of the hundreds of coal cars only to be followed up by three more engines at the end.  I decided that I didn't want to wait for the train today so I took Minnesota Street over to the 21st Street underpass.  As I'm cranking down Minnesota, the street gradually turns to ice.  I slowed down but then all of the sudden the smooth ice turns into bumpy and slick ice. Now, if you've seen Billings streets lately, you know the roads are not just a smooth blanket of ice, but rather icy ruts cut into 4 to 6 inches of ice pack.  See the picture below from an article in the Billings Gazette this morning.  Except that street looks so much better than what I was riding on this morning.  As I hit this slick, bumpy ice, I knew I was doomed.  I couldn't veer off the road to the snow pack because I couldn't get out of the ruts.  I couldn't brake because I'd go down instantly.  So my only option was to stop pedaling, hold on and hope I don't break a collarbone.  I hit the first bump and felt the bike start to slip so I leaned into the fall, bringing the bike out in front of me perpendicular to the road and slammed my foot down to the road.  I was able to recover without hitting too hard.  My tires, now sliding on top of the ice pack grabbed enough of the snow to stop me before I went slamming to the ground.  Luckily I just skid the bike and hit my knee on the snow pack.  I got right up and pedaled away, slowly and cautiously the rest of the way to work.  My knee is a little sore but it could have been worse.  Anyone else ready for spring?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A little winter cycling humor

I get told that I'm crazy all the time for riding all throughout the winter, even if its just commuting to and from work.  I got it three times just yesterday.  Usually I defend myself and state that it's not as bad as one might think or talk about how the roads seem slicker in a car than they do on a bike or relate my opinion that I can get to work faster on a bike than I can with a car, especially after scraping all of the windows, warming the car up, driving in and searching for a parking spot before walking the block or two to the office.  I've used the excuse that we only have one car, and even though Sarah rarely uses it either, I leave it at home for her.  Arguing and constantly explaining myself gets old and repetitive.  Lately I've just resigned to the fact that I am crazy and leave it at that.  I've never used the following excuse though.  I'll have to give it a try sometime.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Skull Cap

Since I commute to work all through the winter, I've had to find ways to keep myself warm, but not too warm so I don't get to work all sweaty, and my gear must still allow movement.  I've found gloves that work to about 10 degrees and let me shift and brake pretty easily.  I'm still looking for good gloves for colder weather but I've managed so far.  I've also found a ski-mask that I use only in frigid temperatures and snow pants that I can slip on over my other pants.  However, I have been looking all over for a nice cap that will keep my head warm but still fit underneath my bicycle helmet.  After months of frustration and one bad purchase, Sarah offered to make one for me.  She used a thin knit fabric for the outside shell and a thick fleece liner to keep my ears warm.  Then, so I could tell where the front is, she stitched a bicycle on the front.  Very cool!  (or warm)  Thank you Sarah.