Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Odds and Ends

For those who like fresh fruits and vegetables. Here's a little advice. Small, thick-skinned grape tomatoes do pretty well riding on a bike rack. Large, juicy tomatoes.. not so much. Same with ripe peaches. If you must transport these items on a rack and not on your back, try submerging them in a sealed, completely water filled wide-mouth container (eg. a peanut butter jar). This works best with juicy tomatoes. Some heirlooms I've had tended to have air pockets inside, causing them to float, and bump against the top of the container.

There's another thing I had to share. As an old mountain biker, I'm always surprised by the speeds that can be reached on a road bike with nice high gears, skinny tires and drop bars. As I was leaving work last night, my boss was walking out to his car, a BMW X5. He quickly caught up with me, pulled up beside me and rolled down his window to offer a draft. My muscles were still pretty cold, but I fell back and took a place on his rear bumper. The X5, while being fairly tall is still a somewhat streamlined vehicle and most of my body was above the roofline while honking on the pedals, so not the best to draft behind, but still a help. He increased his speed gradually, then leveled off. I waved him faster then picked up a gear and cranked. Soon a curve was coming, and my cold muscles were beginning to cramp, so we backed off and went our separate ways.

This morning, as soon as I could hear activity in his office, I went to find out how fast we had gone (I don't use a computer).
"Good morning. I have to ask..." I said.
"Thirty five." he interrupted, grinning.
Cool. I had at least one or two gears left. Had I not been cold and cramping, I might have had a few more miles per hour left. Maybe I should get a computer to avoid a speeding ticket.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Like Wow!

If more people knew how much fun this bike riding thing is there would be a lot less cars for me to negotiate! (note: Cafn8 is currently extremely buzzed on endorphins from the ride home from work. Please pardon is for any inconvenience.)

A Good Thing

This morning, I arrived to work bright and early, heaved my fully laden bike onto the loading dock, hopped up behind it and began wheeling it toward the office door. Since my office is toward the back it generally is better to come in through the factory during the summer when the loading bay doors are usually open. It means I don't have to wheel my bicycle all the way through the office hallway, potentially dirtying the carpet. Today, however, I wished I had gone the carpeted route. The moment the assemblers in the factory, whose work day starts an hour and a half before mine, saw me they motioned me over for engineering guidance. Then, seeing my sweaty state, they quickly changed their minds, and said "when you get a chance." Today, riding to work gave me a few extra minutes to get settled (and cleaned up). A should mention, though, it also has a calming effect, to help me to cope with the stress that today promises to deliver.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

People are Noticing

August is here and the summer seems to be reaching its home stretch. The weather is still warm and the days are still long, but I can't help but think about the upcoming change in seasons and what it means for me if I will continue riding during the cold months. At the same time, within the last week I've had more questions about bicycling than most of the rest of the summer combined. A couple of days ago, as I heaved my bike onto the loading dock and wheeled it inside, the shipping guy pulled me aside with several questions about my bike. No matter, I always jump at the chance to talk about bikes. More notably, though, within the last week, no less than four different people, both neighbors and co-workers, have commented on how much weight I've lost and about biking as the cause. It feels good, I'll admit. Why now, though? My pants have been noticeably baggy (to me) for well over a month. Recently there's been a dip in gas prices, some places a full thirty cents below its peak earlier this summer. Why the dip? Who knows, but I hardly think the recent increased interest is the result of friends and neighbors reaching the end of their collective ropes. I hope that my example that it can be done and my involuntary glow and slight giddiness when I start talking about bikes and riding gets more people to go out and try it, whatever their reason might be, though.