Friday, April 21, 2017

In Which Spring Rides Continue

The bike rack is back! It had been moved up against Warde hall, but has been shifted again to the garden next to the sidewalk. Thursday, a pretty spring morning at the migrating bike rack.

 I am not going to write a lot tonight--it's getting late, and I have some leg cramps. Times for bed. Anyway, the cramps may reflect that I've started to add extra hill climbs to my biking routine.

RAGBRAI is coming ....

Monday, April 17, 2017

In Which I Dodge Storm Clouds

Cloudy day Saturday. I saw this view fairly often--rode my road bike Argent and climbed the MMU hill four times before going to my office.

April 15--Magnolia on F Avenue seen on the way home.

April 15--almost home, corner of C Avenue and Blair's Ferry. It's a good thing I'm almost there--storm clouds gathering.

April 16--I rode to the gym early on Easter. On the way back, shot this image of flooding Cry Creek.

April 16--just got back from gym. Rhododendron in front of house is still wet from overnight storm, but sky is clear.

April 16--Easter--was on a ride with two grandsons on Lindale Trail when we saw this snake.

I managed to get some riding in on Saturday, although it was mostly a work day for me. I pedaled to the MMU campus, and before going into my office, climbed the MMU hill four times.

Winter? It’s not coming. RAGBRAI is.

Anyway, storms were predicted Saturday, but with thunderstorms, sometimes they blow through pretty quickly. I gambled that I would be able to dodge the storms.

As it turned out, when it started to rain, it RAINED and stayed wet for a while. But, it was also pretty late when it started—and luckily I was already home, although the storm broke not long after I got there.

Sunday, Easter, and Monday were much more bicycle friendly days. I attached the Tag-A-Long to Clarence on Sunday and got good use out of it, giving grandchildren rides, and allowing my son-in-law to use it to give a grandson a ride.

April 17--pretty morning sky. Looking east at Rockwell Collins pond on C Avenue.

My wife rides into the sunset on Lindale Trail April 17.

April 17--the "other" view of the Rockwell Collins pond. Circling the pond on a sidewalk, I pause to look west from the east end late in the day.
Monday, my wife and I took an evening ride with our youngest grandson. It was very pleasant, he enjoyed himself, and it’s something we hope to do more often. We rode the paved part of the Lindale Trail, then crossed Blair’s Ferry Road at C Avenue to circle a pond at Rockwell-Collins before returning home.

As you can see, it was a perfect evening out to be riding a bicycle!

Friday, April 14, 2017

In Which a New Seat is Installed

I have installed new seat, and placed old one on it for contrast.

Have you ever swapped out a bike seat?

There are lots of fiddly bits, in my experience. The device that attaches the seat to the bike is separate from the seat itself, and comes in many parts—a central post, two clips on each side, a doohickey that rests on the seat post and several nuts. It drives me nuts.

Anyway, we purchased a used Tab-A-Long seat. Best $20 we ever spent (they are about 20 times that new). I use it with grandchildren a lot.

A Tag-A-Long is sort of a half bike that attaches to the back of another bike. The one we purchased had a worn seat that is continuing to fall apart. So, my wife and I recently picked up a new child-sized bicycle seat. And I decided to install it today.

I could invent some tale of woe at this point. It certainly taxed my patience a bit and had me speaking “French.” But, all-in-all, the job probably only took 20 minutes, and although the darn thing fell apart several times before I was able to get the nuts back on, it seems OK.

A 4-year-old grandchild was visiting today, and the plan was, after I replaced the seat, we (my wife, the granddaughter and I) would go on a bike ride. Audrey would ride her bike, and the grandchild would ride the Tag-A-Long attached to my bike.

But, the possible passenger was feeling a little under the weather after lunch, so we decided nap time would come first. And when naps ended, Mother Nature intervened in the form of late afternoon showers.

Well, that’s OK. I got the seat installed, and we’ll test it soon. And I did get several short, dry rides in today.

I also had hoped to get Argent out, but that didn’t work due to rain. Still, I rode Clarence to get to Cost Cutters for a hair trim, and climbed the Brentwood Drive hill just for fun.

All in all, despite no test ride on the new seat, it was a good biking Friday.

The new seat all alone, awaiting its first ride.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

In Which We Think of Sunny Rides To Come

Sun on Rockwell-Collins pond this morning, clouds
are headed away.
Mike's logo for bookworm ride.

I’ll spare you the obvious Beatles song—but it was sure nice this morning to cycle in weather that, while cool, looked much more like spring.

As I write this, it’s a minor tragedy that I am indoors. A rainy Wednesday has given away to Sunshine Thursday, and a bicycle commuter says hooray!

Which puts me in mind of sunny, warm rides to come. The MMU Bike Club plans to ride this Friday, our first nice springtime ride. Join us, MMU! Meet at 4:30 at Lundy.

And the planned bookworm biker ride from Marion to Iowa City is still in the works. The Facebook group organized by Michael Miller for “Bookworms on Bikes” is now public! Check on it to get updates--the 50 miles or so ride should be late May or early June.

The news on RAGBRAI is good. I haven’t convinced Team Joe that this is a good “ride all the miles” year, but the band is back together and then some.

This year, Jon is coming out from San Francisco to ride—and he will be joined by his lovely wife Nalena Santiago in her first RAGBRAI.

And Last week, I put Clarence to good work, using toddler seat and Tag-A-Long to cart grandchildren to and around a playground. The weather is going to be nice this weekend, so we’ll see how much riding we do then—quite a lot, I hope!

Warm weather! Time to find the sunscreen and bug repellant and put them to good use!
Another pond view--ducks cross the reflected sun. And at the end of the ride, below, MMU daffodils.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

In Which The Question Rests on Bird Poop

March 31--Clarence parked in the new rack location next to--right next to--Warde Hall.

The migrating bike rack near Warde Hall has migrated again. Once located about 4 feet from the sidewalk in a garden area by the northernmost back door, it has migrated next to the building to a more rocky area.

How do I feel about the current location?

Well, the rocky area is so proximate to the building it may be a little dryer than the garden. But then again, it’s also proximate to an area where pigeons hang out, and pigeons poop a lot.

If Clarence gets consistently covered in bird feces, I’ll have some negative feelings about the rack placement.

On the other hand, I don’t really want a return to the rack in the damp garden, either. Maybe there is a spot near the redbud tree, adjacent to the main sidewalk headed in to the building, in the rocky area there? I am not sure there is room there—a bike rack has to be set back form a sidewalk by a few feet so parked bikes don’t block the sidewalk—but if the redbud site works, it might be out of both the garden and the pigeon poop target zone.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In Which The RAGBRAI Deed is Done

Magnolia by Warde Hall. I'm passing by on Clarence, and I paused to snap this image of spring getting underway.

Spring in Iowa—cool, a bit wet, but starting to finally look a little green.

Last week, for spring break, my wife and I went to San Francisco to visit our son and daughter-in-law. It’s a bike-oriented city, despite the impressive hills—a fair amount of bike traffic. Both Jon and Nalena often use their bikes to commute to the train station on their way to their tech jobs. Sometimes, Jon even rides his bike home from the Facebook HQ, which, I think, is a more than 20-mile journey.

One thing that impressed me about bikers in San Francisco is that way too few of them ride with lights at night. And those who do use lights generally have just one in front and one in back—unlike me. I’m lit up with helmet lights, two headlines, two taillights and spoke lights. I like redundant lights—I don’t want to be one drained battery away from going over to the dark side.

Anyway, I didn’t ride at all in San Francisco, but have been commuting by bike this week. I rode Monday and Tuesday, and also this morning, although this afternoon I rode home in a minivan with my wife due to the cool rain that was falling.

I saw some deer in Dry Creek Monday evening as I was headed home. And this week there were other spring sightings—it’s not as warm or green or flowery here as it is in California, but some early flowers are starting to show as the Iowa chill slowly goes away. This morning, on a cool, cloudy damp morning that threatened rain (which, luckily, did not fall until after I got to work), I noticed that the large Magnolia bush (or small Magnolia tree, I am not sure what to call it) by Warde Hall at Mount Mercy University was starting to bloom.

Spring! It’s almost April, I’m just registered for RAGBRAI, and I’m feeling ready for warm weather.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

In Which There Is a Biker in the Mist

Pretty in Iowa this morning. And cold. Sun coming up on C Avenue--and yes, I am riding my bike. Long underwear is not just a good idea--it's a requirement!
March 14—pi day, although I don’t get any pie. I know that’s against all the rules of RAGBRAI and bike etiquette, but the current “30-day challenge” my wife and I are on is to avoid sweets, and pie is best when it’s pretty sweet.

Anyway, snow fell Sunday and Monday here in Iowa, as the temperamental March weather lurched from warmish spring back to Arctic winter. We had a few inches of snow, although I know we’re lucky compared to what will hit the Northeast.

Anyway, this morning felt very cold as I biked to work. I regretted not having grabbed a scarf, but I was otherwise dressed well for the cold.

And it was still a pretty ride—mist rising from a bit of open water at the Rockwell-Collins pond on C Avenue was quite fetching. With bitter cold tonight, I bet that pond may be an ice rink tomorrow morning—and I will for sure grab a scarf then!

After that? March—it’s going to be spring no matter how temperamental it is. You could tell that by the snow. It finished falling Monday morning—and by Tuesday, pavement in town was clear enough for a bike ride in Cedar Rapids.

The one good thing about March snow is that it’s not very persistent.