Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Every Day, Almost, A New Trouser Guard

I was at "bell" practice last week (I play in the Mount Mercy handbell choir, even though I have zero musical background, in a year of study have almost, almost, learned to play the high G and high A on the bass clef) when a student noticed the rubber bands.

I wear them on the bottom of my trousers when I bike to keep the material from being stained by or snagging in my chain.

"You know, they sell Velcro straps for that," she pointed out.

True. But the Gazette comes every morning, delivered conveniently for bicyclers with free rubber trouser guards. Yet another reason that daily newspaper reading makes you a better person.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The ultimate biking morning

That's what it was this morning--clear, cool, dry, quiet and pretty.

The morning ride, despite being on the way to work, is usually the best of the day, particularly if it starts before 8 a.m. Traffic is heavy on C Avenue, but after you work your way through the Rockwell Collins parking lots and cross Collins Road on E, you hear birds, smell lilacs and can hear the prop on your Chinese plastic P-51.

It was heaven. And people drive to work? Crazy people.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet Smells of Spring

One reason biking is so much better than commuting by car is that it connects you to the world so much more.

This lets you enjoy the animals and plants along the way.

There is a particular yard at the corner of 42nd Street and E Avenue that is particularly nice.

And in recent weeks, the lilacs and crab apples, both of which are common along my commuting route, have been perfuming the air. Shown in photo is young crab apple in my front lawn. 3 huge pink older ones at MMC are a nice start to my ride home (come up the other side of the hill in the morning).

Makes for nice, sweet, spring rides!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Biking in the Rain (or sprinkle)

I'm not sure why, but drivers are ruder to bikers when it's raining. I had several who sped up to pass faster and make extra noise as they went by me while I was riding home today.

In nice weather, drivers seem nicer.

I've noticed an even stronger correlation between rude driver behavior winter weather. The nearest misses I've had on my bike have all been at temperatures were water is not a liquid (or a scalding gas).

Why is it, I ask, that should be so?

Anyway, I rode my bike to Mount Mercy early enough today that I only got lightly sprinkled on in the morning. In the evening, when I rode home, I got most of the way before it began changing its mind and deciding to quit messing around with mist and switch over to light rain--but I was still pretty dry when I got home.

A bit shaken. I know you drive a truck, Brandon, and don't fall into this category, but once gain, the worst vehicle drivers who seem to want to edge close, pass fast and resent the presence of a bike are young men driving pickups.

Not little, cute, Japanese 4-cylinder pickups, either. Big screw the planet American jobs. The particular one whose driver I would like to meet outside his truck was driving a 4-door super cab red damn-the-planet-I'm-gonna-burn-some-carbon Chevrolet.

Now, I like pickups. Next to a VW Beetle (the ultimate driving machine if it has manual transmission, and although there is a special vibrating visceral sewing-machine sounding cachet to the classic ones, no car fits a fat man better or gives more driving pleasure than a new Beetle) my favorite vehicle was a white Mitsubishi "Dodge" truck we owned in the 80s and early 90s.

But pickup truck drivers? Particularly of over-sided, over-powered, pointlessly big and ugly American trucks?

Jerks, most of them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bike Bling is Back as Prop Foul Clears

Good morning for biking CR today--though forecast says rain is coming. Smell of lilacs and crab apples and, sadly, pears perfumes the air.

As part of Mount Mercy's master plan, they should have a crazy guy with an axe attack the pears near Busse and Lundy. I volunteer.

Anyway, the prop on my Mustang (sister gave me a tiny model P-51, make, like all good patriotic American bike bling, in China) has finally come unstuck (I knocked it off by accident a few days ago and I think got dirt between teh prop and the plane body) so it was spinning.

My bike is a broken down old Trek assembled form cast off pieces of other bikes. The body is from my sister Cate (of bike bling fame). Cate, just so you know, ever since I inherited the bike (intended for Jon but he got a swanky new bike from Microsoft), first gear had not worked. When I shifted to the large gear in front, it would over shift and go off the edge.

Knock on wood, I tried it yesterday and today. The magic bike gods who fixed my prop apparently fixed by derail-er too--and it has shaved about 5 minutes off my commute time.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fist Blog

OK, now I've done it. I have "two" blogs. My first one, at WordPress, has not yet made me world famous. We'll see how this one does :)

Anyway, my sister gave me some new bike bling the other day, a snap on plastic plane, and it was been both fun and embarassing, so it probably fulfills all of her reasons for giving it. I was stopped on my bike at the corner of C Avenue and Blair's Ferry Road in Cedar Rapids, when a middle-aged man, probably a Rockwell Collins engineer, asked if the propeller was creating a lot of drag.

Sure, but not as much as I create.