Friday, April 28, 2017

In Which The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down

A cold, cloudy Friday morning—but dry, so I rode, gambling that there would be a break in the rain later.

I fought the rain and the rain won. No breaking rocks in the hot sun for me, I was pedaling home in the damp cold. When it’s genuinely chilly out and a stiff wind is blowing, there’s something especially penetrating about the damp.

Well, not to complain too much. My strategy wasn’t a total failure. While it did indeed rain on my biking parade, it also did lessen a bit in late afternoon, so I wasn’t riding in the earlier downpour.

The MMU Bike Club had a safety rodeo scheduled for this Sunday. CR Biker is the faculty advisor to the club, so I am planning to be there, but due to the rain that is also forecast for Sunday, the event has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 13.

The event is for any child who can ride a bike. There will be mechanical safety checks of bikes, free helmets while supplies last and a drawing for a $350 bike gift card.

Come on down to MMU to the parking lot at the top of the hill behind Warde Hall. You can park in the 27th Street lot and visit us behind Warde Hall.

I plan to be there. I bet some of my grandkids will be there. Come and meet the celebrity bike blogger that nobody is talking about! Hope to see you at the bike safety rodeo!

And, I’m hoping to see some sun, too.

May 1 Update: Mark Mettler is on KCRG to promote rodeo:


In Which The Gloves Come Back

Cedar Lake, as I head home on Sunday, April 23.

Warm weather, where are you? Winter has decided to make one more visit to the upper Midwest, it would seem.

Well, whatever. I can’t get too incensed. For one thing, while it’s cooled down, it hasn’t frozen—and while I lost one biking day this week to the damp, some cool, wet weather now will make the warm second half of May all that more pleasant.

This week, I’ve starting to seek out hill ride-climbing the MMU hill “the hard way” by the library at least once, riding up the Bowman Woods hill now and then. It will be hard to get serious practice miles in until the semester ends, but I’m trying.

On Sunday, on the way home from MMU, I added a few miles by taking the trail route by Cedar Lake. It was, as usual, quite pretty. By Thursday, I was wearing my jacket and gloves for some rather cool rides.

Still, cool rides are rides!

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.