Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cross Training Sucks

With the arrival of an unusable but significant amount of snow, followed by a deep freeze, it has become Nothing Season. Roads are icy while cross-country ski trails don't have enough base depth for the groomer to till the icy coating into skiable granules. This forces the working cyclist into creative training strategies.

Because the kind of weather we're having doesn't encourage anyone to come into our shop we have long hours in which to pursue other activities. Employees and our rare visitors track in a lot of sand and salt from the parking lot and walkways, so I decided to take a few minutes to vacuum it up.

The vacuum cleaner seemed suspiciously heavy. When I extracted the bag it felt like something you could pile on top of the levee to divert flood waters. When I searched for a replacement I found an empty package. Apparently one can't just nip down to the hardware store to get new bags for this model. Even though it was obviously full to capacity I would have to use it anyway. I did extract the big hair and lint wad hanging from the inlet before placing the sand bag back into the vacuum.
When I finished the bag weighed 12 pounds. I would have thought it was heavier. The floor is somewhat cleaner. On the plus side, I burned more calories and got a bit of an upper body workout maneuvering the overweight vacuum around the sales floor.
Late last week, temperatures plunged below zero for two nights. It was so chilly in the shop that I wore my Bob Cratchit gloves while doing inventory. The heat seems to operate by its own rules. Some days are chilly, regardless of whether the day outside is particularly frigid. Other days it pays to dress in layers you can easily shed. This does not seem to correspond to solar input or the compressors operating in the basement. Sometimes the wind direction seems to make things colder, but the same wind direction does not always have the same effect.

Who really cares?

Over the holiday weekend the place was so dead I was running up and down the back stairs. Then I was walking up and down the back stairs. Then I had to stretch my legs to keep from cramping. My colleague George wants to set up a trainer we can ride when things are quiet. That's starting to sound good. Usually I listen to motivating tunes through headphones but I might work up a good spin by pretending I can get away from the "easy listening" station that gets pumped through here all the doodah day. Sirius makes the computer get stupid and the CD player is busted. We can't get really sweaty, though.

I did order another light set from Peter White. For the moment I can install it on any bike that will take the dynamo wheel I already have. Later I can build the 26" version to get the trail commuter fully operational. I'm really starting to groove heavily on the racks, lights and fenders thing. It does raise the stakes in case of theft. That bothers me as it would bother anyone who was making beater car levels of investment in what is far from a beater bike. Theft is not a huge issue around here, but I do think globally while acting locally.


Steve A said...

I now keep 2 u locks at work. One for the front wheel and the other for the rear/frame. Also a low theft environment.

cafiend said...

At work I park indoors. My major concern is at errand stops. For years I have been fine, but I never assume I live in a completely innocent area.

When I ride out from home with the trailer attached I figure that if I jackknife the rig and lock it that way it will deter the ride away or walk away thief, and probably anyone who might consider chucking the whole mass in the back of a pickup truck -- as long as I don't leave it unattended for too long. On the commute, though, I hate to add the bulk of a lock and cable when I don't routinely stop. I do have a little poodle collar lock I grab as a token deterrent for quick stops. I know it wouldn't stand up to anything heavier than manicure scissors, though.

Steve A said...

For " during the commute," I use a ski lock. The cable also would not stand up to much more than manicure scissors, but it WOULD require a prospective thief to have to go to get the clippers Obvioiusly, it is no more than a "just a moment" approach, but that is all it is used for.

cafiend said...

In an area plagued by professional bike thieves a light cable wouldn't be enough even to stop a quick walk-by snipping. I can cut some pretty fat stuff with the old Felco C7. It's pocket-sized. It's also expensive. I don't know if any of the cheaper copies of it have the same impressive capability. So the prospective thief would first have to steal a C7.

Ultimately we just have to hope that motive, means and opportunity don't coincide while we're picking up a few quick grocery items.