Wednesday, September 27, 2006

May I help you?

"I'm looking for a bike. For my husband. He's not a biker, he just wants a bike. Just a regular bike."

Autumn Experiment

Since my rechargeable light has become unreliable, and I don't really want to install the old generator light I used to run in the flatlands 20 years ago, I'm going to try a new approach.

The other night I noticed that my newer Planet Bike Beamer 3 puts out a pretty good beam. Nothing will overcome oncoming car headlights except something expensive and heavy. The LED lights burn brightly so I can be seen. The only question is whether I will be able to see well enough to ride efficiently. I did not feel like I was groping the other night, with just the new spot 3 and the old flood 3, but it was a quiet country road with few cars to blind me.

I added a Beamer 5 to the lineup today. I hope it will stab just a bit further than the 3, giving me a staged light patch. With the 5, the new 3 and the old 3, I should have adequate coverage. The lights use AA batteries, which means spares are easy to find and compact to carry. I can put one or more of the lights on flashing mode to attract more attention if I don't need them for road illumination right then, such as in the dusk.

We'll see how it goes. I don't know how intrepid I feel about the whole haul in the darkness anyway, but some new path construction has given more options for dropping a car partway.

Glaringly Invisible

Time once again to remind riders in the north that even if the sun is still up, its low angle may blind drivers so they don't see you.

With the sun at your back you may forget that an oncoming driver will have to squint into that glare. Just as an oncoming driver may turn in front of a cyclist in dusk or darkness, so might a dazzled driver hook a turn in the middle of what looks to you like a clear, bright afternoon.

As funny as it sounds, be extra alert when the weather is really nice. As the autumn advances, the sun stays at low angles for more and more of the day. A little light overcast can be your friend.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Looks Like Heaven. Smells Like Hell.

When I headed out to Gilford one recent morning, the sun had not come over the horizon yet. Its light colored the clouds in luminous pinks. The blue between the clouds deepened from the pearlescent sheen of pre-dawn to the richer hue of hopeful morning.

If only the air at ground level could match the sweetness of the play of light above it.

Commuting morning and evening for decades, I've verified one thing. Breakfast time does not smell nearly as enticing as supper time. While the evening commuter often floats through clouds of cookout smoke in summer and savory sauces and stews in the cooler months, breakfast any time does not put out the same quality of mouth-watering odors. Eggs any style tend to have a sulphurous tinge. Boiling oatmeal steam can't compete with barbecued spare ribs. Frying bacon does its best to overcome the weak players in the breakfast lineup, but one strong player can't carry a whole team.

Worse yet, there's no delicate way to say that most people experience another digestive event in the morning, evidence of which joins the steamy funk drifting from most residences on the early breeze. Don't believe me? Put in 30 years commuting on the early shift and then we'll compare notes.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Customer reports: I keep getting flats

Mechanic thinks: Maybe customer overlooked a small thorn in the tire. It happens. Fortunately, mechanic felt very carefully inside tire casing. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 08, 2006

Stopping by Woods to Shift the Fixed Gear

I always shift in the same place on the way home. It occurred to me I could bolt a Park work stand arm to a tree in the woods there, so I can flip the wheel and perform minor adjustments as easily as at home.

The Calm Before the Leaves

Things are deceptively quiet right now. Looking for something to do, we might put all the bike rental stuff in the basement, but as soon as the leaves turn color we will have many weekend visitors looking for those rentals. We just have to endure this lull.

This is local summer. The days are still warm and more than 12 hours long, but the visiting hordes have departed. We get a couple of weeks at most before the equinox. By early October the foliage tourists will come, working their way south with the color.