Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fat. Tired. Biking.

Fat. Tired. Biking. That sums up my commute Friday morning.

Thursday, I made a marathon one-day road trip to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and my older brother. It was a four-hour drive each way, with a seven-hour visit in the middle.

The meal wasn't huge, but somehow I found myself after pie and coffee, feeling like a full tick. I indulged in a brief coma before reviving to take on more caffeine and head out to see how many other idiots were on the highway. This turned out to be a surprising number in some places. And the drivers in Massachusetts acted like they were fighting over the last drumstick.

I made it home after 10 p.m., wanting only to wind down and get into bed.

Ah yes, the bed. The cats had thrown up on it. If I hadn't had to work the next day I might have crashed in the cat puke and dealt with it in the morning. Instead, jagged with caffeine and driving nerves, I rampaged around, changing the bed, cleaning out the overflowing litter boxes, and trying to get the temperature above the mid 50s in the house. Amazed to find I had an appetite after the meal I had engulfed hours before, I ate a couple of bowls of cereal.

Six a.m., the alarm went off as usual. I lurched around, assembling lunch and eating some sort of breakfast. The forecast called for a mild day, but the morning was in the mid 30s.

The ground had been frozen a couple of days ago. Now the dirt was sticky. The bike would suddenly drag as it rolled into a gooey area. Nothing was deep, just grippy.

The middle aged man on the old mountain bike, plodding to work.

Fat. Tired. Biking.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Patchitubi Bird

Sighted this non-endangered species this morning after pumping up the tires on the MTB commuter. Patched the chafe areas on either side of the valve and there it was.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November light

This has been a bizarrely sunny November. It provides an unusual opportunity to think about the angle of the sun. It hangs in the southern sky, throwing glaring light and long shadows before dipping to the horizon for another long night. This is a great time to groove on the ride we take around it on this little rock whirling in frigid darkness.

The more we live in built environments and artificial light, the easier it is to forget we're flying through space, with nothing between us and the endless void but a thin little layer of atmosphere. There's no seal, no hatch. Just this rock, cruising around a nearby star, with all this life clinging to it.

On a cloudy day, a gray light grudgingly grows for a couple of hours before sliding over to a twilight that subsides into murk. The short days seem to suck the life out of the world. What light there is comes from the gray dome above us. Hey, maybe it's even foggy, bringing the funk right down to ground level with you. This inspires various coping strategies, each with its costs and benefits.

Given the chance to ride, that forms the basis for a good one. Snatch the passing daylight or invest in really good lights, if you have a safe enough riding area. How safe is safe enough is your call. You can indulge other seasonal disorders when you get home. Take time to ride first.

Yesterday's reason to ride was a short errand to pick up a small object about 8 miles away. Today's reason is to relocate a mouse that I trapped after it wouldn't quit nesting in my kitchen stove.

Not wanting to splatter it in the bowels of my cooking stove, and not knowing how many might be in on the game, I got a live-trap with a rated four-mouse capacity. Only one went in last night. No other traps I set last night were sprung.

I tried to imagine what kind of mice would nest in a space I regularly heat to 350-425 degrees.

The ubiquitous endorsement of peanut butter as mouse bait got me thinking about how Troy suffered from a pest control problem with invading pesky Greeks.

I feel like a bit of a bastard throwing a fellow mammal out into the cold, but they won't learn to live quietly without gnawing and shredding and relieving themselves wherever they happen to be. Time to live free or die, ya little bugger. I'll pick a nice spot and leave a little bird seed. Yeah. I'm a hardass. Yep.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saturday night's all right for lighting

The town had turned on the lights along the path on Saturday night when I headed out from work. The wind was still gusting over 20 as the temperature dropped. The deserted path, all brightly lit, looked like a stage set.

It's only lit along a short section. Beyond this corridor I rode in the usual solitary darkness. The wind was mostly behind me, which only mattered in the few stretches where the path is not sheltered by trees.

The wind also carried the smells of two Asian restaurants and some other delicious dinner odors across the path. Since those were concentrated close to town, the rest of the 7-mile grind up to my car seemed extra long.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Hang 'em high

I brought more serious tackle to work to handle the dead weight of the last pair of electric bikes I had to work on. It had been a boom vang at one time, on a boat I no longer have, which had already been reconfigured, leaving this handy unit as surplus.

After I placed some hooks in the beams above my stand I hung the purchase and secured it to the moped.

Playing with the rope was way more fun than any work I did on the bike itself. I left it hanging there for a while just for the fun of it.