Archive for February, 2009

Forgot to mention in my last post: the blue Raleigh is coming along nicely. Tonight I will fix the cottered crank (I’m not exactly sure how to put it back together — one pin seems too big and the other too small, but these are the pins that were in the crank when I took it apart!), put tires and the chain on it, and I think the only thing remaining after that will be to adjust the derailleurs and brakes. Oh, and brake pads. The front brake doesn’t look that great, and the back brake pads don’t exist. But it shouldn’t be long till the bike’s ready to ride! I might even have it done by the 7th for his birthday.

At the co-op last night I oiled the Sekai’s chain and wished I had a spare so I could take this one off and soak it in degreaser but still have a ride home. Then I took another look at the chain I degreased before — the one I was going to put on the blue Raleigh — and decided that one of the $6 (for members) chains in the cabinet would look a lot better (seeing as they don’t have all that rust on them). And since I’m trying to build it up for his birthday, I want it to look good, right? So I added that chain to my running total and I’ll degrease the Sekai’s and the hybrid’s chains in the next two weeks or so. It’ll be nice to have a spare chain.


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It was a gorgeous 55 degrees on my ride home from work yesterday, so I went for a run as I had previously promised myself I would. I battled the urge to drive this morning, losing and then winning it. I’m glad I rode instead; it wasn’t too cold (as I knew, but the cold always seems worse when you’re warm, even if when you get out in it you barely notice it) and I wasn’t too stiff. And with lunch in the fridge (leftover fajitas from Dos Reales — num), I didn’t have a real reason to drive.

I was pleasantly surprised during my run to find that 1. I was able to vary the foot on which I started a breath enough that I didn’t get a stitch until the very end, and 2. cycling through the winter has kept my lungs enough in shape that it was a fairly comfortable run. (So my car breaking down in November turned out to be a very good thing.) I went easy for the first run in several months, only going about 3 miles, which took me about 45 minutes including my brief walk to warm up in the beginning (I probably didn’t need to walk that long, given that I’d just ridden my bike home 20 minutes before, but better safe than sorry). This is about normal for me. At 30 pounds overweight, I was astounded last September (ish) to find that if I ran slowly, I could just keep running until I got a stitch — probably about 20-30 minutes. And I could run a whole 5 miles (with walking breaks to get rid of said stitch(es)). It would take me an hour and 15 minutes, but I could do it.

I couldn’t do that in high school when I was in pretty good shape from playing soccer every year. I guess I just pushed myself too hard.

This weekend I go up for my little cousin’s birthday party on Saturday evening. She will be 3, I think, maybe 4. Sunday morning, Dad and I will probably visit the church at which I will be married in May — he’s thinking he might want to get back to a religious tradition and I think the UU church will be good for him. I’m going to try and get him to ride there with me; it’s only 6.2 miles in a car, so with the usual detours through residential areas that make a bike ride in Naperville not be a terrifying experience, it should be about 7 miles or so. Shouldn’t take longer than an hour each way, I think. We’ll see if 30°F is too cold for him 🙂

If he doesn’t want to ride, maybe I’ll go for another run. 🙂

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Yay for building bikes!

I was excited to begin working on my mate’s new (everything old is new again?) old Raleigh last night. Along with the three frames, Dad had given me two derailleurs (one SunTour, one crap — Simplex, I think?), a chain, and maybe some other stuff, I dunno.

The blue Raleigh I’m building up for my mate has a bunch of SunTour parts on it already so I think the SunTour derailleur might have come from that bike in the first place. Maybe Dad needed a hanger for something else and took it off that bike. Or maybe it came off of the zebra-painted frame I’ll be making into my fixed-gear, because that frame has a hanger.

Anyway, I managed to find a derailleur hanger and the screw and washer specific to this purpose in the co-op after some searching and attached the derailleur (and then the wheels) to the bike. I pulled out the chain Dad had given me and tested it for stretch (it’s fine, which might come as a surprise to Dad) and discovered it was filthy. A pipe cleaner did not do the job, so on the advice of others who know more than I, I found a glass bottle with a cap in the recycling bin and put the chain in it with some degreaser so I didn’t have to leave it at the co-op where it might get stolen.

I didn’t get much else done, though, because by the time I got that far I didn’t really have time to do the next step: the headset and stem, which I should probably mess with before adding brake and shifting cables. The handlebars on that bike do not necessarily have the usual effect on the direction of the front wheel, so that needs to be adjusted.

I have a set of handlebars that is a bit wider than the ones on the Raleigh, I think. I was going to take them in today and maybe put them on it since C prefers a wider grip, but according to Sheldon Brown, it probably won’t work anyway: the new handlebars are probably too big where they would connect to the stem. So I guess I’ll have to save them for my hybrid as I’d originally planned…just as soon as I scare up the cash for the other parts I’ll need to make the switch from straight bars (that’s going to be a while).

I did pull off the cloth padding on the existing handlebars, and the brakes. I need to research combination brakes/shifters to see if I can find anything cheaper than $300 (seriously, it’s crazy) but I’m having a hard time with it and who knows if they’d work with the ten-speed? Maybe I can get some good info from the Thursday night guys (tonight) on what exactly my options are.

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Yay, we have a vehicle!

It’s so nice to be able to take a quick trip and just get something done, instead of having it be a big thing where I have to get all bundled up in layers, figure out how much bag space I’m going to need, carry the bike down from my third story apartment, ride ride ride in the cold, lock up the bike, shop, unlock the bike, and attach all the bags to it….

I still ride my bike to work. The only times I can really justify driving are when I’m sick and when the office is out of soda. It is now, but C has some errands to run so he’s going to bring the soda with him. So I don’t get to drive this time. But when I do have an excuse to drive, I’m going to enjoy a nice lunch of Dos Reales. Mmmm…fajitas…

Maybe I can get him to bring me an order when he comes today.

But I don’t want to drive to work, honestly. I like being the crazy broad on a bike just a little bit (though I don’t understand why people insist on calling me brave — this is not a courageous thing to do, seriously), but I really need the exercise and with the wedding I just don’t have the time or the inclination to work out for working out’s sake (and unfortunately, the last few years have shown that I just don’t work out for the sake of losing weight). But come 50° weather I will have another motive to go for a run: spending some time outside on a nice day. I like my job most of the time, especially compared to most other jobs I’ve had, but I never get enough outside time. And I do love to run, even if I tend to forget that part when I’m not.

The other thing that gets me excited about a vehicle is that now I can easily bring my mate’s blue Raleigh to the bike co-op to work on it! I want to have it done by his March 7 birthday and that’s not a lot of time, especially since I won’t be able to work on it this weekend because we’re going up to Naperville to meet with the minister and caterer and to do some other wedding stuff. So that’s 6 hours of staffed bike co-op time I will be missing. After Wednesday hours, I hope to have an idea of how long it’s going to take to finish up the bike.

I really need to get an outside key so I can come in outside of scheduled hours. I haven’t had time and brainpower to go through the hassle of meeting up with the keyholder and giving him the $20 deposit.

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Finally took the Christmas lights off my road bike. It was raining the other day and the lights say “indoor use only” so I figured I should. Zzzt! No thanks!

Problem with that is, though: Nobody can see me any more! I have a few lights on order at the co-op along with some other things, so hopefully that will help, but what I really need is front and back helmet lights so I can point my lights directly at the cars without nearly falling off my bike. But that’s going to have to wait till we have more money, because wedding and dental expenses (and the new vehicle we’re buying) are coming due and we’re a little uncomfortable. Squeezed somewhat. Not yet making our contributions to savings less generous…but thinking it might be necessary to. Later on.

You know what I really want though? A reflective vest with little LEDs embedded into it and a pocket for the batteries. That would be the shit. Hey, I think I just figured out what to use the remainder of our Amazon gift card on.

Our rings might be ready soon, too. Funny how, now that we’ve put so much money into savings for the wedding, we’re loath to take it out, even for wedding expenses. That tells me that my method of “put it into savings now, you can always take it out later” is a good strategy for hanging on to money if you’re used to spending whatever’s available. You do what you have to do to get the long-term effect you want, using your own particular quirks to your advantage.

Works in other areas too. Our current apartment is about 3 miles from my work, and I’d prefer a longer commute as well as to go through campus, which I don’t now since we live on the same side as my office. I particularly like taking Green Street through campustown — for a few brief moments I can pretend I’m riding in a real city! And it makes me push myself because it’s kind of scary — I can see from the side that there’s enough room for my bike, but when I’m riding, it doesn’t seem like there’s very much room at all, so I go faster so that fewer cars can pass me. So in the interest of lengthening my commute without having to push myself to do it (because I don’t, especially when it’s cold and/or windy), our next apartment will be on the other side of town from work. My commute will be 5 miles at the shortest. We’ll be right near the bike co-op, Starbucks, the grocery store, the farmers’ market, and the only place in town that sells quinoa, but nice and far from work. And when I’m up for the challenge, I can take Green Street all the way from Neil to Vine and scare the shit out of myself by racing the cars. It’s a blast.

The best way to lose weight? Make it a matter of course. Trying to do it before the wedding, but if I have to I’d rather do it after than not at all!

Need to start running again, too. You know what, next time it’s above 50°, I go for a run.

It’s been gorgeous the last week or so and I’ve been reminded that I don’t have to bundle up quite as much as I have been for those 35-40° days. But I did discover this morning that 39-in-the-sun does require one more thin layer in addition to the three I had, or maybe a more wind-resistent jacket. Tonight I’ll probably put on my other additional layer that I brought just in case, because I won’t have the sun to warm me up anymore. If the temperature’s the same, it shouldn’t be too much.

It’s a fine line between wearing enough that I don’t shiver at stop lights and not wearing so much that I sweat more than I have to while moving. Fortunately I only have a few stop lights and if I’m chilly I can take a route where there are always (instead of hopefully) cars to trip the lights.

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The bane of my cycling existence

Headwinds. Someone once said, “The headwinds are the hills of central Illinois.”

Shit, man, it’s nice to have a tailwind, but when you’re trying to go up what passes for an elevation change (I can’t even call it an incline, much less a hill) here in the flatlands and you’ve got the wind working against you as you’re struggling to reach 8 mph in the granny gear…..that sucks.

God help me when we go cycling in the hill country on the west coast in June. I’m gonna be right pathetic.

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