Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 iciclebicycle Photo Recap

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the iciclebicycle archives for 2009. It was a snowy one. Will this next year be the same?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Like Christmas Cards, Better Late than Never: Christmas Blizzard Aftermath Pictures!

Should I be doing Panda shots on this stuff?

We had a three day, all Christmas blizzard that left 10 inches of snow. They were predicting up to 20, but it rained in the middle, instead. I would have preferred the extra 10 inches to the icy result. But it's best to take what you're given and make the best of it. I waited until the final day of the storm to go out for a bike ride. On the first leg over to my Chai-house, I was thinking this winter biking really shouldn't be for everyone. It was a bumpy, slippery, white knuckle ride. How slow can you go? Glad I was riding Frankie, the Dutch bike monster. He does slow very well.

Handle bars are for hanging stuff on.

After a warm and wonderful Chai, I ventured out to try and find some other rugged individualists riding their bikes. In the spirit of cooperation and not holding a grudge, I helped push three cars that were stuck in the snow. They all had to get their vehicles off the even numbered side of the street or risk getting towed for blocking the snow plows. What a pain having a car! I don't mind helping out. Chip some ice, shovel some snow and push. Kind of fun to pull up on a bike, park it with the double kickstand and offer to help. Plus, I got some ginger bread cookies from one woman.

After some treacherous neighborhood adventuring, I headed to where the cars aren't, the Midtown Greenway(not so green, right now). There I finally found some fellow iciclebicyclists! One thing that disappointed me, was that none of the cyclists I encountered(except one friend) was in anyway friendly. They just looked at you like you were bothering them. I'm thinking you should be happy to see other bikers on day with so few. Thinking about it later, I chalked it up to fact that they were just as unsure as I was on this days challenging surface, and couldn't break their concentration to acknowledge their kinfolk.

At least it was straight and car-free.

Back yard.

After meeting up with a friend for dinner, I made the return trip loaded down with groceries. This leg of the adventure was the easiest. I was starting to get the hang of it, but I also think the 3 bags of groceries increased the bikes stability. Nice to finish on a relaxed note after an intense day getting acquainted with my new environment.

Three days riding since, and I am gaining confidence on my new winter bike. Tonight, I was riding down the hill towards Loring Park and I noticed that the packed snow on the path had a glaze to it. Another cyclist had decided to walk their bike down instead of chancing it. I eased up, but continued down the hill looking for matte surfaces. Frankie didn't have any trouble with the ice glaze and rode it with ease. Of course confidence can lead to overconfidence, which can get you in to trouble, real quick. At the same time, every ride, I get to know my bike a little better. Frankie maybe tall, but he has been very stable compared to my old winter bike. He's not fast, but fast isn't what's called for.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Shopping on Bike

Fully loaded.

I'm not a big shopper. I don't like to hunt all around town for Christmas gifts. That's why I'm so happy I found the Bibelot shop in my neighborhood. 3o minutes and I had some great gifts for everybody on my list. I think this shop is made for guys like me. Kitchen things, Christmas things, clothing, jewelry. Anything that makes a great small gift.

Imagining Winter

Becomes reality

Hiatus over.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Instant Winter Studded Tires

Frankie braves the storm.

Winter is now here. I better get those studded tires. I suppose I could have shopped for them earlier, but that would have acknowledged the inevitability of winter. Now, that it's here I can get in gear.

Getting studded tires became a little more complicated than I had imagined, until got educated. It seems tires sizing is closer to alchemy than to a science, because there are three different measuring standards. My local shop, Freewheel, had Schwalbe studded tires on sale($63), but needed to back order them. The confusion started, when they started talking about 700mm tires, but my bikes Schwalbe tires said 28x1.75, 622-47. Normally, 28's aren't the same as 700's. I ended up calling Cleaver Cycles in Portland. They set me straight. , 28x1.75's are different than common 28's, but are the same as 700's! And 622 is 700. There, nice to have that figured out.

Cody admires Frankie's fortitude.

I couldn't wait for the tires to arrive, so I went for spin on storm night. It handled pretty well but I'm thinking the studs will be welcome. I had a couple times where I had to put my feet down quickly to avoid taking a spill, and I did have one half fall. I do have last years winter bike that has bigger nobbies than the Schwalbe, so I may use that bike more in heavy snow.