Thursday, August 30, 2012

My First Right Hook.

The intersection where it happened.

Today while riding to donate plasma I experienced my first right hook.

I was traveling in a bike lane eastbound on Burnside St. towards 99th Ave. at about 18 miles per hour. Right before I entered the intersection a Dodge Ram cut across my path without signaling.

I slammed on my brakes so quickly that I experienced rear wheel lift. I knew I was gonna hit the truck and right before I did I rotated my body (while still only on the front wheel) and hit the truck with the left side of my body. I hit the trucks passenger side rear view mirror and broke it. As soon as I hit the truck the driver momentarily stopped, looked at me, then sped away.

I resumed my way across the intersection with car drivers all staring at me like it was my fault. I stopped and checked out my bike and body for damage and thankfully there was none anywhere. I consider myself very lucky that both myself and my Trek 640 were unharmed.

Needless to say, I was breaking all kinds of records on the remainder of the way to the plasma center in an effort to burn off all that excess adrenaline I had in my system.

I can't help but review the situation over and over in my head trying to figure out if there was anything I could have done differently to avoid the situation. My only hope is that the driver of that Dodge Ram truck is spending as much time trying to figure out what he could have done differently in the hopes that future such events don't occur.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Free Beer?

Pretty soon I am going to start school again. My commute will be 10 miles each way. This got me thinking.

I found a chart put out by Wisconsin's Department of Health and Family Services that lists calorie expenditure of various activities per hour. The chart tops out at 190 lbs and I currently weigh somewhere around 235. According to this chart at a moderate effort (defined as 12-13.9MPH) a 190lb man will expend 690 calories per hour riding a bicycle.

I have done a couple test rides to campus and back and so far I seem to average around 50 minutes to travel the 10 miles each way. That gives me a pace of 12MPH. So one hour and forty minutes of exercise at this effort comes out to (1.67hrs * 690calories=) 1150 calories expended during a days commute.

Another interesting figure I came across is the IRS Standard Mileage Rate. This is the number that the IRS calculated as the cost of a vehicle per mile based on assumptions of maintenance, fuel, insurance and so on. The current number for 2012 is $0.55 per mile. So my 20 mile commute each day would cost me $11.00 if I were driving.

Is it any coincidence that a 6-pack of New Belgium Amber Ale costs $10.00 and contains 960 calories?

Not only could I drink a sixer every night and come out ahead on calories, but in fact, every month I would lose over a pound of fat and have saved $20.00. Now there's a reason to ride your bike. Free beer in both calories and cost.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A ride with friends.

Today Jordy and I went on a nice Sunday ride with about 20,000 of our closest friends. The event was called Sunday Parkways and it was the fourth and final ride of the season. This one was held in South East Portland and the course was 9 miles long. Coincidentally, the Sunday parkway overlapped, both in date and route, with the Hawthorne Street Fair.

Epic 9 mile route.

We left our apartment at 10:40 to make the 20 minute ride to where we were gonna hookup with the route. The ride there was uneventful but felt different because we had decided to try out not wearing helmets. The culture of bicycling here is so entrenched that helmets, while a smart choice, are not a requirement. Because there is a crap ton of bicyclists around cars always seem to drive in a manner that is very friendly to bicyclists.

Standard blog self-shot photo. Notice lack of helmet. Eeek!

The parkway started at 11am and, punctual as always, we were on the course at 11am. It started out slow belying what was to come.

We wound our way down to the Hawthorne street fair and tried to find somewhere to lock up the bikes. This proved to be a bit of a challenge even tho the city had trucked in row after row of temporary parking.

Once parked we walked around the booths and I met President Obama.

 After meeting the President I needed a beer.

I'm not smiling because I am in shock from meeting the Commander In Chief.
Getting back on our bikes after walking around and drinking a beer really showed us how many people had come out today. It was a mad house. Jordy, who doesn't really feel comfortable riding in crowds, commented how it was like being in a sober FBC ride. She was right.

This was how it was on a straightaway.

Jordy guiding us to a busy intersection.

Many intersections required dismounting and walking.

John would like many of the prints available.

The ride continued like this until we were back at our starting point. We headed off back to home but stopped to have one last beer on the way. The beer I had was called 'Hot Tamale'. It was a golden ale infused with habaneros and jalepenos. Sounded good on paper, not so good in real life. Now that I think of it, it doesn't even really sound good on paper.

All in all we had a great time. You know you are in a city that cares about pedestrians and bicyclists when they close down over 9 miles of road way for 5 hours of human powered entertainment. I can only imagine all the time and planning an event like this must take. Kudos, Portland. We both really enjoyed the days events.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new.

A while ago my buddy John turned me on to non tourguard Panaracer Pasela 26x1.75 tires and while they are most excellent tires, I have not found them to be as durable as I'd like. Admittedly, I ride these tires in conditions they were never meant to be ridden in, and I'm sure my weight isn't helping with anything.  2200 miles, 250 pounds and a whole lot of rocky paths has left them with many gashes on the tan sidewall and yesterday while riding to return some DVDs I had a major rear tire blowout.

I managed to keep the bike upright but the poor girl I was trying to overtake when this happened just about had a heart attack. She screamed at the loud pop and asked me what had just happened. I explained what had happened and she told me she just about shit herself.

I knew that there were three tears in the sidewall but after the blowout I found a fourth. I wonder if the catastrophic loss of pressure had anything to do with the fourth.
This was the oldest tear that was patched inside and out and has managed to hold.
This was the second tear that I tried booting. It looks bigger than I ever remember it.

Third (Or fourth).
Fourth (Or Third).

 The fact that I will soon be commuting 11 miles each way to school in Vancouver from Portland each day really pushed me to start looking for some new tires. Living 1.5 miles away from Universal Cycles made it super easy to look up their inventory online, do their 30 second price match, and then go pick up my stuff at the store. Forty four dollars later I had a new set of tires in hand.

I have really been wanting to try out the Resist Nomad tires ever since I read a positive review of them a mailing list. The listed size is 26 x 2.25 and man are they ever so much bigger that the Paselas. I lucked out that when I had bought fenders for my trucker I got the big old 60mm Planet Bike ones that just barely fit these tires. Everything went together without a hitch though I did need to respace the fenders.

After a few quick trips to drop junk off at goodwill my initial impressions are quite positive. I will post more pics and a more detailed review after I have really put them through their pace.

I'm really digging the way these look. I feel like they really balance out the look of the bike.