Saturday, 25 February 2012

Windy with no snow

It was supposed to snow today, but instead was just a miserable cold rain.  I would rather it drop another 10 degrees and be snow. 

The wind blew the bike over in the rack.  It's from the North, so I'm headed straight into it for the trip home.  On this bike, your body is a sail, and wind like this makes it a challenge.

Monday, 20 February 2012

February snowfall

Finally got some snow this February.  It’s only about the second decent snowfall this year. 

In weather like this I get asked if I have the snow tires on.  I looked them up, and there are winter tires available for bicycles.  Typically they have metal studs for ice traction.  I don’t need that.  Mostly it’s slush that I have to deal with.  The fat tires are poor in that, since they pack down the snow making more work to plow through.  My first winter doing this, I used the hybrid with 32C tires.  They tended to knife easily through the snow. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Hit by car

I got my settlement cheque this week from the insurance company for my car crash last September.  Anybody who thinks that getting hit is worthwhile because you are offered a fortune is dreaming.  It doesn’t work that way, at least not around here.  I got $500 to cover repairs to the bike, plus a replacement helmet.  For most of my friends, that sounds like a lot for bike repairs, but it’s an expensive racing bike. 
The photo here is the intersection where I got hit.  I was coming down the hill on a nice sunny day, about a half hour into a projected 3-hour ride.  I clocked it some weeks later, and found that I max out around 50 km/h going down this hill.  The driver was headed the opposite direction, and turned left at the corner, right into my path.  I hit the brakes, then hit the car.  Striking the right front fender, I flew over the hood, landing on the road by the stop sign.  I was wearing my spandex bib shorts and replica US Postal jersey, so I think I made a good impression as I went past her windshield.  I don’t have a clear recollection of what happened to the bike, but I think it followed me up and over the car.  Bystanders called 911, and in moments I had police, ambulance, and fire truck support.  I hit the pavement largely with my left hip and temple (leaving a ding in the helmet). 
The wheels of the bike looked okay, but were out of true enough to not spin.  I phoned home for a pickup.  I didn’t let on what had happened, since I know how my wife tends to worry.  I remember how that turned out in Slaughterhouse Five.  I signed a waiver for the medical attendants indicating that I was declining the offer to go to hospital.  Nothing was broken, although my right thumb was bleeding and sore.  My guess is that I clenched the handlebars, and when they whipped around, that digit got hyperextended.   The thumb hasn’t worked the same since.  The range of motion is drastically reduced, so that I can’t fold it in against the palm. 
I had the handlebars taped in bright blue.  I like it much better than the original white.  They saved the wheels.  The rims weren’t damaged and just needed a regular trueing operation.  A big thank you goes to the folks at MultiSport Zone.  Thank you as well to the Woodstock emergency services personnel. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What fits into the panniers

I like to tell people that the panniers are big enough to hold a case of beer. It's just talk, of course, but over Christmas I was laying in supplies and it so happened that I did get a set of 12 beers in there. It's cans. Not sure if it would really hold 12 bottles. 
Isay that I can carry a bag of potatoes one one side and a case of beer on the other.  Never tried carrying the potatoes either.  I use a hand basket at the supermarket, and when it's full, that's about all I can haul home on the bike.  I tried bringing a pie one time, and it wouldn't stay level in the pannier, and ended up a mound of crumble when I got home.  Have to be careful it there's heavy items like pop, because it will topple the bike to that side.
I used the flash, and got a glowy effect from the strip on the side of the pannier