Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Days Commuting by Bike

Today's mileage: 9
Yesterday's mileage: 9

Commuting to work is easy when there isn't any snow or ice! Actually on Monday there were a few ice ridges made by the snowplow that I had to jump over. Also, there were several areas of broken glass on the sidewalk along 84th St. Other than those, the commute was pretty much uneventful. Temperatures were in the 30's both days - very tolerable.

I spoke too soon about the success about getting the Trek Incite ACH working. Sunday it was working great! Both Monday and today it was registering 30-45 mph!! I wish! Looks like I need to evaluate both batteries - the wireless sensor and the computer. However, the clock, elevation and heart rate seem OK, so I suspect the wireless sensor is where the problem is.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Nice Sunday Ride

Today's mileage: 10.17
Today's temperature: 48F

The last couple weeks have been brutal. The temperatures have been below zero at night and in the single digits and teens in the daylight hours. I should have been going to Snap Fitness to keep in shape, but with Christmas shopping, church programs and family visiting, there wasn't enough time. Now with Christmas over, the only honey-do project on the immediate horizon is taking down the Christmas lights. I will likely hear about the lights on every warm day from now until they come down.

Well, today I decided to get out on the bike and check out the battery replacement in the Trek Incite ACH. It worked great! The bad battery in the wireless sensor that measured 12 volts was the culprit. It was perfect cycling weather (for me). I had a beautiful sunny day, light winds and temperatures between 46 and 48 degrees. I saw plenty of walkers and a few cyclists on the Antelope Creek Trail SE of Holmes Lake. There was only one small patch of ice that was in the shade and hadn't melted from Friday's 61 degree temps. As the photo above shows, Holmes Lake is still frozen enough for ice skaters. The 3 guys behind the "No Swimming" sign were actually playing hockey. There was also a large flock of geese over near the dam, but you probably can't see them in the photo. I am going to try to bike to work the next couple of days. The weather is supposed to be nice through Tuesday with highs in the 40's.

Friday, December 26, 2008

How to clean your bike

Well, no new bike under my tree. Maybe some one else got lucky? Both of our kids were home for Christmas, so that was the best present of all.

Kerri sent the following information to me a few days ago. It seems very appropriate if you took your bike out today in the 61 degree temperatures and all the slushy snow on the streets.

How To Wash It!
In just 10 minutes you can have a clean bike. This quick wash is perfect after rainy road rides or muddy mountain bike rides. It won't pass a white glove inspection, but it will be clean, lubed and ready for the next ride.
Ready? 10 minutes. Start the clock now. Break out a bucket of warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Time for a good bath. Washing your bike doesn't need to take a lot of time or make a huge mess. You will need the following:
Bucket with warm soapy water (dish soap works well as most have a grease cutting agent which is effective but not so strong as to degrease bearings or totally strip off everything).
Bucket with clean water
Large brush with soft bristles
A few dry, clean rags
Chain lube of your preference. If you use a dry lube for the chain, you will need something for the cables like Tri-Flow®
Dip your brush and load it up with soapy water. Start with the handlebars. Slop on the soapy water, wash quickly across the bar, then move downward and rearward. No worries if the dirt is still there, just let the soapy water do its work while you keep going. Hit the stem, top of headset, top tube and seat post.
Load up the brush again and go back to the head and down tubes. Brush the lower headset, fork crown, front brake and down the fork blades (don't forget the opposite side) to the front axle.
Load up the brush again. Back to the lower headset. Brush down the down tube and hit the area around the bottom bracket shell. Don't do the cranks and chain rings yet.
Load up the brush again. Start at the base of the seat post and brush down, get the area around the chainstay bridge, then go back up to the base of the seat post. Now down the seatstays (don't forget the opposite side). Be sure to get the rear brake, down to the rear axle and the non-drive side chainstay.
Load up the brush again. Slop soapy water on the rear derailleur, then the front derailleur.
Load up the brush again. Now hit the drive side chainstay, chain rings, cranks and cogset. Toss the brush in the clean water bucket.
Using the clean water, follow the same pattern with your brush. Once again making sure to get everything, and rinsing your brush frequently.
Now grab your rags and wipe the bike dry in the same order as the soaping. Change the rag around frequently to ensure you're wiping with a clean rag rather than a dirty one.
Lube up your chain thoroughly, floating all the pivots with lube. Break out the Tri-Flow® or cable lube of your choice and lube the derailleur pivot points and brake pivot points on caliper, cantilever, and V-brakes (be careful not to get any on the brake pads).
A drop of oil or 2 on exposed runs of cables can work wonders as well. If you have Teflon lined cable housing, there is no need to lube under the cable housing. If not, drip some Tri-Flow® down there too. Go back and move all these parts back and forth a few times to work in the lube, then wipe off any excess with a rag. DONE.

Here is the link to the photo that goes with this information:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May you all have new bikes under your Christmas tree and 70 degree weather in which to ride them.

Actually, when I get depressed about all of the snow and cold weather this time of year, I think about the cyclists who tackle the Arrowhead Ultra-Marathon in northern Minnesota or the Cycling Iditarod in Alaska. Here is a very good article and video from the NY Times:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ancient Maya Predicted Bicycles and VCRs

As our "experts" tell us, the Earth was created for a billion people on bicycles, not 7 billion in SUVs. Wow, really? Good to know that biking to work was all part of why the Earth was created.

Read more from IO9's SciFi website:

Since tomorrow is Christmas eve, I likely won't have another chance to update this blog for a few days. Here are a few misc. items that may be of interest to cyclists.

I received an interesting message in a genealogy mailing list that I am subscribed to. It contained a link to an old photo of a man seated on on a big-wheeled bike. What was unusual about the photo was that it looked like the bike was backwards. Does anyone know anything about antique bikes? Here is the link to the photo:


The sender of the original message believed the man to be the owner of a bicycle and typewriter store in Le Mars, Iowa around 1897.

On a slightly different subject, the Lincoln Journal Star reports that GPTN in cooperation with the Lower Platte South NRD plans to put in a drinking hydrant on the popular MoPac Trail at Walton. The hydrant would be installed adjacent to an existing billboard and bench just outside of Walton. Dan Schultz, the district's resources coordinator, said the hydrant would be available for use year-round. WOW! That's 6 more months than the water fountain at the 84th Street Trailhead! That is one of the most irritating things about the Trailhead. It can be 80 degrees out, and the water fountain is off and the restrooms are closed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trainer rides!

This was posted on the teamFire blog:

Starting at 7:30 am Saturday December 20th and continuing this winter when the temps are low, group stationary bike training rides will take place at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ Gym located at 3245 S 37th St, aka 37th & Sheridan Blvd. Bring your bike, stationary trainer, something to protect the floor from your stand (mat, towel) and some change as a free will for lights. Monsignor Tucker has made this location available. We will have a big screen showing cycling DVDs. You can come as early as 7:00 am to set up, and we will be ending around 9:30 and out by 10:00 am. Feel free to come and go as you please during the session. The Gym floor needs to be protected. Please remove your shoes if they have cleats. Thanks, and hope to see you there.
Check out this cool video on using an indoor roller system:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bike Pedalers opening far south location in Lincoln

16th and Pine Lake. That's where the new store location will be for Bike Pedalers according to the article in this morning's Lincoln Journal Star. It's not very far from the Scheels bike store or the Bike Rack location in south Lincoln. If you look at where all the bike stores are in Lincoln, they are either downtown or in south Lincoln, all west of 33rd St. The only exception is the Used Bike Shop near 66th and Holdrege (#1 on the map), and they don't carry the big name brands such as Trek, Giant, Specialized and Bianchi. Try this some time: enter the words "Lincoln Nebraska bicycle stores" into a Google search and look at the map it produces. You will need to ignore the false hits on motorcycle and recycling stores. I really don't wish any bad luck on them, as they have had enough of that in the past year, but I really wish that they would reconsider their store location. How about placing a bike store in East Lincoln! How about near the new Hy-Vee at 84th and Holdrege?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trek Incite ACH

I stopped at Walgreens on the way home to purchase a new battery for the wireless (speed) sensor on my new Trek Incite ACH cycle-computer. If you hadn't heard, the computer was not working in the speed and consequently odometer and grade modes. However, the clock, altitude and heart rate modes worked great. It was giving me flakey readings on one of our rides last month, and in the past couple weeks it decided not to work at all. Funny thing was, the battery consistently measured 12.5 volts in the wireless sensor. Trek customer service told me to replace the battery or if that didn't work, to return it under warranty. Well, 2 batteries at Walgreens cost me $6, so that was probably cheaper than driving to Scheels and back (and looking for the receipt).

I replaced the battery tonight and it looks like it might be working. I spun the wheel a few times, and it registered speed, so the next warm (above 20 degrees) day that we have, hopefully I can take out for a spin and see if it works consistently. The only thing that I can figure out is that one or more cells in the battery had reversed or died, and with very little current flowing, the voltage still read over 12V. With a load, the voltage likely dropped significantly.

All in all, this is a very good cyclecomputer for the price paid ($40 at Scheels on closeout). The only thing (besides the battery) that I dislike, is the plastic holder for the computer. The computer slides into it from the bottom, and as Brad has already seen, this may fail and allow the computer to fall out, especially when transporting it on the back of your car. I am removing it before transport, just to be safe.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Beware of Doctors in cars!

Here is one reason that I like living in Lincoln, and not California:

After slamming on his car brakes in front of two cyclists riding down a narrow stretch of Mandeville Canyon Road and injuring them, Christopher Thomas Thompson gave police the impression that the incident this summer was no accident.The 59-year-old physician said he stopped his red Infiniti sedan in front of the cyclists to "teach them a lesson," a police officer testified Thursday at Thompson's preliminary hearing.

Read the whole story here:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I rode to work this morning in 24 degree weather

I rode to work this morning! Gayle thought I was crazy, but I wanted to see if I could do it in low 20 degree weather. My previous commute in cold weather was 28 degrees. This morning it was 24. I was hoping for 19, but hey! 24 isn't bad. My new cycling jacket helped but now it doesn't match the wind/rain pants that I use. Whatever! It works. The only problem I had was fogged up glasses at Havelock and 84th St. The drivers stopped on Havelock probably thought "Why isn't that crazy cyclist going? His light is green!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cold Weather Cycling

I mentioned in my last post that the weather was too cold for doing much cycling. Actually, by this I meant that it was too cold to cycle more than about 20 miles or so. It is actually very enjoyable to cycle in 30 and 40 degree weather as long as certain conditions are met. In fact, I "enjoyed" 10 miles on the MoPac last Sunday afternoon in 37 degree temperatures. Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy cold weather cycling.

1. Temperature vs. time. Most of us can cycle a couple hours or more in 60 and 70 degree weather. When the temperature dips down in the 30's and 40's, the longer you stay out, the more you get chilled. Limit the time duration of your trip based on how cold it is. My rule of thumb is 30-45 minutes for the 30's, 45-60 minutes for the 40's, and 60-90 minutes for the 50's.

2. Wind chill. We all know what wind chill is. If the wind is 10 mph or less, no problem. For winds of 10-15 mph and temps below 50, cut the times above in half. With winds 20 mph or more and temps below 50, stay home or go to the gym.

3. Dress to stay warm and dry. Here is an excellent web site that talks about what clothing to wear for cold weather cycling: http://www.toronto.ca/bug/cwc_warmdry.htm For temps in the 30's and 40's, I usually wear both cycling shorts with cycling tights on top. This gives you an extra layer of protection plus it keeps your lower back warm if the tights slip down when riding. You could also wear tights plus wind/rain pants for similar protection. I would also recommend 2 layers of socks. Remove the shoe insole or loosen the laces or velcro if too tight. For 30 degree temps or long rides, place a small plastic bag over your toes before placing them in your shoe. Protection of extremities is very important. For your upper body, I would recommend a long-sleeved T-shirt or 2 under a good windbreaker or nylon cycling jacket. The important thing here is to keep the wind from penetrating. Full-fingered gloves are a must for 30's and 40's. For lower 30 degree temps, I would even recommend heavier insulated gloves. Behind the head earmuffs are good for 30's and 40's. A nice wool cap under the helmet is also good for the 30's. A balaclava or something to cover your nose and chin is also recommended for the 30's.

4. Avoid riding in deep snow or exposed ice. Unless you have a big-tired bike like a Pugsley, I would avoid riding in snow or on ice unless this is your normal commute to work. You don't know what obstacles are under the snow. The only good thing about snow is that it is usually soft to fall on.

Anyway, have fun cycling this winter!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

M.A.D. Dads

This is my first post on my new blog! Although this blog is supposed to be about cycling on Nebraska's trails and roads, the weather is a little too cold right now for doing much cycling. Since cycling is pretty much limited because of the cold and lack of daylight, what other cycling related things can we do?

The Nov. 22 issue of the Lincoln Journal Star's Neighborhood Extra mentioned that the M.A.D. Dad's bike give-away was in jeopardy this year. They needed both help and money to finish repairing about 250 bikes to give to kids on the Winnebago Indian reservation. This sounded like a perfect project for our group! After asking group members for their thoughts on this, and getting 9 immediate volunteers, I called Matt at the M.A.D. Dads shop to see if we could help. He said "Sure!". We set up 5 time slots between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 and filled them all with volunteers from our group. Over this week-long period, we were able to finish repairing the bikes for the Winnebago kids, help load the bikes into a horse trailer for transport and repair many more bikes on the shop floor. Matt commented that he could actually see the shop floor now! Congratulations to John, Cindy, Yvonne, Brad, Steve, Steve, Linda, Christie, Kevin, Brian, Dallas, Quentin and their families for a job well done! Matt says that he might give us a call after the first of the year for another project.