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Friday, August 31, 2012

(very) early season rain ride

It's not often we get summer afternoon thundershowers here. And when we do get them it seems they're just that - showers - some big drops for a few minutes with pretty big clouds and a few booms of thunder. Yesterday, however, was rather unusual. It was about 95 degrees midday. It's been about that for a little while. The weather forecast keeps telling us that it's about to cool down in a few days. But a-few-days never comes. By mid-afternoon yesterday the clouds had started to darken the sky. I didn't think much of it until I heard tin drops - big drops hitting an aluminum ladder outside. I went out to watch. I always like to go out into he first rain of the season. I figured it would just be a few heavy drops and a quick cool down and then gone. Well it was sort of quick. The off-and-on rain showers had come and gone within about two hours.  I'd already headed out on the bike after the first wave thinking it was over. I ended up riding through a few more light showers. I had a rain cape with me but decided against wearing it thinking that somehow that seemed like bad luck to wear a cape in the first rain storm of the year - somehow an insult to the rain gods. And it was still quite warm so it felt good to be cooled by the remnant rainfall. When I returned from my ride I was astonished to find that the storm had left nearly an inch of rain behind (2.3cm)! In August! How did I manage to ride through all that in a t-shirt and hardly even get a wet, only seeing a few drops? It was a good ride. Maybe great. One that makes you feel free and connected and apart of the earth - not hiding away from it. I kept thinking This is so cool, this is so cool…

Monday, August 27, 2012


For somewhere around 15 years, when I've been using clipless pedals, I've been using SPDs. The first pair of clipless pedals went on Mindful Mule when she was the only bike I had and I actually used it up on Brown Mtn. So the cycling shoes I chose then were MTB shoes with the walkable soles making them incompatible with SPD-SL. And that was fine. Riding road bikes with MTB shoes and SPD cleats has worked totally fine for all those years, too. But eventually you're bound to wonder what it's like to ride SPD-SLs. Unfortunately it's not that easy of a switch. Well, it's easy but expensive because you've got to gets an entirely new pair of shoes that are compatible with SPD-SL cleats in order to try them. And since, as noted, the MTB shoes and SPD cleats works just fine you've got to really want it to make it happen. And then you ride some more. And some more. And several years go by. And you just start to get annoyed by that slight rock in the shoe/cleat contact point - that slight wobble. Add to that the squeak between the MTB soles and the pedals and just before you go completely nuts you decide well I guess it's time to give those SPD-SLs a try now. And they're great. Totally solid - stable. Awesome power transfer. A little less float than I expected and am used to but I think I can get used to it within a few rides. The release tension is pretty high even on the lowest setting and everyone around you will know when you click in as that's a pretty loud whack but, again, these details should be easy enough to get used to. Now how much time will go by before I test out the Speedplay Frog pedals…

Friday, August 24, 2012

salmon season

My brakes have been super squeaky lately. So I got new pads. The salmon colored pads are supposed to be soft and less squeaky and better in wet conditions. Well I won't be seeing much wet but they've been on the bike now for an entire day of quiet braking so I'm happy with them. Kool-Stop Eagle II. $7 per pair. Made in USA. Actually the same kind of pads I have been using for years but the black compound screams like hell. And the salmon compound looks kinda retro-mtb in a way. And every time I look down I'm surprised to see my salmon colored brake pads - at least for now, a mindfulness bell - until I get used to the sight of them and or they get covered in filth - at least I don't have to get used to the sound of them.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chico state of mind...

My Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. water bottle jumped out of it's holder today. As it was happening I felt something crawling up my leg through half a pedal stroke. It was even empty - it was a hot day - so no reason it should have been bumped out - no real momentum - but these things happen, I guess - sometimes. It came to rest in the exact center of a fairly busy intersection - Monterey and Fair Oaks. But I couldn't just leave it there to die - to be the trash of the world - despite a rather dangerous retrieval. So I turned around and watched it from the sidewalk for a few sequences of traffic lights. Then, at just the right moment, shot out on the bike into the left hand turn lane, stopped, bent down to grab it, the light turned yellow and I turned left with the bottle in hand. Bottle saved. Sort of. It did get hit by a couple horseless carriages and won't be usable again but at least it will be able to hang out as souvenir in the bike shed. It was kinda on its last legs anyway, with a crack on the stem that leaked a little when full. So I guess I'll have to make another journey to the Northern California brewery sometime in the near future. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

nice cyclist's tan-line

Mazzy Rell G. (7/23/12)
RJG (jonah) (4/19/73)