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Monday, June 10, 2024

300 to 500 to 1000 and More!

It certainly seems like running shoes have come a long was over the decades. They're lighter, have more cushioning, more specific foot support, and they even last a really long time. Still, though, the old industry standard of recommending that running shoes be replaced every three to five hundred mies is still in place. My most recent pair of running shoes just hit the three hundred mile mark and they're basically in perfect condition. They look brand new even. My previous pair ran me up to one thousand miles. That's been sorta of my goal for my running shoes over the years and I've taken perhaps ten or more pairs that distance. And, yes, by then they're usually showing signs of wear. I can't say I could recommend anyone run in the same shoes for that long but I wonder if maybe that industry standard could be pushed up to at least 500 - I mean, just get rid of that 300 business. Especially considering how expensive running shoes can be - $100 on sale?! LOL. There are better deals than that if you search around, of course. I suppose one could easily argue that a hundred bucks for 300 hundred miles isn't such a bad deal after all. 33 cents a mile for your health? Still worth it for many people I suppose. 

But then what do you do with your shoes when they've reached whatever distance you've chosen for them to retire. I mean, running is hard on the body which is why we need proper running shoes in good condition. But after lets say 500 miles of running your shoes should still look pretty good and should still be safe to walk in, to garden in, to bike in, to hike in, to sit at the pub in. 

There are recycling programs for old shoes and there are many folks that could use a good pair of cheap shoes from the thrift shop. But I often get attached to my shoes! Not very mindful of me I know. But still. I've got like a whole dang closet full of 1000-Mile Shoe Club members - it's ridiculous but true. Because what if someday, someday... someday what? I don't even know. I should get rid of them. The closet will have lots more space and probably smell a whole lot better too! 

Definitely keeping a few pairs though!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Of Seats and Saddles and Other Things to Sit Upon

There's a funny debate in the bicycling world about whether that thing one sits on should be called a seat or a saddle. Going back to the beginnings of bicycling I suppose it makes some sense to call it a saddle as it was more or less a mechanical horse and horses wear saddles not seats. And calling it a saddle does have a nice ring to it, a nice feel - potentially a bit pretentious. Maybe when a bicyclist starts calling themselves a cyclist their seat becomes a saddle. I go back and forth - a bicyclist/cyclist...

Epiphany, though: The seat/saddle rests on a post that slides into the frame of the bicycle. That post is called a seat post and that part of the frame that it slides into is called the seat tube. It's never to my knowledge called a saddle post or saddle tube. Even in Europe! So there. 

Mindful Mule got a new seat recently. (Or was it a saddle?) The old seat was the beautifully named Mundialita by the famed Selle Italia. That may have been her second or third of that model. They're nice but sometimes they get stolen and eventually they wear out. I'd been riding the latest seat with cracking cover for quite sometime - theft deterrent. But eventually it's nice to have a smooth looking ride with a smooth surface to sit on. They don't make the Mundialita anymore. They can be found on eBay, etc. I entered a few auctions. But in the end (no pun intended) it's just a seat that gets heavy use and doesn't need to be fancy. So I found a super cheap replica of a Selle San Marco Regal saddle - the one with the rivets on the back - just realizing now that those are different companies... Why the Italian saddle (you see, somehow, if it's European it becomes a saddle instead of a seat)? I don't know. They look cool. Or maybe it's in the blood. The new seat (made in Asia?) was thirteen dollars. I figured it was worth a try at that price point knowing that I could replace several over the years and still be under the range of a new-old-stock brand name. It's held up well for a few months and is comfortable and looks good. So I'm happy. I hope Mindful Mule is happy too. 

One of my friends rides a bike called #3 (so boring - at least make it Numeri Tre!) We ride together frequently and we talk about bikes pretty much incessantly - at least, when not talking about the other important B-word in our lives: Beer! (Also, when does a seat become a barstool?) So we've been talking about this new seat for Mindful Mule for some time. Debating and considering options endlessly because that's what bike freaks do. And then one day I switched to the new seat and didn't tell him and though we've been on several rides together and locked up our bikes next to each other he still hasn't noticed the new seat! Granted it's similar in color, although, a bit more towards the grey spectrum than blue - but those rivets! How can you not notice the rivets! It will be fun to see how long this takes. Maybe I should invite him for a ride again soon...

Thursday, February 16, 2023

A Cricket in the Kitchen

Wait. What’s that sound?

Man, this old house—creaks and clicks, thumps and bumps…

But this sound is new. Well, I haven’t heard it in a long while anyway.

Is it the florescent under-cabinet lighting heating up and shifting?

Or wait! Ah! It’s a cricket! 

It gets quiet as I get closer to the sound as I search for it—so like Cricket!

I think it’s right here… 

It’s lucky, I’ve heard—a cricket in the house…

I think I’ve got it cornered now… slowly moving forward…


It’s just my water bottle equalizing pressure out its squeeze-top…

Funny. Fun. 

Life of a cyclist…

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Walking With Jack

There’s this great Mexican restaurant in town that I’ve been visiting for about a decade now. Daughter was practically raised there. We’ve probably over done it (Daughter now rolls her eyes when we mention the place) but we’ve also had a lot of good times and brought a lot of friends into the place and made new ones there, too. It’s a little bit of a trek to get there from home but we’ve got various activities to attend to in that part of town so it’s easy enough to drop by before or after or during… 

I’ll often bike there. There’s one bike rack in front. They could use a couple more. 

It’s also pretty close to the commuter train. So that’s easy, too. 

As I’ve made some new friends in there (did I mention there’s a bar?) I’m reminded that not as many people bike, train, walk places… So, for example, when I was in there the other day I was mentioning that I had just hopped off the train and walked over and that I’d be doing the same on the way out… John (we’ll call him), an older jazz saxophone player looked at me with amazed eyes—“you mean you’re just going to walk all over town and hop trains all afternoon—like Jack Kerouac?!” 

Fast forward a few visits and John was in there again. As I was heading out I said, “I’m gonna go walking with Jack…” He must have forgotten about the Kerouac comment because he conjured up a very different image this time, saying, “you mean your 8-foot tall jackrabbit?!” 

“Haha, that’s right!” Sometimes it’s best to just nod and smile and go with the flow. As I was walking off into that blissful sunset, though, I did enjoy the image of me and my invisible giant rabbit Kerouac-ing around together… a couple of amigos on the road…

Thursday, February 3, 2022


I suppose this fits in the category of Trail Shoe Test Lab although microspikes are more of a shoe accessory—just try wearing them without you shoes!

There's a snowy mountain on the horizon. It’s been watching over me for all these years. Of course, snow melts, but at its high altitude more or less at treeline it always looks bald.

And there’s a trail to the top! Let’s take it! Let’s take it a lot! Over and over again! 

But with big mountains comes big responsibility. And big preparedness. I tried visiting the mountain with burley hiking boots and the mountain said No. Its snow and ice turned me around halfway to the peak—right about that moment when I saw a group of hikers coming down wearing crampons and helmets and carrying ice axes, oh my!

So I prepared so more. I guess I need crampons, I thought. But that seemed so serious—I’m no mountaineer! Or am I? Maybe there’s a middle ground. A mountain hearer? Perhaps. After all, “the mountains are calling,” as He said. And the middle gear for answering that call for me turned out to be microspikes—not the cute little ones with Track&Field spikes but those with a dozen one centimeter-long daggers! So practically crampons. (And they do come with a cute little carrying bag!) 

Well, they stretched right on over my boots just as they should and amazing they were! Right up the mountain I went… Because, “I must go…”

Naked Without My Bike

Trying to leave the house these days seems to be getting more and more challenging. Let’s see… Do I have everything? Pockets check: wallet, phone, mask, another mask… Sweater, hat, gloves? BYOBags… Pants?! Check.

But sometimes it still feels like something is missing as I walk along the sidewalk… I find this sensation to be particularly strong the day after a long day of riding. My legs longing for that sensation of smooth circular motion. There’s an endless soothing in that pedal stroke that doesn’t translate to walking. 

After a few blocks I’ve more or less recalibrated my expectations to the footfalls of walking—especially once I start dreaming up my next ride!