27 February 2010

In case you can't tell, I'm not on the Winter Tour of West Town

I had a dream in which Avenger's saddle wore out, so I replaced it with a Brooks.

Avenger, in case you're new here, is a scrappy-looking Trek hybrid with the bike equivalent of a body panel that's a different color from the rest, and so many stickers and so much reflective tape that you can no longer tell what color it's supposed to be anyway.

I think sometimes I just enjoy messing with people.

26 February 2010

Big Shoulders Realty Winter Tour of West Town---tomorrow!

Winter Bike Tour of West Town
Saturday, Feb 27
Meet in Humboldt Park at California and Division by 1pm

I will be there weather and/or illness permitting---the last time I rode around in freezing rain all afternoon while experiencing a coldlike illness, I only succeeded in making myself even sicker, so I might have to sit this one out. If tomorrow is like today I will be fine, but this is the time of year when it gets so blasted difficult to predict the weather.

I'm the one with the gender-neutral Normal Clothes that don't look normal and the mens' model Utility Bike that's too ugly to be worth stealing, so feel free to say hi if you see me.

24 February 2010

Poorer quality, but I like the colors better

Probably trespassing into Illinois Canyon beyond the boundary of Starved Rock State Park, near Utica, IL.

Never too old

Just when I find myself whining with regularity that there's just not enough life for me to do all the things I want to do and go all the places I want to go, I read about Alice Telford:

"Alice got into cycling nearly 30 years ago at age 61, taking adventure cycling trips through France, Mexico, Siberia, China, and California. At age 67, she completed the tortuous 217 mile mountain bike trip from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Today, at age 86, she continues to ride daily and organize local bike rides.

"Read more about this amazingly active woman at Cycle & Style: Alice Telford – An Inspriation to All Women."

Heck, I'd call that an inspiration to anybody.

(Now, whether there's enough life that's not wasted as a helpless prisoner in a windowless office where I can do naught but sit on my ass and read snatches about the things I'd rather be doing with the money I'm stuck here trying to make is probably another matter...)

23 February 2010

Pushing the limits of dorkitude to the X-treme!!!!!!

I might have to get a water backpack of some sort. At last I have a bike light enough that I can carry it on one shoulder---except I get stabbed in the armpit by the water bottle cages whenever I try. Because the frame is so tiny. Even though I'm not.

(Aside: Are most cyclists---who are mostly men, of course---just really, really tall? Are 5'7" men condescendingly told that they need to order a special kind of bike with a short-man-specific-design frame and smaller wheels in order to ensure proper fit, peak efficiency, and better comfort? Or are they just sold a smaller frame and that's that?)

Anyway, the back-mounted hydration systems (or whatever they're called) that I've been seeing tend to rival backpacks that are designed for actual backpacking in capacity and complexity (and if I wanted to carry one of those all day, I'd actually go backpacking), so if there's a company out there that still makes your basic waterbag with shoulder straps and a tube, and if you can recommend a good one, let me know.

19 February 2010

IN, which thought it perfectly reasonable to let BP discharge more than permitted amount of waste into Lake Michigan, sides against IL in carp fight

Oh, this is rich.

At least they understand that they are also pretty screwed if the canals are permanently sealed.

[Who the hell put the state line there...]

18 February 2010

Incidentally, it was also the feast of Saint Valentine

I spent Sunday afternoon at Starved Rock State Park, as did many other people and dogs. I am most proud of this photo because I managed not to die while taking it:

There's a whole set here that will be finished eventually.

I also saw a bald eagle perched on a tree stump in the Illinois River, but sadly my newest semifunctional used camera is not suitable for wildlife photography.

17 February 2010

It's like Critical Mass for cars!

As I found myself amid the procession of motor vehicles streaming through the red light to turn into the Rt. 59 Metra station, it took all my effort to resist the urge to roll down the window and shout "Happy Monday!" at the oncoming cross traffic.

16 February 2010

Reminder: Do NOT attempt to beat a train


Studies show women are fearful, weak

First there was an onslaught of articles about making cycling more appealing to women by building more infrastructure to make them us feel safer (I won't bother linking to any because I find most of them to be fucking ridiculous), and now there's one on women, public transportation, and the perception of safety. Coming soon to a transit-chic blog near you!

In other news, there's a big spider in my bedroom (eek!), so I'm just going to have to sleep on the couch until my boyfriend can come over and smush it for me. [/sarcasm]

Edit: I should probably use the first-person plural pronoun, seeing as how I am---technically, biologically, and arguably---a women.

12 February 2010

Bike long and prosper

I propose that lobster gloves henceforth be known as "Vulcan gloves."

Sometimes too much information is just not very helpful

It hardly matters, really, but I forget when I grabbed this:

Does that link let you change the live traffic, I wonder?

10 February 2010

Finally, an earthquake I didn't miss!

Trib: Mild earthquake rattles Chicago area

Silly me, I assumed that it was just a 40-mph wind gust shaking the drafty old 13-story building in which I live on the top floor, right next to the active rail line along the crumbling viaduct. Nothing much out of the ordinary, really.

09 February 2010

Oh yeah, 2010 resolution

My New Year's resolution for 2010 is to ride all of the Route 66 Trail, probably in stages because (1) I don't have a whole lot of vacation time (one GITAP equals five extended weekends!) and (2) the Lincoln Service makes it so tantalizingly convenient.

This year's GITAP, which sold out like a month ago anyway, goes through northwestern Illinois, which is lovely, and also features a huge chunk of the Grand Illinois Trail that I haven't ridden yet because it's so remote and inaccessible---relative to someone who doesn't drive, anyway---but as I said, I don't have all the time in the world to spare anymore, so I decided that instead of one big trip in June I'd do a bunch of medium-sized trips throughout the summer, which I think worked out pretty well last summer, although this time I won't delude myself into thinking that I'm saving money doing it that way.

Yes, I'm an editor and I use frightfully long run-on sentences. It's how I unwind.

Anyway, I've got it into my head that I'm going to detour the Chicago-Joliet leg of the Rt. 66 Trail along Archer Ave. at like 3am on a Sunday, so as to reduce the risk of getting lost, because the official route does meander overmuch through the southwest suburbs. I blame the Sanitary & Ship Canal for being so difficult to cross.

I may well give up on the chunk between Bloomington-Normal and Carlinville out of sheer boredom [the flatness, the flatness!], but New Years resolutions aren't supposed to be reasonable, after all.

The Tribune thinks I'm a dude

This is simultaneously the best and worst day of my life.

08 February 2010

So close, and yet so far.

Goroo results page:

No itineraries are available. Please revise your trip.

I'll get there if it kills me; it probably will.

05 February 2010

Monumental waste

This will make you cry.

Trib: Health Department destroys thousands of dollars of local fruit

"At one point, one of the cooks suggested that the unopened food at least go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository rather than being destroyed. That request was denied. Watching the destruction of all of this perfectly edible food, you'd never know we live in a state where one out of 10 households doesn't have enough food to eat."

04 February 2010

Another episode of Hybrid and Folder: Roadie's nightmare

Roadie: *unconscious moaning*
Hybrid: What the---Hey, cut it out, Roadie, I'm tryin' to sleep!
Roadie: Nooooooo...
Folder: Roadie, what's wrong? Wake up!
Roadie: Nooo---huh? What?
Folder: Were you having a bad dream?
Hybrid: Every day, and then I wake up and he's still here.
Folder: Hybrid!
Roadie: Oh... I was... I was having the most... horrible nightmare...
Folder: What happened?
Roadie: Oh, I was... I was on this trail... gravel... I think it was the I&M Canal trail... so... so much gravel...
Hybrid: Which one?
Roadie: Huh, what?
Hybrid: Which I&M Canal trail was it?
Roadie: Uh, there's more than one?
Hybrid: Yes, there are three. There's the I&M Canal State Trail, managed by the DNR, and then there are two county trails, not counting the Centennial Trail, which is technically---
Folder: Hybrid, that's not important right now. Roadie, what happened in your dream?
Hybrid: I've been on all of them, by the way.
Folder: Liar, you never found the one in Cook County. Anyway, Roadie, your dream?
Roadie: Well, I was on the I&M---one of the I&M Canal trails, and... well...
Hybrid: Actually, I think part of the Centennial Trail is technically in DuPage County. It's complicated.
Folder: Shush for a minute and let Roadie explain!
Roadie: Uh, well, so I was on the trail---
Hybrid: The Centennial Trail?
Roadie: Um, whichever one is by the canal, I guess.
Hybrid: Well, which canal was it?
Folder: Hybrid, cut it out.
Roadie: Uh---
Hybrid: Were there Asian carp in it? Did you see any?
Roadie: I don't know! There was a canal, and I was on a trail, and it was gravel! And I had my skinny road tires on, and I got stuck, and then I fell into the canal! Whichever one it was! But I fell in!
Folder: Oh no!
Hybrid: Ha ha, that's hilarious.
Roadie: Um, no, not really. You try it sometime.
Hybrid: No, I'll keep these fat tires, thanks.
Folder: Well Roadie, if you fell in, then I sure hope you weren't on the Centennial Trail.
Roadie: Uh, why?
Folder: Well...
Hybrid: The Centennial Trail is next to the Sanitary & Ship Canal.
Roadie: So, then, why do you hope I wasn't on it?
Folder: Well...
Hybrid: Let's just say that "sanitary" is more a description of its function than itself.
Roadie: Eeew...
Hybrid: So were there carp?
Roadie: Eeew...
Folder: Maybe you should keep the 'cross tires after all.

Cyclist fatality in Ford Heights

Ronald Sims, 61

There's very little news, and I doubt we'll hear any more about it. If I do, I'll update.

Update: What little there is, from the SouthtownStar:

"A Hazel Crest man died Wednesday after the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle in Ford Heights.

"Ronald Sims, 61, was found by a passerby on the side of the road sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to Cook County sheriff's spokeswoman Lisa Gordon.

"Sims had been riding a bicycle on Cottage Grove Avenue near 12th Street in Ford Heights when he was struck by a vehicle, the Cook County medical examiner's office said.

"Sims, of 16775 Western Ave. in Hazel Crest, was pronounced dead at 1:48 a.m. Wednesday at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the medical examiner's office said.

"An autopsy conducted today found that Sims died of multiple injuries from a motor vehicle striking a pedestrian, and his death was ruled an accident, according to the medical examiner's office.

"Sheriff's police had no additional details on the incident or the vehicle."
[emphasis added]

Sounds to me like a hit and run that they're not going to bother trying to follow up. Bastards.

Notably, the Bicycle Community has been uncharacteristically silent about this. I guess nobody feels a strong need to rally around the death of 61-year-old man in Ford Heights.

03 February 2010

Recreational bike use

Somewhere in the world, a group of heroin users are ragging on people who occasionally use ecstasy on weekends.

Black hole of money

Now that I'm not riding Avenger the Much-Abused Hybrid everywhere all the time for everything, I won't have to spend gigantic piles of money on repairs anymore, right? Right?


I like to think of it as getting a nice $800 commuter bike in the first place and then just spreading the payments out over five years. I also like to think that thinking thus has prevented me from dying of a brain aneurysm.

I also seem to recall that when I did cough up the original $300 five years ago (I used to be so broke...), I didn't intend to become Bike Person who bikes everywhere all the time for everything, so things might have turned out differently and then a nice $800 commuter bike would have mostly sat inside not doing anything while I languished in the debt I owed for it.

(Much like the nice $800 commuter bike I got in August that has mostly sat inside not doing anything while I languish in the debt I owe for going to Alton three times with the hybrid before I even got the new one for that very purpose. But it's winter! And it was a very wet autumn! And---oh, nevermind, I'm getting a headache...)

This post has been brought to you by a new bottom bracket. Cha-ching.

02 February 2010

Free fenders

Does anybody want my crappy road fenders? I've decided to either run the Surly naked (it, not me) or get better ones. If nobody wants them, then where could I donate them? I guess they're slightly better than nothing, especially if you've no risk of toe overlap.

In other news, I need to stop this nascent obsession---before it becomes much worse---with getting only black, preferably shiny, accessories for the Surly. I've hardly ridden the damn thing (and nowhere particularly interesting), but I already fret unnecessarily that the water bottle cages are matte black and the mounting bracket for the taillight is white.

It also doesn't yap constantly all day and night

"Excuse me, could you please not set your bike on the carpet in here?"

"Oh, sorry."

"Thanks---we're just trying to keep the it clean in here."

"Well, that's why I picked this up and carried it over all that poop and urine that I had to walk through in order to get to the door."