29 February 2012

What the heck happened to my shoulder, anyway? A running list for myself

I don't Google my ailments with reckless abandon; instead, I start at Medline Plus. (In between hardcore PubMed searches for literature on rare lung PEComas that affect women of childbearing age and clinical trials of drugs for the treatment of various infectious diseases. I sure do have weird jobs for a medical layperson.)

AOSSM Sports Tips: AC Joint Injuries

NIAMS: Questions and Answers about Shoulder Problems

AAOS: Shoulder Surgery

Medscape: Acromioclavicular joint injury

What I can't find is anything that says "You'll be able to ride your bike again after X weeks," where X is a number that doesn't leave me sitting out the whole spring and summer. Damn it all, I'm losing energy, sleeping badly, and getting fat, and it's pissing me off. Can you put a comfort bike on an indoor trainer?

Leap sale

Do I want a Loop Pannier?

25 February 2012

Ode to the bike shop that's just a bike shop

There's been a trend in recent years of bike shops also being other things, from boutiques to cafes to music venues. (Frankly, I'm surprised there isn't a bike shop/beauty salon yet.) Which is great, I guess, if you're into that. But if you're like me, you prefer to do your business at a shop where you know the staff aren't preoccupied with doing other things besides selling and fixing bikes. Because, say, you're an all-season daily commuter who needs accessories that won't have to bought all over again within a year. Or all you need right now is a pair of inner tubes and a rear reflector. Or you want to make sure your n00b won't overcaffeinate himself and get distracted by shiny objects. Or you need an honest assessment of the mangled scrap heap that used to be your primary mode of transportation and adventure.

Now, I'm not pining for the good ol' days when the only game in town was run by an intimidating grump who didn't like anyone who wasn't already capable of their own repairs, or when every n00b was directed to a sporting goods store and treated like either a proto-roadie or a nobody. Thankfully, those days seem to be long gone, at least around here. But I do kind of pine for the more recent days when trusted brands weren't lifestyle brands, and bikey things weren't disguised as other things, and going to a bike shop didn't feel like going to a smaller, more expensive version of Wal-mart, or I didn't wonder whether my bike was assembled by someone who was more adept at playing guitar or making coffee.

So, is this a very long way of telling people to get off my lawn, or are you also weirded out by the bike&whatever retail trend?

Further notice

OK, I guess enough people know about it now that certain undisputed facts are common knowledge.

Well, so I was in bike-car crash a few weeks ago. (Note to Steven Vance: This occurred at East 53rd Street and South Shore Drive.) You spend eight or so years thinking that it couldn't happen to a cautious cyclist like you, and then it happens to you anyway. I'm pretty bummed, as you can probably imagine.

I have a grade 3 acromioclavicular joint separation of the left shoulder, which may or may not require surgery and still hurts like a bitch. I will require a new bicycle. In the meantime, I do still have the folding bike, but I doubt I could get it unfolded with one arm. (And I shouldn't be riding yet anyway. Serious injury and all.)

So I've been taking the campus bus to and from work every day like a loser undergrad---just like I used to back in the day, until I became sufficiently annoyed with taking the bus that I bought a nice-ish new bike at a bike shop and became a bike commuter. I can't decide which is more painful, my shoulder or the irony.

22 February 2012

OK, one more post


I needed that laugh.

15 February 2012

This blog is on hold until further notice.

Please see Grid Chicago. I haven't moved there or anything, it's just a really good blog.

In other news, this.

11 February 2012

Cross-Check on ice

Does anyone else have a problem with the rear derailleur seizing up after you bike has been parked outside in a snowfall for a few hours? I manipulate the lever, and it clicks, but nothing else happens, except probably that I look pretty funny.

The two times I noticed it (of the three times it's snowed significantly this winter), there was a layer of crusty ice under the snow, so I thought the problem might be due to ice getting in between the parts or something. But the problem with ice is that it's clear, and the problem with snow is that it makes things really hard to see, and the problem with winter is that it gets dark right around the time you leave work.

Later at home, after dripping on my bike mat for an hour or two, the damn thing works just fine.

It makes me want to buy a can of de-icer to keep in the lab and just spray the whole drivetrain liberally the next time this happens, but I'm not sure that would be such a good idea. And then I feel stupid because I remember that I work in a lab, and there are probably all sorts of chemicals on hand with low freezing temperatures, if I just bothered to learn what they are. (Meanwhile, in Aurora, my high school chemistry teacher is frowning with disapproval.)

I don't remember having this problem with Avenger the Grip-Shifted Hybrid, but it's becoming hard to remember Avenger at all. This is the first winter I've actually had a job to commute to in a few years. And the Press had that dedicated indoor bike room. And before that there were few enough of us to get away with bringing them inside anyway. Shit, I don't think I've ever had to park outside in the snow at all until now. I miss that job.

09 February 2012

Dispatch from the helmet wars, or A dream

A citizen group was speaking out against the US Army showing pictures of soldiers in combat gear in all of their promotions, claiming that it would discourage average Americans from joining because it made war look so dangerous.

Except it wasn't actually the Army, it was Call of Duty. I think it was an in-game development.

And then there was basketball, and other things. It made sense at the time in my dream.

But seriously. I should stop reading old Web forums right before bed.

07 February 2012

Obligatory Valentine's Day themed post

Just turn on any classic rock radio station and wait for "Over the Hills and Far Away" to come on.

06 February 2012

What happened to the fun kind of winter?

03 February 2012

Helpful bike commuting tip

Don't pass a cop car on the right to blow a stop sign.

02 February 2012

Bikes and coffee, together at last?

The grand opening of Heritage Bicycles had me thinking about the best cup of bike-related coffee I ever had, but for some reason my most vivid memories had nothing to do with the quality of the coffee. I remembered the boxed coffee for the volunteers in the chilly predawn darkness before Bike the Drive. I remembered looking at my only map over free coffee and waffles at Comfort Inn the first time I ever went all by myself down to Alton. I remembered the gas station in West Salem where former n00b and I refueled for the last ten miles after a long day of climbing hills, getting lost, and trying to break into an old helicopter. Convenience store coffee all over northern Illinois on three GITAPs, continuous caffeination for back-to-back course marshal shifts on two LATE Rides. All of it terrible, all of it the best coffee in the world right now.