Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's February and that's not a bad commute

On Tuesday (Feb 17) I rode to work. Unfortunately it was on my older Trek 1100. My nice Giant TCR3 snapped a cable. Odd, I've put a lot of miles on my other bikes and not broken a cable this soon (2 years, about +10K miles). Right now the cable end is stuck in the STI but the STI is still working. I'll take the STI off the bike and put new cables on the bikes (brake and shifter). The Trek needs a bit of work too as it's not shifting as smoothly as it should but it worked well enough for a ride back and forth to work. I was going to leave before dawn (around 5 AM) that way I could use my new lights. But I ran into some problems and need to do a little work to the Trek before I could leave. So I postponed my ride until later and stay at work until 9PM. So I got to use my lights anyway. I was really surprised at the level of traffic at that time of night (it was lot). The good news was that I was well lit (two read blinking on my Camelbak and the Niterider MiNewt,X2 Dual on the front). Oddly enough it was easier to climb in the dark because I really couldn't see the top of the climbs. The ride in was sunny but it was a bit colder than I had dressed for so my chest was cold for the entire ride. On the way home I dressed more appropriately. I thought I might have been a bit too warm but as the temperatures continued to drop (22F when I arrived home) it wasn't a problem. I'll do it again next week but I'm hoping that I'll have the Giant this time. It looks like I'll only be able to squeeze in a single day of commuting as the weather doesn't look to cooperating.

I was going to go out and ride tonight but the wind is howling and I'll have more than the 10% increase for the week. So I'll just stay warm indoors tonight. ;-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A few places to visit

In a few weeks my bike rides will start to stretch out the mileage so I can start training for the Longest Day (and possibly a new Princeton Freewheeler Double Century ride). In the mean time I still need to lead winter rides, a time for building a base. My friend Mark suggested that I keep it to less than 50 miles as I hadn't been riding for the last three weeks, I just got over the flu and my chest is pretty much congested. So I came up with a Mid-Winter's Ride (54 miles). It includes sections I normally do when I do lunch time rides or late night rides. Seeing how I'm going to start commuting to work I won't get much time for those and still get what I need to do for the day. I chose the route just so I can visit some different places. Now I probably should have listened to Mark's advice on the ride length but I wanted to ride. I knew it would push me past my limits (0 miles for the past 3 weeks, a jump to 80+ miles this week, and not so good lungs). Every thing felt fine until the last few miles where my lungs were sore (that's not good). It didn't help that my cable snapped for my rear derailleur (early in the ride) and I was stuck with a two speed. Still it was a nice ride and my lungs feel much better today (as long as I don't laugh ;-).

The weather for the week looks like I'll be able to commute to work on Tuesday (20 miles each way) but I'll probably only be able to do a late night ride on Thursday night. Next Saturday looks to be more of the same , cold, possible snow. I may plan out a metric but I'm not sure. If I can't lead Saturday I'll do another group ride on Sunday. Possibly ride to and from the group ride to get my additional miles. So next week I hope to have more than 100 miles for the week. Not bad for February! :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's February and it's 68F in NJ!

I managed to get out and ride today at lunch time. The weather was beautiful! It's been 3 weeks since my last ride. Last week I was in Houston for training so no riding there. Here it was as low as 8F (at night). So I took this day as one of those little gifts you get from time to time. It was only slightly windy, but it was a warm wind. I rode in shorts and it felt great! The rest of the week looks to be less nice but much better than 8F. :-) I may sneak out for a few more ride before Saturday's club ride.

For those that are curious this was my router: Old Bridge - Jamesburg - State Home.

Some items of note. I'm seeing that some of the general public has forgotten how to share the road (pass and leave 3 ft between your vehicle and the cyclist, pass only when it's safe and you have a clear view of the road ahead). A number of folks in those large high end vehicles seem incapable of crossing the yellow line when passing a cyclist (hence leaving less than 3ft.) with no traffic approaching. The folks with smaller vehicles and 18 wheelers have no trouble (???). I want to thank the person in the black Corvette for the polite double honk before passing (no really) and the appropriate room as they passed (nice!). Technically nothing unusual other than the polite and correct motorist. Still it was a good day to ride.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Random babblings ...

I'm currently in the middle of training to learn how to install AT&T's U-verse TV, Telephone and Internet service. There's a lot of hard work that goes into putting this service in and a lot to remember. Though I may never actually have to install anything (I'm training as U-verse Technician as part of a strike contingency plan) I have found a new respect for the amount of work these tech's have to do. I took an online test where I had to replace the existing cable providers equipment and I was terribly confused as my cable installation consists of nothing more than a drop wire, a splitter, the set top box and my cable modem. The installation lacked a proper ground wire (I hooked one up to my incoming water pipe). Having learned what it takes to install the service properly I'll be taking care cleaning up the DeMarc in my home. I also happen to need to clean the connectors because the transmit power my cable modem is using is 54db (3db too high). That can't be good.

So far I've learned a lot and I've enjoyed the class. I was also payed an indirect comment when the instructor commented that I'm 'an engineer, aren't you?'. Well four more training classes and I'll be back home. I'm looking forward to picking up some new tools (I'm buying them) that I've used while in training.

And, finally, I'm training in the Houston area and I've found the people to be friendly they tend to drive a bit less aggressive than they do in NJ (though I've seen a few nuts, fewer than in NJ). Also the traffic is a bit heavier than where I live with lot of new construction going on. The weather has been very nice, usually hitting the high 70's. The other night I saw a 'boomer' (thunderstorm clouds) that were bigger than anything I saw back in NJ. In NJ those would have sent me to hide in the basement. The light show (lightening) was impressive. My wife tells me that she just got 4 inches of slushy snow. The weather prediction for Saturday, in NJ, is a high in the low 50's. Anyway it will be nice to be back home. :-)