Monday, October 22, 2012

Dogs and Bikes

Rolling Turtle

With an offsite meeting and a conference to attend, I had to carry my computer and some files on my back last week, in addition to a loaded pannier bag behind me – brimming mostly with the weekly accumulated morning layers not needed for the warmer afternoon commute, which had to make it back to the wash. I felt like a Sherpa on each climb, paying the price for indulging in my afternoon minimalism, trying to make a faster ride home throughout the week. On one of my bigger climbs I heard a clinking sound. Confused and looking down and around to see what might have fallen, I see a huge black dog bounding about in total play-mode. Given my rolling turtle status, let’s just say I was glad to see the dog was happy and having fun. When I couldn’t pick up the pace, he lost interest in the chase, much to  my relief. 

I told some friends about it at a gathering last Friday night and we swapped stories of being chased by dogs on bikes. Geoff’s chase by a rabid dog on a ride through an Indian res – saved by some good Samaritans in a pickup truck – was the most poignant. He now carries a can of Back Off spray attached to his cycling vest, and has been itching to use it since. I was reminded of the dog incidents at the Tour de France and then again during the men’s road race at the London Games. Fortunately the one on my heels looked like the same big happy dog that wouldn't hurt a turtle. 

Phillipe Gilbert gets pissed and has to be held back. Fortunately a little girl stood between him and the owners.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


39 Degrees at departure. 

Thought I would remove the fleece jacket I had on over my shell jacket within a few miles of setting-off, but ended up wearing it the whole way. Thin leather gloves, vented shoes and helmet not the ticket today. Especially after feeling started to come back to my ears, fingers and toes as I waited several minutes at RRX for a train to pass. Spent a few minutes during my lunch break to order some fall essentials (for Minnesota): helmet cover, thermal leggings, and good gloves. Last year on this date it was in the 80s here. If not for my crash that took me out for the rest of the season, I would have ridden well into November without updating my seasonal riding gear. This year, I have the same goal, but snowfall will dictate. Required though, is a gear update.

Monday, October 8, 2012

September Commute Summary

'Tour de ZAP' Anyone?

Last month, I learned of ZAP Twin Cities, a program that automatically tracks bicycle commuting through a network of ZAP readers throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. There is no logging in to enter trip information manually and the program offers rewards for consistency (e.g. bike accessories, gear, and $50 gift cards from local bike shops).

I saw a promotional email about it on September 3, called the friendly folks at St. Paul Smart Trips, and within an hour my bike was tagged and tracking.  I still like to enter detailed information into MapMyRide, but the snapshot that I get from ZAP and the promise of prizes motivates me. From the day I stated the program, I can see I had a pretty solid month of commuting (only missed 3 days due to offsite meetings in the burbs that required driving)! The downsides: You need to have a ZAP station on your route, and the program only tracks 1 ZAP per day at the first reader you pass – I would like to see all of my ZAPs. I have suggested that they organize something like a "Tour de ZAP" promotional activity where one rides past each ZAP station in the Twin Cities. We’ll see if they take up the idea or if I have to organize my own!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Post, Here Goes.

A guy on a folding-bike made me eat spandex today. 

In my defense, he had a head start, was wearing a team kit (looked like he was on a weird little training ride), and could spin like Lance Armstrong. This seems like an appropriate start to this blog that I have had in mind for a really long time, originally thinking I would talk about my bike commute and related things. But then the title started calling out to me as a metaphor... so I may write about a bit more. Who knows.
Still hanging in the garage

Really, I have had designs for a while on starting to race competitively. Fitting that a year ago today I was hit by a car while riding which sidelined my plans... so I have been racing against myself and time as I have tried to get healthy. I think I am 100% now, minus getting my ass handed to me by mini-bike man (who, incidentally, did some over the shoulder takes to let me know he was in control of the race).

On a separate topic, it is also fitting that our twin boys were conceived a year ago yesterday. Apologies for specificity, but it is one of those things we just know and celebrate now that they are 4 months old and thriving. Leaning on the metaphor again, I may write a bit about being a dad of twins... which is turning out to be a daily time trial of its own. By now you have stopped reading and are back to the Romney Obama debate... or the post-rant on Twitter from both sides.

Take me to Regions.