Saturday, March 31, 2012

One Year Later...

Thursday would have been a good day to ride; Emilie was in New York on a class field trip and Allie was spending the night at her mom’s. The Poto chapter of the MMBA just started their Thursday night rides but I was tired and didn't feel like socializing. A friend from work and I talked about riding at Island Lake but he dropped me so bad at Pontiac on Tuesday that I was still embarrassed. I drove to Maybury to quietly ride by myself. I fought falling asleep on the drive there then sat in my truck near the trail head wanting to curl up and sleep more than I wanted to ride. I decided to go home.

Sleep deprivation is one of the unexpected side effects of my divorce. It was final a year ago. I realized it was inevitable long before then but my brilliant plan was to stay together until the girls where done with high school; that would have been the classy, standup thing to do but apparently I didn’t do as good of a job isolating them from reality as I intended.

Filing was the right decision for me but I feel horrible about it. Allie who, like me, doesn’t talk much is finally starting to ask questions but there is nothing satisfying in my answers. I’m glad I didn’t fully comprehend all the ramifications of my divorce because if I had, I may have procrastinated longer. I may have continued trying to fix a problem that was unfixable. Unfixable problems is a concept Engineers have difficulty grasping. We aren’t allowed to respond to a Technical Incident Report by saying: “Well, shit happens” but the reality is sometime shit does just happen. Hardly a mantra to live one’s life by but it’s true nonetheless. Sometimes shit happens for the best.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Want it Wednesday: Fox Float Forx

I see Want it Wednesday is gaining momentum. Anyway, I finally have the Fox Forx I always wanted. The SID on my Inglis single speed locked up at the end of last season. Rebuilding forks is something I am not real comfortable with so I decided to just hang that bike on the wall and deal with it some other time. That time is now. I started to rebuild the SID. I read the manual. Apparently the first thing I needed to do was grind down a ¾” socket. Great. I had a nice upright grinder once but it, like most of the things from my big garage that wouldn’t fit in my little apartment, ended up at Bill's. Figuring there must be an easier way to deal with (i.e. avoid) this problem, I looked at the MMBA classifieds. Someone was selling a Salsa frame with a Fox Float. I sheepishly gave him a low offer for just the fork. He accepted. It was beat up but held air and worked fine.

I have been a strong proponent of the previous generation SIDs. The SID's 28mm stanchions feel like wet noodles but the fork weighs less than 3 lbs and nothing else mattered to me. Twice I rented bikes that had Fox Floats with 32 mm stanchions. The difference these forks made was amazing. People who know much more about forks than me tend to like Fox Forx, from riding them to rebuilding them to dealing with the company itself. Even with the two pound weight penalty, I’m sold... but I feel a little stupid using the titanium Chris King cog I bought a couple years ago to save 8 grams.

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Florida Photo Essay

Back to work and back to reality. Seven days worth of problems were waiting for me this morning after marinating in their own juices all week. For a minute I considered never taking another vacation but that’s just silly; riding in Florida was really nice.

The weather was perfect. I got a good start on my biker tan.

Continuing on with crazy weather this winter, Michigan was just as warm as Florida last week but Florida has things that Michigan doesn’t, like nuisance alligator trappers,

and nuisance alligators. Yet. It will be interesting to see how this global climate change thing plays out.

Crazy strong South winds created a hard ride as we started down A1A but the return ride felt like riding a moped.

Most people in Florida were super nice but one concerned senior citizen pulled over on the side of the road to force us to stop. He asked why we weren’t riding on the (super crowded) sidewalk. The side of the road was marked for bicycles and it was wonderfully wide and smooth. This scenario seemed odd to me. I asked if he was serious. My question enraged him to the point where he struggled and stammered to verbalize his response. I thought he was going to have a heart attack right there, hanging halfway out of his car in the bike lane. He called me an asshole, gave me the finger, then sped off. There were so many bicyclists using the bicycle lane that he couldn’t possibly stop everyone, or it seemed a silly use of one’s golden years if he did. Sue and I cracked up.

Then I realized what I thought was a bicyclist icon indicating we were on a bike lane was actually an icon of a person in a wheel chair trying to screw a bicyclist and it dawned on me that maybe I was the one mistaken. Maybe he was in fact doing what the icon indicated the lane was for. I felt bad. If you are reading this, bitter driver, I sincerely apologize for questioning your seriousness. Thank you for reminding me that no matter how bad my first day back at work is, I'm not you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Want it Wednesdays: Magic Eraser

This week’s Want it Wednesday lowers the bar a bit; however, I am in aw how well Magic Erasers work. "Aw" might be overselling it a smidgen. One of the problems with, and advantages of, living in an apartment is my bikes are stored on my bedroom walls. No matter how careful I am when navigating the bicycles through the halls in my apartment, the tires brush against the walls leaving black witness marks.

There is nothing that can remove tire marks off walls like a Magic Eraser.

You get it damp, brush it across the mark and, walla,

just like that, no marks.

It delights me every time I use it. No seriously, I get giddy when I see tire marks on the walls. And for bonus points, Magic Eraser has fought back the urge to market themselves on infomercials. People buy them because Magic Erasers work the way they say they do. A greater compliment cannot be given.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Forward

I have been spending a lot of time in natural light lately. Most of the country will get an extra hour starting on Sunday. I think Daylight Savings started during World War I in an effort to save coal. Energy savings is usually the justification given for continuing this odd plan.

There is an Indian saying about how only the U.S. Government believes you can cut a foot off a blanket, sew it to the other end, and have a longer blanket. It seems to me that the energy we save by keeping the lights off an extra hour in the evening is lost by turning them on an hour earlier in the morning but the fuzzy logic behind Daylight Savings doesn’t bother me in the least. In the same way Easter has transcended from a pagan celebration of fertility into a religious holiday, Daylight Savings has morphed into the greatest of all holidays; starting next week I can, in theory, ride outdoors after work. It ends on November 4th, the day after Iceman. This is no coincidence. Actually it probably is but still, there seems something spiritual about it. I find it's difficult to ride outside and be agnostic.