Sunday, November 23, 2008

IceBike v2.0

About a week and a half ago we got the first snow here in town and I had an opportunity to try out the winter bike and my new studded tires. Results?

1) Studded tires are pretty awesome. I never felt unstable or worried about going into a turn.

2) The winter bike needed some work. Shifting really poorly, chain jumping over the cassette, and my fit wasn't very good. The frame is on the small side so I have the seatpost jacked way up which was putting me a bit too over the bars.

To correct these issues, I decided that a nice easy single speed would be ideal for my winter bike. Fewer moving parts, fewer places for ice and salt to get stuck, just makes sense. I also found a riser bar on CL (thanks Terp) that rounded it out. So:

101_0186

and:

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finally:

101_0185

I'll admit the gear ratio is pretty nancy-ish. 22x16. But, it is enough that I can climb the two big hills that I need to fully loaded and well I can always coast. The intent of this bike really isn't to be fast, but to comfortably enjoy the snow!

I am more than ready for it to snow at this point so I can try this bad boy out!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My letter to state reps

Ok.  I am generally not political on here.  However, with the national results from Tuesday, it is pretty safe to say that a democratically controlled federal government is more likely to spend money on cycling infrastructure than a conservative one.  So, here's my letter.  Feel free to send one to your representative!

 

Dear,

Congratulations on your success in the recent election.  All across the nation the American people have made a clear statement about our expectations from the federal government for the future.  With this year's election giving control of the White House and both houses of Congress to the Democratic party, we have a significant opportunity to lay the foundation for a brighter tomorrow.
On October 20, 2008, the Rails to Trails Conservancy, along with support from Bikes Belong, made a presentation to James Oberstar (MN), Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  The presentation was a summary of an extensive study by RTC and Bikes Belong on the realistic benefits of a federal investment in Active Transportation, specifically bicycling and walking titled Active Transportation for America: A Case for Increased Federal Investment in Bicycling and Walking. 
As an avid cyclist and bike commuter, I am very excited by the research included in this report.  The study quantifies what many bike commuters have believed for some time; that alternative methods of transportation including walking, cycling and mass transit not only provide a noticeable economic benefit, but also reduce congestion, pollution and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
As a representative for our state, I hope that you and your staff will take the time to examine the findings of this report and give serious consideration to funding investments in local and national infrastructure that will facilitate and encourage non-car transportation.  Relative to the regular investments made in the repair and maintenance of automobile-purposed roadways, just a small investment in alternative transportation will yield tremendous financial, health and environmental benefits.

I urge you to review the study in its entirety here: http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/documents/whatwedo/atfa/ATFA_20081020.pdf

Sincerely,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Daylight savings...

Ok, we all dealt with it so I'm just going to be brief.

 

Downside:  It was flipping dark at like 4:30 this afternoon.  Actually dark. 

 

Upside:  It was really, really nice this morning.  Not just b/c of DST but because it was 48 degrees when I left the house.  Awesome.  And, it was light out.  Like I-can-wear-sunglasses-with-dark-lenses light out.  So that was pretty nice.  Most of all, I put my NiteRider Classic to a real test.  First time I have really needed it for the full 45 minutes.  I have to say, it did me well.  The focused beam is not all that useful but the flood is very good and the combination of the two is OUTSTANDING.  However, I can't use the combination setting for both ways each day as I don't think the battery would last.  This afternoon I used the flood for about 30 minutes and the combination for 15 and no signs of fading.  Hopefully it will do me well for the winter.  I am going to look into putting my old headlight onto my helmet for a little cornering light.