Sunday, December 11, 2011

Protected bike lanes work

Kinzie Street: Chicago's First Protected Bike lane from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

I stole this from Seattle Bike Blog Nice work Chi town... now if only you could fix your broken "pizza" and lessen your brutal winters ;^)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

What do you do on a snowy Saturday....

....with no rides on the agenda? Install fenders on the commuter bike of course.

Some "minor" modifications were needed as these fenders, while listed a disc brake compatible, should really read (Disc Brake Compatible if you have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and several years of mock up and design under your belt... a full on manufacturing facility is highly recommended too).

As you can see in picture #1, the support struts required a good amount of massaging to get to work with the disc brake caliper. I suppose I could do what everyone told me was "easiest", and add a ton of spacers, but frankly I don't care for the look of that. Just looks wrong. While I won't call my"modification" elegant, it gets the job done. These fenders are also not out of the box compatible with suspension corrected forks as you can see in the last picture. I had to improvise a new bracket which would have meant using a dremel tool to remove the old bracket, and fabricating a new bracket. My dremel is in TX, and I don't have any errant bracketry up here in CO... not to mention a bench vise to simplify the modification process. Instead I used an old Mavic hub adjusting tool I had laying around in the bottom of the tool box, cut off the wrench end, and hand bored two mounting holes to extend the existing brackets reach.

Overall I think they turned out pretty well. I'm not super happy with the gap on the rear fender, I'll have to ponder a fix on that. Considering the lack of a proper or even half ass shop, they will do. The ultimate test will be Monday morning to see if they keep the slush and road grime off my bum.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

And time passes

Wow, have I really not blogged since Sept? It's been a busy few months. New place to live, new job, new friends, new rides. I should be documenting more of this here, but alas my lazy bone has gotten the better of me. That and the ease of the evil facebook have limited the time I take out to reflect and journal about my adventure.

So, since moving to Colorado, I've become a full time bike commuter again... wish I could say I'm car free, but I'm not that brave... yet. My commute is, as always, the best part of my day. I start the morning and have accomplished a goal, no matter what else happens during the day, no one can take that away from me. Then, on the way home I can purge the stress built up during the work day, by enjoying the ride home. It's the perfect pressure relief valve for my mind. The added benefit of course is that I'm burning calories and not contributing to co2 emissions.

I've also been inspired to try to take better care of myself, it's amazing how just a nudge of fitness will make you think more about the choices you make, or perhaps it's just the natural balance our mind and bodies crave. I've been eating a more plant based diet, and have tried to eliminate all animal based foods from my diet. It's not the easiest thing, nor am I some hard core vegan, but it makes sense that more natural, green foods are what our systems are designed for. I've read bits and pieces, and seen loads of documentaries. Most are pretty far out there, but the one that sealed the deal for me was "Forks over Knives". I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to go radical I've found that especially with families this is recipe for disaster, but if you just eliminate some animal based foods and slowly introduce a plant based diet over time, you will yield much better results. I say if you're a meat & potatoes kind of family, try going meatless one day a week. It's really not that hard, and it's a far better gift than anything money can buy.

Now the not such good stuff. I miss my family desperately. Fortunately we live in a high tech world, and I can video chat, text, FB and all other sorts of ways to communicate and stay in touch. This is a great relief, and makes being alone much easier, but I miss being with my little girl, hugging her, putting her to bed. This is a really tough time to be away as I feel I have limited "good years" left with her before she becomes more and more independent and wants less and less to do with me. Honestly, I feel selfish and trapped. I made this situation hoping things would fall into place, but my 20 something nomadic abilities have been thwarted by the responsibilities of family life and a shitty real estate market. But the decisions have been made, commitments need to be fulfilled, and with luck the experience will only serve to make our family unit stronger... only time will tell.

I think that's it for now. I have a bunch of pix to post up, will try to upload them from the phone & camera to picassa so I can link them here. Hope you all are doing well and enjoying this wonderful winter.