Today I finally got something good off craigslist. A red Schwinn Speedster 3-speed. In very un-Buddhist fashion, I'm practically giddy at my new acquisition. A special thanks to Paul in Peachtree City who sold it to me for only $25. The paint is in very good shape for a bike of its age. I figure it to be a 1974 or 1975 model, because its Sturmey-Archer hub was made in 74 (thanks Sheldon wherever you are). Shifting action is good but it'll need some new tires. Since I'll have to special order 597's I'll take the opportunity to break everything down and change the oil in the hub. Pictures to follow tomorrow.
From Tampa Bay Online: A 7-year-old bicyclist was killed this afternoon when he was hit by a pickup while riding on a bike trail that crosses U.S. Highway 301 north of Stacy Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Rohan A. Berringer of Zephyrhills was riding with two other bicyclists – his mother and sister –when he rode into the path of a 2002 Ford F-150 about 2:11 p.m., according to investigators. The truck, driven by George D. Thomas, 79, of Thonotosassa, hit the boy, who died at the scene.
Neither Thomas nor his passenger, Mary J. Thomas, 75, also of Thonotosassa, was hurt.
The road was closed for more than two hours as the crash was being investigated.
The incident remains under investigation.
I don't want to assign blame but google maps shows that the crossing in question has no lights, bridges, or tunnels to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to safely cross the highway. If you're going to have separate facilities for cyclists you have to make them safe. Even a stop sign for the cars may have prevented this tragedy.
Tonight on the long ride home from dropping off a forgotten Christmas present at my mom's house, I nearly ran over a cyclist. He was what's commonly referred to as a bike ninja. Now I realize some people ride bikes not by choice but by necessity and bike lights can be expensive. But when there's a dollar store on every corner selling red and white leds for a buck there's no excuse for being a bike ninja. A couple of years ago on the ride to work I stopped a bike ninja and gave him my spare blinky, so starting next week I'm going to keep a small stash of dollar store leds on me at all times to help vanquish the world of bike ninjas.
Well not quite but lately I've found a couple of lightweight merino wool sweaters at my local thrift store. They're just the thing for winter riding and at $5 each you can't beat the price. They've pretty much become my standard wear for cool and wet weather.
One of the great things about being a utility cyclist at Christmas is you don't have to put up with parking hassles when you go shopping. I had to go to the mall the other day and my grin was extra wide as I cruised past lines of cars looking for a spot.
Just as predicted as gas prices have fallen bicycles have disappeared from the roads. Americans are nothing if not predictable. Had a fun ride today, when a group of roadies went by I couldn't help but smile. They were decked out in the spandex while I was wearing an old wool sweater. Of course they went by me like I was standing still.
So my office moved to a new location about eight miles further out. Here's the problem, the area is nigh unbikeable. Now I'm not one to make such a pronouncement lightly but even if I did the multi-modal thing and took MARTA to the Mansell park & ride, there's no good route from the park and ride to the office off Hembre. I'm very upset about this development. More details to come.
So with my back still bothering me I decided 8-10 hours in the saddle probably wasn't the smartest thing, but I did do a short ride to Publix to pick up some food. On the way I saw this.
Yep people line up for gas just like the 70's. You see since Hurricane Ike there's been a distinct supply problem, made worse by a panicky public and media. Many stations are out of gas, and those with gas have long lines. By the time I was on back from Publix this station too was out.
For the third day in a row I've had to drive, that's how messed up my back is. I went to the doctor yesterday who prescribed some muscle relaxants and painkillers. I'm hoping they work a miracle or there's no way I'll be able to make the big Silver Comet ride.
Lugged steel frame, horizontal dropouts, relaxed riding position, chainstays long enough to avoid heel strike, Rohloff hub (checks price) I mean Shimano nexus 8 red band, racks on the front and rear, full coverage fenders, racks on back and front.
Since Hurricane Ike hit there's been a gas shortage, at least in my part of town. I rode to Costco last night to pick up some paper towels and they were out of gas, so I took the long way home and discovered QT and BP were also out of gas.
Of course being on my bicycle this bothers me not at all, except for the fact that I promised to visit my mother this weekend and I'm pretty sure the last time I parked it, it had very little gas. Which brings me to commuter rail. Atlanta's got a lot of rail lines and almost all are used exclusively for freight. Why is it a rail line not 2 miles from my home runs straight to Cartersville and yet it's impossible for me to take the train?
Everyone complains about $4+ a gallon gas, except me. The longer gas prices are high the more likely people will start thinking differently about transportation.
A coworker actually asked me about what it took to commute to work. He only lives 5 miles away so it's a pretty easy ride. I told him that if he wanted to meet me one morning, I would be glad to show him the safest and quickest route.
I want a Bleriot. And a Milano, and a Big Dummy. Bike lust is a funny thing. It makes you immune to rational thought. But since I just spent $500 on books for school, there will be no new bikes in my immediate future.
Ok, there's been no posts for four months. No excuses. So here's a recap. Finished school for the semester, hit 3K miles for the year, got a couple of flats, stripped the bike and did a complete maintenance routine on it, and watched as I was joined by more and more bike commuters.
Since gas crossed $4 a gallon I've seen at least double the number of bike commuters on my early morning route. I've even got a coworker on the verge of riding in. It's a good time to be a cyclist but I fear that gas prices will fall and people will slip back into their old habits pretty quickly.
I don't know what's going on lately but I've had a rash of three flats in the past few weeks. Now for a commuter like me who rides on wider, lower pressure tires than those who expect to go fast on their bikes, flats don't happen that often. But when they do it's a pain.
The yellow monster is back with a vengeance. I first noticed it last week when by black panniers began to collect the stuff. Now it's to the point I can taste it in my mouth on a long climb. Yes spring in Atlanta is great, except for the pollen.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's few things better than Atlanta in the Spring. The combination of nice weather and high gas prices have led to a noticeable increase in bicyclist along my route. Last Friday I counted four on my way to work.
Now don't get me wrong I love seeing more people biking to work, but do you really need nice weather and high gas prices to get you out on the bike. Consider this, on my bike my commute takes about one hour. In the car with traffic it's about 45 minutes. So I spend 15 minutes more getting to work, but I get an extra hour of exercise. Oh and it doesn't cost a cent.
I need a few things Saturday, so I hopped on the bike and head to Costco. Now I'll be honest, if you don't have a Xtracycle shopping at Costco is a pain. When I left both panniers were stuffed and a giant sized package of toliet paper was bungied to the rear rack. I got some strange looks from the Costco crowd but hey, it still beats driving.
Whoosh, we've had a few windy days here in Atlanta lately. The great thing about the wind is it's like a hill that never ends. Ha! I can't stand the wind, I feel like I'm going backwards. Speaking of going backwards, I've got to find a new job because the drivers on my commute have gone crazy, two, count them two accidents this morning within 50 feet of me. Both of them rear-enders. I couldn't see if they were cell-phone related but there's a Toyota Landcruiser and a Nissan Altima that are going to need some work.
The worst part of my current commute is the fact that my long ride down Mt. Vernon Highway is almost directly into the setting sun. Of course it's not my eyes I'm worried about, it's all the people driving behind me. So what do I do? Of course high visibility gear is normal, but I also run my rear blinkie with the hopes that it will attract a little extra attention. Most importantly I check my mirror often, this $5 device has saved my life at least once. I would call that a bargain.
In a word nothing. More accurately I should say nothing noteworthy. I still riding around Atlanta, still commuting by bike, and still being a grouch. The ride to my new job isn't too bad, there's a limited number of ways to get from here to there and everyone of them is busy morning and night.
I meant to post last week when we had that cold snap but work and life hot in the way. More regular postings to follow.