Bicycling in and around Atlanta.

Friday, December 11, 2009

1 Letter 2 Trips

I rode to the post office today and when I got there I discovered that I had left the letter I intended to mail at home. So I rode home and then back to the post office. If I were in a car or had something to do this would have probably annoyed me, but on a bike even in the cold it was ok.

By the way, Mr. Toyota RAV4 I want to say thank you for not speeding. I mean it must be difficult enough to drive with your knees while texting on your iPhone that speeding would have just been too tough.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Saved from Destruction

A bridgestone kabuki and a Maruishi road ace were headed to the dump but with my penchant for Japanese bikes from the 70s and 80s, I just couldn't let them go. So I pulled them out of the dumpster and brought them home. The components on both are in pretty rough shape but the frames are straight so I'll be fixing them up over the next few weeks.

Mirrors and CVS

I tend to prefer handlebar mounted mirrors over helmet or glasses mounted ones primarily because I don't always wear my helmet or glasses. However, handlebar mounts tend to attract vandals and I lost another one todays while my bike was parked at Publix.

In happier news, kudos to the new CVS on Powers Ferry Road. Look what they've got:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Well Shoot

Laid off 23 days before Christmas. I guess there will be fewer commuting and shopping miles than I anticipated this month.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fatal Accident Closes All Lanes of I-285

Which forces thousands of cars onto the normally quiet streets I use for my bicycle commute. The result, a madhouse of frustrated drivers and one bicyclist trying to keep it in perspective.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Bicycle Commute Today

The old tendinitis in the ankle is acting up today, so the bike stayed home. I'll tell you the truth, every time I drive on Atlanta's highways they get scarier.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Your MPG

38 miles per gallon

Created by The Car Connection

Assuming you consumed 1 gallon of liquid food mixed with water, this short survey will tell you approximately how far you could walk before you passed out ran out of gas.

Any Weather is Good

It's kind of a drizzly and overcast day in Atlanta but I thought it was great weather for a ride. Bicycling in that misty rain is right up there with hiking in misty rain, it's one of those things that's hard to describe why it's so pleasurable. But it is. And riding today with my cranks spinning slowly and the headlights of cars trapping the mist in beams of light, all seemed right with the world.

Morons Video Themselves Attacking Bicyclist and Pedestrians

In what tend to think of as bike and ped friendly Minneapolis.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Making of a Retro-Grouch

As I get older I'm starting to notice some traits emerge, that once would have shamed me. The other day I noticed I was drinking from a water bottle that was stamped "Made in West Germany" and wearing a t-shirt that almost 20 years old. So I suppose it's only natural that my taste in bikes has become decidedly old-school.

So imagine my glee when I discovered this:

The Schwinn World Tour, its a pretty conventional touring bike at a great price but what's that I see? Yep a quill stem. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. In my opinion the threadless headset is one of the great abominations of modern cyclery. Sure it may have it place on racing bikes where every ounce of weight counts, but quite frankly it makes no sense on most bikes. So why is it now so common?

edit: if the Schwinn had horizontal dropouts it would be almost perfect.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Last night I dreamt of riding the Schwinn on a narrow path in an Autumn wood. I could smell the fire in some hidden hearth while the wind lifted leaves into the air like so many fairies dancing around me.

It was a good dream.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The $13,000 Schwinn Paramount

I overslept today and wound up driving to work, so on my lunch break I rode over to Roswell Bicycles. It's what I would call a typical bike shop, a lot of road bikes, a smaller selection of mountain, hybrid, and kids bikes. And of course there's the $13,000 Schwinn Paramount.

Now for my bicycle heresy, if a bike is worth $13,000 it belongs in a museum not hanging from the ceiling of a LBS. That is all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Almost Perfect

Once again a reminder of why fall in Atlanta is so great. A cool morning and a 70 degree afternoon with sunshine created what just may be the perfect day for riding. So much so that after the ride home I unloaded the bike and took a spin around the block just for the heck of it.

By the way, a tip of the hat to Mr. I'll Pass You on This Hill despite being at least 30 pounds heavier than you and riding a mountain bike with knobies. My hat is off to you sir.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why We Ride

Last week was bad. By Sunday I felt like I had the weight of the world on me. So I looked at the old gray mule who responded "don't look at me like that, I need BB maintenance, new wheels, and look at that cassette." But she bore me again across the hilly roads of my neighborhood out toward the far suburbs to the exoburbs, and a funny thing happened. As I rode my troubles seemed less troublesome. As the number of miles climbed so did my spirit. Soaking in the smells and sounds and tastes of the road for a short time there was nothing else just man, bike, and road. And that was good enough.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Alpharetta Gets the Job Done

Less than a week ago the Big Creek Greenway was under about 3 feet of water. When that water receded it left a thick layer of mud in several places. Well I'm happy to report that Alpharetta's parks department has done a great job clearing the trail, allowing me to enjoy it on my lunch break again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weather Gods and Unwise Decisions

The Weather Gods had a laugh at my expense on Saturday when they unceremoniously dumped about a million gallons on my head without warning.

Speaking of water, I decided to ride along the river to check out the flood damage only to discover that it was closed because of raw sewage contamination. Well that makes sense I thought and turned to cross the bridge back toward home. That's when I saw them. Despite signs warning to stay out of the river, there was a group of people doing baptisms in the muddy water. I'm all for ritual and such but there's a reason they put those signs up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

MTB Style Commute

The recent rains have left quite a bit of mud and dirt on the roads. As a result my bike currently looks like crap. This is one of those times where I really wish I had an IGH on the commuter. Needless to say this weekend cleaning and adjustment will be on the to do list.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sad News

It appears a man may have drowned wading across the same flooded bridge I considered crossing Monday. Remember, pay attention to your instincts they're there to keep you alive.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Ride to Remember

Showing more enthusiasm than sense, I rode yesterday in the worst rain Atlanta's seen in quite a while. The trip into work was wet but uneventful, the trip home on the other hand was like no other.

By 3:30 flooding had taken place in many lowing lying areas, and I found potential routes home blocked by not one but two overflowing creeks. I briefly considered attempting to wade across a flooded bridge but thankfully disregarded the idea. Then there was a mudslide being dutifully cleared by a single police officer armed only with a shovel, a couple of dead ends as I attempted to find a new route, and three wonderful car drivers who stopped to see if I wanted a ride.

Two hours later I reached home wet, exhausted, and smiling.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Cyclist Best Friend in the Rain

More important than even fenders, a bright yellow poncho or rain cape. If you think drivers normally ignore cyclists throw in some rain and you're practically invisible.

Friday, September 18, 2009


My home has been hit by the flu. Starting with my youngest kid and working its way up to me. The good news the symptoms are really pretty mild, a general crummy feeling, head congestion, and sleeping 22 hours a day. So be on the lookout and don't ignore the symptoms lest you spread it to someone else.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yet Another Reason to Commute By Bike

It makes it harder for the the man to keep tabs on you.

Seriously people, what happened to my country?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea

A special thanks to B. Beck who explained that the Faster Mustache 24 was responsible for the wrong way riders on Piedmont. And while I approve of the FM24 as a great idea at a great time of year, I think the wrong way riders should get the equivalent a stern lecture from all of us who know better.

As a commuter I've seen dozens if not hundreds of wrong way riders on my commute over the years and when possible I've told them about the proper way to ride. But if we in the larger cycling community can't follow the rules what hope is there of getting a casual rider to?

So for the record FM24 good.

Wrong way riding bad.

How I Nearly Killed a Cyclist

Saturday night I was driving the family to Fox Brothers for some delicious BBQ, when a cyclist comes through a red light to make a left hand turn not 10 feet in front of me. Now I was pleased as punch to see so many cyclists but I was less pleased by some of the recklessness I saw, including someone coming full speed off of 14th street and heading south on Piedmont against one way traffic.

And that's my old man rant of the day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Susan: Rest In Peace

I don't there's anyone in the bike blogosphere who hasn't been inspired by Susan Nelson's story. Sadly last night , Susan's fight came to an end.

As a Buddhist I try and be mindful of death and remember the transitory nature of life. Still when death comes to the family of even a virtual friend, it's hard not to be affected. So today my thoughts are with Elden and his family; and with Susan who showed more courage and strength in a few years then most do in a lifetime.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rick Smith Said It Best

ABB is closing for a while. I'll still be riding but I've recently just become too busy to keep the place up. Keep your chains clean and I will see you around the block.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Today's Road Treasure

Vice grip pliers. Very nice.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Big Creek Greenway

Lately I've spent my lunches riding along the Big Creek Greenway. I can't tell you what a wonderful little ride this is. Sure it's your typical MUP, some bicycles, some joggers, some kids, but what makes the Greenway so special is its environment. There are few places in metro-Atlanta where you can ride through an honest to goodness wetland, but this is one. This ride should serve as a reminder of how crucial wetlands are. Of course years ago some one decided that a major sewer line should follow Big Creek, as a result on rainy days the unmistakable stench of waste fills the air.

Still it's a nice ride. Like sailing I think bicycle touring and commuting makes people into environmentalists, and that's a good thing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Horror!

Bicycle tan has returned.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cartersville by Bike

Today I went to visit my mother in rural Cartersville, Georgia. It's about 50 miles outside of town and I brought my bike so that I could get my brother out for a little desperately needed exercise. I love riding in the country. Compared to riding in the city it's a dream. Quiet roads, fresh air, all the things I love. It's little wonder that the Beautiful Back Roads Century is so popular.

And although there were a fair number of people in pickups driving too fast, most drivers were far more courteous than those I deal with in town. It was great. Now as for riding with my brother, well that's another story.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

All About Bicycling (1975)

I was at the library the other day and the Friends of the Library were having one of those used book sales to raise money, and that's were I found this gem.
From All About Bikes

All About Bicycling circa 1975. It's a time capsule from the bike boom and a reminder of how much things have changed. The first thing you notice is that All About Bicycling treats bicycling as a serious form of transportation. Of course the bike boom of the 70s was driven by the gas crisis, but All About Bikes focuses on the other benefits of riding for fun, fitness, and transportation. There are sections on racing and maintenance. They even included a section on touring.
From All About Bikes

Modern readers will notice that no one, except in the section on racing is wearing any kind of helmet. I guess our skulls were a lot thicker back then. Well there is this one guy.
From All About Bikes

More than anything this book reminds me of just how far we've regressed. Bikes were once seen as a serious transportation alternative, now it's seen as fringe activity or a political statement.

Now for a picture that will break your heart.
From All About Bikes

When's the last time you saw that many bikes at any school?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dear Bicycle Riding Ladies of Alpharetta

Today while riding out for some lunch I saw your group leave the Barnes and Noble near North Point. You all seemed so happy on your bikes, you made me happy too even though I had to go back to work.

Thank you.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Last night after Easter Dinner, me the kids, and the inlaws were playing a little ball. I hit a dribbling line drive toward 2nd and took off toward first base. That's when my non-athletic daughter decided she was going to try and tag me out. So I had the choice of bowling her over or stopping short. I stopped, or at least I tried to stop that's when bad things happened. My ankle was nice and swollen but had subsided somewhat by this morning.

Rather than push my luck I did the long drive to work this morning in the rain. People ask how you can bike to work, I want to know how you can drive. It was awful, rain, traffic, accidents. I was more tired when I got to work than when I left home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Only Love Can Make It Rain

Atlanta receives some 50 inches of rain a year. That's considerably more than legendarily soggy Seattle which only gets 38 inches a year, so you would think Atlanta drivers would have no problem with a little precipitation. Well you would be wrong. Really wrong. The fact is anytime water falls from the sky Atlanta's roads are suddenly filled with thousands of chicken littles who give surrender what little driving skills they possess to a bizarre ritual that I call Atlanta Rush Hour Rain Syndrome.

Today as I rode home dodging drops falling from the sky I saw ARHRS in full effect. What are the symptoms you ask. It's easy to spot, it will start slowly with a driver perhaps on their cell phone accelerating wildly on a wet street. Other drivers will spot this behavior and begin to emulate it. Thats when the first accidents occur. These will be minor, fender bender types but never fear bigger and better things are on the way. After the first accidents tempers increase with backups, that's when the manic merging begins. Manic merging is a blind attempt to shove your front bumper into a spot before someone else can take that space. ARHRS inspired manic merging often is exacerbated by cell phone use leading to the classic corner to corner crash. Now all lanes are blocked. What is a driver to do? Why cut through a CVS parking lot or course! And here's where ARHRS comes into it's own, what happens when you have a line of cars cutting quickly through a narrow drug store parking lot? A toyota pickup backing out and getting hit by a subcompact.

And believe it or not, the highways were worse.

To be absolutely honest, I only witnessed the last of the accidents an reasoned out how they got to that situation.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Idle Bike Thoughts Vol. 5

Don't eat sugar cookies an hour before heading home or you might run out of gas when you need it the most.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today's Sexy Bike Errand

Delivering dog's fecal matter sample to the vet. Yeah baby.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Death, Taxes, and Flats

Three things you can't avoid. On a downhill curve, I felt that wobble that we all know so well. It appears the tube split near stem, so I sat on the side of the road and changed my tube. At least I couldn't have picked a nicer day for it, blue skies and a cool breeze.

Speaking of breezes, I saw something today that reminded me that despite the fact that I'll probably lose my job any day now, I'm a lucky guy. Cutting through Sandy Springs, I saw a man who was obviously troubled screaming profanities at the leaves blowing by him. At least I have my wits about me, and my family and friends, and last but not least my bike.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

If This Weekend Were a Japanese Game Show...

It would be called Super Bad Weather Weekend Bike Maintenance Extravaganza! Fixed up the old Trek Hybrid for my brother. Did some work on the kids Trek to get it ready for Craigslist. Stripped the Huffy. Fixed the squeaky wheel and continued to work Schwinn.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Day

Jansport, as promised, has come through with new straps for my old pack and I found my REI dividends statement. So tomorrow I'll ride over to Perimeter to use it and my 20% of coupon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Squeak squeak squeak. Yep there's something funky with my rear wheel. I didn't have a chance to inpect it once I got home, but a cursory roadside inspection ruled out the easy subjects, something rubbing. So I guess it's the bikes way of telling me its time for spring maintenance. Rain is predicted for the weekend so it's time to break out the tools.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spring Biking Hazards

Well I guess spring has sprung. It was 82 degrees when I left for home this afternoon, and yes there was some sweat. But with spring comes a whole new batch of biking hazards.


Spring is nice but there's something about it that makes people go absolutely crazy behind the wheel. It usually lasts until the real summer heat hits. Maybe it has to do with riding with the windows down.


Yes construction goes on all the time here in Atlanta, but spring always brings its share of new projects. Within a week or two there will be new detours and flagmen causing headaches for your favorite bicyclist.


Ah yes, the true yellow menace. Pollen here in Georgia is something that has to be seen to be believed. On windy days you can see great clouds of the stuff in the air.

The Bradford Pear

I don't know who brought this monstrosity to the US, but they deserve to be shot. Planted by the hundreds of thousands by overzealous builders who wanted flowering trees, the Bradford pear has a fragrance that wikipedia describes as sickly sweet. Most people will tell you however that they smell of fish. There's about a thousand of these suckers between me and work.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Rare Sight

The old gray mule in snow.


Extra bonus, snowy section of the Appalachian Trail where I was hiking just before I got sick.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Too Early to Think About Summer?

No matter how you cut it, this is going to be a lean year. So I thought I should probably start planning my summer bicycle tour early. But where to go? Ideally I would love to get to Quebec, but that's going to be expensive. I've always wanted to do RAGBRAI but I might like a more solitary ride. Maybe something in the great lakes region? My youngest daughter wants to visit colleges on the west coast, maybe we could combine a trip. I toyed around with a trip around Lake Champlain. At this point its all still planning at this point. And before I tour I should really replace my rear cog.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mysteries of the Digestive System

Well I've been sick pretty much all week. I don't know if it was something I ate, some kind of bug, or maybe during my hike last week my water purification didn't quite do the trick. Regardless, I've been on a diet of saltines and gatorade all week. Yesterday I ate a little better, and this morning I actually got out for a ride. Of course because I hadn't eaten well all week I was pretty much crap. So why did I force myself to ride? Because right now it's snowing, big wet clumps of snow falling from the sky. Snow is rare here in Georgia and if you get a chance to ride in it you can't pass it up no matter how bad you feel.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Now That's Customer Service

Jansport is replacing the straps on my 19 year old backpack for free.

Rode the old gray mule through the drive through at the bank today. Even though it's technically forbidden the teller took my business without saying a word.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Build Quality

It's easy to tell when something has been made with an eye to quality. If you ride my Schwinn it feels like a million bucks, my old Centurion despite being a low end model was made with the fit of a thousand dollar Atlantis. It seems that now build quality is something only for niche markets. It's all about producing as much as you can as cheaply as possible.

There's a reason build quality is on my mind. This morning as I loaded my pack for a hike one of the straps broke. After almost 20 years and thousands of miles my Jansport Nepali failed. There's nothing spectacular about the pack but it does the job it was designed for and it does it well. It can carry enough supplies for a month in the woods and it does so without complaining. It's an external frame, I know most everyone prefers internal frame packs but I'm old fashioned and I like the ventilation an external frame provides. Made before the china boom, the old Jansport was made in the US. So tomorrow I'll call Jansport and keep my fingers crossed that they have replacement straps, if that fails I'll probably try to rig a homemade solution. Old packs are like old bikes, it's hard to say goodbye.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's Not the Bike It's the...

Electra Townies up Georgia's toughest climbs.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Slow Motion Crash

Yesterday we had some pretty severe storms blow through. This morning I discovered the the results. On one of my turns a bunch of debris had washed into the road, I didn't see it until I was right on top of it resulting in a wipe out. Luckily I was pedaling at 1/4 impulse so nothing was hurt except as they say my pride.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Far Is Too Far

A friend asked just how far is too far to ride. My answer is simple, if you have enough time there's no such thing as too far. I then introduced him to Crazy Guy on a Bike. He was blown away. That's when I realized that to many people the idea of bicycle touring is a foreign as communal living. So I'm trying to get him to join me on a short overnight tour, just to see how doable it is. I'm convinced if more people tried bicycle touring there would be a lot more bicycle tourists.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Idle Bike Toughts Vol. 4

Potholes can appear overnight and usually will hide themselves on the darkest part of your ride.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I've been suffering mightily over the last few days. It's as if I went to India and drank a gallon of water from the mighty Ganges. As a result there's been no riding, no going to work, no nothing. Hopefully I'll feel better this weekend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top Ten anti-cyclists

The League of American Bicyclists has a list.

It Always Happens

The worst weather of the day arrives in time for the ride home. In this case a crazy wind in my face the whole way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Backup Your Data

Warning this post has no bicycle content.

The hard drive on my 2.5 year old MacBook failed today. Most of the stuff is protected by backups but some is not. Remember to backup your data frequently.

Now for Mr. Angry eyes:

It turns out apple knew it had a problem with the seagate drives in these early intel macbooks and have refused to recall them. Not a good show. I've got 4 computers in my house from 4 different manufactures, and I've been using computers since 1983. I've never had a hard drive fail so quickly. Even if apple had simply publized the defect I would have known to replace the drive before it failed.

Bad apple.

Ironically yesterday I was ready to sing Apple's praises as they detected someone trying to frauduently use my card at Apple's online store.

FYI: I'm writing this post on an old gateway laptop running linux.

Monday, February 09, 2009

From Bad to Worse

What's worse than losing one lane on West Peachtree during rush hour? Losing two lanes. I'm getting tempted to do a little wrong way sidewalk riding.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sunday Errands By Bike

It's Sunday which means groceries. Then there was the ride to Home Depot to get some keys made and price plywood. Unlike Jett my Home Depot has no bike racks to the old gray mule wound up locked to a rental concrete mixer. Then a meandering ride back home.

I think I saw some guys from Atlanta Cycling but they were going way to fast for me to catch. Besides nothing would look more ridiculous than a bunch of lycra glad guys on road bikes followed by me on the commuter with panniers stuffed.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Beautiful Day for a Ride

Just pedaling around today, although I did have to run a few errands. I took a round about route to town, through Piedmont Park and mid-town, and back through Buckhead to home.

Some of the things I saw today:
A guy on a bent with a plastic bucket attached to the back, presumably for storage.
Lots of lovely ladies on bicycles.
A guy flying through town on a single-speed or a fixie.
An old friend I hadn't seen in years. (sometimes Atlanta feels like a very small town)
Lots of people in cars looking for a place to park.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Planning a Ride

I've got nothing to do tomorrow, the wife is busy, the kids are busy, the dog is the dog, so why not go for a ride. I've got no particular destination, I'm just going to ride until I feel like turning around. That's a good thing.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Really, why try to read a book while driving. You know they have audio books at the local library. We all know that distracted driving leads to accidents, reading while driving should be a big no no. Sometimes I wish I had a camera on my phone so I could snap a shot of these idiots.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How I Feel When I Drive

As always Rick Smith's Yehuda Moon gets it right.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Idle Bike Thoughts Vol. 3

An English Three-Speed or its American equivalent produces more smiles per mile than just about any other bike.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Danagers of Driving and Sleeping

This story should be an eye opener for everyone. If a police officer can fall asleep at the wheel causing a fatal accident, anyone can. Generally I hate to get up in the morning, and with my busy schedule, I'm always tired. But bicycling has a way of waking me up, and if I do fall asleep on my bike the only one that will be hurt is me.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Bike Friendliness of Ikea

I've mentioned before the fact that the Atlanta Ikea located at Atlantic Station has bike racks, but a recent shopping trip there has convinced me that Ikea is the most bike friendly of the big box stores. In fact if I had my Xtracycle or a Big Dummy I could have easily transported the futon mattress that we recently purchased.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Amtrak and Georgia DOT Endanger Beltline?

The Beltline is Atlanta's plan for a new intown transportation corridor composed of light rail and multi-use paths. It's had a fitful existence so far, with a step back for every two steps forward. Last week it may have had its legs knocked out from underneath it. Amtrak and the Georgia Department of Transportation have filed papers with the Federal Surface Transportation Board that lay claim to a planned section of the Beltline along the northeast corridor.

Amtrak's plans include a "high-speed" rail connection with Charlotte, North Carolina. And while I'm a big fan of inter-city rail, Amtrak's plans are fundamentally flawed. First their "high-speed" rail isn't really high-speed. Because Amtrak plans to use existing tracks, the same ones currently used for freight, the top speed would be limited to 100 miles an hour. Which sounds fast but when you consider the train (like the Acela in the northeast) would likely have to slow down many times on the route, you realize 100 mph isn't that fast. Secondly look what it would have to compete with. Want to go to Charlotte, a regular Amtrak ticket will run you $62, let's estimate a high-speed train ticket would be $100, what are the other options. Well you could drive, 250 miles at 25 miles per gallon that's ten gallons, at $4 a gallon that's $40. Of course you can't drive 100 mph but on that stretch of road the speed rarely drops below 75. Or you could fly on one of Airtran's internet specials for $39.

Now don't get me wrong, I want high-speed inter-city rail. I just want it done right. To have real high-speed rail we need new tracks exclusively for passenger rail. And it has to be subsidized. I know that's a dirty word in the USA, but if you want people to use a cleaner more efficient mode of transportation you've got to make it cheaper while making other forms of transportation more expensive.

So if you want to save the Beltline and want to stop Amtrak from creating another money hole, write your representatives in congress and the Georgia DOT.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


As I close in on 40, I'm rediscovering the value of stretching. Now I make a practice of stretching before I do any serious exercise. And if I don't like today, well I pay for it with aches and pains. So my advice for you younger folks, stretch more when you're young and maybe you'll feel better when you get to be my age.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Car-tastic Day

Well I had a million errands to run today which necessitated driving. Oh the convenience of cars, first there was the problem that it had no gas, oh and all the tires were low because it hadn't been driven in a while, once I got on the 285 well there was the traffic.

I just got home; 14 hours and 100 miles of driving later. What a car-tastic day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Can you take it with you?

This weekend involved a run to costco. I've made no secret of my desire for an Xtracycle but even my old commuter managed this impressive haul:

A huge thing of toilet paper
A dozen a half of eggs
Two loaves of bread
6 pounds of ground beef
4 pounds of chicken
and a pack of apples

Not bad. But with an Xtracycle I could have taken even more.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Idle Bike Thoughts Vol. 2

Bike technology has advanced a lot in the last 20 years, so how come I've never had a bike as comfortable to ride as my old Centurion.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dummy of the Day

Ah John Boehner, you never fail to entertain. From Bike Portland via Yehuda Moon:
“I think there’s a place for infrastructure, but what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways, to ease congestion for American families? Is it to build some buildings that are necessary?…But if we’re talking about beautification projects, or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on this.”

Here's the thing. Anything we can do to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes is a good thing. Now I know there's a vigorous debate in the cycling community about the utility of bike paths but I see it like this. Nothing is more reassuring to a novice cyclist than limited access and controlled grades. And when you live in a city like Atlanta where many of the roads where laid out in the era of the automobile, you find that many of the roads are difficult to bike because instead of working with the natural contours of the land, they simply go straight up and over. So John Boehner which do you think further America's energy independence more, a few more oil wells or getting millions of Americans out of their cars on a bike path.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cost of Ownership

Today I had to get new tires for my wife's car. I also had to get her oil changed and her emissions tested. When I returned home several hours later my wallet was $500 lighter. So I began to think what would that $500 buy me cycling wise.

Well it's half of the Rohloff Hub I want.
I could buy a Nexus 8 hub and have a pretty penny left over.
I've had my eye on a Long Haul Trucker Frame
Heck I think I could buy any of the Surly Frames save the Big Dummy.
Speaking of which I could get that Xtracycle conversion kit I've always wanted.
I could buy several if not dozens of used bikes.

I could go on. The point is most people realize how expensive car ownership is. I haven't even touched on gas and insurance. Then there's the American obsession with driving new cars. I wonder how much wealthier the average American would feel without their car.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Honk if you love cyclists

At least that's why I hope your honking. Because it would be really rude of you to honk just to scare me. Who knows, that may cause me to swerve in front of you ending my life. So Mr. Way Too Big Pickup, I'm justing going to assume you love cyclists.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Longer Days, Bad Drivers, and Allen Wrenches

It's pretty clear the days are getting longer. I know a lot of people hate riding in the winter but I'll take winter's short days and cool weather over the oppressive heat of summer anytime.

Why is it that drivers feel the need to race from one red light to the next?

Today I found two small allen wrenches in the road, just the thing for adjusting shifters.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Idle Bike Thoughts Vol. 1

Wheels with lots of spokes are beautiful and strong, but can be a real pain to true.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Day

Well not quite but I did see a few flakes today. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wacky Weekend Weather

It's been cold-warm-cold lately, so I've taken to carrying extra cool weather gear when I ride any distance. Of course the one day I forget my ear warmers it's nice and chilly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Means Groceries

Pictures from todays ride to Publix.

From Riding around

From Riding around

From Riding around

The rolling hills of my nieghborhood.
From Riding around

From Riding around

So what to do with dumpster bike

I stripped down dumpster bike today. It's a cheap frame but still, the tinkerer in me says you can do something with this thing. So what to doy

A fixie? Maybe but it's pretty hilly around here and I'm pretty sure my legs aren't fixie worthy.

A single speed? I've got to admit it's appealing. I haven't owned a single speed bike since elementary school.

A bad weather commuter with an IGH? I love this idea in theory but I'm not sure about installing a $150 hub on a ten dollar frame.

Speaking of bad weather commuters why aren't there more bikes with full chain cases? Seriously, chain maintenance is right up there with tax preparation on the list of things you don't want to do.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dumpster Bike

The other day I found a I saw the wheel of a bike sticking out of a dumpster. Never one to let a good (or bad) bike go to waste I fished it out. It's a strange bike, a Huffy 512 st. I can't find anything on the internet about this particular model but here's what I know. I think it was probably a model made in china to sell at either Walmart or K-Mart in 90's. Evidence? None really but it has horizontal dropouts and the relaxed geometry found on the sport-touring bikes of the early 80's. It also has the infamous stem shifters that we all remember. The 26" wheels look odd on a bike of this size, and the kicker a threadless stem.

So what am I going to do with this miracle of engineering. I have no idea but I couldn't just let it go to the dump.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

With teens not reaching freezing during the day and dipping into the riding around today was something akin to pedalling in a freezer. Of course it's nothing compared to the -50 degrees they're experiencing in other parts of the country. But Georgia isn't ready for these types of tempretures so, there are bursting pipes and dead batteries all around town.

My riding outfit today:
Long underwear
Hiking pants
wool socks
merino wool sweater
fleece sweatshirt

Yeah I looked ridiculous.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bicycle Restoration

I've just spent the last hour working on the Schwinn. As someone whose day job is of the sit and click variety I have to say there's something especially rewarding about working with your hands. I enjoy woodwork and playing Mr. Fixit around the house, but there's something special about working on a bike.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why We Ride

There's a profound difference between riding in a bike and being locked in a car. On a bike you're naked, exposed to the elements, acutely aware of everything around you. In a car you are too often in a cocoon of metal, focused on your radio or your cell phone. Riding around today I smelled the sweet fragrances of burning oak hanging in the winter air. I heard the leaves being crushed by my tires. I saw dogs playing with their owners. Every ride brings new experiences can you say that about every drive?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Did I Really Say "I Wish I Were in Chicago"

The wind chill is like 40 below in the Windy City today. It's bad enough that my legs never fully warmed up this morning so it felt like I was pedaling uphill the whole way. Then there was the ride home there was wind in my face. Let me change that to "I wish I were in Burlington, Vermont."

Jimmy Carter's Bike Stolen

From the Carter Center no less. Sheesh what is the world coming to.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Please City of Atlanta

Finish whatever you're doing on West Peachtree. Cars just don't respect the bicyclist when we suddenly lose the lane north of 17th Street.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hazy Shade of Winter

A very chilly ride today with a high in the high-30's. Of course that's nothing compared to what our northern neighbors are going through. I think today in Minneapolis it was only in the mid-20's, now that's cold.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Wish I Were In Chicago

I've never ridden in more than a dusting of snow.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Coincidence or not

Barnes and Noble has a bike rack and busines,s while not stellar, is ok. Borders who doesn't have a bike rack is on its last legs.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Scattante Emerald City Single Speed

Bikes For the Rest Of Us recently featured this bike. I like it, except for one thing, the price. This bike has the makings of an excellent commuter, if it had an internal gear hub and a chain case it would just about be perfect. But I think $500 for a single speed is just a little much.


On the way to work this morning I was snacking on a bagel when I hit a pothole that I swear wasn't there yesterday. I didn't wipe out but my breakfast went rolling down the road. Consider it a lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Google SMS as a Tool for Commuters and Tourers

Imagine this you're out on tour near Fargo and you break a spoke or two. You could limp along to the next town and hope there's a bike shop there or you could get Google to tell you where the nearest bike shop is. Just text bicycle shop Fargo North Dakota to 466453 and a few seconds later Google will provide you the answer. The best part is you don't need one of those fancy schmancy smart phones, any phone with sms will do. It sounds silly but in a pinch this is a really handy service.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What's in Your Wallet

Actually I'm more interested in what's in your panniers or bags. This cartoon made me realize that I carry a ridiculous amount of stuff around with me.

So I did an inventory.
Let's see:
A patch kit
Tire Levers
A spare tube
A pocket shortwave radio
Two spare blinkies
A multi-tool
Balaclava (winter only)
Ear muffs (winter only)
$1.75 in quarters
A cliff bar
A bungie cord
Spare AAA battery
First aid kit
Hand sanitizer

I guess I'm not a weight weenie.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Night Riding (with apologies to REM)

I just got home and thought about why I like riding at night. An old REM song went through my head as I pedaled.

Night riding deserves a quiet night
The photograph on the handlebars, taken years ago,
Flapping in the wind as I ride
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse
Still, it's so much clearer
I forgot my gloves at home
The moon is low tonight

Night riding deserves a quiet night
I'm not sure all these drivers understand
It's not like years ago,
The fear of getting hit,
Of recklessness and bikes
They cannot see me exposed
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday

Night riding, remembering that night
September's coming soon
I'm pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side on the street
Riding in the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe night riding

You, I thought I knew you
You, I cannot judge
You, I thought you knew me,
This one laughing quietly underneath my breath
Night riding

The photograph reflects,
Every streetlight a reminder
Night riding deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Just Riding for the Heck of It

I had nowhere to go today, but we got a break in the rain so I hopped on the bike and took off. I drifted over to Sandy Springs, then on the way back took a detour into the kind of neighborhood where all the houses are three sizes too big and behind large wrought iron gates. A bit heavier traffic than one would expect on a Sunday but an enjoyable ride.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Hike and Ride on a Lazy Saturday

Well since the Falcons are blowing it, here's what I did today. My wife and I took a hike on the Appalachian Trail between Woody Gap and Gooch Gap. We've hiked it before but today was foggy and threatening rain.

When we started it was a little foggy.
From AT Hike

Then it got foggier.
From AT Hike

Then it really got thick.
From AT Hike

This is actually my favorite kind of weather for hiking. There's just something wonderful about the woods and the fog.

When we got home I took a little break and then pedaled to the store for some juice. The predicted rain never made it to our part of town and the Saturday afternoon traffic wasn't too bad. All and all a very enjoyable day.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Resolutions and the First Bad Drivers for 2009

Since I failed miserably to complete my New Year's Resolutions for 2008, I vow to do better in 2009.

1. Drop 20 pounds, that should put me pretty near by ideal weight.
2. Ride even more than in 2008.
3. Take a bicycle tour (ideally the Route Verte)
4. Get my oldest child out the door to college.
5. Train my dog

Speaking of 2009, my ride to the store this morning exposed me to the first jerks of 2009. There was the pass me and then stomp on the brakes pickup, the pass way too close and honk toyota, and the always popular right hook corvette.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

As Promised Photos of the New Bike

From Bike

Quality Chicago
From Bike

Grips are Schwinn Approved
From Bike

The bike was originally purchased at Jack's Cyclery in Dearborn Michigan. Jack's is still in business although it's moved a few blocks down.
From Bike

From Bike

I can't wait to get this thing ride ready.
From Bike