Thursday, December 31, 2009

Senior Tea

Look at this junk mail I received today (partially photoshopped for privacy). Happy New Year to you too...

So who decides that we are "old"? Apparently AARP and fourteen year old employees at fast-food restaurants. Behold a true story...
(or here:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Poetry Friday

Central North Carolina is now having its first snow flurries of the season, along with a flurry of weather-related posts on the local rando newsgroup. Bad poetry ensued...

"Most randos search real hard to know
the best forecasted day to go.
Though some take pride
in a cold, snowy ride,
not me; I need much more merino."

And since I am such a geek,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tar Heel 200 - The REAL ride report

If you haven't discovered, I highly recommend it. It is a website which lets you create your own animated cartoons. You type the script, move the camera, add gestures, sound effects, background music, and so on. Behold the future of epic ride reports.

I couldn't resist. I created a hypothetical trip report for Friday's ride on Tar Heel 200 (see the sanitized blog entry two days ago).

Here you will meet Sag, the straight man, and Jay, who adds 'color commentary'. These characters are purely fictional. Any similarity to actual people is purely coincidental. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blinky pedals

Several cyclists have asked about my blinky pedals. These are stand-on pedals with internal generators and red LEDs all around. They flash as you pedal, providing a unique up-and-down pattern. I've been told they are highly visible day and night, and drivers quickly recognize me as a bicycle.

I got my first pair at Target under the Bell brand name. They lasted more than two years of commuting and randonneuring before one stopped blinking and the other's bearings started feeling rough.

I recently bought my next pair from REI, the Glowspek "Premier Pedals 9/16". I did my second 200K ride on them yesterday, and they worked and felt fine. I expect another good long service life.


Glowspek also makes a higher-end MTB-style metal blinky pedal.
Credit: Photo skimmed from the Glowspek web site.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't your bikes have heat???

We laughed out loud. We were riding the RUSA Tar Heel 200 permanent today in crisp and chilly temperatures, and had just rushed into the convenience store in Stedman NC to thaw a little. The employee, who recognized us from past rides, shouted out this warm and welcoming greeting. Our teeth chattered as we laughed and scurried off to find the hot drinks.

A group of five randonneurs, Dean, Janis, Jerry, John, and I, started in Benson at 6:30am. We rode to the first checkpoint in Erwin together as a group, but Janis and I sent the 'fast guys' on their way after that. It was fun asking the employees at each checkpoint how long it had been since they had passed through. Of course, we didn't have to ask the employee in Stedman on our return trip. She shouted out a welcoming "Where have you been???", and told us how late we were. What a hoot.

I have bike-commuted many times in the cold, so I knew how to dress and keep moving to stay warm. But those were short rides, where I didn't need to drink or eat. Today's ride was a bit longer. I got lots of practice fumbling with water bottles while wearing lobster gloves. And opening ziplock bags with my teeth. And mushing my face into said bag to get at the PB&J sandwich inside.

But my biggest lesson-learned was about the temperature of convenience store drinks. At the first checkpoint, I thought the chocolate milk I bought was warm. Eww, this can't be good. Then, the next store's drinks were warm too. Eww, again. Finally, I realized that water bottles on the bike get a lot colder than those in a refrigerator, and I was accustomed to the colder drinks.

Everyone finished the ride intact with no problems. Janis and I even went slightly fast enough to not qualify as 'Cyclos Escargot'. And the Christmas lights on homes and the main street in Benson were beautiful. But the best part of the ride was that Dean had waited for us at the end, and took photos of our return in Benson (see photo above). Surprises like this bring the spirit of randonneuring to life...

Cross-post to Dean's report:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Raleigh Santacon 2009

And now for something completely different...

Naughty. Naughty. Naughty...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Better randonneuring through technology

If ever you find yourself missing a receipt or two at the end of a ride, fret not. There is a website for everything. (Click the receipt photo for a better view.)