Sunday, July 27, 2014

Yes, I Fell Off The Blogging Wagon ...

... mostly because I've been climbing on the real bicycle. Continuing to lose weight and build muscle. Not as fast as I'd like to, but steadily.

I was set to break 100 miles on the bike last week -- on a single-speed "beach cruiser" with out-of-true wheels and that probably needs a tuneup in other respects -- when I had a flat with no spare tube and couldn't find the hole to patch it (15 miles into a planned 30-mile ride; my "regular daily ride if I have nothing else going" is a little over 11 miles, but each Friday I pick some fairly distant place where I'd like to eat lunch and ride there and back to "earn it;" this week that place was Satchel's Pizza, a little over 14 miles from home -- had a slice of "The Major" and their made-on-the-spot, stevia-sweetened diet cola ... mmmm, good). I ended up at about 82 miles for the week, the last 11 on my son's mountain bike.

I'm looking at other bikes, and may buy one as early as tonight. I'd prefer to stay single-speed, but I'm awaiting reply from someone selling a 7-speed road bike right now -- it looks like the best thing going for the money I have to spend.

At commenter Shawn L's recommendation, I finally went and had a look/sit/brief pedal session on a recumbent bike. Interesting, but I just don't think it's for me. In addition to any decent recumbent bicycle being well out of my current price range (low three-figures -- VERY low three-figures unless I wait), it just doesn't feel right. I've been biking either sitting up straight or bending forward for about 40 years now. I like it. I suppose I might like recumbent biking better once I got used to it, but I don't want to get used to it ... at least not right now.

If I can get onto something comfortable, I'll have my first 100-mile week this week, and start working up from there.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Short Notice -- Podcast Appearance!

I don't do radio or podcasts very often any more because frankly I find my own voice annoying as hell. But tonight I had an invitation I didn't want to refuse ...

I'll be calling in to talk with Mike Shipley on the Freedom Caucus Podcast (not sure if that link will include the live show, so here's a direct one to BlogTalkRadio). Likely topics include immigration and NOTA 2016, but who knows what else might pop up?

Tune in from 11pm to midnight eastern if you're interested. And you know you are.

Better yet, let me see if I can get the embed code to work (but still visit the Freedom Caucus site even if you listen to the podcast from here -- just sayin' ...):

Popular Politics Internet Radio with Outright Arizona on BlogTalkRadio with Outright Arizona Radio Network on BlogTalkRadio

Bike Living Notes #1: I Know This Much Ain't True

I intend, somewhere in the 2020 timeframe, to ride a bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific (literally -- I plan to start at water's edge, with the waves lapping at my feet, in St. Augustine or thereabouts and end with my front wheel in the Pacific).

That gives me plenty of time to get with the essentials -- ramping up to riding long distances, learning how to maintain a bicycle myself and planning/setting up a "tiny house on a bike" rig.

Right now, I'm riding a $100 single-speed Huffy Cranbrook cruiser and I already know it's not a bike I can count on for a 3,000-mile tour. I had hoped to keep it going for another couple of years (it's about 18 months old right now), but I'll probably knuckle under and move to the next bike around the end of this year.

Have you ever tried to "true" bicycle wheels? I didn't even know it was a thing until I went looking. Once I did go looking and then turned the bike upside down and spun the wheels to learn that both front and rear were way out of lateral true, I went to work using web tutorials.

It took me about an hour to throw up my hands and decide it's not something I'm going to be able to do well myself. And looking at a local shop's prices, I see that "major truing" on two wheels will run me $50. On an 18-month old, $100 bike. By the time I replace the tires too (they're not bald but they're definitely showing wear), it would be like buying a whole new (cheap) bike!

So what I'm going to do is nurse this baby along awhile longer and just buy that new bike (it won't be quite as cheap, although if I find it used it may be less expensive ... as usual, watch me suddenly find a great deal on Craigslist and decide not to wait five more months). I'll cannibalize the old one for lights, bell, rack, basket and probably seat (it takes awhile to break a seat in right -- why not take it with me?) ... and I'll check how true the wheels are on the new one before I buy it (I'm pretty sure this one came with wheels out of true, although they've probably gotten worse over time), baby the new bike more, get an annual "tune-up" that includes "minor truing," etc.

I expect (read: Hope) the next bike will last for four or five years and that I can replace it a few months before the Big Trip (in time to shake down/break in the trip bike). In between now and then, I'll be riding longer distances and perfecting my "tiny house on a bike," as I expect to camp along the way almost every night (other than e.g. visiting friends and relatives en route). I already have a rear rack with a milk crate attached, but I'll be adding panniers (they hang off the sides on the rear) and so forth. Minimum weight and bulk for maximum utility is the goal there.

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