Saturday, January 22, 2011


Off to the post office. I used it this morning and there wasn't really any resistance left. This made for a much easier ride. Rumor is the my rollers will be coming in the next week.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another episode finished

I'm through episode three of Dollhouse. It's still good enough to keep watching while I sit on the bike. It helps the minutes slip away.

My trainer is still leaking, so i have to bike in the kitchen. Easy clean up, but it feels weird not to be in the normal spot. I sort of like it though. The kitchen is narrow enough to reach my water and towel easily. I think the kitchen will work well for learning to use my rollers once they arise.

I'll probably send in my trained at the end of the week. I'm hoping to do it during a week when I can get outside and bike. We'll have to see. The trainer still seems to work fine, but it certainly is dripping a couple of teaspoons per ride. Eventually, the laws of physics will catch up and there will be no fluid left.

I made some small break through in my preliminary over the last three days. I'm now about 75 percent sure what I'm doing. All that is left is the grunt work of prepping the data into the formats that I need. Tonight though I need a break from it though. My brain is tired of it. I'll work on it tomorrow. (famous last words?)

Monday, January 17, 2011


The first time it leaked I just talked myself into thinking I spilled coffee on it. But my coffee isn't that oily. I have since confirmed the leakage.

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ho hum

My stationary trainer is leaking fluid. Since it is a fluid trainer, it is kind of a big deal. Thankfully, it's leaking very slowly so I can still use it. I wasn't sure what I was going to do since I bought it used a couple of years ago. Obviously, any warranty was going to be void. Sort of as an afterthought I wrote into the CycleOps customer support to see if I could pay for just a new part, instead of a having to buy whole new unit. I don't have have the need or disposable income for a new new toy (they are pricey), but maybe I could get a reasonably priced exchange part. I didn't expect much but it was worth a shot. 20 min after emailing them, they wrote back saying that they would honor the original warranty and to send in the trainer to get a new part. HOW CRAZY IS THAT!

Anyway, I'll throw it in a box and see what happens. Doing nothing just means that in a week I'll have a useless piece of aluminum in my apartment.

My Christmas rollers still haven't come yet. Since I bought them through the team, our order gets put at the bottom of the sales pile. Ho Hum.

I'm watching Dollhouse while on the Trainer now. Episode one was really slow. Episodxe two was awesome. If you like watching The Pretender a long long time ago, there is a good chance you would get int to this series. (i've only watched to episodes, so I don't vouch for anything past that)

School takes sooooooo much work. It's making me cycle between the blues and mania. Poor Liz

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I wonder when I will get to go to bed on a schedule.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another semester starts

Well today marks the start of another semester. It was really busy.

I woke up early and biked (a fairly large and unexpected event)
I called 12 potential clients for the clinic
I emailed all my research assistants
I assisted in teaching a class
I worked on a paper I am writing
I ate lunch.
I kept getting emails that needed to be returned.

That was the whole day in a nutshell.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tips for winter cycling

I have always prided myself in riding outside both inside and outside through the winter months. Here are some of the things that I have learned from personal experience.

1) Temperature is an excuse. Precipitation is a reason:

As long as you have the correct equipment, you can bike outside almost regardless of how cold it is. When I find myself thinking that it is too cold outside to go for a spin, I remember that there is a woman who, until recently lived in Alaska, doesn't let the weather phase her. (blog link) There is a reason why her blog is called ArticGlass. As long as you have the base layers and correct hats and gloves you are all set.

However, I consider snow, rain and ice to be valid reasons to stay indoors. I have one bike and one bike only. It has skinny tires without treads. If there is ice/snow on the road, I won't risk it. If it is really cold outside and raining, I tend to stay indoor simply because I don't know if it will turn to ice or give me hypothermia.

2) Maintenance is more important during the winter

Just because you can bike outside in relative comfort when it is really cold, does not mean that you can do roadside repairs comfortably. Gloves only work when they are on your hands, and you aren't going to be able to do a whole lot of repairing anything with gloves on your hands.

For this reason, during the winter I pay special attention to my tires prior to the ride. I also carry compressed air over a mini-pump to save time. In the most extreme temps, you just don't want to spend extra time out in that wind.

Since it is winter, I wear a hat with ear flaps. This drastically cuts down on what you can hear. When you add in the winter wind, it's like standing behind a jet engine (I assume, since I've never been behind a jet engine) All those small clicks and noises that can indicate that something is about to go wrong are impossible to hear.

There are these monsters things called salt trucks. It seems that they don't pay attention to weather and just drive around dumping salt all day every day for the whole winter. If not cleaned off is will mess with your chain, derailleur, cables, and more.

All these reasons come together to make routine maintenance that much more important.

3) Bike with a phone buddy

Even the most meticulous maintenance won't prevent everything. If you bike outside during the winter, you still might get a flat or break a spoke or something else. Because of this I only bike outside in the cold when I know that Liz has her phone turned on and will be able to pick me up.

If that isn't possible to have someone keep their phone on for an emergency, and I just have to get outside, I stay close to home. Then if something breaks I'm at least within an 45 minute walk. No one said you can't get a work out out of very small loops around the block.

4) Use ski goggles.

Think about it.... going down a snowy hill really fast is pretty similar to biking outside in the winter. getting a pair with exchangeable lenses has been a great experience. When it's not cloudy, it is so bright outside. when it is cloudy, it can feel like night time. Having the different shade options is always nice.

5) Drink water even when it isn't convenient.

It's cold. It's windy. It's hard to breath. You are wearing a face mask. It doesn't feel like you are sweating. All these things make drinking your water more difficult, but you have to do it. If you are working hard, it is just as important to keep drinking that water so you don't get dehydrated.

I usually make a timed schedule of when I have to take in water. If it is really cold, I drink lots of water every 20 minutes. If it isn't so bad outside, I drink once every 10 minutes.

6) Don't compare your ride to summer time rides

Your route may be the same, but Guess what... Biking in the winter is not even close to biking in the summer. You are wearing tons of layers, you have less mobility, your legs don't get as warm, there is more wind. Let your self go slower and give yourself a break. If you are biking outside in the winter you are likely to be ahead of the training curve. Enjoy the solitude and the weird looks from the passing cars.

7) Schedule an extra half hour to get dressed

Remember that ton of clothes from number 6? Yeah it takes a ton of time putting it all on adn taking it all off. Plus, I always get half way and remember that I didn't put on my Heartrate strap or arm warmers. I guess if you are very organized it won't be as much of a problem, but don't ever see myself not taking at least 30 minutes just to get dressed.

8) Have escape routes

Winter is fickle. I like to make sure that I have some options along the way for shortening my ride if I need too. I usually don't shorten it, but all it takes is one ride when you missed a layer or your toes are going numb to make me very thankful to chop off those last 3 miles of the planned ride.

9) Be aware of limited vision and cars not expecting you.

Car don't always clear off their whole windshields, and they certainly don't expect to share the road in the dead of winter. Plus, lots of my winter gear makes it harder to see cars out of the periphery of my vision and it is harder to hear them coming. I like to give an extra look behind me whenever making a turn.

Oddly enough, I also ride further out in the road. While at first read it might seem to be more dangerous, it is actually safer in the winter. Stray ice chunks, gravel, and black ice in the gutters and shoulder make it more likely that I would have to do something unexpected when a car is approaching me, and that leads to a higher likelihood of getting into an accident. If I'm a little farther out in the road, cars can see me. If they try to pass, I still have some room to move over without having to ride on the gravel and ice.

10) Be careful in intersections.

This is one of the places where you may have no choice but to go over gravel and ice. It pays off to slow down and not get in an accident. I usually safe the dare devil turns for the summer.

11) Enjoy the ride

Winter is beautiful!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Beer

I drank this after my ride. It was brewed in Warrenville, IL. The name of the beer is cool since that is the path where George and Liz run when in Chicago. It has a good flavor, but that is about as specific as my palate gets.

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Winter biking

Different year, but exact same outfit. The things I do just to stay warm.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011


Christmas socks

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