Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bike Friendly

You know you live in a bike friendly city when 
the trail gets a bypass built 
for construction that disrupts the trial:
And the most empty bike rack looks like this:
Props to Minneapolis!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Miles, Schmiles and a Question

I stopped keeping track of my miles a while ago. When I was just riding one bike, the computer knew the whole story but then I was introduced to mountain biking and never put a computer on that bike. Of course in the winter you need a beater and for a while I dutifully transfered the computer back and forth between the road bike and the commuter. Then I seemed to lose interest in keeping on top of it.

I asked myself why I cared about the miles and didn't really have an answer. I'm a data geek by trade and know there's no point collecting data you don't intend to use.

Short term mileage tracking makes sense to understand how my training is progressing and when I need a recovery day or to make sure I am getting enough protein and liquids for the effort I am putting out. I occasionally wear the heart monitor, partly because I am still trying to figure out what my max is. I've seen a 184 multiple times but haven't been able to check it when I really feel like I am really pushing the limit. I have noticed that my heart rate when keeping pace is dropping down into the low 140's when it used to be in the mid to upper 150's.

So what's the point? I seem to be having many weeks in a row where I ride more than 200 miles and it's got me a bit curious as to where my odometer is/would be if I were actually keeping track. I've got a new gig and the commute will put me around 170 miles a week without any social rides.

And there will be social rides...

Back in the early 70's there were some years that I figured I put in somewhere around ten thousand miles. Back then computers barely fit in a semi truck(!) so the mileage was a guesstimate but 10K seems like some sort of milestone I should be aware of if I am approaching it. If a cyclist pedals ten thousand miles (through the forest) does anybody care?

I know some folks publish their mileage on their blogs and I'm curious what the motivation is to keep track of the mileage in the first place whether you publish the numbers or not. Perhaps I'm just lazy but it seems like a lot of work but since lots of folks do it, there must be a reward to them.

So here's the question:

What motivates you to track your mileage?


What prevents you from tracking your mileage?

For me it seems that by the time I finish the 'recovery' beer, it's just not important enough to manage the record keeping but perhaps I'm missing something...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Joy of Lfe

A Baiku

Being born is good

Still being alive is great

Not everyone is

Attitude by choice

Choosing chipper just makes sense

Rising investment

Tragedy and joy

Tough fabric for a good life

A complete package

Spin the wheel of life

Make mine 700c

Perhaps dirt knobbies

Keep it spinning true

Tarmac or dirt, it's all good

Breath in saddle life

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cheerios - Doping at Giro d'Italia

On May 5, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to General Mills indicating they are marketing Cheerios as a drug.
Based on claims made on your product's label, we have determined that your Cheerios® Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease...
In other news, Lance Armstrong tested positive for whole grain oats and is out of the Giro d'Italia tour and will be suspended by Team Astana. Armstrong protested and in an interview with Veloats News commented "It's not like I had Boonen putting the sugar on them, it was just straight Cheerios. It seems as though the Italians are taking lessons from the French on this one."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Recovery Granola

I've been getting in a lot of riding lately. Last week I got in 240 miles, up from the 200 the week before. I've tried various recovery drinks, fancy powdered drinks with fancy price tags and they may or may not work but this is turning out to be a pretty reliable option that is very tasty, doesn't come in a mysterious powder and has great nutritional balance. Seems to me we might be missing the simplicity of real food with our fancy store-bought options. 

Wash it down with a glass of milk and you're good to go!

Mix together:

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

Variation Ingredients (at least one cup, our favorite shown)

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds

1/4 cup of sesame seeds

1 cup slivered or chopped almonds

1 cup broken or chopped pecans

Preheat oven:

275 degrees


Coat two 9 x 13 pans with cooking spray (because it's a double recipe...)

Heat to a slow boil in microwave:

1/2 cup maple syrup

-1/3 cup (just a little less than 1/3 cup) flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola

2 Tbs. water

Flavorings (optional)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Drizzle liquid into dry ingredients:

Make sure it's all mixed together by adding the liquid slowly while stirring the dry stuff.

If you have too much time on your hands:

Squeeze cereal together into clumps with your hands.


Put prepared cereal into the 9 x 13 pan

Level it out so it bakes evenly

Bake at 275 for 30 minutes

If you are adding dried fruit:

Add it to the mixture at this point


Stir the mixture mostly to make sure it's not stuck to the pan.

Level it out again

Bake for another 15 minutes or so until golden brown


Nuts you might use; not all together but 1-3 cups total:

  • almonds
  • pecans
  • peanuts -unsalted
  • walnuts
  • cashews -unsalted
  • roasted pistachios
  • chopped hazelnuts

Fruits you might use; not all together but 1/2 - 1 cup total:

  • sweetened flake coconut
  • chopped dried pineapple
  • dried cherries
  • dark or golden raisins
  • dried cranberries
  • dried blueberries
  • chopped dried pears
  • chopped dates
  • chopped mangos
Keeps in a sealed container for a couple weeks!

Based on Great Granola by Pam Anderson

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Random Boxes

Here's a box full of fresh groceries for July into September.
That box is going into one of these boxes:
Saving all that gardening space fits in with clearing space inside the house as well. I continue to solve my storage problems but as I put things into boxes I wonder why I didn't think of storing things on eBay before. It's this great storage system that pays you to store things. And to think I used to have a storage locker that I paid someone for. Materialism turns out to be expensive! This week has been another week of great riding with a couple hundred miles in the saddle and a Saturday ride still on the schedule. Retirement is suiting me just fine even though I know it will end at some point and I will once again be a working stiff. Oh and thinking of being stiff, no not that, I'm talking about the stiff you are when they lower you into the dirt in a box. Does it seem to anyone else that cars are becoming more aggressive towards cyclists? I had more close calls this week including some moron intentionally swerving into me while I was pedaling along just under 20 mph. I started screaming at him and he screamed back that I wasn't on a bike path. I was behind him at this point and he pulled over again but of course this time I was ready and just cut over on his left but he had started to get out of his car so I was able to make my escape before he could get back behind the wheel. I wanted to box his ears. If I wasn't so terrified I would have laughed as he accidently took an exit from the parkway that he hadn't planned on. Then last night someone in the group was buzzed by some young punk who just had to get past and couldn't wait ten seconds for the oncoming traffic (one car...) to clear. Oh yeah, I was talking about boxes... So am I putting the driving public in a box of crappy, rude drivers or am I observing the box they are entering on their own?
Anyway, be safe out there. Perhaps life is just a box of chocolates...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How I Learned to Drink Coffee

This post is offered as a response to FatLad's Riders Writing Cycle # 5; What was your best ride?

As a kid I thought few things were as wonderful as the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the air but it represented a huge mystery to me as well. How could something that smelled that great, have such an utterly repulsive taste? I tried it every few years and recall thinking each time that it tasted even worse than the time before but its’ aroma continued to be one of my favorites.

I did a lot of self-supported bike touring in my teens and early twenties, mostly trips from the Twin Cities up to the North Shore of Lake Superior. My first trip was when I was 15 and had a ten-speed, a hand-me-down I’m sure, and my buddy had a five-speed sting-ray. That trip set the foundation for some pretty serious rides over the coming years and, eventually, a change in my perspective on coffee.

The following year I upgraded that old ten-speed spending a whopping $700 on an Italian bike. That was a lot of paper route money back in 1972! The bike was hotter than a pistol coming in under 20 lbs. with a Campagnolo frame and derailleur and sew-up tires. I was putting a lot of miles on that bike but thought I was a lightweight since one of my brother's friends bragged that his round-trip rides to Duluth and back in one shot, roughly 300 miles, was what it took to be a "serious" rider.

But I digress; I was supposed to be discussing coffee…

So anyway, it was on one of those northern excursions that coffee made a grand entrance that couldn’t be denied. It was our third day of the trip with 150 miles behind us and just over 100 on the schedule for the day. The day started out cool enough to delay our start but bright and sunny when we finally got underway. We were still on the early side of Duluth’s rush hour but didn’t make it far it up on to Scenic Highway 61 and my buddy's cassette irreparably busted.

Seeing as how I was the better part of a foot taller, and had the only working bike, it quickly became my job to ride back to Duluth with his busted cassette (I actually carried a cassette tool with me!) to get a replacement and back to where he waited, hopefully not smoking up our entire stash, er, I mean eating all the chocolate chip cookies mom had sent along, yeah, cookies that’s what I meant...

Anyway, the day that had started out so sunny and bright had become ominously overcast with a blustery chill in the air. With a growing headwind we hurried to get the bike fixed and be on our way and hopefully ride out of the approaching weather. However, just as we completed the repair and jumped back in the saddle, a slight mist developed which soon became a steady drizzle. Within five miles we were pining for that steady drizzle as it had become a real gully washer with ever increasing wind and dropping temps.

For those of you not familiar with the magnificent Lake Superior, this is a huge body of water, a fresh-water ocean really, that averages something like 38 degrees Fahrenheit and this was early June so it was still reminiscing about the winter ice pack. When the wind comes across this frigid water it can create a bigger chill than your sweetie catching you smoochin’ an old flame*. Back in those days it was a 100% cotton wardrobe and I don’t recall having any kind of raincoat but if I did, it was completely ineffective. So there we were riding into a hellacious headwind, temps dropping I would guess into the 40’s, soaked to our cotton-clinging skin.

* I have no personal experience with this but have observed it...

Did I mention this was a camping trip? Being high school students, we didn’t have much capital leverage so had planned the trip around free camping spots along the route as we had on all the other trips we had taken. I’m pretty sure I had never stayed in a hotel without my folks so getting a room simply wasn’t within my reality.

But then neither was battling a frigid rainstorm, soaked to the skin. Grinding along the side of the highway was getting more miserable with each turn of the cranks so when a quaint little village of cabins with a vacancy sign out front came into view, no discussion or even eye contact was required. We simply rolled down the driveway towards that classic north woods lodge, parking our bikes on the porch out of the rain and headed inside.

What waited inside was as close to heaven as I have ever been. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee thick in the air. We were both so stiff with cold and chilled to the bone that putting one foot in front of the other took as much effort as we could muster. There was no one in the foyer when we arrived but soon a pretty young lady appeared behind the counter and as soon as she saw us got a huge grin on her face and announced that she had just brewed fresh hot coffee and asked if we would like some.

Before we could get the whole word ‘yes’ out of our mouths, she spun around and was gone only to return in a moment with two huge mugs of steaming hot coffee. We were both struck by her beauty and would likely have said yes even if she had offered us ice water but when I wrapped my numb fingers around that mug of java she became irrelevant.

I was keenly aware of my dislike of the taste of coffee so at that point I didn’t figure I would even drink any and since it was too hot to drink anyway, I just enjoyed getting the feeling back into my fingers and savoring the exquisite aroma. The longer I smelled the coffee, the more it called to me and when the thawing began heading up my arms, I decided it was time for a sip.

Expecting a wretched taste to flow over my lips, and hoping not to sear the flesh in my mouth, I gingerly took my first sip. At that exact moment I came to know that in fact the taste was somehow spectacularly better than the smell. As the warmth grew in my belly, warming me from the inside out, I knew my life had just changed.

We could have finished our coffee and headed back out as soon as it cleared and had expected to do just that after warming up and changing into dry clothes. Somehow the moment was just too perfect and when the young lady behind the counter saw our hesitation, offered us a small cabin that was in the middle of having some work done but if we didn’t mind we could have it at a discount. Oh, and she also offered us more coffee so that sealed the deal.

I never gave her another thought and don’t remember much about our stay or even the rest of the trip but knew that I had been smitten by a steaming hot love that would last a lifetime.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Not In The Mood


I have half dozen posts in the oven, 
some more baked than others, 
just haven't felt like working on them.
It's the economy
or perhaps the (I'm a) swine flu
It's sunny today and the bike is calling.
Unlike many other things,
it never disappoints.