Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Cute Break

Mechanical work related to preparing for the Black Fly Challenge, several night time meetings, doing the Black Fly Challenge, and tiling my kitchen and dining room floor have taken a bite out of the time I would normally spend writing about those activities. I was however, able to catch this video yesterday of a mother and baby chipmunk. Until I'm able to take some time to write up all of those things, enjoy this:


Brewing Journal: Batch 1 Photo

That was it. Northern Brewer American Wheat- extract kit. This photo was not adjusted for color and was taken in natural daylight.  I hope to get the same kinds of pictures for other batches so I can keep some comparison of color going from batch to batch. 


Brewing Journal Batch #1 last entry, Batch #2 Entry #6

6/5/2010  Batch #1 is gone. It carbonated well at 30 pounds at basement temperature. Flavor got a little drier as it matured- I gave away a fair amount of this batch to friends and family and reviews were positive, though some thought it lacked "bite." Guess I'll need to make an IPA soon. 

6/6/2010 Batch #2 is in the keg. Final gravity was 1.011. 1.045-1.011 X 135 = 4.32 % ABV. Hydrometer sample tasted good, like beer, no off flavors that I could detect. Batch 2 had a five week fermentation in a single vessel, no "bright tank" treatment. I am not going to try to naturally carbonate this one, so it is resting in the cellar at 30 pounds of pressure. 


Riding the Doughnut

Ever wondered how to turn a self deprecating story of your own incompetence into an uplifting tale of ingenuity and triumph?  Read on.

I was riding the Scattante home a few days ago when I noticed that the slight wobble in the rear wheel (yes, the wheel I rebuilt a little over a month ago) had become quite a bit more than slight.  I could hear it rubbing on the worn-out brake pads and could even feel it a little bit as I pedaled.  "That's it," I thought. "The Black Fly is coming up in less than two weeks and I need to start doing all of the maintenance I can to this thing."

I headed straight into the basement. Still in my cycling clothes, I pulled the tire and chucked the wheel into the truing stand. It was way, way out of whack. I had put so much tension into one part of the wheel in an attempt to straighten the crash damage from last year that the whole thing was starting to potato-chip in the opposite direction. "OK." I thought. "I'll just de-tension the whole thing and start again."

As I worked my way around the wheel, loosening spokes, I heard a crack, then another, and another. A closer examination of the rim revealed that it was cracking apart. Thinned by the relentless abrasion of the worn out brake pads (including the steel pad retainer clips that had become exposed), the now-machined rims had been thinned down to nothing in a number of places. This rim was trash.

I ran upstairs to the computer and ordered a pair of new rims and the spokes to rebuild both wheels. Then I ran back downstairs to finish disassembling the wheel. With that complete, I hung what was left of the Scattante on a hook and brought up my Trek fixie for the next day's commute.

On the way home from that commute, it dawned on me that I had announced to my fellow riders that this coming Sunday we would do a training ride on 40ish miles of dirt road somewhere to get ready for the Blackfly. I mentally cataloged the bikes in the basement. Folder (too small, completely disassembled), Mountain Bike (single speed, geared way to low for that long of a ride), Fixie (no clearance even if I could find a pair of cross tires by Sunday), Good road bike (sacrilege! nice pavement only!) Wife's road bike, wife's cross bike (fat chance- she's seen what I do to my bikes.).

Down in the basement again, the inner mad scientist took over. Off went the rear wheel from the single speed mountain bike. Off with its tire, too. Off with the single cog and spacers. On with the 9 speed cassette from the dead wheel. Oops, the hub from the single was only wide enough for 8.  I picked a cog that looked like I wouldn't need it for the next couple of days and left it out.

I always wondered why I kept those 26X1.25" slicks from my first fixie.  I threw one on the rim. Finally, I removed the brake pads from the rear brake.  I've been using the front brake exclusively for weeks now anyway.

And there you have it. The eight speed, knobby 700X52 front /slick 26X1.25 rear, one-brake solution to what happens when things fall apart a few days before go time. I'm glad it happened this week instead of next week, anyway.

Now, to come up with a route for Sunday's ride...


In Regards to BP

Like everyone, I've been thinking a lot about the BP spill and listening to the news as attempt after attempt to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico fails. Lots of blame and rhetoric and boycott emails floating around the internet have found their way to me as well.

To me, it isn't about blaming BP or anybody else.  It;s about the  level of risk we as consumers are willing to accept in exchange for a given price at the pump. So my question for everybody is, what's your personal sliding scale?  How much more would you be willing to pay for fuel if it significantly reduced the risk of an an environmental disaster this large from happening?

Would you pay twice as much at the pump in exchange for half the risk? More? If the risk of such a disaster was reduced by 75%, would you accept a price for gasoline that caused you to have to fundamentally change your lifestyle? Would you accept having to move closer to where you work, would you deign to ride public transit? Would you accept additional residential density and maybe even a mix of commercial uses in your neighborhood, if it meant a world where we didn't have to drive every day? Would you accept a world where more of the stuff you use had to come from closer to where you live, where food was more expensive and certain foods were only seasonally available?

I'm not sure what my cost/risk calculus is yet, but pointing the finger at BP or big oil of the federal Mineral management Service or whomever is foolish.  We all did this.  We have accepted a world where gas is cheap and the risk of environmental catastrophe is high enough to allow this to happen.


More Passings

More Passings

Bright sun finds me circling restless parkinglot: a bicycle bound in, waiting and an argument, wrenching and cold. A return to home, promise, I'll write. I'll find. Then down the road again, sun and sunset and dark. Shifting in my seat. That's what it's all been, since consciousness. Sleep in crisp sheets, morning, salt and burning driftwood, a walking conversation and then restless again, explosive until away. An old Smithsonian reads the photographic habits of Ginsberg, Corso, "Orlovsky held the camera." Last anthology, Cosmic Greetings, still on my nightstand, lines from hum Bomb crossed out from the night we got booed off stage, tried to tell them something. Why so restless? Why not happy to provide home, good food, knowable tomorrows to those surrounding?

On the bicycle again at dawn. Capecod rolls away, first the road then the path- still morning fog, more driftwood salt/smoke. To Marconi. To the end of everything, another place where signals were once cast.  There's no stairs to the beach, the storms were too good this winter. The showers'r closed, too. Another empty, silent parkinglot and then away again.  Back with people.

Clack! is the sound thick plastic sunglasses echo when they hit the tile at the National Seashore bathroom floor, another tourist swings the door, and the sound is consciousness-raising, these words begin to assemble. Last week a snapping turtle on the side of the road at morning, aiming to cross the rush hour lanes looked up at me with black eyes, what can I do? The hum of cars that donoteverstop is the roar of all cold and uncaring in the world today. Down to the sea and the cold clarity is there, the energy, the ions, whatever. A seal watches. In the town where I work, Orlovsky dies, just a hundred feet from my workaday ride.

Same spot as the snapper but Tuesday morning, a bullfrog in a rush hour rainstorm, looking up, aimed across the lanes. What can I do, I'm late. Downshift and pedal, hope. Dress nice, move paper, be restless. Dream, but don't let it be just that. Shape something else real besides the tomorrow that is evident and the one after that.  

Wednesday there's a little blood and grease where the frog was.