Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break

The bad news is my spring break started with my furnace breaking, dead. The good news is I have tax refund money to pay for it, and there are heaps of rebates and tax credits around. The weather has been a huge help too. Despite not having heat for about 5 days now, our little space heater has kept the whole house comfortable.

New furnace will be installed tomorrow. Just in time for super nice weather.

Since it's suppose to be in the 70's with lows in the 50's, the kids and I are doing our first bike camping trip of the year Wed. We'll drive to Faribult and ride to Sakatah State Park, 13 miles each way. After camping for the night we'll ride back.

These pictures are from an 08 and an 09 trip to the same park. It's fun to look at them again. I notice that none of our rides will be the same. The bmx touring bike, Fuji and blue Aerostar will be replace with Harris' 24"wheel Caliente, Claire's 13" frame Trek 930 and my Long Haul Trucker. I'm planning to drive the Camry pulling the homemade bike utility trailer.

Harris and I have good pannier racks. I'm thinking of having Claire throw the seat post rack on and pull the "Nob" trailer. I thought we could load it with light bulky things. If it gets too hard, I can hook it to my bike. She thinks it will be fun to pull. More later.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Bike Shop People

My local bike shops wants my business, and I don't mind supporting them if they provide a valuable service.

However, way too often the bike shop guy is both arrogant and uninformed. About a month ago I watched Freewheel's Phil Wood hub expert clamp a vice grip on the hub and start prying on it with the thing that sits next to the jaws of life in a firefighters tool kit. This was after my friend told him it is not a serviceable hub. Some expert.

Today, I went to my local shop to pick up a tire for a 1975 Fuji I'm fixing up for a friend. I told him that I wanted a tire with a 597 iso. The owner of the shop adamantly told me that only Schwinn bikes came with this size. A Fuji could not have it. I explained that I was familiar with the S-6 of that same iso, but told him that the Fuji also had it. I shared that I found the catalog specs confirming the wheels and rim were original to the bike.

He insisted no bike other than Schwinn ever used this size. A quick check of Sheldon Brown proofed otherwise.

I don't care if bike shop workers know what they're talking about, I do, however, get annoyed when the fake knowledge with stupid gusto.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Family Ride of the Year

The crew loaded-up the bike trailer and headed to Lilydale Park. We were able to park in the usual lot just before the road turned into the Mississippi River at the St. Paul Yacht Club. From here we followed the river bluff to the Sibley House, The Mendota Bridge, Fort Snelling and the Minnehaha Falls.

I wore shorts for the first time, but was pushing it a bit. Temps were in the upper 40's to 50 degrees. We soaked in the river view from various vantage points and enjoyed the volume of water dropping at the falls.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Vernal Equinox

The Sun will rise above the equator for the first time in 6 months tomorrow morning. Bring on the heat.

The kids an I are planning to go for a bike ride to see the flooding Mississippi tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a great day.


Here's the text of an email I sent to some of my elected officials today:

As your constituent, I'm writing to tell you why I'm such a strong supporter of health reform.

I'm a teacher with a healthy family of four. We are paying over $20,000. a year in health car premium costs. In my plan I still have co-pays and could spend an additional $5,000 out of pocket.

Something is clearly & severely broken.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


As a boy growing up, I remember looking with envy at the speedometer on Les Stenerson's Schwinn Orange Krate. In my mind, the five-speed, stick-shifter and slick rear tire were cool, but the speedometer was the accessory that made the bike fast.

Today I put a Sette speedometer on Harris' bike. He gleefully shouted out ascending and descending numbers as we rode around the neighborhood.

Adding this to Harris' Caliente lets him have fun quantifying his rides. It should also help him pedal at a steady pace. He is a great rider, but bounces between about 5 and 14 mph when we ride together. I'm hoping that his speedometer will help him maintain a consistent rate.

Here's a picture of Claire holding his bike. Also, please note, Les Stenerson didn't have panniers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Raged by a Machine, Again

For the second time this week a road raged idiot went nuts screaming, swearing and flipping me off today. This guy, in a maroon Chevy Lumina, freaked, fumed and frothed because I rolled through a stop sign although I didn't interfere with him or any other drivers.

My kind smile and peace sign approach to his middle finger seemed to make him even angrier. He actually stopped twice in the middle of the road holding up traffic to rant.

This episode reminded me of a bumper sticker, shown above, observed on a car parked at the Shockspital. I think there's something it's approach.

I wonder why I haven't had issues all winter, then I do twice in the week that the snow melts off the road. Do these people have pent up anger from the winter, or are they afraid that the cyclist's will take over their roads. Maybe they feel they can stop bikers now if they're assertive enough?

I find it easier to deal with such people if I can see why they act the way they do. Other suggestions why people act this way?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bring on the Megafona!

Back in Nov. I decided it would be fun to try and make an atlatl, and posted this desire. Now several months later I have three atlatls completed. They are fairly crude experimental models that relied on the three bears approach to design. I made one too big, one too small and one just right, maybe. Claire and Harris worked on this project with me. Now we each have a new toy.

We made the darts and throwers out of dowels. We are having some issues with warping. The fletching feathers were glued on one at a time using thread to lash them in place until the glue set up. The kids found the turkey feathers which adds to the cool factor for them.

We learned that atlatl darts, like arrows, need to be spined properly for accurate flight. If you click on the black and white image at the bottom of the page, you'll see how the spine of the dart works.

The two smaller throwers have a hole that the dart fits into. The larger thrower has a pin that fits a hole in the back of the dart. I see ancient people used both techniques.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Some People

Riding home from work today, I was buzzed and shouted at by two young ignoramuses in a black Chevy pick-up, the idiot vehicle of choice. Last week, I saw a similar black truck purposely swerve over to hit a big puddle to soak a guy waiting for a bus. It may have been the same driver. Why don't Toyota or Honda drivers act this way?

Anyway, I see the offending truck pull into a bank ATM a couple of blocks ahead, so I catch up to them. I wheel over to politely asked them why they shouted. Not surprisingly I'm met with a litany of homophobic slurs and threats. Haters hate with limited imagination.

Seeing reason was beyond them, I jot down their license plate and called it in. The cop was very responsive and called me back after finding the driver. He let me know that this dimwitted duo will think twice before doing something similar again.

The cop cautioned me about riding up to such drivers. But, I think appropriate, sane engagement of such people will improve my lot on the streets.

A near prefect match of the offending vehicle.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Tonight's menu included salad with cilantro jalapeno dressing and an assortment of homemade pasta dishes, namely noodles tossed with butter and garlic, Italian sausage ravioli with our own Italian sausage blend along with spinach and fresh mozzarella ravioli. All were wonderful.

Friday, March 5, 2010

OK Go: Rube Goldberg Machine

This is from the same group who did the "4 Guys on a Treadmill" video. Creativity is cool! If you want your time back after watching it;I'll give it back. I recommend putting it in HD and watching full screen.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Artcrank 2010

I'm planning to go score another cool poster this year at Artcrank. Festivities are at Shelter Studios on April 10th.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Did the family taxes tonight with the help of Turbotax, audit risk low. I just planned to load the program, but then finish the job. The results are anice return from the Feds and a check to the state.

Baby needs a new furnace.