Memorial Day Americana

Memorial Day Americana
Originally uploaded by chas.

The long Memorial Day weekend is coming to a close. Back to the work week tomorrow morning. Early.

I remember being in the high school marching band for the memorial day parade – long ago. I remember practically dying of heat stroke in that horrible band uniform. It couldn’t have been that hot, could it?

Not much around here today to note that this was a national holiday. I don’t think there was a parade. It rained again. A lot! So it seemed there just weren’t that many people out and about.

I did snag this picture of at my neighbors house though. The weather cleared this afternoon and it was a good time to get out on motorcycles – and bicycles. The juxtaposition of the flag and the Harley caught my eye though and thought I’d post it.

The guy that owns this bike is a veteran of the war in Iraq, a fireman and is battling cancer. If I were him, I’d be out on a bike too.

Final words for the day from Mark Twain.

Out of my routine

Daytona Beach

Not much in the way of cycling in the last week. My routine has been altered somewhat in the last week. I’ve taken a new job and started it on Monday. Gone is my short bicycle commute to work. In its place, a commute more like the rest of the working world that does the regular 30 minute slog by car.

The good news though is it stands to be a more interesting position so despite the longer commute, overall positive. The first order of business was to pack my bags for a meeting in Florida. Daytona to be exact.

As you can see from the picture here, my room for the week has a pretty nice beach front view. Not a bad office to start things off. Short lived of course.

For a city with as many big high rise condos/hotels, the streets seem amazingly free of people.

The wind has been howling here along the beach. In the morning’s the sand and seaspray covers the car to the point it’s hard to even get it off with the windshield wipers/spray.

Sure wish I could find a decent cup of coffee in this neighborhood.

Another motorist encounter

It seems like I’ve been reading way too many of these sorts of incidents of violence against cyclists recently. What’s going on? Short of taking up mountain biking instead of road riding, not sure what any of us can do to avoid crazy, evil people.

You don’t have to be a cyclist to be the object of crazy, evil people. You just have to be particularly vulnerable. Like the 91 year old guy in Detroit that was widely reported on and that got beat up and car-jacked while people stood around and watched.

ACA Armadillo Hill Country

I always like the Armadillo Ride. I can’t remember how many of them I’ve done over the years. Several. This year’s was blessed with some great weather and a nice showing of wildflowers. And, as usual, a really large turnout. Opted for the 61 miler, though my computer showed 62 when it was all said and done.

Things at the start seemed a little chaotic. The routine jam-up of cars trying to park and then a start that didn’t seem like it had any orchestration to it. Perhaps we just got over there too late and missed it. Though I preferred not having to wait anyway.

Rest stops were great. Lots of PBJ’s, animal crackers, fruit, and lots of other goodies. That stop at about 30 even had some sausage on the grill! Not bad. Though the sausage and dill pickle at that point might have been ill advised, they were tasty.

The back side of the 61 mile route was great. I think that area over by Oatmeal and southwest of Betram is the most scenic of the riding up in that area.

No surprise, things thinned out quite a bit toward the end of the ride. The picture of Kem here makes it look like we were the only ones out there. Just good picture timing I guess.

Two wildly divergent encounters

Lot’s of buzz today regarding that cyclist in Toronto that got assaulted. Made the top of Digg. I’m glad it was caught on video. Maybe that guy will get charged/convicted.

That kind of confrontation is something cyclists have almost come to expect. Over the years I’ve endured all manner of verbal abuse and other confrontations. A slap on the back from someone going by on a motorcycle, beer bottles thrown at me, drinks thrown, apples thrown, and even a steel pipe once. Thankfully none of these has connected. All scary though.

Then I see this story posted about a guy who assumed he was going to have the worst kind of encounter and found exactly the opposite. Quite a difference. Glad it turned out like that, but based on my experience, I would never assume or trust that it would.

Cafe Racer

Kem doing a little shopping on the Cafe Racer

The Breezer, which was wounded last week, has been repaired and is once again cruising the streets of the city, so we got out for a pretty good ride around town on Saturday. Kem decided to replace her Biria with the Bianchi Milano “Cafe Racer” you see pictured here. It’s a very cute little bike I think with its classic Bianchi paint job and she’s finding it more comfortable to ride than the Biria.

It was a nice change of pace from recent road bike rides and our afternoon ride turned into something of a wine tasting outing. We went by the Austin Wine Merchant early in the afternoon. They have great tastings on most Saturday afternoons. Then later we pulled into Vinosity near Kem’s place for a sandwich and their usual Saturday afternoon tasting. Not a bad way to while away the afternoon. And lest anyone wonder, no, our meager tastings we were not enough to lead to any BUI (‘biking’ under the influence).

Round the corner from Vinosity is Pasta & Co. where this picture was taken. We loaded up on fresh pasta & sauces for a dinner later that night we were planning with S & C. All in all, a fun afternoon of tooling around the city by bike.

Time In The Saddle

Brooks saddle

Just a little over a month till TOMRV. I think the ride may be pretty challenging. Been trying to log a bit more time in the saddle in prep. For a ride as long as this one, half the battle is just making sure you’re ready to sit on the saddle for 100 miles.

For years I’ve ridden the Specialized saddles that have the split down the middle. They’re pretty comfortable as far as such things go. Since the start of the new year though, I’ve been riding a Brooks saddle on my Waterford.

When you first get it, the thing is truly as hard as a piece of plywood. It even sounds like wood when you rap your knuckles on it. But as I’ve ridden it, I’ve found it does have some give to it. Just enough, and not too much. And now that I’ve been riding it for a few months, it’s beginning to conform a bit better to me. I can see the shape of it has changed a little. I can’t really say it’s any more comfortable than my Specialized saddles though. At least not at this point. My Trek still has a Specialized and I switch between bikes enough that I can say it just doesn’t make that much difference. When it comes to how it looks though, it’s a lot cooler looking on the classic lines of the Waterford than the Specialized could ever hope to be.

By the way, I would link you over to the Brooks web site, but it’s a horribly annoying site and breaks like half these rules.