Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thoughts on snow road biking

I posted that photo yesterday of riding my bike in the snow. You know what? Aside from the initial part of getting moving, riding my 25mm road tires (in my case, Bontrager hard-case) really wasn't too bad at all, in fact, it didn't feel much different than the Baxter's OEM Vittoria Randonneur tires.

I know the folks on told me years ago that a road bike does just fine in light snow, but I never really put it to the test. Last night, nothing had really frozen yet and it was a genuinely pleasant ride. That's a good thing, I suppose, because my mountain bike needs a LOT of work to be road-worthy again.


My wife and I had a great time at the JCBC Banquet last night. The food was good, the company was excellent, and it was cool to catch up with so many cyclists I've met over the last 3+ years. Voting in new officers, recollection of the past year of events and bloopers, and some raffle winnage. My wife landed us a gift card for a local restaurant and I won a random bottle of wine that happened to have a bicycle on its label. Not unlike the labels of these tasty New Belgium Fat Tires. Photo snipe: the 'Dude in his natural habitat.

Even though it was snowing lightly, I decided I'd be clever and ride my bike to and from the banquet. After all, cDude and I were going to be talking about year-round riding for transportation. It'd only be right. Never mind the fact that even WITH my choice to take the long, back way to the banquet, I only rode a grand total of 6 miles in the snow yesterday round trip.

Thanks to everyone who showed up, didn't fall asleep during our talk, and brought interesting questions for us to answer! It was good to see you all! Maybe I'll make it out to more recreation rides in 2010.

Also: Last night, Tim, c'Dude and myself were talking about doing another S24O Bike Camping adventure at Hillsdale this spring. I think we'll probably do two group S240's this year. We lucked out doing one in August. I'm thinking May/June and September.

Random Tunage:
Dynamix II - Machine Language
Fischer Spooner - Emerge

Sunday, February 07, 2010

JCBC Banquet - Feb. 20, 2010

The annual JCBC banquet will be held at 75 Cafe in Shawnee. It starts at 6:30PM on Saturday, Feb. 20th.

Last month, The Johnson County Bicycle Club asked me to speak about bicycle commuting and utility cycling at the banquet. I took them up on it, but given that commuterDude is the one whose site provided me with the inspiration to jump straight into all-season bicycling just a few months after riding my bike for the first time in about a decade, I wanted to drag him along for the fun. Seriously, I know of none more qualified to talk about this stuff than him.

So, if you're a member of JCBC, come on out and enjoy some good food and good discussion with your bicycling friends. The banquet should be a good time. I expect there to be some Q&A time as well.

Update: Link to more info (PDF)

Friday, February 05, 2010


At a recent interview, I saw Schnake's bike. I'd bet he had a fun ride home in the snow!

I instantly recognized his rig. I met John on the first night-ride I went on with the Dark-Side-Rides crew, back in '07. His bike is a specialized hard-rock (I think?) equipped with drop bars, fenders, a rack. I thought he was running an internal gear hub, but this looks like a 1x8 or 1x9 setup. Notice the twist-grip shifter. He fabricated a custom mount for the bar-end. It's kind of a slick setup for a commuter.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Drive-through Woes?

Every once in a while, I get some kind of attitude for trying to get through a drive-through on my bicycle. Some places have a policy against serving pedestrians (walk-up customers) and to this day I still can't figure out why that is.

It's been a while, but it's usually places that close their lobby yet keep their drive-through open late. Certain pharmacies, banks, and fast-food places included.

I ran across this gem on QDB, a database of humorous (and not always work-safe) Internet chat quotes and logs.

[+MooG] my friend and his mates made up a big cardboard car out of a fridge box once
[+MooG] and went through the drivethrough
[+MooG] they even had one being the "radio", beatboxing
[+Formalhaut] McDonalds don't serve us when we walk through but BK do. More business for them, even if it is drunkards
[+MooG] and they did mime actions for the window winding and everything
[+MooG] wish i'd filmed it

And all this time I just try making motorcycle sounds to break the ice.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Strange day.

It's unusual to have a morning commute by daylight this time of year, for me, but I loved it.

I geared up the bike with my stainless steel press pot, panniers, water bottle, and some lights for the return trip home, which was probably going to be around 6:00 PM, just as it's getting dark.

I arrived to the office a little before 8:30 AM, and talked to my boss. He went over a few procedural things, and then I sat through the 9:00 AM wednesday meeting, where the team has an interesting ritual: they discuss their health goals, then status updates. Health goals for any one employee might be:
* Limiting fast food
* Drinking a certain amount of water at work daily
* Hitting the gym a certain number of times per week

I told them my goal is to never, ever drive to work. They were fascinated by my bicycle, and in awe of my low number of "drive to work" days in the last 3 years.

After the meeting, I got the tour, and then the official offer letter, handbook, tax forms and whatnot. But it was time for lunch. I rode my bike back home to have lunch with my wife. It's nice being able to do that. Upon my arrival back to the office, I declined the job offer.

One good thing, though: I didn't burn any bridges. The company asked me if I was available to do contract work, and they may ask for my help in the future, for one-off things as they relate to information security.

It's probably a great company, but I can't see myself lasting very long there. I most certainly didn't feel like leading them on, and ditching them a few weeks or months down the road, just to have a paycheck RIGHT NOW. It wouldn't be fair to them, nor to me. Sometimes you've just got to go with your gut, and I was getting an unsettling vibe.

I don't want to get into any further details, and I won't discuss it in the comments, either. I have a plan, though, and I won't be jobless for very long.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Vacation Is Over.

It's been a fun run of things, but I guess it's time to throw the panniers back on the bike and start riding to work again.

I start at 8:30 AM tomorrow, which means I'm sleeping in. On top of average system administrator duties, I'll be spearheading the PCI compliance effort for a small company that's pretty close to home. They've been around in one form or another (under various company names) for quite a while. In fact, the guy who we got our cat Dora from used to work for them, ages ago. I may or may not be joined by another friend of mine who got a job offer from them this week as well.

The company already knows from my interview that I bike it year round. I'll show up on my trusty Twelve tomorrow and see what they make of it.

3 weeks of downtime has given me a chance to recharge and re-build my passion for security, technology, and tinkering. It's also a pretty short vacation for this economy. I have a few friends who are six months down.

It's also worth noting that the hammer dropped pretty hard at my old gig, with an estimated 7% layoff over the course of this week. Hopefully, that's the last hurrah after quietly booting employees one-by-one over the last few months.

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