Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Recap

Commute Miles: 219
Errand Miles: 87
Recreation Miles: 23
Driving Days: 0
Full Bike-Only Commutes: 2
One-way bike-only commutes: 6
Bus-assisted commutes: 17

April: 329 Miles
2008: 993 miles

I decided it was time to fix my Trek 1200 myself today. Over lunch, I went to the City Market. This part of town is steeped in history. Near a river and railway port, merchants have been peddling their wares here for ages. These days, it's an urban hot-spot near lofts, with lots of shops and dining establishments. On the weekend, farmers come in and take it by storm. This is a great Farmer's Market.

Nearby, lots of old building are still in use.

I swung by River Market Cyclery to pick up some tools. I also found what I'm sure will be my next set of panniers, but I'll need to save up for them.

The Steamboat Arabia museum in the City Market. This gem of history doesn't get much acclaim what with the Liberty Memorial WWI Museum, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and various other attractions in KC. Do yourself a favor and pay this place a visit if you get a chance.

Chinese. Nom Nom Nom.

Framed by classical midwest architecture, the Federal Court House looks sleek, shiny and modern... and completely out of place.

More Spring.

I saw the Bike There/Walk There bus. Eric Captured the other side.

After I got home, it was time to dig into my spoke woes with my new tools. Looking at it (and some other spokes) it appears that my panniers have managed to sneak into my spokes a few times too many. Not sure any wheel would survive that. I have a plan, though.

I'm re-building the PVC tubes that used to hold my panniers out of the spokes. It looks like the Axiom ones I want won't be so bad, if I go for it.

Random Tunage:
Madonna - Frozen
808 State - In Yer Face

Feeling more like spring

I took Hybridzilla out this morning for ride all the way in to work. This is 'zilla's first ride downtown in several months. She offers a bit of a softer ride, but the more upright seating position combined with more weight on my upper body from wearing a backpack means that Mr. Perineum is not amused. It wasn't a bad ride. It just wasn't as comfy as The Twelve. I'm sure a proper frame rack and panniers would have made it much more enjoyable.

As far as speed goes, I maintain that Hybridzilla is not much slower than The Twelve, if at all. The Twelve is going to be more efficient for longer rides, and capable of sustaining higher speeds. The fact is, I don't often shoot for a personal best when I'm commuting. Given my usual moderate effort, the two bikes average about the same speed. My top speed today on 'Zilla? 41.1 MPH, and I wasn't spinning out. The upgraded rear cog (11t-24t) combined with an ample 28t/38t/48t chainring reduced the effectiveness of the granny gear by a bit, but gave a serious boost in top speed vs the OEM 14t small cog.

This morning, I held a solid average between 17.0 and 17.3 for almost my entire trip. Once I hit Nieman at 75th, my average slowly crept up to 17.3 until I started climbing up Merriam Lane to Antioch, where it had dropped to 16.9. A few hundred yards later, I was back at 17.0. My average volleyed like this, staying mostly at 17.1 until I started the slog-o-rama into Downtown KCMO. Then, I dropped off. Until this point, the average speed is about par for the course compared with The Twelve.

The slog was a different story. By this time, pain was starting to manifest itself no thanks to my increased cadence combined with the backpack's weight. Fortunately, this leg of my commute is pretty short.

Temperatures were a bit nippy this morning, in the high 40s. Just warm enough for a short sleeve shirt but not warm enough for uncovered knees. I did the goofy thermal pants under denim shorts thing. Supposedly, we're looking at 80°F this afternoon. My warm mocha was still welcome this morning, as Lorin, JR and I drank and discussed the lack of free WiFi in City Center Square.

Assuming winds aren't too bad, it should be a great ride all the way home, and tomorrow should also be pleasant. It's a good thing, too. I can ride in almost anything but I'm pretty sick of temperatures in the 30's in the morning.

I guess I'm not the only one who thought it was a nice day for a ride today. As usual, I was the only one who thought it was a nice day for a human-powered ride.

Random Tunage:
Garbage - Stupid Girl
Plumb - Cut (Bronleewe & Bose Radio Edit)

Have I mentioned how awesome Plumb is? Plumb was a group, but the name kind of got commandeered by their front woman (Tiffany Arbuckle) who now basically uses it as her solo moniker. Regardless, both Plumb's old incarnation and Tiffany's new work under the Plumb brand name is moving -- a fusion of alt-rock and electronic dance music, often with inspirational lyrics. Worth a listen if you haven't heard it before.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So nice this afternoon

As bitter cold as it got overnight, it sure turned out to be a great day. It felt like Mid-60's. I didn't even bother looking. I had to bus it back today, as I had some errands to run.

God Bless America. And Beef.

I sooo want to explore this thing one of these days (and yes, I'll be careful). It's right along my full commute route.

Noah Delivers food from Mickey's Irish Pub. Nom nom nom.

Grocery run. Gotta love the bananas bungeed to the rack.


Crikey! I think it's a hippy! They're not all this ugly, but they're usually harmless. (I'm not a hippy but I play one on the Internet.)

Random Tunage:
Real McCoy - Another Night
Nine Inch Nails - Sunspots

Ah. Bikeness.

I forgot to mention this last week, but I actually broke another spoke last Friday on my way home. Of course, it has to be a drive-side spoke. The Twelve is out of order for the time being. I am just gonna buy a real chain whip (unlike the 'rigged one I have) and a cassette locknut tool. I have a ton of spare spokes laying around from various 700c wheels I've destroyed, and my bike shop seems to do more harm than good when it comes to fixing wheels.

I got home in time to make it to my Monday Night ride last night. I rode Hybridzilla to Casa Paloma with a bunch of science equipment strapped down to the rack and in my backpack. It was a brisky 54°F at the beginning of the ride, and 48°F for the ride back home after chowing down a carne asada quesadilla. Much data was gathered on my ride. For those in the know, my "science equipment" was basically WarCycle 1.1, seeking out 802.11 with high-gain antennae and GPS goodness. If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry. You're not missing out on much. I'm just a nerd. Oddly, I didn't get any pictures worth sharing yesterday or this morning. I did forget to share this gem with you all in my last post:

I woke up to light frost and near-freezing temperatures. So much for spring. I made a quick jaunt to the bus stop. I may ride Hybridzilla all the way in tomorrow morning, but I don't think I'm riding home tonight.

Random Tunage:
Erlend Øye - The Black Keys Work
Lisa Loeb - Stay (Acoustic)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stranded in Springfield - Cows and a Bike

... not that kind of bike.

Some friends of my family live just outside of Springfield and offered to put my wife and I up for a night. My wife's been crocheting with Cindy, and I've been helping Ray install a cruise control module on his Vulcan 2000.

You know you're having fun when you need the electrical diagram.

Cows in Ray and Cindy's back yard.

Put back together (sans panniers)

Looks like I'll have a windshield around noon, so I should be back in KC this evening. Then, back to your regularly scheduled human-powered adventures.

Random Tunage:
Alphaville - Forever Young
Underworld - Juanita

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What a weekend...

My wife and I decided to take a little weekend vacation to hang out with some friends in Springfield, MO. Springfield's about 170 miles from home.

About 9 miles away from our destination, we saw a low-flying Canadian Goose cross the highway right in front of our car. It was an awesome sight to behold. What sucked was the fact that there was a goose following that one. Traveling at highway speeds, I couldn't avoid it.

Looks like no auto glass places are open today, either. So, I'm stranded in southwestern Missouri until tomorrow.

I still got into town and got to hang out with my friends. One thing I noticed was the pedicab service. There weren't many of them, but they were around.

We played video games at a retro-fantastic arcade, chowed down some sandwiches at Jimmy John's and knocked back a few beers while playing pool. We were just a few blocks from campus (where they are staying), but my hotel room was a mile away, so I didn't feel like making them drive. I snagged a pedicab!

Anyhow, I don't think I'll make the Commuter Convoy this Monday, either. We've all but given up on finding an auto glass place that's open today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Bike/Bus Day

I had to go to corporate HQ last night after work to pick up my corporate credit card. Something about some training seminars in San Francisco. Not until September. I think I might need to save up for a folding bike.

Anyhow, I saw this piece of abstract art while waiting in the lobby for my card. It didn't have a plaque, so I don't know who created it or what the name of the piece is, so I'm going to christen it "Balls To The Wall"

Storms approaching this morning, but it would have been yet another great ride because of a seriously insane tailwind. Alas, it's another bus day. I rode straight into 30+ MPH gusts AND up the Quivira viaduct. The sky was on fire when I left.

The sunrise quickly surrendered to a gloomy blanket of stormy cloud cover just a few minutes later.

People file onto the bus.

I somehow left my good headphones at home again today. I leave these crufty tin cans here just in case. They sound horrible, but worth every penny of the $6 I paid for them when compared to the horror of not having tunage at work.

Random Tunage:
Orbital - Halcyon & On & On
Bryan Adams - Heaven

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I just don't have it in me. Not yet. Two days, back to back. A mere 63 miles between them. That's all it takes to knock this wimp out. I crashed as soon as my wife left for work and was asleep well before 11PM. I woke up at 5:00 sharp. This might not sound like much, but to me, 6 hours of sleep is like going into a coma. I just don't usually need that much. I'm often awake till after midnight geeking out and/or talking to my wife while she's at work orchestrating the lockdown of campus.

Lo and behold, though, my coma was restful and much recovery was done, but I was still really tired and sore. The roads are soggy from the storms last night, but no significant rain was falling. By all calculations, this morning was probably the best morning of the week for me to ride in, with a stiff south wind and temps in the low 60s and upper 50s throughout the region. But, as I said, I just don't have it in me. I rode (oddly enough) into the wind and to the bus, racking up a massive 2.5 miles this morning. But I took it easy and now my legs actually feel better than they did when I woke up.

This completely vacant building at 11th and Baltimore makes me sad. The lower level has the remnants of several interesting shops (two pizzerias, a japanese restaurant, optometrist among other things) and there are tens of thousands of square feet of floor space, all neatly stacked in an interesting looking piece of downtown KCMO architecture. Sure, it may be as drab and faceless as the building I occupy, but when it's sitting in the heart of the city doing nothing but rotting, it kind of breaks my heart.

Barely more than one city block away sits the Lyric Opera House -- an unwavering central figure of culture that's somehow survived the ebbs and flows of blight downtown. It's likely as busy as ever with the recent gentrification of the area.

Random Tunage:
Lisa Loeb - I Do
Orbital - Dŵr Budr

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Morning Photos. Evening Storm Racing.

This morning's commute in photos

Jon! Look! I got Megan's Fortune at lunch today!

With an isolated cell making its way toward downtown and a more powerful storm looming to the west, I decided hammering it on the way home would be a good idea. Ed might like to chase Kansas City Weather on occasion. I'd rather race the storms, if you will. But only if the odds are somewhat stacked in my favor. I'm zealous, not retarded.

Karen and I did encounter some rain, but mostly just sprinkles and wet pavement.

Random Tunage:
Pacific Link - Once Upon A Time
Dave Matthews Band - Crash

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