Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ride to Sandy Point

On Thursday, 4/25 - just because I can, being that I'm a retired guy nowadays - I took an afternoon ride up Lucky Peak way.  The riding was nice... the scenery likewise.






The Greenbelt is gloriously un-crowded on weekday afternoons, I'm discovering - at least until school is out.  In June, all bets may be off.  (It's never very crowded east of Eckert Road or thereabouts, however.)

The past couple (nice!) weekends have brought the amateurs out, adding their little slice of humanity.  I'm always quite amazed at how many seem to not realize that the Greenbelt is a transportation corridor.  They seem to be in their own little world, when they stop to chit-chat and block the entire width of the path, or walk 3 or 4 abreast.  (I guess people complain about the "riding abreast" thing with cyclists on the roadways... but even cyclists are astute enough not to stop in a traffic lane to chew the fat for awhile.)  I think I'll start doing road loops on the weekends, and just avoid the most crowded times... do my Greenbelt riding during the week.  (I highly recommend retirement, based on the experience so far.)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

New bicycle!

I took delivery of a new bicycle.  The first showroom-new bike I've had in 10 years.

A few weeks back I reported on the crack that developed in my Cannondale "daily rider" frame.  Cannondale honored their warranty and said they'd replace the frame, but they don't make any "rim brake" bikes any more, so an alternative they offered was a steep discount on any bike in the fleet.

I decided to get a "toy" bike, since I already have the Surly LHT which will be my "daily rider" going forward.  (In fact, I've put 500+ miles on it since March 15, the day I retired.)

I ordered a last-year's-model mountain bike - it's called the Trail 6.  As seen below:


On April 20, I took my last ride on the broken bike (which was creaking with enthusiasm!)… and rode home on the new beast.

The thing is huge!  (It looks normal-size, but it's a size XL frame, and those are "29" wheels.)  It's got a long wheelbase and rides pretty luxuriously.  Other things that are new to me - there are 2 crank rings - small and super-small.  And a wide-range cassette on the back.  The hydraulic disc brakes are pretty nice - and they make much more sense on a mountain bike where the wheels are much more likely to get covered with muck.

I don't intend to make many changes.  It's got my "dual" pedals (flat on one side, SPD on the other).  I put the Anatomica seat on it, and added a Cateye computer.  (The one that tells you how many calories you burn - haha! - and also how much carbon you're NOT creating by riding it.  I'm WAY more earth-friendly than any of those celebrity tree-huggers!)

I intend to use this bicycle later in the year to cross another pastime off the bucket list - I'll ride it over to Stack Rock.  And probably some other places, too... but I'll get a slow start because it's gorgeous and I don't want to sully it, at least right away.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

New & Improved Plantation Island

The pedestrian/bicycle bridge right behind Les Bois park (RIP) was removed a couple springtimes ago, after the "Snowmageddon" runoff threatened to wash it out and send it downstream.  (In retrospect, the foundations on both sides held, and it would've likely remained in place.)

Following a fundraising effort, the foundations were shored up this spring, the bridge was dropped back into place, and the asphalt for the half-mile or so across the island was replaced.  It's all been open again, for a couple weeks.

Probably 90% of the area population is oblivious - it didn't matter to them that the bridge was removed, or that it was replaced.  But for those of us who grew accustomed to using it for our transportation and recreation, it's awfully nice to have it back!  My sincere thanks to the generous people who donated to the project, and to the good folks at the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands, who made it happen.

(Photos are of the new asphalt and the reinstalled bridge.  And I had to include a family of wild turkeys that crossed my path, just on the other side.  It's a blessing to have such encounters.)





Sunday, March 24, 2019

Cannondale crack, cont.

Earlier in the month, I posted about the cracks I discovered in my Cannondale frame.  Here are a couple photos:


Much to their credit, Cannondale will make good on their lifetime frame warranty.  That's the good news.

The bad news?

There's really no forward-compatibility, from 2011 to 2019.  Pretty much every bike Cannondale makes nowadays, has disc brakes.  And - there may be other compatibility issues as well, between my 2011 components and a 2019 frame.  So - I have a choice.  They'll replace the frame but then I have to purchase any bits that are required in addition, to make it into a rider.  Or... they will give me a 30% discount on any new bicycle in the lineup.

I went in and took a look - and even a quick test ride - on a "Quick" model urban bicycle.  It's an upright-handlebar road bike, and this particular one had one chainring on front and a very wide-ratio 10-speed cassette on the back.  I liked it - a lot.  BUT - it would essentially duplicate the Long Haul Trucker bicycle which I anticipate riding far into the future.  So, I may look at a lower-end mountain bike for playing in the foothills and desert.  (I'm retired now, and that should afford more opportunity for recreational bicycling.)  I say lower-end, because the Cannondale lineup appears to start around $650 and goes well into five-figure stratosphere!  (Oh my goodness!)  I'll report on what shakes out.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Under New Management!

Why is this guy smiling?
























Duh - because he's RETIRED!

March 15 was my last day toiling for my daily bread - after 44 years of full-time employment, I've joined the vast army of fixed-income senior citizens!

I rode to work this morning, before daylight, same as always.  On the way, I was entertained by three characters who were sharing the infrastructure:
- a bearded, beanie-cap wearing hipster, shivering and weaving jauntily up the bike path - on an E-scooter.  (That guy will be paying Social Security, so I can collect Social Security!  Like I've been paying for 50 years.)
- a SUV motorist playing tortoise-and-hare with me for a few blocks, from stoplight to stoplight.  It's so very satisfying to watch 'em go zooming ahead with a furious roar and a cloud of street dust... then slam on the brakes at the red light...  as I mosey up slowly behind, arriving just as the light turns green.  Repeat... Repeat... (I know the light timing patterns after riding the route thousands of times before, and paying attention.)
- One final smart-phone zombie, lurching across the street as I arrived at the bike room.

The awesome people at Boise Cascade have been signing my paycheck for the past 24+ years.  What a great place it was to work!  And I've always appreciated the delicate irony that I attended high school two blocks away (Boise High), at the very time my last work home was rising mightily out of the ground.  I've got many wonderful friends there who I will miss dearly.  The work?  Not so much.

So - what now?

I told my office colleagues:
- Judge Judy and Wheel of Fortune – every day!
- Putter around, get in the wife’s way.
- Yell “Get off my lawn!!” at the neighbor kids.
- Keep the checkout line waiting while I count out the exact change.
- FOX NEWS!!

But seriously...

I've got work to do, at first.  Sprucin' up the homestead.  Probably until early summer.  It'll be pretty sweet NOT having a fixed agenda every day; I'm confident I'll stay occupied.

I expect my bicycle mileage to increase, rather than drop, even though I'm no longer commuting to work.  I've got a "retirement bike" that needs to have some meaningful miles put on it.

Hoping to do a Coeur d'Alene Trail run in late summer, shortly after Labor Day.  At a leisurely pace, because I've got no place to be, or schedule to keep.

Life is great!  Stay thirsty and busy, mis amigos.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Phone Zombie hazards

I was arriving at the office this morning.  (At 6:50am the sun isn't up yet, but there's light in the sky.)

Riding along a downtown street.  A gal stepped off the curb, directly into my path... middle of the block.  She didn't look in either direction, and her attention was totally focused on her handheld gizmo, which was lighting up her face.  She had the earbuds, with the white cord dangling down.

I did the right thing, and slowed down instead of plowing into her.  She noticed me at the very last second, but didn't really alter her trajectory, and when the crisis was over, she went back to whatever I had distracted her from.  (I'm sure it was VERY important, or she wouldn't have been so focused on it.)

Is it any wonder that Pedestrian Deaths Reach Highest Level In Decades?  (Story HERE.)

Gosh!  Ain't "smart phones" great?  How did we survive for thousands of years without 'em?  (And why was life worth living, before they came along?)

Monday, March 4, 2019

Another frame bites the dust

On Saturday, 3/2, I was doing a much-needed drivetrain scrub on my primary bicycle - a Cannondale - and noticed a pronounced crack around the very top of the seat post, above where it joins the top tube.

I've been riding this frame since the summer of 2012, and it probably has 30,000+ miles on it.  (And it was a warranty replacement for a frame that I'd only been riding for maybe 2.5 years, and far fewer miles, that had the early signs of a similar crack.)

When I was done with my maintenance, I went on a ride, and rode into George's Cycles on State Street.  (That's the shop where this frame was paired with my components, and I rode away.)  They took a look and acknowledged it should be covered by the warranty.  They took some photos and said they'd get the wheels in motion.  Last time, my recollection is that it cost me about $200, for the labor involved in swapping everything over to the new frame, and for a new front derailleur.  (There was a fitment issue between frames.)

I'll probably keep riding it until it fails, or until I get it replaced.  Because of the location of the crack, even if it "catastrophically" fails, it will only result in the saddle/seatpost rotating loosely around the inside the seat tube.  I won't be face-planting or leaving a trail of ground-off flesh or bone fragments along my route.

This is disappointing.  Up until the failure of the frame in 2012, I'd ridden Cannondale bicycles for probably 20 years without a hitch.  (I've still got my first Cannondale frame... I bought just the frame when I saw it in the back room of a long-gone local dealer, and outfitted it myself.  It's difficult to part with old bikes - they are like old friends.)  But - the reality is - bicycle manufacturers probably don't "overbuild" bicycles for Clydesdales like me.  You don't see a lot of 240-250 pound guys bicycling 5000-6000 miles per year.  I may not spend a lot of time standing on the pedals and giving it everything I've got, but even gentle forward-back, or side-to-side motion on that seatpost, over the course of 30,000 miles... bikes just aren't built for that kind of stress.