About bikes, bicycles, velocipedes, good food, good friends, and realizing your hometown is practically Atlantis.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What's this strange sensation...?

The mercury topped off today at a positively balmy apex of 25 degrees. And considering that was 30 degrees warmer than when I was last on the bike, I decided it was a moral imperative to get out and pedal like fuck.

I headed to LBS #1 to pick up the shoes that were given to me last weekend (Kickass, Johnny Sprockets. Here's a tip o' the hat to ye), then I headed south to Cycle Smithy, where I needed to discover all the arcane methods of Brooks saddle tightening; then I jaunted over to REI, where I really didn't need ANYTHING, but figured would be as good a destination as any; then I headed back north, where the "thunking" upon front brake application threatened to drive me insane. So, with a final stop at Uptown Bikes, it was diagnosis: street filth in rim. After a gentle sanding, the nonsense was no more, and it was happy trails (except for the dozing asshole drivers on Broadway) all the way home.

So with the above gauntlet being run, I scored a decent 15 miles for the day. Hardly epic, but more than I've done all at once since being back from New Orleans. And you know what? I'm feeling strangely fine... :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wow. It's been a while

First post of the new year. Far out. So far, I'm finding 2009 highly overrated. ;-)

But I managed to get back to New Orleans for the holidays, suffering with a WICKED sprained ankle; in fact, it got so bad that I had to hunt down a doc the day after Christmas and get the jive sorted out. It was a BAD sprain.

That night, I was riding to meet a buddy!

Mom got me 2 700x 28 Vittoria Randonneur tires, ably mounted to the wheels of my Bridgestone 500. Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit to get out and ride; compounding the mania was the fact that the southern weather was largely in the 70's during the vacation, and NO's lunar-surface streets were wonderfully bereft of the gritty asshole filth and ice that characterize Chicago's mean winter streets.

And it was a holiday of bikey gifts. I gave Mom a sprung Brooks saddle, and sis got a Planet Bike blinky light set. Mom a near-mint '83 Trek 620 and the saddle was TOTAL CLASS on her steed. I really think she dug it. And one day we made off to the newest shared-use lane in the city and had a killer 20+ mile jaunt in the balmy climes.

Holy Christ, do I miss it there.

I'm thinking my best laid plans to make it to Portland as a resident may be on hold. I realize how much I love having my family and best friends in arm's reach, and Oregon is starting to feel a bit too remote for my liking. So my choices for (hopefully SOON) relocation are New Orleans(again...), Austin(again...)....and well, okay, Portland...If it promises not to snow anymore EVER!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I think this just about sums it up...

'Cause words kinda escape me at the moment...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The day started well enough: mild winds (especially for winter!) and beautifully-cleared roads on which to do my two-wheeled thing. I should've figured that was too good to be true...

Jumpin' Jehovah! I could've used some Nokians today, for the sky delivered an unholy blast of snow on Chicago. It began around midday, and continues to come down relentlessly. and all I can hear now are the sirens outside, coupled with the awful slushing-crunching sounds of all te cars driving in the snow. Blarg.

And for the first time in three winters, I actually had to get a co-worker to DRIVE me home. I feel a little dirty. I walked about half a mile from the grocery store to my apartment, and I managed to fall on my ass twice.

Any wonder why I keep dreaming, night after night, that I have moved somewhere else?

So, it's either some Nokians, or maybe I can rent out the Heat Miser's services for a spell. Or is it the Cold Miser?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Testing ye olde car-free resolve

Helluva day to start a car-free life. Not that I would've opted to drive today, but I found it kinda funny that today delivered low double-digit temps, coupled with soulkilling, gusty 30 mph winds. And I didn't have the option of driving at all. THAT felt great!

I worked from home, but had to run a few errands; and luckily, I am armed with some damn proper cold-weather armor. But what's ultimately daunting is the ice on the streets. The city's bold "do-nothing" initiative leaves the streets as slick as the Valdez spill. But I just rode slow n' easy, and managed to kept upright despite the asshole slickery and the unholy gustage.

And tomorrow, full-on winter hellishness is predicted. Good times. Nothing like riding home after work in both rush hour and nigh-blizzard conditions. I can't go home for Christmas soon enough!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

So it is done

No, I didn't find a job out of the hostile tundra. But I have throttled over a significant hurdle that has been haunting me for far too long: Today I sold my car.

I got a 2000 Civic when I lived in Austin, and have dragged it around mindlessly to every place I've lived since. What with cycling everywhere in Chicago, it became a real impediment to well-being, considering it just sat around for months on end, accruing tickets and got towed thrice on suspicion of being abandoned.

But today, that all changed. it's GONE. And I only had to whack $400 of my asking price. I feel like celebrating, but the car's only been of peripheral concern to me for the last couple of years; maybe the best course of action is just to act like nothing happened.

Then go score some Lebanese food.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Battered by ice!

Also, from riding in the abominable conditions over the last week, I've eaten a fair deal of shit on the bike. The nearly-invisible ice has had its way with me. Bastard. So I've landed on both right and left sides, and right now I feel like I've done 10 rounds with an amphetamine-fed Mike Tyson. I just looked at my right elbow (the latest victim of the cruel slickery), and it has a sweeet abrasion scab on it.

If I keep this up, by the end of Winter I'm gonna look like Jake Lamotta circa Raging Bull. Only in living, loving Technicolor.

Oof. WIDE load

I have battled fatassery all my life. I was basically raised a veal; I never had friends in my immediate neighborhood, meaning no outdoorsy physical outlet, and my typical pursuits were reading and drawing. I tried my hand at both soccer and softball, and was less-than-marginally happy with both. In fact, my soccer team never won a game during our first season. This was the modus operandi until about age 14. Then I discovered broads (chicks).

Guess what facilitated getting around Baton Rouge oh-so-clandestinely in a usually-futile attempt to woo girls? MY BIKE. Yessir. And nothing fed my ego than when a comely lass would exclaim, "you rode 4 miles to see me?" Hee hee. So after several years of merely riding around the neighborhood to score Now n' Laters, I realized this 2-wheeled sucker was capable of getting me to the most remote quarters of Louisiana's capitol.

But despite all the riding I did (and still do), I remained a baby gorilla. But my diet was utter shit, and I eventually gave up the bike for a misguided life in debaucherous rock n' roll. I didn't own a car until I was 25, but I was suitably impressed by my stoner friends' Camaros, Trans Ams, and the occasional classic Mustang.

But what was most impressive was that most of these folks' parents would cook up this absurdly-huge meal when I'd visit that would ALMOST satiate our weed-bred rapacity!

Fast-forward 20 years. Me. Now. In Chicago. I ride TONS. Gave up the Rock. And my diet got waylaid by the wonders of ethnic foods I had never tried before living in New Orleans. Couple the indulgence of gastronomic wonders with absolute K.R.A.P. conditions outside (greatly hindering my ability to ride my proverbial ass off), then you arrive at some bold new girth. I've actually had to take up doing a mild circuit of weight-training in my apartment to fend off the bloat; so far, the results are inconclusive.

Shit. Long story short: I gotta GO. Living in these harsh, wintry conditions play havoc on my mind and constitution. These days, it takes every bit of wherewithal to even head outside and take the wee-est O' spins. Grr. I'm still eyeing milder locales for relocation, but so far, jobs have been far and few between. And I desperately need to live somewhere where I can be outside, year-round (without the fear of the weather killing me!), so I can shed some of this excess girth. Jolly Giant, I ain't (or don't want to be!).

Enough. No more negativity. I'm gonna let my veggie chicken nuggets dissolve (so far, wreaking curious havoc on my G.I tract), then it'll be time to recline and read a book about New Orleans. Should be a good night. ;-)

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