My LHT has been in the shop for some maintenance.  It was ready to pick up after work today.  How do I do that without driving?  I walked to the bike shop from work.  That means I left a bike at work for now.

The difference in what you see in cycling versus driving is huge.  There is a similar change when slowing down even more and being a pedestrian.

Walking means that one-way streets can be ignored.  Traffic is only an issue at intersections.  Stopping to take pictures won’t get you hit.  The graffiti on the right was interesting.  The “artist” must be a fan of this.

I’m not ready to start walking to work.  It would take an hour each way.  Part of the reason for the move into town was to make bicycling everywhere feasible.  I’d have to move to a smaller town, or have a lot more free time to walk everywhere.

Ben Sollee will be performing at the Kentucky Center tomorrow night.  He’s a cyclist and transportation advocate in addition to a musician.  There will be a ride right after the show (8:45?, 9:00?) around downtown.  I’ll be there.

Weekend Fun

Updated Bike
Updated Bike
I rode the single-speed over 60 miles for the weekend.  I think it’s making my legs stronger, but the process is a bit painful.

I’ve tried to keep the bike simple, but my utilitarian nature required me to outfit the bike with lights, bell, saddlebag, water bottle, computer, and a clip for papers or cue sheets.

I dropped my LHT off at On Your Left Cycles for some maintenance.  I hung out at Vic’s Classic Bikes for a while.  There was some talk about starting a bike co-op.

While working in the back yard, I came across a rather scary looking spider.  I don’t know enough about spiders to identify it.  Does anyone out there know what it is?

What kind of spider?

I hosted the Saturday morning RCCS ride, but only had one other rider show up.  We still had a good time.  I’m hosting another this coming Saturday.  Come if you can.

Poor Turnout

Later in the day, Tim and I met up for a ride and some food and drink.  Two lugged-steel single speed bikes next to each other was quite a sight.

Single Speeds

Sunday morning, Vic has a ride from his shop.  I joined him, his son, and two others for the morning ride.  Tim joined later, this time on his Bleriot.  So we had six lugged-steel bikes with Brooks saddles riding together.

Sunday evening did not go well for me.  I had to rush to work and help with an issue.  I was there until 11:30 at night, and it left me quite tired.  I’m still traveling only by bike, but it was really hard to get out of bed this morning.

I commuted to work last night and today on the single-speed.  That requires wearing a backpack, but my LHT is still in the shop.  I could ride the recumbent, but the single-speed is just too much fun.

City Commuting

My short commute

Life has changed quite a bit since moving into town earlier this month.  I do ride to work and back every day.  I don’t ever see myself paying to park at work again.

I miss having a rural ride just minutes from my house.  A rural ride will require more planning.

Riding in town (at least inside the 264 loop) is much more bike-friendly than in the ‘burbs.  There is the occasional nitwit, but they are rare.

Today was my longest commute day.  I had to go to the drugstore after work, which added about nine miles to my normal commute.  I intentionally chose a drug store a distance away, but still inside the 264 loop.  I was dismayed to discover that there was nowhere to lock a bike at the drugstore, nor did it have a drive-through.  So, I walked my bike right inside.  I had no issues.  I rode to the local Kroger the other day.  They had a bike rack.  I did see another cyclist take his bike inside.  He wasn’t asked to leave.

One of my co-workers who sometimes bike-commutes, will meet me at my house in the morning.  We’ll take a different route than she is used to.  Her commute is only about 5-miles one-way, but that’s longer than mine.  🙂  I’m hoping to show that riding everyday is very possible at that distance.

I now have an old British police whistle dangling around my neck when riding.  That thing is loud.  I haven’t used it in anger yet, but it’s nice to have handy.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with where I live.  It’s nice to be part of a community where I actually know people.  It’s weird that I was so isolated from everyone in the smaller town I used to live in.  Maybe it’s just me.

World Car-Free Day

Okay, today is world car-free day.  The funny thing is, I almost drove to work.  I actually considered driving the 3.5 miles and paying $8.75 to park because I wasn’t feeling well.

I rode my bike because I can ride 3.5 miles even when half-dead.  If I still lived 16.5 miles from work, I would have driven, or stayed home.

Still Gaining Weight

I haven’t updated my daily weigh-in page in a while.  I haven’t been on a scale in a while.  My pants are getting tighter.  I’m eating too much and feeling frustrated with myself.

Single Speed

It’s been hinted about.  It’s been planned.  Now it’s here.

Yesterday, I went and picked up my latest bicycle.  It’s a 1980s-era Raleigh frame and a mix of old and new parts.  It is my first single-speed bike, and my first minimalist bike.  I don’t intend to add a rack or fenders.

Vic’s Classic Bikes built this one for me.  I need to ride it for a while to see if the current gear ratio is where it needs to be.  I hope to ride the Harvest Homecoming ride on this bike, even if it means walking up the hills.

This bike is not set up as a fixed-gear.  It does have a flip-flop hub, but I’m not planning on riding fixed.

Saint Louis

After one full week of riding my bike to work, I got sent to Saint Louis for a conference.  It’s too far to bike, and too close to fly, so I drove.

I did bring a bike with me, and took one evening to ride and sight-see.

My route is approximately here:

Download file: 2010-09-14.gpx

My actual mileage was about 29, as I took a couple of wrong turns and back-tracked some.

The first part of the ride was the Riverfront Trail.  It heads north from downtown through ugly industrial areas.  Also mixed in here was  a homeless tent-city known as Hopeville.

I’m assuming this was salt storage, but it could be something worse.

I have no idea what this stuff is, but I hope that runoff from it isn’t a problem.

There was a neat church in the distance, beyond the trainyard and industrial areas.

Here is some graffiti that I can agree with.

Sinkholes on the bike path?

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.  Route 66 used to go over this bridge.  Now it a pedestrian/bike bridge.

Looking back toward downtown from the bridge.  I was using a zoom lens.

Once I got over to the Illinois side of the river, I rode some low-traffic roads before finding another bike path heading south.

This bike path went under most streets, so there was no need to cross them.

Once the bike path came to an end, I had two options, ride on Highway 3, or cut through an industrial park.  I chose the industrial park.

I don’t have pictures, but at the end of the industrial park, I was forced to ride on Highway 3.  It was not bike-friendly.  I took it a short distance to the McKinley Bridge.  The bridge has a ped/bike lane on the south side, but I was on the north side, heading west.  I didn’t see how to approach the bridge from the other side, so I just took the lane until reaching the spot where the bridge widens.  I then crossed over the barriers to the not-yet-open ped/bike path on the north side.  The picture below is the end of the north-side bike/ped lane.  I then crossed both traffic lanes to get to the other side, and take a dedicated path back down to the Riverfront Trail.

It was nice to be able to get some riding in while visiting a different city.  Riding in Saint Louis is much different than in Louisville.  I did spend some time on roads on both sides of the river and had no trouble with drivers.  The roads aren’t necessarily done well for cycling, and many of the bike paths don’t fully connect with one another.  Also, they are parks, and close at night, which makes them unsuitable for transportation.

One Year of Marriage, From 1500 Feet

Today my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary.  Time flies when you are having fun, or when your spouse is gone a lot.  🙂

We went for a ride in an open-cockpit biplane to celebrate.  She’s been around planes her whole life, but never flown in a biplane.  I love flying, but haven’t spent as much time around aircraft.

We did stop for lunch after the flight, but the day was pretty low-key after that.


Settling In
Kristy and I are settled into our new home.  I’m enjoying the “almost car-free” lifestyle, except when I have to drive back to Charlestown to get things from the old house, or go somewhere with Kristy, or drive to another city for work (Saint Louis next week).

Bike Mileage
My bike mileage has taken a nosedive.  I’ve been busy enough on the weekends that I haven’t had any long rides.  My new commute can be less than seven miles round-trip.  I can go a longer route, but I seldom do.

Simple Living
I’ve wanted a simpler life for a while.  What does that mean?  For me, I want to eliminate clutter.  Get rid of items I don’t use.  That’s easier said than done.  I have a truck and a house that I owe money on, and really don’t need either, although Kristy would hurt me if I got rid of the truck.  🙂

I have eliminated a lot of old bike parts.  I sold two wheelsets and my unicycle on craigslist.  Other stuff went into the trash.

I’ve eliminated unused computer equipment.  There are still five laptops for two individuals (although one is work-owned).  Each of them has a purpose.

Both Kristy and I own things that are either sentimental, valuable, or were valuable, but are no longer used.  These are the hardest to get rid of.  I have old but expensive software packages.  I haven’t been able to let go of them yet.  Kristy has a lot of clothing that she paid good money for, and rarely (if ever) wore.  Most of it fits, she just didn’t like it as much as she thought she would.

Going Backward?
I still have things that I want to buy.  I’m in the process of having bike #4 built.  Although each bike is completely different and serves a different purpose, it does seem a bit much.  If I insist on having a bike for each type of riding, I can easily see myself with 6+ bikes.  I still like gadgets.  I want an MP3 player.  I want an ebook reader.  I really don’t need these things though.

These are the bikes I have, or could have:

  • Commuting/Touring/Hauling: My Surly LHT
  • Comfort/”be different”: My Bacchetta Agio recumbent
  • Folding/Travel: my Dahon Speed D7
  • Single Speed/Lugged Steel: My project bike at Vic’s Classic Bikes (unfinished)
  • Off-Road: Don’t have one, no plans to buy right now
  • Fast Road Bike: Don’t have one, had intended to buy a fast recumbent, those plans are on hold
  • Cargo: Don’t have one, have considered a long-tail cargo bike, or a trailer

That’s too many bikes.  I need to stop at four, and reconsider what I need.

Now What?
It’s hard to convince my wife to live simpler when I have my bike and gadget lust.  I need to quit visiting bike websites and ogling things to buy.  I need to think over all purchases for a few days before buying.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not really about money, it’s about the mental and time cost of each item owned.

It’s Official

We signed the lease on the house last night.  We’ll be moving in soon!  When/if Kristy leaves town for a couple of months again, I won’t have to drive the entire time.

My riding is down this week.  I’ve been busy, tired, and stressed.  I drove to work today, but brought my folding bike.  I’m giving blood tonight, and I’m going to ride down to avoid parking issues.

I fixed a stupid typo above.

I did ride to donate blood.  I forgot to bring a lock with me, so I just wheeled the bike into the building.  They were okay with that, so it worked out alright.