Monday, November 30, 2009

Rain and Snow Riding Maintenance

30 Nov 2009

Some of us really ride in any weather which means that we do a lot more maintenance to keep the bicycle on the road and reliable. There is nothing like having to do maintenance/repair when it's below freezing and miles from home. This experience(s) will cure you from maintenance laziness! Hopefully, you will do this to yourself only once.
Before going out, check these items:
1.Saddle height. Since you're probably wearing a lot more clothes, your bottom will have more layers which will make it necessary to lower the height of your saddle. Lowering your saddle will also make it easier to put your feet down when you go into a slide in order to keep yourself upright when you hit those ruts and ice slicks.
2.Chain. Check your chain to make sure it's well lubricated since water and road salt will cause deterioration very quickly if not constantly cleaned and lubed.
3.Brakes. Check that the brakes are working smoothly. In wet weather, brake cables will become corroded pretty quickly. This means that they'll need more maintenance. When they start being harder to pull or have a delay in action, it's time to do maintenance by pulling the inner cable out of the housing, checking for breaks in the cable strands (and bends or breaks in the housing) and if it looks alright, lubing them with a light grease or teflon oil.
4.Shifters/derailleurs. Check that front and rear derailleur are functioning properly. These cables too will need much more maintenance in wet/salty weather.
5.Tire pressure. Check pressure before every ride. Bicycle tubes and tires are not airtight and will lose pressure pretty quickly. For riding on snow and ice, you will want to drop the tire pressure so that the amount of rubber contacting the road is greater. Do not drop the pressure below the minimum listed on the sidewall of the tire or you will get “snake-bite” punctures. If you're riding on very snow-packed or icy roads, consider using spiked tires. They are will worth the investment.
6.Splash-guards. If you have cables that are routed under the down-tube (not usually found on true mountain bikes), are not covered with a housing, but are just bare cables, consider using splash guards to repel some of the water and salt. Splash-guards will also keep some of slop off you if you're not using fenders.
7.Brake lever covers. In very cold weather, brake lever covers will keep your hands much warmer by repelling the wind that sucks the heat out of your hands (even with lobster gloves) quickly.

After you return doing those cold, frigid k's, don't just dump the bike in the garage. It will rust. Clean it up immediately. With this kind of riding, detailing is very important. Make sure you get the water and salt residue out of everything. Rub it down like it's a high-dollar race horse. It takes care of you. You take care of it. Clean the chain every time you ride because the salt and grit gets into the rollers and causes rapid wear and rusting. Once again, check the operation of the brakes and shifters. Re-lubricate every moving part; brake levers, brakes, shift levers (depending upon type), front and rear derailleur and chain. It is during this post-ride routine where you frequently will pick up on mechanical problems that you didn't even notice during the ride.
I recommend a “wet” lubricant for extreme riding conditions. Many of them are synthetic lubricants engineered for long distance riding and wet weather conditions.
Happy riding!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In England, Doing the Right Thing Will Get You Jailed

I just read the article: “Ex-soldier faces jail for handing in gun”, [ ]
and I'm wondering if common sense and morality have any place left in this N.W.O. controlled world.
The soldier, who is obviously skilled in handling weapons, has been sent to jail for doing what he considered his reasonable duty, that of turning in a found weapon to the police. But, no, he was found guilty of “possessing a weapon”.
It wasn't his weapon. He found it tossed over his back fence in garbage back. He went and looked to see what was in the bag, and found the discarded weapon. He didn't know what to do with the thing, but recalled that a leaflet printed by Surrey Police “explaining to citizens what they can do at a police station, which included "reporting found firearms". I would have had the same reaction and taken the weapon to the police station myself. Not in England, They will arrest you, convict you, and send you to jail.
Apparently, any citizen is simply supposed to report it. I'm assuming here. His lawyer, Mr Clarke, asked a police office in court, “Are you aware of any notice issued by Surrey Police, or any publicity given to, telling citizens that if they find a firearm the only thing they should do is not touch it, report it by telephone, and not take it into a police station?" The police officer replied, “No, I don't believe so." So this soldier, having no specific guidelines for his actions took the intuitive route. Wrong move.
Be safe. Don't dare and touch it or carry to a safe place like the police department. No, that won't work. It doesn't say in the article if he'd been treated like a first class citizen if he had simply reported it. It implies that might have been a better reaction. But, I doubt it.
It appears to me that the English paranoia and instilled fear of weapons have bent the minds of the police and court system (justice department, yeah, right) into treating citizens like crap. This was the real issue here. I don't think there was anything, any action the soldier could have done that would have been considered acceptable. Read the article for yourself.
As another person who commented on this article said, “Don't trust the police any longer.” The soldier's honest attempt was considered “irrelevant”. No allowance for the circumstances. I'll bet the soldier's reaction now is that he should have taken the bag and tossed it over someone elses fence into their backyard. Definitely do NOT do what you consider the reasonable action. Not in England.
I think the Brits have gone off their rails! Hope that this infection doesn't come to America!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Time to Get Off Your Butts!

Ok, people, get a clue. The sedentary life-style is NOT good for you! Time to get off your butts if you want to live a healthy life while eliminating many of the diseases that go with sitting on your butt.
I've been watching, particularly, the elders around me, and those who are still active and percolating through life productively, are those who exercise. Those who chose the sedentary, American life-style, are now in nursing homes, hospital beds, and walking Alzheimer's cases.
I don't know, but the choice to me seems kind of simple; get off your butts!
Okay, so you're one of these people who need “scientific” proof instead of using your own powers of observation which is highly underrated and discouraged in American culture.
In Bicycling Magazine, Nov 2009 edition, it has an article titled: “Your Brain on Cycling”. It says that research points to the cognitive benefits of cycling (exercise), even for people who don't have ADHD. Oh, another disease that's coped with by exercise! The list seems to be growing. Haven't you noticed? Pay attention. It would be easier to pay attention if you got off your butt and exercised. Hey, 20 minutes 3 times a week is not much. That's the easy baseline. Anything above that is plus stuff; greater health and faster thinking.
Besides controlling ADHD (Don't eliminate recess!), activities that require balance, quick reactions, and decision-making skills control ADHD in children and these activities may help adults with focus and concentration too. Here's a suggestion for you. When you buy your kid a bike, buy one for yourself too. Your bill for psychotropic drugs for your kid will be reduced because he/she doesn't need them, and your health, blood pressure, and mental focus and concentration will improve too while your building a closer family relationship (which is also lacking in American culture).
Also in AARP magazine article, “Your Brain on Exercise”, it says that “
exercise improves memory, concentration, and abstract reasoning among older adults, and may even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. “ So, please, no excuses about “I'm too old, or Oh, ladies don't do that”.
Ladies, you need to get off your butts too! Forget about what's “culturally” acceptable, and take care of yourself. The URL for magazine article is:
Also, control of blood pressure has turned into a major pharmaceutical industry in this country. But, you don't have to join the lemmings on their way to destruction. There is a way to control blood pressure without drugs. It's called exercise. In an article by the Mayo Clinic (for those who are still addicted to listening to “experts” instead of their own common sense), it says: “

Having high blood pressure and not getting enough exercise are closely related. Discover how small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference.”
By Mayo Clinic staff
And, again, no excuses about age. The article states: “
Your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) increases with age, but getting some exercise can make a big difference. And if your blood pressure is already high, exercise can help you control it....” The plus side of this is that there is one less toxic prescription costing you money and cluttering up your medicine cabinet. The URL for the article is:
Get moving folks!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lansing Planners, You Really Screwed-Up

When you put in a bike lane on Holmes Rd, near Pleasant Grove Rd, then turned around and removed it when some resident motorists complained, you messed-up real good.
Holmes Rd had four lanes, (before the bike lane trial) and people became accustomed to that, despite the fact that the amount of traffic carried does NOT justify four lanes. Then, the city put in bike lanes on each side of the road, made it into three lanes with center lane being a left-turn lane. Then the uproar occurred. The local motorists complained that that there was too much of wait to make a turn or go through at the intersection at Pleasant Grove Rd. It's all of 4 extra seconds of waiting out of their entire lives, but that's too much for a motorist to tolerate. It's unbearable! And what did the city do? Instead of telling the residents that Holmes Rd does not justify having four lanes and other users need access to the road also, the city just said: "Oh, I'm so sorry for your inconvenience!" Then they came out and scrapped-up the paint designating bike lanes and turned it back into four lanes.
Do you know what this did, city planners? It gave the motorists a huge win. You told them, "It's your road, and no-one, including cyclists or anyone else, doesn't really have a right to use that road. It's all yours!" The law says other users have a legal right to use the road, but you told the motorists, through your acquiesence, that they have exclusive rights to the road. BIG MISTAKE!
The difference between the time before the bike lanes and then after their removal in terms of motorists' behavior is dramatic. Before the bike lane trial, when I cycled on Holmes Rd, motorists would move into the left lane and pass, and occasionally a driver would make a rude comment. Maybe, once a week, someone would mouth-off. But, not usually.
But, now, it's hell alley for a cyclist or other non-motorist. In a two-mile stretch from my house to the grocery store, on a daily basis, I will get sworn at least four times and sometimes more. I'm told to "get the hell out of my way; ride on the sidewalk;" and other nasty-mouth expressions I can't put in print. Ninety-eight percent of the cyclists will ride on the sidewalk. They have been intimidated off the road by the motorists.
Then, at the stop-light at Homes and Martin Luther King, I get harassment there when I stop for the red light. I take my lane, so that they can't crush me against the curb as the they try to sneak by me when doing a right turn. They really resent my taking the lane, and they roll down their window and let the crap flow out of their mouths. And, when the light changes, when I go straight through, instead of using the left lane and passing me, some of the drivers have stayed behind me, followed me until I turned at the grocery store, laying on their horn the whole time. They refused to use the open left lane and pass. Instead, because they've been given the upper hand by the city of Lansing, they stay behind me, laying on their horn, hoping to intimidate me off the road. (I mean, they succeeded in getting rid of the inconvenient bike lanes, so now, their thinking, lets' get rid of the cyclists too! The city will back us up!) I don't intimidate, and that results in more cussing and swearing from them!
I don't get this kind of behavior on any other roads I ride in Lansing, including high-speed, high traffic, Waverly Rd. Just Holmes road. I can only conclude that it's because the city backed-off, removed the bike lanes, and gave the drivers and local residents the tacit message that, "Yes, indeed, you own the whole road. Nobody else has a right to use it but you"
Congratulations, Lansing, for validating these drivers' habit of going into road rage when anyone on the road bothers them. That's what you accomplished on Holmes Rd.