Monday, January 31, 2011


Yes, I know I'm at work

This won't be too long and then it's back to work.

No biking today. Snow turning into more snow turning into single digit weather tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll bike Thursday or Friday.

I'm planning on crashing some of the talks at the Colorado Bicycle Summit. I'm crashing it because I don't have $85 to spend on a short conference. Also I would have to cancel class to attend the second day and that isn't going to happen.

I'm really interested to hear what Denver Mayor Bill Vidal (did I miss the Denver mayoral vote somehow? Or is he acting mayor since Hickenlooper is now governor?), Tim Blumenthal, President of Bikes Belong, and Dan Grunig, exec. director of Bicycle Colorado have to say about the future of cycling in Denver. I'm going to try and not take lunch even if presented the opportunity. We'll see if my conscience or stomach win that fight.

That's all Monday and then on Tuesday, there's a ride from the Curtis Hotel down to the Capitol Building. That just sounds like a fun Tuesday morning ride in Denver. I'm always down for a cruise. Even at 8 am.

Now for my other wheeled love, cars. Guess which cars are stupid expensive here and you should buy them in other states and sell them here? Subaru WRXs! Good grief! They're not made of gold people! Have not seen one on Craigslist for under $7900 and that includes the 2002 launch year models. Other Subarus are being given away.

Volvos are wicked cheap and plentiful. I just need to research them a bit more to figure out the easiest way into a RWD wagon.

Yes I want RWD. Yes I know live in Colorado. Yes I know it's snowing outside. After riding in Focus with her super serious and amazing Michelin X-Ice Xi2 tires (my first snow tires and MY GOD! are they amazing) and then in a friend's new 4WD Patriot with all-seasons, I will admit that you do have more traction when accelerating in the snow. I don't know how the Patriot handles while sliding around in the snow because the driver was being boring and needlessly cautious. There was no cars around and not even any parked cars around and he totally could've goosed it a bit, but oh well, he was driving, not me.

If I lived in the mountains and seriously needed 4WD, well it would probably be a truck of some sort. But whilst living in Denver, biking and RTD commuting to work, and driving for fun and the occasional errand; Give me RWD and some snow tires. Oh and a nice open parking lot or deserted never used road.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Bike to Work Day!

Today was my first bike to work day of the new year! Hooray!

Plus with my fancy new office, I put up my bike rack and have nice super secure warm bike storage, and as it just started to snow, I can either ride home or take the lightrail. We'll see how hard it's snowing tonight because I forgot my ski goggles which are life-savers (eye-savers?) for snow biking.

My biking tips are as follows:
1) Dress warmly and in layers (and maybe take a couple extra layers in case you didn't dress warmly enough!)
2) Have some sort of storage on your bike, whether that be baskets like mine, a backpack, waterproof panniers or a trailer (I just love being able to carry more stuff than just me on my bike)
3) Definitely get fenders so you don't get nasty riding in the snow and/or wet
4) Get lights so you can be seen at night and in low-light situations
5) Ride safely and always expect to get hit (more on this in a second)
6) Time your driving commute versus your biking commute (I think you'll be surprised)

Also bring a shirt. That kind of fits with the "bike storage" rule. I'm a sweater. I sweat. I know this and ride in a different shirt to work, cool down and then change. Biking home I don't have to change because the cats and Joan don't care if my collared shirt is sweaty when I get home.

Okay, riding safely. If I see a car coming, I stop at stop signs. If a car is not coming (check twice or thrice!), I'll roll through the stop sign. I don't have many red lights on my commute, but I generally wait at red lights because I know how I drive through green lights (quickly and with very little looking out for red light running cyclists) and I don't mind waiting. Although I have ridden through red lights when I could see both ways and was sure there was no traffic coming.

I do move to the side of the road so other traffic can pass me. Not all the way because there are parked cars and I need some road space to pass them along with the driving cars.

When riding on the road, I expect to get hit. I haven't yet, thankfully. But expecting to get hit just means using common sense, assuming no car driver ever sees me, and a little practice reading license plates while riding or falling off a bike.

I'm sure I'll think of more, but that's pretty good for now.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011


Man is it dusty in here!

I totally need to update ye olde blog, but we all know that would require more effort than I am clearly putting in right now. So we'll deal.

Hello! It's been a while! Last post was, ah, June. Which means that I rode 25 miles in the Subaru Elephant Rock, which is a bicycle ride in Castle Rock, CO (That's the state code for Colorado if you ain't from 'round these parts). They have various lengths of rides from 25 miles to 100 miles (40.6 km - 160.9 km) and some friends, their family and I rode the 25 miler. It was a bright sunny day with the Colorado sun beating down on us, but a lovely breeze was blowing from the Rockies. I completely have no idea how long it took us, but at that point it was the longest I had ever ridden! I stuck around waaaaay too long to see if I would win a door prize. Nope! But I did get a vicious sunburn. On the tops of my legs. Oops, forgot about putting sunscreen there. They also served us a great barbeque lunch that was pretty decent.

Sunscreen is a year round thing in Colorado.

Since then I have been thoroughly exploring Denver's bike paths. I guess I was exploring them before that too. So my longest after the 25 miler was 30 miles from my house near Washington Park (the cool kids call it Wash Park) down to Dartmouth (St? Rd? Ave? Blvd? I don't know, and also does anyone call Dartmouth University D-Mouth cuz that would be incredible, but not if I actually went there) where I hit the Highline Canal Trail. This badboy runs pretty far from Aurora down to Littleton and I caught it somewhere sort of maybe near the middle. I rode it south to the C-470 Trail and then caught the lightrail home (for free(ish)! Thanks eco pass from my employer, my $40, and RTD). The RTD fare checker guy gave my school ID a double-take because my sticker was a different color from the students. I then explained that I taught the students and he left me alone. That's actually the only time I've ever had it truly scrutinized. Most other checkers recognize it as an eco pass instantly.

Let me add some links to the above paragraph real quick. Nice. Man I love all the bike paths and trails and lanes and how bike friendly Denver truly is!

Let's see here. Rode with the Denver Cruisers for Golf Pros and Tennis Hos night. Lots of fun and the "Circle of Death" mid-way was truly a sight to behold. They're mostly shut down for the winter but I know they're out there riding somewhere in (hopefully) very warm clothing.

What inspired this bicycle laced post was I compiled my bike riding stats for 2010 courtesy of my first (awesome) and second (barely counts as a) bicycle computers. The first one wasn't even that fancy but it recorded mileage, average speed, maximum speed and time ridden. #2 does mileage and fastest speed and that's it. So this isn't super accurate data for all you data nerds. Huge errors can be found in the following numbers:
Total miles ridden: 343.2 miles
Average max speed: 28.5 mph (Fast: 47.6! Slow: 19.3)
Average average speed: 10.67 (Highest: 12.7 over 49 miles Lowest: 8.59 over 13 miles)
Total time ridden: 22 hours, 58 minutes and 6 seconds

Very neat! That 47.6 mph was downhill (obviously) after a very long climb and was fantastic and very scary going that fast on some metal and rubber. (I guess motorcycles are bulkier and designed to go that fast which why they're slightly less scary, at least at 47.6 mph on a flat road after a downhill). Almost riding for a full 24 hours. My new longest ride is now 40 miles that took me about 4 hours.

I don't have any super serious road biker spandex except for a helmet and padded shorts of which I won both as door prizes during an cycling talk about training for the Elephant Rock at our flagship REI store near the Platte River in Denver.

I think I'll need a new chain and rear tire before next summer, not that I'm not riding now. Trust me. That 40 miles was on December 18th and I thought I was going to lose a toe or two. I don't really know the symptoms or pre-symptoms of frostbite but I was thinking alot about what they might be the last mile or two. It was in the mid-40's for the high and of course drops like a rock once the sun goes down. Thankfully I remembered my lights for the last mile on streets at dusk.

Also what inspired this was I wiped my computer. Completely factory restored it. It's a bit faster but I love not having all the stupid error messages from defunct programs and losing all the programs I never ever used. Yes I backed up my dissertation and my music first.

Posts to come:
Denver Restaurants
Seth's Bike Riding Tips

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