Archive for the ‘bike’ Category
Last night I went snow-biking. I finally got my hands on the requisite tools to crack open the bottom bracket on my fixie and get it cleaned out, repacked, and beautifully adjusted. I was anxious to take it out for a spin, and was feeling undeterred by the late hour and the two feet of snow on the roads. Hard-packed snow—courtesy of the lack of plowing and stubborn DC drivers—is actually pretty good riding—not too slippery, no slushy sliding around, not too rough when it’s fresh—and riding a fixie in the snow is quite nice, since you can feel exactly how much traction you have at any given moment, and adjust your speed intuitively.
I cruised down Georgia Ave/7th St NW, soaking up the snowed-in-Saturday-night Chinatown scene, and then rolled down to the mall to gawk at the empty streets, snowy trees, and impressive obelisks. By the time I made it to the Lincoln Memorial I was pretty cold and my mittens had actually frozen, being still wet from the afternoon’s shoveling extravaganza. On the way home I got stuck behind a convoy of snow plows (one usually does the trick, guys), got stuck in too-much-snow on Vermont Ave, and got stuck behind homeward bound revelers on U St. All in all, an absolutely fantastic night.
Biking today was slightly less pleasant but still awesome. A little bit of sun, a little bit of traffic, and a lot of salt produced a bumpy, slushy, slippery mess on Georgia Ave, but I was out of coffee and determined to make it to Qualia. A couple of cops in an SUV asked me if I had snow tires “on that thing” after seeing me plowing through a pile of slushy snow. Had I been thinking a little more quickly I might have made a crack about only having one-wheel-drive, which I guess is all you really need.
Two notable things happened today. The first is that I finally ordered an electric kettle on Amazon, so that very soon I will be able to make truly ridiculous quantities of coffee with my lovely 8-cup french press and burr grinder combo. Since my current water heating solution is a tiny, ancient microwave that boils a cup of water in a blazing six minutes, the gigantic french press has been sadly underutilized.
The second is that I stole the Ark’s truing stand and am now in the process of truing my wheels, which I laced last weekend. They are the most beautiful things I have ever seen (except you, Ruth). This is very, very exciting, and hopefully the big fixie project will get wrapped up soon. Hopefully. I’ve got a nice series of photos of the whole process that I’ll put up sometime soon when I can justify procrastinating some more.
Well now you know </bill nye voice>
Link: Fixed Gear Gallery
Yeah, I know it’s been a while, but I’m back. I think I’ve finally emerged from the existential black hole of the last couple of months (knock on wood), and despite a couple of start-of-the-semester road bumps in the last week, I’m feeling pretty good about my prospects for my last semester of college.
So I thought I’d kick off another period of productive blogging by saying that I had a pretty good day today, all told. This has been something of a rarity of late, since the specter of the most momentous transition of my young life has been looming quite large over just about everything I’ve done since coming back from India.
I think one of the only exceptions has been my newest hobby of bicycles. Notice that I do not say “my newest hobby of riding bicycles”, since I am not, in fact, riding bicycles very much, but instead running up large credit card balances ordering parts from my LBS (that stands for Local Bike Shop, which, I’m told, is a good thing that I should support) that have not arrived after a full month of waiting, and pouring over my copy of The Bicycle Wheel, by mechanical engineer Jobst Brandt. Yes it is as awesome as you think. As soon as I possibly can I will kick off my grand fixie project by actually lacing up the electric red Deep-Vs (which I received as a christmas gift) to a set of black Formula track hubs (which are somewhere between a warehouse in Florida and my anxious hands), which I will lovingly fasten onto my (apparently rather rare?) vintage French road frame, rebuild the bottom bracket and possibly the headset, slap on a no-name stem and some flopped-and-chopped bullhorns (or maybe some track drops mmmm) and probably fall a lot as I try to learn how to ride with one gear, no coasting, and no brakes.
But I digress.
I also lie. I did not have a pretty good day. Now that I think about it, I had a great day, an awesome day. I went to my field botany lecture, had the first meeting for my Great Debates in Cognition tutorial, and spent nearly five hours geeking out hardcore and setting up a subversion server on one of the lab machines to finally put an end to the infuriating drudgery of having to manually sync experiment code between five computers and collect data files from the same computers. Thanks to the miracle of SVNServe and TortoiseSVN all that (and more!) can be accomplished by a click of the mouse. Then, to the coffee shop to drink pretentious coffee, have pretentious conversations with my senior friends about our theses (rhymes with feces), enthusiastically solve math problems and talk about nigh-incomprehensibly pretentious things with my Math-Philosophy double major former tutorial partner.
Bottom line is, while I’ve still got a lot to do before I graduate, it no longer feels overwhelming. I’m pretty sure I’m on top of all the really important stuff, and it feels like things are moving along. Most notably I am no longer bitter about getting dropped from beer brewing and drawing II. No, really, I swear! I think in the near future I will have a real life update, complete with tentative plans to make plans for next year.