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Ronin

2015 Bicycling - Keeping the Pace

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Axel Slinger

Thank you all for the kind welcome to my return. That means a lot coming from the bikers of the board. I actually joined the board back in 2008 when I first started riding every day.
 
I take cycling safety very seriously. A lot of the people on the streets of Humboldt County, California (I live in the hills a little west of Eureka) call me "The Orange Man" because of all the orange gear I have. I couldn't find an decent orange helmet though, so I decided to go with San Francisco Giants colors and got a black one. And of course, because I have a long white beard the kids around here call me "Orange Santa" around Christmas. (The sun bleached it white, I swear!) I have some of the brightest lights you could get for bicycles when I bought them in 2011. Three headlights that have 500 Lumens each, one taillight on the bike that is 80 Lumens, and two taillights on the trailer that are 20 Lumens each. And lots of orange reflective tape. For when it rains, like it normally does quite a bit here in the winter, I have an orange and black rainsuit from ML Kishigo (manufacturer of awesome highway safety gear) that has silver reflective strips on it. I've been making jokes about how I personally started the drought in California by buying a $120.00 rainsuit. It didn't rain for almost 8 months after I bought it.

The bottom line of all that is that if people can't see me, it's because they are not looking. I can be see from over a mile away... I ride a lot late at night, and I have been stopped by police several times. Not because I did anything illegal or anything, but because they like my lights. They always want to know where I got them, how much they cost, what the distance is that you can be seen from, all kinds of stuff. One day last year I was out riding and ran into one of the many Police Officers I see a lot, and he asked me to go to a bike safety fair and help pass out helmets to kids, because "all the kids look up to me". I was so honored by the invitation that I had to go. We passed out about 600 helmets to kids. And now I carry flyers for an organization named Making Headway in my trunk bag so I can give one to any kid I see who need a helmet. Kids can call them and ask for a helmet, and they will tell them where they can go to get one. All for free, of course... thumbsup.gif

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raffi

Axel, Last summer, I got a little riding in while visiting my then future daughter in law's family. They live in Fortuna. I only had a chance to explore a short ways on a bike, but there looks like some fun riding around there. Other that riding on the highway through Eureka, it would be a fun place to explore. I am a little confused by your description of where you live. My memory says that West of Eureka is the Pacific ocean.

 

Your safety equipment sounds very good. I have the same philosophy about being visible, but you have definitely taking it up a notch from where I am. I've only had random people stop and ask me about my lights, not the police. :) One of my co-workers has complained about my bright blinking front light that I use during the day. I always put my hand to my ear and say "All I can hear you saying is 'I see you'".

 

Unfortunately, even as lit up as I am, I was almost hit the other morning. Blowing my whistle and yelling did not get any reaction at all. He certainly was not looking and I had to conclude that with your head shoved so far up your own back side, visibility (and hearing) is difficult.

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Axel Slinger

That's a fact if I ever heard one. I always hear people say that the worst drivers are here or there, but I always say that the absolute worst drivers in the world are the ones driving past you whenever you are on a bicycle. People driving cars (and trucks too) are not looking for bicycles. They just want to get where they're going. I have had people look right at me, making eye contact and everything, and then pull right out in front of me when I get right up to them and there is no way I would be able to stop if I was riding faster than I do, like most people around here do. It's times like that when it pays to make friends with the local traffic Cops. A woman did that to me once right in front of a Cop, and she got a huge ticket. He made me stand there and wait because "I was a witness". So I heard every word he said to her, and let me tell ya, it was downright difficult not to laugh. He wrote her up for failure to yield the right of way and reckless driving. She had the nerve to start arguing with him, so he asked her if she would prefer it if he placed her under arrest for being combative? That's always good for about 12 hours in jail while you wait your turn in Court. She was hopping mad, but she shut up after that. It's because of people like her that I like nice quiet back streets. I have always thought that if a street has a bike lane, that street is far too busy for bicycling. I only go on a major street to cross it to get to the quieter streets on the next block over. It takes me a few minutes longer to cross town the way I ride, zig zagging back and forth to stay on back streets, but the way I see it, if you're out there riding for your health, it defeats the point to get yourself killed!
 
By the way, if you ever come back to this area, here's a Humboldt Bay Area Bike Map for you. The first one made back in 2000 was much better one, and it was a lot smaller too but I can't seem to find it online anymore.

http://www.hcaog.net/documents/humboldt-bay-area-bike-map or http://www.naturalresourcesservices.org/projects/bike-map

 

Hmmm... Why are links not working? That's odd...

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Ronin

Hi Everyone,

 

Ax: Welcome to the thread. We have an interesting mix of bicyclists. Being a hard-core road rider I only sort-of agree with your assessment of motor vehicle drivers. Yeah, there are some real problems out there but generally the vast majority of motor vehicle operators don't cause a problem. What I have also noted is that there are problematic vehicle operators of both engine and human powered vehicles and their personalities are pretty much the same in that they push the boundaries all of the time.

 

This week has been great for me. I was on the road Monday through Friday getting my legs used to road conditions. Every year I get reminded that the indoor roller sessions are quite different from the road. The rollers maintain basic fitness and the aerobic engine but the muscles used aren't exactly the same. Today (Saturday) was another TdG session because the rains have come and that isn't a bad thing as they are melting the snow and washing the roads. Tomorrow will be a rest day.

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ORjt

Hi all,

 

Interesting discussions about bad drivers, and route options. Around here ('rural Portlandia'), most of the worst drivers are in either jacked-up 4x4's (generally obnoxious), or overly polite Prius drivers (won't pass against a double yellow, even though they can see far enough, and I'm struggling to make 10mph uphill). I kid, via stereotypes ... but in broad brush strokes, those are them. Honestly, I'm not sure which one's worse.

 

But by-and-large, most drivers are pretty good (though I don't ride in the dark, so that might change my perception).

 

I was able to get in another 13 Friday evening; I'm now within spitting distance of my (paltry) March mileage from last year.  Still keeping up with the exercise bike when I can't get out. That'll be tonight - we've had rain all day yesterday, and so far today ...

 

Stay safe out there!

 

--JT

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Axel Slinger

...or overly polite Prius drivers (won't pass against a double yellow, even though they can see far enough, and I'm struggling to make 10mph uphill). I kid, via stereotypes ... but in broad brush strokes, those are them.

I call them "The Brians". You know, Brian, the Prius driving dog from "Family Guy". rofl3.gif

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raffi

The only overly polite drivers I come across around here are typically on the gravel or very rural paved roads. On the plus side, they don't tend to be overly aggressive, so I do my best to pull out of their way and then I don't worry too much about them.

 

While I do complain about bad drivers, I really don't have that many to deal with. Once I get out of town, I have very little trouble. I consider the couple of miles through town as my dangerous section with the couple of blocks by the school as the worst of the worst. Nothing like a hassled mother navigating among clueless school kids while trying to maintain a phone conversation to make you consider other routes. At least that is all at slow speeds.

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Axel Slinger

That's why I like riding on back streets. Other than crossing main streets, I rarely ever see much traffic at all. Maybe 5 to 10 cars in the day time, and 1 or 2 if any late at night.

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Ronin

Hi Everyone,

 

I live in an area where there are lots-and-lots of people so I'm always sharing the roads with motorized vehicles. The vast majority are courteous and aware. 

 

It was TdG today simply because it was too cold and too windy. Unfortunately, tomorrow (Spring begins around 18:40) will be brought it with snow!  Sheesh!   So tomorrow and Saturday and possibly some days following will be more TdG. Worst part is that my Shimano computer stopped logging miles and they don't sell this model any longer (all right I bought it 20 years ago, but shouldn't these thing last?)

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raffi

This week was looking pretty good. I was on my 4th commute for the week this morning. Unfortunately, the ^T%$$ dear had different ideas. I'm quite thankful for kind passers by who got me and my damaged bike into work.

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ORjt

Hi all,

 

Ronin, sorry about the computer. OTOH, they've come a long ways in 20 years - probably a lot more options for you.

Raffi: yikes! Sounds like you have more of a story to tell; hopefully there's minimal damage to you and the bike.

 

I've been out twice this week --> Tuesday, got home, changed, and as I was walking the bike up to the driveway, it started spitting rain.  'Suck it up', I thought ... took off, and sure enough, the 'spit' turned into real rain, for about half the ride. At least it was warm - upper 50's. The plus side? - I was on the 'cross bike (roads were already wet). First chance I'd had to really assess the full fenders I installed a while back.  I have to say, I was *really* impressed with how well they worked. No skunk stripe, no muck on shoes/legs/bike. *Big* improvement. I still don't like riding in the rain, but these will really help for wet/sloppy roads.

 

Yesterday was great - mid 60's, bit of a breeze, back to shorts and ss jersey.

 

With these two days, I'm officially over my Meager March from last year. Yay!

 

Stay safe out there!

 

-JT

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raffi

Raffi: yikes! Sounds like you have more of a story to tell; hopefully there's minimal damage to you and the bike.

 

I'm back from a trip to the emergency room. Seems I cracked some of the bones that attach the muscles to the vertebrae. The doctor things I will be off the bike for 3 months. Not very happy about that, but happy to be able to walk etc.

 

This morning,. I had been seeing a lot of deer. I even had a close call at low speeds with one that was hiding out in some bushes. So when I was going down the big hill on my commute, I was looking for deer, had my whistle in my mouth and was ready to stop if need be. I also was not pushing real hard down the hill. Even so, I did not see the deer until I was pretty close and I don't think I could have avoided it even if it did not decide to jump right in front of me at the last second. I ended up scraping up my knees a bit, and somehow landed on my back (on top of my backpack).

 

I lay in the middle of the road for a couple of  minutes trying to asses how bad things were. It did not feel like anything was broken, so I got up and check out the bike. The front wheel was munched very badly. The rest seemed OK (the LBS will let me know for sure). I dragged my bike to the side of the road and tried to figure out which house to go knock on the door of when I heard a car coming toward me. I shined my light on myself and waved my arms. The very kind gentleman (a nurse working at a hospital about 45 minutes away) stopped and asked if I was alright. He then put my bike in his truck and drove me to work.

 

After a shower, the adrenalin started wearing off making it obvious that I should have someone take a look at me and make sure I was not more hurt than I thought. So when one of my coworkers came in, I had him drive me to the hospital. Now I'm at home and staring the recovery process.

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Ronin

Hi Everyone,

 

Raffi: That is frightening. I thought motor vehicles were dangerous but I guess slamming into a deer isn't very nice. Very sad to read about being off the bike for three months. Were the lumbar vertebra the ones that cracked?  Perhaps the trainer (yuck) will be allowed so that you don't give up the fitness. 

 

I'm back in the garage.  We've had snow for the first day of Spring and temperatures in the teens to low 20's thanks to a Canadian High that pushed the snow off the coast. We have a busy week ahead and I'm not sure how I'm even going to maintain the TdG sessions this week.

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raffi

Hi Everyone,

 

Raffi: That is frightening. I thought motor vehicles were dangerous but I guess slamming into a deer isn't very nice. Very sad to read about being off the bike for three months. Were the lumbar vertebra the ones that cracked?  Perhaps the trainer (yuck) will be allowed so that you don't give up the fitness.

 

The trainer was suggested. I still have a bit of healing to do before I can even contemplate that. However, it might be necessary and useful.

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Ronin

Hi Everyone,

 

Raffi: I've been injured so I know the "comeback trail" from personal experience. Take your time, do what the therapists tell you, and you should be fine in the end.

 

For me today was okay for riding.  We had two days of rain and drizzle but the roads are free of salt, although there is still a lot of sand from all the snow storms (the towns here spread a salt & sand mix in addition to brine before the storms hit).  It was  good to be out again.  Linda is almost finished with her annual project and we may get the tandem out on the road next week.

 

Have a great weekend everyone.

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ORjt

Hi all,

 

Off the bike for a few days - had a business trip to Phoenix; since returning, was able to get out and ride for 3 consecutive days, about 15 miles each -- so, enough to stretch the legs and get the blood moving again.

 

Wrapped up the month with just over 150 miles; quite happy about that.  Looks like we're back to 'seasonal' weather this week (ie, rain), so may end up with another couple of exercise bike sessions.

 

I think by next week, I'll have enough early morning daylight to start commuting; (which reminds me, I need to re-install my rack, and change the front tire).

 

Raffi - hopefully your recovery is proceeding well.

 

Stay safe out there!

 

--JT

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Ronin

Hi Everyone,

 

The weather has been better and then we got a light snow yesterday afternoon.  If the roads clear and the temperatures go up I'll be on the road but if not - back to TdG.

 

The good news is that my Bayer A1CNOW test shows a 5.8% down from 6.0 for Feb and March.  I did search out some carbs and removed them from my eating and the weather did cooperate giving me more outdoor rides that are longer and use more muscles. Perhaps I have to look into a resistance trainer for next winter (of course not that it is spring the LBS will probably be trying to unload their stock in a Spring Sale). 

 

Raffi: How is the recovery coming?

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raffi

Ronin, Glad to hear about the a1c. Did you have an old bayer a1c sitting around or did you actually find one? I thought they discontinued the product.

 

As to the recovery, I'm getting better every day. It's been over 24 hours since I've had a narcotic pain killer, so that's another milestone. I'm going to see the doctor today to work on a plan to get back on the bike. I think I'm healing quickly enough that I should not be off the predicted 3 months.

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rwallen

Hi all!

 

raffi, sorry to hear about your accident but good to hear that you're recovering well.  I know it must be hard on you not to be on your bike.

 

Not going on much here.  Vacation was good.  I was able to get some riding in, in GA and FL.  Things are back to normal and just the status quo here.

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Ronin

Raffi, et al.,

 

Raffi, They still make them and I buy them in large packages through Amazon.  This is actually a package for a medical office but I like it better because they don't include the cheap lancets and other stuff that I already have. Store them in the fridge, and check the A1c every month. 

 

While the level has improved I'm pretty sure that something is changing as my FBG's are tracking higher than normal. The problem is to define the cause without going with the medical diagnosis of: "let's try this and see what happens..."  I'm getting another C-Peptide check to see if it has changed.  I'm also planning a request for the LADA antibody check just so that we take the right path when it comes time to medicate. Either my insulin is low (LADA) and does not signal my liver to stop dumping glycogen or the signaling system is not working (Type-2) but we won't know till we test for the antibodies.  Unfortunately, I'm slammed up against VA protocols since I have chosen to have the VA as my primary care source.  That being said I know more than a few folks who took Metformin, Bayetta, and other Type-2 meds only to discover, after many months/years that they were LADA.  During the interim they were run through the shame-game as well as negative side effects. 

 

Frankly, I'm not anxious to use any meds as I feel they will have a negative effect on my bicycling.

 

Had a good 16 mile ride today.  Off the bikes tomorrow because I have blood work which includes a PSA check on Friday and riding the bike before that test sets off alarm bells and I don't want yet-another biopsy. 

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ORjt

Hi all,

 

Well, on the exercise bike twice this week, but out for a nice 20 miles on the 'cross bike on Saturday. Weather was 'seasonal' - highly overcast in the AM, burning off in the afternoon, but with a moderate breeze and temps in the low 50s. No rain.  Ran across quite a few folks out riding - it was a nice day for it (I think my count was 18).

 

Got the new front tire installed (Conti Gator Hardshell to replace the OE Vittoria cross tire) prior to riding.  Still need to (re)install the rack. If the weather (and schedule) align, looks like I can commute a day or two this upcoming week.

 

Stay safe out there!

 

--JT

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Ronin

Hi Everyone,

 

We finally put the tandem on the road.  We had a "Garmin Incident" that got me a bit frustrated but it's only data, but it did kind of spoil the ride because I had wanted to do a comparison of the data from our last tandem ride of last year with our first of this year.

 

The rest of the week looks iffy with rain forecast almost every day.  Hopefully we'll find a window for riding.  At worst I'll be back in the garage.  Later this week I'll pick-up my blood test results. This one should be interesting.

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rwallen

Good morning!!

 

raffi, I hope you're continuing to mend. 

 

Not much going on here.  Got in some good rides over the weekend.  46 miles on Sat. with 30 extra lbs and 35 on Sun. unloaded.  Saturday's ride was a training ride of sorts for my upcoming 3 day ride over the weekend.  I haven't prepared much except with my daily riding.  I don't anticipate problems.  I just have to use my small chain ring more when I'm loaded down and going up hills.  Anyway, the riding weather has been fairly kind here and I hope you all are getting out there!!

 

Take care and raffi, get better!!

 

Rick

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raffi

Rick, thanks. I am mending. I will be seeing a physical therapist tomorrow to come up with a plan to get back on the bike. I'm mostly off the pain meds and (other than the broken rib) am feeling much better. I hope to be riding again this month.

 

In the mean time, I'm enjoying reading everyones exploits (with a wistful sigh...) so get out there and ride!

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