Sunday, May 29, 2011

Adventures in cyclo-commuting: A good start to the long weekend

A busy boy I have been. 

Yesterday I biked a total of 24 miles to and around town doing various chores and running errands. It feels great to displace the car as much as possible. 

The 24 miles, all of which would have been city driving, amounts to about one gallon of gas that I did not burn. According to a few different websites one gallon of spent gasoline yields 20 pounds of pollution released into the atmosphere. So a rough estimate is that for ever 18-24 miles that I bike I will be keeping about 20 pounds of pollution materials out of the environment. This makes me smile. 

Time to keep on keeping on. 

Today I am going to look at a hard-tail bike (more of a commuter style) to replace the rear suspension model that I am currently using. The benefits you ask? Well to name a few: better ratio of exertion to speed/ distance (this bike will result in better efficiency in pedaling), the ability to put on a rack and panniers (to save my back from having to carry the heavy load of school books, and also afford me the ability to pick up books from the library or groceries from the store on my way home from class) and also this bike is equipped with a surefire gear changing system so no random gear changes while hill climbing which also means no fear of random castration from those random gear shifts!

Take care all!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A FiveFingers Competitor?

Below is the Skeletoe by FILA. At first glance they look like a decent competitor to the FiveFingers by Vibram, however when I looked a little closer I realized that the pinky and ring toes share a pouch, odd? I thought so too. 

I was considering these, however after talking to a guy who worked at the store (who owned a pair of each) I am inclined to hold off for the Vibram model, if not for anything else, for the ventilation factor.

With the approach of warmer weather I have been thinking quite a bit about the FF's, and I have to say, as far as versatility is an issue, they may not be my best choice.

On a recent trip to REI I fell in love with the Merrell Trail Glove, a minimalist hiker with a Vibram footbed. Breathability, able to wear in water, minimalist nature, regular shoe shape so no danger of getting the little pig toes caught in anything!

(This is a new thought for me, what about getting your gloved toes caught in things. You already have to worry about you 10 fingers getting caught... wear the FF's and now you have doubled your chances of getting a digit stuck in something, yikes!)

Here is the Trail Glove, pretty cool. Just a thought.

I hope all is well in your world today,


Cool Way to Display/ Store Packs

While at the local Eddie Bauer a few weeks back I saw this cool display:

Someday when I get a larger space, with sturdy walls, I am going to make something of this sort. I think that it serves a great purpose while being very cool.

Can you think of any other things that you could hang from such a set-up?

(btw, where are the new First Ascent line backpacks?)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Adventures in cyclo-commuting

Tally up another day to biking wherever I need to go!

I rode to the post office school with increasing time today. It is great to feel progress and also to see the time difference. I use my watch timer to clock myself; getting faster every time.

It has been about three weeks of on and off biking to school and town and I have to say I really like it. Even though the trip is not far, just about nine miles round-trip (I know, my math in the previous post is waaay off!) but it gets my body caught up to the progress that my mind has made for the day and it kind of amps me up for class: definitely not a bad thing.

The time has come for me to show you a few highlights from my favorite way to school, enjoy:

My favorite highway overpass.

The entrance into a rather nice residential neighborhood.

A quick short-cut through the woods.

On the next trip I hope to leave a little earlier so that I can give you a more comprehensive pictorial of the trip.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adventures in cyclo-commuting: A weekend's worth

Car-less as much as I can, that is the goal.

Over the past two weeks I have commuted by bike 7 times. So 50% isn't too bad, for now.

Last week was a little hectic because I had some house sitting to do after class, on the other side of town. so needless to say last week there was not as much biking as I would have liked.

This weekend however, has been a success so far. Friday after class I took a pretty decent bike tour around the city and through the Arboretum (oops, didn't see the signs!) as well as a few other parks. It was a good time.

On Saturday I took the Border2Border Trail from our apartment into downtown Ann Arbor. It is a nice paved path that runs East to West through Wastenaw. I was surprised the the trip could  be made to Chelsea's place of employ in 25 minutes, actually much faster than by car, and mildly effortless save for one hill.

I look forward to my next excuse to ride into town!

In other news: I am still looking for something suitable to mount a rack and panniers on. But that can wait.


Car-free: 31.6 miles

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soggy walk leads to beautiful discovery

After our fish last night we took a little stroll in the rain to the nearby Parker Mill Park.

It was nice to get out of the house and just take in spring with all of its musty smelling, slippery surfaced green glory!

We saw some Jack-in-the-Pulpits, Michigan Orchids and many other little bits of nature that one would not expect to see in the city.

Take a look!

I like this angle, it makes me feel like these little plants are much bigger than they really are.

Needless to say it was a welcomed escape.

Hope you enjoyed.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Adventures in cyclo-commuting Day 3

Hi ho, Hi ho, off to class I go.

Today I was quite active, I went for a morning jog, and then took the bike to class; I just can't get enough of the outdoors or self-propulsion today!

I am in the process of selling the road bike on craigslist right now because the angle that it made me hold myself at was very uncomfortable with a schoolbag full of material.

So it was me and the mountain bike today. I have "enduro" or hybrid tires on it so it goes down the road pretty well. This bike will work for now, however I would like to look for a hybrid/ road commuter in the future, one that is compliant with a rear rack and panniers, as my mtn bike has a rear shock and would be difficult to put a rack on it.

Class break is over, one hour left, then biking back!

I think I am going to start a mileage counter on here. How do you feel about this?


Friday, May 6, 2011

Cyclo-commuting Day 2

Well after my little popping incident yesterday I remain determined to bike to class everyday.

My 3.2 miles to school day was pretty uneventful, a little warm, but the traffic was pretty calm and the back streets were relatively free of anyone.

While on our 3:00 break I noticed wet pavement outside and dark clouds on the horizon, so I thought that I was certain to get stuck in some rain. However the return trip was as dry as the trip there.

I did notice that my rear tire is a little low again, I am up in the air over whether I should call on REI again, or take it somewhere else. For the meantime, it appears to be holding air, so we are good for now.

Going to have to invest in a portable air pump, that is for certain.

Have a happy weekend. Look for my first beer review soon! First up is Oberon from Bell's Brewery. If you have any suggestions for me to try out let me know!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Adventures in cyclo-commuting Day 1

Due to rising fuel prices, various environmental issues and a concern for my health I have decided to begin biking to school and on other random errands around town.

I have a minor arsenal: a mountain bike and a road bike.

The mountain bike I have had for about a year, however the road bike I recently acquired from craigslist.

I took the road bike out yesterday for my first real road ride, about 14 miles. It was such a welcomed feeling, moving through and amongst traffic with greater agility and speed than a mountain bike.

Today I took the roadster to school on day one of cyclo-commuting, however, just as I rounded the corner to the school my rear tire popped and I was forced to walk the final few hundred yards; MAJOR BUMMER. Thank gosh for REI, they hooked me up with a new tube and threw it on in a jiff! (Some day I will learn the mechanics of biking, however, now I am focusing on learning the intricacies of contract and tort law!)

So tomorrow, be ready roads, because here I come!

(pics of the bikes coming tomorrow)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Oh how ye change, My Michigan...

Remember two weeks ago when I made my trip out to Old Baldy?

Remember how nice it looked; clear, pretty and most of all, no snow on the ground?

Kind of like this:

Well I went back two days later and this was the scene:

I love the diverse climate of this state!