An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Fever

I've been trying to average an hour of riding a day, and last week was one of the banner weeks for the year so far -- most days were dry enough for a good road ride of at least an hour.

Last night was the capper -- sunny, 65 degrees, no wind... The kind of day that begs for a long ride. But I didn't have all day. Actually, I had just a little over an hour. I made full use of it.

I took a route I haven't done in a long time, with a couple nice uphills, some short descents, and some nice flats for motoring along. Drafting with traffic is fun too.

This was the first ride all year I've been able to do in short sleeves, shorts and fingerless gloves -- no arm warmers, no knee warmers, shoe covers, or even wind vest. Glorious. I kind of felt a little naked.

Spring is here. And today it's raining again, with pretty much nothing but rain in the foreseeable weather future.

But the rain is warmer.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Traveling and riding

My mother-in-law is getting married early this summer.

And while that's a big deal, that's not really what this is all about. Call it a catalyst, if you will.

With my wife's family living all over central Illinois, we make a good two trips out per year, sometimes for long weekends, sometimes for a week or so at a time. I've run out there many times, but with my running having been put on the back burner this year, I wanted to be able to ride in the flat-and-windy state. What to do...

There was a recent thread on Velocipede Salon about this very conundrum. The question was asked whether it was better to have a travel bike made using the S&S couplers, or to have a cheap-ish bike stashed at the normal destination to use. The answer is, as in a lot of situations, "it depends".

It depends on how often one travels, whether that travel is mostly to the same destination, and how much one is willing to spend to have a bike there.

NOT this kind of CL special!
Rental can get pretty expensive, if it's available. Traveling with a bike incurs hefty baggage fees, unless one gets the coupled bike (which isn't cheap by any means either), and can be a major pain just in the extra large bag. Add in traveling with a (then) 9-month-old and everything that goes with that, and you can guess that hands would be beyond full in short order.

In my case, since the travel is normally to a single destination, and I probably won't be doing much other traveling, along with the above mentioned issues, it makes sense to pick up a Craigslist special in good working order and have it stored in Illinois. That then limits my luggage to shoes and riding gear only.

This is MUCH better, if it were only about 5cm smaller.
Let the search begin. I saw a couple decent-enough rides on Craigslist yesterday, but one was way too big, and the other didn't include wheels. Maybe I'll end up borrowing a bike from a friendly local...

Anyway, if you like to ride and hate having to hang it up when traveling to the rellies, finding a cheap bike to stash there might not be a bad idea.

And I SWEAR this isn't another fit of N+1. It just makes sense, really. My wife even agrees.

All that's left is that place to store the bike.

Hey mom! You know that spare room? Yeah, can I turn that into a bike room?

I kid! I kid!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


In my last post, I paid homage to my father, the role he played in my life, and the character he portrayed every day.

Little did I know that he would take his last breath only 12 hours later.

Many people have expressed their heartfelt sympathy towards me, with the words "sorry for your loss."

I find that a little interesting. Mostly these words come from people who never knew him.

The fact is, I'm not really sorry he's gone.

WAIT! Before you start jumping on my case about being an emotional void, of hating my father, of being glad he's out of my life, hear me out. There's a difference between being glad he's gone, and not being sorry he's gone.

Had you watched this vital, caring man see his life slowly stolen from him, had you watched the frustration he endured, the loss of dignity, and eventually the point to where he could not interact with the world around him, you would likely feel the same way.

I'm not sorry that the struggles he's gone through are over.

I'm not sorry that he is far better off now, having left the world of his suffering behind and gone to the presence of his Lord and Master, being welcomed with a hearty, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

He lived a good life, and left us with many good memories. He had an impact on those around him, and the world as a whole. He died peacefully.

I realized that I was continuing on with a legacy of his, in a way. He was always a good carpenter and even architect. Wood was his friend. He once built/carved a toy wooden rifle for me, complete with strap, trigger guard, sights, and a "barrel" (a copper pipe end that was nailed to the end). It was correctly scaled, looked the part (aside from being wood), and fit me well. He did it in the space of an hour. At the age of 7 or 8, I had no idea how impressive that was, I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. I had that toy for many years, surviving many hours of exploring in the woods, and two moves.

I did not inherit my father's gift of woodworking, but I realized that I did inherit his desire to make something lasting with my hands. It just took me longer in life to get it started. Steel is my chosen material, and hopefully the bikes I make will bring the same joy to those who receive them.