Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When one of us thrives and the other one flounders

It's an odd feeling, this. I haven't felt very happy about Springfield life until now. Maybe it had something to do with the job instability I've experienced. We moved here because I got a job that I didn't really like very much and didn't last that long anyway. Then I took the next job that came along, a gig an hour away, which made for an extremely stressed out and very unhealthy me. Then I jumped at the chance to work in town again, but that job could only be described as bizarre so I quit that craziness and was lucky enough to secure my current gig just four days later.

It's embarrassing, really. We moved here for me, and for me it's been the biggest struggle. Luckily Cody is thriving. He loves his job, easily made lots of friends very quickly and is probably the happiest I've ever seen him. It's so great to see. Made me a little jealous.

I haven't wanted to share much about my life, on the bike or off, because I honestly haven't been proud enough to.

But now I'm about three months into my dream gig. I'm a corporate staffer at our regional YMCA. I'll try not to drone on about how great an organization it is. But it's pretty great. I get to help real people with real life struggles make healthy choices for their children, their communities and themselves. It feels noble, what I do. I feel proud of of my professional self again.

And, just so this doesn't turn into too much of a diary entry, there's a kickass bike rack just outside the office. So great, in fact, that there are usually at least four bikes locked to it. So I was surprised yesterday when I tried to leave, but couldn't because someone had locked his bike to mine while he took some time to chat with a motorist in a minivan just a few feet away. I should mention that 2/3 of this awesome bike rack was unoccupied.

This promises to be at the center of many a great Springfield cycling story.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fun With the Guys From Queen City Cycles

Queen City Cycles - my LBS - was celebrating their 10th birthday party on Sunday with a leisurely ride around town followed by a private party at Mother's. I was pretty excited about celebrating with the awesome guys from QCC, so the boy and I loaded up and braved the cool drizzly morning to go join the ride. We were running a few minutes late, but I figured they'd be running behind with the nasty weather. But then I flatted on my way across downtown. The little dude was a big helper getting the flat changed, but it still took around 20 minutes. Totally missed the start of the ride, and had no idea where they were going.

With the ride no longer an option, we decided to pop into the Bistro Market for some ice cream (for the boy) and a beer (for me). Then we went over to Mother's to join the party. The beer was excellent, of course. But they had Maria's cater lunch, which was also excellent. And the guys from QCC had some awesome swag, so I loaded up before we headed home.

Also, I'm not much of a fixed gear kind of guy, but there were a couple pretty sweet rigs locked up next to mine outside the Bistro Market. I snapped some pictures before moving on. Not too bad, eh?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sunday Joyride

Ginger and I were scheming about going for a bike ride on Sunday when I got a message from my sister asking if we'd be interested in going for a ride. I took it as a sign that it was the right thing to do. We loaded up our bikes and drove down to the South Creek Greenway for a leisurely ride through town. The weather was killer - a perfect early fall day. We started at the trailhead at National and Sunset and rode the 2.5 miles down to the pedestrian bridge that spans Kansas Expressway. Then we turned around and came back, for a total of 5 miles. The boy had a blast. And 5 miles ain't bad for a 4 year old riding a bike with 16" wheels and training wheels.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wheel Issues on the Raleigh Sports

I totally slacked off on regular maintenance of Ginger's 1972 Raleigh Sports. Ginger told me that the brakes were squealing so I threw the bike up on the repair stand. Once it was on the repair stand, I realized that the wheels were badly out of true. Upon closer inspection I found that some of the spokes were frighteningly loose. One of them was even broken! I pulled off the front wheel with the broken spoke and tossed it aside and then trued up the rear wheel as best I could. My old man has several old Raleigh Sports rigs and he came to rescue with a temporary replacement wheel. So now Ginger's machine is back on the road, which is nice. Though I have to confess that I totally forgot to fix the squealing brakes.

Now I'm torn on how to proceed. As I see it, I've got three options:

  1. Replace the front wheel with a used or new wheel
  2. Pick up a donor bike from around the same vintage and pilfer the wheels from it
  3. Re-lace the original wheels
All three options have their advantages. Option 1 is probably the path of least resistance. It's pretty easy to find brand new 26 x 1 1/3 wheels for a good price. And I'm sure there are plenty on eBay and/or Craigslist. But most of the bike is completely original, so I kind of hate to do this.

Option 2 is slightly more intensive, but not much. And it still entails replacing the original equipment with non-original, which would totally suck.

Option 3 is the most attractive, but it's the most expensive (I would need to invest in a good truing stand and tension meter) and time consuming (I've never built or re-laced a wheel before). At the same time, building wheels is something I've been interested in trying my hand at. And a decent truing stand would be a pretty solid investment for someone who works on six bikes of my own, plus my friends' bikes when they need a hand.

The jury's still out on how I'm going to handle this. But I'll have to do it soon, because my dad's going to want that wheel back eventually.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Madtown Bike Share For the Win!

Things have been pretty quiet around here lately, as I was in Madison, WI all last week on work-related business. While there, I had a chance to make use of the Madison B-Cycle program. As a bonus, I was able to meet with some awesome members of Madison B-Cycle leadership. Great people, great town. Can't wait to go back. It was my first time using bike share, and I have to say, I was not disappointed.

I checked out my first bike on Main Street over by the capitol after having a beer and dinner at a top-notch Irish pub. I rode a few blocks to the parking garage down by Monona Terrace where my car was parked to drop things off. I docked the bike while I was there. To be honest, I docked the bike rather than just locking it up because I couldn't figure out how to use the lock...I got it figured out immediately after returning from my car (it wasn't that hard, just couldn't quite get the lock angled correctly). After my errand, I checked out another bike and rode it up the hill to the capitol, took a lap around the square, and docked the bike on the other side of the square outside of my destination - a beer bar with an awesome collection of local brews.

So yeah, my first experience with bike share was using it to bar hop. Not a bad inaugural run.