Friday, March 29, 2013

biking to Cuba

Wow, for some reason, my brain is on fire with new bicycling ideas, including biking in Cuba.  I just did a little online research about the possibility of taking a ferry from southern Florida to Cuba, and can't be done because of embargos if you're just a common American citizen.  I need to check with Michael Moore to see how he managed it for his film SICKO. 

Then I got to thinking, what about taking a ferry from Miami to the Bahamas and cycling there?  Okay, suddenly my mind is on fire... so why not island hop on ferries and go all over, to Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, etc., and even island hop from Cuba to Cancun, Mexico?  In fact, you can travel up the Gulf Coast of Mexico right back into lower TX... and I got to thinking, why not cycle the Gulf of Mexico?  What a fantastic biking trip that would be. 

Rode to church today for a Good Friday service.  Now my brain is on cycling fire.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

West Hollywood cycling adventures

It seems to me that if there are multiple lanes in each direction, the far right lane should at very minimum be marked with sharrows if there is no bike lane. And if there is only one lane in each direction, automatic sharrows. Period. That being said, bikes have the right to the full lane. We don't have to ride so far to the right that we are in the gutter or in peril of being doored by some fool who doesn't look. And that right side usually has some of the worst potholes and road debris anyhow - which is no problem for a car but for a cyclist can be deadly. I take the full lane when I go down the length of Orlando/Gale in WeHo to Gregory Way. The street is narrow with parking on both sides but cars can have a lane in each direction. So if the cars have to wait behind me, too bad. There's a stop sign at every block anyhow so that can't get up much speed to begin with.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shifting cycling plans

I saw this on my ride yesterday.
I am a part-time caretaker for a disabled woman and have been for the last 3-1/2 years.  She has been in and out of hospital five times since I've been working for her, mostly due to intestinal issues (mostly due to diet issues, but I won't go down that story at the moment).  She is also a Life Master at the game of Bridge, and when she's feeling up to it, I take her to play at the local Bridge clubs 2-4 times per week.  Recently she had scheduled herself to play in a Bridge Regional down in San Diego at the end of March.  Now, this meant that I would be out of work for a couple days (unpaid days), so I thought that with a 4-day weekend that I would make the most of it by trying to push myself with four 50-mile days in a row - because if I wasn't going to be working, I would try to make good use of the time and try to push myself.  It would be a small taste of what it would be like to be on the road for a long trip averaging 50 miles a day, and it totaled 200 miles, which is approximately the mileage needed to get from the Santa Monica beaches to the border of California.  However, due to her latest hospitalization, the San Diego plans were scrapped.  The means I'm working, which is good, but my 4-day plans are also scrapped.

I'm currently far behind on my cycling goals for the year, but I know things will catch up in the upcoming months.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I. Martin Cycles and bike maintenance

I visited my favorite bicycle shop, I. Martin Cycles, on Friday to pick up a new spare tube.  On Thursday I did a routine air pump on the tires and discovered that that back tire was really low.  Like, unusually low.  So I pumped it up, went to work, and I noticed after work that the pressure was already going down significantly again.  In fact, I was concerned I might not make it home without a flat.  However, I did make it home and decided that I would change out the tube and check the tire for debris.

One of the first things they teach you about changing a tube is that you don't need to remove the tire from the wheel, but in this case I removed everything so that I could feel around the inside of the tire and inspect it for anything sharp.  It turned out to be perfectly fine.  I couldn't find the problem with the tube either.  I was thinking maybe the valve stem was tearing, but I couldn't find that problem, although I am now suspecting maybe the valve had a slow leak.  Regardless of the true problem, I had no choice but to change it out, which I did, and then I went to get a new spare.  The new tube was $5.99.

While I was in there, one of the bosses came up to me and thanked me for the nice tweet I'd made about their store, and I took a moment to talk about my desire to go cross-country, the need for a new bike because my handlebars had one position only.  he show me some new grips that had an extension on them that allowed for a 2nd hand position.  That's definitely a possibility I'll consider for this bike.

I also asked about mirrors, and he said there were two options: helmet mirror or left grip mirror.  I didn't purchase either, since I'm on a tight budget at the moment, but the helmet mirror sounds great although I'd wait on that until I get a new helmet this year.  I still might get a grip mirror.

The tube is now staying inflated, but I still have no idea what was wrong with the other one.  The point is, if there is anything wrong, just replace it.  They're cheap enough, and it's not worth the misery of having to fix it on the road.