5 Years a Cyclist

Back in the summer of 2015, I was averaging about a hundred miles a week and I was still the slowest guy in the bike club on group rides, no matter what bike I rode.  Later in the season, just before Fall, I started getting sick. Like a knucklehead, I googled my symptoms and came up with viral spinal meningitis.  My doctor’s nurse practitioner diagnosed instead seasonal allergic rhinitis.  I still think I was probably right, but whatever the problem was, I got over it.  Still, the pounding heart thing while riding abrupt and steep (for me) hills niggled at the back of my mind.  In 2016, about a year later, painful irregular heartbeats occurring at least once a day prompted a lot of diagnostic procedures by a good cardiologist in a neighboring county.  Turns out at some time or other, I’d had a heart attack but damage was not too bad and my arteries were clear.

Anyway, after Fall of 2015, I quit riding for a while and then started again riding only for fun.  I think this year my longest ride’s been about 22-24 miles.

This year, I’ve got a new solo kayak, have taken my son paddling a couple of times, have started working out at a local gymnasium, and continue to ride most weekdays from work at lunch with a few after work and weekend rides.  My son still doesn’t enjoy riding for exercise – mostly, he wants to ride to a destination for nerf-gun war or in hopes of finding a disc some cannabis use disordered frisbee-golfer has lost.

Here’re a couple of photos from 2016 – the cotton field picture is from a lunch ride while I was working in a rural Southern Middle Tennessee county; the dredge photo’s taken beside a small, decorative lake that’s got clogged up with mud and lily pads.

Cotton Pickin Supernova

Supernova Dredge Phot

 

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Early Mornings but Little Motivation

I got up around 4:00 a.m. this morning and yesterday morning planning to get a cup of coffee and ride my bike to the gym, but instead, both yesterday and today, I had my coffee and read the news.  This morning I think I will work out here at the house, but yesterday I engaged in no fitness activities whatsoever.  Did some other stuff like help out a neighbor and attend my son’s first soccer game of the season, then socialized with other parents afterward at the local Chic-fil-A restaurant.  I almost never socialize with anyone, but sort of enjoyed the time I spent with both my own family and others from the sportsfield group.

My wife, who earlier in the morning looked after her friend’s three young children d/t a family emergency, wanted me to check an email we received to determine whether we’d had our data compromised in the recent Equifax data breach and I got side-tracked deleting some 2200 emails from the family email account my wife uses.  There’re probably about that many more that need purged.  No, we didn’t get any Equifax notification.

Finally, I tore myself away from the computer and drove out to my mechanic’s garage on the off-chance that he’d be there working on a Saturday.  He often does work Saturdays and holidays, but doesn’t answer the phone on those days.  The car I’ve been driving since my green ’98 XC70 was totaled last summer by a young woman who had lterally gone off her meds a week or two prior to the wreck.

Apparently some previous owner had a mechanic (or did it himself) who hard-wired one of the low-been headlight bulbs.  Now, after seven years, it’s gone out.  I ordered some replacement bulbs to change them out, myself, but found yesterday morning the wired-in problem.  Hence the need for professional intervention.  I may drive out the garage again, today, because the place was closed up when I got there, yesterday.

On the way back to the house, I stopped at a produce stand and got my wife some tomatoes for BLT sandwiches.  Our backyard garden hasn’t produced much.  Three green tomatoes out there, now.  Not much else besides, although the various plants seem to be okay.  About a 30 mile round trip, but not completely wasted.  I hate driving around with a headlight out – it feels shameful not having something that basic tended to.

Did I mention I’ve been reading a lot, this year?  Mostly Star Wars “Legends” novels – way more entertaining than the lame SJW-inspired Disney sponsored novels that are now, supposedly, “canon.”  By “reading a lot” I mean wasting a lot of time reading novels like some people eat candy.  My mind is probably getting fat and lazy and my brain fit for maybe the glass-jar equivalent of soft, fast-food and ice-cream stained couch.  Did I mention I had a milk-shake yesterday at lunch.  See?  It’s not just my brain that’s deteriorating here.

My wife reports my son has complained that I’ve been spending too much time reading and not enough time playing with him – hunting each other with Nerf guns outside Son-on-Scooter versus Dad-on-Foot dodge-the-scooter driveway game; backyard target shooting with the Tippman 98 (ours has been modified for killing grackles); building with Lego blocks, etc.  So, late yesterday afternoon when my son was too worn out from a day playing soccer and running around outside with friends while watching other teams’ games, I got another Mojang account so he and I could multi-play Minecraft on our LAN.  THAT was pretty time-consuming.

Next week, I’m scheduled to preach at our congregation’s worship meeting.  I don’t think I’m very good at that kind of speaking.

I think part of what’s getting in the way of my preferred leisure activities is that I know I’ve got two or three responsibilities I’ve got to carry out and have been procrastinating about getting them done.  That’s weighing on me and obstructing the clarity of purpose and function that equals motivation I seem to’ve been lacking recently.  To the good, I haven’t been binge-watching series on Netflix.

That’s all for today.

 

Solar Eclipse Phots 8-21-2017

Pre-Eclipse Bike Ride Sky

A week ago Monday, I went for a bike ride at lunch hoping to notice some odd lighting changes related to the scheduled “Once In A Lifetime” solar eclipse.  I do recall seeing some kind of solar eclipse when I was in elementary school in Southern California – we made a viewing device out of cardboard that had a reflecting surface upon which to safely see the eclipse.  I think I had trouble making mine; recall seeing something and looking at the sky; my eyes kept working so I guess I didn’t take a long look at the eclipse.  I took my ancient Pentax Optio WP kayaking camera with me to work and snapped a few pictures during the day.  But on my ride, I noticed nothing out of the norm – too early by at least an hour.

None of my afternoon appointments presented, so I was able to snap a few pictures during the eclipse later.  One of my co-workers gave me her extra pair of bona fide cardboard and plastic solar eclipse glasses.  I was able to see the event pretty clearly, snapped a few phots with the Pentax with poor results, then someone suggested holding one of the eclipse viewer lenses over the camera lens.  That produced better results.

Crescent Sun

At full eclipse, I took a couple of pictures without the special viewing lens.

Full Eclipse

Full Eclipse 2

Probably the oddest phenomenon I observed during the eclipse, though, besides the early afternoon darkness, was the crescent shadow effect.  Behold the effect of the crescent shadow-inator:

Crescent Shadows

Fredonia’s Not Klopstokia…

…but I rode out there anyway, last Saturday morning.

Hwy 41 LibertyFredonia, or Freedonia – I don’t recall which, is a fictional European country that borders on another fictional country, Sylvania, in an old Marx Brothers film.  The Marx brothers were, along with Charlie Chaplin, a sort of Alan Alda and/or Jerry Seinfeld of the black and white era of comedic film.  Self-important, sometimes funny, very well paid, and so forth.

When it comes to fictional European countries, I prefer Klopstokia every time.

Here are some photos from my Fredonian ride – an easy 21 mile loop from Pixley, in Pot County, Tennessee, where I took my car to get new tires early Saturday morning, through the Fredonian countryside.

Fredonia Road

Saturday 5 August 2017 was the most beautiful August day I can remember in about 20 years living in Tennessee.  Warm but not hot.

Looking for Klopstokia

Fredonia School

Old Fredonian Farmhouse

Secret Gravel Road Along Freeway

I-24 Looking Toward M'boro

I returned to the modern world riding across Interstate 24 and then on in to town, loaded my bike back up on the station wagon’s bike rack and drove home on new tires.

Raleigh Sprite Frame & Fenders

Raleigh Sprite Sandblasted Fenders

A couple of days ago, I got the 1974 Raleigh Sprite’s frame and fenders back from the powder coat shop.  Also took the seatpost and stem, as well as the oddly small handlebars in for sandblasting and finish coating – not chrome, though, I hate the maintenance chrome requires.  I’ll post a picture of those items when I get them back.

The gray I chose is a lot lighter than it looked on the color card and has a bluish cast to it.  Yesterday, at lunch, I took the frame and fenders to the body shop around the corner, as it were, from the office to select a color for the fenders by holding color cards against the frame in sunlight and with a small lamp that approximates sunlight.  Chose a yellow that’s close to a British racing yellow but is a GM stock color used on semi-articulated tractor rigs.  The paint will be a little cheaper than a custom color.  Hopefully, the color scheme will work alright.  At least those fenders will be visible a long way off.

The fellow who originally sandblasted the frame and fenders ran the rear fender through the box with the reflector in place.  After working on its removal at the body shop, I can see why he left it alone.  The body shop guys were able to get it removed, but it was more difficult than expected.

Here’re a couple of pictures:

Raleigh Sprite Rear Fender

Powdercoated Raleigh Sprite Frame

1974 Raleigh Sprite

My father-in-law bought this 10 speed bicycle when stationed in Honolulu and occasionally deployed on an aircraft carrier.  He said for a while he rode the bike from the family home to the clinic where he served as a dental surgeon.  When I got the bike, it’d been stored in one of the small barns at the family farm for about 25 years, the fork and handlebars had been turned and stuck sideways to the frame, the tires dry-rotted and the rear fender dented with the reflector’s plastic broken out.

About three or four years ago, I dsassembled the bike and boxed up its sorry component group – Huret and Sturmy-Archer.  There’s a long story about how I farmed out getting the frame, fork, and fenders sandblasted for $25, then could not find the sandblaster, then figured it out and retrieved the parts sans paint but with the headbadge also sandblasted.

Last week, I took frame and fork to a powder-coat shop in the county where I work at lunchtime and picked a slightly darker, battle-ship gray color.  Yesterday, I took the fenders to body-shop close to my office and talked about getting them worked on and painted a sort of British Racing Yellow.  The bodyshop guy is a midieval history buff, so talking history was a bonus.  Today, I plan to pick up the frame and fork to finalize fender color at the bodyshop.  Will take and post a couple of pictures.

Here’s a link to someone else’s Raleigh Sprite: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/1974-raleigh-sprite-bicycle-bike-135554524

Folbot Aleut First Report

Aleut View Forward

Today, I paddled my new 2003 Anniversary Edition Folbot Aleut for the first time.  Most of you know this already, but the Aleut is Folbot’s 12′ single kayak.  Here’s a link to information on the Folbot line-up of folding kayaks that I think was current when the company went out of business last year (2016).  Weighing about 40#, it’s easy to put on the car’s roof racks.  I used a couple of cheap foam blocks to protect the hull.  The boat’s aluminum frame, probably aluminum in general, ‘feels’ more fragile to me than my previous folders’ wooden frames.  The Aleut’s gothic arch cockpit is huge – it seems even bigger from the inside.  I used a bungie cord to keep the seatback in place.  I remember reading on the old Folbot Forum that the style seat my kayak’s got consistently annoyed users by falling forward when they entered the cockpit.

Aleut Lakeside

The Aleut has zero rocker, is beamy, has a lot of primary stability but I was unsure of its secondary stability so I edged to turn with caution.  It was a little breezy today and I found the kayak didn’t turn into the wind much; no rudder today nor was one needed.  The kayak seems sturdy, stable, not bothered by boat-wake or small wind-waves.

Compared to Campsis Radicans, my old Pouch E68, the Folbot Aleut is pretty slow.  Surely no more than six miles did I paddle this afternoon, but I had no real plan except to put the boat in the water and paddle it around a bit.  It took me a mile or two to remember how and begin to paddle efficiently.   The kayak’s D-rings for perimeter line are placed where I carelessly and repeatedly whacked them with the paddle.  Altering habitual form to avoid that will take at least conscious effort and another excursion to effect.  My form today was sufficiently poor that one of my elbows hurts.

Aleut Beached

As you can see from the pictures, I overprepared – spare paddle, a couple of dry-bags with stuff I might need, a second lunch in case I got hungry, a bilge pump, a bilge sponge, about a gallon of drinking water in a Viet-Nam era military collapsible canteen.

I rode my ’07 Jamis Supernova this morning and again this evening after supper.  Being active outside feels good.

Aleut & Supernova