Camera Found & Blackburn Flea Update

My camera was in my backpack, where it’d evidently been since my most recent trip to Gallatin.  I hadn’t realized before this how photo-driven is my blog posting.

I got a call yesterday from the M.O.A.B. warranty guy who said the store had received the defective replacement unit I mailed to them on Saturday, had themselves found the unit defective, and that Blackburn has agreed to again replace the unit.  This time, M.O.A.B. will ship the light to my house.

Blackburn Flea Warranty Update

Update:

Earlier this week I telephoned to MOAB and spoke with their warranty guy.  He agreed to arrange another warranty replacement for the new red back light.  This time, I will be mailing it to the store and will receive the replacement in the mail.  These trips to Murfreesboro are too time-and-fuel-consuming.

The night before last, we had a severe storm here at Stepford and a power outage that lasted some four hours in late evening.  I used the Blackburn Flea front light as a flashlight (it was charged and in a desk drawer by the computer) and found it entirely satisfactory when used for that purpose.  My wife and son had real flashlights.

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Yesterday, I drove out to MOAB bike shop at Murfreesboro and picked up the replacement red, rear light Blackburn shipped out as a warranty replacement for the one that’d quit working reliably, or rather had started to reliably quit every time my bike hit a bump in the road.  I took the replacement home, removed it from its packaging, and tried to turn it on.  No joy.

I plugged it in to a USB port on a PC to charge, but after several hours, all it would do was shine brightly and red for a few seconds while connected to the charger unit, although it flickered green to indicate a fully charged battery.  Tomorrow, I will be calling MOAB to complain about this second light, as well.

Another Busy Weekend Planned

blackburn_flea_2_0_set

Wonky rear light I purchased about a year ago from MOAB now quits working whenever the bike hits a bump. Totally useless. The flimsy straps that came with the lights snapped, one the first week, and the other within a few short months.

I called M.O.A.B., and the fellow there with whom I spoke said he thought Blackburn was replacing only the rear light, but the shipment won’t arrive until next week.  My wife suggested I wait to expend fuel I’ll use to return wonky bike repair stand to Murfreesboro until I can also pick up the replacement light or lights.   Maybe I will.heed that advice.

My wife’s parents are scheduled to arrive this afternoon or evening.  My wife and women from our former congregation have a Euchre card-playing party scheduled for this evening.  Saturday morning, our congregation has scheduled its monthly Men’s Breakfast, which I always enjoy.  Then, about midday, there’s a reunion to attend.

My in-laws are bringing with them a 40 or 50 year-old aluminum glider with blue-green vinyl upholstered cushions that we’ll put in the sunroom, where its color-scheme will fit right in.  We’ll be moving the plastic play-house out and probably try to sell it at a consignment store.

I’ve found a local guy who does powder-coating, which is probably the best way to render in British Racing Green the ancient Raleigh Sprite I recently brought back from Indiana.  Maybe I will get a ride in Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon.  It’s been too hot for me to ride my bike to worship and Wednesday services – the stink of my sweat would even offend me.

Bastille Day at Murfreesboro

All I’d wanted to do Saturday morning, 7/14/12, was get a new set of tires for Thursday, see about trading my wife’s Electra Townie for a Trek 700 at MOAB, and see about warranty replacing the wankelmütig Blackburn Flea bike lights I bought there last September.  Before I left the house, my wife gave me another mission to accomplish at Murfreesboro – go to Hobby Lobby and buy her some scrapbooking paper that looked like a dirty brown covered with soggy Fruity Pebbles kids’ cereal.  I asked her to write down what I was supposed to be looking for because I knew I would not retain the instruction-set.  She did, and asked me to call her from the paper aisle.

Pot-County-Corn-7-14-12Rain-Sky-Saturday

I got out of the house about 7:00 a.m., later than I wanted to leave, but early enough to enjoy a beautify sky on the drive from Stepford to the tire store at Pixley.  Also drove past some cornfields that looked a little better for the rain we had the previous week.  At the tire-store, I tried to read a book while I waited, but was distracted by the waiting area’s television that’d been tuned to The Rifleman episodes playing back to back on a cable channel, the volume set un-ignorably high.  Some of those story-lines are pretty harsh by the standards of today’s programming.  My car’s new tires, Yokohama Avid Ascends, are louder than Michelin Harmony’s I’d worn out driving the past four or five years, but grip well, improve handling (over the worn Michelins), and hold air pretty good.  Also, I didn’t have to drive an hour to get them like I would have had to have done in order to get a new set of Michelins.

At Murfreesboro, I found Hobby Lobby on Old Fort Parkway was closed when I arrived.  Instead of waiting around in the parking lot for the kryptonite store to open, I went over to Northern Tools, which had been open since about seven or eight.  I was glad and surprised the store’s bathroom was clean.  I looked at some clear 3M metallic safety glasses that don’t look like the safety goggles I had to wear in Seventh Grade shop-class, thinking they’d be good protection from gnats while riding in the evenings.  I also looked for a bike repair stand, but they had none in stock.  I priced what they could order and ship to my door, so I could compare prices with what M.O.A.B. was selling.

By the time I got done looking around at Northern Tools, Hobby Lobby was open for business.  I still got a parking place close to the door because most of the regular Hobby Lobby shoppers were probably still at Starbucks or eating cinnamon rolls or other sweet, baked things at home.  I went into the store.  I’ve been in this Hobby Lobby store two or three times previously and had each time felt my manly strength quickly sapped away, felt very tired and wanted to lay my head down and sleep for a long time in dreamless oblivion.  That can’t be healthy.  In the past, I tried to buoy my spirits by imagining the container loads of cheaply made Chinese decorative wares as pistol targets, but that didn’t help for long because what right-thinking man would spend a penny of hard-earned money on any of those gimcracks, much less put them in his car and carry them off to some clean, healthful outdoor place shoot them to bits?  Better to leave those horrors in the big-box store and occupy oneself with meaningful pursuits.

Anyway, on Bastille Day I hit upon unintentionally a strategy for coping with effect of kryptonite.  It is this, and I share it with you, brother man, because you need to know it – have a mission, a goal.  Get in and get out, early in the day and quickly, before the store is filled with patchouli oil miasma of two or more hundred artistic women of all ages meandering slowly through the aisles with looks of alert wonder on their pert dials.  At the front desk, I asked a woman in manager’s togs where to find scrapbooking paper. I made my way diagonally and to my right across the store to the far corner in which I’d been told scrapbooking (and, it turns out, stamping) materials had been displayed for purchase.  I passed a normal-seeming, trim woman in yellow T-shirt and blue jeans pushing a shopping cart who appeared to be alert, happy, and at peace in an environment clearly to her liking.

In the corner, I only found packages of paper and other packaged items.  Ranging back a little more, I found the paper aisle, itself.  Along one side, nothing that I can recall beyond racks of paper sold as single sheets.  I was able to find something that approximated the dark brown Fruity Pebbles (see that picture, above, that I linked to on somebody else’s blog), but was not exactly what Caution-Lady had shown me earlier on an Internet scrapbooking paper website.  I telephoned to her, explaining that, instead of random blobs of color, the sheet of paper before me had colored dots arranged in an orderly, grid-like pattern, and that I couldn’t tell whether the background was dark brown or black.  I asked my wife to hold on a second and asked the opinion of the woman in the yellow shirt, who, to my surprise, was also looking at sheets of paper.  She thought the background was black.  I eventually found and bought between 17 and 25 sheets of different patterned and colored paper.  Because it was on sale, it cost maybe $10.37.  Having accomplished my mission, I got out and drove to bike store feeling a lot more like myself than at any other time after having been exposed to the Hobby Lobby environment.

M'boro-Main-St.

M.O.A.B. was closed when I got there, so I parked in front and walked over to the square because I was getting pretty hungry, and I remember the last time I was at the square on a Saturday morning, there’d been a farmers market where I’d been able to sample cooked food and buy a snack.  I walked straight on from whatever street M.O.A.B.’s on to the square, then followed the smell of cooking meat so I could get some to eat (that rhyme was unintentional, but the statement so true that I left it even though it annoys).  In the photo above, Main Street’s the one that connects with the one I walked in on.

Robert-y-Noah-FlandersNoah's-MusicNoah-Flanders-PlayingMusician's-Money

On the way to cooked food, I saw a busker.  I don’t think I’ve seen one since Pioneer Square, Portland, Oregon, during my many recreational visits to the downtown area to buy comic books, used books, and just walk about.  Noah Flanders, pictured with violin beside his father, Robert Flanders, didn’t know Funny Valentine, but at his father’s suggestion played something as well worth hearing.  To the best of my recall, Noah is saving for a trip to Italy in pursuit of his musical interests and studies. 

Gen.-Griffith-Rutherford2-Corinthians-1Steeple-Renovation

Eggplants-TomatoesT-&-J-Farms

The meat that was cooking came from the Batey Farms booth where a man and woman were cooking bits of pork sausage for samples and selling frozen packages of same.  The samples were excellent.  On my way back to the car, I bought the last package of Italian sausage they had in stock.  Here’s the farmer’s contact information:

Batey Farms

5104 Baker Road

Murfreesboro, TN 37129

www.bateyfarms.com

I took a lot of pictures on the square – a couple of other activities were scheduled:  Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA) had a reenactment of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s raid, which is something I know I should look up understand before mentioning it here on my blog, but I haven’t the time this morning; And some kind of Mule Team parade or equestrian show was happening.  I know it was SCA because those’re the initials that were printed on the sleeves of the orange t-shirts of the people cordoning off space needed for the reenactment.

While on a recent Indiana vacation, I photographed a huge and elaborate Civil War memorial.  While on the square at Murfreesboro, I photographed a humbler monument dedicated to the soldiers of the Confederacy.  As with most of the photographs posted here, click on the image in order to view it at full-size.  The people seated around the monument’s base were watching the historical reenactment.

Confederate-MonumentClocktower-RebelA-MonumentLest-We-Forget

Here are a couple of photos from the reenactment – I didn’t get any good pictures of the cavalry – just these tableaux:

SCA-ReenactmentRebels

Here are a number of photos from the parade of mule teams and equestrians:

Earnest-ConversationParadePalace-CyclistHula-HorseCovered-WagonSmall-Cart

Is-He-Still-ThereThe-FraleysTrailblazer-Wagon

Alert-Rider

The folks at M.O.A.B. were only willing to give me $150.00 in trade for a bike that cost about $375.00 new at the end of last August, 2011, and now has less than a hundred miles on it.  I called my wife and we decided to keep the bike.  Maybe we’ll sell it someone else for more than M.O.A.B. offered, and maybe we’ll get her a Fuji women’s Absolute (because she prefers the step-through frame).  I did leave the Blackburn Flea lights for warranty replacement.  When I called the store this week, the employee with whom I spoke said the company would replace them, so this coming Saturday, I’ll have to head up there and pick up the new lights.

Tour de Corn–Riding Indiana, Part Two

Corn Maze Conclusion

With only about five miles to pedal back to the house, eating the rest (all three) of my Wal-Mart generic fig newton cookies and quaffing the remainder of my Gatorade was a pretty safe bet.  I knew where I was and where I was going.  No problem.  I was about spent, however, when I rolled up to the garage.  I think I took a shower, changed clothes, ate a quick lunch, and then conked out beside my little boy for a much-needed nap.

Independence Day Ride

Hwy-35-NorthLong-RoadRough-RoadFarm-Country-Vista

On Wednesday, I rode another 25 or so miles, and this time I studied the map more carefully, then set out across the county as opposed to along the main highway.  After the previous day’s tri-county corn-maze ride, this one was easy.  Or mostly easy, because when I got to the place where the road  T-ed, it took about two miles of false starts to figure out the right direction to pedal.  But I never mistook my turns again that week.

The road pictured third from left, above, was the roughest unbroken surface upon which I rode last week.  All of them, save the greenway and the main highways, were pretty rough, though, and examples of chip seal paving.

War Memorials and Independence Day Decorations

Courthouse-TankMain-Street-Welcome

On previous trips to Indiana I’d driven through one of the local county seats and there observed an unusual war memorial on the courthouse square.  Wednesday afternoon,  my father-in-law and I drove out there and I took some pictures.  A large column with four free-standing figures below and one at the top, the monument featured four inscribed plaques, representations of cannon, crenellations and four small towers, a colonnade in relief, and a relief depicting scenes of battle.   Click on the thumbnails below to view the images larger.

Full-Monument-1Full-Monument-2Full-Monument-3

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Thursday’s for Resting and Test-Rides

Having done more cycling in four days than I usually do in two weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to rest on Thursday by spending an hour or so at the YMCA in town.  Because I’ve been neglecting the development of my upper body’s strength since I’ve taken up cycling, all I managed at the gym was about an hour.  On the drive back to the farm, I stopped and snapped a few pictures of a large derelict brick building I’d guess is over a hundred years old.  Most of the photos were a bit dreary-looking, so I haven’t included any here.  Well, just one.  I tried the door, but it was locked and I sought no other means of ingress.

Upper-Facade

I can’t remember whether it was this day or a previous day that my father-in-law and I drove to Selma to see what Goldman’s bike shop had in stock.  Duane (hope I spelled that right) has usually got about a dozen used bikes for sale out front, and heaven knows what used parts in the workshop portion of his building.  For awhile, I’d been trying to get my father-in-law to take the Trek Navigator 1.0 I formerly owned once I decided it was not something I wanted to keep riding, but he would not accept the bike as a gift thinking that it might wind up disused in the barn if his enthusiasm waned.  Jim tried out a used Diamondback mountain bike.  I tried out a Giant Defy, having read a good review of the model.  I learned after falling (and receiving a compliment on my ability to roll out of it) how to get in and out of toe-clips.  I loved the bike – especially the very wide handlebars.  Duane said he didn’t have a three-ring Shimano Biopace touring crankset (which I want for the Miyata), just a two-ring, like the one I’ve got on the Razesa. 

Later, on Thursday, I drove out by myself to Greenway500 to try out a Fuji Gran Fondo, the one with the Italian flag colors that I nicknamed The Pizza Box.  Michael thought, and I can’t now recall why, the blue and white version of the bike would be a better fit for me, so he got that one ready.  He explained how to shift the gears – brake levers are shifters on that bike, and there’re smaller levers behind them to shift the gears back the other way.  The gears are indexed and that, taken with the ease with which the levers shift, was a revelation.  The Fuji handled the rough chip seal road in front of the bike shop easily, and was fast on the greenway’s smooth paved surface.  I tried out a Scott straight-bar road bike, but the seat height was wrong, I disliked the gearing, and I hated it.  After returning it, Michael got the Pizza Box ready.  That was a GREAT bike.  I probably rode it three or four miles.  I liked everything about it – the only thing that would’ve improved it would’ve been Biopace or, possibly, modern off-round chain rings.

Sitting in the shop after riding that second Gran Fondo, I must’ve looked like I was having a small, bad seizure – staring blankly while deep in thought – because Michael asked whether I was okay.  Yup, I said, I was reflecting on whether I was ready to abandon the obsolete tech I’ve been riding since January to enter the world of modern bicycling – a much harder choice than you may imagine.  Finally, I told him I’d check with Caution-Lady about the price, said goodbye, and drove back to the house.

The Cautious One said, “No.”

My father-in-law and I got the old bikes out of the barn – a child’s Murray 10-speed, a Huffy women’s three-speed, and brown Raleigh Sprite.  I pumped up the tires on the Sprite and rode it around the drive; it didn’t shift well, but the Brooks saddle was surprisingly comfortable and had a 1974 Honolulu bike license plate hanging off it.  The Murray must have weighed 30 pounds; the Huffy had internal gear hub in back.  We talked about the bikes, and I put them back in the barn. 

Thursday night I had a series of strange and entertaining dreams.  In one, I starred in a long Dr. Who episode that brought us into contact with the Rabbit People – that is, human-looking people who were actually very large rabbits.  Great dream.  Thoroughly enjoyed it.  That was followed by another dream with just the Rabbit People, no Dr. Who, and another wild adventure.

Friday – Another Ride and a Rabbit

I can’t remember which day I bought them, but I got a set of Serfas USB rechargeable front and rear lights (the kind designed to make one visible to motorists, not the kind one should expect to see by) to replace the execrable-because-unreliable Blackburn Flea lights I need to see about returning.  Every time I hit a bump with the bike, the red Blackburn light shuts off.  Can’t ride more than a minute anywhere, much less rural Indiana, without riding striking an imperfection in the road’s surface sufficient to disable the light.  Super irksome.  The Serfas lights have only one LED each, whereas the Blackburn lights have four each, but I’d rather have two bright LEDs (one front, one rear) that works reliably than eight that only theoretically provide better light or visibility.

Farm-Road

Friday morning, I suited up and set out after breakfast for what had become my habitual ride across parts of two counties to the greenway then a longish but relatively easy ride to some point I’d make up my mind about as I was riding and then back to the house.  Near an overpass close to Muncie I saw a rabbit in a park, posed my bike for a photo by some strange wooden structure adjacent the park’s drainage lake.

Muncie-RabbitPark-Structure

I rode through Blountsville, again and got some pictures of houses that looked inhabited and lawns that looked tended.  I finally snapped a photograph of a greenway flower I’d been meaning to photograph all week, but hadn’t, yet.  One of the things that I liked about Blountsville, even though it’s deteriorating streets bespoke a ghost-town, was that several of the houses that looked properly maintained were decorated with flags or bunting for the Independence Day holiday week.

Greenway-White-FlowersBlountsville-YardsBlountsville-Flag

Saturday

On Saturday, the rest of the extended family drove to a many-miles-distant town for a picnic with cousins, uncles, aunts.  I stayed at the house to get some work done.  After about midday, when temperatures were about as hot as they were going to get, and after I’d eaten a large-ish lunch, I squeezed my middle-aged legs and torso into my by-now-in-need-of-another-wash cycling garb, filled up the water bottles with powdered Gatorade/water mix, put some pretzels and some other quick snacks in a bag and headed out again.  This time I planned to ride only as far as the Greenway500 bike shop and back again.

I and my bicycle were about the only things moving on the country lanes I rode to the greenway.  And upon the greenway, itself, I think I passed only one or two other cyclists during my ride.  Pedaling seemed to take much more effort in the heat and I became thirstier faster consuming more of the Gatorade faster than any previous day.  I refilled my water bottle from the sink at the bike shop.  Michael was distracted with a computer software problem he said had been plaguing him all day and tying up a lot of his time with tech support calls.  I needed to eat, I was a little shaky.  I took some more pictures in Blountsville and ate my snack under a blue-window in the side of church building the purpose of which was made known only by its size, shape, and roof shingles patterned in a cross either side; no sign with words proclaimed any denominational or other affiliation. 

Blountsville-Lighting-RodBountsville-Dirt

Blountsville-Blue-WindowBlountsville-Star-House

Eventually, I made it back to the house, showered, changed, ate something for supper, and tried to work on my project.  Thus ended my 2012 Tour de Corn visit to Indiana.  I did some riding every day, and most days covered more distance each day than I usually ride at home on a Saturday, the day I reserve for longer rides.  Not once did I even seriously consider getting the Grumman canoe out of the barn-loft.  It was way too hot to expect the family to indulge my whims with a lakeside picnic, and the White River, over near Yorktown and Daleville, I guessed, would have little enough water flowing in these days of rain-free and drought-like conditions.  I don’t know whether I’m ready to ride in Stepford wearing Lycra yet, but we’ll see.  Nobody ever really looks at cyclists, anyway, to identify them as individuals.  So on a bike, my anonymity is mostly assured.

Horses

Last photo of the day, Saturday 7/7/12

Cycling Jersey, Hill, Shoes

Castelli-Jersey

Castelli Jersey, new, in bag

Because I liked the idea of zippered rear and three other pockets, as well as having something to wear that doesn’t flap like my overlarge sky-blue and stodgy-looking paddling shirt, last weekend I bought a Castelli bicycling jersey from Sierra Trading Post and it arrived Thursday by least expensive shipping option.  That’s it in the picture above, still in its bag.  I could’ve got it in black and white, and myself tend to like the harlequinesque look, but I preferred the blue.  The jersey isn’t as unflattering on as I thought it would be; I don’t much like the scorpion logo, but do like the little Italian flag on the garment’s right side.  Now the problem is that I can’t wear a cycling jersey without cycling shorts – I’ve placed a Father’s Day request for a pair of them.

Intimidating Hill

Yesterday afternoon I went for a ride and tackled a hill that’s intimidated me since I first rode down it to a small “lake” a few miles from the house.  In the past, I’ve ridden down to the lake, then up and around veering right, then left, up a less steep hill.  Yesterday I rode fast down the zig-zag hill to the lake, then up to my left – and up.  I tried to super inflate my lungs.  In the lowest gear, a sprocket “popped,” then the chain caught a gear and I was able to maintain momentum.  Again a “pop” but the chain caught before I lost momentum, and I kept pedaling.  My thighs hurt on the outsides not far below the hips by the time I’d reached the crest, and I kept going. 

Razesa-Resting

Eventually the road leveled out a bit; I didn’t stop until I got to an industrial building a mile or two further on where I dismounted, drank a little water, and rested for about four minutes.  I snapped a picture of the bicycle, also at rest.  You’ll note, if you look for it, that I’ve clipped the rear light to the rack – the velcro straps included for the purpose of securing the Blackburn Flea lights to seatpost or handlebar are not well-enough made to last more than a few months.  In fact one of them broke the first week I got the lights.  I stopped early yesterday at a computer supply store and bought some Belkin velcro cable-ties, but although they were the correct width and length, they were not suitable for the task.

Cycling Shoes

So far, the very best shoes I’ve found for bicycling are not those specifically manufactured for use while bicycling, but are an old pair of New Balance 806 trail-running shoes I normally use for painting and yard-work.  The soles are stiffer than the New Balance shoes I purchased last year or the year before, but sufficiently flexible that I can feel the pedals through them.  If you’ve got a pair under a bed somewhere, I suggest you get them out and try them.  Here’re a couple of pictures.  My guess is that New Balance no longer makes them like this.  Maybe you can get a pair on Ebay (not my size, those).

NB-806-Heels New-Balance-806

January 2012

My maternal grandmother would have been a hundred years old this year.

I recall that when I was a kid, I used to imagine what it would be like to live past the year 2000.  Turns out it’s a lot different than what I expected; so far, so good.

October 2011

I had a job interview on the Umpteenth Floor of a large, downtown buildingg.  Back at the office, I worked it out, and the expense associated with the job for which I interviewed would have required many more dollars per year to make the change worth the difficulties, in terms of travel and parking, worth my while.  On the other hand, the thought of working with the people who interviewed me, capable and intelligent people for whom I respect, held appeal for me.

I’ve tested for some other jobs and have more testing to get done.  Hopefully, soon, I will have found other employment.  Sad thing is, I thoroughly enjoy the work I do and am pretty good at it.

November 2011

This past Thanksgiving we spent at my wife’s family home with her relatives, and had a pretty good, if very brief visit.  The kids enjoyed tractor rides and combine rides, running around the inside of an empty grain bin, climbing on gravel piles.  I went along on these activities to keep an eye on my young son and take pictures for my wife’s scrapbooks.  I snapped self portrait; I look less misshapen in the Plexiglas reflection than I do in real life.  Funny how that corrects for asymmetry of feature.

Combine-Self-Portrait

December 2011

Early in the month my wife’s parents stopped over on the way to and from a visit with friends and family in a couple of neighboring states.  My father-in-law and son spent some time on a cold day riding around in the driveway.  Here’s my father-in-law on the Trek Navigator 1.0 I bought in August.  This was taken before I got a set of SKS fenders with mudflaps for my birthday and a Planet Bike rear rack for Christmas.

Jim-Riding

December was an eventful month.  Ron, employed longer by may agency than probably any other person at the time, retired.  Ron’s the guy who taught me how to witch for water, about synthetic motor oils, in addition to being the one person I respected enough to let use my office as a hallway from time to time and who, when he flared up at some ass-hatted thing I said or did, I listened to without anger.  Our unit misses him, and I am grateful for his participation in my real-world education.

The weekend of Ron’s retirement party, my family celebrated the birthday of one of my favorite relatives, a cousin who resided in the town where I work and with whom I visited pretty regularly.  The day after her party, she took ill and was transported to the local hospital where she died early the following morning.  The week after that, I marked another year closer to my own half-century.

Last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we spent at home with friends and part of my extended family.  On the day after Christmas, we again traveled to my wife’s family home where we remained about a week.  My son and I threw snowballs at each other, he made snow-angels and kicked the little snow-men I made for him to destroy.  We had a good visit.  While there, I rode a 40 year-old Raleigh Grand Prix and really liked it.  I started thinking about buying a really old, really cheap road-bike pedal longer distances than I can reasonably cover in limited time on my Trek Navigator.  My son (not yet four years of age) enjoys making pictures with my camera when he can get his hands on it.  He took this and other pictures of things of interest to him –

Snowman

Paddling

2011 was a bad year for paddling.  I think I may have canoed and kayaked about six or seven times, if that.  My son’s old enough to really miss me when I’m away on a Saturday or Sunday, I’ve had family obligations to fulfill, my summer was busy with deadline work, I had trouble with my E-68’s hullskin fitting properly on its frame and wanted to throw the kayak into traffic or burn it.  I guess, mostly, time spent with my family is more important to me than recreational activity away from them, although I do still need solitude.  I skipped congregational worship less in 2011 than any year in recent memory, probably because I have really enjoyed being a part of the small congregation.  Smart people, real theological discussion and teaching of the sort that character in Fiddler on the Roof imagines he’d have if riches were his.  Lately, I’ve started “teaching” a secondary Sunday School class.

Cycling

I’ve mentioned elsewhere, maybe in this space, that I’ve enjoyed bicycling more than almost any other fitness activity because it’s something I can do right from home; I don’t have to load up a bunch of gear on my car and drive some place to bike.  It doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve been pedaling about 25 – 30 miles a week.  Several times I’ve ridden to Sunday service.  Probably the greatest distance I’ve biked in one day has been 12 or so miles.  Takes a long time on my bike.  I’ve ridden whenever I’ve had the chance, whatever the weather.  I bought a couple pairs of cold weather cycling tights.  I got bicycle clips to keep my cuffs out of the chains when I pedal in jeans or sweats.

Here’s a picture of my bike that I took today at a local nature preserve.  Bike needs cleaned-up, and maybe I’ll get to it this week.  That rack bag is a Zefal that came with an apparently out of production seat-post rack – both in nearly new condition for $10.00 from the local bike mechanic.  The rack on the bicycle is a Planet Bike Eco Rack, the fenders are SKS, and the lights are Blackburn Flea USB rechargeables.

Trek-Navigator-1.0