Friday, October 31, 2008

Filtersweep Eats Pavement

(again) I woke up this morning a checked the temperature--- 2C. Above freezing. No need for studded tires. I slowly took off, tested the brakes, and was fine on slightly wet pavement. It was a beautiful sunny day. We live at the top of a substantial hill, and I let go of the brake levers--- happy to be riding my mountain bike (where I can coast). I was moving at a good clip, maybe around 40kph at the bottom of the hill when I suddenly went down on glare ice. My first thought was my laptop--- it didn't seem to strike pavement (although the rest of me certainly did).

I weighed my options: I could proceed to work--- paranoid about icing out at any moment, or head home and swap out my wheels. By the time I made it home, I opted to drive. Nothing appears to be broken, although my knee, hip, and shoulder hurt. No doctor's visit for me this time. I was lucky I crashed on ice--- it generally reduces road rash.

I commuted all winter last year, and thought I had a good handle on the weather and ice conditions. I didn't ride with studs until January. It isn't even November. I guess I won't make this mistake again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I eat bicycles

We have had a bit of flurries the past few days, so I dug our the mountain bike yesterday to commute to work. While heading down the hill, I thought the derailleur cable snapped, as it wouldn't shift at all. I was stuck in the lowest rear cog. I have exposed cables on the top tube, so I just grabbed it and held it to shift to a steeper gear--- otherwise it would have taken all day to bike to work. I must have been quite a sight.

Last night I picked up a new cable, and I started working on the bike. I needed to know which cable end to snip, which required me to see the old cable first. What was odd was the the cable was still stuck in the shifter. Having some sense about me--- which is rare when I am impatiently trying to fix this bike, I disassembled the shift mechanism. It was pretty much exploded on the inside. I could see that everything was loose--- that the nut holding it all together had come off. After an hour of messing around with tiny parts that rivaled the innards of a mechanical watch, I had everything back in working order. I am amazed how many parts have blown up on this bike. It really reinforces that fixed gear is the way to go--- when possible.

This morning it was below freezing. I was patting myself on the back for having the foresight to fix the mountain bike. The fixed commuter would have been no match for the heavy frost on the streets. My self-congratulatory tone was quickly shattered as I was sliding uncontrollably down our street. The frost was too thick for the knobby mountain bike tires. Usually there are no problems with frost when the temperature hovers around freezing. I opted for the bike path and a slow decent down our street. I watched as a woman crashed on the road-- riding a commuter bike in street clothes. On the path an old Norwegian woman told me I should be using studded tires. I would never hear a comment like that back in the US. I hobbled in to work, riding off-road as much as possible. It was a bit slick-- and the studded tires will be on next time. It is too early in the season for this!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Salty House

I hesitate to term it as "extreme" weather, since this it is normal this time of year, but it has been a bit stormy as of late. We are talking about rather light rain with high winds. This is much akin to having our house blasted by a power sprayer, and we discovered yet another leak-- this time in our bedroom. What is most interesting, is how the past two mornings, our windows have been covered in dried salt. We live a few kilometers from the ocean. This means that it has been so windy that sea water gets picked up by the wind and blasted all over everything. I think we will keep our car in the garage.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Recap

I have had a cold most of the week. Julian was the transmission vector into the family. Lise was struck next, followed by me. The issue is that when he cannot sleep, none of us sleep. I believe we are all better now---- he certainly is, at least.

The days are much shorter now--- and I need lights to bike in the morning. Today it was right around zero when I woke up. Still, I rode my winter fixed gear--- with road slicks. During lunch I was discussing this with a coworker who commutes by bike. She is afraid to ride during these temperature, but I reassured her it needs to be a few degrees colder before the ground freezes. It will be a few months before I grab the studded tires on the mountain bike. The trouble with this time of year is we have two options--- cold/dry or wet/"warm." Today was dry and cloudless--- and cold.

In other news, I am not traveling to the US in November. I calculated my frequent flier miles, and I would have had 49,993 in total for the year---- just missing the next level of benefits. But it doesn't matter-- I am not going. I have two coworkers in the US who are more than capable. I will be quite content if I stay away from airports for the next several months--- like until the baby is born.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mini Monster Truck

IMG_4070, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

New Fillings

This is an odd thing to be excited about, but I had three amalgam fillings replaced with composites today. It was money well-spent. I can now chew from both sides of my mouth. Hot and cold beverages don't affect me. I really had worked around the problems caused by my old fillings. Best of all, it was painless--- even the bill. I have no dental insurance.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Long Commute

I biked out to the ferry from work yesterday. I was a bit unsure of the best route from work. To ensure timely arrival, I tossed a wheel with a 15t cog on my rain bike--- as it was raining when I left for work. I couldn't imagine taking the 17t all the way to the ferry landing.

I planned on giving myself an hour--- this would account for traffic and maybe getting a bit lost--- since it is illegal to bike through the tunnel or on the freeway (the normal route). This meant I would have to catch my usual route somewhere along the way--- the usual bike route. The bike route involves several roads that are for bus and bikes only--- so I am out of practice how to access them, and they are poorly marked. In other words, I need to take the back roads.

I ended up cutting it closer than I thought--- taking 53 minutes. Had I missed this ferry, the next one left about three hours later. I was a sweating, stinking mess when I arrived in Kvitsøy.

Given that we are having a very nasty storm, I will likely toss the bike in the back of the car and catch a ride home.


Lise started a knitting project for our impending arrival. Lest you opine that it is too early to start, I quickly calculated that 17 rolls of yarn at 195m each is over three kilometers long. That is about two miles of yarn in this outfit--- for a newborn. OK- there might be a blanket involved with this project, but still--- that is a lot of merino wool yarn. If you then calculate how many stitches are knitted (or whatever the unit of knitting is called), I am guestimating an easy half million-- minimum. I don't even want to think about the time involved.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Freezing this morning

The nice thing about biking to work is it places me in touch with nature. Today our thermometer on our door indicated 4C. The frost on the ground told me otherwise. It was a strange weather system this morning--- clear skies, with ground fog--- cold ground fog.

During the day, the weather turned rainy--- and I had not brought my shoe covers. I don't believe I will take that risk again until May 2009.

Tomorrow I have to bike to the ferry landing on Merkjavik. Lise and Julian will already be out on Kvitsøy. I can never have a relaxing ride to catch the ferry--- no matter what I am in a terrible hurry. Last time I flatted on the way, and almost missed the boat.