walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh, THERE You Are

First, a Few Sobering Facts:

It is possible that this September will rank as the driest September Kentucky has ever seen. Ever.

It is possible that this summer will go down in the books as the hottest summer the whole freaking planet has ever seen. Ever.

Bicycle tires are made, at least in part, of petroleum, and some small part of my mind wonders desperately whether the tires that are made after we run out of petroleum (which will probably happen after I die, but still) will be inferior, and whether cycling as a whole will suffer.

Now, the Rest of the Post

Autumn has arrived at last! Err, well, sort of. Yesterday, the high was around 75ish. Still a little warm for ALMOST FREAKING OCTOBER, but at least we're kind of moving in the right direction.

I must confess a rather bizarre predilection for what I call 'sweater weather,' which stems at least in part from a bizarre predilection for actual sweaters (another, perhaps more important, part is the fact that my health is at its best during 'sweater weather,' which for me falls between roughly 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit).

Every year, I look forward to the day that I can dig my sweater(s) out of summer storage, pop one on, and walk around looking all Harry Potterish — though not as much for the looking like Harry Potter* part as simply for the joy of wearing a sweater.

However, I recently realized that I am utterly out of sweaters — some have been lost to attrition, others are simply to big for me now, and my favorite has been worn so many times it has developed holes in its armpits. Ack.

In the past, I might have been mortified by this development, but I'm even more optimistic than ever of late. Thus, in the vein of making lemonade and seeing the glass as half full (of delicious lemonade! I love lemonade!), I'm looking forward to going out and looking for a couple of decent sweaters. Yeay!

...I suppose this means that I am, in fact, a giant nerd, as if my sciency-academic tendencies and major hobbies (cycling, church music, writing) didn't already proclaim that quite loudly.

So what does all this have to do with cycling?

I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for converting a nice Merino wool henley-style sweater into something a bit more jersey-like. I think I'm going to leave the buttony neck in place, because putting in a zipper is really quite beyond my powers in the realm of handiwork, but I can do things like resize the main body of the sweater and add pockets. What do you think? Have any of you tried something similar? Any suggestions on cut, trim, or whether this might be a terrible idea that will leave me with nothing in my hands but a giant pile of unraveled wool and despair?

In Other News...

My new job has allotted me some extra free time, and I've been making the most of it (though not so much in the remembering-to-log-mileage or posting-to-the-blog sense). I've found that I very much enjoy puttering around the house (I am, by nature, rather deeply domestic, so this makes sense), and that it's much easier to keep up with the reading for class now that I'm not trying to juggle 40+ hours a week of work, 10 or more hours a week on the bike, roughly 4 hours a week in class, housework, and my social life (which is, admittedly, kind of lacking; nobody's fault but mine, there).

Today, I took advantage of the extra time to finally re-wrap my bars. I couldn't find my original replacement tape, so I bought some new tape yesterday at the shop. I then spent a happy (okay, mostly happy) half an hour wrapping the bars this afternoon.

While wrapping my bars, I spent a while pondering what people would think about my color choice. I do think things like the colors we choose for our bike stuff speak to basic elements of our personalities, though I'm not sure exactly what they say, because other people's minds and motivations are probably more opaque to me than to the average person.

Thus, when I see someone who has chosen camouflage bar tape in some hideous combination of colors, I am generally inclined to think, "Hm, I guess it was on sale," rather than, "Man, he must really be into para-miltary stuff," or whatever.

I think my old bar tape probably said something like, "I am a gay guy on a bike." Which was, of course, true, though I wouldn't actually have chosen lavender bar tape to say that for me. It may also have said something like, "Don't worry, I'm a nice, unassuming, possibly somewhat-timid cyclist" to some people.

My new bar tape is bright red.

I fear that it may now send the message, "I think much too highly of myself, and wouldn't you know, my britches are just a bit tight," or possibly, "I am a tough, aggressive, in-your-face cyclist so GET OUT OF MY WAAAAAAAAAAAY."

In fact, the message I intended it to send is far simpler: "I like red." Because red is, in fact, my favorite color. The rest of them are pretty awesome, too, but I really like red best of all ... so I hope my sports car-red bar tape will not cause too much consternation.

On the upside, my bike is now very pulled together — perhaps even a bit matchy-matchy — with its shiny red headlight and red bar tape and red saddle and red decals (oh, yeah, and red taillight). It kind of looks like I planned it that way (in fact, I didn't — I bought the red saddle because it was the only color they had at the time, and everything else just kind of fell into place).

When I finished wrapping my bars, I took my newly matchy-matchy bike out and rode around Iroquois Park. I'm sure I've mentioned this ride before — it's a good long (but not-terribly-demanding) climb that rewards intrepid riders with the opportunity to bomb the descent like there's a t-rex after us. A t-rex with rocket legs!

Some of the turns, coming down, are a little intimidating. One, in particular, takes you into an overlook parking area bordered by a stone wall. On the far side of the stone wall is the lovely view which tells you, "Man, if I flip over that stone wall, I'm dead meat."

This is the turn where I almost always grab brake like Homer Simson grabs doughnuts — but not today.

Today I stayed in the drops, counter-steered rather well (if I do say so myself) and sailed through that turn trusting the bike to do its thing — which, I am happy to report, it did. The rubber side stayed down; the helmet side stayed up. Ace. And I didn't even really realize that was a first 'til I was already pulling out of the turn, looking for the next one.

Maybe it was the new bar tape. Maybe there's something to this whole 'red' thing after all...


*I actually do apparently look somewhat like Harry Potter — enough so that every year around this time people begin asking me, "Are you going to be Harry Potter for Hallowe'en?" I think this year I actually might. Why not? It will give me an excuse to buy another sweater. Also, a robe.

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