Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Panaracer Pasela Tires

It's not often that I sing the praises of tires, but I'm smitten with Panaracer Paselas. They provide a smooth, shock absorbing ride on the Peugeot UO 14 and now that I've tested the 2" variety on the Ross for several weeks, I'm sold. I rolled on lower pressure in early commuting days, gingerly testing snow covered bike paths, then pumped full 65 psi once weather improved. I feel grounded, for want of a better term, yet the ride is nimble—not like the 1.25" gracing the Peugeot, of course—yet lively enough for wide tires.

Tread pattern is another key, providing grip on asphalt, especially on narrower tires. But, as much as I like traction on dirt trails, for example when I roll through the Intervale, I'm less enamored with the narrow gaps in the 2" tread when rolling on gravel and salt encrusted city paths and streets. The tire picks up pebbles like you wouldn't believe! Whatever debris goes in, is stuck there. However, I roll well and the tires are primarily quiet, even with embedded grit. I suppose only long term use will tell whether this will be a major problem down the road.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hauling Car Parts, Oh the Irony!

The beauty of transportation cycling is two-fold: ride to work plus have the ability to do errands on the way home. It's not unusual for me to stop for a gallon of milk, pet supplies, a birthday card, bottle of wine, and chocolate—heaven forbid I run out of chocolate—but not necessarily all in the same trip. However, I'm amazed at what I can haul home with the help of a long bungee cord, which has become a permanent fixture on my rear rack (and if I can coordinate bungee color with bicycle, all the better!).

Recently, I stuffed a bag of pet hay inside my floral pannier, then because both of our cars desperately needed replacement wiper blades, I decided to buy those also (the auto parts store is next to the pet store). I believe it's the first time I hauled a car part on my bicycle, and of course, the irony wasn't lost on me.

Have you ever lugged auto parts on a bicycle?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Surprisingly Speechless

A tiny notebook and nifty wrapping paper.

When I leave work it's my practice to ride the sidewalk along an access road then hang a right, remaining on sidewalk, where the road merges with a four lane highway. One block later, I escape the noisy congestion and turn into neighborhoods for quieter riding.

It was at this junction, traffic was inching along, where I met up with another cyclist moving in the same direction, she riding in the road, her steady cadence belying the fact that her bike had studded tires, humming on dry pavement. We both were in a rhythm, in tandem motion, two cyclists moving faster than vehicles.

But for whatever reason, I failed to greet this bike goddess.

A simple "hello" would have been appropriate. In the past I've gone out of my way to be friendly, sometimes as a personal mission so I was surprised at my reticence. I chastised myself. I had passed up an opportunity to recognize a fellow commuter, which bothered me. And the more I pondered, spinning wheels through neighborhoods, the real reason began to haunt me. I could not put the blame on the fact that I was bundled up against the cold or needing downtime from a hectic workday. Those are lame excuses anyway. No, my reaction stemmed from the fact that this woman was a year round commuter. I'd seen her many times, braving the snow, riding past me as I was stuck in slow traffic behind the wheel of a car.

It's not often that I'm speechless, but that's what I believe happened: me a part time commuter beside a grand biker belle. The next time we meet—and I believe we will—I will be ready with a smile and kind words.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Burlington Streets Challenge

The City of Burlington mailed a bike map to me. I haven't decided whether I will use this for documentation
 or reference.This side of map only shows Burlington's northern sector. Red lines indicate pedestrian/bike trails.

My personal quest this year is to ride all of Burlington's 95 miles of public roads. It will be a relativity easy goal, I realize, for someone who loves to bike commute, but nonetheless it's a project with an objective and will inspire me to seek out neighborhoods I haven't ridden in a long time. I anticipate riding with our children, with diversions for coffee or ice cream treats, using destinations as mini incentives, and stumbling upon garage sales.

Much like simple bike overnights, having a mission provides incentive to explore and document on a map. Should I color code each day's route, estimate daily mileage, or list street names, as I complete a section? Inevitably I will blog about the adventure, though at present I'm not sure what type of format that will be. I am as excited to tally and scribble down each day's ride as I am to ride and discover what particular neighborhoods hold for flower gardens, interesting porches, homes for sale, or whatever things I might discover. There are possibilities that have yet to reveal themselves, which adds to the overall enticement.

I am tempted to broadcast this challenge to the Burlington cycling community. If I find this quest appealing, there must be other like-minded cyclists who would enjoy this mission.

I give thanks and appreciation to GE at Endless Velo Love. Without her inspiration, I would never have come up with the idea. Read about GE's goal to ride all her city streets.

Have you ever done something like this?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Errandonnee 2015 - Rock Those Errands!

Pink and purple yoga mats are bungeed to my rear rack.
The Errandonnee challenge was a fun ride this year, thanks to lucky March weather and MG's inclusive rules. I was able to do normal errands, which fit into available categories. The only difficulty lay in searching for an arts or entertainment venue. Fortunately, my husband had signed up to volunteer at a curling fundraiser, and being somewhat interested myself, I made a point to stop by and enjoy a delightful hour, marveling at a hockey rink transformed into four curling lanes. Eight teams playing at once was certainly worth the visit!

Errandonnee Scorecard
March 11
Category: Personal Care, YMCA yoga class
Observation: Sivananda yoga is tough on my back.
Miles: 2
March 11
Category: Work or Volunteering, I rode to work (all week too, woohoo!)
Observation: Puddles galore, snow is melting fast. 
Miles: 10

Yoga and grocery shopping in one evening, plus arriving home after dark.
 I attribute the nice weather to such a feat.
March 11
Category: Store, I bought ginger goodies for a friend's birthday
Observation: I rode home in the dark - a milestone! 
Miles: 2

A TD banking we will go, a TD banking we will go, high ho the derrio...
Actually, my boys and I rode to the bank, but I forgot to take a photo.
I returned another day to capture this image.
March 14
Category: Personal Business, Opening bank accounts for our children
Observation: It was the first time this year that my boys and I rode together.
Miles: 2

After banking we rode to the bike shop. That's my son with the GoPro.
He films himself ride over jumps, rumbling over ice - oy vey! 
March 14
Category: Wild Card, local bike shop
Observation: It's easy to spend money on bike goodies. I purchase a helmet, seat, and front fender for our boys.
Miles: 2

I often support this local franchise.
March 14
Category: Wild Card, pet store, hay for our bunny and guinea pigs.
Observation: I felt sorry for 4 gerbils; each was housed in a separate tank.
Miles: 1

What a great event to watch - Go curlers!
March 14
Category: Arts and Entertainment, watched a curling tournament at Cairns Arena.
Observation: Participants hooted and hollered, obviously having fun in the fundraiser event.
Miles: 5