Friday, October 31, 2008

just plain stupid

It's getting colder in New England as we seem to be skipping fall and going straight for winter. On Thursday morning my thermometer read 33 degrees when I left the house. I put on my windproof jacket and shoe covers in hopes of staying warm during the 15 mile ride. When I got to the Boston College area I caught up to a guy on a Bike Friday (with 16 inch wheels) who was equally dressed for the cold morning EXCEPT he was wearing flip flops. Seriously! Since when is wearing flip flops will bike commuting a good idea, let alone when it is 33 degrees outside. He rode at least 2-3 miles so it is not like he was just going to the end of the street or out for 5 minutes. I guess I just don't get it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

soothing and relaxing

I was initially unsure of how I would deal with my now 15 mile commute to work. Living south of the city and now working northwest of the city my commute takes me on some fairly busy roads before I escape into the quiet comfort of the Weston side roads.

I've been able to ride more often than drive although it takes me 25-30 extra minutes when riding so I have to get up and out of the house earlier to accomplish this. I've set up the commuter with lights, fenders, pump, etc to be certain I don't find myself soaked by unexpected rain, invisible to passing traffic, or stranded 10 miles from home with mechanical troubles. It is not a PRO looking machine but it is more about functionality for this trip.

Last week confirmed my preference for riding to work instead of driving. Over the course of the week I saw sunny rays reflecting off the dew covered grass, leaves changing colors as fall makes it presence known, wild turkeys

and suburban houses decorated for the upcoming Halloween festivities. I saw people enjoying early morning walks along Comm Ave in Newton and others playing a twilight round of golf at the Weston Country Club. My cross country tour this summer gave me a new appreciation for the variety that one can see from the seat of a bike and I've embraced that variety during my 15 mile ride. Heck, I only got honked at once during 4 trips and that was by an old man who probably shouldn't have a license anyway. There's more honking in a single car trip.

So if you haven't ridden to work lately I encourage you to try it. It doesn't have to be a race. Just enjoy it and see if you don't feel more relaxed and satisfied during your work day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lost at the bottom

I just realized this morning that the raisins in my raisin bran cereal sink to the bottom of the bowl (or in this case, cup). I poured too much milk into my mug and then added the cereal (which, I know, is the opposite of the norm but I was in the kitchen and the cereal was back at my work desk). So after eating through the bran portion I decided to explore at the bottom of the remaining milk and low and behold I found a jackpot of raisins! No wonder why the scoops of bran seemed unusually lacking.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Garmin Edge 305

This clever device gets an A+ for its potential and a C- for its execution of that potential. I've been using the Garmin Edge 305 for nearly 3 years now and while I love the data that it gathers and the convenience of swapping it from bike to bike with no wires, magnets, or other accessories, I'm continually disappointed by the software Garmin developed to accompany it and the limitation of 7-9 hours of battery life.

Normally those problems are minor since I can charge it after a long ride and download regularly to my PC (not my mac because I don't have the newest, Garmin compatible OS on the mac). On my cross country journey however I had to scrape around for power outlets every time I stopped to be sure I got a charge. Also, I was not initially aware of this but apparently the device will overwrite historic data as it gets full. And it gets full after 10-12 days of long rides. Without a personal computer on my trip and unable to upload activity at the numerous libraries I stopped into, I learned when I finally got home that the fun stuff like elevation gain, daily route maps, calories, and max speed were overwritten for the first 3/4 of my trip. Total bummer because I was looking forward to sharing those trip totals.

Maybe someone out there has created a better software solution than the junk that comes from Garmin. I've played with sportracks and while it is better, it still has some major limitations. Linking with google earth is fun and allows you to see the topography and satellite pictures fo the terrain that was covered but it doesn't do anything to help store a route without having to first download software onto a computer (which you cannot do at most poublic libraries).

Anyway, I'll continue to use the Garmin Edge 305 and be satisfied with its abilities as long as I am near a personal computer to sync the data regularly. When traveling for extended periods though, an old fashioned wired computer is still going to be necessary.