Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snowy riding


Just got home from a 30 minute, fairly nerve-wracking ride home. Let's call it tension in slow-motion. I left work in a sort of middling sleet/snowstorm with about 1.5 to 2" of fresh mess on the road. It was out ahead of the plows, mostly just an already driven-on mix of packed snow and slush here and there.

Cruising along at an average of about 9 mph, I was sort of shimmying around in the car tire tracks for several blocks until I finally got to some road with a fairly undriven strip along the side. This stuff is much better to ride in as it kind of holds you in place better than sliding around in some hard packed stuff that the cars have had their way with.

It's fairly shocking (well, I guess it's really not), just how little cars seem to notice or care that you are making your way in a pretty precarious fashion on two wheels right next to them. I had a sort of vague visualization of slowly sliding over and getting my leg run over or my head crushed by a tunnel-visioned driver at about 18mph. The slow horror! I guess it helped me keep focused though.

I am just a little bit proud to say that I did not tip over at all in my 4.2 mile commute and kept a cool head at all times. It was ALMOST fun at times, those times being when there weren't any cars around (few and far between).

Anyway, kudos are due to a couple of things:
-Schwalbe Marathon tires. Kept a pretty good grip in this "wintry mix" from hell.
-Fenders. Let's hear it for "wheelbrows!" I am a big proponent.

Here are some pics from the end of the ride beginning with a shot of the conditions from my front porch. Feast your eyes on this mess my southern friends!

Days are getting longer again anyway. Only 3 weeks until Austin!

And just for good measure, here is my annual winter message once again (actually one more kudo here to the intrepid and unknown snow sculptor who crafted this masterpiece).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Paramount refurb begins


Not much going on these days in a bikely way as you can probably tell from the extremely infrequent posts. I graduated from physical therapy this week. My right arm is at least about as strong as my left. However, the physical therapy I did made me realize that I have some pretty weak muscle groups altogether in my upper body. I'm going to try and keep up the good work to sort that out. I got two pages of exercises to take away. Perhaps if I bulk up a bit it will hide the GIANT bone sticking up out of my shoulder a little bit.

About a week and a half ago I did go ahead and take my long dormant Paramount frame in to have it stripped and powder coated. I had every intention of sending it along to Waterford Precision Cycles for the full factory refurb. However, once I started looking at it critically, I realized it would be a VERY expensive prospect to make it something like "as good as new." I was discussing this with my friend Lee and he told me he was about to take a load of frames over to UV Metal Arts
. After seeing the bike-centric focus that Yuval there seems to have and checking my bank balance, I decided that keeping it local would probably be a lot better move overall.

I dropped it off and picked out a color that looked (to my semi-colorblind self) like the sort of gray/graphite color used on the original Paramounts. I also called Waterford and found out that their decal sets would not do well at the curing temps of powder coating clear coat process, so it's going to be a naked Paramount. I reckon that should keep me in a bit more of a stealth mode in terms of the ever-present threat of thievery. Anyway, I'm hoping to get it back in the next few days and to get it set up to take with me down to Austin in a couple of weeks.

Here are some pics from dropping it off last week:

This is the color I'm going for. (Nice picture, I know, I know!....)