CURRENT POSTING STATUS weekly monthly irregular none occasionally 1-3 3-5 5-7 weekdays only weekends only anyday

Thursday, November 27, 2003


I am thankful for the abundance of life, and how things come to us so easily in this country, for my gardens homegrown bounty, for the two bicycles I now own which came to me for free as hand-me-downs (check your local yard sales and thrift stores for good used bikes too). But I hope and pray that people do not let this abundance and reliance on "stuff" define their lives and happiness.

I am thankful for spending the holiday with friends and family who support my bicycle commuting, vegetarianism, and other "alternative" choices, though they may not always understand it, yet.

I am thankful for everyone who reads my blog posts, for the support it provides, and for the encouragement it gives me to keep riding and posting.

And finally, I am thankful I don't have to work the day after Thanksgiving. No bike ride today, but I'll be sure to take a nice long walk after dinner. Have a great holiday, and I'll be back next week. Peace.

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway ~
Thanksgiving comes again!

- Old Rhyme Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


In a strangely reminiscent way of reaching for a ghost gear shift in an automatic car after having driven a standard for such a long time, I find myself reaching for my whistle in the car when a situation arises. Today I was driving the car and approaching an intersection, where I am unusually aware on my bike for cross traffic and for those drivers who think they can whip across without having to wait for me because they may have difficulty judging my speed. I saw a car in the opposite direction waiting to make a left turn across my path and I went for the whistle so I could be prepared and I swiped nothing but air.

Anyway, I was on alert because all the traffic today seemed to be in a rush to work and then rush to celebrate the holiday spirit, then they can rush right through Thanksgiving dinner, and rush right back to work in the endless cycle of hurry. I had two honkers today for no reason whatsoever, the worst being this one lady who was impatient extraordinaire. She squeezed between two cars in the left lane to pass me, layed on the horn for a couple seconds as she passed (me in the right hand-lane and her in the left-hand lane the whole time, no obstruction going on), then whipped into the right lane in front of me when she finished passing so she could zoom ahead of the cars in the left lane. I waved and smiled on the outside.

The craziness was all over though. Cars on the turnpike were doing right lane passing then whipping violently back over into the left lane to let those folks KNOW that they had been passed, people squeezing between vehicles while going 70-80 just because they couldn't wait a mere 30 seconds or so for a safe pass. I think the speed limit should be reduced to 60 everywhere, and anyone doing 80 or 90 is just unsafe period.

Commute Song of the Day: Fallin' by Alicia Keys

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Here is what I go through as the bookends of my daily rides. Put work clothes and lunch in backpack, dress in morning by putting on long undies tops and bottoms, and wind/rain pants, tuck right leg pants into sock to keep away from chain when riding, put on sneakers and tuck laces into shoes to keep away from chain/pedals, toss on windbreaker, pull whistle out of pack and put around neck, grab helmet and head outside, put on helmet, unlock bike and put lock in pack, put on pack and pull windbreaker hood if not using underneath right side pack shoulder strap to keep out of rear view and to keep from flapping, hook pack in front, put on gloves, wheel bike off of porch, head down alley and adjust rear view helmet mirror, I'm on my way.

The differences at night are simply double touch rear red blinkie to set it to flash, and get out headlight, attach to handlebars quick release, and turn on. I used to forget some of these things in the process, but now after doing them so routinely I pretty much get it right every time. I say that now but I probably forgot something in my list here.

As another info bite, I did a car count today on the way home, except for Riverfront Park cause I didn't think about it till after that. But anyhow, I ended up at +33 cars, meaning I netted a total of 33 cars I passed on my way home, so I think my bike ride is defnitely quicker wouldn't you say? As a max I was up to somewhere around 60 cars at one point, but then going down Bridge St. after the I-83 interchange the traffic jams die out some and I lose some of my lead, but I still ended pretty well.

Commute Song of the Day: One Horse Town by The Thrills

Monday, November 24, 2003


With my new Cateye EL-300 on board, I headed out into the clouded, sprinkling, night sky after work. The first thing I noticed with the lack of my headlamp is my inability to direct light wherever I chose. Like a quick glance at my shifter to see what gear I'm in, or my watch for the time, or the drivers face to get thier attention. The second thing I noticed is that the light did throw a noticable beam onto the ground, even in some lit areas. Though it never advanced to the amount of a beam that it would be able to improve how I could see the road, which is never bad in my urban route. The last thing I though about was how wide of an area the bright beam is able to catch other drivers attention? If I have the beam pointed at the roadway, how much effectiveness am I losing at using the light for noticability by drivers, as opposed to directing it more upward to shine straight at oncoming vehicles?

I guess time will tell, but I think if I ever get another light, it would be small and helmet mounted, maybe I'll just keep using one of my headlamps for this purpose now.

Friday, November 21, 2003


Stopped at a light today, a passenger in the car in the next lane questions out to me "Why do you guys where whistles?" You guys - like we are some cult. But I answered back about "the same reason you have a horn." I don't mind at all talking to car drivers and answering their questions, a good chance to do some educating. I wish some of the drivers who ignorantly honk or yell at me would allow me the opportunity to bend their ear politely, unfortunately they are usually in too much of a hurry for any community-like conversation, gotta get there and nobody on a little bicycle is going to get in my way and slow me down.

Well, I think I am going to develop some little hand-outs, like 1/4 letter-size sheets, for these type purposes. Keep them in a little bag on my bike, I got one from my brother when he gave me the bike. The bag is longish and hangs underneath the main top bar of the frame. Anyway, I want to put my blog address, and a little explanation of bicycle commuting (benefits, etc), and maybe quote the state law code about bikes having the road rights too. It would be great to have when someone is interested in learning more like today, or for when I do catch up to that person who seems ignorant but may just need a kind word or two along their day.

Song of the Day: 100 Years by Five for Fighting

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Commuting Song of the Day: Diamonds on the Inside by Ben Harper

I don't own an mp3 player, or a portable CD, though I do have an old cassette headphones set, but I haven't used it much recently. I used to when working out, or when laying in bed at night when I shared a dorm room for example years ago. But I won't wear it while commuting on my bike cause I couldn't imagine not being able to have all of my hearing available to me when out on the roads with cars and even on the walks with people. One thing I miss from my commutes is the radio, the tunes, the news, etc, but I could argue that the peace and the semblance of outside noises around me makes up for it (of course I often turned the radio off by choice). But you know what, with all the cars around me I can't hear much besides engines and exhaust, except for when I get to City Island and Riverfront Park. So what do I do? I have to entertain myself!

I love to belt out tunes, sometimes at the top of my lungs if in the mood, but I've always had a tune in my head and being on my bike commute it's no different. I get alot of motivation by listening to internet radio during the day when in my office, or from CD's I take in. My favorite station here is WXPN 88.1 FM in Harrisburg (good to have after losing WYEP when I moved from the Pittsburgh area, though you can catch them on-line too now), great singer/songwriters and lots of eclectic artists and a great mix with rock, bluegrass, americana, classic rock and more. You gotta check it out if you haven't (and its public supported to bat, from Pennsylvania University in Philadelphia).

So what do you listen to on your bike if anything, or what do you sing? Think I can make any extra money as a singing bicycle telegram boy? I'll be including a song of the day with my posts from now on if anything stands out, from what was in my head during the ride, and you can learn about Mi Tunes if you don't have the latest i-tunes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


More than fairly describes today's weather. Wet plastered outer-wear after only walking to my bike and riding one block. Of course that included about 20 seconds of waiting for an opening in traffic, as if 20 seconds would make a difference in today's weather! However, I stayed dry underneath, except for the slight patina of sweat that accompanies my rides in these temps when I wear my rain gear. The good thing is, my top is only a nylon windbreaker that is not treated or pretends to be waterproof in any way. It zips up the top in front and I can really control temps with that zip.

My four clothing issues right now are:
(1) gloves with some water-resistance, tighter fitting around the wrist, and lighter colored or with reflective cloth. My black fleece ones are none of the above (except for slightly water-resistant.
(2) a helmet cover to wear in cold rainy conditions. I have a balaclava that I will wear underneath when the temps warrant, but I'd like something plasticy, nylony to slap over my helmet to stop water from getting in when it is a heavy rain.
(3) Goggles, or some sort of safety glasses would be nice to prevent water from flying into my eyes during heavy windy rains too. I have some of these around I just have to find them. I think my old lab goggles are in my parent's basement; and I have an extra pair of safety glasses in one of my tool boxes.
(4) Waterproof shoe covers. Just because the wet cycles of soaking and drying my shoes are probably not the best for them.

As for all these items, I don't really mind riding in the rain or getting wet, so they are not essentials. It's only 4.5 - 5 miles depending, and only takes 17-20 minutes, so I can handle that. In fact it even reminds me of the great feeling from great trips of backpacking and camping in the rain.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


I like to stop in to see Sue on my commute home if she happens to be working late. It's not a large detour, only a couple of blocks, so it's easy for me to just check in and hang out for awhile. I did so today because I wasn't in any big hurry to get home. No plans other than dinner and chores, so since I hadn't seen her for 4 days as she was visiting family, we hung out for a little at the store. This is cool to do, neat to be somewhere besides home where you can hang.

We often sit out front if there are no customers and I watch the long lines of traffic queing by the store, and picture myself, when ready to leave, simply cutting a few alleys and getting right to the intersection where I can get right in the flow. Today was the first day I can say it was really dark biking home. This was especially so since it was overcast unlike the rear-end days of last week; and because I left a little later from work. No worries though, I felt confident in my visibility and skills. My EL-300 Cateye that I ordered from E-bay hasn't arrived yet, so I am using a headlamp from my backpacking gear, but it works fine to be seen. And I have no problems seeing the road in the lesser light, as it is city and suburbs that are lit up well, and the ambient light from car headlights provides lots of illumination too.

I can't believe that I am still eating green tomatoes from my garden in mid-november, it's great. These are the last though, had a sandwich for lunch today, and will do the same tomorrow. Even though tomatoes produced by far the most bounty from our garden, it definitely wasn't too much. And if I would have had time and space I could have frozen more or canned some. A good investment of garden space for sure.

One determinate variety I planted two of is a little iffy in my book though. These varieties fruit all at one time and then the plant does not produce further. It wasn't worth it for taste, as they seemed relatively the same in that regard as the other varieties. Is there some other advantage to planting determinate vs. indeterminate that I don't know of, other than maybe being able to do two different crops in that space instead of only tomatoes?

Monday, November 17, 2003


I couldn't think of a good name for this post because I was too eager to write about the hot-headed horn blower who I encountered today.

I was crossing the Market St Bridge on my normal route, and I was on the sidewalk at this point, preparing to enter back onto the road to cross the intersection. As the crosswalk signal here seems to be inoperable as I have yet to see it change to walk during my times through this spot, and there is no push button to engage it, I simply proceed with the signal light for the traffic in the direction I am approaching from. So far so good. Well as I was crossing the light changes to yellow, still no big deal, as I will complete my crossing before the side traffic gets its green and moves forward.

However, one big ol' SUV decides to move up into the crosswalk area so they can prepare to make a right turn. People often do this here because the right turn lane can proceed on red in this way, but it helps to be forward some to better see the crossing traffic and to determine if it is safe on red to make the right. Not that this guy isn't sitting up high enough in this oversized vehicle, but hey, maybe his eyesight is as foggy as his head.

So he decides that he owns the crosswalk area and that he doesn't have to stop back at the white traffic control line (and I am guilty of doing this sometimes as anyone else is when driving), and since I am in "his" space gives me a big honk and a flash of his hand (this reaction is what was unnecessary!). Of course I saw him the whole way because I am aware of the traffic patterns here, but he certainly wasn't looking for me. And yes, I was visible, front and rear lights, tireflares, multiple reflectors and numerous strips of reflective tape and stickers.

Whole point being here, besides the hot-headed horn blower, is that vehicle drivers still have a long way to go in thier recognition of bicycles and pedestrians and thier legitimate rights to space. And what if I were a little old lady pedestrian crossing, not lit up for all to see, and couldn't react or move past as quickly as I could on a bike, well let's not think of it shall we?

Saturday, November 15, 2003


New at the bottom of the right-hand side column is a listing of bike related expenses I have incurred this year since I started commuting back in March. I started riding the Giant, then switched to the Diamondback a short time later when my brother gave it my way. Both bikes in fact came from Michael, so your start-up expenses may include the costs of the bike if you don't have one (and helmet of course). Other items I got as hand-me-downs or for cheap at garage/yard sales include 2 air pumps, the cycle computer, and a bike maintenance book. Some of the items are tools or other materials (such as reflective tape) that can be used for either bike, and are investments for future use, so future years would not incur the same costs for all of these items.

To put this in perspective, Ken Kifer's site has a breakdown of yearly auto costs via the American Automobile Manufactures Association, Inc. Total fixed costs (depreciation, insurance, license/registration, other charges) in 1997 was approximately $4,228; and variable costs (gas, oil, maintenance, tires) was about 10.8 cents per mile. So you can figure this out for what it may mean to you. Of course this would be for a new car, because a used car would not nearly incur as high of costs for depreciation or insurance. For a full analysis, visit Ken Kifer's article Auto Costs Versus Bike Costs.

For a change of pace, I also tabulated the value of the produce I harvested from my little garden (~ 65-70 square feet) this year. This doesn't include any bonus value from value added items such as the sun-dried tomatoes I made, nor does it include all organic prices (which our garden was of course) as I couldn't verify them at the time I was calculating this. And it doesn't include the value of items I may still harvest such as beets, carrots, and fall garlic. Finally, I have not figured costs for the year yet. A number were high costs that will be investment purchases such as wire for hoops and cover cloth for season extension/bug control. I'll try to figure these prices at a later date.

Here we go:

Salad Mix 4#5oz - $25.88; Cilantro 3.75 bunch - $2.81; Cucumber 35/23#10oz - $17.00; Beets 12/2#8oz - $2.15; Basil 7 and 1/2 cups - $10.00; Zucchini 4/5# - $5.00; Sweet Peppers 11/1# 11oz - $5.00; Cabbage 4/3# 8oz - $2.00; Tomato 72/52#10oz - $131.00; Soybeans 12oz - $2.99; Gourds 18/3#6oz - $9.00; Honeydew 1/2# - $1.99; Chili Pepper 41/8oz - $2.99.

For a total of $217.72, almost two full months value (we spend about $120 per month) worth of groceries for us.

Friday, November 14, 2003


I Swear I must have passed 200 cars today on my commute home. Cars that were at a standstill on Front St and elsewhere. I don't know the cause, usually on Fridays everyone jets from town early and the streets are fairly blessedly free of traffic. Fridays are my favorite day to bike home because of this (and because its Friday Duh).

So today I would guess that maybe only about a quarter of those cars ever passed me again for good. Sure I had more than that pass me, but I would pass them again too, as we played leap frog. So in addition to my normal healthy and fruitful bike investment returns, I can proudly say that I am way ahead of time for enjoying my weekend than all those folks sitting out there in traffic.

These winds have totally denuded the surface of my garden. One tiny broccoli plant that was struggling for survival, some mustard and turnip greens I planted as a cover, and all the leaf mulch that was on top are either withered to nothingness or blown away. The beds look like windswept desert battlefields. Thankfully the other refugees of this season (beets, carrots, and garlic) are all underground and will pass muster fittingly. But what a scene!

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Today was without a doubt the most challenging commute I have had to date. More challenging than the few drenching rains I encountered this year, more so than the high heat and humidity in high summer, and more so than Hurricane Isabel's visit. But who knows, tougher could still be ahead.

The winds today were gusting up to 60 mph, rattling the windows at work and at home, and I wasn't alone as most of the midwest to east coast was experiencing this. Riding north along the river this morning in flat Riverfront park was like climbing a mountain in the Laurel Highlands; I turned off to get away from the waterfront and each street I went down became a wind tunnell funneling more force than the park space. The whitecaps from the "gentle" Susquehanna were bursting with spray aginst the stone pillars of the Market and Walnut St Bridges.

Biking across the bridges was a balancing act. I stopped halfway and got off and walked. Otherwise I was being pushed over towards the traffic lane, and if I would have toppeled, I may have fallen over the barrier into the lane. I felt like a circus performer while on the bike. What a ride! But to top it off, my Tire Flares cued on right when twilight was falling, not complete dark, just as I hoped they would. That's 1 point for!


Forgetting to rant about long lines of cars last night is understandable considering I was excited about the Tire Flares arriving, but I have to get this in. It can be so frustrating when vehicle traffic is so backed up that it even slows down the bicycle traffic (unless you jump sidewalks or take parking lot shortcuts). I mean, I am trying to be a good road vehicle by staying within traffic where I need to.

For example, coming across the Rt 83 overpass from Lemoyne to New Cumberland, I ride the wide lane to the right and there is enough room to share. But the lane ahead breaks into three (a left turn, a straight in the middle, and a right turn) at a stop-lighted intersection. I need to go straight so I have to get into the middle lane, but this midle lane is often backed up for 1/4 mile or so, and if I move up along it on the right of the wide lane (where the cars can't) I feel bad by trying to merge or squeeze in at that point after having passed them all, instead of getting into the que of traffic a few blocks back. So what can I do, well, I went into the right turn lane, and flew across the perpendicular street into the fast-food restaurant parking lot on the corner, then popped out again back on the projectory I would normally be on by going straight through the light. "No throroughfare" arguments aside, I'll keep doing that and hopefully no car drivers will get P.O.'d, but I am not sitting in traffic on my bike, especially in the upcoming winter. Nuff said.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Got my Tire Flares in the mail today, whoopee. After initial inspection, I was a little concerned about thier performance in the house, as the light wasn't easy to activate, but I had yet to install them so we would see. Installation was simple, just threading onto the valve stem and tightening the hex feature, yet I think that the hex-key anti theft device is stripped on one of the lights, is it worth sending them back mail order?, probably not, I think I can live with this little issue, or find a way to better adjust/fix it.

Then I went out on my first test ride and discovered that the little buggers don't exactly light up right off the bat when you move, you need to be going at least 5 mph or so it seems, but wait, was that just the front one, sue says the back one stayed lit more when I had her come take a look. So is it the batteries, or is it the light sensor that detects light for daytime shut off to save battery power? Are the sensors super sensitive and are they picking up street lamp and ambient light? The one last thing is that I can't really go fast enough except at super top speed to make the light show a continous circle of light like they advertised, probably only a car at 40-50 mph would achieve that effect, so will these non-blink lights get more or even as much attention in this case as a blinking set would? Lots of questions to answer, hopefully I come to a conclusion on it all over the next couple days.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


Well, not too custom, but I did have to make some adjustments to get the Planet Bike front clip-on fender to work with my bike. I mentioned the odd bolt situation two posts ago, and I took care of that by getting one that fit. The other issue was that the fender extended too far out in the front, and was being restricted from moving far enough forward over the wheel for me to make the connections for the hook-up. This is because the brake set-up of the front fork is set-up for the suspension fork on this bike (not something I chose to have, just something that came with, I can only foresee issues in the future, more moving parts, more to deal with!). So I was forced to hacksaw away about 3 inches of the front of the fender so it would fit. No biggy, I don't think it will affect the performance, and if I ever want to (for a different bike for example), I can always reattach the hacked off piece to re-extend the front of the fender. Supposed to rain tomorrow, so we'll give it a test right off the bat.

Recipe Bonus

Since I raved about the spring rolls, here is the simple process for making them.

For one package of roll wrappers (about 15 total), saute one pound tofu in 3 tablespoons sesame oil and 2 tablespoons soy sauce, add 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar just before pulling tofu off the heat. While sauteeing, shred 1 large cabbage, and 2 large carrots. Remove tofu from pan and sautee cabbage and carrots until faintly cooked (or to your preferenace). Mix everything together in large bowl and season to your preferance with salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, etc. Place a good amount on wrapper and roll-up front side over filling, then sides, then wet top and continue rolling closed. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown in peanut oil (or substitute general veg oil), and serve with duck sauce, soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, or your favorite sauce. As a side, I recommend a helping of buckwheat noodles cooked and then sauteed with soy sauce, chili paste, and the remainder of the filling that you couldn't get into the wrappers. Enjoy.

Monday, November 10, 2003


I've read a number of accounts about how commuters develop thier route timing, and I've done the same thing on my route too. I know that if I am so far from an intersection and a certain event happens, mostly centered around when the signal lights change colors (red, yellow, green, arrows), that I will, or will not, be able to make the intersection, or whether or not I should just relax it to the intersection cause I don't have any chance at it.

I can adjust my speed to my needs in these situations. In cooler weather I can slow down but keep pedaling to keep my temp up, instead of getting to the stop and sitting still for a bit of time. In warmer weather I can decide to slow to actually settle down my speed and effort, this helps in the real hot humid conditions around here in Summer. Today, I left for work this morning with the temp around 26 degrees and I was layered up perfectly, however on the ride home I put everything back on, and it turns out I didn't need to (was around 50 degrees), so I was overheating a little on the ride. But fortunately, in this case, I wasn't hitting any of my signals on time, so I hit each red and had a sit-still for a minute or two, and this allowed me to cool down just enough. Perfect timing in this case.

Made up those lovely spring rolls with the two heads of cabbage I harvested from the garden this weekend. Added some shredded carrot, and tofu with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy, and dipped in duck sauce, delicious. Made some buckwheat pasta on the side with some of the remaining spring roll mixture, and some extra soy, and I ate some great hot pepper relish along with (Sue passed on that though).

Sunday, November 09, 2003


Of all the tool lists I have perused, for bicycle repair and maintenance, I have yet to see one that lists the need for a Torx hex key set, maybe I just didn't realize it when I was reading it. I have slowly been building up my toolbox with the standard tools and sizes I should need to take care of any issues with my bike. So it was my surprise when I encountered a Torx head bolt on my bike when I attempted to install my front PlanetBike clip-on fender today. Maybe this was just an anomoly, maybe the mechanic who worked on this bike for my brother when he first got it, just had this bolt laying around and used it, don't know. So I made an impromptu trip to Sears (as I had a gift from my mom to exchange there) and picked up a Torx hex key set with the credit. Good thing it isn't supposed to rain until Wednesday right?

So when I remove the bolt, the next thing I realize is that the replacement bolt supplied with the fenders is not the right size in diameter to fit in the hole, and I can't reuse the Torx bolt I took out cause it isn't long enough, so I am stalled again. This time it is too late to run anywhere, so I guess tomorrow or Tuesday will involve another trip to the store. (interrupt for kiss from Sue). The easiest jobs can sometimes run into the most snags don't ya know.

I also picked up some extra stick-on red reflectors, and I stuck one to my rear fender cause don't have a rear reflector besides my red LED blinky, and I thought a back-up and a little extra shine never hurts. I have some more of the sticker reflectors, and will probably put some on my helmet, and some other parts of my bike. I also bought a pair of Tireflares, more later on that.

Friday, November 07, 2003


A difference between a car and a bicycle is that there are no hiding places on a bike. I, as many others, have been guilty when driving a car, of hearing a strange noise, or noticing a strange feeling, and ignoring it as much as possible, possibly until it is too late. Well, that is a little harder to do with a bicycle. I mean, you could ignore things if you really wanted, but you are directly and constantly reminded of them if you do. There is no hood or body for problems to hide under and no radio to drown out the strange noises.

The bicycle is naked to you all the time, when you are riding down the street you had better hope that the wobble isn't an issue, or you may end up on the road yourself, and the result seems so much more possibly immediate and threatening. My bottom bracket is shot it seems, as the metallic noises when I pedal in high gear are ever present these days. It is not I believe a major issue for my safety, but it will need addressed this winter, so as to ensure the long-term maintenance of my bike. And I can see the wobble in my chain as it rolls around the gears every time I pedal, there is no not seeing that every day. It needs a good cleaning and possibly link replacements, or replaced as it also is skipping gears these days, perhaps getting a little loose or elongated. I got some work to deal with ahead.

Saturdays garden project involves cleaning up the beds. The frost is almost a certainty tomorrow night with predictions down to 24 degrees. A few tomato plants in any case have started developed a fungus so I need to clean things up. Salvage the remaining peppers and clinatro and green tomatoes, and probably rake in some of the leaf litter that has been accumulating. I think I will save some and dry them to add to the paper making Sue and I are undertaking as we make my brother Michael's and his fiancee Bobbi Jo's wedding invitations, we'll see how the leaf addition works as I haven't tried it before.

Thursday, November 06, 2003


What a dreadfully full day of rain, but I persevered through. The Summer was all rain, but at the right times, afternoon and evening thunderstorms and showers, never during my commute. But now the Fall and Winter strikes when it will rain at any chance, and for full day sessions, just in time for the cold. Like I said though, I simply put on the rain pants and nylon windbreaker and rode on through. It wasn't even cold yet today, still in the 50's. My only issue right now with the rain is my shoes, they got soaked through. So I also need a pair of over booties/socks to keep my feet dry. I'll work on that this weekend, it is supposed to be dry tomorrow, so nothing to concern myself tonight.

Fresh cilantro and green peppers harvested today for dinner. Sue and I had nachos grande with kidney beans, TVP with soy/liquid smoke, onion, salsa, yellow sharp cheddar, sour cream and lettuce. It was excellent, I was so hungry for that, knowing I should use some of those items from the garden, and the aging sour cream from the fridge.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


Hope you all are having a wonderful Fall Harvest Season!! The neat little graphic on the right greeting you to this page was designed, cut from wood, and painted by moi, as a birthday gift for my wife Sue. Hope you enjoy it too.

I walked down to our front door this morning, ready to head out on my commute, grabbed my helmet and discovered that my Reflex brand helmet mirror had fallen off at some point overnight. The adhesive had loosened somehow, and it was laying on the floor in front of the door. I have been pleased with this product up to now, it is easily adjustable, it is a good size for my needs, and it can be easily removed from the adhasive base if not in use, but I never thought the adhesive would just come unstuck in the night. I hope this doesn't happen when I am riding or sometime when I don't notice, and it ends up lost. I reattached and it was fine for the rest of the day, so maybe I need to store it in a different place or at a different angle so the mirror is not hanging downward?

Found egg roll wrappers after having to go to a second grocery store. Why would a store not have them? The Giant in New Cumberland didn't! Had to get them at Karns in Lemoyne. Anyway, I am jonesing for spring rolls with the cabbage from my garden begging to be eaten. Can't wait to fry them up.

Monday, November 03, 2003


I found out about a relatively cheap dynamo light that mounts externally on the wheel, called the Dymotec, and it seems like something I am interested in. The price is right, compared to hub dynamos, and the installation would be easier instead of rebuilding a wheel for a hud dynamo, and I don't need a hub dynamo because I am not doing that much night riding, and not for extended distances, but I am not quite sure yet because of a few items.

1) since it is external, theft and vandalism may be a problem.
2) drag will be greater since it is a physical contact of the dynamo to the wheel, but the barrell can be moved off the tire when not in use.
3) a few comments about the ineffectiveness of the dymotec in wet and especially snowy conditions have come across my desk. But is this just in extreme snow/wet conditions, or anytime it gets a little wet out?
4) all in all, for the extent I would be using it, I could always walk, slow down, use a back up LED/headlamp, if the light fails in certain conditions.
5) does the light retain a charge for when I come to a stop? (I think this is a given if buying the correct light, but I have to check to make certain)

So, I need to cover these questions before I decide, and of course, any other leads from readers on other lights would be appreciated!

My garlic is putting up shoots already, they are popping up through my straw mulch. Must be because of the mild weather, it is 76 degrees out today, in November! Check out the photo below to see the shoots.

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