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

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


There is no such thing as a mindless bike commute, sometimes that bothers me. Sometimes I want to get lost in the moment, in the flow of the experience. You can't do that on a bicycle or you may regret it. You have to pay full attention all the time, and I do.

Driving a car is the same thing. No room for errors of mindlessness, but more people do it, lost in thought during the crawling commute, staring off in the distance during the freeway conveyor belt, and they often are involved in accidents. I read recently that more than 1 million people die yearly from automobile accidents (anyone have a reference to check this for me?), that's some lack of mindfulness. Just imagine how many more accidents there are out there that don't result in death. There's not that room for error on a bicycle.

I think sometimes that prevents me from riding more than anything else when I make that decision to drive in to my secret spot, park and walk the 20 minutes to the office. Sometimes I just don't want to have to think about the trip in, just want to get in the line of traffic, and walk the safe sidewalks as a pedestrian, not worrying about signalling a turn, or the taking of a lane, or the passing of a ped, or the adjustment of my helmet. Just sometimes...

On another note, I met Mike today. Another fellow commuter, who lives near the Lemoyne interchange with I-83, and who bikes to the naval support center south of New Cumberland (about 2 miles he tells me), but not if its raining in the morning. Maybe we can get Mike to change that someday. Leaving an extra five minutes is all it would take to make sure of enough time for changing from wet to dry clothes and wiping yourself down. But really it's only necessary to do so if caught in a full rain, and that happens so rarely, especially during a 2 mile commute. This morning, the rain was coming down while I lay in bed waiting for the next snooze alarm, and threatened until I left the apartment, but held off during my 20 minutes into the office, as it often does.

Song of the Day: "Dice" by Finley Quaye w/ Beth Orton

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Can you tell me where this little custom made sign is located? Someone went through the trouble of putting a bike rack out, the least people can do is use it. And I still hate to see bikes parked around trees, railings, and signs in the front of a property, when a bike rack is available for use. This may seem counter-intuitive, perhaps it is good to have bikes parked everywhere so they can be seen, but I just think it looks a little sloppy, and gives bikes another bad image. Plus, we should expect proper bike parking everywhere, so if we don't use it when available, the need won't be recognized as much.

Answer to WHERE IT AT #1

West Shore is right, Ed! This "secret" little pedway runs right underneath the Harvey Taylor Bridge as it touches down on the West Shore.

Monday, May 24, 2004


Nothing like a little international exchange. Thanks to Ronnie from the Netherlands for sharing his commuting story with us.

I live in a place called Hellevoetsluis in The Netherlands, Europe. Two years ago, I was in the Ardennes in Belgium on a camp site. There I met an American who had just retired, or left the rat-race as he called it. He threw his bike on the plane, flew to Switzerland and was biking his way through Europe.
The Ardennes are not really the best place to ride a bike, unless you go off road. People in their cars drive like maniacs and there is not a bike path in sight. Anyway, this man was telling me he was heading for The Netherlands because he heard such good things about our bike paths.

This made me think about what a great place Holland is to ride a bike in. Great roads everywhere, mostly flat, weather is not too bad most of the year and the people are generally very relaxed. Although the last is up for discussion ofcourse. Anyway, this man and his ride through Europe stuck with me and soon I found myself looking for a good bike. At that time, I was getting into the voluntary simplicity thing and somewhere in the back of a shop I found a great bike, a Trek. It was an old model, used for window displays and all, but the guy fixed it up and sold it at about a quarter of the price.

After that, I told my girlfriend that I would bike to work at least once a week. She started laughing and said it was about 30 kms to work. And how was I, a desk jockey, good at shuffling pappers, going to do that? Imagine that… So, the next Friday I loaded up my MP3 player, got out my old army raincoat and set off for work.

If I leave my house, I have to cross a road and then I pass a Mercedes dealership. I always wondered what people see in those huge, clunky cars. Riding on a bike past it, you get a good view of the people scurrying through the lot. The street I am then on, goes along for about 5 kms, along some old houses which were probably built around the turn of the century and some newer ones, and somehow it all sticks together.

Continuing on this road, I leave Hellevoetsluis and I reach the no-mans land between the industrialized area of the port of Rotterdam and my town. It is mostly farmland with some big McMansions between. The smart people get out off the traffic and on to these backroads, saving them from the 2 meter at a time hop. Traffic can be pretty ugly around this time of morning. Bad part is that all these crazed people drive like idiots and wearing an MP3 player isn’t helping very much.

After a little while, I get to the good part. Coming to a bridge, where 2 lanes become one. You guessed it, bumper-to-bumper time. Very funny to see all these people in their cars. Some even read a newspaper, while others just have a 1000 yard stare..

Crossing the bridge, I can see big oil terminals ahead. I go to the right, leaving traffic as it is and I come to long stretches of bike paths. The roads are lined with huge trees, which I think were once planted as wind-breakers. They do a good job at that, because a few kms later, there are no more trees and the riding is a lot harder then.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


Here's a few shots of some bikes spied around town recently. It's a good thing to realize that I haven't run out of photo opportunities of bikes in the radius of my semi-usual routes to work. This means there are a few people out there riding to be proud of. And that there's even more photo possibilities waiting just over the horizon to share with readers and citizens of Harrisburg.

I don't think this is the only way into this parking area, cause the other vehicles present (that you can't see in this shot) wouldn't fit through this gate. But it is a cool shot I think, and a great parking spot for whoever rides that bicycle into work. Locked to a bike rack in a private parking lot, with the area gated off and locked from the main sidewalk on Second St. I walked by many times before I peered in and found this two-wheeler.

Here's another bike rack being put to good use, though you may ask "why are the bikes parked sideways, thus not allowing room for more bikes?". Well this is in a fairly narrow alley at the YMCA downtown, and if they were parked perpendicular on the rack it would not let ped traffic easily through the alley.

A little touch of color to brighten up the day as you look at the ballasts lining this walkway near a downtown primary school. I'd feel safe walking or riding on this walk, though I still don't think that it's safe enough to leave your bike unlocked like this one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


I just noticed today, not for the first time in the past 4-5 months, that my cycling computer was not working properly. I know why. The magnet on the spokes that provides the info the computer needs to synthesize an output to me that I will understand, miles per hour, distance, max speed, etc, etc, is out of alignment and I have been too lazy to line it back up. I don't care, really. If I did it would have been fixed weeks and weeks ago.

When I got this bike from my brother, I replaced the battery in the computer, reset it, and aligned the magnet. It was cool at first to gage how far my different routes were, and to see what my max speed in certain situations was, so I could calculate if I was really holding up traffic, or if the blowhard honking at me from behind in the 25 mph zone when I was travelling 25 mph deserved a second thought from me. But the novelty wore off quick, and now I think I may just remove the little piece of technology, before someone sees it on my bike somewhere I have parked and decides it might be worth something and takes a tool or two to my machine.

I know alot of people are totally into the numbers, especially if they are training, but for me the commute is the commute. I can do a decent job of estimating my travels if I want. I know the ride to the office is about 4 miles, I know how many days a week I hit it, and I have a good enough feel now for my speed in uphills, downhills, and flat straightaways. So I can do without it probably.

I only have this misgiving that someday a cop will pull me over for going too fast and will ask me if I know how fast I was going, and I won't be able to look down and say "sure I do", but I don't really ride fast enough most of the time to make that an issue.

In other news. I retightened my pedals, cranks, derailleur brace and other various screws and bolts, and it seems as if the regular clicking on each left down stroke has gone bye-bye. It really was probably the left crank that needed retightened the most as I must have turned the bolt 20 half turns before the torque got high enough. Something tells me though that I shouldn't have needed to adjust it so much, but we will see how things pan out over the next few days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


This from Friday's comments about Bike-to-Work week:

What great timing! I am getting a Raleigh 3-spd tuned up this weekend to start commuting to work next week.

Front St > Linglestown > Either Industrial Rd or 6th

See ya on the road!

I've actually ridden Front St from downtown (starting on the Riverfront Park pathway) all the way out to Fort Hunter Park (where I dropped in on an ultimate frisbee game), and found it a typical road in many regards. I think I remember the shoulder being quite adequate so that shouldn't be an issue. If your coming from the North, just be careful to allow yourself plenty of time and space to merge into the left hand lane for turning onto Linglestown Rd.

As far as Linglestown goes, it has always been quite busy when I have driven it, but have never biked it. Good clearance on the sides though and two lanes make it an easily rideable road.

Now Industrial Rd or 6th depends on your comfort around the big rigs, which of course dominate Industrial Rd. I have ridden Industrial Rd from the Farm Show complex over to Wildwood, and I always get off the road and go through the HACC parking lots and service roads when I can. The northern most parking lot leads to a gravel road which connects with the safety buildings up at HACC entrance #5 (I think), and I've seen a red fox back there twice (not a route for road bikes though). Otherwise the shoulder is quite wide closer to the I-81 underpass so I'm comfortable there. And of course north from that point, it is simple and desirable I would think to jump on the Wildwood lake path that parallels Industrial Rd (actually part of the Capitol Greenway system). I haven't ridden Sixth Street in particular, but in general, alot of those types of streets in the urban residential sections of town I 've ridden are lined with parked cars, making you take the full lane, so be prepared for some honks and hollers if you choose to do so, plus you've got more stops at signs and lights, and miss out on the beauty of the other options along Industrial Rd.

Song of the Day: "Curbside Prophet" by Jason Mraz

Friday, May 14, 2004


I certainly can't let the opportunity to promote Bike to Work Week pass by. Of course, I think the reasons are obvious, less reliance on gasoline and the associated prices, regular exercise built into your day without having to pay for a gym membership, the opportunity to build and experience community to a greater degree, saving money on parking and car maintenance, etc, etc. And that's just the practical stuff, not to mention the spiritual and ethical.

So check out www.bike-to-work.com, or www.bike2work.com for all the details for Bike to Work Week, May 16-22. Here's a sample:

"Bike to Work wins U.N. Best of Practices recognition. This spring in Barcelona, Spain the Santa Cruz Bike to Work/School effort will be on display at a Best of Practices forum. We were the only U.S. program selected."

And to make life easier on any beginning cyclists out there, I offer my services over the next week to help you plan your route and answer any questions you may have. I know that often there are places along a route that don't fall into any nice categories, missing shoulders, one-way streets, excessive speeds, etc, so drop a line and I'll be happy to give my advice, or offer alternatives for your commute. I will be busy much of the weekend recertifying my Wilderness First Responder training, but will try to check the site a few times for comments, and my email as well. Happy riding and commuting.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Biking or walking around town always gives a new perspective, and often ends you up in places you hadn't expected. You also might be surprised to find little corners of being, and amenities for pedestrians that you wouldn't find if you were in your car. Here's an example. This passageway, so long ago marked "NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES", is still under use by both walkers and bicyclists. The paint may have faded but the purpose hasn't, and with the proliferation of vehicles and dangerous roads these days, it is more relevant than ever.

So who knows where this is at? Any takers? C'mon and show your knowledge of the byways of Harrisburg, and fill in our fellow bikers to this little passageway.

Here is the entrance to the passage with a single little ballast holding down the fort.

"Go Towards the Light", and you'll make it safely to the other end.

Sunday, May 09, 2004


Took the opportunity this weekend to try and figure out how to adjust my index shifting and my alignment of my chain through my front derailleur, where it was rubbing the inner parts on each revolution. I started by shifting to the middle chain ring, and trying to adjust the inner wire tension by turning the barrel adjuster on the shift lever. This had no effect as it was already at its max position. So I loosened the inner wire at the derailleur pinch point, pulled tension with a pair of pliers, and that provided enough length to be able to adjust the barrell, and the derailleur moved inward and the chain cleared.

But then, when I tested the inner and outer chainrings for shifting and clearance, I had trouble with both. After lots of messing around at both ends of the chainrings' range, I decided the following, give up on the inner ring. I couldn't get all three to adjust perfectly, and so since I rarely use the inner chainring, I sacrificed it, and adjusted the outside chainring shifting and clearance. So now I effectively have two chainrings that work. Not a big deal for my use, but I still have the fact that something is not back to normal, and if it is the bottom bracket that is the wrong length, I have no desire right now to get it exchanged and switch it out again. I know that my chainrings are slightly warped as well, so maybe thats the culprit too. I think the only way I might get it all cleared up is to change out the whole drive train, not a pleasant prospect.

Well, I am rideable at the moment, and with gardening season, canoe sojourn season, and summer travel season in hand, I don't have any extra time for bike repairs. I also came to realize how difficult it is to try drive train repairs like I was doing this weekend without a repair stand. That might be a good investment in the next year.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


My Bike Moooves Me Places !!!


Granted, this link is not to a radio station in the Harrisburg area (instead coming from WNNX Atlanta), but it gives a good indication of the insensitivity that many people hold towards bicyclists on the road, and how that can be manifested and grown out of control. I don't know what these dj's are thinking, but so many of thier arguments seem flawed, though I am not about to take the time right now to disect them. But for him to advocate smoking some weed, getting in your car, and having fun by nudging cyclists off the road (audio clip #2) is just plain wrong. If anyone suggested and undertook playing bumper cars with another vehicle besides a bicycle, noone would stand for it.

The clips are mp3 files so you'll need an appropriate player. You probably have one with your cumputers built in windows media player, if not do a search for free mp3 player on the web and you'll find one to download and install. The files also take a little while to load so be patient, and be prepared for your stomach to turn when you hear these idiots laughing about all this.


Monday, May 03, 2004


The Cycling Dude has picked up on my frustrations about cyclists who don't know or follow the rules of the road, and who put themselves and those around us in danger. Thanks for the encouragement, Dude! Check out his comments here.

So, Frank, cheer up! You are not alone in the Bloggerverse, and with a link listed here others will learn of, and appreciate, your efforts, and opinions. :-)

Ditto, Dude!

Although it is so easy to keep sharing these bad examples. This weekend, I saw maybe 6 or 7 cyclists out (2 or 3 were commuters on Friday evening going home from work). Two casual riders on Saturday were heading out on the wrong side of the road, right into traffic and without helmets (and one without lights late at night as he crossed through a stop sign without stopping either). The other which disturbs me more, was a roadie done up with a nice bike, spandex and looking the part, pumping fast down the road in front of my house, and hugging the parked cars along the right side of the road, thus encouraging squeezing from car drivers. C'mon girl, smarten up, set an example by taking the lane and make the roads safer for us all. Oh yeah, and if you are going to swerve in and out of the parked cars to get nearer the curb in cases, at least use hand signals to let drivers know when your coming in and out.

Anyway, back to the Cycling Dude, you should check the site out cause there is a good collection of biker blogs being logged there that you can further check out, and the site is just plain well done. The biker blog universe is growing, and the bcn universe locally is getting a few more hits from the paper zine as well. Peace.

Sunday, May 02, 2004


Posted this at Bike Forums tonight, thought I'd cross-post here to see if anyone has any help.

"Front Derailleaur and Chainrings out-of-line After BB Replacement"

"So after I took all the time to learn how, and to replace my cartridge bottom bracket, I hop back on this week to regain my commute, and I start to hear a slight click on each downward left side pedal. It contined the same for the next day and when I" tried to discover the issue by simulating a pedaling on my porch I couldn't hear the sound. On closer inspection, I notice that my chain is slightly rubbing up against the derailleur cage at a certain cycle where my chainring has a slight bend to it. I can't adjust the derailleur in any further because the screw is at its limit.

Am I stuck at having to get new chainrings, or a new front derailleur, or is it the bottom bracket (a wrong fit)? Any help is appreciated, thanks

Song of the Day: "King of All the World" by the Old 97's

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