Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flying On A Kid's Bike

Matt Priest - Welcome To Amity from Mike King on Vimeo.

I just ran across this video today. Maybe not everyone wants to fly, but I certainly do. Watching videos like this gives me butterflies in my stomach and makes my palms sweat. When you fly, failure is not a sustainable option.  You are aware of the consequences, but you push them to the very back of your mind to a place where they cannot effect your commitment to the takeoff. In this world governed by gravity it is the takeoff that is key to successful flight. Botch the takeoff and the landing will be hard.

I'm still trying to figure out how to fly. If you're going to fly, you have to give everything that you are to the art. Matt Priest didn't just wake up one morning with the ability to fly on a kids bike, he put countless hours into practicing the takeoffs. Sometimes the landings were hard. The same with CEO's and entrepreneurs--in developing their companies and corporations, they have spent many hours investing in their flight. It's chasing after the dream, not accepting the present--grounded reality, but striving for something bigger, something more...not status-quo. We all have a dream. I guess we have to pursue it in order to learn how to fly.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Who Wears Short Shorts?

This too is a fixie.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were in town with us last week and we went for a walk... only I rode this unicycle. The next day I got a hair cut and shaved my beard off. I guess that's what happens when you ride a unicycle.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don't Argue With Me, I'm Wrong

Kalea and I drove to Roseburg on Sunday. On Monday we road a 15 mile loop, through wine country. On Tuesday we road a 28 mile loop through sheep pasture land. The weather on Tuesday was perfect. So perfect that wearing my bike shorts left me with a bike short tan. Tan lines are sexy. Especially when they are super contrasting-like the one that I get mid-thigh from my bike shorts. There's white and then there's tan. I feel the same about a good farmer's-tan, as well.

On Tuesday when we did the 28 mile ride, it was really only supposed to be a 22 mile ride. I accidentally missed a turn off, though. My faithful wife stayed with me the whole way even though she was pretty sure we had taken a wrong turn somewhere. I told her that even though it was painful, she would be proud of herself when she made it back to the car and relaxed for  a bit. I was right. She cussed me in the car, but once we got home she was gleeful about riding the second-furthest distance that she's ever ridden on a bicycle in one go. For the record, that's the only time I've been right about a disagreement we've had on this trip. She's been right the rest of the time. Like when I couldn't remember the name of the bank that I was supposed to go to. I was certain that she was wrong about the name having the word "Cascade" in it. Well, it did have that word in it. Then there was the time that I thought the route that we took was not as long as it was and she had guessed the distance within a mile and a half. I told her she was wrong, but she was really more right than I.

I learned that being wrong is not such a bad thing. Just like the pain that you feel after sitting on your bike saddle for 30+ miles, making mistakes is good for you. Not only does it build character, it develops strength. The more times I'm wrong, the less it hurts to admit that I'm wrong. I think that's why God let's me be wrong so much and why He gave me such a smart wife.

On Wednesday we let our legs heal up a bit and visited with family and drove to the coast. We'll ride probably go for a ride and find a place to camp for the night. Then we'll drive back to Bend. I'll probably be wrong again before we get home and that's okay.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lederhosen and Woolen Knee-Highs

I made up my mind a few days ago. It's March, so I'm not going to wear pants anymore. Tuesday I dug my favorite pair of Columbia shorts out (the ones with two holes in the backside from being atop a bicycle) and I put them on with the intention of wearing them (shorts in general, that is) until winter comes next year. The first day of spring is not until the twentieth, I know, but I thought I'd get a head start this year. 

Now, you may be wondering how I'm able to get such a head start on my shorts-wearing season when it is still so frigid out. Easy. I wear knee-high Smartwool socks. Yesterday morning I rode to work and the temperature was 22 degrees. "Not a problem," I thought to myself. "I'll just throw on a set of knee-highs." For riding this is my favorite combination. A thick Woolrich wool shirt tucked into my shorts completes the German ensemble very well. All I need now are a set of red suspenders and a funny hat. I'm not joking. 
This is not a picture of me. My lederhosen are shorter. Much shorter. 
I think the Bavarian people had something here. We all know the style is incredible, but it's the practicality of the outfit that astounds me. Long rides are no longer a problem with lederhosen. You have an increased range of motion. You don't get chafing in your knee-caps. You have exceptional breathability, but warmth (with the knee-highs) enough to endure frigid mountain temperatures. Need I say more? 

When you are purchasing proper lederhosen (or just shorts) for cycling, one thing to keep in mind is the size of the leg-opening. A larger leg opening on an above-the-knee short (which is what I prefer) can be very refreshing, but also very revealing. A quick ride down a nice steep hill will leave nothing for the imagination unless you wear proper under layers. As an added warning, remove bulky objects, such as keys and cell phones from your pockets as these will further promote exposure especially when your cadence is high. 

I prefer to wear a short with smaller leg openings. I have smaller legs and I need all the help being modest that I can get. In lieu of the short season coming upon us, I purchased a new set of shorts from REI. They are the REI Castle Mountain short. So far, a new favorite. The Castle Mountain lederhosen are made from a blend of cotton, nylon and a scosche of spandex to give some stretch. They have a nine inch inseam and, on the 30" waisted version, the leg openings are small enough to not show my scivies. The pockets are a little long. They stick out the bottom of my shorts when I ride. I kind of like this, though, as it reminds me of my days wearing daisy-dukes (which are certainly not over). These shorts are durable, they dry quickly and are as comfortable as a quinzee hut. 

The one issue that I run into with early season shorts and knee-high socks, is that my kneecaps are exposed to freezing temperatures. Yesterday, when it was 22 degrees, my knees were cold and stiff. To remedy this, many cycling manufacturers have developed thigh-high leg warmers. This is a great option, but can be very costly, especially for a good, soft merino wool model. Someday, maybe I'll purchase a pair of these, but for now, I'll just deal with cold knee caps. After all, it's the middle of March and it's time to show off your lederhosen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"L" is for Lubricant

Some of you may have noticed the Daily Fix being a little quiet over the last couple weeks. I guess that's what happens when you have to do a real job, too. It likely comes as a surprise to you that I'm not at home in my underwear with a cup of coffee pondering bicycle frame geometry all day long. No, that's what I do at work...with the addition of pants...usually.

Today's topic is brought to you by Dumonde Tech and by the letter "L". L is for lubrication and that, specifically of bicycle components including the chain. Chain lubrication is by far one of the most beneficial preventative steps to holistic health for your bicycle. A well-lubricated chain will drastically improve the lifespan of your entire drive-train. There are a lot of different chain lubricants on the market. I have used several of them, but currently I'm using Dumonde Tech Lite chain lubricant. "Liquid plastic through polymerization forms long lasting coat on all chain surfaces." That's the description on the bottle. Dumonde Tech specializes in lubricants for motorcycles and bicycles and claims to be the longest lasting lube on the market. They specifically instruct the rider to not reapply chain lube until the chain begins to make a sound. I've never heard my chain make this fabled sound, but I decided to take them up on the challenge.

I ride my bike everyday through rain, snow and crushed basalt and I figure, if anyone's going to need to keep their chain lubed it's the year-round bike commuters. Two weeks later, after lubing my chain with Dumonde Tech Lite, I started to hear a squeaking sound coming from down there. I was a little confused at first, because I haven't actually gone two whole weeks without lubing my chain. The new sound escalated to an unbearable point yesterday and I finally determined that the squeaking down there was, in fact, my parched chain crying out and not a squirrel in my shorts. Today I will be reapplying the Dumonde Tech lube. The chain sound was very obvious and a good "time-to-lube-your-chain" alarm. In the winter I usually go a week before I reapply. Doubling that time is not such a bad thing. It saves lube and it means less bad stuff is seeping into the dirt.

Dumonde Tech also makes a lubricant called Bio-Green which is a plant-based lubricant. I have used it in the past, but I'll have to pull it out again and see how long I can go between lubes with the all-natural stuff. Whether you use Dumonde Tech's product or not. It is imperative that you lube your chain...for your sanity and that of your friends.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yeah, I'm All Lit Up Again

I was taking my time getting ready this morning. I was certain I had to be to work at 9:45. My schedule disagreed and claimed 9:30. I called my manager to warn them of my mistake. I hung up the phone and my front tire deflated, the first flat I have had in a couple of years. My faithful bike and I limped the rest of the way to work. Only half an hour tardy. It's important to have days like this. It reminds me that I'm human. Actually, the whole last week was kind of a reminder of that.

On the bright side, I received my new headlights from NiteRider today. I tried them out on the way home from the CSA and was pleasantly surprised by the view that I had. Kind of like daylight. I'll try to take some video sometime soon to demonstrate the output. It's pretty amazing. More soon.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Circus Freaks Are Here

Trials riding is hard. Danny MacAskill makes it look easy.
You don't have to like cycling to respect what Danny is doing. It's beautiful and it's genius. It's also kind of weird if you think about it. I mean, who climbs up onto a castle with a bicycle that doesn't even have usable seat and then jumps off again? And what about the riding on one wheel thing? The bike has two perfectly good, usable wheels for a reason, right?  This guy makes it poetry, though. It's for others to enjoy. It's entertainment. That's what makes the circus so enjoyable. People who decided to do what everyone else is doing and get a real job get to sit and watch freaks do things that they, themselves wish they could do. Who doesn't want to ride a unicycle across a tight rope while juggling? I sure do. Seriously.

In fact, today was another pleasant day and I was feeling antsy, so I decided to pump up the tire on one of my unicycles and find my balance again. I felt pretty goofy trying to get going on it. Someday I want to ride it down the street while juggling. I also want to ride it to work. Besides being an incredible work out riding a unicycle is one of those things that's...well...unique. There aren't too many people out there that can say they can ride a unicycle well. I can't ride it well, but I can ride it to the end of the alley and back without stopping. I actually got off once today because an Asian man driving a Japanese car was so confused by the Caucasian riding a one wheeled fixie past his house, that he forgot to stop. I hopped off before I ran into the bank of snow piled up against the fence and allowed the gaping Asian to pass.

The truth of the matter is, I think he has the right to stare. This is part of life. There are people who follow the broad road, forsaking their dreams. And then there are circus freaks. Danny MacAskill probably falls under the circus freak category. I definitely do. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Four-Plexes and Enchiladas

The chicken enchiladas that I just finished were the perfect end to a good day. They were well earned, too, in my opinion. I pulled the trailer into work this morning at 6:40. I thought about how pleasant the weather was. I thought about my scarf flopping around in the wind. My legs felt strong and the trailer felt light. Work was a breeze. I drank coffee and built bicycles. I rode the bikes that I built around the Old Mill in the pleasant weather. I thought about my new Niterider headlights that are coming in the mail shortly.

It's easy to lose yourself in your thoughts when you are truing wheels and disc-brake rotors. My thoughts were disrupted at three, when I realized it was time to pull the grocery-getter over to Mother's and help out at the CSA. I handed out produce shares to 90-ish people who are interested in supporting local farmers. I rode home with my own share in tow. I observed that, by the end of the day, my legs do not feel as strong. The air, however, felt pleasant. My thoughts roamed around some more. I thought about the low-income neighborhood that I was riding through. I thought about what kind of people might live in those buildings, the duplexes and four-plexes backed up against the railroad tracks. All those people are living in a reality that is probably somehow similar to my own, but at the same time is so far away.

I blinked and I was home. My flashing lights and Jesus had been predictably faithful in escorting me safely home. I thought about how, no matter how tired I am, riding bikes is always worth it. Especially when there are enchiladas as a reward.