Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina spares bicycle

Monday, August 29, 2005

More Amsterdam impressions....

  • Amsterdam is the Las Vegas of Northern Europe, probably due to the omnipresent Brit stag parties
  • The line at the Anne Frank House really does move quickly
  • Kiddies ride along in bike "pumpkin seats" in between the rider and the handlebars. The little kiddies do not wear helmets.
  • In fact, no one wears bike helmets
  • Most women pedal in high heels
  • The weather in Amsterdam was a bit chillier than I expected
  • The Stedelijk Nuseum was my favorite museum in town.
  • It's possible to walk along and find a tasty restaurant
  • It's also true that most restaurants in town do not serve Dutch food. The only exception is the pancake houses. We stumbled upon one that looked hole-in-the-wall but ended up being really tasty, and, halfway through the meal I noticed some autographs taped to the wall -- some movie stars had been there recently.
  • I wanted to go to the garlic restaurant because I love garlic. Didn't make it. Luckily, it looks like there are plenty of garlic restauraunts in the US as well.
  • We were dedicated to keeping a full plate, but not running from place to place. In addition, we had more ideas for restaurants and activities than we could have achieved. Consequently, we missed a few museums we wanted to hit, including "Our Lady of the Attic", and missed Boom Chicago, which is supposed to be hilarious. We also missed, the. I was curious about the Jamie Oliver restaurant, but there also seemed to be too much hype surrounding that place...Plus, the Pasa Doble tapas restaurant was lively and had great sangria. (It was a "we were just walking by" restaurant.)
  • Other restaurants we wanted to try but didn't get to: Supperclub and
  • Enjoyed: Jurrasic 5 at Paradiso. Wow, the acoustics in that place are GREAT.
  • Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Before I forget....

    On the topic of: Amsterdam and bikes

    Glad I didn't bring my bike? Yes
    Sad I didn't acquire a junkie bike? Yes
    Does everyone have a heavy-duty, super duper bike CHAIN? Yes, even the kids' Big Wheels
    Do cars yield to bikes in A'dam? Yes
    What color are most of the bikes in A'dam? Any color you'd like as long as it's black

    I'll upload some photos later this week.

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Commute Report

    Miles when I got home: 23485.0 (I forgot to write it down when I got to work)

    Of interest: Today was the first rainy day commute in awhile. The rain cooled things down in the morning but by afternoon, when it was sunny again, the outdoors was muggy as hell. We just got back from a backyard BBQ party where it was still muggy as hell.

    Thursday, August 18, 2005


    Lock em up: Such a demonstrative photo. Even the crappy little kids bikes are locked up with HEAVY CHAINS. Check out Rob's b&w photo gallery of Amsterdam bikes. Very well done.

    Helmets: Practically no one wears a helmet while riding in Amsterdam, or so I've read. Odd. I'm actually thinking of leaving mine home since we aren't bringing our bikes after all and our rentals will probably chug along slowly.

    Where to rent? I've just started looking, but MacBike sounds like a popular place. Damstraat Rent A Bike sounds cool too.

    Ugh: I really wish bike theft wasn't so much of a problem in A'dam. If it wasn't, I'd much rather bring my Cannondale and in addition to getting around town, ride the extensive bike trails the city has to offer. I do know my road bike would stand out among the beater bikes and solid commuter bikes of the city. Therefore, I'd probably be spending more time locking up the bike, removing the seat, etc., etc., than actually doing stuff.

    Granny bikes: Apparently the term for the practical looking bikes that populate Amsterdam is OMA FIETS, aka, granny bikes.

    More about the bike thing from VirtualTourist: Click here

    Commute report and more

    Miles when I got to work: 2376.5

    Debating: Should we take the bikes to Amsterdam this weekend? We're thinking not, since the incidence of bike theft there is VERY high and we may take a side trip to Paris. We are now deciding whether we should bring our helmets, pedals and shoes or just scrap it. I'm leaning towards scrap it altogether...

    Club ride: I had a great time again. Didn't know what to expect when we decided to ride with the next speed group up, but it was no trouble at all. We saw the same curious problem that we saw with the slower group last week - people are not used to hills. It's odd, since we were definitely on the fatter side, and yet people with very pricey bikes and toned looking bodies had trouble on the hills. I also expected more hills than last week's ride, but this wasn't really the case.

    About the photo: From Paris Bike Tour

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 23444.0

    Tonight: Group ride with the cycle club

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2335.7

    Of interest: Rode to the bike trail yesterday - the one that takes us about 35 minutes and two highways to drive to! It was about a 50 mile round trip and we only rode about 15 miles on the trail, as it was looking kinda stormy - of course it didn't storm. The route we took to the bike trail was pretty good, and we hit several hills and one BIG ASS hill as well. I actually got off the bike in the middle of the hill and stopped for a few seconds because I was feeling HOT (not tired) and all those TV news stories have been airing about people dying of heat stroke have scared me! Regardless, we had a fun time and felt pretty studly when we got back home.

    Saturday, August 13, 2005

    Special report

    I have won a race!

    Sure, it was only 10 miles and the category was for women who had never raced before, but I - someone without a team - beat someone from a team.

    The course was a fairly flat, windy loop with a hill towards the end. Towards the start of the race, I managed to work out a mutal draft situation with the girl who was leading with me, but towards the end I killed her on the hill and by the final lap it was cemented, the cute trophy with the girl cyclist (boobies and ponytail!) was all mine!

    I have no average speed stats, as my cyclometer registered "e" for my average speed. I seem to remember I was solidly in the mid-20's for most of the race.

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2254.1

    You know what's frustrating? When the rain starts falling horizontally JUST as you're putting your bike helmet on to go home. You wait about 15 minutes, but the radar doesn't indicate that the downpour's going to dry up. You think about riding in it anyway, but then you hear thunder. Since your husband is off work this week, you call him and ask for a ride. As soon as he arrives at work, the sun peeks out and the rain halts. To make things even more annoying, about three blocks away from the workplace, you notice COMPLETELY DRY ROADS. Yes, you've just been fooled by a selective rainstorm. Argh.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2247.6

    Recap, club ride: Very nice people. We went in the slow group because we didn't know what to expect. We saw some slick looking riders and bikes and since the slow group was advertised as 15 - 17 average on hilly roads, we thought we'd be safe, not sorry.

    As the number of riders grew in the parking lot, I said hi to a few acquaintances, and was pleasantly surprised that such a wide variety of folks showed up. Although some people were clearly racers and some clearly citizens, most bikes were pretty nice and nearly everyone was in a jersey and bike shorts.

    The tradition behind this ride was also very comforting. Apparently this ride is older than I am, and in a way it's like the grownup version of Critical Mass. These folks go on the road like they should, but they're ultra observant, like going single-file if there's a car back.

    We rode out from the parking lot and onto city streets until we hit a short bike trail that took us out to less populated roads. It was a swell loop, though I could have used some more hills.

    The slow group had a no-drop policy, which made cycling tough, as the ride leader kept stopping at turns, waiting for folks to catch up. This is a good policy because many of the folks didn't know where they were going, but it's also hard to get the heart rate up if you're constantly stopping and waiting...and waiting for that last straggler.

    The speed was definitely lower than advertised. I know this the beginner group, but I expected some more skills. For example, minor hills - to me - are for spinning, not coasting, and I always approach the base of a hill with some momentum. These guys were going so painfully slow that heading uphill was a bigger chore than it needed to be.

    Regardless, it was nice to be with such a social bunch. I spent a good bit of time in the beginning talking with a chemical engineer. Then, when I couldn't take it anymore - the pace, not the conversation, I rode in the front (so far in front that I think the rest of the group was a road or two behind us because we couldn't see them) with a British guy who was pretty interesting as well.

    I did want to talk with the couple on the tandem but didn't get a chance. The wife seems to have prosthetic legs below the knee, either that or really odd socks. That's cool that she was riding.

    The organization was great. Each group (there were either 4 or 5, from the slow folks to the studly) had a leader, and a main ride leader laid down the law to the entire group before the ride began.

    Next week we'll try the next group up. They take a hillier route - ours was amazingly unhilly - and ride a few more miles. If we get dropped, so be it. More than anything, I hope to keep up instead of staying out front.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the group. Apparently, 150 people showed up for last week's ride. This week I'd say there were 50. Even so, that's a nice group.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2216.7

    Thinkin' of... Going on my first club ride tonight. I've been on organized rides and group rides, but never a ride with an actual "bicycle club". If I ride over to the starting point after work, I hope I'm not too tired before the ride even begins!

    Cool site: Steal It Back is a police auction site with a large selection of bikes. Unfortunately, I'm not in NYC.

    Today's image/also sweet: BikeTV

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2208.2

    Weather: Nice! Not too hot, not too cold.

    Lungs: A little achy. I always swear I'm not going back to a smoky bar like the one we were at last night. The smoke makes the night extremely uncomfortable and I really regret it the next day, but alas, I went to a Monday night concert and now I'm paying for it.

    About the photo: Found it here. Raleigh bikes and cigarettes were/are made by different companies with the same name, I believe. If they were both manufactured by the same company, that'd be like owning a kosher seafood restaurant run by nun prostitutes.

    Sadness: VeloDiablo has stopped bike blogging for now. Major bummer. I checked his site daily.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2199.9

    Tricked: After this Sunday's ride, I was really hankering for some evil sugary cereal. After much time pondering in the aisle, I purchased what I thought was a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Despite eating this cereal in the past, I absolutely hated the flavor this morning, but I didn't want to be wasteful, so I finished up. As I was finishing up and reading the box, I noticed a TEENY message at the bottom of the box - Made with SPLENDA. Grrrrrrr, I hate the supersweet taste of sugar substitutes. (Yes, I intend to notify the company.)

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Commute report


    Miles when I got to work: 2137.3

    Of interest: Do not pick up a 7 foot long PVC pipe and pretend that you're in the circus's bicycle high-wire act, especially if you're on a slope. That's a bad, bad idea, especially when you go over your handlebars onto the blacktop. I knew someone that happened to. I can't disclose who it is, though.

    Today's image: A real bicycle high-wire act, as seen on Charles Schwartz Ltd.'s website.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Welcome to the jungle

    Total props to Lucas Brunelle, the guy with the videocamera. NYC street racin'.

    This vid is totally like the G&R pinball machine with the bikes as pinballs and the vehicles as the flippers.

    More vids available at http://www.digave.com/videos/

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2128.8

    Of interest: Congrats to the husband on converting the 6-speed Lotus from his teen years to a very pretty fixed gear bike. Watch out hipsters, next thing you know it, husband will wear black-framed glasses, carry a hip messenger bag, wear Pumas and sip non-Starbucks coffee/chain-smoke all while riding his fixie in the city.

    Also of interest: The over-100 heat index hasn't really gotten to me. People keep asking, 'So, you're riding in this?' and I just don't get what's so bad about it. It feels wonderful, like I'm under my down comforter, relaxing. I am certainly not going all out, and I'm drinking more water than usual, but I must say I enjoy riding in the warmth. After all, I know what it's like to ride in the winter: HELL.

    Nonbike: I've been playing with Peekaboom, and I have a few observations.

    • The purpose of Peekaboom is sweet: teaching computers to see.
    • It's fun that you get a different partner for each game. Most of the other players are pretty good.
    • I like how you don't learn who your partner is. On the other hand, it's fun to "converse" with your partner by writing messages in the guessing area.
    • The game's image database isn't huge. I've gotten the Osama bin Laden image (correct answer: rock) about four times.
    • Some of the images in the game are ODD. See above.
    • There's no correlation between some of the images (small percentage) and their designated words. You must skip these images.
    • The game FAQ does not address how the programmers chose the game images. I figure they wrote a program that pulls them automatically from the web. It looks like the word match is based on the photo's filename.
    • I tried playing during my lunch hour and folks must be playing during work time because two of my partners left the game. I can only guess that their bosses turned the corner and they had to Ctrl-W.
    • It took about 4 hours to get sick of the game. There's not much thinking involved once you get the hang of it.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2117.3

    Confusion: Just saw an ad for Dove Cookies. What? The moisturizing soap is now edible? A female voice was describing the product, so it must be about skin care. No, it's the chocolate people. Confusing.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2108.8

    Fun: This photo

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Commute report

    Miles when I got to work: 2100.2

    Of interest: We are spending quite a bit of money on bike stuff lately. The various upgrades and improvements are all by choice, save my tires. Regardless, I think the money I save on gas has been used in bikeland instead. For that, I'm pretty happy.

    Charming: Bar end streamers on kids bikes