Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in review


Well, it will hopefully be raining tomorrow so I will close out my year in review today for commuting to work on bike. Based on available days to ride, I rode to work 162 days and drove 76 days. That gave me a 68% bike commute rate which is 3.4 days a week out of a possible 5 days per week. It was a good bike commute year at the expense of having little rain to keep me off the bike. I hope to see more of you out there on the bike on your way in to work. Have a Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winter arrived (and left already)


Yes, winter has arrived. We had some cold mornings this week. Monday I was able to see my tire path on the wooden creek bridges due to a very light snow fall over night. I love seeing that as it is not very common in Texas. Then there were a couple cold mornings in the low 20's. That is winter to me! Nice to have long sleeved jerseys and gloves.

Oh, but wait, it is back in the 70's this weekend. Forget what I said about winter and enjoy the spring riding conditions!


Monday, December 3, 2012

A new Plano / Allen connection is looking good!


At 75 and Chase Oaks, Plano is finishing up on a great connection of their Bluebonnet trail to Allen. They now have a bridge going over Rowlett Creek. Looks like the trail work connecting it to the Bluebonnet is almost finished. This is a great new addition as I will be able to get on right across from Texas Instruments and ride that section to get over the creek and under 75. That avoids my riding on Legacy and having to cross over central into the left turn lane to get on the service road. That has not been easy in traffic (especially in the dark recently).

Now all we need is for Allen to take the connection and connect it to other trails in Allen and we will really be moving along!

Enjoy the ride!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The signs of winter


It appears winter is getting closer with the mornings in the mid thirties and I see my breath as I ride. A little cooler than I would like for the ride in to work but it is refreshing. I am still trying to get used to riding home in the dark as it makes visibility a little more challenging and important in traffic.After a few weeks it will be the new normal and I will forget about those nice 80degree days of last week.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Time change on the bike


On the eve of election day I find myself in the dark. No, not because of the election choices (I early voted already). It is the time change. Once again the mornings are bright and cheery but the ride home in the dark makes it seem much later than it is. It is a little more challenging but never the less I still enjoy riding to work whenever I can. Tonight it was dark and the north wind was coming in to bring a cooler morning. But biking is good no matter what.

Ride on!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eleven Days of Commuting...


Last weekend was that time of the year again. It was time for me to ride bike with two of my brothers that also do a lot of cycling. And a lot of cycling is what we did! We started in Auburn, CA and ended up in Hayward, CA (in one day!). It was 155miles of riding and the part of me that connects with the saddle agreed that it was a lot of riding for one day. It was, in fact, 11 days of my usual work commute (to work AND back). Yes, I enjoyed the whole ride even though some parts of me were sore. No bike ride can be bad when spent with family. I look forward to next year's adventure.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

A road race completed at last!


I finally completed my first road race! It was very different than the crit racing but still had it's own excitement. I got very lucky as a crash happened up ahead and I was able to veer left, bounce off some guys on the right and left, lose one clip, but still stay up and continue on. About ten of the guys were not that lucky.
 Then on the sprint in to the finish my front tire rubbed the wheel ahead but I stayed upright. At that point I decided not to go all crazy and just tried to hang in there. Did not place but it was a good day as I made it to the finish. Three of our Crest / RBM team took top 10 (61miles at a 23.4mph pace - was nice and much cooler than usual due to recent rain).


Dentist Visit


What does the dentist have to do with cycling? Well, since the temperatures were finally cooler, I decided to ride my bike to the dentist (early appointment before work). It was a nice change to the commute. It is darker earlier so I needed my light on the way in but not as many cars were out early. A nice day when you can do more on the bike.


Monday, September 10, 2012

The best riding temperature


Well, the ride to work today was very nice - about 65 degrees. That was 40deg cooler than the ride home from work Friday evening. Wow, what a change. And although it started cool, by the time I got to work I was still sweating (athough definitiely not as much as Friday afternoon!!).

Even though it was a big change from Friday, the temperature really doesn't matter. I like to ride no matter what!


Saturday, September 8, 2012



Although I enjoy commuting and cycling in Allen, I also enjoy rides that take me further than the city limits. Today was the perfect day to stretch out my ride. With the 20deg cooler temps (85deg today versus 105 yesterday) it felt refreshing out there. Of course that stiff north wind was truly a force to contend with. As I started to add on the miles through Allen, McKinney, Frisco and the ride with Bike Mart, I was thinking in the back of my mind that this may be the day to hit a hundred miles.

I left that thought simmering and tried not to focus on it. I was just out there to ride. I slowly entered and left Lewisville and worked my way back home (backtrack through Plano, Frisco McKinney). I took a long route and hit into the north wind so I could come home with it.. It was very nice and I finally got my 102miles in. This was my first century since I rode the 100miles in the HHH back in 2008 with two of my brothers.

It felt good (after I was done!) and I feel ready to do more in a few weeks. What a difference 20degrees makes!

Ride on!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

More than commuting


I did something different than the usual 7 mile ride to work today. Got in a great team training ride with Crest / RBM cycling pushing through our favorite rollers this morning and then went a little further to complete 92 miles in this heat. I'm good for a while!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Washing a helmet


Tried something I read about. How to clean a bike helmet.  Lather your hair in the shower and put the helmet on. Seemed to work okay. But it may be simnpler to just wash it in the sink!


Tornado warnings

From 6/13/2012

The storm warning sirens went off while I was at work.  I waited until they turned off and then rode home. It was kind of windy.  I only saw one person out on the way home and he seemed to be running faster than he wanted to be. Storm warniings will do that to you.


Commute update

From 6/9/2012

As of early June my bike to work commute average is 64%. Since I have to drive to work on race days that only leaves 4 bike days so I figure 3 of 4 possible days is pretty good.

Lots of rain

From 6/8/2012

On the way in I saw a crawfish on the bike path. Does that mean we had enough\ rain?

Singing in the Rain

From 6/7/2012

Was riding in with a light rain - might as well be singing like I am in the shower!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When it rains, go ride.


We got rain today! Some real heavy storms rolled through this afternoon with visibility at about 75 to 100ft at one point. Luckily I was able to get home on the bike after it let up. It was a nice light rain all the way home and it was good to feel cool again after riding with temperaturs in the 90's.

The fenders and rainproof bags make it an enjoyable ride. And the fixed gear gives extra braking to make up for the weak wet rim braking. After last night’s races in the heat I was just as drenched as in today’s rain. At least tonight I was able to dry off and stay dry! No that easy when it isjust hot and muggy.

Keep the rain coming; we need it!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Time to ride slow


They say it is good to take rest days and have days where you ride nice and slow.  I had a few reminders of that the past week.

The other Saturday morning riding with Bike Mart a group of us had to  work our way around a turtle in the road (and I was feeling slow like hime at that point). And the other morning on the ride in to work I came across a turtle crossing the bike path. It reminded me that sometimes I have to slow down to and have a slow riding day and enjoy the scenery.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

The signs of Spring are out


Did you see the signs of spring out? Allen has the "Share The Road Signs" up to go with the Sharrows on the road. Spring is here, Get out and ride!


Bike Maintenance


I bought my commuter bike back in October. Last weekend I finally had a chance to do some more work on it. I lubed the chain for the first time. Wow, the bike is nice and quiet now. It is a fixed gear but used to sound like it had a derailleur in the rear. It is nice and smooth now.
I fixed a pedal, tightened the seat and adjusted the rear axle since it had some play in it. It took a while to get the chain and wheel tightened just right after that. It felt good to do all that. Then Monday morning I went to head to work and the rear tire was flat. So much for the “preventative maintenance” concept.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The bike season has started


Although I never really stop my bike commuting during the year, the cycling season has officially started with my first criterium of the year completed. I tried a new race this year:

I needed to scope the course so I tried the C race and got third place. So, what the heck! I did the B race after that and had to drop out with the "5 laps to go" signal (yes, that is when they really turn it up another notch!). Overall a great workout with 27 miles at a 22+mph pace.  The season is in full swing!

Go ride - or race or anything on two wheels!


Friday, March 23, 2012

What is a "Sharrow"?


Well, Allen has their Sharrows painted out there on some streets. But what is a Sharrow?

The sharrows are just markings to remind drivers and cyclists that we all share the same roads out there. Nothing more than that! So, go out and ride your bike (or drive your car) because you can! That is what the roads are for.

A nice article was written in today's paper:

You can also find the Allen American article from last week:

Get out and enjoy your bike!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Indoor riding??


I did an indorr spin class today.  My first ever! I always told the guys in that class "you are going nowhere, get out and ride on the road". But, I have to eat my words. They gave me a good hour long workout that really worked my legs. I may even do it again. Training is training.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Good, The Bad and “what was that?”


The day started out great. No better way to be riding in to work than to be riding over paintings done the day before that show a bicycle in the road with arrows to make drivers more aware to Share the Road with bicyclists. Signs will soon follow with that message – “Share the Road”. I am very glad to see this happening in Allen – Way to Go City of Allen! We can start getting inline with all those other states that are so bicycle friendly. (Twin Creeks / Suncreek drives)

The ride home was a little different – 25mph winds with gusts to 39mph. A little more of a workout across the wind but ohhh was it nice once I was riding with the wind. I have to admit; once I spun out on the single speed I wished I had some more high gears!

And now for the “what was that?”. On the morning ride in I was going against the wind. At a stop sign there was a large trash truck; a large drafting truck. I took off close to him and there was no wind bothering me. That lasted until a box flew out of the truck and luckily struck just my hands / handlebars and it then blew on over me. I backed off quickly as some other debris flew past me and I realized the error of my ways. Don’t draft off vehicles that can lose their load.

My new quote: “Sometimes things happen to help remind us of things we should not do. We may still think it is a good idea at times but try to remember that lesson we learned earlier; deep down we know it is not a good idea. {Paul Konrad, lessons I learned behind a trash truck, 3/6/2012}”

Enjoy the Ride,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Amazing what bike awareness can do...


It has been very interesting to see what the residents of Allen are thinking now that we have some "sharrow" signs painted on a few roads in Allen. There is a lot of confusion on these new markings in town and it has started a lot of conversation (and a release of hidden frustration as well it appears). The concept is not new to those states that are working to integrate bicycle riders into the mainstream. It is actually just reminding everyone of what they should know - that bicycles per the law have the same rights and responsibilities as cars out on the road.

These are NOT bike lanes, just reminders that bikes are allowed out there. Many of us out there enjoy riding our bikes because we can, because it provides exercise, because we do it on our own power and do not rely on gas. Less polution sounds good to me and yes, I enjoy recycling! I am not trying to upset anyone; I am just trying to learn to co-exist on the same streets as cars.

I will see you on the road


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The real commuter bike


Okay, just mounted a bell on my bike. Now it is the complete commuter bike.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

A good W/E for bikes


Even though it was raining yesterday I did get to mix in some bicycling stuff during my errands. I heard from someone that the bike store in Allen already opened. They said they have been open a few months already. I was amazed since I did not hear about it until last week through an e-mail from a fellow cyclist in Allen. While I was there I bought a bell (yes a bell) for my commuter that should go well with the fenders :)

The new store is a Bicysles Plus store in the Villages of Allen just a door or two north of Mooyah burgers. Now that is a great combo! When you get a chance go say hi to them and welcome them to Allen! Oh, and buy a couple things while you are there so they can STAY in Allen.

On my way home I got to see the new Sharrow lane markings along Malone so that was a very nice day.

The rain stopped late Saturday night and once it warmed to the 50's Sunday afternoon I was able to get out for a nice ride up to (and around) McKinney. It is strange to be able to free wheel after being on the fixie all week. Well, the gears made for a good 40mile ride and got me ready for a good week of commuting ahead. With the rain done it looks like I will be able to ride to work most (if not all) week.

Get out and enjoy the streets and trails of Allen!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Some cities really have a jump on the cycling thing...


A visit to Austin, TX lets a cyclist know it is possible for cars and bicycles to co-exist. As so many other cities ranked in the "top biking" locations alreay know, if you work at it, you can make it happen. In Austine I saw cyclists everywhere. Why is that? Well, there were bikelanes, sharrows, bike paths, bike racks, and on and on with awareness for cyclists being around you everywhere. I am getting excited to see the start of this here in Allen with the sharrow paintings starting to appear in our city. Way to go Allen for moving forward wth this!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why I ride my bike in the street


Last night reminded me of why I ride on the street (most of the time).  Riding home at about 8:30pm I thought I would spare the cars the need to work around me. I stayed on the sidewalk which I hate to do. Especially along areas that have no 'sidewalk'. Somewhere in the grass / dirt I got a flat. I had to jog the bike to an area with lights to change the flat.

I had a similar problem last week on a sidewalk area. The concrete is settling differently and the tire hit a high spot just right to cause a pinch flat. I normally ride on the street and now I remember why: Fewer flats!

This Spring the City of Allen will begin working on marking some streets as bike routes. That will be very welcoming to those of us that enjoy riding on the streets.

Thank You Allen!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Just a few hickups...


Well it was a good commute day on the bike. Off to the Chiro in Plano after work, Then right from there back to Allen to discuss some items at Two Rows then to a city meeting at the police department. Somewhere along the way I lost my long sleeved jersey from my back bike rack. Then on the way home (cold without the jersey) I tried to ride off the road and got a flat. But I was prepared and got it fixed (note to self: that a fender on the back tire makes it harder to change a flat). Nice to know you can get by without the bike (even though it is not always easy). Oh, then i got home and pumped up the tire all the way. It blew out about an hour later. So, i just put another tube in and hope it lasts until I get more!  This time I made sure I had the tire well balanced all the way around!

Ready for what tomorrw brings (and by now tomorrow is almost here).


Sunday, February 5, 2012

What color is your bike?


My wife tells me I am a #1 personality on the Enneagram. Yes, I do like to go by the book and follow the rules. Not only do I want to follow the rules but I expect others to do the same. And that is where problems can start.

When I ride my bike I am making an effort to stop at all intersections and follow the rules and I expect automobiles to do the same and give me my space. So how does a rule follower take it easy and let the world flow naturally around him without getting hung up on the “he should have”, “she should have” details.

The problem begins with me. You see, I am colorblind. That means I see things in Black and White, Yes or No and Right or Wrong. I have to keep reminding myself that the World is not black and white but full of endless color. The World is so colorful because it is made of people that are so different and colorful in their own way. You just can’t be black and white; you need to see the full breadth of the color spectrum to understand and be compassionate to people around you.

For me I guess it will start by looking for more shades of gray in everything I do. I have to try and understand that everyone has some reason for doing things the way they do. They are not necessarily mad at the bicyclist; they just don’t see him/her. Sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to what is going on around me when I am driving so I can start by doing that before I criticize others.  

I will again try to be more open minded out there on my bike. When I start thinking “You are doing that wrong” (which means I must know what is right), I will have to realize I am once again seeing black and white when the goal is to see all the colors!

Here is looking forward to a great rainbow in the sky!


Good commuting start


It has been a good year for bike commuting this year. I am at a 71% commute rate. Unfortunately this is at the expense of our water supplies as we have not had rain as often as we would like here in Texas.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Need to learn the Rain / Biking thing!


The rain has finally made it! We had 5.5 inches total here at our house yesterday. I caught the start of it Tuesday night on the way home. Not bad when you have all the fenders and waterproof gear for it (and you learn not to breate in water running down your face). It also helps when you have the garage at home to hang all the wet stuff. 
I have not figured out yet how to do that going to work in the rain. It is too messy for me to have to dry all that out and even worse to ride home in wet clothes. I know people in other areas do it. I will work on that.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fun (and work) on the Fixie


Wow, just three weeks on the fixie bike and I am learning a lot.

At first it was just the basics; learning how to get on and into the toe straps or getting off smoothly (swinging the leg over the bike to stop and coast but the pedals keep moving – awkward to say the least).

Then I started to discover some of the other situations I never think about normally. Like coasting down the hall at work on my way out of the building push pedaling on one side of the bike; can’t do that any more. Or going down a curb and having to keep the pedals moving; or trying to get up curbs without being able to ratchet the cranks into position.

No more coasting down embankments, bunny hopping over bumps or cracks, stretching my legs, adjusting socks, tightening the toe clips, coasting as I maneuver through traffic or coasting when I am tired.

It has been a very interesting experience. The easy stop and starts at the lights are not what they used to be as I try to time the toe clip connection or pull a strap tight while cranks are turning (Yes, I know I should use clips instead).

What was more surprising to me was that my “track stands” at the light are harder on the “track bike” then on the road bike where I could ratchet the cranks. Once I learn how to push the bike backwards it may be a different deal but I am still trying to get used to that feel.

And of course with ONE fixed gear, I make some real weird fast downhill spins that must look really strange to someone watching from afar. It must look like I am completely out of control because it feels that way to me. I just want to coast sometimes but I know I can’t. Which brings me to slowing down without brakes: 

I was able to ride to and from work without brakes already but it is very strange. I forgot at one point to estimate the reverse pedaling at a stop sign and had to make a sharp right at the corner to avoid a car in the intersection. And my legs get a whole new workout reverse pedaling to slow down which helps to give my legs more of a workout.

But overall the biggest thing I have to re-learn is to think about what I am doing. I of course was at the point where I did not have to think much about what I was doing but now I have to learn all these fixie details. Riding along requires thinking about how fast I can take a corner that may catch a pedal, about bumps that may throw my legs off balance or a readying for a quick stop and watching my pedal position.

Riding the fixie has definitely worked my cadence and given me a new level of workout. It has been a nice commuter to City Hall and work. And on top of all that it makes me think.  Wow I love Bike Riding!

Ride On!


Friday, January 20, 2012

A nice start to the 2012 bike commuting year


Well this winter has been good. 70+ degrees today and my January 2012 bike commute rate is at 64% so far. It should be a good year. I did get a pinch flat today as I hit a rock / bump twice on the way home. The second time was the charm! I was close enough to just jog it home. But I did have the tools if I needed them.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bike Commuting - yes you can


The day started well. Got the fixie out and rode to get donuts at the nearby donut shop (about 1.5 miles away). Then after that it was off to the water conservation meeting (about 4 miles away). Conserving gas is conserving water too!

It is real nice to leave the car at home when I can. It was a little tough to try to do city riding and try not to use the brakes! More on all that later!

Ride on!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bike Commuting at its best


Well it was a great start to a new year of Bike Commuting in Allen Texas!

I was able to ride to work all four work days on my fixie bike. It felt good to be relying on only the bike.

I started the week with a visit to a Planning and Zoning meeting after work Tuesday. Then on Thursday I had another meeting to go to that finished after 9pm. It was actually a lot nicer coming home later at night with less of the traffice to deal with.

So I am enjoying the new setup on my bike and so far have been doing a good job of watching for people ready to turn on red without watching for bike traffic.

The new fixed gear bike gave me the chance to ride to work without using brakes and that makes me watch for traffic issues a lot more - a higher sense of awareness is good for me to have!

Be safe out there fellow bike commuters!