See and be seen

Daylight savings time is an odd beast.  I’ve heard several explanations on its origins – ranging from bankers and stock brokers, to farmers wanting their children to be able to get chores in during daylight hours before school, to railroad interests.  Clearly they didn’t consult with bicycle commuters on their opinions, though, as the time shift puts the normal commute home into complete darkness.

It is a very subjective opinion, but city traffic in the mornings seems to be less hectic than traffic on the evening commute.  Perhaps it is because folks are anxious to get home – or to the pub – quickly after work, but not quite so rushed to get to the office in the morning.  Whatever the cause, I much prefer to ride in morning darkness compared to evening darkness.

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A view of my commute to work

It has been a while since my job switch, and things are starting to settle into a routine (which also means I’m getting back up to speed with regular posts here!)  Of course, being JustAnotherCyclist would require me to post the obligatory commute to work video.  Well, here it is folks.  This was taken with my GoPro camera mounted on the handlebars of my Cannondale R300 commuter.  I set the camera to take one shot every 3 seconds, and stitched them together into this short video.

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Made it through my first TT

Time trials.  The race against the clock.  The race of truth.  The race of pain…

Time trials are probably the purest test of physical abilities in the cycling world, with no small measure of psychological toughness required as well..  There is always some amount of strategy in every human competition, but here the strategy is simply about how to meter out your power in such a way that you don’t blow up somewhere in the middle.  There is no drafting, no jockeying for position, no antics.  Just rider, bike and the course in front of them.

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Helmets clearly don’t rock

Bicycle helmets.  They are the subject that I just can’t seem to leave alone.  As my daily commute has significantly changed, so as my approach to that commute.  One of those changes – without any specific intent that I am aware of – is the fact that I’ve shed the helmet for more of my commutes than not.  Perhaps it is the influence of all of the urbanite riders I come across.  Whatever the reason, I’ve mostly been without ye ol’ brain bucket lately.

My wife, on the other hand, is a stanch helmetarian.  She is often gently (or not so gently) ribbing me about my cycling-cap-only head.  I was this ribbing that prompted me to put on the helmet before I left for work the other morning.  As I’ve said before, I’m not against helmets, so riding with it is not something that really has to be forced on me.  This wasn’t a big deal.  Grab it, throw it on my head, strap it around the chin and forget about it.

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I live a long way from Long Beach

I spent a few minutes yesterday complaining about controversy in the cycling world, and here I am reporting on yet more.  However, this time we won’t be talking about Mr. Armstrong or anything associated with him.  This time we will talk about possibly the only thing in the cycling universe that is guaranteed to generate as much noise:  a Critical Mass ride.

What makes this particular run in between police and Critical Mass participants interesting is the location: Long Beach.  It is interesting because Long Beach has very loudly declared its intent to become the most bicycle friendly city in the country.

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Why can’t we all just get along?

What is it about cycling that seems to churn so much controversy and soap-opera like conflict? Is it the international nature of the sport? Football (aka soccer) does seem to suffer from some of the same, but not nearly to the extent that cycling does. Tennis has the same problem, though. Maybe that is what is going on, cycling fans are like tennis fans, only there are a whole lot more people to get worked up about competing in the top events.

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Great photos from US Nationals

ProBikeWrench (aka Josh Bogs, @probikewrench) posted some great photos from the US National time trial on his blog.  There seem to be a lot of them that feature some “random” tall cyclist wearing a the black ‘The Shack’ jersey.  I’m gonna assume he is someone noteworthy (HA!)

You can also find Josh spreading his knowledge over at the VeloReviews podcast.

Thanks for posting the images, Josh!

Cycling Sacramento ain’t what it used to be

I’ll admit – it has been sometime since I’ve really spent any time in downtown Sacramento.  Odd, considering that I live in the greater Sacto area – not so odd if you recall that up until recently I was working in the Palo Alto area.  In a few years the feel of downtown has really changed.  And something else has changed.  I counted no less than 15 folks out riding their bikes on my roughly 8 mile ride to work.

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Things change

As I sit on the cusp of a big change in my own personal life, I found myself pondering other changes taking place around me.  “Change” somehow seems to be a theme that is thrust upon us every fall.  It is hard not to think about change when the very colors of the trees around you draw attention to it in vivid reds and yellows.  Well, assuming that there are trees around you, that is.  Turns out that I don’t have to look very hard to find a whole lot of change in the cycling universe in just the last couple of days.

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Garmin buys power meter startup MetriGear

More than a few of us have been waiting for sometime, watching the press releases from MetriGear.  The company has been working for some time on a power meter embedded right into the spindles of pedals.  This would potentially provide a whole slew of benefits, including not only separate readings for each leg, but also potentially different readings for different parts of your pedal stroke.  The market release of their product – called Vector – has been delayed a number of times.

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