Thursday, August 23, 2007

Around Town on the Tandem

There were a few errands to be run, so we took our Burley Zydeco tandem out of the garage, hooked up Abby's little Burley Solo trailer, and headed off for a family ride.

One of my happiest bike moments was when my phone started buzzing in my pocket while I was waiting to photograph a Chinese delegation in the boardroom. I slipped out to the hallway to hear Jenn ask,

"Are Burley tandems any good?"


"OK. I'm buying one."

We've been riding our tandem as a family ever since Abby was nine weeks old. She loves her trailer, and I'm looking forward to the day she graduates to a trail-a-bike.

Abby & I dropped Jenn off for a meeting, then headed over to East Coast Bikes, where Abby grabbed an unopened can of Red Bull, and proceeded to chew on it.

Don't worry, we're not letting her have caffeine, yet.

Jason and Stacey (?), a couple of new riders to the area, stopped by looking for good routes and rides. So here's a Wayfaring Map I put together of some of the East Coast rides. Any of the marked routes are fairly cycling friendly.

And now for a few random pictures:

The Top Shelf of the fridge. Only premium Yoder's Dairy Milk & Apple Juice.

The bottom shelf of the fridge. Polaroid film. 4x5 film. Vermont Maple Syrup, and Tofurkey kielbasa.


Ever since I was a kid, I've loved to travel.

So I guess it's I should be happy to find myself a job where I can find myself getting up at 3 a.m. for a last minute photo opportunity.

I had to go through the usual expense and hassle of checking a locked, seventy pound Pelican Case filled with a couple of old-fashioned film cameras; a Linhof 4x5 and a Fuji 6x17. And that was in addition to the Nikon D2x that I carried on to the plane. Both the trip there and back were sold out, but I won the seating lottery assignment on the way down & got assigned to Seat 4A in First Class!

While I still enjoy shooting with film, what I really had fun with though was my little Pentax Optio w10 point & shoot. The film cameras were work cameras, but my little point & shoot digicam was my fun camera. I've been frustrated by the lack of a wide-angle lens on it, even though I really enjoy just about everything else about it- it's waterproof, shoots great 6mp images at up to 3fps, really small, and has a nice jelly cover that provides extra grip and cushioning.

The Pentax Optio line wasn't designed with pro photographers in mind. How I wish it had a Manual Mode! There are 20 other modes, from pet portrait to self-portrait, on the thing, but no Aperture or Shutter Priority. Oh well.

Anyway, I figured out that by setting the focus to manual, I could shoot in burst mode at 3fps, even in low light situations. Which means that in one fell swoop I can shoot the raw files for a digital panoramic mosaic! So here are a few shots. If you want to view them in greater detail, check out my new Flicker Page.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

0839hrs- Oh %#$@!

So there I was, changing lanes in East Ocean View when I heard the deadly whistle of my front tire deflating at 25 mph.

Immediately behind me is a 25 pound trailer with an extra 50 pounds of dumb bells. There's a crack of plastic on asphalt, a bounce in my periphery vision.

I keep my hands on the grips and squeeze my brakes slowly. I glance down briefly to see that, yes, I'm riding rim. As I focus back on the road, I notice that my Cateye handlebar light is missing.

So that's the culprit
, I think to myself.

I wobble to a stop next to the well-manicured median of flowering bushes that welcomes the intrepid to East Ocean View. The car that was a comfortable hundred yards behind me passes by with a roar. I look back and can see my Cateye light scattered across the left lane.

That's fifty bucks back there on the road that I can't afford before the race!

Shoot, my best rechargeables are in there, too. That's eighty bucks lying in the road.


I grab the yellow flag off the back of my B.O.B. trailer and run down the median. My initial concern is simply materialistic- I don't want to have to buy a new light. But I'm also worried about my fellow bikers- we don't need any more road debris.

Sixty seconds later, the East Coast team comes flying down the other side of the road, and the sight of me waving my yellow flag on the side of the road brings them to a stop,

"Are you alright?" Rob calls out,
"Can we help?

"Yeah, yeah you can! I lost my light! Fell off. On the road. Pick up pieces."

Sixty seconds more, and two (three?) police cruisers were pulling out onto Ocean View. An officer rolled down his window and asked from the other side of the median, lights flashing, "Are you alright?'

"Front tire. Flat. Light fell off. Trying to find pieces."

Firefighters and paramedics were leaving the restaurant in the strip mall behind him, hopping into their trucks, the diesel engines rumbling to life.

"But are you alright?" the cop asked me again?

"Uh. Yeah. Yeah. I'm OK. Bike's OK. Light's broken."

With that the cop smiled and rolled off. The paramedics went back to their breakfast. Somebody picked up a circuit board from the road and handed it to me. I rolled my bike over the median and into the parking lot. Said my thanks. got ready to do another roadside repair.

First step in tire repair- loosen the retaining nut on the tire stem. Problem was, there was no stem left.

I had hit one of the new reflectors along the line between the lanes, and at 25mph and 90psi, that was enough to knock my Cateye light off its mount underneath the handlebar. On its way to the pavement below the light took out the tire stem.

Now I've caught flak from some of my faster Tri-Power buddies because my tool pouch is bigger than my ass, but I was happy to be able to pull out one of the mini Gerber tool stocking stuffers from my Mom (Christmas '05).

That little nut wouldn't budge by finger, but those Gerber pliers did the trick. I was installing a new tube when another biker stopped to see if I needed help,

While I pumped up my tire, Betty Jean told me how she got her right pedal fixed by Mike at the new Ocean View shop for five bucks. She knew all about East Coast Bikes.

So by now, you're probably wondering why the heck I was carrying a light in the first place. I had started my last big training ride for the Shenandoah 100 at 6 AM, before the sun had really risen.

My plan had been to leave Norfolk at 6 AM and meet Jenn and Abby at the Quaker Meeting on Laskin Road by 10, giving me enough time to do a quick clean up in the handicap bathroom. I was gonna ride for 4 hard hours with a 70 pound trailer behind me for added resistance. It was still a good training ride, but not the one I had anticipated.

Liz and I joke about how we know the Monday night riders by their bikes and jerseys and helmets and sunglasses. But I'm terrible with names, and I gotta use memory tricks to remember them. I apologize for not knowing the names of all y'all who helped me out. But thanks, guys! And big thanks to the Norfolk Police and Fire Departments. I didn't need y'all, but you were there if I did!