Saturday, July 26, 2008

Someone is One Year Old!

Hi all,
Last weekend, Kathy, her mother, Kit, my nieces Christie and Samantha, and I had the pleasure of traveling to Illinois to help celebrate my grandson’s 1st birthday. Yes, the little fella is a year old. Time sure flies…
This blog space is usually utilized to write about cycling, traveling, and landscape photography. BUT, I know that all of you “Brian Groupies” would rather see pictures from last weekend!
So, in honor of Brian’s birthday, here are some pictures of the special day for all you Groupies out there. Please enjoy these pictures. It’s the only way I can bring the little guy closer to you…more news about cycling and Bike #3 in a few days..
Presents are fun at any age!
Even Dad's share the fun..
A lovely birthday cake for all the guests...
Brian gets his own little cake...

Christina helping the birthday boy...

Mmm Cake is Good!
As I just said, Cake is Good!
The tattered remains...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Train! The Train!

video
I shot this video on a nice 'bent ride on Monday...
Another summer goal achieved. No, it’s not a 200-mile double, nor is it the mountain bike ride to Desolation Lake. Those challenges still remain on my list. This latest riding goal is more related to commuting and the price of gas.

On time, too!
As the price of gas climbs closer to that of all the other nations in the world, many people in this country are changing their driving habits. I see more and more cyclists on my rides to work, and today I took my next step in changing my routine too.

Kinda hard to screw this up...
I finally worked out all the schedule issues, and this morning I commuted to work using the Frontrunner commuter train. Right off, I can tell you that it was an excellent experience. It’s only a mile and a half to the station, and a mere three and a half miles to the ARTCC where I work. So, logistically it was really pretty simple. I did not however ride the Barcroft Recumbent to the train. Why? Well most importantly, UTA (The Utah Transit Authority) has not really provided for bikes on the trains, and the ‘bent simply will not fit in the small entryways where bikes are allowed.

My little MTB waiting for the train...
So, I rode my Cannondale F7 mountain bike. It is most assuredly not designed for this type of riding, and I found myself quite slow on the road. But, it will suffice until I either complete the Peugeot project, or find a low-end beater road bike to use on the train. Anyone reading this blog who has the bike I seek, drop me a note!

Some weird irony here, passing one of Utah's many oil refineries...
Back to the train; punctual, clean, quiet, efficient, a very nice ride to Salt Lake City. I plan on riding the rest of the week! My first impression is that the system is being well used. I had a great time doing something new, not that I didn’t learn something along the way, too. Let’s see…
Things I learned:
1. One must actually wash out a rarely used water bottle.
2. Riding in 90+ degrees in dress clothes is hot.
3. UTA most assuredly has to fix the problems of bike access on the train.
4. Using the train and bike was simpler than I thought.

5. Watching the normal 5 PM parking lot on I-15 from the train was immensely satisfying.
6. More people can use the train and a bike.
7. I had forgotten how to ride without my rear-view mirror
8. I saw more bike commuters today, than in any other day this year combined!
9. My ticket is transeferable to TRAX, too!
10. And most importantly: The FAA will reimburse me for my train passes, making the whole adventure of using the train for commuting free!
See you on the road on a whole variety of bikes
Jim

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Marana, Arizona - It's a Dry Heat!


A lovely desert sunset.....

A lovely piece of artwork outside the new Marana Library
Hi all,
Back from a nice trip to Tucson, AZ to visit family and transport some furniture to Jon and Amy’s place out in Marana. It was a nice trip, enjoying the open road, peace and quiet, and relaxing away from work. The weather was very hot, with temperatures around 105-107 degrees every day! We enjoyed staying out at Jon and Amy’s place, and got a glimpse of how enjoyable living in a house with no stairs can be.
Happy Birthday, Amy!
Jon and Amy's neighborhood has lovely bikepaths!
In other news, the Peugeot project is not going well. The search for a 1974 French threaded bottom bracket has proved fruitless, and Mark and I are working on alternative ideas. If our alternative ideas fail, I think I will just put the frame on the shelf and work out another plan for commuting to the train. Mark’s shop has several good possibilities, and the used market seems to have many bikes that would fit my needs.
I found a Felt X-City in the ads, with an internal 8-speed hub...
Speaking of riding the train, local news reports have written about the congestion of bikes on the Frontrunner Train. UTA, in its infinite wisdom allowed only two bike tie-downs per car. Passengers have noted that at the busiest times there are usually 15 bikes per car! This is both good news, and bad news. It’s good news that people are using bikes to get to and from the train stations, and bad news because UTA had such a lack of vision on how people would use Frontrunner. To their credit, UTA is addressing the issue to search for alternatives to make the trains more accessible for bikes.
On the way down to Hoover Dam. note the enormous catenarys (?)
On the drive home, we stopped briefly at Hoover Dam to take some pictures of the tremendous bridge building project. The new bridge will span the Hoover Dam, creating a freeway several hundred feet over the dam. To just look at the undertaking is really amazing. Not only because of the size of the project, but because of all the design that went into this nine-year adventure. I would have taken more pictures, but the car’s thermometer indicated 113 degrees!
Amazing...
Looking NE, the Lake Mead side of the Dam.
Other than that, it’s summer in Utah. Time to ride both the Little Red Bike and Four Bits, time to hike, time to play golf, and perhaps work my way down a long list of house repairs that need to get done. In our week away, the forsythia bush nearly doubled in size!
Enjoy the outdoors…
Jim