The week

Winter is officially upon us. There and no temps above freezing in the forecast for at least two weeks, and snow is expected most days. Today was clear and sunny, albeit cold and windy. Still, quite a nice day.

I felt like Rip VanWinkle after my after-work nap though. It was dark, windy and snowing like the mad. I haven’t seen or heard anything, but according to The Weather Channel web site, we’re having thundersnow. I read it on the internet, so it must be true!

This week also started the weather conspiracy against me. Every winter the fire escape ices over and becomes unusable. The biggest problem is the ice forms rounded, knob-shaped stalagmites. There’s just no way to get footing on a curved icy surface.

I’ve crunched through the ice a few times with the bike, but one day this week, I nearly took a spill from halfway down. Fortunately, my backpack caught on the handrail and bike’s pedal snagged on the brickface around the bedroom window at apartment two. I was good and stuck for a few minutes while I figured out how to extricate myself. An attempt at going up the stairs that night proved equally foolish.

My choices are,

  1. Don’t ride the bike, or
  2. Use the front stairwell.

I’m not ready for the first yet, so I’m struggling through with the stairwell. It’s a very tight fit as I make the 180 at the landing. Both wheels contact the walls as we swing around.

At the bottom, the back of the bike is still on the stairs when I have to reach over it to open the inner vestibule door on the other side. Halfway through that door, with the front wheel one step down from the back, I have to the same thing with the outer vestibule door, while at the same time, trying to keep the inner vestibule door from snagging on the rear dérailleur.

Coming back in is equally challenging, except I’m also tired, winded, sweating, and have snow on my boots. And bike is cold and slushy.

Carriage house

When checking Craigslist yesterday for new digs, I spotted a carriage house. I’m hoping to look at it tomorrow. I would have to break three rules to take it.

  1. Never, ever, ever take and apartment that’s “plus heat”,
  2. Never live on the ground floor (I like to leave the windows open in the summer.), and
  3. Laundry facilities must be on-site.

But there’s nothing quite like the ground floor for easy access and egress.

This place has a loft level inside with a roof window, which could let heat out in the summer just as easily. In winter, with hot air rising, I could have one warm retreat anyway. It’s being shown by the present tenant, so I’ll be able to get some idea of the heating bill.

And I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a Bikes-At-Work trailer. Hauling laundry to the ever so cruisy Park Ave Laundromat could be just the excuse I’m looking for. Then again, the trailer costs as much as pair of laundry machines…

As you may recall, I lost out on a carriage house before I took this place. It’s still the type of place I’d like to try.

Yellow Bike

Meanwhile, as you probably inferred from Tuesday’s entry, I didn’t do the Tuesday Night Urban Assault ride this week. I didn’t feel well when I awoke Tuesday. I didn’t go to my client’s office and, although I was feeling better come evening, I felt it wasn’t good form to skip work due to not feeling well, and then go out to play in the snow on my bike.

So stayed home and tore-down Yellow Bike. I also mounted the new tires. It was during this that I discovered that the thorn-resistant tubes weigh only five grams less than the tires. (275 gr. and 280 gr. respectively.)

I’m not really trying to weight-weenie this bike, but on the other hand, I like that it’s about half the weight of Bike, and I’m not trying to weigh it down unnecessarily. I guess I’ll ride it while and see how these tires are. If they seem to be as puncture resistant as the tires on Bike, I could drop a half pound on tubes by switching to standard ones, and another quarter pound by going to race lites.

Thursday night I rebuilt the rear brake caliper. It was all seized up from being on a trainer where it was never used and always soaked with salty sweat. It took me a good hour to take it apart, clean up the corrosion with wire brushes and emery cloth, then reassemble it. Of course, I had extra parts the first time, so I had to assemble it twice. Tonight or tomorrow, I’ll rebuild the front one.

Except for the cyclometer and Road Morph pump, everything I ordered last week is here. This week, I got a rather large check in the mail that I’d forgotten was forthcoming. So I splurged and ordered in the ST-R500 brifters (brake/shifter levers), and a new saddle and seatpost. Yes, another Terry Fly CroMoly Gel saddle, since I like the one on Bike so much, and another Thomson Elite seatpost, only this one in silver and the 250mm road bike length.

Next week I’ll tow Yellow Bike to Full Moon Vista Bike & Sport to have them rebuild the headset, service the wheel bearings and freehub, and replace the bottom bracket. In my travels around the web sourcing parts, I’ve found that replacement chainrings are almost as expensive as a whole new crankset. I’ve been wanting to try a 175mm crank, so I think I’ll have Scott & Co replace that too. I’ll save the current 170mm cranks just in case.


Things have picked-up at the library over the past couple of weeks. At least at the Winton Branch. Today we were seldom without a queue, and frequently it was three or four deep. Sully Branch is another story. I’m likely overestimating when I say checked-out a half-dozen patrons. Of the two, I strongly prefer Winton, although I’m grateful for the extra hours at Sully.

Later in the month, I’ll be getting an extra full day’s pay for an in-service training day. It promises to be a real yawner, but somehow, I’ll struggle through.

Meanwhile, there’s this guy who uses the computers at Winton. Rides a bike there. Cute, of course. Actually, more like ruggedly handsome. And longish hair, naturally. Although we occasionally catch on another glancing at one another, it doesn’t feel quite like a cruise. Or I’m hopelessly out of practice.

From behind the circ desk, I don’t have much opportunity to say anything. But today, he sent a huge job to the printer, and I got to release his print job and take payment. We had just run out of fives and tens, and he’d paid with twenty, so I had to give him 17 singles in change.

“People are going to ask who’s been giving me tips,” he smiled at me.

“There are so many ways to respond to that if I wasn’t at work,” I replied.

That raised an eyebrow, and a grin, but nothing beyond that. Drat.

If I run into him in the neighborhood, I’ll have a topic to pursue.

2 Responses to “The week”

  1. sportcrazy Says:

    Yellow Bike is sounding good!

    Could do with a more imaginative name though…

  2. brucew Says:

    I suppose. And you’re not the only one to suggest this. One of the librarians at work commented, “It’s like having a dog named Dog.”

    It took me years though, to come up with interesting names for my PCs. Except for my first car, which came with a name already (Agnes), I never named any of my cars.

    Until I can come up with interesting and fitting names, my Giant commuter is called “Bike” and the Trek road bike will stay “Yellow Bike”.

    Although Yellow Bike could cause some confusion for those familiar with Yellow Bike Projects around the world.