Monday, March 28, 2011

After a Bit of a Break

It's been a while since the last post and a lot has happened over the past week.  I've ridden to work every day; no driving for me!  I figure the less I drive, the longer my car will last.  So far so good. Mostly...

Since I have been spending so much time on my bike lately I suppose it's just statistics catching up with me, but I have to tell you (for the sake of unbiased journalism) that I had 2 back to back bad encounters on my bike in the last week.  I usually like to focus on the positive experiences that I have on my bike, but I can't ignore what I dealt with earlier this week.

Saturday night: I had planned on having a few folks over to go for a little neighborhood cruise followed by a few barley pops in the garage.  So, after work Copper, Vince, and I were pedaling towards my place to meet up with the rest of the crew when we noticed a white car flip a U and start speeding our direction at about 35th and Woolworth heading west. At this point of the road it's a divided boulevard with a rather large grassy median in the middle of the street.  We were definitely aware of the car from the squealing of the tires and even more aware of it after a bottle was thrown from the passenger side directly at us.  Luckily it whizzed just past my head, landed in the grass, and didn't hit anyone on its way. At this point the car peeled out, probably going about 40 miles an hour, and neglected to heed the warning of a speed bump coming up. Vince and I rejoiced at the sound of their car launching into the air and then crashing loudly on the other side of the bump.  Small victory. Unfortunately, they didn't think that this was quite enough harassment for 2 unassuming cyclists just trying to make it home.  The crazy part is that I was pulling Copper behind me.  When it's dark you really can't tell if it's a kid or a dog or what in the trailer and the fact that these crazed moronic drivers where intentionally causing stress to our party was unbelievable.  Anyway, they flipped around again and sped towards us for the second time. At this point my heart was racing and it had gone from "weird, these stupid kids are bored" to "holy shit, they're after us again and they're getting out of control."  Vince suggested (wisely) that we make a quick turn down a side street and pull into a driveway.  We made that quick move and Vince then jumped off of his bike and reached for his cell phone.  At this point, the sickening sound of car tires squealing once again alarmed us as the two teenage boys made the same turn that we just had but this time just stared at us (shaking) in the driveway as they sped past.

Yuck.  That was probably one of the worst experiences in traffic I've ever had.  The remainder of our ride home was less than pleasant: constantly checking over our shoulder for a white sedan full of punk kids on a mission to hurt someone.  Luckily, we made it home safely and were just pretty shook up from the ordeal.

Then, on Monday night (the next time I rode) as I headed down Leavenworth towards Greenstreet for our Monday Night Shop Ride, I had another disturbing incident.  I was headed eastbound on Leavenworth at about 25th St., right after I had crossed the interstate, and was in the far right lane (and the right 1/3 of that lane in fact) cruising down the hill at a pretty decent clip like I do on a daily basis.  There was no other traffic on the 3 lane one way street so I figured I was safe, considering I was riding predictably and out of the way of any potential traffic.  At that point, basically out of no where, I was aware of a vehicle quickly approaching and before I could even look, a giant brown F 250 was right on my tail honking and screaming at me.  It was close enough that I could feel the heat of the vehicle, probably at most 6 inches from my left shoulder.  Shocking, and particularly upsetting considering I was tentative about riding in the first place based on my Saturday run-in.

I decided to post this before re-reading it.  Good luck to us both.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Midnight Deadlines!

Two fun events are coming up and if you act fast, you can save a few bucks!

First of all, Ride the Divide is playing tomorrow (Tuesday the 15th) at 7:00pm at Aksarben Cinema Click HERE to buy tickets!  If you buy them tonight you'll save yourself a few bucks. This is a fundraiser for Omaha Bikes and should be an amazing film.  It's an award winning documentary about the crazy long bike race that travels 2,700 miles along the Great Divide.  I think we're anticipating a pretty good turnout! We're even arranging a great bicycle parking option, so don't be afraid to pedal on over.  Omaha Bikes will have a doation jar available if you're feeling particularly generous.  See you there!!

Ride The Divide Movie Trailer from Ride The Divide on Vimeo

Secondly, the Race 2 ReCycle is coming up fast!  Tonight is the last night of early registration.  Landmark Group's Race 2 re:Cycle is a unique and fun filled cycling event taking place May 14, 2011, at Omaha's Midtown Crossing. Created to build awareness and help make the city of Omaha synonymous with both cycling and recycling, this family friendly event will include the longest tri- state bicycle relay race in the Midwest, a family fun ride, Omaha’s only children’s tricycle race, and many more activities for the entire family! Prizes will be awarded throughout the day for numerous games and contest. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Omaha.

Get out and participate in these fun bicycle related activities.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Theme of the Week: Car Trouble!

So, as you may have previously read, I got a flat tire this past weekend.  No worries really, because I had my bike on top and then the following day after work, Vince and I rode there and used his AAA card to get the tire aired up.  I would have changed the tire myself, but since my car jack broke the last time I had a flat (and of course I never replaced it) it wasn't in the cards this time.  I had to snap a pic of the situation because it was rather humorous.  The AAA guy was kind of amazed at the bicycle craziness.  I had the sprints bikes in the back of my wagon and with Vince's bike and mine also in the mix, it was a bit overwhelming, even for a bike geek.
bike, bike, bike, bike, donut

Turns out it just needed some air.  I guess I don't drive it all that often and should probably check the pressure of my tires more than never. My rear driver side tire was pancake flat after losing enough air to brake the seal after being driven on for a bit.  Dang.

Then, last night I went to meet a friend for a drink and realized that I have no heat in my car.  So, this morning while looking outside at the blustery snow trying to come down, I hardly had to think twice about whether to commute by bike or by car.  In my car I would have no heat and by pedaling down to the shop, I'd be generating some heat thereby staying warmer than I would have in my car.  So, off I pedaled.

It really wasn't too bad.  I woke up this morning thinking 2-4" of snow on the ground would meet me but was surprised to only see cloudy skies and nothing really sticking yet.  My neighbor across the street has a flag on her front porch that I can see from my bedroom window; this morning it was pointing straight south. This means a tough(ish) ride considering I have to head pretty much north the entire trip.  I loaded up my panniers with hardware store goodies for the shop and pedaled away.  It's been a while since I've had much non-Copper weight behind me on a ride in. It feels a lot different when you're pulling it behind you in a trailer compared to actually on your bike.  This was abundantly clear when I went to get out of my saddle to climb for a minute.  I almost instantly sat back down.  
Arrived this morning with hardly a minute to spare; hauling a heavy load of stuff definitely slows down my trip.  Now as I watch the snow starting to really fly, I'm thinking about my ride home.  Still will be warmer than in my heat-less car!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sunshine in the City!

What a glorious morning for a ride to the shop.  Usually on Saturdays I drive down because it's a pretty long day and I like to bring Copper and I have the ladies ride, etc... But, today I was forced to ride.  Last night on my way home from The Side Door, I got a flat tire.  My car is still sitting on the side of Leavenworth.  Wave to it (or flip it off) as you pedal by. Luckily my bike was on the top and I just grabbed it, yelled at my car, and pedaled home.  Yay bikes.

So this morning I woke up knowing I'd be pedaling in.  I left Copper at home because I was running a bit behind schedule and it's faster without 80ish pounds of pooch in tow.  It's March!  Even though it was only 20 degrees out, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping!  This fact made me smile all the way downtown.  I cruised Center as usual and noticed that Saturdays have (obviously) a much different traffic flow than week days.  This was a nice change.

It was a chilly ride in, but still with the sunshine and a bunch of layers, I was quite comfortable.  Got to the shop just in the nick of time. Brewed some coffee, put some vinyl (thanks Woodman) on the player and started my day. 

Also, Greenstreet's one year birthday party was on Thursday, and boy did we have a good time.  Here are a few pictures...

Good times were had by all...or at least most.  There was a bit of puking after I encouraged cake sprints.  Shoulda been there!