Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's Not Snot

Somewhere below 15℉, something interesting happens to winter cyclists who wear a balaclava:

I like to call it a chincicle, an obvious combination of chin and icicle. But not everybody sees it that way. Bike Snob NYC writes:

Cold one today—in fact my hands are too cold to move so I’m typing this with my snot-sickle.

and Skip Bernet over at Surly goes a little further:

it's cold here in Minneapolis. Here's some proof. Hinzey rolled into the Q'b farm today on his LHT with a champeen snot-sickle hangin' off his face mask. Grody. Also, the top tube of his bike was glazed like a donut from his effluent. I don't know about you, but I usually can't swim in that kind of personal goo.

Thing is, they're not made of snot.There might be a little DNA in there, but they're almost entirely water. Check out this natural gas furnce exhaust, shot on a day when it was cold enough to form a chincicle:

Natural gas furnaces don't produce mucus, just water vapor. In fact, whether you're burning petroleum products or flapjacks, water vapor is one of the byproducts. When it's cold enough, a little bit of moisture freezes near the source and additional water vapor starts to build up and form an icicle. Consider it evidence of the need to drink water when exercising, even in winter.

Even though it's a little uncomfortable to pull a chincicle off the old beard hairs, it's a whole lot more comfortable than riding one of these:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rated PG

No, seriously. Kenny Bloggins describes it best:

Not quite as entertaining as the Shizzolator of a few years back, this link allows you to plug in a URL and it will rate that website so that you'll know if it's too tasty for sensitive shut-ins and children who have been living under a rock.

Why? Because:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

shoot (3x) hell (2x) pain (1x)

Gee whillikers Beav, can you imagine what would happen to my rating if I threw in a real fucking swearword?


Back below zero and off the bike again today. I'll probably ride on Friday.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The 45-Degree Swing

It was -5°f when I rode to work last Friday morning, and 40° above this morning. Went from almost-numb toes to a good sweat in spite of a rather dramatic wardrobe adjustment. It's been snowing every two or three days, and I think the city has thrown in the towel on removing snow from the side streets and bike paths. Light rain is predicted for this afternoon and 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow. What fun.

My attic insulation project is now complete, and seems to be helping a bit. I sealed around the chimney and added fiberglass to bring the total R-value up to 57 from 39. I think anything more would take us into the land of diminishing returns. I'm also finishing the inside walls of the basement, adding an inch of foamboard, metal studs, fiberglass insulation and drywall. Hoping to finish before the Big Dummy arrives.

Speaking of cycling, I'm considering entering the Triple-D (Dubuque-Dyersville-Dubuque—think Paris-Brest-Paris, only shorter and much colder) if it happens again next year. Perhaps a nice summer might return to me my sanity.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Still Winter

Eight more inches yesterday. Fifty-three so far this year. Must rake roof again soon.

Five above this morning. At least it was five above and not five below. Wearing so many clothings, I feel like the Michelin Man.

Had the Packers won on Sunday, winter would have seemed at least two weeks shorter. River frozen. Haven't ridden bicycle in four days. Potatoes running low. Sanity reaching thin...slideshow boring... losing .... losing ........ ..... ... consciousne

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Riding to Work in My Barn Boots

Can't find my regular winter boots right now, so here I am on the way to work in windfront tights and wellingtons. Class.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Waiting for Dummies

Surly has announced that the first Big Dummy production run is complete and ready to be boxed and shipped from Taiwan. They expect delivery about the middle of February. They've also published an extensive spew that covers ride characteristics, loading tips, recommendations for components and other miscellany. Worth a read if you're thinking about getting one or trying to decide between a Big Dummy and a Free Radical conversion. Surly has also released a geometry chart (warning: PDF) for the current version of the Big Dummy.

I've currently got a Dummy on order and am getting a mutt group of parts ready to slap on when it arrives. The spec so far includes
    • Wheels: 36-hole Shimano M756 hubs (those are the high-flange disc ones with the 6-bold IS mounts) laced to Syncros DP32 freeride rims. Schwalbe Big Apple or Maxxis Hookworm 26 x 2.4 inch-ish tires.

    • Brakes: Hayes HFX Mag hydraulic discs with 8" rotors

    • Bars: The big wide Nitto Albatross cro-mos pearched on an uncut steerer with a dual-stem setup. I anticipate a porteur front rack setup similar to this one.

    • Drivetrain: Garden-variety 3x8 derailleur; Suntour XC Expert triple crank, 8-speed cassette, tandem chain, XT derailleurs, Deore DX thumb shifters.

    • Other: Brooks B.67 saddle, Cane Creek S2 headset. Other details TBD.

So there it is. I'll have a Free Radical and a GT Karakoram up for sale sometime in March. Meanwhile, I have errands to run, photos to shoot and insulation to install. Better go.