Metal Bike Commuter

First official flat whilst bike commuting

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 27, 2008
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While riding in this morning, the first half was pleasant and easy.  About 2/3rds of the way towards work, I started feeling sluggish.  Looking at my speed, I wondered why I wasn’t moving my average MPHs up and down the same hills, and around the same corners.

As I coasted into the parking lot of my place of business, I felt the rear tire squish left when I turned right.  It was then I realized I had a leak.  Instead of heading to the work entrance, I pointed my bike towards my car.  While loading it into the trunk, I noticed a small split in the middle of the tread.  The rear tire is pretty bald too.  I guess I’ll make a visit to Marty’s during lunch to pick up some supplies.  I need a new tube, and a patch kit would be in order too.

I love learning things the hard way.

UPDATE, HOURS LATER:  Ok, I believe I was able to repair the tube.  I actually do have a patch kit contrary to my previous statement.  However, my tire is definitely on its last mile.  I’m surprised I haven’t blown the tube considering how worn the tread is.  Hopefully the air will still be in the tire when I leave for home.  A quick spin around the parking lot proved fine for the time being.

On a side note, I was embarrased to see how filthy the underside of the down tube is on my bicycle.  I am going to be doing some serious maintenance and cleaning this weekend.  Some of the components might be beyond cleaning!


50 States – 100 Bike Blogs

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 26, 2008

Jason at was kind enough to add me to his list of 100 bike blogs (2 per state).  Check out the list and also check out his blog.

The list is interesting, and in my opinion, eclectic.  I always like to see what others are doing on their bicycles.

I borrowed a bike last weekend

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 25, 2008

We needed a getaway, so we drove an hour and fifteen minutes to my wife’s parents house down by the shore.  Yes, we got plenty of time in the sun, and our daughter enjoyed making (and destroying) sand castles.

While there, I got antsy to ride.  I wasn’t able to pack my bike, because my car with the roof rack was totalled.  The rental their insurance company provided does not have a roof rack, and we didn’t have enough room in the back trunk.

Luckily, my father inlaw permitted the use of one his bicycles.  I hopped on his Trek hybrid and went for a leisurely ride in the hot sun.  I enjoy riding in different areas, because I think it gives a more personal experience than driving would.

I made a loop around the Barnegat-Ocean Township area with a stop at Wells Mills County Park.  I’ve made this sort of my usual destination when riding in the area, as it has some easy, but fun trails.  There’s an old town called Brookville that seems to be eerily stuck in the early 1920s.  I kind of like the old school anyway.  When riding through, you’ll note an old church that still seems to be occuppied.  There’s also two camps, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

I also rode along Route 9.  Something I would never do around here.  I have only crossed route 10, and have ridden along 46 for about a quarter of a mile.  Scary.  Route 9 down there has wide shoulders with lighter traffic, so I felt safe enough.

One negative, is that I didn’t wear a helmet.  And I enjoyed the breeze in my hair.  I’ll not make a habit of that though.

Looks like I’m not going to hit my August goal of 240 miles.  I should beat my July total, but I probably won’t be anywhere near my personal goal.  Oh well, it is a continuing trend of finishing each month with more miles than the last.

While at the shore, I ran into plenty of tourists riding rented cruises the wrong way down the road, or on the sidewalk.  I even had one lady almost take out my two year old daughter and myself as she cruised along the sidwalk when we stepped out of a local restaurant.

Back onto a consistent track.

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 20, 2008
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It seems I am getting used to rising early with the newborn.  Eh, he’s actually doing ok at night, though he can be determined to keep us up when his mind is made up.

I’ve been sticking with my normal route without adding any extra diversions.  Since the past few weeks have been so hectic, my body is screaming for a little rest.  I can’t afford to get sick right now.

I have noticed more bicyclists lately.  I don’t know if everyone realizes that summer will soon be ending, or if I’m hitting the right time of day when folks are on the road.  Anyway, it is nice to see others out.  Except for the person that blew a red light yesterday.  No, I’m not surprised when I see someone do this, but I am when I’m going 18+ through an intersection only to have some oblivion ignore the traffic light.

So, if you see a man with an expensive red road bike and a jersey to match, give him a nice loud “RED LIGHT!” declaration.  I fear he may be color blind and unable to differentiate between the three circles that comprise a traffic light.  Of course, everyone treats this particular intersection like a 3 way, instead of a 4 way.

On a lighter note, I’ve been thinking about getting a carrier.  I think with my shoes, clothes, toiletries, and towel, my bag weighs over 20 lbs.  Even more when lugging a laptop and study books for certification exams.

Bicycle Accident

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 18, 2008
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While getting ready this morning, I heard some sirens ringing through my street.  So I’m driving my car down the street and notice a little traffic jam going the opposite way on Merrie Trail.  There I see the police car blocking off traffic to this street, and I notice a bicycle laid out in the middle of the street.  I slow down, because the curiosity got the best of me.

I then witness the police officer helping the bicyclist up from the street.  He was definitely walking with a limp.  The thing is, he was wearing a bright green neon jersey.

I don’t know what happened, but I ride past this street almost everyday.  (Today I had to drive in as again, I was not up in time).  There are two one way streets that meet here.  If the bicyclist was going around the curve on the right side, a driver may have come by and gone straight into the second (outer) street as the bicyclist was navigating past that street to continue down the inner street.

Here’s hoping he’ll have a short recovery.

Nice long ride today!

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on August 16, 2008
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Yes, my wife permitted a nice long ride.  Well, 24 miles is long for me right now.  I rode from my neighborhood through Morristown to the South Street Park (sorry can’t remember the actual name, but it connects with the Loantanka Trail).  Rode through the park system and ended up on Woodland toward my old stomping grounds of Madison.

I love Madison but I decided to cut back onto 124 towards Morristown and eventually Denville.

Stupid Driver Warnings:

1.  While heading east on South Street, I had a car nonchalantly cut around me then turn right onto a side street (Madison St?) as if I didn’t exist.  It took some awesomely stupid skills as I was outside the door zone, so this driver needed to cut into oncoming traffic and quickly back in front of me whilst completing a hard right.

2.  On 53 North back towards home, a truck pulls out of the road well ahead of me, but slows down and places his right blinker on (ok, the blinker was a good thing).  I slow down and he continues to slow down, so we both end up confused.  I’m not about to let a truck have me for lunch.  He then starts to speed up while hanging his hand out the window waving me forward.  Year right.  I just climbed Tabor hill, and my legs are shot from the longer than usual ride.  I wave him on, but this minor adventure with the truck took away some needed momentum.

Other than that, it was fun mixing in some city and country driving.  At the halfway point, I rested at a favorite duck pond.  We used to hang out there all the time.  Thank God for water fountains.  By the time I reached home, I was parched!

Well, we have some fine company coming over tonight, so I’ll be busy cleaning and preparing for tonight’s dinner.

A rather disappointing week.

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 15, 2008
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I really haven’t used my bike that much this week to get to work.  Looking at my stats, it is embarrassing to see that my mileage total so far is at a lowly 30 miles.  Yes, it has been really wet each morning, and for the most part, it has been a struggle to get up on time (newborn baby).

I was fine for the first few weeks, but I forgot about that “new parent energy” that tends to carry you for the first few weeks, but then the energy crashes around week four.  Well, I’ll try my best to make up for lost miles next week.  I’m hoping to get an epic ride in this weekend (an epic ride for myself is over 20 miles).

Have a nice weekend, and ride safe.

Night Rider

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 11, 2008
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KITT: “Hello, MetalCommuter, where would you like to go?”

How about a night ride?  I did last night and it was a thrill even with the sprinkling of rain.  My wife could tell the restlessness was getting the best of me by Sunday evening, so she practically begged me to get out into the fresh air to ride around a bit.

I had my front lamp on with my blinking reflector in the rear so I felt confident in my visibility for the passing vehicles.  I decided to head down 53 and then detour around some of the cul-de-sac neighborhoods in the Beacon Hill area of Denville eventually crossing into McMansion glory in Parsippany.  I found a neat trail with a couple pedestrian bridges that intersected two deadend streets.  Finally I crossed route 10 and climbed up a hill.  When I coasted down, I realized I was in the neighborhood I take to go home from time-to-time to challenge my legs with the hill.  Well, this was in the opposite direction and I was ready for the huge hill that would get me into Morris Plains.

35 mph was my top speed, and this is because I would feather my brakes around the corners slowing because I had minimum visibility with my rain splattered glasses on.  It was fun.  I felt like I was roaring along at a 100 miles per hour!  I will try this road out during a quiet part of a sunny day.

The ride left me in good spirits.  I’m not going to make a habit out of riding in the dark, but it can be good caffeine for the bored soul.

Why I need to ride this afternoon…

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 7, 2008

This morning I was rather disappointed when I realized that because I was slow to prepare, I had no time to ride my bike.

A few hours later I’m dealing with a rude client who feels that his SPAM issue across his network is my fault and demands I fix it while cussing me out.  The thing is, we’ve been working on resolving his spam appliance which is failing, but more specifically, I had nothing to do with this issue!

Anyway, the problem has been corrected, but I’ve been left with such a bad mood all afternoon that I went home during lunch, packed my bicycle in the car, and had my wife drop me off just so I can let off some steam later today.

The Hills, they kill!

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 5, 2008
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Oh man, I am sore today.  I took the hilly route, and phew, I’m done.  Recovery day today, though I may get in a few miles tonight.  Even the soles of my feet hurt today.

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