Metal Bike Commuter

Random photos from my phone

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on September 25, 2008
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Fourth day in a row that I saddled up.  Feeling alright.  In the spirit of the coming weekend, I decided to share some photos from my phone.  Most will be bike related.  This phone has the worst built in camera ever!

First up, a bicycle rack I found outside Chipotle’s in Bridgewater, NJ. (if you haven’t tried Chipotle’s, do yourself a favor):

Old New England minted coins:

My excuse for not riding on some mornings:

My top secret hiding place at work:

A monkey could steal it.  Most people never notice it.

But seriously, they are the reason I ride too:


Phantom Photo (or the inside of my bag or pocket):

I’m not a meth addict, but I spotted this at the self-checkout line at my local A&P:

(PS: Mouse over the pics for extra stuff).


So I’ve been cruising.

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on September 24, 2008
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I feel like I have been on a roll this week.  The past few weeks have been filled with an overall inconsistency when commuting.  Some days I’d do half commutes, some days none, and about once a week, a full round trip.  Needless to say, I was in a funk.

Sure, I had some valid excuses.  We just had a baby, and so were going through the usual night time events required of when raising a newborn.  And I was busy with vacation time.  Unfortunately, there were some days that I had no reason not to ride.  Those days were my lazy days.  Some of those days were nice and warm with the sun shinning down just perfectly.

There were days I would be driving and wondering why.  Why am I doing this to myself?  I am not the most patient of drivers, so anytime I get stuck in traffic, and someone does something stupid, it sets my blood to a boiling point.  My cure is to bike commute.  Even when I encounter those same stupid drivers while on the bike, I find myself less hassled.

I’ve been known to ride with a goofy grin on my face while it is pouring rain.  I think I am starting to reach a turning point.  We’ll see how this pans out when the weather becomes a challenge.  Despite my larger-than-average frame size, I am not a big fan of cold weather.  Sure, it feels good when stepping outside for a few minutes, but how does it feel when the wind is cutting like razor blades while gliding down a hill with low visibility because your eyes are tearing up from the frigid weather?

Well, here’s hoping for some good riding the rest of the year.

Time for some weather adjustments

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on September 22, 2008
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So it seems as if my days of riding in shorts and tee shirts are numbered.  It took me most of my commute to warm up this morning.  It is a fine balance between accounting for body warmth and air temp.  I think I’ll switch to long sleeves tomorrow if it is just as chilly.

My bag was extra heavy and bulky this morning:

– My work clothes
– Shoes
– Toiletry Bag
– Windows XP Professional Training Kit for 70-270 (MCSE)
– Lunch
– Towel (sure, not heavy, but big).

So it appears my small bottle of Head and Shoulders exploded.  My toiletry kit was covered with shampoo!  Kind of gross.  I must have looked strange emptying out the bag with my razors, deoderant, soap, and other necessities while cleaning out the shampoo.  Standing at the sink this morning, this was an unnecessary annoyance.

Head and Shoulders, you ask?  Yes, my head is prone to dryness.  There, I admit it.  I have dandruff!  You should see me if I let the mane really grow.  Actually, my hair hasn’t been so flaky lately.

No weekend riding.  I’ll be at a men’s retreat with my church in a couple weeks, so I am going to pack the Hardrock and check out the Deleware Water Gap.  This is a beautiful and underappreciated area of America.  I hate these stayovers, but they do more good than harm in the long run.

Be Honest…

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on September 19, 2008
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…Have you ever ridden while listening to your iPod or MP3 player?  I haven’t but it is a huge temptation.

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on September 3, 2008
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What a refreshing ride I had this morning!  I had gone a week without serious riding, and was excited for today’s commute.  The temps were just right (not too cold, not too warm) and it seems the ride out will be just as pleasant.

I spotted a huge wild turkey in the parking lot.  I’ll try to take a picture of it next time.  There’s a small forest behind the campus, and I’ve spotted a pack of turkeys walking around their neighborhood.

Yesterday the traffic was horrible.  I guess it is the non-official end of summer, and plenty of those kiddos were back in school.  It reminded me why I need to just ride.  Who has time to sit in traffic getting fat?

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!

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.

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.

July Stats

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 4, 2008
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I hit my meager goal of reaching 180 miles for the month of July (or 80 more than June).  Interestingly, I haven’t lost as much as weight as I thought I would, so I need to step up the mileage for this month.  Again, I want to add another 80 from my July total, so I’m shooting for 260 miles by the end of August.  I have about 250 miles to go!

Considering the fact that I welcomed a new son into my family last month, I didn’t do too bad.  I was out for about a week, so I might have broken the 200 mile mark if I wasn’t at home tending to my wife and son the week of his birth.  That is alright, this is a sacrifice I would recommend to anyone.

Thursday, I ran into a local bike commuter, Joe.  We rode for a few miles up 53 and talked about how awesome riding is.  He’s a TA at a special needs school in Whippany.  He’ll be getting a new ride from Marty’s Reliable Cycles soon enough, and plans on riding at the next CM.  I plan on attending my first CM this month too!  It was fun riding with someone for a change.  He finally took off going up the hill of Mt. Tabor as I explained that my fat knobby tires would slow him down.

After a few days without riding, I decided to take a small ride around town.  I totalled about 12 miles.  On the way out of town, I spotted the mayor of Denville carrying a rather large box under one arm while riding his bike towards downtown.  I guess he is serious about bicycle riding.

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