Night Rider

Bought what I hope is the last accessory for The Ride: ?a headlight:

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It’s a kick-ass little light. ?Throws out 700 lumen (which is less than a 60W bulb, BTW) and at that brightness it’s supposed to last 1.75 hours.

I’m sure the pictures won’t show how bright this thing is, but, here’s before and after pictures with the light off, then on:

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Viva la difference, eh?

That'd get yer attention.

That’d get yer attention.

I did about 15 miles this evening, checking out the stamina of the headlight. ?Turned my tail lights on and tried to find some really dark / unlit sections to ride around in.

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I rode down Indianola Avenue in Columbus. ?Which is home to this fine American company:

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But every time I’ve ever ridden past this place, I recall this news story from 2008:

Last week’s storms flooded some Clintonville houses with water and others with ingredients for salad dressing.

But don’t pull out your carrot sticks yet.

Storm water combined with sewage from the T. Marzetti Co., a producer of salad dressings on Indianola Avenue, overwhelmed the Columbus storm-sewer system and flooded at least 10 nearby homes, an Ohio EPA representative said.

“It’s creamy-ranch- dressing-looking crap,” said resident Steven Maiken. “It’s not toxic waste, but we did have to throw away a lot of stuff. We tried to wash it off over and over again.”

. . .

Northridge resident Alisa Jones said she is still cleaning up the mess left by the goo, which had the neighborhood mystified until yesterday.

“We knew it was food of some sort because the ants have been going crazy,” Jones said. “Every once in a while you get a whiff, and ugh.”

You want pix? ?Slide show here.

On Memorial Day I headed over to REI to pick up some new panniers. ?For months I’ve been studying blogs and discussion groups. ?Over and over the name Ortlieb came up as?the?pannier to have.

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A guy from Australia actually sold me on ’em with this video that lasts less than 90 seconds:

My old panniers have a bungee / fishhook arrangement that’d catch on every damned thing putting them on and off the bike. ?Soon as I watched that video, I knew I’d found what I was looking for.

They listed for $239 for a pair of rear panniers at REI. ?But on Memorial Day they had dropped the price to $160 . . . and took another 25% off of?that. ?Basically, they were half off what I expected to pay. ?I saved enough on the rear pair to buy the?front?panniers, too.

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During the ride through WI, MN, and ND, I had them loaded down with everything I plan on toting with me. ?The bike did well at its intended purpose in life: ?load-bearer.

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In addition to testing the fully loaded bike during my 3 mid-western state jaunt, I was kinda-sorta testing out a lot of other things. ?One of’ ’em was how well the stores (my, y’know,?livelihood) were doing without my being available. ?All kinds of crap went down and everyone muddled through. ?It’s going to be a learning experience for them, too.

One test that failed miserably was eating. ?Rather, the?cost?of eating. ?I’ve budgeted what appears to be a too-modest $20 a day to eat. ?The one meal at?Breitbach’s?came to $27.

I couldn’t get out of McDonald’s at any point for less than $7 a meal. ?Bumping the daily budget to $25 would only cost another $300 . . . but, that’s yet?another?$300 on top of everything else.

I stayed in two hotels this last weekend. ?One I was able to get under $60, but the other was $75. ?I’m going to have to really re-think meals and lodging. ?Bill Gates-level money I ain’t got.

Going out in the dark — and the rain — was actually pretty fun. ?In fact, it was the first time in years that I rode a bike?like a kid. ?I didn’t wear biker shorts. ?I didn’t load up any gear to fix anything if it broke. ?I didn’t put on my biker shoes. ?I wore shorts and sandals and?just took off in the rain.

As a kid I’d ride 25 to 30 miles at a shot on a bicycle without thinking twice about flat tires or having a $40 to $60?special pair of shorts to wear to prevent chafing. ?As a kid, I just hopped on the bike and went to where I had to go.

I also remember the day I quit?riding a bicycle, too. ?I had just bought a brand new ten speed when I was nearly 16 years old. ?I was working my part time job at Jim’s Grocery. ?Who should walk in but the very first girl I ever kissed: ?Eileen Sanders.

l-Puppy-loveI took a few moments to show off my bicycle to Eileen. ?I was so proud of it! ?I bet I talked the poor girl’s ears off for a good ten minutes or so. ?She ooo’d and aah’d at all the appropriate places.

She then told me goodbye, walked across the parking lot, and got into her new 1974 Camaro.


Lesson learned: ?Can’t pick up girls on a?bicycle, dude*. ?Forty years later that still remains true.



* No, Lance Armstrong couldn’t get girls from riding a bicycle, either. ?He got girls from the zillion dollars he made riding a bicycle. ?There is a difference.