Friday, October 28, 2011

Night Riding...It's the most awesomest

Next week, we'll be instructed to turn back our clocks for the start of Daylight Savings Time. Or is it the end of Daylight Savings Time??? I can never remember...actually, I'm not sure I ever knew....

Anyway, as I was saying, or writing, or blogging....or know what I mean. Next week, it will be dark an hour earlier than it was this week. Ok, actually a little more than an hour since the days will be getting progressively shorter....but I digress....anyway it will be dark at the beginning of our rides and not part way through our rides like it was last night.

But I'll be ready for it. I think that after several years of riding at night, I've finally come up with bike light nirvana.....Last night, I put together what is sure to be the best night riding setup I've fielded so far. (and believe me, the pile of not so great efforts is large on my workbench)

I've combined last year's MagicShine MJ 808 900 lumen light on my bars with this year's Gemini Xera 750 lumen light on my helmet. And boy does it work! The 900 lumen light on the bar casts a nice beam waaaaay down the trail and offers a decent amount of spill lighting up the edges of the trail. Then if you add the Gemini light on my helmet, which allows me to put light wherever my head is pointing, you end up with a package that allowed me to ride last night at the same pace as I do in the daylight.

Never once, did I outrun the beam of the lamps and never once did I feel like I couldn't see exactly what was going on down the trail.

The Gemini light is amazingly small and light too. It and the 2 cell battery both mount with velcro to the helmet so there are no wires hanging down in to the camelback and never once did I feel like it tilted my helmet forward as my old niterider did back in the old days (3 years ago)

When I was younger, my brother and I used to really enjoy night skiing. We'd ski all day at Squaw Valley, then on the way back to the bay area, we'd stop and hit Boreal under the lights. There was just something about skiing at night that made us a little bolder and a little more adventurous off the little jumps they used to have on the mountain.

Night riding on the bicycle is very similar. Although I'm older and supposedly wiser so I don't go off jumps, riding at night just seems a little more adventurous. I was a little slower in grabbing for my brakes, I carried a little more speed though the corners and I tended to let the bike run a little looser on the one long fast section near the golf course.....

There's just something about riding at night that brings a completely different dynamic to our regular Chabot loop and turns it in to a whole different experience.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A bike crash....the pain continues....

It's been 6 weeks and the doctor cleared me to ride again.  So I did, and it was fantastic!  I was slow and tentative and it took about 2 hours to finish a 1 1/4 hour loop, but I was riding again and that's all that mattered....

That was Thursday.  Friday, excited about being back on the bike, I swung by the bike shop to pick up my road bike with the plan of bringing it with me to Tahoe.  I figured there would be at least a couple hours at some point for me to get a nice ride in.

As I walked back to the shop area, Matt, the bike wizard mechanic guy, said "Hey Rich, did you get my message yesterday?"  immediately my stomach started doing flip was pretty much the exact same feeling I had when my high school girlfriend pulled me aside after school and said, "we have to talk".

I forced down the lump in my throat and put on a brave face as I responded "no, I didn't get your messsage, the girls must have deleted it" while secretly wishing I had gone home and listened to it alone where I could throw a fit and cry and stomp without making a spectacle of myself.....again.

"Oh, you didn't?" he asked looking at me in that awkward way a doctor does when he has bad news. "Well, um....we got your new carbon bars in and the tape you wanted was in stock and won't be a problem and the scratch on the chainstay well, that isn't life threatening......but.....uh.....and he mind was screaming..."come on, out with it, what's wrong? I know something is wrong!"

"Yeah, uh....your fork has a pretty good crack where the brake mounts and you need a new fork"

There it was.....the other shoe had mind was reeling, I felt woozy.....this was my dream bike. This was the bike that had cured me, once and for all, of bike lust.  She was fast, she was sexy, she had amazing curves and all the right components.....this was my "last road bike I'll ever buy" bike and now she needed major surgery.

Oh....ok, was all I could manage....I was lost....what was I going to do?  I can't even afford the repairs I already agreed to, let alone a new fork.....I didn't want to ask, I really didn't want to know, but like a person watching a car wreck, my mouth disconnected from my brain and just took over. The words came tumbling out without my knowing......"ok, well whatever it costs"

"Hey, the good news is Giant has a crash replacement policy so the fork is only going to be $225.00" He said it so nicely and without any hint of guile and I think he actually believed I would be happy.....and to some extent, I guess I should be.  She'll have a new fork and she'll be back home with me.

So, this week Wednesday, I'll get a call from my new best friend Matt, or maybe my buddy Chris, the owner of the shop will call since I'm probably putting his kids through college, and tell me my baby is all back together and good as new. 

And I, knowing she's worth whatever it costs me to make her whole, will head over to the bad part of town to visit a man named Guido.  Afterwrds, I'll show up at the shop, smiling in spite of the pain from the surgery of selling one of my kidneys on the black market and pay the guys that brought my lovely bike back to life....