Thursday, April 30, 2009

The rite of passage into the world of clipless pedals

A few years ago I bought a brand spanking new mountain bike, and at the time they asked if I wanted the clipless pedals installed. The dialog went something like this

Bike sales dude: "Would you like us to install the clipless pedals?"

My friend (bless her forsight): "Nope, I don't think that's a good idea"

Bike sales dude: "You don't have very much confidence in your friend here eh?"

Me: "No she just knows me better than most people"

Well that afternoon we took my new wheels out for a spin, and after launching myself over the handlebars in the first ten minutes. And figuring out what happened was not me being dumb and hitting the front brake instead of the back break. But was merely me being inexperienced and clamping the back brake, and having my un-rotating tire hit a root and bounce me like a mechanical bull at midnight.

That aside the rest of the ride went extremely well, I was keeping up (relatively anyways) and we were on last section of trail before we made back for an apre ride beverage. I was bombing along after another friend of mine, when all of a sudden we came upon a little bit of the trail, where there was a tree on the right, the trail dropped oooh say about 5 feet steeply with a single large root in the middle (keep in mind my earlier root experience), and to top it all off the bottom of the 5 foot drop there was a rather nasty sharp turn to the right... and by nasty I mean if you missed the turn you would end up dropping at least another 10 feet into Mill creek.

I mustered all the riding skill that I had gained from the days ride, slowed down before the root, slowed down after the root... memory fades out... memory fades in... and I'm crouched on the side of the trail like a jungle cat, my left hand is still on my handlebar and it's the only thing counterbalancing my bike, keeping it from plunging down into the creek without me.

In retrospect the thought was maybe we shouldn't have taken you on such an advanced trail your first day on your new bike... and then the humour of the situation kicked in and we laughed as the mental picture of what would have happend if I had been clipped onto my bike sunk in. Without a sliver of doubt, I would have made it over the root and taken the drop like a hero and ended up in the creek bed... the only doubt remaining was whether or not I would have landed it long enough to unclip before a near drowning experience.

So despite avoiding the inevitable plunge into the creek my friend gave me an old pair of clipless pedal shoes to try it out and see how I liked it. This last week I started biking to work, it's downhill most of the way to work which means it takes me twice as long to get home. I was sure that the ride home would go somewhere along the lines of: *Wow this is really sweet, I get the pull and the push* ... *Holy crap what was I thinking yeah lets bike to work* ... followed by pedalling slower and slower in the lowest gear possible until I'm no longer going fast enough to maintain any forward motion and I just fall over on the side of the road, unable to unclip in time to stop the deadweight of my body... luckily I was wrong, I made it all the way home and didn't get run over.

I found out this morning that my timing was just off a little, I had a wicked mountain biking dream last night, and as I got ready to bike to work again, I stood at the top of the driveway and...

*clip* ... *plop*.

Yes that's right, failure to unclip. Perhaps I was overconfident of my ability, or tired from mountain biking all night... but I did not give the required uumph get my ass on my bike and be able to clip in my second foot. It was all there in perfect slow motion as I fell over thinking I seriously can't believe I just did that.

Of all the people I've talked to througout the biking world I have yet to meet someone who hasn't had a similar "failure to unclip" experience.

To this day that creek remains my best near-miss but nonetheless I am hooked. It hasn't turned into a burning obsession, but any time someone mentions mountain biking, or downhill my fingers start to sweat and I get a little bundle of excited anticipation in my tummy just thinking about it, and that's good enough for me!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How do you spell it... Cuboree or Cuburee?

Last night marked my first view into a 1st BX Cub meeting. It was an experience fit for lifting the soul of even the darkest among us. Now I specify it as a 1st BX Cub meeting as I was informed by a reliable source that not all Cub meetings were created equal and neither were all Cub packs ;o)

The meeting was filled with many jokes and more laughter, but above all everyone's ideas were considered and built upon until we arrived at a rough draft of a good place to start.

It reminded me why I was involved with Girl Guides for so many years, and it made me wonder why I hadn't volunteered to help with it again sooner since my completion of University.

Apparently the Universe is trying to tell me to get my ass in gear, and it has realized that I needed a kick to get going. Heres to funny stories to share as only kids can create them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The right hand... the left hand... wtf?

He who shall remain nameless: "So this is just a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing"...

Me: "Yeah basically"
muttering "Actually this is more a case of the left hand not bloody listening to the right hand when it said what it was doing first thing this morning"

He who shall remain nameless: "What's that?"

Me: "Nothing"...

The stolen generation...

Last night I attended a local showing of a child slavery documentary entitled "Stolen Childhoods". Wow. It was very well done and although I don't think it addressed all the issues that lead to child slavery, it is a place to start.

There is a great quote "Don't think that a small group of organized citizens can't change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has" Margaret Mead

Although I don't think that this film looked at the whole picture, similar to a doctor treating the symptoms rather than the problem, it is a place to start. And I believe that starting on anything that helps to make any child's life better is better than doing nothing at all because we don't know how to fix the whole problem.

Now I haven't read much about the industrial revolution in Britain, but I'm wondering if perhaps there are some similarities to what we are now seeing in many third world countries. During the industrial revolution, and also during the war many children were forced to work, either to help support their family or because they were small enough to easily fit into the small spaces required. I think that as these countries go through a similar development period we are seeing children forced to work again, but on a much larger level. There are way more children living in conditions that are deplorable. Perhaps we should look to our past to help them pave the way to their future.

I also had another thought, part of the problem is that the markup is occurring at the end of a product's selling cycle. Perhaps there should be some way to break down the cost of something fairly. For example a can of coffee is sold for $12... which is a 4000% markup from what the farms and the people who pick it are actually paid. Is there not some way to distribute the profit more fairly? Perhaps companies selling the end product need to realize that they are responsible for where their product comes from, and how it is made.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Things I regret

Not buying another magnet that says: "Of course I love you. Now get me a beer."

Somebody doesn't think I should exercise... my squishy bits say otherwise

Yesterday I decided that it was time to start mountain biking again, the weather has been warming up above friggin' chily, and I still had time to squeeze a ride in before dinner... and really I probably shouldn't have had that third piece of pizza for lunch, I'm a programmer... there's no *way* I'm going to burn off 3 pieces of pizza no matter how intense the programming is!

So I get all dressed up, collect the various articles of riding gear that I will need hop on my bike and remember that my clip in pedal needs adjusting. So I go to dismount only to discover that my right foot will not unclip. Now picture this, I have a small backpack with allan keys in it, and my right foot stuck to my pedal... I undo the shoe so now I'm standing in one bike shoe and a sock looking at my other shoe that is now semi-permanently attached to my bike for now.

I considered for a second that I could forgo the clip-ins and throw on a pair of runners, until I thought it through all the way and realized that I would be trying to bike with a shoe under one pedal. Thinking that maybe a screwdriver might be of some use, I hopped into the trailer which I'm currently moving into, and being unable to locate a screwdriver grabbed my pocket knife and hopped out again.

Now I'd just like to clarify at this point that anything incorrect in my clip in settings are entirely my own fault. I installed them myself and true to form monkeyd with them to see how they worked. By this point in the whole ordeal I'm guessing, poking the pocket knife screwdriver head into various positions praying that I don't slip and gouge my other hand and bleed all over the place, and hoping that I will discover some previously unknown master release... yeah not so much... (just incase you were wondering)

Basically what had happened was the screws holding the clippy bit onto the shoe had come undone... but not all the way, and only one of them had *rolls eyes* so I had no torque twisting the shoe to trigger the release, and jamming the pocket knife into various locations did not work either. I couldn't undo the screws holding the clip to the shoe all the way, and twisting the shoe all the way around wasn't triggering the release either!

I did finally get it undone, and everything tightened up and adjusted properly but after all that I seriously considered saving my ride for another day ;o)

I found this quote on a fridge magnet:
"I gave up jogging because my thighs kept rubbing together and setting my pantyhose on fire."

I need one of my own -I gave up riding because I couldn't unclip my foot and fell over.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On paternity tests

Optional Dad #1 says: Yeah well how do I know he's even my kid?

Mom says: Well my blood type is O+, and his is A+... so if you're not blood type A, he's definitely not yours, and sometimes that would certainly make my life a helluv a lot easier!

That's the cheap and easy way of doing a paternity test!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Nothing says I've been thinking of you like...

A portable toilet!!!

Yes that is 3 exclamation marks. A friend of mine is going through a bit of a tough time right now, her grandmother recently had a heart attack. Somehow in the midst of all that she got to thinking about the trailer that I will be moving into soon... and got me a portable toilet so that I will not have to get dressed and run into the house and pee. (Assuming I'm sleeping in the buff) If that doesn't say I was thinking about you I don't know what does ;o)