Sunday, November 27, 2005

Migrating to a new blog!

This blog has now migrated to my new site, CriticalExponent (RSS). Old entries from this blog may be found here (RSS). Please update your bookmarks and feeds. New entries will only appear on the new site!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Biking Jewish Boston

Knox and I are working on a new ride on Boston's Jewish History for Hub on Wheels. Read all about it!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Potholes 2, bike light 0

A week or two ago, in preparation for the end of daylight savings time and the inevitable dusk commutes home, I installed a new rear light to replace the one that was crushed by an SUV earlier this fall. Today, probably somewhere between Chestnut Hill and Washington Square, the light broke off. The mounting piece is still firmly attached to my light, but the light itself? Gone into oblivion. Obviously, as much as I like this model light for its near-360º visibility, it is designed with such a long moment arm that it cannot withstand the torques caused by my riding through Boston's uneven roads. It's time to look for a new solution. Any suggestions?

Friday, October 21, 2005

As the weather turns

The weather is certainly turning here in New England, and I'm biking much less than I was by the end of the summer. Last week was very rainy, of course, and I don't enjoy biking in bad weather when I am in a hurry to get to work. This week I had a rain fake-out (it was raining heavily when I was getting ready in the morning, but cleared up soon after) and longish days at work.

By far the most important factor is the diminishing daylight. It is barely light when I leave the house and it is already dark when I get home. I am in the market for a handlebar extender I can use to mount a headlight-- and not just any headlight, but a lead-battery powered headlight that will allow me to see and not just be seen.

The dropping temperatures also make biking less enjoyable. This morning I remembered to wear my long-fingered gloves, but my nails were still painfully cold. I didn't have time to locate my skull liner, and the wind running though my helmet was a little too refreshing.

Still, obsessions die hard. Knox and I plan to take the train North and bike to Amesbury tomorrow for some good ol' apple picking and donut eatin'.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bike saddles and impotence

I though the whole link between bike riding and impotence had been debunked, but apparently not. The New York Times reports on three summary articles in September's Journal of Sexual Medicine which survey about a dozen recent studies on the subject. It turns out that "[t]he studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual impotence." While the studies focused mostly on men, it is though that saddles could have a similar effect on women.

The scientists recommend not the "ergonomic" saddles with cutouts which may increase the pressure on sensitive nerves, but rather noseless saddles that force the rider's whole weight to rest on the sit bones.

My bike saddle is of the traditional sort, but not hard and narrow like a real road bike's. It's a bit wide and cushioned, and I'm not conscious of undue pressure on my perineum (nor of any untoward consequences). Curiously, though, when I haven't stretched, I will sometimes feel a slight thread of pain in my thigh and my buttock, but this pain goes away if I stop to stretch.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Turning away from fuel

An interesting article in The Boston Globe about people seeking alternative means of transportation and finding other ways to spend less money on gas and less time driving.
By bicycle, by scooter, by train, by foot, by strategies large and small, more and more fed-up motorists are forsaking their vehicles and exploring ways to avoid being guzzled by gas.
Imagine that-- when prices are not kept artificially low, people are more willing to consider alternatives! Now, if we could only get the prices to reflect the externalities of the environmental impact of fossil fuels and the driving lifestyle...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Crushed by an SUV

I had just left work and was biking home when I heard the sound of plastic hitting the pavement. With a sinking feeling, I pulled over and checked my derriere; sure enough, my taillight was missing. And there it was, lying in the middle of the traffic lane on Walnut Street. I walked over, anxious to pick it up before a car ran over it.

All of a sudden, an ominous dark SUV turned the corner. Oh, oh. As my dismay mounted, I saw its oversize wheel aiming straight for my defenseless little taillight. I watched helplessly as the crack heard up and down the streeet scattered debris every which way. The SUV continued on its course blissfully unaware of what had transpired. Or was it? Methought there was just a little swagger of triumph in the dastardly contraption's retreat from the scene of destruction.

Anguished, I picked up the remains of what was once my taillight, now nothing more than pitiful broken shards of plastic and glass. How had this come to pass? Was I to blame? Surely, I should have tried harder to put a nut on the bolt that was holding it in place. If it didn't fit, I should have used a longer bolt. It was all my fault! I had destroyed the taillight! Or not, maybe I could blame the bike store for not fastening it correctly or the streets of Boston for bumpy rides that would have shaken anything loose.

After a mournful ride home, a quick forensic analysis of the carcass revealed that the plastic fastening point had broken completely. It was not my fault at all, nor the bike store's (though in good conscience we both should have attached the light more securely). No, it was the streets of Boston, Newton, and Wellesley who had conspired to shake and rattle my poor little taillight until it broke. It was the potholes that could not be avoided and the bumps from layers and layers of pavement patches; in short, the callous disregard for proper biking conditions that condemmed my faithful taillight to an all-too-early death.