Thursday, January 6, 2011

WINTER MALAISE SETTING IN…

I need to ride. I can feel it in my bones. My mood has headed south and I don’t mean toward sunny Florida. One of my summer riding buddies wrote me from Florida the other day and said the Navigator should bring me down to the warm beaches and let me get in some sunshine filled rides. I would but…

Cold Mountain in the Snow

demands at home keep us near the kerosene burning Monitor. Somehow backing my butt up to it isn’t the same cozy comforting activity that backing up to a good old woodstove or roaring fire in a fireplace used to be!

Over the weekend, I finally accepted that I wasn’t likely to get out on the road for some extended days so decided I’d be better off riding on the trainer than doing nothing at all. My monthly weigh-in helped make that decision as my inactivity and over-eating has led to some increased poundage. Oddly, while my weight was up, other measurements were either better or the same (Metabolic rate, muscle mass, etc. as measured by our super-duper Tanita BC-549 scales.)

Unfortunately, my plans to replace my normal rear wheel and tire with a second wheel and cheap tire went asunder and I ended up screwing the whole thing up. My mood went further south and I ended up just writing the event off. It seemed prudent to get some space between myself and the equipment before I messed it up further.

Another round of wet winter weather has visited us the last two days and another cycle (whoops! there’s that word again!) is projected for the next day or so. I managed to offset some of my bad mood by making an impromptu visit to Rolls Rite Bicycle, my LBS. It was raining and some big white flakes of snow were falling when I pulled into the parking lot.

The Navigator and I carpool together as frequently as possible in order to save gas and cut our carbon footprint and this was a day she needed to tend to some personal duties after work. I knew I had about an hour before I picked her up and we headed home.  I had a very enjoyable visit standing around the shop encircled by John’s inventory of Fujis, Surleys (should that be Surlies?), and bikes being brought in for work. I examined the Surly Cross Check frame that another friend has ordered and will be building up to his unique specifications.

It was good to visit with John, owner of Rolls Rite,  as I had not seen him since the days leading up to Christmas. I was pleased to hear that his shop is surviving these hard economic times! It seems more folk are bringing in those neglected bikes from their basements for tune-ups and getting reworked. Just wait until gas hits $4.00 a gallon again! I’m pretty sure we’ll see another round of interest in cycling from folks, who aren’t currently riding.

The really good cycling news in our neighborhood over the holidays has been the notification that we will have $51,150.00 (approximate) funds for a county wide bike plan. We are all stoked and ready to get on with it. This past Tuesday several of us met with our local county recreation advisory council and earned their letter of endorsement for the project. We anticipate getting similar ones from our local Health Department and Economic Development Commission. These letters will be presented to our County Board of Commissioners on January 24th when we hope to gain their formal approval for administering the grant.

Next up will be to create a Request for Proposal for a QUALIFIED bike plan consultant. We have some criteria in mind already and will be adding to that list shortly. First and foremost, the planner must be a cyclist and not an engineer with no interest in cycling. Secondly, they must be familiar with building in mountainous terrain and have an in depth knowledge of what a cyclist experiences while riding in the mountains. Of course, we want someone that can demonstrate previous successful experience in the area of bike planning. (Any consultants out there that meet these first 3 criteria and might be interested in bidding for the eventual contract can send me an email and let me know of your interest.)

At our meeting on Tuesday, one of the council members asked what good it would do to spend $50,000 on a plan if there was no money to implement it. My response was that without the plan, there would no money forthcoming to implement any type of cycling infrastructure. This point of view seemed to be acceptable and we left the meeting with a commitment to get the letter of support.

Given the upcoming forecast (winter weather warnings, 2” to 4” of new snow over the next couple of days, followed by two more weeks of a return to zero and subzero temps), my cycling energy looks like it will be spent getting up to date with plans for our coming bike planning efforts, keeping an eye out on my favorite cycling blogs, and maybe – just maybe – riding on the trainer.

Until later,

- Zeke

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