Sunday, February 5, 2012


February 5, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII… “Rain: All day. Sleet and hail. Snow in Mts. Wind blows many tents down …”

As I sit here on Sunday, February 5, 2012 in 60 degree temperature with mostly sunny skies, it is hard to imagine what my father-in-law, S.Sgt. G.C. Watts and his “brothers in arms” were experiencing 58 years ago as they huddled together in tents in a war zone as rain, hail, and heavy winds surrounded them. My toughest decision so far today has been…

what to choose from the incredible brunch offerings at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC where the Navigator and I took advantage of a gift card from Bro Dave and family. My next big decision will be whether to bother watching the Super Bowl. It is not beyond my awareness that, as I sit here, putting fingers to keyboard, the world is still a nasty place to live. A cursory review of the headlines suggests a) From Romney – Obama should just get out of the way!” b) Panetta says he expects the Israelis to attack Iran by June, and c) Katy Perry sends a shout out to Tim Tebow.

So, what does this have to do with cycling and a cycling blog? Maybe not much, but then don’t forget what happens when a butterfly flaps her wings…

…And he beat goes on – with ProForm Le Tour De France spinner bike that is! Since my last post containing my ongoing review of this purchase I made last September, I’ve had two more conversations with support people from ProForm (or is it Icon Fitness? – I can never tell…).  The good news! On two occasions, I’ve spoken with two support people, who were as confused as I am and actually offered help leading to, well, the bad news… nothing has changed.

In the first call, after about a 45 minute wait on-line, Derrick, the first helpful employee I’ve experienced in this ongoing process, took the time to go through everything with me as I’ve reported it, actually took apart a Gen 2 console and found what we believed, at the time, was THE missing wire for the heart monitor, and got me going in a direction that I thought would lead to a fixed heart monitor system.

Unfortunately, what I thought was a wire that was misrouted through the handlebars turned out to be the proper end of the extension wire (part 101 for those of you following along in your manual). So, being somewhat lucid and of sound mind, I quickly determined that it can’t be good to have one end of a wire plugged into something but not the other end.

Friday evening, just before their stated closing time, I called again and actually got a live individual (not Derrick) in about 10 minutes. I again went through the issues, asked him to look at the manual I had, and pointed out extension wire 101 and said to him, “My question is simple. What does that end of extension wire 101 plug into?” Without losing a beat, he says “the receiver box for your heart monitor.” AHHHHH!!!!! What receiver box? No one in all of my calls has mentioned a receiver box!

Of course, this makes perfect sense. Had some support person from ProForm/Icon Fitness merely said to me earlier, “Sir, your model has the optional heart monitor consisting of a transmitter and a receiver. I will be glad to sell that to you for an additional $129.00”, I would have bit on the solution. But nooooo, no one thought to ask “Sir, where is your receiver box?”

At this point, I’m feeling pretty pleased that the problem has now been properly identified. My helpful service tech says he can sell me the unit and, yes, I’ll have an extra transmitter that I was instructed to purchase ($99.00) by their staff, but I’ll now have a working heart monitor. I give him my credit card information and inquire when I should receive the product. “6 to 10 business days but likely sooner,” I’m told. Great! I’m ready. I understand. Let’s do it!

Shortly after completing the transaction and thanking him for his proper and knowledgeable guidance, I received my confirmation email and shipping status update. Yep, I’ve purchased my heart monitor with both transmitter and receiver! Staying true to form with my relationship with this company, the email confirmation form advised me that the product was OUT OF STOCK! AHHH! Just shoot me now! (Fortunately, the great karmic administrator reminds me that I could be sitting in a tent in blowing snow and hail during WWII so this little problem comes back into proper context and level of significance.)

I’m thinking now that the Navigator will probably get her very own Polar T-31 uncoded transmitter for Christmas next year. If she is a really, really good girl, I’ll give her the receiver box the following year…

A Better Beat Goes On…

Work with the Haywood County Comprehensive Bike Plan is moving along nicely. At this past week’s meeting, we made good progress on solidifying a relationship between Haywood Community College and the nearby Town of Clyde, NC along with Haywood County Recreation and Parks Department to establish a Park ‘N Pedal lot in Clyde and a route to the college for staff, students, and the general public. While the details and funding are still being worked on, the cooperative spirit of the venture has been exceptional. We’ve received the blessing and support of the local Mayor and the College’s President, who has been on-board since day one. This week, I’ll be meeting with local NC DOT traffic engineers to tune some traffic signals for cyclists along the proposed path and will continue our request of them to paint the “sweet spot” of the closed loop detectors so that cyclists can orient themselves on the spot.

We also met last week with the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Director to being identifying “Bicycle Friendly Businesses” in Haywood County. We’re looking at a slick publication highlighting cycling opportunities, routes, and information to be placed around in public areas in Haywood for locals and visitors alike.

All in all, good news on the bike plan front… Now, should I or shouldn’t I watch the Super Bowl?

Until later,

- Zeke

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