Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Blues

This year has started off very tough for cycling.  The weather has not cooperated with sub freezing temps and snow.  I was not even able to do my birthday miles.  I had a 2 day window of doable weather to ride but, unfortunately, I came down with a severe cold that left me house bound for quite a few days.  Since then nothing but more cold, wind, snow, and freezing rain.  Today the sun peaked out in the afternoon and temps were below freezing.  I had enough and decided to take the Rocket out for a quick 16 miler.  After not riding for 2 weeks I found myself way out of shape.  The never ending snow is melting leaving rivers of water.  I may end up putting fenders on the Rocket.  After returning home and cleaning up the bike and myself, I was glad I had the opportunity to get out.  Tomorrow the weather again begins to change and more snow and colder temps are predicted.  If not for other commitments, I would be heading south for a bicycle retreat.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"NJ Lawmaker Backs Off Requiring Bike Licenses"

The Associated press reported,
"A New Jersey lawmaker has withdrawn a hastily introduced bill to require all bicycles in the state to display a license plate.
Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker was getting deep criticism for her proposed law that would have required riders or their parents would pay $10 a year to register their bikes with the Division of Motor Vehicles -- or be subject to fines of $100.
Tucker told the Star-Ledger of Newark that she proposed the bill because senior citizens called her to complain about children on bikes. The seniors told her they had been knocked down but had no way to register a complaint because they couldn't identify the rider.
She withdrew the measure Thursday, saying she would instead look for other ways to protect older pedestrians".
I would like to believe that the information and support from members of Bentrideronline, emails sent to Assemblywomen Cleopatra Tucker, many NJ bike clubs, and The League of American Bicyclists contributed and lead to the reversal of this ridiculous bill. 
Strength in numbers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Registration for Bicycles in New Jersey

ASSEMBLY, No. 3657
Assemblywoman  CLEOPATRA G. TUCKER

This bill would require bicycles ridden on public highways or lands to be registered with the Motor Vehicle Commission and display license plates. Bicycle registrations would be valid for two years, and the commission could charge up to $10 as an annual registration fee to defray the costs of the program. The bill specifies that if the owner of a bicycle is under 15 years of age, the owners parent or guardian may register it in their stead.
Under the bill, a person who violates any of the bicycle registration provisions would be subject to a fine up to $100 for each offense. In addition, the bill authorizes the chief administrator to suspend or revoke a bicycle registration for any violation of the laws, rules, or regulations regarding their operation.
It seems Assemblywoman  CLEOPATRA G. TUCKER has nothing better to do but impose a sneaky tax on cyclists by proposing a registration for bicycles in the State of NJ.  Why doesn't she spend the time encouraging cycling as a cost effective, energy saving and healthy means of transportation.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rocket Upgrades

It's been difficult trying to tweak the Rocket as the weather has not been cooperating.  We have had a lot of snow and there is more to come tomorrow.  I didn't pay a lot for the bike and I don't want to over invest.  I need to get some serious riding in so I can see what I like and what might need to be changed.  I cleaned it up a bit, changed the hand grips, replaced a brake cable and housing, changed out the rear cassette to a 11/32(nice spacing) and just added a upper chain tube.  It is so nice not worrying about grease stains.  I just took it for a short spin around the block a few times.  Everything worked fine.  I could feel my leg hitting the chain tube at times, but no worry of tattoos or grease on clothes.  I also did not feel any added drag.  I run with the original chain tubes on my trike and would not ride without them.  I also ordered a Arkel Recumbent Seat Bag  which should be here any day.  I don't want to add any fenders or racks and this bag seemed just right for carrying tools and shedding clothes. 
I am going a little stir crazy with the weather.  Too many icy patches for 2 wheels.  The trike is generally perfect for these conditions but the roads have not been fully cleared, leaving little shoulder room.
Hoping to

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bicycling Magazine

As a member of The League of American Bicyclists you get 1 year free subscription to Bicycling Magazine.  I had stopped my subscription well over 8 years ago as I found little of interest for me.  I just received 2 copies and decided to read the January/February issue last night.  It consisted of 96 pages not including the front and back cover.  Pages 1-9 table of contents and advertisements, about 10%.  39 of the 96 pages were full page ads, about 40%.  There were a total of 15 articles which amounted to about 15.5% of the total magazine.
The best article for me was Solutions to Maintenance Issues.  I did learn you can check chain wear from putting it on the small chain ring and rocking.  Most other maintenance issues were basic knowledge for experienced cyclists.  The magazine does cater more to the Hammerhead type.  Train Smarter, Climb Stronger, The Ultimate 5 Minute Winter Workout and Breakfast for Cyclists.  There is a 5 page article on Puerto Rico by Bike.  After spending less than an hour reading this issue I realized why I no longer subscribe.  Too bad it's nice holding a paper in you hand as opposed to a computer screen.  I guess at the promotional rate of $1 an issue including shipping you can't go wrong.  For me it offers little of interest.
Just my $.02

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rocketing In The New Year 1/1/11

I finished a great 32 mile New Years Day ride on my new used Rans Rocket.  Although it is not quite tweaked out yet it performed beautifully.  It took some time to get used to, but, as the mileage increased so did my speed.  I found it more stable than I remembered.  I was 2.5 mph faster than on my trike and 2 mph faster than my Fuji Tourer, at about the same weight.  It is still early to assess it's speed and riding qualities.  The Rans seat that I always found most comfortable gave me some recumbent butt.  I am using different muscles than on my trike.  Time and further adjustments will be the true answer.  Shifting was on the money.  Braking was as I remembered. poor and squealing.  The tweener type bars on this bike vs. the Hamster type on my old bike are far more stable.  It has Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires which I find quite fast and at 80 psi can be a little jarring over major bumps. Not sure if it is the tires or the bike.  Overall I find it a nice inexpensive addition to my stable.
Happy New Year