Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Chris Waddell rode (almost) completely independently for 29 miles up to 19,300 feet to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro on his Lightfoot/Surly endomorph tired quad cycle.  I think Mike Stoner took the pics I stole from his site

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My little Alien

Each of my girls have gone through many stages on their way to becoming fully human. For example when Maya was just born she was kind of in a larval stage. Not too much quality interaction back and forth . At about one Maya was like having the worlds best parrot. Not a ton of thoughts going on but she could copy actions and words better than a good parrot. At about 2 Maya started to get really fun. She entered the helper monkey stage. She would act goofy like a monkey, she loved to follow simple commands like to get a "dipe and a wipe," and she loved to do tricks. Best part about her helper monkey stage versus a real monkey is that she threw poop far less often than a real monkey. Maya is now entering a new stage. She now seems more like a friendly naive alien who is ready for me to start explaining this world to her. I love the way each day she asks many questions about the world and why people act the way they do. People often say the annoyingly cliche statement that "kids are like a sponge" absorbing all kinds of info at this age but I am not so sure with my little alien. When I go back to ask her to repeat the answers I have carefully taught my little alien like, "Maya what color traffic light means we can drive safely?" her most frequent response is "Harris." Her cousin. I do however feel a special responsibility to teach her the customs and ways of the human race she is entering more and more each day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Post ride Pug

Well after our ride over the weekend I took off all the bags from my pugs and this is what it looked like.  Seems even bigger some how.   Also appears to be made out of Russian titanium. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Nice Ride

A few weeks ago I had a half hour to kill and decided to try out the Nice Ride bikes. The bike rides lighter than it is, is relatively fun to ride and comfortable. I did however fail the IQ test and had to call the company to figure out how to get my bike off of the rack. I see all novel situations as IQ tests for the world. We can all look smart and competent when doing even complex things we do every day. Throw in novelty and the IQ test begins. A good example of this is how people drive similarly pretty well to work as they do every day during rush hour but you get those same folks driving to the State Fair and they drive like idiots. Novel situation equals IQ test.
Before starting the process of renting the bike I read everything carefully. I put in my credit card for the $5 daily charge, went through about 4 screens of info with the last one saying "do you want to print a receipt." I of course did so I would remember my code to get the bike out of the rack. The faintly printed receipt had I think three different number sequences but none said code. I went to the rack and found that the number pad for the code has only 1 2 and 3 on it. All the number sequences on my receipt included other numbers. It was at this confused point a man not too different from me approached the opposite side end of the rack avoiding my efforts to get his attention for help. He quickly pulled a bike out of the rack and rode away. Great I thought. That guy was waiting for an idiot like me to pay for a bike so he could take off with it. After some hunting around I found a number for assistance and called it ready to report that my first bike was stolen. The man on the phone explained that on one of the screens I clicked through was my code. By putting in my card again I got it and it was something like 2113. I don't remember. The guy I feared may have stolen my bike must live near by, have a monthly pass and was able to punch in his number so fast he looked like he just pulled the bike out. Way faster than any personal lock.

Now in order for me to appreciate these bikes I needed more than an extremely liberal book about evolution to put in the rack. I needed to accept the idea that you can’t have the bike out from a rack for more than 30 minutes. Even though the late return time charge is very small for the first hour or so if I remember right. How could I go to dinner or even to a bike shop in under a half hour was my this is going to fail thinking. That is until I started to view these bikes less as the bicycles I own and more like a transport device that takes you from one station to the next station closest to my destination. It is a fun tool to bridge two stations and nothing more. To see it otherwise would be like expecting the city bus to wait for you while you shopped. With this new attitude and the realization that the racks are conveniently placed all over town it becomes an attractive option for travel. If I lived near the down town area and got to know where the racks were it would be faster and more convenient to use the Nice Ride then it would be to get your bike out, make sure it is in working order, and mess with locking it up at each destination. If I worked downtown or was a U of M student I would park on the street just out of down town and take a Nice Ride to my office. Plus at lunch I could use a Nice Ride to open up eating options or to do errands quickly and easily.