Archive for Bike

Weekend Roundup

Bridge

Biking
Spent most of my weekend riding, since I finally got my rear wheel back from my local bike shop. I pretty much stuck to the Olentangy Trail on Saturday and Sunday, since we had a lot of rain this week and Alum Creek needed time to dry out. Still, it was a pretty good time, and I ended up riding around 80 miles or so.

On Monday, I went out to Alum Creek and for the first half of the ride it was a blast. That came to a screeching halt on a downhill, where I caught my handlebar going between two trees and bit it hard. I ended up slicing up my knee a bit, but for the most part was unhurt. My front wheel on the other hand wasn’t so lucky, as one of it spokes broke in the fall. Pretty crappy luck, considering I just got my rear wheel back from the shop on Thursday. The rest of the ride wasn’t nearly as fun, since I had to disconnect my front brakes to be able to ride out of the trail system. It did give me a chance to look at some of the new stunts that have been built this year on the trail.

Last-Exit

Last-Exit
I also spent some time working on a RPM package for Last Exit, which is a music player for Last.fm. Unfortunately it can’t go into FE, since without mp3 support it’s not really functional. Also, if I remember correctly, it doesn’t work with the current version of gstreamer that comes with FC5 (I’m using GStreamer’s FC5 repo). Regardless, it’s a pretty cool application.

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A Broken Spoke

Broken Spoke

Bike
The weather here in Ohio has finally turned nice, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on my bike the last month or so. Unfortunately on Friday, I misjudged how big a drop-off there was on the trail, and ended up landing so hard that I broke one of the spokes on my rear wheel. Crap.

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Warm Weather and a Bad Dog

bmx.jpg

Riding in March
It’s surprisingly warm here in Columbus today, so I figured I would try to go out riding this morning while I had the chance. Since it’s been raining almost constantly also, I decided I’d break out my BMX bike since it’s a heck of lot easier to clean than my Voodoo Bokor. I haven’t ridden it in around a year or so, and had forgotten just how heavy it was. My arms and shoulder are definitely gonna feel sore tomorrow. Still, it is pretty damn fun to jump with.

I was able to ride for an hour or so before it started to rain. Considering it’s the middle of March I’ve got nothing to complain about, especially when you compare the weather here to what my brother experienced while racing yesterday in California.

Beagle
Finally got fed-up with Beagle enough, that I removed it from my system today. It really didn’t live up to all they hype that seems to surround it, especially considering what a resource-hog it is.

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KYEO

Bike Trainer 2

Been fairly busy the last couple of weeks, so naturally my posting here has been fairly sparse. I did manage to finally put together my bike trainer last week, though. Unlike Ken’s experience, I didn’t run into any problems setting it up. Well, that’s not totally true, since I spent forever removing my new WTB VelociRaptor from my rear wheel, and replacing it with my old bald WTB EnduroRaptor. Once I finally finished that crappy job, it was a cinch putting together the CycleOps Magneto Trainer. I’ve only used it for a few days, but so far I’m pretty happy with its performance. It’s a little loud, though if I threw on a road tire that would probably cut down a little noise. I was a little worried at first that it wouldn’t provide enough resistance, but so far that hasn’t turned out to be true (this could be due to not having ridden in about two months).

Nautilus-Flac-Converter 02

Yesterday, I wrote a Nautilus extension (Nautilus-Flac-Converter) to convert FLAC files to Ogg Vorbis. Here’s a link to the GnomeFiles page for it. My main reason for writing the extension was so I can easily encode my FLACS that I’ve archived to DVD, without having to drop to a command line. As is, the extension doesn’t allow me to do that, since you can’t write to the FLAC directory since it’s read-only (DVD). In my next version, I’m going to add a folder chooser button, so you can encode files to another directory, which should fix that problem. It’s a pretty quick hack, so I’ll probably release a new version later this week. After that, I’m gonna look at using GStreamer to handle the encoding, since it will allow me to easily add MP3 support without needing to add any patent-encumbered code to the extension. It will also allow me to remove the quality option from the initial dialog window, since that will be handled by the GStreamer profiles (for an example, look at how Sound-Juicer handles it). The only thing the dialog would need to show would be the format you wish to encode to, and where the files should be written to. Of course, adding GStreamer support will be significantly more work since I’ve only played around with it sparingly, so it will be a while before I implement that.

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Serenity Now

a bridge 01

Went to Alum Creek today to ride, since the weather here is beginning to turn unpleasant. Can’t really complain too much about today though, since it was about 55 degrees. Compared to last week when the temperature hovered around the 40 degree mark, it felt almost spring-like. The trail was a little sketchy in some of the turns due to all the fallen leaves, but overall it was a blast. Hopefully, this weather will stick around for awhile, and I can squeeze in a few more rides before the snow comes.

Finally got around to seeing Serenity last Tuesday. Overall, it was one of the better movies I’ve seen this year. Of course, since I also enjoyed Firefly, that’s not terribly surprising.

I’ve been spending more time than usual working on various FE and GNOME projects, since the weather has been turning nasty. I managed to push out new packages in FE for Liferea, SDL_mixer, and XChat-GNOME. I’ve also spent some time working on adding some help documentation to Gossip. While working on that, it made me realize how poor my writting skills have gotten over the years. Maybe that realization will be enough incentive for me to post here more often.

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Out Into The Woods

VelociRaptor

After finally healing and getting over a nasty case of poison ivy from my last ride at Alum, I figured it was about time to head out there again. In addition, I finally got around to replacing my old tires with a new set of WTB VelociRaptor’s. Of course, this wasn’t an easy project since WTB tires are a real pain-in-the-ass to get on & off the rim.

Regardless, this time I figured I’d ride a little more conservatively, since I didn’t really want to get laid-up again. Having a new set of tires made a world of difference out on the trails, since the trail is thickly covered in leaves and my old tires were pretty much bald. Here’s a photo to give you an idea of how many leaves are already down. Pretty soon, it’s gonna be just about impossible to even see the trail.

chloe

In less pleasant news, we had to put my mother’s cat, Chloe, to sleep yesterday. She was about 20 years old, and her health had seriously deteriorated the last couple of months, so it wasn’t totally unexpected.

During the weeks while I waiting for my leg to heal, I spent some time watching some of the various tech video podcasts that are out on the web. Pretty amazing just how many there are. Some of the ones I’ve sampled have been TWiT (the one with Lawrence Lessig is worth watching. Here’s a link to the bittorrent), commandN, Diggnation, DigitalLifeTV and NerdTV. Most of the video podcasts seem to be done by refugees from TechTV, but it is interesting to see what content is being made available out on the web.

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Alum Phase 2 (or How To Screw Up On An Easy Section)

Alum Creek Phase 2 Sign

Went to Alum Creek yesterday for the official opening of the Phase 2 trail. It’s a pretty cool trail that is set-up in such a way, that you can go a lot faster due to the longer stretches of graded trail, unlike Phase 1. It also is much more technical than Phase 1, as you can tell by this warning sign. The ride went pretty good until about 2 miles in, when I was doing one of the many log crossings. I went in a little too quick, and didn’t see what was on the other side when I placed my front wheel down, and ended up going over the handlebars. Unlike most of the other times I go over the front, this happened so quick that I was unable to click out of my pedals in time. I think I ended up hurting myself more against my bike frame, than the contact with the trail. My left leg banged up against the frame so hard, that my upper thigh is almost totally black and blue, and I can barely walk on it. Luckily, I was able to ride out, and decided to stop for a few photos whenever I needed to rest. Hopefully, my leg will be healed before next weeks race. Here’s some of the photos I took on the trail:

  • Here’s a cool bridge, and from a different angle. Pretty scary, since it’s only about 3 feet wide, and at it’s highest point it’s about an 8 foot drop.
  • Here’s one of the many sketchy log crossing from the the front, and the back.
  • A narrow creek bridge, which unfortunately I didn’t capture the long steep off-camber trail that leads to it.

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Alum

Up-Ramp

Went riding yesterday at Alum Creek State Park. I think this was the first time I had ever riden it, where the trails weren’t a muddy bog. It’s a totally different experience than riding in California. Out west, it’s mainly stony trails and large climbs, while here it’s mainly roots, logs, and tight single track. The trail has got around 25 or so bridges, that cross the various creeks and ravines that make up the trail. In addition, there are numerous ramps and other stunts, that are built so people can cross the logs that are too large to clear by bunny-hopping. The picture to the right is one of the large ramps, it’s hard to tell by the photo, but that log is slightly larger than chest level. Here’s a photo of the backside. Right after I took this photo, some guy came blazing over this, and then immediately bit it on the log that follows this one. The dude ended up dislocating his shoulder, but didn’t want any help since ‘this happens all the time’, and proceeded to knock his shoulder back into place.

Down

Overall, I didn’t have many problems riding the trail until about an hour or so in. I was coming in a little to hot down a hill onto one of the many bridge crossings, and made the classic mistake of looking where you don’t want to go. You can guess my outcome, by the picture to the right. Luckily, after launching myself off the bridge and landing in the water and mud six feet below, I came out pretty much unscratched (except for my ego). After pulling myself and my bike out of the mud, I figured it be a good time to take a couple of photos.

There’s a race here on October 9th and after riding it this weekend though, I had my doubts since the trails are so tight, and there’s not much room to pass people. If you get stuck behind someone that is real slow, you’d be screwed. After looking at the map though, there’s a decent amount of open riding before and after the trailhead, so I’m thinking there’s enough room that I can drop most of the slow riders before even hitting the trail. Of course, this could also be wishful thinking on my part.

Here’s a few more photos from this weekend:

  • Yet another bridge, this one has got about a 20 foot or so drop.
  • A shot of the lake that the trail surrounds, though in this photo it looks like a bayou
  • These trees are just barely wider than my handlebars
  • One of the many stunts built along the trail. This one leads to a log that crosses a ravine.

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Polar Pacer

Polar Pacer 01

After talking to Ken today, I figured I would get off my ass, and finally get around to replacing the battery for my heart rate monitor. For some reason, I thought it used a different connector for the battery, and this was the main reason I had procrastinated replacing the battery for so long. Obviously, I must have had my head up my ass, though. It ended up taking all of 5 minutes to take apart, and after a quick trip to Target and $4.00 later, I had my replacement battery. Here’s a photo of it running now.

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Bikes & Barbeque

RibFest 02

Went riding today, and decided to head downtown for the Columbus Jazz & RibFest. Pretty amazing how many people were down there, considering how hot and humid it was. The hardest part was deciding which vendor to get some barbeque from. You can’t really tell from the photo to the right, but there where vendors almost all the way to buildings in the background, and in addition there were more on the other side of the river. I figured since I still needed to ride home (around 8 miles or so), I would refrain from getting a half-rack of ribs, and go with a shredded beef sandwich from the Texas Thunder booth.

RibFest 01

Unfortunately, between the sandwich, oppressive heat, and a strong headwind, the ride home was rough. I must have only had an average speed of 12 mph. Depending how the weather is tomorrow, I might head down there again, and sample some of the vendors on the west-side of the river.

Picked up a copy of The Clash on Broadway from the library this week. Very cool, has pretty much every Clash song you can think of on it.

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