Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
I changed my mind and pulled out Big Bamboo, my Sector 9 New Lennox bamboo longboard. I haven't built up enough skill on the longboard yet to do any distance commuting with it, so I figured that if it started pouring, I'd be able to duck into the other condo tower in our complex, whereas on the Connie, I'd be miles out on the trail and exposed to both rain, and worse, lightning.
When I stepped outside, it was charcoal grey skies, just barely sprinkling, 70 degrees F, and very humid. It had that "rain" smell in the air, which I love. This was about 10:30 am. Off I rolled to the back of the parking lot where I like to practice with my longboard.
It happens that there's a very park-like design to our condo complex, with about 17 acres of grounds. A lot of it is lawn, and there's also an outdoor swimming pool, numerous trees, some scrub woods, and a pond. It's very pretty here. The Canada geese also think so. As you can see from one of the photos, when these Canadians invade a place, they leave quite a "gooseberry" minefield. That gets especially nasty when the gooseberries have just been rained on. This particular effect has caused Lake Michigan beaches to have to be closed because of elevated e-coli bacterial levels in the lake water after storms. Watch where you're rolling!
One of the things I'm enjoying about longboarding is the room it has for what I call "micro-improvements." It reminds me of Tai Chi that way, and in a couple of others as well. Tai Chi is all about a lifetime of incremental improvements in skill level. So is longboarding. They also are both all about balance and graceful, fluid motion. There are some serious differences as well; longboarding is all about how to get moved, Tai Chi is about how NOT to get moved. Still, they're enough alike that I'm trying to focus qui while rolling on my board.
This is where that video comes in. I think that longboarding has a deep element of grace when practiced correctly, and can be as beautiful in its own way as the Tai Chi forms are in theirs. This video, "Longboarding: Let Go" illustrates it wonderfully.
Kyle Chin is the skater I believe. His form here is sheer grace and mastery.
And below is noobie me, just trying to duck gooseberries in the parking lot. Still, today I noticed several improvements. I was able to get in another push starting off, so I'm getting much better rolling speed. I was also able for the first time to adjust my foot positions on the board while moving, and also found a slightly better angle for my lead foot. Subtle, steady, incremental improvements.
By the time I was done, it was 78 degrees F, and the air was so wet you could just about wring it out. I was sweating buckets - which means I got some solid rolling exercise. I'm loving both my bicycles and my board - and I'm thrilled to have the option to adapt to conditions.
Ride on, and put your qui in it.
Here's the vid link, at least:
When I get to a real keyboard, I'll re-write this post from scratch. Meanwhile, I need to get showered and centered. Uhg!
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Sit outside on a pretty, warm day and read Bicycle Times, of course! Well, that, and daydream about bicycling the prairie path tomorrow...
Dear BT Staff,
I'm looking for an alloy rim that looks as close to chromed-steel as possible and will spoke to my original Schwinn Continental 10-speed front and rear hubs.
I'm going for as close to the original look of these bikes as possible. I have a '72 and a '75 that both use the original Schwinn 27" x 1 & 1/4" chromed-steel rims.
Needless to say, I can't get a reliable bead seal with modern tires, they fit a bit looser than the original Schwinn tires did. With the bead seal issue and the flex of steel rim sidewalls, I can't put over 60 psi or I blow the tubes out between the tire and rim. I've had six flats this Summer. (Two were dry-rotted tire sidewalls and one was a broken spoke)
At 6'6" and 310lbs, I'm facing a lot of drag on crushed-limestone rail-trails and a lot of bottom-outs on rough pavement at 60 psi.
I love these old bikes, and except for the flats, they suit my riding perfectly. How can I do an original-looking resto-mod on my beautiful vintage velos?
Thank you in advance,
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
...that's how I would decribe this morning.
It took me a few rolls to get warmed up - both figuratively & literally. I had to wear a hoodie. It was only 50 degrees F out there, and breezy.
The breeze was blowing in my uphill direction, so it was slowing me a bit on the way down. I was losing about twenty yards of travel. That added a bit to the workout.
I saw my friend Pete out riding his bike, and stopped to say "hi." We were talking about how biking and longboarding are good for your balance. Pete said something that stuck with me. (He often does, he's about 25 years older than I am, and pretty smart.) Pete said "There are three balancing acts we all have to do in life; head, heart, and wallet."
At any rate, it was a great ride.
Monday, September 16, 2013
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Thursday, September 12, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Monday, September 9, 2013
From: "Mary Lauran Hall, Alliance for Biking & Walking" <email@example.com>
Date: Sep 9, 2013 10:57 AM
Subject: Which photographer deserves a new folding bike?
Thursday, September 5, 2013
From: "Brighid O'Keane, Alliance for Biking & Walking" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sep 5, 2013 4:03 PM
Subject: Apply for a Scholarship to the 2013 Walking Summit
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The weather was gorgeous this morning.
I grabbed my Nutcase Airmail helmet and my Sector 9 New Lennox bamboo cruiser and hit the parking lot for a good hour of push and roll.
I'm approaching longboarding in a fashion similar to Tai Chi. Focus and meditate on feeling an energetic connection with the board under your feet, and the earth under your board. I'm in no hurry, and I like practicing balancing on the board as it slows to a near-stop. With the springiness of the bamboo, and the height and flexibility of the double-articulated Sidewinder trucks, it's a deep challenge. Perfect as we move into Autumn, which tends to bring me to a more introspective and meditative state of mind.
After rolling around for an hour, I went on Cafepress.com and designed a new longboarding tee shirt. I'll link it here later.
I just saw three young longboarders cruising around downtown Chicago this evening. Someday I'll play like that.
From: "Alliance for Biking & Walking" <email@example.com>
Date: Sep 4, 2013 4:13 PM
Subject: Streetside E-News: September 2013