July 15 2011 Ride: Two for the Price of One

With Vancouver a distant memory, so to speak, I felt I should catch up with some of my more recent rides. Then I realized I had taken one I couldn’t actually… well… remember taking. This is probably because three days with my child erased my mind completely.

I do remember taking the photographs, however, so we’ll include a few just for fun. These are apparently from July 8th. I thought I’d throw in some alliteration, just to mix things up.

1. Raleighs Love Roses

2. Raleighs Also Enjoy Rabbits (don’t I have your baby picture?)

3. Raleighs… uh… Like Taking Photographs of the… uh… Moon.

I think, if I do ever finish Dream Bike, that moon will be the headbadge, somehow.

I know this ride was on the Cedar River Trail, and given the photos, I must have ridden about 16 miles. Clearly, other than rodents and large, rocky satellites, there wasn’t much memorable here. I think I need to get to these a bit sooner!

So, after returning from Vancouver, I hit the same trail to take a quick ride. Since my nine-day cycling trip to Ireland with my students is less than two weeks away, I’ve been thinking a lot about what to wear. See, I don’t really like cycling-specific clothing. I’m fairly modest, and I don’t really want to ride around with my teen-age male students while wearing skin-tight lycra. And really, no one wants me to do that. NO ONE. Another factor is that I can’t wear wool, as I’m allergic to it (Smartwool socks seem to be the only exception to this, probably because they are so far down from my nose!), and synthetic clothing gets stinky quickly, so no jerseys. But casual clothing isn’t always a good choice for an extended bike ride, as seams can be in the wrong place, sweat can appear in odd creases, and chain grease is nearly impossible to get out (yes, I know about Simple Green).

A few weeks ago, I bought myself a “blouson”-style shirt at Ross for less than $8 that seemed perfect to me. Blouson means that the shirt is fitted at the hips, then loose above this, with wide, bat-wing sleeves. Since I am still fitted at the hips but loose above that, I like this style very much. It hides numerous issues. After due consideration, I took a “thank you” $25 gift card one of my students had given me at the end of the year, and headed back to Ross. I secured that same blouse in two more colors, and an unexpected pair of very hot-pink cropped pants: $26. Score!

Now those pants are Pink with a capital-P! Why does this outfit make me so happy? I don’t know. But I received several call-outs of “nice pants!” from other women on this ride, so I think I have an unqualified success. Will I wear the pink pants in Ireland? Uh, no. They’re very fitted at the calves, and when actually sitting on the bike, not all that comfortable. It’s my Impressive Calf Muscles that are the issue here, you see. Gigantic! Like melons!

Anyway, I do like the blouses over a tank top, or in the other colors (which are less see-through) alone, for biking. They are light as air, easy-care and soft. My armpits never make contact with the fabric! The looseness can be either sort of baggy-elephant, or elegantly drape-y. I’ve decided it’s the latter.

Boy, can you tell I was born a red-head? Look at those freckles!

I did cave today, and buy not only cycling-specific padded shorts (the kind with shorts-over-shorts, for modesty), but also… gasp… padded cycling undies! Yes, it’s true. We have a couple days where our rides may be quite long, depending on the ferries to the Aran Islands, and the idea of riding 55 miles on a cheap bike seat without wearing chamois didn’t appeal. And I bought a new cycling-specific rain jacket on clearance (I’m tired of the one I own always getting snagged on my seat, because it’s slightly too short for biking). And a beanie for cold Irish mornings. Fortunately, I had a larger-than-expected dividend at REI. While I am always grateful for my dividend at this time of year, I do wonder what the heck I bought there last year to earn it! REI is like a black hole for my money, I swear.

At any rate, a ride like this doesn’t demand cycling-specific stuff. And The Raleigh isn’t the sort of bike that would look good in lycra.

Purple flowers, however, are a whole different ballgame. The Raleigh, apparently, is quite game for those:

That’s two, with the foxgloves.

That’s three, with the… uh… tall stuff.

And here’s four, with the butterfly bush:

Purple must be a popular color in the flower world. I wonder what the biology of that is? Well, we didn’t see any butterflies taking advantage of the bush above, but we did see this guy:

There’s a nice Cedar Waxwing for you (surely, someone will post here: “No, that’s a Bohemian Waxwing,” because I was too lazy to go out and get the Sibley bird book out of my car). I don’t see many of these pretty guys around here. I think this is my second waxwing sighting since I began paying more attention to birds about ten years ago. The new camera does allow for some nice long-distance close-ups, with a more powerful zoom than my old camera. It also has a feature which allows me to disable the digital zoom. I really like that, as digital zoom is Not a Good Thing and I have ruined many a close-up by zooming into it by accident on my old cameras.

Well, birds, bushes and blouses aside, I think I’m nearly ready for Ireland. I need some new narratives (clearly) and it will surely provide them. Though really, the Pacific Northwest ain’t so shabby, all things considered…

rideblog hot-weather bonus, for all you readers in the East (I must have a few!). Here’s our family recipe for lightly-sweetened iced tea, with water-to-tea-to-sugar proportions and everything. This is so popular with family and friends that we sometimes have to brew two gallons a day!

What you’ll need:

1 1-gallon pitcher (Rubbermaid sells these everywhere)

1 2-liter saucepan

3 bags of black tea of your choice

3/4 cup sugar

Directions: Fill the saucepan nearly to the brim with cold water, and bring it to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and drop in the tea bags. Let the tea brew for at least a couple hours. I often leave it overnight! Then remove the tea bags and pour it into the pitcher. Stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Fill the pitcher up the rest of the way with more cold water. Stir again. Chill.

This makes the BEST iced tea in the world. It is not too sweet, not too strong. Pour some into a water bottle, add plenty of ice and the diluted mix will be fabulous mid-ride on a hot day. Our whole family drinks it with dinner each night, all summer long. It’s… yes… better than Peach Snapple. Really. Okay, close. Almost. If I bought some peach syrup it would be. Probably. It’s really, really good.

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15 Responses to July 15 2011 Ride: Two for the Price of One

  1. Auchen says:

    Thank you for the iced tea inspiration – It’s what we need around here lately !

    It’s a good thing to have a Raleigh, so you can save on Lycra at REI. They are a money-sink anyway. I buy my cycle-specific garb at Lowes, Yessiree mam…Just sprung for a new roll of name brand (3M) duct tape for my pant cuff. (The cheap stuff tends to bake on in this weather.)

  2. rideblog says:

    Auchen, that’s hysterical! I was wondering where you were going with that.

  3. Wade says:

    I use the REI visa for everyday purchases (always paying it off each month). It builds up a nice dividend for the year.

  4. rideblog says:

    Wade, that would be my downfall, I think! We’d be living in a tent… a really nice tent with lots of noseeum netting and three rooms that weighs less than five pounds, but a tent…

  5. w1gfh says:

    Hey SnarkyPup,

    Prompted by your cog change I did the exact same thing: new 20T cog and new chain. I did my first ride today. I think it’s VERY subtle. I do notice I have a bit more climbing power – and 3rd gear is practically unchanged. Although it’s not any huge difference. Now I know why all those people kept telling me to go 22T!

    http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/9379/sdc10738p.jpg

  6. rideblog says:

    Uh oh, w1gfh, was it not enough? I mostly wanted to keep that third gear, which I use all the time, and just add a bit more climbing power. It’s easy to switch again if you want more, right?

  7. w1gfh says:

    “I mostly wanted to keep that third gear, which I use all the time, and just add a bit more climbing power” That’s exactly what I wanted, too. And now that I have it, I just think I have to take some time getting used to its subtle advantages. Yes, it’s easy to change –once you get the hang of it. I spent a whole afternoon with a chain tool lengthening and shortening chain. But now I’m an expert.

  8. rideblog says:

    I hope it works out, w1gfh. I find that while I used to just use the third gear on occasion, I actually ride in it about 80% of the time now. It’s how I get to 17mph on a Sports. I find the bike more usable now. That said, it really needs a tune-up. One of the cable guides popped off mid-ride, it squeaks and shrieks and rattles… Maybe it’s a bit TOO usable with the 20t!

  9. w1gfh says:

    Yes I get squeaks and shrieks too. I’m going to squirt some oil in all the fender bolts and see if that does anything.

  10. rideblog says:

    Mine appeared first in the cranks, but are now coming from everywhere. I think I either need to bathe the bike in oil, or take it in for a tune-up. I’m going to opt for latter, more expensive but less messy option.

  11. w1gfh says:

    Have you seen the handmade Alario touring bags made by ZaphodBeeblebrox of Bikeforums? I think it’d look swell on your bike.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/752516-New-%28old%29-saddlebag-design?p=12994753&viewfull=1#post12994753

  12. rideblog says:

    Zaphod and I have an understanding :). When he’s ready to start shipping those suckers, I’m in.

  13. w1gfh says:

    BTW: I squirted WD-40 on all the fender bolts and where the brake bolts attach to the fenders. I removed the seat and squirted WD-40 down the seat tube into the bottom bracket (sort of hold the tube as vertical as possible while doing it). No more squeaks and squawks from the bike!

  14. rideblog says:

    w1gfh, The Raleigh needs a good tune-up. I went to my trusted local shop and the good mechanic there was able to show me some play in the BB (not sure how that works, but he said he’ll tighten it up and grease it up and put in a new cotter pin, or something). I think it’s ready for an annual regreasing and tune-up anyway. Since I can’t maintain it myself, I just need to bite the bullet and take ‘er in. I’ll pick it up after my Ireland trip.

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