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One more bike dork joins the ranks - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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One more bike dork joins the ranks [Aug. 18th, 2006|05:46 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

When man invented the bicycle, he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.

--Elizabeth West

I. Love. Riding. My. Bike. So. Much.

I can now ride for a few hours consecutively, although I haven't managed to do that for more than one consecutive day yet. (You people who do RAGBRAI amaze me.) Crossing the river for the first time was exciting. (I thought that getting on and off the Hawthorne bridge would be an ordeal, but it really wasn't so bad. Next challenge: different bridge.) And I'm learning about my bike, too -- slowly. I've figured out how to put the chain back on when it gets disengaged, as seems to happen when I look at it wrong; this involved not being afraid to touch the derailleur, so, you know, that was big. And I've discovered that I have an elliptical chainwheel. It's just barely elliptical, so you have to glance at it more than casually to know that it's not round. I couldn't tell you whether it really makes a difference or not, since I haven't had anything to compare it to, but it seems to be a good conversation starter. I'm starting to think that that's half the point of getting fancy stuff for your bike.

Used to be I didn't get how people could bike to, like, work -- wouldn't they arrive tired and covered in sweat and grime? But now it seems eminently possible. Similarly, I always used to feel left out when my cyclist friends talked about their rigs. Now I can actually join in. I'm definitely turning into a bike dork.

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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-19 05:36 am (UTC)
Yay, indeed. I used to bike around Denver a little bit when I lived there in the summer of '01 and was borrowing a bike from my uncle's ex-girlfriend (heh). It was a pleasant ride from Englewood, where I lived, to the downtown library.

I recall Denver drivers not being as friendly as Portland drivers. But then again, I was a lot worse at riding my bike then, so maybe I deserved to be yelled at.

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From: freyley
2006-08-19 02:54 am (UTC)
Your derailleurs have hi and low settings for how far to take the chain when shifting gears, and if your chain is coming off a lot it's likely that these settings are wrong. It takes about 30 seconds, with a bike stand, to set them correctly. It takes 5 minutes or so to do it without a bike stand and is fun. I looked on the net for a howto, but mostly just found the words "trial and error is fun!"

Yay biking.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-19 05:20 am (UTC)
That's very possible. But it's never come off while I'm on the bike and shifting (that would be pretty scary), just when I lean the bike against a wall or something. In any case, I'd like to get the thing up on a bike stand just to get a good look at what's going on. I wish I had a bike stand.

Christmas list: bike stand; food processor; kitchen knives; OH MY GOD, WHEN DID I BECOME A GROWNUP.
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From: rmfleming
2006-08-19 05:14 pm (UTC)
hey, I do RAGBRAI. link me!
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-19 06:22 pm (UTC)
Well, the thing is, I seemed to remember you had done it, but there was nothing on your plan about it, so as a result of that extremely exhaustive research, I decided, "Oh, well, I could be wrong."

Hey everyone: Rachel does RAGBRAI and she's awesome.
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[User Picture]From: eliciel
2006-08-19 06:11 pm (UTC)
1) That is a really good quote. A really really good quote which makes a really good point.

2) *sigh* I used to be a consumate biker during high school, but it was my impression then as now that I will be too poor for the next many years (and have too many other beloved priorities) to really become a bike dork because I can't afford the nifty gear. Being poor sucks and I've been it for a long freaking time. :-p

3) Elliptical chainwheels, eh? Before I followed the link, I thought you were saying that your manufacturer had produced a dud.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-19 06:45 pm (UTC)
I've been really, really lucky in that people keep giving me stuff for my bike -- starting, of course, with the bike itself. If it hadn't been for being surrounded by generous people who are into biking, none of this would have happened. I owe them a lot.

I thought you were saying that your manufacturer had produced a dud.

Heheheh, I can just imagine that conversation. "Hey, we need to have a discussion about the new wheels." "What kind of a discussion? We just shipped 50,000 units." "Eeeeyeah, there's sort of a problem. I just heard back from the testers, and they're sort of...not round."
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2006-08-19 06:22 pm (UTC)
i boke to work every day for the last two weeks. it's much more fun than the bus.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-19 06:55 pm (UTC)
It totally is.

From where I live, riding to Hawthorne or Division is downhill there/uphill back, a pattern which probably applies to a lot of bike commutes in Portland, considering our geography. I think it works out well. Sometimes, if I'm kind of tired, I tell myself, "I'll just bike there and then bus it back." But usually, when it comes time to go home, I end up making the uphill trip back, just because it's better than waiting for the bus.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2006-08-19 11:41 pm (UTC)
Yay for becoming a bike dork!

I freaked out the first few times my chain popped out too...

(and I'm just now getting comfortable riding mostly-one-handed. I'm not sure how great of an idea it is yet, but walking places is so slow...)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-20 05:53 am (UTC)
Say, what do you think of Atlanta as a biking city? And just, you know, as a city in general?

Not like I'm...considering Georgia Tech...or anything...
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2006-08-21 01:16 am (UTC)
Atlanta is Pretty Bad as a biking city, on the whole. It's doable-but-dangerous if you stay in the downtownish area, but there aren't very many bike lanes around here, and those aren't all that safe.

But there's a pretty good community of Bike Dorks :)

*laughs* And what are you not considering, in the Tech arena? It might just be the "this is my sixth year here" talking, but I'm getting a little disenchanted with the research going on 'round these parts...
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-21 01:43 am (UTC)
What am I not considering? A lot of things.

I first started thinking about GA Tech when I saw this, and then someone else independently recommended I check it out, and then I remembered that you went there. But if you're disenchanted...hm.

Oh, man. And Atlanta apparently ranks as one of the worst biking cities in America, according to the oft-cited-around-here Bicycling article that lists Portland as #1. Bummer, dude.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2006-08-21 02:14 am (UTC)
Ah! Maybe this would be right up your alley; I haven't heard anything about this!

My disillusionment should be taken with a grain of salt -- I'm over in the fluffy saccharine AI and edutech worlds :) Maybe the harder, mathier groups on campus are cooler the ones I've been hanging out with.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-21 03:15 am (UTC)
Well, the thing is that I might end up doing the fluffy stuff, too. I'm not sure yet. One of my mentors at Grinnell has me looking at cognitive science programs, and I'm really intrigued by what's going on at a couple of them. It's actually got me considering incorporating music somehow. Not that that precludes mathiness in any way.
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[User Picture]From: geminus
2006-08-21 11:07 pm (UTC)
whoa, that chainwheel is pretty cool. i am not convinced of its use on a fixed gear bike, but still, pretty nifty.

also, careful about you start thinking is possible on a bike. ;) do it enough and one day you wake up thinking, yeah, you know, i could ride a hundred miles in a day sometime. trouble.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-25 11:24 pm (UTC)
i am not convinced of its use on a fixed gear bike

See, I don't know enough about it yet to know why I should be skeptical.

(Hmm. Maybe that's why I like doing things that I don't know very much about, like biking and cooking. Because doing them gives me a break from having to be the skeptic that I am the rest of the time.)
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