Saturday, January 30, 2010

So, yesterday they said...

... we'd get maybe an inch of snow.

Well, here's the shop at about 4:00 this afternoon... as you can see, there's probably about 4 inches of snow on the ground at this point, with more still falling. Now, to their credit, the weather folks DID revise their forecast... this morning, when I woke up, they were saying 1 to 3 inches, and by the time I got to work, it was 2 to 4... and by 11 am they were talking about 4 to 6, which is about what it looks like we'll end up with.

Unexpected, but it sure is pretty. Not good for business in the bike world, alas. But I DID get a chance to use my Christmas presetn from my boss, John. You can see it there in the picture below... a brand spankin' new snow shovel! :-) Why is that so exciting? Well, because for the last 4 winters I've worked here, we've always used short handled grain scoops, which just kill my lower back. So real, long-handled snow shovel is a joy to use!

Amazing Misty Moon

Okay, not so much mist as thin, high clouds, but it looked like the moon was peering through a veil of mist tonight as I walked home through the woods. Beautiful night, lovely walk. I could even see the deer pretty clearly as the leapt through the brush, anxious to put distance between me and them.

More pics at:

Full Misty Moonlight Jan 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My cat is wonderful, but...

... I could live without some of the little "gifts" I find now and then.

What's that all about? Well, this morning, after my shower, I was straightening out the covers on my bed... and there, much to my surprise and disgust, was the severed head of a mouse! EEEEWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!

Not the best way to start my day. It's not the first time he's left me a rodent, but it is the first time he's left it in my bed. Yuck.

Then again, I shouldn't be too shocked... a few years ago I was awoken by him chasing a mouse around in the bed... and he had it pinned on the pillow right next to my head when I opened my eyes!!!!

Anyway, I'm doing laundry tonight...

...and hoping this isn't some weird "Cat Godfather" message...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Bags For My Bike

Just before the holidays I bought a new set of bags for the bike I built from scratch, the bike I call the Goshawk, as Goshawk Cycles is the working title of my future framebuilding venture. Previously I had the bike set up with a British Carradice Nelson Longflap saddlebag, as you can see to the left.

I really like this style of saddlebag for day rides and such, but find that when I load up for overnight touring, with camping gear, it gets in the way of carrying anything on the rear rack, such as a sleeping pad or tent. So I wanted to see what I could find in the way of a front, or handlebar bag, and found a lovely one from Velo Orange, of Annapolis, MD. They are the same company that supplied me with the "Zeppelin" fenders and leather bar wrap, and I have to say, they offer a lot of really nice, classically styled bike parts and accessories. You can see the Campagne front bag here, mounted to a Nitto M12 front rack. It's held in place with leather straps, but a fancier solution would be to use a device known as a decaleur. Me, I'm fine with the straps.

The front bag is a good size and a handy place for things you might need while riding along, either on day rides or a tour. I tend to use it for snack, camera, cell phone, note pad, spare gloves or hat, etc. For more utilitarian items, such as a spare tube, patch kit, and tools, I like something under the saddle, so I opted for the matching Velo Orange Croissant (they obvioiusly went with a bread theme on names) bag, which you can see to the left here. It's just big enough for the essentials, and shouldn't interfere with stuff strapped to the top of the rack.

And below you can see the whole ensemble, ready to roll. If you click to enlarge the photos, and look closely, you may notice two other items... first is the small cylindrical light mount on the front rack, just below the bag. There is one on each side, and they are "Gino" mounts from Paul Components. In these photos you can just make out a very small headlight mounted, but now I have a pretty bright Cateye EL-530 mounted on each side. I haven't really done any night riding to speak of with that set up, but I think it's going to work rather well for me.

The other little detail is that if you look very closely you can just make out the battery powered Christmas lights I attached to the frame and racks. I rode around with them for a week or two, and planned to use them on Christmas Eve ride with our shop. Alas, as I noted earlier, the ride got "snowed out", so I instead hung the bike, lights and all, in the shop window for the holidays.

The last ingredients for a loaded tour is a set of panniers, front and rear. I am a big fan of the Ortlieb brand, and I've got a full set of their bags for touring. Keep your eyes on this site for future photos.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ice on the Potomac

Here's a photo I took today on the banks of the Potomac River, just below Great Falls, along the C&O Canal. Parts of the Canal are frozen hard... I saw a mom and her kids skating, and I took a walk on the water myself. Got a couple of lucky shots of a heron in flight, and also played around with some of the manual options on my little PHD ("push here dummy") camera. I even got a couple of nice night shots using a bridge railing and the self timer on the camera. Check them out here:

C&O Canal, January 5, 2010