Tuesday, November 25, 2014

People are just like Dogs

Animals behave badly when put in a cage.

I decided to walk along the Jordan River trail to get to work today. There are several backyards that boarder the trail with dogs fenced in. Of course as you walk by the dogs bark at you. This reminds me of Punta Arenas.

While I was waiting for the weather to clear so I could fly to Antarctica I didn't have much to do so I spent my time walking around Punta Arenas. There are an amazing number of dogs there. Most of them are just lying in the streets or on the sidewalks. For the most part people leave the dogs alone and the dogs leave the people alone.

However, there are also a lot of dogs behind fences. The dogs caged in by the fence seem vicious. As you walk past it seems that if they could break out of their cage they would tear you apart. The strangest dog was one that was walking the street seeming harmless, as I passed by he hurried into his yard so that he could turn from a mild mannered dog in to a vicious killer.

It seems strange that the same nice people that will politely offer to let you go first at the grocery store change when they get in a car. They turn from a polite friendly person into someone that kill you for being in their way rather than show a little patience. 

I think it is because like dogs, when people are caged up in a car they are trapped and act poorly. 

I just love to ride my bike.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Deep Snow

The snow up American Fork Canyon is officially deep!

Several people had posted pictures and stories about their rides up the canyon over the weekend. There were stories about two feet of fresh snow and having to push the bike both up and down. More snow must have fallen over night and filled in any tracks they left behind.

It was rideable to start with, but before long the snow was so deep that each pedal stroke left a footprint in the snow on either side of the tire tracks.

Eventually the snow got so deep that the chainring was dragging in the snow and I had to get off and push.

And yes even going back down required some pushing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Grateful for the Bike Park

Day 5: I'm grateful for the Mountain Ranch Bike Park.

Cactus on the side of the trail
Six, or so, years ago a few mountain bikers got together and proposed a bike park in Eagle Mountain to be built under the power lines just south east of Nolan Park. Initially there were some objections from neighboring homes.

The city council saw the value in having a wholesome activity that would allow the residents of Eagle Mountain to get some great exercise. Over the years I think the bike park has been a good addition to the community, and I frequently get people coming into my store telling me how glad they are to have a bike park next to their homes.

There are a lot of other great trails in Eagle Mountain outside the bike park. I frequently use the trails in Cedar Pass Ranch and on the hill north of Hidden Hollow Elementary on my commute to work.

A little off the subject but I saw this quote and loved it.
“Those that ask the question will never understand the answer. Those that understand the answer will never ask the question.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes
I just love to ride my bike. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

A Perfect Day

November seventh, 2014 was a perfect day. The crisp autumn air was tempered by the warm rays of sunlight descending from a nearly cloudless sky. The mountain biking trail started out with a daunting climb, 40 switchbacks filled with roots and rocks. It was sure to test the strength and skills of even the greatest riders.

Jake and his fat bike with 5 inch wide tires answered the call of the trail and attacked the root and rock filled climb. With seemingly super hero strength and agility Jake clear the top of the mountain. Then the fun began. Jake descended down the leaf covered trails, crossing fields of snow, and skillfully hoping up and over the deadfall trees blocking the trail.

I followed trying to keep Jake in sight. Through the aspen and oaks I had to be careful that the trees didn't grab me by the McLeod and yank me off the bike. Watching Jake round the switchbacks as we descended out of the trees and back into the exposed rocky trail, if it was an Olympic event he would have scored a 10 on the switchback.

Once onto the rough and rocky hillside trail it became even harder to keep up. Jake floated over the rocks making it look effortless. Yes he is that good.

And yes November seventh 2014 was a perfect day.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I Should Have Majored in English

I am bad at grammar and spelling. Anyone that has read my blogs will probably agree.

In school I always got bad grades in English and history. I think I just had a bad attitude about English. I always thought that spelling was a bunch of dumb rules that didn't make sense, and were always being broken anyway. Between the influences of Latin and French it seemed to me that English was a pretty messed up language.

I did bad in history because it usually required too much reading, which of course is an English subject and so my bad attitude would kick in.

Looking back though I really should have majored in English. Instead I started out as an electrical engineering major and switched to computer science. Computer science was easy for me and seemed the best way to get done with school and continue my career. I really didn't learn much in my computer science classes, my real learning of computer science was learned by actually being a programmer.

Being able to write decently has always been difficult for me. It would frustrate me when someone was more concerned with grammar in a design document than the design. Some people just don't know what is important. OK, maybe good writing is important.

All that said, and I think because I am so bad at English, it drives me crazy when people make some of the most basic mistakes in English. The biggest one is "I" vs. "me".

Me is a great word, but it seems like people are more afraid of saying me than of most of the vile swearwords. Using me when it should be I makes you sound folksy. Not good but excusable. Using I when it should be me makes you sound stupid, or worse, stupid trying to be smart.

It also bugs me when people use the wrong homophones, too, two, to or there, they're, their, or know, no for example, but I think I am more tolerant of those. Maybe because I had to put effort into getting them right, but I and me just sound wrong when used wrong and if an English dunce like me can get it right then it seems like it shouldn't be so hard for everyone else.

I just like to ride my bike

Thank You For Not Honking

Day 4: I am grateful for people that don't honk at me.

One year ago I was getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime,
biking to the South Pole.
I commute by bike most every day, which means I get to interact with the drivers on our roads. Since it is November I thought it would be nice to post some of the things I am grateful about the drivers in the area. I know that the conflict between bikes and cars can get out of hand sometimes, but there are also a lot of good drivers out there.

Because I own a bike shop and interact with people every day there are a lot of people in Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs, and surrounding areas that know who I am. Occasionally they will see me riding my bike on the roads and give a little honk on the horn to say hi. It really is a nice gesture, however riding a bike on the road means you always have to be on the watch out for cars.

When someone honks the horn my instinct is that someone is about to hit me with their car. So, when I hear someone honk, even when they are just trying to say hi, I practically jump out of my skin, it scares me! I appreciate the friendliness, but I am really grateful for those that don't honk.

I just love to ride my bike. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Grateful for Forgiveness

Day 3: I am grateful for drivers that are forgiving.

I commute by bike most every day, which means I get to interact with the drivers on our roads. Since it is November I thought it would be nice to post some of the things I am grateful about the drivers in the area. I know that the conflict between bikes and cars can get out of hand sometimes, but there are also a lot of good drivers out there.

Cyclists are in someways just like motorists, we make mistakes. Fortunately there are some good drivers in Eagle Mountain that understand that cyclists are not perfect. We should stop at stop signs and obey the same laws that cars should obey. People in cars frequently do a rolling stop at stop signs as do cyclists. Just because someone else violates the law does not make OK, but it is nice when drivers understand that nobody is perfect.

I really am grateful to the drivers that forgive my dumb mistakes and don't put my life in jeopardy just to prove that I was wrong. In a bike vs car accident the person on the bike ALWAYS loses.

I just love to ride my bike.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Election Day

Day 2: I am grateful for the right to vote.

Today is election day. Normally I ride my bike around some of the trails in Eagle Mountain on the way to work. Today after finishing the trails instead of just heading into work I took a detour to the polling station. It really is a great privilege to be able to vote.

I'm not sure where I went wrong with my oldest son. He always votes for the wrong party. But even if you are going to vote for the wrong person you should go out and vote.

I just love to ride my bike.

Monday, November 03, 2014

I am Grateful for Clean Air

Day 1:  I am grateful for those that turn their cars off instead of letting them idle.

I commute by bike most every day, which means I get to interact with the drivers on our roads. Since it is November I thought it would be nice to post some of the things I am grateful about the drivers in the area. I know that the conflict between bikes and cars can get out of hand sometimes, but there are also a lot of good drivers out there.

Cold winter days often trap the air in the valley, and Utah Valley air can get quite nasty during the winter (well during the summer also). So, I am grateful for those that help keep the air clean by turning their cars off instead of letting them idle.

Here is some information from http://utahcleancities.org/idlefree-utah
Not idling saves money
It is estimated that the average driver idles his or her vehicle for 10 minutes each day. Considering, an idling car wastes up to 0.5 gallon per hour, drivers all across America are consuming significant amounts of fuel (that they have paid for) to go nowhere. Over time this translates to considerable fuel costs and engine wear.

Not idling reduces pollution
When a vehicle is idling, it continues to release emissions into the air.  Additionally, when a vehicle is not moving, more pollutants are able to enter the cab.

Not idling supports public health
Tailpipe emissions contribute to Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in the air, and the formation of ground‐level ozone. These pollutants aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular problems, especially in children who take more air into their lungs per minute than adults.

Additionally, in many areas in the state and across the nation idling your vehicle is against the law. However, your safety and the safety of your passengers is always the number one priority. Please use your best judgment when weather conditions are extreme and never turn off your vehicle in traffic.

Idling Myths

The engine should be warmed up before driving.
Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. With today's modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.

Idling is good for your engine.
Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. Fuel is only partially combusted when idling because an engine does not operate at its peak temperature. This leads to the build up of fuel residues on cylinder walls that can damage engine components and increase fuel consumption.

Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and uses more gas than if you leave it running.
Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. The bottom line is that more than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
You may not be able to avoid keeping your engine running when you're stopped at a traffic signal or stuck in slow-moving traffic. But other times idling is unnecessary.

I just love to ride my bike

My Bicycle Store