Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sweets

In this season of sweet to downright saccharine messages, many of which are aimed at selling something, I want to share something I heard on the radio the other day.

It is undeniably sweet, in the best way, I think. Listen for yourself. If you're pressed for time, pick it up about 4 minutes in to skip to the best parts.


Whatever your Holiday Season looks like, have a sweet one.
R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Weak Leg Strong Leg?

Hey all! Hope you're enjoying your rides, if you're still at it. I have no doubt that most of us have one leg that is stronger than the other. Recently while riding I began feeling a noticeable difference, like my right leg was doing most of the work and my left was was just kind of coasting. In an effort to correct this, I have been consciously working harder with the weaker leg. It has only been a few days, but it already seems like relative balance has been restored.

Have any of you experienced such a thing? It's a first for me.

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Saturday, November 22, 2014

On Bikeyness - A Rantwick Manifesto

Being someone who reads and writes about cycling, (particularly transportational cycling) quite a bit, I have been drawn into and yet felt an aversion for bikey lobby stuff for years. I have come to a few conclusions about myself that aren't very flattering.

I am sick and tired of trying to care about whether any more people ride bikes. I ride a bike because I love the feeling. Many others ride bikes for all kinds of reasons, some just like mine, others not so much. Beyond a generally buoyant "the more the merrier" kind of feeling, I don't care about drawing anyone else to the activity, despite the societal boons associated with it.

People will take up cycling or they won't, depending on fashions, fads, gas prices, whatever. It really doesn't matter much to me; I will be riding regardless and loving almost every moment. What follows is what I think is currently true about me. I would love to hear from you about any or all of it.


RANTWICK ' S Bikey Manifesto

I will be riding whether there are bike lanes or tracks or paths or not.

I will be riding no matter what the current price of gas is.

I like seeing others on bikes. Their choices in terms of clothing or bicycle or style or purpose are irrelevant. I'm just pleased to see them.

I believe that most (but certainly not all) cyclist fatalities and injuries are the result of errors in judgement, lack of understanding or intentional risk-taking on the part of the cyclist.

I enjoy driving and cars and combustion engines very much. I sometimes drive faster than I should.

I think every driver of a motor vehicle (as part of the licensing process) should have to sit on a stationary bicycle and be overtaken at 60 km/h by 3 cars, one at 3 feet away, one at 2 feet away and one just 1 foot away from their handle bars.

I will not hesitate to annoy or even anger motorists with my riding when my safety on the road is at stake.

I will endeavour not to impede other road users to the best of my ability. If I am willing to cause others to lose a little time to keep myself safe, I should also be willing to lose a little of my own sometimes in the interest of keeping everybody else safe and moving well.

I believe that moving away from our current "culture of speed" will benefit us all and that it will happen someday. However, I have little faith that I will see much of a shift in my lifetime.

I don't care what my City is doing (or not doing) about bike infra. Just give me smooth pavement and I will take care of the rest.

I resent motorists who believe their speed/convenience trumps mine. I also resent the many people on bikes who make all other cyclists look bad by doing stupid  things. I have no illusions about these types of people ever going away.


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, November 21, 2014

Once A Snow Face...

Hey, remember snow face? He isn't a puppy anymore, but his early love of snow certainly hasn't waned...




I've been enjoying the snow too and have been riding the new bike with the studded tires on. We are getting along very well, and so far the Nexus 8 IGH has been performing just fine, even at -10C. Enjoy your weekend, snowy or not!


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lost In Translation

I've never been much of a picture guy. That is to say, while I obviously like sharing pictures and video, I have always preferred to fully immerse myself in the nice things I see and do rather than distract myself with taking photos of them. For this reason, leaving a video camera running on my helmet is perfect, since it is passive and requires nothing from me while it is running. I get to capture stuff and immerse myself in the good moments. This approach, however, is not without its shortcomings.

Today was the first day in London Ontario when some snow accumulated and stayed. The bike path along the river was beautiful on my way in to work, with snow seeming to top even the most delicate of branches. It was like riding through a poem.

Eager to share how great it all was, I brought up the video a few moments ago, hoping to grab a snippet or a still image that might show why I was so blissed out.

What I saw however, was a grey wet snowy morning from a bicyclist's point of view. The trees looked nice, sure, but the grey sky and slushy sounds made it all seem kind of cold and miserable. My reality in the ride was anything but; I was warm and comfortable and having a wonderful time, on my way to work of all things!

I probably won't change my approach, but I'm gaining an even greater respect for all the careful photographers out there. You are trying to capture things such that you convey as much of their wonder and beauty as possible... thanks for that. This morning I wish I had stopped to try and do the same, since so much was lost in translation.




The Snow Has Arrived! Yay!
R A N T W I C K

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Somebody Just Said It

I've known something for quite a while. Recently somebody took one look at me on the bike and just said it:





Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, October 31, 2014

Name Recognition

On my way to work today a guy on a bicycle yelled "Rantwick!" and gave me wave and a smile. I think he said "Rantwick"... I like to think so. I guess it could have been "Patrick"; we were in traffic and it was hard to hear. This is the first time somebody did that, and it felt kinda good.

Was it my online friend Richard Sleegers? Maybe, because it was the right neighbourhood I think. As luck would have it, my camera battery had died so I can't post a picture.

Hey, if you are that dude, leave me a comment so I know who you were. Getting recognized by somebody was pretty cool. I had better get crackin' on more posts!


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm Thankful For My Mirror

I recently added a mirror to my new, uber-functional bike. I've used a mirror on my flat bar bikes for years, but didn't really miss it much on other bikes.



The Mirrycle flat bar mirror, for my money, is the best around. Round and geeky looking, it adjusts position so well and displays so much that I have trouble believing there's anything better out there. Note that I haven't linked to any source for it; you'll find it easily online or in bike shops if you try, and I have given up on making money on recommending anything here on the blog.

I hadn't used a mirror since last winter. What I saw in my mirror this time around is what prompted this post. That mirror showed me that most of the drivers behind me were giving me lots of space, sitting back patiently to make their right turn behind me; waiting until there was sufficient room to pass.

That mirror was showing me all the good drivers that a cyclist doesn't notice because they're good. People love to focus on the bad. That waiter copped an attitude. That driver was an aggressive dick. That dude cut in line at the movies.

Why is it that we all love to focus so much upon the ways in which we have been wronged? I am a person who is lucky enough to have been born in Canada. Most of my readers live or were born in similarly great places. I am sick and tired of reading and watching people rage against small injustices, seemingly oblivious while they enjoy the best of everything.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be invested in making their communities more safe and better for all who live in them. I strongly believe that bikes and their expanded use can only improve the world, no matter where in the world they are. Cycling advocacy, the debates surrounding it and the people engrossed in it are all trying to help. Awesome work everybody, and thank you.

I am saying that many of us need to take a deep breath and look around at how good things are. When I ride my bike, I run into a bad or mean driver once in a while. My bike and my riding of it remain great things. Most drivers, annoyed or not, don't mess with my safety because they know it is important. That is a great thing too. There's a ton of great stuff going on, every day, woven so well into our societal fabrics that we don't even notice. Today, spurred on by what my bicycle mirror has shown me, that's what I am thankful for.



Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bad Good Morning

Despite my recent video featuring 100 Good Mornings, not all good mornings are good. Sometimes they scare people bigtime...



I've seen that woman a few times on my morning commute but this is the first I've ever spoken to her... she, obviously, was super nice. She may be a little twitchy about unsolicited kamikaze Good Morning attacks for a while though.

Wait a sec. That is redundant. You can't solicit a kamikaze attack. I don't think. Maybe you could, but that would be pretty damn weird, you know? Think about it all weekend and get back to me.

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, October 3, 2014

Things People Say Fridays #14: Hey, I'm A Star!

It has been almost a whole year since I posted one of these... I like this guy! He made me feel, for one fleeting moment, like people all over the world watch my videos. The truth is, I'm lucky if you watch my video, and that's with it being ready to go right here:




Did you play it? Oh God, please tell me you played it. I don't want to let this guy down... please take the video's request seriously and help me make him a STAR, even though he was joking! Please share this video as aggressively as you can, on every social media platform you know how to use.

How cool would it be for this guy to discover he's the star of a video that has gotten, like, a bazillion views? This was recorded back in April of this year (2014). He won't know what hit him!

Yer Fellow Star Maker,
R A N T W I C K

PS - If you're thinking, "huh, maybe I'll do that later", DO IT NOW instead! You'll forget, you know you will, leaving me bummed out that my idea never got any traction. You don't want that for me, do you? Jeez, I hope not.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Enveloped!

Kind of creeped me out at the time...



Yer Pal,

R A N T W I C K

Danny Mac Heart Attack (for me. He's fine)

My favourite youtube (and all around) sensation is back at it! SO GOOD.






Just SO GOOD.
R A N T W I C K

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Falling. Also, In Love.

Well, I've been falling over kind of too often lately. Good news is, it has been pretty fun.





The bike I've enjoyed falling over on so much is the replacement I bought with the insurance money after the theft of my beautiful fixed gear, Summer. I'll bet the visually astute among you caught a couple of cool features already.

The bike I bought is a 2014 CUBE Men's Touring City Bike. Touring City Bike? Wha? Exactly. CUBE is a German company with a pretty good rep, mostly for mountain bikes. Translation of bike model names isn't always the greatest. Germans love a good all-purpose bicycle and with this thing you can tell. After seeing the specs on it I bought it from Chain Reaction Cycles, the online monster based in Ireland.

When you see the following spec list, I'm hoping you will understand why I skipped the LBS on this purchase...


Frameset:
  • Frame: Aluminium Lite Trekking Comfort
  • Forks: SR Suntour NEX HLO
Groupset:
  • Chainset:Truvativ E400, 42T, 175mm
  • Bottom Bracket: Truvativ BB Power Spline
  • Shift Levers: Shimano Nexus Inter-8 SL-8S30, Revoshifter
Wheelset:
  • Rims: Schürmann Yak19, V-Brake
  • Front Hub: Shimano DH-3N31, Hub Dynamo, QR
  • Rear Hub: Shimano Nexus SG-8R36
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Factory 2.0, Black
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Spicer Active 40x622
Components:
  • Front Brake: Shimano BR-M422, V-Brake
  • Rear Brake:  Shimano BR-M422, V-Brake
  • Brake Levers: RFR 520 Aluminium Black
  • Handlebars: CUBE Rise Trail Bar, 660mm
  • Grips: CUBE Ergo Grip Shift
  • Headset: FSA No. 10 Semi-Integrated
  • Stem: CUBE Performance, 31.8mm
  • Saddle: Selle Royal Freccia
  • Seatpost: CUBE Performance Post, 31.6mm
  • Seatclamp: Scape Close 34.9mm
  • Pedals: Trekking Aluminium
Weight: 16 kg
Extra Features:
  • Front Light: Busch&Müller Lumotec IQ Fly T Senso Plus
  • Backlight: Busch&Müller Toplight Flat Plus
  • Kickstand: Standwell Centre Kickstand
  • Mudguard: SKS Black Shiney Pro
  • Bell: Humpert
  • Carrier: Standwell Bag Carrier


See, unlike most North American bikes, which need accessorizing after the fact, this thing came with EVERYTHING I was after and then some. I wanted an internally geared bike and that is where I started. But when pre-installed dyno, lights, SKS fenders and a rear rack showed up along with pretty good brand-name components including good spokes and tires, I was SOLD.

Am I crazy, or is this bike spec'd out really well?

I am absolutely loving this bike, despite a few shortcomings that I will cover now.

1) Size: It is too big for me. Bike fit is great when riding, but standover height is too high. Those among you who are thinking "I told you so" about not using a local bike shop are absolutely right, so back off, you bastards! The sizing chart lied to me. My suspicion is that they didn't adjust the chart for the suspension fork. I wasn't interested in returning this awesome bike by shipping it across the ocean, whether at my expense or not. I am so pleased with everything else that I will a) get used to it and do nothing or b) try a rigid fork that will lower the crossbar height somewhat. Despite some online forum goons saying it may mess with the handling, I don't believe it would hurt anything the way I'm using it and if I'm careful to find a fork with some rake to it. My winter tires are 32c instead of the the 38c ones that are on it, and that will help a tiny bit too.

2) Suspension Fork: I am not a fan of suspension forks for road use, harsh urban or not. CUBE has more offerings in their 2015 City lineup with rigid forks, so it would seem I am not alone. That said, I found this one acceptable because it has a lockout feature which I use most of the time. When I'm out in "falling over land", I let the fork do its thing and quite enjoy the cushy ride.

3) Grip Shifters: I hate grip shifters. Just a personal preference I guess. However, grip shifters combined with the Nexus hub seem more acceptable somehow. I don't know why, but it just isn't bugging me the way a grip shifter with a derailleur does.

4) Cable Guides: The cables came attached to the guides on the frame by little metal clip things that pop off rather easily. Nothing trusty zip ties couldn't fix, but a tad annoying and surprising in a bike of good quality otherwise. CUBE has moved to internal cable routing in 2015 models.

That's it for my complaints.



This bike rides beautifully, partly of course because it has big slicks on it. It is heavy, but so am I, and the solid feel is good. When I weigh 160 lbs again, I'll gladly start caring about how much my bike weighs. The gear range seems perfect so far, because I have yet to need gear 1,2 or 8 on my in-city rides, meaning it will probably be fine if I challenge some bigger hills or hit some really fast and flat terrain.

The chainguard, not mentioned in the specs, is clear and black and cool looking. If a chainguard could be cool, that is. The ergon-like grips are really good, and unlike some other imitations they have lock down screws that keep them from twisting out of position.

The Busch & Müller lights, pre-wired to the front dyno hub, are awesome! They aren't crazy blazing bright, but the beam is super wide and useful. They have a light sensor in them so during the day I get running lights and when its dark they go full on. They also have a capacitor so that when I'm stopped they won't go out for several minutes. I know this is old news to some, but I am totally loving not thinking about lights for the first time ever; they take care of themselves. When I'm extra worried about being seen, day or night, I activate my helmet mounted superflash but otherwise I just don't worry. It's great! The points where the wires disappear into the frame seem flimsy to me. I intend to reinforce them with a dab of silicone or something.

Of course, this particular model of CUBE bike is not to be found anywhere for much longer; the model names have all changed for 2015 and I can't find an exact equivalent. In addition, they will likely never be distributed in the USA due to patent problems with the rear suspensions on their mountain bikes. Lastly, there appears to be a new Canadian distributor: http://www.cube-bikes.ca , which makes me happy .

So, if you're in the USA and wanted a CUBE bike, you should probably do what I did and order it online. I have no idea if duties or taxes are much different for my US brothers and sisters, but my bike, all-in (taxes, delivery, duty, everything) cost me $1350 CAD. When I look at the extras, that price blows my mind.

I would not recommend buying a bike online to anyone who is not comfortable doing their own assembly, repairs and adjustments; it isn't fair (in my opinion) to ask your lbs to fix the business you chose not to give them. Also note that I got semi-burned on the sizing thing. What's all that worth? I don't know. 


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - I have not received anything from anybody for this review.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Delayed Reaction

Hi all! About 3 weeks ago my favourite bike, "Summer", was stolen off my front porch. It was chained and padlocked, as pictured below. The padlock had been downgraded for some forgotten reason. Bolt cutters did the trick for whoever took it.




At the time I felt absolutely gutted. I built that bike up from the bare frame. I loved that bike about as much as one could love a material thing. The good news for me is, it would seem that isn't all that much because I'm pretty well over it now.


fixed gear goodness

I've quickly moved from feelings of rage for whoever took it to feelings of pity. I mean, if stealing bikes is where you're at, odds are your life kind of sucks. My life doesn't suck. It is filled with good things and loving people, so much so that the worst thing to happen to me in a long while was the loss of a bicycle. Bicycles are just things and things don't have feelings and are quite easily replaced.


Insurance paid out $1000, much less than the full value, but after deductible, blah blah blah, that's what I got. I have replaced Summer with a bike that is quite different from it, a real all-rounder that should serve me well in both winter and summer. I did not build this one. We are still getting acquainted, but I will probably post some sort of review in the next while. I will say that I think I got a hell of a lot of bike for the money. I'm trying to get away from the "n+1" bike mentality. Our shed and Mrs. Rantwick will be pleased.

Goodbye, Summer! You were a great bike. Thankfully, many bikes are, one way or another.


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, September 26, 2014

When Canadian Cyclists Clash: Extreme Pleasantness

Here we go again, just 2 Canadians living up to their reputations of courtesy, politeness and general goodwill.



Truth be told, I think the absence of cars in this situation is really what allowed it to be so civil and pleasant. Instead of being encased by my car and asking rhetorical "what are you doing" questions of the cyclist in front of me, I could just ask him directly, in a decidedly non-rhetorical way, what he was planning to do. Of course I got in his way anyway. But that's totally OK; we were two Canadians out riding bikes on a sunny morning! We couldn't piss each other off if we tried!


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

I'm A Twit Once Again

For any of you Twittererers out there, I'm back on it after leaving about a year ago. Stupid social media stuff makes you think you need it again sooner or later.

Although I feel a bit of a chump for going back, the only thing worse is having 2 followers, neither of whom I know, which is my current situation. If you're so inclined, please hit twitter and follow me.

My name is no longer rantwick (on twitter) it is Patrick Cormier, but my twitter handle or whatever you call it is @rantwick.

Yours in Abject Servitude to the Online Powers That Be,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, September 22, 2014

100 Good Mornings

I've been kind of stuck on the topic of the individual human element of cycling as opposed to the planning or traffic or advocacy angles for some time now, as evidenced by most of my more recent posts, as sparse as they have been.

I have not become unstuck, it would seem. There are few human interactions as commonplace and universal as saying good morning. I've been collecting bicycle good mornings for a long time... I think I started a couple of years ago. For me, THIS is a big part of what is so great about riding a bike:



It took me many hours to trim and string all those clips together and do the counter and all that stuff. I suppose I could have made things much easier for myself by doing a nice bunch of the best ones instead of 100, but once that notion was in my head anything else just seemed like an unacceptable compromise. I hope you enjoyed it... I still enjoy watching it even after working with it for so long, so if you didn't, that's OK too. Birdsong and repeated pleasantness isn't for everyone. Have a great week and I'll try to write something caustic or at least snarky in the next little while.



Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Thursday, September 18, 2014

News Flash: Stuff Is Gonna Happen

I had an interesting morning on my way to work. A kind of "perfect storm" of road sharing (or lack thereof) in which a truck with a trailer gave me a wide berth (thank you, btw), pushing an oncoming white pickup close to a runner going the same direction as me facing traffic on the other side of the road, as runners commonly do. Thing is, it resulted in the runner and the motorist coming to blows. I have video. Here's the "perfect storm" part:

video

After that is when things went all sideways. The runner told me he may have made a gesture at the pickup's driver when he came so close. Just after that the driver of the white pickup did a u-turn, drove up to the runner and the driver got out. Yelling and a pretty serious scuffle ensued. I dismounted my bike and approached, but not too close. The white pickup left soon after. I spoke to the runner who gave me his version of what happened. I offered my video. He didn't want it. 30 seconds after we parted ways, the runner was yelling after me asking if I could get a plate number off my video. The truck had swung around again and the driver had thrown hot water or tea or something on him! Crazy. Just crazy.

Now for the surprising (at least to me) part: I am not going to post the video of any of that. I am making it available to the runner in case he wants to press charges, but I am not going to post it anywhere online. When I first got it, I was mentally rubbing my hands at the thought of tons of views (and maybe a little ad revenue) on youtube. Now though, I have decided that would just feel sort of wrong.

As much as they are fun to watch, nobody learns anything from videos of negativity and violence on the roads; they entertain by appealing to the worst in us and just leave the viewer more convinced than ever that everybody else out there is a dangerous idiot. Hate 'em all, whoever they are!

Here's what I wish people would learn instead: so long as there are roads and people using them, Stuff Is Gonna Happen. I sometimes make mistakes when I drive my car and when I ride my bike. So do you. Sometimes complex scenarios result in people making poor decisions. It isn't malice or carelessness; it's just a mistake. I heard somewhere that people learn from those. In addition, there are careless unsafe idiots using every possible mode of transportation. Contrary to how it feels sometimes, these are a small minority; if they weren't it would be non-stop carnage and bedlam out there. Last but not least, there are road users who want to strongly assert their rights, real or perceived, 100% of the time.

For those who assert their legal rights at all times, go for it. You (ahem) have every right. I would remind you that a little well-timed and considered courtesy that is not required by law can really help others out sometimes and make you an awesome person in the process. For those who are always asserting perceived rights, you wouldn't know they weren't real, would you? Ask yourself if you often find yourself in conflict with other road users. If so, you may want to look into what your rights and obligations really are under the law.

My point, however, is that no amount of legal correctness or common courtesy can protect any of us in all scenarios. Stuff Is Gonna Happen. My hope is that by remembering this fact I (and others) will maintain enough road zen to be peaceful and civil, even when we feel we've been wronged. Stuff Is Gonna Happen. It's OK, we're all only human. Let's be kind. Stuff Is Gonna Happen. Ohmmm.



Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - For the curious, I was unable to pull a plate number from my video. Even in HD, plates can be hard to get good video of unless they're right in front of you. The runner has my number if he wants the video anyway.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why I Wear A Helmet Cam On My Bike

Wearing a cam or taking video while riding your bicycle is becoming increasingly popular. I subscribe to all kinds of bike cam types on youtube. Most of these are from the UK, where it looks to me like the crowded streets of London and the narrow 2 lane roads of the suburbs and countryside provide for all kinds of interesting traffic video. I greatly enjoy watching the footage and it may actually do some good. One of the best in my opinion is CycleGaz:





Gaz also has a youtube channel called Silly Cyclists which in my opinion kind of balances things out a bit and marks him as somebody who isn't mindlessly biased.

As many of you know, I occasionally use the cam for the same kind of thing. The natural assumption most people make is that my cam is about "catching" people in cars behaving badly. This is not so. I know this post is kind of a repeat of a recent one I titled The Human Element a little while ago, but it is truer today than ever.

I know now why I have spent years riding around looking like a weirdo geek cam head. It was so I could capture this moment:








Oh yeah, that's what I've been after. Really!


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, July 25, 2014

If Snakes Got Tattoos

I have suffered a WTF (Word To Form) Syndrome double-whammy! If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here

Anyway, long time reader of Rantwick and awesome thoughtful blogger Cafiend, aka Citizen Rider, wrote something that struck my WTF bone pretty hard. Go here for full context, but in short he has suffered some sort of bite or sting that is requiring loads of antibiotics and stuff. In reference to said bite, likely that of a spider or insect, he wrote, "This would be a lot easier to take from a nice macho rattlesnake". Of course I knew exactly how he meant it. But WTF caused me to wonder what a "macho rattlesnake" would look like. Damn.

WTF syndrome is not to be trifled with, so I got to work right away when I got home from work. So: What does a macho rattlesnake look like?




Tom Selleck's Moustache (literally), Steak House kinda guy, tattoo. Done.

When I was working on the stupidness above, I drifted into a second wave of stupid: If snakes got tattoos, what would they get? I figured a deadly human preparing to strike, y'know? So, if you're a snake, what does that look like?




Angry dude with a shovel. I was channeling a snake spirit I think. I ended up spending more time on macho snake's tattoo than macho snake himself. And so, another episode of WTF has occurred and been dealt with. I won't bother with the usual apologies and stuff; it changes nothing. Let us all just move on. 

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, July 21, 2014

I AM. Sorry


In 2006, there was a very popular ad campaign by Molson breweries with the tag line "I AM. CANADIAN"




As a result, the title of this post will mean a little more to Canadians than others. There's another stereotype about Canadians, the one saying that we are extremely polite, to the point of being ready to apologize at the drop of a hat. Being characterized as an extraordinarily civil and conciliatory people sits fine with me, and in this sense it would seem that I am a true Canadian:










I hope you enjoyed my video. If not, please accept my deepest apologies. I will endeavour to do better next time!



Was that too much? Sorry, eh.
R A N T W I C K

Friday, July 18, 2014

2 Fender Benders


It is a testament to how little I have been on the blog that you are about to see video from last winter. Better late than never, I guess!






I have no observations to make on this. People hate reading stuff anyway, so we should be all good.




Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Three: Bugs!


In this episode, I literally encounter bugs:





What the youtubers watching that video without visiting this fine site will never know is that I have a secret. I am almost afraid to share it with you, but I am going to do so in the hope that I might reach and help others with my affliction.

I HAVE HAIRY ARMS. It's true. The thing is, hairy arms are quite good at catching small bugs. MY HAIRY ARMS CATCH SMALL BUGS. THEN I BRUSH THEM OFF.

There, I said it. Whew, I can't believe I was so stressed about it. I mean, I'm FREE now, man! No longer will I hide in the shadows concealing my bug ridden hairy arms! I will walk in the sun brushing flies out of my arm hair for all to see! Do you get it, brother? IT HAS HAPPENED and I can finally LIVE for real. For real, do you get me! BWAAAHHAHAHA! Phoosh! I feel so much better. Wow.




Yours in Freakish Catharsis,
R A N T W I C K

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Human Element


I thoroughly enjoy watching the youtube videos of other cyclists with helmet cams. Like, really enjoy it. Recently my available time to get all bikey online has dropped dramatically, but what I still find time for are those videos. Most often they come from commuting cyclists in Britain, and most are about how they've been maligned by one motorist or another. I can't get enough of that stuff!

I have a collection of idiot driver moves saved that one day I'll string together, but it would seem I'm a little lacking in the indignation department (or is it the public shaming department?) and as many of my readers know would rather publish stupid videos about animals and people and my interactions with them instead.

Some of my youtube subscribers have suggested that I post more videos just about my commute and road conditions and traffic/planning considerations and all that stuff. I do that sometimes, but in my opinion that stuff is boring as shit. Just because some people eat, breathe and sleep cycling issues doesn't mean I have to as well. I mean, c'mon, why should I add to the ever-growing mountain of that stuff when I have this:




Now that's interesting, I think. If I had been in my car, I would have locked my doors, raised my windows, and turned up the radio. Instead, I talked to that dude and got a good laugh, thanking my lucky stars I didn't get spit upon too. THAT is living! In addition, the unique opportunity provided by my bike to talk to that lady was cool. The human element is what gets me going. If I'm going to advocate for cycling, I will do so on this basis: It feels awesome, plus you get to engage with your world (like, people) instead of listening to annoying radio commercials in your car. Sweet, right? Right. If you disagree, watch it, brother, Watch It!




Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Bump in the Road

I have been trying to lose some weight, having gained quite a lot over the last 10 years or so. I'm not really into specific diets, but I have been eating more healthy food and carefully logging what I eat along with my exercise on myfitnesspal.com, looking to run at a caloric deficit most days.
 
I have been successful in losing a few pounds over the last few weeks. My progress is slow, but that is OK since I'm trying to learn new habits that will serve me over time rather than achieve some quick weight loss that won't last.
 
Lots of people have tried myfitnesspal at one time or another, so I'm guessing this food diary screen may be familiar to few of you:
 
 
 
 
 
The Rantwick clan has a serious problem. The other three members in it don't really care for apple pie. They are insane. Anyway, there were apple pies ON SALE just when I had a yen for some yesterday.
 
That's what was censored from the list above:
 

 
 
Hey, at least I didn't consume the whole pie. Only 75% of it. Nobody else wanted any, damn them! Plus I diligently logged it. Then I confessed here. Perhaps it is not the other members of the Rantwick clan who are insane. Perhaps.
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just One Day Ago - Snow!


I had been debating with myself whether or not to put away the bike with studded tires and start riding Summer (the awesome (as in best in the world) fixed gear) again, until two days ago when it cooled back off and we got a few inches of snow. It was great though! The paths had melted clear before it came and so were totally ride-able after, making for some of the most pleasant cycling I've done in a long time.

I felt sorry for the robins. I swear those little harbingers of Spring don't like standing in the snow, because there were abnormal numbers of them hanging out on the bare patches of the path. They seemed to be asking me for some explanation...




Sorry, gotta zoom in. Robins don't speak human very loudly, because they're, like, small and, like, birds:




I don't know why the little jerks were blaming me. All I could say was, "I know, right? Snow? This suuucks!" I was being insincere with the robins, however, because in actuality I was enjoying the snowscape a great deal.





The snow liked me a lot too, sticking to whatever it could. The bike ran surprisingly well considering all the crud that was frozen to it:







That snow is mostly gone now. Hope you're happy, robins*.

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

* italics in this case are meant to denote a sarcastic, sneering tone. Is that how you took it?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Curses!

I have a video I would like to share, but be warned that I take JC's name in vain and drop an F bomb in it. At the time I'm cursing at a flatbed driver that startled me by driving very dangerously. When watching the video, however, I curse myself for my bad lane position instead. Riding where I was riding doesn't make dangerous passes OK, but it does leave the door open for them to happen in the first place.
 
 
 
 
 
My guess is that this guy was hauling ass (there I go, cursing again!) at the end of the work day and had no hope of slowing down to anywhere near a safe speed, which meant he had to thread the needle between that oncoming car and me.
 
I was riding into the wind and was moving pretty slowly and I'm always tempted to get right rather than slow the cars down. I KNOW I shouldn't give in to this feeling: here's a quote from something I wrote about controlling the lane just last September:
 
"The point I'm trying to make is that ticking people off for a short time is often better than keeping them happy, despite the basic and strong human desire to be liked. It took a shift in thinking that was a little difficult, but now that I've experienced the reduction in risk (and therefore fear and stress) it creates, I'll never go back".
 
Turns out I'm full of shit. Curses!
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K