Friday, March 24, 2017

Soggy Shoes

Well times got rough after I was laid off and I really didn't want to go back to work as a government contractor, freelance was a little slow and I need an immediate income. So I applied to this big box (more like a rectangle) retail store, and was hired for seasonal work.

With my luck, it was a very HOT summer and my job was to water the plants, exciting huh? In my mind, I thought it wouldn't be a bad job, it would keep my sweaty ass cool but I didn't plan on the chilly spring mornings and having the cold water splash up on me. It seemed, I had to go to the bathroom, every 15 minutes. I also ended up with soggy shoes. I would always water the plants closest to me first and then reach in the back for the other plants. Doing this method, the front plants would drip onto my shoes and make my shoes soggy. It's so much fun to walk around the rest of the days with soggy shoes, that make that soggy noise and them lil bubbles form at the base of your shoe. After a while the soggy shoes become stinky shoes and they end drying outside the house or in the garage.

This store is dog friendly and it's odd to me that it is because what if a person is afraid of dogs or is allergic to dogs? I wouldn't shop there if this was me or I'd be more reluctant in going there to shop. Now I have seen people come in with all sizes of dogs, pups to poodles, great danes, golden retrievers, boxers, pugs, bull dogs, and my favorite, boston terriers. I have also saw a woman come in with her big white poodle and the poodles toe nails were painted pink. I also saw a woman come in with her cat in one of those cat stroller and in a cat backpack. I even saw a woman driving, the store's motorized scooter and in the scooter's basket was a ferret. A little weird, huh?

I have met some really nice people, talked to odd people, encountered rude people, and shook my head in disbelief with the people who were common sense dumb (and you can tell who they are after a while). I can't tell you how many times, the hose caused an issue with shopping carts and the attitudes I would get when they couldn't get past them. At first they smash the cart into the hose line. Back up a little and smash into it again, and then stand there like "what should I do now" look on their face. I mean you have four options. One, you could go down another aisle, two, you could tilt the cart up and get the front wheels over it and do the same with the back, three, you can ram the hose with speed and force and four, you can pick the hose up and scoot under the hose to get by. I figured, this happened at least 3-4 times a day, people would get stuck at the hose line. I had one guy tell me, "if I didn't extend it that far, it wouldn't been an issue". It was only an issue because your 10 year old son had a hard time pushing the cart with 2 bags of 40 pounds of dirt, of course the hose line would be a problem and you let the boy struggle in getting it over the line. My other favorite moment was when I guy called me to the back of the garden because he "had a problem" with his flat bed cart. At this point in time, his cart was empty and he pointed to the hose line and said that the hose was in his way. I walked over to the cart and pushed it over the hose and walked away, saying nothing and biting my tongue. A few minutes later, he comes over to me again and said he needed help. I figured in lifting the bags since the cart was too heavy for him to push over the hose line but instead the cart had 3 bags of mulch and it was stopped in front of the hose. He says, "this is a problem, it's in my way again". I said as politely as I could, "then go around the other way, it won't be in your way" and I walked away again. But as I walked away, I heard his father say the same thing to him and also said to him in annoyed voice, you called him over for that!?

So I wear this non breathable vest at work. To me, it's like wearing a sweater vest in the summer. I sweat a lot and in this vest it was worse. So I still had people come up to me and ask, "do you work here?" Are you kidding me!?!?!? No, I always wearing vest when I go out shopping! The name of the store on the vest or on the back of the vest didn't give it away. How about, "Hi, my name is Jim. How can I help you?" What do you think that's my pick-up-line? I mean come on, I can understand if you said, "do you work in this department?" But no, it was do you work here. Now in the past, I have shopped at Target and wore a red shirt, I had people come up to me and ask where something was or better yet, one time at Walmart, I was pushing, the cart with my son in it and this lady came up to me and asked if I worked there? Really!? I wasn't wearing a blue shirt or vest (I can't remember what they wear there) and pushes their kid in the cart? How can you confuse me with one of the workers? But a funny thing happened after she walked away, my son NP says to me, "Daddy, who was that man you were talking to?" I laughed and told him it was a woman.

So after the season ended, they offered me a part time job there and I took it. They saw I was a hard worker, did what needed to get done and I always went above and beyond of what they asked me and I was reliable. It's been a year now and since I'm freelancing again, I switched to working nights. So lately, I have been working 10 hour days, with two jobs and I either work the whole weekend (which sucks) or one day on the weekend. Needless to say, I'm too tired to ride my bicycle and the weather this winter hasn't been great. It has rained a lot and we only had 2 snowstorms. The trails are soggy and I don't want to destroy them by riding on them and the roads are littered with potholes, puddles and some snow left over. I haven't been to the gym, because I'm working plus, I have been lifting a lot of rock salt and wood pellets this winter and doing that is like constantly doing shoulders, back, legs and arms workouts.

In order to get back into shape, I plan on joining a new gym, get a trainer and get back into shape. I figured, if I got a trainer, that will motivate me and get me to be a regular again at the gym and the new gym is within biking distance. It seems like what I say I'll do is always different then what I actually do, So we'll see.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Hello Stranger!

It's been awhile since my last post, family and working has become more of a priority than blogging or even cycling. Cycling was a way for me to release my stress and writing about my experiences had become another hidden outlet for me.

I have been riding more than last summer and more so on the mountain bike than the road bike. I hate to say it but riding on the road scares me. I have been reading a lot, lately of cyclist dying from car accidents locally and nationally. There are so many distractions while driving, whether it's eating, drinking, changing the radio channels, looking at the GPS for directions and even texting. I'm no saint when I drive but I can see how easily it is to be distracted.

So I have been taking my trusty and creaky 10 year old mountain bike, the Turner 5 Spot on some adventures this past summer. At first, I said it's was the Turner's Farewell Tour, meaning that I going to replace my favorite bike but economically, that won't happen unless I can land a new job. Have you noticed the cost of these mountain bikes have skyrocketed over the past few years. $1,800 used to get you a bang for your buck kind of bike but now, a frame will easily cost you $2,500 to $3,500, which is insane! This next bike will probably be my "last" bike but I know it will easily cost me over 5k for the next bike. 5 THOUSAND DOLLARS, you say but just think about it, if you are into golf, you wouldn't even think twice and spend $300 for one new golf club or spend $100 each week to play golf. To me, it's all relative in what you like. So I want to hear your comment, on what you spend your money on and don't think twice about it?

So that's it for now. Be kind to one another and if you are riding... Happy Trails!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pointy Little Elbows

    It was beautiful weather today. Blue skies, a little bit of wind with touch of cool air in the breeze and the sun was shining and it felt warm. You all know, this was all happening, when most of us, was in work but I escaped at lunch time and sat in the suv with the windows open and sneaked in a nap.

    My original plan was to come home, change and grab my bike and head to the canal path for a spin. I planned it to be an easy ride because I have been super lazy over the winter and I'm taking an advantage of this cool weather to get some of the outside chores done. So I have been neglecting my bikes and riding. I had to make a pit stop, before I got home and get gas because the dam gas light came on, while sitting in traffic and stopping for gas in the morning is ridiculous. When I got home, pizza was waiting for me and oh it looked delicious so I ate a few slices, maybe more than I should have and definitely more than I needed to before a ride. The boys' beg me to play Legos and it's tough for me to refuse them, so we played and I of course laid on top of them. If you think stepping on a Lego, feels bad, there is nothing like laying down on one. Then the boys' wrestled me, 2 against 1 and they repeatedly drove their pointy little elbows into my pudgy side and I had to tap out. Now at this point, it was dark outside, I'm feeling even more sluggish and tired and I still have to do some freelance work before it gets too late. It's Pj time (them, not me), brush teeth, read some books and say pray's & lights out and so goes another chance to ride.

    So what's the moral to my long winded story, bring the bike to work with my gear, change at work and drive to the riding spot. DO NOT GO HOME FIRST!! Hopefully next time, I can do this but more importantly, feel motivated enough to get my $hit together the night before.

    So I like to pretend that, I got money to spend and still look at the "Newest Products" on Universal Cycles website. Some stuff is appealing, if and when I do eventually ride, I may need new jerseys or tech shirts to wear for mountain biking. Dakine Charger Camo shirt, caught my eye and so did the price of $45. It has a mesh back and underarm panels for ventilation and that is key for me because I sweat like a pig, in any season and a extended back hem, to prevent plumbers crack. Then I stumbled upon, Enve Composites Carbon Mountain Stem that is priced at $265!! I mean, that is a lot of cash to drop, on a mtn bike stem! Ok, it says it weighs, 85g –104g but that depends on what length you get. I also know that ALL Enve products, cost a lot of money. I think, the only Enve product, that I could afford or even want to buy is their Enve Black on Black 3D hat for $25. Even spending $25 for a hat, seems a bit ridiculous, to me. I guess if you can drop, $800 to $900 for 1 rim or $2800 for a wheelset, the rest of your bike has to cost at least 8k.

I'm a big fan of Skratch Labs. I like their products a lot and so far everything is delicious and settles really well on my stomach. I just saw, they are releasing Fruit Drops. They're made with glucose and fructose as the carbohydrate sources, with sodium, pectin and real fruit as the primary contributing ingredients. They added more water than usual to make them softer and less sticky than other gel chews. Each pouch has 10 drops for 40g of carbs and 160 calories, which they say is the upper limit of what the fittest athletes (which I'm not) can ingest in an hour when combined with their sports hydration drink. Technically, each pouch is more like two servings and it retails $2.45 per pouch. Read more about it here.

    Be Safe Out There & Happy Trails.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Making Strides

    Well a lot of time has past since the last time I wrote something. My twin boy's aren't so little anymore, they are 6 years old and are in kindergarten. I bought them both a red Strider Balance bike for Christmas. I of course, I was more excited to get it, for them and of course they weren't as excited to receive it. It figures. Since it was the winter, we let them ride, the balance bike, inside the house. NP quickly got the hang of it and zipped all thru the rooms, chasing his brother. JJ had more fun running along side his brother or being the one chased down. I made sure, I taught them the proper safety of wearing a helmet. I won a Specialized helmet in a raffle, a size small, so I gave it to NP to use. What other 3 year old, do you know, rides around on a balance bike, wearing a $200 helmet... inside the house?

    The bike riding inside the house, had to stop because NP was marking up the walls with the tires. So when, the winter and snow, finally disappeared, I took NP outside to ride and he did really well and was even more, fast as hell, on the sidewalk. If someone was mechanically inclined, they could probably install a rear brake lever on the bike, so the lil people, can easily adjust to this sort of braking style, than to Fred Flintstone, their stops. NP quickly outgrew his balance bike and JJ still showed no interest in the balance bike but enjoyed running alongside his brother instead. I of course, lost the battle of taking NP to the bike shop to buy him "real" big boy bike and settled (or lost the battle) and got him a Huffy Disney Planes Dusty bike. He zipped along using that bike but had a hard time adjusting to the coaster brake because, he would still put his feet down to stop himself, which didn't work well, when the pedals mashed into his little calfs. Here's where the idea, of installing a rear brake lever, on this type of bike would probably benefit the most.

    So hopefully this summer, I'll be able to buy him a "real" big boy bike from my bike shop. I'm eyeing, the Cannondale Trail 20 Single-speed bike and I'm loving the green and blue combo, I just hope he likes it too!

    I'm still riding the Turner 5 Spot and still in love with it. I can, finally see the difference with the 29er bikes but still can't let go, of my 26er. The big wheel moving over everything and being much quicker, but I'm still reading, you still can't get that "flick-ability" of a 26er. I could be wrong, and I'm sure, there is some 29er brand out there, that would prove me wrong but what price, as in, how much money, will you have to pay out, to get that "flick-ability" back?

    Single-speed is not my thing. Nothing against those, who can do it, I just like gears and breathing normal. I have tried it and found out, real quick, how out-of-shape, I was on the trails. I want to hear the birds chirping and wind whooshing thru the trees and not hear my heart pounding or feel like i'm going to puke up, all that water, I just drank.

    Fat bikes... really? I can't stand them. To me, it looks ridiculous and I feel like that person is flaunting, that they have, that much more $$$ to burn. I can see if you live in Alaska or Boston and get a tremendous amount of snow and need to ride in 4 to 8 inches of snow but to see them riding around on flat, rocky, or rooty trails... come on!!

    Well that's all, I got for now. Be safe out there and happy trails.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

i Got a Bike Rash

I'm itching for a new bike, well maybe not a whole bike, but at this point, i'd take a frame. Depending what i buy, i can swap over some of my old parts on the new frame or bike. There's some parts that I'd never change, like my brakes. I love my Magura Martha SL brakes. I never really had a problem with them than other changing a brake pad to occasionally having them bled. I also like my FSA K Force Light crank, my Thompson seatpost and FSA 115 stem, chris king headset, Time ATAC Carbon pedals and i love WTB products like my saddle, Silverado and the Bronson tires. I know I may not be able to take some of these parts, like the cranks because they aren't BB30 or the headset size.

I have been toying with the idea of finding a 26er and converting it to 650b (27.5). See in my mind, i feel like i'm still getting a new 26" bike, and just converting the wheels to a bigger size. So if I just happen to not like the way it rides, I still have a great 26" bike to ride. I think this makes more sense, than buying a completely new 29er because in my world, I will have to sell almost everything that i can't use on my Turner and the 5 Spot itself to cover the cost of the new 29er. And if by chance I don't like the ride, what do I do then!? Try to sell the bike and recoop my losses and start over. Not in this lifetime will that happen.

Well this weekend on the east coast will finally be nice, sunny and in the 80's. I will be out spinning my wheels, whether it's the mtn or the road bike. Enjoy your time, whatever weather you are experiencing and most of all be safe.

Happy Trails,

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Carbon Anyone?

I can't really tell you what it's like to ride a carbon bike. I have only owned aluminum bikes, of course I do have some carbon parts but I honestly can't feel the difference between the two, other than I know when may be lighter than the other. I assume it feels or sounds different to blast down a hill and when I say "down a hill" I don't mean in terms of a dh course. That is something that hope to find out before the new year in my quest of a new bike. Can anyone out there tell me if it feels or sounds different??

I do like the company Niner and the fact that they just make 29er bikes. They are committed to the belief of 29ers and not 650b's or 26ers and they are making some sweet parts to go along with their bikes. I just saw one on bike rumor (my favorite site), the new RDO Stem with a claim weight of 115g for a 90mm stem and all for 89 bucks. To me that's pretty reasonable price for that weight.

I have been spending a lot of time writing and sketching out ideas for t-shirts. Lately it has been a creative release for me since my new job. I have been posting my designs on a website called Zazzle. I really would like to have my own site but haven't figured out how to produce the shirts myself and well essentially cut out the middleman (sorry zazzle). I have lowered the prices as much as I can because I can't see why you need to pay over 25 bucks for a t-shirt. Here's a cool little promotion panel for the products that I made.

Well that's all I have for now, I'll be updating the side links to your right. I found some cool hand bike builders,mail order sites that I have been visiting regularly.

Happy Trails

Friday, April 20, 2012

Back In The Saddle, One Year Later...

I'm back again and one year later. A lot of time has flashed by, a lot of things changed, like the fact that I don't live in New Jersey but Pennsylvania. I'm figuring out how to do a nice transition from this blog into a newer, sweeter design and name. That little project is on the horizon but for the time being, I'll keep posting to here.

I still got the Turner 5 Spot, I feel like I'm the only one that hasn't switched to a 29er. It's not that I don't want to join the band-wagon, I mean the 29er revolution but it just comes down to timing and money. When I got the cash, something more important pops up and then the money goes elsewhere. That's life, I guess or maybe poor saving on my part but after building up the Turner to my specs, it's hard for me to just buy a complete bike and replacing and upgrading the parts as time goes on.

Now-a-days, there's so many options, by different companies that are offering a 29er. Carbon, seems to be the big rage. I never owned a carbon bike or got the chance to ride one, so I don't know really how it would feel on a rock shrewd trail. I can only imagine that it would feel a little harsh. I got the full squish now and after a 1/2 hour on a trail that is covered in roots, my lower back aches, so I can't imagine how intensified it would be on a carbon bike... or i could be wrong. Anybody can agree or disagree??

My biggest gripe with a bike shop, is that I don't want to do a parking lot test and then drop 2k on a bike. I say 2k because it seems like the entry level bike price has shot up from 12 hundred dollars, for a decent entry level bike to 22 to 25 hundred dollar bike for a decent component bike, that is just one step better than a entry level bike. I could be wrong on this issue of price point but around here it seems that way. What is it like in your area?? Ok, back to the parking lot test. There are a few shops around my area that will allow you to test ride a bike for the day, it's not a bad option and the fee goes towards the bike if you buy it from them but if one shop offers Cannondale Flash 29er and another shop offers a Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er you are going to lose your money someway. So why not offer at least 40% of your money back even if you don't buy the bike from them, that way it isn't a complete loss. Who's to say within the first 1/2 hour of the ride, you think the bike sucks and now you are out of 50 to 75 dollars.

We had a very mild winter and I think I'm to blame for that, I bought a snow blower and jinxed the winter. So it wasn't global warming it was me and my SEARS snow blower. This winter, I did a lot of road riding, more so than the past 3 years (i think 3 years) that I had this bike. when you have the proper clothing, winter riding is doable. It's a hell of a lot different riding the road in the winter than in the woods. In the woods, the trees are a big factor, hell it shields the wind for you but now I know what it feels like to get hit with a 50 mph wind in a open field feels like. In that same day, which was probably not the best day to ride, we rode into a massive snowsquall. at first it was pretty cool but as my pace picked up, the sleet started to sting a little bit, but who the hell cares, it was really cool to ride through and in it. Oh the wind, it was brutal. 50 mph winds that day as well as the snowsquall and my god, it felt like someone was tied a rope onto my seat post and was playing tug-of-war with me and I was losing badly. Chuggin' up the hill and the wind hitting my bike sideways, either pushing me towards that ditch or closer to the traffic, someone clearly didn't want me out there. But I did it and that's what matters.

Last year, I trained for my first charity ride, the Bike MS: City to Shore bike ride. Between me mtn biking and road riding, I felt really good riding 75 miles at a 15 mph pace. The rest stops were packed with good treats and were evenly spaced every 15 miles. I did good in raising a little over a grand. For my efforts, I got a really cool Bike MS: City to the Shore jersey (I'll post it up). So this year, I decided to do it again, with the same team I rode with last year, Lor-Mar Mechanical (free plug here!) I got an awesome cycling jersey from them (and I'll post that up as well) but this year I'll be doing the 150 miles in 2 days and I'm hoping to raise more money this year. I also decided to do another charity ride this summer, the American Diabetes, Tour De Cure and I signed up for the 63 mile ride. This should be interesting because this ride should be much hillier than the MS ride, which was pretty flat except the last 2 bridges you need to cross. I figure my time won't be as good as the MS ride was and my speed will be a tad bit slower, since lately, I have been climbing at a snail's pace. Not much saddle time with the road bike, I have been enjoying my time in the woods, on the mtn bike and last year it was the opposite. I'll have to balance my road and mtn time, along with my work and home life.

I hope you all get out this weekend, enjoy a ride, whether it's on pavement or dirt. AND if you feel a little generous, here are the links to where you can donate for my charity rides. The American Diabetes, Tour De Cure Charity Ride 2012. The Bike MS: City to Shore Ride 2012. If anyone donates, I'd like to Thank You in advance!

Happy Trails!