Saturday, May 30, 2009

going through the inbox

I've been spending that last couple of weeks getting caught up on the reading that I didn't have time for during the last few weeks of school.

I've let all my mag subscriptions except for new yorker and the believer run out, but with the New Yorker being weekly it is easy to get behind real quick.

add to that getting the latest issue of the ride journal and an issue of Cog magazine to try and it has taken me a while to be ready to read any of the plethora of books waiting for me next to my bed.

with that being said, I am onto the mar/apr issue of believer and saw that they awarded the 5th annual believer book award to Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins.  I really liked this book (it was my second favorite book of last year behind Netherland by Joseph O'Neill). 

it reminded me of the story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in its description of a women's seeming descent into madness only through her husband's eyes instead of hers.  in other parts the descriptions of the couple's relationship and the troubles they have is true enough to remind everyone of the difficulty to be found in even a strong relationship.

it also includes one of my favorite passages about the loss of a person or a relationship:
That cliche - I can't imagine life without you - is bullshit. Of course you can imagine it. A poor, grey rag of a thing. Silence at the breakfast table and nobody to share the joke. Hollowness on waking. Sleeping at the wrong times. Uncoupled from the regular swing and tick of time. Doubled over in the supermarket, choking for breath by the freezer section, waving offers of help away, unable to meet their eyes. The shopping list in your hand not because there's so much to buy but because you can't hold anything in your brain.  Buying her favourite biscuits. Six packets of them unopened in the cupboard at home. I could go on.

absolutely brilliant and real.  I would recommend it if you haven't read it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gear Review - Bicycle Fixation 4-Season Jersey

Was giving this gear some love via twitter this week but wanted to give it a better shout out so here you go.

Bicycle Fixation is dedicated to supporting bicycles and cyclists of all kinds, but have developed a line of biking gear catered to urban cyclists who want to have a bit of style that is bike ready.

For this past Christmas, received a pair of their knickers and a 4-season jersey.

Now that I’ve had a chance to try it out for a couple months, I can say I highly recommend this top. It works great as a baselayer on its own or as a regular top. I received the hemp and cotton one which isn’t as comfortable as a baselayer as the merino would be but I wear a summer weight baselayer under it frequently.

The best feature has to be the hood which has elastic and fits tight so it will go under your helmet. It completely blocks the wind (at least when the temp is 30s or above) without the need for a separate hat. This is a nice bonus when you get caught out later than expected or the temp drops more than expected. In really cold weather it also zips up into a balaclava to protect the face and neck.

I would definitely recommend checking out all of their biking gear.

My Thursday Commute - frustrated edition

Even though I thought that today was bike to work day, it appears that Minneapolis had lots going on yesterday.  I’m not sure who has the extra time on their commute to stop for donuts or whatever they were giving away but whatever works for you.  The other interesting thing I find is that all these extra people can take the time to commute that one day of the year, but somehow can’t get around to it the rest of the year?

Aside from that, I had some car-bike ‘interactions’ that lead to a very frustrating commute.

It started when I was leaving the bike locker at work and a car turned right on a red that was posted no turn on red and almost clipped me coming off the curb

Only a block later, I was waiting to turn left at a light and it turned yellow so I started to go through. Only problem was that a car that was over half a block away decided to gun it and go through the light almost taking me out in the process.

Then it was on the death wish that is the Henn Ave bike lane where not only did I have a car almost left hook me by the light rail but a motorcycle almost left hooked me at 3rd St too.

If all that wasn’t enough, I ran into one of my biggest pet peeves on University—a car using the bike lane as a right turn lane and completely blocking my way.  As I tried to work my way behind that car another car almost pulled into me trying to do the same thing.

Needless to say I was a little pissed off at this point.

I really try to do my best to follow all the rules of the road. I stop at stop signs on major roads, I stop at stoplights, I signal turns when it is safe to take my hands off the bars, etc.  But if cars are going to be this clueless, then is it any wonder that many bike riders are going to be aggressive and make their own rules?