Nits and More

Still enjoying very much my Brooks Cambium C17 saddle.  Today I read in the manual that I can periodically reapply Brooks Numac.

Brooks Cambium Manual 07.30.15

Hmm.  The site says maintenance free.  No matter.  I love caring for things.  On it.  Wrote to Brooks early this morning.

I have recently purchased and installed a Cambium C17. Love it. Good show! I have even more recently read the literature which accompanied the saddle. Brooks Numac? Will the application extend the life of the saddle or simply preserve its appearance? If the former, where can Numac be purchased? Thank you in advance.

Got a very quick reply from Brooks.

We don’t sell Numac separately. It is something applied to the cotton during the manufacturing process.

I suggested they tweak their owner’s manual.  So no maintenance–that’s good, too.bgb

Bigger stuff.  Last night I attended the public hearing on traffic calming on Madison Avenue.  The presentation was great.  The Mayor kicked things off by saying the City used to undertake road projects with one thing in mind–getting cars into and out of the City as quickly as possible.  She continued by saying that things have changed–the needs of other road users needs are getting attention.  A hundred miles from a quote.  Just my feeble memory.  But I was stoked.  The room was packed with pedalers and the City was speaking to us.  The engineers said good things, too.  They really know their stuff and hit all the right points.

Then to the public comments.  Oh dear.  About half the people were strongly opposed to the project.  I expected opposition, but not as much as I heard.  Opposition, mind you, to a project that is a done deal–we were there only to discuss the form the project would take.  That didn’t stop them.

The concerns were in large part voiced by people living along Madison Avenue and included concerns like (a) fewer lanes will increase traffic congestion (b) the cost isn’t justified (b) safety vehicles will not be able to get through and (d) the City maintain doesn’t maintain the road as it exists.  I was reminded of concerns voiced in connection with every new rail trail project I’ve watched roll out.  Once the project is in place, the concerns evaporate and even turn into enthusiastic support as property values go up, new businesses appear because of the trail and people living alongside the facility benefit the most of all.  I hope that will be the case here.

Attendees were invited to vote on five alternative layouts.  They ranged from amenities as spartan as sharrows to amenities as robust as protected bicycle lanes.  I voted for protected bicycle lanes.  Not for me, I don’t mind riding on Madison as it is, but for the people that need the push to get out there.  I haven’t give enough consideration to that group in the past, but the engineers put up a chart showing the breakdown of the mindsets of pedalers and potential pedalers and the largest group by far is composed of people who are interested but nervous.  This is the group that would derive the most comfort from a  protected lane.  Fingers crossed but expectations kept low.

I was a surprised to learn that the traffic calming will not be completed in a single summer.  The project is only about a dozen blocks long and it the bulk of the work is simply restriping.  Still, a slide in the presentation showed the work being completed in three roughly equidistant phases.  Phase one starts at South Allen and continues for about four blocks.  They didn’t say when the next two phases would be undertaken, but even if they do a phase a summer, 12 blocks in three years seems a bit on the slow side.  Four blocks don’t seem long enough to gauge impact. Oh well.

After the meeting, I enjoyed speaking with a police officer who patrols on bicycle.  He seemed to be in terrific mood–the kind of mood that comes from exercising all day while soaking up vitamin D.  I asked him whether he is often close passed.  He said no, but pointed to the huge embroidered POLICE on the pack of his shirt.  He knows the rest of us pedalers put up with more, but said he didn’t think motorists want to scare us–they just don’t understand.  That’s where I am coming out lately.  So few have pedaled in traffic.  I should have asked whether he’s given any tickets for close passing, but didn’t get to it.

I also very much enjoyed a conversation with Greg from All Over Albany.  That fellow and his partner are gems.  Intelligent, soft spoken and they have a very broad outlook on the issues presented at the meeting (and I expect on most issues).  We’re lucky to have Greg and his team dishing up the goods on our fair city.  If you don’t read AOA daily, you’re missing out.


I’m hungry.  I’m thinking taco salad for lunch.  I’m crazy for taco salads of late. Better get on it.

These Things

This morning I cut the zip ties holding my first Brooks Cambium C-17 saddle to the display card and installed it on my Rivendell Road.  #barsabovesaddleRivendell Road 07.27.15

I’ve just finished a four mile tour atop the seat so I am ready to pass judgment.  It possesses the perfect balance between support and suspension.  I love the texture–it provides just the right amount of grip.  It seems to have at least an inch of territory on which my sit bones are both supported and suspended, so I can move forward or back as much as if not more than I can on other Brooks saddles.  I am in love with this perch!


The garden is still handing over the goods.  Bounty 07.27.15

Twelve cukes and a pint of beans needed to come home.  The mustard has gone to seed so I uprooted the lot of it it and brought home a pillow of leaves.  I also cut three stalks of Italian broccoli and introduced three beets to the sun.  I sautéed the beet tops in olive oil and finished them with roasted garlic and salty and sour umeboshi vinegar.  I’ve never enjoyed beet greens more.  Picture at @randypedals (tweeting now).

Frida is still chugging, but my parent’s dog Daisy recently died.  I’ve been putting off writing about it.  So sad.  No more waiting–Daisy has earned her place in these pages by being a truly wonderful dog friend to my parents.  MnD

She was my parents first dog so the parting has been particularly tough.  After our first dog Speed passed, Lacey and I said goodnight to her every night for at least five years.  Still do on occasion.  DnD

I’m sure my parents will undertake similar rituals in Daisy’s honor.  Wish I was there to sit with them some.  Rest in peace, precious Daisy.

Want a more livable Albany?  Let the City’s design team know by attending the following public meeting.  The City of Albany is progressing on Madison Avenue Traffic Calming from South Allen St. to Lark St.  The project will reduce the number of travel lanes, while improving bicycle accommodations and completing all work between the existing curbs.  The meeting, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the College of Saint Rose, Touhey Forum, Lally School of Education, 1009 Madison Avenue, will include an overview of the traffic calming project and you will be invited to provide your two cents (or two fifty).  Thanks to Lorenz and everyone at the Albany Bike Coalition for their hard work on this and for keeping us in the loop.

Time to refresh Frida’s bowl of ice and give her some eyedrops.  Take care.

Wake Up!

Breakfast today?  Chocolate waffles for two!


Preheat waffle iron.

Combine:  1 C whole wheat pastry flour, 1 T cocoa powder (maybe more!), 1.5 t energy egg replacer, 1 t baking powder, 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 t salt.

Combine: 3/4 C almond milk, 2 T canola oil, 1 T agave nectar and  and 1/2 t vanilla.

Combine the two.  Waffle iron time.

Field Roast maple breakfast links, maple syrup and Earth Balance complete the deal.

Adapted with love from the Complete American-Jewish

Happy Sunday!

Where to start?

All is well.  A week ago we returned from a week in Provincetown.  You know we brought Frida’s Tail Wagon.  With the wagon and two bikes we were able to park our car upon arrival and not see it again until the morning we left.  Loved that.  Cars are awesome but no cars are more so.  Babushka Frida agrees.IMG_1170

Frida’s eyes are still doing great.  I think she’s winking/squinting below because of the bright sun.IMG_1158

We stayed right on the bay.  That’s the bay above.  First time for us.  Costs a little more, but Frida loves the bay (water without waves).  Who knows how many trips she has in her.  By the looks of things, I’d say about a hundred.  Here’s a tall ship (probably not the right name–help me out if you know) on the bay that I snapped through my binoculars.  IMG_1182

Staying on the bay meant we could enjoy the water without a trip to the ocean.  So we enjoyed walks along the water every day, many times a day.  Still, twice we hooked up the wagon and hauled Frida and our gear to Herring Cove beach.  Even brought a separate parasol for Frida.  Surprisingly, she actually got under it on her own.    IMG_1171

A third time Lacey and I pedaled to a secret part of the beach where the boys like to hang out.  Left Frida back.  We hadn’t been there before.  It.  Is.  Amazing.  Since we aren’t a pair of boys, we felt a little like intruders on the beach itself (not a word was said–it was all in our heads).  The walk in, though, across a salt marsh is half a mile, maybe more, was for us the highlight.  Check it out!  Have you ever seen anything so pretty?  Click once, then again.

IMG_1116The town always does a fine job of feeding us vegans.  What with the Bradford Street Market (groceries and vegetarian hot lunch buffet), Far Land Provisions (awesome deli), East End Market (swank jarred goodies), 141 To Go (mucho vegan), Big Daddy’s Burritos (hot momma sauce, please), Tiny’s, Grab and Go Health Bar (vegan soft serve!), Burger Queen (burger and fries), the Canteen (why’d you stop the fried chickpeas!?!) and Kung Fu Dumplings (steamed or fried veggie dumplings, noodles, plus a side of kimchi), Ciro and Sal’s (maybe not super vegan, but really yummy), we were very well fed.  I didn’t cook a single meal!  In a week!  Strange but enjoyable.IMG_1186It was bear week while we were there.  Our favorite week ’cause bears are awesome.  Food and bev workers are in a good mood, too, ’cause bears eat, drink and tip with gusto.  Maybe a few other things, too, but that’s their business.  Everyone wins when the bears are in town.  Go bears!

Oh ya!  I walked by this cute couple every day.  IMG_1125

One might think they make an odd pairing, but bikes and motorbikes were birthed from the same parents way back when.  No reason they can’t play nice together to this day.  Notice the motor on the bicycle?  It’s all good.

Almost no one wears a bike helmet in Provincetown.  Maybe out on the highway, but not in town.  I have still donned a lid in the past but didn’t this time.  The speed limit in town is either 25 or 20 and people stay at or under it.  So much foot, bicycle and dog traffic that cars keep it real slow.  Often times about 5 or 10 miles per hour.  So you feel safe.  You are safe, when compared to biking next to people going 45.  Of course I’m sticking with a helmet in Albany.  Even though it wouldn’t help much at the speeds folks here drive, you gotta try.  Skeptical?  I get it.  But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  Maybe this–imagine how much you’d enjoy walking without a helmet if you’d never done it before.  You might get hit by a car while walking, but golly the wind sure feels nice.

Good to be home.  The garden saved for us a ton of beans, cukes, greens, garlic and endive.  Beets and cabbage can be harvested soon.  Yesterday I made a feast for scrabble players with tamales (filled with corn, squash, onions and chilpotles in adobo), refried black beans, red rice and massaged kale (dressed with olive oil, umeboshi plum vinegar, mustard, agave, salt and tons of black pepper).  I made green and red salsa, too.  All delicious.  By the way, we’ve all let down the folks at the Mexican Grocery here.  A couple of times recently I tried to visit but they were closed during business hours.  I finally caught them this week and the shelves are kind of bare.  Seems like they might be going under.  Buy maybe I am wrong.  Maybe they are in it for the long haul and will turn it around.  I hope I am wrong.

That’s enough for now.  Happy Friday.

One Reason

Frida, yes, greens, yes, work, yes, warmth, not really.  That was my June.

More?  Two weekends ago, for the first time in more than a decade, I stepped out of my space capsule onto the fertile soil that is Lincoln, Nebraska.  The place was looking swell.  Better even than I remembered it.  The folks were sweet, drinks were cheap (and often enough very good) and there were more choices for Mexican food than I had room in my belly.  You in Lincoln or headed there–enjoy the shops at 11th & G.

On the way home I picked up from a chair at ORD a Best of mag put out by The Reader.  It contained much I want to check out but I started with and am glad I did.  You should, too, if you like good writing and punk music.  If that doesn’t keep you busy, a new album from Desaparacidos is out.

Bikes?  You heard of Vision Zero?  Me neither, but it doesn’t take long to see why it could work.  Check out this infographic.  speed

Why isn’t Albany listed as one of the communities committed to reducing traffic deaths to zero by 2030?  We need to push for this.

Here’s looking forward to July.


Ragonese Imports is now officially taking care of vegans.  They’ve long had vegan friendly items, a fair amount of Italian food has always been “naturally” vegan, but now the word “vegan” shows up on their sandwich board and on house branded ravioli.Ravioli

The ravioli are excellent!  Check out the ingredients!  Sorry I didn’t take a picture of the ravioli themselves (we smothered ours in pesto made with our backyard basil thinned with cooking water), but here’s a description–they’re big and pillowy and perfect.  The vegan sandwich is terrific, too.  Get there and show them you care, since they do.  Everyone wins!

How about a little bike safety?  My friend sent this.  Can you believe it?  If you are a local bike advocate, consider sharing it with the powers that be.  Me?  I’ll probably just buy one so I can continue to shake my fist in disbelief but with science on my side.  If our police department doesn’t want to incur the cost, I invite them to ride with a yardstick under their left hands.  If a car hits it, ticket.  Feel free to use that slogan, on the house.

Just got back from a high school reunion.  Which?  Let’s just say too many decades!  My old town was looking swell.  Ton’s of pedalers, lots of good Mexican food and unseasonably mild weather.  I really miss the place.  Seeing old friends was the highlight, but a pilgrimage to the Monkey Wrench bike shop was a close second.  Randy at Monkey Wrench

Check out their wall of historically significant mountain bikes!MWW

There are more but I didn’t need to shoot them all.  Go see them for yourself.  I picked up a Brooks Cadmium saddle to say thanks for being awesome.  It’s very nearly vegan (the vulcanized rubber may contain animal products–can’t be sure).  I’ll have to take a little time to see to which bike it will be added.Frida on Mountain

Frida is doing great, and we’re doing a good job of cherishing every moment.  Somedays she’s a little faster than the day before.  Others a little slower.  We try hard not to read too much into either trend.  Just loving her lots and getting lots in return.

Take care of yourselves, okay?

Good Things

Today the garden offered up some early summer treats.  Summer Haul

First two cukes, spinach and some other fancy lettuce the name of which I have forgotten, wild onions, garlic I missed during last year’s harvest and strawberries from a friend’s plot  (from which I was encouraged to poach).

Yesterday I enjoyed a presentation given by a friend who has started a company called Node40.  He explained Dash, one of many competing crypto currencies, and how his company can help you get involved.  In very basic terms, he can help set up a savings account into which you deposit Dash (a Bitcoin competitor) and then he rents server capacity on your behalf so that you can help verify transfers of Dash and run calculations to create unique transaction IDs.  In exchange for the work the servers are doing, you are paid Dash on an ongoing basis.  He takes an ongoing fee for setting it all up and monitoring the operation of your account. You get an ongoing revenue stream and, when you cash out, the benefit (or burden) of fluctuations in the value of Dash.  I encourage you to keep an eye on his schedule and attend talks he gives in the future (or, now, watch the presentation at the link in the comments below).  That, or contact him if you have a group who’d like to hear him speak on the subject.  He’s very committed to getting the word out.  Also enjoyed seeing for the first time the Albany Barn.  Quite a place and very nice of them to host talks by local business owners.  me enjoying a ride

Remember when I wrote to the CDTA to inform them of close passes made by many of their drivers?  I wrote March 31st and April 30th.  No reply so yesterday afternoon I wrote to the CEO, who replied this morning.  Bingo!  The fellow I first contacted just wrote to say the following (edited):

After receiving the initial e-mail, I instructed the Superintendents at each of the three divisions to work with the Safety Department to come up with a notice that reminds all operators of their responsibilities regarding safe passing of bicyclists. That information has been conveyed to our workforce.

We will do a better job at monitoring our operators and gaining full compliance of this responsibility. We will also need to rely on you and the other bicyclists in the Capital Region to notify us when someone fails to comply. If possible, please provide bus numbers and corrective measures will be taken to address on an individual basis.

Not too bad!  I’m going to take him at his word and let him know when operators aren’t complying with the law.  I encourage you to do the same.  I won’t print his name and contact info here, but it is easy to find the appropriate contact info on the CDTA website.  That said, if you know me and want the contact info for this specific fellow, reach out to me outside of this blog and I’d be happy to share it one to one.

Frida is doing very well during the day but has had a couple of very anxious nights in a row.  Upping the xanax to a full pill from a half seems to help so that may be the new normal going forward.  The poor dear.  It is a terrible thing to witness.  She just paces and barks, is let outside and then back in, then paces and barks, then outside then in.  This can go on for hours.  I sometimes shut her in my office and sleep with her on the floor.  Try to sleep.  Neither she nor I do, but at least Lacey stands a chance of getting some sleep.  Last night the extra half xanax and her Thundershirt together helped her collapse on the floor near me and she slept the rest of the night.  I don’t know how many hours of sleep we got.  I sometimes don’t look.  I don’t want to know.  Here’s hoping a full pill at bedtime helps her out.FwTs

That’s enough.  Take care!