Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Time to escape...

10 AM, Tuesday...

Time to escape from the noise of the edgers and leaf-blowers and lawnmowers, the reek of 2 stroke fumes and the rotting grass in the back of the dump trucks..

The racket of the slamming of the tailgates...

The soundscape and ambience of suburbia on a weekday morning.

i'm going out for a ride.

i hope i can safely dodge the landscapers' pickup trucks and dump trucks with their over-wide and overloaded trailers that make up the bulk of the traffic on a fine morning in the suburbs and exurbs.

i will ride for the next few hours before the thunderstorms roll in and try to get away from this cacophony that is invading my space and making me edgy.

Hope to be back later.

Feel free to join me.

Be safe out there.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Memorial Day

i went down to my town's Memorial Day ceremonies and parade today. i attended the service held at the cemetery where lie buried many veterans of wars from the Civil War through the current conflicts in which our nation is engaged. i listened to the eulogies, Taps, and the rifle squad's salute.

i stood still and removed my cap as the colour guards from the local vets' organisations, police, and fire department marched past.

The local high school's marching band played the national anthem and a medley of the various armed services' marches and hymns.

Several local scouts' packs, Cubs to Eagles, trotted along in the parade, as well as a contingent of an automobile collectors' club, and representatives of a landscaping company whose truck was armed with a loud PA blaring a song declaring "I'm proud to be an American."

A gaggle of supporters of the two major political parties participated as well.

After the parade, all gathered at the war memorial in the village's main park, where the high school band played the Star Spangled Banner once more, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and speakers held forth.

All told, a typical Memorial Day in the USA.

My fervent wish, as close to a prayer as i can manage, is that someday, someday there can be a time when we will truly honour those who served and died in our nation's wars by making damn good and sure that we do not add to their numbers.

As i stood and watched the the parade, one song kept going through my head:

 


                                                             *********************

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Crayfish & Cricketers

Recently seen ...

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdaddy, freshwater lobster, yabbie*.


This little fellow was out in the middle of Mundhank road, near the Really Big Church on Easter Sunday. Fortunately, the heavy traffic of the departing Faithful had passed an hour earlier, sparing the critter from being run over.

As i approached, he went on the defensive...



...flipping himself onto his back...


....covering his belly with his tail and brandishing his formidable claws.

The creature was -to me at least- of impressive size; about 7 or 8 inches long. i've only seen one other crayfish in the wild near that size. When i was a kid, we would hang out an the south breakwater at Rainbow Beach, tie a dead minnow to a string and dangle the bait under rock ledges to catch 2 inch long crayfishes. i tried to keep one for a pet, but was convinced by my mom that it really wasn't a good pet candidate, and dropped it back to the pool i'd gotten it from.

As i've related in earlier posts, i hate encountering roadkill. Figuring that this guy would soon be crushed or otherwise become some crow's meal, i nudged him to safety back into the nearby wetland. And no, i didn't try to pick him up- those claws meant business- but as gently as possible pushed and flipped him along with the tip of a Silca pump.

A couple of miles later, i stopped to watch an impromptu cricket practice:



Since South Barrington lacks a proper cricket pitch, this team took over a tennis court for awhile.


The fellow playing at silly mid-off** (yes, i looked that up,) invited me to join in, but since i know so little of the game, i passed.

A few miles down Penny road is a large county forest preserve. About a quarter mile off the road is this:

(Not the clearest picture- i use a cheap second-hand camera.)

The county forest preserve district has raised a pole to provide an osprey nest.

Overhead, its resident:


She had a catch in her talons:

(At the limits of my camera's resolution)
She was very aware of my presence, and circled me warily, not returning to the nest until she was sure i had moved on.

                                                         *******

 Someday i will either carry my better camera or learn how to take better photos with the pocket model. i have gotten to the point where i feel almost under equipped if i'm not carrying a camera on a ride, although i'm reluctant to carry one that's expensive (or heavy,) given my propensity for dropping and breaking things. For now, these snapshots will have to do. i hope you've enjoyed them all the same.

                                                       **********

                                  

(*Not "yabbie" in the sense that BSNYC speaks of!)
(**or perhaps, simply "mid-off" but what do i know?)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Syttende Mai

Nasjonaldagen!

 Grunnlovsdagen!

 
17th of May 1893 by Norwegian painter Christian Krohg (1852–1925).

The Royal Guard Norwegian Constitution Day parade (Kjetil Bjørnsrud)  
Barnetog, 17 Mai (Ranveig Thattai)
Royal Family in 2006 (Ernst Vikne)
Norske soldater feirer 17. mai i Meymaneh, Afghanistan
Ballard, Seattle (HMPinnsvinet)
 

Oslo, 2010 (evelinagustafsson@live.se)
  

Bergen, Norway (Aqwis)

(Jonathunder)   
Lutefisk and Lefse for all!










Monday, 1 May 2017

May Day

Some music and images for International Labour Day...                                                                                      
                                    

https://iww.org/





                                                          Sung by Utah Phillips (R.I.P.)

More from Utah:


And an anthem:






                               (Okay, if i weren't on a blacklist yet, i'm sure to be on one now...)

REMEMBER TODAY TO THANK A WORKER.

"A full belly to the labourer is, in my opinion, the foundation of public morals and the only source of real public peace."
 -William Cobbett, journalist, pamphleteer, and farmer (1763-1835) 


Friday, 28 April 2017

Candy Days

The volunteers were out today, standing at various intersections and collecting donations for the benefit of  Misericordia.

Misericordia's mission is to provide care services and housing for developmentally and intellectually disabled people. It's run by the Sisters of Mercy under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Their main campus is in the Rogers Park neighbourhood on the north side, on the site of the former Angel Guardian Orphanage. 

Any small donation is welcomed and you'll get a bag of Jelly Bellies and a bright red tag to put in your windshield...


 ... or hang from your brake cable.






If you should see any of these folks on a corner near you tomorrow, don't just ride by...
(and the jelly beans are tasty! )

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Knee

(Cyclist's achy knee joints...)

Easter Knee is a term i first heard many years ago, and occasionally saw in print, but don't encounter very often any more. Older riders who've been at it for years know it, but it's a term that often draws a blank look from the younger crowd. i tried to google it tonight, but pretty much came up empty, so i guess it's a phrase soon to be lost to the ages.

The way i got the story was it had to do with British cyclists who, no matter the temperatures, stopped wearing their cold-weather kit on Easter Sunday, and the resultant rheumatism that set in in later years. i heard it from my friend Kendra who'd ridden for a team that had an Englishman for a coach- that may explain why it's not so widely known a term on this side of the Pond.

i was coached fairy early on that one should keep one's knees covered in any temperature below about 68F. It's advice i've followed religiously- often to the amusement of cycling partner ( it was not unknown for me to be seen racing at the velodrome in my legwarmers on a cool evening.)

Despite my careful efforts, my knees tend to be achy. Some folks don't seem to be bothered by riding bare-kneed on days when i'd be swaddled in my warmest kit. Seeing them on days like that seems to make my knees ache just a wee bit more out of empathy.

Today it was around 65F when i set out. My knees were covered- only just- by a light pair of knickers. That turned out to be plenty as this Easter Sunday quickly became summery.

My old knees ache just a little bit tonight, but i'm not blaming Easter... it's actually a good kind of ache that reminds me i did something today.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Mundhank road, 10:30, Palm Sunday morning

A gaggle of the godly...

Some leaving...

A few more arriving for the late sleepers' service.   

The local mega-church.

A sprawling campus...

The parking lot on a weekday last summer.



My ride today was briefly interrupted by a churchly traffic jam. i'd failed to realize that the congregants would be especially numerous today, Palm Sunday. When the traffic officer waved me through, the drivers had left enough room along the edge of the road for me to safely filter up the next half mile to the stop light. For this i am grateful.

  i try to time my Sunday rides to pass this way well before or after services. It's actually more hazardous to be caught on Mundhank around arrival time- maybe folks are in a hurry to get a good seat in the rear pews...

Willow Creek Church is blessed with a huge, mostly well-to-do, fully tithed congregation. i am not a member of this church, but consider myself a confirmed member of The Church of the Individual Covenant. Its chapel is found on any back road, its roof the open sky, my pew is the seat of my bike. 

i am a tad irreverent, i hope not too offensively so, something i  think i caught during my seminary days... i really hope that any god out there has a sense of humour. (i think they must- look at the platypus!)

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Sweet Tooth

Took a short ride along a familiar route the other day. i had a craving, so i stopped by one of my favourite candy stores...
The Sweet Spot, in Barrington
This place has to be a gold mine. It's located about a block away from a high school and about halfway from the school to a hot dog stand. i like to stop by occasionally for a malt and to stock up on some candies that are a bit harder to find 'round these parts.

This trip's take...


The bigger candy companies have all but shut out many of the brands carried at the Sweet Spot; the market in the area is dominated by Mars, Hershey's, and Nestle's. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those brands, but when i browse the shelves there, i find sweets i hadn't seen since i was in grade school.

  It's good that i don't live so close to that shop or else i'd probably be all that much rounder for it and my dentist could take more family vacations...

This is the song that was going through my head during this ride... it's a bit irreverent, but enjoy:




Monday, 3 April 2017

April ritual

It's about that time...

Handy hint: keep the instructions!

On or about the first of April, i reset the cyclometers. Don't know exactly why i wait three months to do it, except that i don't really go about riding like i mean it until spring really begins to set in around these parts.

Marking the wheel size settings makes life easier.




The winter was generally mild this year, and i did get in more riding than usual for the first quarter. i don't obsess too much about mileage (or kilometerage -is that even a word?) but i do like keeping some track. The cyclometers are my concession to modernity, but i don't go in for things like tracking cadence or power output (my output tends to be embarrassingly low anyway.) i just like noting the distance covered, and sometimes it's good to see an average speed or just the time of day.

i have a box full of old cyclo computers from such as Avocet, Specialized, and even an original CatEye Solar. Not sure why i keep them around -although the Solar is probably still functional and is the first computer i ever used. Like most of the early models, it's a clunky affair with yards of wires. It's the only one i've ever had that marked cadence, and i was never enamored of that feature. The Avocets were simple and fairly accurate, and the Specialized seemed nice but went duff after the first batteries died.

The current models i have are CatEye's Micro Wireless and i've been using them for a few seasons now. They're reasonably priced, accurate enough for my purposes, and seem to be pretty durable. If i don't use the backlight too much the batteries seem to last about 2 years. i only wish that backlight were brighter, but i'm not out after dark all that often.

Maybe this time next year i'll post the total kilometers, if they're not too low...

What's your Spring Ritual?












Tuesday, 28 March 2017

It made me smile...

A text from my daughter:

                                                    "I'm rebuilding a Peugeot!"

Uh, mais non...


           ...mais ça.
She's working with the folks at Bike Saviours to restore an old UO-8 to service and to add to her growing fleet. It will join the elderly Vista 3-speed she got last year. The Vista is the errand and general transport-around-town bike, and i'm guessing the Peugeot will be for longer rides when the summer  heat isn't too crazy high.

i have to admit to feeling fatherly pride to hear that my firstborn has taken up the wrench. She sent along a picture of her work-in-progress, but the image on my DumbPhone won't load to this site. She's just replaced the bottom bracket and is planning to have a rideable vehicle in another week or so. 

i am however going to advise her to think about changing out those simplex derailleurs for Suntours.

There are several organizations like the Bike Saviours in many cities. i highly recommend seeking out one such outfit near you and giving  them a hand or a donation of bikes or parts so they can continue their mission.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Deer Grove

             Yesterday the weather was pretty reasonable for a day in February, so i loaded up Tarkus,

(Um, no, not that Tarkus...)


(This Tarkus.)

                                                 and rolled out to the nearby forest preserve...

There's a pretty good trail system for riding.

        It had rained pretty steadily the night before, and it was a beautifully foggy, windless morning.



The trails were too muddy for my smooth road tyres, so i cruised the roadways and paved paths that cross the preserve. There is a mile or so of disused closed roads back in the oak woods...

A forgotten picnic bench...









and a hidden pump.



                                            A bit later, i passed some silent local inhabitants...

How many?
Wait, there's another... (i counted 4)
Deer Grove is one of the Cook County Forest Preserves. It is located just inside the north county line and is bisected by Quentin Road:

(Note the typical quality of Illinois roads)

                                              It's a busy two lane blacktop along this stretch:

45mph (actually, that's an Illinois 45, that means usually 55+)

There is a crossing sign, that almost every driver ignores:

State law says stop for people in a crosswalk. 



                                                            Yeah, good luck with that!

After making the Quentin Crossing a second time, i returned from whence i came, passing more local fauna:

(This bunch was slightly less wary that those in the west section...)
Sometimes there's quite a dramatic browse line in these woods.
So, as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, i turned for home, passing the local high school
where it seems everybody drives:
No, they're not all teachers' cars...
(There's even an overflow lot.)
 And there you go.
(With apologies to NYC Bikesnob.)

With its fairly extensive and not over-technical trails, the preserve is an almost perfect place for me- never a strong off-road rider- to just ride and goof off for awhile. Best time to ride is an early morning weekday, when there aren't too many riders and dog walkers out there.

Maybe one day i'll actually fit knobbies on the ol' Tarkus again... maybe.