Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.

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?