Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rainy Day Flats (or This is Gonna Suck)

I've had flats while cycling and have had to walk some distances, so I know what it's like. I've even tried the "tie the tube in a knot trick" - it doesn't work. I've also had complete strangers just give me a tube (talk about a humbling experience) so I'm pretty sympathetic to most people in need of a little help. This weekend I ran into the two following situations:

Saturday I ran into a man was stopped and fiddling with his rear tire. Since I was at the end of a 40 mile ride I slowed down a bit and asked him if he needed any tools or a pump. "I need a tube," he said, emphasizing the tube part. "I've got a pump and a patch.." I offered, thinking he had run out of CO2. He something about "a problem with the side wall.. and it wouldn't help, but thanks anyway." So I rode on thinking "gee, some people really have hang-ups about patching tubes". As I pedaled along it suddenly hit me.. He didn't have a tube! He had tubeless tires and a problem with the sidewall was keeping it from sealing properly so a patch wouldn't have done him any good without a tube to patch. Der! Now I get it! Had I understood the situation in the 3.5 seconds in which our conversation in passing took place I would have told him that just around the bend was a garbage can where he could probably find a tube in pretty good condition, needing maybe a single patch. Garbage cans along bike paths are used tube repositories, because, some people really do have hang-ups about patching tubes. Unfortunately I was too far ahead by now to convey that bit of wisdom and my left knee was not about to let me do another 3 mile loop to circle back around. Shortly thereafter he was able to procure a tube from another roadie and I presume finish his ride without having to call for SAG support.

The other situation was two guys out riding in the rain on Sunday. They were pretty much the only other cyclists I saw on the Veloway that afternoon since the temperature was around 56 degrees and it had been steadily drizzling rain all day. I saw them riding along on a couple of laps and eventually caught up to them as they were now walking. Not really wanting to stop and lose what little body heat I had generated, I still asked if they needed any help. Hey, it was the proper thing to do. One of them pointed to his rear tire and said he had a flat. "Is is tubeless," I asked with Saturday's Duh Moment still fresh on my mind. "I'm not sure what it is," he said, adding "it's a rental," as if that should explain it all. "We've already called for someone to pick us up, but thanks anyway," the other guy said, perhaps sensing my desire to keep moving. So I waved at both of them and rode on. Man, what a miserable walk back to the parking lot (and wait for a ride) that must have been. But, I bet as they sit around talking over a couple of beers it'll be one of those things that start with "Remember that time we..."

Monday, October 12, 2009


A local blogger had a post recently regarding two incidents where cyclist ignored police barricades. In one of them it seems a college-aged girl went around the barricades and proceeded to ride right through the middle of a movie set. It goes on to state: "During the day we had several bikes approach but generally they would make some attempt at eye contact with me, I would send them East / West if the movie was active, tell them OK to the next cross street otherwise. I just don't understand how these two could have a thought process that said none of this applies to me."

I can really sympathize with that.. I frequently ride at the
Bicycle Veloway which just so happens to be across the street from The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. At least once a day someone will pull into the Veloway parking lot while looking for the Wildflower Center. Most people quickly figure out they are in the wrong place simply by observing the crowds of spandex-clad cyclist and roller bladers hanging around. The majority of them never even have to get out of their cars to come to this conclusion. Some will get out, walk up to the trail head, read the sign and turn around. Every now and then they approach someone and ask a couple of questions, but more out of curiosity/amusement than confusion.

So on Saturday as I sat by the trailhead I watched an older woman get out of her car and begin walking down the middle of the Veloway. I kept waiting for the little "light bulb" hovering over her head to blink on, but it didn't. Not even as she passed the trail map, or the signs that state "No Walking or Jogging on Veloway". Nothing seemed out of place to her even as several cyclists whizzed past. Had she made eye contact I would have said something like, "Are you looking for the Wildflower Center?"

Instead she kept her head down and walked with a very deliberate, purposeful stride that indicated this is something she's done a million times and knew exactly where she was going. She walked a ways down and out of my sight, but apparently at some point she turned around came back. I saw her walk back up to her car, get in it, and leave. Never once did she look puzzled, confused or say a word to anybody. I can imagine her going back to her friends and neighbors telling them that the Wildflower Center is nothing but bunch of exercise nuts or something... I'm just amazed how some people never clue in and yet somehow manage to blunder through life without a scratch.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blogger just auto saved a blank page over my draft!

Here is my complaint.. has this ever happened to you (especially if you use a laptop)? I posted it under their "help" forum before and I'm doing it again. I just lost over an hour's worth of composition.. I will NEVER type a post directly into blogger ever again. I should have learned by now to type it in notepad first.

Anyway.. read on:

When composing a blog if I select text (to change a font, etc.) by using the "Shift" key and "Arrow" keys to highlight the text it will DELETE MY TEXT if I arrow down/up past the end of the text. The Autosave will save a draft which is essentially a BLANK PAGE!!! ARRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!! This Sucks!!!!! This needs to be fixed and I've complained about it before.

Try it for yourself.

1. Start typing a blog (or cut and paste is a couple of paragraphs of something)
2. Arrow up to top of post
3. Hold down "Shift Key" and press the "End Key" to highlight first sentence of blog
4. (While still holding down Shift Key) press the Down Arrow Key to highlight the next couple of lines
5. Keep pressing the Down Arrow Key and eventually everything you just entered will disappear

Then you get the joy of having AutoSave save a blank page. What's the purpose of having a "draft" if it cannot be recovered?

FYI it doesn't happen when I use a mouse to select the text, only when I use the arrow keys (which I often do since my mouse isn't always plugged in on my laptop). I really really really wish someone from blogger/google would address this.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chile Rellenos

After watching Rick Bayless do an episode on Chile Rellenos I was inspired. He demonstrated several different versions of stuffed peppers but one method in particular caught my eye. He used some Anaheim peppers and wrapped them in corn husks to hold the whole package together.

Here is my version using Pablano peppers instead:

First I roasted a couple of Pablano peppers on the grill until the skin was charred and papery. Don't do this indoors unless you want your house filled with a very pungent aroma (rivaled only by a Doobie Brothers concert.) Then I cleaned and seeded the pepper and removed the stem.

Next I made a sauce using a couple of chipotle peppers (the kind that comes in a can coated with Adobo sauce) and some fresh chopped tomato. As I blended the tomatoes & chipotle peppers I added in a little water, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a tablespoon of BBQ sauce for sweetness.

I peeled and deveined a handful of large Gulf shrimp and coated them with some of the sauce before grilling them. Once the shrimp were cooked, I chopped them in bite-sized chunks along with some white onion, added some grated Jack cheese and tossed the mixture with remainder of the sauce.

In the meantime, I had some dried corn husks soaking in water which were then rinsed off and spread out on a plate. I placed a Pablano pepper on each husk (actually I overlapped a couple of husks because the peppers were so big) and spooned in as much of the shrimp/onion/cheese/sauce mixture that the pepper would hold. Then it was simply a matter of rolling up the husks in to little packages and tying them up (with strips of shredded husks) before placing them on the grill for about 10-20 minutes, until the cheese melted and everything got all toasty. Give it a try with your own twist and let me know what you come up with.. Enjoy!