December 18, 2014

Yes, it's all "social"

   It shouldn't be a mystery at this point that the whole "Milepost 1445" thing is really just a cheat code for me, in the hopes that I can bring more consistent posting, more consistent content across platforms, and more exposure to the joys of commuting and randonneuring to a larger audience.  The cross-pollination started with Facebook, then Twitter, and now the ever-popular Instagram service.  You can choose to follow me on one, a couple, all, or - yes - none.  I really do hope, however, you'll stick around.  

     The content, no matter how it's provided, will have the same flavor you've come to appreciate all these years - only in easier to digest (and cook) bites.  Occasionally, however, even my own rules must be broken:  there will still be the odd "mega-post" here and there, as some of the goals I have in mind which I hope to uncork over the last half of this decade will likely require more meaty content, far beyond what Insta's 2,200 character post limit provides.  (Yeah, I've already hit it a few times... but this is a GREAT exercise for me, as a person, a speaker, and a writer.) 

     Big goals - but no big announcements.  Not until I'm trained, registered, and possibly standing at the start line.  No false drama, no huge promises to myself or anyone else.  I'm done with that malarkey.  

     Vacation!  Vacation!  Finally, vacation from work is here!  The annual hiatus!  Wheeeew, what a rough, busy, hectic, stressful year.  I wish I'd taken some photos with a bit more foresight to prove this, but, I've noticed a LOT more grey hair infiltrating my Scottish-red goatee lately.  Age and stress, anyone?  Ugh.  Best combatant, though, remains a good diet and regular exercise.  Lately, I've done neither.  

Crap, I can't even think straight.  I just tried to spell "neither" with a "gh".  I don't think that's olde English, is it?  Made-up ye olde English, perhaps...  "neighthour, my liege!"

Hazzah, you muther#$%^$@

     I digress... par usual.  

    Yeah, yeah... it's all about the social media.  (and the "bass", apparently)  I think I like the way things are progressing in that realm - but, I'd really like to see more growth.  I don't think, however, I have the time to devote toward that.  Too many other things I should be doing, and I refuse...  reFUSE... to stoop to the plaguesourcing techniques of some of the "get more likes!  Click here!" crowd.  I don't know if this multiplatforming I'm doing is the solution either, because I can't seem to get the if-this-then-(do five things) Rube Goldberg sorta routine nailed to prevent duplicate posts and general confusion from happening.  I need to get back to class at Google University and study up.  The only thing I can think of worse than bot-followers are noobs (like me) that don't know what they are doing when they suddenly blast out five of the same post.  I feel like that guy right about now, but I'm working on it.  Maybe none of this matters... I mean, I don't NEEED a zillion followers; yet, at the same time I am watching a lot more YouTube shorts lately which convince me I can do a lot better than I have been.  If more hits = more riders, then my motivation checkpoint remains valid thus far.

A December from the past, you know - back when I rode a bike.

     Finally breaking the ice in grand style this coming weekend, fresh on vacation, fresh from a return to the gym, weights, cardio ... and chock full of carbs from a still-crappy diet, THIS dude is headed outdoors, ya know.  My old lady, she's kinda funny and all about it.  The other day, I was leaning up against a lightpost and she had the nerve to tell me that she didn't believe I was even looking for a job - can you believe that?  Geez, lady.  About that time, my mouth was getting pretty dry, so I rode down to my local bar - you know, people.  

One bourbon.

One Scotch.

One beer.

George Throughgood (hey, look a "gh"!) had no idea he'd actually composed the makings of a pretty good EDM remix.  More to come on that front.

Yeah, so, 200km ride on Sunday.  Archie Bunker route.  Hey, that's the LAST route I rode, six months ago.  Nice!  Almost literally picking it up right where I left off.  I'm sure to have some interesting posts coming from that activity, so stay tuned.  

Later on, you half-crazed screaming teenage fans!  

ri-iiight, dude.... definitely.

December 17, 2014

Milepost 1445

Chain-L gets a shot for winter duty: Okay I'll bite. After reading all the interesting reviews, decided to make a totally unprompted purchase. I've been a ProGold ProLink user for 12 years with no complaints, but I'll try anything for 1,000 miles. The way I go though chains, that's nearly one application per chain! I'll report back - but, I have a feeling this sort of lube only rewards me and my fellow graduates from the OCD-U school for bicycle drivetrain cleaners.

from Instagram via IFTTT and Twitter @RUSAdude

December 13, 2014

Milepost 1445

The Firehouse: station #2 for Johnson county's expanded "northwest consolidated fire district", which serves most of Lexington township while also being contracted for nearby Sunflower Army Ammunition plant. Located at 127th and Gardner Rd., with a newer garage building standing a few yards south. It is difficult to age this building, but one could imagine it has been part of the landscape here for quite some time. Behind the camera stands an old farmstead, perhaps quarters for early fire volunteers. While 127th crumbles into a minimum maintenance road if one heads east from here, and Gardner road is largely a dead end to the north, traffic still passes at a slow, yet consistent rate. Cut off from nearly every major throughway, a vague zigzag of backroads are the only passage between Gardner, Eudora and Desoto. Today's tour retraces an old DSR route, loaded with treasures like this one all along the way.

from Instagram via IFTTT and Twitter @RUSAdude

Milepost 1445

West-Central JoCo: heading out toward Clearview City, KS., this is Moonlight Rd. heading north. I often head either south or north of town, but this time I headed west instead, past the rock quarries and aggregate plants, past the rail corridors, past the US highways that divide the county in two, and past the airport into that forgotten part of Johnson county where old rural flavor, horse ranches and an abandoned ammunition plant meet. Only recently have the opulent raised their dream homes, but most of the area remains as it had for decades: quiet, unassuming Kansas life. The counties biggest hills live here near Olathe lake, and the Kansas Prairie visitors center sits right between them at Cedar Niles road. Today, keen on scenery and blowing the dust out of the climbing legs, I cover them all under chilly, cloudy skies. December cycling, prairie-style.

from Instagram via IFTTT and Twitter @RUSAdude

December 6, 2014

Milepost 1445

More metalwork: Front rack headlight bracket mark-2, before the final polish. I guess I can already see the reflections from the shop lights... maybe that's good enough for this morning, considering I now need to make three more just like it for a potential dual headlight setup. This is in AL instead of steel, so it's lighter (which doesn't matter) and the knurled locknuts will bite better when mounted (which does) - especially with the M5 drillings instead of borrowing the giant chainring bolt holes like I had on the mark 1 version. Plus, this puts the light 1cm down and forward from the current position, making it impossible for the front bag to make contact with it. Barely an issue with the existing setup, so today's work is mainly for catharsis after a hectic week. It's a small step closer to possibly offering these for sale if the interest continues... but, yeah: you can make your own easily, too. I've got riding to do, so I'll not 'waste' any more of today's rare December weather in the shop. Always feels good to get my hands busy on something other than a keyboard, though, I'd rather get the bike dirty instead.

from Instagram via IFTTT and Twitter @RUSAdude

December 1, 2014

Milepost 1445

Flashing back to Knob Noster, February 2014, mile 115, Terry pulling the train.

from Instagram via IFTTT and Twitter @RUSAdude

November 30, 2014

The Face of Things to Come

Those who know cycling understand the feelings of a great ride don't come from the bike, the road, or the effort, but from the spirit the bike extracts from its rider.  It's difficult to describe what it feels like to the uninitiated though I've attempted to over the years, clearly paying little mind to just how long it takes.  A man of few words, I am not. 

Starting back in 2002, commuterDude focused on commuting by bicycle, then began to migrate toward long distance cycling, all while highlighting many of my personal highs and lows along the way.  I have overcome obstacles, cracked under my own pressure, emerged victorious - and then repeated.  Even though these pages have often served as confidant and sounding board, in truth the blog wasn't ever intended to be about me.  As they say, it is what it is; and so herein lay the chronicles of an everyman who found himself while floating along atop a bicycle.  Interspersed, however, hide the ride reports about which I'm most proud: rare moments when the ride took focus and the story developed effortlessly.  The goal now involves a reinvention of sorts to attempt the same sort of flavor you've come to expect from those posts, but in a much smaller space and with more consistency.

The stories, therefore, become shorter, more focused, more visual. The long rides will continue, as will the commutes; but the tales will be told

Milepost 1445

Racing sunset, son and I soaked up what might have been the last "short-sleeve" day of 2014. No filters here, just perfect lighting from a crystal clear sunset caught in the dust of frantic homeowners' last-minute leaf raking and mowing. The temps topped out at 65°F, but quickly dropped off - reminding me of RAAM duty on the high desert in Arizona where, regardless of the temperature, the suns disappearance had always been greeted with stark chills and extra layers. No residual heat in the air, each corner diving close to the waters edge greeting us with a similar chill, we ultimately emerged into the residential maze and finished the ride with headlights afire: the boy's first taste of night riding. One full loop of the trail system, and a head full of memories. -- via Instagram: -- Twitter @RUSAdude

November 23, 2014

Front Bag Testimony: fork rake & trail, headlight brackets, and sepia tone

  For the first time in almost a decade, the Kogs gets something of a make-over - at least as far as the front end is concerned.  I've been sitting on a GB25 handlebar (front) bag for a while now, and I finally decided to give mounting it a shot.  Why the hesitation?  Well, that's me thinking too much - as is often the case.  I'm not the milli-metric nut-job I once was - but, I still appreciate precision and bespoke touches.  Centering and accuracy are simply part of the landscape here, so the activity remains therapeutically perfect for me... but, for a while I struggled with changing anything at all.  All I knew was, after almost a year riding with them, that bags mounted directly to the handlebars wasn't quite cutting the mustard.

SO, let's begin;  I don't have much footage of fabbing-up the front rack and decaleur setup, unfortunately.  During the build, it completely slipped my mind!  I will, later, post some photos to social media with some of the finer touches.  It's sloppy, not exactly straight, and uses P-clamps to hold it onto the front fork legs.

(holy SPIT-TAKE... what??!  Dude, NO!

Yes, clamps.  I despise clamps.  They have their purpose, but, it was always a difficult pill to swallow, me using them as a major contributor to

November 18, 2014

Milepost 11/18

Wrapping up the photo series on fabricating headlight brackets out of old chainrings, the final product mounted and wired up. I ended up with two mirror image brackets after discovering that supporting the light from only one side invited an annoying lateral wobble. Doubling up provided the necessary bracing, and the wobble is gone, resulting in a solid headlight beam. The biggest trick was getting the light high enough to avoid too much tire shadowing and for it to be visible from the rider's left in traffic, but to still keep it low enough that the bag wouldn't block the beam or put pressure on the mount or light itself. So far, so good. I don't prefer adding a lot of complication to the bike, and this project became tough to stomach at times, adding complication and weight... But, like fenders, once mounted and forgotten, the usefulness of the front bag should quickly outweigh any previous concerns. Now, to get out out on the road to expose and fix any rattles, and we're ready for the 2015 brevet season, and the next R-12/P-12 streak!

via Instagram

Perfect weather for a bike ride . . .