Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold, Snow, and Bicycles

I woke up Sunday morning to see the ground covered in snow and more coming down. I think we got a couple of inches by the time it was done. The kids were excited by the first snowfall of the season. I was a little concerned about what the roads would look like on Monday.

I got ready by swapping tires on my fixed gear. Out with the 23mm slick tires and in with the 32mm tires with tread. These are not specifically winter tires but I used them last winter and they seemed to do pretty well. The drawback to these tires is the higher weight and higher rolling resistance. Swapping the tires also gave me a chance to practice removing and reinstalling the rear wheel on the fixed gear.

Luckily the roads were in pretty good shape by Monday morning. The worst street was the street that I live on. It was better by the time I got to the next block. There were a few places where I had to ride on packed snow but for the most part the roads were clear. The bike lanes were unusable for the most part.

Another problem was the cold weather. It was 8 degrees for the morning commute, with a sub-zero wind chill. The ride home was in the teens, but there was less wind. I didn't have any problems, but I did have ice in my moustache by the end of the ride.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The next three Rams games don't matter

This is not a sports blog, but I do enjoy watching sports (mostly baseball and football). I have been very pleased with how the Rams have been doing this year. They are not a good team yet, but the are certainly improving. After last years 1-15 season anything more than 4 wins would have a cause for celebration.

Because they are in the NFC West, the Rams have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. Everyone expected the 49er's to walk away with the division this year but that didn't happen. The Rams and the Seahawks are currently tied for the division lead right now with a record of 6 and 6. The Rams hold the tie-breaker because they beat the Seahawks but that doesn't help them unless they beat the Seahawks in the last week of the season.

In the next three games, the Rams face New Orleans, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Seattle faces San Francisco, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay. Realistically I expect both teams to go 1-2. So it should come down to that finally game between them. In fact, the only way that the last game doesn't decide the division winner is if one of the two teams picks up two games in the next three.

Here's why: If Saint Louis and Seattle are tied going into the final game, obviously the winner will have the better record. If Saint Louis is trailing by one game and then wins, they will win the tie breaker because the will have beaten Seattle twice. If Seattle is trailing by one game and wins the final game then they win the tie breaker because the head to head record will be even and Seattle will have more division wins.

In all of this, I've been ignoring San Francisco. They have not been mathematically eliminated, but they would need to go 4-0 or 3-1 over the last 4 games to have a shot. While they do have an easy schedule, the Rams can all but eliminate them if they beat them.

So that's why I don't think the next three games matter. Please comment if you disagree, or if I've made mistakes in my analysis.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wheel Problems

After I got to work on Friday, I noticed that the rear brake was rubbing. While adjusting it, I noticed that the spokes were very loose. Loose enough that I didn't feel comfortable riding home. I figured that it was better to call Helen to pick me up than to call her when I was halfway home.

I took the bike into Maplewood Bicycle and they decided to do a warranty replacement on the wheel. I had a problem with the spokes loosening shortly after I bought it in August. This means that I will be without the bike until Wednesday.

I rode my Lightspeed to work on Monday morning. Unfortunately I did not realize that I had left my headlight on the Salsa until I was ready to leave on Monday night. Fortunately, Matt E. was still there and he gave me a ride home. Actually I had him take me to Maplewood Bicycle so I could pick up the headlight and I walked from there. Matt offered to drive me home after that, but I needed to stop and pick up some dinner on the way home. It was cold (upper twenties) but it's only about a mile and a quarter walk and I was dressed warmly.

Helen will have to take me to work tomorrow and then I should be able to ride home.