Saturday, December 19, 2009


I follow a few blogs, but I am not that good at keeping up with them on a regular basis. Unless I know that there is a time critical reason to keep up with the blog, I only go back to it every few months to see what has changed. One of the blogs that I follow is a photography blog called superlocal. The name of the blog was also the alias of the photographer who took all of the photos on the blog. He also had a flickr photo feed and was briefly posting links on twitter.

I had happened upon this blog randomly when a search that I performed returned the Tornado Potato. I saw the entry, checked out a few more, and was hooked. He made me appreciate pop-culture photography in a new way. He enjoyed good food, interesting street food, and unique views of people eating their food. He had a good sense of humor and a good eye with a lens.

The other day I realized that it had been a few months since I went to look at superlocal's blog and decided to take a look at it. When I visited the site I found out that superlocal, Emil Goh, had passed away. I found myself choked up over this. I tried to reason with myself that I shouldn't be. Here is a guy that I had never met. I never even knew his name until I saw the tribute to him on his own blog. I only had minimal contact with him when he started using twitter. Yet through this mild virtual relationship I felt as though I came to know him at a level that influenced my life.

Goodbye superlocal. I will miss you and your photographs.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No Gluten

Write post about my new adopted diet.

L.I. Paddlers

While on our vacation in the Adirondacks, my in-laws decided that it may be nice to spend a day paddling on the Raquette River. I agreed as it is a beautiful river and I would love to spend time paddling and with my family.

The Raquette

We had decided to leave from the Axton Boat Launch and head up river to the falls and back again. Cindy and I were paddling in my in-law's kayak while my in-laws take my children in their flat-backed canoe with a motor on it.

It took Cindy and I about 2.5 to 3 hours to get almost 7 miles up the river to the falls. When we got there we landed our kayak and we were watching the kids play in the water. I looked over and saw some really nice kayaks that had been there since we arrived:

Nice Kayaks

Once we got through with our lunch, the owners of the kayaks came back from looking at the falls. We spoke with them a little bit and then they went on their way back down the river. Once we were done with lunch, we headed back down the river as well. Cindy and I were going much faster on the way back, but still got passed by my in-laws since they had the motor.

When we got back to the boat launch we landed and the people that we had met at the falls were there. They let us know that my in-laws had gone by about 15 min before we got back, cut the motor, and kept going on by the cove where the landing was. We continued to talk to them for another 15 to 20 minutes about their kayaks and about kayaking in general. We had suddenly became more interested in kayaking during this trip. As we talked to them they told us that they were from a group called L.I. Paddlers.

After they headed off, we waited a while longer and decided that maybe my in-laws were not just trolling around to kill time and that I should go looking for them. I headed off on what would be a two hour venture to find them. They had missed the cove and didn't have any points of reference that would let them know that they were lost.

We are very, very thankful for the kind people from L.I. Paddlers. Without their information we would have been clueless about which direction to search.

Next time we are in Long Island we will definitely look them up.

Raquette Bouldering

Boulders like these:

Raquette River Boulder

made me wish that I had brought my climbing shoes with me on vacation. The only problem with these ones in particular is that they're surrounded by water that is 8 ft deep on all sides. Based on my current skill level there is a good chance that I would have!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


There was a day last week that I really wanted to go on a ride, but it looked bad out. A lot of times I will fool myself into riding on a day like this by convincing myself that it's only sprinkling and the rain is about to stop. That way if I leave before the real rain hits I can say that it wasn't pouring when I left and it was a perfectly sensible decision to continue on.

This was one of those days. It had started to sprinkle while I was getting ready. Once I was all ready I went into the garage and was going to get on my bike when I realized I had forgotten my mobile phone and my keys. I knocked on the door until my wife let me in to get them. I hadn't realized it, but she had just asked the kids to come in off the swing set because it was thundering.

As I grabbed my keys and phone my daughter said to me, "You can't go on a bike ride, it's thundering!" She was right, but I didn't want to admit it. I told her that I would be fine, went out to the garage, hopped on my bike and rode off. By this time the rain had risen to a steady drizzle and seemed to be increasing. For some reason I still thought that I could beat out the storm. I kept going, in fact I got about three to four miles into my 13 mile ride before the rain really started pouring down. Then came the lightening and the thunder.

It was raining hard, but I had ridden through worse. I really don't like to ride with lightening, so I wasn't happy about this. I decided to cut my ride short by about 5 miles. I turned off at one of the alternate routes that I use in such cases. The rain let up a little and I made for home as fast as I safely could given that my brakes do now work as well in the rain.

When I was coming around the final turn to my house I looked up and saw the darkest thunderhead that I had seen in a long time. I sprinted for my house and got there about two minutes before the skies really opened up. There was some really close lightening with this storm too. I was soaked, my bike needed to be cleaned and re-greased, in general I wasn't angry (I had brought this upon myself), but I wasn't happy either.

Right after I got changed and was dried off, the rain cleared and the sun came out. It would have been a beautiful time to get out for a ride. The skies were clear, the humidity was low, and everything was generally calm. At that moment I suddenly thought back to what my daughter said, thought that I should have listened to her all along.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why My Wife Is Cool (Part 1)

My wife told me yesterday that I don't have enough entries in my blog about how cool my wife is. After being married 6.5 years I have learned to pick up on these very subtle hints. So here is one of the large number of reasons why Cindy is really cool:

Not many people would allow me to perform maintenance on my bikes in the family room!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Speed Wobble

I mentioned that I made 3 rides out of the 10 I planned on vacation. The second ride I ended up riding on Rt 3, South-East of the 30/3 split, following this route:

Rt 3 is very hilly compared to Rt 30 that I had ridden the day before. Given the fact that I am out of shape and a lot heavier than I had been last time I was riding this area. Because of this I do not like to just drop down hills and I end up braking most of the way down the hill. In order to be safe about the braking I alternate between the front and rear brakes so that neither of the rims will heat up to much for a blowout.

While I was braking I realized that I was not slowing myself down enough to be at my comfort level. At this point I started hitting the brakes a little harder. On a particularly steep part of the hill I noticed a strange vibration in my bike. This vibration felt a lot different than I was used to. I decided to look down and realized that my front wheel was vibrating very hard on the outer part of the rim.

This scared me. Really, really badly.

Not only did I think I was going to fall, I was worried about how I would fall. If I fell I would either have the choice of falling into Rt 3 or the other direction into a wire barricade that would keep me from falling down a very steep hill side.

Rt 3 at this point has a 55 mph speed limit and is highly traveled. Almost certain that I was going over, I unclipped and got ready to go down. Fortunately at the last second the vibration stopped. I was able to regain control of my bike. It took me a long time to stop shaking from this event. I came to a complete stop to regain my composure.

I was initially going to stop at a junction called Indian Pass however I decided to going down a road called Corey's and take some time on a slower road with very little traffic.

I couldn't stop thinking about what could have happened to me. I had just bought a new wheel set from a friend of mine. The friend is an excellent mechanic, so I had no reason to doubt the wheels. They were true and stiff with deep rims. Even knowing this, I felt as though something just wasn't right with them. When I got back and checked them and I noticed some side to side play in the hub.

I decided to take the wheel set to Placid Planet Bicycles just to be safe. When I got there I showed on of the mechanics the wheels. The mechanic told me the wheels to said that there was a little in the hub, but it wasn't enough to worry about. He said that he would tighten them up and I took him up on it.

After he was done I told him what had happen on that descent. He told me that it was a phenomena called speed wobble. Then he told me what causes it and how to fix it. What I found particularly interesting is that he even knew my bike (just by me telling him the model) and told me that it was more common because of how the rear triangle had a dropout where the wheel connected to the frame.

After I got back, I put the wheels back on my bike and took it for a ride. The wheel set felt very tight and just how I was used to it. I also made the adjustments to the brakes like the mechanic suggested and the next time I rode, I was much more confident in my bike.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vacation Goals

We just got back from the Adirondacks for annual our family vacation. I always bring my bike with me. Before I left I made a goal to ride 200 miles. The goal seemed doable for my current fitness level: 10 days, 20 miles a day. I was even more excited because I had hills to ride as well, which is one of the areas that I need improvement.

After 4 days, I was feeling pretty good about my goal. I had ridden two rides of 20 miles and one ride of 40 miles. I missed one day, but I was still on par for my goal. Then day 5 came...nothing. Day 6? nothing, etc.

I was frustrated because I obviously was not going to reach my goal. As the days wore on, I was finding excuses to not ride. Then, one day, I had a few minutes to reflect on the excuses I had been making:

  1. Day long downpour: not much can be done about this.

  2. Rode a 40 mile route that I thought was 30: I had the route information wrong. I was really sore the next day. That's fine with me.

  3. Spent my free time paddling through the Floodwood Loop with some friends: Hey, that's exercise!

  4. Spent my free time paddling down the Raquette River with my in-laws: Also exercise!

  5. Spent a day driving through the high peaks with my family: Isn't this why we go on vacation?

It occurred to me that all of these excuses are either exercise related or family related. So I didn't make my goal, but I'm happy with my vacation and I'm only slightly disappointed that I didn't reach my goal.