Friday, February 24, 2012

Just a Quickie. Man, I Can't even Stay Away Right.

The words are flowing from me like a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives, so you guys can look forward to some real content on March 5. Today I popped in to tell you that since I've made Hubbard an internationally recognized person, the "mainstream alternative" press has jumped on the bandwagon and he has been profiled by the Lakewood Advocate.  (and I'm sure in the paper, if they still print such archaic things).

Read all about him here.

I'm sure he will show up on Channel 5 soon, and then you will see a profile of "The New Cyclist" on CNN that has Hubbard front and center - after that, I'm guessing he ends up on BBC and RT.

Remember - you heard about him here first.

That guy behind him looks scared. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Check in, Mea Culpa, and a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Funny, now I have two with the same title.

I have been letting the cobwebs pile up on this here corner of the web, so I'm going to paint the net with my words once again, letting my ideas flow acrost the tips of your brain stem, tickling your fancy.

The weight loss still goes well, but after the flu I had a lingering cough that made me feel like a resident of London in the 1840's. I didn't do much of anything other than work my abs by  making sure to tighten them a little extra at each cough - to feel the burn. I also broke my finger at the same time, so typing became a big hassle, as did riding. I am finally back to normal (albeit with a slightly hooked ring finger) so there you have my life story already, jeez.

I weighed in this morning.


I am still losing, (in most aspects...) and have re-implemented my implementation of a fitness plan as of this morning. I fully expect to be down another few pounds by Monday of next week - but here is where the big announcement comes in.

There will be no blog here until March 5. 

I have to take a small break in order to create content. This is a busy period for me at work and I really need to put some focus there, especially at my work blog. In order to do that, I need some time to write. At the same time, I will be writing for here. I have a few reviews that I still need to put down on pixel, and I have a ton of pictures I need to attach to some words - writing for this place helps me here, so it's going to work out well for everyone in the end if I stop trying to put things together on the fly and focus my energies.

Sadly though, it does mean that I will not be putting anything up for a while. This place (or lately the lack of content here) has become stressful to me, and I need to find a way to integrate writing for my blog into my regular spring and summer work schedule.

In the meantime, you can keep track of me by checking back here. I will continue to track my weight via Livestrong, so you can see where my reinvigorated regimen is getting me.

Try the LIVESTRONG.COM calorie counter to start your weight loss journey.

I will see you all in a fortnight.

If you can't wait to read about someone losing weight, go check out my buddy Jared's blog - he is eating at Chili's every day in an effort to lose weight. Read all about it here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Amazing Return of the Friday Linkdump series!

Howdy everyone. Today's linkdump is all specific posts that I enjoy from blogs I read regularly.

Dave Moulton's Blog - "Simpler Times"

You know how much honking would go on now? 
I quite often think I was born in the wrong time. This post is full of photos taken of the streets of Dublin Ireland in 1961. Any time before 1973 seems super exotic to me. Dave also talks about the way cyclists interact with traffic, then and now.

Biking In Dallas - "Wheels that Heal"

You can almost smell the hippies. 
Toni, the organizer of the Wheels That Heal benefit, wrote about the results of the party. I get a shoutout.

Pedestrian! Two points! "A Little Katy Trail Etiquette"

On your left! 

The title is pretty self explanatory. After a weekend ride down the Katy with Hubbard, I second a lot of her thoughts here. Plano trails are pretty deserted compared to the Katy.

3 Speed Touring In Japan "Return To Sado part 7"

Narrow streets of a historic Japanese village. 
I love Japan, and plan to do a bicycle tour of the country when I make a little money (click those ads, folks!). Don is the mechanic and manager of a bicycle shop in Japan, and this post has some photos from a historic town he visited on a bicycle tour of the coast - I chose part 7, but really you should look at each part.

Fuji Otaku "The Phoenix Project - Nitto M12 Front Rack".

The Phoenix Project

This guy is building an awesome bike from selling some nice parts on eBay. I chose this entry because of his rating system, but the whole series is worth a look - this guy has mad skills, both literary and mechanical, and a $4k old bike. This, like the bloggipede, is an example of the value and versatility of a quality old bicycle frame.

See you next week with more fresh content. Thankfully I finished my licensing stuff, and will not have that extra pull on my oh so valuable time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday Morning Weight Loss Check In

Did I blow your mind there? Tuesday?

After using the flu diet for a few days, and trying to cough my lungs out for a week afterwards, I will freely admit that I have been very passively dieting and exercising. I figure my "bod" needs to get well before I start beating up on it again, so there really isn't much to report. I'm still down (198.2) and am keeping an eye on my food intake, but not watching calories as much as I was.

What hideous feet. 

While I have not been working out, I have been stretching like crazy. My trainer recommended I buy a styrofoam roller and use it to stretch - man, what I have been missing! My favorite stretch is to roll my back up and down the roller, pausing where I find it tight. It is incredible, and I feel great when I am done. I also roll the outside of my thighs down the roller the same way, and it is great. Mrs. The Plano Cyclist is a great yogi, and has always stressed the value of a good stretch. I will freely admit that I haven't really stretched since I was in 9th grade P.E. and Coach Washington made us. Even then, I only did it in an effort to see up the girls shorts (and was quite limber for all of the effort I put in. Thanks coach!) During my cycling resurgence, even when I was really riding hardish, I never stretched. Now, on the other hand, I have really embraced the stretch. Even of I haven't exercised, I will still take a few minutes and do some stretching, just to loosen up. A foam roller is about $20 at Academy or Dick's, or Oshmann's, and is a worthwhile purchase of home gym equipment.

Not as ominous as this picture makes it look. 

 I generally don't encourage buying home gym stuff, because it never gets used by the average person. In this case, I make an exception, because you really should be using a foam roller to knead your muscles. In a pinch, you can use it for a coffee table as well.

How very modern. 

So what else do you have to look forward to from me this week? I plan to write up the Bikecharge system, and hope to put together a Linkdump for Friday as well. However, I have some professional licensing stuff that I need to attend to, so you may get only one or the other. I'll do my best to get you both articles, but unless you guys start clicking those ads like crazy and telling your friends to read and do the same, I can't count on this work to keep a roof over my head. I have been trying to get someone to give me a house to review, but no such luck yet.

Speaking of reviews, not too long ago, I got an email from Paul F. Pinsky, an author, asking if I would like a copy of his book, "Biking Through The Hoods" to read and personally enjoy. Since I love free stuff, and the title and premise of his book were intriguing to me, I took him up on the offer. "My audience doesn't really care for books", I told him, "no one has yet claimed the free Zen book I'm giving away, so I doubt they themselves read." I told him I would read his book nonetheless and tell my readers about it. I have cracked it open and read a few pages, and it seems well written and interesting. I will review it in toto when I finish it, but am not reading a ton right now - that licensing stuff I was talking about.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Who is This "Hubbard" Guy?

There have been discreet inquiries by various readers lately about a character who shows up in the PC narrative now and again - Hubbard.

Hubbard is a fascinating person, sort of a riddle wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by mystery, and then smothered with secret sauce and served with a side of okra.

Hubbard is the Moriarity to my narrator, the lawyer to my Dr. Gonzo, the Amadeus to my Salieri. He is a good time Charlie, and the man with a plan.

I would never attempt to ride down any Dallas trail without Hubbard taking the point. He is the only rider that I know whose rides end in shootouts. His bike has been in the police impound - has yours? In fact, he even has the world's largest dachshund - and that dog will kill your dog like you or I might squash a mosquito.

In addition to being the most dangerous man on two wheels, he is the J.D. Salinger of Dallas bike bloggers - he used to be one of Dallas' most important voices in the bloggisphere, but now he has silenced his own voice in order to "leave the sunsabitches wanting more - they never commented enough anyway.".

Hubbard shook the hand of the Pope and owns art that weighs more than your car. He is so Dallas that his home even has a connection the the JFK assassination. He has a bike for every day of the week, and even has a trike so that if he drinks too much (if that's even possible) he won't fall off on the way home.

Hubbard cares so little for the laws of nature that he once drove his car across White Rock Lake. He has a cable car in his backyard - mostly because it once killed someone.

It's hard to capture someone like Hubbard in a blog post - and I feel like if I say too much more, I'll find him leaning on my porch railing, singing hymns.

It's always good to have a Hubbard in your story. They move the action along nicely. I hope this post answers more questions than it raised for everyone.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Whew! Two In A Row? High Five!

No linkdump today, because while I have been spinning my wheels on the internet plenty while I was sick, I didn't find any bicycle links to put up here. However, I will have The Phenomenal Return Of The Friday Linkdump here next week, fo sho. Instead of that, this week I thought I'd have a little fireside chat and catch up with you after my absence.

First, my weight loss; no photo, but when I weighed in this morning, I was rocking in at 197, so thank you Flu virus! I'm keeping it real, however, and am doing more than getting ill in order to trim down. I've been trainering, using the TRX system, and will continue to do so to maintain the weight loss goals I have set. As I'm typing this, it's like 70 degrees outside, so now that I am recovered and well, I have no doubt that we will get a cold snap that will test my commuting resolve/plunge us into a nuclear winter. 

Even though I was raving like a madman, I did manage to come up out of my fever delirium for long enough to attend the "Wheels That Heal" benefit on Sunday - I finagled a Chrome bag and some shoes for the raffle, as well as some training time with Josh at A&W Fitness (my trainer - scoreboarding!). The fundraiser was a good time -  I met Hubbard at Mockingbird station, we rode down the Katy trail, made a refuel stop at the Icehouse, and then meandered on to the party. There was a good turnout, the party itself raised a little over $4500 to put towards the offending hospital bills, and the hostess even managed to drum up a lawyer willing to donate his services to negotiate the hospital bills down. Hopefully, between the $4500 raised at the party, the $1400 raised (so far) through direct donations at the FundRazr page, and the services of a No Win No Fee Nobleman, Liberty will not have to face a future blackened by medical debt. I hope she is happy that I came, because I think that my effort to get down there weakened me tremendously and caused my Monday - Tuesday relapse. 

Thanks for bearing with me for my absence - I will keep putting new posts up here, but work time is crunch time right now, so please be patient with me. I would make a quip about quantity and quality, but I think that neither one applies here. However, I will not allow a week to go by again without some notice. 

Luckily for you, there was a photographer at the party, and I love to look at my beard, so I made sure I got some photos taken. This is Hubbard and me in our full bikedude mode. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

1up USA Indoor Trainer Review. Tha Trainer You Love To Hate.

I hate my indoor trainer. I feel bad for the trainer, as it's really not its fault that I hate it. I suppose it's some sort of projection, this hate, as it really is me that is the problem here; I am fat, I have been laying off of serious riding for months, and I have this funny odor that is neither pleasant or unpleasant following me around. (Well, I suppose that has nothing to do with the trainer.)

I guess you might call my relationship with the 1up USA trainer a love/hate relationship. The love started with the box it came in; Made In The USA stamped right on it. The trainer itself is also made in the USA, and is truly a beautiful piece of workmanship. I have a pasty English friend who thinks that Made In The USA is a mark of unfinishedness; he implied that all USA made items he has encountered are almost really nice, but lack the final "finishing touches" that things made elsewhere have.


I wish he was a cyclist, so I could prove him wrong with the 1up. I also wish I hadn't called him pasty, because while he doesn't appreciate our manufacturing skills, he does appreciate our liberal Texas gun laws, and I suspect he is a "fan" of this very blog.

Skewer and skewer retention system
The 1up USA trainer is billed as "simply the best" indoor trainer made today, and I believe it. The fit and finish are second to none, and it incorporates legs that have the ability to raise and lower the bike in order to eliminate the need for a front wheel block. The 1up includes a skewer for the rear wheel as well, so all you need to hate your trainer is enclosed in the box. The 1up actually has a lever to release one side of in order to put the bike in - you only have to get it set up once, and after that, you can pop your bike out for a ride in the real world very quickly. (Unless you are crazy like me, in which case it is actually easier to select one of the hundreds of other bikes that hang like suits in your garage.)

Lever to open and insert bicycle. 

When it comes to hating trainers, my wife has the same problem; she hates the way they look, and even more, she hates the loud "thrumming" sound when I use them. She doesn't hate this trainer at all - even she said it was nice looking. Better than that, without being prompted by me, she mentioned that this trainer is quiet, and that earns two thumbs up from Mrs. The Plano Cyclist.

Adjustable legs mean no front block. 

The flywheel starts up and spins very smoothly, and is pleasurable to ride - which makes me hate it even more, because it takes a lot longer for me to find some lame excuse to stop my indoor training session. The pain is still there, but this is such a finely crafted machine and it works so well that I keep going longer, because my "excuse gland" is not inflamed quickly enough.

Finely Balanced Flywheel

I have ridden several hours on the 1up so far, and it just keeps getting better - at making me hate it - because it is kneading away the doughy monster I have become, and wringing out plenty of sweat in the process. I will do a follow up article after a few more weeks of punishing myself for excess Oreos,and tell you if we have resolved our differences.

My Sweaty Little Corner of Hell. 
 The 1up USA trainer is $299, with free shipping in the USA.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I am not dead

But I have been ill.

As a result, my weight is down. Look for a full post tomorrow. I apologize for my long absence.

Civil War Style