Monday, February 4, 2008

It Snowed, Sheldon's Dead and You Need Some Wool

What a grab bag of a Monday. Reach in and you won't even guess what you might pull out. I'll cover topics in order, 'cause a good title ought to lay it all out there, eh?

An interesting thing about this winter is it seems that our most significant snows seem to start while I'm riding to work. I arrive at the complex and it snows all day and you wonder just how dicey the pedal home is going to be. It snowed steadily today from 9am til 3pm. It has been warm, however, and the juicy flakes just couldn't get much purchase on the blacktop. I'm all right with that. It sure seems like it's been a long winter already and I have been spoiled by bare pavement the past week or so.

A photo from the morning ride in. It was about 26 degrees and the air had the moist feel of snow. This shot is 2 miles from work. Heavy pelletized flakes were just beginning to fall in earnest. There was a helpful tailwind nudging me onward. Good times. Warm all over and wishing I could just ride another hour or two.

Work was fun. My desk faces a bank of windows. I watched it snow all day. I must digress a bit and mention that I also checked my account. Some of you know I work for a little bike parts company. One of our perks is we get credit for riding our bikes to work. Yep -- not only do I save money by not driving, I make money by riding. For January I tallied up just over $70 in credits. Not bad. It feeds the habit. Well, one of the habits. Now, if only we distributed beer.

Just after midday, out of the blue came an email from one of our buyers. The subject line on my preview flashed quickly before me: "RIP Sheldon Brown." "What?!" I thought. Sure enough, it's true -- Sheldon Brown passed away yesterday. Now, I didn't know the man, but who in the bike world didn't "know" the man. He was perhaps the most diligent chronicler of all things related to the tech aspect of bicycles. The obscure, the arcane, the nitty-gritty details -- if it had two wheels, he covered it all. I commented to my Surly brethren that one of the coolest things about Sheldon Brown was that he not only grasped the most technical stuff, he had the ability to write about it in an accessible and easy-to-read way. That is rarely the case for tech types. Check out the Harris Cyclery website for the announcement and to sample Sheldon's writing if you haven't had the pleasure. The Harris folks are right -- the cycling community has indeed lost one of its most passionate members.

Well, after watching it snow all day, it was time to suit up and get out in it. Here's a pic from the ride home. This is a side road not even a mile from work. The main roads were clean, but the residentials sported a moderate coating of that mashed, car-tread crap that I so love to hate. There's no rhyme, no reason. Some blocks are worse than others. Benign-looking tracks can grab and pull the front wheel sideways, back and forth. You definitely have to settle into it, but it is particularly unnerving when a car is barreling toward you from the opposite direction. I discovered last Friday I'd worn out a rear tire -- my prized Conti Twisters -- which I've been riding for at least 4 winters. So I was also riding on some used, less-toothy rubber.

The nice thing was it was warm. 30 whole degrees, in fact. Within 3 miles of my house I pedal past a park with several sports fields. The city burns the huge lamps lighting the park 24 hours a day for some reason. With a fresh snow it creates a crisp illumination. I hope to leave early tomorrow to get some shots along the lake.

Lastly, is the topic of wool. Have you heard of wool? Have you made friends with sheep? My retirement plan is to own a small sheep farm. Spin some yarns. Wear cozy, hand-knit sweaters. I'm serious. Anyway ... I've been needing a new long sleeve base layer. I decided to spring for Ibex Woolies bottoms and tops. Last Friday I opened the packaging to don said garments. I spent a good 5 minutes taking in the amazing smell of the lanolin wafting off of fresh wool. I've never owned merino wool underwear. I've been wearing the same two sets of Patagucci Capilene (which are a size too small) for about 8 years now. Then it happened. The lamps split open with a blinding light. I was overcome with bliss. Wrapped in merino goodness, She spoke to me. The voice was resolute. She commanded me to tell all of you, and I quote, "Get thine asses some fine wool long underwear." I can say no more. The Goddess said it all. Check it out. Your life will not be the same, and you might swear, for a change, that something good has happened, ya pathetic loser. Oh ... She said that last part, not me.

To hell with mindless drivers! Happy week to you. SHELDON LIVES!! Get some wool.


Snakebite said...

"Have you made friends with sheep?"

Dude, you're married! Oh well, look on the bright side. When you ask a sheep how she wants it, you know the conversation is going to be short.

Patch O'Houli said...

As soon as I typed and re-read that line I knew someone would take it precisely how I wanted it to be misconstrued. Thanks, Snakebite!

erbine said...

Well, I'll be Flecked! I guess that Snakebite's good for something after all (just kidding, SB). I hope the q is treating you well. For better or worse, your blog is on my list now. That sucks about Sheldon Brown. I think I'll have to quaff a beer or two in his honor tonight.