Where The Heck Is Max, The Cyclist?

I’ve been busy… it’s time for an update!

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The past month has been intense. I’m definitely a grad student now; work is unrelenting, unforgiving, and exhilarating.

I’m also, delightfully, a bike commuter. I’ve biked about 300 miles since the beginning of October, with about 12 miles of commuting per day plus more on the weekends and warm afternoons. I bike in all weather. So far the coldest temperatures are in the low 40’s, and I bike in some pretty crazy rain. There’s a bus, but I won’t use it; I’ll be commuting all winter. I’ll post some advice columns soon, when I get a chance to take some pictures.

I’m working on a Bike Share project for Amherst. This, too, warrants a full post, but for now, I’m on the Bike Share Task Force with the sustainability coordinator for UMass Amherst, and I’m on the Bike Advisory Committee, and I’m working with all sorts of projects, from Bike Safety to Bike Infrastructure on campus and off.

I’m networking around the state, too. I was lucky enough to catch a presentation by Galen Mook of Landry’s Bicycles out in Boston. Galen is a bicycling advocate with an extensive repertoire of successful projects, and does more for cycling in Massachusetts than almost anyone else I’ve met. I’m really glad to have him as a resource while I try to get my own bike share program running.

And, I’m hiking!

MD025810Last weekend, we got a group together. From left to right, that’s Ryan, myself, Angelo, Sumedha, Brittany, and Asta; that’s about 1/4 of the Sustainability Science department at UMass. We got together for a Saturday Morning hike and found solitude on some of the less-traveled trails on Monadnock, namely the Smith Connector. Once again, I’ve climbed a mountain and was greeted with an exceptional view:

MD025828Okay, maybe not so exceptional. Still, I’m finding a great deal of satisfaction just appreciating hikes for what they are. I’m not dying for some kind of picture-perfect opportunity as retribution for the punishment of a long walk. The hike itself is the adventure; the cold, wet, windy summit is part of the great ride of the outdoors. I’m smitten, and I am content.

Here’s a couple more pics:

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Ryan and I climbed till our (my) arms were sore. Monadnock is such a fun mountain. I’ll be back!

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I finished my winter commuter, the reincarnation of Bikeasaurus Rex using components scavenged off of used parts bins, other bikes in my garage, Ebay, and craigslist. A full post with spec details on this insane, dangerous, and downright unique ride will be forthcoming. I will say this; you’ve never seen handlebars quite like the ones on this piece of fine art.

Bikeasaurus Rex yet lives.

I’ll try to get back to our regular schedule. I have like six gear reviews to write… Cheers, dear reader.

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Keep Riding!

5 thoughts on “Where The Heck Is Max, The Cyclist?

  1. Look Forward to seeing the winter build. Glad to hear everything worked out and you picked a school.
    Question: I have tires that are just by far IMPOSSIBLE to mount. Any suggestions? Have you ever come across this?
    Best,
    Sarit

    1. Good to hear from you, Sarit!

      Some tires are really tough. Clincher tires with inflexible beads can be a nightmare. You’ll need two tire levers, which are a few bucks at your local bike shop and look like plastic wedges. Pedro’s is a good brand.

      Next, cover the tire in baby powder. Inside, outside, everywhere. Nice and powdery.

      Using gardening gloves to protect your hands from the edge of the lever, wedge both levers into the space between the bead and the rim and then slowly slide the levers around until there’s only a few inches of bead that isn’t on the rim. Here’s where you probably say “It’s stuck, it’s too small.” Well, grab that lever and, carefully, put as much pressure on it as you can to jam that rim on there. Pull it towards you, sliding the bead over the rim, or push the bead onto the rim, whichever gives you more leverage. Try not to pull on the spokes- just grab the rim.

      With some elbow grease, you should be able to wedge it on there, but it takes STRENGTH. Sometimes I think I don’t have enough, but I’m extra tough and I get it.

      Caution: Be careful as you go, don’t bend the bead or rip the tire. If you really can’t get it, best to check with the shop; they’ve done a million of these tough tires and you can watch.

  2. Already been using the winter shoes & longs here, though it varies so much from day to day. Looking forward to the cold weather blogs. Glad your enjoying being out on the hills in the mist – a good atmosphere?

  3. Did you manage to unjam the seatpost on Bikeasaurus? If this is going to be in your rebuild post, I’ll wait for the answer.

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