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That Fever is Rough, Time for Vapor Rub

How Do You Dress For the Cold Weather?Perpetual motion machine…… that’s like folks on tracks bikes that have to move their feet with the pedals as the wheel moves.  Continually moving.  That crisp December breeze hitting your face, making your eyes water a bit, all those nerves feeling that cool buffet.  And ol Jack Frost, he’s a kinkster, that one.  Like, how his fingers slide up under the back of your shirt, lashing any exposed skin.  Or how your jacket opens and the chill wraps around your stomach like a tornado.  The absolute worst, my perpetually-in-motion friends, is when it goes right through your sweater.  It creeps in!  Finds every little hole and crevice between the weaves, and Land! when it gets through and there’s sweat on your chest.

We all want to be babied when we’re sick, don’t we?  Someone to make you tea, rub your back, put a hand on your forehead,  bring you movies.  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  Don’t forget the fever.  And the achy muscles.  The sweats, the rasp in the lungs.  Not fun.

So, an ounce of prevention vs pound of cure….

Keep the moisture off the chest.  Athletic shirts of various fiber types accomplishes this.  It does.  Yeah, yeah…. not in your wardrobe, well, what in there might remove moisture from your skin?  The answer is NOT COTTON!

And if the special moisture control shirt is unavailable, then at least keep the wind off your chest.  Nothing says pneumonia like a good bike ride in cold weather in the wrong jacket.

Remember, moisture control and thermoregulation.  You know what they mean.  How do you practice it?

“Ch-check” This

Hi!  How are you today? Mmhmm.  Really?  K.  Well, let’ talk about something else.  What do you want  to talk about?  Whatever?  Ok, you asked for it…

Watch Out For Car Doors!When you ride down the street and there’s 2 lanes, but one is filled with parked cars, how do you ride?  Do you ride in the middle of the traffic lane?  Do you ride towards the outside of the traffic lane?  Do you ride in the parking lane, all close to the cardoors?  The sidewalk?  Not sure?  Think for a minute.  Maybe you’ve been going down Hamilton Ave through Northside down by Hoffner Park.  On the north side of Blue Rock heading down towards Spring Grove.  There you have two lanes at your disposable, if the bus isn’t taking up the outer.  Once we cross over Blue Rock, cars begin to park in that lane and there is only one left for moving traffic.  Where do you go?  Straight to Take the Cake?  Ok.  Now back out in the street…   Car behind you and bus ahead of you.  Yeah, it a big car!  They’re all big!  Wait!  Real quick, just consider what could happen if you try to make yourself small against that wall of parked cars.  You know, to give those people in the vehicle that can do 0 to 70 in how many SECONDS the opportunity to squeeze past you?  THEY CAN WAIT!!  They can.  Really really really realize that if a cardoor opens up and hits you, you’re screwed.  If it opens up and you hit it, you’re screwed.  And not in the fun way!  How will we be friends for thirty years if you didn’t make it?!  Own your lane.  See your line in front of you.  Pedal.  How often have you caught yourself only looking at the moving traffic?  How often do you listen to your space radio while cruising?  Think about how crucial it can be to see the head inside the parked car moving like they plan on opening the door, and hear the ‘ca-click’ of the latch and lock.

No, you haven’t done anything wrong.  Just something to run round in your head tonight.  Each one teach one, right?  Why would you NOT want to think about this?

See ya later.


Reflectors!!  Lights!!  Visibility!!  In this city, it is not only the law, but a necessity to avoid being run down while out riding in the evening and night.  So here is a little food for thought…

Lights and Reflector Will Save You PainWould you believe how important at dusk to have a blinking taillight?  The Lakota peoples speak of this as a magic time, and no in the oh-so-fun rabbit popping out of the hat.  Think more like, everything is a shade of gray.  So its all the more important to have that flashing bit of red or orange blowing up drivers’ retinas.

The next little bit to consider is WHERE to place your reflectors and/or lights.  Studies have been done showing how simply by viewing  lights placed on moving joints, the human mind can discern a multitude of information, and in our case, that we are on a bicycle in front of their half ton+ of steel.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this little demo…

What it boils down to, is to seriously consider wearing reflectors on your ankles and knees, and have a blinking light on either your back or on the back of the bike.  Whichever is more visible.  Bike stores sell a variety of lights, which they will readily mount for you (sometimes for a price), and most will  also have reflective bands for your joints for a very low cost.  And if you’re crafty, you can always think up new ways to sew reflective material onto your clothes and gear!

Stay tuned, we may even have an upcoming reflective workshop in the not too distant future!

Whats Between the Lines

It sure has been raining a lot lately.  It is a good thing.  The water is being planted into the earth for later use.  All those shiny cold droplets glistening on the branches, blades, and leaves push the plants energy deeper in, planting that, too, for later use.  Just something to consider next time you’re out in it.  And being out in it is what this post is about.  And a bit more specifically, how to be out in it safely.

Ride safe, don't ride between the the tire lines

Ride safe, don't ride between the the tire lines

Last time I wrote about wet metal.  Remember that?  Only good wet metal is really good heavy metal, otherwise its bad luck, so try your best to avoid it or hold steady as you go over it.  The other tricky tricky during the rain is where in the road you ride.  Really.  You wouldn’t think it would make a difference but it does.  When its raining, ride in the car tracks.  The reason for this is that inbetween those tracks lies slickness – oil and other lubricants that leak or  get washed off the bottom of cars and sit in the street until the rains pull it to the surface.  And its most dangerous early in the rainfall before its had time to be pushed to the sides and middle by constant tire pressure from all the traffic.   Next time you’re caught in the rain on your bicycle, notice where all the pretty swirly rainbow colors are on the concrete.  Just don’t notice them too long or you might end up going splat!

So remember, in the rain, what lies between the lines can mess you up.

Safe Riding and Robots

Well hello there.

To start off, its kinda late on a Friday night, so pardon any blips in the post.  I just got back a bit ago from riding down to Main Street to see Tank Mansfield‘s Robot Series at MOTR.  Excellent fun stuff.  Lots of personality and great fills.

"Perservernce" by Tank Mansfield

"Perservernce" by Tank Mansfield

If any of you all want to get me his “Perserverence” as a print or a tattoo, my  birthday’s coming up.

As I was cruising south on Spring Grove Avenue (because quite frankly riding between Ludlow Ave and Hopple Street on Central Parkway is plain scary)   it occurred to me that when I was walking Chuckie the Dog earlier in the evening, the damp looking spots on the pavement were quite really slick.  ALERT!  Black ice.  Yup, that’s a good way to bash your skull.  Its like the Slow Ride the Lightning, you just don’t expect it to be what it is and it takes you completely by surprised.  The only difference is that incredibly slowed down Metallica just destroys, wiping out on black ice can just flat kill you.  Or make you incredibly miserable.  I’m willing to bet there are some of you that would say you’d rather take the wipe out.  Good luck with that.  If you don’t want to go down on ice, or wet metal, while riding your bicycle there are a couple of key elements that have been passed on to me by my seniors and my practical experience.

1.  Avoid riding on it if possible.  Wet metal is bad luck.  Really.  Manhole covers, steel plates, cheesegraters  (like on the Roebling Bridge in Cincinnati or Market Street in San Francisco).  Oh, and tracks.  Like train or trolley tracks.  Will.  Mess.  You.  Up.

2.  If you have to ride over that stuff and there’s no avoiding it, hold your line.  Stay straight and don’t waver.  I suppose you could kick the wheel out in a slide, but that’s an advanced maneuver.  Stay relaxed.  Hold your line.  Look in front of you.  See the whole picture.  Keep your ears open for vehicles behind you.  When you go down on Black ice it can be real fast and its only funny if all you end up with is a nice bruise.

3.  Wear a helmet.  Are you  trained to tuck your chin and avoid hitting your head?  Well, Mother Nature may think otherwise and She is a force to be reckoned with.  ESPECIALLY if its wet or slick out.  Tonight I got to sport my new stoopidcoolbossass Evel Kneivel helmet for the first time.  Thanks much to MoBo, Nutcase, and Park+Vine for trying to help me keep my brains intact.

Speaking of Park + Vine: owner Dan Korman has said that he will do a workshop at MoBo on the second Monday in March.  The focus will be Carless  in Cincinnati, or something like that.  If you didn’t know, Dan bikes everywhere.  In any weather.  He’s a beast.  And a big advocate for cycling, healthy living, and every great about Cincinnati.  Stay tuned for more info on this and other Monday workshops that are part of MoBo’s Winter Workshop Series.

by yours truly

That leads me on to the next thing that had popped into my mind while pedaling along on this very chilly night…. and before.  Before, as in, before I even left the house.  That was what am I gonna wear.  Yeah yeah yeah.  But really.  Dressing proper for these coldass January nights means forethought.  Key element?  Chest protection.  Something to keep the cold air off of it.  Last thing you want is a chest cold.  Or worse, pneumonia.  Now, you’re gonna be building up heat, and there’s a chance you’ll work up a bit of a sweat, even if you’re trying not to.   Moisture on the chest + cold air = Get a windbreaker, a raincoat, a leather coat, a naugahyde coat, a cycling jacket, wrap your self in plastic wrap, or poke holes in a garbage bag.  Just keep that wind off of your chest.  I also recommend a layer that wicks moisture off your body (removes – wick means removes).  Or better yet, two layers of wicking and a breathable windproof outerlayer.  You’ll be good to go then.  Those wicking shirts are getting pretty cheap.  There are a ton of brands, just look for something that says moisture removing.  Soccer shirts work.  So does wool.  That will keep the wet and the chill off your chest, as long as you’re moving.

So, to summarize… Tank draws cool robots.  Avoid riding on black ice and wet metal.  Its bad luck.  Except Slow Ride the Lightning – its crushes your skull.  Keep the chill off your chest because getting sick sucks.  And Dan Korman will be holding a workshop at MoBo on he second Monday in March.  The subject is being carless in the city.

Peace out,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Rob

This post is dedicated to Pauline Caluya 11/24/1970 – 8/25/1997  R.I.P.