Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Logically Thinking

Let me guess, lately you have been spending way too much of your hard earned coins, to fill your car or truck gas/fuel tanks. Not to mention all of your traffic fighting and the aggravation of stop-n-go traffic jams. Also with the weather that seams to be in extreme mode all of the time lately. Taken altogether every ones temper and nerves seem to be more and more on edge. Making a traffic jam all that much more dangerous. Maybe you are thinking that there must be a better way to get around. Something less polluting. That may help to lower your carbon footprint as well as your blood pressure. Something cheaper. But sturdy enough to hold you and some packages too. Hey, why not a bike?

That's a great idea. So, where do we start? Well let's see, you can pick up a bike at most any of the major department stores, like Wal-Mart or Kmart maybe Sears and even some hardware stores. All ranging from $50.00 to $200.00 or so, not a bad place to start. However these are the cheap ones, sort of designed to break down and wear out rather fast. If you could get five years of use out of them you would be lucky. Personally, I would say that if your funds are rather short, and whose isn't these days. Grab a cheap bike to begin with. Then shop around the local bike shops for your next replacement. Mind you these will end up running you a few more coins, something like $400.00 to $800.00 range. But still cheaper than an internal combustion engine running vehicle would set you back.

To begin with ... we need to answer some pertinent questions, To better understand how to proceed. So, why do you want to ride -- to exercise; commute to work; run errands or just for a leisurely country ride? Where do you want to ride -- potholed city streets; open roads; gravel bike roads or maybe a mix of environments? Finally, how do you like to ride -- in an upright position; leisurely paced or leaning hard forward as in a race mode where ever you go? Answering these questions will help you to figure out which bike may better suit your needs. Oh, before I forget, you may want to look into a recumbent bike or trike, they are like sitting in a recliner.

Let's look at some options here. Mountain Bikes. If your main terrain to travel on is a pockmarked city street or rough bike trails, a mountain bike might be your best choice. Chances are that you will not need a dual suspension bike, but you may feel better with front shock absorbers if the streets are really bad. Semi-slick tires grab blacktop better than knobby mountain bike tires. So if riding mainly in town, get a pair of those. Kona, Specialized, Trek and other manufactures make excellent mountain bikes that sell for $500.00 or less. Check out Mountain Bike Review ( for ratings on the latest models.
Touring Bikes. If you take to the open road more often, you will probably want a road or touring bike. These have different features than mountain bikes. Like drop handlebars, larger wheels and narrower tires. Also the frame geometry is different than other bikes. I understand that the entry-level touring bike costs a bit more than the mountain bikes, but check around with your local bike shops ~ they may have last year's model on sale. Road Bike Review ( has ratings on the latest models.
Cruiser & City Bikes. If you are just into leisurely riding around town and like the upright sitting position, check out what are called cruiser bikes. These are curvalicious, fairly heavy,with balloon-tires, swept back handlebars that are fun to ride, as long as the road is more or less flat. A closely related bike style is the city bike. Which is a little bit lighter than a cruiser, with narrower tires more gears and higher gearing. Googling cruiser & city bikes should give you many more sites and information on these bikes.

OK, let's fit the frame to you. Most frames - as long as they are appropriately sized for the rider's height - can be made to fit almost anybodies particular body geometry. This is, of course, absolutely specific to each person. So the only way you are going to figure out what is best for you, is to sit on a few bikes and see what is comfortable, what needs adjusting like the handlebars or the seat positions. Most bike shops are more than willing to help with adjustments, some may even loan a bike for a day. So that you will have time to figure out if the bike is right for you.

Now as for Recumbent Bikes & Trikes. These are not as well known about as a normal bike or trike is, so their price tag tends to be quite high. However ( is a good place to start your research on their forums as a lurker. This site sells plans for you to build and adjust your ride with a myrid of possibilities. Their form discussions are both interesting and informative. They also have a gallery that show off other people's creations from around the world.

OK, now on to some Useful Accessories. Once you have your new bike or trike, hit the road. It may not be to long before you end up wanting a few accessories, particularly if you are using your bike or trike for commuting. Full-coverage fenders are a necessity and a rack with pannier bags can be a convenient relief from wearing a backpack all of the time. A bell is handy and fun to scare the squirrels with. Lights are a must if you ride at night or early morning, also they may help to showcase you in storms and/or fog. Don't forget reflectors, they are a must by law in most places now. Now don't forget about hydration, with cup/can and bottle holders. You may even consider installing a large water hydration bag that you can sip from while you keep on pedaling down the road. Helmets claim to save lives and most places now have it on their books as the law of the land ~ That all bikers whether pedal or motor ... any cyclist must wear a helmet. At the very least a helmet gives a cyclist more places to install lights, mirrors and reflectors.

All right, you bought or built it and tricked it out. Now ride it. The brakes may stick, you may be unable to shift through the full range of your gearing, the wheels may feel to "flexy", etc. These are pretty much normal symptoms of breaking in your bike. Most of your problems will occure with in the first 200 miles or so of you riding your bike or trike. If you bought your ride, take it back to where you bought it. Most reputable bike shops will do post break-in servicing for free. Even if it is not free, the small charge to readjust, tighten, realign or whatever is well worth the piece of mind to fix your wheels. If you built it ( is a good place to get advice on how to go about fixing your wheels on your own.

Speaking of fixing things on your own. Learning to perform basic maintaince is fun and can save you some of your hard earned coins. Also it may open up another stream of an income for you as a bicycle repairman(woman). Here are a few great on line resources: Park Tool's repair help section (; articles from the late bike expert Sheldon Brown ( and the "Bicycle Mechanics" section of bike forums (

Sometimes though ~ when your hands are coated in grease and grime, and "she-who-must-be-obeyed" won't let you in the house (much less any where near the computer) ~ you need a hard copy helper. Here some excellent paper-based references: "Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance" (Velo-Press,2005), "Bicycling Magazine's Basic Maintenance and Repair" (Rodel Press, 1999), and "Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair" (Rodel Press, 1999) to name a few. If you buy any of these from ( they will also suggest other possible choices that may also help you out of your dilemma.

Whew, will you look at that, another week has slipped me by. It seems that the longer posts take more time to prepare and to get them into a readable posting. Sorry about that my friends, but I am trying to get the facts straight so that everyone will get out of my posts, what I try to put into them. Which almost makes me glad that I am not an editor for a daily paper of some kind.

I must add a thank you to Mother Earth News Magazine for help with this post as some of the information was gleaned from an article, written in their wiser living series a "Guide to Living on Less and Loving It" in the summer of 2009. Yes I save old magazines, you never know when an article or subject will come in handy. So thank you Mother Earth News.

As I close this post my friends,
Let's all try to get a little healthier while saving some of the environment,
Maybe also some of our hard earned coins,
All by pedaling our arses off ...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Knowledge Is Power ...

Let me start this post with a quick update. A few posts back I was telling you all about the way that the mosquitoes like to attack easy and sleeping prey. Well in view of the title of this post, I have stumbled on to a rather simple solution quite by accident. You see I personally do not use air conditioning at home, I can't justify the expense. So when it gets to hot to sleep comfortably, I have a fan pointed at the head of the bed. As a result I found a three fold effect was taking place. Number one, I was staying cool enough to get some sleep. Number two, once I got used to the noise of the fan working, it acted like a white noise generator allowing me to sleep better. Number three, here was the surprise. Now on windy days or nights, bugs with wings tend to be grounded. The same held true for my bed with a fan working over it, allowing for a more restful sleep. So I found a non-poison salutation to my "Hour Of The Mosquito" after all. Darn it! Here I had been hoping for a chemical cure, with the help of some kind of drinkable alcohol. Oh well, I'll just have to find another reason to have a few drinks ... LOL.

Speaking of a reason to drink, has anyone noticed that gas prices are on the rise again? Let me discuss with you a few simple tricks, that should help to stretch your fuel consumption coinages. First off, if you drive a gas or diesel guzzler ... at least park it. Better still trade it for a more economical vehicle.

OK, now for the fun of relearning "How-To-Drive-101". Take your foot off of the floorboards!  Meaning for you to drive more sensibly and slowly, at least at or just under the speed limit. The experts all claim that, that one trick can increase your gas mileage by up to 23%.

Now if you know of any short cuts to your destination, take them on condition of staying out of heavy traffic. Also turn off your vehicle's air conditioner, if you don't believe me test it out for yourself. Drive like you normally do for a week. But keep a log book of miles traveled, volume of fuel used, cost of fuel, etc. Then drive economically for one week, remember to keep your log book updated. After your two week driving test compare your notes, you may be surprised. Also try to know of the cheapest gas prices in your area, and watch areas with multiple gas stations in close proximity to each other ... one may start trying to under cut the competition in effect starting a gas-price-war, which is a boon to the consumer. One more note on shortcuts, use everything at your disposal like MapQuest or Google Maps.

Now by staying out of heavy traffic, you lessen the chances of being caught in a traffic jam, or being in a multiple vehicle pile up. Stop and go traffic burns fuel really fast, also your nerves fray even faster. Road Rage is a major problem in congested traffic. Try to stay informed of road construction and traffic delays or slow downs as they can lead to already mentioned problems. personally I never drive on Inter-State Highways or Super Highways, they are death traps. has a good link called "Driving Directions" that can help you stay informed.

Lighten the load. If you a trunk full of "stuff", find a different place to store it ... like that parked Hummer maybe. Those same experts claim that for every 100 pounds of excess weight in a vehicle makes each gallon of gas cost up to 7 cents more. Also if you are on the heavy side, loosing a few extra pounds wouldn't hurt with your fuel consumption ... it might even ease the strain on your own body's organs.

By keeping your tires properly inflated you could increase your gas mileage by 3%. That is worth about 10 cents per gallon, plus it is safer and better for you and your tires. After all a blow out at a high rate of speed, could put you and yours on the evening news, and not in a nice way.

OK I'll admit it here since I am a guy, and like most all guy's say "When all else fails, read the instructions and or manual". I too fall into that one a lot. However reading the owner's manual for your vehicle, will tell you that if you use the proper fluids, oil, coolants and such. That you could have a 2% reduction in fuel usage. Also by replacing air filters and keeping your vehicle's engine properly tuned, you could be looking at a possible gas mileage increase of up to 10%.

OK this advice may hurt a little, but it is for your own good. If you are an aggressive driver, stop your vehicle and find a good hardwood tree. Then bash your bare head on it, until you knock some sense into yourself. Sailing along serenely. Speeding. Accelerating and Breaking quickly. Also squealing your tires on the pavement, all waist your money and hurts your vehicle. As well as waisting up to 30% of your fuel. Not to mention the harm and cost-to-repair the road afterwards.

Now by combining your destinations ... like errands, or shopping, also going to work, stopping at the bank, or taking the kids to the park. By combining what you need or want to do, you can actually be saving time, fuel and money. Also if you do not find a convenient place to park, parking a little ways away from your destination will save gas. If you don't drive around to find the "perfect" parking spot. By taking the nearest spot and walking to your destination, may even aid in helping your heart.

Which leads me into the next best way to save even more of your hard earned coins on fuel. Walking or riding a bicycle or trike or a quadracycle. Don't take my word for it. For the ultimate fuel savings more Americans are parking their cars and trucks and walking or biking. According to ( the National Center for Bicycling and Walking), and (the League of American Bicyclists). For still more ideas to save gas, and stretch your fuel buying coinages try these sites ...
There you go my friends, some hints, tips, tricks and sites to learn more from. So much for a short posting, but all-in-all good information to have.

Remember the highwaymen of old? The robbers of travelers?
Well guess what, they have changed their stripes.
Now we willing fork over our hard earned coinages,
To the gas stations ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Speculations ...

Oh my, will you look at that. As I sit down to work on my next blog posting. Then realizing that I have lost a whole week somewhere.

Of course it doesn't help, that at work last week I picked up a couple of night maintenance shifts. Along with three dish washing shifts. As well as working on household chores at home, and not forgetting that never ending yard work either. So my spare time was pretty much tied up with relaxing and sleeping. As personal wants, wishes, desires, dreams and hobbies, have been temporarily been put on the back burner ~ or so it would seem.

Now if our world was a little farther from the sun, the year would be a little bit longer. Also if our world spun a little more slowly, the days would be a little bit longer. But would I be able to accomplish any more in a days time? Probably not. Also if those changes happened, would it mean that life would still exist on this world as we know it? Again probably not.

So my friends, I guess that;
"The hurryeder that I go, The behinder that I get";
Also seems to apply to me.