How to ride a bicycle

Three simple things can make your bike riding much safer and easier:

  1. bike-tip-1Take the palm of your hand and hit the front of your bicycle helmet. If it goes up more than one inch, you need to tighten the strap. Otherwise, if you wreck and land on the front of your helmet, you won’t land on the front of your hemet — you’ll land on the front of your head.
  2. bike-tip-2Spin your pedals between 60–90 revolutions per minute. If you are not pedaling that fast, you are hurting your knees and reducing your efficiency. All you need to do is select a lower gear. If you don’t want to time yourself, here’s a 5-second video that shows about how fast that is. No need to be too strict about this. — it’s fine to pedal slower part of the time.
  3. bike-tip-3Listen to your chain. If it’s squealing, it’s not happy. You need to give it some lubrication. The best kinds I’ve found are teflon-based lubes, such as this one. They last fairly long and do not attract too much dirt.
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Slower than Anything

road construction This is a guest post by my brother, Bill Merrill. Thanks Bill!

For most of my life, when I wanted to say how slow something was, I’d use one of the standard phrase “slower than molasses in January.” In recent years, I’ve switched over to “slower than highway construction.” According to our friend the internet, the US federal government currently spends about $40 billion on our roadways each year, an amount that has steadily increased throughout the years, even in current-year dollars. In my own experience, it hardly seems I can drive anywhere in any big city without encountering one construction project or other. (By the way, this was NOT the case in my vacation a couple of months ago in the Benelux countries of Europe.)

It’s not just that progress is so soooo slow on these projects — the average length of a project here seems to be about seven years — but also that there are many times when I drive by the construction site and nothing is happening at all. There is a turn-around on a freeway overpass near my credit union branch that’s been underway for about a year now, and I wonder why it’s not finished yet. Most times lately when I pass the turn-around, construction equipment sits idle, no sign of life anywhere. This can be frustrating, but I try to be mature about things like this, and not let my frustration turn into unproductive, useless anger.

I’m not in the highway construction business, but I had enough indirect contact with it earlier in my professional life that I suspect this kind of situation is a result of scheduling issues, or maybe budgetary considerations. The particular turn-around in question is part of a much larger highway project, so maybe the turn-around is on hold until some connecting piece of the project is finished. And it is certainly not the workers’ fault, so it would be totally unfair to be hostile toward them in any way.

(By the way, turn-arounds are really wonderful things, allowing vehicles going from an access road to its opposite-direction counterpart to avoid waiting through traffic lights! They don’t exist everywhere, but they should!)

Editor’s notes: 1) Colorado does not have those turn-arounds, and we wish they did! 2) Bill took the photo at the road construction site mentioned in this post.

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It is OK to just look

Sole of Converse sneaker with clear rubberNordstrom Rack is a great place to get quality clothes for sometimes way less than list price.

Even better than buying stuff from there is to just enjoy it — at least in the case of shoes. I love shoes but don’t need any. So as we were shopping for some dreadfully-needed running shoes for Rachel (our daughter), I enjoyed just looking at other shoes.

I loved this particular Converse model — clear rubber with the logo embedded underneath. Way cool.

And even better than just looking was capturing it digitally — for my grandkids someday.

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Treat your body like…

…it belongs to someone you love.

treat-your-body-well

Self-destructive behaviors abound. (And I’m far from perfect.) But I love this saying — how often do we treat our bodies like we love ourselves? Even more important, how often do we treat others better than ourselves? (See here.)

If we truly followed that saying, would we shop at Whole Foods to pick up food for that homeless person we see on the corner on our way to the office?

(Thanks to Whole Foods for their store-window poster.)

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