The Egret

Riding home today I spotted a beautiful white egret in the creek in the park. I stopped on the bridge to watch and was inspired to write this poem…

The Egret

Stoic stalker of piscine prey
standing solo amongst the fray
of mallards mocking and swallows swift
standing staunchly against the drift
Strike! A frog? A fish? I cannot say…
The egret feasts another day.

Customer Abuse @ Performance of Fair Oaks, CA

I know that you don’t go to Performance Bike for their great customer service, you go for the low prices and convenient hours. That said, you also don’t go with the expectation of being mistreated!!

My negative outlook on Performance started about six months ago when I went there with a friend to help choose a road bike. A specific Fuji bike was in the right price range and appealed on many levels. We had the bike out on the floor and she was looking at I was evaluating the fit. I held the wheel between my knees and the handlebars and had her sit on the bike while I evaluated the fit. While we were doing this a manager comes up and decides to take over. Without warning he forces himself between me and bike, nearly causing her to fall off! This upset me, but I continued anyhow. Later, when we were discussing the reach and the possibility of a handlebar swap he started moving the saddle forward. I told him that’s not how you adjust reach, but he got angry and said “just wait, I’ll show you!” I finally settled on the 47cm frame even though he was suggesting the 44. Interestingly, Fuji’s site suggests either the 47 or 50 for her height! Idiots…

So… last night I’m there with a neighbor. Everything is going fine at first. I pull out some bikes just to look them over with little concern about their size at first. My neighbor, being excited, is sitting on all of them, but I ignore it since that’s not what I’m looking at anyhow. We’re down to the last bike before we decide which one we should have him test ride when the manager (a different manager) comes over and says that the bike is too big (duh, thanks). I start to pull out the next smaller size when he immediately takes over and doesn’t allow me to see how that size fits. Deciding to avoid a confrontation I went away and started browsing the rest of the store while he gave his advice. Later, my neighbor calls me over to show me what they’d settled on. When I got there he said that this was the right size frame. I nearly laughed. It had a traditional geometry (horizontal top tube) so you’d go with a larger seat tube length than with a compact geometry frame. That said, he’d put my almost 6′ neighbor on a 54cm frame! I said something about the bike being far too small, that he was sitting nearly upright, far too cramped in the top tube, and besides the saddle was far too low. He said “no, the seat is in the ideal position! See how his top leg is horizontal, that’s ideal!” Top leg? Who looks at that? Then he went on about how the bike had a relaxed top tube geometry (huh? Relaxed head angle, relaxed seat angle, etc, but top tube?). I said no, that the saddle was at least 4cm too low! He started getting angry and barked “Fine, the bike is too small!” and stomped off. At the desk I could see him telling the other people something or other while staring at us.

There was more, but that’s the general gist of the experience. Amazing. I’m seriously considering contacting their corporate number, though I expect that they won’t have much concern.

For now, I’m done with Performance.

Basic Maintenance

Does it look worn out?Look at that pad,it still looks good, right?

I’ve HATED these pads ever since I bought the bike. They’re the stock Avid pads that came with the “Single Digit 5” V-Brakes that came with my touring bike. I replaced the front pad within a few days of buying the bike because they were removing aluminum flakes from the rim which would get embedded in the pad and make horrible scratching noises. I didn’t bother to change the back pad because I seldom use that brake, mostly just for slowing down lightly while looking back and signaling a left turn. For that reason, I didn’t really think much when they started making scraping noises again. It’s the rainy season and I figured it was just road grit. Besides, they still looked thick enough, I mean, look at the picture! The scraping was getting louder though, to the point where I completely stopped using that brake!!

Well, this weekend I finally got around to cleaning the bike up and decided to clean the grit out of the pad; instead, look what I found!!

Yikes!Yikes! Only 2600 miles of infrequent use and it’s already GONE! Down to the metal!! ACK, ruining my rims!!! The front pads, awesome dual compound koolstop pads, still have a lot of life left! I couldn’t believe that they were so worn out considering the circumstances! I’ll NEVER use these pads again! So, for now I stole the original front pads back from my fixed gear and am back rolling again, but even those will be going in the trash as soon as I have a new set (and a new set for the fixie!)

We’ll miss you Sheldon!

I don’t know where to begin. The cycling world has lost one of the greats. Sheldon Brown died last night of a heart attack after a long struggle with MS. When I first saw the Usenet posting I thought that the title had to be in jest, it HAD to be about something other than his passing, it just couldn’t be true! Sadly, it was.

Sheldon Brown will be remembered as a legend whose positive impact will be felt for many years to come.

It’s interesting how you can form a strong emotional attachment to somebody without ever really meeting them.  Over the years I have interacted with Sheldon Brown on a number of occasions. His help in matters related to cycling has been invaluable to me and many others. His amazing website, a wealth of information more valuable than an entire library of books, has been the go-to source for cyclists the world over.

Thank you Sheldon! You’ll be missed.

HONK HONK HELLO HONK HONK HELLO!

Horn

Yesterday I was riding to work when a neighbor passed me. He decides to say hi by honking his horn when he’s right behind me!!! Come on people,a horn is NOT a proper greeting for a cyclist!!! Don’t people realize that a horn is designed to be heard through the metal and glass cage that they sit in with their radio on? Honking it when a few feet behind an unsuspecting cyclist is EXTREMELY RUDE!

Oh, and don’t expect me to turn around with a big smile and wave after startling me causing me to jump off my bike! Grrrrrrrr………..

Real Rhapsody Problems Resolved!

I’m posting this because numerous Google searches never found my answer.  Maybe somebody else will stumble across it here and save a lot of grief!

I’ve had problems downloading tracks using my Rhapsody subscription for about 6 months now.  Worse, I just bought a mobile device that supports Rhapsody-to-go and it wouldn’t transfer tracks!  I just stumbled across this post that has the solution to my problem!  http://real.lithium.com/real/board/message?board.id=InstallingRhapsody&thread.id=14418

I had a similar issue right after R4 came out, and it had to do with the fact that the computer wasn’t authorized, and thus wouldn’t download automatically. After I went through the solution below, I was able to authorize my machine and then the download problem went away. So first check in the My Account pull down, if it doesn’t say “Deauthorize Computer”, then your machine is not authorized. Then try these steps…. Hope it helps…

This worked for me:

Go here: http://service.real.com/rhapsody/support.html?section=RhapInsuffRights

Then Delete mcs.rma and basi3260.dll files and reauthorize your computer

Also… if you search this board for issues, before posting. There is a good chance you will find a thread about it… Hope this helps…

Matt

Thank you Matt, whoever you are! 🙂

Windows’ Impressive Package Management

Wow… I’m speechless.

After a LONG and painful uninstallation process that required far too many clicks I finally get this dialog…

Windows’ Impressive Package Management

This is after previously having just experienced the following: Choose an app to uninstall, get an error message claiming that it’s already been uninstalled by another installer, would I like to remove it from the add/remove list? Yes. Sorry, you don’t have permission to do that! Contact your admin. (if I wasn’t admin, I wouldn’t have permission to even be here in the first place!!!), poof, it’s gone anyhow…

rkerr@twowheels:~$ sudo aptitude purge windows

I wish I never had to drive…

Victim of Oil Spill

I wish that I never had to drive.

An oil tanker crashes into a bridge near San Francisco and spills 58,000 gallons of fuel into the bay. That’s a LOT of fuel! Enough to fill a 1000 square foot house from floor to ceiling! This kind of contamination makes my measly efforts to not drive feel so pointless and small. The total savings of my every ride pales in comparison to this one incident.