one less car

The semester got underway this week. Aside from the back-and-forth between campus and my apartment, my time on the bike has come to screeching, painful, maddening, debilitating halt. I want to ride so badly! I’m starting to think about riding during lunch or else changing out at the end of the day, knocking off a little early, and finding a much longer route home.

So, not riding much leaves me with little to discuss, but here are a few items of note:

  • My little brother set aside his mountain bike, got a professional fitting at a local bike shop, purchased a sweet Cannondale Synapse, and dropped roughly 32 pounds. Sweet. Nice work, brother. Ride on. (Stay tuned. There are already murmurings of taking a tour together.) It turns out, by the way, that Rhode Island is a very bike friendly state, with great local bike shops, miles of rail trail, and published maps identifying the suitability of various roads for cyclists (e.g., in relation to traffic, surface conditions, etc.).
  • Ms. McCaskill, the youngens, and I are now officially a one-car family. Yay! I sold the truck last night, and it’s all I can do to keep from heading straight to the local bike shop and blowing the whole wad on a new ride. Patience. Patience, my good man. Easy does it. (But, um, just out of curiosity, you know, solely for the sake of conversation, might any of you have a recommendation on a commuter/transportation-oriented bike, styled after a classic fashion but outfitted with modern equipment, well-suited to a chap who makes his living in an ivory tower, inspiring young minds? I’m thinking along the lines of the Raleigh Clubman or One Way, the Trek Portland — sans those butt-ugly stock fenders — the Novara Randonee, etc. I’d love a Rivendell or the like, but money is an object. I’m hesitant to get a true, full-scale touring bike, because I still have my hopes set on my dad eventually passing on his Trek 720 to me.)
  • I’ve got a jacked rear hub on my road bike. The hub has sealed bearings and less than 2000 miles on it, but suddenly it sounds as if I were crushing gravel in it. I took into the shop a week ago today. When I got it back on Saturday, the work order indicated that two new sets of bearings had been installed. I put it back on the bike, spun it backward slowly, and placed my ear close to the hub. Much to my chagrin, the noise, though quieter, was still very much there. I took it straight back to the shop. The head mechanic, who happens to be the guy that deals with all the wheel issues, had already left and was slated to be out until tomorrow. Fortunately, the shop owner sent me an email this morning saying he was planning to take a look at it today. My fingers are crossed ever so tightly.
  • Commuting by bike to campus over the summer was no big deal, but now that I’m having to look the part of a professor, I’m realizing I have a lot to figure out and learn. Needless to say, I was quite thrilled to learn this morning that my local bike shop has just received their first shipment of Action Wipes. I plan to grab a pack whenever I fetch my wheel.
  • My efforts to uncover and expose the seedy world of secret cyclists at Adrian College has turned up quite a decent number of faculty and staff who ride. Alas, however, I’ve yet to recruit any students. I’m hoping I can do so before the cold weather sets in, only because I think people will be far more inclined to ride in colder temps (and even next spring) if they’ve already gotten their feet wet, so to speak. On the other hand, if things are slow to get moving, I can probably look forward to greater interest and enthusiasm in the spring when people start itching to be outside again. For what it’s worth, I did kick off three of my four classes with a quote about Lance Armstrong from Bicycling as an illustration for thinking about myth. Oh yeah, good stuff, baby.

What have you all been up to?


3 responses to “one less car

  1. so when do you start lobbying for bike racks at your local ivory tower?

  2. You might consider Surly. Their shtick befits a professor and the ride is the closest to Riv out there. The main differences between the companies bike models are that Surly is welded without lugs, uses a threadless headset and cheaper paint quality with decals on the surface w/out clearcoat… and a $3000 price difference. The LHT is a really versatile model and when you get tired of being bathed in road spray and the grime that goes with it, will accept Giles Bertoud fenders and you will begin to appreciate riding on rainy days. If weight is an issue you may elect to choose the Cross Check that has a bit more responsive ride quality (like the Riv A.H.H.). I purchased a LHT for my college age son, spec’ed on a A Brooks B-17 Special saddle, cork colored bar tape that I twined on and then shellaced /c amber shellac, Silver friction down tube shifters and a Topeak MTX Trunkbag DXP and rear rack (slickest system out there for someone who sometimes needs to carry extra stuff on the bike and sometimes doesn’t) and his ride looks fine. Before the extra spec’ed items the built bike from Century Cycles Peninsula store (a destination shop) was less than a $1000.

    I rode that One Way that Will has for sale and it’s the cat’s pyjamas. Every turn of the crank goes right to the road. The gearing as he has it set up is perfect for flat to small hills . It makes you want to be in an urban environment to mix it up with the 4 wheelers. Alas, I live in Pettisville, Ohio…:)

    Hope that helps you. Congrats on the One less car. Man, I’d love to take that step. Unfortunately my wife’s idea of a car includes an auto trans and I love my Accord /c a stick. So it sits in the garage waiting for me to choose to drive.

    Here’s a YouTube from a trip we took to Rochester and the Finger Lakes this summer that features both a LHT and Riv AHH 🙂

    Happy trails,


  3. Brother, I’m wicked sorry for taking so long to get your comment posted. As I’m sure you can tell from the time between posts, I haven’t been doing so well at keeping up with the blog of late.

    Your video is fantastic! I smiled all the way through it, and now I want to tour more than ever. I hope you don’t mind that I’m highlighting it in the body of a post.

    Thanks for all the great info on the One Way and the Surly. I’m chagrined that I failed to mention Surly. I’ve been interested in Surly for a while, and that interest was only kindled further when I met a couple of folks on PALM riding Long Haul Truckers. How cool is that Surly tucks extra spokes right into the frame? Wicked clever.