Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Pooping on trail"

I just wanted to say how proud I am, that this week one of the search terms that landed somebody on my blog was "pooping on trail".

I was also found via "buffalo face mask", which I honestly can't imagine why that landed here.

That is all.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

hubratius pliesters or jointered ousmania?

You made it!!! to my little social media experiment. This is not a hypothesis driven study, and the results will just be descriptive. And the scientific method is only loosely in use here. There is no control group. And I don't really know what the question is. Kinda like the cartoons: "let's see what happens if I pour green goo in this tube".

If you're a regular visitor to my blog this post will be utterly confusing.
Nothing bike.

Forgive me, my life was experiments, up until recently, now I just sit at the computer reading and writing. I'm Jonesin' for an experiment. Even one that blows up in my face!
I'm not going to say what the experiment is, but it you want to join in, put the following phrase in a facebook status or tweet:

struntist forgram

And leave me a comment below, WTFLOL...really, whatever you want.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

DANGER! at Kerley and Cornwallis.

As a blogger I get to see Google searches that land people on my site. For example people looking for a Carhartt hat often land here, or nude cycling, or free beer.

A couple of days ago I got a couple of searches that caught my eye, then got me thinking, and searching the internet myself for information:

You see as much as I could see, but I will almost guarantee that the intersection in question is Kerley and Cornwallis.

View Larger Map

I love flying down hills at top speed!

Right before this intersection with Kerley, Cornwallis has an excellent hill to get your wheels spinning. However, halfway down the hill is the intersection with Kerley. Cornwallis traffic has the right of way, Kerley has stop signs.

Legally, as a cyclist you have every right to fly through this intersection at full speed. Realistically, SLOW THE F DOWN. This is not the hill to fly down, you'll get your ass killed. Trust me.

Cars stopped at this intersection, espescially in the morning, can't see shit when they look up this hill. One, you're a tiny bicycle, two, in the morning the sun is at the top of the hill.

Recipe for disaster!

If you're flying down the hill at 40 mph, and a car on Kerley doesn't see you, you're toast.

I have now heard of one confirmed accident at this intersection, I also have the search result from a couple of days ago, and I almost got in an accident at the intersection myself.

For me it was the exact situation described above, morning, me flying at 40mph, car stopped on Kerley pulls out having not seen me. Fortunately I was able to yell loud enough to get their attention, so they didn't make it all the way in front of me, and I swerved around the front of the golden Prius.

Remember: You're invisible to the folks in their motorized boxes. Be safe.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Clegg's Pest Control

I'm not a heavy user of the pest control industry. I have a distaste for the chemicals they use. I was, however apathetic to their ubiquitous presence until today. Today I was nearly run off the road by a truck belonging to Clegg's Pest Control. You know the company with the tank logo on their trucks?

Yeah, that's a tank, not a raccoon skin hat.

I would refuse to use their services until they showed a good faith effort to train their employees about road rules, but like I said, I don't use pest control services. So I'm stuck writing a blog post about how crappy their drivers are.

And then I can just hope that my blog post makes it to the first page of google results for Clegg's, and those who ride a bike regularly or love somebody who rides a bike regularly (I fit both categories) will think twice about using their services.

How bad was it? The truck passed me at about 35 mph, and gave me maybe 6 inches of room. I've been buzzed before by vehicles, but this was ridiculous. One little wobble on my part and I could have been clobbered by the side mirror.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nude Cycling

Warning: this post may be a little NSFW due to censored cartoon nudity and genital mutilation.
Why do people bike naked?

If you read the Wikipedia entry the goal is to "deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world." 

Sounds like a terrible idea to me. Bikes have a lot of sharp bits that I'd rather not have contact my tender bits. 

Sure, it wouldn't happen like the above picture, but you could fall and get yer niblets caught somewhere.

On top of it not being a great idea because of the dangers involved, in my opinion it also doesn't really deliver the message it's aiming for. I've never thought bringing out the crazy was the way to get your message across. And I fail to see how a bunch of naked/semi-naked people riding bikes through town "deliver[s] a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world."

I could protest obesity by going out in public and setting fire to bologna and mustard sandwich on nutrient deficient white bread...

...but I'd probably end up spending the night in a rubber room. While the activity of burning the sandwich was related in a way to obesity, it really does not convey my message. 

I see naked biking in the same light. The message is in there somewhere, but between the people who are offended by the flapping genitalia, and those who just didn't realize there was a message to be seen, nobody save the cyclists themselves really get the message.

And I'm guessing half the cyclists don't even understand the message.

Ok, time to go for a fully clothed ride.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Style with the New Name

That's right, I'm trying something different. The last post about the bee in my shirt was not a one-off.

I like to draw, and as of recent I've had no outlet for my need to draw. I was writing on this blog once in a while, so I figured why not draw some pictures to go along with the posts.

The only rule I'm setting for myself is that no picture can take more than five minutes to draw.

This is a trial run.

It ought to be fun. 

Monday, August 29, 2011


The other day it was hot. My jersey zipper was obscenely low as I rode home at around 5:30 PM.

My chest hair blowing in the wind, the little I have. I rode down the big hill. This hill is big for flat ol' Chapel Hill, it is in fact the hill referred to by the town name. I can get up to 40 mph on this hill, don't tell the cops (Speed limit is 35.) I was going 40 this day, did I mention it was hot, the breeze felt good.
Then along came a little bee...

It flew into my shirt, bypassing the chest hair, right straight to my armpit.

So I'm flying down the Chapel Hill, at 40 mph on a bicycle being stung repeatedly in the armpit by a small bee, that I'm sure just wanted out of my shirt.

To top it all off, I already had a scrape on my arm and a bruise on my leg from a prior spill. In reaching frantically for the bee in my armpit with my scabbed over arm, I managed to open that wound. I did not however manage to kill the bee that continued to sting my armpit over and over and over. That whole thing about bees stinging once then dying is horseshit by the way.

When I got to the bottom of the hill, I pulled up on the sidewalk, retrieved the bee out of my shirt and squished it. Several times.

It was still a hot 95°F, and now I was paranoid to ride with my jersey wide open, and my armpit, elbow and leg were all throbbing. But I got that bee dammit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Name Change.

I've been "Triangle Bicycle Commuter" for a year now. This morning while sipping my Joe I came across the real Triangle Bicycle Commuter. I knew when I started the blog that the blogger subdomain trianglebicyclecommuter was not available, but I couldn't find a blog with that name, and the URL turned up nothing, so I went with the name. However, it's there now, so I'm vacating the name and I have more than one reason to do so.
  • There is already a blog with that name.
  • I am about to graduate from UNC and will likely move away from the Triangle.
  • Since I started the blog the scope has changed so the name should be more broad.
  • It's my blog and I'll do what I want to.
So without further ado, I reveal the new name, appropriately conjured up on my morning bike commute.

Another Place I'm Going

The new name fits with my URL that I had to come up with doo(sic) to the lack of availability of

It begins with an "A" to plop it on top of alphabetically organized blogrolls.

It embodies my desire to travel to new and unfamiliar places.

And best of all, it tickles my juvenile need to make potty humor whenever possible. My apologies to my friend Will for the TP picture atop the new blog.

So, I hope the change doesn't throw you off track. The same info will always be here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Welcome back to the Triangle, UNC, Duke, NCSU, and NCCU students. I have recently had a small uptick in google searches about biking in the Durham/Chapel Hill area, I will assume these come from new students in the area wondering about using bikes to get around the Triangle.

With the return of students to the area comes a lot of automobile traffic. So if you're a student driving a car around: Don't hit me.

For students with bikes, this blog has information about getting around by bike. I commute from Durham to Chapel Hill by bike almost every day, so here I have compiled a list of all the routes I've used with descriptions of the roads and traffic.

I also bike through the winter, and have biked on the coldest mornings that the Triangle has to offer (16°F). For these mornings I have written posts about the clothing I wore and how well it protected me from the weather.

On top of those useful posts I post random crap, rants about whatevertidbits about my bike, and even a post about a bike trip through The Gambia I did almost ten years ago.

I hope you can find a useful bit of information here. Have a good school year!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Open letter to drivers about bikes

     This is not going to be a rant against drivers. The purpose of this post is to educate about and discuss safe driving practices around bikes. I think as far a bikers go I'm pretty lenient about what I consider acceptable driving around me. That said, there is one area where I have no flexibility:

My life depends on it
I don't care if you're young or old, put the phone away when you're behind the wheel. Whether the law says so or not, you are controlling a deadly weapon flying down the road. Respect that your car can easily kill a person on a bike, a pedestrian, somebody stuck with a flat tire, somebody's dog or any other person or animal that happens to be near the road. If you need more convincing watch the disturbing video below, if you believe me you can scoot past the video into the meat of this post.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

JetBlue vs. Wolfpack Hustle during Carmageddon

Update: Sounds like the cyclists won!

Wolfpack Hustle races JetBlue. A group of cyclists are racing a jet plane today. With the onset of what is being called "Carmageddon" in Los Angeles JetBlue offered $4 tickets for crosstown flights. To prove an important point about wastefulness some talented cyclists are racing the jet across town.

Go Wolfpack Hustle!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's opossums in the autumn, and it's farm cats in the spring

If you recognize the title of this entry, then I can say two things about you. You know who Tom Waits is, and probably listen to his music, and you know this post is going to be about roadkill. If you don't know, go find the song "Murder in the Red Barn", and have a listen, then come back.

Admittedly, Tom is an acquired taste that most people never acquire.

This post, like Tom Waits, some might find distasteful, so I'll do the nice thing and insert a jump break for those who don't want to read about dead stinky animals. So if you're game hit the jump and let's talk about roadkill.

Call for submissions

I bike between Durham and Chapel Hill. That is pretty much the extent of my cycling besides a weekend ride here and there. Yet my blog is called "Triangle Bicycle Commuter" implying a much larger scope than Durham to Chapel Hill.

View Larger Map

I would love to add some posts about biking between/within Raleigh, Cary, Carrboro, Morrisville, and other communities within the triangle.

So if you have a favorite commuter route, use the comment section to contact me. I would love to add some variety to the blog to make it a more useful resource for local cyclists.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Record your rides

I've been using to record my cycling to and from work for the past year now. And if I were to offer any advice to aspiring cyclists who wish they could ride more, it would be to get a gps and record all of you rides. I found gps to be the best motivational tool available. has multiple ways of analyzing your ride and comparing it to other similar rides in the past. You can figure out where you have gained speed and where you need to work on your riding.

The program can be combined with more serious training tools, which I do not use. However, it is possible to measure cadence and heart rate, and sync this data to your gps data to get a complete picture of your ride and the amount of exertion you are putting into your workout.

At any rate, today is the end of my first year recording my rides. My total mileage on my bike came out to 5059 miles. Not bad for a year of commuting to work on my bicycle. Assuming I drove those miles in our Prius, which gets 45mpg, and $3.50/gallon of gas that's 112 gallons of gas saved, and $433. Nice.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Five Thousand Miles

On June 21st, 2010 I started recording my daily rides to work at Today, June 17th, 2011 I approach one year of recording my rides on my GPS.
 Tomorrow I will ride in a charity event that will take me 62 miles if all goes as planned. That will put me over 5000 miles for the year on my bikes, Ralph and No-name. Something about that nice round number feels good. But what really impresses me about the distance is when I map it using GPS visualizer, I realize all the places I could have made it to if there were a direct bike route between us.

Places such as Timboktu, Mali. I could have traveled to Santiago, Chile. Most of Siberia is covered by my range. Granted most of my travels were to and from work, but imagining all the places that a year of part-time biking could deliver me is pretty impressive when you consider how massive the earth is.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Amharic and Riding

In the past couple of days all of my blog traffic seems to be coming from wife's blog set up to discuss our ongoing adoption from Ethiopia.
All of my traffic!

First rule of any type of presentation: Know your audience. I figure since you're coming here from Agnostic Adoption maybe I should post something relevant. Of course I have to maintain some order here on my blog, which is about cycling in the Triangle area of North Carolina. So this post is my attempt to speak both about cycling and international adoption.

As you know, if you're arriving from Kyra's blog, we are learning Amharic this summer. Learning any language is a huge undertaking. Learning a language that is in an entirely different family from your first language is even harder. Amharic has several things going for it that make it very difficult. It has its own alphabet, Amharic Fidel (see below), that has no connection to the english alphabet. There are several sounds (The ejectives) that don't occur in English or any European language for that matter. Ejectives are harsh version of some good ol' consonants. Imagine a very hard k, t, or ch. Verb conjugation appears to involve modifying the beginning middle and sometimes end of the verb stem.

Amharic Fidel

Taken together, it looks like Kyra and I have bitten of quite a large bit to chew.

In comes the bike part of this post.

I learned in my high school theater experience, the best way to learn lines is to keep your body in motion while you do it. There is something about kinetic activity that helps my brain work. So I have been using my daily bike commute, that's two hours each day, to work on my Amharic.

I can't read while I ride my bike, I have to concentrate on the road and the traffic around me. However, if I go out with a plan in mind, e.g. recite my body part vocabulary, or practice those sounds that I've never made before, I can make my hour long bike ride a productive learning experience.

I look like a crazy person!

The guy on the bike repeating the sound for the letter K. I've spent several bike rides working on my ejectives, and it has paid off. I'm getting close to being able to reproduce the sounds and put them in words. Getting them into words turns out is the hardest part, so my new exercise is repeating words with multiple ejectives.

Some of my favorites:
Leaf- 'q'tel (That's an ejective k and t right in a row)
Cold- 'qeze'qaza (two ejective k's)
Delicious- 'tafa'ch (Ejective t and ch)

Anyway, the practicing on the bike has been a great addition to my daily commute. We are now working on "simple" verb conjugation. I hope the bike practice will help with this task.

Friday, June 10, 2011

NYC, where cops park in bike lanes, then ticket you for not riding in said lanes.

I'm gonna jump on the bike blogger bandwagon (BBB) here and post this because it is amusing. I especially like municipalities that think a good bike lane is one between moving traffic and parked cars.

The only issue I take with this video is the guy says to the cop, "I'm doing the world a favor by riding my bike". While I think it is good to ride your bike, you don't make any friends or converts by riding on your high horse all the time. Give me a break, you're riding your bike, probably instead of walking and taking the subway, you're not walking on water here. Plus most people who ride their bike all the time love it, so it's not like he's making a sacrifice.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Travels with Ralph

I've decided to name my bike. I didn't think long or hard about the name. I knew one thing I wanted to avoid the cliché treatment of vehicles as female. Plus the placement of his frame pump is decidedly not female:


That's right, his name is Ralph. It's simple. It's easy to remember. It's synonymous with vomiting.

My wife asked me, "Why Ralph"? My answer, "Why not"?

I've had Ralph since January, and we've traveled over 2600 miles together. A major chunk of that (1087 miles) was when I was competing in the MarchMiles competition over at A competition I came very close to winning if it hadn't been for the sneaky exploits of my closest rival in the competition, Roystein

While Ralph and I did not emerge from that competition at the top of the podium, we did emerge very familiar with each other. And we had some serious fun along the way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cool Guy, Cargo Bike

This video has little to do with biking. However, this guy is awesome, and he seems to move some pretty heavy stuff on his bike. So there's your tie-in to this blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Make Every Day Bike-to-Work Day

Somehow I missed that May 12th was bike-to-work day across the country. Don't get me wrong, I biked to work, I just can't say I saw any sign of it being any different from the rest of the week, month, or year. In the triangle I didn't see scores of cyclists crowding the streets to participate in the event. It seems as though most of the bike-to-work day events that come up on a Google search are in sunny southern California.
Dear Triangle,
    We don't live in California. I know it has been a bit muggy/drizzly/cool here in the Triangle, to which I say you don't know the pleasure of riding in this weather unless you've tried it. I generally don't like to ride through downpours, but drizzle, sprinkles, showers, mist are all delightful riding long as you have a change of clothes, and fenders.


What I'm getting at is that I think just about every day in the triangle could be bike-to-work day. The weather is almost always acceptable. In the winter daylight is a bit short making it hard to bike both to and from work, but the triangle bus systems are great at filling in the after-dark/before-light gaps.

Anyhow, bike-to-work day may actually be on May 20th, and bike-to-work week May 16th-20th. This discrepancy with other reports putting bike to work day on May 12th just tells me cyclactivistasTM need to get our own act together and start communicating to pick one day. It could make for a more impressive showing if bike-to-work day happens on one day.

Come out and bike with me any day, the invitation is open, sadly nobody is responding. I know you're out there dying to start biking to work. See Y'all out there.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Velos et le Vin

Kyra and I have started a new activity, which we really enjoy, and I hope we do several more times over the spring and summer months. It started on a beautiful Saturday in February, when we loaded the bikes on the car and headed west to the small town of Saxapahaw, North Carolina. I knew we had biking and dinner plans, but there was also to be a birthday surprise for me along the way. Turns out the surprise was a wine tasting excursion near the end of our ride at Benjamin Vineyards. It was a very nice end to a lovely ride through rural North Carolina.
    Well today we did it again making it almost a tradition. Today we parked the car at Horizon Cellars and Winery, just south of Siler City, NC. We went on a 23 mile ride and at the end we did a wine tasting and sat on the Winery's deck to each sip a glass of wine chosen after the tasting. Again, it was a lovely day, and we had a very nice time riding among NC farmland. We saw cows, horses, llamas, goats, and heard some roosters along the way.
     At the winery we sat in the fading afternoon sun and sipped red wine and relaxed. I think we'll do that again soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Short repost on Safety

I think this guy shares a lot of my personal safety procedures when riding so instead of writing my own post on being safe I'll do the lazy thing and repost his blog entry on "Conversations With US".

Like he says, be safe out there.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Durham -> Chapel Hill Bike Pool = FREE BEER

I want to see more cyclists biking to work.  I want to see fewer cars on the road. I want to commute in a pack of cyclists providing visibility and support. Right now I ride alone from Durham to Chapel Hill each morning and I know there are others out there doing the same thing, or just waiting for the right opportunity to start.
     Spring is right around the corner, and I know bikes all over the triangle are being yanked from winter storage and cleaned off for the new season.  Or new bikes are being purchased at end-of-winter clearance sales just waiting for a rider to hop on 'em and go. I am looking for a small group of riders who want to pool together into a "bike pool". The benefits of a bike pool include: being more visible to drivers, having support of other riders in case of flats or other bike issues, companionship, and FREE BEER.
     WHA? FREE BEER? I propose that the bike pool will ride together daily, to Chapel Hill in the morning, back to Durham in the evening, ending at a beer serving establishment of Fridays, (e.g. FullSteam). For those riders riding as much as or more than me for the week, first round is on me.

I am willing to ride any of the routes I have written about, or get creative and take a new route depending on interest.

Ground rules for this bike pool are not set and will depend on who, if anybody joins the pool.

I do not ride fast and I'm willing to slow down a bit to get people new to bike commuting to join.

Leave a comment with some sort of contact information if you are interested in this concept, or just the free beer.

One thing is for sure, I'll be out there riding.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Trans-Gambia Bike Ride (2002)

If there is one bike ride I remember very fondly, it is the time I crossed The Gambia with my friend Will.  We were Peace Corps volunteers in Senegal at the time, and we decided we wanted to see The Gambia, but not through the window of a bus speeding down the dusty red laterite road. So one early morning we hopped on our Peace Corps issue Trek mountain bikes and headed south from Nioro du Rip. We carried with us water, a change of clothes, and a list of Gambian Peace Corps volunteers to look for along the way and beg for floor space on which to sleep.

Considering how little planning went into the trip the results were great. We made it from end to end (Nioro du Rip to Velingara, via Gambia) with no real incidents, and never had to spend the night in an uncomfortable situation. However, if I were to do it again I would avoid planning my bike trip during Ramadan in a heavily Muslim country. When you are biking 60 miles in the hot sun, food and water are important to have. After very early morning it was hard to find food until sunset. The food at sunset was amazing though.

I guess we had some toilet paper in our pack too, but how much pooping you gonna do when there is little food to be had, and you're biking all day long. I guess a fair amount if you're drinking whatever water you can find.

Me and a Gambia volunteer, Jenny

Along our way we stayed with fellow Peace Corps volunteers and in Peace Corps regional houses.  We enjoyed West African hospitality, often sharing meals with Peace Corps volunteer host families as if we were honored guests. Gambia volunteers allowed us to sleep on their floors despite our state of filth from daily cycling.

The most interesting volunteer we met, by far, was Robert. We stayed with Robert our first night, his story was interesting. He had been a mortician, but he had been fired from that position multiple times, four if I remember correctly. He told us he came to the Peace Corps because he misread a pamphlet that said "looking for volunteers to undertake...". He didn't finish reading he just said, "Hey I can undertake".  Chances are he was pulling our legs, but for some reason I believed the entire story at the time, perhaps the hot sun and lack of food.

Meagan and Will
We met Meagan on the island of Janjanbureh (Georgetown) in the middle of the Gambia River. We were there midday so we did not spend the night at her house, but she did give us lunch and treat us to a dip in The Gambia. We had been avoiding swimming because we had been warned off fresh water swimming by our Peace Corps medical staff. Fresh water in Senegal and Gambia can contain things like schistosomiasis, and crocodiles. Meagan regularly went swimming in the river and seemed ok to us, so we went, happily we are still here, and it felt soooooo good in the middle of the day. I did not stray very far from the dock, in my mind there were crocs right beneath the surface of the murky water.

I have always ridden my bike a lot, but I think that this trip convinced me that it really is a superior form of transportation. The bicycle can get you from one place to another quickly enough. However, I never felt like I was missing anything along the way. Like the laterite hill below, or the stone circle hidden in the woods.

I look forward to my next bike ride that takes me to new and unfamiliar terrain.  I look forward to my bike commute through familiar North Carolina scenery tomorrow morning. I look forward to riding my bike.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eubanks Road Improvement!!!

Last Wednesday morning the weather was beautiful. It was 60° when I left the house for work. So I shed my tights and all my winter gear and set out on my commute. Such a nice morning was just asking for the perfect ride, so I took the Mt. Sinai route to work.

If you read my description of the Mt. Sinai route, my one complaint is the condition of Eubanks road in Chapel Hill between Millhouse road and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Well, it looks like that may be no more. When I rode by last week there was major road widening occurring on this very stretch of Eubanks. A whole third lane is being added to the road, which will make it easier for the buses, UPS trucks and garbage trucks to pass cyclists with ample space.

HOORAY!!! My favorite route just got favoriter.

Update: I rode the new and improved Eubanks the other day. They have added a bike lane and a sidewalk to about half of the stretch between Millhouse and MLK Blvd. Very nice, now finish it all the way to MLK and it'll be perfect.

My New Obsession, realized.

I got one
Back in October I wrote an entry about my new obsession with a bike I thought was to expensive for me to buy. Well, no longer, I'm now the proud owner of a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I've had the bike for about three weeks now, and I've put over 200 miles on it since I brought it home three Fridays ago. I've been commuting on it since I got it, but have yet to take it out for a nice long weekend ride.

The beauty of North Carolina is that spring is here! We are already having sporadic 60-70° weather, so before long one of those warm days will coincide with a Saturday, and I'll be gone right after breakfast, Long Haul Trucker beneath me, no tights, no jacket, no wool socks.

I am really enjoying this bike. It's slower than my old bike, but it is much more comfortable than the old bike.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Winter Gear, Issue #3- On My Feet

Bike shoes are generally super breathable, which is great, in the summer. When it gets cold out, breathable kinda sucks. I went to the bike store looking for a solution for riding to work in the cold. I wasn't sure if I was going to walk out with a new pair of bike shoes or just something to put over my existing shoes. I left with Performance Neoprene bike shoe covers.
Performance Neoprene Bootie
For just under $40 my feet are ready to go for cold weather. And I have given these booties a true test for North Carolina. With two morning rides starting out at about 16°F, I can honestly say these booties were enough, with prewarmed wool socks, to keep my feet warmish for an hour-long ride.

Other winterizing entries: