Day 364: Bicycle t-shirts, iPhone decal and other cool stuff

2 01 2011

Some of the cool bike swag Carrick got me for Christmas this year!

T-shirts. (The green one is from Carrick's parents)

L-R: Spinervals Lean & Mean DVD; Backroad Bicycling in Kentucky's Bluegrass; bumper sticker; Bicycle pasta (tiny litte noodles shaped like bikes!)

Decal for my iPhone.

And some of the money I received for Christmas from my parents is going towards buying the ContourHD helmet cam, which I plan to order this week. Stay tuned for a review!

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.

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Day 354: Under-$25 gifts for cyclists

23 12 2010

In case you’ve procrastinated too long and you’re trying to find reasonably-priced gifts for that cyclist in your life, About.com’s list of Best Gifts Under $25 (for cyclists) might help. Of course, most of these items would probably need to be ordered online, so you may still be out of luck.

These are some of the under-$25 items I’ve purchased this year that I think would make great last-minute gift ideas:

What are some of your favorite cycling items for under $25?

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 341: Alice’s favorite things

10 12 2010

When Oprah recently gave every member of her studio audience over $37,000 worth of her “Favorite Things,” it got me thinking. Hang on, don’t get excited … I can’t afford to give all my readers (all five of you) my favorite cycling things, but I did want to list my favorite cycling-related items (in no particular order) that I’ve purchased this year.

  • Clipless pedals and SPD shoes – I couldn’t be happier with the pedals and shoes. The thought of being clipped in to my pedals was rather intimidating at first, but after just a few minutes with them, I realized why so many people recommend them. Definitely a good purchase.
  • Sufferfest videos – The $9.99 download price of these videos is a more than reasonable price for an hour-long kick-your-@$$ workout. I’ve never particularly enjoyed using the indoor bike trainer, but the Sufferfest is a whole new experience. So far, I’ve purchased the Downward Spiral and Angels. Excellent!
  • RoadID – Several friends told me about the RoadID bracelets. The interactive version that I bought enable me to include my full medical history, allergies, emergency contact information and any other important information in a secure, private page on the RoadID website. It’s something I hope to never actually need, but if I’m unable to speak for myself, emergency responders will be able to access all my necessary information by using the PIN number and ID code engraved on the bracelet.
  • Madonna Del Ghisallo medallion (photo available here) – I’m not a religious person, but I do tend to be superstitious. According to CyclingNews.com, “legend has it that in mediaeval times, a local count was being attacked by bandits when he saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and running towards this vision saved him. Thus, the Madonna del Ghisallo became the patroness of travellers. Then, in 1949 a local priest managed to persuade Pope Pius XII to admit her as the patroness of cyclists.” My medallion is affixed to the stem on my bike. Carrick’s is on her seatpost. A little something to hopefully keep me safe can’t hurt.
  • Park Tool School – I won’t repeat all the details here, but during the Park Tool School we learned how to do maintenance and repairs on just about every part of a bicycle. If you’ve never taken the classes, I highly recommend them.

I’m saving up to buy a Garmin Edge 500 Bundle and a Contour HD helmet camera this next year, but I can’t decide which one to buy first. What are your favorite cycling-related items you’ve bought this year?

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 340: Weight Watchers’ PointsPlus system

9 12 2010

I have no more diet excuses. Today’s Weight Watchers meeting explained the new PointsPlus system — the first change in the points system in the past 13 years. As I understand it, points are calculated based on a food’s fat, fiber, carbs and protein content. (The previous system used calories, fat and fiber to calculate the points.) Now with the new plan, all fruits and most veggies are zero points. Foods with high starch content (for example, a potato) will have points even though it’s a vegetable. And “free” veggies include those that are steamed or raw, but a plate of collard greens cooked in fat would obviously not be zero points.

I’m still learning the details and I figure it might take me some time to get used to the changes, but overall I’m excited about the new program. And I’m happy to say that after three weeks of not weighing in and not tracking my foods, I ended up losing a pound. I’ve still got a long way to go and I’ve still got a lot of changes I need to make in my eating habits, but I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m looking at this as a lifestyle change rather than constantly feeling like I’m on a “diet.”

Now if I can just lose another 7 pounds by Dec. 23, maybe I’ll end up winning some cool bike swag from Fat Cyclist.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 336: Bike Furniture Design

5 12 2010

A friend sent me a link to Bike Furniture Design today (thanks, Dan!). I hadn’t heard about the site before, but it definitely has some unique stuff: tables, chairs, barstools and other furniture made out of recycled bike parts such as rims, tubes and handlebars just to name a few. The company is located in Marquette, Michigan where founder/designer Andy Gregg has built various products since 1990. 

I didn’t want to steal any of the photos from his site, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself. If you have extra bicycle parts lying around, you can donate your stuff to the company and they’ll give you a discount on company products. According to the Web site, they need chromed-steel rims and handlebars, high-quality frames, road bike inner-tubes, and deep-section carbon and aluminum rims. Cool stuff!

I realize this is totally unrelated to bike furniture, but in case you’re wondering why I’ve not posted my food journal in a while: (1) I’ve been frustrated and lazy about tracking my Weight Watchers points the past few weeks and (2) Weight Watchers recently unveiled their new Points tracking system. I don’t have the specific details on the new system until my meeting this Thursday, so I expect to get back on track after that.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 328: The obscenely-priced $777 Paris Casino burger

27 11 2010

I’ve talked before about horrifyingly unhealthy foods, but when I recently read about the $777 hamburger at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas, it reinforced that people really have lost all common sense. According to the Consumerist, the staff at NPR  reviewed the overpriced burger as part of their “Sandwich Mondays” series. (The meal was comped by the casino.)

Apparently the crazy expensive burger consists of Kobe beef, Maine lobster, onions, imported Brie cheese, pancetta bread and 100-year aged balsamic vinegar — all served with a bottle of Rose Dom Perignon champagne. I wonder if the 100-year aged balsamic tastes much different from the bottle of probably-expired, rarely-used balsamic we have sitting in our kitchen pantry? 😉 The article didn’t say what vintage of Dom Perignon is served with the meal, but looking at the photo on NPR’s site (which I was unable to snag), it appears to be from 1996. When I looked up the price for that year, Wine.com listed it as $429. So wouldn’t that mean the burger really only costs around $350? Oooh, a bargain! If you hit the big jackpot at the casino, then blow over $700 on a burger … don’t whine when you’re broke in 6 months.

Then again, I’d be willing to bet the $777 Paris Casino burger tastes far better than these I spotted a local McDonald’s. (Decimal points are important, people.)

McDonald's must be pricier in the suburbs.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Organic whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter = 3 points

Lunch:
— 2 black bean soft tacos (Qdoba) = 5.5 points
— Diet root beer = 0 points

Dinner:
— Black bean nachos = 15 points (est.)
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
– Skinny Cow ice cream = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 325: Saris Bones 2 bike rack

24 11 2010

Today after work, we loaded the car, put the bikes on the trunk rack and headed out of town for Thanksgiving. Of course, Carrick likes to tease me about my packing skills. I always pack like we’ll be gone for a week (really we’ll be back home tomorrow night), but I figure you never know what you might need, right? Anyway, as we drove down the highway, it occurred to me how much I like our bike rack (and no, the company is not paying me to endorse their product. I’m just a happy customer). Last summer we bought a Saris 2-bike trunk rack. Before buying the Saris rack, we had a cheap bike rack and before long, realized you really get what you pay for. After the bikes almost fell off the cheap rack as we flew down the highway, we realized it was time for a new one.

The Saris rack is sturdy, secure, easy to put on the car and simple to adjust for either one of our cars. It’s nice to strap the bikes on and not worry about them falling off while driving down the road. The bikes have survived with no problems through various trips through several states: Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio. It seems like so often we all hear about how crappy a product is, so I thought it was worth sharing how good the Saris bike racks are. If you’re looking for a sturdy, easy-to-use rack, I highly recommend this one.

Tomorrow we plan to take our bikes over to Lexington to ride the Legacy Trail that I mentioned recently. Assuming the weather prediction for 62 degrees and 50% chance of rain. Today was cold and rainy.  Not my favorite kind of cycling weather.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you have a great day!

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

Thanks for visiting.