Even More Food and Bikes

Day’s Verse:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Acts 2:44-45

You may have noticed that my blog has narrowed to two topics lately: Food and bikes. The interest in food really flows from the interest in — and time spent on — bikes. More time on bikes during the month of May simply means that I spend more time thinking about food, more time eating, and more time planning to eat. So, in honor of food and bikes, here they are:

My bike, finally completely repaired from the crash in March:
Artemis Pink 1

Artemis Pink Fork & Fenders

My first attempt at lemon meringue pie, assisted by my friend Rachel Klas from church.
Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie Cut

Thank you to Nana and Grandpa for the delicious lemons and Ken and Karolyn Alford for the extremely fresh eggs. The pie would not be what it is without your contribution. Yum.

Continue reading “Even More Food and Bikes”

In Sight

Day’s Verse:
O LORD, my strength and my fortress,
my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come
from the ends of the earth…

Jeremiah 16:19

What’s in sight? The end of several things:

  • Our tenure as long-term house-sitters! Tonight is our last night house- and cat-sitting for one of my coworkers; we spent a full week at her house this time, but had three other 2-night stints before that. This experience has confirmed that we are most definitely not cat people.
  • My bike languishing unrepaired! Yesterday I took Artemis to Elliott Bay Bicycles. They’re building me a new front fork, something steel, sturdy, able to handle fenders, disc brakes, and harsh treatment. I’m so excited to get moving on the repairs at long last!
  • Wrangling with Hertz and Oracle! Yesterday I also talked to Hertz, and they’re writing me a check for about $1,400 for repairs, plus paying for the cost of a rental bike as long as my bike is out of commission. The check amount is right between the two estimates I got, so I consider that pretty fair and reasonable. It may not cover the full cost of repairs, but I’m also improving my bike a bit at the same time, which will somewhat increase the cost.
  • KDOG craziness! Next Tuesday, exactly 1 week, is the all-important City Council meeting that we wanted to spread door hangers to advertise about. A few people have volunteered to help distribute door hangers, so they’re getting spread around a little bit. I feel OK about how that’s going. Nobody has RSVP’d for my meetups (here and here) on Saturday, and I may cancel them, but that’d be all right because they are getting out other ways.

All in all, I’m feeling much better. I’m working on a comprehensive volunteer handbook for the Bicycle Alliance; I put off more house-hunting until the middle of next week; and a few KDOG door hangers are getting out.

So it’s OK.

Rental Bike Time

Day’s Verse:
Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 9:22 (context)

I finally caved and rented a bike for the remainder of the time my Seven is out of commission. I’ve ridden the Xtracycle all week, first for fun on Monday with Mom — I took the day off after my Bike Expo weekend bonanza — and then to the Bellevue Transit Center on Tuesday, all the way 20 miles in to the International District on Wednesday, and then 9 miles that evening to Greenlake for the house/cat sitting we did Wednesday and Thursday night. The house sitting meant I only had to ride 9 miles each way Thursday and Friday morning.

I was already mentally gearing up for the arduous, headwind-y ride home (we’ve had a steady north wind since Wednesday at least, meaning I had a headwind every night, making the usual challenge of riding the Xtracycle just one notch more difficult) when I talked to Eric, owner of JRA Bike Shop.

I asked about rental bikes; they rent some sluggish bikes for tourists to tootle around downtown on, but that wouldn’t be much better than the Xtracycle. As we talked about it, Eric thought it over and said, “What do you think of that red one?” He indicated a red Cannondale Hybrid 600. Turns out it belongs to the shop; it’s a used bike they just built up with new parts, and he decided to let me rent that. So, for $150 a week, I get to ride the red chopper.

It’s a whole different riding experience, let’s put it that way. It’s got cruiser-style handlebars and incredibly low gearing. I can’t remember the last time I sat so upright on a bike — possibly on my first-ever bike? Aside from some saddle adjustment issues, the bike felt awesome. It was a ton of fun to ride, zippy and responsive and light feeling after the Xtracycle (but then, what wouldn’t be?).

The different position made the ride feel like a pleasure ride rather than a commute, a feeling enhanced by my meeting up with Ian about halfway home. We rode together the rest of the way, and that made it fun, too. We haven’t gotten to spend much time together, with my hectic schedule, so even riding a little ways together on a beautiful afternoon felt like a fun break.

Oh, and an assessor from Frontier Assessors came out and took pictures of my bike. I hope she doesn’t lowball me to Hertz. I just want to get my bike fixed, but I’m afraid to pay the $1,500 it’ll cost (plus, of course, the $150 I’m spending every week for the rental bike, a cost approved verbally by the Hertz rep via my contact at Oracle) without some assurance I’ll get reimbursed for all the costs.

Worse comes to worse I guess I have to call in John Duggan.

24 Hours Later

Day’s Verse:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Sure enough, I feel like I was hit by a truck.

Actually, I suspect I can attribute a significant portion of the feeling bad comes from the cold that moved in yesterday evening and the fact that this generally isn’t the best time of month (so to speak).

For the record, my aches and pains amount to this: Standing up, putting socks on, or any other activity requires using the thigh/crotch muscles in my left leg or bending my left hip tend to be particularly agonizing. Also, my shoulders and pecs feel like I did a tough workout a couple days ago. My back and neck ache, as does my head, although that I can definitely place in the cold’s camp, blame-wise. I have a deep, black bruise on the inside of my right thigh where my leg smacked hard into the frame; a zip tie on the frame punctured my leg right in the middle, and there’s no bruise there, interestingly enough. And, of course, my left elbow remains swollen, extremely tender to the touch, and lightly contused, although I suffered no significant road rash.

In fact, all of these injuries match up almost exactly to the injuries I sustained in my last fall, when I slipped on ice in February 2008. Thinking about it, I think that the car never actually hit me personally. Its bumper was right at shin-level, and I should have had some sign of impact there if it had hit me. Instead, my front wheel shows significant sign of impact — it’s slightly tacoed. I think the car hit my front wheel and knocked me over, and that all my bruises and scrapes came from that fall, not from the car actually touching my body. I’m so, so grateful that guy didn’t wait a fraction of a second longer in turning (although another minute would really have been best, to just let me by altogether), because I’m pretty sure something would have broken in that case.

Now I start the fun, fun process of trying to get my bike fixed. The Kirkland Bike Shop did a quick ‘n’ dirty evaluation of the bike and suggested that $1,000 would cover all the repairs. He recommended replacing the handlebars ($400), the front fork ($300, although it’s possible Bontrager doesn’t make them anymore, which could be a problem), and of course the bent wheel ($200), plus labor, new bar tape, and other miscellaneous small parts like spokes. I’m going to have at least one other bike shop give me an estimate, and get itemized estimate printouts from each shop for the insurance company… whichever one that may be.

Insurance will certainly be the big issue here. This morning I called Hertz and found out that the driver had already started the claims process, a good sign. I couldn’t actually talk to any useful Hertz people on a Sunday, but the nice lady on the other end did give me a couple numbers to call during normal business hours. Then I called Oracle; the security guard on duty gave me the number to call on Monday as well. So now I’m calling the driver, Hertz, and Oracle tomorrow, in that order.

I just want my bike back in one piece.

Guess it’s good I have the Xtracycle to ride in the meantime!

Don’t Panic, But This Is Gonna Sound Bad

Day’s Verse:
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:1-4

I was T-boned by a car while riding my bike in Bellevue today.

That’s about the simplest way to put it, I think. Details:

Today is gorgeous. I mean just beautiful: Low 60s, sunny, light easterly breeze. The kind of day when Artemis just begs me to hop on and go for a long, luxurious ride. Who am I to resist? After Ian and I finished the morning of theology class with our church (a topic that deserves a whole nother post all on its own), I changed into bike clothes and left from the pastor’s house in Bothell.

I rode out to Paradise Lake Road and it was so wonderful, and I felt so great — better than I have in weeks on my bike, strong and not struggling at all — that I decided to extend my ride. Instead of going home on 124th, I turned onto the Sammamish River Trail and hooked up with the 520 trail in Redmond. I planned to zip up through Kirkland (I was really looking forward to the flight down Northup Way, too), turn left onto Juanita Way, go over that hill, and come back home either on Simonds Road or via the bike path and Waynita Way.

It was gonna be a fabulous ride. Occasionally Mt. Rainier peeked out; the sun felt warm, the shade cool, my legs strong, and I felt like I could just keep going forever.

I might have actually executed my plan if, at the intersection of 148th AVE NE and NE 29th Pl, a contractor for Oracle driving a Hertz rental car hadn’t turned left into me as I went straight down 148th.

View Larger Map
I was in the right-turn lane, but towards the left-center, because I wanted to not turn right there but turn onto the bike path immediately across the intersection. Traveling about 19 miles an hour, I didn’t even have time to register that this guy was turning until I saw his hood right there on my left. Next thing I knew, WHAM! I’m up on the hood and then down on the ground.

Everything went downhill from there. The driver got out of the car immediately and started urging me to get up out of the street. People were talking to me, other cars were honking, drivers were asking me things, the driver and his wife were trying to move me and my bike out of the way, and I was just feeling incredibly confused and shaky.

I refused to move for a while. Eventually, when I ascertained that nothing seemed that awfully painful, I picked myself and my bike up off the road. The driver pulled his car into a nearby apartment complex parking lot, somebody called 911, and I started limping me and my bike over there. That’s when I noticed the front wheel was tacoed — not horribly, but it will definitely have to be replaced. At that point I stopped worrying about myself and started worrying about my bike: I can’t afford to replace the bike or most of its parts.

Which shows my priorities may need readjusting. But I felt OK, for having just been in a collision with a motor vehicle. Anyway, we sat for a while and a guy brought me an ice pack for my extremely bruised left hip (I assume that’s where I impacted the car hood, there and my left elbow) and somebody else called 911. The driver and his wife, both from India, begged me not to make the collision sound too bad. The driver said it was nobody’s fault… and I didn’t disagree verbally, although any left-turn collision like that is a fairly straightforward case of failure to yield right-of-way. Turns out the driver saw me but thought I was going slower than I was, and decided to zip in front of me, or at least that’s what I gathered.

I called Mom, who immediately dispatched Dad and Ian. While I waited for them, the Fire Department arrived and started palpating my neck, back, and head, all of which seem fine. Then the medics arrived and talked with the firemen and took over. They didn’t seem overly concerned about me since I had been able to walk from the intersection to the nearby parking lot. They asked if I wanted to go to the emergency room, and I eventually decided no: Last time I crashed on my own I got rushed there and was perfectly fine, except for the $700 bill. Now Ian and I don’t have that kind of money lying around, and I wanted to avoid it if I could.

So the medics left after giving me an ice pack for my elbow and a hospital blanket. I’d started shivering badly between the ice pack on my hip, my right leg (the inside hit the frame of my bike, I think, and is fairly painful when I stand up), elbow, and all the shock. After the medics left, the firemen hung around and filled out a medical report until the police officer and Dad and Ian arrived. They were probably also making sure I didn’t suddenly pass out or start acting really weird or some other indication of brain injury.

The police officer took a report and gave the driver and me a copy of each other’s contact information. The driver has an Indian driver’s license. Huh. Then we loaded my poor, battered bike and my poor, battered self into Dad’s car and went home. Now I’ve taken ibuprofen and have ice packs strategically placed on my extremities.

Tomorrow it’s gonna feel exactly like I was hit by a car.

Frankly, my biggest worry continues to be my bike. I’m young and very fit, and this was almost as mild as a car-bike collision could have been. I’ll have to get a whole new front wheel and helmet for sure, possibly a new front fork since that’s carbon fiber and probably is cracked, possibly a new rear wheel, and (oh goodness) new carbon fiber handlebars. I shudder to think of the cost. I just am PRAYING my titanium frame is OK. My fear is that the driver, who at one point said, “This wasn’t anybody’s fault,” won’t or can’t pay to fix the damage. But my sense is these guys don’t have any money; it’s going to have to be their insurance company. I can’t afford to fix all the stuff that might be broken. But I’ll save my panicking in that area until I can have a couple bike shops check the bike out and assess the damage, and until I start working with the driver and Oracle’s insurance company. Because of course the driver was insured through Oracle and was driving a rental car.

I really, really wish I could have just finished my beautiful day ride as uneventfully as I’ve completed all my other rides for years.

Pretty In Pink — My Bike, That Is

Day’s Verse:
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Isaiah 62:3

Yesterday Ian gave me an unexpected but wonderful Valentine’s Day present: New fenders. I kept seeing and drooling over a pair of fenders in the window at JRA Bike Shop, which occupies part of the space at the BikeStation, where I work. Finally yesterday afternoon I guiltily confessed my obsession to Ian. The guilt came from knowing that my old fenders worked perfectly fine, and I really only wanted the new ones for their looks. Ian immediately told me to buy them for myself and consider it his Valentine’s Day gift to me. He didn’t have to offer twice — I immediately went and purchased the much-coveted fenders. Then I borrowed some tools from the bike shop and spent about an hour putting them on and fine-tuning so they didn’t rub or anything. Very unique. Now all I need is a saddle and bar tape to match…

Pink Fenders

While purchasing the fenders, I talked with the guy who runs the bike shop about pumps. He recommended the Topeak Road Morph bicycle pump, which supposedly can inflate tires to 160 psi — quite a feat for a small on-bike pump. I’d settle for 120 psi, my usual pressure, or even 80 psi, just to limp home. I bought that, too, and put it on at the same time I put the fenders on. I feel much better having replaced the stupid failing CO2 cartridges with something I know will work. Oh, and I picked up another tube, since I used my emergency tube fixing the flat. Now I feel prepared again.

By the way, my tire remained inflated, which made me very happy. After that I only had to struggle with the irritating ongoing problem of my disc brakes. Every time I take one of the wheels off, when I put them back on, I have to totally readjust the disc brakes all over again. I can never seat the wheel exactly right so it works the first time. There are definite down sides to disc brakes, and one of them is their extreme finickiness. However, they paid off last winter in all the snow and ice when my brakes worked no matter what, and I expect them to pay off again when I start towing a trailer.

Yep, a trailer. I’m thinking of trying to ride home from the July AmeriCorps training in Trout Lake, and I will need to be 100% self-supported for that adventure. That means hauling a tent and sleeping bag, plus of course food, water, clothes, and repair kit stuff. I could invest in fenders, but I explored that option and it looks like it could become extremely expensive extremely fast.

Why would it be so expensive? Well, I’m glad you asked. If I wanted to put on a rear rack with any appreciable load, which my bike is already set up to accept, I’d also have to put on a front rack to balance out the weight and handling. But I have a fancy-dancy carbon fork right now that cannot take a rack or any significant weight. That means that in addition to buying a front and rear rack and panniers (for a total cost of at least $700), I would also have to buy a new front fork. Because my bike has custom specs, that means I have to buy a custom front fork. A quick phone call told me that a custom front fork costs about $450, give or take. So to actually set my bike up as a touring bike would cost me almost $1200 just for mods to the bicycle itself.

Compare that to purchasing a bicycle trailer on Craigslist. Those run anywhere between $25 (old and crappy) to $195 (practically new, fancy brand). I wouldn’t have to do anything else special to my bike to tow a trailer because the people at Seven built it with towing abilities.

This is a pretty easy choice, really. I would like to set my bike up for touring some day, but since I’ll need a trailer to tow kids at some point too, the decision really makes itself.

Racks and panniers it is! …Just kidding.

KF quality