Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Handy Shit To Have With You While Bicycling...

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." ~ Ernest Hemingway

I try to keep my mouth shut, but, growing up in the family I grew up in and being of Irish descent, keeping my mouth shut is difficult. After a few beers, near impossible.  Not getting drunk is much easier. Haven't really done that in several decades.

Ok, on with the show...odds and ends. To me, one of the fascinating things about bicycling is the array of stuff that people design, develop, and sell every year that's different from what was designed, developed, and sold the year before. Some of it's good. A lot of it's fairly useless or unnecessary, but some of the stuff stands the test of time and some of it is just damn good stuff. Here's what I think of a few things bicycle related...


SPOT GPS Messenger.
This handy little device is worth it's weight in gold or whatever other priceless material you want. Where I live, one of its benefits is that it operates by GPS and, thus, functions in areas where I ride that have no cell phone coverage. I can set messages up that are sent by e-mail and and text to my wife, so she knows where I am and that all is well. In case I need help, but it's not an emergency, I can send another e-mail and text to her that I need her to come get me on the route that I've told her that I'm on. She can look at the website map and see where my last co-ordinates were sent from and drive there. In case I need medical help, I can send a 911 text to SPOT, who will send the nearest EMT to me for help. The people at SPOT also have some basic medical information about me that they can pass on to the EMT crew, as well. They also have contact information for my wife and my nephew, who have medical power of attorney for me should I be unable to direct my own care. Too cool and very affordable. Another feature is the tracking that the SPOT device will provide to those who might want to follow your ride or just know where the hell you are. It sends co-ordinates out every 10 minutes and plots these on a Google map, which allows people to see where you are and where you've been. Total cost annually for the SPOT GPS: $165.

They also have the SPOT Connect, a device that will connect to  your smartphone via bluetooth so you can send texts even if you're in an area with no cell phone coverage. 

Having the ability to write free text does cost extra, but, when I finally get a smartphone, I'll buy this extra feature.  Seems like a cool way to travel and to let people know where you are.

Road ID.
Read this post that my nephew, John, wrote about a recent experience he had in Alexandria, VA. John was just out for a casual morning ride on his Brompton. No helmet. No cell phone. Road ID? Yes. Fortunately, he was still conscious after his crash but bleeding quite a bit. One of the people who witnessed his crash called an ambulance. Had he not been able to convey to the emergency personnel who he was, who his emergency contact was, where he lived, some basic medical info, the Road ID would have been helpful and  provided this to them.
There is also an interactive version of the Road ID for any users who might have a more extensive or complicated medical history that would be important for medical personnel to know about...check it out here. In my case, gratefully, my medical history is fairly bland, so I have the critical info on my Road ID...birth year, blood type, no allergies to meds, wife's/nephew's names/phone numbers to contact. There are several versions of the Road ID...bracelet, anklet, original, or interactive. Your choice. A good choice. Simple to wear and practically indestructible...and they wash easily. Cost: $19.95

Credit Card...
No specific bank to recommend...pick one you like. When the proverbial "shit" hits the occillating metal blades, one of these in your jersey pocket is worth it's weight in gold or ..yes, whatever you choose to compare it to. Sometimes, a credit card is good. Keep one in your pocket. Doesn't mean you have to rack up 50,000 dollars worth of bills...just have it should the occasion arise.


Growler Cage.
Excuse me if I get a bit excited about this. Yes, it's silly. Slap me, but I love it. In this "silly and sublime" part, this is a perfect item to add. Now, I'm not advocating that one go out to a pub, drink up a storm of beer, and then go ride your bike. But go get a growler on your bike? Yes, Ma'am. What a great little invention. And such a good use of an updated bottle cage, too. It seems to fit the bill for a local rider to get on his trusty steed, head to the local brewpub, get a growler, stick it in the growler cage, tool on home...have some beer.

 Downside? $55 a piece. I do understand why. This may just go on a wishlist turned Christmas list. Who knows? It's a cool item.

A tune to exit with....Paddy Killoran doing "Drowsy Maggie/Toss The Feathers a.k.a Kerry Reel".  One of the old greats of traditional Irish fiddlers.  Enjoy...