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A Tale of Two Cities - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Jan. 30th, 2004

09:24 pm - A Tale of Two Cities

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It only just occured to me that it has been months since I've been to Chicago and eaten delicious food or gone to a show. I grow weary of the wintertime cultural offerings of our fine C-U.

It's been more than a month since I've hung out with my Chicago friends. It's been more than a month since I've hung out with my family.

This was all by plan. I planned to spend a month in town so I could Get Things Done (I've got business meetings scheduled for every Saturday this month, among other things). But I can't believe just how much I miss Chicago.

I always said the best things about living in C-U was that it was cheap to live here and Chicago was just a hop, skip, and jump away. And I've made that triple jump OFTEN over the last several years. I never realized just how addicted I really am to going up there.

Combine not having hung out with my family and friends for so long, being bored with the wintertime version of my town, bad sleep and eating habits, general wintertime blues and my mood over the last week starts to make a lot more sense.

I'm not depressed, I'm just bored and flat. I haven't REALLY been excited, haven't REALLY had fun since the NYE party. This kind of gap might be normal for many but it feels maddening for me right now.

Also, I want to be in a band or go to more shows or book more shows. I feel musically deprived.

Comments:

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From:xymboulos
Date:January 31st, 2004 05:05 am (UTC)
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I don't know if this helps, but winter is slowing things down up here in Chicago too. The snow, winds, and temperatures are just making it hard to go out except when absolutely necessary, so you probably are not missing much. Once the thaw sets in, I think a trip and an explosion of urban culture is in order.

BTW, the place we are moving to in March is very accessible via the Elston bike lanes from Union Station. Just a hint.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 31st, 2004 06:33 am (UTC)

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A fantastic plan my friend.

(This summer I'd really like to complete the Champaign->Chicago bike trip that Arun and I tried to do several years ago (and FAILED due to 50 mph cross winds and torrential downpours of nearly freezing rains)). I think some delicious food and good culture would be a just reward for finishing such a trek.)

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From:arun251
Date:January 31st, 2004 05:34 pm (UTC)

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Me, too, if I may join you!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 31st, 2004 06:06 pm (UTC)

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That was implicit. I would never go it alone!
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From:arun251
Date:January 31st, 2004 10:59 pm (UTC)

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Excellent!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 31st, 2004 11:07 pm (UTC)

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We should definitely plan for some weekend OTHER than one where other stuff is going on. I mean we can do stuff when we get there but we shouldn't be on a tight schedule. Then we have time to wuss out and rest in Kankakee for a day and still finish the journey if we need to.
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From:arun251
Date:February 1st, 2004 06:27 pm (UTC)

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Sounds good. We could leave much earlier, like closer to dawn, and pretty much guarantee that we don't do any nighttime biking. We should also bring along food that's better than Casey's pizza. I also like the idea of making the first leg a century, which might mean biking to the north end of Kankakee or Manteno, but we could see how it goes that day.

As long as it doesn't rain, we should be sound as a pound. I have some maps of bike-friendly routes of Illinois, for what it's worth.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 1st, 2004 09:52 pm (UTC)

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Sounds fantasticly doable.


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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 1st, 2004 09:53 pm (UTC)

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Sounds fantasticly doable.


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From:xymboulos
Date:February 2nd, 2004 12:13 am (UTC)

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Count me in!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 2nd, 2004 12:55 am (UTC)

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I guess we should pick a date or something.
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From:xymboulos
Date:February 2nd, 2004 03:15 am (UTC)

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A weekend in June or mid May? It would be good to avoid holiday weekends and the heat of July/August.
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From:arun251
Date:February 2nd, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)

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Awesome. I'd lean towards June because I'd rather avoid repeating the cold and rain that was that Memorial Day weekend. I'm busy the last weekend in June but am otherwise all good.
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From:boannan
Date:February 2nd, 2004 12:20 am (UTC)

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wow. me and my one-gear comfort cruiser bike with the granny handlebars have a hard time contemplating that much distance. you guys are hard core! :)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 2nd, 2004 12:50 am (UTC)

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You should get a new bike and join us next year when we do it again. :)

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From:boannan
Date:February 2nd, 2004 12:55 am (UTC)

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my problem is that I need the goofy handlebars cause of my hand issues, and the bike folks I've talked to out here seemed to think it'd be hard to put those handlebars on a bike with gears (my bike is so totally like a grown-up kid's bike, it has _coaster brakes_! So I don't have to use the hand brakes. :) I'm always seriously tempted to put streamers on the handgrips).

if there is a way to integrate the handlebars I need with a bike that has gears, I would totally love to do a long ride.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 2nd, 2004 01:13 am (UTC)

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Oh yah, I forgot about the handlebar issue.

Hmm.

Gotta get some of the Critical Mass whiz kids that make the frankenstein bikes to cook you up some custom bars. :)
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From:boannan
Date:February 2nd, 2004 02:17 am (UTC)

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yay frankenstein bike!

one thing I wonder about is if I'd be able to keep up, speedwise, if I had a bike where I sat straight up with my arms extended and you folks had that super cool hunched over leaning forward aerodynamic biker stance goin on.

I guess I would just have to WORK HARDER. ;)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 2nd, 2004 02:33 am (UTC)

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When I'm riding a really long distance, I tend to spend most of the time sitting straight up. And not riding much more than 10-12 mph (except for a while when the screaming wind was at our backs last time and we were cruising at 20mph...sadly that turned into a screaming sidewind and massive freezing rainstorm). That hunched over shit is hell on the back. I like to change positions on the handlebars pretty often to keep from stiffening up. So it's good to have handlebars that give you a couple different comfortable riding positions. I usually even switch to not holding the handlebars at all for a while so I can really sit up straight and rest my back.

It's more about endurance than speed. By the end of the ride into Kankakee last time we were probably only going about 5mph.

I think the most important thing is to have a bike that has good gears, a well lubed chain, road tires, and a not too heavy frame. Extra weight on the bike and/or extra friction sources (wide or underinflated tires, poor lubrication) will kill you WAY faster than any aerodynamic positioning issues. And then you just need to ride that bike a lot so that you've got some endurance and comfort on the bike.


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From:nomadwolf
Date:February 2nd, 2004 01:34 pm (UTC)

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For me, keeping under 15mph is difficult, especially for the first 40 miles. Of course, after 70 miles, keeping above 5mph is impossible... nuts.

I've been unable to sit in my race bike for more than 2.5 hours without semi-severe back issues...

Within Temptation -- Mother Earth -- Caged
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From:xymboulos
Date:February 2nd, 2004 01:57 am (UTC)

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I've seen an incredible diversity of handlebars and attachments on serious bikes at rides. I would expect that a bike store could hook you up with something.
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From:mr_ducktape
Date:January 31st, 2004 09:21 am (UTC)
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So getcher ass up here!

We miss ya, Mr. Bitches!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 31st, 2004 04:38 pm (UTC)

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The problem is having all my weekends scheduled for January and the first weekend in February and maybe now the second and third weekend in February too!

Damn.
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From:mr_ducktape
Date:January 31st, 2004 06:01 pm (UTC)

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Heh. I completely relate.
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From:boannan
Date:January 31st, 2004 07:19 pm (UTC)

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What kind of Saturday business meetings are they?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 31st, 2004 07:43 pm (UTC)

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We're finally starting the non-profit consulting collective.
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From:boannan
Date:January 31st, 2004 10:07 pm (UTC)

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awesome!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 31st, 2004 11:05 pm (UTC)

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This can certainly be arranged! I'll be sure to give advance notice of any trip that'll involve some social activity in the City.

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From:aces219
Date:February 2nd, 2004 10:21 pm (UTC)
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I rode 50 road miles on my hybrid last summer, and it was agony because of the wind. I want to get a road bike if I decide to take up hardcore riding. The hybrid is great for forest preserves though.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 2nd, 2004 11:44 pm (UTC)

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Goddamn non-conservative force fields.

Wind is agony.


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From:arun251
Date:February 3rd, 2004 05:29 am (UTC)

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I did the 88 miles from Urbana to Kankakee on my Bianchi hybrid. Zach was using his spiffy road bike from the '60s or some ancient decade when they didn't weld aluminum forks. I survived on the hybrid, except my bike seat was ass at that time, so my butt hurt. I have a better seat now. It has gel instead of springs.

I kinda dream about getting a road bike for touring, but even touring is a dream. My hybrid's really comfy... and I think that, like Zach, my back tends to ache when hunched over drop handlebars, so maybe a hybrid is best for me at least.

I think a lot of it is about the tires. I have a 75psi front tire and an 80psi tire (with Kevlar!), and that can be awesome when they're properly inflated.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 3rd, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)

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Yah. It's all about the tires. Anyone trying to sell you on aerodynamics is full of crap. Frame weight, gear ratios, tire pressure, tire width, tread (not too knobby), quality of lubrication, even overall posture/comfort...all of these things are going to make a MUCH bigger difference than whether you are hunched over or not. Wind is just going to suck no matter what, the key is to make everything else (friction) not suck so that you're ONLY losing energy to the wind and not to a bunch of other crap too.
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From:sarpo
Date:February 5th, 2004 12:44 am (UTC)

to tuck or not to tuck

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It's not necessary to "tuck" (ride hunched over) to get the benefits of a roadbike. There are basically 3 positions for your hands on the drop handlebars (or 2, really, if you want your hands on the brakes at all times), and only one of them requires you to tuck. I never tuck. It's really all about having skinny tires for long rides.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 5th, 2004 04:34 am (UTC)

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Exactly!
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From:boannan
Date:February 3rd, 2004 07:23 am (UTC)

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I have Kevlar in my tires too!
Only because they kept getting holes poked in em by too much nature debris on the Iron Horse trail.

I always feel like Superman or something when I say that ;)
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From:arun251
Date:February 3rd, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC)

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I like to joke that my rear tire is bulletproof. Alas, I somehow got a flat within a couple weeks of buying the tire. I'm not really sure how that happened!
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