Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm Ready

Yes, I rode today.

And, the forecast was calling out another triple digit Fahrenheit day. They missed by quite a bit yesterday. It was significantly cooler. I suspected this wouldn't happen two days in a row. I was right. Fortunately the humidity stayed down. I even managed a seven mile inline skate after work.

Tomorrow could be another triple digit day. I wouldn't ever want to wish my life away, but I'm ready for autumn.
  • 74F/23C with some clouds and even a little fog for the ride to work.
  • 102F/39C with a few clouds and plenty of sunshine for the home ride.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Smallish, But Not Little

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, I miss my canine friend. Let it be known I am not much of a dog person, but there was this smallish, but not little, gray mutt of a dog who often would be outside in his yard when I came out of the cafe after my morning bagel. As I put in my earplugs, put on my helmet, adjusted my glasses, and put on my gloves I would chat with him. I haven't seen him lately and have wondered why.

Now a privacy fence has been added within the chain link fence. I'm thinking I won't be seeing my friend again. The placement of the fence is odd. Could it be someone had been feeding the dog and the owners wished to stop it? Does placing it there block more of the view of the Cafe's Drive-Thru? The second is Heather's theory. She thinks the fence is because of the added noise and activity of the drive-thru. Neither she nor I are fans of drive-thru. Whatever the reason for the fence, I will miss my morning chats with the little gray hound.

I past Bevo Mill on my way to Mike's.
Today turned out to be much cooler than expected. It was overcast most of the day. After work I visited with Mike. We changed Billie's oil, adjusted her chain, and the rear brake. This is the first time the chain has required adjustment since we changed it. We used to adjust it every oil change which means every 800miles or so. This is the first adjustment in 8000miles. I'd say that's an improvement.
  • 76F/24C and partly cloudy with some sunshine for the ride to work.
  • 85F/29C and overcast with even a sprinkle or two as I began my after work journeys.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Almost Chilly

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it was almost chilly for the morning ride...well...not really, but quite pleasant none-the-less.

This morning as I passed a bus at the bus stop on Arsenal near Grand, I saw a hand come out of the driver's window. The had was waving at me. The hand belonged to my new bus driving friend, the one I mentioned a couple of days ago--the one from the doctor's waiting area. It still amazes me how much more I've noticed and all the new people I've met since I began commuting to work on my wee bike. I'm grateful.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. That certainly is my plan.
  • 78F/26C with some clouds, but plenty of sunshine for the morning ride.
  • 97F/36C and still partly cloudy with lots of sun for the home ride.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it wasn't so hot today.

It was overcast as I rode to work. The forecasters said there was a 50% chance of rain. There was rain to left of me, rain to the right me, and boldly I rode into the valley of dry. (Sorry,  I couldn't resist)

Alas, here was no rain where I was or where I am.
  • 83F/28C and overcast for the ride to work.
  • 90F/32C and still cloudy for the home ride.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Record

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, we set a record. Today was the eleventh day we were over 105F/41C. The old record was ten days set in 1936. It would have been 107F/41.6C when I normally ride home, but today I left around noon. It was only 101F/38.3C then.

Today Heather had a routine eye exam. It included pupil dilation and I took the afternoon off to be her chauffeur. While we were sitting in the waiting area the woman sitting next to me asked if I rode a motorcycle. It turns out she is one of the bus drivers I play tag with during my morning commute. I was incredulous over her recognizing me until she mentioned the green flag. That would be me. She recognized my face! Amazing. I admit I didn't recognize her.

There were major cut backs in the bus service a few years ago. I used to wave and exchange friendly honks with the woman who drove the revised route. Now, with the bus service being reinstated I'd not seen "my driver" for months. I found out today I haven't seen her because she has a later route. You can bet I will be looking for my new friend tomorrow.
  • 87F/31C and not a cloud in the sky for the ride to work.
  • 101F/38C and a few clouds for the home ride.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One Such Record

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it was hot. I didn't wear the Cool Vest today. I'd like to say it was to test if it made that much of a difference, but the truth of it is: I forgot it. I realized I wasn't wearing it when I zipped up my jacket. Of course, this was when I was already down stairs and had rolled the bike outside the garage. I thought about going back upstairs and retrieving the vest, but the idea of riding today without it to see if I noticed much difference seemed much easier.

It seems the biggest difference in how I feel after the ride. The nights I haven't worn the vest I feel more drained and tired out.

Today, it was very hot for the home ride. It was 107F/41.6C when I left the Courthouse. Another time I think the vest is really helpful is during my walk to the parking area. My walk is a little over a city block. I really missed the vest during my walk tonight. I was very hot and sweaty before I ever got on the bike.

The highest temperature I've ridden in is still 108F/42.2. I thought I might break that today, but it didn't happen. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get other chances to break my record. Between you me, I've always thought some records were made never to be broken. And, this is one such record.
  • 86F/ with a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 107F/41.6C and officially partly cloudy for the home ride, but I certainly didn't see many clouds.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bet It Does

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, he was coming out of the Courthouse as I was entering. He wore a beautiful and freshly pressed white linen suit. He was dressed flawlessly. I was holding open the outer door for him to exit. He was holding open the inner door for me to enter. Standoff. He was most insistent I go first. I finally agreed, after all one of us had to cave or we might have been there all day. As I passed him I said, "This doesn't feel right. Where I come from a suit trumps a playing card."

"Maybe so," he responded, "But, I think your get up looks really cool."

I couldn't resist responding, "Actually, it keeps me rather warm."

He laughed, "I just bet it does."

On this morning's commute, it looked like Norton, the North Star Penguin was staying plenty cool. (Click here to watch Norton play) Personally I don't like ice cream, but I suspect for North Star business is good summer.
  • 83F/28C with a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 106F/41C with a few clouds and plenty of sunshine for the home ride.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It Was Wonderful

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it was wonderful.

The Hamburger Guy and his lovely assistant were back on their corner.

My Cool Vest stayed home, but these guys didn't.
  • 75F/24C and almost overcast for the ride to work.
  • 85F/29C glorious degrees with lots of clouds for the home ride.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Slight? Possible?

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the forecast called out a slight possibility of scattered Thunder Storms and showers.



Oh well, I guess 30% chance is better than no chance. Actually, my friend Maggie told me she rode in rain for two miles on her way to work this morning.

Me? I was not so lucky. Dry as a bone both to and from work. I guess that makes me part of the 70%.
  • 85F/29C with some clouds for the ride to work.
  • 102F/39C with a few less clouds for the home ride.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Today He Didn't

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it was hot here in St. Louis. How hot was it?

It was so hot that the Hamburger Guy who nearly everyday sets up his grill on this corner, today didn't. The official answer was 106F/41C.

I wore the Cool Vest today and I think it helped especially at the stoplights. Still, it was a plenty hot home ride.
  • 84F/29C with some clouds, but mostly sunshine for the ride to work.
  • 100F/38C with a few clouds, but not enough to block the sun for the home ride.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

By Then It Had Cooled Off

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the high temperature returned to triple digits Fahrenheit.

I didn't see any bikes or scooters on my way to work or on the way home. I did see one guy riding a motorcycle when I was out at lunchtime.

After I got home, I went inline skating on Grant's Trail. I did see lots of bikes and scooters on my way to and fro, but by then it had cooled off. It was only 98F/37C.
  • 82F/28C and a few clouds, but lots of sunshine for the ride to work.
  • 102F/39C with a few more clouds, but still plenty of sunshine for the home ride.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the dew point this morning was 72F/22C, which means humidity, which means heat index, which means sticky. By afternoon the heat index was over 100F/38C. It is supposed to be even hotter tomorrow and the next day. I may wear my Cool Vest.  While it was a little sticky on the ride to work, it was definitely warm for the home ride.

  • 81F/27C with a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 98F/37C with some clouds and a little haze for the home ride.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Life Seemed Determined

Yes, I rode to work today.

The last few days I've been feeling a little under the weather. I haven't been sick, just not well. Then last night I didn't sleep well. I momentarily thought of calling in sick this morning, and perhaps I might have if it wasn't a Friday. Instead, I decided to go to work and to reward myself by giving myself a treat at lunchtime.

Sometime back, at least two years, I pretty much quit drinking soda. This was a major change for me. I was one of those people who drank soda for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And yes, it was a particular kind. It was Coca Cola. Occasionally, I will still treat myself to a Coke Zero, but it has become quite the rarity. Today I planned to go to Hardees for lunch. Hardees is not a place I go very often, but Coke Zero is one of their fountain soda options.

Lunchtime came and I walked to Hardees. I ordered. I paid. I walked over to get my soda. On the fountain machine was an out of order sign. On another day, I might have just chosen something else. Today I returned to the counter and said, "I only came here for Coke Zero, the food was secondary. I don't want to eat here. I want my money back." They were gracious and did give me my money back.

Now I had a problem. What was I going to do for lunch? I ended up at Jimmy Johns. They don't have Coke Zero, but I like their sandwiches. It was a nice lunch. I liked my sandwich, but it wasn't what I had planned and been waiting for all morning. There was no Coke Zero. I was bummed. But, Life was going to refuse to let me stay that way.

As I was walking back to the courthouse a group of young Asian women surrounded me. One asked me in very broken English if I knew where there was a statue of Pinocchio. I did. I told them it was in Citygarden. The one who spoke English the best asked me where that was. I tried to explain, but it was obvious I wasn't doing a very good job. I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner to just take them there. It was on my way back to the Courthouse anyway. When I suggested this they were delighted.

As we walked we talked and I found out they were playing a game like the Amazing Race. They had been looking for Pinocchio all morning. The one who seemed to be the speaker for the group told me she suspected they wouldn't be the first team to find it. They were very happy when they finally laid eyes on Pinocchio. As I walked away, it occurred to me I should have asked if I could take a photo of them with Pinocchio. Alas, an opportunity missed.

This wasn't from today, but from late June. There was a dance performance that day. You can see Pinocchio in the background.
This episode probably would have been enough to turn my day around, but Life wasn't through with me yet. To explain what happened next, I  need to share a back story with you. Back when I used to transport files between to the two courthouses twice a day, I made the acquaintance of one of the judges. He had hurt his knee and was doing some physical therapy. This brought him to work a little later than usual. And, this was right when I was doing my morning run. He was very curious about what I was doing and about the plastic storage bin I used to keep the files dry and safe from blowing away in the wind. I shared with him how it seemed such a simple answer to how to do the run when it was raining. I had suggested it long ago, but no action got taken. Finally, I just got tired of waiting for someone to buy me a storage tub with a sealing lid and just did it myself. He picked up right away on the reason for my share. It wasn't about bragging, rather it was bemoaning a lack of common sense. He said, "Isn't that the way of it. The best answers usually come from the bottom up, from the people doing the work, rather than the top down." Exactly. I liked him immediately. His knee got better and I no longer do the run. We didn't see each other anymore. It has probably been a year or more since I've seen him.

Yesterday when I was walking back from lunch he was walking out of the Courthouse. We exchanged pleasantries. It was a very nice. And then today, I see him again. As I past him, I said, "What's with this? I go for months and not see you..." and before I can add, "...and, here I see you two days in a row." He says, "I know. And, you never write, you never call." And, we laughed together.

Yes, today Life seemed determined not to let me have a bad day, no matter how determined I was to have one.
  • 74F/23C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 94F/34C and quite a few clouds, but plenty of sunshine for the home ride.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In Unlikely Places

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, this morning on my way from the motorcycle parking area I noticed a reminder of how life seeks to grow in unlikely places.

In a crack in the sidewalk near the curb along Market Street was a spot of green. It's where it landed. It will grow until it can't or is stopped, probably the later. But, for today it was gloriously alive.

The sky on the home ride was full of clouds...alas, none of them rain clouds.

  • 76F/24C with some clouds and sunshine for the ride to work.
  • 92F/33F and nearly overcast for the home ride.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Talking To Myself

Yes, I rode to work today.

The weather here continues to be remarkable.

And, I've started talking to myself during my commute

While I was on Holiday I spent some time reading David L. Hough's book, More Proficient Motorcycling. In one section he mentions a way of maintaining awareness while riding. It is a simply method. It is simply describing what is happening around you as you ride. He said the British call this "Commentary Driving." If you Google "Commentary Driving" you'll find more information about it. I especially liked this You Tube piece.

As I read about "Commentary Driving" I was reminded of  Geoff and Roger. They both blogged honestly and wonderfully about their efforts to advance their skills as riders. If you click on their names it will take you to their blogs. I was lazy and just linked to their home page.

Anyway, the last couple of days I've been giving "Commentary driving" a go.

I've learned one valuable thing already. It is much easier for me to focus on the commentary process during the morning ride than it is on the home ride. I wasn't aware there was a fall off of attention. I am now. What is the old saying, "Forewarned is forearmed"? Indeed.
  • 72F/22C with some clouds for the ride to work.
  • 93F/34C still with some clouds for the home ride.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh Well

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the temperatures are back to being reasonable.

Rain in the forecast? No.  Oh well.
  • 74F/23C with a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 94F/34C with lots of sunshine for the home ride.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Alas, No Puddles

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it was cooler then the last time I headed to work. Although, only the past week's extreme hot temperatures could get me say 75F/24C was a cool start to my morning commute.

Last night it rained. We have been waiting a long time. Sadly, although welcome, it didn't amount to much, and by morning nearly all evidence of the passing storms had disappeared. Alas, no puddles to ride through. But, not long after I passed the statue of "Stan the Man", I saw a geyser that hadn't been there the last time I rode this way.

At first I thought it might be a broken fire hydrant, but as I got closer I could see it was the ghost of a cooling station set up to give the baseball fans some relief from the sweltering heat.
  • 75F/24C with some clouds for the ride to work.
  • 91F/33C with a few more clouds for the home ride.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Still On Vacation

No, I didn't ride to work today.

I'm still on vacation. It is very very dry here, and it is hot. People were warned to not set off fireworks due to the high risk of fire. Most of the local firework displays were canceled. As I listened last evening, there did seem to be fewer firecrackers going off in the neighborhood, but still more than I'd hoped.

Heather and I spent the 4th of July morning hiking at Babler State Park. It was very warm but between the shade and the breeze it was more comfortable than we expected. Needless to say, we drank lots of water.

With the firework displays being canceled and the intensely dry conditions, I was pleased to notice this:

Close enough to "bombs bursting in air" for me.

I rode both Monday and Tuesday. I suspect I will ride some today. Ironically, even though I was on vacation Monday, I ended up riding to the courthouse. I left my waterproof camera on my desk when I left last Friday. Since there is no rain in sight I probably could have left it there until Monday, but I enjoyed the ride.