Gas station without pumps

2019 February 1

Thirty-third weight progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:08
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This post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, part of a long series since I started in January 2015.

Starting teaching again, with the daily commute up the hill and skipping lunches has helped start bring my weight back down.

I still have about 10 pounds to lose to get back to the weight I want—where I was a year ago.

My exercise for January included about 4.44 miles/day of cycling, and I’m now doing 2km every other day. That’s not going to get me to my goal of eventually running a marathon, but it should keep mr from injuring myself again, while maintaining enough muscle and flexibility so that I don’t have to start all over next summer.

My speed is not great (equivalent to an 8–8:30-minute mile), but I’m not exhausted at the end of 2km.

2019 January 23

Mediocre experience at the local bike shop

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:24
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My bicycle was in need of some care this past weekend (bald tire, worn brake blocks, worn chain), so I decided it was time for a tune-up.  I usually do all the work on my bike myself, but the closest bike shop to me (now called CycleWorks, previously Sprockets) has changed hands repeatedly in the past few years, and I am a bit worried that they may not last long.  So I decided to spread the wealth a bit and pay for a tune-up.

I called them up to see if they could do a tune-up over the weekend—I wanted the bike for commuting on Tuesday (Monday was a holiday).  They said that they were closed on Monday, but if I brought the bike in on Saturday, they could have it ready by Sunday, unless it needed some part they didn’t have.

I brought the bike in on Saturday shortly after they opened at 9 a.m. and explained what I wanted.  The only unusual request was that I wanted the packing grease removed from a new chain and replaced with a dry lube like White Lightning or T9.

Early in the afternoon on Saturday, they called me and said that the bike was ready.  The promptness of service was quite pleasing, and they did seem to have used dry lube on the new chain.  I ran a few errands on Saturday, and found that the brakes were not well adjusted—the cables were loose enough that I was almost bottoming out the brake levers before the brakes engaged.  I could fix it with the barrel adjusters, but I used up almost the full travel on one barrel (which should be reserved for wear on the brakes, not the initial adjustment).

Tuesday morning, on my way up the hill, I shifted into my lowest gear and the chain came off into the spokes.  It turns out that they had the rear derailleur adjustment off by a full index step and they hadn’t set the stops on the derailleur correctly.  This is the sort of problem I would expect of an amateur or a new trainee, but not from a professional bike mechanic I was paying an $80 labor fee for.

This morning I took half an hour of my time to adjust the brake cables and the rear derailleur correctly, also doing a little truing of the rear wheel to keep the rim from rubbing on the new brake blocks.

I won’t be going back to CycleWorks for a couple of years—time to give them a chance to hire or train competent staff (or go out of business).  I’ll have to try the next closest bike shop, which is 0.2 miles further away.  (Santa Cruz is blessed with an abundance of bike shops, which makes it fairly easy to find one that meets your needs and your tastes and is within walking distance—for years Sprockets was a good match for me, but CycleWorks doesn’t seem to be.)

2019 January 1

Thirty-second weight progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 08:29
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This post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, part of a long series since I started in January 2015.

This year has been really bad for my weight maintenance.

My weight is getting close to what it was before I started my diet 4 years ago.

My exercise for December included only 2.06 miles/day of cycling (including one 10-mile outing with my son to Wilder Ranch to ride the trails there—a long-wheelbase recumbent is not really well designed for mountain biking).

I started jogging again in December, even though my right hip is still bothering me. The running does not seem to make the ache in the hip any worse, and stopping for three months didn’t make it any better. I’m just doing short distances now (1.5km every couple of days)—not trying to improve my fitness, but just to maintain it so I don’t have to start all over next summer.

I started out very slow when taking up the jogging again, begin cautious about aggravating my hip, but I’m back to about the same speed as before my 3-month break.

2018 December 1

Thirty-first weight progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:06
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This post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, part of a long series since I started in January 2015.

My weight is getting perilously close to the point where it was before I decided to diet.

This past year has been a disaster for weight control.  I’m hoping that when classes start again in January and I bike up to campus 5 days a week that my weight will come back down.

I think that part of the problem with both summer and fall is that I stayed home more, which means much less exercise and more snacking. For September–November 2018, I only averaged 2.22 miles/day on my bicycle.

I also stopped running in mid-September, because my right hip started aching. I’ve not been able to figure out whether the ache is in the bone, the joint, the ligaments, the tendons, or the muscles.

It still aches, particularly after I’ve been sitting and working at the computer for a while.  I’ve been thinking of trying jogging again to see if it makes any difference to the ache—if not, I’ll probably start doing short distances again when the weather is good.

2018 November 7

Santa Cruz bike lockers

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:21
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When i was at the farmers’ market downtown today, I chatted for a little while with a bicyclist taking his bike out of one of the bike lockers.  He was amazed at how under-utilized the bike lockers are—he never has any trouble finding an empty one to use.

It is rather amazing, considering that parking in the lockers is much safer than parking in an exposed bike rack (especially given the bike theft rate in Santa Cruz) and that parking in the lockers costs only 5¢ an hour.  There are 5 locker locations on the UCSC campus, 2 locations at the Long Marine Lab, and 7 downtown (but none in the shopping areas of the Eastside or the Westside).  Each location is a cluster of several lockers. A map of the locker locations can be found at

There is one problem, though: you have to have a Bikelink card to use the lockers.  The cards can be bought on-line, at The Spokesman, or at the Santa Cruz Parking office in the Locust Street Garage. The cards cost $20 and have $20 worth of parking credit (400 hours). The cards are useful also in many other locations around the Bay Area (and even other parts of the country) and can be refilled on-line if you use up the initial credit.

I have not ever used the bike lockers, because my recumbent bike is too long to fit in them (tandem riders and adult-tricycle riders are also out of luck).  But I did get my son a Bikelink card several years ago, which he used a few times, but Bikelink has no lockers in Isla Vista or Santa Barbara—somewhat surprising considering the number of bikes on the UCSB campus.

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