Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘bicycle

Peace Wave

leave a comment »

Okay, so, then there’s this. It’s the morning of the first Saturday in May and that means it’s World Labyrinth Day! There is a rolling wave of peaceful meditations making its way around our planet.

Every year on the first Saturday in May thousands of people around the globe participate in World Labyrinth Day as a moving meditation for world peace and celebration of the labyrinth experience. Many “Walk as One at 1” local time to create a rolling wave of peaceful energy passing from one time zone to the next…

We did not make any plans this year to specifically host an event at our Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth, so named to memorialize our priceless time and deep connection to Ian and his family and their place in Portugal, because Cyndie is not fully ambulatory. That said, she did do a milestone driveway walking distance yesterday.

When I left for an errand to Elysa’s house in St. Paul in the morning, our recycle bin was still at the end of the driveway waiting to be emptied. When I returned, it was no longer there. I was certain that it hadn’t walked itself back up to our garage, so who could have pulled off such a feat?

Our heroine didn’t just walk the full length and back, more than four times the longest she’d walked up to that point, she took along Delilah on a leash, picked up the mail, and grabbed the empty recycle bin to wheel it the whole way back to the house. By her own admission, it was a very slow and methodical walk, but nonetheless, a significant accomplishment.

As a caregiver, at this point, my primary contribution is working consistently to encourage her to elevate and cool the knee often enough to compensate for the daily increases in the amount she is using it. Cyndie has needed no coaching on exercising.

I spotted a new wildflower in our woods that image searching leads me to believe qualifies as a crocus of some sort.

The dandelions will soon carpet our grassy areas and I am hoping our transplanted trillium will appear in the woods just beyond the house shortly thereafter.

In an update on my new bicycle that was in the shop, the report is that the source of the creaking frame was down in the bottom bracket, not up near the seat tube. Something was not quite right among all the mechanisms of the crank and motor interconnections assembled at the factory. Not a problem that I stood a chance of solving on my own.

On our first day with temperatures reaching 70°F, I was able to put the bike through a thorough test, specifically choosing to leave the motor-assist off for the entire ride so as to learn the response of the marvelous machine when powered exclusively by muscle. It was a very pleasurable experience that will become even easier when electric power is desired.

Think about world peace today at 1:00 p.m. your time, regardless of whether or not you are able to be walking a labyrinth. Help build the wave.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 7, 2022 at 9:35 am

Bloodroot Blooming

leave a comment »

The first bloodroot flower appeared yesterday morning. I wasn’t in the woods late in the afternoon but I bet there were plenty more spreading their petals to join it by the end of the glorious day. All that whining I’ve been doing about how wet it was is a thing of the past, for a few days, anyway.

If you look closely, you can see rolled up leaves cradling the buds of many more flowers about to make their way. The distinctly shaped leaves will fully expand after the blossoms drop and get rather large in size.

Following the appearance of trout lilies and bloodroot will be the trillium we transplanted from the lake place up near Hayward. I’ll be looking for some evidence we succeeded with the most recent transplants by our change to keeping them in a more dense group when replanting.

Attempts from previous years weren’t looking very robust and definitely weren’t thickening up nor launching new sprouts. I got the impression we planted them too far apart from each other and ended up isolating individual plants.

• – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • – • –

In an entirely unrelated topic, I had a chance to have multiple staff at the bike shop working together to hunt for the source of the bothersome creaking sound my new bike was making. After patiently listening to my long-winded explanation of what I have been experiencing, one of the guys mentioned that my shoes looked new.

Yes, they are. He grabbed an allen wrench and snugged the screws holding the cleats on each shoe as I presented the bottoms of my shoes to him. Could that have been it?

I hopped on and rode around the parking lot.

Nope. Mystery sound still present.

I convinced the mechanic to step outside and listen as I pedaled. The sound was obvious but the source of the sound was not. As a group of employees stood around offering guesses, the mechanic was trying different things with my bike. Suddenly, I heard the sound.

“You found it!” I exclaimed.

He was putting pressure on the left pedal and torquing the frame to reproduce the sound. Another guy felt all around the carbon frame trying to locate the source and to everyone’s surprise ended up thinking it was coming from up around where the seat post fits in the frame.

Trek has something they call IsoSpeed that “decouples” the seat tube from the top tube to diminish the fatiguing impacts of the road. There is a good chance something related to that mechanism was causing the sound. I needed to leave the bike with them to investigate how it is all supposed to work.

At the hour the store was closing last night, I received a message that my bike was ready to be picked up. I’ll stop by later today to get it and hopefully learn more about what they needed to do to solve the problem.

I’m really looking forward to pedaling a much quieter (new) bike.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 5, 2022 at 6:00 am

Survival Tactics

leave a comment »

After two weeks of recovering from knee replacement surgery, Cyndie returned to be seen by the surgeon’s assistant and have the bandage removed from the incision. Now able to walk with only a cane for support, she let me wait in the car and navigated her way to the appointment unassisted.

The prognosis was excellent and the incision looks fantastic. Apparently, all my tender loving care is doing wonders for her. That, and the fact she has been downright heroic about balancing exercise and rest.

I was saved from needing to do the grocery shopping because Cyndie shopped online and we were able to pick up the order from the store on our way home from the doctor’s appointment. She is reclaiming some of the meal prep roles which eases some of my caregiving stress. There is nothing more challenging for me and my limited kitchen prowess than becoming responsible for feeding the head chef at a time when healthy meals are more important than ever.

And Cyndie even prepared and froze many meals in advance of her surgery to help me out during her convalescence. The master of reheating faced new complications in dishing up servings for a person other than just himself. In real estate, it’s “location, location, location.” In the kitchen, it’s “timing, timing, timing.” Heating more than a single portion of a single item threw a wrench into my old solo living survival tactics.

After getting groceries put away and laundry dried and folded and lunch dishes cleaned up, I snuck in another version of a test ride on my new bicycle. New shoes tested very well. New pedals needed tension adjusted on the clips. The seat needed to come up another fraction. The new computer sensor is working for speed and cadence. I’m starting to get the hang of brake lever shifting.

Only one problem remains. Something in the drivetrain is making a noise when I put pressure on the pedals and I have yet to figure out what it is. I can’t even say for sure whether the creaking sound is coming from the crank or bottom bracket or further back by the rear derailleur. A return visit to the bike shop is planned.

All this activity culminated in a brief rest when I returned to the house. I just wanted to sit down for a moment and check messages on my phone, maybe play a few rounds against my frenemies in “Words with Friends.”

That didn’t last very long. I conked out. Cyndie thought it looked cute that Delilah and I were napping together.

My nap seemed to energize Cyndie because after Delilah and I got up, she walked downstairs for the first time in over two weeks, went for a walk outside in the sunshine down to the shop, and later cooked dinner on the grill out on the deck. She then proceeded to recline with her leg raised and cooled by the fancy rented machine to control swelling after all that exercise.

She’s like the perfect patient wielding her own excellent survival tactics.

I’d like to know what she did with my wife.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 4, 2022 at 6:00 am

Words Emerge

leave a comment »

Spring has arrived on the calendar. Maybe that explains all this spring-like evidence unfolding before our eyes. Mud, primarily. Yesterday, I opened some gates for the horses that we have historically held open using step-in posts. Without thinking, I attempted to step them in and quickly met the resistance of frozen ground an inch or two below the surface.

It’s only spring on the surface thus far.

There is still snow in the woods, but it is shrinking by the minute.

The wooden blocks of the “boardwalk” we installed on a section of trail that gets the muddiest are beginning to reappear.

Cyndie has painted words of inspiration on some of them and it looks like those messages have survived the winter just fine.

Out on the open road I didn’t find any traces of snow while spending time on my new bicycle in the afternoon. I’m pretty confident I will never regret purchasing an e-bike. Having that motor assist took much of the stress out of my first real ride of the season.

Like the emerging words say, LOVE always. I expect I will be loving this bike for the rest of my life.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 21, 2022 at 6:00 am

Horse Approved

leave a comment »

Last evening, I stopped off at a paddock gate after one last attempt to ride my body into preparedness for the adventure that begins on Saturday. I wanted to give the horses an opportunity to understand why I would suddenly disappear from their lives next week.

They took turns inspecting my mechanical steed.

Mix wandered over first, approaching from the far paddock. She smelled the handlebars and then the bag on the back. Her curiosity satisfied, she moved aside so Swings could have a turn.

Same drill. Handlebars and then bag, and that was that. All good.

Mia showed up next but she had to wait while Swings stood facing away from my bike and contemplated things.

After Swings yielded her position, Mia resumed her approach.

Lacking the same confidence as the others, Mia got just close enough to decide my contraption was startling and she quickly altered her course toward one of the hay bags hanging near the barn overhang. It was as if she was attempting to pretend that was what she intended to do all along.

I think all of the horses could tell that I would never be able to pedal that cycle as fast as they used to run. It poses no challenge to their stature.

Next week I will be sure to appreciate the fact that I don’t have to feed or clean up after my bike every day.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

June 16, 2021 at 6:00 am