My anti-tweeker bike

As I mentioned the other day, a tweeker stole a couple of our bicycles on Friday. On Saturday, Zach and I went to Portland to look at some recumbent bikes at Coventry Cycle Works. I’d never ridden a recumbent bike before and didn’t really know much about them except that they looked funky. I’d seen a few on the road here in the Northwest, and the folks who ride them always seem to have a smile on their faces. (Not the anguished, twisted face of people who ride the street racer bikes.) So I wanted to check them out.

Heintz, one of the salesmen at Coventry, was very helpful and talked me through the different styles. He let Zach and me take a couple for a test ride through some Portland neighborhoods. Hmmm. Very nice. It was quite a relaxing ride. I can see why the people who ride them are always smiling – it doesn’t hurt. Even Zach enjoyed it. There’s none of the hunched over, wrist breaking position while perched atop a 2-inch wide “saddle” (actually a wedgie creation device) that you get on a typical street bike. I felt like I was sitting in my favorite chair; I felt as though I could have ridden for hours without getting saddle sore or wrist sore. (My legs would have had something else to say, however.)

I would have bought one right then and there. But, alas, recumbent bikes are more expensive than standard upright (hunched over) bikes – even at the “entry” level. I didn’t want to spend $500 (for a base model) just to have it wind up as tweeker fodder. And I don’t ride often enough to justify the cost even if the neighborhood tweeker doesn’t steal it.

So I believe I’m going to go with a low cost, retro bike. I figure that by the time I put a pink basket on the front and those plastic flowing pom-pom-like streamers at the ends of the handle bars, no self-respecting tweeker would come within 10 yards of the thing.

I learned a new word today

In keeping in the spirit of vacationing today (even though we returned home to Vancouver yesterday), Zach and I went for a bike ride. Lovely weather – nice blue skies, warm sun (almost too warm), nice breeze to help cool things off.

We rode to a sporting goods store to see about getting some new pedals for my bike. It’s a mountain bike with clipless pedals, but I haven’t done any trail riding in a couple of years. I wanted to pick up a pair of flat platform pedals.

The only ones the store had were meant for hard-core folks: ragged metal spikes on the edges. Just the thing that would shred my shins or calves if my foot slipped off the pedal. No thanks. I’ll order something more sane online.

So we headed over to a food mart / gas station to grab an Icee. The gas pumps were crowded, but there wasn’t a line inside. We popped inside, filled our cups, paid (no line, no waiting) and walked back outside to… no bikes.

Huh.

We looked around, thinking someone might have moved them. Nope. A guy from the attached car wash came around the corner… “Did you guys lose your bikes?”

Uh, oh.

He saw a couple of guys around the back of the shop, throwing the bikes over the retaining wall and scampering away. “I knew they stole those bikes!”

Yep. A couple of guys and a gal were sitting in a car as we parked our bikes by the front door. Zach saw the car – an older Honda, dark blue, in pretty rough shape – and noticed the people inside: a guy without a shirt, another guy with a shirt on, and a gal.

The car wash guy described the two guys who lifted the bikes – the same guys from the car. We walked inside and asked if they had a security tape, hoping it might have caught them in action. The car wash guy and the manager came back in a few minutes… no luck. Crap!

In the meantime, one of the customers drove around the block, looking for the guys on the bikes. No luck. They got away.

Who would have imagined? Broad daylight. Both sides of all 5 pumps were being used. Most of the cars were facing the front of the food mart. The bikes were right beside the front door. And a couple of creeps made off with them!

The car wash guy described the dudes to us and to the manager again – skinny pale guy with no shirt, and the other guy a bit taller and a bit of a tan.

“Ah, tweekers,” the manager said.

Huh?

“Tweekers. Crystal meth users. Probably going to run the bikes across the river to a pawn shop.”

Crap.

I called my wife and we went driving through an apartment complex nearby, hoping the guys might have dropped the bikes off somewhere after a joy ride. We stopped when we saw some construction workers, asking them if they’d seen a couple of guys ride by on bikes – one tall guy, another one pale & skinny without a shirt.

“Tweekers,” he said. They hadn’t seen anyone riding by…

Gone in 60 seconds. At least they didn’t get a new pair of $15 pedals in the process. (But if they had, I would have only hoped the jerk shredded his legs on the jagged edges as they raced away. I could have tracked them by the drops of blood.)

So that’s the new word for today: “tweekers.” Some people call them crystal meth users. I call them assholes.

It’s good to be home

Alix was pining for her boyfriend and her car. Pam was missing our dog and cats. Zach wanted to play his guitar and hang with his buds. And I wanted to get the 7 hour drive over with. So, we decided to head back from our vacation a couple of days early.

We did almost everything we wanted to do while touring the Northwest. We ate at a few good restaurants, visited Silverwood theme park – where Pam actually rode the corkscrew roller coaster (!), worked our butts off in a paddle boat, and relaxed on Lake Coeur d’Alene on our inner tubes.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is a lovely city. The downtown strip reminds me of the strip in Kirkland, Washington. Lots of small shops and eateries. Updated buildings. And it’s right on Lake Coeur d’Alene. They’ve created a fabulous beach area for swimming, and have some of the greenest grass in the world.

Meteor bust

Last week was the annual Perseid meteor shower. On Thursday night – the busiest night of the shower – we went out back at around 10:00 PM and were rewarded with a couple of big bright sightings within minutes. We hung out for about ten minutes then went back inside, waiting expectantly towards midnight, when the numbers were to increase to a frenzy!

The midnight hour arrives. We go outside. We wait for our eyes to adjust. We start looking around the skies. We see… nothing. Not a blip, not a miniature streak. 10 minutes go by. Still nothing. A plane, way up there, flies overhead, making its way to Seattle. Five more minutes pass… and still nothing. Drat.

Well, at least we saw a couple of really good ones earlier in the evening. But overall, it was pretty much a bust.

Major pain!

Ah…

We’re on vacation this week, and loving it. Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, is a pretty city in the panhandle of Idaho. Our place is right on Lake Coeur D’Alene.

The other night we were watching some of the Olympics on TV. A Russian gymnastics competitor was on the parallel bars. About half-way through his routine he did a back flip and “stubbed” his middle finger on the bar. At the second knuckle, his finger was suddenly pointing 90 degrees to the right, crossing over his ring finger. ARGH! OUCH!

He dropped off the bars, looked at his finger, and ran over to his coach. His coach popped it back into position and the guy jumped back onto the bars and finished his routine.

During all this the announcer – who used to be a stud gymnast himself 20 years ago – calmly says, “Oh, dislocated fingers like that happen all the time. It’s no big deal.” Man.

And while I was watching this, all I could think about was the scene in the movie Major Payne where during a battle Major Payne runs up to a wounded soldier who is screaming in agony.

Soldier: Arrrrghhhh!!! My leg!!!! Arrrggghhh!!”
Payne: Want me to make you forget about that pain in your leg?
Soldier: (incoherent, glazed look in his eyes, unable to answer) – Ungh?
Payne: You might feel a little pressure (Payne says as he lifts the soldier’s hand).
SNAP! Payne cracks the guy’s middle finger over to the side, just like the Russian gymnast’s.

But the Russian gymnast wasn’t in a movie and it wasn’t fake. Ouch!

Where’s my space going??

I have a hosted account with a bunch of disk space at WebHost4Life. Lately my account has been filling up pretty quickly – and I couldn’t figure out why. In the past 12 hours another 1.5 MB disappeared!

I haven’t been posting a bunch of pictures lately (I even removed some of the larger ones from TechEd 2004) trying to create enough headroom for me to limp along.

Couldn’t find what was consuming the space. My e-mail storage doesn’t count in the web site disk quota, so it wasn’t a ton of spam.

Then this morning I found it. DasBlog keeps a log of all the referrers and events in a /logs folder. Yesterday’s referrer log: 1.5 MB. Bingo. So I deleted all those old bad puppies and now I can breathe again.

Ahhh.