September 24, 2013


So on Saturday I went for my third “long” bike ride of the season. Having already ridden west and southwest on my previous rides this season, I decided to head to the southeast towards the relatively famous village of Cooperstown and then onto the nearby city of Oneonta. I knew the ride was going to be a challenge because that’s hilly country down there. While I know that hills are a part of the whole cycling experience, if I were to be completely honest I’d have to admit that I’d rather ride on the Great Plains or the Salt Flats.

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The weather forecast mentioned thunderstorms and showers on Saturday and I was lucky to remain dry for the entire duration of the ride. What I didn’t factor in, however, was that the approaching front was kicking up some winds. After getting to the top of a particular challenging climb (where a bunch of Amish kids stopped their chores and smiled and waved at me, helping me feel better), I found myself pedaling as hard as I could and barely moving forward. I was struggling to keep the bike upright. It turns out I was riding in 30 MPH gusts.

Good times.

I burned through my snack packs and found myself craving calories as I continued to defy the wind and ended up stopping at a quaint little place called the Fly Creek General Store. As I slurped down a Muscle Milk and chowed down on a Clif Bar, I noticed that I had an unread text message on my iPhone.

Due to the iOS 7 upgrades to our phones, Earl could no longer find me on “Find My Friends”. Yay for progress!

I sent him a text message telling him to start driving on Route 28 south of Cooperstown and he’d find me down there. I told him that I was ready to call it a day whenever he found me.

A while later, my Knight in Shining Armor (well, a black Jeep) arrived.

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When all was said and done, I rode 52.26 miles in 4 hours and 50 minutes. My average speed was 10.8 MPH, well below the 13-14 MPH average I usually clock in at.

While I enjoyed my ride (I always enjoy time on my bike), I told Earl that Saturday’s ride was the least favorite of my long distance rides this season. He understood that but reminded me that I still rode a pretty good distance in the wind. Apparently while trying to find me he had ridden through some windy weather in the Jeep.

I’m looking forward to one more long ride before the snow flies.

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So a few months ago I thought I would take the extra step to reduce our carbon footprint here at The Manor. We have recessed lighting throughout most of the house and our old incandescent indoor flood lights were starting to burn out in a curiously methodical fashion. When it came to return the bulbs, I “thought green”, did the research online and went with natural daylight CFL bulbs from Lowe’s. The bulbs in question are made by Utilitech.

I talked about this project right here on this blog back in June.

One of the reasons I went with the Utilitech brand was because they were touted to be at nearly full brightness when powered on. Many CFL bulbs require a warm up period and I have to tell you, this drives me insane. Since CFL bulbs are allegedly a forward step in technology AND in saving the environment, I believe that the forward step should include being able to do what their predecessors did, namely, provide light to a room when switched on.

After a few months these Utilitech bulbs are no longer living up to the “instant on” hype. It seems that as each day passes the bulbs give off less and less light when first turned on. They take longer to warm up to their proper temperature.

It’s a small wonder that these guys are projected to last twice as long as their predecessors. They’re not doing anything!

Now, I’m all for saving the environment. I believe that we should leave the world in better shape than when we found it, but the poor performance of these Utilitech bulbs, coupled with the fact that they have to be handled like a hazardous material when disposing them due to the amount of mercury they contain, makes me wonder why we have this insane push to get everyone to buy these bulbs.

I don’t think our relatively new bulbs are going to make it through the end of the year. And I’m definitely not going to replace them with CFLs again. I think we are going to end up switching over to LED lightbulbs. This is not the optimal solution, after all, LED bulbs are fairly expensive, but they light up instantly when required to do so and then even work on dimmer switches.

On the other hand, I could go crazy and just stock up on incandescents while I still have the chance.