Monday, December 31, 2007

Bringing in 2008 Right...With a Ride!

This is where I'm going:

This is what I'm potentially up against:

This is why I can't wuss out: An email from Mr. Bite himself:


Thee 103rd annual Spoke-n-Sport New Year's Day ride will take place tomorrow (New Year's Day to those calendaricly challenged) starting at 1 PM. The ride won't be that long and afterwards there's chili and stuff across the street in the church school gym. Good times.

Yes, it will be a bit cold. But, you haven't anything better to do and the cold will serve as a character builder. Only severe wimps will not attend. Since I know that's not you I'll see you there.

Spoke-n-Sport is just east of the corner of 37th St and Minnesota Ave. Just go where all the bikes are. Last year I think there was more than 100 riders in weather that was a lot crappier than it will be this year.


So much for thoughts of going up, hanging out, eating, and potentially NOT riding. I've been called out. I'll be there. Probably bitching. But I'll be there. Riding.

2007 South Dakota MS Bike Tour

This is a little overdue, but I wanted to wait until all the money was turned in for both the rides that Team Road Kill participated in (Sioux Falls and WRATH - Black Hills).

It was a great year as we had over 40 riders on our team and we had a great time preparing, fund raising, and riding in this awesome event. This year Team Road Kill raised $19,724 for the chapter, narrowly missing the $20,000 mark. Considering that two years ago we raised a little over $8,000 and last year we raised over $14,000, we are steadily increasing our funds raised and awareness of this dreadful disease.

Through blogging, friendships are often made although there is a chance that we will never meet these "friends". Michelle is one of these friends and she also happens to have Multiple Sclerosis. Although she is not in our chapter for the MS Society, I asked her if I could add her name to the people I was riding for and she quickly agreed. The list of people who end up on my bandanna keeps increasing from year to year. I gladly continue to ride for them, but I do so with a heavy heart with the fact they have to live with this disease.

I'm looking forward to a day that there will be a cure for this disease. I'm also sure we will find another cause to ride for when that happens! So many cyclists are like me and love to ride for a cause. We don't always like to do fund raising, but give us an entry fee to ride in a worth while cause and we are there with bells Lycra on.

Thanks to all of you who supported one (or more) of Team Road Kill this year and in year's past. I can't tell you what a wonderful feeling it is to help in a cause such as this and I want you to know that you all make a difference!

A "Bob Ross" Kind of Day

Last Thursday was one of those cold but beautiful days, a day I affectionately call a "Bob Ross" day. The kind of day where the sun doesn't shine, it's cold and foggy, and the trees all have a snowy/ice buildup on them. All over town seemingly had no color, just shades of gray. I snapped three pictures over the noon hour when I came home to eat with Laura. It truly looked more like a painting than anything real, and the pictures don't really do it justice.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Discussions With Nebraska Dept of Roads

On my rainy day list of things to do was to email the Nebraska Dept of Roads and ask them how they determine which roads receive shoulders and which do not. So, early this week I did just that. I was impressed with not only receiving a response, but the number of people that got involved in the email process. On top of that, one of the regional engineers actually asked me MY opinion on the rumble strips on Hwy 20 and Hwy 81. More on that later.

The initial complaint with my inquiry was the fact that Hwy 12 has heavy semi truck, boat-pulling, and farm equipment traffic and has NO shoulder on it. The white line on the side of the road is literally the shoulder. Needless to say it can be very unnerving to be riding on the road and have traffic coming at you in both directions when there is no shoulder. While I didn't receive the answer I was hoping for, at least I started a dialog and got an honest answer.

In one of the last emails in our correspondence, I asked the engineer if she minded that I blogged about my experienced and was given permission. I'll leave the name out, but here is the email with great detailed explanation:


I can answer directly your question about which roads get shoulders in
Nebraska. We've recently retooled our standards to match more closely
national standards and our funding situation.

A standard lane width is 12', so most of our traveled way is 24' wide on
two-lane highways. When average daily traffic (ADT) projections for 20
years into the future show 2,000 vehicles/day the road qualifies for a 28'
top. This is essentially a 2' paved shoulder. We agree this makes a big
difference for agricultural traffic and wide loads. It is also more
comfortable for other drivers and does provide some benefit for bicyclists.

Even wider shoulders are considered when future ADT reaches 4,000
vehicles/day. When this threshold is reached, the new standard calls for
6' of paved shoulder if funds are available.

The section of Highway 12 between Obert and Ponca shows only a little over
1600 vehicles/day for 2026 on the busiest segment. We will not be
considering adding width to this part of Highway 12.

I do not want to give you false hope, but there is another possibility.
Sometimes when we resurface a road, we do add the additional 2' on each
side if the resurfacing method accommodates it at little extra expense. We
anticipate that the pavement will need resurfacing in about 8-10 years.
Perhaps there will be an opportunity for better accommodation of bicycles
by then.

In any case, we have taken note of your concern and will keep it on file
for project planning. Thank you for taking the time to let us know your

On another related subject, I would like to hear your opinion from a
cyclist's viewpoint on shoulder rumble strips. Perhaps you've seen them on
US-81 south of Highway 20 or on other highways?

My response back:

Thanks for your very detailed explanation on the shoulder situation. While disappointing for planning rides into Nebraska with our club and will probably limit any organized rides for us to the more experienced rider, it's still nice to know the situation. As you probably figured, I'm a strong voice for cycling advocacy. I'm not a hard to deal with person though, looking more for explanations like you gave versus being a thorn in anyone's side.

Rumble Strips: I avoid Hwy 81 like the plague. Far too much Semi traffic for my liking. I have ridden on Hwy 20 on the Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) and a couple of solo trips. As stated, I wear a mirror off my glasses so I tend to ride on the road hugging the white line where rumble strips are present. If there are cars coming both ways or the car behind me appears to not be moving over, I will go over the rumble strips although I prefer not to on a road bike. I understand the purpose of rumble strips on major highways so I don't have a beef with them. As a cyclist, I don't like the rumbles before stop signs that don't split into two sections so I can split them however.

All that being said, Hwy 50 between Vermillion and Yankton or Vermillion and Interstate 29 does not have rumble strips on the wide shoulder which is obviously nicer for us to stay considerably off the roadway and out of any (reasonable) harms way. It's been a long time since I've been on Hwy 50 West of Yankton so I can't remember if there are rumbles that way or not. Hwy 19 North out of Vermillion to Centerville (21 miles) has recently been redone with a wide shoulder and no rumbles as well.

I guess that I hadn't given much thought to the rumbles on Hwy 20 as I know they are there. Would it be better for me without them? Of course. I'm sure there are traffic studies that suggest they are a good thing for safety of motorists however. I know they are not a cyclists friend, but I have never heard considerable griping about them either.

Thanks again for all your time. If you need anything further from my side of the conversation, feel free to contact me anytime.

Wouldn't you know it, there was a response back once again!

Thank you for letting me know your opinion about these safety features.
Yes, they are proven to reduce crashes and fatalities on our roads so we
are expanding our use of them throughout the state. Interesting to hear
your perspective.

In Nebraska we install the rumbles in a continuous strip just off of the
driving lane (outside of the white line) leaving approximately 5.5' of
clear surface for bicycles away from traffic. This is on our 8' surfaced
shoulders. The new standard of 6' surfacing would provide 3.5' of clear
space. The continuous strip is broken at intersections, residential and
commercial driveways and it is not installed through towns. As a cyclist
myself, I consider it a benefit to have rumble bars between vehicles and
me. I would like to hear what you think of the Nebraska placement strategy
if you happen upon them in your travels. We will be installing them on
US-20 west of Osmond in the near future.

Good point on the intersection rumble bars. I suppose motorcyclists may
have the same complaint. I will relay the concern to our Traffic
Engineering Division so they are aware. Maybe we can eliminate or reduce
the number of locations where full-width strips are used.

Not only that, the engineer is a cyclist! I responded with the opportunity to join us whenever in the area which was graciously accepted. Even more amazing to me in all this was that not only was my questions answered, but I was asked for MY opinion on an issue. I do love living in the Midwest. People who listen: BRILLIANT!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


While my .95 mile one way commute to the front door of my office by itself isn't THAT impressive, 200 straight days is yet another milestone to celebrate. Figuring that I usually go to the dome to workout over the noon hour and usually end up riding to and from various tech calls across campus, I'm usually over five miles per day of commuting/errand miles.

The last day I missed can be read about HERE. Even though I didn't drive to work myself that day, I didn't ride my bike. In good faith, I had to reset the streak due to the fact I didn't ride. I'm thinking that it might take more than that to make the streak die this time. Besides, my first attempt at this only lasted 48 days.

Bring on January, February, and March. C'mon Mother Nature, give me your best shot!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Finishing the Job

I'm going to start a new label for posts entitled "Pet Peeves". There are so many peeves, and they often happen to me and cause great mental anguish. My therapist (the various voices in my head) tells me that writing about them will help me cope. Hence, I feel the need to share them with you here.

Pet Peeve posting number one comes from my recent trip to the bathroom at a multipurpose facility.

IF you must use the gi-hugic industrial round rolls of toilet paper, make the toilet paper strong enough so you can actually pull the roll so that you get more than one square before it breaks and you have to repeat the process over and over. A few individual squares does not help me complete "the process" easily if you get my drift.

I guarantee you there will be more rants/pet peeves to come, many cycling related. I had to start somewhere!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm Going Pro

My wife loves to support me in all my endeavors. So much so that she bought me a coffee mug to support me as I go pro:

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Busy Week

As is usually the case this time of year, life has been busy and packed with things going on.

Sunday: Our awesome Cantata at church. Children's program after church. Laura and I rented a carpet cleaner late Saturday afternoon and shampooed carpets and cleared out the office in the basement and it's now the bedroom to Austin. The Brady family needs to purge some of it's belongings as we now have stuff stacked to quite unsafe levels!

Monday: Got to have lunch with a good friend that I haven't had the opportunity to see in quite some time due to the fact I don't get to Sioux Falls all that often, even though I live less than an hour away. Austin also had his first band concert that night. He rocked the tenor sax!

Tuesday: Carson had his Pre-School program. He stood quite stoic looking dapper as all get out. However, nerves got the best of him and he didn't sing a word of any song...until he got back in the van. Then we couldn't shut him up. Not that we would have as it was quite cute.

Wednesday: Met Mr. Bite for lunch since I was working in Sioux Falls. It's becoming a Wednesday tradition to conspire to make bicycles take over the world.

Thursday: Ma Brady came down to the chiropractor and Laura and I took her out to lunch.

Friday: I met with good friends (and Austin's Godparents) Doug and Sina for lunch in Sioux Falls since I was up there working anyway. Dulci & Russ, Nicholas & Nathan (sister-in-law, husband and nephews) made it back from Colorado for Christmas along with Grandma Laura.

Saturday: The "Brady" Christmas in Montrose at the World Famous Irish Pub. Some 30 people were there, so it was a great place to host that many people. It was a great time and always nice to get together with the whole family. There was much talk about cycling and bowling. We all have our brother has a vice in bowling. He owns more bowling balls than I do bikes.

Sunday: Church along with Russ and Dulci renewing their vows. They have been married 15 years and decided one trip up the aisle wasn't enough.

Not that we are not normally busy, nor is this a complete list of what's been going on. On the contrary, it's just the highlights. I was just compiling in my own head why I feel like I've done nothing but chase my tail as of late. I may have to take off time after Christmas just to catch up on sleep!

I am looking forward to a relaxing (?) Christmas with family, but I'm also already looking forward to the calm once school starts up again!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Brady 2007 Christmas Rhyme

The Brady Family Christmas rhyme of two-thousand-and-seven is here
sent live and direct from our house and it’s filled with great cheer!
So much to catch up on from the year that has past
we’ve had us a good one, in fact it was a blast!
I fail to keep in touch with many of you, at it I bomb,
but all the important stuff is at bikingbrady dot blogspot dot com.
Do not blame me for your lack of knowledge of the clan,
that’s where the blog comes in; at least that’s the plan.
For those who refuse to keep reading our life on the web (that we weave)
the abbreviated version of our life in this letter you shall receive.
Let’s start with Carson, now four-and-one-half
is quick with a smile and quite a cute laugh.
He is in “his school” now; Pre-school to all else who know
in school and in life, the boy continues to grow.
Austin is in sixth grade and started playing the tenor sax
He’s doing well for a beginner and that’s just the facts!
Recently we rearranged the house and he no longer shares a room with his brother,
“You now can’t blame your messy room on Carson” quickly warns his mother.
Marissa is in 4th grade and has likes too many to mention here
suffice it to say she always moving in a high gear.
She is a good sister to the boys, such a great friend to so many and it is easily seen,
and gets frustrated with people who are rude, nasty and mean.
I’m proud of our kids and I say that with pride,
but still there are days that I just want to hide.
He’s yelling at her, she’s tattling on him
there are days their survival seem pretty slim.
When things are their bleakest and blood pressures are hiking,
the Brady’s do what they do best, they take to biking!
We all do our biking, to work and to school;
we like to laugh at the car driving fool.
We bike so much, as much as we’re able,
that this year we added more bikes to our stable!
A Cannondale tandem and a used cruiser tandem too,
Dad and Marissa have new rides also to name just a few.
Our single car garage has probably seen its last car;
bikes are simply the important thing we own by far!
There have been so many rides and memories this Chinese year of the Pig,
if you want to know more, read the blog, do you dig?
I’m still at USD in IT, probably will be for life,
Laura is working hard, the massage-giving wife.
Enough writing for now, before I make even less sense
of the 2007 life of the Brady’s, the version condensed.
To friends old and new, we wish you the best,
to those who have kids, we wish you some rest!
I leave you with one thought, a challenge I hope you will like,
in 2008 get off your tookus, drive less, and ride much more bike!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


For the most part, I'm not into the whole "being tagged" thing on the internet. However, an old friend Geek Girl the Iron has tagged me twice and I need something to calm my mind for five minutes so here goes nothing.

Rules: Tell five things about yourself that others may not know. Since most of my "blogging friends" don't know me that well, here is a list of things you may or may not know about me.

1. Biking is a "new found" love over the past 10 years. I was actually more of a distance runner than anything. I ran many road races and two marathons with the last marathon being in October of 1990 (Twin Cities). I posted a 3:04 in Lincoln, NE and was on my way to around a 2:50 in Twin Cities when I got tripped up with my running mate and fell at the 21 mile mark. Still managed a 3:20, but was beat up, sore, and bummed out. Due to a back injury, distance running had to leave my life. However, obviously I've found something else to occupy my obsessive/compulsive nature.

2. I served in Desert Storm (aka Papa Bush's war). I served with the 730th Medical Company (Detachment 1) South Dakota National Guard out of Vermillion. Always thought I'd stay in to get retirement, but decided that playing babysitter to the world might not be all that fun so I got out.

3. I am a band geek. To this day I still play my saxophone and enjoy it immensely. My Dad played in an old timers band (waltz, polka, fox trots, etc) and I still pick up and play those songs from memory. I tend to play more by ear than by sheet music. I also (attempt) to play bass guitar for a praise and worship band at church.

4. I am a Lay Speaker for the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. That's right folks, Bikingbrady gives an occasional sermon. I definitely have much more appreciation for pastors giving their sermon now as I KNOW how much time it takes to prepare for a sermon. Anybody who knew me as a wild kid would find it hard to believe that I go to church, let alone fill the pulpit.

5. I hate large crowds. I can handle small gatherings or smaller groups within a large gathering, but I can't stand to be in a large crowd. Maybe it's all part of growing up in rural South Dakota, but when a crowd gets too big, I tend to want to leave.

I believe the rules are that I now get to "tag" five of you. You don't have to, and I'm sure some of you won't, but it might be interesting to see what some of you will say. SO...I'll tag Snakebite, Cycle SD, Ridden Words, My Chain Driven Life Through Alaska , Barry, and MnBicycleCommuter

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday "Shake off the Winter Blues" Ride

I'd like to thank Craig D. for suggesting we get off our moping butts and actually get out and ride today. It was nice to get out even though it was only about 15 miles. It was enough to make my toes cold and appreciate some coffee and a bagel at the end of the ride.

It's cold by most standards, chilly from a South Dakota standpoint. Even at 1:00 as I write this, it's only 17 degrees. I actually don't mind bundling up and riding in the cold, but I have to figure out the layering a bit.

My biggest issue with cold riding is my feet. I simply can't keep my feet warm. I have two pairs of socks on, my mountain bike shoes with SPD cleats and my Performance bike booties over the top. For all of you who ride more in the winter than I do, what do you do for socks/shoes/booties in winter time? I have to figure this out as I want to ride more, but an hour is about all my feet and toes are willing to put up with at this point. I may have to invest a little more in my feet to make it more bearable, but I want it to be worth my money as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rush Hour Cycling in Copenhagen

I've been following the blog over at Cycleliciousness for some time now and thought this video speaks volumes about the cycling culture in Copenhagen. If only it was like that here!

The Best and Worst of Days

As mentioned over on Mr. Bite's blog I emailed him to see if he could go for a very late lunch. It's always good to talk to another obsessive cyclist to know that cycling all year round is very normal and efficient. Discussions ranged from winter wear, the coolness of the Surley Pugsley and how great it really is on snow, to the upcoming Gut Check '08.

What I failed to mention was that I was already suffering the mother of all headaches when we went to lunch. After lunch it only got worse. I started getting the "I'm-about-to-hurl-sweats". I struggled through until 4:00 and was heading back to Vermillion in much pain. I made it to the Worthing exit at which time I pulled off the ramp and went to the on ramp on the other side where I opened the door and spread multi-colored joy all over the pavement.

All better...away we go. Well, all better until about the Beresford exit. Nope, can't pull off here, it's too busy. Made it five more miles to the Wakonda/Alcester exit and repeated the door opening procedure to a much lesser extent.

All better...again. Well, to the Vermillion exit now. Called Laura and told her to meet me at fleet with the van as I didn't feel good enough to ride home. After loading the van and leaving fleet we had to stop so I could "call a couple more dinosaurs" by the recycling center. I wasn't quite finished yet as we had to stop a half block later.

I went home, slept for a couple hours and couldn't even hold down a couple pieces of toast or Sprite later on. Finally I gave up and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling better and starving so I had my midnight snack.

Mr. Bite, if this was your plan to eliminate me via some kind of heinous plot, it damn near worked. However, I still made it to work today and I feel pretty good so you better up your poison dosages next time.

I hadn't thrown up in nearly five years and I can't say that I missed it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DARE Parenting 101

Last night while Laura had clients at the massage clinic, my youngest was happily playing by himself with a plethora of toys leaving me to watch a little tube with the 9 & 11 year olds. While scanning the channels, I came across "Intervention" on the A&E network.

I like the show, but I thought it might be a bit much for the kids. However, this show was about a kid just out of high school who had seemingly been through the whole range of emotions growing up: Dad was an alcoholic and not in the picture, rowdy uncontrollable kid, high school jock, and now meth addict. I decided to go ahead and watch it with the kids and discuss it during commercial break. It was impressive to see them get what was going on. They could actually see what the kid was not just doing to himself, but the effect it had on the family as well.

As a "prude" who hasn't even smoked a cigarette in my life, let alone anything illegal, I worry about my kids making the right choices growing up. Programs like DARE are a wonderful thing and a necessity to hopefully show kids the dangers out there. However, there was something about the Intervention show that really seemed to hit home with them. Seeing how a young life was being ruined along with their family made an impact on them that I hope they take with them for a long time.

Not all Cable TV is evil I guess....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Snow Bike

Quick question for all: Which bike should I ride during icy conditions? The X-Bite 2000 or Old Yeller? Why am I asking? Allow me to explain.

First off, understand that I do not have my studded tires on either bike as of yet, hence the debate.

I love the X-Bite 2000. It's light, responsive, and I love the hard tail nature of it for carrying the grocery getter or the kid cart. It's first experience with ice however was a bit shaky. I'm wondering if this is partially because of how light it is.

Old Yeller...well, it's old, and it's yeller (yellow). It's a known commodity on ice. It's heavy (Norba Downhill frame) and seems to hold the road well even without studded tires. Does its heavier frame help it in these conditions or not?

Which bike should I put the studs on for icy riding? Best (non-smart aleck) response may be compensated with liquid refreshment if I choose to be nice.

Monday, December 03, 2007

New Toy: The iRobot Roomba

I own a robot. How cool is that. In the midst of not feeling very well this weekend, my Roomba arrived.

I admit, the only reason I bought it was that it was a refurbished model and it was pretty inexpensive.

How do I feel about it? You are probably still going to have to vacuum with a real vacuum once a week or so, but this little guy does a pretty awesome job. I had the perfect excuse: I wasn't feeling well and the floor needed to be vacuumed. After it charged overnight on Saturday, I cut it loose while chilling in front of the tube on Sunday. It zigged, it zagged, went in and cleaned the kitchen, the hallway, the bathroom and finished up the living room before going back to it's dock to recharge. I was amazed at what a good job it did, especially with the pet hair.

It's been used four times in various rooms and I'm not disappointed at all. How cool is it to shove something in a room, shut the door and walk away. Come back a while later to a clean room? Overall rating: 4.7 stars out of 5.

Next potential purchase due to this impression: The iRobot Scooba.

Something to wash the kitchen floor after a day of three kids messing it up? Oh yeah, I'm there.

The Weekend That Was

The weekend that was supposed to be relaxing. Laura was out of town, helping move her Grandma (also named Laura) back to Spearfish. It was just "me and the three" for a fun-filled weekend. For the most part, it started out that way. After a moderately lazy Saturday morning, I gave them a choice of cleaning for an hour or going to the USD Women's Basketball game. Tough choice there!

USD thumped 22nd ranked Nebraska-Kearney 84-51. Weekend is going great so far. A quick trip to the store with the kids to pick up some necessities was going good. Then it happened, I started to not feel too great. By the time it was time to leave the store, I cheated and grabbed some chicken from the deli. We got home, I threw the chicken on the table, laid down on the couch and let the kids to fend for themselves.

I tried to enjoy the Oklahoma victory over Missouri in the Big XII Championship (okay, I DID enjoy that), but I was miserable. I chose not to eat at all after a visit to the bathroom that I will not get into (this IS a family show).

Sunday we didn't go to church and I'm glad we didn't . I. FELT. HORRIBLE. By the time Laura made it back from Spearfish, I was starting to perk up a bit. Wishful thinking. Within a short time, I was back to square one. I would feel good for the first couple hours being awake and then miserable until I rested again.

Waking up this morning, fully expecting to be ready for work, it wasn't to be. Then to top it off, my oldest boy Austin has it now. I didn't think it was possible to mope around more than I when sick, but he's a pro.

To tell you that I'm feeling great would be far from the truth. My stomach just will not settle down. I rested most of the day (when I finally stopped checking work email). I plan on chilling out watching the Patriots/Ravens tonight if I can survive the whole game.

At any rate, that's the excitement at the Brady house. Here is hoping that YOU all are healthy and feeling well. I'm anxious to be over this funk and over my body aches and back on to some cold weather riding.