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Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia Wesleyan College’

With snowfall, it is really hard to motivate yourself to do anything. After work, I was planning on doing an hour or so of cross country skiing to keep my aerobic activity up. I haven’t had too many exciting or super enjoyable ski sessions so far, so the inspiration to go out is even more difficult. With cycling, I can recall past experiences that make me remember great routes, climbs, downhills, or feelings in general. These great times allow me to know that I’d feel great after a good, hard ride.

I got on my bike and took off through the powdery snow, leaving wonderful tire tracks everywhere I went. The initial sting of the cold air hit my legs, but after the first mile… I was ready to keep on pedaling.

Oddly enough, the cross bike really feels more responsive, nimble, and under control than the MTB does in the snow. I’m sure this is due to the skinnier tires at low pressure, the tires not half-floating, half-sinking into the snow, and the differences in geometry and center of gravity.

We all know getting started for an activity is the hard part, but once I was out there, I was whipping around, trying to burn as many calories as possible. It didn’t take much discipline to have an adventure, and test out things that I have never done before on a bicycle in these kinds of conditions.

I learned a lot of new skills, and abilities of my own body (how long it takes my toes to go numb, then hurt), or about the bike (how I can powerslide down a hill by locking my rear wheel just enough..) These things made it totally worth going out.

cyclocross dismount uphill bike crash bike fall bike snow snow bike snowcross

cyclocross dismount uphill bike crash bike fall bike snow snow bike snowcross uphill downhill wvwc west virginia wesleyan college

 

cyclocross dismount uphill bike crash bike fall bike snow snow bike snowcross uphill downhill wvwc west virginia wesleyan college figure 8's velodrome

Figure 8's, yes.

 

cyclocross dismount uphill bike crash bike fall bike snow snow bike snowcross uphill downhill wvwc west virginia wesleyan college snow velodrome

I was doing laps around the snowvelodrome, er, the rubber track at the college

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Post ride snack~

 

 

 

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For a recap of Ninja Bike Advocacy (Pt1), click here.

I believe I have achieved victory with the wonderful addition of an authentic bike rack now at the entrance of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s library. While the rack is now out there, my methods were pretty nontraditional, and frankly lacking style and grace.

If you don’t remember, here is what I did:

This sign was taped in a prominent position on the library's handrail.

Little bike rack left for students to use.

Well, yesterday after returning from a few days of vacation, I  stroll by campus to see if my bike rack was still there… It was not! and this was in it’s place!

LOOK AT THAT!   LOOK!   DO YOU SEE IT?

A real bike rack has replaced the one I put out there, and it can hold like twenty bikes! How cool is this?

If I was any more foolish than I already am, this kind of unconditioned response to such a trivial action of mine would be seen as a reward that fully outweighs the risks of trying it in other places. Imagine if I started running amok, placing handmade bike racks and little signs saying a real bike rack needs to be installed… First of all, I would probably end up taking a personal loan for lumber, and quit doing anything else, just to have other establishments elicit responses similar to this.

I’m really happy this rack has been put out for use! It is not very often you see a new bike rack installed anywhere around here, and while it is on campus, I can only pray that it increases short-distance bicycle related travel on campus!

Should I consider this a victory for myself? How does one measure victory? While the goal of having the bike rack installed was accomplished, what logistics and political sway was used by others to allocate the means to have this task completed? I believe I will be writing a few thank-you letters to WVWC, thanking them for the installation, and asking a couple appreciative questions about the rack and what it took to put it there.

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West Virginia Wesleyan College is a private college in WV; it is also my alma mater. One thing I was able to do for the campus before I graduated was getting a 20-bike bike rack for two residence halls. It wasn’t much, but it was all I could do and it was put to good use. Sadly, I am not satisfied with the amount of bike racks on campus for reasons highly visible all over. All around the residence halls, and academic buildings, you will see bikes locked up to handrails on the breezeways, on benches and light poles, and even just right outside a classroom. If there were more bike racks, there would be less of a clutter of bikes all over the place. One last reason for more bike racks is due to three bicycles being stolen even after being properly locked up; two of them belonging to friends.

Well, I was bored this weekend, and decided to take a little bit of action; I had some left over lumber supplies from a previous project, wanted to make a bike rack out of these discarded pieces. This project took me two hours, and no money. The screws were salvaged from a demolished DIY arcade cabinet I created in 2005, and became tired of.

Here are the results:

The best place to put this bike rack was at the library. There were several times I locked my bike, or there was someone else’s bike chained to a handrail on the steps leading to the entryway of the building. It was an ostentatious gesture doing this, but there was no where else to put your bike while studying there. After cleaning up my sawdust mess, and putting everything back up, it was 8:00pm; darkness was falling. I drove up to the library with the rack and a little sign in the bed of the truck and carried it to the steps of the library, I felt like a ninja or some kind of crazy advocacy person… (think Greenpeace) I placed my little promotional sign in the most visible area, as close to the bike rack as possible. I also found a spot for the wooden bike rack that was out-of-the-way, but still noticable and available to be used. I had to face one side of the rack facing the grass, instead of both sides on the sidewalk since the placement of bikes on both sides while on the pavement would have taken up too much space.

While this kind of approach to getting what you want is nowhere near as diplomatic as actually going to the faculty of the college or writing a formal letter, it does create a little bit of publicity for an issue on campus. I’m hoping for the best with this, but if nothing happens… I’m only out two hours of my time and some wood scraps~

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I received this email the Friday afternoon, with some people wanting to go for a ride on Saturday:

Subject: Ride Tomorrow!
From: bucktownbikerider@xmail.net
To: ALL Wesleyan Cycling Students, Buckhannon Locals List, Wvcycling

Hi Everybody!
There will be a road ride on Saturday. The time is set for 3:10 P.M; meet at the chapel.

Sincerely,
bucktownbikerider

On the Saturday, I arrived at the chapel at 3:05; it is only 5 minutes from my house. Not a person was there, but this is not a surprise, since not many people show up right on time to a group ride anyways (that is a whole different story in itself). Actually, there was someone else with me, but I don’t think he counts for the purpose of a bike ride:

John Wesley wasn't wearing a helmet. 😦

I spent a good bit of time kittling up, embrocating, making sure my bike was ready to go, and even got there early to make sure I wasn’t the last one there. It was disappointing to see that no one else was showing up. Here I was, one cyclist looking like a space man while off the bike; sitting on the chapel steps alone.

Some more time had passed and I was becoming a bit antsy. I was ready to ride, and wanted to go. My rule is to wait ten minutes if I was not the one initiating the ride before rolling off and starting my own ride.

The time had passed and not even another bike was strolling around campus at all; the weather was fine, the wind wasn’t bad, and it isn’t like it is some kind of crazy weekend for residents or students. I really had no clue what was going on, but all fifty-some people who had received the email had jumped ship on this ride, even the captain; the one who sent out the initiating email.

What does one do in a time like this when no one shows; not even the event planner?

Me?

I just decided to make this ride even tougher than what I was expecting beforehand, and go out on the highway to roads I have not explored before. I was able to rake in some really good miles, and learn more about my local roads, and possibly found a few new camping spots.

I turned an awkward day into a beneficial day. Lemons into Lemonade, as some would say. I would also like to think that going on such a nice ride while no one else showing up gives me the leverage needed to bust their chops next time I see them. Oh, life is grand~

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Today’s post is an interview with a LBS in Buckhannon, WV: Fat Tire Cycle with owner Gene Wells.

Gene Wells is well… a swell guy (see what I did there?) He is active in many aspects of his community as a business person should, but you can also tell he cares about everything he does. He can also kick most of the people in town’s butt in speed and distance on a bike, yet he chooses not to. (sometimes!)

(I’ll let you know before this interview gets through that he is my main mechanic, I was sponsored by him during my tenure as President of the Cycling Club/Team at West Virginia Wesleyan College with the standard collegiate store discount. I have also purchased a pretty sweet rig from him, my ’09 Gary Fisher Cobia. All in all, we have a pretty good relationship by means of business and also friendship.)


With that out-of-the-way, let’s get to the Q&A!

1.) First of all, tell us about your history, how did you get into cycling?

Well, I got into cycling in 1972. I was doing a lot of cross-country racing, and touring in the area around Pleasantville, Pennsylvania. I remember getting my first road bike in that town in 1973. (more…)

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