Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Remember the Alamo

I took a day off to check out San Antonio. Obviously, I went to have a look at the Alamo, which I nearly walked right past without noticing. I thought it would be larger. The city sold off most of the property around it for development and kept only a small portion, including the building with the famous fa├žade that is shown on most post cards.

I spent a good deal of time ambling about the Riverwalk, which was quite pleasant. During the day it is not nearly as crowded as at night when all the bars and restaurants come to life. I was told that about 250 people fall in the river each year; most likely due to the fact that open alcohol containers are legal along the Riverwalk.

I have also had more questions come in. Some of the more common ones were along the lines of:

What do you think about all day?

Many things really. You would be surprised how much time I am actually concentrating on what I am doing, especially in heavy traffic, on bad roads or where there is a lot of debris on the road.

At times I do math in my head, trying to estimate how long it will take me to get to the next town or my destination for the day. I also reason through possible choices of my route. Out west though, most of the time I don’t have to worry about that as there are very few options.

Also, when I see signs for towns, rivers, what have you, the name may remind me of something and an entire stream of consciousness starts from that. One thought brings me to another and carries on for hours. The town of Castroville was a perfect example. There are so many places to go from there, thought wise. OK, so I am not saving the world, but its not like I am singing the Meow Mix song the entire day.

What do you have to fix/maintain/repair on your bike?

The most obvious are flat tires. Fortunately, I don’t seem to get many. Whether that is due to having durable tires or that I concentrate on avoiding debris on the road, I’m not sure. Speaking of tires, I got 5,000 miles out of my last set, but these, which are the same model, do not seem to be holding up quite as well. I may have to replace my tires in the next couple of thousand miles.

Another thing prone to wearing out is the chain. A chain will normally be good for 1,000 or 1,500 miles before it stretches. If the chain stretched more than a 1/16 of an inch, it will generally do damage to the teeth on the cassette that drives the back tire. At that point, when the chain is replaced, the cassette has to be replaced as well or the chain will skip. It’s worth spending the $35 on a new chain rather than having to worry about replacing the rear cassette.

Other than those things, there is the normal lubrication of moving parts and adjustment of the cables. The cables for the brakes and gears tend to stretch over time and have to be adjusted. That and a little cleaning on a regular basis is it for the most part.

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