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A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals       /       Pgh-DC bike maps new

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bravo Thick Bikes; Cycling's Transcendental Numbers

5/10/2014 16m
Transcendental Numbers, as everybody knows, it is not a root of a non-zero polynomial equation with rational coefficients — or to put it much more dramatically, it's a number that suggests a basic characteristic of the universe that we've come across but can't explain. For instance, π or e. If you don't think these numbers are weird, then you don't understand string theory. Or relativity, or something.

Anyway, had a call from an out-of-town cyclist who was having major bike problems and was supposed to ride to DC tomorrow. Introduced him to Thick Bikes and they took wonderfully good care of him. Got to talking with Chuck and he asked, what's the optimal number of days to ride from Pittsburgh to DC? And I answered, funny you should ask, there's a formula:

formula for the Optimal Number of Days (OND) Pittsburgh to DC


where N = number of decades you've been alive

Experienced cyclists will recognize the eerie similarity to the formula for the Optimal Number of Bikes (ONB)

ONBnow = N+1

where N = number of bikes you own now.

This exposes the First Great Truth of Cycling: The Optimal Number of Anything is: N+1

When Chuck picked up his bike, his buddy Clyde mentioned to Thick that he was popping spokes so they checked out his bike. Turns out, spokes are like fuses; when they're popping off, they're an indication that something else is wrong. About an hour later, Clyde is leaving Thick all ready to roll to DC on Sunday. Bravo Thick Bikes for saving two out-of-town bike travelers.

It was raining pretty consistent but this was my first time in several days to get out on the bike and I was so happy to get to ride again. The rain kept the faint-of-heart off the trails. Met two cyclists near Costco wrestling with a flat. I tried to help with my pump but I wasn't able to reconfigure the components for a Schrader valve, so I had to reach into my kit and pull out my can of Big Air to reinflate the tire. The Big Air holds 40 grams of compressed gas and it pumped the tire right up. Unfortunately, it was the last bit of gas in the canister.

This does call to mind the Second Great Truth of Cycling: The Optimal Quantity of a Gas or Fluid is: 40.

OQgas or fluid = 40

Anyway, I rode out on the Steel Valley Trail and enjoyed having it mostly to myself. Reversed and stopped at REI, hoping to replace my can of Big Air. Disappointed to see that they're not carrying that product any more. Can't say I'm surprised, since it was a 40-oz. can of propane and it always seemed a bit like a hand-grenade in the making to me - but it sure did inflate tires well.

Saw this amazing product: dry-marker helmets. Wow. I want to get a high-viz helmet and scribble, Hashtag-Tourettes on it. Kids get all the good stuff.

Took a picture of the directions for converting the pump I have from Schrader to Presta, to keep in my phone for future use:

Went back to my vehicle. It was a nice, pleasant, mild-temperature rainy ride. I had my sandals on so it was very comfortable. 16 miles

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