Thursday, December 27, 2007

Where the Wind Comes Right Before the Rain

A week in Tulsa, Oklahoma to see family and friends for Christmas time--would not be the same without a visit to the Golden Driller. Homeboy here survived one of the worst Bible Belt ice storms of all time.

The Golden Driller was built, if I remember right, about 1959 or 1961, as part of the International Oil Expo. He's about four of five stories tall, and made of fiberglass over a steel frame.

The Driller represents what was called a Rough Neck--and they worked on drill riggs--one dirty and dangerous job. I knew a couple of Cherokee boys that worked as Rough Necks, way back when I was an ROTC Cadet. They did it for the summer for the high pay--only the toughest, craziest, strongest fellahs could do the work. A college boy like me from the city won't last a day. I don't think you'd find any Rough Necks out on riggs today in Oklahoma.

For a few years the Driller was in dis-repair--but has been saved and repainted and remains in pretty good shape. Of all the things that have changed in this city, I'm glad he's still around.

Tulsa is where I was born and grew up, and the old neighborhoods I knew and loved so, were ravaged by the recent ice storm. My Mom was without electricity for 6 days, and my sister for 8 days. Some parts of the city were without power even Christmas day.

Since there was only decaf in the house this morning, I walked about a mile to the nearest coffee shop. A light snow fell mixed with rain as I went on my way. Plans for renting a bike and riding the newly completed River Parks Bike Trail will have to wait until my next visit.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Fair-Weather Rider

It’s been cold and wet in Tucson. There’s snow on Mt. Lemmon and the road is closed at the base, which is not surprising

My time has been spent at the good old YMCA, Gentle Readers. John has had me doing the same training program he and Kathy did for the Cochise Classic. But I’m not doing the spin class part—the spin class is great for some, but the bikes can’t adjust to my big body size—my arms and legs are just too long. So riding the spin bikes is terribly awkward. So I’ve been doing other cardio-type machines that do an elliptical-cross county skiing movement. Kind of boring but making a difference I can already tell. This is after about five weeks. We’ve also incorporated some weight training that I learned a few years ago at Bear Down Gym Weight Room.

I signed up for a ten-week weight-training class a few years ago. 13 people started the class, and after the third week there was me and two other women. The trainers were most excellent and we pretty much developed lifts to strengthen my arms and shoulders. I had had problems from a broken elbow and dislocated shoulder from horseback riding days.

Besides being cold, it’s very dark in the mornings and the sun is quickly on the way down by quitting time—and there a lot of traffic these days. I’m home with just about 15 minutes of light for a trip to the park with Callie. December days are short—the next big ride will be New Year’s Day. It should be warmer. The blog might be down for Christmas time as I’m flying home.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bikes that Work

Bike lockers under the parking garage.

My Campus Bike has a huge frame size and handle bars. I have to take the front wheel off to fit it into my bike locker.

An errand by bike is much faster around this part of town than by car. I'm on back streets rarely taken by the masses of automobiles everywhere.

This seems to be a typical post-war neighborhood in Tucson that I'm riding through.

Pima Street Bikes is owned by Phil and Judy. Pima Street used to be a dirt road up until the late 1940's so I've been told. Its great to have one of the best bike shops in town a mile from your office!
Phil--remarkably--not busy at the moment. Phil and Judy just fix bikes these days--they have so much business doing repairs and maintinance that they stopped selling bike years ago.

Cosignment bikes--clients bring thier old bikes in when they get a new bike. You must stop by and check out the bikes regularly, and if you see one that strikes your fancy you must buy it on the spot. Chances are the next person coming through will buy it and it will be out the door. There's been several times I've seen a bike I wanted, and later I called the shop or went by to put down the money--only to find the bike sold that same afternoon.

I have found a short-cut back to my office. Its through the shady backstreets.

This is my short cut through the neighborhood, and into medical offices that surround the hospital. I think this is what's left of a wash that was here many years ago, maybe when this area was open desert. There's a palm tree starting to grow there on the right. I've thougt about digging it up after work sometime and taking it home to re-plant in my backyard.

The old water tower, built in 1924, still stands on the campus. When this was a TB sanitarium, people used to get off the train in downtown Tucson and then were told to head towards the water tower to get to the Desert San. Large Red-tailed Hawks like to sit on the very top in the mornings. The Cooper's Hawk like to sit on the hand rail. I've seen the Cooper's Hawks feed thier young offspring on the walkway, dining on morning doves, ground squirrels, and sometimes on one of the feral cats that lurk around campus.
Staff put out food for the kitty-kats and the hawks scoop down and grab them--a cat that is...not a staff member. Actually I think that would be frightful to see a resident or nurse being consumed by Cooper's Hawks from up on the Old Water Tower. Probably wouldn't sit well with the patients.

Raleigh “Marathon” Bike, Part 2

1984 Raleigh Marathon--right out of the Old Barn on Glenn

Last year I bought this bike for $50.00 at the Old Barn on Glenn from some character that runs a junk/bike shop out of his house. The area is not very affluent, and a lot of people I see riding around this part of Tucson probably got their bike from the Barn—if they didn’t steal it from the campus of UofA. Here’s the link to that post…

My Gentler Reader, you go into any bike shop and you see that bikes are expensive—even in Target or Walmart bikes are not that cheap. So if people can only afford $50.00 for a bike as their only means of transportation, then the Barn is a good place and I do not disrespect that arrangement.

Complete over-haul. I added clips and saddle. The tires are new of course, and I believe the chain is still the original. Wheels are in perfect condition, and the frame has no dings nor is it bend or cracked.

So my beautiful Raleigh probably logged more miles in that barn than on the road—as Phil at Pima Street Bikes would say—and now I am happy to report that I’ve been out riding and making some adjustments to this 69 cm lugged steel framed machine after finally getting it to the bike shop for a complete overhaul.

My thoughts were to strip the bike down and make it into a single speed fixed gear bike. That seems to be all the rage right now. But my friend John pointed out that I'd really have no place to ride it. It would probably sit un-used once more. Best to keep the bike as-is and have fun.