Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back from Utah.....

Ok, I have been back from my Utah bike trip for a couple of months and since then I have been concentrating on trying to get a new job and filling out applications.  Not fun.  The economy is horrid for those of us that want to move on to new employment.  The competition is fierce for even the most basic and mediocre job.  I'm finding it hard to keep my spirits up and to keep motivated to keep trying.  I know that persistence is the key, but it is also the hardest thing to keep going.  Especially since the type of  jobs that I am looking at are very selective.  I shall continue though, until someone let's me know that my efforts will never be rewarded...

Things I learned from my trip to Park City UT:  When you are changing to a higher elevation than you are used to riding normally, expect 2-3 days before you actually feel like you can breathe....(I know, DUH!!!).  Park City is an amazing place to ride, and one of those hidden secrets.  The trails were virtually empty, and they had some of the most beautiful views and rides that I have ever been on...and I've ridden some world class destinations to compare it to.  Spend as much time with your friends as you can, dinner, drinks, just hanging out.  You don't know how long it will be until you will see them again, and so you must make sure to indulge.  Turn old acquaintances into new good friends.  Make plans to do another week long trip with your friends next year.  Never pass up a chance to laugh.

It's been a while since I posted, and since the last list seemed to get a good is another!  I didn't make this up, so I can't take credit for it...But it is fun!  Enjoy!

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
2. A day without sunshine is like night.
3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
4. I just got lost in thought. It wasn't familiar territory.
5. 42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
6. 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
7. I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
8. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
9. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
10. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
11. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
12. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
13. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
14. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
15. Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your week.
16. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
17. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
18. Get a new car for your spouse. It'll be a great trade!
19. Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.
20. Always try to be modest, and be proud of it!
21. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
22. How many of you believe in psychokinesis? Raise my hand...
23. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
24. How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?
25. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
26. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
27. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
28. Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
29. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
30. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
31. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
32. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
33. I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out
34. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.
35. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
36. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.
37. Just remember - if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
38. Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak

Friday, September 17, 2010

A List of Lifes Little Truisms....just for fun

A friend of mine sent me a funny list...just thought I'd share and hopefully give you a laugh or two!

Ø   I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness. 

Ø   Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.   

Ø   I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather... Not in terror like the passengers in his car. 

Ø   Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. 

Ø   Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Ø   If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong. 

Ø   We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public. 

Ø   War does not determine who is right - only who is left. 

Ø   Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. 

Ø   The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. 

Ø   Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't. 

Ø   To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research. 

Ø   A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station...... 

Ø   How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire? 

Ø   Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one tumble down    the stairs. 

Ø   Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish. 

Ø   I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks. 

Ø   A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it.    

Ø   Whenever filling out an application, in the part that says "In case of an emergency, notify",  put "DOCTOR". 

Ø   I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you. 

Ø   I saw a woman wearing a filled out shirt with "Guess" on I guessed "Implants?" 

Ø   Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet? 

Ø   Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy. 

Ø   Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America   

Ø   Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.    

Ø   A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.    

Ø   You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.     

Ø   The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!    

Ø   Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.    

Ø   A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip and have your bags packed.    

Ø   Hospitality:  making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.    

Ø   Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.    

Ø   I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.  

Ø   Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.   

Ø   There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.    

Ø   I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure. 

Ø   I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.    

Ø   When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.    

Ø   You're never too old to learn something stupid. 

Ø   To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target. 

Ø   Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Ø   Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

Ø   A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.

Ø   If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?

Ø   Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How to Adjust Derailleurs for Cable Stretch, or How to Get That "Skip" Out of Your Step

I talked to friend that recently really started mountain biking seriously, and she is loving it, but as I talked to her she had a lot of questions about adjusting the basic things. The latest one was her rear derailleur. She told me that her derailleur needed adjusting and that she was going to bring it in to the shop. She said that the chain was “skipping” and that it wouldn’t stay in gear. Well, I knew that the derailleur had been working fine the last time we rode together, so I figured that what the problem really amounted to was the shift cable had stretched, which is common with new cables. Now, I’m going to explain how to do a simple adjustment to compensate for cable stretch. This can be done at any time at home or on the trail.

The first thing is to understand what parts of the derailleur, or cable system, you are going to be actually adjusting. To adjust for cable stretch you will only need to use the “barrel adjusters” located either on the shift pod, or derailleur, no tools required. Both barrel adjusters work equally well, it just seems to be a personal preference as to which one you choose to use. The following pictures show the two barrel adjusters that you can use:

The first, just in case you don’t recognize it, is on the rear derailleur. The second picture is the right shift pod on the handlebars.

What happens when the cable stretches is that it allows the derailleur to move toward the higher gears (harder to pedal) just as though you were partially switching gears. What you want to do is pick a barrel adjuster and rotate it counter clockwise (out) a half turn. Then check your adjustment by shifting the derailleur a few times and returning to the gear that was causing problems. At this point you should be able to hear a difference in the “skipping” sound. If it seems to be getting better then rotate the barrel adjuster another half turn out and repeat the process. The sound should get better and eventually be eliminated as you make the adjustments. Be careful not to over adjust, as this will cause the same sound, but now the derailleur is trying to move up to the next gear (lower gear, easier to pedal). If this happens, just rotate the barrel adjuster the opposite direction (clockwise) until the skipping goes away. Remember that multiple smaller adjustments is always the preferred way to do things.

I just have to warn you that there are some derailleurs that have been made that shift to the lower gears when the cable gets slack, or stretches. The procedure for this adjustment is the same, but you just need to know that you will be moving the derailleur in the opposite direction (rotate the barrel adjuster clockwise). I’ve been working on bikes for years and have not encountered one of the reverse pull derailleurs, so chances are you most likely don’t have one. They are nothing to worry about, just a little different. Also, if your front derailleur is having the same problems, it can be adjusted the same way, but the front derailleur only has the barrel adjuster on the shift pod.

This is a real basic instruction about doing the cable stretch adjustment. It’s good for you to know how to do this as cables have a way of stretching and becoming annoying at the worst times…like when you are on that really cool ride and having loads of fun. This adjustment will keep you riding happy and “skip” free after just a few minutes. My advice is to try doing these adjustments a few times at home, that way you get the hang of it and gain that confidence for doing it out on the trails. (Plus, if it all goes bad, you still have the local bike shop to run to…and your ride isn’t ruined).

Please let me know if this was helpful and if there are any other adjustments or bike related questions that you have. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Paying the "Mountain Bike Experience" Forward

My 8 year old daughter has been asking why her mountain bike doesn’t have front “springs” like her sister’s bike, or like mine. So last week I ordered a set of inexpensive suspension forks for her and installed them on her bike. The resulting smile and new found enthusiasm for riding her bike was well worth the $40 I spent on the forks. Plus my older daughter and I had a good time working as a team installing the new part. It was a fun afternoon of bonding with my girls, and the result was that we all smiled at our part in the project, my eldest daughter for being able to help work on the bike, my younger daughter because she now had a bike with front “springs”, and me for seeing the smiles and feeling the bonding with my daughters.

I also realized something as I worked on the bike and saw the resulting joy that was created. I realized that most mountain bikers feel pride in this sport, and that in turn manifests itself as the desire to help others feel that same joy and satisfaction. In fact, I think if you ask most mountain bike riders if they would help someone get started riding, the answer would be that they would be more than happy to assist. I think this is because mountain bikers ride, not only for the exercise and enjoyment of riding, but also for the social aspect too. Many times you will see mountain bike riders in pairs or larger groups talking and pedaling along with big smiles and good attitudes and saying hello to everyone they meet on the trail and completely enjoying the shared experience with their friends.

After helping my daughters with the forks I could also see that it is the responsibility of us more seasoned mountain bike riders to help promote our sport and get other people interested in riding. It is important that we help our sport grow and that we help new riders understand the rules and etiquette involved in being a responsible mountain biker. It is also our attitude toward riding that will show the new riders how much fun it really is to get out and sweat as we pedal up a hill, or race down after that long climb (in a legal and controlled manner, of course). We are integral in the future of the sport, cultivating the enjoyment of new riders, and creating the image that other ‘non-riders’ see when they meet us on the trail. We need to teach technique and social skills, while preserving the fun and adventurous spirit that was originally found by those crazy guys racing clunkers down Mt. Tam in Marin County.

So if you ride a mountain bike, keep in mind what it is that you enjoy about our sport and remember to pass this enjoyment along, either as support for other riders you meet, or as a positive attitude towards those that have yet to appreciate the pleasures of this great sport. By passing on your experience and enthusiasm you will be helping to create positive mountain bikers...who will pass on what they learned from you to the next generation of riders!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Forums can be a VERY Negative Experience (but survivable)

Last night I decided that I would join the forums for a mountain biking website that I am, or maybe was (the jury is still out), a big fan of. I thought it would be a good way to speak to the people that have the same interests I have in regards to the lights that I sell. So on I go, I quickly find a forum that is dedicated to “Lights and Night Riding”, and I proudly ventured to suggest someone take a look at

What a mistake that turned out to be. I quickly realized that the forums there were more of a gladiatorial arena, the weapons being words and narrow minded attitudes. The people that replied to my suggestion could not get over the fact that the light head for the ZigLights systems uses parts from a Chinese made light. I explained that I did use those parts, but if they did a little research on the ZigLights website and Facebook page, they would quickly see that my lighting system is far above the Chinese light in quality, reliability, and performance. Alas, my words fell on deaf ears. The replies ridiculed my answer with obvious lack of thought, intelligence, and understanding of what ZigLights was trying to do for the mountain biking community. I continued for about half a day, giving answers that were courteous and informative. Again, every answer I gave, trying with all my might to be professional, was given a rude answer. I realized that my best option was to bow out of the forum, wishing everybody a happy riding experience.

I vow never to return to ANY forum.

The saddest part is, for a time after conversing with the negative forum dwellers, my positivity and hopeful outlook for was shaken. My hopes that everyone would be enthralled with how much effort and thought I put into my lights dictated how my attitude would react to the negative forum replies. I predetermined my own downfall. Instead of entering the forum with a completely open mindset and being willing to maybe accept that many people have a need to bring others down, I entered it with my head held high and with the thought that everyone would be clapping me on the back for my dedication and hard work. Of course I know that many people will not like my lights. But I suppose I expected to be treated the way I try to treat everyone else, with respect and constructive input.

I’m still a bit down (hence the reason for writing this blog entry…good therapy), but I know that things will feel better with a bit of time. I still think my lights are a great product. I still think that I have priced them very competitively for what the customer will receive. And I still will not return to any forum because I don’t want to deal with the small minds encountered there. I just need to regain that positive feeling and attitude. I know...I’ll feel better if I go for a ride…maybe a nice night ride, using an awesome ZigLights light!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Time for a Lifestyle Change!

I’ve decided to seriously change my life. I actually made this decision many months ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I took my new life goal as a real and tangible thing. I’ve decided to become a “Lifestyle Entrepreneur”, or someone that creates an alternative income in order to create a better way to live. For me the choice was really founded on the fact that I am watching my two daughters grow up and I can’t really do anything with them. My job takes so much out of me that I either end up sleeping most of the day, or are just too exhausted to really do much of anything. Add to that the fact that I have absolutely zero personal satisfaction about my job and where I work. I knew that I had to change, but change is scary, and I had enough change the last few years to really cause me to hesitate.

What really got me going at this particular time is the fact that something that I make has been pretty much perfected and I’m ready to start selling them. I make lights for bicycles. They are battery powered, very strong, easy to use, and I think just about the best light out there. I made them to my standards, which are high, and I’ve been using them for months now with absolutely no problems. So I bought a domain name, created a website, bought the parts to make several lights to fill orders, and then stopped…..Scared. Why scared? Hmmm, good question. I suppose it was the fear that what I make will not be good enough, that I charge too much, mostly that I just don’t measure up. I know that these thoughts are ridiculous, but they are always in the back of my mind. I make great lights and everyone that has tried them has loved them. I priced my lights to actually be less expensive than comparable lights using the same technology. And I know I’m a good guy, I try to help people, I strive to be fair, and I know in the long run I measure up. My fears were ridiculous and unfounded….but there still. So I did what everyone recommends and I set a goal for when my website had to be online and made the choice to move against my fears. I figured the 4th of July, Independence Day, was a fitting time. In fact, two days before my deadline, I sat in front of the computer and realized that I had nothing more to do on the site. It was time to take the plunge and upload to my domain. The feeling of accomplishment, the sheer invigoration of knowing I had taken that first step to living my new lifestyle was amazing. I was on my way!

Since then I have refined the website, changed a few things, made it more appealing, but overall the thrill is still there. Now if I could only get a sale! I laugh at this, the stress of actually being online is gone and I am having fun figuring out how to market things and get my website seen. New goals have been set; my first sale, learn better web design, get my product out there for people to see, but throughout it all to keep a great attitude and think positively about where this business is going to take me. I picture my first European vacation with my two girls, paid for by my business. I can see myself traveling and having a good time as I talk to people about mountain biking with my lights and show them how much fun they can have. I look forward to going for bike rides in all the great venues, all as business expenses and tax write-offs with the benefit of having a great time as I do what I have a passion for, mountain biking. I can see myself sharing this lifestyle with my daughters, getting them excited to live in a healthy and fun manner with mountain biking at the center of it all. Plus just having the ability to make my schedule what I want it to be. To take charge of my life once again, and let nobody ever dictate what I have to do for their profit again. I’m not worried about getting rich, the foundation of this change isn’t money, but the freedom to be what I want to be, and the ability to invest in a better way of living.

PS. Check out my lights at and let me know what you think….or buy a set!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Timing is Everything! Or is it??

Yesterday I woke up late. I work the graveyard shift and it really takes a toll on my ability to get rest. So when I have a day where I don’t have to do anything, I sleep. But the downside is that I hate to sleep the day away because it is so unproductive. I had the idea that I would sleep for as long as I needed, then get up and go for a nice mountain bike ride before I would have to go to work. So yesterday I slept a long time, 9 hours. I woke up and immediately saw that time was short and my mountain bike ride would most likely have to wait, it wasn’t “the right time” for me to leave. I sat down, a bit upset that I wouldn’t be riding, and prepared to have something to eat and watch a movie. I couldn’t get over the fact that I had slept so long and had to miss going for a ride. Then a thought hit me…why couldn’t I go for a ride? Just because I got up later than I had anticipated, there was no good reason for me to not get out on my bicycle and have a good time for an hour or two, other than it wasn’t what I had planned as being “the right time” to leave my house. So I put on my gear and went for a ride….and I had a great time!

When is the perfect time? I know that many of us have some sort of plan in mind to do something, whether it is to travel, fix the roof, get an oil change for the car, etc, but we usually are waiting for “the right time”. It seems that “the right time” never really comes along, and whatever we had planned on doing either has to be done out of desperation, for instance now that leaky roof has become a small waterfall and HAS to be fixed, or we don’t get a chance to do it at all, like travel before failing health makes it impossible. Why do we do this?! What makes us keep procrastinating? Why do we put off doing fun things or fail to get necessary things completed merely because we feel that timing is a factor that should be taken into account?

I blame society’s crazy rules. We have grown up and been indoctrinated into believing that we should plan out everything in our lives. We save up for vacations, Christmas, home repairs and continually plan when those things will impact our lives the best. Yet we never seem to understand that the longer we wait, the more reasons we will find to say that the timing isn’t right. How easy it is to say, I can’t fix the roof today because it might rain this afternoon, or it is just too hot? Have you ever heard a young couple talk about when they are going to have a child, yet what is keeping them from the amazing adventure of being parents is that it isn’t “the right time”? It is because we all believe that we have to be completely prepared for whatever it is we are planning, that every detail needs to be taken into account and provided for. But we don’t know what we don’t know….and will never be able to plan for everything.

So the next time that it seems easier to procrastinate because the plan has changed or doesn’t fit easily into “the right time” idea, stop and think. Is there ever really going to be a “right time”? Or could you take control of your own life and decide that NOW is the “right time”? The more you do this, the more you will realize that anything is possible at any time. Don’t let an imaginary rule stop you from living your life the way YOU want to live it, and when you want to live it……

As for me, I think I’ll go for another ride….right now