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Please support my 2015 BP MS150 ride!
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Although this blog was originally created by Andy Brickell and continues to be updated by him, the design and layout of the page is credited to his daughter, Mary-Claire Brickell. She's pretty awesome.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

built for comfort, not for speed

Woke up this morning jonesing for a ride, but the road bike is in the shop, so I took the commuter bike down the Terry Hershey Trail. It was a bit like taking a Ford F-150 pickup round the Nurburgring. She was OK on the straights, a bit shaky on the faster corners but evil on the climbs. Terry Hershey is pretty flat but there are a few short climbs that I barely notice on the road bike. Very different on the commuter - I was out of the saddle practically every time, and worked up quite a sweat, despite the low 40's temperature.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

no user-serviceable parts inside

I went to the bike shop this morning to see how my lovely Euro roadie was coming along. The clank from the bottom bracket was solved by some tightening and adjustments, but the mechanic wants to do an overhaul, since brakes, gears and headset all need work. He likes the bike, though, so hopefully he'll be gentle with her. Should be ready by Wednesday, which means no rides until next weekend, but she should be right for the season after that.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

post-Xmas slump

At least in my mileage, due to a worrying, expensive-sounding clank from my bottom bracket during the last ride with Dale. The bike is in the shop right now - fingers crossed it will be back before the weekend.

In other news, I got playing with Google Earth and plotted out my routes a bit more accurately than I could with Google maps. Check it out...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bambi and Pumbaa's revenge

A good ride with Dale today. He was just back from four day hunting trip in South Texas and didn't feel like an early start so we rode at 11.00. We were delayed for a bit while he looked for his cold weather gear (mid-40's but very sunny). He couldn't find it and settled for some purple sweat pants and woolly mittens, a Glamour don't if ever I saw one.

Dale bagged two good-sized deer and two wild boar on his trip, so I was in the mood to exact some revenge on behalf of the animal kingdom. First off, I left him for dead on Eldridge as we slogged north into a pretty strong wind (that's for Bambi!). We stayed together on the trail from Bear Creek to West Houston airport, and then on Barker-Cypress and Fry, but when we hit the west end of Terry Hershey I kicked it up a notch and got his heart pumping a lot faster than Pumbaa's is now. We finished off back at Dale's with a glass of red wine, where Robert, his oldest, told me I looked good in tights. Love these unsolicited testimonials -

Friday, December 21, 2007

the Brickell family gets its Xmas on!

Yes, we finally got festive and trimmed our tree! Looks pretty nice, huh?

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Woke up to the sound of thunder this morning, as a pretty good storm cell blew through the area. A quick look at the radar showed that the front had moved off to the east, so I leapt onto the bike (amidst protests from Susan - "Don't blame me if you get pneumonia") and pedalled off through wet streets. The new bike held up well - my feet are dry and I don't have the usual tiger stripe up my back.

Only two work days left and then I'm off until the new Year. The evening ride home has been difficult lately, because I have to negotiate a lot of traffic around the Town and COuntry Village shopping area. It takes about 15 minutes to pass two traffic lights less than 1/4 mile apart!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ho, ho, ho

On Sunday evening Mary-Claire and I rode the Durham street Jingle Bell ride, a charity ride through the mean streets of River Oaks, Houston's ritziest section. The ride starts at dusk, so by the time we get to where the rich folks live it's dark and we can ooh-aah at their elaborate but tasteful Christmas lights. We dressed up our bikes with battery-operated flashing fairy lights, and I had M-C's Xmas ghetto-blasting mix (a little heavy on Bing Crosby for my taste) pumping out of my portable iPod player, until the batteries died, that is. The ride is about 8 miles and ends at Mission Burritos, where they lay on a mexican buffet. Great fun but a bit chilly. Here's a shot of M-C pre-ride:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Surely not another weather post?

Well, yes, but not really - a great comment from my colleague and buddy Fluteman John. He was listening to NPR on his way home yesterday and heard the following:

"Not as cool as yesterday, high in the 60's"

He wasn't sure if it was the weather or a comment on his life!

about time, too -

The long-awaited, much-anticipated cold front finally rolled through the area yesterday morning, bringing an end to record high temperatures and disgusting humidity. It also brought a dramatic sky, a little rain and a 25 degree drop in temperature. Yesterday we woke up with the AC on and went to bed with the heating on - just another December day in Houston, I suppose.

Great biking weather this morning - not quite cold enough for the full monty (tights, jacket etc) but chilly enough to be uncomfortable for the first few miles.

Monday, December 10, 2007

ridin' in the rain

A soggy ride in this morning, with a couple of showers on the way. At last a chance to see how my commuter bike performs in the rain!

Weather update: Houston 61 degress and hzay, West Lafayette 34 degrees and overcast. Come home James, all is forgiven!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

West Lafayette weather report

Current temperatures: Houston 71 degrees, West Lafayette 26 degrees

Saturday, December 1, 2007

if it isn't one thing, it's another

Up early for a ride today. Dale had a golf game so I was a lone wolf, apart from about 5,000 runners, of course. I had to deal with the usual foot traffic in Terry Hershey, but it generally clears west of the dam. But not today! There was an organised run going on and I spent the next three miles threading my way through them. Everyone was very polite and made room but it's hard to maintain a decent pace with that much traffic. I finally got to Barker-Clodine where the runners turned round, while I headed on into George Bush Park. Half a mile down the road I had to turn back because the trail was flooded out. This happens occasionally - the park is on the edge of the Addicks dam, after all, but with no way through I was faced with another three mile slog in heavy traffic back to Terry Hershey. I rode up to I-10 instead, to see if there was a decent shoulder that I could use. There wasn't, but there was a sidewalk, so I took that instead. That went quite well, apart from a short cyclocross section where the sidewalk was overgrown and I had to dismount and carry the bike. Eventually I made it back to the relative safety of Memorial, and cranked it up a bit. I had a pretty good head wind all the way back so I got my exercise. Back in my neighbourhood and the fun wasn't over - the construction workers had the road blocked with a big digger, so I had to detour round.

Bear Creek - Terry Hershey loop

Bear Creek - Terry Hershey loop

Daily commute to work

Daily commute to work
This isn't quite right but it's close. 9.5 miles, about 40 minutes.

Terry Hershey Park

Terry Hershey Park
10 miles of safe, paved cycling bliss - except for all the foot traffic

The Sealy ride

The Sealy ride
45 miles through very pretty Texas countryside. Looks benign but there's a very hilly section at mile 35.

The Katy ride

The Katy ride
It's on the Katy prairie - flat, flat, flat