Why I bike

Amidst all the training I do on the bike, I sometimes get to enjoy just taking a joyride. I rode by myself tonight on a warm, humid afternoon. 70 degrees on December 26. The sun was just starting to set. I attached my front light that I knew I’d need to get home, put on my helmet, and rode off in my t-shirt and gym shorts. No spandex today.
 
Being on a bike has always been a part of my life. I started when I was four, accompanying my dad on our weekly bike trips to the French groceries store (we lived in Geneva, Switzerland), because things were cheaper there. At night, I would often just ride around the neighborhood by myself or with friends. Every kid in Europe has a bike.
 
In Madison, Wisconsin, I was older (10) and bigger, and rode a proportionally larger bike. We would ride around the UW-Madison campus, around the state capitol, and I even remember biking around Lake Monona once or twice. Kids love freedom. The bike provides that freedom.
 
In Boston, I had a Trek hybrid and went everywhere with it. On warm days, on cold days, on rainy days, and especially on snowy days.
 
I brought the bike to Emory and it was my only mode of transportation for all of undergrad. I left it unlocked on campus the entire time (got no time to lock things when you’re almost late to class everyday). It didn’t get stolen for five years, until I pretty much abandoned it outside the Chemistry building one day after it was old and beat up. It probably deserved a better fate, having served me for almost a decade. Who knows, someone might be riding it today?
 
When I got my current bike this year, it had been almost 5 years since I’d ridden a bike. Life will do that to you… priorities change and suddenly things you used to do everyday, you don’t even think about anymore. But I knew from the first moment getting back on the bike, that it would be a great decision.
 
Riding gives me freedom. It brings me back to my youth, both physically and mentally. It makes me wonder why I’m so much more stressed out in a car than on a bike. It makes me wish Atlanta were slightly better for cycling (it’s not bad now, but you gotta know the routes).
 
I’ve gotten to experience Atlanta on a much more personal level. Having biked through almost every neighborhood now, I can tell so many different personalities in the city. The semi-industrial Cabbagetown. Tudorian Avondale. Historic Stone Mountain. Mansions of West Buckhead… places and things I would’ve never seen had I not biked.
 
The cycling community has also been wonderful and welcoming. From all walks of life, but on the ride, everyone is equal. There are both competitive and recreational folks, all bound by good past experiences that are probably similar to mine.
 
So, this is why I spent so much time on the bike. If anyone would like to join me for a ride sometime, let me know.

Slow Facebook or Akamai on UVerse? Check your ipv6

Uverse has enabled IPv6 for its customers, which is awesome, but also causes problems if things aren’t configured correctly.

For months, I’d been plagued by slow loading of Facebook and other major sites. The issue seems to be the akamai-hd CDN specifically. I believe that it first tries to connect to the ipv6 CDN servers first, before timing out after 20-30s and finally connecting via ipv4.

That’s not good, so let’s fix it.

  1. Login to your Motorola gateway (mine’s a NVG589) and make sure that the “IPv6” option is set to “On” under Home Network -> Configure.
  2. Make sure you have a “Global Unicast IPv6 Address” under Broadband -> Status. This is basically the unique address of the gateway.
  3. Configure your router to receive. Here’s what it looks like on my router (TP-link Archer C9)Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 5.28.46 PM
  4. Configure the router to assign IPv6 addresses. The prefix should basically be the first part of the Global Unicast address (this is filled in automatically by my router)Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 5.30.43 PM
  5. Check it with http://ipv6-test.com/
  6. Done!

Cycling in Keds

“Hey, you know these guys hate you, right?”

My lack of proper cycling equipment had prompted discussion within the group of 20 or so cyclists that day. Coming straight from the office, I was wearing my Outlier New Way Shorts (which are fabulous and designed to resist crotch blowouts for cyclists), and my blue Keds normally used for swing dancing.

The thing is, I do have nice Bontrager RL cycling shoes, and Shimano SPD-SL pedals. Heck, my LBS didn’t let me leave the store without them when I got my bike (probably some of the highest-margin items they sell).

As everyone knows, Rule #69 says you can’t wear cycling gear to work, so I got some platform adapters called PedalDabs that basically clip into the Shimano pedals and provide a larger surface for flat shoes.

So why Keds / flats?

Firstly, I commute, so not having to carry shoes with me is a huge win. I usually don’t carry anything to work, which turns every commute into a mini training session.

However, I’ve also been wearing flats even on group/training rides.

I haven’t found a huge difference in power output (I have a power meter to back this up). GCN did an experiment comparing flats to clipped, and found no significant difference in power either. Also, there’s research that indicates pulling up during a stroke (which is only doable when clipping in) isn’t efficient as it involves smaller muscles and is harder to coordinate.

As a new cyclist, I’m still experimenting with foot positioning. Not being clipped in lets me move my foot around (usually subconsciously) and doesn’t lock my knees and ankles into one configuration that might not be optimal. There are coaches suggesting medium-foot cleat positioning instead of balls-of-the-feet, Q-factor, duck-footedness, and other factors to consider and play with. I’m sure as I get more experienced, I’ll find the right cleat fit, but for now, the freedom is great.

I never fall over at stop signs.

I never fall over when resuming pedaling from a stop on a hill.

I can splay out my legs like a little kid.

And finally… I love my Keds! Fashion statement.