Different Commuting Rig

The recumbent isn’t really working for me as a commuter bike.  I rode the new Space Horse (single speed) on Friday, but I had to install a rear rack to do so.  That’s not the point of that bike, so I removed the rack.

The rSogn, with it’s drop bars, still hurts my neck, but it has a dynohub and fenders – so it’s an ideal commuter bike.  I removed the drop bars, installed the Albatross bars, recabled everything, and added the rear rack.  It’s ready to haul me to work tomorrow.

Since I was working on bikes I also worked on the Fargo and Space Horse, which I took outside for a group picture.

Later, Diane and I took the Big Dummy (not pictured) out for dinner.

Posted in Bikes, Pictures | 1 Comment

Goodbye Sandy

Last year, I had to say goodbye to Candy.  The decision to put a dog down is never easy.  A week ago, it was confirmed that Sandy had cancer.  We were still waiting on results from the biopsy, as the vet was pretty certain that Sandy could get another 3 to 6 months of pleasant life.

As the week wore on, It became clear that she wasn’t getting better with the pills she was taking.  Originally, I was going to take her in yesterday (Saturday) to be put down.  I was upset that I hadn’t taken her out for a “going away party” and opted to wait another day.

Saturday night, Diane and I took Sandy out for (a sip) of beer and a burger.  She enjoyed socializing with the the other dogs and people.

Sandy's Last Beer

Sandy’s Last Beer

This morning, She seemed better, if a bit subdued.  The self-doubt about whether now is the time or not was gnawing at me.  The vet didn’t open until 2pm.  I worked on my bikes to stay busy.  I had some leftover parts to take to the co-op that opened at 1pm.

She didn’t seem horrible today, but she was suffering.  I loaded up the car with bike parts to take to the co-op.  I brought Sandy out to the car. We drove about 1/2 mile, and unloaded bike parts.

Sandy went in to the co-op and was mildly friendly with another dog there.  She was calmer than normal.

She couldn’t get back in the car, so I had to pick her up.  We drove another mile to the vet’s office.  I was afraid of a long wait.

After arriving, I lifted her out of the car, but she wouldn’t walk.  She could barely stand.  I carried her in, and she collapsed on the floor.  They immediately took her back.  The vet was ready to intubate her, but I reminded him I was there to have her put down.  They did nothing.  She was gone in less than three minutes.

In short, I was having second thoughts, but she eased my mind by dying all on her own.

I’d like to think I gave her a good home for the 8 or 9 nine years that I’ve had her.  That’s the best I can hope for.

Rest in Peace, Sandy.

One week before her death

One week before her death

Posted in Pictures | 1 Comment

Tired

28 miles today.  I had to run to the bank before work.  I had a late day at the office, then rode home.

The temperature was nicer.  Traffic was lighter.  That’s all nice, but I’m really tired.  I’d forgotten how exhausting the longer bike commutes can be.

I still intend to remain car-free – well, except Diane’s car, but she drives that.

Posted in Bikes, Car-Free | Leave a comment

New Job!

Yesterday was my first day at a new job, but I drove.  I wasn’t sure where I would park a bike, change clothes, and I had to drive a little ways away for a drug test.  Yep.  Safest to drive on the first day.

Today was the second day.  Yes, I rode my recumbent.  It’s about a 26-mile round-trip, so I wear bike clothes, and leave extra time.

An unusually quiet stretch along Algonquin Parkway

An unusually quiet stretch along Algonquin Parkway

I headed west on city streets that aren’t too bad.  There are worse roads where I’m headed, but I bypass them by taking the Louisville Loop.

 

I spend a fair amount of distance in a bike lane on Campground Road.  It’s not horrible.

 

 

The area is an odd mix of woods, ugly industrial, a huge power plant, and a few residential neighborhoods.

 

 

 

The worst part is probably the chemical factories.  The smell bothers me as I ride by.

 

 

Heading home is just the reverse route.  I got 26.5 miles on the odometer today.

A co-worker who rides a bike wanted to try my ‘bent.  I let him ride it around the parking lot.

I’m hoping the longer distance commute will help me get fitter again.

Posted in Bikes, Pictures | Leave a comment

A Tour Without a Plan

Last Wednesday, I realized time was running out before I start my new job and have to go back to the daily grind.  I posted on G+ asking about locals for an overnight bike camping trip.  Nobody was very certain of availability.  So I improvised and whipped out a quick 5-day plan of about 250 miles.  I’d ride alone if necessary.  I had just a couple of hours to plan and pack.  Diane was flabbergasted.

Wednesday – Day One

After a trip to the ATM on my loaded recumbent bike, I headed north.  I detoured around some of the bridge construction mess, and eventually crossed into Indiana on the Big Four Bridge.

I noticed the cables for the new downtown bridge are partially done.

I cruised through Jeffersonville without stopping by Flat 12 for a beer.  I continued up to Utica, where I could see the progress on the new east-end bridge.

I continued to Charlestown, where I did have a beer, a half-sandwich, spinach salad, and copious amounts of water at Charlestown Pizza.  I probably had too much of something.  I felt “sloshy” while leaving.  Ugh.

Shortly after leaving town, the rain started.  I don’t mind riding in the rain.  The glasses making it hard to see does bother me.

At this point I had to deal with hills.  Oh well.  I’m fat and old.  I’m attempting my longest (in days) tour while being at my fattest and most out-of-shape since I got a bike.  I went slow.  I walked up hills when I had too.

The rain stopped after an hour or so.  The roads were gorgeous.

I made it to Clifty Falls State Park after sunset.  I paid the fee, set up my tent, and went in to take a shower in the nice facility their just as a torrential downpour began.  It rained a lot Wednesday night.

I slept poorly.  It was hot and muggy in the tent, but I couldn’t open the rainfly due to rain.  I couldn’t leave the tent due to bugs (I had already washed off the bug repellent in the shower).  I read my Kindle for a while.  I think I finally fell asleep at 3:30 am or so.

Download

 

Thursday – Day Two

I woke surprisingly late at 9:00 am.  I can’t normally do that while camping.  I unzipped the tent to a pleasant day, and my ‘bent leaning against the picnic table.

Timothy contacted me about meeting up at Hardy Lake, where I already had plans to swim.  I packed up and headed out.

Weather was a bit mixed, and this was probably my slowest day on the bike.  I was a bit stressed, getting sunburned, and trying not to make Timothy wait too long.

Due to spotty cell coverage, my conversation with Timothy was difficult.  I rolled into Hardy Lake, down to the beach, and took a swim with my waterproof camera.  I didn’t see Timothy.

Just as I was leaving the water, Timothy came rolling up on his bike.  He had apparently been at the park for a couple of hours, but missed the beach.  He was down at the boat launch enjoying the view.

We rolled out.  Our destination was Delaney Park, which I believe is a county park nestled into the hills of Jackson-Washington State Forest.

It was hot, then it rained.  I was slow.  I complained.  I think Timothy pulled ahead to avoid hearing my complaining.

We rode a little gravel.  We rode a few hills.

I needed food and more caffeine.  We stopped at a Subway restaurant in Crothersville (where I stopped in a 2011 tour also).  In the 2011 tour, I went into that Subway to hide from a storm, and ate while I was there.  This time, I went there to eat, and ended up waiting out a storm.

The second half of the day was mostly flatter terrain.  We were in ancient river valleys between “knobs”.  As we approached the park, bigger hills were visible, but our path took us around them.

I had been under the impression that Delaney Park was private, but I now believe it’s a county park.

We arrived, set up camp, and were immediately set upon by a severe thunderstorm.  It had scary-strong winds.  We took shelter in the laundry area of the laundry/restroom building.  It appeared to be a sturdy block building.

The winds passed, and we wandered about, watching the deluge flood down the hills and eventually into the lake.  Surprisingly, both tents and bikes were right where we had left them.  Timothy’s was fairly dry.  Mine was soaking wet.

I didn’t have real food with me, and had intended to eat at the restaurant in the park – which was closed.  Timothy saved the day with camp food.

After eating, we settled in for the night.  The rain had tapered off.  I wan’t able to fall asleep easily, so kept the rain fly open on one side to watch the lightning bugs flicker in the stand of trees a ways a way.  It was hypnotic.

I’d like to say I fell asleep in that bliss.  I did not.  The “residents” who have full-time sites there were loud and boisterous.  There was a very loud strange bird flying from tree to tree.  The frogs were very vocal – including one very close to my tent.

Eventually things quieted down, but the rain started again.  I closed the rain fly, and fell asleep eventually.

Download

 

Friday – Day Three

I woke at about 5:30 am.  It was raining.  My tent was dripping on me.  Packing up in the rain is difficult.  Timothy was still asleep.  I tried to go back to sleep.  I considered the absurdity of camping in the rain, of bike touring, of many of my life’s choices.  I was unhappy.

Then, at 7:00, the rain just stopped.  That’s my cue.  I got out of the tent and quickly started packing.

We made coffee and more camp meals, and headed out.  Salem was our immediate destination for a more substantial breakfast.

There was one brutal climb on the way that I walked most of.  The rain did not hold off.  Often there was just a drizzle.  A few times it was a downpour.  We took shelter under a tree briefly.

We arrived in Salem looking for a breakfast place I had been before.  Apparently they don’t exist anymore.  The best we got was excellent doughnuts and mediocre coffee.

Shitty Mushroom Bridge?

Shitty Mushroom Bridge?

Lemme sleep!

Lemme sleep!

Mr. Scruffy

Mr. Scruffy

Our destination was Spring Mill State Park, which is just a short distance from the town of Mitchell.  Timothy thought that heading to Mitchell first for a substantial meal would be a good idea.  I agreed, and off we went.

I had already scoped out The Hub Restaurant online before the trip.  It’s a simple, family restaurant, but the staff was friendly and the food was good.

While there, more weather warnings were issued.  My gear was pretty wet.  I suggested we skip the camping and go across the street to the Mitchell Motel.  Once checked in, and had our bikes secured, we walked to the local liquor store for a six pack of beer to share.

There's a bike under all that wet stuff somewhere...

There’s a bike under all that wet stuff somewhere…

I slept like the dead.

Download

 

Saturday – Day Four

I woke with the 7:00 am alarm.  We were packed, check out of the motel, and across the street at the restaurant again for breakfast when they opened at 8:00.

After a hearty breakfast, we headed out.

It had rained all night and most of the morning.  There flood warnings scattered around the area.

My planned goal was Buffalo Trace Park in Palmyra.  Timothy was going to ride with me, then ride home.  He was going to have a much longer ride than I.

I was really struggling to keep moving.  I was having knee pain.  I was wet and miserable.  Along Vincennes Trail there was high water across the road.  We consulted the GPS, and took an alternate route.

We made another short detour to visit Beck’s Mill.  It’s an operational water-powered mill.  Timothy wanted to buy a bag of grits.  Apparently they can’t operate with flooding and were closed.

We continued further along Vincennes Trail.  We came across another, longer, deeper flooded stretch.  It didn’t look good.  There wasn’t an alternate route that wouldn’t add significant mileage.  It wasn’t flowing water, so it was safe.  It was a matter of submerging parts of the bike that shouldn’t be submerged.  We decided to try to carry our loaded bikes the distance.  Neither one of us managed, and instead set the bikes down, and pushed across.

Yes, both my hubs were submerged.  Timothy had the same problem, along with his bottom bracket.  The lower part of my panniers were also dragging in the water.  It was a long slog down the road before it wasn’t underwater.

At this point, I knew the tour was over.  I was too sore, too tired, and would need extra time to clean and fix the bike at home.  We continued to Palmyra, found a diner, and I called my wife to come pick me up.

I still rode about 200 miles in 4 days.  I’ll take it.  I’ll do it again… later.

Download
Posted in Bikes, Pictures, Touring | Leave a comment

New Bike in the House!

A number of years ago, I bought a 1980s Raleigh Record converted to a single-speed.  I liked it.  It was comfortable.  I eventually had headset problem and a poor repair attempt damaged the fork.

I later bought another 1980s road bike – this time a Bridgestone 400, but it was just a little too small for me.

After researching for a while, I was unable to find another old frame I liked that was for sale locally.  I decided to go ahead and buy something new.

I decided on a frameset from All-City called the Space Horse.  It comes complete as a geared bike, but if your order a frameset, you can pick your own parts.

On Your Left Cycles ordered the frame and parts.  I brought in my old tires, freewheel, crankset, bottom bracket, and pedals.

Single-Speed Space Horse

Single-Speed Space Horse

Build list:

  • 58 cm All-City Space Horse frame set
  • Hand-built wheels using:
    • All-City New Sheriff hubs
    • HED Belgium+ rims
    • Black spokes & nipples
  • Thompson seatpost
  • Brooks Cambium C17 saddle
  • Tektro CR720 cantilever brakes
  • Cane Creek headset
  • KMC chain
  • FSA Omega Compact drop bars – 44cm
  • A stem – unknown brand or size
  • SRAM brake levers
  • Some awesome rubbery bar tape
  • Brake cable hangers – front and rear
  • Brake cables

I provided from my parts:

  • 20 tooth freewheel
  • 48 tooth Sugino crankset
  • Shimano bottom bracket
  • Grip King pedals
  • Panaracer Pasela 700×35 tires
  • Two stainless steel King Cage water bottle holders
Cushy cockpit

Cushy cockpit

After getting the bike home, I put lights, GPS, and a cheap saddlebag on, and went for a 24 mile ride with Tim.  The bike rides wonderfully.  The drop bars have a shorter reach than I’ve had before, and these may be the drop bars that allow me to continue to ride drops.  The soft, rubbery bar tape is quite nice too.

I’m still waiting on the covers for the cable mount bosses on the downtube.

I’ve got some plans for different light mounting ideas, and a small bag up front.

I don’t intend to put racks or fenders on this bike.  I want to keep it simple, light, and fun.  This bike helped me to feel like a cyclist again today.

 

Posted in Bikes, Pictures | 2 Comments

Retail Therapy Part Two

No, this isn’t about the bike yet.  Sorry.  Soon, I promise.

I’ve had the same glasses for four years.  I wear them every day.  It was time to replace them.

I rode 3.5 miles to the vision center yesterday, and got a full eye exam.  This included the “picture of the retina” thing that they charge extra for.  My prescription is unchanged in one eye, and slightly changed in the other.

I can still see okay through the old glasses, but the lenses are quite scratched and the frames are worn.

I picked out a similar frame, and it’ll be more than a week before my glasses are ready.  As “retail therapy” it’s not as satisfying as a new bike, but it is more useful.

When I left, I took an alternate route through some neighborhoods.  I needed a few extra miles.  I was eventually dumped onto a busy road – but it has multiple lanes and I usually take the lane.  This time, there was road construction, and there were only two open lanes.  I did something I almost never do.  I rode the sidewalk until I was past the construction.

Even with “no beer June” going on, I had a little beer on Wednesday.  Yesterday was worse.  I parked myself at Four Pegs for hours and drank.  Then I went home and took  nap.  Diane wasn’t very pleased with me when she got home from work.

Anyway, I’m back to no beer for the rest of the month.

Posted in Bikes | 2 Comments

Retail Therapy

Yes, retail therapy is probably not healthy.  I’ve taken money I’ve not spent on beer this month and ordered a new bike.  This is just a tease.  More later, once I have it and can take pictures.

Posted in Bikes, Mental | 1 Comment

Job News

Yay!  I get to stay employed!  Yay!  I get a week and half off between jobs!  Boo!  I don’t get paid for that time off!

My contract job ends this Wednesday.  It’s been a fun 18 months, but it’s time to move on.  The new job is direct-hire, long-term thing.  Good.  I’m tired of contract.  The pay is good.  The atmosphere seems nice (an arcade machine in the break room, and casual dress code), but the commute has the possibility to be ugly.

Driving, it’s ten miles each way.  Much of that is roads I would not want to ride a bike on.  I can take a 13-mile route on the bike, and have a good stretch of it on a bike path – that even goes through the woods for a while.  That’ll be nice, until winter comes anyway.  They won’t clear the path.

So, I’m looking at riding 26 miles a day, five days a week.  I’ll be getting 130 miles per week just for commuting (assuming I don’t wimp out and take bus/car/Lyft).  This should help with my weight loss (which has restarted since giving up beer on June 1st).  I also hope it improves my fitness.  I still have that goal of racing Gravel Grovel in November.

Until then, I’ll have some spare time for putting in miles.  I’m considering a short tour.  I’ll have to keep it cheap for budgetary reasons.

Posted in Bikes, Car-Free, Goals | 4 Comments

Sunday Morning Ride

Tim convinced me to get up this morning for a ride.  The rSogn was the steed of choice.  It hasn’t been ridden much.  It’s the only bike I have that still have drop bars, but I figured a few hours wouldn’t kill my neck too bad.

Coffee start

Coffee start

After meeting at Sunergos for coffee, we headed toward Iroquois Park.  It has some climbs that I struggled on due to being out of shape.

Tim climbing the hill

Tim climbing the hill

Near the top is a pleasant grassy field – a small refuge in the city.

Grassy field at Iroquois Park

Grassy field at Iroquois Park

We headed back, and had more coffee at Breadworks, then back to my house where I loaded some maps on his GPS.  At 28 miles, it was a pretty nice way to spend a morning.

Posted in Bikes, Pictures | Leave a comment

Dogs and Pickles

Dogs

I mentioned in my previous post that we have a new dog.  Diamond is a year and a half old.  She came to us from my son-in-law.  She wasn’t meant for apartment life but I have a fenced back yard.

2015-06-02 09.05.20

She really is a sweetie, but needs more training.  Now we’re back to having three dogs.  Two of them are old, but Diamond is making them perk up a bit.

Pickles

I bought a large jar of pickles a few days ago. I was craving a beer when I got home from work today. I had a pickle instead.

Now I just need pickle-bars to stop at on the way home. I can have overpriced craft-pickles served to me by hipsters. Oh. Wait. Nevermind.

Posted in Food, Pictures | Leave a comment

Do or Die

There’s something about nice round numbers or dates that appeals to me.  So today, June 1st, 2015, is a new start.

As mentioned yesterday, I’m not drinking beer during the month of June.  I’m not a fan of liquor and I rarely drink wine, so those aren’t an issue.

I weighed myself this morning.  I’m 274.6 lbs.  That’s pretty unacceptable to me, but not as bad as I feared.  I will continue weighing, but I’m not sure about posting here, as I always fell behind that in the past.

The first time I lost weight and wrote about it here, my life was simpler.  I was single.  I had nothing going on besides a job.

Now, I’m married.  We have a new dog (who’s destructive and high-maintenance).  Although I’m working now, I’m actively seeking a new job as the current one ends next week.

I’m playing volleyball again this year, at least in the summer, outdoor in the sand.  I don’t enjoy indoor as much.  I played today and had a good time, even without drinking any beer.

My eating habits have deteriorated in the last couple of years.  I need to fix that.  I’ve started that today, just by eating less.  I’m not tracking calories at this point, but I probably need to do that.  It certainly worked for me last time.

I’m rolling around some ideas about how to limit my beer consumption once this month is over.  I don’t have anything decided on yet, but it needs to take bike miles into consideration, so I can earn beer by riding more.  As much as I was drinking the last few months, I’d be riding to Indianapolis and back every few days.

Posted in Bikes, Car-Free, Food, Goals, Stats, Volleyball | Leave a comment

I Rode to a Job Interview Recently

I had a job interview downtown recently.  I rode there in a suit.

0002

I also had an interview on the East End, but I drove due to distance and weather.

Wish me luck!

Posted in Bikes, Car-Free, Pictures | Leave a comment

Beer-Free for a Month

My weight gain has continued.  I’ve also continued to drink too much beer.

I can’t (yet) commit to quitting beer, but I can commit to quitting it for a month.  June is that month.

Since the weather has been nicer, I’ve been riding the bike more.  Nearly 100% of my transportation has been by bicycle.  I’m not riding enough “other rides” though.

I have less than two weeks left at my current contract job.  I’ve been interviewing, and hope to have something lined up soon.

I haven’t been weighing in quite some time.  I do know I’m about 280 lbs, so I’ve basically gained back 80% of what I lost.  That is depressing.

Posted in Bikes, Car-Free, Food | Leave a comment

Fell in a Hole

It’s been too long since I wrote.  Life is mostly good.  More later.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Trail Riding and Bike Changes

Since going to friction-shifting on the Fargo, the ten-speed rear has been a bit of a pain.

Tim recommended a short ride at Waverly this morning.  I got up early and replaced the ten-speed chain and cassette with 8-speed equivalents.

Fargo

Fargo

Download

I’m too fat and I struggled a bit.  Afterwards we had coffee.

In other news, I’ve made changes to the Big Dummy.  It’s also become my primary commuter bike.  I’ll have more on that later.

Posted in Bikes, Pictures | 1 Comment

November 23rd Gravel Adventure Ride

Timothy has been putting on Gravel Adventure Rides for the Louisville Bicycle Club.  I attended one last month.

Tim and I went together.  I think we had a total of six riders.  The ride started in New Washington Indiana.  This route is nice for only having one big climb.

My memory isn’t clear, as I didn’t write about it right away.

Timothy and the other riders mostly stayed ahead of Tim and I.  Tim stayed with me.  I was struggling to keep any kind of pace whatsoever.  The first half of the ride, I never took my camera out.

We stopped at Jendy’s Pizza in Hanover.  It started raining at that point.

My new waterproof camera is perfect for rain, but I was too busy to use it.  I let Tim take pictures.

That's me in the distance

That’s me in the distance

Running along the river

Running along the river

Horse!

Horse!

The ride was cut a bit short at 35 miles.  I enjoyed getting out, but had a weak day on the bike.

Download

 

Posted in Bikes, Pictures | 6 Comments

Updates, More Riding?

I’d meant to “catch up” on what interesting things I’ve done this year, but I’m falling behind.

I did a bike camping trip with Tim back in September.  I don’t have time to write about it.

My mileage for the year isn’t great, but with some effort, I may hit 3000 miles for the year.

I’m weighing myself again, but I’m not posting it here yet.  I’ve lost about 5 pounds, only 115 more (or so) to go!  😀

I gave up beer.. until I didn’t.  I have cut back substantially.

I interviewed for a new job today.  I left work early, and rode 11 miles to the new place, while wearing a suit and tie.  I wish I had a picture.  I think the job has promise.  It’s also 12 miles from home, so it’ll kick up the mileage for me.

There’s a cheap bar near there.  That could be good/bad, depending on point of view.

I hope to get this job.  The pay is acceptable.  The longer commute is more of a challenge, but could be good for me.  I intend to remain car-free, but with the ability to use Diane’s car/the bus/Lyft as necessary.

More later.

Posted in Bikes, Car-Free, Goals | 1 Comment

More Adventure

Tim and I had big plans for last weekend.  We were going to drive to Texas to ride with Pondero.  We were concerned about weather on the return trip, and stayed closer to home.

Saturday was Tim’s birthday, and we usually try to put a ride together.  This time, it was on Friday.

We re-visited Daniel Boone National Forest, where we spent some time back in July.

Going to a remote area, and having a flaky GPS is a bad thing, so I brought both my old GPS, and the new one, recently replaced.

Belt and suspenders

Belt and suspenders

We started at S-Tree campground this time.  Tim and Patrick had scoped it out a while back, but I’d never been there.  The ride start was at 1400 feet of elevation.  It was a pleasant run on a gravel road that followed the ridge for a while.

We followed a turn-off that lead to a cleared piece of land overlooking… well, everything.  I have no idea what the purpose of the clearing is.  Maybe someone will build there.

Clearing with a view

Clearing with a view

Tim at the edge of the world

Tim at the edge of the world

Pleasant

Pleasant

After a while we took a steep downhill, still on gravel down to our only paved road of the day, KY-89.  That was a couple of miles riding along the river, with some dogs chasing us along the way.  Traffic was extremely light.  There was a neat old wooden-decked bridge over Horse Lick Creek, a tributary of the Rockcastle River.

Neat Bridge

Neat Bridge

We eventually turned off near where Horse Lick Creek branches off from the Rockcastle River.  This was a pleasant ride for a while.  After enjoying a snack at a deserted intersection, we continued along.  Our GPS route had us crossing the creek at a location that just wasn’t feasible – and there was a “private property” sign on the other side of the creek.

We continued on “our side” of the creek for a while.  It remained mostly flat, but large mud pits became common.  I was reminded of the old videogame, Pitfall!.

After a while our road path dead-ended at a campsite along the creek.  It wasn’t feasible to cross the creek there, and moving away from the water meant a steep climb through the woods.

Not crossing here

Not crossing here

We considered taking crossing the creek anyway.  We took off our shoes and socks, intending to walk across.  It was too far.  The rocks were sharp.  The water was icy.  I bailed and put my footwear back on.

We turned around, and later hiked crawled up the hill.  Near the top was an interesting rock bridge and a cave.  Neat, but I was too tired to get closer.  We moved on.

Rock Bridge

Rock Bridge

After riding along the ridgetop for a while, there was a mostly-unrideable descent back to the creek.  This creek crossing was shallower, and looked rideable.

Tim made it across successfully

Tim made it across successfully

I did not

I did not

It takes more than wet feet to deter me, so we continued on.  In the flat spot by the creek, there was an open field with the makings for a bonfire.  We had brought coffee-making materials, but time was running short.  Sunset comes early this time of year, and we weren’t equipped with good lights.  We skipped the coffee, but I did change into some dry socks.  We also decided to cut the ride short, and head directly back to the car.

I mostly quit taking pictures at this point.  We were off track according to the GPS, and there was that pesky creek and it’s cold water between us and the magic purple line.  Tim and I had disagreements over the route, but it was his ride, and I followed.

In the end, even though I was technically right, his way worked fine.  He has a better sense of direction than I do.

We had a couple of miles of endless mud pits to cross.  I got a bit reckless due to my haste, and went over the bars.  I wasn’t hurt, but rattled.

The temperature had dropped.  My rear derailleur was iced up and wouldn’t shift at all.  Tim’s drivetrain had similar issues.

Eventually we joined up with Raccoon Creek Rd.  This began our climb back to the car.  I walked most of it.

Raccoon Creek Rd and the endless mudpits before were a low point for me.  I really wanted to give up cycling.  I wanted to stay home where it’s warm and dry.  However, I didn’t want to get rid of the Fargo as I had in some previous trips, so apparently the bike changes helped there.

Before I knew it, we were at the car.  The sun was slowly setting.  What was supposed to be a short ride took all day.  We stopped for pizza on the drive home.  It was a nice finish to the day.

Now, my bike is cleaned and lubed.  The sore muscles have returned to normal.  The clothing has been washed, dried, and put away.  Now what?  I want to do it again, of course.

Tim’s write up is here.

Download
Posted in Bikes, Pictures | 1 Comment

Fargo Changes

After the rides I did earlier in the year on the Fargo, the drop bars were really hurting me.  I decided to take a risk and make some changes.

I bought Jones H-Bar handlebars, Silver Shifters, and Paul Thumbies, some new brake levers, and a new rear derailleur. This gives me a more upright riding position.  The derailleur is just because I’m trying to sell the old shifter/brake levers/derailleur together as a set.

Fargo Cockpit View

Fargo Cockpit View

Bar tape and grips finished up the bars.  The upright riding position didn’t work well with the stock saddle, so I moved the black Brooks saddle and seatpost over from the single-speed (there’s another story there too).

Muddy Fargo

Muddy Fargo

The bike as you see above was how it was ridden last weekend.  I still want to change out the rest of the drivetrain.  Shifting 10-speed stuff with friction can be problematic sometimes.  I’ll replace the cassette with an 8-speed, which means a new chain also.  I’d like to replace the crankset with a triple.  This bike will be for gravel adventure, winter commuting, and some touring.

Riding High

Riding High

This is a picture (stolen from Tim) from last weekend’s ride.  Yes, it’s a very upright position.

Posted in Bikes, Pictures | 2 Comments

August 16th, Ferdinand Gravel Ride

I’m still trying to catch up with my writing.  I’m showing that I actually did ride this year.

Ferdinand State Forest in Indiana has some wonderful gravel roads.  Tim and I headed out there on August 16th for some adventure.  Tim’s write-up is here.

My Favorite Road Picture

My Favorite Road Picture

This was a 42-mile ride.  I suffered a bit from it.  I’ve had more issues with my neck, and riding the Fargo seems to make things worse.

Tim is Happy

Tim is Happy

It was a good day to get out for a ride.  The flat I had after riding down a “farm road” didn’t bother me.

Bad Selfie

Bad Selfie

 

Good Roads

Good Roads

 

Download
Posted in Bikes, Pictures | Comments Off on August 16th, Ferdinand Gravel Ride

August 10th, Miles With Tim

After our Charlestown Pizza ride in July, Tim and I wanted to revisit the area, but on a longer ride.

So, on August 10th we headed out through Utica toward Charlestown.  I was on the rSogn, Tim was riding his Lightspeed.

Old Bridge

Old Bridge

This was three months ago, so the details are sketchy, but I ended up with over 80 miles for the day.  We were caught in a hailstorm on the way home.  In other words, perfect.

Heavy Skies in Utica

Heavy Skies in Utica

Tim wrote about it when it was fresher in his mind.

Download
Posted in Bikes, Pictures | Comments Off on August 10th, Miles With Tim

Fun Ride, Poor Body

In January of 2013, I joined Tim, Patrick, and Timothy for a sloppy-winter gravel ride out of Marengo Indiana.  Today, it was Tim, Timothy, Jeff, and I.

Last time was a planned 40-mile ride, but was shortened a bit.  This time, we did the short version, at 36 miles.

Last time it was cold and muddy with bits of ice.  Today was cool, but mostly pleasant.  There were still several creek crossings and  numerous large puddles, so I didn’t stay dry, but it wasn’t a problem.

I’ve gained a lot of weight and lost fitness.  I really struggled on this ride.  For that reason, I took no pictures.  I was too busy trying to keep up.

I really wanted to give up during the first four miles.  After that I felt good until mile 18, at which point the wheels fell off.  I wanted to quit.  I wondered what could possibly make me want to slog up and down all these damn hills.

I eventually got over it.  The terrain is rugged but beautiful.  Traffic is nearly non-existent.  The road surface is rough enough to be interesting, but not so bad as to make it dangerous.  I even managed to get the Fargo up to higher than normal speeds downhill (40mph or so – on gravel).

What really came out of this ride is that I’m too damn fat.  Most of the weight gain has been from beer.  I really need to re-evaluate my relationship with beer.

Download

Edit: Tim has posted his (better) write-up with pictures.

Posted in Bikes | Comments Off on Fun Ride, Poor Body

Catching Up and Staying Sane (I Hope)

Goals

Yes, my writing has languished.  I’m trying to catch up.  Go read the last two posts then come on back.  Done?  Good.

I’ve not been weighing myself.  I’ve not been losing weight.  I’ve done some bike riding, but not enough.  I’m drinking too much beer.  I’ve been depressed.

Normal tasks have overwhelmed me, including writing here, where I try to make myself accountable to the public.  That was the whole point of this writing.

I can’t fix everything, but I use this site as a repository of what I have done.  I draw my own inspiration from it.  I can’t ignore it anymore.  Over the next few days to a week I’ll get it up to date to the best of my ability.  Then, once that it habit again, I’ll work on something else.  Diet?  Exercise?  Something.

Issue

My temporary job is coming to an end.  It’s harder to get a new job when you feel like a failure.  Earlier today, I actually felt like I was wrapping up my life, rather than just one job.  It’s not that I’ll miss the job (I might miss the income).  It’s that I feel I have nowhere left to go.  Luckily, the feeling has passed, and I’m normal(ish) again.  It was a disturbing feeling.

I went off the anti-depressant a couple of months ago.  The mental side-effects it had on me were not healthy.  I need to do this without a pill.  Change needs to come from within.

Wish me luck!

Posted in Goals, Mental | 6 Comments

Charlestown Pizza Ride

I used to live in Charlestown Indiana.  It’s not that far.  They have a cool pizza place.  Tim and I decided to do a road ride there and enjoy some food and beer.

On a Friday in July, I took the day off work.  After running some errands, I met up with Tim at Quill’s coffee to get the day started.

This was a road ride, so I was on the rSogn.  Tim was on his Lightspeed.

rSogn

rSogn

We took the Big-4 bridge across to Indiana.  Riding this thing is absurd.  There’s nearly always huge crowds of pedestrians.  I’d say “screw it” and take the Second Street Bridge, but the I-65 realignment and bridge project is going to turn that bridge into a high-speed exit ramp.  Bleh.

Once across, the ride up to Utica is pleasant and rather flat.  Being along the river tends to do that.

Ohio River and fluffy clouds

Ohio River and fluffy clouds

There’s a gradual climb up Waterline Rd.  We took Highway 62 into Charlestown and enjoyed our tasty treat.

We took part of my old 11-mile loop north of town then headed down hilly Bethany Rd and back to Waterline, and back the way we came.

It was a nice 58 miles for the day.

Download
Posted in Bikes, Pictures | Comments Off on Charlestown Pizza Ride