Tandem Toodling

I spent most of the weekend at home being lazy and reading books.  Diane had to work.

When she got home today, she wanted to go out.  We hopped on the tandem for a quick trip to Four Pegs.  We decided not to eat there, but go somewhere farther away.  The tandem has the new chain and cassette, so I figured we should really give it a work out.

We headed to Indiana.  We cranked over the bridge, but very shortly after that the chain wedged between the cassette and the spokes.  I got very greasy getting everything back together.  We continued the ride, but soft-pedaled it, as the chain would skip.  Apparently it has a bent link or two.

We eventually made it to New Albanian where we enjoyed BBQ pork sandwiches and delicious beer.

The drivetrain on the tandem was really complaining on the return trip.  I was worried that we’d break the chain.  I carry both 9 and 10-speed chain links, but the tandem is an 8-speed.  Again, we soft-pedaled our way along – and took the bike path through Clarksville.  It was dark by the time we made it to the riverfront.  We were well lit, but we took some time to enjoy the view.

Louisville Skyline from Clarksville

Louisville Skyline from Clarksville

We made it home with no further mechanical issues.  Now I need to get in the shower and scrub the grease off of my arm.

Just Bikes

This is the first week that I’m truly back on the bike.  This means I ride the bike to work every day.  I don’t borrow the car, or take the bus.  I’m getting back to normal – as normal as I get anyway.

I’m a little sad that I don’t seem to enjoy the recumbent bike anymore.  I won’t sell it.  It comes in handy when my neck hurts.

I rode the Big Dummy on Monday.  I switched to the rSogn (with new tires) on Tuesday.  I rode the Big Dummy again today to haul the tandem’s rear wheel to the bike shop after work.

In addition to having the spoke issues dealt with, I bought a chain, cassette and seatpost.  I installed those tonight.  The drivetrain is in much worse shape than I imagined, but the old 8-speed stuff is cheap to replace.  The seatpost was not original, and was above the minimum insertion line – even with Diane, the short one, sitting on it.

I did buy beer tonight.  I didn’t go to a bar.  We’ve not gone out yet this week.  Eating a home-cooked meal and drinking beer from a six pack is certainly cheaper, and a tad healthier than going out.

No Focus?

Reminders

I’m glad I have friends to remind me where I’ve been.  In April of 2010, Tim and I did a nice ride.  He grabbed a picture of me that I didn’t think much of at the time.  I was just over 200 lbs.  I was much fitter.

He posted that picture to me earlier this year on Google+.

The "good old days" should be coming back

The “good old days” should be coming back

I need to get back to that instead of the 250+ I’m at now.  I don’t even know what I weight, as I haven’t been weighing myself.  That will require cutting *way* back on the beer.

Bikes

After a week of riding the recumbent to work, I realize that it hasn’t been my favorite bike for many years.  That’s unfortunate, as it’s a nice bike.  I won’t get ride of it, as I need a bike for the “bad neck days”.

The rSogn has been in pieces.  I finally got around to picking up some used 650b tires* from Tim for a fair price.  I’ll re-assemble the bike this week.  I won’t be commuting on it.

The Big Dummy is in great shape for commuting.  I’ll ride that tomorrow.

Diane and I have been riding the tandem quite a bit over the last three days.  I made the wrong choice in tires for this bike.  The 26×1.75 Paselas are nice tires, but with our combined excessive weight, glass works it’s way through the tire pretty frequently.  I fixed another flat yesterday.  I’ll keep using the tires, but when they’re worn, I’ll replace them with something tougher.  Also, the rear wheel has two broken spokes.  I had no idea until changing the tire.  The wheel still runs true – one of the benefits of a 40-spoke wheel.  I’ll be taking it in this week for repair.

I won’t be buying a new bike for a while – probably not this year.  Money is tight.  I need to fix some things on the bikes I have.  I need to make the single-speed ridable.

The Leg

I’m recovering well from my Achilles repair surgery.  I still have a bit of a limp.  I started riding the bike (against doctor’s orders) five weeks after surgery.  This quickly led to accelerated recovery.  I quit wearing the boot within days.  The borrowed wheelchair was returned.  The purchased crutches, walker, and knee-walker are in the basement.

On March 13th, I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor.  He said although I’ve been aggressive with my recovery, that I’m unlikely to re-rupture unless I start running or jumping.  Easy – I won’t be doing any running or jumping.  He hasn’t ordered any physical therapy as it would only be for range of motion, which I have no issue with due to my “aggressive” recovery.  I still need strength training, but he wants to wait a bit longer for that.  My next appointment is April 24th.

Tomorrow will be ten weeks since my Achilles rupture.  Friday was nine weeks since the surgery.  I’m pleased with the progress.

Fun Riding

I really haven’t done much leisure riding.  It’s mostly been commuting and errands.  I’m pretty liberal on what errand really means though.  It includes riding the tandem with Diane to the bar, the store, her mother’s house, or whatever.

We hauled her dog (Baxter) in a backpack on the tandem last night for a trip to Apocalypse Brew Works.  They are a dog-friendly establishment, and have good beer.  We had drivers pointing, laughing, and taking pictures on the way.  Baxter is a cutie.

Today, we hooked the trailer to the tandem and rode to Diane’s mother’s house.  We hauled the borrowed wheelchair back to her house.  We then went to her oldest son’s first apartment and had dinner.

On the way home we stopped for beer.

The Wedding

It’s still on – just in case you were wondering.  :)  It’s two weeks from today. I was asked if I had cold feet.  I said I’d wear warm socks.

There are a few small details to iron out, but most everything is ready.

Work

My job was a contract position that was supposed to end on 3/31.  That’s now been extended to 4/28.  That means I can’t tease Diane that she’s marrying an unemployed bum.  Oh well.

There is talk of another extension.  I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.  I do feel as if I’m wrapping things up and fulfilling my duties.  I will be ready to move on at the end of April.  I just hope I can find a job.

Weight, Beer, and the Elephant in the Room

I haven’t been weighing.  I know I’ve gained weight.  Diane has gained weight.  She had to have her wedding dress re-altered.  Yikes!  She’s not happy about that.  Our combined weight was apparently too much for the tandem’s rear wheel and two spokes have broken.

I gave up beer earlier this year for weight loss.  It didn’t last long.  I’m getting married on April 6th, and our reception is at a bar.  There will be beer.  My birthday is 4/26, and there will be beer.

I’ve made tentative plans to quit drinking on 5/1, but will I stick to it?  I honestly don’t know.  I know I need to.  I want to lose another 70 lbs.  I want to be able to crank out mildly-hilly 70-mile rides on the single speed.  I’ve done it before.  I want to be able to do it again.

Diane and I talk about losing weight.  We just don’t do anything about it.  I’m sure that will be a recurring theme here for a while.  This website is fatguy.org after all.  Maybe I’ll find focus someday.  Maybe I can reach my goal weight of 175.  Then fatguy.org will redirect to usedtobea.fatguy.org, or something.  :)

*Tyres for Mark because he’s from the UK, and for Timothy, just because he’s weird.

Moving Forward

I haven’t been concentrating on weight loss.  I’m still not weighing myself.  I am on the bike most days now.  I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon later this week where he can tell me I’ve been reckless, but that it’s turned out well.  :)

Diane and I have ridden together on the tandem and on single bikes.  We had an argument while riding single bikes on Friday night.  It turned ugly, but was fine later.  We’re both out of shape from lack of riding, but she was struggling more than I.  We had both been drinking.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.

I still can’t run.  I still have a limp.  Otherwise I feel mostly normal.  I don’t feel so fragile anymore.  I haven’t done any big rides.  I may not be ready for that.  I need to get back on the scale, back on the bike, and back on track.

Diane and I spent some time on the computer today to print wedding invitations.  She bought pretty paper.  I had to make it work with my laser printer running Linux on my computer with less-than-ideal drivers.  I wasted a lot of plain paper getting it right, but the finished product looks good.

The wedding date is approaching too quickly.  There are too many things to handle.  My medical bills are coming in.  I need to do my taxes soon.  I need to start looking for another job, as this one will be ending soon.  Bleh.  This is the wrong time of year to get married.

I worked on bikes today.  The rSogn has had a flat tire for over a week.  It turns out the rear tire is worn.  The tire came used with the bike.  It’s had enough.  I can see the casing through the tread.  Buying a set of tires is another item to add to the list.  I tuned up the recumbent for tomorrow’s commute.

I know I need to get back on track, but I feel overwhelmed with everything going on.  So instead of worrying about everything, I’m trying to tackle short-term tasks first.  The weight loss isn’t on the radar yet.  :/

Stay tuned.  I’m sure it’ll be an interesting ride.

Almost Normal?

Okay, very little about me or my life is normal, but we’ll let that slide.

On Sunday the 23rd I wrote about getting back on the bike.  I had ridden wearing the boot to protect my ankle.  It did bring it’s own issues.  It was awkward and almost caused a wreck on it’s own.

I ditched the boot after that.  I haven’t worn it since.  I did a short ride that Sunday evening.  I had no issues.  I rode the bike to work two days last week.  It’s great to wear two shoes again.

This past Saturday, I had intended to get up for a ride.  It was going to be the last nice day for a while.  I felt like crap and stayed home.

I did get up for a morning ride yesterday with Tim.  It was 33F and raining – PERFECT!  We were staring down a winter storm warning.  The frozen stuff wasn’t due for hours.  I met Tim at Breadworks, as is usual.  We meandered a bit, complaining about the weather.  We tried the recently opened Gralehaus for food and coffee.  It’s not someplace I’ll go regularly, but it was a nice change of pace.

Tim’s thoughts are here.

We split up short after that, where I went for a beer at Four Pegs before heading home.

A recent change is that I’ve started drinking a lot more water.  I’ve had too many nights/mornings over the last couple of years where I woke up sick and dehydrated from over-consumption.  Drinking water will alleviate that if I keep the amount of alcohol under control.  I also wonder if dehydration was partly to blame for my Achilles tendon rupture.

Yes, I’m still not supposed to be walking on this leg, let alone riding a bike.  I still have ten days before I go back to the doctor to get set up for physical therapy.  I’m just considering this an early start.  I’m listening to my body instead of my doctor.  I just hope the body is right.

On The Bike

On Friday, five weeks after my surgery, I rode the bike to work.  It wasn’t planned.  Diane was working.  I overslept and missed the bus.  It was the latest bus for another 50 minutes.  So I grabbed my rSogn and rode.

I was wearing the boot.  I was very cautious about stopping and starting.  I had no issues but I was quite slow.  Diane met me at work at the end of the day (on her bike) and we rode out to Apocalypse for beer.  I had eight miles for the day.  I was a little sore.

Saturday, I joined Tim for a short coffee ride.  Then Diane and I went out for food and drinks – on bikes.  I got 16 miles in.  I wasn’t as sore as I had been Friday.

Today my ankle feels really good.  I haven’t left the house yet, or even gotten dressed, so I haven’t had the boot on.  My ankle feels almost normal.  I still have no strength to push forward with my toes, but I’m walking differently to compensate.

Yes, I’m drinking beer again.  I’d like to blame Diane for bringing beer back after a week without it, but the responsibility falls with me.  I still have some decisions to make about all that.

I intend to continue riding to work.  The injury took away my freedom now I feel I have it back.  I just need to continue to be careful so I don’t re-injure myself.

Baby Steps, Beer, and Bikes

My last post was pretty negative.  I was having a bad day.  Today is much different.

I had a good day yesterday, but last night was rough.  I had drank too much and eaten some questionable food.  I had trouble sleeping with an upset stomach and a headache.  I also had muscle aches that are probably due to dehydration due to alcohol consumption.

Getting up for work this morning was hard.  I made it in to work a bit later than intended, but still before 9:00am.  Work was a busy blur.  I can’t complain – I was productive and time flew by.

Before I even made it to work, I’ve decided to quit drinking.  I seem to have an issue with moderation.  I’m also not going to lay around like a lump until my leg heals.  I’m borrowing a trainer so I can use my recumbent bike as a stationary bike.  I’ll pedal one-legged with my SPD shoe until I’m cleared to use both legs.  I’ll have the trainer tomorrow.

Two days ago when I complained about lack of progress with my leg, things got better.  I can walk now.  I’m not supposed to, and I rarely do, but if I need to get up some stairs without a rail, I can.  I only walk slowly taking very small steps.  It’s almost a shuffle.  I can’t “push off” with my right foot, but it’ll hold me up.  There’s no pain when doing this either.  I only do this when wearing the boot to support my ankle.

I’m still using the Knee Scooter.  I hate the crutches and the walker.  I don’t need the wheelchair.

Now I just need some exercise.

Weekend Riding

I did get two enjoyable rides in over the weekend before my injury on Monday.  Tim planned both of them.

Saturday

The first was a road ride on Saturday.  This ride was just Tim and I.  He was trying out some new handlebars on his Rawland Sogn.  I was riding my Rawland rSogn.  We took a mildly hilly route through part of Jefferson Forest.  It was a good day on the bike.  We didn’t push the tempo too hard.

The morning started with some light rain, but it moved out, leading to a beautiful day.

Two Rawlands

Two Rawlands

I was nearly at the end of the ride when my rear tire flatted.  Rather than fix it on the side of the road, Tim walked with me back to the coffee shop, and gave me a ride home.  The bike is still sitting in my office with a flat.  I should fix that soon.

I got 36 miles in on Saturday.

Sunday

Sunday brought a ride with some off-road stretches.  Patrick joined Tim and I for a “camp coffee” ride.  No camping was involved, but we brought coffee-making supplies and stoves along for the fun.

I rode my Fargo.  Patrick rode his Fargo.  Tim rode his Mukluk.  This meant all three of us were riding Salsa bikes.  That’s unusual.

We rode city streets to Indiana.  Once there we rode a few paths before diving into diversions near the river.  These weren’t paths, but muddy tracks that usually dead-ended near the river.  Tim’s 4″ wide tires meant he did well here.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam and Jetsam

After enough dead-ends, we back on roads for a bit to get to an old railroad grade that I’ve ridden before.

Trees and sun

Trees and sun

Tim turned-off downhill to check out a spot for coffee.  Patrick and I continued on to check out a railroad bridge.  We turned back to join Tim.  We found the wrong “path” to get down to him.  It would still get there, but it was much steeper and muddier.  I didn’t realize that and went down first.

Riding down the steep section was thrilling, but relatively safe, and it was straight.  Then there was a steep uphill to slow me down, which it did.  What I didn’t count on was the uphill being so muddy and slick that I couldn’t even walk up the last few feet.  I had to cut through the brush – after falling and getting muddy.  Patrick walked and avoided the mud.

We rejoined Tim and started our stoves.  Three cups of coffee were made and consumed in the woods.  It was pleasant.

Great riding

Great riding

We continued on across two defunct railroad bridges.  I’ve been across them before – once on the rSogn even.  Tim and Patrick elected to walk while I rode down the middle.  Tim wrote lies about the event on his blog, but that’s okay, he made a more interesting story than I did.

We headed back to town.  Tim and I rode with Patrick toward his house (he lived the farthest), but I turned back after a bit – as I had a busy day planned with Diane.

I arrived home with a terribly muddy bike that I had to hose down in the back yard.

Muddy Fargo

Muddy Fargo

I rode almost 28 miles for this ride – much of it difficult off-road.

Spreading the Love

Diane’s sister’s birthday was over the weekend.  Diane and I went out for a drink on Saturday with her and her fiancée.  We were a bit silly, but I was designated driver, and kept us safe.

They came over again on Sunday to pick up her (their?) birthday gift – an old yellow Sears-branded tandem bicycle.  It’s a cruiser style bike – single speed with coaster brake.  I bought it from Asher and Denis, since they now have a better tandem.

I fixed it up a bit.  It needed grips, tubes, and rim strips.  I cleaned and lubed it.  I added a bell – because I like bells.  The four of us rode the two tandems down to Four Pegs for a beer.

I wish I had taken pictures of the tandem, but I failed to do so.

Monday

Yeah.  Monday.  Work went by quick.  I rode the Big Dummy to and from work.  It really wasn’t a bad day.  We went to volleyball – then my Achilles tore.  Oh well.  Game over.

In any case, last weekend was a great weekend.  Maybe that’s why I’m still in a decent mood, even with the torn tendon thing going on.

Feeling Better, but… Surgery

I felt almost normal this morning – until I tried to walk.  Then my slow, shuffling gait reminded me that I’m damaged.  I got ready for work.  Diane had already left.  I knew the bus schedule and had plenty of time.

Walking down the alley to the bus stop was slower than expected.  I hate crutches.  I missed the bus by 30 seconds.  I called a cab.

I barely used my crutches.  I hate them.  I can shuffle slowly around.  I can even climb stairs slowly as long as I hold on to the railing.  I have almost no pain, just a dull ache and some stiffness in the ankle.

Diane’s sister picked me up from work at 1:00 to run me to my appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.  It’s only five blocks from work, but I don’t want to walk that distance.

The fact the the ankle has been feeling better had given me hope that the tendon was only partially ruptured.  The doctor dispelled that thought.  It’s a complete rupture.  I have no ability to flex my foot downward.

Anyway, I go in for surgery on Friday.  I’ll be in the hospital overnight.  I’ll be out of work for a week.  Being in a new contract job, I have no paid time off, so I just don’t get paid.  Shit happens.

It’ll be a slow recovery.  I won’t be able to walk on the right leg for quite some time.  Riding the bike is months away.  This sucks, but that’s the way it is.

Diane was off work when I finished up at the doctor’s office.  She picked me up, and we headed to buy dog food.  As she was driving down Baxter Avenue, I saw a familiar cyclist ahead.  It was Katie who organizes car-free happy hour.  I rolled down my window and talked to her at a red light.  She said she had the same achilles problem before – from falling.  I didn’t have time to ask her if it was due to riding a bike.

Now that I’m home, I lubed the chain on the Fargo.  It had been a muddy mess after Sunday’s ride.  I haven’t had a chance to write about that yet.  I will soon.  I had washed the bike after the ride, but the chain was beginning to rust.

Now that the Fargo is done, I still have a flat tire on the rSogn.  I probably clean it thoroughly while I work on it.  I might as well work on the bikes since I can’t ride them.  I have some changes I want to make.  Now is a good time.  I just need the money to buy some parts.

I can still be a bike geek, even if I can’t ride.

Updates

Beer Tickets

My first (partial) week of beer was okay.  I had two beers on two different days, taking up my allowance of four from 1/1 to 1/4.

This week is not so good.  I’m allowed seven per week.  I’ve already had six.  I don’t get another allotment until Sunday.  Bummer.

Cold!

We had some bitter cold weather on Monday and Tuesday.  The forecasted snow fizzled, but the cold was real.  The Monday morning bike commute was done at about 3F.  Monday afternoon was about the same.  Tuesday morning was a “chilly” -1F.  There was a bit of a warming trend during the day, so the afternoon commute was a balmy 15F.

I had a volleyball team captain meeting to attend after work on Tuesday.  I rode there, of course.  It surprised the others – and they know me.

Today’s morning commute was about 15F, but the afternoon commute was above freezing.  It felt like shorts and t-shirt weather!

Volleyball

The new volleyball season is about to begin.  I’m angry at myself for gaining weight last year, but then I realize that I still ride a bike (slowly) and play volleyball (poorly).  Actually, my volleyball league is full of older, fatter people.  Hmmm….

Work

The holidays are over.  Work is ramping up.  I stayed late today to get some projects finished.  I haven’t been this busy and productive at a job in a long time.  I love feeling productive again.

So, I’ve been busy and happy.

Also, this job is a contract job.  It’s temporary.  It was originally supposed to end by April 1st.  I think that’s now been changed to May 1st.  There’s also a chance of a six-month extension after that.  We’ll see.

Weight

My weight has been fluctuating right around 255 since the beginning of the year.  I am weighing every day again, but I’m not seeing any movement in either direction.

It’s early.  I need to keep an eye on the longer-term trends.  I’ll average weekly once I have more data to work with.

It pisses me off that I still need to lose 80 pounds.

New Year’s Day Ride

Four years ago, Tim and I went on a New Year’s Day ride.  That day it was bitter cold and our ride was rural southern Indiana.

We did another New Year’s Day ride today, but it was urban.  He rode his Mukluk, and I rode the Big Dummy.  It was quite the odd couple of bikes.

Mukluk and Dummy

Mukluk and Dummy

The weather today was pleasant.  Temperatures were in the low-to-mid thirties.  I did underdress a bit, and would get cold if we stopped long.

We wandered around town, on and off road.  Tim did some bird-watching.  We came across a group of runners.  We ran into some cyclocross racers that he knows training some young racers (10 to 16 years old or so).

We meandered along the river.  We never went fast.  Not with him on a fatbike.

Louisville skyline

Louisville skyline

We had two coffee stops.  I had a coffee and snack at each.

Tim’s write up is here.  He takes better pictures.

Welcome to 2014

Happy New Year!

It’s fine to celebrate the new year, but let’s dive back and look at 2013.

In January I said I’d buy no new bikes.  I didn’t for myself.  I did buy a bike for Diane, and a tandem for both of us, but no new bike for me.  I guess I get that on a technicality.

I was disappointed in riding just under 3600 miles in 2012.  I made it a goal to ride 6000 in 2013.  That didn’t happen.  I had 3800 miles.  I had training, weight, and diet goals.  I’ve failed them all.

I participated in a nice gravel ride in January.  I’ll probably do another one this weekend.

February brought Cyclocross Worlds and some company from California.  I also attempted a 100-kilometer populaire, but I bailed early.

In April I met Diane.  She’s continuing to affect my life – usually in a positive way.

By May, most of my non-commute cycling was with Diane.  This is a good thing, but it does slow the pace and shorten the rides.  I’m currently 21 pounds heavier than I was in May.

In June I rode with Tim to go camping at Clark Forest.  I rode my ‘bent.

Diane and I spent some time in San Francisco in July.  It was a work trip for me, but we squeezed a couple of extra days in for a vacation.  We didn’t rent a car or bring bikes.  I learned a lot about public transportation in a major city.

September was decent.  Tim and I did a crazy bike-hike thing on some “goat trails”.  We also did a metric century through Charlestown and checked out the Parklands in the eastern ‘burbs.

September also was when Diane and I bought a used tandem.  It’s become our primary “together” bike since.  She rarely rides here bike now.

September was also supposed to bring a century ride – my only one of the year.  I drove to Michigan for the ride, but got sick and didn’t ride.  I did get to sit on the beach for a while though.

October brought Diane’s first S24O.  We also got engaged.  I also enjoyed one of the top-three gravel rides I’ve ever done.

In November, Diane and I rode the tandem for her second bike-camping trip.  Diane’s car was stolen, then recovered.  I resigned my job without a new one lined up – a first for me.  I also bailed on Gravel Grovel.  I raced it in 2011 and 2012, but didn’t feel up to it in 2013.

In December, I started a new job.  I finished up the year with a cold S24O with Timothy, Tim, and Patrick.

Recurring themes throughout 2013 were weight gain, slow cycling, and drinking too much beer.  I intend to make some changes to fix this.  More on that later.

More Winter Bike Camping

Tim planned another S24O for last Friday.  Timothy, Patrick, and I joined him in the madness.

Friday brought some nice temperatures – into the 40s.  It was a tad windy and overnight temperatures were about 30.

Tim and Timothy both used bivy sacks instead of tents.  No, thank you, I’ll stick with my tent.

We each heated our food over the fire, or various stoves – fueled by alcohol or Esbit tablets.  Timothy made an awesome chili.  I had a can of soup.  There was also bread and sausage.  We had some adult beverages.  I drank more than the others, but stayed up later.

Another stupid fire picture

Another stupid fire picture

I expected to be cold and have a lousy night of sleep.  In reality, I had a great night of sleep.  I was warm, slept for nine hours, and only got up once for nature’s call.

The morning was cold.  Packing up was brutal.  The camp coffee was less than good.  We rolled out and had a nice warm breakfast at Twig and Leaf.

It was a great way to get away from holiday madness and spend time with friends.  I hadn’t seen Patrick in months.

Tim wrote more here.

Stupid Bike Stuff and Commuting

Earlier in the week, Diane and I attended a party of a family friend.  We rode the tandem there in the freezing rain and snow.  The tandem was decorated in Christmas lights, and we got a lot of positive comments.

Later in the week, we stopped at the Bluegrass Brewing Company Taproom after I got off work.  I really wanted the beer below, but it’s long gone.  It’s nothing but an old label underneath the shellac of the bar.

Behemoth

Behemoth

I’m having trouble motivating myself to ride to work.  I took the bus several times.  The Big Dummy had rear wheel issues.  Those are fixed.  I need to ride the bike.

I’m unhappy with having to lock the bike up outside.  Diane no longer cares about her old bike (that we got for free).  I set it up tonight for tomorrow’s commute.  It’s cheap enough that the idea of theft isn’t so scary.  It may be a step-through frame that’s several sizes too small, but I don’t have to ride far.

 

Snow Ride

Last Sunday, December 12th, Tim wanted to take his fat bike on a snow ride.  I put the 2.2″ knobbies on my Fargo, and we headed to southern Indiana – where we assumed we’d find some snow.

Our ride started at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge.  It’s a nice way to get in some flat-ish gravel roads, and a little off-road riding.

We miscalculated on the snow.  There had been rain overnight, which had frozen over.  The beginning of the ride was clear roads.  Once we hit gravel, the roads were icy.  On the first turn, I went down hard, hitting my head and helmet on the road.

After I came to my senses, we decided to go off-road on the crunchy snow.  This was hard traveling, but much safer than the roads.

Frozen cattails

Frozen cattails

We eventually got back to where riding along the road was required.  Luckily, there was a muddy spot along the side without ice.  When the ice took over the road, we dismounted and walked.

Ice!

Ice!

We traded bikes for a bit to compare the ride.  My Fargo rode like a bike.  Tim’s Mukluk was pedal-powered tractor.  I’m not sure which was better.

Two Salsas

Two Salsas

Our short ride of under ten miles was quite the workout.  Crunchy snow is hard to ride in.  We did manage to have fun and Tim watched a few birds.

Don’t Taunt The Cubicle Monkey

I had a cold commute this morning.  It was 14 degrees here in the city, but below zero just north of here.  I’m glad I don’t live in Charlestown anymore.

Yesterday, I planned on riding in appropriate clothes and changing at work.  For some odd reason I didn’t.  Instead, I wore bib-tights under my work clothes, and a sweater under my jacket.

I’m not the only year-round bicycle commuter at the office.  Unfortunately the office space I’m in is not conducive to bicycle parking indoors, so the bikes sit outside locked to a sub-standard rack.  I stick to riding the Big Dummy, as its size makes it harder to steal – especially with two locks on it.

The picture below was actually taken on Tuesday.  I was not wearing bib tights in that picture.

Cubicle Monkey

Cubicle Monkey

New Job

On Monday I had to get an MMR vaccine.  My new job is in a healthcare facility.  Even though I work in a separate building from the patients, it’s still mandatory.  With that out of the way, I started the new job on Tuesday (yesterday).

My new commute is 4.6 miles by bicycle round-trip.  I rode yesterday wearing a suit and tie.  I did put a wind jacket over everything, and hat, gloves, etc.  I was a bit under-dressed, but for the 2.3 miles each way, it’s easy.

Bike parking is at a lousy outdoor rack that isn’t attached to the ground.  I rode the Big Dummy and used two locks.  It would take some effort to steal it.

I wasn’t feeling well today, so Diane took me in.  I’ll ride again tomorrow, but I think I’m going to wear warmer clothes and change when I arrive.  I’ll wait for better weather to ride in work clothes.   Brrrr.

It’s nice to have income again.

Slush Ride

Timothy, Asher, Tim, and I met up yesterday morning for a ride in the aftermath of the “weather event” Louisville experienced.

Originally, Timothy was putting on a 100k Populaire, but with the winter weather, nobody was going to shop up.  He decided if we’d show up, we do a shorter ride for coffee.

The snow/sleet/rain/ice mix hadn’t quite finished, so roads were not in great shape.  I was riding the Fargo with the studded tires.  Timothy and Asher both rode ‘cross bikes with studded tires.  Tim was the oddball with his new fatbike – and no studs.

Fargo and I

Fargo and I

The Fargo looks a little silly with the 700×40 Marathon Winter tires.  The bike is meant for 2.2″ tires, but these studded tires were bought for the LHT, which I no longer own.  The Fargo is the only bike I have that they’ll fit.

Asher and Tricross

Asher and Tricross

Asher’s Specialized Tricross Disc is meant for ‘cross racing, but he added a rear rack for commuting, and some Schwalbe Snow stud tires for the icy mess.  The bike was in it’s element for this ride.

Timothy's Origin 8 Frankenbike

Timothy’s Origin 8 Frankenbike

I don’t know a lot about Timothy’s bike, other than the frame is sold my Origin 8.  He built it up from a frameset with his choice of parts.  He had some 45NRTH branded studded tires mounted.

Tim's Salsa Mukluk.  4" wide rubber totally changes the ride.

Tim’s Salsa Mukluk. 4″ wide rubber totally changes the ride.

Tim stole the show with his new bike.  He wasn’t running studded tires, but snow was not an issue for him.  Ice could be, but he managed without falling.

This is the monster truck of bicycles.  He got a few comments from people we saw.

We headed across the bridge into Indiana.  The roads in Jeffersonville were pretty bad.  Strangely, they were a bit better in Clarksville.  We crawled up to the Levee Trail which was completely ice and snow covered.  Many children were sledding down the small hill from the top of the trail.  Again, the orange bike with 4″ rubber brought stares and comments.

We made our way to New Albany, where the main roads were mostly clear, but the bike lanes were a mess.  We stayed out of the bike lanes.  We warmed up at Quills coffee – again people were agog over the size of Tim’s rubber (wait, what?)

Dreary winter conditions

Dreary winter conditions

We mostly followed the same route back to Louisville.  We finished up at Against the Grain brewery for food and beer.  We each went our own way – I ended up at Four Pegs for more beer.  Diane got off work and met me at Four Pegs.

I ended up with 24.6 miles on the Fargo.  That was enough.  I had dressed well enough for the ride that I was comfortable, but my sinuses were bothering me from all the cold air.  I believe now that I was coming down sick, as I had trouble sleeping and I’m a bit sick today.

Diane and I went out on the tandem to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner.  There are no studded tires on that bike, but the main roads were fine by that time.  The alley behind the house was a little slippery, but we did fine.

On the way home, I must have run over some glass.  After we were back home and warming up, I heard the hiss of air escaping from the front tire on the tandem.  Fixing that is on my to-do list for today.

Snow!

We had some winter weather yesterday and last night.  There was rain, freezing rain, then snow.

Diane and I took the Big Dummy to a local bar last night.  The roads were a mess.

Today, I mostly “played domestic” around the house.  I did clear the sidewalks of snow and ice.

Front walk

Front walk

I grew up in Michigan, so the small amount of snow is nothing… but I still didn’t like clearing it.  I’ve gotten lazy living in a more southern climate.

Back yard

Back yard

After finishing, I had a good porter.

Founders Porter in a festive glass

Founders Porter in a festive glass

I’m going to Four Pegs later for an acoustic musical performance and some good beer.  This should be a pretty decent weekend.

I Have Been Riding

Being between jobs, I’ve had some extra time.  I have been on the bike, but not for any long rides.

I met up with Tim, Asher, and Drew on Thanksgiving morning.  Timothy joined us later.  It was a cold morning.  My feet didn’t stay warm.  Drew had painfully cold fingers.  We cut it a tad short and stopped for coffee.

rSogn at cold meeting spot

rSogn at cold meeting spot

Black Friday morning brought me an errand ride to Jeffersonville (not shopping).  From there I rode to New Albanian to meet up with the KyMBA crew, then riding back to Louisville with them.  It was interesting to use the Big Dummy as a mountain bike.

Later in the day on Black Friday, Diane and I did some bar-hopping on the tandem.

Saturday brought out the battery-powered Christmas lights for the tandem and Big Dummy.  Then Diane and I rode to Apocalypse for beer.

We were hauling growlers of beer

We were hauling growlers of beer

I was supposed to race Gravel Grovel on Saturday, but I had already decided against it.

I’ve been pulling domestic duty recently.  I haven’t started the new job, and Diane is working full-time.  Staying home, doing dishes, and spending time with the dogs isn’t all bad – especially during cold weather.

Decorated Dummy

Decorated Dummy

Tandem Work and MacGyverisms

Last month I was doing a little maintenance on the tandem.  The timing chain (the one that runs between the cranksets) was loose.  This bike is outfitted with an eccentric bottom bracket to facilitate adjusting chain tension.

It appears that this style of EBB requires a special tool to rotate.  Meh.  I just used an allen wrench in one of the holes used for the special tool, and moved it against the crank for leverage.

Easy-peasy.

I'm eccentric, and so is my bottom bracket.

I’m eccentric, and so is my bottom bracket.

Tire Fun

The weather today is ugly.  It started with rain, then freezing rain, and now slow.  There’s a layer of ice underneath the snow.

I haven’t stepped outside.  I’ve been content to clean house and work on bikes.

I did put the studded Marathon Winter tires on the Fargo.  They were bought a few years ago for the LHT, but I no longer have the bike.  The Fargo looks a little strange with the skinnier tires, but that’s better than sliding on ice.

Also, I had ordered some Schwalbe Big Apple tires for the Big Dummy.  I got the Performance Line for a bit better feel.  Maybe the extra money was wasted on a cargo bike, but they are noticeably different than the tires I removed.  The Big Apples arrived today, and are now installed.

Reflective tires, stickers, and clothing

Reflective tires, stickers, and clothing

The Suit Worked?

Sorry for the lack of updates, but life has been weird.

I interviewed for a contract job through an agency.  The client wants me.  It’s in healthcare, so in addition to a drug screen and background check, I need a TB test and MMR titer (to determine immunity).

The background check came back clean.  The TB test is fine.  The other two are stuck in limbo.  The testing company is having some issues with paperwork.

If this gets straightened out soon, I could be to work on Monday.  Otherwise, I may end up looking for a job again.

The contract job will end in April, so this is just a temporary thing to give me time to find another job – unless I start enjoying the short-term gigs.  We’ll see.

My options are a bit more limited by being car-free.  The place I could start on Monday is only 2.5 miles from home – I could walk it.

Job Interview and New Clothes

Yes, I had an interview today.  Yes, I had a mad rush to get appropriate clothes last night.

I think it worked out alright.

I don't normally dress this way

I don’t normally dress this way

I didn’t ride a bike to the interview.  Diane drove me there from work.  I walked to BBC for a beer afterward, then she drove me back to work to change clothes.  She left to help her sister, while I rode the bike back to BBC for another beer.

Unfit

I’m in no shape to race Gravel Grovel this year.  It’s less than three weeks away, and I haven’t trained nearly enough.  Even though I’ve already registered, I’m not attending.

My goal now is to be read to race the 2014 grovel – at 175 lbs or so.  Wish me luck.