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.
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.
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 years that I’ve had her. That’s the best I can hope for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
58 cm All-City Space Horse frame set
Hand-built wheels using:
All-City New Sheriff hubs
HED Belgium+ rims
Black spokes & nipples
Brooks Cambium C17 saddle
Tektro CR720 cantilever brakes
Cane Creek headset
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Near the top is a pleasant grassy field – a small refuge in the city.
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.
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.