No Focus?


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.

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.


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.


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 after all.  Maybe I’ll find focus someday.  Maybe I can reach my goal weight of 175.  Then will redirect to, or something.  🙂

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

Busy Day

My day started with a 7:00am dentist appointment.  It was just for cleaning and perio-care.  Yes, I have gum disease.  I rode my bike there, in the pre-dawn coolness.

I’ve been on the tandem a lot recently, but Diane was at work, so I was back on the rSogn.  It was nice to ride a reasonably light road bike again.

After the dentist appointment, I had a 9:00am doctor appointment.  It was just a quick ride down the road.

This appointment went well.  I’m trying a different anti-depressant.  I’m still not convinced it’s a good idea.  I also got my first ever flu-shot.  I’ve avoided them for years.  I was considering it this year, but I was sick when they gave them at work.  I’m no longer sick, so I took a shot in the arm.

The doctor has mentioned that I need to cut back on my beer.  It contributes to my ongoing obesity and depression.  I’m seriously considering giving it up entirely…. just not yet.

After the appointment I had a brisk ride to work.  After work I ran to the drug store, then home.

Diane and I went out to run an errand later, but we rode single bikes rather than the tandem.  I had 15.9 miles for the day.

It’s Been A While…

I’m still here, and I’m still riding.  I’ve been busy.  I spend time with Diane, I have social gatherings, and I ride my bike.  Having Diane around has been a positive to my bike commuting – as in she pushes me to ride instead of driving me to work.  She did drive me to work today though.  I wasn’t feeling well.

Here’s some random things since my last post.

Heavy Hauling

I hauled a kitchen table on the Big Dummy to my daughter’s house.  This was a four mile trip down Preston Highway.  I got some weird looks.

Heavy Haulin’

The hardest part was strapping the thing down securely so it wouldn’t slide off.  It was a bit wobbly, but I made it without dumping the table in traffic.

Part of the ride was a rather intense downpour.  Somebody took a picture of me while stopped at a traffic light.

Diane’s Bike

Diane has her own bike now.  We met somebody at volleyball getting rid of a bike.  We got it for free.  It needed a tune-up, tubes, a brake cable, and a water bottle cage.  I put my dyno-wheel on the front.  Since the picture was taken I’ve added a rear rack and dyno-headlight.  I’ve still got less than $100 into it.

Diane’s bike

It’s a Specialized Crossroads Sport (step-through version).  It’s a size small, so it fits her well.

She doesn’t want fenders on it.  She may change her mind once she gets a “skunk stripe” up her back.

June Populaire

The Louisville Bicycle Club (and Timothy) put on a 100K Populaire on June 2nd.  It was leaving from Charlestown Indiana.  Tim, Asher, and I left from Louisville and rode to Charlestown (21 miles).  Tim had other obligations, so he rode back rather than participate in the Populaire.

rSogn cockpit

Asher and I rode with another dozen people.  The route took us to Hanover Indiana for a lunch stop before going back to Charlestown for the finish at Charlestown Pizza Company.  – 64 miles later.

Diane met us there, and Asher and I enjoyed the comfort of a motor vehicle for the trip back to Louisville.

That was 85 miles for the day – more than I’ve done in a while.  Although I was slow, I felt like a cyclist again.  The rSogn is a wonderful bike.  The weather was gorgeous.  The company was pretty good too.


Diane is effectively living with me, it’s just not official yet.  We’ve found the things that irritate each other (that’s what it’s about, right?)  Relationships can be a challenge, but I’m optimistic about ours.

She’s decorated the house a bit.  She keeps it clean.  She loathes the dog hair, but keeps it clean as she can.  Yes, I help with housework, but I basically just take direction from her.  She’s the expert.


Diane and I have entertained company a few times at the house now.  She had her family over for dinner.  She cooked a large meal (with dessert!).  Everyone was pleased.

My mother and my niece came to visit.  They’re actually at my house for a few more days yet.  I’ve had a week of visiting with my mother.  I hadn’t seen her in person since 2009.  I hadn’t seen my niece in about ten years.  Diane and my mother seem to like each other.


Diane won’t give up her car.  I don’t expect her to.  It did break down on her on Thursday.  It was about fifteen miles from my house, so it was several days before I got out to look at it.

She spent those days riding her bike around for errands.  I guess she got a bike just in time.

I fixed her car on Sunday.  She still rides with me on errands though.  She has a potential job downtown.  If she gets it, she’s talking about riding to work, weather permitting, to avoid paying to park.  She doesn’t want to ride in rain, cold, or hot weather, but it’s a start.



I’ve been frustrated with life recently.  I’m unhappy with my weight.  I’m unhappy with being alone.

It’s time to accept things.  I need to not worry about being single.  I’ve done it before.  I can do it again.

I need to acknowledge my eating issues and work on them.  I need to cook at home, give up the beer for a while, and do some exercises in the evening instead of sit at the bar drinking.

One thing will help me to achieve the “stay at home and cook” goal – I’m going to be broke for a few weeks.  Poor planning and unexpected expenses teamed up to take my beer away.  Maybe this is a good thing.

I have been riding.  I’ve even been back on the rSogn.  I still need to replace the handlebars with Albatross bars, but that’ll have to wait for finances.

Tim got a new bike.  He calls it SeaFoam.  We managed to get out for a ride both Saturday (foggy) and Sunday (Easter).  I have a few pictures from Saturday.

SeaFoam and rSogn

If you can’t tell, SeaFoam is a Rivendell Atlantis.  Tim always has the nicer bike.


A trip through Joe Creason Park in the fog completely hid the fact we were in an urban area.

I didn’t ride the bike to work on Monday or Tuesday.  I took a cab (waste of money) to work.  I took the bus home.  Both days involved walking, and drinking at a bar (more money wasted).

Tuesday, I had a few beers after work, when Tim contacted me about an evening ride.  I ran home and got ready.  We met and rode 15 or so miles after dark.  Again, I was on the rSogn, and he was on SeaFoam.  Both of us with dyno-powered headlights.

As he headed for home, I stopped again for another beer.

Bike and beer – a match made in heaven

See?  This one was totally the bike’s fault!

It’ll be at least two weeks without beer now.  I’ll then limit my drinking to one day a week.

In addition to spending more time at home with my dogs, I’m starting back with sand-court volleyball next Monday.  This will hopefully give me enough social interaction (and some exercise!)

Life is an interesting journey.  It’ll be fun to see where I end up by the end of the year.


I Don’t Feel Like a Cyclist Anymore

Even after closing my dating site account, I’ve been fixated on relationships.  It’s not been healthy for me.  It’s time to move on.  I need to enjoy the good points of being single.

Another issue is bike riding.  I haven’t been doing much.  I’m also mostly limited to the recumbent due to neck pain.

I spent a lot of money building up the rSogn for long rides, but now I can’t ride it on anything other than a short ride.  I’m sticking to the rule that I won’t buy a new bike in 2013.  I also won’t sell any existing bikes.  Unless my neck improves, I’ll mostly be riding the recumbent.  I may end up putting some bikes up for sale in 2014.  Then I could expand the recumbent fleet.

I’ve had one ride this year where I felt strong.  I felt like a cyclist.  Other than that, even my longer rides feel slow and plodding.  Slow and plodding is fine for going to work or the grocery store, but I want to do more than that.  That means I need to train.

I put off training once before because I was having knee pain on the recumbent.  I’ve solved that issue.  I adjusted the seat.  A recumbent has a seat that slides forward and back – similar to the seat in a car.  Unlike a regular bicycle saddle, gaining or losing weight can quickly affect proper saddle position.  My weight gain meant my seat needed to be moved back.  Since moving it, I’ve had less knee pain.

I’ve also mentioned that the recumbent needs some work.  I keep putting it off.  I need to get around to doing it.  It could also use a few upgrades.

Things Were Good…

My post on the 20th, gained me an email from a friend who wanted to make sure I was okay.  Yes.  I’m okay.  I was actually in a good mood when I wrote that, but had just come out of a bad stretch.

Things were good last week and through Saturday.  I was upbeat, productive at work, and had hope for the future.  Then Sunday happened.

I’ll back up.  Friday after work, I went to Apocalypse Brew Works for beer.  It was packed inside, but they had a campfire in the parking lot, so I sat around with a group of strangers and got drunk.  It was actually a good time.  There’s something about sitting in a circle around a fire that gets you talking to people.

I left there after having one too many.  I still hadn’t eaten dinner, so I stopped at Cumberland for a burger and one more beer.  Cumberland didn’t have a fire or a circle, so I really didn’t talk to anyone.  My ride home was a blur – an uneventful blur, but still…  I got home and went to sleep.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling dehydrated and smelling of wood smoke.  I felt much better after a shower and a pot of coffee.  Saturday’s plans were grocery shopping and housecleaning.  Oh, and I had a growler of beer I’d brought home from Apocalypse.

I drink too much beer.  I realize that.  It hurts my weight loss efforts.  It hurts my mental state.  I’ve cut down for a while, only to pick back up later.  I was determined to not over-do it on Saturday, as I had big bike plans for Sunday.

I thoroughly cleaned the drivetrain on the rSogn for Sunday’s plans.  Timothy was putting on an LBC Populaire.

I woke up early Sunday feeling good.  I cooked a good breakfast and drank plenty of coffee.

The ride was planned at 68 miles.  I wanted 100 miles for the day, so if I took the long way to the ride start location and back (in Prospect), I could do that.

I headed out in plenty of time.  I was underdressed, but I knew it would warm up.  Ten miles in, I wanted to turn around and go home, but I kept going.  It was 18 miles until I arrived in Prospect for the 10:00 AM departure.

There were some interesting bikes there.  One guy from Columbus Indiana was riding a recumbent.  Sam, from Lexington Kentucky, was riding a Velo-Orange Polyvalent.

Being a timed event, I didn’t bother with pictures.  We rolled back toward town.  Many of the riders pulled ahead of my on River Rd.  They were soon out of site.  There were still a few behind me somewhere.  After a bit, the recumbent rider passed me.

Two riders behind me caught up as we were approaching downtown.  They slowed a bit to stay with me.  We crossed the Second Street Bridge into Indiana, and the faster group had apparently made a wrong turn somewhere, and were coming back toward us.  Now I was riding with a group again.

While riding next to the recumbent rider and talking to him, I didn’t spot a pothole in time, and hit it hard.  There was no damage to my bike, but I had to stop to retrieve my pump which had fallen off.  Nobody waited for me.  I was pretty much cooked already at this point.  I had pushed a pretty good pace (for me).  I was unable to catch them.

I continued on to the first control, Quill’s Coffee in New Albany.  Most of them were still there, including Timothy.  My mind was made up.  I let him know I wasn’t continuing with the ride.  I was only 18 miles into the Populaire, 36 miles into my day.  They left while I had a cup of coffee.

I wasn’t ready to ride another 12 miles to get home.  I was that tired.  I was about a block away from New Albanian Brewing, so I rode there for a beer and food, then began a slow amble home.  It took me nearly an hour to go those 12 miles home.

I cooked a nice dinner at home.  I spent some time stretching my leg muscles, which had begun to cramp up.  I was exhausted – much more exhausted I should have been for the riding I did.  I felt kind of “cooked” mentally too.  I went to bed at a reasonable time with the intention of riding the recumbent to work and taking the long way in the morning.

This morning, I hated the world.  I hated the alarm clock, the bikes, myself, and the fact I don’t own a car.  My legs and neck were still in pain, but the mental pain was bigger.  I couldn’t call off work.  I wasn’t going to spend the money on a cab.  I took the bus to work.  Riding the bus made me feel slightly sick, which it normally doesn’t.

Getting to work didn’t improve matters.  I was grumpy.  My co-workers were annoying.  I wasn’t very pleasant to be around.

I left work at 5:00 on the dot.  I didn’t want to miss my bus.  My mood had improved a bit, but I still felt a bit ill on the bus.

I cooked another nice dinner and prepared leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.  I did the dishes.  I played on the computer.  I feel better, but not quite right.

Maybe cutting out beer for a week (or three) will change things a bit.  Maybe just getting back in the habit of being at home, cooking, paying attention to my dogs, and playing on the computer will help.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Car-Free Fun

It was another cold morning in Louisville.  I had trouble pushing myself out the door.  I did my best to not over-dress for the 20 degree temperatures.  I was wearing work clothes, and didn’t want to get sweaty.

Once on the bike, I was cold.  I wanted to hurry and get to work, so I pushed harder.  That meant I was cold and sweaty when I got to work.  Oh well.

I’ve been riding the rSogn every day this week so far.  I won’t be tomorrow, as I’ve taken the rear wheel off to haul to the bike shop to have it rebuilt.

Earlier in the day, we were facing down a possible winter storm.  It had warmed up to just above freezing while I was at work, and began a light rain.  I had an appointment to give blood after work, so I rode there.

Take a pint!
Take a pint!

When I left the Red Cross, the rain had turned to sleet.  The roads were just wet, no icing yet.  Traffic had gotten quite heavy though.  I rode out Baxter Ave and stopped at Lil Cheezers, a new-ish place that I hadn’t been before.  They have gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, which just sounds wrong, but it tasted good.  I also had a West Sixth IPA from Lexington Kentucky.

From there I took residential streets home.  There were some slightly slippery spots, but with some care, I didn’t fall.

I finally got around to doing the dishes at home.  I also removed the rear wheel from the rSogn, took the cassette and tire (tyre for Timothy) off, and have strapped it to the Big Dummy for tomorrow’s commute.

I have mostly decided to ride the Populaire on Sunday.  I was planning on riding the ‘bent, but it seems my new wheel for the rSogn will be ready Saturday, so maybe I’ll be on it.  We’ll see.

Writing Problems

I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been busy during my good times and depressed during the bad times.

A week ago (last Saturday) I rode 41 miles on the rSogn, and was so stiff and sore that I didn’t leave the house on Sunday.

I rode the ‘bent to work, on errands, and to Car-Free Happy Hour last week.  This included one day with a winter weather advisory.  I probably should have ridden the Fargo with studded tires, but I didn’t.  I had no issues with the roads, but as I pulled into work, the bike slipped out from under me on an icy spot.  I went down in front of three co-workers.  I wasn’t injured, but it was embarrassing.

I was on a ride this morning with Tim and Asher.  I was on the rSogn again.  30 miles into the ride, I called it quits and turned for home.  I ended the day with less than 37 miles.  I’m stiff and sore again.

The rSogn isn’t the issue.  My body is the issue.  I’m having a low-grade flare-up of my neck and shoulders again.  Riding a drop-bar road bike aggravates it.  Maybe I should stay off that bike until the flare-up is over.

I’m planning on going out again tomorrow morning, but I haven’t decided which bike to ride.

As I said earlier, I’ve been busy.  Work is busy in a good way.  Other things in life are busy in a “not so good” way.  I’ve fallen behind on things I need to get done.  This has caused me to write here less often.

When I’m being lazy and not working on such things, it’s often because I’m depressed.  I have trouble writing when I’m depressed.  Okay… not entirely true.  I could write 300 pages of sad-sack shit that nobody wants to read.  I’ll spare you that.


It’s no secret that I’m a fan of dyno-powered lights on a bike.  What does that mean?  That means instead of batteries, there’s a generator on the bike to power the headlight, and sometimes a tail light also.

You may remember the old “bottle generators” that would rub against the tire.  Those work, but tend to slip in wet weather.  They also produce a fair amount of drag.

I ride in all weather.  I like to have lights on day or night.  So, a dyno-hub is the answer.  The front wheel is the generator.  Nothing needs to rub on the tire.

My rSogn came with a low-end Novatech dynohub.  I already had a nice SON hub, but it was laced to the wrong size rim.  The rSogn really needed the fancy SON hub.  I had Tom (the guy who usually builds wheels for me) basically use the existing rims and hubs, but switch them around, and use new spokes.

The Novatech wheel will go on my daughter’s bike, once I buy a headlight for her.  The SON is now mounted on the rSogn.

Newly-built wheels

I still need to get money together to have new wheels built for the recumbent and the Big Dummy.

So This Is Christmas

Christmas is a time to be with family.  Christmas is also a time for depression.  My only local family is my youngest daughter and my second ex-wife.  The ex-wife was working today.  My daughter was spending the holiday with her boyfriend’s family 40 miles away.

I did make plans with my daughter to take her out for dinner tomorrow evening.  I haven’t seen her in a while, so it’ll be nice.

I did talk to several people on the phone.  I had text messages from a few more.  I also interacted with a bunch of people over on Google+, although most of them were just taking a few minutes from there in-person holiday celebrations.

I have mixed feelings about Christmas.  I hate the commercialization of it all.  I hate the expectation of gifts.  I see financially strapped families go into debt to buy gifts for everybody.  I find that sad.

I’m not going to cover the religious aspects of the holiday.  We each have our own beliefs. I think the community and family aspects of Christmas are a good thing.  Many people have the day off work.  Families get together and actually interact (for better or worse).  This is part of what made me depressed today.  I just had my dogs.

Sandy sharing the bed with me

I did give a couple of gifts online, to people I’ve never met in person.  They’re people I’ve conversed with online.  I consider them friends.  I received a rather nice gift of a bag of coffee. Somebody was paying attention.  I had casually mentioned this particular brand of coffee months ago.  I then forgot about it until the package arrived.  There was a card enclosed.  It’s nice to have friends, even if you’ve never met them.

Due to my laziness yesterday, I had few groceries in the house today.  I had bacon and eggs.  Yep, that’s it.  That’s what I ate.  I drank copious amounts of coffee.  There is no alcohol in the house.

I decided to bury myself in a book for a few hours.  Two hours into that, I got a text message from Tim asking if I’d like to go for a ride, JRA (just riding around).  This would mean not too fast, not too long, ride around town.  It was just the cajoling I needed to get out of the house.  It’s nice to have in-person friends too.

I rolled out on the rSogn and headed to The Loop where I met him.  He’s been under the weather and still hasn’t fully recovered.  We rolled around some neighborhood streets, then into Cherokee Park.  It was fully dark, but both of us were riding bikes with dyno-powered headlights.

He ended up with a coughing fit, and we wandered back toward his neighborhood.  He gave me his Big Loafer bag for the front of my bike.  I’ll give it a try and see how it works.  If I like it, we’ll discuss a price.

Big Loafer

I took a wandering route home and ended up with 16.2 miles.  It’s not a lot of miles, but it looks like I’ll make 300 miles for the month.

I’m not drinking today.  I’m going back to work in the morning.  There’s the potential for snow accumulation overnight.  I’m considering putting the studded tires on the Fargo tonight, just in case they’re needed.

I’ve had four days off work.  I’m a little frustrated that I didn’t get the housework done that I wanted to.  I did go for the 78-mile ride on Sunday, so it wasn’t totally wasted.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Festivus Ride!

I had floated the idea of a 75-mile ride to the usual suspects, but everybody else had commitments.  I wasn’t going to let that stop me, so I headed out on the rSogn just after 5:00 am this morning.

I hadn’t pitched this ride as a Festivus ride.  I didn’t think of that until already riding.  I was ready for my “Airing of Grievances” pretty early on.

Let me back up to last night’s preparations.  I replaced the broken shifter.  Shifting is good.  I wanted to travel light, so I removed the rear rack and put on a small saddlebag on the saddle, and a tiny “wedge” bag on the front rack.  Any items that wouldn’t fit there would have to be carried in my pockets.

Due to this, and a weather forecast that showed the temperatures starting out just above freezing and heading to 50, I figured I’d underdress a bit and be cold in the beginning.  This way, as it warmed up, I wouldn’t have to figure out where to stash extra clothing items.

Rolling through the urban landscape before the sun comes up on a Sunday morning is quite peaceful.  Traffic was nearly non-existent.  I made my way north and crossed the Second Street Bridge over the Ohio River and into the State of Indiana.

My 5:00 am start time was ideal for traffic, but not ideal for temperature. It was 31, just below freezing in the metro, and a bit cooler as you moved out.  I was a bit chilled at first.  I worked harder to generate heat.

Passing through New Albany Indiana, I stopped at a gas station for Combos and a candy bar.  I ate the candy bar immediately.  The Combos were shoved in a pocket.

West of Louisville is an escarpment, locally known as The Knobs.  This is mostly within Indiana.  My route would take me through one big climb, and later allow me to descend back to the plain.

Timothy had mentioned yesterday that a mountain biking group he rides with was riding to New Albany for The New Albanian Brewing Company, to hang out and drink beer.  They’d be arriving around 1:00pm today.  I wasn’t sure if could make it on the return trip.

Heading out of New Albany I turn on Budd Rd.  It was still quite dark, and there was no traffic.  There was a bit of a climb before it leveled out.  I spotted a new small park, and I stopped for a picture.

Park on Budd Road

I eventually come to Blunk Knob Rd.  This road is often closed in the winter.  There’s a sign at the intersection saying so.  We haven’t had much snow and no ice yet, so the road is open.  I climbed this a couple of years ago with Tim.  I’ve climbed steeper locally, but this is still steep, and goes on for two miles.  The first mile probably averages 8 or 9%.  The second half isn’t so bad.

Sign at Blunk Knob

While stopped for this picture, I managed to drop my spare AAA batteries in the grass.  I used my headlamp (I had that in my pocket) to find them.  I was only able to find five of the six.

My feet were getting quite cold.  There was an angry dog barking at me across the street. It was still quite dark.

I continued on.  During my slow ascent up the first half of Blunk Knob Rd the sky got lighter.  I could see the road without my headlight, though I left it on to be visible to cars.  Once the worst of the climbing was past, I stopped for a picture.

Looking North-ish from Blunk Knob Rd

Once done with the climb, the rest of the terrain is rolling hills.  I expected to feel strong than I did.  Being cold didn’t help.

As the sun rose, I expected it to warm up.  Instead it got windier.  My feet were painfully cold.  I suffered through it and continued on.  I passed through the tiny town of New Middletown where Tim, Patrick, Dominic and I rode through in March 2010.

I started to find familiar roads as I approached Corydon.  I quickly found a little breakfast cafe and went in for coffee and an omelette.

When I was done eating and headed back east, the temperature had risen about 10 degrees.  That was a welcome change.  The cloud cover had begun to dissipate.  The only precipitation on the radar was passing safely to the south.

Clearing skies

I realized the even with my painfully slow riding, I would be able to make the New Albanian meet-up, even going the intended, longer route.

So, instead of continuing on Corydon Ridge Rd, I turned north on Yenowine Ln and wound my way around, skirting the town of Galena.  I eventually turned south-east on Old Vincennes Rd, which was rather busy.  I went by Floyd Central High School and eventually went by my boss’s neighborhood before making my way to Paoli Pike in Floyd’s Knobs.

Ever since I started riding a bike in 2008, I’ve wanted to ride down Paoli Pike.  I did ride it with Tim and Ian some time ago.  It’s a high-traffic road, but interesting in it’s own way.

Riding it today, on the rSogn, without a care in the world was sublime.  I rode to the right, until I gained enough speed to merge with traffic.  Then I rode with the cars, at car speeds.  I gently squeezed the brakes whenever I saw brake lights ahead.

It was over too quickly.  I still had plenty of speed when the road widened to multi-lane and I cruised through a green light and a freeway overpass.  I’m back in New Albany, Indiana, a de-facto suburb of Louisville.

I cruise over to the New Albanian, which is hopping busy.  There are already several dozen bikes parked there, but I don’t see Timothy’s.  After a few minutes, Asher shows up, which was a complete surprise.

After a bit, Timothy does show, we find a table and have beer and food.  I did limit myself to one beer and a glass of water.  I was dehydrated, and would not want to over-do the beer.

Rather than following my planned route back to Louisville, I followed Asher and Timothy.  They had rode over with a mountain bike group (KYMBA).  They had an interesting route, that involved paths through the woods, old railroad grades, and two unused bridges.  It was interesting to ride on the rSogn set up as a brevet bike, but nothing bad came out of it.

Download file: 2012-12-23.gpx

I have some thoughts about it all.

I need bigger luggage for a brevet bike.  I’ve been intending to get some kind of a front bag.  True brevet bags require more hardware to attach, and may have interference issues with my v-brakes.  If I would have had a proper bag, I could have dressed appropriately and not been so uncomfortable.

The rSogn fits.  This is my longest ride on this bike.  It fits well.  The reach is right.  I never felt too crunched up or stretched our, and I have a pretty normal length stem.  My LHT was a great bike, but even with a short stem, it seemed the bars were just a tad too far away.

I’m still going to have stiff neck issues.  I have a physical problem.  It won’t just magically go away.  My neck is stiff from today’s ride, but it’s tolerable.  I’ll be on the ‘bent for what little commuting I need to do in the next week.

I’m still slow.  On flat ground, I was perfectly happy with my speed.  I expect to go slow up 8+% grades.  I did notice I spent a lot of time on 3% grades going 7mph or less when I was tired.  This isn’t acceptable.  I used to push harder.  I had the same issue during Gravel Grovel.  I need to work on that.

The dyno-hub on the rSogn doesn’t put out as much power as a SON28.  On slow climbs (or stop and go traffic) the hub can’t keep the standlight capacitor charged.  This leads to low-speed pulsing.  I’ve been planning to switch the SON on there anyway, once I get a wheel built with it, but this just cemented that decision.

The rSogn carves a great line on a fast descent.  This is still a bit dangerous in the dark, when the road surface isn’t visible due to the curve.  The decreasing radius curves in the dark this morning were great for white-knuckle, think-you’re-gonna-die riding.

Anyway, I suffered a bit.  As usual, once it’s over, I’m glad I did it, and I’ll begin planning the next adventure.

Warm, Cozy, and Lazy

I was supposed to go camping last night with two other guys.  We were all going to ride our bikes to Jefferson Memorial Forest, which came out to a mere 16 miles for me, a bit more for Asher, and Timothy was planning 50 miles to get there.

I spent Thursday evening packing the gear.  The new sleeping bag and pad pack quite a bit smaller than what I had before.  I found I could put the pad and bag on the small front rack of the rSogn.  Everything else would fit in a single Arkel pannier.

Loaded rSogn

I woke up yesterday morning not feeling well.  Well enough to ride to work, but it was cold and windy, and the whole camping thing just didn’t appeal to me.  I figured I would fee better later, and just tough it out.

I decided to ride the rSogn to work, with the camping load.  I squeezed the laptop in, and headed out.

I didn’t make it far.  The defective shifter gave up the ghost and wouldn’t stay in gear.  I turned around, and headed home.  I swapped out pedals on the Fargo so I could use my normal shoes, and moved my laptop over to that bike, and went to work.

Throughout the day it remained cold and windy .  It didn’t take much to convince the other two to save the camping trip for another time.  We’re tentatively planning on January now, which will hopefully allow Tim and Patrick to attend.

Oddly enough, the wind had died down by evening, and the camping trip probably would have been tolerable.  Probably.

The Woodchipper bars that came on the Fargo just weren’t cutting it for me.  Riding in the drops would hurt my wrists.  Patrick gave me a set of bars that he had tried on his Fargo. They were too narrow for his huge size.  He had also hit his knees on the bar-end shifters, so he cut the bars a bit shorter.

I installed them on my Fargo a few days ago.

New bars on the Fargo

My short test ride was fine.  I liked them.

Riding a bit farther to work and back yesterday, well, they’re too narrow for me also.  I also don’t like the odd shape of the tubing at the tops.  That’s a feature that’s supposed to make them more comfortable, but it wasn’t for me.  I’ll need to buy a different set of bars.

On the way home from work, I stopped and bought another shift cable, so I can swap out the shifter on the rSogn.  That’s on my to-do list for today.

It’s warm and cozy here at home.  I’m drinking good coffee (a gift – more on that later).  Going outside in the cold, even on a nice-looking day like today, for a bike ride just isn’t appealing to me.  I know I need to ride.  I need to get some miles is, lose some weight, and train for longer and faster riding.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the new sticker on the Big Dummy.


Weekend? New Bike? You Betcha!

On Saturday I met Tim at Breadworks.  I had a cup of coffee and a snack before we headed out into the hills of Cherokee park, Indian Hills, and Mockingbird Valley.  I’ve ridden these areas before, but it had been a while.

I was on the rSogn, of course.  Tim followed suit, and rode his somewhat new (to him) Sogn.  It was interesting to compare the two Rawland bicycles.

I hadn’t wrapped the bars yet, and forgot my gloves.  My hands were uncomfortable, but this was more than made up for by the liveliness of the bike.  It felt wonderful.  I sprinted up hills.  I bombed down descents.  It’s just a great bike.

Tim and I went our separate ways.  I stopped at Cumberland Brewery and had one beer and some sweet potato fries.  Not diet healthy, but it just seemed right.

I ended the day with a somewhat hilly 31.6 miles, at a decent pace even.

I went to bed early Saturday night and slept a blissful 12 hours.

Sunday morning I tinkered with the bike.  I ended up installing the small rear rack from the single-speed.  I also put on the white bar tape that was included with the bike.

I’m not a fan of white bar tape.  It gets dirty too easily.  It supposed to look “pro”, so in other words, makes me look like a “poser”.  Then again, when have I ever cared what others’ thought?  This is free bar tape!

The bar tape is temporary.  Saturday’s ride showed me that the bars are now at the right angle.  I may need to change the cable housing once I have a new handlebar bag.  Until then, white bar tape is where it’s at.

In the evening I went out for a spin.  It wasn’t long, and I stopped for more beer and food, not helping my weight loss any.

I added a measly 10.4 miles for the day.  I did spin at 22 mph in traffic on Bardstown Rd for a while.  That felt good.  I hit the traffic lights green for the entire stretch.  Then I pulled over panting, feeling like I was going to lose my lungs.

It’ll take time to get my lungs and heart where they were.  This is the right bike to do it.

Maiden Voyage

I didn’t go far, but I took the rSogn out for it’s first ride… well, my first ride on it.  I did buy most of it used.

I spent all evening getting it put together.  I installed the fenders before heading out.  I’m glad I did, it was pretty wet outside.

The maiden voyage was only about a mile.  I just wanted to make sure everything was rideable.

Before I ride it again, I want to adjust the saddle and handlebars.  I still have other plans for it (bar tape would be nice), but those will have to wait.

Rawland rSogn


Yep.  I had beer.  Not a lot, but some.  I also went out to eat for dinner twice this week.

The return spring for my Big Dummy’s kickstand broke this morning.  I had to remove the kickstand to safely ride the rest of the way to work.  I was a little late to work because of that.

After I got home from work, I installed the rear brake on the rSogn.  I also ran the cable and housing for it.  It went well.

The right shifter will need to be replaced.  The ratcheting mechanism isn’t working.  I sent an email to Velo-Orange.  Hopefully it gets resolved quickly.

I may or may not install the chain tonight before I go to bed.  If I do, I could temporarily throw a rear rack on it, and ride it to work tomorrow as a single-speed.  It’s doubtful I will though.

I didn’t take any pictures of tonight’s work.

It Looks Like a Bike!

I hauled a load of parts home from On Your Left Cycles on the Big Dummy.  Here’s what I bought:

A Brooks B-17 Special saddle in the Honey color.

The B-17 is the most popular Brooks saddle.  I find them quite comfortable.  The Special version costs a little more, but has hammered copper rivets instead of the machine-pressed steel ones.  I’ve owned two of the standard B-17s, but I’ve wanted a special for a while.

Shimano Deore V-Brakes and rear Derailleur.

The Deore line is nothing fancy, but this isn’t a race bike.  If it stops and shifts, these will do.  Why V-brakes on a road bike?  The frame is really meant for cantilever brakes.  V-brakes are easier to set up and are pretty powerful.  It did require long-pull brake levers, but those were provided with the bike purchase.

Cheap stem, spacers, chain,  12-36 9-speed cassette, two King Cage water bottle cages.

It may take me some time to get the bike set up where it’s comfortable.  I may have to try various stems.  I chose a cheap one that does the job.  I’ll switch to a different one if necessary.  The spacers were just to make sure I had enough to get everything put together.

The 12-36 cassette is quite a wide range, and working in tandem with the Sugino 34/48 compact double purchased with the bike will give me plenty of gear for the hills.

The King Cage bottle cages are a bit pricey, but they’re hand-made in Colorado.  They also fit the aesthetic I’m shooting for with this bike.

I also bought cable and housing for this build, but that’s not worth taking a picture of.

I will initially be using the existing wheels.  I cleaned them up, including scrubbing the gumwall tires clean.  I got the saddle and bars mounted.  I installed and cabled the front brake.  I installed the derailleur and cassette.  It really looks like a bike now!

There may be a small issue with the front rack and clearance with the front brake cable.  I’ll have to ride it to find out if it’ll be a problem.

It might be hard to see in the picture, but the middle section of cable is just barely touching the rack mount.

I still have more to do to the bike, but I’m done for tonight.  I may get to take it around the neighborhood by tomorrow night.

I have most of the tools I need for this job, and make do without the ones I don’t.  I really wish I had a workstand though.

More Bike Parts

My second shipment of bike parts came in today.  This shipment was from Rivendell.  Both items are manufactured by Nitto.  The first is the Noodle handlebar.  It’s a popular drop-bar.  I’ve ridden a borrowed bike with the Noodle bar before, but never owned one.  The other thing in this shipment is the Nitto Mini front rack.  It’s a small rack, mostly to help support a handlebar bag.

New parts!

I attached the brake levers that were included with the bike purchase to the bars with no issues.  I then installed the bar-end shifters that arrived from Velo-Orange yesterday.  VO has a reputation for pretty stuff with some quality control issues.  One of my shifters has an issue.  The hole for the cable does not go all the way through the lever.  I’ll need to drill it out.

I can’t actually put the bars on the bike yet, as I don’t have a stem.  I was able to attach the new Nitto rack.  I also took the pedals off of the unrideable single-speed and put them on the rSogn.

Getting closer

I’ll be picking up a large load of stuff tomorrow from On Your Left Cycles that I ordered last week.  This should give me everything I need to make the bike rideable.  It won’t be quite done, but at least I’ll be able to ride it and get things adjusted.

From a Plan to a Bike

I mentioned a few weeks ago, that I had an idea for another bike.  I took a big step and bought most of a bike.

A guy who’s blog I follow, and I interact with him on Google+, had an appropriate bike for sale.  I mailed a check, he shipped a large box.

I had it shipped to my local bike shop so I wouldn’t have to be home when it arrived.  That left the problem of getting it home.  Well, the Big Dummy came through again.

Bike on a bike?

After a slow, careful ride home, I was itching to open the box.  It was well packed and took a while with a knife and cutters to get everything free.

The goods

It’s not a complete bike.  It’s frame, fork, crank, derailleurs, wheelset (dyno front wheel), seatpost, seatpost clamp, and tires.  Also included, but not in the picture are fenders, tail light, misc hardware, bar tape, spare tubes, brake levers, and a few other bits and pieces.

It does not have a full drivetrain.  It doesn’t have brakes, stem, handlebars, saddle, or headlight.

My first planned ride for this bike won’t be until Spring, so I have the time to do it right.

So what is it?

It’s a Rawland rSogn.  It’s a low-trail, 650b wheel-sized, road bike with clearance for fat tires.  I’ll set it up like a brevet bike.  Dyno-powered lights, fenders, handlebar bag, and maybe a saddlebag.

It’ll be for long rides without carrying much.  I’ll stick with lightweight tires and minimal luggage.

I intend to really ramp up my mileage in 2013.  I hope this bike can be a large percentage of my riding.