Still on a Bike

Yes, I’m still riding a bike.  I just having been writing much about it.


Back on June 20th, Tim and I went bike camping.  I rode my Big Dummy.

Big and dumb

We didn’t want to deal with a campfire, so I brought a candle for light.  An unfortunate spider managed to get into the molten wax.

We each brought our Esbit stoves for cooking dinner, and making coffee in the morning.  There’s little else as important as camp coffee.

World’s smallest campfire

This was just a quick trip to Jefferson Forest, but it improved that weekend.

Family Riding

The next weekend was my wife’s birthday.  She had her daughter over.  We got out on the bike (my stepdaughter and I on the tandem, and Diane on her own bike).

Among other places, we rode the Beargrass Creek Trail.  There’s a heron usually visible, but he’s shy and hard to photograph.  This time he was feeling brave, and I managed to get a picture of him.  I think Tim knows him well.


This was a slow, meandering ride.  It was quite enjoyable.  We stopped for ice cream on the way home.


I’m still not playing volleyball, but I will be in about a week and a half.  Two years ago, I was the only one who rode a bike there.  Last year there was usually one other bike.  Last month brought a large collection of bikes, including my ex-girlfriend riding the bike I bought her.  Sweet!

Diane and I rode the tandem

The motorcycle belonged to our group too.

Look carefully, there are four more bikes

Robin’s bike had a low tire.  I pumped it up.

Robin’s bike looks neat with a basket

Fourth of July

Bicycling For Louisville put on the Family Freedom Fun Ride on the morning of the Fourth.  It was partially intended to celebrate/show off the new bike lanes on Breckenridge and Kentucky streets.

Turnout was good, probably 100+ people.  The mayor was there.  The news crews were there.  There were four highwheel bicycles there, which is more than I’ve ever seen in one place.

A few of the crew

We didn’t take many pictures.  This one was at the end, before everyone returned.  Diane is off to the left in hi-vis yellow.  There’s a highwheeler hiding behind the tree.

Tim rode with us most of the way.  We ran into a number of people we knew, including Ben and Marcus.  After the ride, Ben, Tim, Diane and I went to Cumberland for beer and to watch the soccer game.

Ben invited us to a party at his house.  We went home, and packed up the tandem with beer.  Ben is much younger than we are.  He lives in an apartment with a roommate.  There’s a nice back yard.  He had quite a few people show up, most on bikes.  You know it’s a party when the police show up.

Yes, one person was arrested.  Almost nobody there knew her.  She was arrested for DUI.  She had driven there (drunk) and ran into a parked car in front of it’s owner.  Sigh.  The police are never in a good mood when responding to incidents like this on the Fourth.

Louisville’s main fireworks show, at the Riverfront, was cancelled this year.  Diane and I went home early and watched a few neighborhood fireworks from our front porch.


Yes.  More.  I’ll have more posts today.  Things are a-changing.

A Plan

Yes, I’m tracking all my calories again.  I don’t yet have a specific calorie goal, but I’ll get there.  Just writing it down has kept things in check.  I have had a 3000-calorie day, but I’ve also had a 1000-calorie day.  When I wasn’t tracking, I probably had several 5000+ calorie days.

I’m weighing again every morning, but I’ll just be posting my weekly and monthly averages.  I’ve updated the weight page.

I gave up beer.  It was supposed to be a month, but a social engagement enticed me to have a couple.  That’s okay, I’m tracking the calories of the beer also – and limiting it greatly.

I’ve already had a happier digestive system than I did before.

Diane and I have been a bit more active.  We’ve been walking the dogs more frequently.  We bike-pool to work on the tandem most days.  On Sunday, we took the tandem and trailer on an errand run in parts of town I don’t normally ride.  Those areas have a reputation for not being bike friendly, but we had no issues.

The rig

Due to Diane having an earlier schedule, I just go to work early.  I went in a 6:30 this morning – which meant I got to leave at 3:00.  That’s not a bad deal.

Riding, Updates, and New Resolve


I don’t care for driving, but I still do it for longer trips.  I first got a drivers license two days after my 16th birthday.  I rarely drive these days.  After having a valid license for a solid 27 years, I managed to let it expire yesterday.  I didn’t realize it until this afternoon.  It’s now been renewed.


I’m taking a one-month break from beer.  I’m not cutting back, I’m cutting it out.  I’ve gained too much weight.  I’ve been lazy.  I’ll re-evaluate in a month.


Diane and I often ride the tandem to her work in the morning, then I ride solo a few blocks to my work.  We did that today.  In the afternoon, I picked her up, and headed to get my drivers license renewed.  She had changed into casual clothes and flip-flops.  She learned that flip-flops can come off while pedaling.  She had to retrieve her footwear in downtown traffic.

Look carefully – there’s Diane grabbing her flip-flop


My weak ankle has been causing me to limp.  The weird walking caused a large buildup of callous on my heel.  The heel split open and was quite painful.  This caused quite a few issues.  I started putting “heel balm” on it a few days ago, and it’s much better.

Sunday’s ride with Tim showed me that the ankle is still quite weak.  I think the uptick in activity that I’ve had recently has been good, if a bit painful.  I noticed today that I can barely lift myself onto my toes while standing only on my right leg.  I haven’t been able to do that since before the accident.  I’m also not limping at all today.  I still have some weakness, but I’m making good progress.

More About Beer (and Food)

Beer and food is the keystone of my current social life.  I often go out for beer after a bike ride.  Diane and I go out for beer too often.  Since I’m not drinking beer for a month, we need to come up with healthier habits.  We started today by taking the dogs for a walk.

We walked the dogs to the bank, post office, and coffee shop.  It was about a 2.5 mile trip.  I much prefer riding a bike that distance, but it was nice to do something different and the dogs liked it.

Sandy enjoyed her break at the coffee shop

What’s Next?

I’ll eventually start weighing myself again.  My last doctor visit had my weight at 268, which is pathetic.  It basically means I lost 100lbs only to gain back nearly 70% of that.  I weigh more now than I did since before I started riding a bike.

I’m going to have to help more with the cooking around the house.  I have some ideas for healthier eating.  I’m going to start tracking calories again.  Once I do allow myself beer again, the beer calories will have to be tracked.

I want to feel like a cyclist again.  I’m not selling the Fargo.  I’m holding off on buying another bike.  The bikes I have can get me through.  It’s more about riding the bikes than buying them.

Three-Day Weekend Fun


Tim and I met up at Breadworks, as usual, on Saturday morning for an urban spin.  The ride was pleasant, but it’s really the only kind of riding we’ve been doing recently.  We schemed to do something about that.

He did play a game of Spot the Turkey at my expense, but that’s how we roll sometimes.  If you follow that link, you’ll see that I’ve gained some weight.  More on that later.

I was up quite early Saturday morning.  Diane and I bike-pooled to her work on the tandem.  Then I rode home to grab my rSogn to meet Tim for the morning ride.

After the ride, I went back, grabbed the tandem, and took it to the shop for some minor repair.  I then picked Diane up and headed home.

Later, Diane and I rode the tandem again, this time across the newly-opened Big Four Bridge.  We checked out a burger & beer place in Jeffersonville before riding back home.  The Big Four Bridge has no car traffic, but the crowds of pedestrians made this a walking-speed ride.


Diane was on her own on getting to work.  I had other plans.  I had the rSogn packed and ready to go when Tim pulled up in his car with his Atlantis on the rack.  We loaded my bike and headed for New Washington Indiana.

Tim and I have ridden the New Washington area before.  It’s got enough hills to be interesting, but it’s not brutal.  It has enough gravel to add texture to the ride.  It’s low-traffic and our Sunday morning began with beautiful weather.

Tim likes his beach sunglasses

Much of the route was wide-open farmland.


Some of it was a bit more forested.


We had navigation issues.  Tim used his Edge GPS, which isn’t meant for routing.  I didn’t have the route, and my GPS was at home with a broken mount.  We meandered in the general direction, but managed to make a wrong turn on to a long dead-end road.  It wasn’t wasted.  It was one of the better roads on the ride.

We had planned a reasonable 35 miles, as both of us are out of shape.  At 20 miles I was done.  My right ankle is still weak.  The ankle kept trying to turn while pedaling.  It was painful, but I managed the last eight miles back to the car.

Tim wrote his piece here.

After I was home, I still had a few errands to run.  I was extremely slow on the bike, but I managed without injury.


Monday, being Memorial Day here in the States, brings various celebrations.  Louisville has the Mayor’s Hike, Bike, and Paddle.  I had already planned to ride this on the tandem with Diane, but Asher contacted me about riding with him and Denis on their tandem.  Tom and Jen joined us on their Rans Screamer (tandem recumbent) – and it was a party.

Asher and Denis in matching jerseys

There was a huge variety of bicycles to see.  John brought his velomobile – probably the only one in Louisville.

John and his velo

There were a few ‘bents, and a few tandems, but I only saw one tandem ‘bent: Tom and Jen’s.

Rans Screamer

The first part of the ride was very crowded.  I spent most of that time at a walking pace in close quarters.  That’s a bit of a challenge with a tandem among wobbly children.

Tandems everywhere!

At one point Denis, started a water fight with me.  I retaliated with my water bottle.  Diane ended it by dumping water on me.  It was already unfair – Denis, Asher’s stoker attacked me, the captain.  He had his hands free to aim.  I had to steer.  Then my own stoker turned against me.  All is fair in love, tandems, and water fights.  I did get the last squirt in later in the ride.  I zoomed past Asher and Denis’s tandem, drenching the surprised Denis along the way.

I have recently put a new saddle on the tandem.  I hate it.  I think I’ll be changing back to the old one.  I was rather sore by the end of the ride.  The six of us had a meal and beer at Against the Grain before going our own way.


Over those three days, I rode 104 miles.  I’ve certainly done more, but not recently.  I’m out of shape and too fat.  I went to work today by car.  I was really sore.  I left early due to a massive headache.  I’m slightly sunburned.  I guess I need to work on my physical well-being.

Wedding Update & Stuff

On April 6th, 2014, Diane and I were wed at Duncan Memorial Chapel.  This is my third marriage and her second.  It’s the first time either of us had a “traditional” wedding.

Duncan Memorial Chapel

We had approximately 50 people attend the wedding.  It was a good mix of her family and friends, and my friends.  I have little family in the area.  Asher played the organ for us.  His husband, Denis, was there also.

Asher at the organ

Michael and his wife, Sarah, were able to make the drive.  I hadn’t seen Michael in a while.  We need to ride bikes together again sometime.  He brought his camera and got some great shots.

I’m looking older

Tim was my best man.  It was great to have him there.

He was arm-in-arm with Denise, Diane’s sister. He’d never met her until this day

Tom and Jen were able to make it.  Patrick couldn’t make the wedding, he was at a funeral (gulp), but he did make it to the reception.  Timothy was there, and dressed well with a bow-tie.  He likes to pick up women at weddings, but I don’t think there were single women in his age range.  In a way, most of the RCCS crew was able to be there.

I hadn’t seen Diane since earlier the day before.  I had a beautiful bride.

My beautiful bride

Once the ceremony was complete, many pictures were taken, as people left to head to the reception.  I was really tired of pictures by this point.

The reception was at the BBC (Bluegrass Brewing Company) Taproom.  The mood of everything was lighter there.  Several people Diane and I both know from the Louisville Ski Club were present.

Ski Club – just there for the beer

Once the alcohol was flowing, people loosened up.  My daughter and her husband showed up.  They had been unable to make it to the wedding.  People started acting strangely, especially the bride and groom…

The garter is in here somewhere…

I did find the garter.  It eventually ended up on someone’s head.

Umm, wha?

Our wedding night was a quiet night at home.  We needed the rest after such a busy day.

We did have honeymoon plans.  We had a rented “cabin” in Brown County Indiana.  The “cabin” was actually an upstairs apartment in somebody’s home.  It had it’s own deck and hot-tub.  It was in the tiny ‘burg of Helmsburg Indiana.

On Monday, we loaded the tandem bike on the car and drove there.  We arrived during a cold rain, so we tried to stay warm in the hot tub before going to bed.

All the interesting shops in Brown County are in Nashville Indiana, about six miles from our “cabin”.  This was an easy ride on the tandem.  The tandem was our transportation for the duration of the honeymoon.

Let’s go tandem-ing!

The route between the “cabin” and Nashville was hilly, but scenic and low-traffic.

Tandem selfie?

Nashville is a small town, but it’s full of local shops, restaurants, and bars.  It also has a bike shop.

Bike Brown County!

Nashville is also the site of Big Woods Brewing.

I love a woman with beer

The weather on our too-short honeymoon was mixed.  There was always a threat of rain.  It did rain a little, but we were never caught in a downpour.

“I’ll be your driver for the evening”

The nights at the “cabin” were peaceful and quiet.  I have no pictures from that.  It was dark and the hot tub was hot.

On the way home we drove through part of Hoosier National Forest.  We went by Story Inn in Story Indiana, where the Gravel Grovel passes through.

Diane and I will need to save money to take more vacations.  We really enjoyed our time away form the daily grind.


Life is strange.  I’m in a weird place.

Diane and I had a wonderful wedding, and the marriage has been good so far.  Yes, we’ve had an argument, but nothing we won’t get over.  Mostly, things are quite good.  I really have planned on a big post about the wedding, but I think that’s dead now – over a month later.  We wedding was great.  The weather was perfect.  The reception at BBC Taproom was a blast.  I’ll write about the honeymoon – including tandem bike, later.

Wait. I’m married now?

My temporary job has been extended until the end of the year.  I don’t enjoy the job, but being employed is nice.  Work has kept me busy, too busy at times.  I feel like many other things are falling behind.

My doctor has not sent me to physical therapy for my leg/ankle/achilles.  I had my final appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, and he believes all is well.  It could take a year to feel normal again, but I have no more activity restrictions.

I still get swelling and soreness sometimes.  Walking causes more issues than riding the bike.  I still intend to start playing volleyball for the next session.  In the meantime, I need to stretch and work on strength.

I’ve gained weight.  I haven’t been weighing regularly, but I’m about 260lbs right now.  I still drink too much beer.  I’ve left the weight issue on the back burner for now.  I know I shouldn’t, but I feel like I have to finish the transition to married life and fixing financial issues.

Diane and I are trying to fix some financial issues.  We want to own a home someday.  Our spending on beer is down – most due to buying it from a store rather than a bar.

I’m on the bike pretty much every day now.  Diane and I ride the tandem several times a week.  We bike-pooled to work three days this week on the tandem – and plan to do so in the morning again.  We work within a few blocks of each other, so it works.

I seldom ride at a fast pace.  Serious distance would hurt.  This is killing has killed my fitness.

My depression issues have resurfaced again, but in a different way.  I’m able to monitor how I feel.  Maybe I’m just learning a new coping mechanism.  It still sucks, but it doesn’t paralyze me.  I can analyze it.  I can usually avoid hurting others.

I hope to not go another month without posting.  This blog was built on accountability on my weight control.  It’s been failing at that recently.

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?


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.

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.


I’m eccentric, and so is my bottom bracket

Car-Free Volleyball

Diane and I had discussed riding the tandem to the indoor volleyball location even before her car was stolen.  Now it was our only option.

Luckily Diane is fearless in traffic – as long as I’m driving.  So, as the captain of the tandem, we did fine.  I had my Dinotte 140L and PDW Radbot 1000 taillights mounted.  Anyone who can’t see me from behind is legally blind.  I also had the Dinotte XML-3 headlight.

Both of us took a change of clothes.  The cooler temperatures are making this necessary.

We won all three of our volleyball games – because I was lucky enough to get a good team.

The trip home was mostly the same as the way out only darker and cooler.  I took a different route once closer to home, enjoying a 32mph downhill.

The ride was more than 23 miles round-trip.  With my commute to work today, I rode 30 miles for the day.  I’ll take it.

Download file: 2013-11-04.gpx



Diane and I rode 25 miles to her brother’s house outside of Crestwood. We’re camping in the backyard.  This was another ride on the tandem.

I posted this from my phone – with great difficulty.

We stopped at the wedding chapel on the way to fill out paperwork and finalize the date.

Edit: Now that I’m home, I fixed the picture and re-worded some awkward phrases.  Posting from the phone is a pain.


Tandem Camping

Diane and I took the tandem on a camping trip on Saturday night.

It rained most of the day on Saturday.  We knew the rain would end in the afternoon.  It did, around 2pm.

We ran to the grocery store on our way out to grab some supplies, only to discover some mechanical issues.  We went back home for some adjustments before heading out.

Arkel panniers look and work great on the tandem

Some of the roads were still wet.  We still need to get fenders for the tandem.

Asher and Denis had invited us to go out for dinner at Jimbo’s Bar-B-Que, which was quite good.  Not being in a hurry to get to the campsite meant we had plenty of time to hang out.


Once on the road again, we took a “tour” of the outer edge of Iroquois Park.  The park is built on a hill, but by skirting the outside edge we avoided the heavy traffic on the main roads and the hill in the middle of the park.

Wow, what a doofus

Diane was in good spirits.  We weren’t going very fast, but faster than she would have went on a single bike.  There was a fair amount of traffic, but we encountered no problems.

Diane is much better looking than I

We had to make a slight detour to pick up our campsite paperwork.  I had reserved it over the phone.  For an extra fee, they deliver firewood directly to the campsite.  It’s worth every penny.

Just a bit later, we were climbing Holsclaw Hill.  This is the only real climb on the route, and Diane’s first real climb.

We made it up a bit.  I fell into a reasonable pace in our lowest gear.  I thought we’d do it.  Shortly after, Diane had enough.  We got off and walked to the top.  For a few minutes, I thought Diane was mad, and that I had pushed her too far.  That turned out not to be the case.  She was suffering with sore legs, but didn’t get grumpy.

It was fairly dark when we arrived.  I put my focus on a campfire first.  I’m notoriously bad at starting fires, but I had bought some fire starter bricks, and that worked well.  Before long we had a roaring campfire.


Meanwhile, Diane was inflating the pad for her sleeping bag.  It’s actually my new-ish Big Agnes Air Core Pad and Encampment bag, but I let her use it, while I used my old bag.  The weather forecast was calling for cool temperatures, and I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable.

Blow it, Baby!

My new-ish tent is officially a two-person, although I bought it for solo camping trips.  It worked out well enough.

Two people? Yep

This is the route we took to the campsite, edited for Asher’s privacy (we stopped by his house).

Download file: 2013-10-19.gpx

We completely enjoyed the evening.  The warm fire and a couple of adult beverages coupled with non-functioning cell phones made this a nice night.  Diane did manage to get one of her shoes too close to the fire, and it started to smoke.  Oops.

Eventually, we went to bed.  This is where the trouble began.  I was uncomfortable without my air pad.  Diane was cold.  I managed to fall asleep for a while, and Diane listened to me sleep, getting angry as I did.  I got possibly two hours of sleep before I woke up sore and cold.

We talked a while.  She wanted to go home.  I convinced her I would have trouble packing everything in the dark.  She eventually dozed off and I was the one who couldn’t get back to sleep.

She probably slept four hours.  I laid there wishing I could sleep.  My bones ached.  I remembered why I had the air pad.

She woke up around 5:00 am.  I was still awake.  It was still a couple of hours from sunrise, but neither of us wanted to lay there any longer.  Unfortunately, we had burned all of our firewood, and wouldn’t be able to start another fire.

I did bring an Esbit stove, so I fired that up for coffee.

Coffee and raccoon hat make Diane smile

We spent a couple of hours making coffee, drinking coffee, and starting to pack the little things.  Once it was light out, we took down the tent and began packing in earnest.

We learned that it had gotten colder than the forecast 42 degrees.  There was frost on the ground.  Brrr!

Diane mentioned that we should take a direct way back, traffic be damned.  Considering it was early Sunday and there wouldn’t be much traffic, I was in complete agreement.

After a frigid downhill leaving the campground, it was just the steady monotony of keeping the pedals turning.  There wasn’t much discussion other than where to stop for coffee and food.  We settled on Sunergos on Woodlawn Ave.  We stayed there quite a while.  The bike got quite a few looks.

We left Sunergos warmer and happier than we had been.  It was time to go home and do yardwork and other mundane tasks.

It was a good weekend.  I like to push Diane to do more than she’s used to, but I want to be careful and not push her too far.  I think I did well on this, other than the overnight temperature, but that was due to an incorrect forecast.  If the weather guys can’t get it right, how can I?

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I Could Get Used To This

I rode the tandem to work yesterday… by myself.  Nobody yelled “she fell off”.

After work, Diane and I rode it to volleyball.  The tandem is our car replacement for trips together.

Today, I rode my rSogn to work (it fits on the elevator).  We went to see Dracula at Actors Theatre after work.  It was raining lightly, yet Diane was willing to take the tandem again.  After the show (totally worth seeing), we had a few drinks.  The weather had cleared and we had a peaceful ride home.

We’re considering a bike camping trip this weekend.  Yes.  I could get used to this.

Crazy Tandem Stuff

Saturday, Asher and Denis brought their recently acquired tandem over for a two-tandem ride.  I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures, but we rode 15-ish miles around town, through Cherokee Park, out to dinner, out for beer, and finally stopped for ice cream.  Asher wrote more about it.

Sunday, Diane and I wanted to ride across the Second Street Bridge and over into Indiana.  She wanted to see some of the Jeffersonville businesses.

Preparing the tandem – note: stoker saddle angle is no longer like that

After meandering around Jeffersonville a bit, Diane decided she wanted to run by Home Depot for some supplies for a project.

The nearest Home Depot was in Clarksville, and not in a very bike-friendly area.  Luckily, Diane isn’t really scared of traffic.  We headed up Eastern Boulevard then onto Lewis and Clark.  These are busy, multi-lane roads that rarely see bike traffic.  We had no issues.

We stopped at O’Charley’s for lunch and beer.  It’s not my favorite place, but it’s hard to find a good place out in suburbia.  They did have Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, so I was happy.

Mmmm. Beer.

Yes, I wore “visibility green”.  Diane prefers more normal clothes – and she doesn’t wear a helmet.

She had Blue Moon

There was no place to lock up at Home Depot.  We just wheeled the bike in and left it near the service desk.  We were there to pick up molding for a project.  It was simple enough to secure it to the bike frame with bungee cords.

Hauling molding

After leaving Home Depot we took a fairly direct way back to Louisville.  CycLOUvia was going on, and we at least wanted to check it out.

Costume and a highwheel

As expected, there seemed to be a good turnout at CycLOUvia.  We went slowly to avoid little kids, rollerbladers, dogs, and crowds of people just standing around.  We didn’t stop at any of the bars along the way.  They were all too crowded.

Ian towing his daughter and her bike

I saw a number of people I know.  We stopped and talked to some of them.  Apparently Tim was there, but I never saw him.

We wandered home and changed clothes.  We had a play to attend.

After changing clothes, we stopped at Four Pegs for a drink and a quick bite to eat before heading to Actors Theatre, where we have season tickets.  We saw The Mountaintop.  Afterward was a slow ride home in the dark.

Both saddles on the tandem are less than ideal, and we both were sore.  We rode 33 miles.  This was Diane’s longest ride, and my longest on the tandem.  I still hurt from that saddle.

In addition to new saddles, the bike needs fenders.  I’d eventually like to outfit it with a front rack for hauling more for overnight camping trips.

I’m really happy with the way Diane and I are riding this bike.

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New Tires on the Tandem… and Some Rain

When the tandem was new, it had some heavy-duty 26″x2.0″ tires on it.  The previous owner replaced them with completely slick 26″x1.2″ road tires.

The slick tires just aren’t my style.  They are too narrow.  The originals are too wide, and had too much tread.

I had some errands to run – including taking the tandem to the bike shop on Saturday.  I rode it alone in the rain.  I had to be careful with narrow, slick tires on the wet roads.

Once I got home, I switched out the tires to new Panaracer Pasela 26″x1.75″.  They’re reasonably light, have a little tread, but not much, and are wide enough for comfort.


Once the weather cleared, Diane and I headed out for a beer.  We got caught in a heavy downpour on the way home.  Diane can still laugh about it.


When we got up this morning, the news was full of stories of flooding and water rescues.  No wonder the police were giving us weird looks last night riding the tandem in the rain.

Next up for the tandem?  Fenders.

Needs fenders

Tandem Training?

I’ve heard horror stories about couples attempting to ride a tandem.  Some people call tandem bikes divorce machines.  I’ve read articles about proper verbal cues to use when riding tandem.  None of that mattered yesterday.

Diane and I decided to do a tandem training ride.  We’d take the hilly Eastern Parkway to Cherokee Park, then back and finish up with a beer.

We actually used little verbal communication for bike handling.  Other than “back” to let Diane know when to rotate the pedals backward (when stopped), we mostly communicated by pedal speed and pressure.  It’s coming pretty naturally.

We both struggled up the hills more than I thought we would.  Diane gets a little scared above 30 mph.  Standing and pedaling together isn’t going to work for us yet.  So, we sit and spin up the hills, and coast downhill, using the brakes when appropriate.  A scared stoker will refuse to be stoker next time.

I did cut our path through the park a bit short.  Too much distance at once would be bad.  We had to run home for an errand before our beer, but then we continued back to Four Pegs to finish the night.  We limited our beer consumption.  I’m not sure a drunk tandem team would be a good idea.

I didn’t take any pictures, but I did track the ride with the GPS.

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