When I Was Single…

I found this picture from a few years ago.

That was my living room.  I had a couch, chair, and coffee table.  That left room for working on bikes.  What more does a guy need?  Oh, a cargo bike for using the laptop on.

Needless to say, things look a bit different in my living room these days.  However, all is not lost.  I washed the mud off my mountain bike in my shower today.  Diane even helped.  That’s devotion.

More Weekend Exercise

As I mentioned after yesterday’s ride, I planned another ride for today.  Tim and I met up and headed to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge for a gravel ride.

Muscatatuck isn’t that big, but it’s a good starting place for a ride, with pleasant scenery.  The planned route was just under 30 miles.

Tim and I were both on our Rawlands.  This was expected to be easy, mostly-flat gravel.  The temperature was about 50 at the beginning of the ride.

After meandering around the hard-packed dirt roads in Muscatatuck, taking in the scenery (and birds – lots of birds), we headed east along a “road” that was little more than muddy grass two-track.  I was wishing for tires with tread, instead of my fat road tires.  Well, at least we have a different route coming back.

After getting back to a real road, it quickly turned to loose gravel.  It was more work to ride through, but I liked it better than the mud.

We eventually hit pavement for a while, which felt unnaturally smooth after that gravel.  It was like cheating.

Except for a brief burst of “leaving church” traffic, there was little traffic.  It was a pleasant ride.

I mostly quit taking pictures at this point.  I was still feeling good, but I needed a bit more focus to keep moving.

On the final stretch back, we ran into a snag.  The planned route took a road (CR 300 S) that didn’t really exist.  A quick look at my GPS showed that CR 200 S to the north didn’t go all the way through.  We did the only sensible thing and headed back south to CR 475 S – the very “not road” I mentioned earlier with all the mud.

Oddly enough, looking at data from a previous ride a few years ago in the area, it appears that we did take CR 200 S, so apparently it’s passable by bike.  I don’t remember the details.

We ended it at 33.6 miles before heading home.  It was a perfectly pleasant day.  Planning a shorter ride means we don’t have to cut rides short.  I’d rather feel good about finishing a ride, than cut it short and feel bad.  I’ll keep planning these shorter rides until I build a bit more fitness.

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Feeling Fat in the Woods (Again)

I mentioned that I needed to ride during the week.  I didn’t.  I worked from home two days, drove two days, and was sick on Friday.  I hadn’t swung my leg over a bike all week.  That changed this morning.

Tim and I headed out to get some mountain biking in at Brown County State Park in Indiana.

We started with a stop while still in Louisville for doughnuts.

Tim and I have very different fitness levels these days.  We used to be close to even, but I’ve lost a lot of fitness.  We agreed to ride separately, and contacting each other every hour or so.

The weather was beautiful for February.  The trails were pretty busy with hikers and bikers.  It was pleasant.

This was my first time on the Brown County trails.  The climbs are quite serious.  I stayed on the easiest trail while Tim wandered off to ride some gnarlier stuff.

Due to aches, pains, and a terrible lack of fitness I just really felt fat and was quite slow.

My bike is more capable than I am.  It probably wishes it was sold to a real cyclist.  It took me a bit over 90 minutes to ride just over 7 miles.  That was once around the “easy” loop.  I was going to go around again, but by this time my neck, shoulders, elbows, etc hurt from the low cockpit on this bike.  I need to take the bike back to the shop for some handlebar and stem adjustments.

I’m not complaining.  Being fat in the woods is better than being fat on the couch.  I enjoyed myself, and I’m glad I did it.  It was also short enough that I wasn’t miserable.

Tomorrow, Tim and I are going back out, but for some gravel road adventure.  I’ll be on a different bike for the different kind of riding.

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Another DBNF Sunday

As mentioned in my previous post, I did ride in Daniel Boone National Forest last Sunday.  Here it is, six days later, and I’m just now posting about it.

I rode to Tim’s place, and he drove us to Berea where we met up with Andy, who I rarely get to ride with.  We drove then to S-Tree campground, a great place to start a bike ride.

At the beginning it’s mostly easy gravel.  Tim and Andy were riding fat bikes.  I was on my Fargo with relatively skinny 2.2″ tires.

The weather was beautiful, if a bit warmer than planned for.  A clearing next to the road made for a nice place to adjust clothing.

We eventually went downhill to this old abandoned house next to a creek.  I’ve ridden by this place several times.

Although I didn’t get pictures, we had to cross the creek.  Due to the warm temperatures, I wasn’t too worried if I got a little wet.

After crossing with nothing more than one damp foot, I managed to do an endo at the edge of a puddle.  I was fine, if a bit muddy.

After continuing along the creek for a while, we needed to cross again.  I got much wetter this time.  Again, nobody thought to take pictures.

It really wasn’t a road anymore.  The path was rocky, rooty, and muddy.  It was a challenge, but also a lot of fun.

After a downhill that Tim and rode the brakes the whole way – yet Andy bombed down like a pro, the long slog uphill began.  This was the beginning of the end for me.  I walked the entire hill, and was not feeling well.

We regrouped at the top and ate snacks.

We often end up cutting planned rides short when someone isn’t feeling up to finishing the ride.  This ride was planned to be short and easier.  It was a mistake in routing that led to shortening it.  I wasn’t complaining.  I was done.

On the return leg, there was a trail that was mostly parallel to the road.  Tim wanted to explore.  Andy and I agreed, even though Andy said he had his worst experience on a bike on that trail years ago.  It was tough, muddy, hilly, and rutted.  I was covered and mud at the end of it.

We arrived back at S-Tree, then drove to Berea for food and hydration.

I could barely walk the next day.  I still haven’t been back on a bike since.  This was from a ride less than 16 miles in length.  Yikes!

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Avert Your Eyes!

In July of 2014, if you ran across me, shirtless, in Daniel Boone National Forest, I apologize.

So far this week, I haven’t been on my bike.  I drove to work one day, and worked from home two.  I plan to ride tomorrow.

Also, I’ll be back in DBNF on Sunday to ride some more “not roads”.

Friday Commute

I don’t ride my bike to work often enough anymore.  I did ride Friday though.

I headed out in the morning to decent temperatures and wet roads.  I rolled a pleasant route through Cherokee Park, stopping for a picture at Hogan’s Fountain.

I was quite slow.  I’m not a morning person, and I’ve gained too much weight.  I pushed through and was glad I rode.

I have a shower at work, so I used it.  Although I’ve been bike commuting for years no, this is the first job where I had easy access to a shower.  It’s quite nice.  I’d trade it for a shorter commute though.

While at work, I took a selfie with a robot – because “why not?”

It was Friday, so of course I’ve gotta have some beer after work.  Diane agreed to meet me at Apocalypse.  I rode much faster in the afternoon.  The warmer temperatures helped.  It wasn’t morning, that helped too.  The promise of beer probably had a bit to do with it too.  I set three PRs on Strava on the way to Apocalypse.  I felt like a cyclist again.

We were puppy-sitting last week.  Diane brought Baxter (her dog) and Sophie (the temporary dog) along.  Sophie is adorable, even when trying to steal beer.

I limited myself to three beers then rode home.  Sophie was picked up and went home a few hours later.  I’ll miss the cute puppy, but not cleaning up after her.

32 miles for the day just for commuting.  I’ll take it.

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East-End Bridge Ride

The new east-end bridge (Lewis and Clark Bridge) opened last month connecting IN-265 to I-265 across the Ohio River.  It’s a toll bridge, but I managed to drive my car across last month before tolls started.  More importantly, it has a bike/ped path along the side.  I wanted to ride that.

Saturday’s weather was unseasonably warm with a slight chance of rain.  It was really quite nice for January.

I met up with Tim for coffee before we rode out wandering through neighborhoods, to St Matthews, eventually winding our way through Indian Hills and to River Road.  I struggled to keep up with him on (dead flat) River Road, forming a mini-paceline of two.

Crossing the river on the bridge gives a new perspective to Utica Indiana.  I’m not use to seeing it from above.

The path ends at Old Salem Road.  To the south, the road is closed.  That will eventually connect to Utica.  We went north to Waterline Road and took that back to Utica.

We got separated a bit after leaving Utica.  We both know our way.  When we did meet up again, we agreed that he’d go ahead.  I was cooked.  I think the fast stretch up River Rd did me in.

I rode back to Jeffersonville alone.  I took my time and rode at my own pace.  The Big Four pedestrian bridge was fairly busy due to the nice weather.  I went slow and took pictures.

The Big Four Bridge has a nice view of the other new bridge – the Abraham Lincoln Bridge.

I rolled back into town and met Tim at the bike shop.  We then went for coffee – then beer, yes, I cheated a little again.

After that I ran by his house, then home.  My GPS lost some data, so my total distance was actually 41.6 miles.  I don’t do that kind of distance much anymore.

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Livingston Adventure Ride

Tim planned a course leaving out of Livingston KY for adventure and a little mixed-terrain.  I grabbed the Fargo and off we went.

We headed out of town on the “busy” road.  Busy roads aren’t very busy in that part of the state.  There were a couple of climbs to warm up.  Temperatures were near 50 – 10 degrees warmer than anticipated.  There was a little mist and fog.

We turned on to some great gravel on Mullins Station road.  It ran along a creek for a while, then crossed over railroad tracks a few times.  I almost fell once due to my own klutziness.

We eventually came to an area with a small train tunnel, and the remnants of a mine.  There was also crushed coal all over a loading area of some sort.  The coal was hard to ride across due to being laid over the top of soft mud.

We eventually came to a bit of a community along the road.  It was marked at the ends with cattle guards across the roads, and no-trespassing signs.  We were a bit concerned by this.  It was supposed to be a county road.

While was we were trying to figure out what to do, an elderly man came out of the nearest home.  He said we could go through, so that’s what we did.  There were many dogs, a few pigs, a bunch of cows, and one very large horse roaming around.  The horse was actually frightening.

I didn’t get any pictures here, as I was starting to suffer a little.

We rolled along the flat section for a while, then came to paved roads and another climb.  I was beginning to slow dramatically on the climbs.

Near the top of this climb, were two large rocks making quite a view.  Tim waited for me there, as this was the turn off for a road he had found on a map.

The road was easy gravel and it ran along the ridgetop, so it wasn’t too hilly.

After a while it got much more rustic.  There was mud, a lot of puddles, roots, rocks, and general “mountain bike-like terrain”.  It was a lot of fun.

As fun as it was, it was challenging.  The rain kicked up at this point and the temperature dropped.  Tim was losing his brakes in the muck.  My bike made bad noises, but was fine.

After turning onto another paved road and enjoying a brisk descent, we came along a ridge road for a while, where two guys were shooting shotguns across the road.  Tim seemed quite bothered by this.  I simply got their attention, they stopped shooting, we rode past, and they continued their fun.

A while later, Tim pulled ahead of me, then I walked a long climb.  I found him waiting for me at an intersection.  He was cold and wet.

He headed out again, and again, I was too slow.  We regrouped at a shelter next to a cemetery and discussed options.  We were both beat.  I was too slow.  We’d head directly back to the car from there.  It was still another six miles.

We headed out, Tim was told not to wait for me until he reached the car.  I walked another climb, then had a very brisk downhill run most of the way into town.

Just as an aside, my memory isn’t good at keeping track of the order that these events take place.  I think I written them in the correct order, but I moved paragraphs around a bit.  The writing may seem a bit disjointed.  I took fewer pictures as I got into the ride due to just trying to keep up.  Tim’s account is probably more accurate.

Also, I had planned for 40F and rain.  It started out closer to 50F and no rain.  I ended up shedding my gloves and hat.  Later, when it cooled, and I never bothered to put those things back on.  I was glad for the heated seats in Tim’s car when we were done.

I wan’t physically ready for this ride, and I told Tim that ahead of time.  He made the very good point that I needed to ride it to get in better shape.  I’m glad I did.  I had a great time.

Thanks for the great route, Tim.

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Frigid Mountain Biking

I have a fancy new dual-suspension mountain bike.  I should damn well ride it already.

Tim and I headed out to the Parklands to ride some trails.  It was 11 degrees.

The bike was in it’s element.  The bumps are soaked up the suspension.  I just need a stronger motor.

The creek crossings were a frozen mess, but we both managed them without falling, or breaking through the ice.

It only warmed a little, but is was a pleasant day.

It was only about seven miles, but it took us about 90 minutes.  That’s mostly because of how unfit I currently am.  I’m working on fixing that.

Afterward, we warmed up with a cup of coffee.

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New Bike and Other Changes

I sold my much-loved LHT in 2012.  I shouldn’t have sold it, but it did allow me to replace it with the disc-brake equipped Disc Trucker.

I called On Your Left Cycles to order the bike.  I had them replace the saddle, seatpost, handlebar tape, and handlebars with parts better for me.  They also applied framesaver inside the frame.

I went with a Thompson seatpost, Brooks C17 saddle, FSA compact drop bars, and grippy bar tape.

So far, the steer tube is uncut, but I did lower the handlebars a bit after this picture.

Home from the shop
Home from the shop

I took the bike out for a shakedown spin on Friday night with Tim.  We stopped for beer along the way.

I added racks and fenders
I added racks and fenders

I ordered Planet Bike ALX fenders.  They’re aluminum, rather than the typical plastic ones.  They were a tad harder to install.

I moved over my Tubus rear rack and Ortlieb rear panniers from my rSogn, which will see more light-duty road use now that I have this bike.

Bags to carry stuff
Bags to carry stuff

I ordered a Tubus front rack and Ortlieb front bags from Wayne at The Touring Store.  The Touring Store is neat.  They have an online presence, but you order by calling.  This is my third order.  It’s been Wayne every time I call. He remembered me.  Included when the package arrived were instructions with hand-drawn notes on how to install the rack on the Disc Trucker.  Wayne is very thorough.

Top tube protection
Top tube protection

The high handlebars on my Disc Trucker means the bar-end shifters will hit the top tube.  I used some bar tape to protect that part of frame.

Ready for adventure!
Ready for adventure!

Earlier in the week, there was an after-work get together organized by my co-workers.  It was at a bar with a bowling alley at Fourth Street Live, which is really the “tourist” area of Louisville.  Not my favorite place, but close enough.

I drove home, grabbed the bike, and rode there.

Fourth Street Live
Fourth Street Live

Diane and I planned to go out to dinner late, but I spent too long there, bowled poorly, and eventually Diane tired of waiting for me, and pedaled her bike up to meet me.

Lousy bike parking
Lousy bike parking

We left shortly thereafter, and rode to a nearby restaurant for dinner, then enjoyed an after-dark ride home behind our dyno-powered headlights.

Blurry headlight
Blurry headlight

As is probably obvious from all this, my weight loss is off track again.  I’m eating out, drinking beer, but having fun.  Yesterday was the Louisville St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  We attended on the tandem, carrying beer with us.

I’m refocusing on riding more.  I would ride to work tomorrow, but I have to be at volleyball at 6:30 and I work 30 miles from there.  Nope.  Tuesday, however, I will ride the new bike to work.

The Bearded Bike Commuter

I went two weeks without riding the bike to work.  That sucks.  I’ve also been attempting to grow a beard.  Yesterday, I forced myself out the door on two wheels for the trip to work.

I’m glad I did, even if the scraggly beard did little to keep me warm.




Yes, I *Do* Ride a Bike

I haven’t been posting about my rides, and I’ve complained about not riding nearly as much, but I do ride.  Here’s a quick rundown of some recent, memorable rides.

Cold Camping

On November 13th, Tim and I headed to Shelby Lake outside of Shelbyville for a lakeside camping spot.  The ride was pleasant, if a bit windy.  We had a cold, windy night to contend with.  I was uncomfortable for much of the night, even though I was able to get a fire started.  The return trip brought us a good breakfast.  80+ miles over two days and a beautiful campsite – not bad.

Lakeside view
Lakeside view
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November GAR

On November 22nd, Timothy put on another GAR (Gravel Adventure Ride).  This one left out of New Washington Indiana.  I rode my rSogn, as my Fargo, which is usually my gravel bike has some drivetrain issues.

rSogn
rSogn

I felt like an actual cyclist during the first half of the ride… then the wheels feel off and I struggled.  Still, I pulled myself through under my own power for 57 miles.

Fellow riders
Fellow riders
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Christmas Ride

My wife and I drove to Crestwood to visit her brother.  We had a nice brunch.  I had brought my bike with me to ride home.  It was appropriately decorated.

Christmas Cheer
Christmas Cheer

It was only 29 miles, but it felt good to get out.  After getting home, Tim and I went to one of the few bars open on Christmas for a couple of beers.

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Rainy!

Tim and I headed out on the Sunday after Christmas for a 50-mile road ride.  The day started with 70-degree temperatures, rain, and wind.  I was wearing shorts – a decision I later regretted.

Tim in the distance
Tim in the distance

The first 30 miles weren’t bad.  It did rain hard, but I don’t mind getting wet.

Wet rSogn
Wet rSogn

The return trip was supposed to have a tailwind, but at our mile-30 store stop, the front came through, the wind changed direction, and it got cooler.

I'm a little moist
I’m a little moist

If you look at the elevation profile on the GPS track below, you’ll notice it gets crazy after mile 30.  That’s not reality.  The pressure-based altimeter couldn’t handle the weather change.  In reality it was dead-flat.

The temperature had dropped into the low 40s, we had a stiff headwind, and I was still wearing shorts.  Brrrrrr.

Tim asked me where the ride registered on my fun-meter.  I told him that some rides are more fun in retrospect.

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Today

Although I didn’t get out for a New Years Day ride, which I did a few years back with Tim, when it was 9 degrees, I did get out today.  It’s starting to feel like winter.  I think it was low 40s.  I’m meeting up with him in the morning for another ride.

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I’ve done other rides besides these.  I just wanted to get a sampling out there.  Tim, Timothy, and I did an overnight camping trip to Jefferson Forest in the rain.  That was memorable.

I’m trying to really ramp up my riding this year.  Wish me luck!

Too Little Riding

Buying a car has been bad for my bike commuting.  I’ve driven most days since buying it.

I did get back on the bike yesterday, and I wore my “Zombie Raccoon” Bike Commuter Cabal jersey for a 30-mile round trip yesterday (errands along the way).

Today, I was back in the car, mostly due to a poor night’s sleep.

The Big Dummy is prepped for tomorrow.

Weekly Average Weight for July 11, 2015

My average weight for the week ending 7/11/2015:
264.3 lbs

Down from last week:
0.5 lbs

Down since I re-started on 6/1/2015:
10.3 lbs

Weight until goal:
89.3 lbs

I mentioned I was going to start posting my weekly average weight posts again… well, here we are.  My new start was 6/1, when I weighed 274.6 lbs.

This round of weight loss is mostly due to less beer consumption and a bit of self-control on what I eat.

Space Horse
Space Horse

Yesterday, I rode the single-speed Space Horse up to the coffee shop to meet with my daughter.  We hung out a bit before I rode home.  Later I met up with Tim for a single-speed ride around the parks before we stopped for a couple of beers.

When it was time to head home, I had a flat.  Boo!  After getting a bit dirty, the flat was changed and I rolled on… and stopped at another bar for another couple of beer.  Oops.

Writing these weekly updates will hopefully keep me focused on the goal, rather than the beer.

Bike Commuting and Road Treasure

After buying a car on Monday, my bike commuting took a hit.  I drove the car everyday until yesterday (Friday).  On Friday, I rode the bike.  I did it partially because I like riding my bike, and partially because Diane wanted to take the car to check it out.  She hadn’t driven it yet.

The ride in was pleasant, if a bit cloudy.  Along the way on Camp Ground Rd, I saw some “road treasure.”  Road treasure it rare on my commute, but often times you’ll find something interesting.  A number of years ago, I found a slightly scuffed, but functional iPhone.  I returned it to it’s owner.  Friday, I found a cheap screwdriver.  I’ll keep it.

I can park indoors at my job - just not at my desk
I can park indoors at my job – just not at my desk

Shortly after arriving at work we had torrential rains.  I’m glad I made it in first.  The rain came and went all day.  I’m glad Diane didn’t leave the sunroof open on my car.

Road Treasure - Made in China
Road Treasure – Made in China

The rain stopped about ten minutes before I left work.  There were plenty of puddles on the way home, but I never got rained on.  The fenders kept my bike mostly clean.

I changed my commute route slightly.  There was a short stretch near home that was the most stressful.  Routing around that saves me stress, and adds 2.5 miles to my round-trip commute.  I’ll take it.  So the new round-trip commute is 28.5 miles.

Four Wheels Is Good Sometimes

After a few years of living car-free, things have changed.  My life changed.  I married Diane.  I got another dog that doesn’t easily fit on a bike.  My new job is farther from home.

Although Diane has her Explorer, it is hers.  It’s also older, and I wouldn’t trust it on a long trip.  The benefit is that it was paid for in cash.

Yesterday, I paid a visit to CarMax (where I bought my Nissan Frontier in 2009) and bought a 2012 Honda Civic.

After getting the car, I went to the grocery store and thought over the decision.  I’m still going to get around by bike for most things.  The car gives me an “out” for those days I just don’t feel up to riding.  It also gives me the ability to drive to Michigan to visit my mother without the hassle of a car rental, or the risk of the Explorer breaking down.

Although it’s an econo-car, it’s the nicest car I’ve owned.  It has only 21,000 miles on it.  It has more gadgets than I know what to do with.  It connects to my phone with bluetooth.  It has a sunroof. Fancy.

Diane and I took it for a drive last night, and brought both dogs with us.  Yes, my car got the “dog hair treatment” on the first day.

If I regret the purchase later, or if life changes again, I can sell the car, assuming I pay off enough of it by then.  I did with the Nissan.

I did drive the new car to work today, but I’ll be on the bike tomorrow.

Different Commuting Rig

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

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

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

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

Goodbye Sandy

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

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

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

Sandy's Last Beer
Sandy’s Last Beer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest in Peace, Sandy.

One week before her death
One week before her death

New Job!

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

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

An unusually quiet stretch along Algonquin Parkway
An unusually quiet stretch along Algonquin Parkway

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

A Tour Without a Plan

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

Wednesday – Day One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday – Day Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday – Day Three

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

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

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

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

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

Shitty Mushroom Bridge?
Shitty Mushroom Bridge?
Lemme sleep!
Lemme sleep!
Mr. Scruffy
Mr. Scruffy

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

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

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

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

I slept like the dead.

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Saturday – Day Four

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

After a hearty breakfast, we headed out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Bike in the House!

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

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

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

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

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

Single-Speed Space Horse
Single-Speed Space Horse

Build list:

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

I provided from my parts:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday Morning Ride

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

Coffee start
Coffee start

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

Tim climbing the hill
Tim climbing the hill

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

Grassy field at Iroquois Park
Grassy field at Iroquois Park

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

Dogs and Pickles

Dogs

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

2015-06-02 09.05.20

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

Pickles

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

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

Trail Riding and Bike Changes

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

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

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

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