Snow Ride

Last Sunday, December 15th, Tim wanted to take his fat bike on a snow ride.  I put the 2.2″ knobbies on my Fargo, and we headed to southern Indiana – where we assumed we’d find some snow.

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

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

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

Frozen cattails

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

Ice!

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

Two Salsas

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

Don’t Taunt The Cubicle Monkey

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

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

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

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

Cubicle Monkey

Slush Ride

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

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

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

Fargo and I

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

Asher and Tricross

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

Timothy’s Origin 8 Frankenbike

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

Tim’s Salsa Mukluk with 4″ tires

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

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

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

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

Dreary winter conditions

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

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

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

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

Snow!

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

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

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

Front walk

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

Back yard

After finishing, I had a good porter.

Founders Porter in a festive glass

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

I Have Been Riding

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

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

rSogn at cold meeting spot

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

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

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

We were hauling growlers of beer

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

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

Decorated Dummy

Tandem Work and MacGyverisms

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

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

Easy-peasy.

I’m eccentric, and so is my bottom bracket

Tire Fun

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

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

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

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

Reflective tires, stickers, and clothing

Job Interview and New Clothes

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

I think it worked out alright.

I don’t normally dress this way

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

Recovered

Diane rode her bike to my work.  We went out for a beer.  On the way home she was complaining about not having her car.

We were home for about 20 minutes when we got a call from LMPD.  They had located her car, and arrested the thief.  The car was a mere 2.5 miles away.  We rode there on the tandem.  The car only has minor damage, and is drivable.  They used the center console as an ashtray.  All the belongings from the car were gone.

Blinkenlights

She drove her car home, and I rode the tandem home solo.

Poor car

I’m a tad disappointed.  I had hoped her car-free adventure would last a bit longer.

Crestwood – Part Two

When we left off in Part One, Diane and I were invited to sleep indoors in the warmth.  Once in the spare bedroom, I was asleep within seconds.

I woke to coffee and breakfast served by our hosts – my future brother in-law and his wife.  I had hauled my Esbit stoves with me for morning coffee, but this turned out to be unnecessary.

We were able to shower before heading back out.  This was quite nice, and different than the average bike-camping trip.

Unlike Saturday, we didn’t have to worry about rain.  It was a beautiful day, if a bit cool.

I had a different route planned.  It was a little longer, a little hillier, and a little more scenic.  We struggled on the hills.  We eventually scrapped the planned route and took a more direct route.  This required taking the lane on busy multi-lane roads.  We had no issues.

My favorite part of the day was a brief break we took near the Snyder Freeway.  We pulled off into a grassy field, and sat in the grass, drank wine, and ate some crackers.  We should have brought cheese!

I adjusted Diane’s saddle (and watered the brush) and we were back at it.

We stopped at Mark’s Feed Store, Diane’s favorite BBQ place, along Shelbyville Rd.  There was a large crowd waiting to get in, and they really liked the loaded tandem.

The lovely Diane, behind the refreshing beer

We had a large lunch and a beer and moved on.

Yes, I like beer

We really were in “get back to the barn” mode now.  This was the last of the pictures.  We did make another stop for beer, but it was brief.

We rode three roads that I usually avoid: Shelbyville, Hurstbourne, and Taylorsville.  They are high-speed, heavy-traffic, multi-lane roads.  I took the right lane and let people go around.  We really didn’t have any problems other than odd looks.

I do think that Louisville drivers are pretty clueless about how bikes fit into traffic.  I don’t think they’re all that aggressive about it.  There are always exceptions… but not for us on this trip.

We arrived home, tired and sore.  This was more than 50 miles over the weekend – which is new to Diane.  I still have saddle issues on the tandem, so I was a bit tender.

Overall, Diane still loves the tandem.  She tells me that pretty regularly.  How can I not love her for that?

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Crestwood Wedding Chapel & Camping Tour

Diane and I had talked about riding the tandem out to Duncan Memorial Chapel on Saturday, even before her car was stolen.  We’re getting married there, and needed to finalize the booking for the right date.

We left later than intended, as usual, Saturday afternoon.  A quick trip to the store and we remembered something at home.  The 20% chance of rain seemed to materialize while we were shopping.  A quick ride home in light rain to grab the forgotten item, and we headed back out.

We hadn’t had lunch.  It was starting to rain.  Stopping early to eat seemed like it could solve both problems.  A quick trip to Four Pegs (while the rain petered out) was quite pleasant.

The rain quickly returned and became a brief storm.  Only one lightning strike that I noticed, but a little wind, a lot of rain, and small hail.  I was worried Diane would call off the trip.  She didn’t.

The skies cleared, and most of the trip was pretty pleasant.  The first 18 miles were pretty urban.  It takes a while to “get out there”.  Even at the 21-mile mark, where the chapel is, had exurb traffic.  Bleh.  It made for narrow winding roads and numerous pickup trucks.

After finishing the business at the chapel, we continued on along Mt Zion Rd, which I’ve ridden quite a few times.  I remember complaining about the unending rolling hills.  Diane and I do not make a good climbing team on the tandem.  Diane gets scared of high-speed descents.  This stretch was a bit taxing for both of us.

We eventually arrived at Diane’s brother’s house.  He wasn’t home, but we’d already talked to him about this.  We set up camp around his fire pit in the back yard.

She’s glad to be off the bike

The back yard / campsite is a sprawling thing ending at a line of trees, a pond, and a valley.  It’s quite pretty with the fall colors.

Blah!

The fire pit already had chairs around it.  There was ample aged firewood in place.  This would be nice.

Fire pit

I had a decent fire going before long.  We brought snacks, drinks, and sausages to cook over the fire.  It was quite pleasant to sit and watch the fire.

Diane by firelight

The homeowners weren’t due back until late, and when that time rolled around, they still weren’t home.

Diane finally gave up and climbed in the tent.  I sat watching the fire a while before joining her.  I was able to get comfortable and warm pretty quickly and I fell asleep.

I woke up cold and stiff.  I had been asleep for possibly 90 minutes.  I realized the cellphones had woken me up.  Our hosts were home and inviting us to sleep in the spare bedroom.  We were cold.  The fire was dead.  We happily agreed.

Ten minutes later I was in a warm bed and sleeping soundly.

Sunday’s events will be posted in part 2.

The route below is mostly what we rode.  I edited out the camp location and our goofy riding around before finally leaving town.

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Campfire

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.

Fire!

Back on Gravel

I met up with Tim and Asher for a gravel ride on Sunday.  I was up early to prepare for a 7:30 am meeting at Sunergos for coffee ahead of time.  I was riding the Fargo, as it’s my gravel bike.  I haven’t ridden it much recently, and have barely ridden it since adjusting the handlebars.

We enjoyed coffee before heading out.  It was 36F in the city.  As Tim drove us to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge the temperature dropped to 31F.

We arrived to a slightly foggy, somewhat cold morning.

Foggy sun

Muscatatuck has a lot of flat area with gravel roads, interspersed with lakes. It’s really a pleasant area. There was a deer hunt going on, so I was glad to be wearing a bright-yellow jacket.

Gravel

The morning light was very nice.

Tim capturing a photo

Fifteen miles in, I was hurting.  I’m more out of shape and heavier than I’ve been in years.  No good!

Some fall colors

This was a planned 38-ish mile ride.  I was having doubts, but before long we were at the halfway point.  Here was “the green bridge”.  Tim said I’d ridden over it before, but I don’t remember it.  We rode across this rather nice bridge, and sat down at the edge of the road to have a snack.

Green bridge in the distance

I felt better after the snack.  I was still slow.  Asher and Tim spent time waiting for me now and again.

We traveled two “not roads” as Tim calls them.  Both were grassy and a bit overgrown.  The foliage was tall enough to get caught in gears and hide logs.  It was slow going, but quite fun.  Hopping logs is fun.

The “not road” on the return leg turned into a much tamer path used by local walkers and bird-watchers.  There was a gazebo on a lake with a nice view.

Fargo in silhouette

Tim did some bird-watching.  I was glad for the break.

View from the gazebo

Asher seemed intent on getting a “selfie”.

Selfie?

We took another break as we were near-finished.  Tim was trying to identify a duck from a distance.  I was wearing contacts instead of glasses, and I couldn’t even see the duck.

What duck?

Though tired, I was amenable to an extra 1.5 mile loop through Muscatatuck.  At this point Tim was going slow to watch the birds.  The weather had warmed into the 50s.  It was quite pleasant.

Green water. Go for a swim?

It was a short ride back to the car.  We drove back to Sunergos.

Tim and Asher are participating in a bit of silliness called coffeeneuring.  Go ahead, follow the link, I’ll wait.  I’m not participating, but I did ride a three-mile loop around Germantown with them, ending right back at Sunergos, so they could get their check-in for the day.

Tim tempted me by riding right past my favorite bar, and near my home.  I stuck with them, and finished up with more coffee.

The gravel ride was 38.1 miles.  The coffeeneuring was 3 miles.  My riding to and from Sunergos was 2.1 miles – giving me a grand total of 43.2 miles for the day.

That’s certainly not an epic day, but with my lack of fitness, it was challenging.  I’m only about a month away from Gravel Grovel, which is substantially harder.  I need to train, and I’m still not sure I can handle Grovel this year… yet I’ve already registered.

Tim’s write-up is here.

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Relationship News

This blog has seen a lot of changes in my life.  I went through a divorce in 2007 and 2008.  I married in 2009.  I divorced again in 2011.

I’m a bit of a loner.  I like the freedom of living alone.  As I’ve aged, I’ve found being alone to be, well, lonely.  I want a good woman to spend the rest of my life with.  I’ve found her.

Today, I asked Diane to be my wife.  She accepted.  We’ll marry on 4/6/2014.

I had planned to ask during the camping trip, but I stupidly left the ring at home.  Doh!  I considered asking without the ring, but it didn’t feel right.

Today, we ate dinner on the front porch.  After eating, I got up to grab something to show her.  While I was up, I grabbed the ring and pocketed it.  After being back out on the porch for a bit, I dropped to one knee, and asked her to be my bride and spend the rest of our lives together.

Yes!, said the beautiful woman

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.

Loaded

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.

Fire!

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).

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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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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.

Pasela

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.

Rain!

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

Apple Cider Century – DNS

What’s worse than a DNF (Did not finish)?  A DNS (Did not start).

Today was the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks Michigan.  Diane and I drove up on Friday afternoon, with my rSogn, and the tandem strapped to the back of the car.  I had removed the wheels from the bikes to have less of a weight load on the trunk-mounted rack.

Sketchy

It looks bad, but we had no problems with this setup, even at freeway speeds.

As I posted before, I wasn’t feeling well, but I assumed it would pass.  My sore throat continued to get worse.

We arrived at our hotel late Friday night in Michigan City, Indiana.  We carried the two wheel-less bikes upstairs to our second-floor room, and I promptly felt quite ill from that little bit of exertion.

The night became a bit of a blur after that.  I was too sick to eat or drink.  I felt feverish and really couldn’t swallow.  I slept poorly – hoping that I’d recover before Sunday morning.

Saturday morning was still quite bad.  I got up just so I could force some breakfast and coffee down.  I couldn’t talk without extreme pain.  I went to an urgent care clinic – replete with an annoying couple from Italy via Chicago who were arguing about paying the $75 fee instead of the $50 fee.

After a quick strep test (negative), I was sent on my way with the advice to take acetaminophen and gargle with saltwater.

We stopped to buy acetaminophen, salt, and soup (the only thing I could really eat), and went back to the hotel.  Diane went out on her own while I tried to nap some more.

Part of the point of this trip was to meet some people I’ve been talking to online on Google Plus.  So this was supposed to be a HIRL (Hangout In Real Life) – along with a 100-mile bike ride.

Jin, one of those people sent me a message, wondering where I was.  She was in Three Oaks at Journeyman Distillery.  Once Diane got back, we headed to Three Oaks.  Jin had left the distillery, and I don’t know where she went off to.

Diane had never seen Lake Michigan (or any of the Great Lakes for that matter), so we drove to New Buffalo and spent some time on the beach.  I really couldn’t talk, and the water was a bit cold, so I just laid in the sand next to Diane for a while.  It was pleasant.

Getting the feet wet

They may not be visible in these pictures, but there were quite a few others at the beach.

Lake Michigan on a calm day

When we left New Buffalo and headed back to Michigan City, I took an alternate route.  I’m glad I did, as we ran across Shoreline Brewery.  I drank less than a beer (Diane finished it) and I only ate french onion soup, but it was all quite good.

Saturday night’s sleep was only marginally better than Friday’s.  It had rained overnight, but appears weather cleared for the Century.  After fortifying ourselves with coffee and waffles, we packed the car, and headed home.

Much of the drive home was uncomfortable.  I couldn’t swallow or talk.  When we got near Indianapolis, I was feeling well enough to eat something soft, so I had an omelette at Waffle House.  More coffee kept me moving.

We arrived home and unpacked the car.  I immediately laid down and tried to nap.

Throughout all of this, Diane has taken care of me and been understanding of how I feel.  She didn’t tease me, or get angry that I wasted the time and money on this trip, only to bail on the ride.

I’m most upset that I didn’t get to meet those from Google Plus.  Some changes I’m making in my life mean I’m leaving that social networking site.  I’ll stick with this blog and email as my online presence.  I don’t want to spend extra energy on more.

Coffee and Tandem

I met up with Tim for a coffee ride this morning.  Neither one of us was feeling strong, but we meandered around town, me on my rSogn, Tim on his Quickbeam, and stopped at coffee shops along the way.

At one point, he mentioned a tandem bike for sale on Facebook for a reasonable price.  I’m not on Facebook, so asked him to send me contact information.

Later, I met Diane after she got off work (she had ridden her bike) and we rode home together, discussing a tandem.  After contacting the seller, we drove to his house, to check the bike out.

Oddly enough, I knew the seller.  He used to work at the bike shop that I bought my recumbent from back in 2008.  He remembered me.  He’s no longer working in the bike shop industry (and kind of misses it), but he’s doing well.  He was glad to see the bike go to someone who would actually ride it.

It’s an older Trek T900.  It could use a little TLC.  We paid cash and hauled it away.

I’ve adjusted the brakes, installed a rear rack, adjusted the saddles, aired up the tires, switched out pedals, popped some lights on, and we headed out for a ride.

It is so much faster than me hauling Diane on the Big Dummy.  I’m already in love with this bike.  We put about nine miles in, stopping for beer along the way.

It still needs a seatpost clamp, and some minor stuff.  I’d like to put fenders on it at some point.  Until then, it’ll do as-is.

There’s an old axiom that a tandem will make or break a relationship.  Our first ride was good.  I hope that’s a positive sign for the future.

Trek T900

Sunday Metric

On Sunday, September 8th, Tim and I headed out to get some “dumb miles” in.  This wasn’t to be a terribly fast ride, but it wasn’t to be an urban ramble either.

We met for coffee at Breadworks.  We then headed through Cherokee Park for a warm-up before heading across the bridge and into Indiana.  I didn’t take many pictures, but we did spot this heron on Beargrass Creek.

Heron looking for food

We rolled through Jeffersonville and up Utica Pike.  Sunday morning traffic was light along the river and it was a pleasant ride.  Tim and I picked up the pace on the mostly flat section and probably did our legs a disservice.

Waterline Road is a long, but not steep, climb away from the river.  We crossed Highway 62 and the terrain got a bit lumpier.

Eventually we were on part of my old 11-mile loop I used to ride when I lived in Charlestown.  It’s strange.  I cut my cycling teeth on the rolling hills out there, yet now, they punish me.  I’ve lost fitness.

After arriving in Charlestown, we stop in a convenience store for sugar, salt, and water.  Junk food and bottled water (and a chocolate milk) were the perfect mix.

rSogn and Blueridge

We left Charlestown, taking the more direct route on Highway 62 back to Waterline Road and (mostly) back the way we came.  We rolled through town before heading our separate ways to go home.

I was home my 1:00pm with 62 miles – 100 kilometers – a metric century.  We could have pulled it off by noon had we not spent an hour at Breadworks beforehand.

I have an Imperial century (100 miles) coming up later this month in Michigan.  This is preparation.

Later, I rode the Big Dummy, hauling Diane on the back, to Actors Theatre to catch a play.  My legs were quite sore by the time I got up for work on Monday.

My GPS track from the ride is here:

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Bike Hike?

On Sunday of last weekend (August 25th), Tim and I decided to check out a green squiggle on the map that denoted an unknown-to-us bike path in Southern Indiana.

It happened to be the same day that Ironman Louisville was taking place.  We took in some of the sights of the bike portion of the race in our meandering path.  Crossing the river on the Second Street Bridge, we could see the lines of swimmers and support watercraft down the river.

Swimmers!

We took our usual route through Clarksville and into New Albany.  We began the climb up Corydon Pike, but turned off on Highwater Rd.  From there, there’s a cut-through up a steep rocky hill.  This was more of a hike than bike riding.  I ripped my jersey on thorns.  It was slow going.

After making it to the top, we realized we weren’t alone.

It’s a Jeep thing…

A man was driving a Jeep – slowly and carefully – down the next hill.  His girlfriend waited at the top – probably worried he was going to roll the vehicle.  Once he reached the bottom, he walked up to help her down.  She was wearing flip flops, not ideal footwear for the terrain.

They were pleasant, and even offered us a ride.  We declined.  Had we known how difficult this would be, we may have accepted the offer.

Hilly and rugged, but not untouched by people

The hiking portion was only about a mile, but it was brutal.  Very little of it was rideable, which meant even the downhill portions were difficult.  I fell once – while dismounting my bike and managed to roll down a small hill.  Luckily the ground nearby was soft and sandy.

Climbing into the blue

There were some nice vistas.

Distant cityscape

Much of the trail was exposed to the hot sun.  There were some pleasant areas with shade.

Shady wonderland

We eventually came to an actual road again – Old Corydon Rd.  We meandered to a fast food restaurant for salty fries and sugary drinks.  Once replenished, we moved along the pleasant Quarry Rd before diving downward on Old Vincennes Rd and back into New Albany, then Louisville.

In retrospect – we’re two fat guys in our 40s riding road-ish bikes on terrain that was almost too hard for us to hike.  We rode 20 miles to get there, and 20 to get back.  I think we’re bordering on clinically insane.  I don’t have a problem with this.

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Diane’s N+1

When I met Diane, she thought the idea of having more than one bike was just silly, yet I had five.

She didn’t have a bike.  She borrowed my daughter’s for a while, but eventually we scored a free one.  A free bike is a good bike, but this thing was heavy.  She also didn’t like the color.

During a visit to On Your Left Cycles she spotted a blue-ish bike she liked.  It wasn’t quite her size, but they could order one.  She wasn’t ready to commit, so we went home and read up on other options for the price range.

When said and done, she really liked the one at OYLC.  I called and and order was placed.  She’s had her new bike less than a week, but she likes it much better.  It’s lighter, fits better, and has better shifters.  She loves the color.  It’s a Norco VFR4.

Diane and her new bike

She’s not a high-mileage rider, but she rides often enough to put in impressive monthly numbers.  She rode 146 miles in June, 87 in July (we were in San Francisco, cutting into ride time), and 168 in August.

Back From San Francisco

Yes, Diane and I went to San Francisco in mid-July.  Yes, I’ve haven’t posted a thing here since.

I had a four-day conference to attend in San Francisco.  I went out two days early to see the city.

We didn’t ride bikes or rent a car.  This was a public transport and walking kind of trip.  BART was helpful for the longer distances.  The city buses and trolleys (muni) got us around for the shorter distances.

BART was nearly empty coming from the airport

We never had a chance to ride the iconic cable cars, but that seems to be more of a tourist thing anyway.  I was really fond of the ferry from Sausalito to San Francisco – It had a bar on board.

San Francisco is a great city to live without a car.  Too bad it’s expensive and crowded.  Many people (most?) use public transportation.  Bikes are everywhere.  Most bicyclists seem to follow the laws.  Even the pedestrians are predictable and law-abiding.  It’s a much different environment than Louisville.

There seems to be a bunch of unwritten rules about riding in San Francisco.  I’m a bit glad that I didn’t have a bike with me – as I would have not known the rules initially.

Bikes and transit

We had Friday plans to meet up with Jenny and Shawn for dinner and drinks in Oakland.  Jenny and Shawn were the couple that visited back in February for the Silly Bike Race Cyclocross Worlds Championships

We took the BART through the Trans-bay Tube over to Oakland and walked a few blocks to Chop Bar.  After good drinks, food, and conversations, we walked around the Jack London District and stopped by a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop.

Diane and I on the Bay

We spent one day walking around Chinatown, checking out the area around the Ferry Building, taking a bus over to Presidio and walking the trails.  We walked a lot.  We took another bus across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito where we had dinner and made friends with a large bird.

Interesting cityscape

During our time there, we visited two breweries, one near our hotel in the Financial District, the other in Haight-Ashbury.  We ate at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Squat and Gobble.

Golden Gate

Sausalito was interesting.  We had dinner and did a wine tasting.  I can’t imagine living there.  The tourist traffic was incredibly thick.

Sorry, I don’t have an eyepatch

There are so many things I didn’t have time to see.  I wanted to visit Alcatraz.  I wanted to stick a toe in the cold water.  I wanted to visit more of the nearby cities.  I wanted to ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.

View from the ferry

I was fairly busy with the conference.  Diane went out and did some shopping and sightseeing on her own while I was busy.

Funeral band in Chinatown

I want to visit again, with more time and money.  It was hard to leave.  Part of me wants to move there.  The cost of housing is sky-high, so even doubling my salary would mean a lower standard of living.  I did browse some real-estate ads, but to live in the city itself would relegate me to a third-floor apartment somewhere.  I like having my little yard and little house here in Louisville.

Weekend S24O

Last week, Tim suggested a weekend overnight bike camping trip.  He met me at my house on Saturday afternoon, where we took a route through Utica and Charlestown to Clark State Forest.

Loaded ‘bent

I’ve been limited to my recumbent recently due to more back issues.  The cervical (neck) issues continue, and the lumbar (lower back) issue is recent.  Getting older sucks.  On the other hand, riding the recumbent more has gotten me comfortable on it again.  It had been my primary bike from late 2008 until early 2010.  It’ll be my primary bike again.

Luckily the ‘bent has a decent rear rack and can easily haul my camping gear.  I’m currently missing the rear fender – as the old one broke after five years.  The gripshift shifters have started to deteriorate, and need replacing.  They still function, but I get a gooey, rubber-like mess on my hands from them.

We intended on enjoying pizza and beer at Charlestown Pizza company, but we were unaware that it was the weekend of the Founders’ Day celebration in Charlestown, and the pizza place was closed.  We tolerated food from Subway instead.

Just north of Utica, we could see where the planned east end bridge will soon (?!) be constructed.  They’ve cleared trees on both sides of the river.

East end bridge path

As the ride progressed, we considered bailing.  The weather was sketchy.  There was a chance of rain.  It might even storm.  The temperatures were cooler than forecast, and we weren’t dressed for cool temperatures.  Tim was using a bivy rather than a tent.  I had my new-ish tent, and felt that I could handle rain – but I was worried about cold.  We decided to stick to the plan.

In Henryville we bought a little beer (cheap, nasty stuff) and ice.  We poured the ice in a dry bag with the beer containers.  This would get them cold enough for camp.

The campsite was roomy and we mostly had the campground to ourselves.  There were distant sites that were occupied, but nobody close by.  This was our first time at this campground.  It would have been much better without the nearby freeway.  We weren’t going to haul firewood, so we did without a fire.  We sat and drank beer well into the night before going to bed.

Bike camping!

It was warm, as forecast.  It never rained.  I initially slept on top my sleeping bag.  I never put the rainfly on the tent, so I just had a mesh shelter to keep the bugs out.  I woke up about an hour into my sleep because I was cold.  I crawled into the bag where I mostly slept well until 7:00am when I woke to hearing Tim moving around camp.

It was time for coffee and oatmeal on the Esbit stove.  After enjoying breakfast, we packed and headed out.

Southern Indiana scenery

Tim’s original plan had us heading through some hilly terrain on the return trip.  Neither of us was feeling up to it.  So we exited the beautiful country roads and made our way through exurban and suburban sprawl on somewhat busy roads.  One of the roads, that I used to ride all of the time when I lived in southern Indiana, was now under construction.  It made the ride less pleasant.

We wanted to get home.  We dealt with the traffic and lack of good scenery.  Although I didn’t take a picture, we saw the path of the pending downtown bridge also.  There’s a McDonalds and a Waffle House that are now closed and awaiting demolition.  There was a row of empty houses with the windows boarded up.

We rolled into Louisville and celebrated the trip with food from Twig and Leaf before we each headed home.  It was in that final two miles home that I got rained on.

Tim’s write-up is here.