Veteran's Park MTB Video

My friend, Neil, is quite the video guru. He went out with us on the first day we found the new MTB trails at Vet's Park. He edited this quick little ditty this week. It's super cool, but I feel like it really highlights how much of a mediocre mountain biker I am (which is accurate... so it's not just super cool, it's super realistic).

But as I get to know the terrain a bit better, I slowly improve. And Wednesday night I removed the rear rack and added clipless pedals to my setup. It's moving from an all-around bike to an actual MTB. The pedals made a HUGE difference on yesterday's ride. I rode faster, climbed better, bunny hopped more and got higher off of every jump. It will certainly make my rides more interesting than this video shows. I hope we get to shoot more. The other guy in the video is my buddy, Jeff.

Get out there.


Well Used

My buddy, Jason, came over last night. He works at a bike shop, so he's got a lot of exposure to bikes and the people that ride them. We had a great discussion on shiny bikes and fancy components. He was telling me that people will come in and apologize for the condition of their bikes when they're heavily beaten and used or built with cheapo parts.

I love when a bike shows wear and tear. I love a cheap bike that's been ridden to the point that it needs repair. That means you're riding it.

We tuned up quite a bit on the Troll as we were chatting it up. Yes, the Troll, which is built up with a relatively new frame and brand-spanking-new parts has been through a lot. That's because the Troll has been ridden. All the components are dirty and grimy, bolts have come loose and the new chain needed lube... again. And I love that. I've been riding it.

Don't apologize for your bike's crappy condition. Wear it's paint chips and stuck components as a badge of honor. And if your bike is all shiny, go ride it. Get it dirty (I suppose it is okay to wash it afterwards.) :)

But the most valuable thing is to ride.

Get out there.


Mid-Day Ride

Justin on the stone bridge.
Dry and dusty.
You can't tell by these photos at all, but this is a little rock obstacle. It climbs up about two feet off of the ground and drops down after about a five foot long rock platform. It's pretty fun. I'm assuming someone might be able to jump it if they had enough speed.

Get out there.



The last week of riding has primarily been in 95 degree heat, pushing a fat tired bike up hills and over jumps. Today, though, I pedaled slowly through a brisk, cool breeze on a skinny tired commute bike on my way to work. It was delightful. There was no need to stand on the pedals. I never had to build up speed for the next big obstacle. I didn't even sweat. I simply rode my bike.

This type of variety is so good for me. You'll notice on this blog I tend to get really caught up in one thing at a time. I may ride my mountain bike every day for a month, then park it for five weeks after that. Last summer, for instance, I had been out in my kayak dozens of times by now. Yet this year, it still hangs from my garage ceiling, waiting to get wet. But options are good. This year's lack of rain doesn't allow for much paddling. So the variety allows me to choose something that works better in those conditions... riding a mountain bike, for instance.

And that very variety is what keeps me interested. It keeps me constantly moving. I love to bike commute, ride as a family, fish, kayak, mountain bike and camp. But I take it all in a little at a time and try to mix it up pretty well so that I'm never bored and there's always something to do.

Get out there.


...and Another.

I see several lunch rides forthcoming. I hope you're ready to not care about my posts... because they may be redundant.

There were four guys (including me) on this one.
It was hot and dusty. We staggered ourselves pretty well on this section. Riding behind someone was unbearable with all the dust in the air.
That blur is Jeff coming off of a jump. Riding MTB makes me want to bring along my DSLR for better blog shots. I've almost made up my mind to start bringing it along. Shots like this aren't even possible with an iPhone.

Get out there.


Veteran's Park Mountain Biking Trail Map

NEW EDIT: I've actually mapped the one continuous loop of the new trail (Directly below). Park in the upper lot near the baseball fields and cut down the bike path. You'll see a clearing as the paved path cuts left down a hill. Head through that clearing and keep an eye out for the MTB trailhead on the left. 


Neil and I headed out early this morning for some Veteran's Park Recon. After discovering the new trails this week, I wanted a better understanding of how they were all laid out. Below you'll see the route we took. I even dropped in some arrows to show you the flow we've been taking. I've not ridden these new trails about five times. So I think I've got the best flow worked out. But honestly, I may be WAY off! Feel free to tell me a better way to ride this if you're aware of one!
You can click on the image to enlarge it. Basically, we're parking in the lower lot and riding along the creek until we hit the new trail system. Most of the new (and most fun part) is along the bottom of this map (where you see the green pin) The map is a little jumbled there because we kept riding the same section over and over (and the trail runs really close to itself as it doubles back and forth). The trail will give you a bigger loop if you're interested in covering more mileage (we did 8 miles today), but if you're only interested in fast rolling jumps, head to that pin and have fun. The green arrow shows you where we started to double back and head back to the car the way we came.

I'm not sure that this map will help you at all. But I would have liked it. The best thing to do it ride it. This was my third time out there riding these trails over and over again, and I'm just now getting a feel for what is where... and I think I've barely scratched the surface of the new stuff merging with the old stuff.
Neil was riding his new old bike. A friend gave him a great Diamondback that will be perfect for a first real mountain bike experience. Neil gave that thing all kinds of heck today. He even tried to ride through a tree at one point. The tree showed him who's boss, though.

Like I said before, this is a great new trail system if you want to ride in Lexington. And you don't need crazy skills. You could ride it slower and have a blast. You could mash the pedals, hit some fun jumps and have a blast. It's a great option.

Get out there.


Lunch Break

Not a bad way to spend an hour.

Get out there.


New Trails

The closest park with any MTB action got some love this past spring. Veteran's Park is about 10 minutes from my house and/or work and is the only close destination for any trail riding. Up until recently, I had grown fairly bored of the limited trails there. Not so anymore. They've come through and added lots of great new trails. If this thing stays maintained, it will be a great spot for Lexington dirt riders.

Three of us went yesterday to open up Father's Day. We took a GoPro and  Canon 5D camera to capture the fun. There will be more footage and stills to come.

Get out there.



This morning I turned down an unfamiliar path that turned into a small stretch of gravel road. I'm not sure why it's there or what it used to lead to but it suddenly ended without any real destination. I had noticed this little shoot-off path several times but never thought to turn down it. Today I thought, "Why not?" and gave it a whirl.
It was very thick for a while, barely a path and eventually cleared out completely to be a double-track gravel road. It would be a great place to stealth camp or set-up for a lunch break during the work day. I'll certainly be back. I love a little exploration.

Get out there.


Pea Soup

The fog was as thick as pea soup this morning. I should be honest and let you know that I've never actually seen pea soup. I'm really trusting that the metaphor does the fog justice, here.
I rode the single speed Redline 925 for this trip. I keep a blinky light mounted to this guy. So instead of reaching up on a shelf, grabbing another blinky and clipping it to a geared bike, I just opted for one speed for the entire commute. I love riding this bike, though. It's just fun.
And a blinking bike is a good choice when visibility is so limited. I'm sorry to force the image of my arm hair on anyone, but look how water is beading up and causing wetness on my arm. That's all from fog condensation. As I pedaled under tree coverage, little droplets would fall off of the leaves and hit me. That's a lot of fog... not rain. Great ride, though. It felt great today.

Get out there.


Bike Date

The luckiest man in the world got a text yesterday from his lovely wife requesting that he take her on a bike date. What? Could any man be this lucky? Yes. Yes he can.

Last night, Angie and I had a good friend offer to watch all the kids, which allowed us to have our own fun. We rode the bikes through neighborhoods and parks. We hit up the mall area and ate dinner together, then slowly made our way back via bike.

I'm certainly blessed to have a wife who's up for dating by bike. And the fact that it was her idea is even better. We laughed and smiled the entire time. Something about the slower pace and being outside made the night rich. I love her so much.

Get out there.



There's a big world out there and there's a whole lot of people in it. I'm a guy who likes his alone time. I like any opportunity I can get to be outside by myself and soak up some solitude. But a pastoral job and a small house with six people under it's roof means that these bike rides are about all the solitude I get. And don't get me wrong. I love most people and I ABSOLUTELY love those people I share that little house with. But I deeply appreciate these rides.

The decompression that happens in my mind is a spiritual one when I'm on the bike. It refreshes me in a way that makes me a better man. This morning, as I turned the cranks on my bike, I found God, I found rest, I found beauty and I found an opportunity to recharge.

One of my favorite verses in scripture is Psalm 18:19, "He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved - surprised to be loved." I offer you the DPT (Derrick Purvis Translation), "He stood me up on a wide-open road; I pedaled there saved - surprised to be loved."

I love riding my bike.

Get out there.


New Hammock Tarp

For the more than a couple trips I've hammock-camped, I have needed a little bit of rain cover at night. There are several options for a nylon tarp set-up or ENO's actual hammock tarp, but I wanted something on the cheaper side. I've got a nice enough tent that I would just pack if I anticipated heavy rain. But a tarp option that packed down small and didn't add much weight would be perfect.
Tyvek Home Wrap to the rescue. Tyvek is that stuff they wrap around your house somewhere in the middle of the building process when they need to keep foul weather out. Tyvek is super light and thin and it's water repellant. It makes for a great tarp or ground cover. I have a buddy in the building biz, so I gave him a call and had a 12'x12' piece on my desk the next morning.

I cut it down to 9'x9' and bordered all the edges with Tyvek tape to keep it from unraveling. If you do your own Tyvek project, be sure to invest in a roll of the tape. The cut edges do eventually fray. But the tape will prevent this and keep a nice edge around the whole piece. I debated on whether or not to install grommets. But I opted to just purchase tarp clamps from Dick's that will allow me to attach my lines to any spot on the tarp I'd like. That'll come in handy when I find my hammock perched in a precarious spot and cant' figure out where to tie it all down.
The nine foot tarp rolls down pretty small.
The new tarp and clamps are in the left bag and the hammock and straps are in the right. There's very little additional weight and just a tad more space with the tarp in tow.

If you're looking for a cheap, light and minimal tarp or ground cover. I'd go for a homemade solution like this. It seems to be simple enough.

Get out there.


You Should Commute Too

Bicycle advocacy isn't my forte. I believe in all the efforts people make. I sign a pledge here and there. I'll occasionally show up to a meeting or something. But if I jumped into that world too heavily, I wouldn't have time to be on my bike and ride. So here's my effort for advocating you being on your bike.

Riding your bike is awesome. You should try commuting to work.
You'll notice that old swing hanging from a tree that you'd never see at 60mph.
You'll see horses.
Here's Neil this morning loving the commute. He's just got an incredibly inexpensive Craigslist bike and a cheap Walmart rack with a bag bungied to it. But he's riding and loving it!

That's about all I have for advocacy. Here it is again in case you missed it...

Riding your bike is awesome. You should try commuting to work.

Get out there.


Bike Parking

I've never been satisfied with my bike storage situation in my garage. I built a rack out of an old palet that was functional, but a little too unstable and three bikes took up a ton of room. Yesterday, I think I finalized my satisfaction by building this. Four bikes hanging with enough floor parking for the Xtracycle.
Most of the space they take up is vertical space. So I'm able to store them closer to the garage door, creating more room for bike maintenance space behind the rack.
The back side of the rack now houses a shelf, work bench and hanging tools. I've been trying to organize all my stuff into four categories; bike stuff, camping stuff, fishing and kayaking stuff and general garage storage (like car maintenance and yard supplies). This new layout gets me much closer.
My hope is to get all bike stuff on this new rack/stand; bikes on one side and all tools and gear on the other. Then I can use all my other cabinet storage for my other needs. At this point, I would like to find a solution for small parts and items to store on the second work bench to the right. The only caveat to my storage solutions is that I have to put all the interesting tidbits out of the reach of little hands. The garage is my boys' favorite place on earth. They love rooting through all my parts and tools. And it doesn't take much for me to completely lose a crucial piece of equipment. I'm trying to build this new solution with that in mind.

For now, though, I'm very satisfied. I opened up a good deal of room in my garage. Everything is a little more sturdy and a lot more organized... and all for about $30 in lumber. I'm very pleased.

Get out there.


Do You Need a Rain Jacket?

Same location and same time as the bright blue photo from Monday. But today it was raining pretty good the entire commute. My rain jacket was nowhere to be found this morning. So I just wore a Prana long sleeve shirt to deflect a little of the wind.

Here's my thoughts on rain jackets: They're not really breathable, no matter how nice it is. When I wear a rain jacket, I'm warm at the beginning of the ride and dripping with sweat by the end of it. When I don't wear one (like today) I'm chilly at the beginning of the ride but I warm up just fine by the end of it. So there is really only one question... Would you rather be a little chilly on the first half of the ride or a little overheated on the second half? If you don't have a rain jacket, go with the first option. That way, you'll still be riding.

For me, I've got the jacket. I make the decision based on the length of the ride and the temps outside. Today it was mid-60's. That's plenty warm enough to keep me going without a jacket. And most of the time, I don't wear it. I would much rather be too cold than too hot.

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this. I think it's to get some of  you to try riding in the rain. You don't need a ton of equipment. Just go for it. It does some damage to your bike, but I'll help you fix it. Just ride.

Get out there.