White Commute

I don't get many of these. Time to soak it up.

Get out there.


Primary Winter Ride

For the last couple days, to my delight, I've put some cold weather miles on the Cross Check. I'm considering making the Cross Check the official winter bicycle for clear(ish) weather rides. For the last several months, the LHT has been my go-to commuter. But the sprightliness of the Cross Check is a welcomed feel for this cold weather riding.

For one, I already feel sluggish in the cold when I'm weather multiple layers. I don't have really expensive, high tech riding gear for cold weather. I can totally stay warm. I just have a lot bulkier wardrobe. The slow, deliberate, semi-truck feel of the LHT becomes even more cumbersome when I'm all layered up. The Cross Check feels a lot more quick and responsive.

Another factor is tires. My only set of studded tires are 26". I'm thinking I'll put the studs on the LHT and leave it parked for the 90% of the time that I don't need studs. But the age and investment in the LHT would make it a great snow/ice bike. It just wouldn't see very many miles.

All this to say, the Cross Check is about to get some miles this winter, I think. The single speed Cross Check will do rain. The LHT will do snow and ice. And the geared Cross Check will be my primary commuter. Sounds like a plan... until I get bored and change my mind.

Get out there.


Nothing New

I've taken a couple weeks off of the blog. No reason, really. I've ridden less, I guess. The church I work for is opening a new campus on the other side of town in a week. It's requiring me to drive a lot more. Once we get settled in there and I build a rhythm, I will figure out how to ditch the car. But for now, it's been a necessary evil. I also took a week off of work. So there wasn't any commuting.
Salt has made it's way onto the road. Using gears is going to become more of a rarity as the nasty conditions threaten my drivetrains. Winter is the Super Bowl of seasons for the single speed Cross Check.
Without snow, though, it's just a dreary landscap. Photos don't look so nice when everything gets gray.

On a lame note, the Subaru overheated again this morning. I just had it fixed two weeks ago. Boo. I hate having to depend on a car.

Get out there.


Subaru is Back

This morning I rode the Long Haul Trucker to the mechanics to pick up the Subaru. It was so chilly out, my bike racks were frozen when I got there. I had to slide the LHT into the belly of the beast for transport.

It's good to have the car back. As strange as it sounds, it allows me to ride more. When we're a one car family with four kids, it helps my wife if I do a little more kid taxiing. Only having one car means that we have to be incredibly strategic about when to go to the grocery, when to run errands and when to do the random stuff that needs a car. So it helps if I do some more standard things like taking kids to school. If I didn't do a bit more of that stuff, it would put 100% of the burden on Angie. So the Subaru allows me to help out a ton and ride a ton. Win.

Get out there.


The Old Way

Last week I made my way home from a location other than work. I had made a stop at the bike shop and ended up taking my old route home. Nowadays, I have this beautiful, scenic bike commute through farmland and countryside. Go back a few years, and 80% of my commute was down Car Dealership Lane.

As I pedaled on the shoulder of a major roadway and watched car lot after car lot, it made me extremely thankful for the route change. It wasn't long ago that they expanded a small country road and added a parallel bike lane. Before then, it was too sketchy to ride a bike on. Now, though, it's a wonderful blessing. In fact, that route change is what prompted me to start a blog. Before then, I didn't think anyone would be interested in photos like the one above. But after I started riding on the bike path, the blog made more sense.

Taking the old way was a great exercise in gratitude. I'm certainly more thankful for my beautiful commute now!

Get out there.


Bike Taxi

This morning I had to employ the single speed Cross Check as my taxi to get me back from the mechanic. The Subaru has been overheated as of late and I'm at a loss of what to do. I tried all the simple fixes I could think of and none of them worked. So she went in for a check-up.
It's fun to take the bike with you to the mechanic. They look at you like you're nuts as you take you're perfectly functioning machine off of your broken car. But, hey, I'll take the weird looks.

I enjoyed riding unfamiliar territory on my way back. It's always interesting to explore. But it was raining pretty heavily. So I didn't look around too much.
The rain bike has some new 'cross tires on it. They're not ideal for the road. But they actually are super grippy. I'll leave them on until I can afford a more permanent solution.

But it was a great morning riding in the rain. Let's hope the Forester isn't too expensive to fix or you'll be seeing even more cycling trips on here!

Get out there.


Bikes in the Stand

I had four of my five bikes in the work stand last night. It just got to be one of those seasons (it happens a couple times a year) when I've run nearly all of my bikes into the ground without giving them the attention they need. One night of greasy hands and it can all be taken care of. But for whatever reason, it's easy to neglect.

The Long Haul Trucker was only running seven of available twenty four gears and the rear brake was nearly useless. Twenty minutes in the stand and we're all good.

The Xtracycle had hit a bump (and by bump, I mean deep chasm) that knocked both fenders out of place and they were rubbing the tires. Fenders seem like a peripheral in bike maintenance. But they're difficult to get centered for maximum coverage and visual appeal. It also knocked the quill stem loose. But a mere twenty minutes in the stand was enough to get it back to 100%.

The single speed Cross Check had a mysterious tear in the tire sidewall a couple months back. To my chagrin, my only remaining sets of 700c tires were two sets of cyclocross tires. I took the least aggressive of the two sets and put them on the Cross Check. But when you go from a 25mm width to a 36mm width, you are going to get some rub on the fenders. So, there was one more bike I was neglecting. This one took some finagling to get it to work. The old fenders really didn't want to cooperate with the more plump rubber. Eventually, nearly thirty minutes or so, everything was spinning again.

Lastly, I needed to replace the front shifter cable on the Troll. I took a tumble into a tree on my last mountain bike camping trip and it rendered the cable useless. It's been stuck on the small chainring for a month. It worked, which made it harder to motivate myself to fix it. But, hey, if I've got the goods to run a 3x9, let's do it. A quick cable replacement (less than ten minutes) and the Troll was shifting beautifully again.

It's funny to wait so long. But when you've got multiple bikes in the garage, it's easy to just grab a different one if another isn't in tip-top shape. The only problem is when they all begin to falter. After last night, though, I'll be in good shape for a while.

Get out there.


Every Year

This time of year, every year, I begin riding in the dark again. And every year it catches me (and everyone else off guard). Last night, I had to reattach all my lights to my bike, my wife had to work her way back into feeling secure about me riding in pitch black and I had to re-familiarize myself with that somewhat eerie feeling of riding through remote farm country with limited vision. It's the same every year.
But, 'tis the season for relearning it all. Time changes really jack with my night (or pre-dawn) rides. Give me a couple more under my belt and it'll be second nature all over again... until next year, of course.

Get out there.