Stable Shift

Recently, I've been contemplating a change in the bicycle line-up. For one, I've realized that I really prefer the feel of a 26" wheel on a bicycle. I'm a short guy and it just feels better underneath me. Another factor is the fact that, as my kids have grown and are riding their own bikes, I use the Xtracycle much less than I used to.

So I think that I've made the decision to get rid of the single speed Cross check and the Xtracycle frame. If I were to do that, I would use the cash to buy a Disc Trucker frame. Also, the Xtracycle would relent to me an internally geared hub on a 26" wheel. Thus allowing me to put an internally geared system on the old Long Haul Trucker while moving the current LHT component line-up to the Disc Trucker.

Here's what the whole garage would look like:
Disc Trucker: 3x9 setup for commuting, camping and touring. Probably my go-to bike for recreational rides and catting around town.
Long Haul Trucker: 9 speed internally geared hub with chubbier tires and cruiser bars. Used for rainy and snowy weather riding and secondary loaner mountain bike.
Troll: Same ol' trusty mountain bike. Nothing new.
Cross Check: 2x9 road bike used for when I want to go fast... er... faster. I never go fast.

The single speed Cross Check, Xtracycle and the Klunker 1x6 Trek would all disappear. I'd lose three bikes but actually gain capacity in the riding that I do most often. The big miss will be the Xtracycle. But I'm a firm believer in getting rid of something that you don't use. I haven't touched it in probably a year... which means I don't really need it.

And so the Craigslist posting begins...

Get out there.


Chuggin Along

It was a downright balmy 36 degrees this morning. Nothing to report other than a sweaty slog into work this morning.

Get out there.


Winter Dirt Riding

In Kentucky, there is no such thing as winter dirt riding. There is only mud in the winter. There is no dirt. Last week's ride was an example of such slop. I did, however, finally get to ride with Pat and his Krampus. Whew, what a bike!
Presley and Jason were there breathing in the 20 degree chill and slopping around in the muck, too.
I would say that the Troll performed more poorly than any of the other bikes, though. Pat on his Krampus and Jason on the 29er 1x10 Kona Honzo may be like comparing apples to oranges. But Presley was on his 26er and he seemed to clear more mud than me. I think this is a case where the super fat rubber caused for some trouble. I had less clearance for mud and had to stop several times to clear it away with a stick.
I'm not second-guessing the 2.5" wide rubber. It's plush bounciness is welcomed on most every ride. But this is example of "fatties-fitting-fine" is more "fine" than "fantastic." With less clearance, I found myself dragging that rear wheel instead of rolling on it.

Perhaps this is the bad trail vibes telling me not to ride when it's wet anyway.

Get out there.



Perhaps it's boring to always talk about the weather. But when it's 14 degrees in Kentucky, it does grab a bike commuter's attention.

I took the Troll today because I'm meeting some buddies for a brief ride over lunch. It is certainly a worthy commuter. And with the Revelate bags, it carries all my work clothes easily enough. To cope with the chill, I was layered up in my normal winter garb. Nothing new in there to report. Although, the clipless pedals on the MTB did force me to wear my only pair of clipless shoes. They're not the best for cold temps. My toes did feel a bit of a bite. But each little piggy survived the 45 minute ride.
Kentucky is beautiful year round. And since we don't get much snow, we have to celebrate frost. It's pretty enough on our black farm fencing.

A 14 degree commute is still a great commute!

Get out there.


Hee Haw

Thirty four degrees and rainy. There's a point within certain weather that things get so miserable that it's interestingly fun. That's today's commute. Plus, I got to pull over and hang out with some four-legged creatures. Donkey above. Horse below.
Get out there.


A Little White

We got a light dusting of snow last week. But it was pretty typical of Kentucky weather. When we get the white stuff, it usually only sticks around for a day or so. So I only got one ride in it.
I'm still riding the Klunker quite a bit. And the KRad tires were fun in the snow. Large footprint and tread pattern give a bit of confidence while not zapping momentum on the smooth stuff.
I also came super close to this guy. I took this photo after passing and giving myself a healthy barrier of space between us. He didn't seem bothered by me, though.

Get out there.


Revelate Testing

With the purchase of a new seat bag, the bikepacking set-up is rounding out a bit so I thought I'd load everything up and take it for a spin around the park. Fully loaded, I was somewhat surprised at how it handled.

I think I had convinced myself that these rackless bags would make the weight completely disappear. I'm not sure why. I, perhaps, assumed that I would feel heavy but that my handling would be fine. That was not the case. Did it handle better than a mountain bike with racks and panniers? Abso-stinking-lutely. I've done two bikepacking trips with panniers and I don't think I'd ever want to do that again. Things are just tough to negotiate. These bags, however, keep the weight evenly distributed and more centered to the bike. But I could still get squirrelly at times.

I'm not complaining in any way. They were so much better than a conventional set-up. I'm just stating that my optimism overshot reality. If you're in the market I would totally recommend them. They make Surly frame bags without any customization. But any bike would work with a few measurements and email exchanges.

All in all, I'm excited to try something new and explore an unconventional way to carry gear!

Get out there.



'Tis the season of slippery wet leaves all over the ground. Things got squirrelly a little this morning on a turn when my back wheel slid out from under me. I have to remember that these things are like tiny oil spills all over the road. Be careful out there!

Get out there.


While the Gettin' is Good

Winter in Kentucky is wet. So the MTB trails become too sloppy to ride on without tearing them up and, inevitably, eroding the very sport that you love. So it's entirely possible to go months without riding dirt here in the bluegrass. So just before I packed up the LHT for a regular commute. I realized I better squeeze in some dirt time while I still can. So I threw the Troll on the car and planned an outing over lunch to get some dirt while the gettin' is still good.

Not a bad decision at all.

Get out there.


Paul's Mill Road

During my lunch break on Monday I headed out with a few guys to hit up Paul's Mill Road. I've ridden through this quaint little road before. But I wanted to catch it in fall colors.
All I know of Paul's Mill Road is that it feels like a time warp. Nothing along this short stretch feels modern.
An old mill building along the creek. Somewhat restored but still holding onto it's heritage.
Boiler, maybe?
We rode along the creek the entire route. Some lovely swans taking in the colors, too.
And then we headed back to the future.

Get out there.


Micro Touring

The first time I heard the term micro-tour it was from Pondero. It's a fantastic concept. It's basically just taking all your stuff that comes with the idea of touring or camping and applying it to a single ride. You're not on a full on tour. But you can make a meal, take a nap and even drink some coffee if you're into that sort of thing... you know... the perfect sort of thing.
Today's lunch break offered up the opportunity to ride out do that very thing. I took supplies for some gourmet oatmeal including nuts, apples and dried cranberries. Both warm and delicious on this chilly day.
After finishing lunch I took a little walk while sipping my coffee.
Perfection in a lunch break. It totally recharges one's batteries.

Get out there.



Bikes allow you to do some really awesome things. You can grab your camping stuff and take your lunch to a remote spot near work, for instance.
Yesterday I took all the essential goods for a nice lunch break. I'm a simple man and it doesn't take much for me to say, "Ahhhhhh. That was an awesome lunch break." A pot full of basic snacks, a book and some coffee is what did it for me yesterday.
And, for what it's worth, I'm really digging my Esbit thermos. It fits in a bottle cage well and keeps my coffee super hot. It's a go-to piece of equipment for an adventure like this.

After I ate I read and sipped my coffee for a while. Then I loaded up the Klunker and took the long way back to the office, exploring newness all the way. I love it.

Get out there.



This past weekend I got to do a quick S15O. That's a Sub-15 hour-Overnighter. My buddies Brian and Jason had talked about doing something that night at the Kentucky Horse Park and I decided I'd join in as well.

There are no real photos of the event. I met Jason at the bike shop at 6pm and we rode at a pretty steady pace until nightfall. We were at the Horse Park by about 7:45 but the sun was already gone. And I never even thought about getting out the camera to grab photos. (And I have to admit that's a nice feeling to ride, camp and talk bike stuff all night without thinking about gathering blog content!)

Brian rode in with Huston, Alan and Andy. These were guys I'd never met but had a wonderful time hanging out with. Bikes is a nice common denominator amongst strangers. Is easy to get to know each other through the lore of old bike adventures.

I crashed around 11:30, only to get up at 6:30 in the morning to hit the road again. Jason had to work and I had family obligations. So we hit it early and we hit it hard for the ride back. This one photo of the trip is in my neighborhood right before I pulled into the garage.

My only real noteworthy comment is on my camping set up. At this point, I have everything I need to do these trips at a moment's notice. I can throw everything in a bag and go. The LHT with Ortliebs and basket does the job beautifully.

I'm up for another.

Get out there.


Nice Day

Today is a nice day.

Get out there.


The Klunker is Done

Last night I finished up the Klunker build. At this point, it's ready for just about anything I can throw at it.
New Kenda K-Rad 2.3" tires will make for good street riding and dirt. Plenty of cushion when the pressure is low but at 80 psi they float across pavement really well. I loved them on the ride in this morning.
And the basket took some finagling to get right. With some grinding and filing, the struts are not completely bolted on. No zip ties anymore.

I'm super pleased with this build. In fact, I'm concerned that I may love this bike too much. The commute in today was a blast. It's fun to have a bike that is generalized enough to do just about anything well... and it's value is almost nothing.

Get out there.



Fall is here! The face was covered this morning on the commute in.
And the sun is just rising above the horizon. It seems like it was just a couple weeks ago that the sun was high in the sky during my morning commutes. Welcome, New Season!

Get out there.


Sunday Cruisin'

Yesterday afternoon my family was in Louisville while I had to work in the morning. That meant that in the afternoon I was free to do a little ridin'. One quick text to Jason and he was up for an adventure as well.
We went back to Brumfield Lane in Jessamine County. This time we skirted past the "No Trespassing" fear to take a few photos of the view. Beautiful stuff.
This time the creek crossing was lower than before. What was knee deep on the last ride here was only ankle deep yesterday. We were a little surprised having had a lot of rain in the last couple days.

We didn't take a ton of photos but it's a really scenic road. I think it's about 22 miles to run this route from my house. Can't beat those views for that quick of a ride that's right in your back yard. I love me some Kentucky.

Get out there.


Man Time

This past weekend I headed out on the trails with my boys again. These guys love riding dirt.
The little man on the Mountain Train is just flat-out hilarious. Somehow, he's the one that gets injured more than any of us, though. He's having too much fun to pay attention, I think. On this ride, I said, "Are you on?" To which he replied, "Yes! Go!" I mashed the pedals only to learn that, in fact, he wasn't on the bike. He was leaning against it and fell hard to the ground. At four years old, he doesn't quite get the importance of communication. You can see in the photo above that dirty elbows and skinned knees won't squelch his enthusiasm.
The big guy hangs with me really well. It makes me a proud father. He works hard and sweats a lot. But he's always rewarded on the downhill. When we climb over a peak and start to zoom on the descent, he squeals and yells to express his joy. It's so much fun to hear.
It makes for a great time for us guys. They love being outside, sweating together and observing nature. I'm looking forward to them growing up as little mountain bikers.

Get out there.



Wednesday night I spent the evening building up this beauty. I think it's a early 90's Trek 800. It spent some time as an Xtracycle, but I've recently wanted to mix it up a bit. Knobby tires, Nitto North Road bars and a basket make it a good all-around Klunker/Beater bike.
This came about for two reasons; I wanted a loaner MTB and I wanted a bike that could replace the LHT when I wanted something a bit more expendable. There's not a lot of bikes that would do both. But the build on this seems to play both sides of that field pretty well. I'd have no beef with locking this thing up for hours at a time. But I could also push its 1x6 gearing around the MTB park if I loaned the Troll to a friend.

It's comfy, beefy and stout. I'm excited for it to come into it's own.

Get out there.


Night Riders

Jason and I did a some dirt in the dark last night. Lot's of fun to ride familiar trails in a completely different way.
The air was a cool 50ish degrees and our headlamps were ablaze as we took on new routes and old ones. The fun thing about night riding is the critters. Critters are critting all over the place at night. Deer, rabbits, racoons, possums... oppossums... e-ppossums were everywhere. The rabbits were crazy. I saw at least 15 on the trail. It brought a new meaning to the term "bunny hop."
Our light situation was humorous. It was a combination of headlights, headlamps and more headlamps.
This photo above is a selfie shot. I had two headlamps on my helmet. Outside of the weight pulling down in the front, it was a great set-up. One lamp was pointed right down in front of me, the other was angled out towards the trail.
Nocturnal Troll leaning against a tank.
Jason was riding his Troll, too. He's got a new wheelset that makes this steed a semi-fat bike. 2.7" tires on super wide rims make for a great dirt cruiser. We weren't riding fast last night. We we just cruising in the dark. Thus making the Trolls very worthy of the call.

Get out there.