A Quiet Morning on Kentucky River

The rain has been so erratically heavy for the last few days that it's put a damper on my outside time. We got so much rainfall that it would border on dangerous for visibility on a bike for our country roads. So I had to go with a Plan B yesterday.
Water falling from the sky is no issue when you're floating on top of water. So I pulled the kayak down for a morning paddle before work. The dense fog and cool temps made for a perfect time on the Kentucky River.
I took a thermos of coffee, a book and a sling shot. All of which kept my time balanced and well rounded. Sip some coffee... read a bit... try to shoot a groundhog with the sling shot. All while watching the sun rise. That's time well spent.
You don't gain a lot of ground... er, water when you're in a kayak. You're certainly moving slower than being on a bike. But you still see some amazing sites. And it's much more peaceful. I didn't see another soul on the water for about two hours.
And I park down stream and paddle up. So what takes 45 minutes on the way in is only a 15 minute paddle on the way back. It works out well for those sore arms.

Get out there.


Rough Commuting

They're resurfacing the road I ride on my commute. It's rrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuufffffffffffffff. Too bad to ride on. They've done the work to rough up the road but haven't started repaving yet. So I'm going to have to take an alternate route until they're finished up. I got caught on it yesterday and it was awful. I ended up pulling over and airing my tires down to 10psi. That helped a ton. But it's still to whacky to ride on for more than a couple minutes at a time.

Get out there.


A Long Ride on New Roads

I've been wanting to take some time off of work for a 50 miler for a while now and it finally came to fruition last week. There's lots of roads, rivers, lakes and nature preserves near my house that I've wanted to explore for a long time and I finally took the initiative. Most trips out my door head west. This one was south. And it was beautiful.
Just south of my house is Camp Nelson Cemetery. It's always worth a quick spin through, some contemplation and a prayer.
I planned 40 miles with the hopes of 50. But I wanted to give myself the wiggle room to explore random roads that I encountered in person. Sometimes roads on a map won't represent how awesome they are when you pass them at 14mph and I wanted to give myself an opportunity to ride those. The photo above is a small example. It was closed off and completely covered with debris. But was a great road for weaving in and out of trees and exploring.
I meandered through farm country and became eye candy for the longhorns for the first 15 miles or so but soon encountered my first major route change. I neglected to take a photo in the moment, unfortunately. But one of the gravel roads I was one for a half mile eventually ended with a menacing gate. Although marked publicly on the map, it was a private road and it's inaccessibility meant that I was going to have to ride a good six or seven miles out of my plan to get where I wanted to go.

Not a nuisance, though. That is exactly why I mapped fewer miles than I actually wanted to ride.
After my reroute, I made my way to Kennedy Bridge on Herrington Lake. Herrington was my family's vacation spot when I was a kid. So pedaling over it was one of the highlights of this ride. Having lived close to Herrington for nine years now, I've never actually laid eyes on it since I was a kid. So it drummed up some fun memories.
After Herrington was miles and miles of corn. Next stop, Burgin: A Friendly Little City. I sat here for a while and ate. At this point, I had climbed out of the river and climbed out of the lake and was a little pooped. But it was nothing that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich couldn't fix.
After Burgin is Shakertown.
Simplicity, donkeys, sheep. I'd never taken a peak into Shakertown before. It's quite quaint... and quiet. And from Shakertown, it's pretty much downhill back to the river.
Just before the river, though, there's a 175 year old church. Pretty spectacular, actually.
After Mt. Zion Church, I coasted for about three miles down to the river. Probably the most uplifting part of the whole ride. Super fast and fun through BEAUTIFUL trees and nature-scape. But after the river, it's all uphill from there.
As I mashed the pedals uphill, I found a little trail that shot off to the right of the road. I had the time and needed the break so I aimed the bars that way. A little gravel and dirt path led me to the photo above. Super cool tunnel in the middle of nowhere. Keep following the path and you'll hit a rope swing right into the river. I was very tempted to swing in for bit but I resisted. There was more climbing to do.

From there it was climbing, climbing and climbing. The three mile descent became a three mile climb on the other side. It was tough. Really tough. My ride was pretty much over but this last little bit toasted me before I made it back to my car. It's exactly how you want to feel when your ride is over. 49.9 miles. Couldn't have gone any better.

Get out there.


Life Adventure Center Mountain Biking

Yesterday, myself and three hombres headed out to the Life Adventure Center in Versailles to try out a new MTB spot. It's been rumored for a couple years now and the first couple reports were of the "It's not quite finished but it'll be awesome," variety. Well, yesterday proved to be worth of the drive out to the country.
The first part of the trail is smooth and scenic. It starts with a bit of a cow-path vibe but eventually dives deep into the woods. There's several creek crossings and a few little points of interest. After a long while of coasting through the woods, you'll realize that you're gonna have to climb back out. And it's deceptively long, too. I kept thinking it would end soon but we just kept rolling and rolling.
We rode hard for 30 minutes before we stopped. It was just fast and fun and we didn't need a break. And, unbeknownst to us, soon this rest is when the climbing would start.
We climbed a lot.  I've been putting in a lot of road miles recently. But this dirt stuff in the heat just killed me. The photo above isn't Pat posing. That's a genuine suffer-face. Random note: I saw Pat run over a snake with them massive Pugsley tires. Snake didn't know what hit him.
Jason wondering when he last water-proofed his leather saddle. We all rained sweat down upon our steeds as if it were a downpour.

We had to scoot outta there pretty quick towards the end. Jeff and I had to get to a meeting and we didn't allow ourselves enough time to suffer through those climbs. So we hammered it hard for the ride out and bailed on the last section by cutting through a field. Good thing, too. I was on the Troll which hasn't been ridden much recently. I neglected to check the tire pressure and I was rolling pretty sloshy in the rear end. So I narrowly avoided a pinch flat, I fear.

So the verdict? If you live within 30 minutes of the Life Adventure Center, you should TOTALLY make the drive. It's worth the change of scenery for sure. If you're a Lexington rider, it's probably a mix between Veteran's and Skullbuster. You won't regret the drive out.

Get out there.


Take Up Thy Cross Check Daily

Sunday led to another great ride on the Cross Check. I'm really digging this bike these days. I overhauled the wheel recently, and though it was probably just placebo, it felt like it rolled a little faster.
And, although the Cross Check was rolling faster, I was not. About 10 miles in I was toast. I think I've got a little bug dragging me down. I can't seem to keep much energy. So I pulled off the road, sat on a bench at a little country church and ate a poptart. After that, I leisurely made my way back home. It was a 20 mile total. But it was slow 20. No mind, though. It was just nice to be out.

Get out there.


Rear Wheel Overhaul

I've put thousands and thousands of miles on my Cross Check. And during a recent ride when I broke a spoke, I realized that I've done nothing to it. It's had the occasional tune-up of chain maintenance and brake checks. But I've never replaced a part or overhauled a single component.

You can't beat that durability. But it did cause me to look into the bike with a bit more depth. And upon that inspection, I realized the rear wheel would barely spin. One might not notice on the bike. But when I had it in the stand and gave it a spin with my hand, it wouldn't even go a full rotation before it came to a quick stop.

Time to overhaul them bearings.

I had never done anything to a rear wheel (aside from a little cone adjustment). But the internets offered clear instructions. So after about 10 minutes of video tutorials, a trip to the bike shop for some grease & bearings and 20 minutes of sitting at my kitchen table with the wheel... the job was done. It was super simple. And apart from the Phil's bearing grease, I had everything I needed already.
There was really only one bearing that looked bad. But it looked really bad. And there was all kinds of debris and nastiness in the hub. So here's to smoother spinning from here on out.

Get out there.


Cross Check's New Shoes and New Woes

The good news is, I received shipment of some nice Panaracer Paselas for the Cross Check yesterday. This is the first time in a long time that I've bought something for a bike that it didn't really need at all. I had a great set of tires on it. But I've been wanting some tan walls for the Cross Check for a while and I found these for $16 each with free shipping. What?! I know. I couldn't believe it either. I went back to the online shop that I bought them from and they're already $32 each again. I somehow bought them at the perfect time.

Now the bad news...
I did a 32 mile ride today and started hearing a pinging sound about 12 miles from home. I didn't want to look. When I got home I saw this. Boo. So I'll be heading to the shop for a little spoke love tomorrow. Bad luck to get some sweet new tires on the very same day I break a spoke! That's the bad juju I get for buying something I don't need... as soon as I do something I do need breaks on that very bike.

I don't think I torqued the wheel by riding it all the way home. I assumed it was a spoke but I was 20 miles into a ride with a heat index of 90 degrees. So I just wanted to be home. I didn't want to sit on the side of the road and fiddle around with a mechanical.

Get out there.


Father's Day Caffeinated Bicycling

My lovely wife generously extended the invitation to "do whatever you want all day" with Father's Day this weekend. I chose but a modest 20 miles with a couple fellows to ride and consume some coffee.
After choosing a rather climby route, I decided the Disc Trucker was going to be the steed of choice. Neil was riding on his sporty Fuji and Noah was on his Long Haul Trucker. So the Disc Trucker was the fattest-tired bicycle of the day. But the gearing was appreciated when I hit them hills.
Neil, hit under the beautiful yet elusive #lightbro, is thinking, "I love how dry my feet are."
At one point I pedaled ahead and found a place to rest... and maybe get head lice.
Noah celebrating dry feet as he crossed Sugar Creek. Being that his bike is a size 82 (or somewhere around there), he was able to hover above the water line and avoid damp socks. Men with dry feet on bicycles riding through creeks look like Noah.
This is what men with wet feet on bicycles riding through creeks look like. See the difference?
Fear not, Neil. We can dry your feet and sip some coffee. Mid-ride coffee makes all your woes forgotten.

There's not much better than a nice Sunday ride with buddies, bikes and coffee. I've had bronchitis all week. So I haven't been on the bike. And I felt it. But it was a fun ride, nonetheless.

Get out there.


Sunday Bike Vibes

Sunday offered up another opportunity to ride some backroads of Jessamine and Woodford County. I put together a ride that was close to 30 miles and hit up Pauls Mill Road, a nice little creek crossing and the primate rescue center. Pat was the only other rider on that particular day and he was atop his brand new Long Haul Trucker build. It's always fun to ride with a new bike... even if it's not yours. I was on the Cross Check with some new bits and pieces. More on that later. But the gist of the updates is new (to the Cross Check) Brooks B17, a short stem with lots of rise and new cloth bar tape. I'm trying to make it my go-fast bike and a comfy bike. Mission accomplished, I believe.
Pauls Mill Road was as scenic as ever. In this time of year, there's just green everywhere. We spied the old mill and hypothesized what all that old machinery does. I'm convinced it's a steam-punk hot tub time machine. Pat just thinks it's a lumber mill. Who knows who's right? But it's probably me.
Pat got to baptize his new bike in a gentle creek crossing. He built up a flat bar LHT with a new frame and wheels with some additional spare parts in his garage. I love those kinds of builds. This bike will slowly get more and more new components and, eventually, be a brand spankin' new road/touring machine. It'll take time. But it's a budget conscious way to build a bike. And, in the meantime, he's riding it and it's awesome already.

No pics of the monkey sanctuary. We heard them monkeys yellin' at us but I can't ever seem to sneak a peakaloo at 'em. But it is fun knowing they're just a short distance through the woods.

I didn't add up the mileage yet. But it's close to 30. I had planned 26 but we got sidetracked and added quite a bit to our route. That's always nice, though. I love when a plan gets adapted to include more riding.

Get out there.


Picture Dump

Often times, I ride my bike and forget to post anything about it here. I just came across some photos that I thought were worthy of sharing. They're probably not worthy. But you've chosen to read this far. Why not keep scrolling?
I rode an e-assist bike a while back. There's not throttle on this thing. It just uses the effort you're putting into the pedals to calculate how much power to put into the electric motor. It was awesome. Super fun and super fast. I got up to 40mph like it was nothing. The only real use for it would be commuting, I guess. And I'm a fan of using my own power and getting the exercise along the way. But it was super cool, nonetheless. 
We rode road bikes at the MTB park a couple weeks ago. Whatever it takes, right? Here's Noah on his LHT. I love using a bike for all that it can do.
I've missed logging many-a-lunch-ride on here. Most of those rides have been in the dirt. Leading the pack in this photo above is Pat on his Pugsley. He had just put on a new set of Nate tanwalls. I'm a fan of that bike.
And a couple week's worth of Troll commutes have gone unpublished. Super fun to ride this bike to work. Makes me feel like there's more options on the ride. I guess I've pictured touring bikes in the dirt and dirt bikes on bike commutes, huh? Well, anything goes. I like it that way.

The blog isn't a priority these days. I'm okay with that. It's still fun to keep around. I'm under no obligation to give it all I've got. But I'll try to post more. In the meantime, this is peek into a few weeks' worth of riding.

Get out there. 


Now's the Time

Now is the time to try bike commuting. If you've never done it or rarely do it. These are the days that will convince you to do it more.
In the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, you'll see a momma and baby going for a run just about everywhere you look. I must have seen this scene six times on the way in.
And the weather is just perfect. Cool in the shade and warm in the sun. It makes little side trips tempting on the commute. You can't beat it.

Get out there.


Troll Commuting

There's been talk of a bikepacking trip in the future. So I've been trying to spend a little more time on the Troll. It's nice to invest in a relationship before you're dependent on one another over a few days. So I've been running my Revelate bags for stuff and some Kenda K-Rads for less rolling resistance.
The K-Rads are BMX tires and feel nice on road and dirt. I'm becoming a big fan. Even yesterday, I rode them pretty gull durn hard over at Veterans Park and the held up well in the dirt.

That said, the bag and tire set-up make this a commuting force to be reckoned with. No complaints from me, at least. Plus, it's fun to rip off the road and seek out the gnar in the middle of a commute.

Get out there.


Weekend Ride

Had some fun riding the back roads of Jessamine County this weekend.
I rode the Disc Trucker, Jason was on his roadie'd Troll and Pat had some slicks on the Pugsley. But, wouldn't you know it, we all got along just fine.
We meandered along the creek for most of the ride.
And eventually through it. The Pug was the only bike to pedal through. I was quickly swept away in the Trucker.
Some rental property?

The cool thing about this ride? We were all three riding the same bikes we rode on a snowy camping trip a few months back. All three different bikes are built with the versatility to do anything from snowy riding to dirt riding to road riding. I love it.

Get out there.


Horse Parkin'

Myself and some other fellers headed out for a quick overnighter last night. Five of use pedaled our way after work and two joined us via Prius. But all participants had a good time (although the bicycle pedalers obviously had more fun). The Disc Trucker was the only fully loaded bike. The other guys threw their stuff in the energy efficient Toyota. But I figured if I've got the stuff to bike-camp, I'm gonna use it, right?
Brendan was on his Kona Dew with all my Revelate bikepacking frame and seat bags. They fit great and got most everything off his back and on his bike. Brendan is almost Canadian, carries a gun and this was his longest ride ever... and he did that mileage both there and back. Way to go Brendanowitz.
I was very pleased with the Trucker. I used all four panniers but that was with zero packing finesse. I just threw all my stuff in each bag. There was no stuffing, packing, pushing or grunting. Just tossing junk in there is so easy. The basket had a backpack in there that was pretty much empty. So I put that on my back when it was time to haul wood.
Night time brought a chill to the air and a universal appreciation for the fire. In the photo above, you'll see a pensive Presley reflecting on the possibilities of having toes for thumbs and the toils of mouth tobacco.
The Prius Pilot, Meeker, was convinced that Bear Grylls once told him you could boil water in a plastic bottle. I strongly disagreed only to be proven wrong. That was followed by the bottle of plastic-leached boiling water falling over on me, causing me to do a backflip away from the fire. At least that's how I remember it.

Late into the night we went for a stealth ride on the Legacy Trail before we retired to our asylums for the night. Three men in hammocks, four in two tents. Meeker snored or maybe it was the quasi-Canadian or maybe it was me. But temps dropped to 42 degrees and I did get a bit chilly. But I was never miserable.
And in honor of Bear Grylls teaching us the science of boiling toxic water, I used his knife to slice an apple up for my oatmeal. Angie got me this boss knife for my birthday and it's... well... boss. It was the biggest knife there. So none of the other guys messed with me all night which insured their safety. This apple, on the other hand, didn't fare so well.

We made coffee, eggs and oatmeal. I assumed that the pseudo-Canadian would have had some bacon or pancakes and maple syrup. He didn't. I think I saw him eating some Chex Mix. I was shocked and, to be completely honest, disappointed. I felt he betrayed his heritage. But we gave our bodies warmth and nourishment, packed up our schtuph and headed back to work for a Friday funday. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

In attendance were those listed below:
I in my kerchief and Disc Trucker.
Presley was on his old rigid Giant MTB (one of the coolest vintage MTBs, IMHO).
Brendan on his Kona Dew.
Dave rode my naked Troll outfitted with some Kenda K-Rads for smoother road rolling.
Noah pedaled his custom Long Haul Trucker and carried his own gear like a boss.
Meeker in his Toyota hybrid.
Jordan riding shotgun in the Prius but joined us on the night ride on his Trek. It's made of kevlar or carbon or adamantium or something. But it's light and fast and the shoes he wears with it go clickety clack when he walks.

Get out there.