I'm not sure I'd be able to bike commute without one of these. I'm very lucky to have two showers at work. I'm not pretty boy, but I want a shower when I'm stinky.  I'm sure my coworkers appreciate that the showers are there, too. What about you?


End of the Road

This is one of the roads I hit today on my commute. I kept going and eventually made it back to pavement. But the road work continued and eventually I had to detour. Not bad, though. I'll eventually have that Multi-use Path to ride on!


New City Bike Set-up

Today was spent outside going on walks with the kids and catching up on some much needed cleaning of the garage. I did have time to fit in some bike chores I'd been wanting to get in. This Trek 800 was purchased from Craigslist back in the fall with the intention of building it up into a city bike to haul the kids around in the trailer. I just got around to working on it today.

It's pretty basic. But I did want to make sure it moved away from its mountain bike roots with beefy tires and rickety components to something a little more sleek for the road.
These are some cheap "ergo" grips that actually make a huge difference in the feel of the bike. They're nothing close to the grips they're trying to imitate... but they are a lot better than a regular rubber grip. Also in this pic you'll see the cheapo shifters on this bike. For some reason I like this cheap Shimano set-up. They're so simple that there's not much to break. And if they do break, it's only a couple bucks to replace them.
This is a must for pretty much all my bikes... at least right now (I tend to change my mind sometimes :)). I've been caught in the rain too often to not just throw some fenders on every bike I ride regularly. These Planet Bike fenders are cheap and durable on a bike that doesn't get ridden but a few times a week for very little mileage.
These slicks were laying around the garage and will most definitely do the job I need them to do. I will say that they were probably the hardest tires to put on that I've ever seen. It took me forever for some reason. But now they're on and with puncture resistant liners in there, I hope I won't have to take them off anytime soon.
The last highlight is the addition of these cheap Nashbar panniers. This bike will run errands to the library, grocery and around town. Since I had these, and don't use them on the commute, I'll leave them on here full time. They'll most likely just hold my lock, books and DVDs for these trips. So they'll serve that purpose well.

The theme of this bike is "cheap." I wanted something I wouldn't be nervous about banging up when locking to a street sign or thieves walking away with it. This is going to be perfect. And the mountain bike gearing will serve me well when hauling 100lbs of kids.

Get out there.


This is the way to go if you're trying to figure out the whole "my feet get cold when I ride in winter or rain" debacle. It took me a while to learn this. I was a fair weather cyclist for two reasons... my hands got cold and my feet got cold.

I wrote earlier about using mittens and how that solved the problem with the hands. The other issue was solved with wool socks. Even when my feet get wet, wool keeps them warm. That's the big difference.

In the winter, cotton socks would be warm until my feet would sweat. The wetness of my feet would then make them cold. But I finally learned that wool stays warm, even when wet.

The same is true for all wool cycling (or non-cycling) apparel. Put it on and try it. It'll make a difference, I promise.

Get out there.


Every Other Wednesday

Every other Wednesday my wife leaves for the entire evening to serve food to some people that are a little less fortunate than most.  I take that opportunity to grab some tools and an old rag to do some bike maintenance and cleaning. It's like clock-work. So if you're ever wondering what I'm doing on a Wednesday night, I'm probably breaking something, bleeding, learning something new or making progress on my bikes... or even all of the above. It's one of my favorite parts of my routine.

Awesome Video

This is basically my morning commute...

...or not.


It Catches Up

One of my favorite bikes to ride is my Redline 925 singlespeed. I love the simplicity of it. No gears. One cog. One chainring.

It's the bike I use for rain commutes. All that rain can be hard on a drivetrain of a bike. It tends to make all the road grit stick and break down the moving parts. On a singlespeed, though, there aren't nearly as many moving parts.

Contrary to what one might expect, having only one gear isn't bad at all. It's actually nice to completely unplug your brain from things like shifting. It takes me the same amount of time to get to work on one gear, 18 gears or 27 gears.

So this bike is fun and simple to ride. There's not a lot of maintenance to do on it so it's virtually worry-free

Until yesterday... I had my first flat tire in over a year. I run nicer tires that are incredibly flat resistant. But it eventually catches up to all cyclists.

I was about 2 miles from work when it happened. I contemplated for a minute what I should do. Do I change the tire? Jog the bike to work? Wait for one of the 20 workers that pass me every morning to stop and help?

I decided to run for it. I was going to be late for a meeting and I figured someone would drive by and help. Thirty seconds didn't pass before a guy in a pick-up truck with a bike rack pulled up. It turns out he actually attends the church I work for and we actually knew each other. Pretty awesome.

I can't complain. One flat in a year or more isn't bad... no matter how simple and low maintenance your bike is.

And I did get to my meeting on time.

Get out there.


My Ride

My daily commute is 11 miles each way and on mostly closed roads. It's really quite exquisite. As the weather warms up, I'm beginning to see the road workers come out to open up my private little dream road.

But could I complain? No way. All winter I've been able to ride solo for this long stretch. It is so pleasant to avoid the volume, odor and intimidation of cars being so close to me on the bike. And with all the snow we had this winter, it made me feel a lot safer to be on my own.

But these signs are coming down soon and the cars will come in with a rumble. The redeeming part of this story is what they're building along the new road.

A multi-use path will run the entire length of my commute when all is said and done. Maybe it will encourage more bike commuters to come out and play. I'd rather have a MUP full of cyclists than a two lane road all to myself. Maybe one day. I can't wait.

Get out there.


Family Hike

I was seriously proud of the big kids yesterday. We headed out to Raven Run Nature Sanctuary for some family time on the trails. This is the most we've made them walk on a hike and they loved it.

Raven Run is an awesome little place to take the fam. I had dismissed it over and over in my head because it doesn't meet my requirements for a quality hiking/camping experience. There aren't a lot of trails (only 10 miles) and there is no camping. But recently I realized that I wouldn't exceed more than 3ish miles with the kids anyway. Thus making Raven Run the perfect destination.

It was great. And there's no better way to spend time together as a family (in my mind at least).

Even the little guy loved it. (I know. He looks miserable here. I think it's because I stopped for a picture.)

Anyway, it was a great three hour trip that's only 20 minutes from our garage. I recommend it to anyone with kids.

We'll certainly be back.

Get out there.


Notre Dame Ride

While away at a conference, I brought my bike to use to get around town. We decided to hit up Notre Dame's campus early mornin before sunrise the day of the conference.

My apologies for the dark pics. I forgot my camera, so this is all from my phone.

Touch Down Jesus. I'm not a big sports guy but my friend, Jeff, is. He explained that this massive mural looks like it reside over the inzone from the football field.

Lots of statues all over campus. I didn't know what most of the were of, but the artwork is beautiful.

Stained glass was everywhere. Again, very pretty.

Gold Dome.

This area was cool. I'm no catholic, so I had no idea of it's complete purpose. But it was cut out of a cove about 20' wide and 10' high. That blur of light is actually hundreds of candles. When we rolled up there were a couple of guys praying. So we kept our distance to be respectful. But I would have loved to have been able to ask more questions.

Overall, I have to say that this was the most beautiful campus I've ever been on. It was totally worth the 6am wake-up.

Get out there.


Trip up North

I'm away at a conference with my buddy Jeff.  We brought the bikes to get around before and after sessions.  Tonight we hit up the area around the hotel with a slight detour through a cemetery.  Tomorrow we'll ride around Notre Dame.


Can't Get No Satisfaction

So, yes. I've been a little bit bummed that the snow is gone for another year. I love the warm weather. But there's a part of me that's gonna miss that adventure of trudging through it all.

I guess I'm never satisfied.

Get out there.


My Good Friend

This little guy is always in my pocket. It has been for about 8 years. It's a Leatherman Squirt.

I bought it 8 years ago with the intent to always carry a pocketknife. I figured, as long as I'm going with a knife, why not add to the functionality. Therefore, I invested more money into the Squirt.

Great choice.

This thing is tough. It's also small. But is able to offer me a knife, 2 screwdrivers, a file, a bottle opener, pliers and a pointy thing I use to poke holes in stuff. I've lost it several times over the years, but it always finds it's way back.

All my pants have a hole worn through the right pocket from the Leatherman. I consider each hole a badge of honor. There's rarely a day that goes by without me using it for something. And although I purchased it for camping, since I've been cycling for the last three years I've used it routinely on the road.

So, thanks leatherman. When the sad day comes that I break or lose this thing, I'll be coming back to you.

Does anyone else out there carry a multi-tool?

Get out there.


Slow Learner

I did a little wrenching on my rear wheel this last weekend. The cones had become a little loose. I was feeling a tiny bit of wobble from side to side... I'm no expert, but I don't think it's supposed to do that.

I have several thousand miles on the Cross Check and it has never needed anything other than tuning of the cables. This is the first visit to the shop for anything else.

As I was standing at the counter I was feeling a little brave. "Would it be cheaper to buy the cone wrench and do it myself?" There. I had said it. The guys at the shop are awesome. He didn't laugh. He didn't insult me. He actually acted excited to teach me something.

So, yes. It was cheaper. He probably took more time explaining it to me (way more than I needed to know, by the way) than it would have taken for him to fix it.

Of course it was easy. No big deal at all. It took me five minutes, actually. But I'm a slow learner and bike mechanics tend to end with bent metal and pierced skin when I'm involved.

Not this time. I'm getting there.

Get out there.

Back to Reality

There was a windchill of 30 degrees this morning.  I know that's not terribly cold... but last week I was riding in shorts.  Dang.


Good Pic

I think I like it because my wife is awesome and my bike is awesome (she's more awesome than the bike, though).

I found the photo here.


Quick Update

A great time was had on my overnight bike/camping trip. It was perfect weather, perfect ride and perfect amount of butt kicking climbs. I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Get out there.


Heading Out

I'm heading to the Red River Gorge this weekend.  I don't have enough time to travel via bicycle, but I'll definitely be taking it with me.  I'm going solo just to spend a good 24 hours in the woods hiking and biking.  It'll be great.

Get out there.


Another Adventure

For the last few weeks I've been contemplating different ways to get outside my comfort zone and serve the community more.  If you've read my bio, you know that I'm a pastor at a church in Lexington, KY.  It's an awesome place that truly exists to make a difference in the community.

There are several programs that serve women of abuse, feed kids, clothe those that are cold and house men and women that have no home.  Now, there's going to be one more.  I'll be working with a team to oversee a program to receive, wrench, distribute and empower people to use bikes for transportation and recreation.

I'm incredibly excited to infuse my passion into something that's going to help people. I am, by no means, an expert bike mechanic.  But I do know enough to get most bikes on the road.  We hope to collect bikes, fix them up and then work with adults to help them to understand how to use the bike as a tool to better their situation. We'll work with homeless shelters and inner-city programs to get the bikes in the right hand (or under the right butts).  We'll show them how to do minor work on their bikes.  We'll coach them through boundaries and responsibilities on the road.

There are similar programs like this all over the world, but nothing with a huge presence in the Lexington area.

It's a big risk for me... and it will probably drain quite a bit of time.  But I believe in it.

Get out there!