Another Perk

There's lots of things about my job that make bike commuting better. We have showers, I get to park my bike in my office, and I even have a locker I use to lock up all my stuff. I keep shower supplies, shaving stuff and a spare t-shirt in case I ever forget a fresh one (it's been known to happen on several occasions).

I hope I never forget how great a place this is for a bike commuter. I think I'm pretty spoiled. Not having this stuff wouldn't be a deal breaker, but they would totally throw of my rhythm I've got going nowadays.

What kind of facilities do you other bike commuters have? Am I as spoiled as I feel?

Get out there.


SnapDeck Mods

My kids love riding on the Xtracycle. That's no question. Recently, though, I've been thinking about doing some modifications to a custom Snapdeck to make their ride a little more comfortable. (The Snapdeck is the piece of wood the kids sit on on the back. It's what everyone points to and says, "Hey, you have a skateboard on your bike!")

I love the idea of kid seats on the bike, but didn't want to lug them around all the time. The seats I've seen are awesome, but pretty bulky. My hope is to make a set that will collapse into the deck and almost disappear.

Here's my initial thought on the design.

I think I could cut two custom decks out of 1" thick pine. One could be my base, then the other could be cut up into two sections to make back rests. I could then bevel the back rests and hinge them onto the base deck. I hope to use straps (Xtra's Utility Belt) to adjust the level of recline. That way, my kids could kick back and relax, or sit more upright depending on which kid (I have three different sizes, you know).

If this worked, I could easily fold the seats, buckle them snuggly to the base deck (by looping underneath) and ride away, virtually free of seat bulkiness. With the seats folded down, I could still grab cargo at a moments notice, haul an adult, or use the Xtracycle as a work table while working on the other bikes. Basically, it would have all the functionality of the regular Snapdeck.

Most of the supplies have been purchased. I've got a few more things to grab and I'll be on my way to figuring this thing out. Anyone tried anything like this before? I'm sure I'll have to learn as I go.

Get out there.



Today I counted six ponds that I see on my way to work. I got to thinking about all the bodies of water I can get to within riding distance. I'm pretty sure Kentucky has more streams, creeks and rivers than any other state.

That's a nice little perk on a bicycle. I like riding by and see all the beauty, vegetation and wildlife that congregate around. It mixes up the scenery quite a bit.

I love biking here in Kentucky.

Get out there.



The heat is bad enough. But when you get stuck in traffic surrounded by cars on all sides, it's downright miserable. Heat radiates from every direction.

Get out there. Just be prepared to sweat.


Xtracycle Video Game

My lovely wife has been on a kick recently about video games. No, she doesn't want to play them. She thinks I should grab my developer buddy and my designer buddy and make our own video game. She apparently thinks we have what it takes. If you know me, then you probably know that I haven't played a video game since circa 1992 when I was rocking the Nintendo Entertainment System graphics.

Well, for the sake of discussion, I will share what my game would be. You'd be on an Xtracycle and it would be all about how much cargo you can load (a game of virtual balance and inertia) and how far you could pedal it. Sounds great, eh?

You could incorporate time limits and delivery options. There could be obstacles like narrow passages between trees, dogs chasing you, glass in the road... basically, all the things you encounter while riding a bike. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

Get out there... unless you're playing my Xtracycle game on your NES.

Sharing the Road

My friend Abby's sister and dad are on a tour across the country raising money to support a school in Casablanca, Morocco. Here's a great sign from Missouri. They share in a different way than we do.

Get out there.



It's a funny thing to be late on a bike commute. My regular commute takes about 40 minutes. There is a shorter route that takes about 30 but it's my preference (because of safety) to avoid that route as much as possible.

I say that being late is "funny" because I have every opportunity to jump in my car and be at work early. But when you've made the decision that I've made, to completely eliminate any unnecessary car ride, it really isn't an option. I always think people might question me if I'm ever late. I can hear it now, "Couldn't you have just driven here and made it on time?"

I found myself in that predicament today. I usually arrive to work early when I ride my bike. But today I was feeling lazy, and life's little curveballs kept me from leaving at a decent time. I had a meeting at nine that I was trucking to make. I was on the single-speed which probably helped. I spent lots of time out of the saddle, smashing the pedals down to speed things up.

So far I've never been late to work because of a bike. And that didn't change today. And even though the temptation was there to hop in the Subaru, I'm glad I didn't. The experience is much greater on two wheels.

Get out there.


Summer Treats

If you've ever wondered where a one year old, three year old and five year old want to go on a bicycle, I can tell you. They want ice cream. They always want ice cream.

If they see their bike helmet they say, "Can we go for ice cream?"
If they hear me rummage through the garage they say, "Can we go for ice cream?"
If they're watching le Tour they say, "Can we go for ice cream?"

It's a solid summer outing. I highly recommend it.

Get out there.


Good Riding Shoes

Sometimes big time cycling people challenge my choice to ride with flat pedals. "Clipless is the way to go," they say. I've ridden clipless. I love what they do with the efficiency and cadence in my pedaling. But they just don't fit my lifestyle of cycling.

I use my bike as transportation. I ride them to work, to the library, to the grocery, to the park with my kids. Having stiff, clunky, clicking shoes isn't a good option for those scenarios.

In the summer, these are my shoes of choice. I've seen lots of people that ride in Keens. They feel cool in the heat and work as easy options when it rains. I'd recommend them to anyone looking to do some summer riding without clipless.

Get out there.


Xtracycle + Kayak + Kids

Yesterday I was sitting on my back porch looking at Craigslist on my phone and got the bug to look at kayaks. I used to have a Dagger Blackwater 13.5T that I sold to fund my Cross Check. One of the reasons I sold it was because it was just too big. It was close to 80 pounds and 13.5 feet long... It made it quite a pain to get it anywhere. After I sold it, I always thought I might want to get back into the water with a smaller boat that would fit my needs a little better.

Well, back to Craigslist...

The random notion to check was all about research. I have no money. Angie and I both just got new iPhone 4's since our current phones were three years old and starting to crap out on us. There was no option to buy anything. But sometimes looking is fun.

But sometimes looking can be serendipitous as well. The first ad listed said, "Trade my 11' kayak for your iPod." I clicked and immediately realized this person may be interested in my first generation iPhone that I had just replaced. A few quick exchanges of emails and here we are.

Kayak, paddle, spray skirt... all for the exchange of my old phone that was going to sit in my top drawer for who knows how long. The boat is a no-name mystery. But everything looked to be in good shape with plenty of life in it to get me back in the water (and technically for zero cost).

Naturally, I wanted to see how I was going to haul this thing via bicycle. I thought about (and have seen pics) strapping it to the side of the Wideloaders of the Xtracycle. I think it would work, but I'm not sure it's really necessary to work so hard to balance the load. What I had in mind required no extra equipment or much work.

I thought I could fold down the kid trailer, lay the boat on top, then strap the bow of the boat to the bike.

It worked flawlessly.

Weight distribution and tethering strategies could be slightly refined. But overall, this is an easy solution. Once everything is fine tuned, this thing is headed to the water. My Saturday ride was about one mile short of hitting the river. It looks like I'll be finishing that journey shortly.

As always, the kids were helping me all along the way. When we were finished, they wanted to take a little joy ride. Naturally, we had a blast with it.

new kayak from Derrick Purvis on Vimeo.

(By the way, I realize they're not wearing helmets. We are helmet people. This was an impulse ride about 15 yards down the street and back. Please, moms, don't yell at me.)

Get out there.


Jessamine County

I have a lot to learn about this nice little town in Jessamine County. I've lived here for five years, but rarely have I ridden it on a bicycle. Normally, I hop on the bike and head directly into Lexington.

Today was different. Busyness at work and sickness in our family have kept me off the bike quite a bit in the last week. Today Angie suggested I take the morning and head out on two wheels. I gladly took the opportunity to explore a bit of our own little area here in the world.

There were lots of little pieces of culture that grabbed my attention.

Who knew we had a museum? And why does it contain girl scouting memorabilia?

As I headed way out, I saw this in the middle of nowhere.

Be honest, West Coasters. You expected to see this in Kentucky, didn't you? It was about two miles from the Kentucky river, but seriously nowhere near anything else. What exactly is "Kentucky Meat?" Horse?

There's also quite a bit of beautiful scenery within a short distance of my house.

Several creek crossings and lots of tree coverage along the way made the trip quite nice. I'm very pleased with how adventurous and beautiful things get without even heading 10 miles in one direction.

I was forced to turn around when I came face to snout with an unsavory dog. He made it clear that I wasn't going to pass without trouble.

I headed back at a leisurely pace. (I was riding the Xtracycle. It wasn't the best tool for the job. But it had been facing some neglect.)

As I type now, I'm on my back porch, sipping coffee. I'm thankful for this life and this place I live.

Get out there.


Bikes and Smokes

There aren't many bikes that could handle a run to the grocery to grab two coolers full of ice. "What's that, honey? You want me to take the two big kids, too? No problem. And, yes. I'll still take the bike."

Conversations around our house sure have changed since we got this special bike.

It's nice to know the possibilities are out there for our family. Sometimes I sit and think about what life would be like if I was never given the opportunity to become dependent on a car. Most people that smoke started when they were young. Someone offers them a cigarette at a point in their life when they're not equipped to understand the consequences. They choke down a puff or two at first, but eventually, it's a "must have."

I've never heard of a fully functioning intelligent adult starting to smoke at a mature age. They're wise enough to know the whole spectrum of smoking. They know it's going to cause a dependency. As an adult, starting an incredibly expensive habit that is bad for your health just sounds silly... or stupid, even.

But being dependent on a car is the same thing. It may seem like its a "must have" but it's really not. There are bikes out there that will haul your kids, your coolers, your ladder, or... your other bike. What if you never knew differently? What if our culture wasn't all about handing you the keys to that car when you turned 16? What if we weren't handed the cancer-causing temptation of the automobile until we were well into a mature age? Would we still drive as much? Knowing both sides of it before becoming addicted sure could change things.

Get out there.


A Bike's Best Friend

I don't know if best friend is the right word, but my bikes certainly do love the company of new asphalt. I've said it before, but they're building new roads all along my commute and man does it feel nice!

The first road I hit (which won't be repaved) is incredibly rough. The Xtracycle, with it's 2" tires, is my only bike that doesn't beat me up on that portion of my ride.

But I love images like the one above. I'll see the road half-paved in the morning and all along the way home, by evening, it is smooth sailing. I'm enjoying it while it lasts. Trucks and cars will tear it up quite a bit more than my little bike tires.

Get out there.


Rainy Days

Today is a rain day again. Those rainy days normally mean I'm staring at the bullhorn bars of my rain bike, a Redline 925. Rain or shine, riding your bike is fun. I'd recommend it.

Get out there.


Another Day Off

Well, today was another day off the bike. It's pics like this I have stored in my phone that make me hate days like today. The beauty of my commute is breathtaking. The freedom of riding is a lot like the image above. It's truly awesome.

But today I had an all-day media training meeting. (If you've ever wanted to interview me on camera, nows the time. It's fresh on my mind!) I had to prep early this morning for the meeting and stay late for an "after work" meeting. So riding would have meant zero time with the kiddos. And I try not to let that happen too often. Actually, it's going to happen tomorrow :(

So today I settle for looking at pics of my commute, not riding it.

Get out there.


Xtracycle WideLoaders

One of the recent additions to the Xtracycle have been the purchase of WideLoaders. The WideLoaders are the horizontal racks that shoot out to the side of the Xtracycle FreeRadical (where the weed trimmer is sitting). Their purpose is to hold a wider load and support cargo with more rigidity than the FreeRadical bags themselves.

In the original purchase of the Xtracycle, I didn't think I would really need haul anything with that much bulk. And to be honest, I didn't want to incur the extra cost. But after a few weeks of using my bike as a truck, I was realizing that this may be something I would use. I hated getting to scenarios where I could use the Xtra if I had a set of WideLoaders.

I began to hunt for junk in my garage to dump off on Craigslist. Eventually, I remembered I had an old G4 PowerBook in my closet that hadn't been powered on in over two years. Jackpot. Fast forward through about 93 spam emails for Craigslist and here we are, carrying a weed trimmer to work.

These really have been a great help with cargo. If you're considering something like the FreeRadical, I will warn you. You may be unsatisfied without the WideLoaders. The Longtail kit does wonders. It completely changes your lifestyle on a bike. But you will probably find yourself in the same spot I did. You could do more with this tool added on.

Get out there.


After the Ride

On Monday I did a 40+ mile ride with a buddy. I don't do a lot of "joy rides" on the bike. For some reason, there's something inside of me that would rather just use the bike for transportation... not exploration. I know, I know. I should explore more.

Anyway, my favorite part of the ride was walking into my air conditioned house and sitting down to a nice tall glass of Arnold Palmer. It's perfect for post-ride refreshment. Half tea, half lemonade. You can't beat it.

Get out there.



Sometimes I forget how beautiful Kentucky is. I clicked this picture on my iPhone really quickly on the way home. As I was looking at it I realized that's an incredibly blue sky. I realized my bike is parked right next to a beautiful open field that lines right up against a line of trees that reaches out for acres and acres. I realized that I don't give my area enough credit. It's truly beautiful here.

Get out there.


Big Scare

Last night we headed for a family outing in the van. We live out far enough from "town" that we still have to do lots of trips by car. There aren't enough safe routes by bike to get there with three kids in tow. That being said, we were gone for about three hours.

As we pulled around the corner I saw a terrifying sight.

Our garage door was open.

All my bikes, my only possessions that hold any value, had been wide open for the taking for all that time. As we pulled up I audibly counted them off... "Surly. (whew!)... Xtracycle (whew!)... Redline (whew!)... Kona (whew!)."

Angie, of course, laughed at me. "I guess you're not concerned if anyone is waiting inside our closet. As long as they didn't take your bikes."

Well, all was okay. So no worries. I did go look in the closets, though :)

Get out there.


Work Space

I've been working recently to rearrange my garage and make it a bit more usable for bike repair and storage. When we first moved in we had a pop-up camper that took up more than half of the garage. So my tools and workbench were awkwardly placed. The camper's been gone for two years... but unfortunately I just got around to making things more convenient.

This set-up is right inside the door. So access is immediate. The cabinet on the left holds gear (bags, lights, helmets, rain jacket and other accessories). It's nice to keep it all in it's own place. I started doing this last year with all the winter gear. It was nicer to have all my stuff in one place in the garage than spread out all over the house.

I also moved my workbench and peg board. Now my tools and storage are parked right next to each other. There's also a box on top of that cabinet to hold all the random crap that comes off of bikes. I'm looking for a good system of small containers to hold all of the bike hardware I have.

Next to come is hanging a couple garden hose hangers to hold spare tires and some type of way to hold the Xtracycle WideLoaders.

When things are easily accessible and quick to use, it gets me on the bike more. So this stuff makes a big difference.

Get out there.


Days Off

Last week I had two days off the bike. Normally, any day I don't ride my bike to work (the occasional day when I take the kids to school) I usually end up running an errand or doing a little family joy ride. Last Thursday, however, I ended up going to bed thinking, "Hmm. I didn't ride a bicycle today."

What slipped my mind was the fact that I was giving blood Friday morning. I like giving blood. But I hate the fact that it takes me off the bike for 24 hours. But I knew I needed to keep my appointment and do it anyway.

So there I was. Two days off the bike. From what I could remember, it was the first day off in about eight weeks. So it wasn't a big deal. It just felt odd.

I tried to get back on a bit too soon after my blood draining. I tried to take Bliss on an Xtracycle ride to Lowes for some grilling supplies and I bonked after about the first mile. We made it there and back, but I could totally tell I was a pint low. Weird.

Get out there.