Shoe Breakdown

I'm on my fourth generation of Salomon's XA Pro trail running shoes. I've worn this model (and it's updates) as my primary footwear for many years now. They really are incredible shoes. But here's the issue... they don't last any longer than less expensive shoes.

I think I'm hard on shoes. It doesn't seem to matter if I spend $75 or $175, they last me no more than a year. And I'm not someone who wants to spend money on shoes.

But my current generation of Salomons have just about had it.

Here's what I want from a shoe:

  • good arch support
  • more-than-decent protection against water
  • synthetic outer material that wipes off easily (I sometimes find myself walking from the bike into a meeting)
  • balance of form and function
I don't like to own lots of shoes. So I want a pair that look good for everyday office use but perform well on the bike or trail.

Any suggestions or should I go with a fifth duration of the XA Pro despite the cost?

Get out there.



Anyone in the Lexington area up for working on some donated bikes soon?

Shoot me an email or leave a comment if so. We need to get these things out of storage and on the road for spring!

(FYI, if you're not sure what I mean... we have a ministry that repairs bikes and gives them to kids and adults who wouldn't normally be able to afford one. I've let things get a little backed up.)

Get out there.


Tire Swap

For the last year, I've been running Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires on the Xtracycle. They've performed flawlessly. I really have loved them. There have often been times, though, that I have wondered if something less aggressive would feel a little better. I found myself wanting to try the Big Apples that Schwalbe makes in comparison to the Marathon Cross. The picture above is the Cross and below is the Big Apple.

Well, it's going to take a while before I wear through those Cross', so I wasn't going buy them anytime soon... so I thought. I saw a set of Big Apples on Craigslist and emailed the guy to see if he'd be up for a trade. I had some great 700c tires in the garage that only had about 30  miles on them. To my excitement, he was in.

Now I get to play with the new tires' performance and see what works best for the application I need them for. It's fun to play with bikes. I'm a bit of a tinkerer and a gear junkie. I love to experiment with stuff like this and change things up. I'm excited to get it all tested out.

Get out there.



I've been training for the Louisville Half-Marathon recently. I've never been a runner and it's not something I can naturally lean into. But my wife is an incredible runner. She's got one of those brains that can ignore the realities of the human body and just run and run.

Last year for Valentine's Day I bought her a bike and she loved it. She rode with me all over town with kids in tow and a smile on her face. She willingly adopted my passion as her own and I was very grateful.  This year, my commitment to her is to run. We're doing the race together and it'll be wonderful.

So I am actually off the bike a little more than usual but my endurance is certainly increasing. In the end, this running thing will benefit my cycling lifestyle. Even after the first two weeks I can see a difference. My body has developed just for riding a bike. The first few runs nearly killed the muscles that I never use on wheels. I've realized that mixing in some variety is a good thing.

So you may see a post or two here about human powered movement without the assistance of wheels. My training schedule still allows me to ride three days a week, which is good. But expect to see running shoes sprinkled throughout the ramblings about new tires and whatnot.

To me, I love being outside. This morning I thought about how I was running in the 30 degree weather when normally I'd be riding at that very moment. It didn't matter. I was outside and I loved it.

Get out there.


Dreaming of Warmer Days

Last week's warm weather is gone and we're back to cold commutes. Well, time to get the wools socks back out.

Get out there.



My daughter drew this picture of me riding my bike. I'm a big fan. She said that all that black stuff is to keep me warm in the winter snow. Let's hope these kids are learning that riding your bike is awesome. It seems like they're fans right now.

Get out there.



That pretty much describes the expression on my face for the entire commute today. After being out of commission for two weeks and having the weather turn like it has, the result was a stupid grin from ear to ear for all 11 miles.
I even took some extra time to hit up a little gravel double-track on the ride. This is exactly why I love the Cross Check. I was doing about 18mph on pavement and jumped right onto this little gravel road with ease. Very few bikes can make that transition period. The Cross Check does it with finesse.

This little road is fun. But the winter ice has brought lots of branches down... one of which smacked me in the shoulder while I was cranking pretty hard. Ouch. That's the type of thing that happens on a mountain bike ride. I'm proud to say I brought a similar injury to a bike commute. That's a good thing.

Hopefully, you guys and ladies that have bikes in the garage are feeling the call of this weather. If you're not, search for it. It's in there somewhere.

Get out there.



Well, it looks like I may be adding an IGH to the Xtracycle soon. I've found one online that fits the budget and purpose of hauling cargo and children. I am really excited to have this addition to the bikey stuff I run. After this winter's mess on the Xtra, I think I really need something that will eliminate mechanical issues and upkeep. It'll also allow me to switch over to disk brakes with ease.

There's just a bit too much benefit to pass it up.

Get out there.



What's this? 3pm is going to see 60 degrees? That's a perfect biking temperature, if you ask me. I'll be in an all-day meeting today. But the outside world will be calling when work time is over.

Get out there.


Back on the Bike!

Okay, after over two weeks off (my longest streak since I started riding four years ago), I'm back on the bike. It was an awesome crisp day outside and the air felt incredible in my lungs.

In all honesty, my back feels better after riding. I still have a lot of stiffness in my neck but it seems that my body likes that position of leaning over the handlebars. Perhaps riding again will loosen things up and hasten the healing process. The doctor says to take it slow, but I'm going to try and hit the saddle as much as I can. It feels too good to pull back.

Get out there.


Quill Stem

The Xtracycle has a quill stem with an old school design that really limits the type of bars I can run. Recently I've been thinking about throwing this little ditty on there to even the playing field between modern components and mid '90s bike technology.

This would allow me to play with different stem lengths and angles, plus I can try out different bars. Right now I'm strongly considering putting the H-Bars on the Xtracycle and moving the Nitto North Roads over to my new Cross Check build. Either way, this adapter would play the part of transition. For the price, I'm not sure there's a better option. Anyone ever try one of these?

Get out there.


Indoor MTB?

Photo from Adventure Journal
My buddy sent me this link to Adventure Journal with an article about indoor MTB parks. I'm not the biggest fan of being indoors, really. That's why I've killed two gym memberships in the last two years. It's not the exercise that's hard... it's the four walls around me that make me claustrophobic. But I have to admit, these parks seem pretty cool.

Head on over to the article and check it out. I could see these things drawing a crowd.

Get out there (contradictory to this post, I know).


Pugsley Vs. MTB

With all the snow we've had this winter, I've really been wanting a Surly Pugsley. It's completely impractical for my geographical location, but this video supports my desires.

Get out there.


Bored and Thankful

Photo by Abby Laub
Okay, it's time for me to ramble. I hope you're ready. There was a collision of two forces in my life recently that caused a lot of thought. Last Friday's post combined with this incessant pain in my back and neck have generated a great deal of thankfulness. It just so happened that my one year anniversary of writing my first blog post happened on the only week in the last two years that I went without riding my bike.

Here's a quick update if you're confused. I have some kind of nagging injury that has kept me off my bike. It's pain in my neck/shoulder/back. I've been to the chiropractor and it's helping, but it's still there. Doctor says it just has to work itself out. Pair that notion with this anniversary that comes up for this blog. I take the time, look through my pictures and share a few that I think adequately sum up the last 12 months. What does it all mean? It means that I'm left with this acute knowledge of all the wonderful things I've done in the last year and the fact that I've been sedentary for the last 8 days. I'm excited and bored, all at the same time.

It's made me very appreciative of the blog. I'm not sure that I did more last year than I've done in years past, but the blog has given me the resource to look back and see it all. Those pictures made me realize that I have a lot to smile about. I have a body that gets me where I need to go... heck, it gets me places I don't need to go, but they're places I sure am glad I get to go. I never would have noticed that without family//bike//words. The blog poises me to take more pictures (with a camera and words) and those pictures and words cause a lot of thankfulness when reflected back on. It's a beautiful thing.

So if you're reading this, get up. Get out there and do something. Take a picture or write it down somewhere. At some point, you'll be sitting on the couch with an injury, in a hospital with your family or in a nursing home by yourself thinking, "I wish I could... yada yada yada." Hopefully you will have followed through "back in the day" and you can thumb through those pictures. Hopefully you won't have regrets. Hopefully you actually did something. That's the coolest thing about family//bike//words 12 months after starting. That's also the coolest thing about being injured... I know I didn't waste time when I felt well.

No reason to worry, though. I'll be back at it soon. Until then, you'll have to settle for my thoughts, not my adventures... scary, huh?

Get out there.


A Louisville Guy Does a Bike Move

Photo from Bike Trailer Blog
I read a great article over the weekend about a family that moved their entire house by bike with some friends and volunteers in my home town of Louisville. It's a fun read and helps you to realize all that is possible on a bike. I still haven't been back on the bike, yet. My back issues are better but not quite right. I'm also training for a half-marathon (training starts today) and am having to put that on hold a bit. Let's hope it gets better soon.

Until then, I'll keep reading great stuff like this.

Get out there.



Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my first blog entry here on family//bike//words. I thought I'd throw together some fun facts for you.

I find it amazing that there were over 10,000 visits in one year. It blows my mind that this content would be admirable to that many people. The most popular content is Kona Smoke 2-9 Review (which cracks me up... it's the bike that hardly ever gets ridden and is now in pieces), followed by My Bikes and I'm sorry Xtracycle. Most people come from Twitter and Facebook, but next in line is Kent, Denver Local and Xtracycle's blog. The majority of the readers are Mac users, but not by much. That's the most interesting stuff I could pull off of analytics. I have no idea how it calculates it all or if it factors in RSS readers. But here's a list of my photo highlights...

(Pre-Xtracycle Trek!)

It's been a great year and I look forward to more to come. Thanks so much for reading and hanging in there through my ramblings. I hope some of you read and were inspired to ride.

Get out there.


Seam Sealer

Today over lunch I ran out to the local outdoor supplier and grabbed some seam sealer for my tent. The last time I used it (four rainy days and nights), I had a little bit of water come through. This has been an awesome little tent for what I need it for. I'm hoping this sealer works. I've never liked a tent enough to try and stretch it's life. But a world with three kids means that I can't just head out and buy a new one.

It looks like this will be what I'm up to tonight. We'll see how it works. On a related note, I haven't been on the bike at all this week due to injury. I tweaked my neck somehow and have been in some major pain for the last couple days. As my wife said, "If you're taking medicine and not riding your bike, it must be bad."

Hopefully I can ditch the pain soon and hit the road on two wheels. Until then, I'll be active vicariously through working on my outdoor gear :)

Get out there.


Thanks, Kyle!

From the surface, it's easy to tell that I love two things a lot... Coffee and Bikes. There are bikes in my office with coffee thermoses in their bottle cages and bike t-shirts in my closet with coffee stains on the front. It's kind of a theme in my life.

That's why my buddy Kyle sent this can of coffee up from Athens, Georgia. He moved from Lexington a few months back and just sent this to me. Yummy.

Thanks, Kyle. We miss you here. Hope the Masi is getting a work-out in bike-friendly Athens!

Get out there.