Time for Some Dirt

A buddy of mine asked if we could hit up some mountain bike trails sometime soon. So we're headed out tomorrow morning to ride Capitol View Park in Frankfort. The only problem was the fact that I didn't have a mountain bike. I hadn't finished my side project of building this thing up... until now.

Everything is operational at this point. I still need to tweak the brakes, though. For some reason I have a knack for installing and adjusting the drivetrain, but I struggle to get brakes set up correctly. Logic tells me that the drive train would be more difficult. Hmmm. Not so for me.

Either way, it's plenty finished to get me on the trails tomorrow.
The night time test ride proved to be a great fit. I'm excited to get it out.  I'll post pics as soon as I get them in.

Get out there.


Bad News

Apparently Lexington is the laziest city in America. Boo.

Get out there!

Wet Roads

Today was one of those days when the roads are soaking wet after a good rain. On these days, the water from below can soak through you even though there's no rain from above... unless you're running fenders, of course.
I also had the nice surprise of seeing these posts return to the bike path. This is the point where the road ends and the path begins. It didn't take a month after the path opened for people to take these posts out with their cars. So for the last year, there's been nothing but stumps protecting the path from oncoming cars.

Now that they're back, let's hope they last a bit longer this time.

Get out there.


Family Time

My wife has been putting in a lot of overtime "mom hours" recently. I've been on a trip and had to work this weekend so I wanted to give her as much alone time Saturday morning as I could. So we packed up and headed out on a little adventure around town.

Riding the bike is such a great way to spend time as a family. The pace is perfect for little ones. We can kill lots of time and take it easy. For my kids' age, rushing them gets them into a bad mood and causes lots of fussiness. When you're laid back and relaxed on the bike, it let's them be more at ease.
Just look at this little guy. He was totally out. You gotta love that.

Get out there.


Coffee and Bikes...

...the perfect combination.
Get out there.


Panaramic Xtracycle

Click to enlarge.

Get out there.



Today I was thinking about how easy the Xtracycle is to photograph. Why is it so easy? It's got a kickstand.

I love having a kickstand on a bike. Unfortunately, it's my only bike with such an accessory. It's really great in every circumstance... especially taking pictures for your blog :) All my other bikes necessitate some type of prop to work in a photo. Not the Xtra. She stands alone.

Get out there.


Late Night Ride and a Crash

Last night I went out late on the Xtracycle. My buddy is out of town and I needed to let his dog out around 10pm. I took the opportunity to ride for about an hour with blinky lights blazing in the dark. It was a blast. Bike rides are a totally different experience in pitch black.

 This is RJ Corman's hanger for a couple planes and helicopters. It's pretty well lit up at night.
 City courthouse.

As I took this pic I went over my handlebars. Bad situation. I let go of the bars to try to focus my iPhone's camera and boom. I went down. The headset on the Xtracycle needs to be replaced. It doesn't quite operate in a way that allows to to ride easily with no hands. I paid the price.

It took me a good 8-10 minutes to find my phone in the dark. And luckily it was it perfect condition when I found it. I'll certainly make wiser choices next time.

Get out there.


A Good Morning

I love the idea of adventure before your day even starts. This video is great.

90 Minutes until Work from Filme von Draussen on Vimeo.

Get out there.


Share the Path

I had a wild ride in today. First, there were two trucks moving pretty quickly down the bike path. I think they were some kind of construction crew. The made room for me, but it was still odd to see.

Then about a mile down the road I had a truck pull out right in front of me to shoot across the road. He didn't see me until the last second. He slammed on his brakes as I did and my left hand slapped his passenger side headlight. My heart was pumping.

Be safe, people.

Get out there.


Kayak Camping

This past weekend, I joined 11 other guys to take part in a kayak camping excursion. We loaded up the boats at the Land Between the Lakes and headed out with back country camping permits to find the perfect spot.

This was the first time I've camped out of the boat before. Very few places within driving distance allow you to find a spot anywhere near the lake (without it being a commercial campground). This isn't the case with LBL. The land around the lake isn't privately owned. It's set up for exactly what we were wanting to do.
The first day was spent fishing and scouting in the fully loaded boats. Some of the guys were packed down pretty heavy and dragging in the water. In hindsight, we should have dumped our stuff at the campsite first off. But it was no big deal to us. We were just pleased to be in the water.

Finding a spot was a little tough. With varying water levels, many of the flat areas right on the lake were still a bit soggy. And with that sogginess came lots of mosquitos. We had to look for high ground or open air to keep the breeze blowing. In the photo above, you'll see how dense the woods were in the coves. Bugs were so bad, camping wasn't an option here.
After hours of casually paddling and fishing, we found a great open spot right off the water. With this many guys, it wasn't easy to find enough space for us all. But this was pretty much perfect.
There were two guys meeting us that night in the dark. This was one of those technology scenarios that is a game changer. I just took a screen shot of my iPhone maps app and they knew exactly where we were. There wasn't much guessing to do in the dark in a kayak with a headlamp. Pretty cool.

There was so much beautiful scenery. It was truly a perfect weekend to be on the lake. With temps in the 90's, it was great to be surrounded by water the entire time. We stopped every 30-45 minutes of paddling to hop in and cool off.
It's hard to tell in the photo above, but I snapped a pic of a bald eagle flying away. They're really stunning creatures.
Humidity rendered my watch useless.
One of the guys brought an Eno hammock. It was, seriously, the only option for cooling off on our campsite. It was up in the woods and allowed airflow above and below you. I kept sneaking off every hour or so to lay in there and drop my body temp. It was delightful.
Cliff jumping destroyed our hands. I was bleeding out of several cuts. It was too much fun to walk away to grab my camera. But we spent a couple hours in one spot eating lunch and diving in. On one of my flips off the rocks, I landed on my back so hard that I've got a big bruise on half of my back.
Fishing was fun but I didn't catch a thing. All in all, the 11 of us probably caught about 20 fish. But several of us turned up empty handed for the entire weekend. Mike (above) was one of the guys who scored lots of catches.
Three of the guys ventured pretty far out and didn't get back until about 10pm Saturday night. You can see their faint headlamps glowing across the lake.
It really was an awesome trip. I still can't believe that we had 12 guys with us. It seems that something like that would be nearly impossible with schedules. I didn't know most of the guys there, but it really was a great group of fellas. The shot above was taken as we paddled away. It was wild to see that many boats peppered across the lake.

Word is, this will be an annual trip. I can't wait until next year.

Get out there.


Wider Tires

I've been seriously considering selling my 28mm tires for my Cross Check and switching to something wider. My reservations are coming from the fact that I run wide tires on my other bikes already. I tell myself that I need skinny tires on a road bike... and if I want to ride gravel, I should make a different bike choice. But when I encounter this on those skinny tires, I can't help but wish I'd make the jump.

I don't need skinny tires on a road bike. I can still be fast. I'm just slow to leave them so hastily. But I'm finding that I really love this gravel crunching type riding.

Get out there.


New Bag and a Contest

I finally got a new sleeping bag. I tend to buy quality gear in something like ten year intervals. So getting a new piece of camping equipment is pretty exciting for me. I purchased my last bag in college and it's still kicking. But I figured I needed something that packed down a little smaller and was better for summer nights.
I went with the Lafuma Extreme 950 Pro. The temp rating is 30 degrees and the pack size is 5"x10". There are certainly smaller bags out there, but this fit my budget once I factored in the purchase of a compression bag. FYI, lots of newer bags don't come with a quality stuff sack for compression sake. I went with an OR compression bag. Overall, I'm very pleased.

On another, rather random note, I got an email last night from Circle of Moms. I'm not really familiar with the site but they've created a Top 25 Family Cycling blogs list and it appears that family//bike//words is on it. Click on over to cast your vote for this blog. Frankly, there are some better blogs on that list than my own. But if it generates people to read more about family cycling and end up riding more, I'll support it.

Get out there.


NYC Traffic

This is amazing to me.

3-Way Street from ronconcocacola on Vimeo.

Get out there, but be careful!

Coffee Break

This morning I took a cue from Pondero and made a nice little coffee stop during my commute into work. There's a little side road off of my commute that ends in a nice field... perfect for a mid-ride break.
There aren't any cars heading down this road. I did chat briefly with a guy on a horse. It's just double-track gravel that ends at a farm gate and a water tower, so not much reason to head this way. I knew there wouldn't be any interruptions. 
I was able to sit, sip coffee and read on the Kindle for a nice portion of my morning. The grass was a little wet, so I opted to sit on the SnapDeck popped off of the Xtracycle. Next time I'll probably bring a camping chair.
It was a great time. I needed to rest my mind and have some solitude before work. This could become a normal thing.

Get out there.


Bike Commuters Galore

Wow, there must be something in the air. Yesterday, I had four fellow staffers commute in on a bike and today we had one more. It's awesome to see so many people ditching the car and riding.
I love to see the bikes they're riding, too. Some of them are dusting off the old mountain bike in their garage. A couple of them are riding nicer newer bikes. And two of the guys are riding free bikes from our goods distribution ministry at the church I work for (like the red Schwinn above). It's not about what you ride. It's about riding. This hodgepodge of bikes proves that.
For me, I was on the Xtracycle today. It's such a fun bike to ride. Strangely enough, most everyone had decided to mow on the same day. I heard tractors and mowers the entire ride in.

What a great way to start the day. I'm glad others are catching on.

Get out there.



Today's ride in was a bit of a relief from the intense heat. it was much cooler this morning that what it's been. It makes me really appreciate my ride on days like this.

I've also noticed there's a sweet smelling portion of my commute. On cooler mornings, I can smell this honey suckle plant as I ride by. It's so nice, I turned around today for another whiff. Man, I'm blessed to live in Kentucky and have such a nice commute.

Get out there.


Commute Video

Here's yesterday's commute in 8x speed. I attached a video camera to the WideLoaders of the Xtracycle and videoed the entire trip. You can see where I meet up with Justin about one minute in.

Get out there.