Snow Flakes

It was snowing on this morning's commute. Not gird-your-loins kind of snow... but snow nonetheless. There's supposedly going to be even more on the way home. Bring it.

Get out there.


Saturday's Ride

Saturday's ride was one that certainly should go on record. I set out with no agenda. My wife banned me from the house for a couple hours so I could recover from my lack of bike time in the last couple weeks (I have the best wife in the world). So with no destination in mind, I just started pedaling.

My first random stop was a machine shop pictured above. It has some cool, old architecture and busted out windows that allowed for a peek inside.

It was like a journey back in time in there. Lots of old tools, manuals and furniture. I bet there's a million untold stories of what was made here. Enlarge the photos to see some of the detailed whatnots on the shelves.

After a short break at the machine shop, I hit the saddle again. I recalled a great fishing spot nearby that I'd been to a couple times by car. My aim was to just head straight there and sit for a thermos of coffee for a while.
As I pedaled toward the ol' fishing hole, I got distracted by the sound of falling water. I was on some tiny, one lane country roads with zero traffic. So I could clearly hear the rumble of water down an unknown road. The intrigue pulled me in until I had wandered down a new route to find the water feature pictured above.

Since I was on a new road, I decided I'd take it as far as I could. Little did I know that I'd be climbing... a lot... a whole lot.
Up, up, up I went for a good part of a 45 minutes. Lots of the road was still covered in snow. Some of the super-steep climbs were tough to stay upright with no studs on the tires. When I took this shot, I was about to give up and walk the bike up on the side of the road. But I slip-slided my way all the way up.
The trees were so thick that it is hard to tell how high I was with photography. But I couldn't believe that this much of a view was so close to my house. If you could see through the trees, it would be a jaw-dropping view. There were a couple lookouts along the way that were heavily marked with "No Trespassing"  signs. I was bummed to not be able to walk out and take some shots. But I'm a wimpy rule follower. So I pedaled on.

Eventually, I turned back. Checking the map on my phone showed me that I would be climbing for another 45 minutes and getting a tough route home if I kept going. It's a route that I eventually want to do. But this ride needed to come to an end. So I coasted down the hill (fingers on the brakes and anticipating a wipeout in the snow) and busted out the coffee near the creek.
Since all of this is private property, I appreciated the stealthy colors of the LHT for my restful coffee stop. It allowed me to sit near the road and break for a while until the coffee ran out.

From there it was a straight shot, boring ride home. The end of an exploratory trip like this is always a buzz-kill. But that's what it takes to get there, I guess. I will be back for more of this route, for sure. Other than the fact that it's a 5(ish) mile ride to get to anything interesting, it was awesome. I want to see where that road ends up and what it shows me along the way. Next time I'll bring a fishing pole.

Get out there.


Loaded Up and Runnin'

This morning's commute was a loaded Xtracycle run. It's been a while since I've used the Xtra to haul a big load. I'm always blown away at how it does it so well. Even though it's been sitting in the garage gathering dust, I can still hop on it and pedal an extra 75 pounds and it feels just like my other bikes.

I'm helping a buddy build his very own Surly Long Haul Trucker during lunch breaks over the next couple days. So the bike was loaded down with work stand, tool box and backpack full of clothes and laptop.
Though the work stand hung out the back a good ways, the load wasn't too wide. I noticed that when I was riding in traffic, people weren't giving me an extra 20' like they sometimes do when I'm on the Xtra. I guess it was because, from behind, it didn't look much different than a normal bike.

It's so awesome that I can accomplish jobs like this with a bike. Without the Xtra, today would have had to have been a car day. Not so with a bike like this. I love it.

Get out there.


Super Wet and Little Bit Chilly

There's just enough water in the air to make things feel pretty cold around here. I underdressed for today's commute. The temperature wasn't bad. But all the moisture in the air is rough. It'll make a guy pedal a little harder and faster to get to that cup of coffee.

Get out there.


Rainy Ride

The rain had me stir-crazy enough this weekend that it eventually had to be ignored. Sunday afternoon, I headed out for a ten miler on the single speed.
At one point, the rain was coming down so heavy that I decided to pull off and take some refuge under a rail road bridge.
A couple minutes after I pulled underneath the massive concrete tomb, a train rolled in. It was alarmingly loud. My break didn't last long, though. I was starting to get cold and the rain let up enough to allow visibility to get home.

I love having a bike that I don't have to worry about in the rain. One gear, nothing to break down and lots of opportunity for sloppy riding. Everyone should have a single speed bike.

Get out there.


Back Again

I've been overwhelmingly blitzed with sickness for the last week and a half. It's been miserable. It wasn't the kind of sickness that makes your tummy hurt. It was knock you out or have you writhing in pain sickness. It was kind of strange to be forced off the bike so quickly after opting out of riding for a week. It feels like I've not ridden much at all.

But today had be back in the saddle. Buckets of rain were falling down from the clouds for the entire commute. I worked my way under some tree coverage to try and get a dry moment to snap a photo.

The single speed Cross Check still needs work. When I'm on most of my bikes, I spend the ride admiring the build. On this bike, I spend the entire time wanting to change it. Maybe I'll look into selling some odds and ends to get this thing right. It needs some drop bars, new levers, fenders and tires. That's a lot to invest in the beater bike. But not loving the ride makes me not want to ride it. And I hate being tempted off of the bike. And the other alternative is to ride a geared bike through this crappy weather. That would only result in a gunked up drivetrain on a bike that would be more expensive to fix than these initial single speed upgrades.

Now I'm rambling.

I'll stop.

I'm back on the bike. It's awesome. It rained a lot today.

Get out there.


MTB Snow Ride

Sunday morning offered up an opportunity to hit some snowy trails on the Troll. Any time we get snow, you have to act quickly before it's gone. This stuff came on Saturday and there's almost no evidence of it now. So I wanted to ride in it as much as possible before it was all gone.
Very few people had been out on the trail. But the snow was already starting to fade. But with temps in the teens, the melted snow (and mud that would have followed) had frozen back up to allow for manageable riding.
I took the Troll's 2.5" tires down to about 15psi. I really wasn't sure if I needed to use the studded tires or not (my studded tires don't have near the volume that the Trolls MTB tires do). I opted to leave the wider, high volume tires on. I have very little experience in the snow, but I think I made the right choice. No studs, but wider footprint helped smooth things out and keep me stable. Not once did I feel like I was slipping on ice.
Towards the creek is where I saw the least amount of snow. I'm not sure why. But lots of it had melted down there. Also, as I approached the creek (after about a half hour of riding), I realized that not once had I used my brakes so far. It was a slow, deliberate pedaling kind of day. The resistance of the snow had me plodding along. No rush. I was just soaking in the sights.
I even packed along a thermos of coffee. After about an hour on the bike, I took off all the layers and sat in the snow, drinking my toasty beverage.

Eventually I made my way back on the bike and pedaled back to the car. It was a slow, but fantastic ride. I wish we got more snow.

Get out there.



Took a detour yesterday on the way home.

Get out there.