Wednesday night I spent the evening building up this beauty. I think it's a early 90's Trek 800. It spent some time as an Xtracycle, but I've recently wanted to mix it up a bit. Knobby tires, Nitto North Road bars and a basket make it a good all-around Klunker/Beater bike.
This came about for two reasons; I wanted a loaner MTB and I wanted a bike that could replace the LHT when I wanted something a bit more expendable. There's not a lot of bikes that would do both. But the build on this seems to play both sides of that field pretty well. I'd have no beef with locking this thing up for hours at a time. But I could also push its 1x6 gearing around the MTB park if I loaned the Troll to a friend.

It's comfy, beefy and stout. I'm excited for it to come into it's own.

Get out there.


Night Riders

Jason and I did a some dirt in the dark last night. Lot's of fun to ride familiar trails in a completely different way.
The air was a cool 50ish degrees and our headlamps were ablaze as we took on new routes and old ones. The fun thing about night riding is the critters. Critters are critting all over the place at night. Deer, rabbits, racoons, possums... oppossums... e-ppossums were everywhere. The rabbits were crazy. I saw at least 15 on the trail. It brought a new meaning to the term "bunny hop."
Our light situation was humorous. It was a combination of headlights, headlamps and more headlamps.
This photo above is a selfie shot. I had two headlamps on my helmet. Outside of the weight pulling down in the front, it was a great set-up. One lamp was pointed right down in front of me, the other was angled out towards the trail.
Nocturnal Troll leaning against a tank.
Jason was riding his Troll, too. He's got a new wheelset that makes this steed a semi-fat bike. 2.7" tires on super wide rims make for a great dirt cruiser. We weren't riding fast last night. We we just cruising in the dark. Thus making the Trolls very worthy of the call.

Get out there.


Exploration on the Bike

Sunday's weather offered up an opportunity to explore some new territory on the Cross Check. There was a road that I had snuck a short peek of last year but the ride was ultimately thwarted by snow. I remember thinking that this was a place I needed to go back to. But that day, snow had covered the road and the climbing made it too slip-slidey to go further. Today, though, I conquered those hills and rediscovered the route in a warmer season.

It's a great ride with incredible views. As much climbing as there is, it is totally worth it. I wish I could climb out onto these cliffs and snap a photo, but the few accessible views have many a trespassing sign to the tune of, "You trespass, I'll shoot." So I stand back and take my pics from the road.
Short little waterfall marks my first turn. From here it's up... up... and up.
There's pretty much fresh pavement up the entire climb. And there is horse crap everywhere. I even passed this group of horse-and-buggy commuters. I think the presence of horses is a good sign for cyclists. Cars here must be used to slow moving vehicles.
After gnarly climbs come crazy descents. You can kind of see in the photo above that I was crossing an empty, old, dried up creek bed. The road I had just come down crosses straight through it. I paused to notice that my fresh pavement was gone and water damage was the new theme on the road.
But shortly after I heard and saw this. My map showed that the road ended here and picked up on the other side. I halfway expected to see a crossing like this.
So I ditched the socks and shoes, strapped them to the bike and began my trek across the water. I'm so glad I had the Cross Check for this. The water was almost up to my waist so I carried the bike on my shoulder. The LHT weighs about 140 pounds more than the Cross Check. So this lighter ride felt a bit more comfy during the water crossing.
Footwear goes back on on the other side. The wool socks felt cozy after my chilly dip.
More horse evidence. This was after a fairly brutal climb. It was the only point in the day that I thought, "I may have to get off of this bike and push." But the tiny horse statues pep-talked me through it.
After my creek adventure, it was a pretty smooth ride all the way home. The Cross Check felt awesome, as usual. I'm amazed at how different it and the Long Haul Trucker actually are. Completely different bikes that seem almost identical at a glance. But these hills today felt like I was cruise control. I sailed right up with minimal effort. On the other hand, it feels more squirrelly than it's beefier LHT brother. So when you're hauling any significant weight, the LHT is the way to go.

It was a great ride and it's all outside my back door. I love that I live in Kentucky and I love that it offers such beautiful landscape!

Get out there.


Extra Time

There was a little extra time in today's commute. As I pulled up to the stoplight, I decided to go straight instead of my normal, quicker right turn. Extra miles, extra time and extra fun on the bike. It's always nice to take the long route in.

Get out there.



 This was super cool on my commute in this morning. They were burning down an old barn in a field along my route. As far away as I was while taking this photo, I could feel the heat coming off of this blaze. It was nice, too, being that it was 53 degrees on the way in.
On an unrelated note, the LHT got some love during Bike Night the other night. It got a fresh coat of shellac on the tape. The old coat had faded significantly. Now it's back to the more Brooks saddle leathery look.
I love the look of this bike. Browns, greens and blacks. It blends into the outside world oh so well. It is almost as if it was made to reside in nature.

Get out there.


Hammock Lunch

Today was another hammock and Kindle reading lunch break. Here's how it goes: 5 minutes riding, 5 minutes setting up hammock, 40 minutes reading, 5 minutes tearing down hammock, 5 minutes riding back. I love it.
The Esbit offers hot coffee and the Kindle brings several dozen books with me.
A curb tried to steal the good vibes away from me as I pinch flatted on my way back. Luckily, I was already in the work parking lot. I was trying to hop the curb and my bad timing made the last eighth of a mile on foot. Not bad, though. First flat EVER on the Troll.

It was a good way to spend my lunch. I'm glad I work close enough to lots of opportunities to sneak into the trees.

Get out there.


Reunited and it Feels So Good

Summer opened up a hiatus from my regular every-other-Wednesday bike maintenance night. But last night we were back at it and lots was accomplished. I was able to tune up two bikes for a couple buddies, the LHT got some love and, finally, my geared Cross Check was put back into commission.

The Cross Check has been hanging in my garage for every bit of six months. I'm always debating whether or not to sell it. But then, like this morning, I ride it and I absolutely love it. What the LHT does for hauling and stability, the Cross Check does with agility and quickness. It's just so much fun to have those bikes set up in such different ways. They compliment each other so well.

I'm not sure that I'll gravitate towards the Cross Check more than the LHT. But it's so awesome to have the option if I'm feeling a bit more sprightly.

Get out there.


Creak, Creak, Creak, Creak

The LHT, right now, is the bicycle equivalent of an old man with achy knees. Each crank of the pedals emits a high pitched creaking sound that makes my skin crawl. I pull back on the effort and it silences itself... but I know it's there. Tomorrow night is bike maintenance night. Once again, I'll remove pedals, cranks and bottom bracket to try and track it down. But I'm ready to get it fixed. I love this bike too much to pity it. But, up to this point, the culprit has evaded my efforts to pinpoint it.

Get out there.



Angie and I were in Florida for three days this last week. I was really missing my bike with all the cruisers I saw down there. These folks know how to do it right. Super chill lifestyle and lots of bikey love.
12 bags of groceries and room for a passenger. You're the man, old man.

Get out there.


Bikepack Commuting

Today was another day on the Troll for the bike commute. I know you're confused by my photography voodoo in the photo above. But I wanted to show that I was running the Relevate frame bag and carrying my new backpack. I'm working on a poor man's bikepacking rig that would work for some overnighters in the woods. I don't have the cash flow for a full bikepacking kit. But these two bags should give me the capacity for two nights on the trail.

I'm thinking of commuting for a few days to see how it all feels. As of now, I'm really liking it. My backpack was pretty full, with heavy laptop and everything. And the frame bag had all my commuting clothes in it. Somehow, my time on my commute is no different than when I ride the LHT. I think perhaps the Troll climbs better. It's just easier to mash those pedals on the MTB and get up a hill, which seems to be gaining the time I lose with the knobby 2.5" tires.

I'll keep playing and tweaking and we'll see what comes of it all. But I'd like to do a trip or two this fall in the woods.

Get out there.