This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Onward, 2018 straight ahead.

This past year was  sedate, encouraging, adventurous and disappointing at the same time.  Oh, yeah, like life.  It began with some comments from innocents.  A class of high school freshmen asked me why I rode a bike rather than drive a car.  I asked them to explain it to me.  After providing 8 or so good reasons to choose a bike over a car they were dum founded and could offer no reason to drive a car.
I had to offer "social acceptance" as a primary reason for most people's choice. That, of course, left them with more quizzical looks on their faces.
Our mayor was awarded the "Friend of Bicycling" award by our local club.  He had been instrumental in passing the new 5 foot passing law which was instituted in the city.
The area transportation study, KATS, continued their outreach to the public attempting to develop a coherent network of non-motorized routes through the municipal area.
    I dipped my toe into the technology arena by making an hilarious attempt at going tubeless.  Despite what you might have heard, a special tire is required.  On a positive note, the Stan's Sealant works pretty damn well in tubes.  This year I had 8 known punctures and only one actual flat.  The flat that I had was catastrophic.  Whatever I hit punctured the center tread and Kevlar belt of a Schwalbe Big Ben tire, and the anti-puncture strip I was using, and then left a hole large enough that Stan's wouldn't seal it. So, you have to carry a tube and inflator anyway.  I guess the tubeless thing is only an advantage to racers, the sealant a convenience to real cyclists.
Once springtime got underway, I discovered one of the worst excuses for a rail trail.   This mess is called a bike trail and is useless.  It runs between Hartfort Mi and ends near the Lakeshore but is an unmaintained grass path barely navigable on a 29er.  I suppose it gets some snowmobile traffic in the winter but I bailed to the county roads.
Back in town the city of Portage was quick to post signs
 educating the public about the new passing laws.  Bravo!!
Scott Towner was my first Warmshowers guest for the year.  He traveled from Toronto to Southern Cal and stayed with me for a night.
The following weekend our paths crossed while I was taking a weekend trip to the Lake.   We shared a campsite for a night before I went home and he pedaled onward to Chicago.
I embraced a new twist on old technology in the form of a Blackburn trunk bag for my Hillborne.  It's a new version of the Topeak design with small panniers folding down from the sides.  The trunk itself has a light insulation and is HUGE.  It will easily fit a 6 pack of your favorite bottles and a few other things.  It's a perfect bag for an overnight at a B&B on the lake.  Unlike the Topeak design, it will fit on any rack with a couple of velcro straps.
Mary's ride, one of my favorite ad hoc charity rides, went well  again this year.
This time with beautiful weather and favorable winds.
I now have proof positive that I can wear out or break anything.  I managed to bend the pin on a Park Tool chain break.  How, I will never know, but I am proud to say "I did it my own self."
There was a huge turnout for the ride on June 7th commemorating the tragedy of 2016 when 9 cyclists were run over by a pickup truck.
Linus. a student from Germany, was my other Warmshowers guest this year.  He took some time off from his studies to travel across the US by bicycle.
He managed to break an axle just outside of town and Rick Lee from Zoo City Cycles was glad to have it repaired free of charge.
My own journey's took me by Amtrak to infamous HWY 61 in Minnesota
for trip down the Mississippi which is a route frequented by cyclists and I found campgrounds dedicated to us along the route.
For the most part the weather was magnificent,
the scenery sublime and the roads flat 
until I passed Praire Du Chien.  
There, for about 80 miles it was climb after climb
reaching some magnificent vistas before reaching
the flatlands of Illinois and the ride home.
(I took Amtrak not the penny farthing.)
The annual vintage bike show at the Tavern was blessed with a big crowd and beautiful weather.
I took a little tour of Manistee National forest, it's trails and sandy roads
where I discovered Idlewild, a hidden piece of Michigan history in the middle of the forest.  It was one of the first places in the USA where Afro-Americans were allowed to own real estate.
A little east of there is an interesting intersection in Reed City of two rail trails cutting across the state.
I settled down into a fall of commuter cycling and the local transportation study released it's plan for developing non-motorist routes through the city.
It's a very aggressive plan and backed by the fact that they hold the purse strings to the Federal funds used in the area.  It promises to be one plan that does not collect dust on the shelf.
Unfortunately that was followed by the Ying to their Yang.  The KRVT, a local trail organization, completed the most disastrous and misconceived connection through our downtown area to connect their trail sections.  It's a comical farce winding through the most heavily trafficked streets in town turning 14 times in the length of a mile.  I'm just glad the rest of the year was positive and am planning the travel for the coming year.


  1. Happy 2018 Marc. Thanks for recounting 2017. Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming adventures.

  2. Sounds like 2017 was a good year. Best wishes for 2018.

  3. I like your blog and story, I will follow.