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, March 31, 2024

Just had enough...

 of this crappy weather in Michigan.  The past few weeks the weather from day to day has ranged from 60 to 20 degrees and changed seemly on an hourly basis.  Driving snow with 10 degree wind chills one afternoon to find the snow gone and 45 the next.  I decided to find some kind of sanity, loaded the car and headed south.  

The Hoosier National Forest along the Ohio River sounded good.  It's a 6 hour drive, straight south, and clear 70 degree weather was predicted.
The weather guessers delivered and the first evening was beyond beautiful.  The forest was just coming awake with early buds on the trees, violets and daffodils sprouting around the sides of the roads.  I didn't come for any epic ride, just some casual cruising in a warmer clime.
Did I say clime?  I meant the other "C" word. There is something wrong with my vocabulary these days.  It seems there's something about the term "German RIDGE"
that I did not get when I chose the desination.
Every blind winding turn on this side of the river valley
 brought a new climb with it.
It's always 50% downhill but I seemed to find inclines 
which also delivered some pretty
spectacular scenery
leading to the inevitable honky-tonk where the juke box was wailing country tunes I remembered from grade school (I'm 72!).  Sitting at the bar, I saw some  good looking burgers come out of the kitchen.  I could see the kitchen through the swinging doors and decided to stick with bottled beer (the locals probably develop immunity).   Chatting with a local, I was laughing inside listening to a guy complain about the wind while he was on his Harley.
Just a six hour drive was worth it to ride around in shorts, in some beautiful countryside and forest.  It might be an excellent destination in the fall when the colors come out, and the temps in Michigan drive me South again.
















Sunday, March 24, 2024

Some determined advocacy.

I was invited the other day to an "input session" with the West Michigan Trails organization.  It's a group dedicated to the development of an integrated trail network throughout the region.  The two hours or so were filled with a slide show and commentary on all aspects of trail design and development.  
There was some excellent discussion about way fare signage and an overall discussion about developed, in-construction, in-development and proposed trails.  
A lot centered around current obstacles that groups and different jurisdictions were encountering now that nearly all the abandoned rail beds have been used or disposed of in different ways.  Now, trail groups are attempting to develop trails on private properties where they are running into problems.  Obstinate owners and gold digging holdouts are preventing a lot of development and making some connections look like futile bong dreams.  
Then there is the money.  It was noted that the days when an available rail bed could be developed for $150K per mile are long gone.  The prices these days are north of $1M per mile, in one case $5M per mile was noted.  All this attention makes me feel really good since I've been a cycling enthusiast for over 50 years and am amazed that this much serious attention is being placed on cycling infrastructure.    After the meeting I left with the impression that the goal of connectivity will be better developed with more attention paid to identifying and marking reasonable on road bike routes to connect the developed trails. On the other hand, I know there are a lot more uses to a trail than cycling. So it will be continually frustrating.
 And, of course, of the 30 or so advocates in the meeting,
one was on a bike.


 

Friday, March 8, 2024

The latest in the stable

A few months ago, my friend Leah Peterson was chatting online with a biking acquaintance, Michael Downs, and noticed a frame in the background of a photo he sent her.  When asked about it, he said he might be interested in selling it.  She sent me a photo and I immediately bit the hook. 
It's a Rivendell Yves Gomez with a limited edition paint job.  It was the first run of factory made mixte bikes after the Wilbury/Glorious became too expensive.  I got it in late fall and spent the winter getting parts together.
It came together beautifully, the cream colored fenders were raided from my Sam Hillborne and look much better with the dark green.  I added Baby Bosco bars, VO Gran Cru brake levers (which are as sensitive as the Paul levers I put on my Hunq), Soma interupter levers and Brooks leather tape to finish them off.
I had a Sugino crank which I converted with a chain guard into 1x9 drive train with a Shimano Deore derailer and pulled a Sunrace thumb shifter out of the parts bin which works perfectly.  The saddle is a VO leather saddle which wasn't being used and I may change later after some longer rides and a different seat post.
I ordered wheels from Velocity and Schwalbe Kojak tires.  Tektro brake calipers and MKS pedals from the parts bin finished that off.
To make it practical, I added a light Tubus rack and a HUGE Wald basket.  The basket  weighs next to nothing and is a great convenience
since I have a bag that was designed with that basket in mind.  After a few hours of riding with the empty basket it held $75 worth of groceries with no problem on the way home. 
I'm really surprised at how spritely and light this bike is.   The Kojak tires are extremely fast slicks and the only 35mm 650b tire I could find.  There are several 38mm and larger tires out there for 650b wheels, but I've used these before and liked them.  I'm looking forward to a lot of time on this bike
and even found a helmet to match.












 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Growing pains.

      Remember how growing up seemed really exciting,  then you got a job, mortgage, kids and everything kinda sucked?  When you pass all that there's a new phase.  At 71, after reading for a couple hours, I've found it harder to get out a chair then it is to ride a bike 35 miles.


     This time of year is especially interesting.  When the snow has fallen along with the temperatures, I shuffle across the parking lot to the garage telling myself how stupid I am until I've ridden a few blocks and need to loosen my cuffs and pull the hood back to cool off.  

It's not a 35 mile ride this time of year,  the roads are barely cleared for cars let alone bikes so it's a unique challenge to get around town, but the sense of smug superiority it provides is well worth it.

On the other hand our city does a responsible job of clearing, or at least trying to clear the trailways.  The result is an icy mtb track protected from traffic where we can enjoy overheating under our parka for 25 miles or so.  It's a limited pleasure and a change of pace for a few weeks.