Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sunday's Ride

Sunday was cool, for August, from the remnants of the overnight rain. I headed for the gravel roads in the mountains and did some trails as well.

Full ride report here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Argiope aurantia

The Black & Yellow Garden Spider. This little gal is living on the back of the house. I say little, but she's the biggest spider I've seen around here. She (females are the larger) is also a biter, so we'll just leave her alone.

Progne subis

One of the best (perhaps the only good) things about riding a mower in circles for a good part of a day is getting to watch the purple martins flying around enjoying the feast of displaced bugs. Saturday, before the rain, I must have had two dozen birds swooping and diving very close to me. Perhaps next year I'll put up a house for them.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Holy Smokes!

This is real combat reporting. Edge of your seat sort of stuff. You'll never see anything like this from the New York Times reporters and their ilk.

Wed. Club

The regular Wednesday ride was last night, and the nice break we've been having from the typical August heat made it a great ride, with 8 participants. I brought the tandem with the Princess Stoker as my partner, and the 18 mile ride went well. The only time we lagged a bit was climbing the hill on Links Bridge Rd. It is a bigger hill than it looks to be, but the payoff is then being able to bomb down Old Frederick and go up the next hill almost completely on momentum.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Yo Fixie 2

I mentioned two posts ago that I had met another fixed gear rider the other day. We hooked up for a ride on Sunday, and one of his friends who also rides fixed came along. I had a pretty good time. They were a little more into the "messenger/urban rider" vibe than me (what would my "vibe" be? Stodgy traditionalist?), and a bit more aggressive with regards to traffic law than I tend to be, but we had a good ride. A mechanical cut their participation short, but I did a bit extra after they left. Full report here.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I wanted to be somewhere else this weekend, a place not even too far away, but it was not to be. the 2005 Single Speed World Championships is this weekend up in State College, PA. Several of my friends are up there now. Go Guys! A least I have a ride planned tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Yo Fixie!

I usually try to go on the Wed. night club rides with the local bike club. They are really nice folks. Yesterday I found out in the late afternoon I would have to work late. Bummer, no ride. However on my way home I saw a guy riding along on a fixed gear schwinn. Cool. I talked to him for a few minutes and there is a group who gets together locally and rides on Sundays. I thought I was the only fixed enthusiast around here. The people in the club I belong to kind of look at me funny when I show up to rides on a bike that doesn't shift or coast. It will be cool to ride with some like minded folks. Some clouds do have silver linings.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Not my cup of Tea

Brett at Gleeful Gecko posted a link to an article with several pictures of concept bikes. Arrgh! My eyes. I'm all for people exploring the cutting edge of design, but I'm too old fashioned for them to appeal to me. Some call it retro-grouch. Lugged steel is my favorite, but I can tolerate some titanium and even some aluminium frames. Here is an example of what works best for me. The Gaansari Flyer, designed by my friend Gary Boulanger, and hand built in Ohio. COMFORTABLE to ride, and unless you are a pro, doesn't give up any performance.

Mmmm, nice. Another Gaansari, the St. Clair, was just reviewed in the most recent Dirt Rag magazine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

No Bike Rides

No bike rides over the weekend for me. I spent a great deal of the weekend pretending to be a mechanic and fixing my tractor. I'm glad I don't have to be very good at it. I had completed the repairs (variable speed transmission) and was putting the thing back together when I decided it would be a good time to add some grease to the mower blade pedestals and swap out the blades for a sharp set. I added grease and *SNAP*, I broke one of the zerk fittings off. I had no easy way to get the remnants out, so I had to swap the whole pedestal out for a spare that I bought the last time I had issues with the mower deck. $70 is a high price to pay for a moment's inattention. and I have to buy another spare. Working on bikes is much more rewarding.

Once I got it all fixed I spent the rest of the weekend doing yard work. Lots and Lots of yardwork.

The biggest problem for me is that my tractor is a cheapo model sold through tractor supply center, and not nearly robust enough for the the size, terrain and uses I put it to. We're looking at buying a "real" tractor over the winter, but I really need to get through the rest of the summer too. Wah, poor me. In 25 years we'll be doing it all with hand tools and livestock again anyway.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

VW Beetle

VW Beetle

My friend Brett over at Gleeful Gecko mentioned back on July 30th that the last old style VW Beetle was made in Mexico on that day in 2003. I left a comment on his site about a trip my dad took in a VW, and I thought I'd expand upon it here.

When I was born, my family lived in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay. Our family car was a VW Beetle. My dad said there weren't too many of them around in South America at that time and his was usually an object of interest where ever he went. The next year, when it was time to move back to the US, mom and us four kids flew home, and dad took a road trip. The Pan American Highway had been an ideal since the 1920s, but there wasn't much of a coherent route on the ground.

Dad drove through Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, where he caught a ferry around the Darien Gap to Panama City, Panama. He then headed up through Central America, Mexico and into the US. He also did several side trips along the way, including a voyage to the Galapagos Islands.

Here are some of the trip statistics:

Total Mileage: 12,922
Total Land Mileage: 10,822
Total Gas: 433 Gallons
Vehicle range on main and reserve Tanks: 800 miles
Total tank Capacity: 34.4 Gallons
MPG: 24.2
Gas Expenses: $128.00
Total Expenses:1,406.36
Cost per Mile: 10 cents.

Here is a photo from that trip.

I've done some fun stuff myself, but Dad has had some real adventures.