Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Down for the count

Ugh, The whole household is down with some kind of bug, tearing up our insides. At one time we had every bathroom in the place occupied by someone worshiping at the porcelain god. Ok, I know, too much information. Nothing to do but wait it out, surfing the net for cool bike stuff which I can't afford.

Monday, November 28, 2005


This past Saturday started the firearms hunting season for deer here in Maryland. If you intend to ride in the woods, wear bright colors. Sundays are 'No hunting' days as well. The majority of hunters are responsible and ethical folks, but accidents do happen. The Princess Stoker and I rode up into the prime hunting area for this county Saturday, and the woods were a busy place. Everyone looked to be having fun and we stopped to talk to a couple who had just bagged a nice buck, but I would have done the ride Sunday if my schedule had permitted it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Blast from the Past

While I'm geezing, I thought I'd post this picture as well. There is a posting over at the Volokh Conspiracy about the first Thanksgiving, linking to a photo of my Great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great-Grandfather John Howland. Ok, it really isn't a photo of John Howland, but it is of the historic interpreter at Plimoth Plantation who portrays him in the first person. Back when I worked at Jamestown Festival Park (now Jamestown Settlement) in my effort do do lots of fun stuff before getting a boring government job, our park would send folks up to Plimoth Plantation to exchange ideas and info. This pic is from one such exchange, and fall militia gathering. I'm the first musketeer in the back row, acting as colonist Will Palmer, Jr. The gentleman in the white shirt and breatplate further down the row, was playing the role of Will Palmer, Sr. His normal role at Plimoth was as Captain of the Mayflower. This kind of stuff beat working all to hell, but it didn't pay too much.


In tracking down more info about the Kogswell Porteur mentioned several posts below, I found out from Matthew that Kogswell World Headquarters is in Shakopee,MN. I spent a great summer there about 15 years ago, jousting at the MN Renaissance Faire. You'd be amazed at the number of women in the world with latent Knight-in-Shining-Armor fantasies. This pic is from that time. Lance (yes, his real name) and I had been working some new horses into the show, and this was their first time in front of a crowd. I'm on the horse on the right, and as we came down the lists, something spooked Lance's horse and he came through the barrier and we collided head on. Some good soul snapped a pic at the moment of impact. I was knocked out and down for about 2 or 3 minutes, but got up and we finished the show with our old standby horses. These two horses never got over it and were sold back into farming. Maybe I never got over it either, that was my last year jousting. Lance worked a few more years until he took a sliver of broken lance into his eye/head at a faire in FL a few years later. He lived, but I haven't heard from him in a long time. I'm thinking bikes are safer than medieval combat.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're getting set up and ready to eat. Best wishes to all of you this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Trail building

I want this section of trail to go through the brush as seen in the picture. This will allow it to go over some rocks currently hidden from view and down between the trees below. Plenty of autumn olive and thorns to clear here. This piece will join an existing section below, near the western property line. All of thse trails are necessairily short, becaause the lower part of the lot just isn't that wide. I just want something for me and the kids to play on when we are constrained from going father afield to find dirt riding fun. Riding in tiny circles can be fun, as long as that isn't all you do.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Bigger Picture

I thought after the last entry I should put up a broader photo. This is the area surrounding the fire pit (in the center). Our lot goes down and across the creek and up to the open fields on the other side. I'm making trails down, but traversing back and forth along the slope to extend the length of them. There will be some log crossings and the bridge across the stream, and maybe other "stunts" depending on what I come across as I make trail.

Backyard Adventures

While we are out messing about in the yard. Every back yard needs a fire pit. This one sits on the remains of a brushpile left over from clearing this land. Everything you can see in this pic was once an impenetrable, fifteen foot tall, hedge of thorn, autumn olive, poison ivy and various other brush. Over the last few years we've slowly been clearing it back and seeding. As I come across rubble and stone from the previous farm here, I add it to the ring. I want to get a play house (or maybe a tipi) for the kids at some point, as well as build an earth oven next to the pit. This is also the central outlet for the trails I'm making in the woods below.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bridge to ?

The lower part of our property has taken a back seat to just about everything else in my life. I figure it will be there for a while yet. My daughter sees things differently. She takes it as a personal affront that I am keeping her from the back 1/4 of our property (apparently jumping across the narrow part of the creek does not count). I've had the rough framework of a bridge since the first summer we were here. The builders left two 20 ft. 4x12 beams made of 2x12s, and I had long ago started adding some crosspieces. I just sort of stalled out. Clear weather, the end of yardwork season, and constant nagging gentle pressure have finally gotten me to work. Cleaning out the basement of some scrap 2x4s gave the the low cost materials I needed to get at it, and soon I had decking. Flooding shifted the bridge from it's original location to a more (I hope) stable location against trees on both sides of the creek. The kids immediately embarked on an expedition to expand their empire, complete with trail cutting clippers. I'm going to let them plan and build the trail network on the far side, while I continue to work on the near side trails. Once we get some thorns cleared out, we'll see how well bikes can get around down here.

Cold Riding

My Sunday ride had to take into account an early return in order for my wife to do something she had planned, so I got on the road pretty early. Unfortunately, this time of year that usually brings with it that cold early morning temperature. Brrrr. The riding up to the east of Emmitsburg was spectacular though. Quickeam is still a joy to ride, increased by the fact that the area I was riding has few real hills. Bikes are fun. Go ride yours.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

New Bike Shop

After the Princess Stoker's basketball practice today we were running around getting some errands done (example-see post below). We decided to get lunch at our local Five Guys. (Which appears to have exceeded its bandwidth!) Imagine my suprise to see a bike shop in the process of getting set up right next door! Frederick has lost two shops in the past few years, and even though I like all the shops which remain, it is alway nice to see more choices. This shop will be the closest to my house, but still a ways. On workdays I frequently go to the downtown shop, Wheelbase, because I'm already parked for work and don't have to look for parking. I also visit Mt Airy Bikes a lot, because it is about the same distance from home as Frederick, and is a great tandem shop. I don't get to Under the Sun Sports too often because they are farthest from me, but they have been able to help me out before when I couldn't find a part anywhere else. This new shop, Bicycle Escape, is located right on my commute home. The look like they will be a Specialized dealer, from what I could see through the window. I'll have more info after they open.

National Ammo Day

I'm getting mine. How about you? Happy Ammo Day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Handle Bars

Been thinking a bit about handlebars lately. I'm very happy with the WTB Offroad drops on my quickbeam, and the Nitto Noodles on the Fuji. I have a project bike waiting to be worked on this winter, and I'm thinking about the bars for it. It will be a conversion of an older MTB to a town bike for the Mrs. I found the bars in the picture on the net the other day and I really like them, but they are someone's one off custom bars.

Some of the options include:
On-One Mary
On-One Mungo
Nitto Moustache
North Road
Or something else. Kogswell may be bringing out their own bars soon.

It is good to have choices.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ah, Paris

Michael Wise went to Paris. He took a bike. He brought back many good photos. Head on over to his site, Living Hemingwayesque, and scroll down the the galleries section to see some neat stuff. It reminds me of that fall I spent in Paris. No wait, I've never been to Paris. The closest I've been was fall in Germany, and that was muddy and cold. Still fun though.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More exposure?

I'm a member of an email list called the internet-BOB list. BOBs started out as the Bridgestone Owners Bunch, but has pretty much morphed into a more broadly based practical cycling list. Recently, while talking about blogs, member JimG decided to create a blog aggregator, a page with links to any bob blog that cares to join it. Cool idea, so I linked up. If you're visiting my blog from there, how about a comment so I can see if anyone is actually visiting. Also, please check out my ride reports here. If you are one of my friends who visit already, check out JimG's iBOB MetaBlog Aggregator Page and visit some of the other blogs. There is a wide range of subjects and, uh, interesting points of view represented.

I'd like to see more BOBs with blogs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Why the hype?

I read a neat bit on the other day which was about a guy who did a real epic mountain bike tour. Erik Schlimmer rode from Canada to Mexico using several trails, Arizona, Shoshone, Great Western, and Great Divide. That is awesome. He has also done some other really neat adventures. What bugged me about what I read was the hype. The title was "Rider Establishes Longest Mountain Bike Route In America." I just don't get where anything was established. He linked together several existing venues and had a great adventure. Should this be "The Western States Mountain Bike Route?" Why the horn tooting? I once kayaked from Lake Ontario, along the Erie Canal and Hudson River to the Intercostal Waterway, the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal, and the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis. Did I "Establish" a new kayaking route, or just take a boat trip. Maybe If I mark up a couple of maps with the route and hawk them on the internet, it will mean I established something.

Does Kent Peterson's ride from Washington to Montana and then down the Great Divide MTB Route count as establishing a new route? It too used some paved roads to link together a route to the divide start, and although I don't recall the exact numbers, I believe was farther than 2600 miles.

Why did this even set me off? Mabe I'm just over sensitive today, but this type of ranting is what blogs are for, right? Maybe I just want to do a ride like this for myself.

Maybe this week I'll establish a new route for bike commuters to use to get to Frederick, MD, or maybe I'll just bike to work.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Sunday saw my son and me riding around Walkersville. The riding was nice, but I discoverd an issue with my new shoes that I got on Friday. The tread is a harder plastic more like soccer cleats. When I go to clip in on the tandem's pedals with my left foot, it keeps sliding off without clipping in. This was making my foot shoot towards the ground and I hyperextended my left elbow (at least three different times) recovering my balance. It is embarassing to hurt yourself so bad in front of your kid that you almost want to cry. It Hurt! I had to change my habits so I'd clip in my left foot at the stop and then do my right while rolling. No problems that way.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

New Shoes

I was all set to go ride yesterday, when I decided it would be a good time to change out my cleats. As I was doing so, I noticed a strange wobble to the sole of my right shoe. Yep, the sole had cracked at the cleat mount. After I dropped off the kids at school in the morning, instead of heading up into the watershed, I popped over to Mt. Airy Bikes and rummaged through their shoe stock to find some shoes to replace the old Sidis. I used to wear a 46, but different companies have a broad interpretation of sizing standards, and no 46s fit, nor did most 47s. Finally I found a 47 sidi that did fit, and bought them. Ouch$$$. Oh well, if they last as long as the last pair, it will amortize out pretty well.

So anyway, I ended up heading over to Lake Linganore and riding a bunch of residential streets and some of the trails where I used to ride a lot. Cool weather fall riding. 33 Miles. Lots of hills. Much Fun.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Veteran's Day

My Family has a significant tradition of serving their country, but we are nothing special. Tomorrow spare a thought for those who have served, and who are serving now. You might even consider a contribution to a charity serving those who have paid a dear price in their service.

BTW. Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps today.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Another busy weekend

Soccer for both kids. Fall yardwork and trips to the dump, goodwill and the non-profit building supply, but the Princess Stoker and I managed to still sneak in a quick tandem ride over by Lake Linganore.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Easter 1972

My dad just got a new scannner which scans slides. Cool. He sent me this scan from Easter 1972 in Fairbanks, Alaska. This was in the center of the University of Alaska campus. Seems like a long time ago.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


With nothing else to think about as I sit here in the dungeon at lunch, I've been thinking about seasons. What is your favorite? I like Fall quite a bit, but I'm pretty up on the others too.

A few months ago it was this (well the pic is a couple of years old, but you know what I mean):

Soon it will be this:

but right now it is this:

Get out and ride.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fall riding

I think this is my favorite shot from Sunday's ride. I don't take as many shots coming down as I do going up, usually because I'm having too much fun to stop and take them. This was just too beautiful to pass up. We were riding south on Gambril Park Rd. above where it reached Mountaindale Rd. The sun to the south was shining through the trees giving this terrific light. This photo will always remind me of big smiles as we blasted down the mountain.