Saturday, December 31, 2005

There and Back Again

We were out of town over the holidays, and although I was bikeless, it was the right decision. Rain, snow and sleet just about everyday in Ohio. Have a happy and safe New Year, and look for a discussion of all the cool cycling gifts I got when I get back into the blogging swing next week.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Nice Winter Ride

What can I say? The weather was great, so I went for a ride. 25 miles in the Walkersville area. Sweet.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Progress Report

Having a wife and two kids, a house, job, and a number of other interests sometimes makes getting out on the bike difficult. Just over a year ago I had the idea of setting a few goals for myself to motivate me to get out on the bike a bit more. I started with two.

1 This goal I called Overlooking. It was to ride up to the same place in the Frederick Watershed at least once each month and take some photos to be stitched together into a panorama, to show the change of seasons through the year. I finished that project the other week and, although I missed one month, I'm pleased with the results.

2. This is the project I call Fixing Frederick. Since I don't have the money or time to do some of the long tours to far away places that I enjoy reading about in books and on the Internet, I decided to do some touring at home. The goal of this project is to ride every road where it is legal to ride in Frederick County, MD. Currently the number of roads in the county is 4162, with new roads being added regularly due to ongoing development. I have 57 rides in this series of rides, completing (1034)24% of the roads in the county database. I'll post my total yearly mileage after the new year, and while it won't be nearly the miles that some of my friends and readers ride each year, I'm pleased that it will be more miles than I've ridden in several years.

An additional benefit of this riding has been the participation of my kids. One or the other has come along on several of the adventures and it has always been fun, even when the riding was hard. I am truly a fortunate man.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bike Lust 3

Redline has made a name for itself by building solid bikes at a great price. Now they are coming out with a 29"er next year! There isn't a whole lot of news about it yet, but it should be similar to Redline's Monocog 26 inch wheeled MTB. The price will probably be low enough that I might convince the treasurer to let me get one. So many choices....

Check here and here and here for more information/speculation, or just go to the Seattle Bike Supply site.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Links

Here are a couple of new links. A few years ago when I was getting back into mountainbiking, I rode a bunch with an MTBr poster named bikebreath. Doug is a really nice guy and I dropped him a line the other day to see what he is up to. He doesn't ride as obsessively anymore but he still rides. He also has a photo blog at
Take a look.

Another new blog I found is The City Bicycle. A link turned up to there from the Kogswell List, and it is a goldmine of practical cycling info. Worth your while to look.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


My December ride up into the Frederick Watershed on Catoctin Mountain completed an effort to ride up there once a month for a year, to take a panorama photo from the overlook along the Catoctin Trail. I missed February, but only because I was out riding my bike, so I consider the project a success. Here is a page with all the panoramas together.

I'll still be riding up there, but I'm going to spend some time working on my off road riding, and, on roads I've never been on before as part of my Fixing Frederick Project.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Snow Ride!

I had a nice ride up into the Watershed this morning, starting in Lewistown and heading up Gambrill Park Rd. Since the watershed roads are unplowed, there was a nice coating of packed snow, except for the places where is had compredded to ice. If I had studded tires it would have been been an easy ride, or even if I had switched out tires to my new 44s, but lazy me left the bald nokians on and didn't have a lot of traction. I needed the traction to stand cimbing, so I slipped out quite a bit. Oh well, it was a great time anyways. Here is a pic of the bike at the overlook. I'll get a complete ride report up eventually. UPDATE Monday afternoon. My ride report with more photos is HERE.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Pristine Trails

Good day for playing in the snow. After kids basketball games and Emily doing some carolling at a retirement home, we had a bit of fun tramping about in the back woods. I also cut a bit more trail. Hopefully I'll have a good short circuit to ride around next spring when drives to distant offroad riding spots don't fit into the schedule.

Friday, December 09, 2005

First Real Snow

We had the first real snow of winter last night. Kids are home from school today, and very pleased about it. Although we share the long part of the drive with two other homes, I was the first out today, so it fell to me to plow the way out. The evil tractor seems to be happier in the winter than in the summer and gave me no fits. Drivers on the way to work were a little squirrely, and I saw one accident and evidence of a couple of others, so it was a good day to skip the bike. Hopefully the snow will hang around a few days and I can get at least one ride up into the watershed early Sunday.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fixed Filosophies

I was talking with a coworker today about bikes. This coworker, who is fairly knowledgeable about bikes and rides herself, knows that I do most of my riding on a fixed gear bike and made the comment that I don't carry around with me that hip-urban-messenger vibe that all the other fixed riders she sees around do. More power to those riders in that scene, but, aside from the fact that very few overweight middle-aged guys like me could pull off the "hip-urban-messenger" vibe, I look at riding fixed from a slightly different angle. My inspiration for fixing is the club riders of the past. Peter Kohler discusses this on the Retro Raleigh Site.

"One of the great traditions of British cycling was "club riding": small, local groups of cyclists organized into clubs for regular sporting or recreational rides. These could comprise long or short tours, day trips, time trials or roadracing. The emphasis in many clubs was more camaraderie than competitive but it was not always a pub crawl. Many group rides were multi-day affairs and as varied as the British countryside."

Very often the bike chosen for these rides was a bike with more relaxed geometry than a racing or track bike, an all day fixed gear rider with room for wider tires, fenders, provision for lights and two brakes, and maybe even some luggage capability. Bikes like the Raleigh Lenton pictured above from the 50's, and bikes like my modern Rivendell Quickbeam. Bikes like this also make for reliable transportation and utility use. Sounds about perfect. I think it is the same aesthetic which makes me like wool over synthetic, acoustic over electric and revolvers/bolt action/lever action over semi-autos (well, except for the M1 Garand). I have nothing in particular against innovation and all the high zoot products that are out there. In fact some of the progress is amazing, like LED lighting. But much of what I see is no real improvement over what has been used for years, and still works. I'm interested in reliable, affordable, proven designs. But I don't want to fall the other way and get all anti-consumerist either. I want to choose what works for me, and I'm glad we have such a wide variety of choices.

Winter Cycling

Winter riding takes its toll, mostly in the form of motivation. It is just that much harder to get out there when it is cold. Thus the invention of the indoor trainer. Booorrrriiiinnnngggg. But I can at least watch a DVD or listen to tunes while down in the basement. Sometimes the kids come down to laugh at me too. I'll still ride outside, in fact I'm hoping to increase the amount of riding I do in 2006. But for those days I just can't get going out there, this is an acceptable compromise.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Hotbed of Cycling for Over 100 Years.

A few months ago, I had come across a link to a newspaper abstract I thought was pretty neat, but then I lost it. Duh. Fortunately I just found the text again and used that to search for the original link.

The Valley Register, Middletown, Maryland. May 8, 1891
* Personals - Personal Paragraphs About Those Who Come and Those Who Go
Mr. Daniel M. HUFFER, son of Mr. W. E. HUFFER of Downsville, Washington county, and Mr. John A. BROWN, both students of New Windsor College, Carroll County, and each the possessor of a new Victory Safety bicycle, came whirling up Main Street about noon Monday and stopped at our office for a rest. They went from New Windsor to Gettysburg, Pa. on Saturday, from thence to Hagerstown, and left the latter place on Monday for New Windsor.

I think the bicycles were actually Victor, not Victory bicycles. That is a Victor in the picture above. They were riding around the areas I love to ride today. New Windsor to Gettysburg is 21 miles straightline distance. Gettysburg to Hagerstown is 30 miles. Hagerstown to New Windsor is 32 miles over South and Cactoctin Mountains. Those two climbs make a big ride even today (well, it is for me). I wonder what the roads were like.

Monday, December 05, 2005


This has to be a hard time of year to be a bike rider in Iceland, but Harri is someoneone who has started his own blog about riding and travelling there. Check it out. Brrrrrr.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Link o' rama

Slowly recovering from whatever bug is going around. Several extended family and friends went down as well. It left me some time to surf though. Matt on the Kogswell list asked if I'd post a few of the Japanese bike websites I have bookmarked. These are individuals or club sites, not retail sites or manufacturers, and I look for things like touring reports and passhunting with lots of pretty pictures, but since I formatted the list, I thought I'd post it here too.

Sites I check pretty much weekly:
Mr Haro -MTB Around Hamamatsu Japan
Mr Akuta
Nawa, Mr Rudo
High Ground Net Lots of great photos.
Mr. Hiro
Outdoor Life-Mark-2
mark-2's Blog
Cyber Cyclist's Home Page
ted air-nifty BLOG
Ayako's Wai Wai Room vol.3
Unreasonable Cyclist
Winds of Cycling

Other sites I've found but don't visit often becuase the aren't updated as much or are hard to navigate through if you don't speak japanese:

Takasu - lots of photos, check out the gear list. Link to japanese 650B forum at the 'New' Sometimes has photos.
We are GEORGIAN! Long flash presentation featuring Surly fixie riding messenger as ad for canned cofee product
ONO, Hiroki's web page(Folding Bike, Recumbent)
WADACHI - Enjoy cycling and drinking around Japan!
Bikes on trains
Cycling Portal Japan
Net-Pedalian / Japan Adventure Cyclist Club
Imperfect combustion feeling
Cancan's Website

By the way, I use: as an autotranslator.