Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mountain Biking

Since my daughter's birthday came soon after my father in law passed away, we were too busy to do some of what we had planned for celebrations. One thing which we missed was taking the day off from work/school to do something fun together. Wednesday was the make-up day, and after a leisurely breakfast we loaded up the bikes and headed down the road to Schaeffer Farms in Montgomery County. The Princess has ridden off road a bit on the back of the tandem, and has lots of miles of the C&O tow path under her belt, but hadn't really ever done a 'real' trail on her own. Schaeffer is much more beginner friendly than anything found in Frederick County. We couldn't have asked for a better day to ride. There was only one other car in the parking lot, meaning we had the trail pretty much to ourselves. The weather was glorious. I let her choose what loop and she decided on the White. Off we went. It may be a proud dad talking, but she ROCKED! The little wheels on the Mountain Lion made some logs stop her short, but she tried more than I expected. No fear on the water crossings and she attacked the hills like a pro. The only problems were extended rooty sections and the whoop-te-doo up-and-downs along the orange trail where there was a small crash. No problem though. We walked a couple of climbs too, but she again went farther than I expected. She was getting pretty beat by the end of the loop though. I have GOT to figure out a way to get his kid a a decent bike. The Missus balks a little at the projected cost$. Anyway, post ride we hit a nearby playground, followed by a take out late lunch at that scottish restaurant (McSometing or other), eaten while watching aircraft take off and land at the Frederick Airport. Beats working any time.

Friday, May 25, 2007

For Sale

Any small footed peeps interested?

For sale. SPD shoes. Size 40 (US 7). SPD cleats attached already. My kids have outgrown them. Excellent condition.

How about $20.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

My daughter's school chorus performed the National Anthem at the local minor league team's game Monday evening. Sort of obligated to go. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. There were no crowds and the weather was perfect. The food was expensive, but that is how they make their money. It didn't prevent me from eating!

I ran into an old friend from back when I was involved in Maryland Search and Rescue. which was really cool. After a few innings it was clear that the Keys weren't going to win this one. The kids were getting fidgety, so we broke for home. I'd be willing to do it again though.

Rain Garden

I reluctantly had to skip breakfast in Pennsylvania Sunday morning and head back to Maryland. I had a commitment to help my wife and some staff and parents of her school to work on a rain garden. This garden will capture the runoff from this portion of the school roof and let it absorb back into the ground, instead of running into the storm drains and straight to Lake Linganore. This is a small demo project between the schools, county, and Potomac Conservancy. Student s will be adding additional plants over time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Centre County Spring Ramble

I went up to Central PA for the Ramble. Possibly the best day of cycling I've ever had. Wow. More words here. All my photos here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bike to Work Day

Well, like all the other bike bloggers in the world (ok, maybe just the US and the Czech Republic), I have to say something about Bike to Work Day. I finally did it. It rains about half the years, and others I usually have had to be somewhere with the kids, but today I rode the usual route and then the two extra blocks to the local rally. It was pretty cold coming down into the valley this morning too. More like early April than May, but I had enough warm stuff in the Carradice. Yea big saddlebags! Anyway, the rally was nice. I saw a lot of the usual suspects and a couple folks I hadn't seen in a while, and even some new cycling friends and contacts. A couple of local shops were represented (and by the way, isn't it great to live in an area where I've had good experiences and service at ALL of the local shops) and some cool swag was given away in a raffle. I lingered until most everyone was gone and then went on to work. I hope the rain holds off for the evening ride home.
DSC05419 BTW, a few posts previously I had mentioned that the BB/axle on the geared Fuji was too long at 122.5mm. I couldnt get the derailleur out to the outside ring. Well, I had an old 113 BB around and tried it. I was suprised to have it work! The inner ring is periously close to the stays though. If I come across a 115 somewhere, that will probably do the trick. I lost a chainring bolt riding in today too, so I have to tighten everything up.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ride of Silence

The Pedalers sponsored the local Ride of Silence last night. I was pretty concerned that we might miss it, because a strong set of thunderstorms passed through town just before we were to leave for the ride start, and one of the maxims of the happy stoker handbook is "Do not make a 9 year old ride in the wet and cold." Fortunately, although it remained cloudy and gray, the rain held off and the roads even dried up a bit. We were a couple of minutes early and no one else was there, so I was worried for a moment, but then people started to show.

The ride itself went pretty well. Near the start I over shifted past the big ring on the tandem and threw the chain. Fixed it quick and didn't mess with the front gears again in flat Frederick. The rest of the ride passed without incident, although it was an interesting exercise to not communicate with the stoker. The most noise on the ride was from the clicking of clipless pedals at the numerous stops encountered in city riding. The tandem lends itself to the wide open country roads rather than the urban landscape, I think.

14 riders took part.

Photo courtesy of the Frederick Pedalers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New (Old) Bike

I finally finished putting together the bike to replace my broken Fuji. Friend James tracked down a big frame for me, and it only required a headset swap and a bit of rattle can touch up. The fork came off the old Fuji, also rattle canned from blue to black. Most of the parts moved over with no issues, but I think the bottom bracket/axle is too long. 122.5 from the old bike, and there is a ton of chainring clearance on this one. Shifting to the big ring is ??? and the derailleur won't adjust out any more... Rear brake setup is also a bit of a pain, because the hanger shifts as you tighten the seatbolt. Maybe some newer side pulls are in my future, if I can find some inexpensive ones. Finally, another friend set me up with some Continental Sport tires. 28 is as skinny (and as high pressure) as I've run in ages, but the fender clearance is HUGE, so we'll see how they work. They were a dog to get on the CR18 rims, I'll tell you that. I'll commute on this on Thursday and Friday to work out the kinks before the Ramble on Saturday.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Couple of things.

Truck still in the shop. Good for bike commuting, but what will the bill be!?

My daughter and tandem partner extrordinare turned 9 years old yesterday. Happy Birthday kid! Between work, school, town and home, coordinating four people, one car, one bike, one dog, and dinner for everyone required creativity, but dinner and then ice cream afterwards was a hit.

Ultralight list member Igor has a cool report of a spring trip into the Alps on a bike on which few of us would think of touring. Give it a read. Its Blogger, so start at the bottom.

I'm always gleaning wonderful words of wisdom from Kent Peterson. Sometimes he tells a story in order to tell a story. I like stories. Latest good stuff at his blog.

A good observation from Oregon cyclist Michael Rasmussen on being, well, observant.

Lastly, my terrific Shimano SPD sandals, my mainstay of summer cycling for 10 years and probably 15,000 miles, finally cracked in the foot bed, just in front of the cleat. Bummer. Still sort of usable, but now with an annoying click when I walk.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Car Free...

...but only for a day. We sold my wife's van yesterday. We had been thinking of getting rid of it for a while, and when her dad's Element became available, we decided to go ahead and sell the van. On the way back from dropping it off, my heretofore ultra-reliable Nissan chose that moment to die. On a freeway off ramp. Sigh. Fortunately it was less that a mile from my service center, so the AAA towing cost nothing. It won't be ready until tomorrow, if then, so I'm on two wheels (yea!), and the Mrs. is in the borrowed element. Cars sure seem to be more trouble than they are worth, but the infrastructure isn't in place for me to do without, unless we made changes to our situation that not all members of the family would agree to. That's one way to spend ones 15th anniversary.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ups and Downs

I finally made it out for the Pedaler's Wednesday evening ride. We had a big group and things were going well until we stopped to regroup near Thurmont. One of the riders chose that moment to pass out, thankfully at a stop instead of rolling. He'd done several miles before he joined the group ride, and presented a classic low blood sugar case. He drank some orange juice and was feeling better, but when he went to stand again, back down he went (we caught him this time). We opted to call 911 to have him checked out. He declined transport, but did wait for a car ride home from another club member. Once things looked well in hand with the rescue folks, most of us headed back to Utica Park while it was still light.

Thurmont rescue seems to be pretty busy. I caught this message about a rider struck by a truck on a local board from the weekend. I haven't heard how this one turned out yet.

As for me, I barely remember what my bike looks like. Saturday I stained my mother-in-law's two level deck and mowed and trimmed her yard. Sunday I did my own yard. I don't feel like I had a weekend.

I do have the bike today though. I'll be riding for a bit after work and then over to The Bicycle Escape to give a class on bike commuting. Rumor has it that pizza will be provided. Yum.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back to the grind

It's tough to get back into the routine when nothing will ever again be the same, but the world refuses to stop for our grief. Everyone is back to work or school now and moving forward. I don't have any immediate big plans for riding, but the weather is cooperating for commuting, and I hope to start the Pedalers' Wednesday night rides this week. Next Monday is a free commuting seminar hosted by The Bicycle Escape and presented by yours truly. The Single Speed Outlaw Team is going to be hosting a monthly ride at Patapsco on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, and on the 19th I'm heading north to Pennsylvania for a ride with the cool folks of Ride Lugged.