Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don't tell...

Snuck out for a little ride late this afternoon. It was a wonderful warm day with just a little wind. The above is Lake Mize in Lenexa. Off of Cedar Creek North of K10, West of K7. Nice little loop around the lake. Rumor has it that the fishing here is good.

Did want to point out the following...This little wet spot almost killed me. I came through it fine but there is a little turn to the left after the water (where I am standing taking the picture). The water has made a little slimy coating on the pavement and it is very slick My front wheel did fine but the rear decided to suddenly track about 3 inches further to the right. I caught it but rode very carefully through the rest of these along the path. There were a great many places like this across the pathways.

Lets be careful out there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dark Side Ride

Dark Side Ride! What a blast.

I have wanted to do one of these rides since I first saw a post on Noah's excellent blog, KC Bike Commuting, about a night ride loosely associated with the full moon cycle (June Moon Ride). That one went through my riding grounds, my hood, DeSoto, and I thought it sounded like a great ride. So I have been watching for the next one and had to miss an October ride due to business travel. I was very pleased that this night worked out for me and I was able to make this one.

It was a perfect evening for a ride. Rain was forecast but held off for the full ride. Temps were cool and the wind was light. And it was dark. A good 15 or so folks showed up and took part in the ride.

CommuteDude put together a great route heading out from Spring Hill to Belton and back. Rolling hills and rural, it kept traffic to a minimum and allowed us a safe route to enjoy the dark and quiet night. He stressed safety issues in the emails leading up to the ride and as we gathered for the start... something I think all rides should do more of. Promoting and stressing proper riding techniques (calling car back, moving single line, stop signs, following road rules) and safety gear (proper lighting front and rear, reflective gear) is very important to promoting our sport and those who are less experinced need the reminders and the sharing of "tricks of the trade".

I am looking forward to another of these great night time escapes. Nice job, Kieth. Thanks.

NYC in photos

A couple of bike related photos from my recent NYC business trip. I would have loved to get out on a bike in the traffic.
Ok, so the last one isn't really bike related... or is it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bike utilitarianism...

So, I got 2 rides in today. Both strictly for utilitarian means.

My van (yes, I drive a mini-van, and am very comfortable with my manliness) was scheduled to go into the show today. So, I took the bike and rode home. About 13 miles. A bit on the chilly side at 7:30 but by 8:15, the sun was warming things right up.

I did have a flat on the way home. I hate my current tires (Continental Ultra Sports). Repeated flats.... actually, more flats in the last 1000 miles than in the 10,000 miles before. These tires are very soft and sticky and pick up anything within feet of my path. I have picked more sharp rocks, glass etc out of them. I have a replacement set of Hutchinson tires I am going to try next. I never had any issues with Michelins. Anyway, rant over...

I scheduled to work at home and meet the plumber and fridge repair guys and then ride back to get the van this afternoon. I got to ride back, only to pick up the loaner car since the van was not done. I am off to NYC tomorrow, and back late Thursday night... so I'll drive the loaner back to get the van.

It was a wonderful day to be on the bike... both times.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Getting back into regular posting

I am trying to get back in the habit of regular ride posts and photos.

I got out on Saturday for a great, but short, ride. The Kansas weather rollercoaster continues and spring may actually have sprung.... but with it the rain.

Saturday was wonderful. Very little wind and warm temps in the mid 60's. I missed a chance for a ride with some friends in the morning due to kid duties, but got out for a short 20 miler to keep things flowing.

The coming week looks rainy and nasty. We will see how the coming Dark Side Ride and the Spring Classic turn out.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Strawberry Century March 28th... in Florida.

I had the opportunity to visit my father while he was recovering from some surgery. He lives in Orlando and I travel to Orlando several times a year for business. I was going to be in Orlando for a week and decided to look for a used road bike and do some riding while there. I was able to arrange for a spot in my fathers garage for the bike and I thought "hey, an excuse for yet another bike".

So I started scouring Craiglist Orlando looking for a bike. I called several of the local shops and found a number of shops but none had much in the the way of used bikes. There were a number of possible options on craigslist and decided to wait until I got there to actually get one. (I did find one at a pawn shop and asked my Dad to pick it up... when he got there, they were being raided by federal marshals for dealing in stolen gift cards). I found a guy who sells a bunch of used bikes... all kinds and he had a older aluminum Trek 1000 is reasonable shape. So I picked it up and started a brief once over, including repacking wheel bearings and putting new rim strips, bottle holder, pedals etc. Some seat adjustments, lube, and some test riding got me a reasonable bike.

I had started looking for a local ride or route. I had a great experience in Oklahoma City so was hoping for a repeat. I didn't find much in the way of regular weekly rides that were anywhere close to where my father lives (nothing is close in Orlando... totally sucky traffic... takes forever to get anywhere). I really did not want to venture off on my own too much, and the 3 mile loop I could around my fathers sub division jsut wasn't going to cut it. Orlando roads and some areas are so bad, I really wanted to find a recommended route or a local club ride to make the whole thing more enjoyable and safe.

I managed to find what turned out to be a great ride. The Tampa Bay Freewheelers Strawberry Century.

The weather for the ride looked to be rainy and once I got to the start it was indeed raining and stormy. Including lightening and some very black clouds. The ride is typically a very popular ride (I was told, normally 400-1000 people) but the weather made it seem that many people stayed home. They held the start up for an hour and a half waiting for the storm to pass before finally starting. Of course, the rain did not let up. It wasn't a heavy rain, but was a steady cool rain. The ride was started and was a bit dangerous and I found that the bike I had needed a new set of brake shoes...they were just a little old and hard and made it a tough time stopping in the rain. But I managed the ride without incident on my part.

So, Florida pay rides, are just like Midwest pay rides. The people are nice, the pace is just as varied and the SAG's and support are very similar. Florida is, however, at least on this ride, dead flat. I had no way to tell how fast I was going but it seemed fast (I had the garmin with me but in a pocket), I don't think I got off the big ring except to start once stopped. The ride was through some wonderful Strawberry fields that, I am told, are very aromatic when it's not rainging. Spanish moss draped from the trees overhanging the roads and it was very pretty. I left the camera in the car since I had no way to keep it dry.

I got in 38 flat, wet uneventful miles and found that most of the 62 and 100 mile riders decided at the first SAG to only do the 38 as well due to the weather. I say uneventful, but I was in a group that had a run in with a set of wet railroad tracks. We all know about crossing tracks at a 45 degree angle, but when the tracks cross the road at a right angle that is pretty easy. When the tracks are angles already, and it's wet, well.... one of the riders slipped ontop of the tracks, another rider hit them as they were going down.... It was all so slow motion. Two riders who went around the two already down, both ended up catching wheels in the gap between the road and the track rail... again, slow motion. Fortunately, no injuries, no equipment damages and we all rode on.

All in all, I really enjoyed the ride and knocked Florida of my list of states I have ridden in. I hope to take advantage of thaving a bike down there to ride on my next trip.

On a side note, if I were to do the remote bike thing again, I would build it here and send it. I had a couple of trips to the local bike shop (20 miles takes like an hour in Orlando) and still need to tweak a couple more things. It would have been easier to do here with parts, tools, etc.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oklahoma Bicycle Society March 14th

We have been meaning, as a family, to go visit relatives on my wifes side in Yukon, Oklahoma (part of Oklahoma City) for some time. We finally took advantage of the kids spring break and decided to drive down for a weekend. I was able to take the bike and was determined to fine a ride.

So, I started to troll the internet looking for routes and bike clubs, since, the way I figured it, if I didn't know the area, didn't know which roads to ride and not get run over by some redneck, and I didn't have a clue where I could ride without being mugged and debiked, I decided that if I could find a local club ride, that would be best.

So I found these folks... John, Jim, Laurie, Greg, and Bill. They are members of the Oklahoma Bicycle Society. They have a great website and have a number of very interesting rides. I found their FCR ride (Floating Crapgame Ride) that rotates starting places every Saturday. And it turned out the rotation took the start on the 14th to just under 2 miles from where I was staying. Coinsidence? I think not.

So, on a brisk (temps in the mid to upper 30's to start) morning, I met up with these fine folks and set out for a casual 35 miler out to a breakfast stop (El Reno) and back to Yukon. The route out was in wonderful back roads, flat, farm area... similar to parts of kansas, but different. Oklahoma has red dirt... really red dirt. Our breakfst stop was along historic Route 66... I had to get a photo and we came in the last few miles on Route 66. By the end of the ride, I was a beautiful day... temps were heading into the 60's and the sun was out. I could not have asked for a better day.

OBS also has, what I think is a very cool ride type, a weekend tour. They go out and explore a different area of the state 2 or 3 times a year, as a loosly organized group. No fees, no real organization other tahn a stated date, and location. And, what really interested me, was that some of them ride out and camp overnight and then ride back the next day. This sounds very familier to the S24O trips talked about by the folks at Rivendell Bicycle Works. I am very interested in the concept of bicycle camping and the S24O looks to be perfect for my busy travel and family life. (the S24O stands for Sub 24 hour Overnight and is basically, bicycle camping, within a days ride of home... ride out with minimal camping gear on an afternoon, camp, ride back the next morning). I would love to see something like this get more interest here in KC.

Anyway... the ride was wonderful and I really appreciated the hospitality of my OBS friends. It was nice to know that cycling everywhare is pretty much the same. I had emailed the ride leader and he warned me it was aslower paced ride, more socializing and breakfast was had at the halfway spot. So my expectations were set adn the ride was exactly that, social, comfortable and... we had breakfast.

This also convinced me that finding a local group ride is a great way to do a ride in a location you are not familier with. When my relatives asked where I was riding I said I really did not know. They figured it was around the local lake or on the trails. We road cyclists have a different understanding of what a ride is than those who don't ride. When I returned and told them I had ridden out to El Reno they were floored that I had ridden that far and in that direction... "there is no trail heading out there"...

It was a wonderflul time. Thank you OBS.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


OK, so it has been a month since I have updated this blog. I am a slacker.

It's not that I haven't been riding, I have. It's not that I have given up on this blog, I haven't. It's just that I have had a crazy couple of weeks and am behind. Lame excuses I know.

The end our our company quarter (and I being in sales, am very driven by the end of the quarter), a medical trip to Florida to be with my father while he recuperates, and a very long and involved customer proof of concept here in KC have all zapped my time and energies.

But, I have ridden in Oklahoma City, and have pictures. I have ridden in Plant City Florida, but don't have pictures. And I have a couple of other tidbits to share in between. I fully intend to get these updates up in the very near future.

Stay tuned.