Monday, December 27, 2010

Bicyclette a la'ronge

Look what I got! A bike for Christmas! I have never, since I was a kid even, received a bike for Christmas. Well, thanks to my awesomely generous bro in law, I got one this year. And it's fixed. And it's ORANGE! No more 'no orange bikes' blues. I thought it had 700c wheels, so I dug out some tires with decent tread on them, got the back wheel off, and took the tire off to try some combos that would maybe have clearance on this road bike frame (the source says it's a Schwinn.) Much to my dismay, it is actually a 27" wheel. So now I will have to find another pair of 27" gumwalls to put on there. Let's see, where have I seen those? Ah yes, Sioux Falls:) I'll just ride over there some day and pick those up. Later! THANKS MIKEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Workin' On The Night Moves

Tryin' to make some front page gravel ridin' news! Went out again this week for some after dark graveling. It has become a favorite way to keep myself from getting bored, and I have not had much S.A.D. this year. We're only part way through though. A great option for keeping the soul alive. A few miles, a lot of smiles, and a beer or two for good measure.

Seger, " I could go East, I could go West, it was all up to me to decide..."

I REALLY! wanted to go out and view the lunar eclipse this last week. So much so that I slept on the couch so I wouldn't disturb my wife at 02 hundred. Well, I got up, looked out the window, and saw nothing but clouds overhead. Again, enough with the clouds already! Then I see on the news that Des Moines got enough of a hole in the clouds to see the eclipse at its maximum?! I can't get a break. Total eclipse, on the Winter Solstice, and it gets clouded out. Oh well, maybe it will line up like that in another lifetime.
Hope all is well with everyone/anyone reading. Please have some fun, enjoy your family, and keep on riding! Later!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I just checked one of my favorite sites, Urban Velo, and saw this site recommended for anyone who loves to geek out on bike equipment. It is a collection (vast from a first look) of rear derailleurs. Organized by a variety of preferences, nice well lit photos, and a cool lead-in about the name "Disraeli Gears" Now I know. Check out for the link. Get your Geek out!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I went out last night at 11:00 PM Central to a primo spot for meteor viewing, and came home about an hour later with 22 Geminid "streakers" spotted. They were out in record numbers, but the viewing here was limited. And again tonight, the meteors are out there doing their thing, but so are the damn clouds! Arghhhhhhh! Every good event this year has been ruined by cloud cover. Last night started out great. I saw one as I was getting into my car. I saw one immediately upon getting out of my car (not even dark adapted yet) but within an hour, and 20 meteors later, the low clouds started rolling in and the light dome from Ames was bouncing off of the clouds, and I said, "Later!" I am becoming more aware of Fall/Winter constellation locations, which has been a cool thing. I never knew how to find so many constellations from just the Big Dipper. I am finding a new one each time I look up! Big Dipper, Gemini Twins, Leo, Orion, Draco, Signus, what's next? I was thinking last night about all the history that has been witnessed by the stars. Presumably all known, and unknown history, I guess. From the dawn of time and before. And thinking that some pea sized grain of extra terrestrial flint has now come to shoot across the sky just brings a sense of the vastness of life. But also the shortness. Weird stuff out there.
Hey, isn't this a bike blog? Yes it is, so let me say I am still out there once in a while! I went on a night ride last Thursday night. About 2 hours in a new moon night with an hour of juice in the Stella! That made for a dark ride home for sure. No problem though. Some jackass yelled out of his window as he drove past me in the opposite direction to, what did he say, ah yes, "Get the fuck off the road!" (This occured when I still had light power mind you) I stopped immediately, turned my light to his vehicle, and flipped him off with both barrels. He didn't turn back around, but his brake lights flashed momentarily. Why do people have to be so stupid?
I forgot how warm I tend to be on winter rides, and God knows I have enough gear to stay warm, so I think I will be doing more winter riding this year. Night or day. Even my "bad" hand has taken to staying fairly warm, although the entire length of my left middle finger is still numb and dead-cold! The two year anniversary of my surgery will be coming up in less than two weeks. I am lucky to have had the procedure done and gained back the use of my hand. I still have to stretch the thing daily, and have been staying on top of the squeezey putty too. I'm not out of the woods free and clear, but about 90% good to go!
Besides some kind of orange bike, I want to do 2 others over the winter. I have an old Hawthorne cruiser that I want to work into a fixed gear with 27" wheels. That will be an easy one since I run skinny knobs on those wheels, and the frame was set up for balloon tires. No clearance issues, just need to get the chainline right. The other project is a Schwinn cafe racer I started last Summer. It has Grip Shift twist shifters for brake "levers", a dropped and set-back seat location, and needs only a triple clamp fork and clip bars to be considered done. That should also be easy. I will even get to use my home made , gas-pipe work stand. Indoors. Sweet! Later fools!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Orange You Sad?

That I don't have a single orange bike? I am. With over 40 bikes, you'd think at least ONE might be orange! I'll have to remedy that situation somehow. Either find an orange bike, or :( paint :( one that I already have. Whatever, Winter's practically here, so I'll need something to do...

This one's cool, but not mine

Also cool, and seasonally appropriate, but not mine!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"My" Bike Trail

Does "your" trail have a view like this? I bet not, since this is "My" trail.

"My" bike trail is the High Trestle Trail. I took the boys down today to do a quick ride. We took the "junker" camera, but managed to get a few decent shots.
It's a rock. It looks like Iowa. It's limestone. It's... not the state rock:(

We went out for a ride since we had a few hours before trick or treat and a food drive for the church. The best part of the whole ride was loading Marshall's basket with large rocks and dropping them off of the side of the bridge into very soft mud. This bridge is 12 stories tall, and the mud is very soft and deep. The impact of the rocks into the mud made huge craters! We were laughing our heads off at each Splash! Oh what fun boys are! Later!

Not quite cold enough to freeze his tongue onto the pole. This is Mitchell, the impulsive one!
His third can of pop in almost 14 years. Marshall, the conservative one!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Outdoor Beer Drinking Weather, 45 Mile Ride, Orion

Outdoor beer drinking weather has begun! Crisp weather, classic fall cold snaps, and a decided lack of bugs makes this a great time to get out there with a few cold ones and pound 'em! I would go for any India Pale Ales right now. You can try to keep them cold if you want, but their origins are from long ago, before any means of prolonged cooling were available. Like when they would stick a bunch of casks of beer on a ship and head out to sea. Maybe chuck some ice on the casks and spread some hay over the ice, but probably not too often. So a few miles of gravel riding is really where these beers are at home. My favorite? Boulevard "Singlewide"IPA. I'm sure that there are some better ones out there, and I'll search them out, but I do like me some Boulevard. I bought one of their "Smokestack Series" specialty beers last year. The IPA. Now that was tasty! But at $9.00 for a 24 oz. bottle, it is a rare treat.
I recently passed through the anniversary of my birth, 45 years ago on the 19th, and celebrated in my own silly way by riding a nice 45 miler to Stanhope. Stopped at the Sinclair station for some snacks and a Coke. I had a rare experience on the way back home. An 18 wheeler snuck up on me from behind! On gravel! In the dustiest conditions of the year! I had my MP3 in my ears, so I guess I deserve the scare. He must have pulled out of a farm drive. I know he wasn't there a mile ago:) As you know, riding gravel gives a person the luxury of seeing who is around you by simply observing the gravel plumes. "Look and Live" I always say. Good riding though. A very comfortable range for me. I was playing a version of an old drinking game that two friends and I invented a long time ago. We called it "The Sheep Game" and as drinking games go, it was a total riot. Any game that makes you laugh so hard that beer shoots out your nose is a good game my friends. I will post the rules, and my modified MP3 version of it, in a future post.
Lastly, I had a great night of Orionid Meteor Shower viewing last night. I brewed up some coffee and put it in the Thermos, and suited up for cold conditions. I had planned to ride 3 or 4 miles out of town, but the moon was so bright I figured that there wasn't much sense in trying to find any dark spots! So I camped in my own yard and caught 13 nice ones between 2:07 and 3:15 or so. Two of the trains were very long lived, a full 2 seconds after initial burst and they were still visible. Do me this. If you have never learned or been taught how to find Orion in the night sky, click up the "directions" and go out and find it. If you can find The Big Dipper, you can find Orion. You'll have a constant riding buddy for any night time miles after the midnight hour , as this constellation is HUGE! It is so easy to find, and dominates the night sky once you get to know where to look. Happy Hunting! Later!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'Tis The Season

Full on gravel season right now. I went out Saturday night for some after dark action. Saw a lot of critters out in the fields, an old dumb looking opossum (sorry George Jones, but there ain't nothing nice about 'em)and the business end of 5 SKUNKS! Luckily they were in flight mode, not fight mode. Must be their mating season or something? Also, I kept catching this emerald green/sapphire blue glint in the chunk every once in a while. Jewel like. Finally,after 4 or 5 times, I swung back around to see what I thought would be a rock. Turned out to be a brownish spider about the size of a fifty cent piece. It's eyes were reflecting in my light! That was cool. Same bike, same route today and only saw a few snakes and some white wading birds. Some pictures then. And again, Blogger is being difficult and I can't get captions typed in under the pictures. Nice. So here goes, from the top: The totem pole is looking nice. The caps have a very rich patina on them now. Added a Goose Island 312 today. *Rolling Yield sign. Big, green Yield sign! * The coolest part of this old Fuji I have been riding lots lately. A coaster brake tied to a 700c wheel. Stock. * The Fuji in a panoramic vista. Like the sparkly purple seat? * The road from whence I came. Rollers for miles around this joint!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Road Giveth, The Road Taketh Away

Went out for a great day of riding, 3&1/2 hours of gravel crunching goodness. Along the way my cycling cap fell out of my Camelback cargo pocket. No big deal, you can get a new cap anywhere these days, but this is one I just got out in Sioux Falls this summer, and I really wanted it back. So as soon as I realized it was missing (about 2/3 of the way home) I re-traced as much of my route as possible. I thought, "Probably when I stopped to pull that beer out." Nope. "Probably when I stopped to drink that can of Coke." Nope. "Probably when I stopped for that Gu packet." Nope. The rest of my tracing would include about 2 miles of busy paved road at the edge of town. Funny what you find out there on the roads sometimes. In my searching for a cotton cap I found a 5/8" Matco chisel, a 9" rubber bungee cord, and a nice pair of Craftsman channel locks. Not bad. And due to time issues (had to get Mitchell to piano lessons at 3:30)I had just enough time to drive the rest of my route to find the hat. Well, the only hill on this route that requires me to stand up was where I found my cap. The side to side sawing motion must have thrown it out. And wouldn't you know it, since the maintainers were out today, it was mostly buried in gravel! It now has a nice golden tan patina that I don't intend to wash out. Next time I think I'll just wear the darn thing! Later!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

80s Ruled!

I put up a new background because I was reminded of the days in the 80s when my friends and I all had boomboxes. Pudge, Toad, Weeds, Konch, Appy, everyone had a different box and we would take them with us on our mopeds, or in our parents' cars. DC converters, you know! I had two at one point. One was a double tape deck AM/FM/shortwave with a ten bar, twin LED output meter. The other, which I still have, is a single tape player AM/FM/shortwave, with a programmable search system that would listen for the gaps between songs and allow a person to skip ahead (ff) up to 5 songs. White woofer cones with black center domes. Oh man. Take me back to the times of listening to the Saturday Night 6 Pack on KKRL, or the midnight albums on KGGO, and taping them all on cassette! I totally lusted after one I saw in a catalog that had a vertical turntable built in! Then I bought a SWEET Pioneer "Walkman" all-weather tape player for use in bean walking. That thing is sweet, and yes I still have it too, but a battery leaked in it and roached one of the posts:( The coolest part of it was a cassette sized adapter that you could pop in and it picked up FM signals and played them through the tape head. It scanned all FM signals and you stopped it on a guess as to which station you were on by hitting a button. Crazy. We could pick up a station from Des Moines (KUCB) that played Urban music that we could never have heard anywhere else! I heard a 20 minute version of a Prince song one time! Those were the days, long live the 80s!


Blogger is being weird and won't let me caption these as I normally would, so here is a bullet list of caps. - 14" diameter tree splintered like a match stick - Steel guard rail disappearing into a tangle. Somewhere under there are massive corrugated culverts, smashed flat - 5 or 6 feet deep in this area, loose rock and sand - Flattened crapper - The iconic bridge at the park. Check out my attempt at digital camo on the bike frame. - More debris - All of the grass is raked, by debris, in the same direction. I could see that the stone bridge withstood a direct assault. - The reddish rock here is about the size of a recliner. Just tossed up there by the water. - The first bridge in the canyon. There are 8' by 8" rails on this that were bluntly snapped into small pieces.

These images are from Ledges Park here in beautiful Boone County, Iowa. It's hard to appreciate the scope of the damage that the park sustained back in August of this year. Most years it's the backed up water from flooding, which has been a real disaster since "they" put in Saylorville Lake and Dam(n)that does the damage. This leaves 3 or 4 feet of river mud in the western half of the park, shuts it down for a couple of months, and then the budget comes through to clean it out and by October it looks great for fall colors and clear sky ride-throughs. This massive damage came from the other end of the park. It all happened from the numerous feeder streams that dump into Pea's Creek having been turned into raging water hammers! The power of running water, especially with debris in it, is immense! Some of these pics are a bit poor in quality, but you'll get a feel for the power and awe. I wish I could have seen this event as it happened. I can tell you this, it would have been other-worldly. Later!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Motivation Level

I had to check my motivation levels on Tuesday of this week. I was off work, as usual, and had plans to go to Ankeny to do some shopping with Kelli. But first, I wanted to go for a quick one hour ride. You know, first things first. So I got dressed, discussed a short route with Kelli, and headed to the "bike lab" to choose a rideable bike. The first one to speak up was my Poorman's Niner/monster cross Diamondback (major miles on this Goodwill re-build)so I pulled it out. No sooner than that it starts to rain. Spitting to dribbles, so I sat in the garage for a minute or so to see what else might happen. Well, it showed no signs of stopping, so I said "WTF!" and rolled out into it. "Maybe," I thought, "I can ride under and around it, come out at Ledges Park, and ride home dry." That didn't happen, but I had fun splashing around, hitting puddles, and having fun knowing that I really shouldn't have been out there. I haven't ridden in that hard of a rain since Millville Minnesota SEVERAL years ago. Now that was a memorable race. Maybe I'll try to recap that sometime over the winter. Yes, I said WINTER! Prepare your brains, I feel a good old fashioned snowy mess coming our way. Later!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Someone, or something, left 41 comments on different blog posts. So I figured if there was a malicious program running on my somewhat dormant blog, I might need to update. Well, this isn't an update but it will do for now. Let me toss this one at you. Have you ever been out on the chunk and you hit a rock just right, with the side of a lug, and it shoots off to the side? I call those "capacitor rocks." As if they have stored up energy from being run over, graded, and otherwise moved through the life cycle of rocks. Until they reach maximum capacity, and then shoot through the ditch to find a more dormant life. Most rocks will sit in place all of our lives and never be touched by anything but sunlight, precipitation, and other rocks. Imagining a little further, I wondered what it would be like to ride gravel if rocks really did store up the massive amounts of heat and compression that they endure during creation. Lying there silently, absorbing the suns energy, maybe even wind, (and certainly some tidal action,) until the wandering rubber vagabond gives them that little tick of energy to max out the capacity! Suddenly sediment, heat, mineral compounds, and ENERGY all blast outward in a huge display of destruction. Possibly setting off chain reactions as fragments of one rock explode into the other capacitors on the road. Now then, your little gravel escape from the boring just got a little more intense, didn't it! Then I think we might understand why people call us crazy for riding gravel. What if you hit a meteor fragment capacitor, and it unleashed a space-born bacteria on earth! Like an "Ice Nine" scenario! The freezing point of water re-figures to 114.4F and we're all screwed! Damn bikers and their space rocks! Oh well, I think we're all safe from that one, but still, avoid small black rocks if you can. Thanks. Later!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

R Avenue Ravaged!

The bank in the top picture is usually about 6 feet of black dirt and a little trickle of water. A sink hole ready to eat my bike, not tonight! And below, nothing better than a flask and a whole bunch of nowhere! All's well that ends well!

A storm popped up about eight miles North of town last night, dumping 5 inches of rain in just over an hour! Yikes! Kelli told me that there was a story on KCCI about how bad the roads were, and after seeing it on line at, I just HAD to ride out and see for myself. Sure enough, the signs of high water were all around. One part of the story showed a father and son kayaking through the stuff. Wild.
Some of the roads were scoured down to the original dirt that lies below all gravel roads. I couldn't believe it. At least it was an intensely isolated storm and didn't dump all over the county with this Biblical proportion. Still riding gravel, just not Blogging about it much. Tried to get time off for Guitar Ted's Death Ride, but the "Boss" at work said no go:( Later!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's That Time Of Year Again

So peaceful and alluring that it draws people from all over just to stare at it.
Somewhere beyond that flask, beyond that water, into the misty beyond, the trails of Seven Oaks are waiting for a hero to come and ravage every rock and root. Will you answer the call?

A little exposure never hurt anyone, right?
Poor man's 9er, complete with 1X6 drive, clips and straps, and a set of floor jack- spread Cinelli bars on a Cinelli stem, rolling on 2.1 Notos XCs. Hummmmmmmmmmmm!
Safe-schmafe, just drive over it and pay your gas taxes. We know what's good for you, you don't!

Time for the river to flood out a major highway and foul up a lot of plans. Lord knows I don't need more obstacles in the way of people who might possibly be trying to get to our little furniture store. Close Hwy 17 for bridge repair, well, OK. I guess the good suburbanites of your western Des Moines areas will use their in-dash navigation screens to find a way to Boone to buy furniture. Close Hwy 30 so that all of our western Iowa advert audience has to pause before driving to Boone, not so good. Not funny how a few extra feet of water can screw up a solid 6 consecutive weeks, full page,(outside back mind you!) color advert in the major Western Iowa paper.
This water will be around for a "damn" long time, and we're barely into Summer. Oh Well...:( At least the gravel has stayed dry. Good old gravel. Give it an hour to shake off the rain and you're on the wheel! Later!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cue 38 Special

And push play on "Chain Lightning!" because that's what I just escaped! I left home at about 7:30 in clear weather, nice wind out of the North, and headed out on my usual route. I reached mile 13 (ominously) and the beautiful sunset I had been enjoying (think Klein Sunset Fade, Tinker Juarez era) turned to distant lightning. No biggie, I rationalized, as long as it stays in front of me. Well that didn't last for long, and before you can say, "When the time is right, the sparks ignite," it was all over the sky. Left, right, above, behind. Everywhere! Since there was no thunder, I re-rationalized, there can't be any harm in dropping down to my last gear, using the sweet tailwind I had just paid for, and rolling on...right? Clicked off a couple more miles and the sitch got to be too much for my nerves. Flashes of fear fired through my brain. "How did those guys on Trans Iowa keep rolling?" "Where is the next bolt going to contact the ground, or something else?" You know when you can imagine the news anchors saying, " A 44 year old Boone man was struck by lightning Sunday evening, while, of all things, riding his bike on a gravel road," that it's time to get off the road. So I whipped out the trusty celly and called my awesome wife for a ride home. No shame for me, just plain smart I thought. The fact that I continued riding until I met up with her, not so smart, but meh, I lived. She even interrupted her chic flick to haul me home! How do I rate?
I have been doing some night riding lately, just works better for timing with work (2 long days from 9:00 am until 8:00pm) and school schedules for the kidlets. Hard to work the tan lines at night, but as Guitar Ted witnessed the other night, the moon has been bright! The miles fly by at night when you don't try to keep track of where you are on a familiar route. I was out Friday night from 10:00 to about 12:45, and I felt like I was only out there for an hour tops! Had an interesting experience too. I noticed a strange track of some kind in the gravel. It was a cross hatched trail, about a foot wide, that criss-crossed the road for several miles. I guess I didn't think too much about it until I stopped at the beer totem to down a quick Miller (love the new/retro labels)

and started to hear voices down the road. Well, the breeze was straight out of the South, and the night was otherwise very still, so I figured it could be from a few miles away. Somebody banging something metal with a hard object, voices in distress, then quiet. For a moment I considered going another mile over before heading home, to avoid whoever it was, but decided to finish my champagne and roll on the usual route anyways. Well, I crested the top of a roller and saw what was going on. Some kids had blown a tire, rolled the bead, and continued to drive on it for about 10 miles with the tire flopping around. They had parked it in the bottom of the rollers to figure out a next move. Those bits of fender lining and tire tread I had seen now started to make sense;) It didn't take a BP executive to figure out that they were drunk and road tripping, so I immediately squashed any ideas of stopping, and put the hammer down! I flew past them, tires crunching gravel, Light and Motion Stella blazing, and calmly said, "What's up," to which one dismayed kid replied, "What the FUCK!!!!!?????" Must have been shocked, huh? I made it home fine, sure they did too. They didn't seem too phased by having driven on their rim for 10+ miles! I guess you never know what you'll see out there. Happy rides. Later!

Thursday, May 20, 2010



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Me Likey!

The Scorpion, by ETON. I saw this in a magazine, Outside I believe. All I can say is, "Must Have!" Stored power for the phone or MP3, and a bottle opener, among other amenities. Weather permitting (read:Sunshine), a person might be allowed to use this on Trans Iowa? Hmm? Launches this month, but I can't find a retailer for it around here. We cut up our credit card :), so I can't easily order one on the web :( Oh Well, Later!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One, Two, Moocher's Coming For You...

So my beloved Moocher is the new Freddy Krueger! You gotta love that mash up! More mileage out of the Freddy story, and a second career for JEH, who's not loving that? Jackie Earle Haley is the greatest cycling actor of all time! Costner? Not so much. Quaid... not! I'll give Daniel Stern a shout out for even trying, and certainly the runner up must go to Dennis Christopher, but he lacks the bike handling skills that Moocher has, so he must remain seated! The award, for Meritorious Cycling Skills, held by a Screen Actor's Guild Member, goes to... "The little guy! The little guy is riding a lap!" Jackie Earle Haley as Moocher! Go to your DVD, cue it up to Moocher's 40 foot skid/dismount/handoff, and observe. Now that's how you do it son! Later!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Minimal is Fast

This is my Brother-in-Law's bike for Trans Iowa;) He'll have the light kit on there somewhere and that's it. 320 miles fixed, on a 96/11. Watch out for sharkbite, that thing looks hungry. Good Luck Striker! Later!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Cyclofiend has updated a couple of galleries. Thought you ought to know:)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tesla Said It Best

I believe it was the band Tesla who jammed out the bit of wisdom...

The Way It Is...

The Way It Was...
The Way It Shall Be...

26 WINDY miles of gravel and pavement today. Yes, half of it turned out to be a stint on pavement. It was just so nasty heading into the wind, with the gravel being so soft and deep, that I resorted to finding the easiest way home. I was trying, and failing, to make headway so I could pick Mitchell up from school, but ended up calling my lovely wife to beg her to do the fetching. Worked out fine, but I came home shelled and had no time for a little nap action:( I finished the usual 2 hour route in about 3 hours 45! So "The way it shall be" is more miles! Later! Hope the Trans Iowa riders don't have to suffer in a wind like this!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

If You're Not Reading Urban Velo...

You should be. How else are you going to find far out stuff like a disc brake caliper mounted under the chainstay, actuating a brake with the chainring as the rotor! Check it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


So what was I to do when I saw this un-loved, too small, $9.99 deal of a Schwinn at Goodwill?
Well, I took it home and made a cheater's version of a Flying Gate design. I'll get the rear fender on there soon.

And as a "twist" I re-purposed some Grip Shift gear changers into brake actuators. A first, to my knowledge, but there are so few firsts these days. They do pull a lot of cable. Indexed brakes, what will they think of next! Later!