Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Miracle Mile

Made the trek to the section of B Road, but it almost didn't happen. We woke up to about a half inch of wet snow here in Boone, so I immediately dropped my expectations of riding 14 miles each way to hit one mile of B Road to about a 10 % chance. Thinking that even after getting there the road would be too soft to ride. Well, after I got Marshall and Mitchell dropped off at school I drove to the nearest gravel to "interpret" the sitch. Much to my delight it looked like pretty good conditions. Snow was good and firm, gravel under it was a mix of sand and snow. Got back home, geared up, brewed up some java, and headed out on the Miller fixed gear. Along the way I found that the temps were slowly creeping up and some of the snow was disappearing from the road bed. Line selection was a no-brainer, although the opposite of what I thought it should be. I thought that the wheel track would be the way to go, but it was actually way too soft. The un-tracked snow was faster and firmer.
Now I have seen a lot of pics of B Roads, especially on Guitar Ted's blog, but "MY" B Road, The Miracle Mile, is not like any of the others. I didn't see a single stone larger than a peanut M&M. In fact, most of the surface is like a fine grained pea gravel. It was completely rideable. Someone had ridden a horse down it earlier in the morning, and there were a few tire tracks in the black dirt, but it was rather like a carpeted hallway of gravel. No massive mud wallows, no man eating ruts, no wheel eating clay. Actually, once things warm up around this joint, if ever, this will be a favorite ride for sure. There is a creek running alongside the road for about 3/4 of the mile, and plenty of snake grass to luxuriate in come 90 degrees.
Want to know the best news? I asked Kelli to send a Facebook message to a friend of ours who works for the county, Mr. Bob Matt, and he sent me a link for ALL of the B Roads in Boone County! Turns out there are 9 miles I never knew about. Guess what targets I'm mapping out:) Why the new found love of Bs? I don't know, but if it gets me out there it must be good. Thanks Bob!
Camera had about half battery charge upon the start, but the cold sucked the life out of it, so after about three minutes of pressing it between my palms I got only one shot. The Miracle Mile!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Its A Must Do

Two weeks ago, on my day off, I made a wise choice and skipped bike riding to go shopping with Kelli. I didn't really feel like riding, even though it was really nice (55 or so) and not too windy. I guess you can take the boy out of the gravel, but not the gravel out of the boy, as we drove gravel all the way to Story City! And she didn't even question why! Anyways, I saw a section of B road that I never knew about, and it's within range, so I am going to ride to it tomorrow! NO DOUBT! It terminates on the Boone/Story county line, so an out and back should be about a 30 mile affair. Nice. East wind will help me home. I think I might even take the Bear Grylls Ultimate knife with me for a warm up fire. Pics for proof will appear Tuesday night. Later! Travel Gravel!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I found some images of re-bar bikes as mentioned in my NAHBS posting, and had to share them. Seriously, except for the seat, the last one looks pretty cool. What do you think?

Photo credit: somewhere in public domain!

What Will It Take?

What will it take to get me out on the gravel on a bike? I haven't been out for weeks. I tried to convince myself to go out for some night rides, but to no avail. It was even warmer on those nights than it was on some of the nights that I went out in the winter. Just couldn't get myself out the door. I guess I know enough not to force it. Let it work out, I know I still want to be out there. Would it be too much to ask for about 80 degrees?! That would sure help.
I saw something yesterday that made me chuckle. It made me think back to the days when all I wanted to do was get on a bike. I was driving home for dinner and saw a kid, maybe 3 years old, pushing a Spiderman bike around the apartment complex where he lives. Just pushing his bike through the grass, looking at his tracks. I remembered the days of riding endlessly up and down our alley and following the same tracks over and over until there was a "race track" in the dust. Perhaps that memory is what makes riding gravel such a neo-classic favorite? Have you not ever turned around on a ride, just looked back, and followed your tire tracks back as far as you could see? That's all the odometer you'll ever need! It doesn't show how far you've gone, it shows how far you've come. Later! Travel Gravel!