Monday, February 25, 2013

The Silence of the Pandas

A few years ago I posted that I really hated bamboo bicycles. In fact, the thing I dislike about them is the sometimes clunky look of the lug/boo junctions. Then at NAHBS there was an explosion of bamboo bicycles, and I decided, in my world, that for every bamboo bicycle built a panda bear must be ritualistically slaughtered! Well, there must have been a bloodbath when this baby was made. I guess I will go back on my own word and say that this is one bamboo bike I would like to see more of, (like between my legs!) LATER!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wish List 2013

It started two weeks ago, all of the people who know I'm a cyclist started asking me, "Are you doing BRR?" "No"
"What?Oh, nope"
"Been there, done that"
You get the drift. How many ways can I say that it would be boring to go for that kind of bike ride. I have done it solo, done it with friends, done it with my brother, my wife, my kids, my kids and wife (she swore she would never ride it again after that one) and it never really felt like such a fun ride. Maybe I'm turning into an old retro grouch or something. A fun hater? well, I have made up a list of rides/events that I would like to lock on for the coming year. I started this compilation at work the other day after selling a bedroom group to a couple from Collins. We were discussing the bike trail that goes to/through their town (Heart Of Iowa Nature Trail) and I asked the husband if he had ever ridden over the Hoy Bridge. He smiled and whipped out his phone, started looking for a picture, and told me the story of how he had the chance to ride over it all right, on his tractor no less! You see, Hoy Bridge is a fantastic cement railroad bridge that is a seemingly impossible thing to find. Some people who live within a few miles of it have never even heard of it. Others, like my customer, have had all kinds of experiences on it. He told me that as kids, they used to go out and stand in the very center of the bridge, wait until they could see an approaching train, and then run to the other end of the bridge to beat the train. Now that sounds a little crazy, but I guess it might be fun once. So I got to thinking, I have ridden out on that trail six or seven times, and intended to find the bridge, only to turn back before finding the damn thing. So this year, I will find this jewel and spend some time crawling around on it! So, here is a list of the things I want to do with/on my bikes this year:
1. Find Hoy Bridge!!!
2. "Twelve hour personal solo gravel marathon." Loop after loop of R Avenue, to 100th, to Q avenue, to 180th. Repeat.
3. "Grotto Grinder" Ride to West Bend, to Grotto of the Redemption. A two dayer!
4."GTDRI" Gotta meet the guy and ride some of that sweet B road action up there. This is the year!
5. "Dirty RAGBRAI" Gravel miles just off the official route. Drop into town to nourish, then disappear into the grids.
6.Hit the 4 corners of Boone County, Iowa in a single ride. That should be an easy century day, and scenic to boot.
7. View the various meteor shower events from the comfort of a ditch, via the conveyance of a bike. Ride out without lights and get your dark adaptive on!
8. VERY IMPORTANT!!!! View Comet ISON from a bike!!!!! There will be no bad places to see this. There will be no prayers for a clear weather window. There will be no mistaking it! Comet ISON will be a once in a lifetime event in the late fall sky this year. ISON is a comet that will be building up a tail as the months of October and November approach. This tail will be 40,000 miles long, made of vaporizing dust and gasses from the time of the birth of our solar system!!!! This comet, not a here then gone meteor, will have a major presence in the sky, both day and night, for almost three months. In fact, the night brightness will be more than the full moon. Think about THAT light free night ride action! There are varied time tables for the peak of this two plus month event, but it looks like many models agree on a Thanksgiving time frame for the full burn. We live in a blessed time people, get out there and enjoy!
*And on a side note, a very good friend of mine, Mr. Kurt Phillips, is the Executive President of our Chamber of Commerce. He tapped me some months ago to get in on an exploratory committee looking into a route to connect Boone to the High Trestle Trail. It looked like an enticing combination of impossible dream and way cool possibilities. A trail along the winding valley ridge of The Des Moines River, through the hardwood stands of ages old trees. Ledges State Park, Iowa Arboretum, Iowa 4 H Camp, and Swede Point Park being among the wayside stops that could be linked into this trail. Well, through the diligence of a few (myself excluded up to this point, but have faith, I'm more the Lewis and Clark component) very hard working and intelligent persons, the fund raising is complete for the first phase of the plan. A contract will be drawn up with a consulting firm that will allow for monies needs to be quantified. Grants and applications of all kinds will follow, and hopefully a pristine ribbon of Portland Cement will flow along the bluffs and valley. I have ridden the river this winter on the ice, and I can say this, you will LOVE IT!!! Later!