Monday, March 2, 2015

Let's Try This Again

Is it really that difficult, or do I just make it seem that way? Probably the latter.
It shouldn't be that hard. Take some pictures, write a few words (don't over think things). Done.

January was a good month on the bike for me. Since it wasn't too terribly cold, I was able to break 100 miles for the first time ever. That may not seem like much, but the darkness and cold & wind always seem to conspire against my getting many miles in, so I'm pretty proud.
February was a different story. Temps were about ten degrees cooler than normal for the month, plus just about every day I had off seemed to be really windy. I only got in 35 miles through the 27th, so I was really happy to have gotten in 24 miles on Saturday.

After pushing the Ogre up the second half of the steepest climb of they day, I stopped for the first photo op of the day. I needed the rest too. That thing has to weighs forty+ pounds, and since I built it for utility, I guess I'll have to be the one to go on a diet.

I planned on bypassing this road, since it's usually closed. I'd never seen it plowed before, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride it.

There were plenty of soft spots, so I had to choose my line carefully and the going was slow, but I eventually made it through to the end.
It's a very pretty stretch of road. I wish it were longer than a mile and a half.

I rode along with the man in the moon.............

and with Pegasus.

On the way home I came across another road that is usually unplowed, so again I had to go on a little detour.

I made it about a mile in before coming to the area where logging was being done. No wonder there weren't any birds around. This area is changing all the time. I'll have to get back here before the ground thaws and the ATVs rut everything up.

3 hours riding in the sunshine. A good way to end the month.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Coffeeneuring Ride 4: Acclimating

Warming Up

With winter coming soon, I thought it would be smart to try to become acclimated to the cold before the temps start to plummet too much.  So today I jumped at the opportunity to ride 10 miles into a 20 degree wind chill for a cup of hot coffee.
Long story short, (and I do wish I could write an actual story) after getting off to a late start, I made it to the coffee shop five minutes before it closed. This meant that I had to enjoy my beverage al fresco, which is also good for acclimating. Come January, weather like this will feel like a heat wave.

Date: November 8
Location: Casa Latte 5493 Miller Trunk Hwy, Hermantown MN
Beverage: Snickers Latte w/ Almond Milk
Distance: 20.4 miles
Observation: Tailwinds Rule! Even more so when it's cold out.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Coffeeneuring Ride 3: Pumpkin Spice

Since I've gotten a bit behind on the coffee rides, I am going to have to start doing two a weekend to get caught up.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Sunday morning was a bit cooler than Saturday, so I decided to take it indoors to Perk Place, where I enjoyed a pumpkin spice latte and also bought a bag of locally roasted beans. Perk Place is a family owned shop that just opened last winter. Although I've been here several times, this was the first time that I biked.

(Lack of) Parking
Being located in a strip mall, my parking choices were limited to either: a chain link fence 100 yards away, a wheel bender bike rack 200 yards away, or unsecured on the sidewalk. Being the lazy guy that I am, I chose the closest option. Since I could watch the bike from the window, I didn't feel quite as nervous leaving it there. Bike thieves probably sleep in on Sundays anyway.

Date: October 26
Location: Perk Place, 1336 W Arrowhead Rd, Duluth MN
Beverage: Pumpkin Spice Latte with almond milk.
Distance: 10 miles, which included a stop at the grocery store.
Observation: Sunday morning is the best time to ride into town.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Coffeeneuring Ride 2: Lake Superior Sunrise

We're on week four of the Coffeeneuring Challenge already, and I've only done one ride so far, so I guess it's time to get my butt in gear.
For my second outing I decided to do a coffee shop without walls while watching the sun rise over Lake Superior.

Before the Dawn
I chose a perfect day for it. When I left the house 45 minutes before sunrise the temp was 48 and the skies were clear. I made very good time. The ride was all downhill with a strong tailwind.

I'll Make it to Go
Oh the joy one feels upon learning he hasn't forgotten anything.

The Sun Also Rises
Although the water was a bit slow to boil, I got the coffee pressed with a few minutes to spare.

Hot on the Rocks
Hot on the rocks.

For your (quick) viewing pleasure.

Coffee Companion
My coffee companion. I didn't share. He seemed high strung enough.

Lester River
Here is just one small contributor of Lake Superior's water. It's much more impressive in the spring.

October Shadow
Although I left my squirrel friend behind I still had some pleasant, and quiet, company for the ride home. Even if he would have spoken, I never would have heard him over the wind.

Date: October 25
Location: Skyline Parkway overlooking Lake Superior
Beverage: French Press with soy creamer and salted caramel agave syrup
Distance: 14.9 miles
Observation: Nature is beautiful, hills and headwinds, not so much.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Coffeeneuring Ride 1: Stretch It Out

It's Coffeeneuring time once again and I'm a week late getting started, so let's get this thing going.

I hate to admit it, but I was a bit coffee'd out by the time I had a chance to get out to ride, so I invoked  the buying beans rule and went to Caribou coffee to pick some up.

It was a beautiful day and I wanted to stretch what would have been an 8 mile ride out a bit, so I took the scenic route.

Scenic Overlook
I stopped at Hawk Ridge to admire the view and check out

While there were no hawks to be found I did spot a laker out on the water. Despite the lack of raptors, it worked out ok. Thousand foot ships are much easier to photograph than soaring hawks.

Eventually I made my way to the coffee shop. I didn't really want to include this picture, or even ride across the parking lot, but this where I went so here it is.

To Go....For Tomorrow
Date: October 12
Location: Caribou Coffee, Woodland Ave
One pound of Amy's Blend
Distance: 14.4 miles
Observation: The longer path is always more enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Holey Rollers

For a while now, I've been looking for ways to make riding my Mukluk more enjoyable. Although it's great fun to ride, it takes so much effort just to get the thing moving, that riding it becomes quite a chore. So I decided that a bit of weight loss was in order.  Since they say the best weight to lose is rotational weight, I took the plunge and drilled out my rims.

Because there are already a ton of how-to's on the subject ( I learned the most from Vic at The Lazy Rondo Blog) and because I'm terrible at stopping what I'm doing to take pictures, I'm not going to go into too much depth on what I did, but there are a couple things I learned that I will touch upon.

A jig really helps to hold the wheel steady while you drill. I made mine by nailing some pieces of cedar fencing together.

A template helps get the holes lined up right where they should be. I used a center punch so the drill bit wouldn't wander.

Holey Roller
Drilling the holes was the easy part. Smoothing the edges was a pain. I used a grinding wheel on my dremel and it took forever. Before I do Trish's wheels I think I'll pick up a deburring tool. It should be quicker and will probably do a better job.

Sticky Side Up
The most vital part of the whole project is picking a fun tape. Musn't be boring.

7 Hours Later
The final numbers: It took me 7 hours which I would have just spent reading bike blogs, $20ish in tools and supplies, and 1.2 lbs lost between the two wheels.

Coming up next time: An even less detailed look at my tubeless conversion. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Boulder Lake S24O

This past Tuesday I loaded up the Trucker for my first bike camping trip in almost 2 years.
My plan was to go to the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center and stay at one of their free lakeside campsites.

Road Trip!
As this was just an overnight trip, I only used 2 panniers and a frame bag.


The fall colors are coming along nicely.

The 17 mile trip was entirely paved until I came to the cross country ski trail that leads to the campsites. Trish and I scouted the trail last year, so I knew which of the ten campsites I wanted.

Boulder Lake Campsite
Lo and Behold, the site was available. As a matter of fact, I believe the other nine were open too. The only company I had was an owl, a few woodpeckers, and a couple of geese.........and cars on the road, and gunshots in the near distance. Next time I'll probably go further up the trail. Wearing blaze orange probably wouldn't be a bad idea either.


Boulder Lake
Ultimately, I found the view to be well worth having to listen to a little road noise.

Creature Comforts
After tending to a little campfire, I hit the hay for a very restful 9 hours of sleep.

Overall I had a really good time. The sites there are all really well appointed, especially considering that there is no fee. They will even deliver firewood for $5 a bundle if you reserve a site (which is a $30 fee).
The only part of the experience I didn't like was the loneliness of a solo campfire. I have no issue at all being by myself, it just seems that a campfire is better when it's shared.
I'll try to not let another 2 years go by before I bike camp again. I'll have to start early next year so I can get into the groove.