Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Belt Check in the Wild

Spotted at an undisclosed location today. Maybe one day I will spot the rider.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ice Out

Fish Lake
With temps in the mid sixties today, I just had to get out and ride for a couple hours after work.  I stopped at Fish Lake and saw that the ice is out. Summer must be just around the corner!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mud and Hills

The forecast for Saturday was calling for some sun and temps in the upper forties, so we thought it would be a perfect day to get out and ride our frog survey  route and see what we could hear. We rode 25 miles altogether with about 5 miles of hilly, dirt roads mixed in.

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This is the last time our bikes would be clean.

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It had just rained and snowed overnight, which made our tires sink in halfway to the rim at some points.

Begrimed Bottom Bracket
The aftermath. This could be the cause of my shifting problems.

Curious bystanders. Moooove it along, nothing to see here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Ride

In honor of Earth Day I didn't drive to work today. OK, I actually had the day off, so in lieu of a bike commute I went for a pleasure ride instead. The weather wasn't too bad, 40 degrees with a 14 mph wind off the lake. I wasn't too worried about getting rained on as we just put out our rain barrels this morning. I figure if taking studded tires off causes it to snow, getting the rain barrels out would keep me dry.
Halfway into my ride I decided to take a little detour and check out a beaver pond located about a third of a mile down a county logging road.

The water level here always looks to be higher than the road. I'm glad the beavers know what they're doing.

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I took a little hike around to the south side to take a closer look.

The road in and out was a little muddy. Luckily someone left lots of broken clay pigeons to give me extra traction. Actually, I went around them. I don't think they would have treated my tires very well.

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On my way back home, this little piece of beaver's handiwork caught my eye. This tree was upright just a few days ago.

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This pond is about 1 1/2 miles from the first, so I assume it's the work of a different beaver.

Seedlings planted last year in a recent cut area.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. 
~ John Muir 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hippity Hoppity

Trish and I almost didn't go for a ride before making dinner. I'm glad we did decide to go, otherwise we wouldn't have seen this guy.

Easter Bunny
Looks like the easter bunny is getting an early start this year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Creativity.....or lack thereof

Blogging is ending up to be a lot tougher than I thought it would be. I have no idea what to write about half the time, and when I actually do think of something it seems that the I don't get any good pictures that day. And what fun is just text without something interesting to look at? I'm sure it will get easier as time goes on.

So with that off my chest, here are some pictures I took during my ride this afternoon.

I came across these guys early on during my ride. With the spring melt, they seem to have endless choices of where to hang out.

Meandering along.

As I was approaching this spot I noticed a hooded merganser just a few feet from shore. He of course took off before I was able to get my camera out of my pocket. The cool birds always seem to be camera shy.

I guess ultimately when you run short of ideas you just have to blatantly steal from those with much more experience at this blogging thing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Croaking at the Moon

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One of my favorite parts of cycling in the springtime is getting to enjoy the various sounds of nature.  Although I love bird songs, and they are becoming more plentiful, they can be heard year round. So my favorite sounds in the spring are the calls of frogs, which are heard mainly now through early summer.
For the past few years Trish and I have been volunteering for the Minnesota Frog & Toad Calling Survey. We've been hearing frogs in the woods behind our house, so I thought that during my ride this past Wednesday afternoon I would see how many different frogs I could hear.

Despite the strong winds that day, I heard frogs at most of the ponds and flooded areas that I passed during my 18 mile ride. The most plentiful was the western chorus frog. I also heard a few spring peepers. I didn't hear any wood frogs, but we are lucky enough to be able to hear them from our back deck.

I didn't hear any frogs at this little lake, but I always like to stop here anyway. I tend to take the same route whenever I go for a ride after work just so I can stop here. It is mere feet off of a very low traffic road and always seems to have lots of ducks, geese, and loons bobbing along the surface during the warmer months. I've also seen beaver, snapping turtles and many other animals which I'm sure I'll be posting pictures of during the upcoming months. I'm really looking forward to warmer weather.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Up the Shore

Trish and I both had today off so we thought we would take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for a ride along Scenic 61. We rode 40 miles total.


Jurassic Yard
Survival of the fittest.

Love on the Rocks
I'm not sure how these bikes keep getting in the middle of my pictures.


Knife River
Here's where the Knife River enters Lake Superior.

When we were just shy of reaching Two Harbors we decided to ride inland to add some hills and get a change of scenery. A few miles up the road we crossed the Knife River once again.

After returning from riding 12 miles of roads uphill from the lake we soon rediscovered what the term "cooler by the lake" really means. It's a good thing we know how to layer.

Looks like someone found a tasty morsel.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Out for a Spin

I had a little bit of energy left after getting home from work, so I thought I would ride out to Eagle Lake and see if the ice was out yet.

A little while back trees were cleared from this land. Maybe for a house, or houses. I'm not sure. Anyway, I had to stop here for a minute and enjoy the aroma. Roses have got nothing on fresh cut trees.

Riding off pavement twice in one week! How did I get so lucky?

Eagle Lake Frozen
Nope........still frozen. Honestly, I knew it would be.

The road out was quite a bit wetter than the one going in.

I took Tischer Rd from Jean Duluth. As I'm not a big fan of hills, I normally take a different route. I hate having to go downhill after all the hard work I put in going can be fun though.

At the base of the first hill I crossed a picturesque little creek swollen from the spring melt.

Upon closer inspection, what did I see............Geese!

I ended up getting in 18 miles. I actually had more energy after the ride than I had before. I'll definitely be riding again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Little Bit of Gravel

As part of my goal to ride a century this year, I'm trying to increase the distance I ride by ten miles every couple of weeks. The plan for Saturday's long ride was 50+ miles, so I thought I would ride for a bit off the pavement.

In order to get to the gravel I first had to ride 24 miles of mostly smooth, scenic pavement.

 No need to rake under this tree in the fall.

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 The gravel section was actually more dirt than gravel. This is one reason why I have 2 inch wide tires and fenders.

Because straight is boring.

Bear Tracks
Apparently, I wasn't alone in the woods.

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This was a good place to stop for a bite to eat.

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I think I've finally broken in my saddle. The entire ride was pretty much pain free.

After 10.5 miles, I hit the end of the gravel. It was right about here that I started hearing a not very nice noise coming from my drivetrain. I stopped to check it out, but couldn't find anything wrong. After a few minutes of riding on the pavement the noise went away. Must have just been some dirt gumming up the works.

The last 17 miles were back on pavement. The scenery was still very nice.

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