Monday, November 19, 2012

Nature's Gifts

Although my birthday has come and gone and it's not Christmas yet, nature treated me to a couple of nice gifts today.

North Shore Trail
Beautiful scenery, along with great weather to enjoy it by, and.........

A new kickstand!

I didn't want to be greedy though, so I left the gifts where I found them. I just hope the next person to come along enjoys them as much as I did.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Warming Up for Winter

Final Shakedown
I got out today for one last, quiet ride on the Ogre before mounting the studs.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

OGREat! Another Bike

Winter will be here soon enough, so it's time to get ready. I had a set of studded tires sitting in the garage and nothing to put them on. After several months of obsessing  searching for a bike with an internal gear hub and disc brakes (and at a good price), I decided on this:Transit Cameron
It is (or was) a Transit Cameron from Performance Bike. I say was because at 20 inches and with a short top tube it was a bit too small for me. I had to put the seat post up past the maximum mark, plus it felt as if knees would almost hit hit the handlebars on every pedal stroke.

Out of the Box
My problems were easily solved though, when I took delivery of this Surly Ogre 22 inch frameset. I wanted to get a 24 inch, but while I was trying to find a good deal, they sold out. I didn't want to wait until the December restock date, and I didn't want the new black color, so this is what I got. Other than showing a bit too much seat post for my liking, it fits me really well.

I-Motion 9
Although I said my problems were easily solved, nothing is ever that easy. I had to overcome a small, yet major obstacle before I could ride my new bike. The Transit had vertical dropouts, while the Ogre has horizontal, so the washers that came with the rear hub wouldn't work. The I-Motion 9 has apparently been discontinued and Sram has stopped carrying parts, so I had to come up with a workaround. I thought I was home free when I got a hold of a set of Shimano washers, but their hubs use a smaller axle. Fortunately, I keep my Dremel handy for just such situations. Twenty minutes later I was ready to roll.

Vintage Color
After adding SKS Longboard fenders to keep me dry, and Surly Open Bars to keep me comfy and in control, I'm now ready to mount my studs. I think I'll wait a couple months though. I wouldn't want to jinx winters arrival.

More pictures and a few details on the fender install here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


After 2 years of riding her Trucker with drop bars, Trish decided it was time to change things up and make the switch to butterfly bars.

Trekking Through the Flowers
She never really used the drops, so the new bars give her even more hand positions than she had before.

Sturmey Archer
Greatly improved braking power was an added bonus. The Sturmey Archer levers give her a lot more leverage than the old ones did.

It took a bit to get everything into their ideal positions, but eventually everything fell into place.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Fifty miles today and not a cloud in the sky. I found myself an oasis.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Today I took advantage of both having the day off, and also the sub 70 degree morning to get in a three hour ride on the Trucker. Since the summer has been so hot, this was my longest ride in 6 weeks and it went very well except for a couple of minor dilemmas.

Cosed, Not Impassable
This was dilemma #1.
Actually, this one took place about 1/2 mile back when I came across a sign that read "Road Closed to Through Traffic." Do I take my chances and ride past the sign or do I find a way around? Of course I went past it. These signs almost never apply to bikes. Fortunately, today this proved to be true.

Dilemma #2 occurred after I got home and downloaded the pictures I took of the washout. Which one do I use?

Just the Hole
I would say that this is the best one to go with, but this blog is primarily about biking, so I had better get at least part of a bike into the shot.

Washout 2
Over the Saddle
This is good, except I tend to take this type of shot a lot. I should change things up a bit.

Washout 3
Through the Bars
This is a new one for me. Too bad the brake cable in the foreground gets in the way.

As you can see, I ultimately took the easy way out and used all three. Often, when I shoot a lot of pictures on a ride, I take the really easy way out and end up using zero pictures, and that's just boring. My aim is to entertain (at least a little).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wisconsin Traverse: Final(ly)

Sorry for the delay on the final trip post. I'm hoping to win the Nobel Prize for laziness. The competition may be fierce, but I think I've got a pretty good shot at it.

Since I ended the trip over a month ago, and since my memory isn't what it used to be, I'm just going to put up some pictures from my favorite part of the trip: The Bearskin State Trail.

Bearskin Trailhead
After paying $4.00 for the daily trail pass, I was off.

Straight and Narrow
The trail runs 18 miles through forests and wetlands along an old railroad grade.

Rest Stop
There are several picnic areas along the way.

There's interesting wildlife. (I managed to escape with all my fingers intact)

There's water.

Beaver Pond Overlook
And more water.

Feeling Like a Train
And to get over all that water, there are many, many bridges.

I just couldn't leave Rhinelander without getting a picture with the Hodag.
Does anyone else see a family resemblance?

All in all, the trip went off without a hitch. The only change I think I'll try to make next time will be to lower the mileage between campsites. At 60 miles a day, I felt like I had to rush straight to the next campsite without slowing down to enjoy the trip. Maybe 40-45 miles would be better. That way I could stop more often, and I would probably have enough energy to ride off of my route to see the things I otherwise would have missed.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wisconsin Traverse: Pt 2

I've been thinking lately that maybe I should change the name of this blog to Northwoods Procrastinator. I put the pictures for this post on my flickr page a week ago and am finally getting around to adding a few words for the blog. I'm going to try to keep my blathering on to a minimum, so that I can move on to the final post from the trip.

I packed up camp early to beat the rain. I have no problem riding in it, I just don't like packing in it. The weather forecast for day 3 was calling for clouds and rain throughout the day. I took advantage of this by skipping the sunscreen, and I was actually kind of looking forward to getting a free shower from above. It rained for a little while after lunch, but not enough for a good cleaning.

This was the only stretch of highway on my entire trip that didn't have at least a 2 or 3 foot paved shoulder. Shoulder? I don't need no stinking shoulder. Especially when the drivers are all as courteous as they were on this trip.

Cooper's Hawk
I spotted this Cooper's Hawk about a mile down the road from the last picture. I've seen more hawks this year than I've seen in the past few years. This is the first one to actually stayed put long enough to let me get my camera out to take a picture.

Pining for Gravel
I had a choice of 4 different campgrounds to stay at that night. The gravel on the roads that took me to them was laid down a little too deep for my taste, which was one reason I decided to stay at the nearest one.

Smith Rapids Bridge
The other reason was that I really wanted to see this bridge, which was mere feet from the entrance to the campground.

The Smith Rapids Covered Bridge crosses the south fork of the Flambeau River and is the only glue-laminated town lattice bridge in Wisconsin. Wisconsin actually has over 40 covered bridges. Information with links to photographs can be found here.

My Trusty Steed
The Smith Rapids Campground has 11 sites. Seven are for horse camping, while the remaining four are walk-in sites. Despite having my trusty steed with me, I opted to take one of the walk-in sites. They offered more tree cover and were on the river.

Smith Rapids Campsite
I had camp set up by three o'clock. I spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the area and searching for a geocache. Other than a few raindrops here and there, and the sound of distant thunder, I had a pretty peaceful evening. Once again, I was the only person in the campground, which is fine by me. (ok, maybe I was lonely, but just a little)

Totals for the day:
54 miles (5 gravel)
1 geocache find
30 minutes of riding in the rain.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wisconsin Traverse: Pt 1

Two weeks ago I loaded up my bike and left Duluth on a four day trip to Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
The weather gods were smiling on me that day and sent me off with a 20 MPH tailwind.

The most challenging part of the day came about 9 miles in, when my 250lbs + 40lbs of gear + 40lb bike had to lose 700 feet in elevation over 2 miles without overheating my brakes and blowing out a tire in the process.
I realize that relatively speaking it's not really that much of an elevation drop compared to mountainous areas, and I wasn't really going to blow out a tire, but after 10 minutes of riding my brakes on and off, it took my hands a little while to stop shaking.
End of drama.

Leaving Civilization
This was the last I would see of Minnesota before getting on the Bong Bridge to Wisconsin.

State Line
I had never crossed the bridge on a bike before. When I stopped to take this shot, I discovered how much the wind and traffic can cause it to shake.

After making my way through Superior, I was rewarded with some very nice scenery.

I spent the entirety of day one looking forward to having a burger at the Lake Nebagamon Dairy Queen when I got to town. I didn't realized they only served ice cream. I had to settle for gas station egg rolls. Fortunately, everything tastes good when you're hungry.

I ended the day with 57 miles and 1 geocache find. I spent the night camped out in a friends yard where I was well fed, got a great nights' sleep, and was able to take a shower before heading out for my second day.


Entering Chequamagon
Day two greeted me with sunshine and challenged me with plenty of hills.
I didn't take many pictures the first couple of days. The scenery isn't that much different than what I see at home, and sometimes it's nice to just enjoy the ride without pulling out a camera every other mile.

Day Lake Campsite
After 65 miles, I arrived at Day Lake Campground in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. With the exception of the campground hosts, I think I was the only person using any of the 52 camping sites. That's just on of the reasons why I took this trip now, and not during the summer months.

Day Lake Sunset
After eating dinner and building a little campfire, I walked down to the lake to enjoy the sunset. It was a perfect ending to a beautiful day. What made it even better was knowing that I still had two days left.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rarin' to Go

Rarin' to Go
I'll be heading out tomorrow on a 4 day solo trip across northern Wisconsin. I hope to come back with a good story and a picture or two. Oh, and memories, I can't forget to bring back a few of those.
Life if good!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Trish needed some better fenders, and it was hard to pass up a deal like this. Stainless steel fenders for just 35 bucks.

Rear Quarter
She's got herself some pretty mod mudguards.