Friday, December 31, 2010


8300 miles pedaled on the bicycles for 2010. I look back and remember all the things that I saw in all those miles, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, storm fronts rolling in, Ice, Frost, Snow, Rain, Scorching  heat and Deep Cold. And I can't forget the night rides!
A huge variety of animals such as deer, fox, coyote, turkeys, raccoon, opossum, muskrat, woodchuck, rabbits, squirrels, pheasant, partridge, eagles, hawks, owls, etc............
I managed not to get hurt in all those miles even though I fell three times in the woods on my Mt Bike and once over the handlebars on the street.
So what shall it be for 2011? I would like to do another couple of century rides like I did this year and possibly a double century if I can get a really nice calm day. I would like to ride from the shore of lake Michigan to the shore of Lake Huron. I would like to do 8000-10000 miles but with more rest days and higher mileage on the days that I do ride. Whatever I end up having done at this time next year it will be fun and I can't wait to get started. See you out on the road and have a great 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

One Year - 8000+ Miles

This week I went over the 8000 mile mark for the year on the bicycles. It seems like a lot but it did not really seem that hard when you go out and chip away at it for a year. It is by far the most mileage for me and it was done in everything from 5 degrees F in the middle of winter to 100 degrees F in the depths of summer. Wind, Rain, Ice and snow I saw all of it at one point or another. The way I figure it, I rode somewhere between 500 and 600 hours. These are some of the things I learned in all that time.
Equipment: Buy the absolute best equipment you can afford and then go a little bit farther. I had a total of 5 flats this year and that was all of the equipment trouble I had. Keep the bikes clean and well maintained so you will catch problems early. Also a clean bike is safer in traffic because you never know when the glint of sunlight off a bit of chrome or polished aluminum will catch the attention of some distracted driver who may not have seen you otherwise.
As far as cycling specific clothing goes, I am absolutely sold on the products made by Pearl Izumi. From shorts, gloves, base layers, jackets, shoes, to balaclavas I never had a problem and nothing wore out in heavy day after day use. I can not say enough about the quality of  their products.
Safety Equipment:I have two helmets by Giro that I rotated from day to day. When I was finished with my ride for the day I would rinse the helmet in the shower and let it dry for a day. Both held up very well with little wear and tear.
I am also sold on Oakley sunglasses. I wore them every day on every ride and they protected my eyes from Sun, UV, dirt and road debris several times deflecting small rocks.
I always ride with a Road ID bracelet on. If I get in a bad crash or hit by a car and I cant talk, all of my information is on it so emergency services can know who I am and who to call.
Always ride with a mirror when you are road riding and keep an eye on it. Don't let cars and trucks coming up from behind surprise you. It is better to go for the side of the road or the ditch if it looks like someone may hit you. RIDE DEFENSIVELY! and assume that they don't see you.
Get a set of lights and run them in flasher mode even in the daytime. Trust me, DRLs or daytime running lights can save your life. I have noticed that most of the time, drivers give you more room when passing when you are riding with lights on. I use a set of Blackburn Fleas that are incredibly small and light but VERY bright. On several occasions I had oncoming drivers stop and tell me how great the lights were because they could see me for a very long way out.
Always take your cell phone with you. You never know when you migh really need help out in the middle of nowhere.
Goals: At the beginning of your riding season set some goals. Make them difficult enough that you will have to get out of your comfort zone to achieve them. I started out the year with the goals of 5000 miles and two century rides. I upped it to 6000 later when it was clear I was going to make it way early. I did both century rides and the last one I did in 5hr49m. Big goals make you get out there and work at them every day and they give you a big feeling of accomplishment when you achieve one.
Once you set your goals you can figure out what the very minimum amount of mileage you will have to average every day to get there. Then go out and figure out some different routes to ride that will cover that mileage. I never know from one day to the next where I will ride. I wait until it is time to go then see what direction the wind is coming from and how strong it is. If it is not very strong then I will head out into the wind to the halfway point then turn around and enjoy a little assist on the way home. If the wind is really strong I prefer to ride in a cross wind but that is just my preference. The point is to have lots of safe routes so you can ride something different every day without wearing yourself out fighting the wind too much.
Fuel: If you are going to ride lots of miles you are going to burn a ton of calories. You need to learn what you have to eat to get through a ride and then what to eat  to recover so you can ride again the next day without doing damage to your body. Everybody is different but with research teamed with trial and error you will find what works for you. There are many books, magazines and web sites to help.
The same goes for hydration. Drink your fluids and pay close attention to how your body is feeling from day to day. I find that I have to force myself to drink enough in the winter when it is really cold and I am not sweating very much and I don't feel thirsty.
I will cover some more lessons that I have learned this year later on. I hope to see you out on the road!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two new Forums

There are a couple of new forums that you may want to check out.
Sustainable Country Forums is a place to learn about and share ideas about how to live in the future that is coming, like it or not. Great people and a great vibe.
The other Forum is a sister site called Silent Country. It is populated by alot of the same people but here it is darker, more down and dirty. Think, The Road or The Book of Eli.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Goals Met!

I just got off the bicycle and have just passed the last goal that I had set for myself back in January! I did the two century rides earlier in the year and now I just went over the 5000 mile mark for the year. I still have 4 1/2 months left in the year so it will be interesting to see what the grand total is at the end of December.
I have learned a few things with all that riding. I was having a close call with assorted motor vehicles about every twenty miles or so. Lately though I have taken to using what amounts to Daytime running lights that are in use on so many cars. I don't like to add a lot of weight to my road bike, but with the Flea line of lights by Blackburn I get high intensity lights with almost no weight. They have three modes, the charge lasts for hours and they are not expensive. Since I started using them on my road rides I am amazed to report that I have had no close calls at all. I am still a bit shocked at how much difference the lights have made in daytime riding situations.
Here is the link.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Great week

It's been a great week. I hit the 4500 mile mark on the bicycle today, on tuesday I had a bald eagle fly over me about 20 feet up while I was riding. Very cool looking bird from that distance. And to top it off the first vegatables from the garden were ready this week. I hope things are good where ever you are.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mid Year Update

It seems hard to believe that half of the year is gone already but that is what the calender says. So far I am making good progress on the goals I set for myself in January. I finished the second century ride of the year on tuesday, 100 miles in 5 hours and 48 min. And after six months of riding almost every day i have a grand total of 3907 miles. I am closing in on the goal of 5000 that I set for myself. It will be interesting to see what the grand total for the year ends up being.
The garden is doing well so far overall with a few things growing a bit on the slow side. I am looking forward to harvesting some fresh vegatables soon! Around the county I see the farm crops are doing well, with the corn far ahead of where it usually is this time of year. Could be all the rain we have gotten this spring.
The little town I live in is holding its own through the awful economic times we are in. I wish i could say the same for the State but it looks like another big budget shortfall this year. I think it is going to be a good long time before we see anything that even looks like stability.
I wish everyone a good independance day holiday and a great rest of the year. Hope to see you out on the bicycle!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Half way there

I just came in from a chilly and windy ride and I am happy to report that I went over the 2500 mile mark on the bicycle today. Half way to the goal that I set of 5000 miles for the year. It feels good to be over 700 miles ahead of schedule and with any luck I will end the year with a total mileage in excess of 6000. It should be an interesting summer!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5 gallons!

I attended my 40th Red Cross blood drive today and I am happy to announce that I officially got my 5 gallon donor pin! I looked at a five gallon gas can today and it is still hard to picture that much blood. I am glad to do it though and i am glad to help some anonymous person in need. If you want to help somebody in need, look around for your local Red Cross blood drive and then roll up your sleeve and give, please!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I crossed one goal for the year off the list yesterday when I rode a century ride on the bicycle. I ended up doing 100 miles in 6 hours 9 min in conditions that were less than perfect. The next time I go for it the conditions are going to have to be optimal because my goal is to get under 6 hours. When I finished riding yesterday I looked on the computer to see exactly how strong a wind I had been fighting and found out it was running at 18 to 22 miles an hour.
When I started the conditions were fine, a little bit of a breeze but nothing too extreme. It stayed that way for the next 60 miles and then I noticed that things were changing rapidly and a front was moving in. By that time I had made up my mind that I was going to finish, high wind or not. One of the benefits of this was that I got lots of practice in riding in the most aerodynamic position that I could. I could watch the display on the computer and see if the speed was picking up as I changed position.
Things to consider if you want to ride long distances are, get your bike in optimal condition because even a little extra drag in an out of adjustment component goes a long way, ride in a REALLY GOOD set of bike shorts, pay close attention to eating and drinking enough while you are riding or you will pay for it later on. A friend of mine who is an endurance racer told me that at 75 or 80 miles drink a regular Coke and he was right. The combination of the sugar and the caffeine really hit the spot. Be aware that at the +70 mile mark you have to be even more careful on the road than usual due to fatigue.
I learned some valuable things yesterday and I am looking forward to the next time I give it a go. But you can be sure that next time the wind will be calm. See you out on the road!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring must be here!

I admit up front that my hearing is pretty bad but I had to laugh at the mistake that I made today. I was out riding the dirt country roads today on my bicycle when I started hearing the strangest sound. I rode further while looking down at the bike to try and figure out where this strange creaking sound was coming from. I'm thinking bottom bracket bearing failure or maybe the seat post when it dawned on me what I was hearing. The frogs have made their first appearance of the spring and they were really going at it! It was neat to hear them singing again and funny that I did not recognize it right away. Happy spring everybody!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Progress Report

It was not a new years resolution but more of a couple of goals that I set for myself this year. The first is to ride a total 0f 5000 miles this year on the bicycles and the other is to do 2 century rides(100 mile rides).
5000 miles breaks down to 13.69 miles a day and I am doing a miminun of 14 to add in a little cushion. So today I did the math and and on three bikes I have ridden a total of 900 miles for the year. Actually when I first added it up I was at 899.61 so I jumped back on the bike and rode another four tenths of a mile to bring it to an even 900. ;-)
I have ridden a lot of miles over the years but never at this pace and I can tell already that I am stronger on the bike than I have ever been. By the time summer gets here I will be ready to tackle the second goal.
So I dare you, set a goal for your self that is a little ambitious and out side the old comfort zone. You might suprise yourself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Plan B

This is an interesting PSA video that was produced by the Ad council. In it near the end you will see the man grab a bag as they exit their home. Do you know what it is?

What he is grabbing is an emergency preparedness kit or B.O.B (Bug out Bag). The function of this bag is for it to be packed and ready to grab as you go out the door in the event of an emergency. FEMA has checklists of things that you can follow and if you visit LATOC forum, you will find long discussions of B.O.B.s and their contents in great detail. You may never need this bag but you will definitely feel better knowing that it is there. Consider it a sort of insurance policy.
Check these out.

FEMA citizen corps
LATOC forum
LATOC B.O.B thread,55895.0.html

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Golden Age of Bicycles

I just returned from from three days in Chicago where I attended the "Park Tool Tech Summit" which is an in depth hands on seminar for Bicycle Mechanics. Before I go any further I would like to thank and congratulate Park Tool for putting on a first class event.
I attended seven different workshops that were put on by the Reps of each manufacturer. Mine were, Park Tool, SRAM, Shimano, Barnett Bicycle institute, Mavic, Fox and Rock Shox. They all did excellent presentations and I learned many things. What really struck me as we were working on the different systems, whether it was hydraulic Brakes, wheels, front and rear suspensions, was how precise the engineering and manufacturing of the parts was. It is amazing to me how much precise technology is packed in to a modern bicycle at what is really a low price for a fun and reliable transportation machine. Which is where the title of this post comes from. Right now really is a golden age for the bicycle. There are so many choices in styles, materials, components and price points out there that there is truly something for everyone. Now really is the time to go out and invest a decent amount of money in a good bike that fits you properly and that you like. You will ride so much more and have a more enjoyable experience if you stretch just a little and buy something nice. You will also get a precise and reliable mode of transportation that will take you where you want to go no matter how high fuel prices go and will do it for years to come. Do your self a favor and go in to a local bike shop now in the off season and ask questions, do your research and take some test rides. Then when you find that perfect bicycle buy it and take it home. You won't be sorry!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I got a notice the other day by e-mail that some of my outstanding Kiva micro loan balances had been repaid and that I had some credit to use. So I went to my Kiva account and found another person to make a loan to. It took a total of about five min and it was done. So far since I started doing micro loans through the Kiva organization I have made a total of eight loans. The loans have gone to people in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Africa.Four have been repaid in full, one is 91% repaid, two are 66% repaid and the last is a new loan. After the first loan I did I started up with a kind of theme. I loaned to women who were supporting family's in country's that have been in the receiving end of the US Govt and/or the Military.
So if you would like to help people without a big investment check out Kiva and give it a try. It is a great organization.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The notice came in the mail this weekend and a phone call yesterday reminding me that the Red Cross was having another blood drive this week. It was today actually and I did what I normally do, rode my bike up to the community center, rolled up my sleeve and donated a pint. Not a big deal but it is an important thing to do.
They checked my donation record and I am two pints shy of five gallons, which I thought was a lot until I got to talking to the old guy next to me when we were done and drinking coffee. He was awarded his ten gallon pin today and he told me he started giving when he retired 21 years ago. That is A LOT of blood!
I have seen what a pint of blood can do for a person who is in need first hand and it is an amazing thing. So if you can, the next time the Red Cross is in town give them a pint and help somebody in need. And with any luck sometime this summer I will write about this subject again and I will be able to tell you that I got to the five gallon mark. ;-)