Quick ride to start the day this morning. Day 31. Finished. What a great way to end 2011. Almost 300 miles for the month. Not as much as I had hoped, but not bad for a dreary, wet December.
This just proves to me that you can get out in the cold, dark, wet weather, and still get a bike ride in. After this month, there is no excuse to not ride in the warmer months, rain or shine. I think this is the start of something special…
Hope 2011 was good for you, hope the new year brings much luck and great beer along the way!
Happy New Year!
Hard to believe that this month is coming to a close. With the holidays behind us, now the year is about to move on to the next. This has been a great way to round out the year of 2011, hopefully I can continue this momentum into the new year. I really wonder however, how much I would have ridden this month if we would have had a more “typical” Ohio winter? Would I have ridden as much as I did? Not 100% sure on that one, but this has been a great month for cycling. For tomorrow, it will be a quick morning ride before work.
Spent the afternoon riding into and around Indian Hill. As you can see from the picture above, I was dodging rain with every corner. Today, the planet bike fenders earned their keep on the T500, without them I would have been completely soaked from the wet roadways. It is nice to stay dry while riding the bike. A couple quick downpours during the route, but nothing that my Mountain Hardwear jacket couldn’t handle. In the unseasonably warm temperatures, the rain was a little pleasant. I am starting to like riding in the rain, which makes me look forward to this spring. Maybe I will do another month of biking then?
Finally, after days of trying, I was out the door in the morning for a bike ride. I have, at least for today, defeated my warm bed. It is nice to get out before the sun, and home just after the sun rises. Unfortunately due to the overcast sky, it was not a pretty sunrise, but still nice to be out and about. Almost 20 miles for the day, which is a great way to start the morning.
Once again, my warm bed wins. Today’s plan was to be up and out in the early AM light, but again, my bed kept me corralled under the warm, toasty covers. It is really hard for me to get moving on my days off, especially when my 3 year old alarm clock does not go off. Usually, when she sleeps in, so do I. Today was a prime example of that. Anyway, got a nice ride in this evening after what my wife and I were calling “Family Fun Day.” Lots of good adventures in and around the city for my family and I. While out today, I took my camera along and here are a few shots from the day:
Eagle statue near Krohn Conservatory.
Some type of pitcher plant from the Orchid Room at the Conservatory.
Cormorant and Fisherman statue from Eden Park.
Nice day to be outside today, and an even nicer evening to be on the bike. Around 13 miles for today, hopefully I can make it up and out in the morning tomorrow to log some long miles. Early to bed, early to rise, right?
Today’s plan was to be out the door by 5am. That time came, and since I took today off, and it was raining, I decided the right thing to do would be to stay in bed. Call me lazy, I am fine with that. Maybe tomorrow I will get out the door a little earlier than the afternoon. We shall see…
The cool thing about living in a small town, is that most of the time you can bike to where ever you need to go, and it will be just as quick as driving. Today was a fine example of that, getting in my quick ride, and picking up some essentials from my local bike shop, Bishop’s Bicycles. Very quick little ride for today, but a ride nonetheless.
Decided to make the trip on Big Red. This bike today was especially fun, due to the steady drizzle. The roads were nice and wet, so every time I needed to stop, I slammed onto the pedal to activate the coaster brake and slid to a stop. This really put me back to my childhood, like I was a 10 year old again. One thing that my friends and I would do as kids would be to ride down the gravel road as fast as we could, and see who could leave the longest skid, and the most fishtails. Always a good time, and today, even though I was by myself, it was still just as fun. I recommend it if you have nothing to do today.
Today’s purchase was from the company Planet Bike. Just a set of fenders for the T500, which it desperately needed. This has been a wet December here in Ohio, and my Mountain Hardwear jacket shows. This will make my winter riding that much more enjoyable. Plus, Planet Bike donates 25% of their profits to cycling advocacy. A company that puts their money where their mouth is, fantastic. Thanks Planet Bike!
Quick ride this morning for the month of biking. Nice, clear, cold morning with an easy pace to wake up the mind. Zero traffic for the day after Christmas, which made the ride that more enjoyable. Today, I rode around some of the streets here in Milford that I have not been on before. Nice ride, not too much more than that. Another morning ride up for tomorrow morning…
Forgot to mention, I did not skip a bike ride for Christmas day, another morning ride before work, enter the map:
Due to the holiday, after I ended my time at work it was time to hang with the family. Nice relaxing evening, but did squeeze in a quick, 1.5 mile ride with Big Red. Only a quick ride to get out, and take a few pictures. That said, Merry Christmas, hope tomorrow is a nice relaxing day filled with good times.
Playing with shadows.
Sem Villa retirement home at night.
Neighbor’s lights, with Big Red…
Quick, evening ride today. Basic ride along the Little Miami scenic path. This has been one of the more mellow Decembers that I can remember, weather wise. This evening stayed around the mid to high 30s. At one point in my life I would have thought that this would be too cold to ride, primarily when I lived in Southern California. But for riding in Ohio, I will take the mid 30s any day. The best riding here in Ohio though, is when the temperature is below freezing, and you hit the trails. Riding over frozen ground has the sound of Velcro, and I am really excited for this winter, if it ever comes.
Finally started working on this Gary Fisher Sugar 1. Rode it around the block tonight before I started the cleaning process. I will admit, the frame looks beat. But this bike rides nice. I will be posting this in the “Bicycle for Sale” section here within the week, so keep an eye out for a pretty sweet deal.
Morning ride for Day 22. The official first day of Winter, seems more like the first day of Spring. Thankfully the days are going to slowly but surely start getting longer. I cannot wait for the warmer days of the summer, but I am in no way wishing away time though. It will come soon enough.
Not much for today, cannot believe though that Christmas is only 3 days away. Where did this year go?
Today’s ride was supposed to start at 5am. Every night, I set my alarm about three different times, all around 3 minutes apart from the next. This morning, however, 5am came a little earlier than expected, and since there was a steady downpour, I was back to sleep in a hurry. I do enjoy riding in the rain, but a warm toasty bed is hard to leave for the cold, wet pavement. So I hit the snooze button.
This was a blessing in disguise though. The rain cleared, the sun started to peek through the remaining clouds, and the temperatures hovered around 60 degrees. Not your typical Ohio December weather. With a couple errands to run, and the favorable weather, I loaded up my daughter in her trailer, and off we went.
The weather at the start of the ride was a little gloomy, but soon at our destination of the Little Miami river, the sun came out, and we hung around the bridge for a bit. Due to the recent deluge of rain, the river was running high:
After hanging out on the bridge, it was time to head back into town and finish our Christmas shopping. Downtown Milford has a variety of stores to fill any need that you might have. Our destination was the local outfitter Roads, Rivers, Trails. They have a great shop in the heart of downtown, with quite the variety of gear to suit pretty much any need that you would have. Great shop that I highly recommend. After picking up our gift, it was home for lunch.
This was a great way to still get my daily ride, and include my daughter as well. She loves being on the bike, and this was our first “real” ride utilizing the trailer. She seems to be comfortable in it, and it did keep her entertained as well. It was also more of a leg workout than I thought it would be, pulling all of that extra weight. What little climbs that I encountered woke up the leg muscles really fast. I look forward to using the trailer a little more…
Nice, relaxing ride in the rain this evening, which was much needed after a rough day at work. Today I had planned to ride in the morning, but my bed was warm and toasty, and 4:30am came way too quickly for my liking. So, enter the night ride. Tonight’s ride was a cleansing of sorts. A mental cleansing if you will.
This was also my first ride in my new cycling pants from Rivendell, their MUSA knickers. I am not sure if I like the word, but it is definitely better than man capris, which is essentially what they are. But, being a bit skeptical at first, they are amazing! Lightweight, reflective stripes on the legs, built in belt, Velcro on the legs, and also made here in the USA. Pretty awesome. A quality product from a great company. Now if only I could get one of their bikes…
Picture from Rivendell’s site.
After this mental cleanse, it was time for a beer. Tonight’s flavor was North Coast Brewing’s 2011 Old Stock Ale. So far, one of my favorite beers that I have tasted, review coming soon.
While riding with my friend Eric one day, we started talking the concepts of Eastern religions. I cannot remember where this quote came from, but I found it profound, which I will probably butcher in my horrible paraphrasing: The past is not important, the future is irrelevant, the most important moment is right now. Nothing will be better than this moment. Makes complete sense.
So in that light, go do something…
I feel that this sticker sums up my month long experiment. Kind of in a dirty way, but still sums it up.
Tonight’s ride, in the rain, was a quick little jaunt to the grocery store to buy some beer. Only around 4 miles total, but a nice quick ride, late in the night. This was also my first time loading up the T500, which it surprised me quite a bit. After riding it for a while with the flat bar setup, I had forgotten that it is a tried and true touring bike. I did not even notice the weight of the 10 bottles of beer strapped to the rack. True, not a lot of weight, but you would expect to feel something. The only time it was noticeable was when I stood and danced on the pedals while climbing. To get the beer home, I used a canvas reusable grocery bag, a ratchet tie down strap, and a bungee cord. Worked pretty well, but I think some panniers are in order for this bike!
At work, we are doing a holiday beer exchange. Six people bringing in six different holiday brews, and everyone take one of each. Pretty straight forward, and easy idea. My selection is from Clipper City brewing, their winter Heavy Seas. The other selection I have wanted to try for quite some time, North Coast’s Old Stock Ale. I really like North Coast, so I am sure this one will not disappoint.
Tomorrow is day 20, planning on a morning ride to mix it up a bit. I cannot believe how fast this month is going, 2012 is almost here.
Quick ride tonight, in between working from home. Sometimes my job requires me to work at home, usually in the evenings. Some people work from home all of the time, for example being stuck behind a computer. (Like I am right now…) My job is a little unusual. My working from home equals bringing a baby bird home and feeding it through the night. Usually just a couple feedings, but interesting nonetheless. Tonight’s bird flavor is something that I have never worked with before, and due to the fact that it is only a couple days old, and the zoo has not released it as of yet, I will keep that under wraps. Soon enough I will post some pictures.
Nice ride tonight, very clear sky with a mild temperature. Lots of stars out, with visible constellations such as Orion, Cygnus, Cassiopeia, and Jupiter hanging high in the sky. I need to get out more and appreciate the heavens a little more often. At one time in my life I could name just about everything in the night sky, but due to not using it, I have very little left. Another thing I need to add to the list…
One interesting thing to note from tonight’s ride: While riding on the road getting ready to turn into the bike path parking lot, a car honked at me. Clearly, with my hand signal, and waiting for the oncoming traffic, AND being right at the trailhead, this car became upset that it had to wait about 7 seconds. Seriously? Relax people. Don’t be in so much of a rush, 7 seconds is not enough time to catastrophically ruin anything. Except a hand grenade.
Busy day today for the month of biking. Two big family functions half way across the state, but still got in a quick ride once we returned to Milford. Quick little ride with a decent climb into Indian Hill. Then a fast descent back down to Terrace Park. In TP, linked back up to the Little Miami bike path for the trip home via a short, but technical single track climb. I am a little surprised at how well the T500 climbed while off road. Luckily, the trail was dry, or I would have been pushing the bike back to the path. Once back to Milford, I snapped the photo above, and continued home. That welcomed me with homemade pizzeles, two dancing ladies jamming Bing Crosby, and a Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal stout. Made me stop to realize how blessed we are to be living in such amazing times. Take time to stop and realize that from time to time. Enough of that, here is the map:
Morning ride for Day 16. Due to the recent temperatures around 60 degrees, I had forgotten what colder temperatures were like. This morning brought brisk mid-thirties to wake me up. Not as cold as it has been this month, but a welcome shock to the system after these past couple days. Great way to start the day, and a few other people were out and about on my route this morning, which I rarely see anyone on the morning rides. That was a welcome sight.
Like one of my last few rides, I had a song stuck in my head that would not go away. I say that like I didn’t like it, but sometimes you want the next song to pop into your mind. That did not happen for me today, as this was the song that stuck with me:
Not sure why this was in my head, but such a great song. Thankfully I have not had a bad song stuck in my head on these rides. That mixed with colder temperatures would be almost unbearable. I am sure that the colder temps will be on their way soon enough…
Today’s ride was of a different pace. I have been putting in some miles here lately, and my tires have taken the brunt of it all. Yesterday’s rides both had flats, on both the T500 and the HaroX. So for today’s ride, Big Red got the call from the bullpen.
Not much on the mileage today, just had enough time to run a couple errands on Big Red. It has been a month or two since Big Red has seen any action, but as usual, pull the bike off of the rack and ride. Nothing ever really needs fixed or tuned, just pick it up and ride. Maybe since it is a beater bike, I just don’t care to fix it up, but it sometimes is the most reliable bike in my stable. But it always is one piece away from a total catastrophe. That is part of the appeal though.
Today’s errands had me down to the local bike shop, Bishop’s Bicycles. Picked up a couple tubes for the busted bikes, and chatted a bit about the allure of a Brooks saddle. I can see a B-17 in my future for sure. From there, it was off to pick up some photos and then back home. Only around 3 miles today, but it was still time on the bike. Tomorrow morning, back at it. Half way down…
Along the Little Miami scenic path.
Perfect weather today in SW Ohio, very unusual for this time of year. Normally, this would be the start of clearing away snow from the sidewalks, but today was around 60 degrees. Perfect day for a bike ride.
This afternoon, I started out on the T500 to get in a good ride through nearby Indian Hill to tackle some hills. After about 3 miles, I realized that I had a flat rear tire, and no spare tube, tools or pump. Luckily, I had briefly chatted with a friend at the trailhead parking lot, who graciously picked me up to spare me the torture of walking back to the house. Moral of the story: Be prepared.
After being dropped off at home, I switched out my Magicshine from the T500 to the HaroX and took off once again. Determined to take advantage of this great weather, I once again started off into Indian Hill. Not a long ride by any means, but still a bit of climbing, and one long descent which really makes the ride. After the long cruise out of Indian Hill, it was home for dinner.
Racing the sunset in Indian Hill.
After dinner, I received a call from my brother-in-law who had the urge to test out his new Cannondale for the first time, and asked if I felt like a night ride. For sure. So, once again, on the bike path for another round, this time again on the HaroX. Unfortunately, something was amiss in the rear wheel, which ended up being another flat tire. Luckily, this time, I had a spare, and the proper tools to fix the problem, and ride home without issue. Seriously, two flats in the same day? That has not happened in a while, and I cannot remember the last time that I had a flat. But at least I was prepared.
Almost the half way point for the month, here are the maps of today’s rides, minus the 1st ride:
All in all, such a great time today on the bike. Even thought there were a couple flat tires, I was still out enjoying the weather, and enjoying the spin. That is what it is all about, and now this is starting to become a habit. I am cool with that. Hope you got out and enjoyed this great weather!
Yesterday’s installment of the month of biking brought out some friends for a night ride. Unseasonal warm temperatures made the evening bearable, so lots of miles were thrown down. Lots of time on the Little Miami:
Once off of the trail, we did some beer sampling with some of this season’s staples, 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat, and Moerlein’s Christkindl. Great way to end the evening, beer and stories in the garage.
Today’s installment, riding with the moon again. Clear calm night in SW Ohio once again, perfect weather for riding. Short ride, but still a ride, almost to the halfway point for the month. Enter the map:
I really like the app for Map My Ride. Very handy, and free. Not just for cycling, but for other outdoor pursuits as well. Check it out if you have not already.
I normally do not ride with my iPod, and tonight I did not have it as well. Every now and again I will wear it, but I usually like to hear the random sounds that are going on around me. Tonight however, I had a soundtrack in my head, a song that I could not shake. It flowed with my pace perfectly, and I enjoyed going over and over this song in my mind while riding with the moon. Amazing. The band is Fleet Foxes, and this is the song:
Coldest morning to date, finishing with a more complete frozen beard.
This morning was the most clear that it has been since I have started my month of biking. I probably could have ridden with out using my light due to the super bright moon. But, it gave me a chance to experiment with the settings/placement of the Magicshine to get the optimal light “throw.”
While riding today, the T500 has been making some interesting noises, mostly from the bottom bracket. If it is starting to go, it should not be a costly repair, but it probably is due for replacement. Shimano square taper bottom brackets are a dime a dozen at the bike shop.
This got me thinking of different bikes, and I stumbled across an interesting one:
This bike is from the site Bike Nashbar. It is called their steel commuter. This is basically what I want the T500 to be. Internal 8 speed Shimano Nexus hub laced to heavy duty 36h rims, lugged(!) steel frame, 700×38 road tires, fenders and a rack. Not too bad, especially since Nashbar throws out amazing sale prices from time to time. I will be watching for this one to drop a little more.
Are you seeing a pattern yet? I ride my bike, and think about other bikes? It is a never ending cycle… no pun intended.
10 days of riding. Tonight was probably the hardest to get on the bike, due to the temperature hanging around the mid 20s, and me being chilled all day. Very low motivation to get out and ride. But, what fun would that be?
Continuing with the night rides, I finished off the week with a ten mile ride along the Little Miami path. Beautiful, clear night for riding, with the moon almost full. Lots of light from the moon, and with the Magicshine, the path was like riding in the daylight.
I am amazed more and more at the quality of the Magicshine. For it’s relatively low entry fee, it is quite amazing. And to top it off, the battery life is not too bad either. Great deal if you happen to be looking for a bicycle light!
Relaxing into the night with a 2011 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, ride before work tomorrow morning…
Switching gears for today’s ride, started off this afternoon. Temperature in the mid to high 30s, with a slight drizzle. Not enough to dampen the spirit though, just enough to freshen up the face while riding. I am really starting to enjoy riding in the rain, I cannot wait until this spring/summer to really ride in the wet weather and not be so bundled up. Cycling washes away most of your bad thoughts, and the rain adds another element of the cleansing. Enough of that hippie talk, here is the map:
Nice little ride today through the nearby neighborhood of Indian Hill. This is one of my favorite areas to ride, mostly due to the rural setting of the area. It is one of the most expensive areas in the greater Cincinnati region, so the houses are spaced far apart, giving it a country like quality. A few of the main roads are heavily traveled, but off of those major routes are the quiet country roads that everyone on a bicycle seeks out for their personal enjoyment. Add nice climbing to the gorgeous scenery and you have a great bicycle ride.
This ride brought one of my favorite hills, Kugler Mill, and even a little bit of snow. It was nice to see some snow on the ride, hopefully it will continue on through the night and surprise me tomorrow morning. Can’t wait…
Today’s ride was the coldest temperature for this experiment. Somewhere around the mid 20s, halfway through my beard froze to my face. That is definitely a feeling that everyone should experience at least once in their life. Bizarre to say the least.
So I have been looking into after ride “recovery” drinks. Not that I am worn out or sore after each ride, but I thought it would be a good idea to try some of these drinks out. So, today I started with this drink, Gatorade’s #3 recovery drink. It reminds me of a drink that I used after mountain biking a few years ago, which I am not sure if they make anymore. I can’t even remember the name of that brand. Whatever, I will try out this G3 and see how it works.
Only around 6 miles today, but a very cold 6 miles. We shall see what tomorrow brings.
Continuing the theme for night rides tonight. Temperature in the low 30s, but luckily no rain. Tonight also brought out the HaroX instead of the T500. I feel very fortunate to be able to switch from bike to bike when ever the feeling hits. Today’s ride was filled with lots of thinking about what new bike or frame to buy, but then all the thoughts came to a head with, “Be happy with what you have, that you have options.” With that said, here is some bike lust for you:
Jones steel diamond frame and unicrown fork
Thanks to the current issue of Dirt Rag, this is my new bicycle obsession. Jones bicycles, you might have heard of Jeff Jones before? Let’s be honest, you probably have not. He is a custom frame builder, building rigid specific frames and forks, that are meant to be ridden hard. His most noticable work would probably be this:
Jones titanium Spaceframe with truss fork
Back to Dirt Rag. In their latest issue, they have a review of the diamond frame, and from the write up, I would love to have one. I will be honest, most of Jones’s products are out of my price range, but the steel diamond frame could be built for a decent price. I won’t go into too many specifics, but check out Jones’s website for more information. If anything, there are some amazing photos and lots to read. And be sure to check out Dirt Rag’s website, lots of good stuff going on over there in Pittsburgh.
Anyway, tomorrow brings another day of riding. It has been one week straight, 3 more to go. I am sure it will be another day of thinking while on the ride, and being thankful that I have options. And also thankful that I can spin on two wheels…
If you are on Twitter, I am posting links to the Map My Ride stats @codsow. Check it!
Photos from Jones Bikes.