Sunday, February 28, 2010


  • 1st loaded commute on Ute Friday. I would give it a C. I didn't do a great job packing and distributing. I also had issues with lashing a tennis hopper to one side. I know I'll get more practiced at packing, so it'll be good. Steering was a bit squirrely loaded, but not really. It still tracked very straight. I look forward to many more tests. In the end, the best compromise is double massive bags, but I don't have that, nor will I. I like the 1/2 bag, to be honest. It feels more like a "real" pannier, one I'm more accustomed to.
  • Took an hour+ walk with mom yesterday. Felt good to walk aggressively, but as has before, I got a massive blister en route. My feet have a propensity for those. We're trying to go out on Saturday mornings, so I have a week both to get rid of the present blister and to find a better sock/shoe solution.
  • I'm gonna write more later, but I'm doing a Mom Challenge. She challenged me to a pound a week, she for her July bday and I just 'cause. I've had a good week so far. More later.
  • Cats lost yesterday. Not the end of the world, but 2 of 22 from downtown ain't gonna win a Nat'l Champeenship.
  • It's still cold.
  • Real has turned on the scoring, but again against weak La Liga competition. In my past few years of following them closely, this has been the habit, destroy bad competition but pucker up versus "real" teams like AC Milan and of late Lyon. I hate sports.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Did a quick 1hr on the modified Crosscheck during 'L's' soccer practice tonight, mostly in Cherokee and down Beargrass Trail. I didn't have a heart attack and I'm still talking. That's good.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Afib doosie has come on tonight. I'm 2.5hrs in after 2 pills and it's still there. Might be an ER trip in my near future (meaning tonight).

Glad I had that bike ride today. Remind me to lose 80lbs while I'm at it.

Update- other than feeling like complete crap all day, I'm still kicking. I'm still surprised that I had such an episode after a long draught. I figured it would kick my butt, and it did. I laid around either sleeping or semi-conscious until 2.00 or so. Since then I haven't done that much more save a nice, short walk with M and Z this afternoon. Even on that one those 2 zoomed far ahead of me. I assume I'll perk up tomorrow, but I'm again saying goodbye to caffeine and weight loss will be the next goal. My mom challenged me to a pound a week tonight, with us weighing every Monday- loser throws in $5- and we'll try to get a walk in once per week as well. Whew! What a couple days. And things only get busier at work with NBPTS and tennis starting. My time really won't be my own until June, but that's alright.

mas Vuelta de cafe

Another Sunday morning, another winter RCCS coffee ride leaving from Heine's. Today, though, was different, if you include 55F temps and sunshine as part of a new reality not seen in 3 months. FatGuy and I were met by Dom and his friend Joe, who's black and red Steamroller I repeatedly admired for its clean lines and bright contrast. I'm pretty sure Dave will have the pics.

As for me, I rode the new Ute to great effect. For a cargo bike I am really, really pleased at its behavior on the road. The stout 47c Contis and 700c wheels have the bike rolling right along. The very upright posture could suggest problem spots, but I was only bothered a bit in the hindside at mile 30+, and I had a wrist go numb only through user error when I leaned wrongly on it for a mile or so. The upright position speaks comfort, great sightlines and visibility for an urban commuter (or any other). I even found myself just once thinking about how much use the LHT will get as a commuter once I get into a rhythm on the Ute, but I also know the LHT can do anything, while the overly large Ute can do some of them. I did find Dom and Dave both admiring it (coveting?) for its utility. Time will tell when it gets more cargo use.

We did a bit of mileage, met Dom and Joe and head for the power duo of Sunergos and Nords. From there we headed back towards Market/Mellwood where they turned off. Dave and I headed through Indian Hills and the park back towards Cumberland Brews, where we engorged ourselves on lunch and a beer. Great, great stuff, especially in the sunshine, especially on a fine, new bike!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

the big (Ute) reveal

After all the hints an silliness, I've just posted the pics of my new surprise, a 2009 Kona Ute I picked up this past week from OnYourLeftCycle. I've only been on it for one day for one 27m ride, but I'm already impressed and excited about the possibilities. Lithodale stated that he could easily imagine me on this bike, which I take as a compliment. As a regular commute- though not of recent with NBPTS- I take it that the Ute is another step in using the bicycle as a transportation choice and not just a recreational one. I wasn't looking for another bike, at least since discussing a used A.H.H. with Pondero in TX. That deal smartly fell through, but this one came up suddenly. Drew at OYLC mentioned that the '09 Utes were going for a *very* fair price since the '10s had just rolled out. And they had a customer's in the shop for a test ride. My interested was piqued. The only thing the '10s had over the '09s was a rear disc brake and a rear fender; the brake I didn't worry about, the fender could be engineered b/c it already had room for hardware.

Shawnee Pk afternoon commute

Looking at the Ute, what I realized was that I could create a machine that allowed some judicious packing to make a tennis coach commuter, the TCC. It comes with the ginormous wet orange pannier for one side. That could be used for rackets, a med kit, and some other small accoutrement's. The right side has the space to mount a one of my lightweight tennis ball hopper. I can bungee one on to the frame and still have room for a 1/2 bag, which I bought as well. The 1/2 bag will be the school bag. On top I have room to bungee another empty hopper or other materials. The point of all this is that I don't have to stop riding during tennis season! Lost, barren Springs devoid of bike riding have always been an issue during tennis, but the Ute will provide an opportunity to continue doing my thing, at least until matches start when other considerations come into play.

Kona Ute. Some complain about those straps hanging. At this stop I did find two sets of buckles, one on the outside I presume for big gear, another on the inside to cinch the bag smaller. I used the outside before find the inside. Stuff does get jumbled in there, but bags plastic bags could solve this easily

As for the Ute itself, it's a 18", one of only 2 sizes. I test rode a 20" and I could actually ride it with the seat way down. The position is unlike any other bike I own. It's straight-up, hybrid style, with a clear view of the surroundings. I'll eventually put the sprung Brooks on it, but the factory saddle wasn't terrible, at least for 27m. The wheels are both the strong point and weak point for the Ute. Having 700c's, they roll quite well, contributing to a very positive ride quality, as evidence that I put on those 27m on its maiden voyage without a single tweak or adjustment. For ride quality, the 700s are great. I guess they're the weak point as well in that for serious hauling 26" wheels would be better, but every source says the Ute is more SUV than pick-up truck. The added frame length means cornering is a consideration and it's a bit slow leaving from a stop, but once you get going, it rides quite nicely. The 2x8 gearing is all low end, but the biggest gear available is plenty for city riding, and plenty for me. Another benefit is the double-leg kickstand. I like it, but it does contribute to the one quality that needs adjustment, which is weight distribution. If the bike is on the kickstand with too much weight on one side, it can tip over. As I understand, with ride quality the same rule applies. The best result will come from weight distribution on both sides, something that will be helped by the 1/2 bag when it's in.

I think, in the long run, I'm going to see the Ute as a bike that all active families should own. I've not worked through the quality issues or the bag usage yet, so this is not a long-term review, but this is a bike that rides well, comfortably, and comes ready with a honking-ass bag to haul groceries, hardware store goods, laundry, school materials and the such. I'm very excited about extended my riding into tennis season- as the ultimate phred tennis coach- and to use it year round as a really nice neighborhood bike. I think it behaves well enough that I could get my wife on it, although not now in the snow. More to come on this, but I've added yet another good one to the stable. You probably don't want to know the count now. It's absurd and as my previous post stated, it might be time to thin down. We'll see.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wow, how novel!

I commuted for only the 2nd time in '10. The frozen stuff has finally melted enough to not warrant studded tires and the afternoon, for a big change, did not include meetings, events, practices, meetings, more meetings, more events...

I stopped at OYLC today for the second day in a row. Yesterday I picked something up; today I stopped by to show it off, or at least I was showing off its use. I'm not too ready for the reveal, as I need to upload a couple pics, but you should know that the OYLC boys made me a very generous offer on a '09. Oo, I might be giving too much away. My fine wife isn't overly happy with me, but I've taken care of arrangements and we'll hopefully eat next month. As for the boys at the shop, they're great and provide great service. If anybody in town doesn't have a fav LBS, give them a try.

More to come- pics included- but more than any techno crap, the sunshine helped warm the soul. I hope my other 2-wheeled friends got out as well.

(image deleted at the intelligent behest of my wife)

Monday, February 15, 2010


I did about 1.75hr out in the snow yesterday after our 4-6" last night and today. I took a turn on some local streets first, much to my delight. The pack snow provided a cushy, quick surface for the Monocog. I headed towards Chauffeur's Rest for some trail riding, where I found out the reality of the situation. I was met with close to 8" total of deep, crusty snow. I got absolutely nowhere on the 26"ers, so I turned and head down the hill on road to ride through the park for a while. I climbed, grunted up Maple Rd. and turned onto the trails and did what is the "fun" descent, which was fun again albeit in a completely different context. Over the course of the hill I learned the true benefit of counter-steering, as before that I was constantly losing the front wheel. Once I forcibly counter-steered, I was able to do a little better keeping a line, as much of a line as possible in 6-8" of snow and foot tracks.

After the off-road adventure I turned back onto the road for a while and briefly visited Beargrass Creek Trail, only to find it unrideable with deep foot tracks everywhere. I turned back and did more road miles through the park, only to find conditions getting slushier and less fun. Out of the park I went, towards more neighborhood cruising, before I ended up at Farmington for a couple pics and then home. It was a nice, nice, nice ride, and my local friends who haven't gone out in the white stuff should be jealous.

Farmington, designed by Jefferson and visited by Lincoln, or so they say.

As for the Monocog, I decided today that every bike owner should have one. One online source has a '09 29er for $439, but I picked mine up cheap at my LBS. I have the 26", which I think is the perfect size for our twisty terrain, but I'm sure the 29er is very popular. As for the bike, it's just a little singlespeed, lightweight piece of beat-down fun. The pic shows what unmerciless treatment I've dished out. My monocog, b/c of it's simple brakes, drivetrain and inexpensive price, is my "gross" bike. If it's nasty outside, why not torture the Monocog? I've already replaced one bottom bracket b/c it's my snow bike and I take very poor care of it. My Monocog- which is about 5 yrs old or so- is lightweight, durable, cheap and oh so fun! Any bike garage can afford $450 for last year's model, and any bike rider can use one for all the aforementioned and more. Consider it strongly! (and unfortunately Redline hasn't supported me one bit in this)

Monocog, after I took hot water to the bottom bracket area


in no particular order:
  • have a big announcement this week sometime, if it ever stops snowing
  • Blueridge will get new bars. I had thought of wider bars and this morning I strangely found a pair of rather wide Salsa BellLaps hanging on the wall. Honestly I have *no* clue where they came from. That will coincide with a new shorter stem, prolly something in the 17 degree range, giving the BR a seriously nice long-distance position, and the 32c Paselas and fenders will remain. Long, long term may even mean a front rack and handlebar bag. Can you say brevet/century bike?
  • Crosscheck getting 45c FireCrosses this week (thanks OYLC). Seriously considering 'stache bars with new jacked-up stem, making for MonsterCross mount. Long term might mean singlespeed rear wheel to go with monstercross theme.
  • easy fix of FrankenTrek front flat, but boy those Conti pieces of shit sure weren't fun to mount, so I don't relish the fix. I might change out front during fix b/c those are terribly rated tires and I had a flat on only the 2nd trip. I love the FrankenTrek but haven't been on it in forever due to avoidance
things to sell?:
  • Rans Rocket- I don't ride it and it takes up space and I'll never drink the 'bent Koolaid.
  • Burley baby carrier- could work as a hauling trailer but we'll see
  • mtbike- I have 2, Monocog and Caffeine. I don't ride enough trails to warrant 2 + monstercrosscheck, so one might have to depart. They're so different that I'm just not sure, although with my riding the Monocog might be the one to stay. I don't know. Caffeine 29er is a great bike but doesn't behave that well in our twisty enviro.
  • shitty Conti tires on FrankenTrek. In fact I got bunches of tires to sell. Maybe I need to attend a swap meet?
  • old Cannondale Criterium road bike, ca. 1990. It doesn't even have a rear mech and hasn't been ridden in 10+ years. would make a nice mount for somebody, tho.
  • Redline 9.2.5.??? depends on how singlespeedy the garage gets. It's actually the only fixed-gear I own. Now that I think about it, I'm not selling it.
So, what goes? Rans, C'dale Criterium, Burley carrier and 1 mtbike? seems possible, but laziness gets in the way.

It's snowing like hell, the boys are out and I'm going back upstairs to grade. chao for now.

Can you tell it's been lots of "indoor" time, "non-bike" time and "school work" time lately?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Coffee Ride

got 24m in this morning on a very nice coffee ride, one which included a new rider to the RCCS fray, Marcus. Pics can be found at

I would like to comment on a very nice moment of Zen I had going through the creek road of Seneca. My mind was brewing on some nasty stuff, so I just did a 1,2,3.... count and paid attention to my breathing. Before I knew it I had a huge grin on my face and a clear and clear head, at least for those moments. 20sec worth the entire ride itself.


Matt Chester Ti frame. not cheap.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


very satisfying, relaxed 20-miler through the slush on the Crosscheck w/ FatGuy. The sun is even peeking out a bit.

Tomorrow something of the same with a RCCS coffee ride, hopefully with a little snow thrown in for good measure.

Early Fun

I woke up just really really early this morning and have been fixated on bike sites, bike rides and bikes. I can't really go through all the fun, but here are a few: this is a compendium of gravel race news. Instead of me dredging over every view, just take a look at the events on the right and have a peek. Several of fun videos and pics.

GravelGrovel- which is the closest of these gravel fests, this one taking place just outside Bloomington, IN, which is about an hour away from the 'Ville. The roads look awfully similar to the ones the RCCS has undertaken on our Hoosier Nat'l Forest rides.

Rawland- I've visited this site off and on, but I took another look at their intriguing products. I didn't know, either, that the guy and his wife come from an extended deaf family and that he is/was a deaf school administrator. That's cool, and his bikes are too. With the Surlys I don't really have a need for one, but I'm captivated by that bright red color of theirs. I wonder why inventory for the two signature frames the Olaf and Song shows only 1 XS each. Perhaps they have moved to new products Drakkar and Ravn.

Looking at the Rawland products, in concert with a mention from Jim Thill up at Hiawatha has me rethinking the Crosscheck. He's got a pic of a 54" CC with new (resurrected?) Panaracer FireCross 45c tires. That's some fat rubber on a roadish bike! I'm envisioning the 45c's and mounting the moustache bars on the CC for a completely different ride. My only concern is stem/bar issues. You have to get the 'stache ups up and close to be comfy, and the CC doesn't have alot of stem room to shorten. I'm gonna think hard about it b/c it seems like fun.

You know, it's a great time to be in the biking world. There are some many interesting bike makers out there right now that the choice seems endless. Another I ran by this morning was Handsome Family. It's another maker that claims inspiration from '90s Bridgestone bikes. Steel is Real!

And yet another option, the Fargo, courtesy of Gnat likes... Talk about a do-anything bike!

All this has got me requiring a bike ride today, even in the snowy muck! Perhaps another spin on the Monocog.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


(I don't like how blogger loads pics backwards. Wordpress, which I don't use except on the RCCS site, puts it exactly where you tell it to)

Got out yesterday morning for a little bike time. I found the conditions rather varied according to how much snow had been compacted. The full 6" was challenging, as it was heavy wet snow. Then you had ruts created from just a few cars passing. This compacted the snow down very nicely, but left a little grit for the tires to latch on to. After that you had very compacted icy ruts that weren't much fun, and finally mushy pavement. I took in a little bit of everything.

I headed toward Seneca, where I had to much to the top of one of the sledding hills (former hole #1 if I'm not mistaken). The Monocog is great for this sloppy riding, but a smaller, spinner gear would be helpful sometimes. The downhill was a fun quick rush. From there I made my way up to Seneca Loop and then dove into the trails near the tennis courts. They were untouched in the snow save a set of tracks I followed. I would guess cat, but you never know. After crossing the bridge I took a left back towards the road. I had thought of doing the far loop, but the heavy snow and gearing made for a challenging push.

From there I used the roads to go through Cherokee, roads which were quite empty compared to Seneca. Instead of climbing/walking/pushing golf course I used the trail cut through up to Daniel Boone and towards Bonnycastle.

I ended the majority of my ride in a most excellent way, stopping for a while at Breadworks for a hot coffee and scone. I further multitasked by buying a new snow shovel from Hortons. Therefore, on the last mile home I was on the bike in snow carrying a snow shovel and a bag of scones for the family instead my winter jersey, a utility cyclist after all. We're off school again, so today is going to be more Nat'lBoard writing and less "fun", although an afternoon ride seems likely.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Salsa Vaya 2010 con otros

Another hit to the Rivendell legend, the Salsa Vaya. It's ugly, but it does what Rivs do: fat tires, lots of braze-ons, multidimensional, non-"roadie". And, hey, you don't have to get too caught up with sloping top tubes b/c the Hillborne and new Hunqapillar whateve have them too. And look, too, at what Salsa has been up to: Casseroll, Fargo, And that's not getting into the Surly phenomena.

On a different note, take a gander at this lugged steel Soma Stanyan. No, I have no interest, but does that sound familiar? modern Lugged Steel=I/Grant wave?

And last but not least is one of the many VeloOrange products, in this case the Polyvalent, a "multipurpose frame", in this incantation a dead ringer for the various Albatross-dressed Atlantis Rivs.

I as much as many have a vested interest in the Rivbike ethos. I own two rivs- the less expensive, first Taiwanese Bleriot and the QB, which was cheaper due to a lack of components. I just hope they can weather a changing of I/their principles.


I've been ruminating over this entry for a while, but a snow day (3" so far) and an typical early rise have given me a little time to write it down. To be honest I've been too busy since the holidays to write much. I covered that territory in this post from a Jan coffee ride. My only ride of Feb so far was a coffee ride this past Sunday w/Dave, although the snow outside is calling for some type of SSMonocog trip this morning.

What I've been pondering is weight, lots of it. I'm as heavy as I've ever been and it's got me mixed up, confused, angry, self-loathing, you get the picture. I'm pretty sure I picked it up over this last Fall and now through Jan, mostly through rampant eating. I eat and eat and eat. I eat when I'm bored, sad, stressed, angry, hungry and every other time imaginable. I work out. I ride. I play. I'm not a coach potato (most of the time) but my eating has been accelerating and I'm in a quandary about how to go forward and part of that is information paralysis. FatGuy is trying to be less fat by using the Paleo diet or some variation of it. His 90lbs loss of these past few years has showed that he can master it. I thought it was interesting that he had a pic of his young self on his site, and his young self was skinny! I haven't been skinny since I was 5! Concerning how to get the lbs off, I look at the options. Besides the heavy meat and protein thing, you have the Mediterranean diet, No-diet diet, Overeaters Anon, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach on and on and on. I'm paralyzed by what to do. Generally I've been overweight for as long as I can remember (12yrs old?). I was chubby early on. Then in adulthood I plumped up an extra 20lbs or so. In 1999 during the year of the 2nd spawn (he's much too good to be called a spawn) I worked out like never before and lost 35lbs, although I was also lifting a lot, so I trimmed down even more. It was great, to be honest. I felt fantastic and transformed, but it also took up every waking hour during those months, either working out, thinking about working out, or planning to work out. As I sit here in 2010, I'm not really sure how I pulled it off. In addition to lifting, running and cycling I also ate well, although the food journal I maintained form them still indicates snacks and such, just not as many. I don't think I'm at a point in life, though, to pull off the same kind of intensity. There's just so much more going on now with the family and with my responsibilities at work, etc. I don't easily see the time in the schedule for all the workouts or the $$ to find the right gym. At the time we belonged to a facility that opened at 5.30 and at 7.00 on Sunday. Those were perfect hours for my morning self. Our pool club now opens at 6.30- too late for school- and much later on the weekends, so it doesn't work nearly as well for the family schedule. Excuses, excuses.

I know that it comes down- in part- to will power and smart decisions, as well as some support, but I just don't think that's as easily done as skinny people think. I have a friend who is naturally tall and naturally skinny and has been both of those things his whole life. He can't understand how you don't just stop eating and get skinny, but the physiology and psychology doesn't support such a simple process. Further, I'm not making excuses, but I don't think the homelife is well set-up for these things. I would love to eat at home more and do healthy meals, but with evening activities Mon, Tues, Wed and Sat, it's not that simple. In writing this, it all sounds like excuses I'm making to myself, but then the nitty-gritty of daily life gets in the way and clouds things. Maybe I need to go to a fat farm for a year? Maybe a ride across the country? Maybe a Buddhist monastery for a LONG retreat?

What I do know is that at my present weight, I'm miserable and can only imagine the attractive health issues on the plate in the years to come. Frustration. Thoughts?

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: