Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back in Business

After being sick, and only getting one commuting day in last week, I was able to get out on a 10-12 mile (my bike odometer needs batteries) ride on the Xtracycle today. I went up to the FM Community Bike Workshop to volunteer for a little while, then look for a new donor frame for said Xtracycle. I've been thinking a bigger frame to get me a more upright riding position would help, without needing the giant stack of spacers and riser stem I have on there already. It looks silly, no matter how functional it is currently.

The weather was nice though, high 20s with lots of sunshine felt warm, and the streets were mostly clear. But the best part....I saw other people on bikes! Other people walking! Kids in strollers! It was the first sign I've seen that indeed, spring is here. It's time to work on setting more goals and solidifying plans for summer adventures. So far my rough list is as follows:

1) Get Xtracycle "dialed". New tires, new saddle, and find a way to get a more upright riding position.
2) Ride a Metric Century (100km or 62miles) to Fort Abercrombie Historical Site
3) Ride to Detroit Lakes for lunch at Zorbaz, then ride home. Full century, 100miles
4) Do a mini tour of the Paul Bunyan trail in Central Minnesota.
5) S24O (Sub-24 hour Overnighter) bikepacking trip in town with my sons.

Pretty easy list so far, I sure hope time and weather will cooperate to make them achievable.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Down for the count

I've been sick with a cold since Tuesday. I should have seen it coming since my oldest son has been sick. Sometime around noon on Tuesday it hit me all at once and I felt miserable. That's the crappy part about bike commuting, getting sick. For one, riding home from work when you're sick enough to leave work, isn't fun. It was wet, icy, and windy, and I was on the Xtracycle. It was slow going but I slogged through it with the goal of a hot shower and a warm bed. The next worst part is time off the bike. It's been 5 whole days without riding, and while I today I might actually feel up to's windy outside, and only the truly insane cyclists lust for wind riding :) The weather looks downright unfriendly for Monday and Tuesday, but hopefully there will be fresh snow to go ride around in when it's all said and done, and hopefully my family and I will all have recovered from this nasty cold by then.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Let it thaw, let it thaw, let it thaw.

So this week begins the "warm up" that should kick off the spring thaw (flood?). I will miss the snow, although I'm sure it'll make a couple brief appearances throughout the spring. With the latest thaw there are tons of slushy puddles, so I'm back on my Xtracycle since it has fenders to keep me somewhat clean. Yesterday I went on a 9 mile ride through the streets on the Pugsley and got covered in brown slush. My white bike is now half brown, and I had to wash my coat and pants when I got home! So unless it's dry snow or bare roads, the Pugsley is staying parked. The Xtracycle is much faster anyway, even though it's a bigger target for wind, with it's sail-like rear end. I'll take that penalty though because it's just so fun to ride. It's due for some new tires and a new snapdeck, but I should be able to get by for a couple more months at least. I've settled on getting Schwalbe Big Apple tires in the 26x2.35 size for the extra ride comfort and reflective sidewall. Hopefully I can catch them on sale before I truly need them.

I'm jinxing myself to say that I survived my first winter in Fargo, but that's what I did. Bear Grylls style survival, by getting into the mess and fighting through it. Although I didn't need to eat an eyeball or drink my own pee, I'm quite proud of myself for braving the frozen outdoors as much as I have.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

$0.00 per gallon

When I started this blog is was mainly about my bike rides and starting to commute by bike. Since I've moved to Minnesota, and landed a job so close to home, being a bike commuter has become much easier. Nearly every day I take the long way for the added mileage, a whopping 5 mile round trip! If I took the easy route it would only be 3 miles round trip. When the weather gets nicer I may look for ways to extend it even further.

The biggest adjustment from Phoenix to here is this white stuff that falls from the sky. The locals call it snow, and well I love it. So much in fact that it doesn't stop me from riding to work. I was lucky enough to find a custom built Surly Pugsley at a local shop (I had full intentions of buying a frame and building it up "my way", but this was one was cheaper and nicer!). This thing is built for snow, sand, and anywhere it damn well pleases. There's only been a couple places this winter where I had to walk beside it, but I think those times could have been avoided now that I have more snow experience under my belt. Today was the first time I walked it because I wanted to. Yesterday's wind left some deep drifts that were pock-marked with footsteps. Add on last night's 2-3" of fluffy snow and those deep holes are invisible. It's only a 150 foot stretch or so, and instead of getting frustrated with the annoying thump thump thump of hitting those holes, I just walked it. But before that stretch of path, I had to guess where I was, as I couldn't really tell where the path was, or where the icy patches beneath the snow were. The rest of the ride was nice and enjoyable, since the temps were in the high 20s and the snow coming down felt good on my face. My coworkers were surprised that I had ridden to work, you'd think that they'd know me better by now. I've only missed a handful of days this year, and it takes much more than a couple inches to stop me.

As of tomorrow's ride, I'll be at 250 miles for the year. Not bad considering that 95% of those miles are on snow. I'm well on my way to my goal of 1500 miles for the year.