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ride report

Just Riding Along… Scouting Trip.

Beautiful, windy day in SW Ohio today. Had around an hour and a half to explore this afternoon on the Troll. I have been in the planning stages of a bikepacking trip, so today I loaded up a few things in the front panniers and hit the road to scout out how long it would possibly take me to reach my destination. I didn’t really have enough time to ride the entire route, but riding what I did today gave me an idea on how long it will take to get there. Great day to be out, but the return trip was brutal due to a crazy headwind. Normally, I do not mind them, but with loaded panniers a headwind really sucks the life out of you. Apart from that issue, it was a nice little ride of dirt and tarmac.

Started off on the local trails.

Ended up on some side roads, following the Buckeye Trail. Note the fiberglass sports car body lying in the weeds…

Hanging out in the flowers, which I believe are Dutchman’s Breeches.

Total miles for today, around 17. Mixed with dirt, tarmac, and a nasty headwind? I am beat this evening.

Just keep spinning…

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Just Riding Along… Taking the long way.

With gas prices hovering around $4/gal, my day to day errands on my off days are spent on the bike. Two prime examples of that today:

First, the Cannondale T500 was hooked up to the trailer and my daughter and I were off to the dreaded BMV. Since we live in a small town, this is not too bad of an ordeal, usually we can walk right in and not have to wait in line, or take the ever so slow number and wait. For hours. Not the case here in Milford luckily. After that task was over, it was off to the local playground for some slide time and a break at our usual spot on the scenic Little Miami River. This is the view from our favorite bench:

Little Miami state and national scenic river, and also my 1000th picture with my EVO.

While at our spot, a few boats were out and about cruising down the waterway, and my daughter decided at that point that we need a boat. Really twisted my arm on that one. So that got me thinking… Bikes, Beer and Boats? That might just have to happen.

Second errand of the day was on the Surly Troll. Just a quick trip to the grocery store for a few items (beer) and I decided to take the long way. Through the local nature preserve, around the neighborhood, and my quick little trip to the grocery turned into a 7 mile or so ride. Not too bad at all.

I have to say, the more that I ride the Troll the more I am liking it. I would even venture to say that I built my dream bike. What a different bike than I thought I would call my dream bike, but it is an amazing piece of bicycling culture. I recently switched over to my Maxxis Crossmark 26×2.1s, and they make this bike shine even more. The smaller tires really speed up the bikes demeanor on the trail, and also makes it quicker than it should be on the road. Very versatile, and that is the name of the game with the Troll. Rant over, here is the only picture that I took on my beer run:

All in all a good day of riding.

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Return of the night ride.

Got out on the Little Miami path last night with friends. Spring is here in full effect here in Southwestern Ohio, with comfortable temperatures in the 50s last night. Lights were installed, supplies were loaded, and off on the path for a nice 18 mile jaunt in the darkness.

Just for this trip, I decided to switch out my tires from the huge Ardent 2.6s to a smaller more road worthy Maxxis Crossmark 26×2.1. Thees tires roll surprisingly well for a dirt tire, and very quiet. After the tire swap, I added some racks to the Troll:

I pulled the old Blackburn rear rack off of my T500, and then installed my new Salsa Down Under front racks. This was my first trip with the Troll loaded up, and it rolled very smoothly, which was expected. I am only using the Blackburn rack until the Salsa Minimalist rack comes back into stock, then that will be my weapon of choice.

View of the Salsa front rack from above.

After the ride, beers came out in the variety of a stout, a Belgian style ale, and a smooth golden ale in a can. Reviews on those to come soon. Get out and enjoy this weather!

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Trail time.

Took the Troll out to Landen Deerfield trail yesterday for some much needed single track. Not a destination trail by any means, but a nice, well kept trail in the middle of a neighborhood. All single track, with a good flow, a few small climbs, a couple interesting creek crossings, and one very fun rock garden.

Only around 2 miles for the loop, but a good trail to ride loops on. My favorite aspect of this trail is that you do not need to carry any tools, camelback, etc. due to the fact that you are not very far from your car at any point.

Rode a few laps, and quickly realized that I am out of mountain bike shape. Hope to reverse that this year!

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… First Impressions.

First impressions are huge. They are when you decide if you are going to like something or not, in a very quick amount of time. Today was the prime example of that. A bike ride materialized out of nowhere, so the Troll was loaded up and I was racing the sunset. Decided to make the journey to East Fork state park to see if the trails were ride-able, and luckily they were.

This is my first “real” mountain bike ride on the Troll, not just tooling around the local nature preserve. This is single track, and sweet single track it is. Anyway, the Troll performed as it should. It reminds me a lot of my former Haro Mary single speed. I make this comparison only due to the fact that the top tube is stretched a bit, and I am using the same On One Mary handlebars. They are both steel frames, so that plays into the comparisions as well. These similarities make me happy, as the Haro Mary was one of my favorite bikes. Solid, smooth ride characteristics, which is surprising for a rigid frame. The Maxxis Ardents are a big surprise at how well they handle too. They are huge, at 2.6″ wide, but they just lock into the soil and hold your line. I was planning to replace them for summer riding, but I might shelve that idea for the time being. Again though, this is only my first impression, not a long term test. I will probably change my mind in due time.

Things that I will be changing soon: I feel that I need a shorter stem. I am a little too stretched out for my liking, but it is not a deal breaker at the moment. Another change that should happen is my front derailleur. It is the only part out of the build that just does not work too well. It was cheap, and it works, but it will be a cheap and easy fix. Sub par shifting, luckily I am from a single speed background, so the chain stayed in the middle ring for the entire ride.

So not a long ride, but a ride nonetheless. It was nice to be out on the trails again, the only rider in the woods, watching the sun drop below the tree line while soaking up the remaining light on the sweet single track. Can’t wait to be out again…

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… February what?

Perfect weather today for a bike ride with my little lady. Spent the late morning on the T500 pulling the trailer on the Little Miami scenic path. Temperature hovering around 60 degrees on February 1st? Crazy, but I am not complaining.

A few more new pieces on the T500 were put into use today. Not too long ago, I picked up a couple sets of panniers from the local Craigslist. Today, I only used the smaller of the two, and they worked as a pannier should. I think though, that they will be a better fit on a front rack since they are a bit smaller, so I ordered a set of these for that purpose:

Salsa Down Under rack, pic from Salsa’s site.

Also, still relatively new is the Brooks B17 Narrow, which I am really liking so far:

I am really liking how the T500 is coming together. A couple more smaller purchases will make it more complete, and ready to hit the trail for an overnight trip. Pulling weight, and being loaded down, the bike is really stable and comfortable. That is to be expected from a tried and true touring bike. Definitely one of the better cycling purchases that I have made in my lifetime.

Not a long ride today, but it was extremely nice to be out and about. Then, with around two miles to go, I felt the familiar feeling of a rear flat tire. Normally not an issue on the trail, but definitely an issue with a toddler in a trailer and no spare, patch kit, or hand pump and it is lunch time. At least it was nice for a walk. That’s the great thing about cycling though, a small little ride turned into an adventure. That is what it’s all about.

As for an update on the Troll, I have been back-ordered. Supposedly, I will be getting my frame sometime in March. Boo.

Just keep spinning…


Off roading in Dayton…

Last week I spent some time in the Dayton area with my brother in law to hit up a couple different trails. This was the first time that I have been on singletrack in about a year, and thankfully my bro-in-law had an extra bike. First up for us was MoMBA. This is a very interesting trail that winds, twists and turns all over 100 acres or so. Very smooth, very twisty, and very enjoyable. One surprising section called the Hawk’s Lair was very uncharacteristic for Ohio, with lots and lots of rocks. At times it felt you were somewhere else. Very nice to have something a little more technical than usual. We hit every inch of trail, with the exception of the Upper Stealth, which we were okay with not riding it. All in all, around 50 minutes of riding time, around 6 or 7 miles total.

My grade for the trail: B-

Don’t get me wrong, it is a great trail. But is it worth driving to? Not really. Maybe it’s worth it if you ride MoMBA and the next trail…

After MoMBA, we drove the 20 minute drive to Yellow Springs to ride the John Bryan Singletrack. This trail is very smooth. Smooth as in you could probably get away with riding a road bike on it as long as you pick the right lines. Very little elevation change, and twisty and tight. We rode the entire loop which came in at almost 11 miles and around an hour of riding time.

My grade for John Bryan: B-

Another great trail for the area, but not really worth a long drive.

So these two trails get a B-, but when combined together, it makes a great day of riding, and that deserves an A+.