After taking a break from my blog for a bit, and a break from cycling, today was the day to get out and about for a quick ride through Indian Hill. I have been contemplating as to what to do with this site, but interrupted that thought process for a much needed mind clearing, and leg burning ride. It was exactly what I needed…
Just keep spinning…
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…
From day one, my plan for the Troll has been to utilize it’s versatility. Mountain biking, commuting, grocery runs, trailer pulling, all in one machine. Another aspect that it is fully capable for is bikepacking. Essentially, backpacking on a bicycle. Sounds good to me.
Last week for a night ride, I had the chance to try out the Troll with racks. Using an old rack and panniers that I had laying around, I had the chance to ride it loaded to see how everything worked. All worked together nicely, but it was not as functional as I would like. The front panniers and Salsa rack worked superbly, but the rear rack was lacking. My big issue was that using the connected style rear panniers (ex. saddlebag) I could not use the platform of the rear rack to lash anything down. That is what I call wasted space, and I do not have time for that. So, rear rack and bags are now back on the T500. Way more functional for that bike.
After the rear rack was removed, I found my old Specialized seat bag. Not as elaborate as a Relevate Designs seatbag, but it does expand more than shown in the photo. I think with this setup, strap my tent and sleeping pad to the top tube, and maybe add a small lumber pack, and I should be good to go for a quick overnight trip. Now with the weather acting like summer, this needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Just keep spinning…
This past year I have really gotten into photography, and it didn’t hurt that I bought a new camera either. Here are my favorite shots from this past year or so. Some of these I have posted here before, some on Flickr, some not at all. These are just my favorites that I have taken this year. Keep in mind while viewing, I still have lots to learn about photography. I hope to keep learning and improve. Enjoy!
First ride on the Xtracycle.
Upper Falls at Hocking Hills state park.
Hocking Hills state park.
Lower Falls at Hocking Hills state park.
Rim Trail at Conckle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve.
Inside Conckle’s Hollow.
Waiting for Disney’s Electric Parade.
Sunset at Mohican State Park.
My daughter on her tricycle.
Cali moving the ball with her mind.
Big Red on a night ride.
Eagle statue at Eden Park.
Valley View Nature Preserve.
On the trail.
Sycamores and blue skies.
T500 avoiding the rain.
Troll ready to be blasted.
I should point out that there are three different cameras in use for these pictures. This year I used my old Olympus FE-20, an HTC Evo phone, and my Sony Nex-3. I am really loving the Sony, and in my relative newness to photography, it is funny to me that I have already found it’s limits. Granted, it was a HUGE upgrade from the Olympus, but I am already thinking of another camera in the near future. Just like bikes, the proper number of cameras in N+1. If you have any comments, or helpful tips, please leave them in the comments section below!
Just keep spinning…
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…
So the new parts are starting to come in for the upcoming build. Every time that I order something online it is like Christmas morning when it arrives. Such a good feeling, thanks postman!
The past couple days have brought in a couple important pieces. First up was my Chris King headset from eBay. Apart from the faded finish, and some unexpected “hidden” shipping costs from the seller, it was still a great deal. eBay is a gamble sometimes, for example, when an item is listed as “Like new, excellent condition!” you would not expect fading right? Neither did I. Like I said though, it is in great shape still, and was a great deal, just a tiny hassle. Buyer beware I suppose.
Next up came two different packages. One carried my new Brooks B17 Narrow saddle. After lathering it up with some Brooks Proofhide last night, I took a 10 mile or so spin on it today with the T500. Right out of the box, I was quite surprised at how nice the Brooks fit me. Maybe it is due to me riding a little stiffer of a saddle as of late, but the Brooks was not at all terrible. If I am liking it now, I cannot imagine how comfy it will be once broken in.
The last package was one of the most important for a bicycle, tires. Those came in the form of two Maxxis Ardent 26×2.6″ beasts. After installing them on my Sun Ringle Singletrack rims, I would guess that they do not measure out to 2.6″ wide, but they are big nonetheless. Not a bad tread pattern as well:
I am planning on running these front and rear for MTB duties, but I do have the thoughts of putting a Maxxis Minion DHF 26×2.7″ tire on the front. The Troll has big tire clearance, why not use it all up? I think with either of those setups it will make a nice “fatbike lite.” This is probably a bad road to start down though, because it only ends at this:
Photo from Surly’s site.
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?