Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ride Indicator

 This is my ride indicator.  If I know where my ride will take me, this gives me fair notice where it may get difficult...or be a breeze.  I must confess.  I try to start the ride as much as possible into the wind and glide on home.  This ride had me starting out 3 miles into the teeth, then a little sideways action and some behind the back action and some more sideways.  It's all good! 

 I have been spending time on these wheels as of late.  It's not fancy, but I like it.

It was windy enough to drop some limbs.

Lets get outdoors and have some FUN!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Great Ride

 Sunday I ventured over to Hayward, WI to ride with fellow blogger Biking Barb (linked here) and her husband Mike. We rode 18 plus miles, had 585ft of elevation gain, averaged 12.2 with a ride time of 1 hour 30 minutes, and I had a max of 26.3mph.  But all the stats are BS.  It was the company that made it a great ride.  I had a wonderful time.  We leisurely rode along through mostly low traffic roads alongside of anything from farms to lakes.  The lakes we went by that I am aware of were Williams, Murray, Adina, Petty, Spring, Lake Hayward and many other little pothole lakes.  I learned some about Alaska as they lived there for I think about 36 years and I look forward to learning more.  I took no pictures on the ride, but we are hoping to get together for some gravel riding. I therefore explored some gravel today, but the roads I was on today may need to dry up a little.  They are ride-able, but one needs to get the shoes dirty now and again.  

I saw this little Porcupine today.  

I got close to him in as you can see in the first picture, but after threatening me with his quills, he scurried away and up the tree. Although I wasn't going to hurt him, or eat him, he didn't want anything to do with me.

Water over Colton Dam.

Lets get outside and have some Fun!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fixed Gear

My family and others have ask "Why ride the fixed gear."  Seeing how my winter riding has come to close...I hope...I thought I would explain my reason for riding the fixed gear.   I will just touch a little bit of how they work and then let the Godfather of bicycles (rest his soul) tell you more below.  The fixed gear has a simple sprocket that is threaded on to the hub of the rear wheel.  It does not have the ability to coast.  I reason it to a tricycle. The tricycle we had as kids, the front wheel was turned by the pedals directly connected to the wheel.  In the fixed gear case, if the rear wheel is turning the pedals are also turning because of the sprocket in the rear does not have the ability to free wheel.  Coast that is.  So no coasting.   My number one personal reason is, I enjoy the simpleness of it.  It's not to be cool or hipster.  It's also a convenience.  In the winter there are not derailleurs to get rusted up and such.  My friend Eric, which by way now has a blog linked here, introduced me to the fixed gear and I haven't looked back.  I like riding it winter and summer. 
The threaded sprocket

The following from Sheldon Brown's site.

I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five.
Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer?
We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!

--Henri Desgrange, L'Équipe article of 1902

What is a Fixed-Gear Bicycle, and Why Would You Want One?

T fixed gear bicycle he oldest and simplest type of bicycle is the "fixed-gear" bicycle. This is a single-speed bike without a freewheel: that is, whenever the bike is in motion, the pedals will go around. You cannot coast on a fixed-gear machine.

M track bicycle any enthusiastic cyclists ride such bicycles by choice, at least part of the time. Why would anybody do that? It is not easy to put into words. There is an almost mystical connection between a fixed-gear cyclist and bicycle: it feels like an extension of your body to a greater extent than does a freewheel equipped machine. If you are an enthusiastic, vigorous cyclist, you really should give it a try.
There are many reasons, including: Fun, Fitness, Form, Feel & 'Ficciency!

Fixed for Fun

I fixed wheel bicycle t takes a bit of practice to become comfortable on a fixed gear. Most cyclists, trying it for the first time, will automatically try to coast once the bike gets up to a certain speed. The bike will not allow this, and it is disconcerting. It takes a couple of weeks of regular riding to unlearn the impulse to coast, and become at ease on a fixed gear.
It is worth going through this learning experience, however, because once you do so, you will discover a new joy in cycling. When you ride a fixed gear, you feel a closer communion with your bike and with the road. There is a purity and simplicity to the fixed-gear bicycle that can be quite seductive. Somehow, once you get past the unfamiliarity, it is just more fun than riding a bike with gears and a freewheel! 

Fixed for Fitness and Form

R fixed gear bike iding a fixed gear on the road is excellent exercise. When you need to climb, you don't need to think about when to change gears, because you don't have that option. Instead, you know that you must just stand up and pedal, even though the gear is too high for maximum climbing efficiency. This makes you stronger.
If you have the option of gearing down and taking a hill at a slow pace, it is easy to yield to the temptation. When you ride a fixed gear, the need to push hard to get up the hills forces you to ride at a higher intensity than you otherwise might. Really steep hills may make you get off and walk, but the hills you are able to climb, you will climb substantially faster than you would on a geared bicycle.
When you descend, you can't coast, but the gear is too low. This forces you to pedal at a faster cadence than you would choose on a multi-speed bicycle. High-cadence pedaling improves the suppleness of your legs. High rpm's force you to learn to pedal in a smooth manner -- if you don't, you will bounce up and down in the saddle.
Most cyclists coast far too much. Riding a fixed-gear bike will break this pernicious habit. Coasting breaks up your rhythm and allows your legs to stiffen up. Keeping your legs in motion keeps the muscles supple, and promotes good circulation.

Fixed for Feel

A track bike fixed gear gives you a very direct feel for traction conditions on slippery surfaces. This makes a fixed gear particularly suitable for riding in rainy or icy conditions.
This same feel for traction will help you learn exactly how hard you can apply your front brake without quite lifting the rear off the ground. Most fixed-gear riders only use a front brake--a rear brake is quite unnecessary on a fixed-gear machine.
Because you are more solidly connected to the bike, you have better control of it in bumpy conditions or in difficult corners.
On any road bike, the rider must learn to un-weight the saddle to ride over bumps. Most cyclists coast to do this. A fixed-gear rider will learn to "post" over bumps without breaking stride.

Fixed for (e)Fficiency

A fixed wheel fixed-gear bike is considerably lighter than a multi-speed bike of comparable quality, due to the absence of the rear brake, derailers, shift levers, and extra sprockets. A fixed-gear bike also has a substantially shorter chain.
A properly set-up fixed gear has a perfectly straight chainline. This, plus the absence of derailer pulleys, makes a real improvement in the drive-train efficiency, an improvement you can feel.

Back to rlove2bike.  I am sure there are people who agree or disagree (like anything else) with these simple be it.

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

PS...Sure was nice talking to these folks last night.  I look forward to getting out for a ride with them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Fever

 Spring is just around the corner...I hope.  It was 65 Sunday which is way too nice to stay indoors.

 The lovely Mrs to the rescue.  Guess what was still on the kitchen table while I was miles down the road.

 A south facing sand bank catching some rays.

 We still have a lot of snow.  A friend of mine on facebook keeps commenting on how anxious he for the golf season to start.  It may be a while yet as evidenced below.

 Behind that Oak tree is the number one green.

 One of our local town fire departments.

 It was windy on this ride and I planned it so that the ride home would be with the wind at my back.  Good plan!! There are a lot of these puddles on the roads around here as the snow melts. 

 An opening to one of the local lakes.

 I did not have any snow covered roads on this ride, which was a good thing as  I swapped out the studded tires on the fixed gear back to the cross tires. I am still riding the fixed because of all the sand and crud left on the roads.  On some of the hills, corners and at intersections our local township road crews put down sand when the roads are snow covered to provide traction. A good rain will help clean them up.

Thanks for reading

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Jerry was a fine man!!

 This a landmark of my hometown.  For those that do not know, it is a fire tower.  During times when the forest fire danger is present, these towers are manned to keep a look out for smoke.  Through triangulation with other towers they pin point where they spot smoke.  They then know where to dispatch personnel.  I do not know about now, but they used to have a guest book there.  I was and probably still am the youngest visitor on record.  I was to the top of the tower, which is just short of 100ft tall, when I was about 1 year old.  My uncle Jerry who passed away this last Saturday was responsible for the first time my name appeared in that book.  We say goodbye to him today.  He was a great person.  I will not go into the many stories, some humorous, but I will tell you this.  Everything from the pet monkey our family had to the Raven he had trained to fly in, land on him and eat from his hand, to the carrier pigeons he used, the pet skunk and many more unusal critters he had around...which is all really cool...but it is something he said many years ago that profoundly changed my life to the better.  I feel lucky that we have that together and I was able to convey that to him.  Thanks to Uncle Jerry!!

RIP Uncle Jerry.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another great day!!

 I was too nice today to not get outside. The temp was right around +55F with the sun shining and the snow melting.
 Leaving tracks where I could reminded me of my youth.  We didn't ride in the winter back then and I remember every spring my friends and I getting the bikes out and leaving tracks.

 I stopped for a snack on top of this little hill.  With the leaves gone I could count 5 lakes from this hill. 

 This is the main street of my hometown...Gordon, WI.  Not very busy today. :-)

 This is one of the hangouts we had as children.  This is the St.Croix River.  A short distance upstream from here the Eau Claire River dumps in.  Gordon originated because of these two rivers meeting meant it was an ideal place for a trading post.

 Highway Y heading west of town.

Highway Y is a dead end Douglas County Highway, although there are turnoffs.  It runs along the St.Croix river and the St.Croix Flowage.  It ends 7 miles out at (get ready for it) 7 Mile Dam.

Thanks for reading
Let's get outdoors and have some fun!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012


 I have been out riding the fixed gear...still my winter ride.  Even with the recent dumping of snow we received, about 12" of heavy wet stuff, the roads are already clearing up nicely.  They still have a lot of sand on them and some slush spots, so the fixed gear it is.

 The above is the incentive for riding outdoors.  I haven't bought energy bars for a long time.  These are the replacements.  They are the CAD's famous home brew energy bars, aka peanut butter balls.  I may have gotten that wrong...peanut butter balls by the famous CAD may be more accurate.  If I don't ride outdoors, I go to the dreaded workout room and these energy beauties are only used for the outdoor stuff.

 The temperature read 47.6 when I left the house, but that did not stop the sled heads from getting out and enjoying the new snow.  That is because we have had a very mild winter thus far and they have been chomping at the bit to get snowmobiling.  On good days during the winter this bar has hundreds of snowmobiles.  I heard a rumor a couple weeks ago they had 4 all year.  This snow will make the owners of this establishment happy also. 

 It was great riding today. 

 I am enjoying being able to ride these quiet rolling roads during the early afternoon.  Nice!!

 The home base is only a about a mile through this trail.
It's 3 miles this way...I will take the road.

Thanks for reading!!
Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!!