Thursday, November 26, 2009


Where can a bicycle take you?

Well...over the Thanksgiving holiday, it took me all around Florence, Alabama.

A bicycle can take you meandering through urban landmarks.

It can take you through a forested area where golden leaves come raining down.

It can take you riverside for a quiet opportunity for reflection.

A bicycle can take you through rural areas, next to farms, and old barns.

It can take you through small town college campuses.

A bicycle can take you outdoors, down the road, over the bridge, and to your pondering place.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Silent Sunday Seven

Another 3-mile loop tour...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not the Ugliest Part of Texas

The Denton Turkey Roll ride was today, but that is not what this is about. Though invited to the Denton ride, I gave up on it after a busy week and a long list of waiting chores. Unexpectedly, I was able to persuade my sweet bride to shuck the chores for lunch in Muenster.

That means I was able to actually pre-ride the route of the December 19th, First Annual Fall Finale Forty-mile County Path Ramble. This time I used the bicycle, and this time I actually tried the food at the destination point.

The slide show above illustrates some of the highlights. I am actually more excited than ever about the prospects of a successful BABBLE group ride. Before I continue, let me apologize to Paul of Doohickie fame. This post is intended as a helpful resource to those that will be able to attend, not as a torture device for those who are not.

A few lessons learned...

1. My original schedule estimate of 4 hours for the ride was pretty close. I did it slightly faster than that, but with group dynamics, it might be more like 4.5 - 5 hours. I do not mean to imply that I'm faster than you guys, I just know how it is when any group of folks travel together. Stops, for snacks, water, photos, etc., just last longer.

2. Parts of the route might get a little muddy. With the light rain/drizzle overnight, the low spots were a bit wet. I was glad to have my fenders. At first, I was afraid that the fenders would clog with clay and gravel, but that did not happen.

3. Some parts of the route are a little rugged. I say this in the context of using a standard road bike. In my opinion, using anything narrower than a 28mm tire would be less than desirable. Use 32mm or more if you have 'em. There's some washboard, sizable gravel, and pot holes to deal with. It might be wise to bring more than one spare tube and/or a good patch kit.

4. The Rosston store at the approximate midway point is a pretty good spot for a break. They have refreshments and a rest room. If you want a real breakfast, they have that too. In the slide show photo, my bike is leaning up against what I believe to be an authentic hitchin' post. After all, the place has been there since 1879.

5. Bring your climbing legs, boys. I'm not saying it's mountainous. It's not even Austin, but my guess is that the hills are slightly larger and slightly more numerous than what is typical in the DFW area.

6. I think lunch will be pretty good. I had some of the local German sausage, and thought it was tasty. They also have a reasonable salad bar, and the desserts looked fantastic. I didn't have pie today. Next time, I'm saving room for pie. Our waitress, said to ask for her when we come in December and she'll take good care of us.

I had a great time and am looking forward to sharing the next trip up there with friends.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bike Geek Progress Report 3

Brief report to say the project is temporarily on hold.

I've been distracted by this frame/fork on the market. For a variety of reasons, it would be much better suited for my project than the neglected Kogswell. After expressing my interest in this frame, I learned that (sigh...) I'm second in line. If the guy in front of me backs away, I'll elaborate on why I allowed myself this diversion. If not, the matter is moot, and I guess I'll move on with the original plan.

(...unless someone out there has a similar opportunity I should consider)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Silence

Considering my other plans for the day, Sunday morning rides are very short.

But with so many still sleeping, it takes no time to slip into outdoor silence.

With a hint of fog, things have a tint of grey, and there is almost instant escape.

Sunday's sacred silent solitude.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

First Annual Fall Finale Forty-Mile Country Path Ramble

It's on.

The scouting is complete. There is a remote combination of dirt/gravel/semi-paved one- and two-lane roads leading from my house on the prairie all the way to Muenster, Texas.

Depending on what you might call "scenic", some of the route probably is. Some smooth roads, some rough. Some flat lowlands adjacent to creekbeds, some steep sections that climb out of the valley up to windswept ridges where one can see miles in all directions.

Not much in the way of services. There are, however, small farm houses in the middle of nowhere, guarded by big dogs that are more threatened by bicycles than pickup trucks.

There are places that are not much more than quiet.

As of today, the first 3 Saturdays in December are all viable options. I'll be looking for suggestions from the DFW group of Bicycling Authors, Bloggers, Bold-face Liers, & Exaggerators (BABBLE) on which date will work best.

The general plan (subject to refinement) is to depart my place around 8:00, ride roughly 40 miles on rough stuff to Muenster, pause for lunch, and return by pre-parked auto. If there only 2 or 3 of us, we'll use my pickup to drive us back. If there are more participants, I'll need help with the driving logistics.

Bike Geek Progress Report 2

Progress is slow, but most of the new bits and pieces needed for the rebuild have arrived. I think I've decided to take the frame/fork to Mesquite for powder coating, but haven't had a chance to make that trip yet. Maybe next week.

Need to get out to the garage and start cleaning the old parts...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Breakfast on a Bridge

On the way to one of my favorite breakfast stops.

This is my second scouting trip for a mixed terrain ride for BABBLE. I figure if I can string together enough enticing country roads, I might be able to get some of those city boys to come up and join me for a ride.

Where the rubber meets the road.

The idea is to leave my place early on a Saturday morning, ride north and west, and spend a fair amount of time on roads with virtually no traffic. Of course there is also virtually no paving.

Just one guy's picnic basket.

Since this was my second scouting trip this direction, I knew that stopping on this bridge would be a great place for a picnic. I loaded up my front bag with a few goodies, pedaled into a cool and colorful morning, and found the bridge right where I left it...far enough away from civilization to be peaceful.

A nice place to sip coffee and listen to prairie music.

Birds sang over a background of rustling leaves. A single duck paddled around this pool just upstream of the bridge.


On the way home, a saw this oddity. A narrow rock standing on end. I am virtually certain it was not there when I passed by earlier. I did see one pick-up truck on this road. My theory is that the truck hit this rock with just enough force to tip it up to its balancing point.

It was a delightful breakfast on a bridge, and it was also a productive scouting exercise. The route is not fully defined yet, but it's coming along nicely. Those city boys should have a nice time...if'n their tires are fat enough.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bike Geek Progress Report 1

An old, barely functional wheelbarrow was lined with a trash bag. Bit by bit, pieces were removed from the neglected one. They were placed in this temporary nest until they'd be needed again. Some parts will not be used in this project. The pace was snail-like, while picturing the finished product in my mind.

With the exception of the headset press-in parts, the neglected one is now a frame and fork. It is almost time for refinishing. First, the cleaning. Then the selection of a new color. The universe of color options has been screened down to a family, but the one, just right color has not yet been appointed.

While the refinish is underway, and if schedules allow, certain select parts will be cleaned, lubed and made ready to be put back into service. The nature of their service will be new, and I think it will suit them nicely.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Entire Sunrise

morning commute
dark-to-light transition
crisp, autumn sky
rural darkness
horizon burning with color
pastures hidden in black shadows
sun bursting forth
people squinting in the glare
even in shadows
light spills in
darkness had gone to bed

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Winter Project 2009/2010

The neglected one is about to get some attention. It is time for a major make-over. This configuration overlaps too much with the A. Homer Hilsen, and leaves a gaping hole in my array of ride styles.

WARNING - Bike geek inspired progress reports forthcoming.

Sunday Commute

Golden morning glow like faces lit up by a campfire, colors like some earthy kaleidoscope, and quiet like I'm the only one to see it.

When I arrive where brothers and sisters have gathered, I am (more than usual) thankful, humble, and ready to sing.