Friday, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Carradice Tidyness

Inspired by a blog buddy, I finally took steps to tidy-up the saddlebag.  My relatively weighty tool roll tended to end up at the bottom center of my bag, causing a distorting sag and a bit of sway during standing climbs.  It was oddly always in the way while trying to access things that are used more frequently.  Remembering that I saw Bike Tinker attach his minipump to his bag's support bar, I grabbed a toe strap and cinched it up.  Tidy, stable, and out of the way.  So far so good.

Now I need to give some thought to the sometimes rattle-y handlebar bag.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fourth Annual Fall Finale Forty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble

Mark your calendars.  This year's edition of the Ramble is scheduled for Saturday, December 15.  I'll have more details later, but let's get this thing on the calendar.

Today was route reconn day.  For a variety of reasons, I have a notion to change the route this year.  One of the main reasons is that I don't have confidence that the Rosston Store will be (or is) still in business.  There are also other reasons.

I've got a great alternate route that has a few more paved sections, takes in the fabulous Greenwood Grocery and Grill, and is actually a little closer to 50 miles than it is to 40.  

Straying from the traditional route tugs at my heart a little, but I think you folks that have done this ride before will enjoy some new roads.

Due to heavy rain and lightning, I spent more time in Greenwood than I usually do.  The wonderful smell of frying bacon inside tempted me to linger with coffee and a second breakfast, but when the noisy stuff went away, I pedaled out into the rain.  It was a soggy couple of hours before I rode into the sunshine only to find not a drop fell at my house.

Oh well.

At least we can begin planning the Ramble...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

San Gabriel River Trail

I was amazed at my good fortune.  An early morning rain, followed by overcast skies and temps in the 70s here during August in Texas.  And I had actually planned a morning ride following a long day out of town.  Wow.  Sometimes we get lucky.  I followed the switchbacks shown in the upper left of the photo down to another world.

I had noticed that something worth investigating was down there under this IH-35 bridge, along the San Gabriel River in Georgetown, Texas.  I have driven across it countless times in my business travels across the state.  I discovered that there is more than I had imagined, and it is a perfect get-away for my business trips to the Austin area.

Some of the trail is paved, and some of the trail is a dirt or crushed stone surface.  The changes in grade, coupled with lots of twists and turns, make for lots visual and bike handling interest even at slow speeds.

The deer were prolific and fearless.  I thought I was at a petting zoo.

The ever-changing landscape included forest, open grass land, low swampy areas, and rock walls

The trail primarily follows along the San Gabriel River downstream of Lake Georgetown.  It steps down with a series of pools and riffles along with a few small dams.

Here is the downstream side of the Lake Georgetown dam.  There's a big wall of water behind that rock covered embankment.

I thought that any boys growing up within bicycle distance of this trail probably have a great opportunity to stimulate their outdoor imagination for all kinds of adventures...assuming boys still do that.

The simple Quickbeam is light and easy to stuff in the truck for business travel.  It seems just right for short little side trips away from the office when I can't be in Denton County.

If I had more time for sitting, I could have paused here and pondered the beauty of God's creation for a while.

This spot was lovely, has the convenience of the bench, and that delightful "babbling brook" sound as evident in this short video.

One of the parks along the trail had a healthy population of ducks and geese.

Another park had this awesome sculpture, who seemed happy to guard my bike as I took a look around.  I didn't get to see the entire trail this time, but I plan to come back and explore the rest.

As I've said before, it doesn't always work out this well.  But this is why I toss the bike in the truck.  Sometimes it does.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Enough Excitement

After this tranquil moment at the park, the ride became more eventful.  A puncture in the middle of a long bridge, fenders filled with mud to the point of no wheels turning, and a torqued wrist during a slow speed fall when I rolled into a softer-than-anticipated shoulder.  Okay, that was interesting.  Can I have boring back now?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Simplicity Revisited

It's been a steady (and delightful) diet of rando bike this summer, but I've been missing the QB.  It was out of commission due to certain part swaps needed for the MAP build.  Finally, wider tires, new brakes, and new cables were added, and it rolls again.  It is fun to grab a completely different feeling bike simply for the sake of variety.  It's fundamental.

Simplicity revisited.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Unlike my friends in other locales, I don't see many stone walls during my wanderings.  It seemed good to stop a moment and ponder.

The one who placed the first stone instructs us in the virtues of vision, patience, and hard work.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

MO Trip 4/4

After reversing my prior days ride and returning to Springfield, I knew I'd need some food before starting my long trip back home.  GravelDoc had recommended visiting the downtown area, and mentioned that there'd be one of his favorite bike shops and food options.  So I packed up my things and drove from the trailhead toward downtown.

One the way, I spotted this curiosity.  At first, I thought I'd found another bike shop, but there are signs clearly stating "Bikes are not for sale".

It appears that someone simply fenced their driveway and yard with bicycles.  Why didn't I think of that?

I did find Queen City Cycles and also found that they had some nice vintage bikes on display.  I needed a new pair of gloves to replace some that were worn out.  So I browsed a little, made my purchase, and headed for brunch.

Just up the road, I found a hopping breakfast place.  I was seated in a booth that allowed a watchful eye over my bicycle locked up outside.  It's not often you'll see my bike downtown with a lock on it.  Yeah, I know the lock is supposed to go through at least one wheel.  Sometimes I flirt with danger.

Filled and content, I aimed the truck back toward the more mundane and pushed a different kind of pedal forward.

Friday, August 10, 2012

MO Trip 3/4

It was probably the easiest possible credit card tour practice run. The idea was to pack only what was needed to ride the Frisco Highline Trail from Springfield, Mo to Bolivar, MO, spend the night in a hotel, and ride back the next day.  Buying food along the route, and sleeping in a hotel is certainly more expensive, but it offers the ability to travel light, and comfortable, restful accommodations.  For my practice run, I didn't have too far to go, the route was easy to follow, provisions were easily obtained, and I was under no time pressure.  I even had a arrangements for company during the evening meal.  What could be easier?

 The beginning of the trail in Springfield.

 It begins paved and smooth.  There were numerous locals out riding, running, or walking in the pleasant early morning.

 Eye-catching decoration along the trail.  This was at a bike storage place near Willard, MO, if I recall correctly.

 We don't have this kind of "bicycle infrastructure" in Sanger, Texas.

 The trail looks like this as it crosses through small towns along the way.

 Art meets art.  I had to wonder how many photos have been taken of someone's bicycle leaning against this wall.

After about 8 miles, the pavement ended and the more urban "exercise trail" feeling was transformed into more of a country path feeling.  Works for me. 

 The trail is mostly surrounded by trees, but openings occur periodically offering views of the rolling countryside.  Since I live on the prairie, I enjoyed the trees (and the shade they provide), but a change of view was refreshing from time to time.

 This tiny guy could have fit in the bottom of my water bottle, but he seemed to have no fear.  He stood his ground in the middle of the trail and glared at me while I stopped to take photos, and never retreated to his shell.  Just gave me that eye until I pedaled away...cracked me up.

The look of this old time storefront caught my eye, but I was wishing it was on the other side of the the shade. 

Walnut Grove, Mo.  An interesting small town diversion for provisions. 

 Large radius bends through the trees.  The shade cover made a hot August excursion quite bearable.

 Interesting structures along the way.  The light coming through the siding caught my eye.

 Rural charm.

 Bridge over the Little Sac River.  I spent a little time here exploring the sights.

 One side of the bridge...

 ...and the other.

 Just another bike-leaning-against-bridge-rail photo.

 By the time I was this far along, it was getting warm out.  I was grateful for the shady spots along the way.

 I  find the stone bridge bents visually interesting.  I guess its the texture.

Another one of those side views. 

 And a view from one of the bridges that doesn't cross a waterway.

 As one approaches Bolivar, pavement returns to the trail.

 I think I liked the composition of the tree, the reddish gate, and the small grove of trees in the background.

The Bolivar trailhead.

Once in Bolivar, I cruised around downtown, found a good Mexican food restaurant, cruised around town some more, found ice cream, and then rode to the hotel.  I was able to check-in just barely before the outside temperature hit triple digits.  Frequent friendly commenter to this blog, GravelDoc, met me at the hotel and drove me to dinner.  Italian food and talking bicycles makes for a pleasant meal.  After dinner, he gave me a thorough tour of Bolivar in the comfort of his air conditioned vehicle.  I wish GravelDoc was my next door neighbor.  He's that kind of guy.

I have done several S24Os that included enough gear to luxuriously camp and cook outdoors.  The S24Os focus on enjoying the being at a place.  Many more of those are anticipated, but I also have an interest in doing a multi-day credit card tour.  The credit card tour provides a different experience that emphasizes pedaling and seeing more places.  Now that I have successfully completed a credit card tour over-nighter (and thoroughly enjoyed it), it is time to plan a 3-day, 2-night loop from/to my front door.  Perhaps this fall or winter...