Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hello From Iowa!

I have been remiss with this blog and have not posted in a long while.  When I started this blog I was working on my MBA and this kind of took a back seat even though I did continue to ride in 2013 and 2014.  While finishing my MBA and working I had a life changing event.

At the end of 2014, I was laid off from my job and ended up out of work for a year.  While this presented more time to ride, I did not do much riding.  I did however complete my MBA in June of 2015.  I graduated with honors and went into full job search mode.  Not able to find anything in my line of work (investments) in the Seattle area, I started to look outside of the area and had more luck getting interest and interviews, particularly in the Midwest.

I found a great job in Dubuque Iowa and moved from Bellevue, WA to Dubuque, IA at the start of 2016 while my family stayed behind.  I did not really have room for bikes, so I did not ride at all.  We found a great historic house with lots of room and I finally have my bikes and shop set up in the basement.  While the weather has been pretty miserable, I have had some time on the stationary bike and now have a trainer set up to get a start for the year.

So this is my official reboot of the blog and I expect to have more posts in the near future as I get back to riding!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bike Forums, 5k's and learning to ride a bike

I have not posted in a while, but plan to be more active going forward.  I have not been riding much this fall, but have been working on getting my Mercian Vincitore set up with a period correct touring setup.  That will be in post in the near future.  Been spending a lot of time on Bike Forums.  Worth checking out if you like the forum scene.

It is really cold in Seattle this week and should be really cold tomorrow.  My 9 year old daughter is running in a 5k with the Girls On The Run program.  They have been running twice a week the last few months and have been building up to this run.  Should be fun.  I will have to post some pics.  She has actually been scared to ride a two wheeler, so since I bought her a bike without training wheels this summer, she has not been riding.  We did a program with REI last weekend and in less than two hours, they had her riding like a pro.  Thanks REI!!  And since it was nasty weather, it ended up being a one on one session.  However, it miraculously did not rain.

Until next time.....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Been a while, need to post more!

I have been a little remiss!  I was going to make it a point to post more, but somehow never get to writing.  I have continued to ride, but have not done many long or interesting rides that deserve a post.  I am working on a couple of bike projects however and though I would post about those.

First, I have decided to convert my old Bridgestone Mountain bike into a touring bike.  When I say touring, I really mean a bike I can take long relaxing rides on.  I don't really have plans for any extended tours and if I do, it will be from hotel to hotel, I am not roughing it in a tent.  Been there, done that, have the merit badges to prove it!!  

I think the Bridgestone will make a good touring bike since it has the relaxed geometry of a mountain bike and does not have any shocks.  I plan to put multi purpose tires on it so it can handle both road and off road, at least fire roads and gravel, no plans for the single track I used to do.  I will also add either a road style drop bars or trekking bars to provide more positions that the current flat bar and to get in a more aerodynamic position.  

This is a trekking style handlebar.
Here is the Novara Safari from REI with trekking bar.
If I get a drop bar, I will need to get new brake levers and some sort of shifter, probably bar end shifters.  Id I go with the safari bar, I should be OK with the current ones, though the shifters may need to be replace anyway.  I also need a new rear wheel as the current one has worn through!  I would probably also put a new cassette on the back with a larger low gear, like 34 or 36 versus the current on at 30 cogs.  The Shimano DX components are durable and classic.

My Mercian Vincitore is another story.  It is already has touring bike geometry, but when I purchased it in about 1994 or 95, It had a mix of components and I upgraded it to all Campagnolo components, however the components are really meant for racing.  I want to use it for touring and would like to build it out to be period correct.  That means most of the components will need to change.  I will probably keep the components for a potential racing bike build.  Found some old Mercian catalogs to get an idea of what components they put on the bikes of my vintage, which is a 1980 model Vincitore.  The plan would be to use this also for longer rides, but mostly on the pavement.  Though I will select tires that are capable of gravel or dirt roads.  Just purchased some Dia Compe 610 centerpull brakes on eBay.
Dia Compe 610 Brakes, classic!!
My Mercian in its current form.
I will keep updating as the builds go along.  When I get the Bridgestone done, I will likely sell the heavy globe comfort bike.  While it has been nice to ride to get back into cycling, not really the nicest bike to ride longer term.
Suggestions and opinions always welcome!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The skies open up...

It's been a while!  I did my big ride (big to me) and just disappear.  Well, I have been riding, but no big rides,  and my spring quarter MBA program was a little more work than I expected, so I took a little hiatus from the blog.  Now that the quarter is done from school and I have the summer off, I plan to ride more and get into longer rides.

My goal is to do a 50 miler in September before I start the fall quarter at Seattle University.  So I plan to continue to ride and build towards the 50 miler.  I plan to ride from Marymoor Park in Redmond, along the Sammamish River Trail to the Burk Gilman Trail and end up at Gasworks Park in Seattle.  That is a little over 25 miles, so they I will ride back.  It is pretty flat and a good ride.  I used to do that ride when I was in college for fun.

So, like I said, I have been riding, but mostly shorter rides around my neighborhood.  There are a couple parks near me and I can take a relatively short ride and still get a workout from the hills and pushing my big body up them!  When I left work today, it was sunny and a lot warmer than I expected.  I got home around 5pm and decided I would do one of my short rides.  The plan was a route that is a little less than two miles, but has a couple nice hills.  I rode to one of the parks and started a long hill, when....   thunder cracked out and the wind hit the woods I was riding in with a wave of sound, wind and rain hitting the trees.  I was not at all prepared for rain, so I found a trail that would get me home a little quicker and, I believe, a little less wet.  I am a fair weathered rider after all.  Don't know where that rain came from all of a sudden, oh well.

I will try to post more, I was a little disappointing weighing myself, I gained a few pounds back (actually 4.5 lbs) of the 17 I had lost.  I will have to pick it up.  I was easy not to ride when I was busy with school, however that is precisely why I should have been riding.  It is a good stress reliever!

Until next time, ride on!!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tour de Cure Ride

Saturday was the big day for my ride for Diabetes, the Tour de Cure.  It was an absolutely glorious day for a ride too.  Sunny, but not too hot, at least at the start of the ride.  The start of the ride was at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA.  Tour had five ride options from 15 to 100 miles in length.  I chose the shortest route, since that would still be the longest I have ridden in at least 15 years.  While the stated route was 15 miles,  it was closer to 17 miles from where the start line was within the park.  The shortest route had the latest start, so I arrived about 20 minutes before the 11am start.

Sign in

I got signed in and turned in my cash donations.  I got my number, 520 and a T-Shirt, next year's will be smaller. ;)

I made my way up to the start line.  Even though we were the last group, they did not spare the pomp and circumstance.  They gave the thank you speech for all out donations, and thanked all the volunteers.  There was a band and they even had a young lady sing the National Anthem.

We are riding to fight diabetes.  Some of those who rode actually have diabetes and were designated "Red Riders".  They got a nice red jersey and got to go to the head of the pack.

Red Riders
The ride started out slowly as there was a pack of riders, but it quickly thinned out and by the time I reached the Sammamish River Trail, I was pretty much riding by myself.  There were a few that I could see the majority of the ride, I was passed by a few and event passed a few myself.  For the most part I kept a pace of about 9-12 mph.  I have to admit I did not stop during the ride to take pictures, so I added some from my previous ride where I rode the majority of the ride route.  So these have been posted on my blog in a prior post.  The weather was just as nice, so they could easily have been taken on the same day...

Just after the eight mile mark, I made it to Wilmot Park, the turn around point.  Had some water and they provided a few snacks that hit the spot.

The first half of the ride felt pretty good.  I thought I had a small headwind, but it must have been a tailwind because there was definitely a nice headwind on the way back.  Of course I also stopped too long, so my legs tightened up.  It was hard to get my momentum going, but I pushed on.  I actually loosened up pretty good and was making decent time, though was going a little bit slower most of the way back.  When I got back to the park, I still had a little over a mile to the finish line and my (new!) rear derailleur fell apart.  The bolt for one of the pulleys came apart and while I think I have all the parts, I could not get it back together in the field, so I walked the last mile to the finish line.  But I did it!

They had a goody bag at the finish line and they put out a pretty good spread of food for the riders.  It was nice.  After getting hydrated and fed, I listened to the music they had playing and watched the festivities.  They honored the riders who raised $1,000 or more, and they honored a five year old who completed the 25 mile route under his own power!!  

It was nice out, but did not seem terribly hot when I left home, so, of course, I did not put on any sun screen.  I was bright red on my forearms and neck, but I will recover to ride another day!!  It was a good day and I was happy I made it.  I know the distance does not seem like a lot, but I am still building back up.  I hope to ride a 50 miler by the end of the summer, my next goal...

I capped the day by taking my wife to see The Great Gatsby for Mother's Day.  A good flick.  And if you have an iPic theater nearby, I highly recommend it!  21 and over only, they serve alcohol that you can take to your seat, and plush leather chairs.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Been a while...

I have not written in a while.  I am back at the MBA program after taking the winter quarter off and its been a little hectic for me.  I have been riding some, but mostly shorter rides in the neighbor hood and and around town.  So I really have not had any rides that I felt were too interesting to write about.  Next weekend I will ride the Tour de Cure for Diabetes, so I will definitely do a write up after that.  I will be doing the shortest route, which is 15 miles, but I hope to build up to 50 miles by this fall.  My plan is to ride every day don't have class, even if it is for just a little ride from my house.  Something to keep my legs moving, burn some fat hopefully, and give me some time to reflect on my day.  I'll throw in some longer rides on the weekend.

So far, I have enjoyed the experience and have learned a few things.  One, I really don't like the comfort bike I purchased.  It's main advantage is its upright position and the fact that it is getting me riding, but I have realized a few things.  I like to get up out of the saddle to climb hills.  The way the comfort bike is design, you really cannot do that.  Grinding up a hill while seated is a pleasant experience.  I have ridden my son's mountain bike and like that better.  I may rid it more or get my old Bridgestone up and running.  The second thing I found I don't like is are shocks.  Really, I don't think you need shocks for road riding ever, but I just don't like them.  Now, I realize it may be partly due to my weight.  If I was at my goal weight, which is about 75 pounds lighter than I am now, then maybe I would enjoy shocks better.  Or maybe better quality shocks??  I don't like the ones on my comfort bike or my son's mountain bike.  Again, I will have to get my Bridgestone up and running, since it has no shocks and always worked well for me.  Unfortunately the rear rim is beyond worn out, so  I need to replace it.  I can do a lot of my own work on bikes, but building wheels is not one of them.

After I lose another 25 pounds, I may try my trusty old Mercian touring bike.  I just don't want it to break underneath me.  I also need to add a stem that raises up higher.  It has the opposite issue from my comfort bike, as it is set up like a racing bike.  The handle bars are several inches below the seat.  I think one to two inches above the seat will get me into a better riding position.  The other issue is it has skinny tires, and since I have narrow Campagnolo rims, it is not just a matter of getting larger diameter tires.  I do have another set of 27 inch wheels without a bike.  I may take it apart and have a local shop build up my vintage Campy hubs with some nice rims that can take a 35-38mm tire.  That will add a little bit of extra comfort.  Maybe a triple crank as well...

Well I am just babbling now.  Until next time, keep pedaling!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sammamish River Trail Ride

When I was younger and cycling all the time, I frequented the Sammamish River Trail ride.  If I remember correctly, it was about 9 miles to from start to finish leaving from Marymoor Park in Redmond to the trail end in Woodinville, WA.  It was a nice ride, 18 miles out and back following the Sammamish River through the valley, passing the Chateau St. Michelle Winery.  If you wanted to ride further, you could head west/north west and find the Burke-Gilman Trail that takes you from Bothell, WA, around the north end of Lake Washington to the University of Washingon and beyond.  I would either ride from Marymoor out and back whatever distance I chose, or on occasion, I would ride from my house in Bellevue to Marymoor, catch the trail and ride around the north end of the lake, crossing Lake Washington on the Interstate 90 floating bridge and back home.  Nowadays, I believe the Sammamish River Trail and Burke-Gilman trail are connected  so you can stay on the trail all the way to the end of the Burke-Gilman near Gasworks Park in Seattle.  The Sammamish River Trail has been fixed so that you no longer have to cross any streets like you did when I used to ride it in my youth.

Yesterday was a glorious day, so I thought I would take a break from taxes and go for a ride.  I will be doing my ride for The Tour de Cure (raising money for diabetes) in a little less than a month on the Sammamish River Trail, so I though it would be good to see the ride.  I did not go the whole distance, but did get in a nice ride.  I rode the Globe 3, which performed well, though I need to adjust the rear derailleur a little bit I thinks.

Bridge Crossing

The trail now connects to other trails along the route.  They have even added some new trail bridges.

Bridge to another riding/walking trail.

I took a leisurely pace.  This was in part because I am out of shape, also because I just wanted to do a nice leisurely ride to take my mind off of things and enjoy myself.  I found myself passing the 60 Acres soccer fields and stopped to take a look.  I saw some people flying model airplanes at the field as it is no soccer season.  I owned an R/C model airplane business for about four years and I used to fly on occasion at this field.

60 Acres

I turned around a little short of the 5 mile mark, so I did not go for a long ride.

I stopped for a drink and turned back here.

On my way back, I was being followed by another rider who who was staying at my pace.  It was fine, but everyone passing me kept saying, "look at that dog".  I scooted on a little bit ahead and stopped to get a peak and a picture.  This gentleman has converted a plastic bike trailer into a sidecar and instead of a child, his dog was riding along.  He passed before I could get my camera ready, so the only shot I got was from behind.

Dog in a side car!!

The train trestle in the above picture is also being converted into a trail.  I remember riding under a moving train in the past.

Now there is a Subway in the park, so you can get a sandwich after your ride!  We were planning a spaghetti dinner, so I did not partake.  I did not want to ruin my appetite!  It was a fun ride.  I also used the Strava Cycling app to track my ride.  Came out pretty close to my computer info, so I will have to continue to use it.