Archive for May 2011

Held Hostage

May 24, 2011

That's not me, by the way.....

Way back in February, I was busy trying to decide between options for my annual summertime bike trip.

Unfortunately, nothing has been decided yet, and it’s nearly June.  The registration for one option is long gone.  One ride takes place in just three weeks.  I’m getting concerned that I may not get to do anything, and it’s not of my own doing.  Sometimes, you’ve just got to be responsible, and that’s what’s holding me back.  I hate it when that happens….

You see, my dad is facing significant surgery, but we don’t know exactly what it will entail or when it will occur.  We’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment here in town on 6/1, followed by an overnight visit and pr0cedure in St. Louis on 6/8.  After that St. Louis visit, we should finally have figured out what the options are and when and where they can be performed.  Until then, I’m just hanging in limbo as far as any bike trips are concerned.

Dang it all, anyway….

God bless…


Inaugural Ride

May 23, 2011

At long last, Mike got his new bike!  It’s pretty cool, all decked out in blue.   It’s a Kona Kahu, and is actually an older new stock frame that he had built up.  Weight about 18 lbs, so he’s gonna be mighty fast on that thing.

new bike

He joined us Saturday morning for it’s inaugural ride.  We rode from Elwood out to Ash Grove, and back.


The ride out there was an absolute blast.  The low point on the ride is Ash Grove, so the first leg is usually deceivingly easy, especially if there is a south wind.  We had that today, and pretty much flew across the prairie-like landscape, arriving in Ash Grove with an 18.5 mph average speed.

We made our usual C-store stop, and while we were there, ran into an old friend from our Evergreen Church days.  Gary C. is a cop in Ash Grove, and he stopped to visit with us a few minutes before he and we went our separate ways.

As we were resting, I took an opportunity to give that bike a good look.  It is a lugged steel frame, and it’s white lugs are quite striking.


As we headed out of town on Piper Road, I joked that it was time to “pay the piper”.  I couldn’t resist it, but was pretty serious, as it didn’t take long at all to realize we were going to have to work a little harder on the way back to the truck.

As we started for home, we came upon a farm house where a couple of little kids were having a “garage sale”, complete with ice cold water.  We couldn’t resist stopping to buy a couple of bottles.  They were pretty cute, and got a big kick out of us stopping.  We were their first (and possibly only) customers!

water stop

One thing that was kind of odd about today was the number of dog chases we had.  I’ll bet Pam had to get our trusty dog repellant out 8 or 9 times.  Nothing got close enough to be serious, but I’m sure curious about why there were so many chases today.

The roads are laid out on a mostly square grid in that area, so it’s pretty easy to find your way back even though you may not always know where you are.  Just keep turning left, and then turn right and keep going until you hit farm road 124, which will take you back to Elwood.  That’s what we did, but we rode past 124 and I didn’t catch it until I looked at my computer and realized we were far enough that we should be on the final eastbound leg.  Luckily, I caught it before we had gone too far out of our way.

prairie like

Both Pam and I really enjoy riding out there.  It is so quiet and peaceful.  If you can catch it without any wind, that makes it even better.  Today, there was a lot of spiderwort blooming in the ditches, and later in the year, they will be full of daisies.

We made it back to the truck with exactly 31 miles on the bike, and just a touch of sunburn on our arms.  We screwed up and forgot the sunscreen because it was still pretty cloudy when we left the house, and we were both wearing sleeves.  They didn’t last long, and it’s probably a good thing we didn’t ride any longer than we did.

Here’s a link to the GPS track.  We rode a total of 31 miles, then when we got home, we rewarded ourselves.  After Pam snapped this pic, she joined me for a quick nap!

God bless…


Bike to Work Week recap

May 20, 2011

Well, by the time we get home tonight, we should be just about to turn over 100 miles on the tandem for the week.  As I write this at lunchtime, the bike is parked outside under a tree with it’s makeshift rain gear on (I had to beg the bags from a co-worker).  We’re sure hoping this band of rain clears through before quitting time because my sweetie is made of sugar and is likely to melt if we have to ride home in the rain.

With the exception of yesterday’s flat, it’s been a good week.  I guess I should have gone ahead and put those new tires on when I got them instead of trying to milk all the mileage I could out of the old ones.  Oh well, they’re installed now, and I’ve placed an order for a new supply of tubes.  I’m down to two that are shared between the three bikes, so it’s time.  

I’ve sure enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with Pam, and I hope she feels the same.  I do know, however, we’re both getting tired.  For her, she’s added 100 miles of commuting to the normal workouts she does, and on two of those days, she basically substituted my weightlifting routines for hers.  For me, riding the tandem is always more work than a single bike.  You use a lot more upper body strength than you would think.

In addition, we’ve ridden the big bike very few miles since I had surgery last August.  The weather and life just haven’t cooperated to give us the opportunities.  Because of that, our tandeming skills are pretty rusty, and the first couple of days involved a lot of “mistakes” on the parts of both the captain and the stoker.  We’re getting smoother, however, and this morning’s trip in was pretty fun. 

We ran 4.6 miles before climbing on the bike, so I was concerned our legs would be pretty beat up.  Fortunately, the wind was in our favor (or at least not against us).  We did see Ed, so I stopped and introduced Pam to him.  He seemed to get a kick out of seeing us on the big bike.

Hope your week has been as good as ours!

God bless…


When it rains…

May 19, 2011

Wait a minute!  Why in the world am I pushing the tandem down the street in that picture? 

Yep, you guessed it.  Flat tire.  You can sorta’ see it on the front.

We got to within a block of Pam’s office this morning when we had a flat on the front tire of the tandem.  Rather than fixing it, Pam walked one block to work in one direction, and I pushed the bike a block in the other direction to my office.

We had a nice little storm roll through early this morning, and most of the roads were still pretty wet when we came in.  That’s the one condition I’ve found to contribute to more flats than any other.  I think when it’s wet, rocks and other debris tends to stick to the tire, where it is eventually ground into the tube.  At least that’s what I expected to find when I pulled the tire off out on the office patio. 

Boy, was I surprised when I discovered this:

That’s a honkin’ big slice in the tire.  That tire is toast (actually, it already had similar cut, but not quite as big that’s patched with a piece of duct tape on the inside of the tire).  Luckily, I’ve got new tires at home waiting to be installed on that bike.  I used a dollar bill to boot this one, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that we can make it home on our last remaining tube.

Why are you riding in the street?

May 18, 2011

As Pam and I were heading home from work the other night, we were stopped on Kimbrough waiting for the light to cross Chestnut.  We heard a voice calling out to us, “Why are you riding on the street?”.  When we looked over, we saw that a high school aged youth on a BMX bike was stopped on the sidewalk looking at us.

Pam tried to explain to him that not only was it safer to ride in the street, but in most cases, it was illegal to ride on the sidewalk.  She wasn’t able to convince him.  Eventually, he took off, crossing Chestnut against the light by threading his way through gaps in traffic while we waited for the light to turn.

As we approached the MLK Bridge, we noticed him come off the sidewalk and take to the street in front of us where his sidewalk ended and the bridge began.  I could tell he was setting up for a race across the bridge with us, and at that point, I felt the afterburners kick in from the stoker’s position.  We started about a half block behind him, but by the time we were a third of the way across the bridge, we flew by him and didn’t look back.

As we passed him, we heard a loud, “Holy cow!” as we continued on our way.

God bless…



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