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7th May 2010

9:27pm: It's on
Ride is on for tomorrow. Chance of rain, but it is small and conditions should be ok with a few drops. It's an adventure! If you are running late, you can try to catch us at Daniels bar on route 1.

http://more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=18313

10th January 2010

7:30pm: No Coasting into 2010
Old Man Winter continues not fooling around this winter, but that hasn't stopped the fun. Just the opposite in fact, as consistent below freezing temps lead to fixed gear riding on snow, ice, and frozen dirt for us mountain bikers. Commuting isn't as much fun, but that's something I don't mind dealing with for trail conditions like these. The lack of work travel has created no competition to the draw of frozen trails with snow and ice to making them more interesting. 8 fixed gear mountain rides in the first 10 days of 2010 means I am ready for some rest and warmth during next week's Texas work trip.



With this great off-road start to 2010, I've decided to take a different challenge for 2010. Limiting my photos to off-road only may take away some variety, but will alleviate some of the tedious daily photo taking. It may also motivate me to make the most of a new bike purchase that I have been considering for this year.

I'm not a racer and I'm not one to "train", as I just enjoy getting out there and spinning the cranks with like minded folks. But the recent riding shouldn't hurt my performance in some fun couple of upcoming races. And I have also upped my pizza consumption to match my training regimine. A few TMR riders were recently discussing the challenging heart rate training zones, and I gave my thoughts on zones:
zone 1: Beer
zone 2: wine
zone 3: schnapps
zone 4: hard alcohol
zone 5: everclear/moonshine

Yes, I have been taking a committed stance with my training, such as this recent zone 1 dawn patrol ride. It may have a work day, but that didn't stop the dedication on some sweet, fresh overnight snow.
Pre-dawn Friday Toast

3rd January 2010

12:58pm: Winter and the end of 2009
The mid-atlantic got a nice big taste of winter in mid-December with a record breaking blizzard. Unlike most storms here, this one stuck around a while and all 3 of my main bikes got to get a taste of winter fun.

I've set the Karate Monkey up as a fixed monster cross bike with dirt drops, intermediate fixed gearing (32:14), and small, fast mountain bike tires (Kenda Karma 1.9"). The set-up has worked great for the dirt commute rides that I've blogged about recently. But the recent blizzard made an already fun bike, even more useful. The bike became my go to ride for commuting, errands, and trail scouting. It's fast enough to make short road rides tolerable, and the knobby tires handle just fine on the trail or road with snow and ice. Of course, a variety of uses is nothing new for my Karate Monkey.

Errands in the snow - Photo 295

2009 is in the books, and it's been another year to remember. Thanks to RickyD and the Bike 180 pool, I might just remember some of it. I ended up with 310 rides on the year, and here's the 1 photo per day for each day of riding:



2009 collage

And folks are already out there posting to the 2010 version!
www.flickr.com/groups/bike180-2010/

28th November 2009

10:37pm: here and there
The last few weeks have included more than the usual mountain biking, fun, and get-aways -including a trip to Barcelona. Funny what can happen when doesn't send me to Texas for a few weeks; check out the day by day. Can't rewind all the way back to my last post, but here's the last couple of days which I figured might interesting enough to write about.

Friday night, Greg and I rode into Baltimore for the critical mass ride. I've been looking to do one of these for a while, but was just never in the cards. They've started doing them on a regular basis with a recent Halloween ride, this last Thanksgiving ride, and look out for a Christmas ride in the future. Lots of good things going on in Baltimore bike advocacy, so these rides are just as much about celebrating bikes as protesting.

Greg and I departed from my place a little later than planned, but plenty of time to make the ride. I pour beer in a water bottle to make up for lost bar time. Temps are comfortable low 40's, but strong winds threaten. We arrive downtown after 13 miles of riding, and start to ponder pre-ride watering holes near the Washington Monument. The standard choice would be Brewer's Art, but with an upcoming beer tasting there, I am thinking something different. Peter's Pub! Of course, the classic downtown dive bar would be perfect for tonight. We arrive, lock-up the bikes, and go inside. Lady luck is on our side, and this is the first year that they are open on Thanksgiving Friday. The bar is basically empty, but 32oz beers are still $4. Greg runs across the street for subs, and our pre-ride mission of food beers is fully accomplished despite the late start.

We meet up with the ride at the Washington Monument start, and a solid group is forming. With little fanfare, the group of 30-40 riders departs north. We work our way around the busier neighborhoods of the city, and make a statement on traffic along the way. Pretty sweet feeling to have bikers take up all the lanes on the major Baltimore streets Pratt & Lombard, if for only a brief moment. A few folks aren't too pleased, but bad feelings are minimal with reduced holiday traffic.

Baltimore Critical Mass - Photo 276

The group starts to break-up at Federal Hill, and Greg and I break away in south Baltimore for the ride home. As we were approaching home, a jerk in a car blows his horn at us. I shout back with my own rude sentiments, but it's all in fun. It's NuDave returning from family time in New Jersey, and he meets us at home. He's got Dales to offer, so we enjoy a cold one in the parking lot to cap off a good night on the bike.

Baltimore Critical Mass

It's Saturday, and what to do. I've been on road rides for the last week, but the local trails could still use another day to dry. I put out a call, and riders join in for a off road exploration ride. With the shortened day light hours, my dirt commuting has been pretty idle, so I need to do some scouting during the daytime. YDT joins NuDave and I from the start at my place. NuDave has a water bottle with beer, and I've got a Dales in my seat bag. We begin going through the neighborhood, and then the local elemetary school ball fields. We pop back onto the road briefly before starting our first true off road riding. Start off with an abandoned gravel driveway, and then turn off onto motocross trails, before descending a loose fire road. We arrive in the rear parking lot of everyone's favorite biker bar - Daniels.

Friends at Daniels

We enjoy a cold one, and latecomers Tony and Greg join us. From there, very briefly hop onto route 1 before hitting a BGE access road near the Patapsco river. It starts nice and smooth, but there's a mud section and several crushed rock sections to keep it interesting. We cross the Patapsco river on the train bridge, and continue on our way next to the tracks. Now it's time to hit a sewer line access road, whose smooth surface offers some relief to those on true cross tires. A few stream crossings, more train track crossings, hike-ups, scrambles, some mud, and we are having a good time on a beautiful weather day.

Dave goes deep

I decide to improvise a little on the route due to time and conditions, and that creates a string of confusing bush-whacks. No matter, we find our way each time and enjoy the journey. This is an adventure ride after all, and I now know the terrain a little better.

Powerline Fun - Photo 277

It's getting late and YDT's tubular cross tires are losing air, so we call it good. Just a couple miles of road to back home, but of course I throw in one more grass shortcut for good measure. More photos and bike details here

8th November 2009

8:18pm: Back to the Basics - Autumn in Avalon
The last week started out hectic and kept on going for a few days before settling in to a great weekend. Got up nice and early on Monday morning for TMR road ride to work the legs before leaving town for work, and then took an "easy" ride to the aiport with a geared bike and trailer. Traveled down to Texas for a presentation/show and tell for the customer, and lots late night socializing over beers. Nothing like a few beers with co-workers to help the work relationships and get the inside scoop, but doesn't make early morning meetings any easier. Get back to Baltimore and straight to the office on Thursday afternoon feeling run down and road weery, but push on for a late night in the office which allows me to take Friday off.

Airport to work - photo 258

Slept in Friday morning to catch up on some much needed sleep. Do a few things around the house to get setteled back in, run an errand, and organize the ride for the day. Neighbors Buffal0b1ll, his wife Estro-Jen, and recently returned AT Bill (Appalachian Trail) are all up for playing hookie with a late afternoon ride. We all ride from our homes, meet up just before the trailhead, and the ride begins. It's a perfect fall day, as temps are just a little bit crisp to require an extra layer, but perfect riding weather. The leave change is slightly past the peak, but still a beautiful day in the woods. The fallen leaves make the technical bits a bit more interesting, and create the perception of tight singletrack on Avalon's trails. Mid-way through the ride, we stop and split the 2 cans of Dales that I stashed in my pack. It's is nearing happy hour on a Friday after all. The four of us do a big loop around the park, not too fast and not too slow, just perfect for a Friday afternoon.

AT Bill - Single Speed Newbie (but you wouldn't know it)
AT Bill - Photo 259

Saturday comes along, and NuDave's cousin, Rob, is visting from New Jersey. We set out to show him everything we can in Avalon, and are joined by Dan the Kid. Today's pace is faster, and we work in the most trails that we can while doing an extended loop around the park. Nachos, Renegade, Old Log Trail, Morning Choice, Cascade, Double Drop, Downhillers trail, Drugs, buzzard's rock, sawmill, charcoal, sante branch, CCBC, cardiac singletrack, first tunnel, 2nd tunnel, ridge, rockburn-full lollypop, and horse farm. Temps have warmed up since yesterday, but another perfect fall day to be riding bikes and perfect trail conditions.

Rob on Ridge - Photo 260

Sunday morning and time to ride again? Would be nice, but got to first pay the dues and create some good karma with trail work. Get out later that afternoon/evening with a few old friends, for a short and casual night ride in the park. Brian has moved in with AT Bill across the neighborhood, and Burge moved back to Maryland and just down the street this last summer. Nice to have old friends nearby and riding again. The karate monkey is converted to a fixed gear to change things up, but the pace is relaxed and we return home before anyone suffers too much. Just what the doctor ordered to wrap up an excellent weekend of riding.

Another Awesome Avalan - Photo 261

Been too long since I've got to enjoy the trails in my backyard this much. Hoping for 1 more chance to ride tomorrow, before mother nature and work travels get in the way again.

22nd October 2009

10:18pm: been a while
My posting to here has been pretty poor once again. Been on the move way too much to come up with any inspiration, not that my usual posts are very inspiring.

So let's rewind back to my last real post. SSWC09 was everything it promised and more. Some good riding, lots of great times, and some surprises in weather, events, and equipment. The SSOFT crew represented well:

SSOFT at the finish - photo 220
photo by Bek

All for the view - photo 218

See you in New Zealand for SSWC10! Exactly 1 year from now - http://www.sswc10nz.com/

Since then, work has kept me on the move more weeks than not. Life on the road gets tiring, but lots of good accomplishments, at interesting places, with great people right now. Spending time in the field, with the big structures and the folks getting it done, makes it worth it. It's also a nice change from the bosses in the office, and it's not all work when traveling ;)

Bar ride - Photo 236


So how does one keep up with the interwebs while on the move? Google reader is a great application that let's you easily and efficiently follow multiple blogs/feeds (and twitter if that your thing) all at one location (Thanks Jim V). And it works great on the blackberry. Google is good.
Of course, friends and individual cycling blogs dominate my subscriptions, but I've got a couple of more thought provoking ones. My favorite would be http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/

Other than that, just trying to ride my bikes and have some fun. Winter gave us an early taste last week with lasting rain and cold, but back in the groove this week with a good amount of saddle time. That includes riding to The Bike Project by Bek, which is in full swing and getting rave reviews. Check it out before it's too late!

Fender season is here...
Fast Falls - photo 244

24th September 2009

9:17pm: 29er or nothing

15th September 2009

12:21am: heading west to Durango - SSWC09
Bags are packed, and there is a bike case. Not the bike I planned, but it's only the single speed world championships Let's say a thomson post, a steel frame, chemistry, and I had a little disagreement. The situation escalated, and things got a little of out of control. classic bad to worse situation. Maybe someday I will see the humor in all this, and post some photos. Let's just say I have some options to build some unique bottle openers.

Nonetheless, NuDave helped raise my spirits and plan B was put into motion. What is plan B? Let's just say, I've got a bike case of pure awesome waiting for me when I arrive in New Mexico. Lemonade from lemons, or maybe cherry bounce.

Spending a couple days in Sante Fe, and then heading to Durango for the main event. Got a group of 9 outlaws going, so should be a non-stop party of fun and riding. Stopping by the dirty south on my way back home for a little work. Time to actually put something on a ship!

9th September 2009

6:04pm: Flying from boston to baltimore after a work trip. Posting on a plane via blackberry and in flight wifi.

Got to love how far technology has come in just a few years. We live in amazing times.

7th September 2009

9:45pm: how I've been passing the time
Been traveling about 2-3 times a month for work lately, which means lots of time spent on airplanes. I'm not one to sit still easily, so always have lots of options to pass the time. I've been watching the first season of Mad Men which I downloaded onto my laptop from Amazon.com. Episdoes of The Soup are handy for the shorter flights, and are cheaply and easily purchased from Itunes for my ipod. These are great, but the old standby is still books. I've recently started going to my local library, as it's right down the street and free. Well not really free, since they spend tons of tax payer money on things like ipod shaped rooms.

The best book that I've read in a long time is I Wouldn't Start from Here: The 21st Century and Where It All Went Wrong by Andrew Mueller. It's a very entertaining read with a common sense and down to earth approach. A jaded rock journalist goes in search of the world's recent locations of conflict, and gives a first hand, unpretentious, and mostly unbiased look at the people involved. Or as one reviewer put it: "If you enjoy your international affairs and politics with a good dose of cynicism and black humour, then this book is one to read."

The author is an Australian, who now lives in the UK. In a strange coincidence, the cover artwork was done by a Maryland author, Goodloe Byron, whose completely different book I've also been reading - The Abstract . Added to the coincidence is that this book was also picked up free in a local establishment, by way of the author's free book tour.

In riding news, had a great overnight ride this weekend to Victory Brewing in Pennsylvania. I've been doing a lot more long rides lately, and I felt really good riding Patapsco today. Or maybe ditching my crapped out Kris King bottom bracket had something to do with it. Phil Wood, this is your chance.

Farm Country - Photo 207

21st August 2009

11:42pm: Germans make the best stuff
Damn....

18th August 2009

10:02pm: 2 days/2 commutes
It's been interesting couple days of commuting to start off the week. I'll warn you in advance that this post may wander around, as I may need to catch up on a few subjects which should have been posted on their own a while back.

On Monday, I decided to do a dedicated "dirt commute". I've noticed some trails off one of my main commute roads over the past year or so. The first trails I spotted were neglected/forgotten parts of Patapsco Valley State Park, which had been referred to as Armageddon trails by the last person I knew to check out the trails years ago. I then slowly realized that there were other potential additions to the off road commute options, in the form of utility/service roads, abandoned properties, undeveloped land, and existing trails. I finally got around to slowly checking them out this summer, and occasionally did some random scouting on my normal commute. I got NuDave to join for me a dedicated exploratory ride, which solidified the foundation for the feasibility of commuting to work on mixed surfaces while leaving potential for future explorations.

My Karate Monkey has got a new life as a monster-cross bike, and retains my well liked Origin8 Gary dirt drop bars. I've got a wheelset with cross tires for the dirt commute, and fat tired set for single track scorching. Rear brake also leaves the option for single speed cross racing or touring.

So yeah, back to Monday's commute. I set out to do a dedicated dirt commute on my way to work and back. For the morning ride, I chose an easy combination that would get me to work in a reasonable time with low chance of delays. Everything went smoothly, and managed to stay off road for almost 5 miles of the 7.5 mile ride. It was a great feeling to arrive at work with a sense of adventure and some mud on me and the bike.
Sunrise Heron - Photo 194

I left work late that day with a sense of great optimism based on successful previous attempts, and chose a more challenging route. I tried to improve on the previous exploratory ride mid-course, and decided to push my luck on land with questionable ownership. I ventured into a large backyard and first seeing some kids, I figured my chances of getting shot at by a meth lab operator were low enough. I started to approach the adult on the scene, as he walked behind his garage to take a piss. Nice. I asked him politely if this was park land, and he said "no" but was quick to let me know that I could continue. I asked where the path led, and he told me it went well past my desired location to an additional area that I wanted to check out. Initially ecstatic with the improved route, I set off in great spirits on another sweet find. But things got worse as the double track turned into some sort of little used motocross course with dead end loops up and down steep hillsides. I bushwhacked in the direction of where I thought the known trail would be, but ended up on an unmistakable private drive. I headed straight for the main road, hoping my soft rear tire wouldn't go flat before I got out of there. I made it back to the road and was able to put needed air in my tire. By this time it was getting late, so I decided to give up on the dirt for the day and take the road straight home. Turned out to be a good call, as I head to stop and change the tube shortly thereafter. Of course my spare tube had a puncture, so I had to change the tire a 2nd time and do a patch job.

No Mans Land Trail
Steep down, loose dirt, ruts, and overgrown thorn bushes. Yes, this trail is on the official map.

On Tuesday, I decided to ride into Baltimore straight from work for the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. For this paved adventure, I chose my new, primary commuter - Steelwool Tweed. This is probably the most versatile bike out there for road (disc or cantilever brakes, gears or singlespeed/fixed, ample tire clearance, and all the rack/fender mounts).

Steelwool Tweed - Part 2

After crossing into Baltimore on the Hanover street bridge, the skies opened up and I got to ride through downtown in a downpour. Things started to let up as I rode up the Jones fall trail and around Druid Hill Lake, before reaching Park and Rec HQ.

Storm over Baltimore - Photo 195 Druid Hill Lake from Baltimore Parks and Rec

After the meeting, I rode back to downtown as the sun was setting, more storms were incoming, and my riding clothes were still wet from the ride in. I decided to minimize the riding, and do a test run of the Baltimore bus system. Baltimore now has bike racks on all city buses, and there is a route that takes me from downtown to UMBC in a reasonable amount of time. I figured this might come in handy someday when I don't feel up to riding solo through west Baltimore after frequenting fells point watering holes late at night. All went relatively smoothly with the bus, and I then rode home the last 6 miles which were a stark contrast to previous neighborhoods. I descended into Patapsco Valley State Park on Gun Road, and pedaled up and out on Lawyer's Hill Road, both roads a quiet ride by large and historic country estates.

3rd August 2009

9:53pm: Things that piss me off

Preachy hypocrites Wonder how many compostable straws it takes to offset the impact of a frivolous trip to NYC?
from HOCO Free Market

People who don't understand basic physics and think anything electric or with an "e" in the name is eco-friendly.

24th July 2009

7:55pm: Like a gypsy
I can tell you how it feels to be a gypsy
To live the Romany way your whole life through
Busking ‘round the world it leaves me thinking
That it’s less a pound I have to give to you

The road’s the shoe that fits, I cant deny it
Now there’s nothing wrong with living on the go
It can be for a week if you can take it
To have to find a place each night to go

There’s nothing wrong with wondering if there’s more to life than this
To return your lover’s warmth and hear, “I missed you so.”
It’s everyone’s land no one can lay a claim here
Any more than the deep ocean bed below

To answer to no one, but still you’re singing
For your supper out each night in the cold
I miss my love at home, but I have not a penny
Dear god, like this, I just cannot home.

I miss my love at home, but I have not a penny
Dear god, like this, I just cannot home to you.


Lyrics by The Tossers - Romany

********************************************************************************************************************

Life hasn't slowed down any lately, and I'm wondering how the summer is slipping away. Going to 9 states in 14 days will probably do that to you.

Read and see more...Collapse )



5th July 2009

10:34pm: I should resist but...
Norm MacDonald is just too funny!

2nd July 2009

5:53am: Free Market (and bikes!)
Are you sure you want the gov't handling health care?



from http://urbanvelo.org/

29th June 2009

7:00pm: 1st half of 2009
With the first half of 2009 drawing to a close, I've biked approximately 158 of 181 days and have a photo to show for it.

1st half of 2009

21st June 2009

5:10pm: Riding the storm
Life's been a whirlwind lately, including actual tornados (more on that later). Let's rewind a couple weeks with the recap:

Tuesday - Get up extra early for a partial TMR road ride before getting on a morning plane bound to Dallas for the usual work trip. Get off the plane, grab lunch, and head to the vendor HQ. Before I even get inside the office, my co-worker meets me in the parking lot with 2 "fire drills". "Fire drills" are what we call emergencies that involve lots of drama, but usually lack much substance. A trip to the local retailer and a phone call, and things calm down a little. Get back to the hotel later that night after a long dinner with vendors and customers, and start to assemble my bike. Everything is going smooth, and I'm just about done. Go to put the 2nd pedal on, and "oh shit #1"! My new-in-box set of pedals contains two lefts, which means this bike isn't getting ridden tonight. I decide to finish off the rest of the build, and proceed with mounting the bars. "Oh shit #2" is a broken stem bolt.

Wednesday - Resolve the bike issues after work from the previous day, and proceed with finishing the bike in my hotel room. What's that noise? Just the local tornado sirens going off, and I'm to evacuate my room to the lobby. Luckily, I have some free drink tickets to use up in the hotel bar while I wait. Return to my room a couple beers later, and finish off the bike build. There's a gap in the storms, and I'm able to sneak out for an hour long ride with only light rain on the return home.


Thursday - Another long day of meetings, and I head to the airport for the return flight home. An automated email comes my way to let me know my flight is delayed, and then another, and another. Finally get on a plane and enter my home around 2 AM.

Friday - Wake up and start gathering gear for the 24 hours of Big Bear mountain bike race. I guess I need to back up a little bit here. As I posted recently, I broke my "B" mountain bike (Inbred) at LBD. A month later, while on an epic week long mountain bike vacation, my El Mariachi decided to call it quits, too.

The new Qball frame came in while I was away, and I was to pick it up on my way to the race. I picked up the frame at The Bicycle Escape, and Tom already had a big head start on the build thanks to my old parts that Bek dropped off. Bek's also been sweet enough to handle getting all our food while I was away. We get to the race, find the SSOFT shantytown, setup camp, and I complete the assembly of the Qball. We pre-ride 1/2 the course before settling down for the night to socialize with friends.
New Qball assembled

Saturday/Sunday - The race. We get 2nd in the 4-man solo rigid category, despite riding fixed gear. This post is already going to be too long, so I'll let the fancy word pro Blue Eyed Devil handle the report.
Baler Big Bear Berm
credit: Theresa Svoboda/ iPlayOutside.com iplayoutside.smugmug.com/gallery/8565458_8SFGS#564990892_...

Monday - just a normal day of commuting to work.

Tuesday - Ride to work, stop in, and then ride to the airport for another trip to Dallas.
Airport Bound - Photo 139

Wednesday - Get a late night, 16 mile road ride through the streets of suburban Dallas after a day of work. I'm going there enough these days that I've left the Travelers Check down there.
Bright Lights - Big City - Dallas - Photo 140

Thursday - This time my flight home is on time, but I still don't reach the front door until after midnight after pedaling home from the airport.
Leaving BWI - Photo 141

Friday - Pack up some gear, and head to Frederick. I run an errand for Bek, and then convert the Karate Monkey to fixed gear, cross tires, and touring mode. Throw on light camping gear, and pedal toward the C&O canal towpath. I get to Harpers Ferry late afternoon, and setup camp a couple miles away. I head across the state line to WV, and meet my buddy, Bill, and friends at Secret Six Tavern. Bill has been hiking the AT, and we come to see him as he passes through. Head back to camp after the sun has set, and settle in the hammock tent hoping the predicted rains won't show.
The Potomac

Saturday AM - wake up dry, but see rain coming in on the radar. Quick breakfast, break camp, and I'm back on the bike heading home. The C&O trail has muddy puddles, light rain falls, but I'm happy it's not worse. Round trip mileage is just under 60 miles, with over half on the gravel towpath.
New Design Road - Photo 143

Saturday PM - Put the slicks back on the Monkey, fill a water bottle with Clipper City Loose Cannon, and depart for the "TMR - Summer Solstice Ten Fiddy Ride".

Sunday AM - return home at 3:00 AM after almost 70 miles of riding. The first loop was casual due to the big group (~12), a couple flats, and a beer stop in my parking lot. The group slimmed down considerably for the 2nd loop, and Buffal0b1ll joined us with fresh legs. We pushed faster than I expected for a middle of the night ride, but it felt great zooming along at high speeds around quiet Patapsco area roads. The official ride ended back at Jim's for the ride namesake, ten fiddy stout, before we pedaled home for good.



Not a bad couple of weeks considering that mountain biking has been almost off limits around here. We've been stuck in monsoon season here in MD, and bikers are starting to wonder when it will ever end.

And if you are reading this blog, you must have too much time on your hands to surf the net. So why not check out local racers Adam and Pat from AFC on their quest for the two man RAAM record and raise money for some good causes. http://www.adventuresforthecure.com/

14th May 2009

10:21pm: Libertarian TV
John Stossel had another interesting special the other night promoting his Libertarian beliefs.

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=ADCA76533E072139&search_query=20/20

12th May 2009

9:51pm: Coworker: So what's special about the new bike that you are getting?
Me: Well, the frame doesn't have a large crack in a primary weld.

Cracked Inbred

The Inbred is on the shelf for good, as I found this crack after Baker's Dozen. The frame lasted almost 2.5 years rough years, which puts it just out of warranty. It was a good run, and I really enjoyed that bike until the end. Among my mountain bikes, it was my first full rigid, my first 29er, my first single speed, and my first fixed gear.

It was a good excuse to start looking at new bikes, and the search has ended. I've got a Qball on order through The Bicycle Escape in a custom color. Hopefully, I will have it in time for 24 hours of Big Bear, where I will be "racing" on a 4 man fixed gear team - Fixed Not Broken. As the team rookie, I've been assigned the starting spot on our team. Hopefully, my teammates won't mind me using the same strategy I deployed at the Baker's Dozen:

start of the race - photo 84

I gave everyone a 20 minute head start while I enjoyed a beer and let the course clear out. I ended with 14 laps (106 miles) on the day (12 ss, 2 fixed). Bek rocked womens solo single speed, and gave the geared women a run for their money finishing 3rd overall.

16th April 2009

9:08pm: The Leesburg Bakers Dozen is this weekend, and I’ll be racing the 13 hour event solo this year. I’ve been prepping all week for the event by resting, carb-loading, and hydrating. Ok, that may be a bit optimistic as work has had me traveling all week, so really I’ve been not riding, over-eating, and drinking beer.

Free Airport Parking - photo 82

As Homer Simpson once said: “it’s not whether you win or lose, but how drunk you get.” That sounds like a good strategy as the SSOFT shanty-town will once again be featuring a keg of Clipper City's finest.

P4190013

11th April 2009

9:06am: Start of a good year
A good start to 2009

I'm taking a photo every day that I ride and posting to flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jon_baler/sets/72157612625179863/

And so are some friends:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/bike180/pool/

3rd April 2009

3:46pm: I’m not normally one to get too excited over the latest gear or spending my tax refund, but I’m lacking anything better to write about here. So here’s the scoop on a couple of recent additions to my gear.

surly fixed disc hub

Surly Fixed Disc Hub/Velocity Dyad rim – The rear wheel on my commuter is dying a slow death, so I began the search for a replacement. When Surly first introduced the Fixed disc hub last year at Interbike, I didn’t get it. Why would someone need a rear disc brake on a fixed gear? The obvious user would be someone who wants to go “extreme” by riding fixed off road, but wants the additional safety of a rear brake. I’m not one to talk, but that seemed like more than a bit of a contradiction. However, after looking for a reasonably priced, 135mm, nutted, flip-flop hub, I gave the Surly hub another look. The disc hub allows use a bolt-on fixed cog, while the fixed threads will allow for a free wheel. Once again, Surly brings a unique and versatile product to the market. I’m all for versatility in my gear, and this hub actually gives the rider many options:
1. Fix-Fix
2. Fix-Free
3. Fix-Disc
4. Free-Disc

The Velocity Dyad hoop is compatible with rim brakes, which adds to the versatility and is well spoken for in the touring world. Thanks to the The Bicycle Escape for the parts and build.

1st ride new pack-suit case

Eagle Creek Switchback Max - 22'' - My frequent work travels have been of the 1-2 night variety lately, which was putting a damper on my car-free days. I needed an easy way to get my baggage to the airport by bike. My old carry-on suitcase, given me to by a dear friend prior to college graduation, has had a good and full life traveling the world, but the time was approaching for a replacement. The Switchback filled both those needs and more. The suitcase looks like any other roller case, but backpack straps are tucked away on the underside. The front side includes a handy, removable, small backpack, with a padded laptop pocket. This will replace my current laptop carry case on travels as well, which was awkward and uncomfortable. So now I can easily and quickly carry both the suitcase and laptop on the bike. Carrying the pack on my back by bike was more comfortable than I expected for a large hybrid pack.

another trip to the airport - photo 70

The Patapsco/Gwynn Falls ride was cut a little short by flats and rain, but that didn't stop the fun

15th March 2009

10:16am: Have no fear
You bet, the ride is still on. rain* or shine.


*by rain, I mean occasional light sprinkles that are in the forecast. The big rains have been staying to the south all weekend, and are predicted to stay that way. If it turns into an unexpected biblical downpour, I reserve the right to cut it a little short or bail early for the bar. We have options.

14th March 2009

10:54pm: Ride is still on for tomorrow. Don't let the weather man scare you away.

And oh yeah, the local brews are only $1 at the post-ride brewery.
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