Monday, September 27, 2010

A Flower for my wild bike!

On my way to REI on Saturday, I saw this beautiful Sunflower. I simply could not help taking this picture! It was as though the Sunflower called out my name and said come take "our" picture!
And a song to go with the "wild" bike :)
Peace :)

Loaded Ride to Roanoke!

Yesterday, I loaded Gikma with some extra bags and headed out to Roanoke. I had a few training goals in mind and the nice grades on the way to Roanoke helped me with achieving my training goals. The bike with the extra load weighed around 65 pounds!
I was hoping to see some Fall colors, but it might be too soon for that around here in DFW. It was perfect cycling weather. Very pleasant!
I ride Dove Loop all the way from Grapevine, through South Lake to Roanoke. The landscape changes quite a bit after South Lake. It is more like countryside over there. 
I am not certain for how many more years this area will retain its charm. I see quite a few buildings under construction. Here is one such a construction project, which I don't remember seeing earlier in March this year.Also, check out What's new in Roanoke, Texas?
 
One other perk of riding Dove Loop: I find most drivers (99.9%) are very courteous and they do share the road --- based on my focus group of size 1 -- ME! But, I do take the lane, wherever it makes sense for me to do it.

While the grades on the way to Roanoke are not of epic proportions, they still challenge me. I found a couple of 10-12 degree climbs and a bunch of 6-8 degree climbs. None of them are very long, however!

Ah, finally made it to Roanoke! It is 20 miles from my door to this point.
I stopped at my usual watering hole, The Book Carriage, to get a nice cup of Java and a couple of Tea Cakes. The proprietors were nice enough to let me charge my speaker (which I forgot to charge the night before). So, I hung out at the very nice independent book store for a while, savoring my coffee and exchanging some ideas with the owners.

While at the book store, I met Mark Fadden, the author of The Brink. I talked to him for a few and learned that he is a cyclist as well. He is another famous person I know from Colleyville.
On my way back, I rode through historic Grapevine and stopped at the Boulangerie for lunch.
Tomato, Mozzarella Panini --- yummy!
And, a free sampling of some fine breads :)
I had always wanted to do this shot! Some call it the obligatory shadow shot :)
Finally, getting closer to Irving, yay!
The famous canal system in Las Colinas!
At this point, I had only ridden 40 or so miles and I wanted to do a total of 60 miles.Well, I wasn't toast yet! The sun was on my back! I decided to immerse myself in the beauty of the scenery along the Campion Trail and ride the rest of the mileage needed to reach my target by riding around Valley Ranch.
Kids fishing at the lake!
Campion Trail bird watching area! You see tons of really pretty birds here, much of the year!!
Sunset reflecting on water!
And, finally, home sweet home!
I hope your day was a great one!

Peace :)

Food for thought (and my hungry stomach)!

Saturday started out as a rainy day and the past weekend being my first leisurely weekend in a long time, I wasn't in a hurry to go any place. So, I decided I will cook breakfast, on my camping gear and make sure I know how to use the thing. I took Camping Stove 101 earlier during my first S24O in June. But I had some help from my instructors during the practicum :)

So, I heated some water in the smaller pot that came as a part of my Clikstand Sawtooth Combo, using my Trangia stove. I have a SnowPeak Coffee Press, but its bottom is too narrow to fit on the Clickstand. It took me 4 minutes to make my coffee.

The next project was to make some Oatmeal and that took about 4 minutes as well. I used 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1 cup of water.
Breakfast is served!
I am happy with my camping gear. Hopefully the gear will work well on my future Cycle Touring trips.

Hope your day was a fun on!

Peace :)

PS. Chopping-up the apples took about 2 minutes and yes I was a VST not CST!
PPS. VST = Vacation Standard Time :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

CamelBak Insulated Bottle: One Year Later!

I bought my CamelBak Insulated Bottle in June 2009. I am still loving it. It keeps the water COLD, even on the hottest days. I usually keep ice cubes in my CamelBak bottle, on the hottest of days, and fill-up my KleanKanteens with cold water, before I leave home. I refill the KleanKanteens at rest stops. The water in the CamelBak is a sure bet. It stays cold, very cold, for at least 8 hours, on even 100+ days, here in Texas.

I have left the CamelBak insulated bottle filled with ice, through the evening and overnight, in the unairconditioned garage, in the heat of Texas summer, only to be pleasantly surprised with cold water in it, the next morning.

I absolutely love this bottle. If I really need to gripe, I guess I could wish for a CamelBak Insulated bottle with a larger capacity. CamelBak --- are you listening? :)

Peace :)

Let it shine!

It has been 2+ months since I got my SON dynamo equipped wheels built for my 700C wheeled bikes. I haven't gotten around to buying a front and rear light for the Cannondale T-800. So, I have been using the dynamo wheel only on Gikma, thus far. My ride back home is usually after dark and part of my route is through the Campion Trail.

I am so glad I decided to get the dynamo-equipped wheel and the lights! I enjoy a very similar setup on my Thorn Nomad as well.

The hub dynamo does add a bit of weight to the bicycle, and yes there is a bit of drag, but I would rather have lighting available at all times than worry about running out of charge on batteries.

Thanks, Chris! Approximately, one year ago, you heightened my interest in the splendor of dynamo lighting.
The bug bit me back then, but understandably, it took a while to round-up the required number of Greenbacks!
Peace :)

Learning from my mistake!

When I went to get my wheels trued last weekend, I had to deflate both the front and rear wheels of the Thorn Nomad MK2, in order to take the wheels off the bike. Well, I have to do this when I try to fit the wheels back on the bike as well. I have 26x2.25 Schwalbe Marathon Extreme HS 402 tires on this bike and these guys ain't slim . Even after releasing the brake cable you still have to deflate the tires!

When I was taught to true the wheels at Trinity Bicycles, a secondary step of stress testing the wheel was also recommended:

Put the wheel on the ground, use knee to hold down the wheel, and apply pressure on the wheel with both palms to make sure the spokes were tensioned correctly. Move knee to a new point and repeat the procedure again, until satisfied.

Well, I did all that just fine, came back home, aired both tires and put the wheels back on the Thorn.

The next morning, I found the front tire on the Thorn was flat. I mean completely devoid of any air in the tube.
Now, I know what I did wrong. I should have aired the tires before stress testing them. I think I caused a pinch-flat of sorts.
Well, I should remember not to do this mistake again :)

Peace :)

PS. Knock-on-wood, I haven't had a flat since 2008 --- except for this one mishap!

Lovin' the ride, the land, the whole works!

Today was a very special day for me! I had waited for this moment for a long time. In order to celebrate the joyous event, I proudly displayed the American flag on Gikma.
Hope you had a great day as well!!

Peace :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

True or Untrue? Truth be revealed!

Today, I took the wheels off the Thorn Nomad MK2 and took them to Trinity Bicycles so I can get them trued. Bryan @ Trinity Bicycles showed me that both my wheels were a bit "untrue" and showed me how to true them and helped me get both the wheels trued. I have never trued a wheel until now. I have seen people do it and I have had the wheels on my T-800 trued once last year. Other than that I have not had any problem with wheels going out of true. Knock-on-wood :)

I know there are many articles on the web, books on bicycle repair, videos on YouTube, etc, which probably show how to true a wheel. But, learning how to do it from a professional was invaluable. So, thanks Bryan M :)

Shaggy entertained the visitors to Trinity and made some money doing tricks and stuff. Helped pay for gas :)
Trinity Bicycles also has some brand spankin' new Tees, you ought to check out. The Tees come in two colors, the other color is gray. I got some for myself, so I can proudly display my loyalty to my LBS. I know there are other bike stores in DFW which are closer to my neck-of-the-woods, but I like the quality of work done at Trinity and their customer service, much better.

Hope your day was a great one!

Peace :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Busy!

The past couple of weeks have been extremely busy with hardly any time left for things outside of work. So, I haven't ridden much, except for riding to work, last week. I haven't ridden to work this week - not a single day :(

But I plan to get behind the handlebar soon!

Hope all is well with you and yours!

Peace :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Self-Explanatory?

The sign pictured above is by the White Rock Lake trail. You would think the message above is self-explanatory and people would mind their manners, at least after reading the sign, right? Not true, for there are many cyclists behaving so arrogantly on the trail at White Rock Lake.

If a cyclist passes me without warning me that they are passing me, I yell out loud, "Signal that you are passing me, please". Some yell, "Passing on your left", after they hear my plea and some just give me the look like I am way out of line.

Parlez-vous cyclish?


If you are out driving, whether you are driving your car or your bicycle, please be courteous to other vehicles and users of the path/road. If you are doing this already, great! Now, let's please get the word out to others as well. Just my 2 cents!!

Peace :)