My Engine Tuning Progress Bar

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Arrg Winter has only just begun!

I wrote this about a few days ago, its amazing how a couple of wee rides can change a persons outlook:...

Well here it is near the end of November, with the prospects of another winter looming ahead. Sigh... I already miss my regular riding group and regular riding schedule. Evenings that used to be eventful by doing something related to riding are now hum drum time spans with nothing exciting to do. I search the cycling blogs I know for momentary spikes of excitement, read cool "crazy guy on a bike" journals of others epic journeys and dream about doing the same If I can get rid of all my debt and sell my business. I even got a new bike trainer to justify watching the tv at night but that is boring.

I should get out and do some other activity but my toes don't like the cold. The winter games are coming and they are looking for its too cold out!

I am a cycling addict, and no real way to get a fix. except on weekends. Does anyone want to get together for a coffee? Talk bikes? Gander at some cycling catalogues? Day dream about the their perfect ride or trip?

I need to move to Florida so I can ride all year round; but wait it has been along season and maybe we need this break to plan and get excited about the new years riding schedule and events, yeah, that's it!

Rest- plan - veg! ARRRRRRGGGGGHHH!!!!!!!!
Lethargic in Leduc

I have gone for a couple rides since and I feel more sunny but I know that the snowy blues will come again ...I guess that’s life in Alberta!

And Now here the real blog for today!:
Yea- 1600KM FOR 2007

I know I have another month to go but the weather here in the Edmonton area is cold but no snow so we are pushing it as far as winter conditions go. I hope to get in another measly 26km by the end of the year If I can I will have 5000k on my bents! I was hoping to do another 900k this year to reach 2500km but with a broken foot and very busy fall at the shop it didn't work out. I know alot of 'bentriders do over 5000k in one or two seasons. But considering the weight and physical condition I was in when I started (I couldn't even ride 1 kilometre without being totally out of breathe for hours later), I feel quite pleased so far. I have said it several times before but I KNOW that riding recumbents has prolonged my life, stretched my limits and made some great friends. I look forward to next year and the years after YAHOO!

Since winter is upon us in the Great White North I have been gearing up for riding in below 0c temps. Keeping warm can be tricky and once you get warmed up by riding stopping can chill you right to the bone if you are not layered right.

The latest gear I picked up is a Stereohead by BULA:

I nifty wool hat with speakers for my ZEN to plug into. It very warm and the speakers have great sound. I picked it up Sportmart in Leduc.
To keep the wind off my face I use either a neoprene ski mask or a Buff based on the Survivor TV series.

I picked it up at the Valhalla store in New Denver a couple of summers ago. Its light and long enough to protect my face neck and ear tips-sort of a bandit look, but it works great. When it gets really cold it plan to setup my bike trainer in the basement so I can keep my legs in shape and get a head start for the 08 season.

Well I better go see you soon!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Last Great Ride of Autumn or the Chilly (Willy) Chili Ride

Well we timed it just right- A nice 31k ride around the south west cottage roads and highways of Pigeon Lake and paths in the provincial park. On Sat Nov 3, 10 urban adventurers mounted their steeds and did the tour. I think there was at least 3 new steeds out for their first trips (2 Norco and 1 trek hybred tourers)

We started and ended up at Barry and Eileens Cabin. About 3/4 of the way we stopped at a nice Cafe at Village on Lake for some Lattes and Mochachinos. Mmmm a great way to warm upo and replenish some energy on a cool ride!
When we got back to the cabin we had a great Chili feed and later, a dip in the Hot Tub. Now that is an accessory every "mature" rider should have - a hot tub to soak out those weary muscles. Weary muscles were quite common as some of our riders had not ridden much this fall and I know they enjoyed that tub!
As some were soaking in the tub it started to snow - this morning we woke up to about 3cm of the white stuff, Timing was just right! Now we look forward to riding in colder weather and snowy landscapes - CAN"T WAIT! its a new, fresh perspective on known cycling routes.

keep riding!
(of note to some: Chilly Willi was a cartoon character with Woody the WoodPecker but had much cooler adventurs!no other meaning is implied )

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fall Rides

It's been a while since I last updated this blog. I have been riding, but after the ride I don't feel like writing so I let it slide. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
Lets see since I wrote last I went out riding with our group into Edmonton along the river valley

it was real nice day with lots of sunshine and a hot dog roast after.

On the Oct 1, our group helped out the local food bank by collecting food in the neigbourhood. Recumbents are great to do this with all the ways you can load up plastic bags off food on them.

This past weekend Alice and I spent in the Banff area riding along the Bow Valley Parkway.

We stayed in a cabin by Castle mtn and rode the north half and back .

Fantastic Scenery
Smooth road (quite a bit of new ashphalt) and Varied terrain

Lunch Via Kelly Kettle
(best touring Accessory for a hot tea or Freeze dried meal!)
Warm and Sunny for Oct

Then on Sunday I did some of the downhill bits of the Bow Pass towards the Sask Crossing. Going over 80kph without my fairing on the TE was exhilorating to say the least. The weather all weekend was just right! I think this is one of my most favorite rides in Alberta. A yearly event I think!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Red Deer Ramble

On September 9
5 of us loaded up the trusty mini van and headed south to ramble around the Red Deer River pathways. We rode a total of 48 km in and around the central valley. If have never taken the time I highly recommend this as a great getaway for a lazy saturday or sunday ride. If you start at the Fort along highway 2 you can ride across town and back. You can also pick up a map of the local path system to figure out you route. The ride is along great views, river and forested areas. At times I thought we were in the mountains or along the Oregon coast. Most of the paths ways are fairly level making it a great family ride. We met some folks who showed us a way south of town and then back down a winding, beautiful gorge all the way back to the river.
After getting back to our bikes we headed over to Boston Pizza for some food and recovery. We left Leduc at 1:00 pm and arrived back at 9:30 p.m. I have to say it was one of the nicest rides for the summer!
Ride on

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ima Singin in da rain

Due to circumstance entirely under my control, I have been in a funk lately and have not ridden for about 10 days. Tonight was our 'lil bike club ride so I bit the bullet and loaded up the bents and both my wife and I went. On the way to the meetin spot it started to sprinkle, by the time we rolled up to the parking lot it was a rainin! I hollered to the other 4 people that they were crazy they replied: So was I since I showed up. Now here is the great part; both my wife and I, as you know, own Tour Easys, with fairings. NOW I KNOW WHY They are so popular on the West Coast! Fairings are great in Foul Weather, they protect you from a significant part of the rain!
Riding around Leduc tonight was fun. It was refreshing and I bet alot of the drivers passing us thought we were nuts. But WE were out riding, Not Fair weather couch potatoes. So Don't be afraid of a little rain. Gear up - get some half decent rain and cool weather clothing, a Faired TE and go out and have some Fun! (P.S. I really like my bike!)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pigeon Lake Ride

A Most Glorious Ride
Sunday Afternoon, Aug 26.2007

Grey Skies, A Desire to Ride no Matter what and good food. I had been looking forward to riding the pigeon lake area for a couple of years. We had ridden out to there last year but had not rode around the lake as of yet.
So We put the word out that the ride was on and we met At the Cedar Crest motel and restaurant in Mulhurst around 3 pm. As we were gathering we realized that the Edmonton Bicycling and Touring Club was just finishing their ride and lunch. They ride around the lake every year, but it is a lot faster ride for faster riders; we much more pokier and stop to much. We are the tourists, they are the more serious roadies. They ride @ 25-30 kph, we ride 14-20 kph. Different strokes, Great folks. So we road east out of town up hill to get on highway 616 to take the north route around to Zender Provincial Park and then back along the cottage road along the lake edge. The ride on the highway was great, little traffic with enough rolling hills and flast to make a good work out. As usual I was on the tail end until I got the top of the hill and then zoomed past everyone else until I was way out front leading. I tried to maintain my lead on this ride to even out the hills. On my Recumbent it means a lot of riding alone until we meet up on the crest of most hills. Then away I go again. 18 or so kilmoters later, just before we got to Zender Park the grey skies let loose with a shower and it was wet riding. Its fun to ride in a drizzle with the right gear and bike! Having fairing on the TE is great as I typically get wet on my face only. Once we got o Zender Park we stopped for about 40 minutes for a potty and snack break. I rustled up some tea with my Kelly Kettle. It was a great hit on a cooler day. Everyone chipped in to find little twigs to stuff down the throat of the kettle. We had boiled water in about 6-7 minutes the first round and within 4 min for each pot after. I was really pleased with my fathers day gift; it worked out just as I expected.
Then we saddled up and back tracked a couple of kilometers to the village of Mission and rode 20 odd kilometers back along the lake front road. This hard packed gravel road has been divided up the by barricades to allow local traffic only. But they have portals and pathways for pedestrians and cyclists along the way. This was a great ride along the lake to gawk at the cottages, docks, boats and water fronts. There are some pretty impressive retreat up there! It was a lot slower paced than the high way but that is what a Sunday ride is for: to gawk at the scenery, right?! Eventually we arrived back for dinner at the Cedar Crest around 7 pm for the usual ride follow up stories, etc.. This was a great ride, weather and all. Its now an annual must do every August from now on. Ride lots and have fun. Next year we may stay overnite at the Inn and cycle around the lake for a nice weekend get away. Wanna come?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

B.C. Adventure Report- Finally...

Summer time, sum sum summertime
One thing about this summer I can tell you: Avoid being in a cast.
I many aspects this has been a tough summer.

You know about me breaking my toe : well here is the rest of the story:

I joined up with 15 other hearty souls to explore the rail trails in the south western mountains of BC. north of Casltlegar and over to Nelson. The scenery and companionship was awesome. The hills and rail trails were a challenge on my Tour Easy Recumbent. Plus 1/2 way along the first day I had a spill and severely twisted my other ankle and achilles tendon. I rode another 40 km that day up one of the steepest longest climbs in my life. But I did it. I can climb anything it seems after that. 7% grade for 7km. I was unable to ride a total of 1/2 the trip due to the ankle and the toe.

Trip synopsis:
Stayed at the Nakusp Hot springs: was a great soak and the scenery awesome; turns out it was my favorite hot springs of the tour.

Next day we rode the Galena Trail to New Denver down hill from the old mining town of Sandon. It was an awesome morning with the history of the area around you and the tram over the creek made it a great ride on my bent. It was the best trail surface of the week. But ¾ down I took a spill to avoid a log down across the path, twisting my ankle, I could have done with that. Then it was on the road to Slocan on the pavement. I never thought the hill south out of Silverton would end. I geared down and pushed my way up in my granny gear at an average of 5.3 kph. I would not reccommend doing this with a healing broken toe on one
foot and a sprained anke and pulled achilles heel on the other. Once we rested at the summit we pushed on a nice rolling (mostly downhill) ride to Slocan on the highway. A beautiful ride. The next day was the Slocan rail trail. I was very sore but determined to ride. The trail was good except the loose sand near the south end in Little Solcan near Frog mountain. Lots of wild berries to eat and bear poop to dodge. Riding alot besides the river, a great ride. Again down grade with mostly packed sand and gravel.
Last 20k on a rolling up hill ride up the pass creek road then down into Castlegar. That night we stayed at the community college. Nice single dorm rooms but my cel phone died and my ankle really began to ache. Did not ride the C&W trail the next day to Christina Lake. I started out with every one but was not feeling well after 5km of riding, was shaky and nauseous.
Yeah, I Bailed out and got on the Sag Truck. Turned out that it wa a good decision not to ride a recumbent on that trail even with the fat tires I had. The mtn bikers had a tough time and it turned out to take 12 hrs instead of 8! The first 6 hours were okay because they allow quads and they packed and cleared the trail; the last 6 hours no trikes allowed, so it was very large, loose gravel. It made me feel a bit better to not ride that day, but not much.
The others who did it did not enjoy it; but hey, they Did it! I felt a wee bit left out.

Next day we had a lay over around Christina lake, so we did the cafe latte and beach thing.

The next day we drove up to the Nancy Greene summit and rode down into Rossland. 30 k of downhill highway was a nice ride. Yep I felt I could ride downhill most of the day so I jumped on the Te and zipped down. Had a warm wind in my face so I did not get going to fast. I felt my back tire feeling kinda mushy, I stopped and I found that it was flat due to a leak in the rear wheel valve stem and had to blow it up twice in 3km to make it into town. Walked around Rossland to much that night; feet were too sore the next day. So I rode in the Sag wagon the next day hoping to recuperate for the last days ride.

Salmo to Nelson.
Next evening I went to put a tube in my rear tire to get ready for the last days ride but once I got the new tube in and inflated the valve came off. Nobody else had the right sized tube so I was bummed I could not ride the last day. I do not like schrader rubber valve stems any more! It turned out the trail was again fairly rough so the group bailed and rode the highways. They had a great time, even stopping at a lake and swimming for a couple hours, sigh.
After arriving in Nelson we took two days more to get home with stops at Aimsworth and Radium hot springs. It was so nice to rest and soak my legs! I have to admit I was not in great shape and in constant pain for those last few days. I could barely walk down the stairs.

On the way home from Radium I was dropped off in Nordegg to spend the next week camping with my family and friends from Calgary. Alice and I took a morning to ride the David Thomson highway from the crossing to the Davis Thomson Resort. What a gorgeous ride!

I realized on the trip that most long distance riding ability is in your mind and you can do alot more than you think if you just suck it up and push a pedal. With a low enough granny gear riding even at 4kph, you can ride up anything if you want to. I learned to appreciate my Tour Easy even more on this trip. The TE is The Touring bike. When we were on the road it shined. On my other bents I would have walked up the slopes. But it really is not a mountain bike. The main weakness is the lower, rear based center of gravity that throws the back wheel out in loose conditions. For me it’s a great fit. I just gotta get a Rans Dynamik Trail for the off road stuff! (don’t tell my wife!)

I realized that for long, mountainous road tours, a fat man on a recumbent, with too much gear is not the best combo. Its a long, slow, grind that tests ones spirit to the bone! Can I do it YES. Is it enjoyable? Only when the day is over and you are drinking something big and cold reminiscing. Is it worth the effort? OH YEAH!
I hope to do some more tour group rides in the future when I feel better and have lost some more weight. Or Not. What I mean is I am 49yrs old, 310 pounds and more alive now than I was 3 years ago. Sure I was the heaviest person on the trip, BUT I WAS THERE! Will I lose more weight for Next year? I hope so; but even if I don’t I’ll still be on the bike! Riding somewhere. I am fat but fit! (Slimmer would just make it faster and easier) Hmm maybe a Bionx Electric Assist would help mmmm
See ya on the road!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm Back

Well after my last post I was called back to the hospital and found out that, yes I HAD broken my big toe. I had a crack in the long bone of the big toe right at the joint in the ball of my foot. I was in a removeable cast for over 4 weeks. NO riding! No work on my feet. NADA. So I went to the shop and was stuck at the desk and sat around the house for almost 6 weeks of no excercise. As of this morning I had gained back what I had lost this spring I am now back at 314lbs. Arg! Well now I can get back to my regular riding and weight loss reigm again!

So the rest of june and until the 15th of july I was in a funk. I did cheat towards the end; I traded the cast for my stiff soled biking shoes and did a couple of short rides. As long as I pedaled in the arch of my foot I did okay. It was actually easier to ride than walk!

On the 17th of july I took off for My biking trip and holidays. I will upload another blog report tomorrow. Was it a good time -well yes and no- would I do the rail trtails again- yes, but not on a recumbent- At least not those. Will I ever go on another organised biking trip? In a heart beat. Stay tuned...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fathers Day Report

I had a fairly nice Fathers Day-Did you?
After lunch on Sunday I received my gift from my family- A Kelly Kettle/1 pint. It is a volcano kettle used and originated by Irish Fisherman for over a century. It uses small kindling (leaves, grass, twigs etc.) to boil 20oz of water under 5 min. It is fast. We can use it for a "spot of Tea or hot chocolate " on a bike trip or a picnic. or to heat water for freeze dried on a overnight 24hr trip. It is small enough to fit in a bike bag. I read about it on Kent Petersons blog.
Later that afternoon worked on my TE and removed the rear fender and replaced it with a rat tail and then I replaced the 1.35 marathon tires on my Tour easy with wider XC tires. A Specialized CX Borough 1.9 rear, and a Kenda Kontact 1.8 on the front. I rode it down the gravel packed road by my place and was amazed at the difference!.The wider tires seemed to float across the loose stuff. My narrow marathon tires just seem to plough in. On the asphalt it was a little slower and more bumpy with the kenda on the front. So I switched it out with a 1.75 Chen S. from a Bike E and it improved the tarmac ride and speed and still rode exceedingly well on the gravel. I think I will take both tires on the tour and use the knobby on the days on the rail trail and the smoother chen s. on the road days. Speed on the tour is not primary, stability on varing rail trail surfaces is.
Marathon - Cheng S. - Kenda Kontact
Later that evening Alice and I went for a ride around Calmar - I was fooling around and the front tire went out and I ended up on the road. I thought I pulled a muscle in my foot when I got up. But rode home, a wee sore but not for worse. Until I got 50 feet from home when I felt/heard a pop from my left foot and I was in agony. Well it didn't go away over night; so I went into the emergency for an xray this morning. Nothing broken- just pulled and tender- so its no cycling for a couple of weeks or so. Hopfully I can be ready to go on my tour! My wife says it serves me right for "swoopin" around - but hey its so fun!
Take care - ride safely -

Saturday, June 16, 2007

07 MS Tour Report

Faster, Stronger,
More Endurance,
More FUN!

That really describes my tour this year.
It was a perfect riding weekend, Sunny warm lite wind blowing to south east on Saturday. Cooler, wind blowing strong to the west Sunday!

We had great ride on the weekend on the Leduc to Camrose AB. MsTour. Over 1.2 million dollars will have been raised for MS research and programing. Thanks for all you who sponsored Alice and me. Alice and I rode with Sandy and Murray G.

Every year I have had better times, due to a different bike, better conditioning and support from family and friends. I flew the course on the Easy Racer Tour Easy with comfort and speed. I hit 40- 50 kph on some stretches and avg in the low 30kph range alot of the east trip back-I almost felt like an athlete! Look out Lance - yeah a 300lb Lance! right......

Made it up ALL the hills, TOO!

It was alot more fun this year with my wife Alice along on her TE and our friends Sandy and Murrray on their Agios. Alice did great too, Not only did she look great she rode strong avg 20kph for the whole ride!

I really enjoy the comradery with other riders.

Sandy egged Murray and I to push it up a notch to ride a full metric century on Sunday. (It was easy -we had a east wind pushing us Sunday)

So I rode from Camrose to Calmar- 105km, for a total for the weekend of 180+km.

Not bad for a 300#, 50 year old eh?! I can hardly wait for my Kootenay adventure next month. Boy for a 300lb dude those 200km plus brevets look like they are in year. I need less of me and more time on the bike, but I can see 'em in the future!

Lower pic: The BEnt Posse
Larry, Alice, Sandy, Murray, Joe Justice - 70 yr. young riding a Bacchetta Corsa (He sells em at United Cycle!)
The more I ride- the more I want to ride. It is a real stress reliever and healthier way to enjoy life!

Now I'm getting into Kootenay Adventure mode: I just need to modify the TE for Rail Trails and keep up the riding 'til then.
I'll keep you posted


If you want to see some more pics click on the link to the right to see my flickr site.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Long Ride

Alice, my significant other, riding and life partner and I went for good long ride today. It was +30 on the road. Sweaty, salty, hot. Anyways, we rode from Calmar to Thorsby and back on a long loop. 50.2k. Alices longest 1 day ride to date. It was a real nice day until we headed east on highway 39. Can you say HEADWIND! felt like we did 75k. I averaged 21kph for 2hr 23 min. Alice averaged 17.8 for 3hr 15. Needless to say I stopped and waited for her every 5 k or so. Hey she is worth it. I have several friends whose wifes would never ride woith them. I'm very fortunate. She is improving alot but the wind just messes with her head and she forgets to keep cadance and starts to mash dem pedals.
Well next weekend is the MS Tour, we are both riding along with the Greers and a new rider in our group named Teresa. It will be great to have company this year.
Put a terracycle idler on the TE yesterday. When I changed to a larger 52t chain ring earlier in the spring it shortened the chain a bit. So it was a good excuse to order one from the states and put it on. I saved about $50 ordering it instead of picking it up at a Lbs a ways from home. Mail order can cut into a lot of local business. But I only have so many dollars to spend and gas is getting real expensive.
Well, Get up off the couch, get away from the computer and family and go for a ride a couple of times this week, eh. It does wonders for the body mind and spirit.