Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gypsy Bound

We have been on the road for over a month. I have been fortunate to be in places that are bike friendly. We spent 3 weeks in the Florida Panhandle and a week in Florida's Nature coast and have just hit Tampa. After checking my bike journal I realize I have done over 525 miles. I didn't think I would be able to maintain my mileage. I have been getting out daily on local trails but my miles are only averaging 15. It is not safe pedaling roads in Florida. Sorry, but, truth be told Florida drivers are too old and distracted. Fortunately Florida is loaded with bike trails. Some are nothing more than side walks but many are paved trails ranging from a few to 60 miles. The weather has been fantastic and the scenery beautiful. Here are some pics to enjoy.




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Busy August

Wish I could say I was busy biking. Besides being hot the house has consumed much of my time getting ready for new owners. I've been doing my best to get at least a 20 mile ride as often as possible. I pedaled 19 days and 536 miles for the month of which 330 were on the Xootr Swift. Only 4 rides over 40 miles and 5 over 35, the rest 20-25. I sold my Arkel panniers and gave away my camping gear. I don't plan on any more multi-day tours and suspect my high mileage days to be over. I am hoping to maintain 100 miles/wk for health, sanity and fun. Our plan is to travel the country and I am excited to explore new roads to pedal.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Jamming July

Best month this year with over 760 miles in 26 days. Almost 500 of those miles were on the Swift. Because of the heat and a very hectic month I had to scale back my daily miles. The Swift continues to shine for those shorter 20-30 miles but more than that I much prefer my trike. You would think that getting in 2 hours of me time would be easy but lately it has proved quite challenging. One day I went out at dawn to beat the heat and I was met with a barrage of early morning commuters. I would rather suffer in heat than an extra amount of inconsiderate drivers. My last ride the air was Florida hot which turned into a constant light rain and finally back into tropical humidity. The rain was a relief on that 28 mile ride. I saw no other crazy cyclists that day. I must say I was pumped last month to get as many days in as possible. I was hoping to ride every day but that proved impossible. Be that as it may it was an exciting and obsessive month. I'm already missing a few days this month and have calmed my craze.  I expect the next couple of months to be busy and may challenge my cycling time, but I know I will make every effort to ride.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What's Up?

Not much. It's Summer and it's been HOT!!! My new Xootr Swift is fun and has been a nice game changer. 100 miles in June and 250 so far this month. It's light, fast, single track and makes for a quick 20-35 mile ride. I have not utilized it's folding capabilities but it rides nicer than my Fuji, go figure. June was a good month with over 500 miles and an overall average of 30 miles per ride. Retirement is nice I don't have the need to burn up a lot of miles in a day but I still desire to get out as often as possible. As of today, I only missed 3 days this month. The humidity broke today but I decided not to overdue it with an easy 36 miler. I wanted to save some energy for tomorrow which promises to be even nicer. After that it's back up to HHH. You won't find me complaining about Summer heat and so far it's been great. My wife and I have big travel plans and we just bought a new car to help haul our bikes. We are both looking forward to new adventures and places to ride.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Here is a write-up from one of my GOBA Buddies Dave on this years ride that I missed.


I hope you can take time out from your travels to the beach(es) to reflect on what a vacation is really supposed to be!

Word was out that you were not going to attend GOBA this year, so, there were only 1700 registered riders! It was great being back on GOBA and my first not riding a tandem. The routes were composed of a nice mixture of hills in the trees and cornfields (your favorite) in the sun!

Here are some of the trip highlights:

SATURDAY, 18 JUNE 2016: TWINSBURG TO HAMILTON - 239 Miles in 3 Hours, 56 Minutes! Average Velocity: 60.76 mph; Maximum Velocity: 70.0 mph. Loaded the van with 2 adults, two teenagers, one tandem, and three bicycles on the hitch rack and headed south on I-71 to Ashland to meet Leanne's sister with yet another nephew to carry south to Hamilton, Ohio. Arrived at the Butler County Fairgrounds and joined other family members who had already staked claim to choice camping spots. Trains rolling though town kept me awake most of the night, worse than Lorain County Fairgrounds in 2008!

SUNDAY, 19 JUNE 2016 - FATHER'S DAY: HAMILTON TO EATON - 48.74 Miles in 3 Hours, 37 Minutes, 38 Seconds. 1965 Feet of CLIMBING! Average Velocity: 13.40 mph; Maximum Velocity: 39.0 mph. Camped at Eaton High School and they were kind enough to provide a projection TV system in the cafeteria showing NBA Finals Game 7! I watched only a few minutes and had to get to sleep because of not getting sleep the night before. I did not hear the score until I crawled out of the tent Monday morning!
MONDAY, 20 JUNE 2016: EATON TO OXFORD - 52.52 Miles in 3 Hours, 53 Minutes, 6 Seconds. 1184 Feet of CLIMBING!  Average Velocity: 13.50 mph; Maximum Velocity: 34.80 mph. Had lunch at Union School in College Corner, Ohio/Indiana? That is correct! The school sits on both sides of the border with a line marking it through the center of the gymnasium! Spent about an hour there to stay out of the heat!

Spent two nights in Oxford at Miami University. A rather disappointing stay as there was not much in the way of entertainment or affordable dining. But, they did provide FREE Wi-Fi in the basketball arena which is where we spent most of the time to beat the heat! It took me a while to get my smart phone to access the network properly to check on weather conditions. After all, why have such a phone if you can not access the National Weather Service while on GOBA? We did get a 15-minute storm on Monday night.
TUESDAY, 21 JUNE 2016: OXFORD LAYOVER DAY - The breakfast buffet sold out before we could get tickets, so we had to walk approximately two miles to Bob Evans which was NOT on the shuttle bus route! Spent most of the day in the arena hanging out with the Miller Mob! Chinese food was voted on as the dinner choice that evening and square dancing was the entertainment!
WEDNESDAY, 22 JUNE 2016: OXFORD TO BROOKVILLE - 102.52 Miles in 7 Hours, 19 Minutes, 15 Seconds. 1489 Feet of CLIMBING!  Average Velocity: 14.00 mph; Maximum Velocity: 34.70 mph. New for GOBA this year was the combining of the optional GOBA Century with the normal (50-mile) ride. At the 40-mile mark, Lewisburg, Ohio, the routes diverged and four of us decided to do the ultimate GOBA ride! The only other century to date that I have done was to Fremont in 2013. Severe weather was in forecast and we had to be at the split by 11:00 am before the route was closed.

Four of us departed at 5:30 am and outran the rain until Lewisburg, which we arrived at by 8:45 am! Upon reaching New Paris, at mile 55, there was a nice downgrade into town with a stop sign at the bottom so we had to tap the brakes to keep our speed in check. I was in the back of the pack as the road leveled in town and then saw the most amazing crash of my life! I mean, we are talking ABC Wide World of Sports crash when my nephew, Devin, went skidding left across the pavement and into the curb with his bicycle trailing him from behind. He immediately hopped up and was laughing and I noticed a hole in the pavement. Is this what he hit? Oh, no! He clipped the handlebars of his cousin's bike riding next to him! Spectacular crash! Wish I would have had a helmet cam for that one! Fortunately, it had rained and a fresh asphalt patch was in place making it a slide instead of a scrape! We were all saved by having to slow for the stop sign or their would have been a good chance that all four of us would have gone down! Devin had a few scrapes and his bike chain came off, but other than that, we dodged a very large bullet!

We continued on, and I hung back with Devin to be sure he was fit to ride. At the 70-mile mark I heard a sound and saw what had to be the ugliest mule I had ever seen in a field across the road. Is that mule laughing at me? Then I looked down and noticed my rear tire was going flat! What looked like a sliver of stone was sticking in my supposed puncture-resistant tire. Fixing it was no problem and what was especially nice was that a ham radio vehicle stopped and offered to inflate my tire using a floor pump!

Lydell and Caleb were now far ahead of us as I had to slow my speed to allow Devin to catch up to me. He was now hurting and I questioned him if he required a medic. He was determined to earn his first GOBA Century patch and said he would wait until the end to seek medical help. We made it back to Lewisburg, at mile 90, and tanked up on snacks and Gatorade and then continued on to Brookville without incident. We received our patches and then went straight to the medical tent where they looked Devin over.

igns were posted at the information booth about approaching severe weather and the Brookville Fire Department was offering shuttle buses to ferry people to alternative lodging. Radar images showed a line of storms approaching from the northwest but they appeared to be dissipating, so I was not interested in abandoning

Leanne & I decided to ride out the storm in our 4-man Eureka Timberline Tent. We already had packed an emergency bag with important items in case we had to outrun a twister. I have had my 2-man tent in 100-mile winds in Colorado, so I thought this would be a good test for the 4-man version. At approximately 2:30 am, the storm hit! Spectacular lightning and wind pushing horizontal rain through the fabric of the tent as a fine mist. We were rocking and rolling in the tent for a good half-hour before the storm subsided and we emerged unscathed and dry. My bicycle even remained standing through it all. Fortunately, there was no hail and the lightning strikes were some distance away.  We heard later that many of the Porta-Johns had blown over and there were many broken tent poles and several major tree limbs had fallen down in camp.  

THURSDAY, 23 JUNE 2016: BROOKVILLE TO MIAMISBURG - 53.64 Miles in 3 Hours, 46 Minutes, 59 Seconds. 1075 Feet of CLIMBING!  Average Velocity: 14.10 mph; Maximum Velocity: 97.80 mph? I wish! The first few miles out of Brookville required us to navigate through storm debris blown onto the roads. They say that GOBA is not a race, it is a ride. Let me tell you, it is a race to beat the heat. Another hot day with a gradual drop in elevation with a big hill at the end. Leanne was the last into camp because of the heat.

Spent the first few hours in the school cafeteria enjoying the air conditioning while trying to find the ambition to shower and head to dinner. Miamisburg had a shuttle bus route that actually went somewhere. Subway was the dinner of choice, and when the ten of us walked through the door, I could see the manager laughing hysterically. I was impressed with how fast they served so many of us. I was sure to compliment the manager on our way out! Electronic devices are not recommended on GOBA. Good Luck with that. Now the schools en route have charging stations set up to charge your phones for cash! Miamisburg celebrates its bicentennial in 2018. They are in the process of fixing up the town in anticipation of the arrival of throngs of visitors.

FRIDAY, 24 JUNE 2016: MIAMISBURG LAYOVER DAY - Had breakfast at a non-profit restaurant called One Bistro. Payment is by donation. Remained in camp most of the day before having dinner.
SATURDAY, 25 JUNE 2016: MIAMISBURG TO HAMILTON - 47.85 Miles in 3 Hours, 29 Minutes, 8 Seconds. 1791 Feet of CLIMBING!  Average Velocity: 14.20 mph; Maximum Velocity: 38.30 mph. A rather challenging ride considering it being the last day. Some monster hills and more unrelenting heat! Felt good to make it back to the van!

Spray-on sunscreen works great!
Maintain a fixed food allowance per day!
Rent an RV or sleep in hotels to make trip more family friendly.
Use of single bike makes climbing hills much easier.
Ride the century only if it cloudy and lightly raining!
Have I written enough?

David (a.k.a "the Weird Uncle")

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I have been in the market for a good folding bike that I can take when traveling. It was important to have a good and solid build. Too many hinges weaken and flex over time. I also wanted one that had descent components, non proprietary parts and did not break the bank. It didn't have to fold quick or tiny as I was not using it for commuting on trains or buses. It just had to breakdown small enough to carry in my car or motor home. My research led me to the Xootr Swift. One of my concerns was it's reported stiff ride. After all comfort is the reason I ride a recumbent. I was also not pleased with the low end Sram x4 rear derailuer and 8 speed 11/28 cassette with 52t front chainring especially given the $800 price tag. Fortunately, I found a dealer outside of Philly who had one in stock I could try. The ride was better than expected and the shifter worked well enough but I new it would be a matter of time before I would upgrade. There was a customer there who praised the bike and said he did many self-contained tours and was very happy with the bike. I later went home still pondering whether to buy. I later did a wide search on Craigslist and found an almost new one at half the price. It had upgraded 9 speed 11/32 cassette with Shimano 105 rear deraileur and a Paul Thumby shifter. After another 1 1/2  hr drive to Pa it was mine. My first ride was 26 miles and It was faster than my Fuji. Yesterday after adding kickstand, bag, water bottle cage and phone holder I managed a very enjoyable 41 miles at a respectable average for me. The stock seat is as comfortable as it's going to get on a traditional bike. Gearing was adequate for the hills in my area but I see upgrading to an 11/34 when this wears out. What makes this bike stand out is it rides like a full size bike and only weights 25 lbs stock, 5 lbs less than my Fuji. The small 20x1.5 tires make for a harsher ride but the chromoly fork helps dampen things. So far I am very pleased and should work fine for it's intended use.

Needs kickstand

Some pictures from the website in various folded states

Friday, June 3, 2016

May The Force Be With You

May started off slow with only 4 rides in the first 2 weeks mostly due to weather. The second half things picked up and I finished with a total 20 days and 725 miles. I even pedaled the last 10 days straight. Those last 2 weeks were quite warm and my pace slowed measurably. In order to keep things interesting I had 6 days and 165 miles on my Fuji beater bike. I enjoy the change and am good up to 25 miles before my butt starts complaining. I have a new seat coming so will see if that helps. I also have tires coming for both trike and bike. My right front tire wall started separating and was lucky to make it back intact. In all fairness the tires have over 7k mi and were due for replacement. Although I very much enjoyed my Tryker tires I have opted for the more durable Marathon per reviews. They are also less expensive. I also had a rear flat on my Fuji and noticed some wear. The bike does not have many miles but the tires are original and are 7 years old so I ordered some inexpensive touring tires on sale from Performance bike.
I'm not sure what's in store for June as we have a trip planned and I don't ride many miles as my wife does not share my passion for cycling.
That's it for now and I am really enjoying the warm weather and retirement.

Tour De Elizabeth with son and grandson Jesse

Side wall separating

Perfect day and rode 41 miles

Butterflies at lake

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tour De Elizabeth

I rode this event today with my son, his girlfriend and my 8 year old grandson Jesse. The event is a 15 mile ride around the city of Elizabeth sponsored by Groundwork Elizabeth.

What is Groundwork Elizabeth?
Founded in England in 1979, the Groundwork program engages the public sector, the private sector and the community in addressing challenges in urban communities.

This event was like a mini 5 Boro Tour, extremely well supported by the city's Police, Fire, Ems, and many other volunteers. Streets were blocked from cars and pedestrians and there was always a cheering crowd. Kudos to all that made it possible. I highly recommend this ride if you are in the area and will be on my annual ride list.
For the record we rode 3 miles to and from the event for a total of 22.2 miles.
I am very proud of my grandson Jesse for a supper ride and longest to date.
6:30 am ride to my son's house.

Nice T-shirt they gave out.


Ride complete but still have 3 mile home

Waiting to see if we won any raffles, nope!

Walking to the diner to refuel after event.