Friday, May 3, 2013

That First Ding

Ken’s post over at Passes & Canyon blog about his new to him used bike already came pre-scratched brought this memory come flashing back.

True story. 12/26/1992 brand spanking new first Harley a FXSTC (that's a Softail Custom for you non-Harley folk). To say I was a proud man would be the understatement of the day. Now considering I live in Iowa you can bet that day was plenty chilly. I ride a few miles from the dealer and load it in my buddies truck to get it the 45 miles home.

I'm walking around it in the garage with a smile as big as can be. My boss and wife even drops by to have look at all the shiny black and chrome. They want to hear it and well with stock mufflers... well you know. I had always like the sound of the stock pipe on the Evo motor with just the plugs knocked out. Not to loud with a nice deep throaty rumble.

So after the boss and the misses leave I walk over to my tool box an grab my long pipe for beating on an a big BFH. A few smacks later plugs are removed and I've got to hear this thing. So instead of replacing the tools in the box first I just let the big pipe hit the concrete floor. When it did it bounce up off the floor and hit the rear fender. First paint ding! I just kind of laughed saying well I got that out the way now.

I rode 100 miles that night showing off my new prize to any an everyone and enjoying the sound of that Evo with the open mufflers.


I had a great time for 10 years and 114,000 miles on ol’ Silver until some low life piece of shit stole him in October of 2002. My buddy was just as reliable as a guy could ask for. A voltage regulators or two, a stator and countless batteries and tires. Dropped a small bolt in camshaft at about 50K for a nice little bump to 70HP and we would ride together all day long to any and and everywhere. We seen both coast together and an unknown number of states. Like I said we had a great time together. 


Miss you ol’ buddy!!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Got To Take the New 29er Out

Today was the first day I've really have had a chance to take my new 29er out for a proper ride in the dirt. I went with a guy who knows the trails well and where they all are.

We stated out easy enough with a quick 5 miles on the road to the trail head. This trail was pretty flat and wide. Being a rookie Ted thought this would be a good way to get to know the new ride and break into dirt riding. This was an absolute ball with some man made obstacles, trees to cross and just enough moisture in the dirt for good bite. I enjoyed this 5 miles of back woods a lot.

The next 15 miles was anything but easy. Lot of granny gear steep climbs, lots of rocks, lot of roots and big trees and tight steep downhill turns. This section was hard, slow, fast and rugged. I tried to ride slow on the downhill's as much as I could but still found trouble.

Crash number one happen on a tight turn heading back up hill. I was in a low gear and hit a root which caused my back wheel to bounce causing my forward motion to stop and over I went. Crash number two was three feet later as I was trying to get going again spinning out on the wet rocks. That drew a bit of blood when I bounced off the big rock. I didn't feel too bad because a guy who had entered the trail right in front of us there and was having the same problem. Crash number three was trying to cross a stair step over a tree. Not going very fast at all but just wasn't square and the bike slid off the side of the tree and on my butt I landed with a nice Cat 5 tattoo to add insult. 2012-03-25_14-52-48_523

Crash number four was on a rough downhill and I'm trying to go easy but clipped a tree with the left end of the handlebar. That spill tossed me down a small embankment with mud covering my right leg just for good measure. How I didn't get hurt in that one is small miracle.

All this abuse to me and the new bike never even so much as suffered a scratch that I can tell. That might change as I wash all of the mud off it later. But quick inspections on the trails after each get off didn't show any damage. It still rode and shifted just fine which is more than I can say about the rider. I've got a hunch tomorrow morning is going to feel like the first day of high school football practice.

All in all 20 miles of mud, rocks, roots, trees, hills and water crossings and I had an absolute blast. But man was it hard riding. 50 miles on my road bike is much easier!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Am I The Last One?

OK am I just an old fuddy duddy or what? I ask because I’m not on Facebook and it seems like everyone else and their mother is. I’ve got friends and family all who harp on me to join. To be honest I just don’t see what the big deal is. What am I missing here?  Am I just being stubborn because I can’t stand that snot nosed brat Zuckerberg? That smug ass just rubs me wrong in so many ways. Are you on Facebook?

While I’m asking questions. Here is another thing that rubs me wrong, Apple. I can’t stand that smug ass company either. I must admit though I’ve been harboring a desire to buy the new iPad. My biggest distaste for the company other than the worlds worst software for Windows, yes I’m talking about that shit software iTunes, is the smug ass fan boys that seem to think if you don’t have a Mac and an iPhone and all iThings that you are some how stupid for “putting up” with Windows. Just a FYI. I like Windows and I couldn’t run my business without it because the software I use all day long doesn’t work on a Mac or even available for that matter on a Mac. Since you don’t have to have that crapware on your PC now to sync the iPad I’m really starting to think about getting one. So who has an iPad? 

Gosh it seems like I’m on a rant today. OK fine since I am.

Google, what the hell? What have you done to my browser? I don’t care how many times I’ve told Chrome to use Google as my homepage you insist on opening the last page I had open when I closed the browser. While that’s not that big of deal it’s annoying as hell. Another thing Google since you are on my shit list today. Why do you keep populating my Google+ Stream page with content from other people I don’t even know or who aren’t even in my circles for that matter? Don’t you think if I wanted to know these people I would seek them out on my own?  The real pisser is these posts can pop up in the archives days, weeks or even months later. Would you please stop it, it’s really starting to piss me off. Don’t force me to delete all things Google in my life because I really like my Android phone and would hate to think I have to have a damn iPhone because than I would have to have the crapware iTunes on my PC again and I think you know how I feel about that! Another question Google if you will. What the hell happen to Blogger? Why is it I can’t comment on my friends blogs anymore? Every time I type a comment and hit post it disappears into cyberspace never to see it post regardless how many times I type it. I wanted to comment on Ms. M’s blog yesterday but you just refused to post it. Stop it already! You’re really starting to act like that snot nosed brat Zucherbrug!

OK now I feel better :)


Saturday, February 11, 2012


So I had a bike I wasn’t using anymore and had no plans to ride every again after all the trouble it gave me for the year I rode it. I guess the worst parts was I bought it brand new and still had pay for all the repairs it needed which should have been under warranty. Needless to say I wasn’t happy and I sure wasn’t about to buy another bike from this dealer again. I’ll give them credit that they did try their best to treat me right by giving me a major break on the cost of these repairs but the fact still stands that I should not had to pay a nickel. Screw me once, silly me.

Now admittedly there was nothing wrong with my Scott winter bike. In fact it held up well and gave me zero trouble dealing with the ice, snow and freezing cold. Unlike the other bike that always had frozen shifters if it even got close to freezing. That was just another reason to hate that bike. The Scott was even a lot of fun playing in the dirt with. The only reason it was even going in on this deal was the fact, that it too, would end up not being ridden and I really didn’t need six bicycles. I mean how many can a guy ride at one time really?

I’ve got a real nice Cannondale road bike, a real cool older Cannondale Hybrid that is a lot of fun to cruise around on and this ultra cool vintage Cannondale mountain bike. So really I didn’t need these two bikes. What I did want though was a modern 29er mountain bike. So the plan was hatched to trade in the two old bikes and buy one. Hence the 1+1=N+1.

You might notice a trend here that all the bikes I was keeping are Cannondale’s and that is because like Harley’s they are hand built here in the USA. Well that was until 2010 when the little company that could sold out to some large cooperation who of course shipped productions and jobs overseas.  So as much as I wanted to hate them for this they at least kept design and research here. Not many brands even do that anymore.

Since I own all of these Cannondale’s I have devolved a very good relationship with the local dealer of them. And since they are not the same dealer that hosed me on the other bike it seemed only logical I buy the new bike from them. To say they made me a hell of a deal on this new quest would be an under statement in my mind. All little back and forth and the deal was made. When you buy a $890.00 bike for $510.00 I called that a pretty good deal. The bonus is I didn’t have to screw around trying to sell the two other bikes and all the headaches that involves.

So it’s only 10F here right now and a buddy just called and wants to have homemade pizza and beer at the little pub down the street so it sounds like a pretty good reason to hop on the new ride.

Let’s see if I can wipe this grin off my face! :)

2012-02-11_11-24-55_91    fasthair

Update: Got to go play in the dirt and mud today. This photo was early into the ride so it wasn’t very dirty yet. It was a complete mess by the end of my little romp.

Cannondale Trail SL4 (12)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

That Was a First

One of the better things about winter cycling is there are no leave on the trees to block your view so you get to see more of the wild life. There is always the seemingly suicidal squirrels that like to always run across the path in front of me only to turn right around and run right back across. Maybe they like playing chicken or something? I don’t know but I’ve seen pictures of them getting caught in a bicycle wheel and it never ends pretty for the varmint or the cyclist. Anyway, I’ve seen this big red fox twice now in the past week. That’s not something a person would normally see in the middle of a big city. At least not around here. Or from behind the wheel of a car stuck in traffic for that matter. Of course he’s not like the squirrels because he is off like a, well like a fox. Of course there is always a bunch of dear too. Last spring on my way home I watched as a doe gave birth to a fawn. I must admit, that was a first too.

Had a flat this morning on the way in to work. I’ve had a lot of flats while out riding but that was the first while commuting to work. While flats are never fun, just like a motorcycle, at least you have a chance on a bicycle if you carry a spare tube and some sort of air installing device which I do. But as luck would have it I was a block away from a local bike shop and a bagel shop. So I grabbed a bagel and enjoyed my coffee as the shop fixed my tire. I just set outside in the warm sunshine with a smile on my face thinking it could be worse. The nineteen bucks it cost is still less than it takes to fill the tank on the motorcycle, much less the car!

It must be warming up because yesterday was the the first time THIS YEAR that I was yelled at and told “get on the paths!” Try as I might to catch her at the next stop light three or four blocks from where she yelled at me only missing her by about ten seconds. But I really just wanted to tell her that sometimes the paths don’t go where I want to go. If it was still cold she wouldn’t have rolled her passenger side electric window down to yell at me and just buzzed like she did instead only. Never mind there is a center turn lane that every other person passing me uses. I think she was mad because she had to wait three seconds to pass me because of the truck that was in the center turn lane wanting to, well turn. I would like to think maybe Aunt Flow was in town for a visit and it isn’t really me she dislikes. Yeah I’ll go with that.

Damn I’m enjoying this commuting by bicycle thing! I’ve got the itch for a new mountain bike too. It’s that N+1 thing don’tcha know. I went dirt riding last fall with a buddy for the first time since I was a kid and it was a blast! I may be to old to go flying off big jumps like I did back then. I’m also too old to be getting broken arms like a did when I was a kid. But I’m not to old to play in the dirt and get muddy just like little boys are supposed to do.

Writing that reminds me of a camping trip I did last summer. It had rained over the night time so there was standing water in the little holes of this gravel drive. I’m sitting at the picnic table and watching this little boy that is probably five or six years old riding his little bicycle. The first time he nears this little puddle I said watch this. Sure enough he rode right though the puddle popping a little wheel in order to make a splash so he would be a mess and get muddy. I watched him ride back and forth sometimes making sharp turns just to hit this puddle. Not once did he miss this puddle until he had splashed all the water out of it. I just laughed every time he went by thinking, I know that little boy. He was of course me at that age! Fun times those days were.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Who Says You Can’t?

When I told some friends was going to try and continue to commute to work in the winter on my bicycle I was told, you can’t do that! Since I’m pretty hard headed at times I took that as a challenge and set out to prove that it could be done and I was going to do it.

Since I always rode my motorcycle until it snowed I knew how to handle the cold. But I wasn’t counting on was how much different it is just sitting on something blasting along at 60 something miles per hour and pedaling something at 18 mph or slower. The clothes I had for the motorcycle were too big, heavy and hot for bicycling in the cold. So a new wardrobe was in order. Funny how little it takes to stay warm when you are working at riding a bicycle at times in deep snow. Who knew at 10F a person could sweat?

I did know though that the summer road bike with it's skinny little 23mm wide slick tires wasn’t going to cut it so I had to get another bike (N+1) for the job. It was just pure luck that I found a used Scott (my last name) mountain bike at a second hand sports store. While I knew the knobby tires used for dirt riding would probably work in the snow I wasn’t so sure about ice. A little searching on the ‘net revealed they make studded snow tires for bicycles. Who knew?

Studded tires and fenders installed. Winter bike clothing kit bought and off I went.

We’ve had a rather mild winter here as far as snow goes. It hasn’t been all that cold with 2F being about as cold as it has been when I hit the roads for my morning commute. And you know what? It’s been a lot of damn fun!


Even as much fun as this is I’m like everyone else and can’t wait for spring so I can get the road bike back out. I miss going fast! With 40lbs of bike and gear there is no such thing as fast.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Tour for the Tata's

Over the weekend I did a little different type of riding for the cause, breast cancer awareness. The best part was I talked my family into donating five dollars each and covered most of the sixty dollar entry fee. A win win for everybody.

This was a 24 hour ride held at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapid, Iowa on a banked half mile asphalt oval. I was in town for family business so I couldn’t spend a lot of time riding. My plan was to ride for one continues hour nonstop to see if I could do it with an average of 18/19mph. Somewhere during the hour I came up with this silly idea of one hour plus a lap.

I rode to the event about five miles to get warmed up so I would be ready to go. With my support team (thanks Shelley!) at hand I clipped in and rolled on to the track. Oh, did I mention the 20+mph head/side wind for about half the track? No? Heading down the back straight wasn’t too bad but banking in to turn three and four I got the full brunt of the wind. Than as you come out of four the front straight has a slight rise until the start finish line where the grand stands would block the wind. Pass the start finish line was a dip leading into turn one that was slightly downhill then the wind would kick you in the butt and you could really get some good speed built up to get ready repeat it all over again. I learned in short order to sit up in that part to get the full benefit from the wind and get a little rest time in.

On the track I quickly fell into my normal cadence and thought the two guys in front of me might make a good pace line. I soon found out the only thing they had in mind was staying on my wheel, not that I really cared because I had my own agenda. After 15 minutes or so Merle had enough and peeled off to ride at his own pace muttering something about I have a good pace going. At about the half hour mark my half full water bottle ran empty and I tossed it to Shelley as I went by her standing in the gate. I felt this smile come across my face as I watched the bottle skid across the pavement and then laugh as I thought to myself, that looked so Pro. A few laps later Shelley is jogging to hand off the now full bottle of ice water and I take a big swig happy to have it back.

All of this time I have really no clue of my average speed since I have the computer in clock mode only. I do catch a glimpse of the pace arrow at times but can only tell I’m close to my speed goal. The hour mark comes up as I’m heading into the back straight. Pulling around turn four I raise my left arm in the air with one finger held up. I hear these two ladies sitting with Shelley and her give me a great big cheer and it really give me a big boost. I apply rule #5 and pull as hard as I can for the last lap, no taking a rest in turn one this time around. I’m going to give it every last bit of effort I have left and stomp this last half mile. I’m not quite sucking wasps as I turn into the wind of turn three one last time but I’m really starting to suffer!

Crossing the finish line I sit up and throw my arms in the air thinking I did it as I hear the ladies clapping and cheering. I hit the brakes and pull into the center grass as I unclip and stop laying the bike and myself in the grass. Several minutes go by as I lay there wondering if I hit my speed goal and if my legs would work to walk. I stand up to take a look at my computer.

Total time was 1:01:28 with an average speed of 18.84mph and a top speed of 26.6mph which if you do the math means I did 37 or so laps. I feel that smile cross my face again as I look at Shelley showing her the results to which she says “good job!” Walking on limp legs and still breathing deeply I say to her, “damn that was fun!”

Later in the evening we go back to listen to some of the bands that are playing and to watch some of the other riders. Standing there I say to Shelley I should get the bike back out and just cruise around for a while to which she replied “you should.” I think about it for a minute than I look at her and say “I better not, I know me and that cruise would turned in to let’s see if I can beat my last hour.” At that point the music comes back in to focus as I bask in the satisfaction of my effort as I think once again, damn that was fun!

Tour fo the Tatas 1

I’m the one in the black still going…