A Bit of Sad News

Wisconsin has lost it's second cyclist to an automobile accident last evening. The more difficult portion of this news is that I knew the man. In short, he was a transplant like I am to this area and found success. Here are a few of the stories on the web... I will update with additional information as it is released.

Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin
The Sheboygan Press

I've been on hiatus due to my new daughter Ivy. But here is something for all to do while I stray:

Have fun with it...


Distribution Bike

I found this pic and thought it amusing, if not a desirable item to have. It was listed as an ice cream vending bike... but I can sure see it delivering some other mighty fine cold ones! That'll be $5 for a Fat Tire, my friends! BTW, I can't spin the bike to the right orientation without a lot more work... so you'll all have to suffer... but at least you can make believe you've all had a tall, cold one!


Finding NEW Paths

Since I'm now a transplant from Michigan to the upside down state of Wisconsin, I've had to search for an organization that I could feel comfortable in to ease me into the cycling scene around these parts. For quite some time, I was very disappointed in what I found. Sure, WORBA, the Wisconsin Off Road Bicycling Association is the established state advocacy group similar to the MMBA, Michigan Mountain Biking Association which I used to be a part of. But unlike the MMBA which has easy to understand regional chapters, WORBA is divided up into little clubs... and like a lot of other things about this state I've discovered... just don't make sense. I finally figured out the area I reside in falls under the Fat Katz, fat being synonimous with mountain biking and KATS as in Kettle All Terrain Society. Wha, what?! Well that and I sent them a few e-mails to see if I might be able to hook up with the group to get to know the area trails or at least meet a few new folks in the area... and nothing. Not a response. Not a peep. Not a word. So I explored what I could and eventually hung up the MTBs and putzed around on the road bike.

During the early part of this Winter, I was meandering through the WORBA and WORS (Wisconsin Off Road Series) websites and stumbled upon the NEW OM, the North East Wisconsin Mountain Biking Club. The club is based one county north of where I live. I liked their site so I dug out a contact e-mail and sent out a little message. Not more than an hour later... CONTACT! The person on the other end was the founder of the club, Wade. Made me feel really welcome even though we'd never met. I signed up to be on their e-mail list and happily get notices of warm-winter rides. They're in the midst of cutting the first trail in their county so they are frequenting that trail. But I hope as warmer, longer days emerge, they'll venture down to the 2 trails closer to my place. A couple of other things I'm excited about with this club is that even in a fledgling state, they are beginning to do advocacy work down in Madison and have applied to be an official part of IMBA. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Anyway, I'm just glad and excited I've found a club seemingly more meaningful and moving at my speed. Bring on the dirt!


Work Work, the Magical Fruit... Ramblin' Thoughts

So I'm back to a positive swing at work. Still a lot of work and responsibilities but just feeling like I'm getting a better grasp of the group and a few pats on the back from where you least expect them really help. Though I'm not sure they're entirely genuine, I'll take 'em.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean anything in regards to getting back on the bike. I still remember the saddle sores I got from commuting in on my road bike last summer. Fine going in, but by the end of the day, the damage done in the morning reared it's ugly head. Super tender rump. Anyway, I rode a good part of the commute home out of the saddle and on the hoods. I'm sure I looked like some crazy sprinter guy in lycra training my attack runs. Little did they know...

So the weather man said 50's next week. Soon I'll have the running shoes ready to go and a bike or two broken down and rebuilt for another season. Unless my little princess decides to show up. In that case, it may be the stroller that gets a good once over!

Actually, this thing is pretty schwank! It's the Quinny Buzz and it truly is a nice piece of work. Funky cool inner web seat that is more like a gel/neoprene fabric than it is a sewn cushion. Kind of like a bouncy hammock for the kid. I love it! Plus we got the matching car seat that can plug into the stroller as well. Or the whole seat as shown can be attached backwards to mimic a bassinet.

Sigh... don't get me started! My brain is already moving to the "ga-ga gu-gu" mush known as parental obsessive mind syndrome, a.k.a. POMS. We'll see if the condition lives up to the hype!!


Princess Tiara

Somedays I just miss riding.

With all of the things that I am expected to do now-a-days, it's hard to just enjoy. For those that just aren't quite sure what I do to keep afloat... well, here it is in a nutshell. Since I don't want to think too much about it at the moment, I won't dwell on it...

So what's up with the title? If you're in the know, you could guess. But without spilling the beans too much, a Princess Tiara and matching jewelry package was inter-office mailed to me at the studio yesterday. It sits there for all to view! Anyway, it was enough to save me from utter insanity when it came... so that part is awesome. When the intended recipient eventually gets the package, well that will be another day to celebrate.


New Tote Platform...

My trusy 2002 VW Jetta GLS wagon will soon be put up for sale and so will my ability to tote bikes. It's amazing it has nearly 165K on the clock and I can still squeeze out up to 32MPG. I averaged about 27MPG with the rack and bikes on top. Any body need one and have $4000? Anyone? Anyone?

So I did all the research and drove a ton of different cars in search of the right replacement. But nothing was right. In the beginning I wanted an FJ Cruiser. But it just wasn't right. A dozen selections later (from sports cars to wagons to trucks to sedans to convertables) I finally picked up an Xterra. As capable as an FJ. Sucks gas like an FJ. But unlike and FJ... I could see!

So now I need to figure out how to bring bikes along without loading them inside. So simply up or back?! Going up means an even taller vehicle. And no where near as easy to reach as the wagon. But cost of entry would be under $200. To go the back route means a trailer hitch plus a bike carrier. $150 + $400ish. But it would be easier to load and access. Though getting into the back would be more of a problem.

Anyone have thoughts or guidance for me?!

Spring Project... Among Others...

I've built and upgraded a lot of bikes in my time. But none so disturbing to me as the next planned evolution of one of my most cherished bikes. Through the years, I've been both over joyed and severely disappointed in the upgrades. But the plan seems very backward, yet highly energizing at the same time.

The bike again on the chopping block is my most winning-est bike. It has carried me to the finish line in more races than any other. It has delivered my most devastating injuries. It has both made me proud and angry. It is my venerable Bontrager.

Since replacing the original fork with the one shown in the pic, I have not been happy with the bike's performance. The original Bontrager-spec gold RS Judy was gutted of it's elastomers and replaced with Mountain Speed Springs; which made the fork much more active and responsive. This gave me a ton of confidence and this is how the bike delivered me time and time again. The all black RS Judy is also Bontrager-spec and I again replaced the elastomers except I used Englund Air cartrages. The thought was a lighter front end and a better ability to tune the ride. I added the extended travel kit and oil dampener. Mistake. Ever since it's been endless maintenance and poor performance from the combination.

I rode my Trek Fuel a lot more after the swap and have hardly looked back.

So now I get nostalgic as I begin my road back to fitness. And I miss riding my Bontrager. So now what? My conversion plan is simple. Chuck the black fork and Englund Air maintenance nightmare and pursue simplicity.

I acquired a Kona 1" rigid fork. The new fork has a threadless steerer, which means I cannot reuse the current headset nor stem. So I picked up a Ritchey Logic 1" threadless headset. I'd love to find a used Chris King, but the dollars are just not justified. I also found some vintage 135mm low-rise stems: Control Tech, Syncros, and a few others. I've tried to find a steel one (Salsa and some others made them back in the day). But the crown jewel I found was a 135mm, 5* rise Moots Ti stem! The problem is that it is for a 1-1/8" steerer. I have to figure out if I want to keep looking for the ideal 1" stem, use an aluminum one, or shim the Moots. More on that one when I get that far. The last ditty is I got a hold of a set of Avid Black Ops Ultimate v-brakes. With these, I need to determine if I should put them on the Bonty and send the XTRs to the Fuel... which has Avid Single Digit 7s. Or just put the Black Ops onto the Fuel. Again... I'll get to that when I get to that!


Makin' it Count

So I rediscovered I'm pretty far off the beaten path with regards to fitness. But getting back on the right path is all just a part of it... so I tell myself. It's nice that this Winter really isn't Winter at all. Just a little cold snap. Seeing that the temps seem to be above freezing during the day, it is a little easier to get out there and bounce around. And I hope I didn't jinx anything, 'cause I can really not use the -20 temps and 3 story snow piles from last year's Winter...

Apart from all that, here are the happenings:

The bathroom is (just about) done. Just need to replace the original light switch and outlet with new white ones and a GFCI outlet to get 'er to code. After that, I head to the basement to kick off the man cave/kiddie play area... or simply the play area since that'll be where I can play, my daughter can play, the bunny can play, my wife can play, guests, family... you get the idea. Work is also a little out of control nowadays as well. Heading up one of the design studios is no easy gig. Not really complaining as it is quite a prestigious accomplishment... just a steep learning curve in a company that oft hires type-A, do it my way types... which I am not. I prefer the wise man approach to the sales pitch any day.

Well, time to get some other things done. More as it comes. Cheers.