Wednesday, April 1, 2015

30 Days of Biking

Day 1: Poisson d'Avril

I learned of 30 Days of Biking last year, maybe 2 years ago from some friends in St. Paul that are keyed into the biking culture scene there. I was intrigued, but I suppose am a bit of a lone wolf on my bike. But as I began to see more stuff about it, I decided to make the 'pledge' this year to ride my bike every day in April. Perhaps not much of a stretch, but I do like goals that keep me consistent. I had a reward today because of it. Didn't sleep much last night after doing my taxes and got up pretty tired. Nippy this morning, as they are in the spring, didn't want to ride. The reward came this afternoon though. I checked the weather before leaving work and thought it an April Fool's when I read 80 degrees. No, indeed, it was perfect. Wind at my tail I did my 12 miles home in 37 minutes. Even beat the storm front and enjoyed an ice cream with the kids before the rain hit. Perfect.

2: Zero to Biking
A new Pedal Hub podcast posted, this one on 'getting back into' biking. Most of us remember the thrill of starting as youngsters. For me, it was at age 3. My 5 year old brother had just learned to ride, and it was thrilling to watch my dad run along side him, let him go, and see him fly down the street. Freedom. I was pining for my turn and was being told in was too small. The way my mom tells it, one day that summer she is looking out the picture window to keep an eye on us, and out of the blue I come cruising down the street full boar on a small bicycle. I remember that day, wandering down the block where the Andrel family was having a garage sale. The dad was some kind of electrical engineer or something so there was always interesting stuff to check out. They happened to have a blue mini Schwinn without training wheels that was just my size. I probably nagged them into giving it to me - I never would have had the $5 they were asking - and remembered my brothers daring and to pedal fast in order to keep upright. My dad still helped me get onto a 'big' bike when the time came, but that tiny Schwinn was my first bike love. Funny how the similar thrill of learning to drive when in your teens shifts your focus. I still rode my bike a lot, then used it in college a little more, and then even more in grad school. But it was after that that I became a fanatic again.

Day 3: Feeling Judged
It was a little colder today, so for some reason I felt like taking my new mountain bike that I have been riding to work this winter. It's a single speed and gets me spinning to keep warm. Funny thing, now that there are more bikes out, many of them roadies, I've noticed that there isn't the acknowledgement from other riders when I am on this bike when I give a nod or a wave. Funny how people feel inclusion by segmentation. They talked on Pedal Hub yesterday on how people like to check out and judge other people by their bike, and I suppose I'm feeling it. I know I've been guilty, but this makes me want to not be like that. People pedaling knobby mountain bikes are rad too.

Day 4: Burley Style
The past few days I have been pulling the twins to the park in the Burley trailer. They just love it and it is so much fun to ride with them on the trails through the woods to get there. In have even loaded up the remaining space in the back of the trailer with wood that I have found felled along the way as they do some spring cutting. Its proven to be a pretty good workout. The twins still have no mercy in their demands for speed.

Day 5: Mini Ride
Easter Sunday I was just focused on being mindful of the purpose of the holiday, and assumed I might miss #30daysofbiking the way the day was playing out. But Sammy made sure I kept it alive when he climed into the Burley, pointed at the pulling bike in front of him and commanded in toddler fashion, "Get on your bike!" Remembering my goal, I obeyed and pulled him a short way to keep it going.

Day 6: Misty Ride
Woke up with a cough today but had to go to work. I decided to bus it. Got out for a nice night ride in a little misty rain before plopping into bed early. Good night!

Day 7: Exploring a Little
I pulled the kids through the woods again but in a different direction to a different park than normal. We moved last fall to an area where there are really great trails through the nature pockets that surround us. Its so fun to explore by bike, and I am looking forward to getting that mountain bike onto some of the singletrack.

Day 8: Temp up
A little warmer today, the road bike felt good, even if I was a little labored. Not sure why my legs felt like lead. I did pull a sandbag of a single speed following me up a big windy hill, that ditched me when we crested the top. At the time I wasn't really interested in keeping with him, but now that I picture him riding away in my mind, I'm shaking my fist a little.

Day 9: Snow
Always feared in April, the sudden return of winter. I knew it was supposed to cool down, but was taken off guard by the slop that fell on my way home from work. Still, was able to pull out the mountain bike for a night ride. I have to admit, riding alone in the woods at night gives me the willies. Still, it was fun to do a little off road in the snow.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


The weather has suddenly changed in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and it feels like spring. Everyone was soaking up the 60 degrees today, and I was no exception. I took the opportunity to get out and ride along the river in St. Paul during lunch and grabbed a few shots. 

Decided to hike my bike up the stairs.

Had forgot how much I hate heights... this little catwalk reminded me. I still stopped to take a couple shots of my ride.

Looked like some suspicious activity below, or just teens blowing steam... Or both.

Happy to be above the grating. 

Hanging at the Science Museum. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lanterne Rouge

Yesterday, 30 Days of Biking opened for pledges to ride for the month of April. Every day. Regardless of weather.

I pledged to do it, which isn't much of a stretch for me, really. I've been pretty consistent, especially after upgrading my winter ride. But after a bout of bronchitis in February, combined with some pretty cold temperatures out there, the only biking I have done the past couple of weeks has been of the indoor nature.

At any rate, after pledging and with spring "starting" this month and the promise of a near 30 degree day today, I was excited to break the bike out again for the work commute.

Frankly, it was still a little shocking to the system. And when tempted to turn around, the only thing that kept me in the saddle were thoughts of the Lanterne Rouge 'winners' from the Tour de France. You see, yesterday I also started reading a book titled Lanterne Rouge, by Max Leonard, about the unsung heroes that hang on to finish the Tour, just ahead of the Broom Wagon. Thinking of their suffering gave me just enough motivation to endure the uncomfortable wind chill for my comparatively tiny hour-long commute. 

About the book: so far the very brief glimpse I've had into the tail-end aspect of the Tour is changing the way I think about it. A very engaging book so far; I hope to write more about it.

Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP Spock

Lost Leonard Nemoy today. Wow.
You lived long; you prospered. You'll be missed. See you on the other side. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

The best, or worst shopping day of the year...

I have a tradition of getting up early and hitting the Freewheel Bike "Black and Yellow Friday Sale" (matches their colors).  From 7-8am they have a 40% off coupon, and I usually need something worth taking advantage of the sale. 

This year. I took the twins with me. I had a few things in mind that I needed -- but when they turned out not to have those things it ended up just being a "fun" outing for the boys. Chasing them around, I wasn't able to think of anything else good to buy. 

There were lots of cries and craziness in addition to the fun. I caught a fat bike that they tried to tip over before it caused a domino affect across the floor. My favorite was watching them rool spare tires across the floor (probably to the annoyance of some other customers). Yes, I'm THAT guy. The best was when Sam proceeded to load them onto the rack of one of the cruisers... And then find more. 

Oh, and Anders left his Minion hat behind, so I have to go back to recover it.

Well, here's some photos. Got to go do some more shopping...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vélo CX 2014

I was able to stop by Vélo CX in Blaine this past weekend.  I had the twins with me and saw more of the bouncy house than I did of any bike racing. Still, I was able to grab a few pictures. Better luck next time catching a bit more racing.