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Bike and Trail Updates

 

First, the trail updates…

I’ll start with trail update and it’s just one. I’ve put in a new trail by the creek at the southeast corner of the property. This is the creek that flows with water the longest though it too usually dries up by mid to late summer. The trail is a short one that connects to the trails I put in during the spring and allows for a nice ride or walk right along the creek edge (well, there’s a few feet of buffer but it’s close enough to feel that you’re on the edge). It’s about an 8 minute walk or 2 minute ride. And I’ve put in a couple chairs and a table at the spot which seems to hold water the longest. It’s a nice place to sit and watch the few small fish that live there.

 

The rest of the trail put in or re-established this spring is looking pretty good. Maintenance has thus far mostly consisted of riding it a lot and the occasional trimming back. I’ve ridden about 600 miles on the trail during May and June which is a good amount of traffic and it shows. The trail looks very well used.

Now for a few bike updates…

I’ve got 1200 miles on the Gravity fatbike over the past 2 months. Assuming my current pace It’ll have at least another 400 miles on it before the end of July. Most of my riding in May and June was trail riding where the fatbike is a blast to ride. It’s perfect for trail riding.

The Origin8 Space Off Road II Handlebars I added back in May have been a great addition to the riding experience allowing for 3 different hand positions though one of those positions is only useful for faster riding on the road. I’ve also added some grippier RockBros pedals and they’re better than the pedals I’d taken off the Rad Rover. Also, a small but very helpful addition of the Moosetreks Bike Handlebar Stem Bag has been very nice for carrying small things such as the dog spray, dog horn, cords, phone, etc. Last, the change from the stock tires to the Maxxis Mammoth tires has been great. The stock Mission Command tires were fine, these are better both in terms of the ride which is a bit softer thanks to the higher TPI and also in the weight as the Maxxis tires are a good bit lighter.

All that said I’ve bumped up against a barrier with this bike which is my desire to get back to doing some longer road and gravel riding. I can certainly ride the fatbike on the road and have been. 413 miles of mostly road riding in the first 12 days of July alone. Compared to the 80lbs of the Rad Rover the 38 lb Gravity seems like a nimble featherweight. But those 38lbs and fat tires, while fine on the trail, make for a fairly slow road ride. I’m not racing anyone and am generally okay with a slower ride with one exception: dogs. My ride to town and my longer ride out to the gravel roads of Perry county both take me up hills that also have dogs that chase. I’m not willing to ride uphill on a heavier bike when I’ve got a dog that I don’t trust living at the bottom or anywhere along that hill. I have no problem peddling the Gravity up a steep hill but I do slow down on such hills. An aggressive dog chasing me in that situation would not be good.

The solution is, of course, yet another bike. In this case, a much lighter gravel bike. I’ve ordered a flat bar version of the Poseidon X which weighs in at 24 lbs and has fairly nimble 700x35mm tires. It’s still a fairly inexpensive bike compared to the big brands but the frame is excellent and the included components are fairly nice. That’s 38% less weight than the Gravity and substantially faster tires. While my current average speed is 11.8 mph for road rides I should have no problem maintaining 15 mph or more on the Poseidon X. Uphills will be substantially faster. And it’s a gravel bike which means that it should do fairly well on the gravel roads as well as the paved roads. It’s slated to ship my way sometime this week. After that I’ll be happy to be able to get back to some 40 mile rides at the far reaches of Madison county and into the neighboring counties. I won’t be entirely dog proof but I’ll have a much better chance at outrunning any that I encounter!

400

Ha! In my last post I was expecting bad weather for a few days. As it turned out, mostly not, so I was able to get out and ride everyday and I’ve had some great ones! I did miss 1/17 due to weather but then had 5 straight days of riding. Then we did get some actual winter weather, two days of snow, rain and freezing rain.

1/18: 9.5 miles
1/19: 11.7 miles
1/20 17.5 miles
1/21: 21.6 miles
1/22: 21.8 miles
1/25: 19.7 miles

Total is now up around 409 miles since getting the bike less than five weeks ago.

These were some great rides. I ventured up 219 to another county road 221 and then out to Hwy J which was a 15.5 mile ride and no dogs! A few nice hills and some great views of farmland from a distance. Will be a great spring/summer/fall ride. As with 217, 219 and 221 are very quiet with almost no traffic. Fantastic.

The bike continues to perform as expected. After 21 miles and starting with a full charge, I’m still at about 35% battery. Now, that said, I’m peddling the whole time. The last few rides I’ve mostly been in PAS 3 60% of the time, 30% in PAS 2 and the remainder in PAS 1 on the 2 miles of our gravel drive which is a slow ride. The rest has been blacktop but with lows of gentle rolling hills, a couple of steep hills. I’ve learned though that at 30% battery remaining, available power is less and drops far more quickly. So, the top 30% of a fully charged battery is not the same as the last 30%!

Letric’s user manual says I should expect 35 miles on PAS 3 on flat ground, 180 lb rider. With my winter clothes and boots I’m about 175. Add in another 12 lbs for my water, grocery baskets, pannier pack, lock, two small tool/phone packs. So, about 187 and fairly hilly. I’m going to speculate that I’d be good for 25 miles which is short of the 35 but I’ve got more weight and on hilly terrain. I’m not disappointed at all as that seems about right and is more than enough for the rides I’m currently doing. But…

All that said, I’m already thinking that in 6 to 8 months, if my knees continue to do well and if I continue riding as much as I hope to (300 miles/month) I think I’m going to look at adding another, lighter electric bike. Lol. I’d keep the Lectric to share with friends/family and to continue using as my town commute bike for shopping and meetings in town. I’ve got my eyes on a new bike that only weighs in at 38lbs (compare to the Lectric 63ish lbs). It would make a perfect gravel bike for longer distance rides around the county, handling blacktop or rock roads. The batteries are very light weight so I’d carry two extras and I think I’d have no problem going out for 40 to 60 mile rides, quite possibly 90 miles with the two extra batteries. The kind of bike I could go out for a day with and ride all these county back roads. At 15 to 18 mph, that’s potentially 4 to 6 hours of riding.

Funny, when I bought this bike I was expecting to use it to ride the 2 mile round trip to my parents so I could visit them more often without walking it all the time. I had no idea my knees would hold up so well to peddling nor that I’d actually be riding it 10 miles to town for fun rides. It was supposed to be a fun little utility bike for short range rides around the lake. That’s been the biggest surprise of having it. If the weather forecast holds for the next week I’ll likely have 400 miles just for the month of January.

And, last, all this has lead to me fully rediscovering the bike. As I’ve been writing about for the past month, I’m not only riding the bike as much as possible but also have jumped into the best way that I know to try to be active in terms of climate change and that is to create a local cycling project. Transportation will be a key cornerstone in how we deal or do not deal with our climate change problem. Getting active in promoting local cycling as a part of that solution feels like the best thing I could do.

Rides 12-25 to 12-26

My butt’s been just a wee bit sore so slightly shorter rides the past two days! Taking a break on Friday. I don’t really want to take a break but my rear end demands it.

12-25
Just a ride up to Scoops and back, 13 miles on peddle assist 2 for most of the ride. Battery at about 75%.

12-26
Same ride up to Scoops and back, 13 miles. Again, peddle assist 2 for most of the ride. I didn’t charge battery so started off at 75% and at about 50% now. Rode for about an hour, average speed around 13.

Continuing to peddle a good bit but keeping the force applied light. That said the Apple watch for the past two days is showing about 45 minutes of exercise each day for the ride and active calories for each ride at about 250. So, it’s a big step up from my usual walks with the dogs.

100 miles in the first 6 days! No knee pain or discomfort!

New seat arrived today so next ride (tomorrow weather permitting) should be more comfortable. I’ve also ordered the Thudbuster which should help quite a bit with larger bumps in the road and on gravel or off-road.

Denny

September 18, 2017

A have an armadillo visiting often. Perhaps sleeping under my cabin. It is adorable and I have named it Arnold. Or maybe Gertrude. Or Pat. 😬

Denny

September 12, 2017

“An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge.”-Dunning Kruger

Podcasts

I listen to a lot of podcasts and thought I might start mentioning my favorites here.

I’ll begin with two recently listened to. The TED Radio Hour is a favorite and one of the latest episodes is a perfect example of why I enjoy it so much. Hardwired. I’ve given it a listen but will need to give it a second. I always know a podcast is great when many of the episodes require at least a second listen.

Another favorite, Science Friday, has, as usual, aired another excellent episode. In particular I enjoyed the segments on Voyager which included a wonderful interview with planetary scientist Carolyn Porco as well as the segment on indoor microbiomes. Fascinating stuff. Check it out.