600 Mile Challenge

So, I found a little extra time over the next 12 days.  This just happens to coincide with extra weight I found on the scale this morning.  Sounds like a good time to get reacquainted with Midge.  Just to make it fun, I’m going to turn this into a challenge.  Over the next 12 days, I’m going to ride 600 miles.  What could possibly go wrong with that?


Wickiup in the Morning

Not much time to ride this weekend, so I snuck out Saturday morning right after sunrise and took a trip to Wickiup Hill.  The round trip was less than 20 miles.  The sun was shining.  The birds were singing.  I was smiling.


Monkey Mirrors and a New Point of View

Two issues today:

  1. After many years of using the Bike Peddler rear view mirror, I switch to the Monkey Mirror.  Nothing against the Bike Peddler, but with my new helmet not having a visor and not wanting to put a mirror on my sunglasses, I needed a change.
    Positives: it fits snug on my helmet and did not move one bit once it was in place. Spoke wire from helmet to mirror allows me to make any adjustments I want.  Great name. Great logo.
    Negatives: I’m used to the rectangular mirror on the Bike Peddler and there’s something about the Monkey’s round mirror that doesn’t seem right.  Things look different.  Hope that feeling changes.
  2. I’ve been riding the bike trails in and around Cedar Rapids for many years now.  Even though I’ve changed jobs 3 times in the last 12 years, I’ve always used at least some portion of the trail system to get to work.  All those miles and I’ve never really took my time and really looked at everything there is to see on a trip, lets say, from Hiawatha, South down the Cedar River Trail to Ely.  On Saturday I did just that and took a few extra pictures:

Spring Cleaning

It’s been a cold winter.  Not to mention we’ve had snow on the ground for the last 6 months. When March came around, I still couldn’t ride because of the snow and cold, so I decided there was time to clean up Midge and fix some things that just weren’t working exactly right. So, naturally, my first stop was Amazon.com and here’s what I got:

Planet Bike Protege 9.0 9-Function Bike Computer with 4-Line Display and Temperature 
My old computer’s battery was dead and I was in the mood for something a little newer.  Saw this 4 line display and thought it might be cool. On the old one, I was always pushing buttons to find out total distance, elapsed time, etc.  Now, it’s all right in front of me all of the time.  Bonus points for having a thermometer, although it looks like it reads a bit on the hot side when the sun hits it. Staying away from wireless because the reviews still say headlights interfere with the wireless computers.

Banjo Brothers Canvas Handlebar Bag 
Handlebar bags are becoming an obsession with me.  I’ve had my Topeak TourGuide bag since 2007 and it’s been great, but it’s gotten old and wore out.  I really wanted something that could hold a little more and something that was a little bit more stylish. Since I already have the Minnehaha Canvas Saddle Bag, I thought it might be nice to have matching front and back bags. I really like the canvas look and found a way to “age” the leather a bit to give it a more weathered look.  So far, so good. And it LOOKS great on Midge. I’ll have to ride with it for a couple months before I can really say if it will work out for the long run.

SKS P45 Black Chromoplastic Longboard, Bicycle Fenderset (Tires Sized 700 x 28-37) 
Another obsession of mine has been fenders.  My first pair of fenders were the regular SKS P45’s.  They were fine, but the first thing I had to do is add mud flaps because they didn’t go low enough. If you look at my tour pictures, you’ll see the homemade mud flaps made out of strips of rubber mat.  It worked, but they weren’t the most attractive things and they did fall apart fast since they had to have holes to accommodate the bolts on the flaps.  Then, a few years ago I found the Axiom Rainrunner.  They come with built-in flaps.  Perfect.  Problem was 1) They tended to rattle a bit,  2) They didn’t cover much more than the regular SKS’s and 3) The flaps started tearing off after a few months of riding.  Last year I ended up taking off the flaps since they were so beat up.  After a little research this year, I found the SKS P45 “Longboard” fender.  These give about as much coverage as you can find without the fender hitting the ground and they have rugged mud flaps built in.  They were a pain to put on, but after riding into a 20 mph wind today, they did not rattle at all.  We’ll have to see how they hold out over the next couple years.

Billabong Men’s All Day Solid Board Short, Black 
I’m not a fan of the typical bike short.  Hate the shammy and hate tight fitting spandex. These shorts are tight enough around my legs to not flop in the wind like “baggy shorts” and long enough not to look like Magnum PI shorts.


Aftershokz AS330F Bluez Open Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headset – Retail Packaging – Black 
Couldn’t help myself with this one.  I like to listen to music while I ride.  On my tours, I used to carry a small radio with a built-in speaker.  I would rather have headphones, but then I can’t hear traffic and that just isn’t safe.  These fit in front of my ears, not in or over them.  Wearing them around the house I can hear everything going on around me while listening to music.  They should serve a second role as wind blockers on windy days.  That would be great, since the constant sound of a strong wind is maddening.  Didn’t bring them on today’s trip.  I’m going to save these for highway riding.  I’ll let you know if they work out.

Pro Gold Products ProGold ProLink Chain Lube, 4oz 
This is what I’ve been using for the last 7 years.  Works good and my last 4oz bottle was about gone.  Bottles last for years if you don’t overdo it on the chain.

KMC X9.93 Bicycle Chain (9-Speed, 1/2 x 11/128-Inch, 116L, Silver/Black) 
The other one was very dirty and it’s a good idea to replace chains every couple years anyway.  Runs a lot smoother, so the old one was probably stretched out.


FiberFix Emergency Spoke Replacement Kit 
Always intended to get one of these before and never did.  Figured my spokes are old enough now they might start popping, so got a FiberFix just in case.  Heard they work great.  With any luck, I’ll never find out.

Cinelli Cork Tape Black, One Size 
Love the cork tape.  Black is best color.  Nice cushion and doesn’t get spongy when wet.



So that’s about it.  Had to get new derailleur pulleys when I saw how bad the old ones were and had the local bike shop rebuild the wheel hubs, but everything else was just cleaning and adjusting.  I took out Midge for the first ride of the year after her Spring cleaning was done and she rode smoother than she has in years.  We also found a good route to commute to work.  It’s 11.5 miles one way, so I won’t be doing it every day, but now I know it’s an option.


Short Sleeves

Looks like the Winter weather is over and Spring is in full swing. Rode in short sleeves for the last couple weekends.

Don’t you love it when you get to shed the clothes that bind you and feel the warm sun on your arms and legs!? Me too…