Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I see pretty lights


Thanks to whom ever put up the lights on the lakewalk bridge, a nice sight on the dark rides home!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT NOISE???

It's driving me crazy! Just ask my wife how much little unknown ticks, clicks, knocks or other odd noises drive me nuts in the car. It's even worse for me on the bike. So far I've had my bottom bracket serviced, I replace my chain and cleaned my rear derailleur and last night I took apart my freehub and noticed it was cracked. Somehow, I don't think that's the whole problem. I think there's more. So, tonight, I'm going to swap out pedals and check my cleats (which I won't need tomorrow anyhow if I change cause I'll be changing to platforms). It used to be such a quiet bike, I don't know what happened to it, was I a bad parent, too much tv?

Here's a cool site to help identify all the weird noises we all have had. http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/keepitquiet.html Hope it might help you someday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

That's the ticket!

Today I wore my generic merino wool shirt covered by my Helly Hansen polypropylene shirt covered by my Cannondale Morphis shell. That was much nicer then my HH shirt and toko jacket which I've been wearing on days like today. And mind you- today wasn't "cold". I believe it started at about 34 and on the way home was 39 or so. Today's choice felt light and non-constricting then the more form fitting and stretchy toko jacket feels (which isn't a bad thing). I think I may have to attempt some polarfleece under the wind block of the shell. I don't own a decent actual polarfleece shirt so I may have to do some shopping.

I only have the toko and the cannondale for outter layers so when it's 50 below I try to stuff a base, mid, and heavyweight insulation layer all under the morphis- not such an easy feat. I may have to look at something more in the soft-shell area.

My hat seems to be giving me a cold spot on the top of my head like a needle. I don't recall that feeling from last year. The hat I've used for a while now is a Nike something or other and it's worked quite well but perhaps I've worn it so much it's lost some of its performance. I think I'll look for another as I was quite happy and it was pretty cheep and from like shop-ko or something (was a Christmas present- Thanks Sis! )

Gloves- I'm borderline between my half-finger pearl izumi with a 1$ pair of "magic gloves" on top and my Kombi gore-tex gloves. I don't find them too warm at this temp but if it hits anything above 40 it's too much. The weather can vary significantly depending on which way the wind is blowing- off the lake it's a very wet humid cold feeling temp. Off the shore it's dry and warmer feeling.

Take away lesson from today- wool (even though it's merino) slightly itchy- more air space between the layers and the shell with the morphis= added warmth.

P.S. Almost lost it on the lakewalk today- front tire slid out and I had instant flashbacks of Doug's fall. Luckily the tire grabbed and the bike righted itself again. I was going to put the studded tires on tonight but their calling for a warm spell. I'll wait until the next dive and just be extra carefull in the mornings. Keep your wheels on the ground!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The hunt for the perfect winter clothing option


Finding the perfect winter outfit is like hunting for Bigfoot, UFOs, or little leprechauns. Some think they exist, but good luck finding one. Granted, those of us who have been through a winter or two know a bit about how to stay comfortable in the winter but I would bet if you asked any one of us we'd probably say it could be better. That's partially because of the limits of the human body and the technology of the materials we're covering ourselves with. Point is- you'll sweat if you do any moderate level of pedal pushing in winter. The key is how to stay comfortable, not focus on staying dry.

Doug and Jill have both done a recent "What I wore today" post and they each have very different takes on what gets the job done. I've done them in the past too and still to this day feel I could be more comfortable on my rides.

So, I'm going to start a new line of posts over the next few days. Rather then dressing how I normally do now I'm going to try several different things to see what works and what doesn't. Right now I'm trying to see if I can distinguish between a polypropylene and a polyester base layer. Tomorrow I'm going wool for the base. It's not really cold out yet so it's not all that accurate. After all, here in northeast MN we spend more time in winter like conditions then we do in summer like so I've got plenty of opportunity to be riding in the cold as the temps take their annual nose dive.

Stay tuned to see what conclusions I come to- it will be sort of "MythBuster" like. "Remember, don't try this at home, I'm (we're) what you call professional('s)".

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Animals everywhere!

So far, in the last two weeks I've seen a wild animal almost every day. Said animal is most often a deer but the other day I happened across a fox. I believe I posted about that already (I can only bring up memory from like, hours ago- not days :o)...)
So the other night I had a dream that I ran across a bear on the lakewalk. Not impossible. In reality in the past say, month, there have also been two assults on the lake walk. I've been considering carrying my pepper spray for the bears and the bullies... Anyone carry for dogs, muggers, etc? It's getting dark pretty quick no a days and there are some crazy people out there, more crazy then us who ride our bikes year round. the da' bears- they're down right wild...
:o)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mountain shoe cover for winter-

So, I'm thinking along the lines of getting a shoe cover for my mountain shoes. They are Scott (similar to the comp's). I had one pair of covers a while ago but they were too small, even at the xl size. I'm currently looking towards Pearl Izumi AmFIB covers. Any experience? I don't want something I need to spend hours cramming my shoe into- easy in, warm, quality... Thoughts? And no- Lake's are too spendy for me (unless you want to donate).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happiness by bike

So, yesterday I rode in and decided I needed to become a bike commuter again, not a bus commuter, or a car commuter, but a bike commuter. I finally am comfortable with everything at work and feel I can start to ride every day now. And honestly, the rides today were GREAT. I felt that great feeling I used to feel so often. It's different, riding in the 40 degree temps with driving rain then it is when it's 65 and sunny. This morning I had the pleasure of meeting a fox on the trail. I stopped and watched him. He didn't seem too concerned as he trotted towards me, on his way to the trial off the path. He came to within 15-20 feet of me. You don't get that every day, and never when you're cruising along at 65 mph. People today are too concerned with packing their day with everything they can, rushing from here to there, not giving ANYone else 2 extra seconds. It has gotten pretty sad honestly. People are so focused on cramming more in their day, chasing happiness, that they don't have time to actually be happy... I can honestly say I was very happy today, absolutely soaked, riding home, going home much slower then everyone else, and I was happy. This morning I had time to notice the stains the leaves make on the ground and this evening I had time to notice the layer of water on the black of the trail that made a mirror reflecting the view of the bare trees.

I forgot what it felt like to be happy. I can't wait for the next ride.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calling all SMDC Bicycle Commuters!

I'm trying to get a fix on how many people bike to work and work at SMDC. I'm also wondering how many of those ride in the winter.

If you know someone who commutes to work at SMDC by bike, please have them drop a comment to let me know!
Thanks!!!

Jeff

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Northshore Ultra- January 3, 2010

Be sure to check out http://northshoreultra.com/ for full details!
The quick facts
Duluth to Two Harbors and back
By bike or foot
Most likely quite cold and snowy
Limit 50 entrants in each category
Categories

Mountain Bike
Men’s and Women’s Ultra – 87 mi – or 9 laps on the Alternative Course
Men’s and Women’s 1/2 Ultra – 43.5 mi – or 5 laps on the Alternative Course

Running
Men’s and Women’s Ultra – 87 mi – or 9 laps on the Alternative Course
Men’s and Women’s 1/2 Ultra – 43.5 mi – or 5 laps on the Alternative Course
Men’s 5 Person Team Full Ultra & 1/2
Women’s 5 Person Team Full Ultra & 1/2
Mixed Team Full Ultra & 1/2 (must have 2 females)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Don

Don’t Say She Lost

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Heck yea!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This Weekend! The 2009 Duluth Classic Stage Race

This weekend is the Duluth Classic Stage Race. Tone Coughlin, race promoter, has set up a four stage event starting in Wrenshall Wi on the 22nd, South Range Wi on the 23rd, Duluth, Mn on the 24th, and Cloquet, Mn on the 25th.

For all info visit the Duluth Classic website at http://www.duluth-classic.com/

Check out the race flyer here!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Ambitions, Poor Execution: A recap of the Bike to Work Day events in Duluth

I awoke early to get downtown with the first bunch of commuters. Downtown is where the activities were scheduled to be; at MN Power Plaza and at Fitgers.

On my way in I managed to flat my front tire, but had all the good stuff with me to fix it up and continue on. I was offered help by only one person who passed me. Thanks for the offer!

I managed to make it downtown in one piece and met up with Doug and his neighbor Dave (see previous Sunday ride post for Doug and Dave). They had been there about 10-15 minutes and were two of about 9 people, four of which were there working the event. Radisson was out with scones and orange juice which was nice (note: next year, coffee and hot coco! :o) thanks!). This one pretty much met what was advertised.

Refreshments provided by the Radisson Hotel : PASS
Bike inspections from local bike shops : FAIL (I guess Ski Hut didn't feel like getting out of bed so early)
Demonstration on how to use the bike racks on a DTA bus : PASS
Bicycle commuting tips and information : PASS
Bike storage for bicyclists that day will be available at the YMCA : Don't know, assuming PASS

Who was there?
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) : PASS
Duluth Area Trails Alliance (DATA) : PASS
Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) : PASS
Fit City Duluth : Unknown
Greater Downtown Council (GDC) : Unknown
Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview: Pass
YMCA : Not that I seen
Citizens : Yup...

Now, on to Fitgers!
"Fitgers, KQDS, 92.1 Lite FM and Continental Ski and Bike & Red Rock Radio have joined together in an effort to encourage Duluthians to ride to work!We're hosting "BIKE TO WORK DAY" all day at Fitgers, Friday, May 15th.We'll have free gift bags for cyclists (full of cool stuff), free safety checks, free Fitger's coffee & food, prizes and local celebs! We encourage cyclists to challenge their co-workers and pledge that they'll ride to work for Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity. The cyclist with the most pledges will win a bike from Continental.Pledge forms available at Fitger's front desk, Continental Ski and Bike or Red Rock Radio."

So, there was Continental Ski and Bike ready to fix your bike (thanks for the pump up of my tire), and there were two ladies from somewhere- not too sure, but they had coffee and clif bars and Gatorade G2. Thanks- were good... Did not notice anyone from Fitgers per se, and for sure not KQDS, 92.1, or Red Rock Radio. The gift bags full of "cool stuff" wasn't so much... Sorry, but yea, (Duluth superior magazine, some other miscellaneous papers, a bike map (ok, useful),and some coupon books, and a smdc heart shaped blinky light)... Frankly, I think most of this could have been done without. I think it's costly and kills a bunch of trees. To pawn it off as "cool stuff" was a bit of a stretch (for me at least). Lastly, "prizes and local celebs"? Maybe they meant a ride with MNBicycleCommuter! I must have won then as we put on 25.5 miles today.

Lastly, after a ride around Duluth, Doug and I made it back to Fitgers for the fashion "event".
"Bike to work fashion event. Our models will be walking around inside the building handing out goodie bags and showing off their fashions, and we also plan to have them out on the lake walk to talk to folks there. We'll have people modeling clothes from Continental Ski & Bike, one of the sponsors, and then Fitger's, Beneton, Trail Fitters and maybe Life is Good will have their own models showing their clothes as well."
Well, I did see them, but it surely didn't come off as a fashion event. Besides, most of the people walking around or those on bikes were wearing some of the same stuff anyways. Good thought, but I feel it was a poor execution.

That's kind of my feel on the whole day- good ambitions but poor execution. This was the second year for the bike to work day in Duluth. I hope it can grow and become much larger next year.

Cheers,
Jeff

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike to Work Day 2009: Duluth - Tomorrow!

Hope everyone has had a good week so far. Tomorrow is the big day! Bike to work day, 2009. Below is a recap of the events for tomorrow.

From Fitgers, KQDS, 92.1 Lite FM and Continental Ski and Bike & Red Rock Radio

"Fitgers, KQDS, 92.1 Lite FM and Continental Ski and Bike & Red Rock Radio have joined together in an effort to encourage Duluthians to ride to work!

We're hosting "BIKE TO WORK DAY" all day at Fitgers, Friday, May 15th.

We'll have free gift bags for cyclists (full of cool stuff), free safety checks, free Fitger's coffee & food, prizes and local celebs! We encourage cyclists to challenge their co-workers and pledge that they'll ride to work for Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity. The cyclist with the most pledges will win a bike from Continental.
Pledge forms available at Fitger's front desk, Continental Ski and Bike or Red Rock Radio.
For more information stop by Continental Ski and Bike - behind Plaza Walgreens - 1305 East First Street - 218 728-4466 http://www.continentalskiandbike.com/"


From the Bike to Work Committee
Date – Friday, May 15, 2009
Time – 7:00am – 9:00am
Place – Minnesota Power Plaza – Lake Ave & Superior Street

Event will include:
  • Refreshments provided by the Radisson Hotel.
  • Bike inspections from local bike shops.
  • Demonstration on how to use the bike racks on a DTA bus.
  • Bicycle commuting tips and information.
  • Bike storage for bicyclists that day will be available at the YMCA.

The event is presented by the Bike to Work Committee, comprised of
representatives from the following:
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC)
Duluth Area Trails Alliance (DATA)
Duluth Transit Authority (DTA)
Fit City Duluth
Greater Downtown Council (GDC)
Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview
YMCA
Citizens

For more info, contact James Gittemeier at ARDC (218) 529-7556 or jgittemeier@ardc.org.



From Transportation for America: Bike to Work Fashion Event

Date – Friday, May 15
Time – 11:45am – 12:15pm
Place – Fitger's
Event will include:

  • Bike to work fashion event. Our models will be walking around inside the building handing out goodie bags and showing off their fashions, and we also plan to have them out on the lake walk to talk to folks there. We'll have people modeling clothes from Continental Ski & Bike, one of the sponsors, and then Fitger's, Beneton, Trail Fitters and maybe Life is Good will have their own models showing their clothes as well.

From the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota

Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota will put on a traffic skills class May 15-16.

Traffic Skills Flyer
Traffic Skills Registration
http://bikemn.org/


From Doug, MNBicycleCommuter: Ride in from West Duluth

For Bike-to-Work -Day 2009. My neighbor and I will be leading a ride from West Duluth into downtown from the small city park at the corner of Grand Ave and Central. I think it's called Memorial Park. We'll meet there at 7:00 am. We'll ride to the Bike to Work gathering at Minnesota Power Plaza. Join us if you live out this way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another event for Bike to Work Day- this Friday

Transportation for America is co-sponsoring events as well. A bike to work fashion event to be held on Fri. May 15th, 11:45-12:15. We'll have models showing off the latest gear and cool clothes to ride to work. Look for them handing out goodie bags at Fitger's and on the lake walk. For more information about the Transportation for America campaign, please visit www.t4america.org or contact me, Christine Goepfert, MN Field Organizer at (612) 991-9497

I'm not sure where the fashion event will take place, but I'll try to find out.

Stay Safe!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Info on the 2009 Duluth Classic Stage Race May 22-25

The Duluth Classic will be held again this year. Tone Coughlin, race promoter, has set up a four stage event starting in Wrenshall Wi on the 22nd, South Range Wi on the 23rd, Duluth, Mn on the 24th, and Cloquet, Mn on the 25th.

For all info visit the Duluth Classic website at http://www.duluth-classic.com/

Check out the race flyer here!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

MN Biking Events Calendar

I'm going to try to update the event calendar so if you have any events you know about, and or would like listed, please pass on the info and I'll put it on the calendar.
Thanks!

Rear Blinkies, do you use them? Why or why not?

I'm curious... This evening, around 7:00 pm I seen many riders out for an evening ride (wish I would have been out there too, but I digress...). of the many I seen, only one was using a rear blinky (not only using, but had... I did not notice any others with rear lights). Now these were not just casual riders, they were into it, at least enough to realize the usefulness of blinkys.

So, I'm curious, why do you or do you not use rear lights?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bike to Work Day 2009: Duluth

Bike to Work Week is May 11th thru May 15th. Here's what I know so far about Bike to Work Week and Day, 2009 in Duluth. (I'll add more if more info becomes available)

From Fitgers, KQDS, 92.1 Lite FM and Continental Ski and Bike & Red Rock Radio

"Fitgers, KQDS, 92.1 Lite FM and Continental Ski and Bike & Red Rock Radio have joined together in an effort to encourage Duluthians to ride to work!

We're hosting "BIKE TO WORK DAY" all day at Fitgers, Friday, May 15th.

We'll have free gift bags for cyclists (full of cool stuff), free safety checks, free Fitger's coffee & food, prizes and local celebs! We encourage cyclists to challenge their co-workers and pledge that they'll ride to work for Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity. The cyclist with the most pledges will win a bike from Continental.
Pledge forms available at Fitger's front desk, Continental Ski and Bike or Red Rock Radio.
For more information stop by Continental Ski and Bike - behind Plaza Walgreens - 1305 East First Street - 218 728-4466 www.continentalskiandbike.com"


From the Bike to Work Committee
Date – Friday, May 15, 2009
Time – 7:00am – 9:00am
Place – Minnesota Power Plaza – Lake Ave & Superior Street

Event will include:
  • Refreshments provided by the Radisson Hotel.
  • Bike inspections from local bike shops.
  • Demonstration on how to use the bike racks on a DTA bus.
  • Bicycle commuting tips and information.
  • Bike storage for bicyclists that day will be available at the YMCA.

The event is presented by the Bike to Work Committee, comprised of
representatives from the following:
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC)
Duluth Area Trails Alliance (DATA)
Duluth Transit Authority (DTA)
Fit City Duluth
Greater Downtown Council (GDC)
Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview
YMCA
Citizens

For more info, contact James Gittemeier at ARDC (218) 529-7556 or jgittemeier@ardc.org.



From the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota

Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota will put on a traffic skills class May 15-16.

Traffic Skills Flyer
Traffic Skills Registration
http://bikemn.org/


If anyone wants help coming from the Lakeside, I'd be willing to lead a group. Contact me here and I'll work on getting a starting place, etc...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dear Duluth...

Dear Duluth,
While I appreciate all the wonderful trails and the numerous bike routes around your town, please do us all a favor. If the sign says "Bike route" with an arrow, and I follow said "route", please have a nice road for me to ride on. I don't appreciate the bike eating monster sized potholes, you know the ones, and they are all over the place. And if you happen to find my rear planet bike super flash, blinking helplessly along side Kenwood Avenue, somewhere between arrowhead and college st., please return it to me. I'd like to keep it, to remember which roads not to ride on. Even though I wouldn't be able to use it because it literally had the clip snapped right off, bouncing along dodging the huge potholes, only to succumb to the smaller ones. It's a mine field out there. Please, at least fix the pot holes so we have a good 2 feet to ride on, rather then dodging them and veering all over the place...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Got Facebook?

Attention all Duluth cyclists... If you have facebook check out the Duluth Cyclists group I created. It's at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50311114127. I'm working on getting it going, events, discussion, photos and videos and the like, but need people to join and participate. If you don't have facebook yet, you should check it out. It's pretty fun and useful too!

Jeff

Monday, April 13, 2009

What to do...

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I've posted last; mostly because I've been fairly busy. I watch the kids every day now and haven't had the chance to ride but two times in the last two months. It's horrible, I know :o) but spring is here and I'm all amped up to start riding again every day. My wife is going to help me relieve some stress by getting out on the bike. That's good for everyone!

On the job front: I'm still unemployed but it's ok still, for now at least. We're staying afloat and should have another 7 months in the clear- that will be pushing it, but it's do-able. I really hope I find something in that time, hopefully sooner but I am looking forward to a summer off with the kids and wife!!! Beach here we come!

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do for a job. I have been doing technology stuff for the last 13 years, and while I like it, I'm not looking forward to doing any more software programming. I want something more. What I really want is to figure out what I'm passionate about and want to do for a long time to come. My wife said you don't have to be passionate about your job, you can be passionate about something in your off-time, such as charity work and such. Work can just be the means to fuel your passion.
Well, I think that's partially true, but I would like to find something that makes me wake up each morning excited to get to work. So I've been doing a lot of soul searching, trying to think what could do that for me, what could I do that I would just LOVE... I haven't figured that out yet, and I'm not sure that many people have, or will.

Currently I keep coming back to wanting to find something with an environmental focus, such as solar and wind energy and energy efficiencies in houses and stuff like that. But I don't really "know" anything about that kind of stuff, so here I sit, wanting and you know what they say about wanting, want in one hand and **** in the other and see which fills up first.

So, I'm a bit lost lately, trying to find direction. Maybe a long time in the saddle along the mighty Lake Superior will help clear my head.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Single Speed Conversion

Long time everyone, thought I'd write to ask for some input. Last night I did a complete freehub dismantle and clean- pawls kept sticking when the temps were around 10 below or colder. So, after doing all this, I decided I want to convert to a single speed- not a fixed- just a single (or double... (or triple?))...
So, here's what I've got- a shimano 7 speed cassette and in the front my chain rings are not removable. I'd like to go with a Surly Singleator, but do I need to remove some of my rear cassette and put in spacers or do I need to buy some other stuff?

Another option is to go with 3 speeds like what Kent has done.

So, what do I need- that is the question. I'm slightly clueless when it comes to number of teeth, chain length, bla bla bla... :) Help me out.