Monday, February 28, 2011

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Got up early on Saturday morning after a cold night out and hit the snowmobile trail.  I am still learning about snow conditions and proper tire inflation so I did a quick adjustment when I first got to the trail and headed off.  They had groomed the trail the day before after our little 6-8" storm we had and the snow was fast and fun.

The sun was just beginning to rise up after a couple of minutes on the trail so the camera became "at the ready".

This is the barn at the local county park that is about 1/4 of the way into my out course.  I didn't have all day long because it was the final day for our annual church basketball league and I had an awards ceremony to get to.

The rising sun warmed the temperatures up - too much as a matter of fact - and the morning became glorious like usual.  I was making probably the fastest time I ever have on the Mukluk and then once I hit the turn around point and made it back to the park area some ATV'ers really messed up the primo snow conditions.

This is what a bunch of hardcore racers up in Alaska are seeing right now well without the houses and trees for the most part.  And I doubt they are going to see low 20's temperatures either!

If I cropped this properly and did away with the tracks on the edge of the picture you might not be able to tell if it was snow or the clouds from a plane with the sun hitting them.  I love the sparkles of the snow granules at the really cold temperatures and blazing sunshine!

I know I said the last ride was probably the last ride but I have a feeling this one is.  It is now March 1 (tomorrow), we hit 40+ degrees with rain all day long, and we don't generally get heavy snow this time of the year.  Hopefully I am jinxing myself but I have other bikes waiting to be ridden and will make due with whatever temperatures and conditions Mother Nature sends to me.

Have a great week and get out there on your bike!  Fun times to be had by all!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finally A Snowbike Ride - But Probably the Last!

As you can see from the picture traffic is dwindling down on the trails.  On this section it was me and nothing else except ruts and ice.  Made pretty good time anyways!

The park section was more traveled and more frozen ground.  Made for quicker travel than I had made on the Mukluk so far but I know the season is coming to an end unfortunately!

A frozen/thawing feeder creek that I rode by as I hit pavement to get to a different snowmobile trail section.  That section ended up being a whole lot of pushing compared to the other sections I was on earlier!

This was the view from last Sunday's ride so at least we had some snow cover this week but not for long.

Oh well had a great time and got to ride the Mukluk so that all makes for a good time!

Have a great day and get outside and enjoy the late winter sunshine!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Life Is Busy

Been a crazy last week or so.  Headed to the Dallas area for 3 days last week and then came home and things are always busy this time of the year.  Then work goes and decides we need to work 55 hours a week to make sure we keep caught up on incoming Tax Season work.

I have started commuting regularly and with the talk of gas prices going even higher I plan on keeping at it for a long time.  If I can keep my fuel budget line equal with what it is today through the year I will be one happy commuter.

I have some pictures to share from a ride Sunday but they are still home on the camera.  This is what happens when you get home and just want to take a nap.  They were of snow free meadows and abundant sunshine on Sunday.  Today the snow has returned and the sun did to as well, but the morning temperature was around 6 degrees.  Makes for a cold start to the morning for sure.  But I made it to work and plan on riding 3 times this week and quietly increase it to 4 in the coming couple of weeks.

Have a great day and get out there and enjoy the season.  Winter is one of the top 4 seasons of my year - I just happen to favor whichever season we are in at the current time because they all have their own little intricacies!

Oh and when you are paying $4.50 a gallon for gasoline and want to learn how to successfully commuter to work to save money - drop me a line I will hook you up with free advice!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Bike Ride

Today I knew it was going to be way too warm to ride the bike on the trails so I contemplated a couple of different ideas and the one that won out was riding my Vaya through my farm country hill route.  I was interested in seeing how the legs fared on pavement and hills with my studded tires on the bike.  Turned out it was all good besides the wind being as bad as it was.

That is Lake Erie off in the distance.  There is a lot of snow down in between where I was riding and the lake.  The temps were supposed to be in the 40's but the windchill took it down and also the snow cooling effect made a big difference as well.

Hallmark moment photograph.  I love the part of Erie County that I rode through today.  It is the next hill over but traffic is a lot lighter and hills are much more frequent.  A great pre-ride for TransIowa and fun stuff like that.

Cameras never do hills justice.  This is the last fun climb on the way home.  I passed 2 horses in the meadow behind this house and talked to them on my way past (it is a lot steeper than it looks so we had a couple of moments to talk :) )

My mode of transportation today.  Less than 1 year old and already 3000 miles on it.  It has a 1x10 set up on it and punishes me on the hills but I love riding this bike.  It is the only bike I have ever owned with STI shifting.

That drift was taller than me.  They get a lot of snow up high here and then the wind blowing it around makes it much worst.  After here I raced 2 snowmobiles down the road.  They won but just barely!

Hope you all had a great weekend.  Heading off to Big D and I don't mean Denver or Divorce.  Dallas is the destination for the week and it is supposed to be warm!  Might be shorts weather.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday's Morning Bike Ride (push/walk/sufferfest)

So the lovely weatherman said we could see some light accumulation not exceeding 1-2" of snow overnight.  I was so excited because I knew the cold had compacted the trail and I would be able to get some good distance on it this morning before heading off to basketball for the day.

On my day off I set the alarm for 5:00am and played lazy and didn't get up until 6:00am and leave the house around 6:30 but it was my day off.

I got nervous as soon as I hit the driveway - there was a lot more than 1-2" of snow and I had 1-2' (feet) of drifts in some spots.  The initial part of my snowmobile trail ride is on open meadow and blowing snow = hard walking!

There is not a trail there and that meant a lot of walking/pushing to make forward progress possible.  I played around with the tire pressure and made some headway but not the kind I was hoping for.

She is still looking pretty isn't she?  Some snowmobiles came around after I had made my half way point - 1 hour to cover 3.5 miles - that is just sad isn't it!  I could have run faster than that!

Mukluk tire track - which way did I come from?  This was in the easy part of the trail once I got into the wood cover the snow was not as deep or as difficult to stay upright!

This is why I do what I do - I love winter time and even though I was not a happy camper walking my bike today - when I reflect back I realize that I chose to do this type of riding and I have a set of rollers if I really wanted to ride my bike and not play in the snow.

I attempted to post hole run and at this point I was crossing a creek and sunk down to my hips in snow.  Took a minute to get out of this predicament!  Makes a man stronger right?

Have a great weekend and get outside and burn some calories!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Bike Commuting

I will be the first to admit that I am probably not the sharpest stick in the woods when it comes to doing the "safe" or "smart" thing.  I will also admit that being stubborn is not always a bad thing and it most definitely is not always a good thing either!

What does all of this have to do with "Winter Bike Commuting" you may be asking right now?

First a picture!

I guarantee that you do not get to see this if you are driving down an interstate at 60-70 mph because if you did you would cause a chain reaction accident after you slammed on your brakes, jumped out of your car, and just stared at the glory that this picture reveals!

Once again what does that have to do with Winter Bike Commuting?  Well to me winter bike commuting is about the views that you get and the lack of stress that you have because you are not sitting in traffic because it snowed 1" last night and people don't know how to drive when it snows - even though we live in Buffalo, NY where we are on pace for an easy 100" of snow this year.  Some local ski areas already have 192" of snow and that seems about right for my neck of the woods!

If you drive to work you also miss sights like this in the late night or early morning.  I will be honest I don't ride to work every day because this time of the year it just requires a lot more energy with the cold, wind, clothing, and work schedule requirements.  We are working 50 hour weeks because it is tax season so I show up at the office at 7 or 7:30 and leave at 5:30 so that makes for a 14 hour day just with work and commuting.  If I drive it cuts it down to 11 and sometimes I need to be home earlier than other times - like today when we have basketball practice at 6:00pm.

The sun shines periodically in the winter time around Buffalo as well.  I love riding my bike when the sun is out because I will just lift my face towards the warming rays and soak them all in.  It is so relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time!

I know I posted this yesterday and I made it my desktop picture as well because it is all about the hope at the end of the day.  Yes I took this when I drove to work but I have a 10 minute walk to my car because it is free and I am cheap, so I saw the sun doing it's thing and knew I had to snap some photos.

Some new ones might be on tap tonight because I get to have an adjustment at the Chiropractor's office this afternoon and need to leave work early.  Then it is basketball practice, meeting time, and then basketball playing time so no bike time today.  Tomorrow I hope to ride to work again though.

I gain so much out of it - why don't you give it a try.  Drop a question about clothing or bikes that can handle the winter crud and I will get back to you.  Have a great day and go ride your bike!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunset over Lake Erie

So as I walked to my car yesterday after work I looked over towards Lake Erie and saw this huge pink ball setting in the sky.

I had no where to be right away and I figured a couple of minutes shooting some pictures isn't going to delay me that long because traffic would lighten up.

So as soon as the car warmed up a little (it was about 15 degrees or so out) I headed down to the marina which was 2 minutes away.  I figured the car would warm up further while I contemplated which shots to take of the beautiful sunset.

I jumped out of the car, climbed over the snow bank, and walked to where I could zoom in a little tighter.

The 2nd picture looks like the clouds are evaporating right in front of the sun.  It is hard to see in these photos but last night it looked amazing.

Well I hope you are having a great week.  Rode to work today and hoping that the wind dies down this evening or it is going to be a 2+ hour commute.  Nothing wrong with that either - the house will be empty by the time I get home either way - Wednesday nights are busy around these parts.

Get out there and burn some calories - it truly is fun :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

How I spent Superbowl Sunday

The Crossroads at Chestnut Ride Park

Off into the woods

Isn't she purrrrddddyyyyyyy???

The long lonely road

The author

Night time skiing at Sprague Brook

Kissing Bridge Ski Area Night Operations

Dark outside

Relaxing/Stretching next to the wood burner - so comfy

As you can see I am not devoted to the Superbowl by any means.  After church I had 1 errand to run, went home, fueled up, and got the Mukluk out.  I was worried about the temps and soon learned I was right on.  Soft snow=tired legs  Spinning, mashing, walking - I did anything to keep moving and the soft snow made bike riding very difficult.

I don't care though - I am tired and sore today but man what a blast this bike is!

So after I refueled again and took the kids to their superbowl party I headed off to ski at Sprague Brook for a couple of hours.  The trail was well used since it was a great weekend to be outside so I tried to hit powder as much as possible.  With the warmth came a thaw and then a freeze so that means crusty conditions.

Not a great "snow" weekend but cold temps are blowing in so hopefully the trail will harden up again.

Have a great day and get out there and do some fun stuff!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowbike Arrival

So what does someone that lives in Western New York where the winters are long and harsh and snow is generally in abundance do for fun?  Well I used to take my Bianchi MUSS out on the trails with the 2.35" tire and pray that the weather had been cold enough and the groomer had been by early enough that the trail was easy to pedal on.  Generally neither were the case so I walked and pushed in various areas.  Not always "fun" but I never complained because I was outside and loving the elements.

Then Salsa came out with a new bike - The Mukluk.  Surly has the Pugsley and Fatback is the original setup from the men up Alaska way.  I had contemplated getting one before but never pulled the trigger until now.

In all her glory - on the trails - her passion
I found my size from a shop in Minnesota and pulled the trigger.  It took a couple of days to get all the parts in, and then a couple of more to ship her my way, but she arrived Monday afternoon.  I pulled her into the garage, put the frame in the bike stand, and put the pieces together.

The Nighttime sky towards Hamburg/Eden/Lake Erie
I had to run to the airport to pick the wife and daughter up from their Florida adventure and then returned home to add the finishing touches - pedals and the new Salsa Minimalist Rack to the front.

Snowmobile Trail by my house
The sun had gone down, the temperature was dropping, the kids were off to run around, the wife was heading to a wake, and I headed down the trails in my bliss.  Did a quick, well quick for a snowbike that weighs in around 40 pounds loaded and then adding me to the mix puts in over 220 fully clothed for nighttime winter riding, 10 mile ride out through Chestnut Ridge Park and did the same ride the next morning after we received some new snowfall.
My foot next to tire track (and these were inflated fairly high at this point
I learned new snowfall is not always good unless someone had packed the trail down before you but I still had a blast!

I wonder what the cars all think as they see me cross roads and dive into the woods?  I know what I am thinking - Thank You Lord!

This weekend will be a long ride to really test her out.  Have a great day and get out there and do something fun!