Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Road Bike Ride

Springtime always keeps me busy with a multitude of chores around the house. Lawn mowing; gardening and basic messing about in the yard and shed are things I always look forward to after a long winter cooped up indoors.  Yesterday I rebuilt a new retaining wall around my south facing flower bed which because of maximum sun exposure is where I grow tomatoes.  

About fifteen years ago I boxed in this bed using standard landscape timbers, the ones that are about three inches tall and have the radius sides.  This lumber held up fairly well over the years but as time passed they sunk into the soil and slowly decomposed.  This time around I decided to go with a more substantial 4" x 6" treated timber to better contain mulch and keep the grass clippings from the mower on the lawn side of the retaining wall.  

At the two corners and along the span where the timbers met I used an electric chain saw to cut lap joints and then drilled a 1-1/8" hole to insert an oak dowel pin. This method similar to that used in timber frame barn construction will keep the pieces sturdy and square.

As much fun as I have with the domestic jobs I can't resist the call to get out on two wheels.  After breakfast this morning I was feeling a little restless and the perfect antidote for that condition is a bike ride.  I loaded up the Motobecane road bike and headed over to Lexington, Ohio where I caught the B & O rail trail heading southbound.

Since I got the new Vittoria Rubino slicks for the road bike I have really been enjoying the nice ride and speed from the new rubber.  The conditions were ideal with just a little breeze and temperature of about 80 degrees F.  The southern end of the trail I rode from Lexington to Butler, Ohio was 11.7 miles and I made it down to the turnaround in 41 minutes with an average speed of 17 mph. I felt great and knowing I'd have the advantage of a little tail breeze to help me out I decided to put the hammer down on the return leg.

Even when I'm racing the clock for time I don't spend a lot of time obsessing over my computer. I usually just leave it set on trip distance and occasionally glance down to see my forward velocity.  Though I was riding long stretches at 19 to 20 mph it wasn't enough to bump my average up over 18 which is a little goal I've been trying to crack.  Nevertheless I did manage to increase my average almost a whole mile per hour on the second half of the ride which also happens to be slightly uphill the whole way so I'm happy with my ride without a doubt.


The village of Bellville, Ohio must have put on a free community refuse collection and they set up the dumpsters along the bike trail.  Look at that somebody threw away a perfectly good half a boat!

B & O Trail: Lexinton - Butler - Lexington
Bike:  Motobecane Le Champion
Ride Time:  1:18:25
Distance:  23.3 miles
Average Speed:  17.8 mph
Max Speed:  25.1 mph

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cool Bicycle Art

Form and Function

More than just a collection of welded steel tubes to please the eye this sculpture doubles as a bike rack.  Cleveland, Ohio

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cycling Update

Last Tuesday I got some new tires for my road bike.  I've been thinking about trying out 28mm tires but I ended up with these regular 25mm slicks from Vittoria.  I like slicks and the price was right so I decided to give them a try.  I always enjoy new tires and look forward to that first ride.

I mounted the clinchers and went for a spin on my out and back time trial course.  The tires feel fast and comfortable as a 100 psi skinny tire can.

20 Miles for time
Ride Time:  1:06:49
Distance:  20 miles
Average Speed: 17.9 mph


Here in north central Ohio we've had 5 sunny warm days in the 70's and I could stand it no longer.  I had to get out and ride my mountain bike and I figured the trails at Mohican would be dry enough for my first knobby tired ride of the season. I got an early start and it was pleasant to get out on a Friday during the day to enjoy the solitude that's soon to be gone from the trails and roadways come Saturday.  To my satisfaction the trail was hard and fast but had not totally dried out.  It turned out a great day to be in the woods.

Leaves just spouting. Spring time comes to the Clear Fork Gorge.
The Motobecane dual suspension rode perfect. To get an idea of trail conditions look at the following picture.  This shot shows how clean my bike is after over 20 miles of single track.  The wet spots on the trail numbered a half dozen and most of those were just places were the trail was saturated from nearby natural springs.

I spent 5 hours and 40 minutes in the park counting stops for food and photography.  It is possible to ride about 17 miles of single track and then bail out to the pavement to cross the Gorge at the west end of the route but I felt up to it so I decided to ride the full 25 mile single track loop.  I took my time and didn't worry about racing the clock just enjoyed the day and tried to keep moving in a forward direction.  Traveling completely off road by bicycle in hilly country for 25 miles is a huge accomplishment even if it takes all afternoon.  I would estimate my total ride time would be 4 hours with an average speed of 6.25 mph.

Gear shown is 1st. 22T chainring, 36T sprocket.


Springtime is motorcycle time.  The Road Queen and I met up after work on Thursday for an 80 mile loop through the hills of north central Ohio.  I love to pedal but the warm weather always brings out the urge to twist a throttle and really extend my two-wheel range.