Friday, December 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
No! On my ride to New Jersey last September I was inspired by some bicycle art I saw in Lambertville to have my Nono (grandfather) do a stained glass piece inside of it. I put twelve spokes in it, and shipped it to him when I got home. He has been doing stained glass for a few years now. I drew up the design and included it with the rim. It looks exactly like my drawing. He did an awesome job don't you think? He had to build his own template of wood to support the glass as he built it up. There was a hole in the center to accomodate the hub, and the template laid on top of a hollow box about 4" tall so it would lay flat. The spokes served as a support system for the soldering, allowing for the open space between the glass and rim.
I brought it home after our visit with them in Illinois last week. It is now displayed proudly in my window, ready to be shown off to everyone who visits. I have a few steel Ukai rims waiting for a similar fate.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
6:30am- Breakfast in the hotel lobby, coffee, toast, juice,banana. The sun meets me and my Fuji Royale II at the start.
7:00am- On the road, heading directly west. Next stop Monticello, IL. 9mph winds from the N/NW. It is cold. Hazy, don reflective gear, turn on tail lights, put on headlight. So far so good.
9:00am- Arrive at the Brown Bag Deli in Monticello. On schedule. The place is immediately familiar and I remember that I was here in 2003 after the wedding rehearsal of a good friend. I eat a fabulous toasted turkey salad bagel and coffee. Missing my friend, wish we had time to see them on this trip, but it is too far to drive. The sun keeps traveling.
10:00am- Back on the road. My route takes me through Allerton Park outside of Monticello, where my friend was married. Memories. I ride by the statue of the Sun Singer, which Robert Allerton had made and placed in the park. He originally saw it in Stockholm and wanted a smaller version for his yard, but the maker made it for him in original size so he had to find a bigger space for it. I pass a buffalo farm. It seems they are all looking at me. They look strong and healthy. Still on schedule. Still in front of the sun.
11:15am- On 1400N heading directly west again. At a non-descript intersection, checking my compass because the road signs are turned around. Check in with my wife, take off a layer. I'm surprised I have a cell phone connection. I feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. These fields are vast. I can see for miles and miles around. I am alone. Sing when you ride far and the wind is pushing you back, and you are alone and it is cold. It helps. I think of the state of our country, farming, respect of our land, how we return to this very ground, dirt. I think of the Native Americans, war, disparity of thought. I hit gravel, wet from yesterday's rain, slogging through for a couple of miles in this takes a toll on speed and comfort. The sun and I are neck and neck.
1:30pm- Latham, IL The Korn Krib Resaurant built in and around grain storage bins. I use the bathroom, and refill water. No time to sit and eat here. Have to keep moving. Beginning to tire more. Dogs! The young one is fearless, comes toward me non-stop. I dismount so he thinks twice. He tries to get behind me for the attack but I turn to keep him at bay. He is ruthless. I walk by the house till I get far enough to satisfy him that I'm not a threat. I get on bigger roads to avoid more dogs, and think they'll be even smoother, but I was wrong. Hard packed gravel, but bumpy. Takes a toll on my energy, slowing to less than 10mph. I plod along, hurting, falling morale. Finally, Hwy 54! I'm less than 5 miles from my childhood home. But the sun has taken the lead.
3:45pm- A second wind. Ride through the old neighborhood, see the old house. Haven't been here since 1995. Family no longer owns this house since parents divorced back then. I lived there from 1978-1995, half of my life. It pains me that I can't come back. It is for sale, $159,000. The trees my father planted are large now, forest-like. I had to ride my bike here this time instead of just drive by. Going slower gives the memories time to be remembered.
4:50pm- Arrive at my destination. Time to go in to visit my grandparents with my wife and two daughters. Time to stop looking to the past and keep moving forward. Special times, creating new memories. It is dark. The sun wins, barely.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
We happened to be visiting my wife's parent's house in Maryland in October, and it turned out that we would be there at the same time that Salisbury University holds their famous Seagull Century ride. I immediately signed up. There was only about a week and a half before the day of the ride. I didn't know much about it yet, but I soon learned that this is a humongous event, with over 8,000 riders participating. They have been doing this ride for over 20 years. We had a tough time finding a hotel, but we ended up getting a room at a Comfort Inn that was anything but. I'm not going to spend time complaining about that though.
We woke up to a beautiful morning, a perfect day for a ride. It really was, despite the 20+ mph winds that developed. The forecast had been calling for that so it was no surprise. One hazard I had not thought about until now though is to watch out for large falling tree limbs. One fell about 25 feet in front of me. There was nobody underneath it at that point, but there could have been with so many of us out there. I was next in line, but I had plenty of time to stop, get off the bike, and drag it off the road. It was quite large, and would have hurt. Anyway... the route is relatively flat, and that made it a good choice for my first century. I chose the Assateague route which took us to the Eastern Shore, which was beautiful. Unfortunately I was riding alone. It would have been nice to have had a friend along for the ride, but I don't have any cycling friends in Maryland (yet). I wasn't shy though, and introduced myself to some people. A group of 5 guys passed me at one point, and I sped up to stay with them. I joined their paceline, and they welcomed me in. Most of them were Navy guys, and I talked most to Andy. I continued on my way when they stopped to use the bathroom. Later I met a fellow named Peter. I rode up to him because he was wearing a UVA jersey. I thought I might know him, or at least know someone he knows since we lived in Charlottesville for so long, but it turned out he went to school there years ago, and hadn't been there in while. It was still good conversation.
The rest stops were excellent. There was no shortage of food or drink, everyone was very encouraging, the bathroom lines went very quick and people were courteous. The organization of this event was stellar. I rode the fuji opus iii, which was a good choice because it is so light and fast. It cut through the wind very well. I considered taking the Royale II, but it has the fenders (which I wouldn't have needed) and my pack, and is a bit heavier. It was nice to get a chance to ride the Opus which I haven't ridden in about a year I think.
It feels good to have finally reached that goal. It was nice too that I wasn't completely dead after doing it. I felt good all the way through, and had energy to spare afterward. That means I really was prepared well for it. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I didn't take any photos because I didn't want to carry the camera. I just wanted to ride. I also had forgotten my garmin device, but I was glad I did. It helped me enjoy the ride more without worrying about how fast I was going, or what my mileage was, etc...
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I recently went to rebuild the wheels on my Fuji Royale II, and I discovered a bent rear axle. The rim was also a bit warped. I ended up rebuilding them with a set of Superbe hubs I have had for over 2 years now, maybe 3, and a beautiful new Ukai gold rim I luckily found on ebay for a good price. These hubs were top of the line of their day, and are super smooth. With the bike in the repair stand, I would spin the wheels after lacing them up with these Superbe hubs, and it seems they would roll forever. They just keep going and going. They are fast too. That difference translates to the road, and in turn to energy output. Do not underestimate how important it is to have your hubs running in top order. It makes your job of pedaling the bike easier, and in turn gives you a more enjoyable riding experience.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
UPDATE: I have since built this one back into a 12 speed and gave it to a friend who's children told their parents that they need to get bikes! I had come across a fuji mixtie frame from the 70's and gave that one along with this sports 10 to them to use. I think the only single speed I'll use is my fuji track bike, at the velodrome.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
AN INTERVIEW WITH BILL SCHRODER:
A Ride Leader of Bikecentennial
Question 1. How did you become a ride leader for Bikecentennial?
I lived in Virginia Beach, VA in the 1970s and in 1975 I was president of the Tidewater Bicycle Association and gave input for the eastern VA portion of the B-76 route. As a result I was invited to be part of the first leadership training group which took place at an American Youth Hostel in Bowmansville, PA. From the training groups leaders were chosen based on their camping and biking expertise, as well as their ability to motivate and work with others. In addition to this training enabling me to be a group leader, I met the woman who has become my lifelong partner and friend.
Question 2. What were your responsibilities as a ride leader?
Each group consisted of between ten and twenty people of varying ages. Some groups stayed in youth hostels, churches etc. and other groups were organized to be full camping including cooking. Also the distances varied; some cycled a portion of the country and some did the whole country. Each trip was described in a B-76 catalog. The full country trips took 82 days but there were four “fast trips” cycling the country in 58 days; one each way of hostel and camping. I was lucky enough to lead the west to east fast camping trip. Both the hostel and camping groups were self-contained. This meant carrying on your bike everything you needed; clothes, repair tools, camping equipment as well as food for that day. We had “group” stoves and gas canisters. Every day two riders were appointed to cook the evening meal and the next day breakfast. It made for some very interesting meals.
Each group had a leader and assistant leader. Their duties varied by their abilities. All leaders were responsible for the group funds, allocating funds each day for groceries, camp ground fees etc. In addition the leader was responsible for the member’s wellbeing. This ranged from motivating riders to bicycle repair, to minor first aid and discipline as necessary. Luckily in my group the latter was not necessary. B-76 was the first time this type of trip had ever been done on such a large scale. B-76 headquarters was unable to provide much support once you left the starting point and it was up to the leader to improvise. While each member was supplied guidebooks and maps, none of us had ever been in most of the places we were going. While the group looked to me to know the way, in truth most of the time I did not have any more knowledge then they did. The leader was expected to use common sense and his abilities to get through. In eastern KY our maps said to “take a right at the large tree”. As most people know KY is not a desert and there are lots of trees. Luckily at what I thought was the turn there was a farmhouse and a nice grandmotherly lady was rocking on the porch. Her comment to my question about directions was “bicyclists keep going up that road and never come back”. In summary, the leader did what had to be done on any given day. Of the 17 people in my group who started from Reedsport, Oregon, 17 made it to see the ocean in VA Beach, VA.
Question 3. What was the biggest challenge that your group faced together?
When you go on this kind of adventure every day holds challenges, whether it is mountains, heat or rain. Probably the biggest challenge was to keep the desire to cycle every day. When we first met in Reedsport in my first talk I told them that it is not possible to cycle across the United States, it is not possible to cycle across Oregon BUT is possible to cycle to the next soda break and the one after that and one day you will find yourself on the other side of the country. Our biggest single challenge was when we were camped in Ste. Genivieve, MO . About 2 AM a tornado came through and although luckily it did not directly hit us, the winds still took all the tents down and everything we had was completely soaked. The police evacuated us to a local church. The next day became an unplanned rest day as we dried clothes, repaired tents etc. One vivid memory I have was the $4,000 in traveler’s checks lying in a puddle in my tent. The local bank said they would replace them but could not until I could separate and dry them. I still remember giving a hundred dollar check to each lady at a beauty parlor who put them on their heads and got under a dryer.
Question 4. Were any members in your group changed in deep, personal ways from having participated in Bikecentennial?
I believe every person who did B-76 was changed and every person who I have ever talked to, be it from my group of other groups say they will never forget that trip. One cannot do something like this without having a lifetime of memories. Some of us have continued to do trips and keep cycling while others have moved on. But I doubt a single one of us will ever forget it. To this day what four of us still keep in touch and my best friend from that that trip, a “young” Dutch man; not so young now goes on regular cycling trips with me. He, my partner and I have cycled throughout Europe and the United states together over the last 30 plus years.
Question 5. What two memories from Bikecentennial replay themselves most often in your mind?
There are too many to ever tell about. There was Gene Chu buying a ten pound bag of ice each day and putting it in his front handlebar bag in the desert of eastern Oregon. There were two of our younger riders riding into wet tar and then braking with the expected consequences in Kansas. But the best memories I have is meeting the people along the route. B-76 was the largest event ever done for this length. Seeing other cyclists in the most remote places, and having locals waving to us, buoyed our spirits beyond belief. In western Oregon, just a few days into the trip, a young girl and her mother came to our camping area with a cake and said how much they admired us. In Kansas there was “the ice cream lady” who gave homemade ice cream to us. She literally would chase us down in her car and take us to her home. Nobody who cycled B-76 will ever forget the “cookie lady” of VA. She had a home just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA and started giving out cookies to the cyclists. To this day she still does and over the years she added a bunkhouse to give shelter to the cyclists. She literally has become a legend on the trail.
Bikecenntenial is now known as Adventure Cycling but for us “old times” it will always be B-76.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
This afternoon, with Alan's help (owner of Alan's Bicycles), I was able to finish setting up my early 80's fuji track bike. I'm very excited about this. Also this afternoon, I registered to take an adult basic class at the Trexlertown Velodrome this August for 4 weeks. I'll be going there two nights each week to learn and practice riding the track. I'm hoping of course I can find other times to go ride there as well. This will be my first time riding a fixed gear, my next step in this fuji cycling life.