Some Roads Are Less Traveled for a Very Good Reason

Rando Roundup

It has been a strange year, randonneuring wise, and a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that it is a Paris-Brest-Paris year.  This 1200k ride is the equivalent of the World Championships of randonneuring.  It only comes around every 4 years, and you have to ride a complete Super Randonneur series (a 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k) the year before to ensure your registration, and then ride another in the same calendar year to qualify.  Thousands of riders from all around the world meet in Paris in August to try and complete the ride from Paris to the coast and back in 90 hours (or less; there are other time categories for the genuinely insane).  Quite a few people from our local club were participating but I was not among them.

Continue reading

Moar Randonneuring! Now With Extra Protein!

Frederick 300K
April 18, 2015

The Good Stuff

At the end of the ride, begrimed, sucking down delicious high fructose corn syrup products and waiting for the Pizza arrived, I was talking with Mike, the DCR club president.  “You know,” he said, “I always read your blog and enjoy it, even if I have to skip some to get to the good stuff.”  I wasn’t at all offended.  I assumed that he was thinking about posts like my last one, where my rando report was seemingly tacked on to a philosophical disquisition about the influence of middle-of-the road Greek pop singers.  But I had to laugh; that is one of the things I like most about writing (and reading): what counts as the “good bits” is different for everyone.  For my rando comrades these posts probably can’t contain enough bike geekery: they will delight in arcane discussions about the TPI of tires, the actual versus claimed lumens of lighting systems, and the dark magic arcana of wheel specs.  For more normal people, the philosophical disquisitions probably represent the good (or at least the OK) bits and then it all goes rapidly downhill.

The short version of today’s ride: lots of going rapidly downhill, lots of good bits, lots of extra bits, and a bit of actual and metaphorical darkness.  Pretty much a typical brevet.  And after the last two rides, “typical” was more than welcome.

Continue reading

Clearing out the Cobwebs

Warrenton 300k
April 4, 2015

When it Really was all Greek to me

In between the time when Greece was the cradle of Democracy and the time when it became the grave of European Community, there was a period where Greeks seemed to be making a concerted assault on middlebrow popular music.

Continue reading

Here’s Mudd in Yer Eye

Roadsign for Dr. Samuel Mudd Rd

A Road to Somewhere

I spend a great deal of my biking life doing one of three things: commuting, training, or participating in events.  While those activities are often singularly enjoyable, what they all lack is another primary source of cycle-related pleasure: exploration.  Perhaps inspired by my recent sojourn in New Zealand where my partner and I did a lot of exploring by bike, I’ve been trying to throw in a few more exploratory rides myself.

Continue reading

If I’m doing this, then it must be. . .spring?

Coffee and Pastries 200k
March 14 2015

Today’s Lesson: When someone strongly suggests you should take a detour, take the goddamned detour.  Or not.

Continue reading

Sometimes you want to go. . .

Bicycle Cogset

Not my chain, but it might as well have been. (Photo by Dave Scriven, Creative Commons License).

. . .Where Somebody Will Clean Your Chain

Uncharacteristically I’m going coyly to slide past the obvious innuendo in the title and simply note that recently I had to take Gypsy Rose into the bike spa and it got me thinking about what I value in a really good bike store.

Continue reading

Fuck You, GoogleMaps

Clouds in the Water

Experimental Solo Bike Tour, Day 4
Gettysburg to Antietam Creek
50 miles, 2200 feet of climbing

Rolling Resistance

One thing that has disconcerted me a little about this bike tour: it takes me an age to get all my gear packed up and ready to go.  I start getting myself organized, and then time abruptly compresses and suddenly it is an hour and a half later, 45 minutes after I was intending to leave.  I’m mostly at a loss to explain this.  I’m not sitting down and taking nap breaks although that is what the results would seem to indicate.  Furthermore I don’t have that much stuff!  The only thing I can put this down to is that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of stuff you are carrying and the time necessary for packing. When car camping, which is what I do mostly, you can shovel all your shit into the capacious maw of your vehicle, even if it isn’t perfectly packed, confident that you can roll to your next destination and sort it all out at the end.  But on a bike, although you have less stuff, it more or less has to be disassembled and then packed in the same order.  Practice should make perfect.

Continue reading