Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Ride and Doing Stuff with Some Success.

I am an active person.  I have a hard time sitting and doing nothing.  The other day I decided that I wanted to make top tube bag that I could put some quick access items in.  I pulled out an old uniform top and pulled the zipper, cut out the back, and went to work designing.  All in all it was a fairly smooth project for a hack and it only occupied a few hours of my life. 

The pattern worked out well and the pieces went together as designed.  

The zipper is a little off center but I can put stuff in it and it zips shut.  That is about where the functional aspect of it ends.  Christmas Day I decided to get out and enjoy the balmy 19 degrees and sun on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.  The day was great but the top tub bag was a flop.....literally.  As I rode it flopped to the side.  I need to beef up the Velcro and make it so I can tighten it better.  Hopefully I can retro-fit this otherwise it will serve some other function.  Not an epic failure, but a failure just the same.

Aside from my flopping top tube bag, the remainder of the ride was amazing.  I have not lived in the Quad-City area for a long time so I don't know what the usual river levels are but there is no doubt that the summer drought has left it pretty low.  This allowed for a wide range of riding opportunities and the Salsa Mukluk has far exceeded my expectations.

I dropped onto the river bank below the old railroad swing bridge and rode most of the way around Credit Island.  There was a wide range of riding conditions from drifting snow to ice, sand, and larger rocks and boulders.  The width of these tires provide a lot of stability in all of those conditions.  I am particularly surprised with how they handle on the baseball size rocks, these wheels eat them up versus sliding off the side of the rock.  While my 29ers would handle it but it would be rough.   
I found the ice on the rocks and logs to be very interesting.  I am not sure what would cause ice to freeze like this, but the banks were lined with it and it was beautiful.

The top tube pack was not my only failure of the day.  As I rode around Credit Island I came upon a fallen tree with root ball.  I was presented with three options; left through the water, right through the snow, or over.  The water was clearly out of the question and the snow looked to be deep enough to cause problems.  Since the tree was only waist high I decided to lift the bike over.      

As I lifted my 35 pound Panzer over the tree I suddenly found myself in desperate need of traction.  I don't know if the ice broke and then I slipped or I slipped and fell breaking the ice under me.  Either way, I found myself lying on the ground trying to brace an awkward bike and get up off the frozen ground.  This was an epic failure. 

I decided on the return that I would ride around the tree and had far greater success.  Over all it was a great way to enjoy a quiet Christmas afternoon.  Much better than laying on the couch feasting on left overs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is it Global Warming or I am I Trying to Hard to Have Fun? You Decide.

It is the 10th of December and the grass is still very green even though the trees have shed their leaves.  While the temperatures are getting cooler, it is not frigid.  In fact a week or so ago we had a 70 degree day, in December!    I keep telling my wife that I need to get out and go for a ride because it will be the last decent day of riding this year.  She is beginning to get skeptical and is growing tired of hearing this reason to abandon responsibility for a couple of hours.

 I keep waiting for the weather to really go to heck and it looks like I may have to wait longer.  That sounds odd I am sure.  Who doesn’t want beautiful weather?  I for one would like some snow, snow can be beautiful to.   When I found out that I would be moving to the good old Quad-Cities all anyone would tell me is how harsh the weather is.  I would respond with “I have spent a few winters in Alaska, -58 degrees is pretty cold.”  The common response would then be “yeah, but the wind blows really hard here.”  I would respond with “well, I think that at a certain point cold is cold.  By the way, I am from Montana, there is wind there too.”  Apparently Montana wind is different than Iowa/Illinois wind.......whatever.
My point (yes, there is one) is if it is going to be cold and dark, there might as well be a whole bunch of snow.  It seems as though the weather is always a topic of discussion, and it always sounds like this "This is the strangest weather I can ever remember I don't ever remember it being this hot/snowy/dry/cold/rainy!"  If it is too warming!  If it is too warming!  If it is too warming!  Last but certainly not least, if it is too COLD.....that's right, Global warming!!! 

I am not sure that anyone (except for Al Gore maybe) knows exactly what the cause of global warming is.  I have read about cows producing to much gas or volcanoes and industry spewing stuff.  All I know is that when I was told I would be moving to Iowa/Illinois that I should expect horribly cold conditions.  Quite frankly, I don't think this place is any more extreme.  

I do have a theory about global warming.  While it may not be based on scientific data, I have a much more simple reason; I bought a fat bike and I want to have fun!  While this may sound silly it falls in line with a similar situation in the same line of reasoning last year with my boss.  My boss was told to buy a snow blower when he moved here.  He did and it did not snow much last year making the snow blower useless!  This year I bought a Salsa Mukluk........coincidence?  I think not.  While this may seem completely coincidental and somewhat lacking in scientific research, the proof is there!  Snow snow.  Snow snow.

Think about it, I believe there is something there!