Sunday, April 28, 2013

Are We Really Hill Slugs?

When I first started riding bicycle I came across a website, TeamEstrogen. It is chiefly a women's cycling clothing and accessories online ordering website.  Prior to signing up to do a challenging bike tour with Adventure Cycling in 2004, called Cycle Utah, I had ordered this cute jersey that was colorful and had a billboard message printed on it: Caution! Hill Slug, for I knew it would probably describe me on the hills. I also wore it on Bicycle Tour of Colorado and Ride The Rockies week-long tours. It received a number of thumbs up while on these bike rides during those days when we climbed some tough mountain passes. And as the faster climbers pedaled on by me a number of them in a panting voice said they too felt like a sort of 'hill slug' cranking up and over those hills and mountains.  I don't know what happened to the jersey.  Did I put it on the 'give away table' at an SCBC banquet figuring that as the years went by I had become a little better at climbing? I don't know where it disappeared and who is wearing it now. But yesterday that jersey came back into my life, and Paul's as well.  The person we had purchased our tandem from was cleaning out some bike clothes and came across these jerseys.  He recalled wearing them with his stoker-wife back when he was riding that tandem. With the jerseys in hand Mike showed up yesterday at the parking lot of Walsh University as the Folks On Spokes touring bike club was gathering for a Saturday morning thirty-six mile ride, he handed them over to me. Paul and I put the jerseys on. In memory of his dear stoker who passed away I put on the jersey with good memories of the days I wore my original one, and with sadness that Carol is no longer here. Paul and I do enjoy the tandem-team, aka Bobbsey Twins, look of matching jerseys.  And if you pass us grinding up some of the steeper hills just tell we slugs to "step it up a notch!"  Or maybe the Stoker ought to start pedaling. . .and help the Geezer Cruiser up and over the top! (Photo here by Jim Postlewaite)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thudbuster To The Rescue

 How do you spell relief? T H U D B U S T E R !!
Oh my goodness.  What a difference a suspension seat post has made on this tandem.  The person riding in the back will feel every rough railroad bed crossing, every accidental hitting of a pot hole, rough pavement.  The stoker in the rear takes it on hard up through the seat post.  I just had to do something about making this ride smoother.  I had ridden tandems with the Cane Creek Thudbuster and I did not realize until I had been riding our tandem (without any suspension seat post), how awful it was beginning  to feel on my tush and sitz bones.  Thudbuster to the rescue.  I am one very happy stoker now on my Specialized Body Geometry Women's Jett titanium rails leather saddle with the Thudbuster below it. One smooooth ride now.  Spring is here and we are have a great time out on our tandem rides.  No stoker should be without a smooth ride over rough surfaces.  
That squarish looking thing in the middle of the Thudbuster holds an elastomer that is exchangeable and you put in there the one that is right for you based on your body weight and how much 'give' you want in your suspension. Jim Szittai at The Bicycle Shop in Canton set me up with this great piece of equipment.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Geezer an Cruiser Ride In Arizona

Today we took the tandem for a spin out and about leaving from my sister's house in Oro Valley, on Rancho Visto Blvd.  A perfect area to ride; rolling and just north of the city limits of Tucson.  It was about 78 degrees when we left.  Oh how glad I am to be in this sunshine and warmth.  We left Ohio on Tuesday, 26 March and meandered our way to the southwest, taking eleven days traveling time.  There had not been a day with sunshine in Ohio for all of two weeks before we left, and wouldn't you know, in all those traveling days it was COLD, in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and into New Mexico - and we only saw the sun shine parts of two days.  Even when we arrived here last Thursday, 7 March, first staying with my brother, it was cold and very windy and no sun for another three days. There was snow falling on Friday into Saturday up on top of Mount Lemon. But yesterday, Monday it FINALLY, warmed up and today was gorgeous.  Suppose to hit unseasonably warm this week, in the 90's.  Anyway, it is going to be ideal for getting out on our tandem.  It has been since the end of the first week in February, when we left Venice, Florida, since we have been able to ride.  Here are a few photos from today.  Welcome, Geezer and Cruiser to ARIZONA!!!  P.S.  Friends Dave Cardarella and Marilyn Perdue flew into Phoenix yesterday  with his new coupler, take apart, tandem.  Hope they too will enjoy their first tandeming in Arizona. 
Click to enlarge any photos.
 Sara, take off that sweater and get out on the tandem!  It is FINALLY warm.
 Paul checking his computer and setting it back to 'zero' for our ride.
 Along La Canada there sits a road ornament. It's ready for St Patty's Day.
Notice the nice paved hike/bike lane next to the road.
 Those are the Catalina Mountain range off in the distance.

Paul is patiently waiting for 'Cruiser' to hop on so we can continue this ride.
What a gorgeous day to be out on the bike. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Geezer Cruises Manasota Key

After yesterday's total of sixteen miles around the side-streets practicing stopping/starting/turns Paul said he was willing to take'r out for a longer and busier route for some more mileage.  While the bike club took off from the Island Sun Inn at 9:00 to ride 50 miles to Siesta Key Beach, a few were wanting to do a shorter ride.  We met up with John/Fran and Linda for a 10:00 start. John led us on a ride to Englewood Beach, going along Manasota Key.  John/Fran have just started to ride as a tandem team too.  So they were on Blue Belle (their newly aquired Burley Duet) and she was introduced to Geezer Cruiser.  What a fun time it was. It was a 33 mile ride.  We were getting the hang of it on our push-off starts, getting the feel of just how high the right pedal should be for the best start. Paul found out the bike takes a bit longer to stop, and he couldn't stop it soon enough and did touch the back of Blue Belle one time when John/Fran stopped in front of us.  But nobody went over, so it was a good save. Before returning along the Key, Paul and I suggested eating across the street from Englewood Beach at the Lock n Key Restaurant.  They have a great lunch menu and we all enjoyed the food. Linda was on her single (Specialized Roubaix). This was only her second day in Florida.  She is riding strong and it was great to have her along on our 'tandem newbies' ride. 
God is Good, and thanks be to our Guardian Angels for watching over us.
Manasota key at Englewood Beach. Paul and Sara
John and Fran taking Blue Belle out for a spin

Linda S., John and Paul

The Red Tide (a fish fungus) is very smelly too.  No wonder my eyes have been tearing and I cough when riding along some of the beaches where the Red Tide has hit.

Linda riding 'sweep' today, bringing up the rear.  I captured this while on the tandem, pointing my camera over my shoulder

This very good restaurant is across the street from Englewood Beach on Manasota Key. The "Lock n Key"  We took our lunch break here.

A mail box of a 'boca grande' (means big mouth) fish.  Linda inspects it up close.

Lots of people sunbathing at Manasota Beach today. Bright beautiful skies!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The First Tandem Ride on Geezer Cruiser

So here we are, camped out at the Island Sun Inn, with friends of the Stark County Bike Club.  The Geezer Cruiser is patiently waiting outside in the veranda area, outside our door.  Just waiting until my Captain, Paul, feels brave enough to take it out for some trial rides.  He says the shoulder/arm is still too sore to try it. Others have been inquiring of Paul when (we) will take the tandem out for the rides.  He (jokes) that it was "Just brought down here for show."  I will patiently wait!  I know someday we will have a great time tooling around on Geezer Cruiser! Shoulder surgery takes time to heal. . .
Geezer was out for a cruise around the neighborhood this afternoon.  After Paul, Steve, and I did some casual riding around Venice and after some lunch back at the room, Paul said he would like to take the tandem out by himself and see how it handles. Yippie!  Here's the first photos of the maiden launch of GEEZER CRUISER:
There he goes!  Paul leaves to circle around the side streets. 

He managed a right-hand turn and is looking good.

Hey there my Captain!  You are lookn' good. You need a Stoker now.

This is it! I snapped this photo of our shadow. Oh was this FUN!

After the ride - Look at our smiles. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Myakka State Park

Myakka State Park.  A 36 mile ride through the park.  Snack break was at the general store at Myakka City. On the return we stopped at the concession stand in the park and then a short walk to the Canopy Walk that rises some 84' above ground.
First in line below is a LINK to click for a video of us leaving on the ride this morning.
VIDEO: Starting a bike ride from Myakka State Park

Here are some photos from today

The line-up at the General Store half-way point

Steve and his brother, Paul

This place is known for its "Bad to the bone" fried chicken. But it isn't the food cyclists need during a long and hot ride. This General Store out in the country is our favorite break stop on the Myakka ride route.

Paul (on left) and Rich Aieling, with Bob Forney taking some refreshments at the General Store stopping point.

I sure do like my coffee first thing in the morning!

Ed Shenck and Peg Stoner riding on a tandem today.

Just one of the several aligators seen along the river as we rode through Myakka State Park.

A short jaunt into the woods brings us to the high canopy walk.

Steve Schroedl

A long clim up to the top, where we can overlook and see the area for several miles.
Sara, Paul, Steve

Is a hot ride in Florida complete without ice cream?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Out For A Ride Feeling Fine

Yesterday afternoon I stopped in at the local bike shop, Real Bikes, and found a replacement helmet. I donned my brand-spankn' new helmet, pumped the tires, and I was ready to roll today. I was feeling fine and looked forward to getting back to riding.  I figured resting a couple of days after my tumble that resulted in a concussion, was good, but I was anxious to get back on my bicycle.
Paul took today off to rest his shoulder, so Ed Grace and I took a shorter route and cut off about 20 miles of the official scheduled ride and ended up with 36 for the day. I felt fine, but I must say I was really watching those road cracks with an eagle eye the whole time. Did a lot of stopping, snapping photos of horticulture down here. Things are blooming all over the place. I don't know the names of the native plants.  Ed and I stopped in a little business section of Englewood to take a break and have some soup/coffee/sandwich. I've passed the "Mango Bistro" many times down here and have never had a chance to stop and eat. But today was the day to enjoy this unique and very delicious cafe.  Tonight: Left Coast Seafood Restaurant. Monday is all you can eat shrimp. We have the bikes loaded into the van ready to take off in the morning to drive over to Myakka State Park, 20 minutes from the motel. Beautiful place to visit and ride. I am blessed and so thankful I could get back on the bike again.
No idea when we will take our tandem out. Paul just doesn't feel that his arm is pain-free yet. He wants to wait just a while longer before taking Geezer Cruiser for the maiden ride. I am patiently waiting!

A group of tandem riders ready to start the ride

Riders gather out front of the Island Sun Inn waiting for the 9:00 AM start of this morning's ride.

Ed Grace - Taking a little rest along the route.

Sharks teeth are imbedded into the concrete sidewalk at a beach house area along Manasota Key.
Manasota beach is reknown for it's abundance of shark's teeth. Many people come every day and comb the beach for these. 

A zillion sharks teeth in the sidewalk.  Amazing.  All from the gulf beaches in this locale. My Trek Madone takes a little rest. . .

Ed joined me for eats at the Mango Bistro.  Excellent portabella sandwich.