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Why do we ride?

14 Jan

I was fat, broke and lazy. I’d lost any semblance of high school runner shape, several years of fried food and complete inactivity left me breathless trying to play disc golf with friends. Even attempting to squat to put away dishes in lower cabinets was beginning to become quite uncomfortable. Something in me started to realize that my condition was going to go one way or the other. I was either going to get in shape, or give up. Well, being broke, I bought a cheap fixie online and started riding a bike again. Continue reading

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The Scenic Shore 150

30 Jul

Well, it’s over for this year. I completed my ride last weekend, and it was a great one! Saturday proved to be quite windy, but I managed to maintain a pretty good average for the century ride. On Sunday, I met up with some awesome folks who were moving at a pretty good clip, and we averaged almost 20 miles per hour! We got a little splash up from the road on sunday, but otherwise, the only actual rain I felt was on saturday during lunch.

It was quite a difference from last year, weather wise. I remember getting sprayed with a garden hose at the last rest stop last year, and this year we were practically looking for blankets! It was nice weather, but definitely much colder than last year. I also want to say, that the volunteers for this ride are spectacular. Every single person I encountered in both years of this ride has been so positive and helpful, it really makes me want to keep coming back. They carry our bags to the trucks, cheer us on, greet us with huge smiles; it’s really cool to be treated like that for a weekend. Thank you guys so much!

All in all, LLS has almost raised their $1,000,000 goal, and are still hoping to hit it by August 16th, I’ll update if they do, but either way, I am going to be doing the ride again next year and hope to break my $380 mark from this year! And now for some iphone photos (=

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Props to the guy who rode the 150 on this beast!

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It was raining on the way home, so I took advantage of the empty parking lot.

Living out my dream

19 Jul

If you know me outside of the inter webs, you know that my brain doesn’t exactly formulate thoughts in a logical order. Well, it may appear that way to you, usually one thing happens, which causes me to think of seven to thirteen different steps which make me say something that’s so far down the line you have no idea where I was coming from.

For instance, we’re in wal-mart and someone says something about little girls which prompts me to blurt out “Oh, that reminds me, I have to go look at the women’s underwear section” and go running off. Yes, that happened, no it’s not as dirty as it sounds, and no I’m not telling the story.

All this to say that my mind has been extremely overactive today, and now I’m blogging about it. It’s kinda my story actually, and it’s gonna get a little weird and a lot sappy, so if that sounds like too much… LEAVE NOW! But really, please don’t, I think it will be entertaining.

I realized today that probably 95% of my favorite music and most of which formed the real foundation for everything I listen to took place between the years 1997 and 2003. It really doesn’t relate to anything except that it got me listening to The Starting Line again, for the second time in a week after a four or five year drought. These were two completely opposite listening sessions, and it’s the basis for everything I learned today.

One week ago, exactly, I listened to the lyrics “What can I say, that can explain all this time, I’m loving life, there’s not a day, that I can’t say, all this time, I’m living out my dream”, and I despaired.

When I say despaired, I really mean that I felt lost. I felt that I had failed. The mounting bills and student loans, and financial torment weighed so heavily on me that I really felt I could not bear anymore. As a follower of Christ, despair is something I’m not supposed to feel, and you may think that Christians are just fake smilers and full of crap, but we suffer just like anyone else. I have hope in something greater than this world, but I don’t always see it, and last week, I missed the boat.

Now my goal here isn’t to hammer the idea of happiness, or tell you that everything is going to be okay in your life, or even to evangelize about my faith. I talk about Jesus because I really believe in the things He said, but I like to talk about that in person, in depth and without judgement or pretense. My goal is to talk about the value of single moments in time making up a lifetime.

As I pondered those years of music on my way to my seminary class and reached for the TSL cd, I started to think on those lyrics again. Last week when I lamented not being a great and successful photographer or being in a touring band and not being able to even pay my student loans, I was missing the now.

The now. I work at a coffee shop with people I really love. I get to ride bikes almost whenever I want. I have enjoyed sublime central air in these past few days of heat. I have a son who looks like me. I married my dream girl high school sweetheart. I believe in the creator of the universe caring about little old me.

Truth is, I’m living out my dream. Every. Single Day. I wake up and I see my wife and son and puppy all sleeping next to each other, and damn I have it made. Every day I get to spend with that amazing girl who decided to say yes is a day that I get to live out my dream.

That’s the end, my brain stopped coming up with cool stuff to say. I hope you enjoyed this quirky moment of raw honesty. Stay tuned after this weekend (my big fundraising ride) for details and pictures and more beer reviews!

Got my rider packet… Little bit Excited

10 Jul

So, I got my rider packet for the scenic shore 150 yesterday! I’m feeling excited, not that I’ve raised the funds. I was way off the $1000 mark but I did make more than last year so who knows, maybe I’ll get there one of these years! I’ll try to snap some awesome pics on my iphone on the ride, last year it was absolutely beautiful!

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So I’m spamming myself to sell some bikes (=

2 Jun

Well, I found a bike. Ummmmm, it’s a really really good deal, and I am trying desperately to come up with the necessary cash. It’s even my color. Yeah. So I am selling two bicycles, and have listed them on craigslist.

One of them is my red Firenze GL5000. I noted in a previous post that I have given up work on this bike, but taking it for a test ride today, it’s really not a bad bike. I cleaned it up nice and it actually rides pretty well. The deurailler needs some tweaking, as it has issues with the small gear in front, but it shouldn’t be a big thing. The chain is clean and there’s no rust to be found anywhere. I thought it looked better without the fenders and rack, but they come with and are easy enough to put back on.

I’m asking $75 to start, but come take a look and make me an offer, and we’ll see what happens!

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The second bike is my old mountain bike. This one has stories behind it, let me tell you. It’s a 1996 frame, and the frame itself is still in great shape, with only a few nicks in the paint. I got this bike in high school and on a really rainy day after a cross country meet, I sort of daydreamed off and ran into the back of a parked car. OOF. The car was fine, and no one cared much, but my bike was another story. The fork was shot, totally bent. This leads to the one glaring problem with this bike that you’ll have to deal with.

My friend put a set of shocks on it, but the for doesn’t quite fit. I’ve been told all it needs is a spacer, so it may be an easy fix for someone with know-how. The brakes are perfect, I mean they are sharp, as well as the shifters. The tires also are still in really great shape, and they are pretty decent tires. The crankset is meh, could use replacing, but the bike still rides and shifts. I’m asking $75 for this one as well, but again, negotiating is fine. Oh, and it comes with a really sweet set of lights a friend gave me. They light up greenish-yellow and are great for night-time visibility. I really just want to get a little closer to that gorgeous Bianchi that’s never going to leave my dreams (=

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Thanks for looking, and if you know anyone interested, please pass it on.

GT http://appleton.craigslist.org/bik/3844961969.html

Firenze http://appleton.craigslist.org/bik/3844973179.html

Sometimes you just have to let go

18 Apr

Since I started to become more and more interested (read obsessed) with cycling, the desire to learn how to do my own repairs has naturally been a part of the journey. It’s not that I don’t want to give business to my local shops, I love them! It’s just that it’s really cool to learn how to fix your own bike, and be able to know how to take it apart, put it back together and be able to mend small problems on the fly. I think everyone should obviously learn how to change a flat, patch a tire with a dollar bill, and change their handlebar tape. It’s like learning how to change your own strings on a guitar.

Anyway, I decided a while back to work on this bike I found at goodwill for $20. I even put a blog post up about it, and proceeded to never post about it again. That is, until now. As you may have guessed from the title this job never really went as planned. It’s not a bad looking bike, and upon putzing around, I did learn quite a bit about how the little things work, how to take certain things apart and whatnot. It quickly became clear though, that the parts on this bike weren’t exactly normal. For instance,

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Now, I didn’t research this heavily, so maybe this design is more prevalent than I realize, but I’ve never seen a crank put on like this. It’s not the craziest thing, but just a small example of the difficulty in this bike. The parts don’t subscribe to normality. Everything is weird sizes, (I know campy parts are different too) and all the bolts are at just the weird enough angles that you can’t really get at anything. It’s like the manufacturers did not want anyone to fix these. I read online that bike shops hated to work on them, which of course I only took as a challenge.

It turns out, that these bikes were given away in I believer the 1980s with boom-boxes at record stores, because they didn’t meet safety specs and could not legally be sold in the U.S.

I thought I could fix this bike when I first bought it. It turns out it was not to be. I managed to get it riding and then I’m pretty sure the bottom bracket is junk. It was my project, I was going to beat the challenge. But I didn’t. Sometimes you have to push through against all odds, but sometimes you just have to cut your losses. Although, I did learn how to put on my own handlebar tape.

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Who knows, maybe I’ll wind up turning this into a fixie one day. Or maybe I’ll let someone else work on it and see if they can turn it into a work of art. I got my $20 worth of learning out of it anyway. More likely I’ll try to turn it into miniature pieces of bike art. So I guess, it isn’t a total loss. IN fact, it isn’t a loss at all. I learned a little bit about y own limitations and when I need to just let something go and move to bigger and better things.

I also learned to tell you that  if you see one of these at a rummage sale and think to yourself it might make a good project… Run For Your Life! And then give me a call, because you can have this one (=

It’s that time of year again… asking for money (=

12 Apr

So last year I embarked on a refreshing new journey. In honor of several who lost their lives battles to cancer, I resolved to participate in a fundraising bike ride for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It’s an annual ride, and it takes place from Mequon to Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin. It involves cycling about 73 miles each day with the option of defeating a full century on the opening day. It was one of the more fulfilling journeys I have taken. I was given the opportunity to use a love of mine, cycling, to raise funds and support others who have suffered from similar circumstances.

This year I have determined to give myself an additional challenge.  I want to raise $1000.00. I need to do this by July 1st, and I need your help! I am sending out a ton of letters, but would really appreciate the help from my online friends! Even if you can only donate a couple bucks, every little bit helps!

If you would like more information about who I am riding in honor of, and also want instructions on how to donate, this is the link to my personal fundraising page and right now I don’t have any donations, so please help me make my page look a little more hopeful (=

Thanks so much guys, and keep reading, I’ll be getting back to new beer reviews next week, I’m picking up a sample pack today, so I should be set for a few new ones!