Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

This week I'm especially thankful for passing 500 miles for the month, only the 3rd time that's happened in the 5 years I've been commuting. And... I rode all three bikes this week, the bilenky to work a couple days, then the kona for rainy days, and today I took the Klein out because it was cool (50ish this am)... and a little breeze so I kept it rolling and stayed warm. Sadly I have felt guilty about not riding the Klein enough as most of my rides are utilitarian so I am going to sell it next year.

Hope to get the fenders on the Kona this weekend and ride it to work that way, it's going to be my every day bike and the Bilenky will get cleaned up and painted next year and become my pretty weekend ride.

I'd like to get another tour in this year that was so much fun but I have to get the house painted first... so I'll be doing some scraping and priming tomorrow and Sunday, and hope to finish the job the first couple days of Xmas break then get a 3 night ride in by next year! Where will I go? The only direction I haven't yet gone is southeast so I think I'll try to get down to Sebastian Inlet or Kissimmee Prairie State parks and back in a 4 day. We'll see how the wind blows and the painting goes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

09 Tour with the Kona

Well I found out the Kona Sutra is an awesome bike for touring, on, or off road. It was pretty windy all 4 days. I got dropped off at Riverview south of Tampa and had only 20 miles to Little Manatee River state park the first night. It was real windy, and Rt 301 was under construction most of the way, single lane, little or narrow shoulder part of the way, with rumble strips on the outside of the white line about 10-12 inches, leaving about 10-12 inches to keep the bike in, with the wind... amazingly I was able to keep in that narrow groove and guide the bike within inches.

Following a refreshing campout at the park, it was 63 miles into a fierce headwind all day Friday. I didn't think I'd get in by dark, but made it about 15 minutes before... lots of shifting mostly about 8-10 mph, it was all open prairie and at times little ring, little gears doing 5-6... Highlands Hammock was an awesome park with the Cypress Swamp and old Hammocks, though the camping was chock-a-block it was quiet and I got a campsite under pine trees lots of needles for a soft bed.

Saturday it was more of a crosswind though a good portion was into the headwind again, 60 miles. Then 3 into the park and 3+ to find the primitive campsite, they call it a bike trail but it was more a horse trail, rough in spots with sugar sand and grassy bumpy others. It got dark on me never did find the primitive campsite the bike was excellent on the rough trail never missed a shift and all the racks and gear was solid. A great quiet cool sleep in the wilderness and up early to get home.

Coming home Sunday was supposed to be 53 miles but the google map should always be double checked, go east 5 miles... well... .5 miles out of the park the road dead ended into a wide creek/canal, the boatmen told me there was not road on the other side, had to go west and since my phone battery was dead navigation was poor at best. 77 miles later I was in Kissimmee when darkness fell, didn't really have the lights to come up John Young so took a bus to downtown and then home, 82 total.

The bike and panniers were great, no problems, though for the 230 total it took a couple days to recover since the work into the wind was so hard. see the pics

A couple things I learned this trip. Always double check your maps and take a printed map with you. This isn't the first time I've had dead phone or no service counting on the pda for navigation. Pack for warmer than you expect, the all day of work in the saddle leaves you good and warm for hours I never cracked out the sleeves or pants or caps it was short and short the whole time. Pack your food and water for the day and trip as if you will not see any stores along the way, Friday on hiway 62 I saw 4 convenience stores and nothing else for 40 miles. Count on picking up fresh fruits and vegetables from roadside vendors along the way... the fresh tomatoes, zuchini, apples, and potatoes were some of the highlights of the tour, cliff and power bars and trail mix get tiring after a while. Do have that cup of tea at the end of the day and enjoy the rest. Go light on the tarp or rain gear I had a heavy plastic groundcloth I put under everything it will be much thinner next time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Getting ready to roll!

The Kona is ready and the 09 mini-tour is about to roll! The panniers are about packed to take off one of these weekends. Planning a car or train ride to Tampa and from there to 3 State Parks, a night each w 50-70 miles between, before returning home the 4th day pm. I'm altering the packlist from since it's 3 nights and the weather has turned cool at night. To save space, I pack each days outfit in a newspaper sleeve... socks, shorts, jersey, headband, rolls up real small and makes it quick to find stuff. The Crosso Panniers come with a mini-bag on the outside so I'm reorganizing some quick grab things like clif bars, bandanas, poncho, etc for easy retrieval. Primitive camping is available at all 3 places $5 a night. I was worried about spending $22 a night to shower and pitch a tent but not to worry they are reserved except one place, they have "wilderness camping" just show up. Need a good cracker western or adventure story to read in the woods but still have a week or two to find a couple. Really looking forward to this years adventure on the sturdy Kona Sutra.