Experimental music, photography, and adventures

A trip to Fort Wayne

Monday, August 4th, 2008

We had a very busy weekend. We had to go up to the Indianapolis area and meet with the minister who is officiating at our wedding. But that wasn’t until 3:00, so we went up a little early, went to a bike shop (Indy Cycle Specialist) and I test rode a Surly Long Haul Trucker — what an awesome bike! I talked to Jim there about the bike and he was very helpful. He had the touring mindset and a lot of the same philosophies about riding that I have, and knew his stuff, too. I was tempted to pull the trigger and get it, but I didn’t … yet.

The meeting with the pastor was good; he really challenges us to look at our relationship differently, and to actively seek out ways we can make each other’s lives better. I want to be the best possible husband for Sarah, so I very much appreciate his sage advice. At first I thought these pre-marriage meetings would be a little weird or awkward (especially as someone who isn’t religious), but I think they’re quite helpful and give us more of a sense of purpose.

Sarah’s mom had to have surgery, so after we met with the pastor, we headed up to Fort Wayne to visit her and help however we could. I’m glad Sarah got to see her mom. I left Sarah at the hospital for a while on Saturday, and I think they had a good visit. Saturday was Sarah’s birthday, and it was too bad she didn’t get to spend it doing something fun, but I was glad she could be there for her mom.

Sunday morning, I dropped Sarah off at the hospital and headed out for a ride. I had printed a route I found on bikely.com that looked interesting. I parked the car at a strip mall and started riding.

I’ve ridden in Fort Wayne a couple of times before, and there’s some good riding in the area. It’s quite flat compared to southern Indiana, but there are some hills here and there, and some areas are quite scenic. When I started riding, I was facing a headwind and actually had several hills to climb. It was warm, but not overly hot.

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Flat farmland

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Corn

The roads were pretty quiet. I saw few cars, but mostly had the road to myself. I saw a couple of other cyclists going the other way and waved. The west side of town, where I was riding, is pretty interesting because you go from being in town to rural areas very quickly. It’s kind of like Bloomington in that way.

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Farm

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Railroad tracks

I saw one of few shady spots and stopped to look at my map for a couple of minutes. While I was stopped, another cyclist passed me. I rode on and caught up with him. We introduced ourselves (his name is Jeff) and he asked how long I was looking to ride. I said about 30 miles, and he offered to show me a route, so I ditched the Bikely route and followed his lead.

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Catching up with Jeff

It was really cool to get a tour from a local. I don’t mind following maps and whatnot, but he told me a couple of the roads I had planned on riding on weren’t very good — one has a fresh layer of chipseal and the other is quite busy. The route he took me on was very quiet — we only saw a few cars the whole time and were able to ride side by side most of the time.

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Turn

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Huge power lines

In talking with Jeff, it came up that he knows one of the mechanics at an LBS in Bloomington who has worked on one of my bikes. It sure is a small world. At one point our ride went through the small town of Roanoke, Indiana. It has an interesting and quaint downtown area, and Jeff pointed out Joseph Decuis, a famous restauraunt, and a bed and breakfast there.

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Downtown Roanoke, Indiana

One thing that never ceases to impress me about cycling is how strong many older riders are. Jeff told me he’s 58 … but he rides very well. I guess cycling is a sport that doesn’t beat up your body like a lot of others, and the longer you ride, the stronger you get.

At one point we also passed what is now really just a ditch, but Jeff told me it used to be a part of the Wabash & Eerie Canal. A bit of history I never would’ve known about without someone with local knowledge.

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Riding

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Trees

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Going over a bridge

The ride ended up being 29.5 miles, exactly what I had in mind. I told Jeff to let me know if he’ll be in Bloomington and I can give him a tour.

After my ride I headed back to the hospital to see if Sarah’s mom had been released yet. When I got there I decided to change clothes in the parking lot, using car doors and the car itself for privacy. I had just looked around to make sure nobody was nearby and I thought the coast was clear, thinking “The only way anyone could see me would be from above.” The next thing I know I hear a helicopter coming in for landing. I waited for it to land before changing.

We were hoping we could give Sarah’s mom a ride home, but she hadn’t been released yet and we needed to get going. On our way back I decided I ought to get the Long Haul Trucker. It was good timing. They were selling two other Long Haul Truckers when I was picking mine up … awesome. I don’t have any pictures of it  yet. I’ll probably be selling my road bike (a 2006 Giant OCR2) as I don’t think I’ll be needing it anymore. It’s been a great bike, but the LHT is very versatile and handles a lot better than I expected unloaded, making the road bike seem pretty superfluous.

It sure was a whirlwind of a trip. We’re glad to be home, and I can’t wait to get some rides in on the new bike. Unfortunately I won’t be able to get any longer rides in for a while, since we’re going to Green Bay for a wedding this weekend.

5 Responses to “A trip to Fort Wayne”

  1. robert Says:

    Hey Congrats on getting the LHT, those are great bicycles. The all-rounder bicycle is such the way to go IMO. How are you going to build it up?

  2. Apertome Says:

    Thanks Robert, I’m very excited. I got the LHT “complete” which is already built with fairly standard stuff (well, standard for a touring bike). I will of course be making some customizations, but I’m not very knowledgeable about working on bikes, so it’s good to have a fully-functional bike as a starting point.

    Here are the specs on the Long Haul Trucker Complete.

  3. Dan Says:

    An LHT? I’m so jealous! I’ll have to come see it next time I’m down your way (maybe on Thanksgiving again).

  4. Noah Says:

    Man, ALL my buddies are getting LHTs. I’m pretty sure THAT would be an optimal machine for my gnarly intra-urban commutes.

  5. Tim Says:

    I know you’ll love the LHT. What I suggest is to keep the Giant IF the Giant is relatively light. The LHT is a battle-axe, esp. if you keep a rack mounted (duh!, although you could go with a saddle bag). I love my LHT, but it is nice to go light sometimes, b/c the speed is noticeable. Looking forward to pics and build details.

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