Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for August, 2008

More mixed terrain

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

On Sunday, I did another mixed-terrain ride on the Long Haul Trucker. The same route I rode on this ride. It was a hot morning and I was sweating profusely but had a great ride. Lampkins Ridge Road kind of reminds me of how Shilo Road used to be, although not as rough. But it’s a long, mostly-downhill run down a ridgetop with lots of twists and turns. Simply a blast to ride. And as I came around a corner I saw a stunning view of some huge nearby hills and slammed on the brakes to get a photo. I had a few shifting problems from where I messed up my shifter so I just threw it in friction mode and it worked great — better sometimes than indexed mode. I can shift almost completely silently sometimes in friction mode, and it’s so smooth. This ride took me on paved and gravel roads, trails, and a bike path.

DSCF7071
Rays of light

DSCF7078
Stunning view

DSCF7081
A better shot of the bridge on Friendship Road

DSCF7083
Wildflowers and roads

DSCF7093
A house for sale. I love that the rustic sign has a gmail address on it.

DSCF7096
Sheer rock face on Kerr Creek Road

DSCF7097
Steeper than it looks. A really tough climb.

DSCF7102
Gravel drive

DSCF7111
The Trucker has no problem with the roots

DSCF7114
Overlooking a ravine

DSCF7117
This pond had tons of frogs and toads, and you can sort of see a turtle in the middle, toward the bottom of the photo.

I am not good with a wrench

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I made some changes to the Long Haul Trucker, or at least I attempted to do so. I ordered some different handlebars (Nitto Noodles) and some fenders from Velo Orange. I ordered the VO Fluted Fenders, more because they’re the right width than because I wanted the fluted style, but they do look great.

In the process of attempting to install them, I broke a piece that is supposed to hold on the rear fender. These things are incredibly difficult to install. I’ve spent several hours on them already and was almost done when I broke that piece; now, I have to wait for a replacement. Chris, the proprietor, has been helpful with my e-mail questions though and is sending me a replacement bolt at no charge, I think.

I had less trouble installing the handlebars, although I did somehow screw up my shifting in the process (which I hope I’ve solved now, we’ll see) and did a pretty poor job installing new handlebar tape on the right side. I’ll probably undo it completely and try again. I also plan on some twine and shellac but given how badly I did the wrapping, I’m glad I didn’t do that yet. I also moved my computer from the road bike to the Trucker. Once the replacement fender bolt comes, I can install the rear fender and then the rear rack and this bike will be a lot closer to the kind of setup I’m shooting for.

I didn’t get a lot of riding in over the weekend. I was hoping to do a nice long ride but it was just too hot, so I did shorter rides both days. My shifting was messed up so I switched to friction mode. It’s great to have that option.

Shilo Ride on Saturday

I had heard they finished repaving Shilo Road, so I figured I ought to check it out. I actually liked how rough Shilo was; it made it fun and challenging to ride. I hoped they hadn’t ruined it.

It was so hot and humid that there was a pervasive haze everywhere I went. This added interest to the scenery and the sky, but mostly I just boiled.

DSCF6986
New fender

I saw a lot of wildflowers, but things are looking rather parched. We had flooding this spring, but it really hasn’t rained much since. There are lots of golden and brown plants. It’s both pretty to look at and a bit sad.

DSCF6999
The sky

DSCF7003
Wildflowers and brown corn

DSCF7006
Great fence

DSCF7009
This section used to be riddled with potholes

DSCF7015
My bicycle

DSCF7020
I can’t believe how smooth the road is now

As I rode my fears were confirmed: Shilo is nowhere near as fun to ride on as it used to be. It’s a smooth, easy ride now, but the challenge is gone. I still enjoy it, but I liked it better when I had to dodge potholes.

DSCF7026
The Trucker by Shiloh Cemetery

DSCF7030
Another view

DSCF7037
Some spots of light penetrate the canopy

DSCF7043
The flats on the Nitto Noodle bars sweep back a bit, for comfortable upright riding. It looks funny but feels great.

DSCF7045
Hills in the distance

DSCF7052
Pond

DSCF7058
Haze

I really like the Nitto Noodle handlebars so far. They are wider than the ones that came with the bike, and sweep back toward you slightly. I find it a lot more comfortable to sit upright with my hands on the top of the bars, with these. The ramps are nearly flat which makes riding there or on the hoods more comfortable, as well. I also love the look of the Cinelli Corky tape. I think it’ll look even better with a couple of layers of amber shellac, and some twine.

The fender seems good, but the front end tends to vibrate a lot. I wonder if there’s something I can do about that. It doesn’t rattle, it just shakes back and forth. Hopefully, I can find something to stabilize it.

It feels good to make the Trucker feel more like my own. It was great straight off the sales floor, but as I customize it, I can see that I can turn this into something even better. It’s such a versatile bike that you could do just about anything with it, and unlike my road bike, I can see having this bike for years to come.

Williams Covered Bridge

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

On Sunday I decided it was time to do a nice long road shakedown ride on the Long Haul Trucker. I had tried riding it on a variety of terrain, but hadn’t done any long rides yet. Perhaps not ideal timing as I’m still getting the fit dialed in, but I decided not to worry about that and just ride. I chose to ride down to the Williams Covered Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Indiana. It’s located in, surprisingly enough, Williams, IN, which is west and a bit south of Bedford. I had a Bloomington Bicycle Club map of the route, which said it’s about 70 miles. I took both my digital camera and my old Yashica Lynx 5000 rangefinder camera, loaded with slide film for cross processing.

I started out riding through town, which was by far my least favorite part of the route, but it wasn’t bad. I started riding through some residential areas, soon passed a more industrial zone, and headed away from town on Old 37. It wasn’t long before things took on a much more rural feel.

DSCF6890
Lee Roofing Co.

I had never ridden on this section of Old 37 before; normally, I ride on Old 37 north of town. Now I was headed south and it was fairly similar. Not quite as scenic, though, and it had quite a few easy hills and a few tougher ones. Mostly, it was easy, pleasant riding, but nothing too exciting.

DSCF6895
Old 37

I spent over 10 miles on this road and while it was nice enough, frankly it was a little dull. I was getting a little antsy to reach some more remote roads. Even though Old 37 didn’t have much traffic, it didn’t have a lot of character, either.

09530016
Stopping by a farm

DSCF6897 DSCF6901
Passing the Starlite drive-in movie theater; entering Judah

DSCF6902
Getting passed by a dune buggy

After riding on Old 37 for so long, I was glad when I finally got on Judah-Logan Road. I have ridden on this road before, but in the opposite direction. I remembered climbing a big hill, and some panoramic views (see most of the way down on the linked post). I was looking forward to seeing those views again, but I turned off this road before I got that far.

DSCF6907
Judah-Logan Road

09530024
I was feeling rather “Sunkist” myself — it was a sunny day, so far with limited shade.


DSCF6912 DSCF6915
“Caution: Horse Drawn Vehicles” / Tiny Shell station

I saw a few cool sights along Judah-Logan, but soon arrived at the turnoff to McFadden Ridge. I had never ridden on this road before, but it looked like it was going to be fun. I was on high ground with great views of the surrounding land. I stopped to rest and take a few photos.

09530027
Log cabin at Judah-Logan and McFadden Ridge

09530033
View from the intersection

09530034
Down, down, down

I took off down McFadden Ridge Road and immediately appreciated the Long Haul Trucker’s stability. It just feels incredibly solid at speed. I hit a couple of potholes and while it was jarring, the bike didn’t flex noticeably where my road bike would have. The wider tires let me lean into the turns more than I’d previously dare, especially on rough surfaces. Descending on this bike is a real joy.

I stopped again to catch some shade for a few minutes. I stopped a lot more frequently during this ride than I normally do, in part because of the heat and in part because in order to shoot with my film camera, I had to stop.

09510034
Barns

09510033
My bicycle resting under a tree

I had a nice rest, but I wasn’t done descending yet. I turned onto Peerless Road and enjoyed more downhill riding, this road curvier than the last. It was a blast, and it felt so good to let the bike carry me for a while longer.

Once down the hill, the road straightened out and threw several good hills at me. It was tiring, but I knew I’d have to pay for those miles of incredible downhill riding, and it was well worth it.

I passed a couple of limestone quarries and soon reached Bedford, a town of about 13,000 people known as the “limestone capital of the world.” I took a wrong turn, but realized it fairly quickly. I stopped at a gas station to rest and get some food and drink.

DSCF6919
Riding through Bedford on N Street

I spent a little time on a 4-lane road in Bedford, but there wasn’t too much traffic, and nobody gave me any trouble. I had to cross State Road 37 for probably the 3rd time so far on this ride, and then got on State Road 450/Williams Road.

DSCF6926
State Road 450

The road was wide and had some cars for a little while but it soon narrowed, and traffic died down. This became a really fun road to ride on. There was a big climb, followed by a big descent, but then the road began undulating, horizontally and vertically. There were lots of curves and shorter climbs and descents, with some nice views of the land from the hilltops.

DSCF6929
Williams Road undulates into the distance

I reached Williams and didn’t take many photos on my way through town. I wish I had. There wasn’t much there, but it would’ve been nice to have more photos. Williams is the kind of town where if you blink, you miss it — even on a bike. I continued past Williams on 450 to go toward the covered bridge.

DSCF6938
Boarded up building in Williams

DSCF6940
Riding on Williams Rd

09510027
Cross-processed Williams Road

DSCF6942
Williams Garage

As I crested the top of a hill, I could see the bridge in the distance. It was great to finally be approaching the main attraction of the ride.

DSCF6944
The covered bridge is visible in the distance

I got off my bike and checked out the bridge. Painting on the road advised me to walk my bike, but I didn’t. I’m not sure why someone recommended that, and even go as far as to paint warnings on the road, as I had no trouble riding my bicycle through the bridge.

09510025
Reaching the bridge

09510024
Inside the bridge

Once on the other side, I rested for a few minutes, had a snack and watched for a while. Quite a few vehicles went by, mostly motorcycles. No one stopped to admire the bridge, which was too bad because you really couldn’t see much from the road, or from inside the bridge. It creaked from time to time as the wind blew; a few boards rattled intermittently, but the bridge showed no sign of weakness.

I found a gravel road going off to the side, and was tempted to ride on it and explore, but I knew I’d still be putting in a lot more mileage without a random side trip. I walked down a bit though and found a path down to the river. I carefully made my way down the loose, rocky path to see if I could get a better glimpse of the bridge.

DSCF6949
My bicycle resting near the bridge

As I said, this is supposedly the longest covered bridge in Indiana that’s still open. According to this page (which also has some cool photos), the bridge was built in 1884, and spans 376 feet across a fork of the White River. It’s a very cool bridge, and I was surprised to only see one support right in the middle of it. Given that it’s been there for over 120 years, I’d say it’s strong enough.

DSCF6951
Williams Covered Bridge

09510016
Williams Covered Bridge, cross-processed

09510018
Gravel road near the bridge

09510015
The White River

I normally don’t take long breaks like this on my rides, but I really enjoyed taking some time to further explore the area. It’s funny because one thing I like about cycling is that it gives you a much better chance to see the land than a car. However, sometimes I still feel the need to stop and smell the roses. Sometimes even a bicycle isn’t slow enough.

I headed back the way I came, back toward Williams. I had seen a convenience store/cafe on my way here that said they had pizza. That sounded sort of appetizing, but when I got there I felt a little skeptical of the pizza and just got some chips and water. Then I spotted some Coke in 8-ounce glass bottles and had to get one. Coke always tastes better out of glass bottles, and the small size was perfect, since I didn’t want to stay long and didn’t want to take it with me.

The cafe was air conditioned and had seating inside, but I sat outside on the patio so I could better enjoy the view. Sitting in the shade on this rather hot day with a cool breeze and a cold Coke was exactly what I needed at that moment. It was refreshing and I felt energized when I got back on the bike.

DSCF6955
Refreshment

DSCF6956
View from the patio

DSCF6960
A goose in a recreation area in Williams

After taking 450 back a little further, I had two miles of climbing toward Fayetteville. Then another 6 miles or so to Springville, also mostly uphill. Climbing on the Long Haul Trucker is a mixed bag. It’s heavy, which makes climbing harder, and generally I find out of the saddle uphill sprints don’t work out too well. But with its super low gears, I can just downshift and pedal, pedal, pedal until I reach the top of a hill. Ultimately, it’s an exercise in patience, but being able to really take my time and not push too hard, even when climbing, is very helpful, especially when it’s hot and I’m getting tired.

DSCF6967
The Olde Farm: Life Tabernacle Recreation Grounds

I took another break in Springville, after which I got to ride downhill a little bit, but then faced probably the biggest climb of the whole ride. Then, something strange happened: I had about 5 miles of flat riding, I believe this was on Harrodsburg Road. So far the hills had been relentless in this second leg of the ride, so I cherished this opportunity for a few miles of flat, easy riding.

The easy riding let me enjoy the scenery in this very beautiful area, and get a closer look at some of the wildflowers. None of my photos do them justice, but suffice it to say, the road was flanked on both sides with wildflowers during many parts of this ride.

DSCF6972
Farmland

09510008
The Long Haul Trucker

09510007
Wildflowers

09510006
The road

09510005
Solitary tree

09510003
More road

09510001
My shadow

DSCF6977
A great view

Soon, I was on Rockport Road and then Victor Pike, both somewhat familiar to me. I enjoyed a long, fast descent down Victor Pike. I had only ridden this hill in the opposite direction before, and it’s a hell of a climb. It was a pleasure to ride down it for a change. A few more miles and a few more hills and I was back to town.

DSCF6978
Victor Pike

DSCF6983
The last major climb

This ride took me a lot longer than I expected. I was thinking 6 hours, it took more like 7 1/2. My average moving speed was very slow, I’m sure, but I don’t know exactly since I haven’t put a computer on the Trucker yet. It was a great ride with lots of beautiful scenery, and it gave me a good chance to try my new bicycle on a longer ride. I still have some fit issues to deal with but overall it’s working out great. In total, I rode over 75 miles with about 3300 feet of climbing (it sure felt like more than that). This is about equivalent, climbing-wise, to each day of the Hilly Hundred, just with an extra 25 miles of riding thrown in, and without the SAG stops (which I could’ve used).

Ear to the Breeze is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).