Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for August, 2008

Roads and trails

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Friday night I did another mixed terrain ride. I took some familiar roads and a familiar trail and combined them for a new and fun route. View the route on bikely. I had fun entering this into Bikely, as it spends quite some time off the roads Google recognizes. I had to draw parts of the route in satellite view.

The Long Haul Trucker continues to impress me. This is the same trail I rode on a few days prior, but I rode a little faster this time and somehow the nearly-slick tires have good traction on the trail surface. The bike handles with confidence. Here are a few photos from my ride. I shot on film and cross processed (they’re shot on slide film, but processed in print chemicals). The image quality isn’t too good, as CVS did the processing and scanning, and they suck. I used my Yashica Lynx 5000 camera (an old rangefinder) to take these.

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Mount Gilead cemetery – some family friends are buried here

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Mount Gilead Rd.

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My bicycle by a cornfield

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Leaning up against a log, with wildflowers

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The Long Haul Trucker near a barn

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Gravel “road” (really more of a driveway) that leads to the trail

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My bicycle laying by the pond

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The Trucker by the trail

Cycling in Indiana

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

I found an interesting article from the New York Times about cycling in Indiana. It’s an old article, originally published back in 1993, but it’s a damn good one. The author describes a lot of familiar places and sights: the towns of Story, Nashville, and Gnaw Bone; Hoosier National Forest; Brown County in general. Hell, I’ve even hit the trails with one of the cyclists they mention riding with in the article.

Here’s my favorite part:

This was what I had come to Indiana for: a winding country road interrupted only occasionally by a car. Clear skies and temperatures in the 70’s cheered me as I glided past small farms and log cabins that are a hallmark of Brown County. Fields of chrome-yellow ragwort, a weed whose beauty belies its name, dotted the countryside; wild daisies bordered the road. A pair of deer looked up, startled, but didn’t bolt, as I appeared from around a curve. A blacksnake, a raccoon and two hawks went about their business.

That’s the kind of scenery I see all the time. I wish I could describe it as eloquently as the author. It’s a good read —  check it out here.

Another mixed media ride on the Long Haul Trucker

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

The Long Haul Trucker continues to impress. Once I got the idea to try it on a trail, I knew I had to go for it. Last night, I cobbled together a route that traversed paved and gravel roads, a bike path, and even some light singletrack — as many different types of terrain as I could find. If I could find some dirt roads to throw into the mix, I’d have all my bases covered, I think.

My ride started in the same area as my previous ride, but instead of taking Knightridge to Gross, I took Lampkins Ridge Road. I had never ridden on this road before, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. A long, flowing, mostly-downhill ride for a few miles. On roads like this I really appreciate the wider tires on the Trucker, as they allow me to lean into the turns more and ride on rough, curvy roads with more confidence.

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Lampkins Ridge Road

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Action shot

Lampkins Ridge spit me out onto Friendship Road, a gravel road I rode for the first time the night before. I tried to capture some photos that didn’t work out too well last time.

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Gravel

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Bridge. A sign said it was made in Lafayette, IN.

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The Trucker on the bridge

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Bike by a field

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Wheel on the metal grate bridge, water below

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Friendship Road, again. Lovely.

I rode down 46 briefly. I wish riding on that road didn’t make me feel such anxiety — it’s very scenic — but traffic moves very quickly and there’s no shoulder. Fortunately, traffic was light.

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Barn on 46

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46

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Concerns in your crawl? Give me a call. CRAWLSPACE DOCTOR.

I turned on Getty’s Creek Road and took it down to Kerr Creek Road. There’s a hiking/biking trail through the woods near the neighborhood where I grew up, and I used to go back there all the time. I knew it dumped out onto some road or driveway that connects to Kerr Creek Road, and wanted to find that trailhead. I use “trailhead” loosely, the trail unceremoniously reaches the road. There are no markings, and if you didn’t know it was there you’d never find it.

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Riding on Getty’s Creek Road

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The Trucker, showing off its lack of decals

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Kerr Creek Road

Hell, I knew the trail was there, and I still had trouble finding it. I rode up a big hill thinking maybe it was at the top of the hill, but it turned out not to be. I made the climb for no real reason. I called Sarah and asked her to look at a map for me, and she gave me some help. I ended up finding the driveway up and rode back up the same hill a different way. This was quite a long and steep climb, but the low gearing on the Trucker made it easy.

It was getting pretty dark by the time I found the trail, but there was enough light to see. The Trucker handled the trail very well, better than I expected. It was rough going over rocks and roots in the trail, but fortunately it’s not a highly-technical trail. I don’t think I’d take this bike on hardcore trails, but on a trail like this it handled phenomenally well. Not once did I lose traction, even with the mostly-slick tires that came with the bike. It was exhilarating riding through the woods on a road-ish bike, it’s definitely more challenging than on a real mountain bike, and at least as much fun. I heard deer shuffling through the woods on either side of me as I rode.

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The Trucker in the woods at night

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Approaching the exit

Once I was out of the woods (literally), there was a lot more light. I’ll have to go back sometime soon when there’s more light to get some photos of the bike on the trail. The trail spit me out less than two miles from home. I’m so lucky to have all these great riding options so close to where I live, and this is the kind of ride that would be impossible on the road bike and miserable on a mountain bike. The Trucker handles everything I throw at it with aplomb, and I haven’t even tried it loaded down, which is where it truly excels. This ride was only 16.5 miles but had almost 1600 feet of climbing and a fair amount of off-road riding.

Out of curiosity I looked at Google Earth after I got home to see what its view of some of the terrain looks like. I was pretty floored at how accurate it was. Here’s a view of the drive up to the “trailhead” I described earlier — I should have drawn the path on there, but I came from the lower-right corner, and the trail started by the yellow pin and headed west from there. As you can see, it was quite a climb.

Kerr Creek Rd (drive off it) up to trail
Google Earth view of the drive off Kerr Creek Rd

Sometime soon I’ll go into Google Earth and lookat its depiction of some more parts of my routes. I wonder if they’re all this accurate.

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