Ride Bikes and Drink Coffee

When I originally decided to get out and ride every Saturday morning, I thought that it might take the form of one of our regular road rides with a cafe stop at least some of the time.

Photo by Nate Vergin

Photo by Nate Vergin

But now that we’ve done it a couple of times, I’m of the firm opinion that it will remain a leisurely loop on the Capitol City Trail and through the UW Arboretum–either with a stop to brew our own coffee or to drink what we’ve brought along. Which method we choose is dictated in part by the weather, in part by what we feel like doing that week, though I always lean toward making my coffee fresh (in part so that I can play with my stove and coffee equipment setups).

Gearless Weekend

I just realized, when considering the weekend’s riding and wrenching, that no gears were involved. Just single-speeds. Because that’s the way we (prefer to) roll. Or something.

Saturday coffee outside. The way things have evolved, I don’t normally ride on Saturday morning, or really much during the rest of the day. It’s the day we use to run errands (which I do by bike), do chores around the homestead, and just relax. But it’s always felt odd not to be riding on a weekend day when I could be, in some way or another.

So I came up with the notion of a regular, fairly early, Saturday morning ride (inspired in some oblique way by the La Fleche). We’re still not sure what the final form of this ride will be–a regular road loop with a cafe stop or a bike path circumnavigation with coffee outside–or even whether it will have a final form. What we do know is that it will involve a couple of hours of riding with an early departure (8am for now, 7am when it gets warmer) and coffee.

This week, Nate and I rode the Capitol City Trail (CCT)/Arboretum loop and stopped to brew coffee outside about halfway through. I rode the SS Devil that’s now wearing a Surly front rack (not pictured below), a huge Wald basket, and a Rivendell ShopSack.

Saturday wrenching. The bulk of my wrenching this weekend was focused on getting my wife’s single-speed up and running, after being laid up for the winter. I had the rear wheel trued, added new-to-her VO metal fenders and a Daija rear rack, and modified the lower mounts on her panniers so that they use hooks instead of D-rings. But it would appear that I’m not done, as the bottom bracket or crankset is now making an annoying ticking noise. I’m betting on a loose chainring bolt, but I’ll probably pull the cranks and bottom bracket for a re-greasing anyway.

Sunday gravel. The weather turned colder overnight and we opted for fat-bikes instead of road bikes and the partially paved, partially gravel Badger State Trail (BST) instead of rolling country roads. I’d not yet ridden the Necro-Pug any significant distance since I’d swapped in the single-speed wheel, so I loaded it up and set out with Nate.

We were both feeling a little weary, for various reasons, and kept our pace reasonable. But it turns out that the saddle position and its relationship to the cockpit on the Necro-Pug is all wrong. By the time we were halfway to Belleville, my knees had started to ache, and I couldn’t get far enough behind the bottom bracket to both stretch out my legs further and take the pressure off my hands.

I know better than to put a Brooks B17 on a seatpost with no setback. Really, I do. This reminded me why. And my stiff knees are reminding me today.

By the time we made the turnaround and headed back to town, the snow flurries had started, the wind had picked up, and we were missing our fast, easy-rolling road bikes.

After that, it was time for a shower beer, another beer, and some couch time with the old lady dog.

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Ducks and Drakes

With the day off, my thoughts naturally turned to contemplating a long (all of the daylight and then some) fat-bike ride on one of the local rail trails to take advantage of the frozen gravel and lack of snow. But this morning I was simply too relaxed and couldn’t rouse myself to that sort of effort. And, there’s snow predicted for tomorrow and the few days after that, so the fat-biking will be all the better then.

Instead, I pottered around in the shop for a while and then left the house to run errands. I had the foresight to brew some coffee and take my thermos. After the errands (none of which were successful), I took the long way home, drank some coffee outside, and made a few photos.

In other news, sitting on a concrete retaining wall during the winter is cold. I must remember to bring something to sit on next time.