Tag: Bike

Fuller Bike Adventure 2023 Take 2

| June 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

This is the first time I’ve done two Fuller Rides in one year. As I write, I’m on the train from Boston to New Rochelle, NY to join the ride.

I honestly don’t know what pulls me back to these rides. The cause, the “living simply” experience, the camaraderie of my Fuller friends all play a big role. Honestly, the riding itself, while enjoyable (mostly) plays a smaller part of it.

This ride is different in a number of respects. It’s shorter than others. I usually do two weeks. This is only one week. Three hundred and fifty miles. I will be riding through my home region, New England, though not close to Boston, sadly. One big positive difference is that I don’t have to pack my bike in a box for air travel. I’m joining and departing the ride by Amtrak. Packing the bike is literally my least favorite part of these rides. It’s a huge relieve not to have to disassemble, pack, unpack and reassemble the bike twice, which was the case for almost all the other rides.

Amtrak, the ONLY way to travel with a bike
Continue Reading

St. Ann’s Church in Peoria

| July 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

St. Ann's Church in Peoria

St. Ann’s Church in Peoria

I went to Mass today with the only two Catholics on the ride, Jennfer from Colorado, a biker, and Nate from Cleveland, the videographer. We went to St. Ann’s and I prayed that I can get my bike fixed before my ride starts tomorrow.

Here’s the coolest thing about St. Ann’s.  They have a bowling alley.  This how the website describes the origin of the bowling alley:

The St Boniface Bowling Alley was constructed in the 1940’s. During that time there was a law in place preventing the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays. To get around this law, the men’s club built the bowling alley as part of their “private” club. Because the club was private, it allowed them the ability to serve beer before noon on Sundays.

No comment.


Getting the Bike Together

| July 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

First order of business was to reassemble my bike. Easier said than done. I was told to get “Mike the Mechanic” to do it. He’s the expert.

Unfortunately, my derailleur hanger was bent in transit. Turns out the bike store that packed the bike did a very poor job. Also, the brakes were stuck and there was a mysterious ping when the wheel spun.

Mike tried to straighten the hanger, but wasn’t confident it would shift gears properly. He said we should take it to a bike shop. Fortunately, Sunday is an off day, so there’s plenty of time to deal with this. Unfortunately, we are in the Bible Belt, so all the bike stores in the area are closed on Sunday. Closest open one is 47 miles away. So, that’s how I’ll be spending my Sunday.

Gets Better

| July 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

I did some further bike repair today and it went much better. It proves the old saying that you learn more from failure than from success.

This morning I needed to move the gear shifter and the brake handles from one place on the handlebar to another. In my mind, I probably exaggerated the difficulty given my previous experience. But that caused me to think long and hard about how I was going to do it. Anticipate problems and figure out how to avoid them.

And it worked! Now, the bike is fully equipped for a long ride and I’ll test it out today on a trip to the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, my favorite event of the year.

Gets Worse

| July 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

This morning I got back at it.   I clearly hadn’t installed the handlebar properly which clearly contributed to my spill yesterday evening.  But after much trial and error, it seemed I had everything attached in the right place and the right way.  I made sure the brakes worked without locking up.   This time I put my helmet on and went out for another brief ride.  Now, the gear shifter was acting up.  I tried to shift the front gears and the chain came off.

Strangely, at that moment, a neighbor, a man of maybe 70, walking his dog offered help.  Seemed odd until he explained that he had sold his bicycle manufacturing company three years ago, so he knew a little something about bikes.  Turns out, he was no help with the bike, but had a fascinating story.  Was in the biking business for 40 years, sold his first company in the early 70’s.  Mentioned a bunch of brands that sounded familiar and told me the founders all worked for him.   He invented a number of seats and was surprised that I liked the weird seat I installed.

It was a nice chat and told him not to be surprised if I knocked on his door for some help or advice as I prepared for my trip.  He walked off and I hooked up the chain.  I continued my test run.

Within seconds of our chat, I shifted the back gear, everything seized and I heard a sickening grinding noise.  This time, it was the derailleur.  It was completely twisted and a gear was laying on the street.   An ugly mess.  The rear gears looked completely destroyed.  This was bad.

I brought my twisted mess to a local bike shop, expecting many hundreds of dollars and weeks of labor. But, it’s always darkest before dawn.

To my surprise, it was less than $100 to fix and I had my bike by the end of the day.  AND, he straightened out my handlebars and restrung the brake and gear cables.  Back in business.

Tomorrow, my first “dress rehearsal” into Rock Creek Park with my fully equipped bike.


Over the Top

| July 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

Here's what I hope will take me from Peoria

Here’s what I hope will take me from Peoria

This will be the first of my posts surrounding my charity bike ride from Peoria to Washington, DC in August.  It’s an inauspicious start.  I’ve been installing various upgrades to my bike, most recommended by my future riding partner, Peter Asmuth.  I successfully installed a weird seat that is much more comfortable than typical bike seats.   I also bought a Bluetooth speaker that works with my iPhone, since headphones are strictly prohibited.

Yesterday, I tried to install some fancy new handlebars.  Peter tells me it is important to be able to switch your grip periodically on long rides.  It was  much more difficult than I thought it would be.  I had to keep track of which side the brake handles and gear shifters needed to be.  And making them fit was a bit more of a challenge than expected.  After much fumbling around, I finally got everything attached and took the bike for a very short ride.

Didn’t go well.

Fortunately, I was moving pretty slowly when I came out of the driveway without my helmet. I gently squeezed the brake and the front wheel locked, launching me over the handlebars on to the street.

I blocked my fall with my hands, but I’ve got soreness in a number of places, hands, hips, shins. I put the bike away and came inside to nurse my wounds. Not sure if the problem is my installation or that I hit the brakes too hard. I’ll get back at it this morning.