Sunday, October 30, 2016

SMNDFBR - Valley of Paradise


Fall has been treating us really well lately and I am hoping that the trend continues for as long as possible. Huge group for the Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike ride yesterday, I am guessing that the fantastic weather is playing a big part in the ride numbers but whatever the reason is, it's great to see all those smiling faces on Saturday morning.





Every year it amazes at how quickly we go from green leaves on the trees to no leaves at all, right now is the best time of the year for color with all the orange, yellow and red leaves still on the trees but it won't be too long before they are all gone and nothing is left but drab browns and grays until spring rolls around.





The route planned was roughly 60 miles of mostly gravel roads out to Valparasio for a lunch stop and then back to Cycle Works. Whenever the skinny tires outnumber the fat tires, you can be assured it's going to be a bit quicker pace than when the opposite is true. Yesterday we had a 6 fat to 10 skinny ratio so I had a feeling we'd be scorching some gravel and looking back at the data I was right, our average mph for the course was just a tad over 13 mph. Maybe not the fastest average if you're riding on a cross or gravel bike but plenty speedy on larger rubber.





Luckily the gravel was dry and fast, if not just a bit more wash boarded than normal, which made it a little easier to keep up with the skinny tire folks.






Temps eventually got into the low 70 degree range and for the most part the wind stayed in the single digits, all of which helped to keep smiles on everyone's faces on the way out to Valparasio.


Even this super friendly dog tried to get into the smiling when I stopped to pet him, it kind of looks like he's snarling but I'm not sure this sweetheart of a dog would know how to do that. For all the dogs that might chase you on the roads, it's dogs like this that makes it all worth it.







I swear I didn't try to find every hill out there but as you get closer to Valpo, it becomes nearly impossible to find a gravel or dirt road that doesn't have some climbing to it.


The best part about the uphills is that there is always a downhill to go with them, it's like the reward for the effort.



Fall also means harvest season, I think we are about on the tail end of the harvest but you still need to be extra vigilante at this time of year as some of the vehicles sharing the road with you are substantially bigger than those you usually see on the gravel. It's always a little awe inspiring to see how fast something that large can go on the road.



A few more miles and we had arrived at Val Tavern in Valparasio, been through Valpo numerous times but I've never stopped in to the tavern so this would be a first. Fat bikes always seem to mystify and amaze those who have never seen them before and the two older gentlemen in the left of the second photo were no exception. They were both trying to figure out where the motor was on the thing because as they put it "You'd have to be Charles Atlas to be able to pedal that thing". While it does take a little more effort to pedal than a cross or gravel bike, they really don't require a herculean effort but you could definitely tell that these two guys had been around the sun a few times with their reference to Charles Atlas, guy had lived and died before I was even born.




Even Charles Atlas has to eat, so eventually we found out way into the tavern. Food was decent, typical small town bar offerings, and came up pretty quickly considering that 13 of us walked in at the same time and there was just the one lady waiting on tables.


The smoking area could have really benefited from an ash tray that was not the road, help keep Nebraska beautiful and all that.






A quick stop at the gas station, a short jaunt on the Oak Creek Trail, a short trip past the mare and her filly and we were back at it on another MMR.






This particular MMR goes around the west side of Wildwood Lake and it was dry, smooth and fast yesterday but there were signs everywhere that once it gets a little moisture it would turn ugly quick like.



A right at the metropolis of Agnew and a few more zigs and zags and we were back on NW 27th and heading back towards Lincoln. Not much for pictures as we were just retracing our steps from earlier at that point, plus with the growing tailwind is was heads down and legs pumping for a quick spin back.

Another great group on yet another fantastic fall day, no group ride next week due to the Giant/Liv demo out at Wilderness Park but come on out and join us for that. Riding other peoples bikes is always a good time but when they are brand new with all the latest technology, it's even better.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

SMNDFBR - Whippy Toppy


Yesterday was Saturday, which of course meant that it was time once again for the Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride but in addition to the SMNDFBR there was also a Sub 24 hour bike packing trip planned for later on in the day. Damon had his Trek 920 loaded down and ready for some fun, these rides look like a lot of fun... one should be in my future.




It was a great fall morning for the ride and we had another fantastic group come out to join in as well, 10 of us snaking our way through the downtown area. Thankfully the Husker game was still 5 hours off so the crowds, while still there, hadn't amassed yet to the point where travel was impossible.


Picked up another two riders at the Van Dorn trail head and the 12 of us trucked on down the Jamaican toward the single track.



Despite a little bit of dew on the grass the trail itself benefited from the tree cover and was in great shape.


The troll bridge stop made a return to the ride, as the temps start to drop and the snow starts to accumulate this will become a more common haunt for us.




Out on the west side and back on the east side, the east was in a bit better shape than the west as is usually the case. Both sides are leaf covered but that is hardly a worry for those 4" tires, not only do they excel in the snow but they grip like crazy even on the usually perilous footing caused by a layer of leaves on the trail.


Like zombies to brains, we were drawn to the magical properties of the coffee bean and found ourselves lined up at Scooters.


A group of fat bikes at a local coffee shop draws more than a few looks... even by crazed Husker fans who themselves have been known to be a bit overboard with their undying passion toward their team.


The two ladies working at Scooters were beyond awesome, the blended Carmelicious was a popular choice yesterday as the temps were near 70 by the end of the ride... of course the drink would not be complete without the whippy toppy, which the ladies inside even started referring to it as by the time we were done getting drinks.


Probably not too many of these days left this years so we lingered a little longer soaking up the sun than was probably necessary but it just felt so good.




By the time we had our fill of sun and bean it was well past noon and there was no way we were going to brave the legion of Husker fans downtown so we opted for the less packed Rock Island trail to get us back to the shop.



We managed to get back just as the bike packing crew was rolling out heading to Stagecoach Lake, they had an awesome looking group, with a smile on every face. Join us next week for another Saturday Morning Fat Bike ride, hopefully the weather is as nice then as it was yesterday.


Movie Night is also rolling on in November, join us on the 16th for the cult classic 90s film Office Space. If you've never seen it, you really owe it to yourself to see this one as it's got a following similar to, if not greater than, films like the Big Lebowski and it was responsible for the red Swingline stapler being put into production. The one in the movie was a custom painted one but the demand for the little red beauty became so great that Swingline later began producing the model in it's lineup.