Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ohio to Erie Day 2

Day two of our trip found us happy to be leaving our hotel room and back on the road. Not surprisingly, our $55 rate didn't include a hot breakfast, so we crossed the street again for breakfast:

We wandered a bit around Xenia until we found our way to the Xenia station:

It's the hub of several rail-trails network that converge here. We switched from the Little Miami trail to the Prairie Grass trail and started to head east.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ohio to Erie Day 1

(this is still a draft, I'll update this series when I get more pictures from Charles's camera)

I mentioned a few posts back that I was planning to ride the Ohio to Erie trail with buddy Charles. This is a 300 mile, mostly paved, trail from the Ohio River in Cincinnati to Lake Erie in Cleveland. This Sunday, we boldly set out, starting off with Jodi shuttling us down to Cincy. There was no time for long goodbyes, as the Bengals were getting ready to beat the Falcons right in the area we hoped to unload. Jodi parked illegally, we threw our gear out into a pile on the sidewalk, and we were on our own.

Our planning for this trip was pretty carefree. We spent an hour with Google maps over lunch about a week prior, sketching out distances and likely stopping points. Mostly for my own amusement, I'll record that our original plan was:

Sunday: Cincy to Caesar Creek SP, 54 miles, campsite
Monday: to Batelle Darby Metro Park, 64 miles, stealth camp
Tuesday: cross Columbus to Mt. Vernon, 63 miles, hotel
Wednesday:  to Apple Creek vicinity, 55 miles, sleep in a ditch somewhere
Thursday: to the Cuyahoga Valley NP, 48 miles, campsite
Friday: roll the last 20 miles to Lake Erie, Charles's wife picks us up to head home

There's the Ohio River in the background:

So that part of the plan went OK at least.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New China Carbon

I started thinking about getting a Chinese carbon bike frame (ie, an unbranded frame direct from the mainland China factory) last fall after riding a demo on a nice (but far too rich for me) Trek Superfly. Regular reader(s) will know that I'm a steel guy at heart, so I moved into carbon with a half hearted, tentative step by picking up a used Sette frame off ebay:

Somewhat to my surprise, I found I really like the Sette. It was smooth like carbon is promised to be, but it didn't feel dead and wooden like an earlier carbon frame I tried. This galls me a bit to say, but it feels like a good steel frame, just much lighter.

Of course, now that I had a carbon bike I liked, I couldn't leave well enough alone. Ideally, the top tube would be a hair shorter, the chainstays a bit shorter, making for a tighter handling package. And if I could get a carbon fork that matched, so much the better. I had a bulge in my bike fund from selling the Krampus that just about matched the cost of the new package, so this summer I took the carbon plunge again and ordered an IP-106 from iPlay in China.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Choice of Paris

Paris, of Homeric fame, was chosen by Zeus to decide which goddess was the most desirable: Aphrodite, Hera, or Athena. Each attempted to bribe Paris with various wonderments, but in the end he choose Aphrodite, who had promised him Helen, the most beautiful women in the Greek world (I would have picked Athena, because who can resist the combination of hot, smart, and tough? It's like Jennifer Garner in "Alias.")

This ultimately proved a poor decision, as it precipitated a 10 year war against Paris's home town of Troy, his dead brother Hector being drug around behind Achilles's chariot, the razing of Troy, and Paris's own death.

I have my own choice of three to make. I hope it turns out better.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Play

The boys are a little under the weather, but I still peeled them away from their iPads to drag them to a playground this morning. This was for their own good as much as it was for me try out my CC in family mode again.

I intended to go farther, but excessive whining from our eldest shortened our trip to the Dublinshire Greenway park. Once there, we all had a good time, even though Sam was nervous in this pose:

Kate's hair makes for some good pictures:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Surly Cross Check and Velo Orange Camargue

I gave a short update on my somewhat new VO Camargue a few posts back. For no good reason, I haven't been particularly warming up to it. So much so, in fact, that I recently changed my trusty CC from "lean and mean" to, er, family... "pudgey and friendly?"

Now I have the two bikes set up very similarly: racks, fenders, gears, flat pedals, fattish tires. I think I lean towards the CC just because I like the way it looks better: the dead horizontal top tube appeals to the traditionalist in me, even as I grunt to throw my leg over it every time I stop while riding around with the kids (which is pretty often). Thinking about the VO, I think the stupid reason I'm not warming up to it is the top tube: it's neither flat nor really sloping, just kind of dropped:

Technically, this addresses my concern about the standover on the CC, but it exists in the nether region between a traditional road bike and a mountain bike. It smacks of compromise.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Last Day of Summer

Tuesday last week was the last day of summer before the kids started school on Wednesday (yes, I'm behind in my blogging) Coincidentally, I had the day off so Jodi could go to a doctor appointment and we could attend the "meet the teacher" events in the afternoon. Nothing to do for it but break the kids away from their iPads to hit the road for some playgrounds: