Sam Goes Mountain Biking

I'm hoping to raise at least one biking kid. To that end, Sam and I went "mountain biking" last weekend, to Wellington Park in Dublin. This used to be a pretty easy ride from our old house, but now we had to load the bikes up into our Pilot and drive over. I really need to find/make some more local trails... but for the time being, Wellington offers some wide, easy trails for my beginner mountain biker.

Sam was ready to go:

We came across some deer:
This is an action shot, such as it is:

Sneak peek of my other new ride:

Sam was also happy to find a playground next to the woods:

We biked for just a bit more, then Sam was ready to head home. He said he had a good time, and no one crashed, so I'm going to count this a successful trip.

Lunch Run, Rockhopper Update

Last Sunday, the boys and I biked to lunch before heading to Kate's lacrosse game. I told Henry if he could ride into town (~6 miles), we could eat Moe's, his favorite fast/casual spot.

Henry was on his trusty Trek, all bagged up:

while I was on my Rockhopper, pulling Sam on the trail-a-bike:

I'm quite pleased with my new front Wald basket and bag combo:

We stopped at a playground along the way so the boys could get their fix:

Surf's up:

Then on to lunch:

We stopped at Coffman park to work off some lunch:

and then it was on to watch Kate's team emerge victorious on the lacrosse fields. Again:

It was a hot day, so the boys built a little sun shelter:

After two hours of lacrosse, it was time to head for home. Uphill, and into the wind. The boys (at least Henry) are learning about the costs of biking.

Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross

Regular blog reader(s) may have noticed that I've mentioned the Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross frame several times in the past.  After selling my Jones (!) a month ago, my bike fund was flush enough that I finally paid down for one. In a way, the BMC is very similar to my Cross Check, a bike that I enjoyed over many years, but with a bit lighter weight tubing and what looks like better fitting geometry.

Here we go:

The color looked more classic red online, but it's really more of a brick red, slightly orangish. I like it:

Frame size is a 62cm. Mike (Varley of BMC) made a drawing of my fitting dimensions (from my Technium) onto the 62cm frame to show how I would fit:

Woohoo for long steerer tubes!

The only real issue I had during the build was the paint build up on the frame. About half the small holes needed clearing with a tap, and I had to sand down the thick paint in the dropouts in order to get my wheel in:
I need to get some clear finger nail polish on there... the ot…

Creepy Houses and Turtles

One sad fact about our new neighborhood is that there aren't any public playgrounds. Possibly, this will put a crimp in my blogging theme. That doesn't mean we don't get out anymore: one night after work this week, the boys and I set out to see an old creepy house that my friend Marc had showed me.

We stopped along the way so the boys could show me their impressive strength:

We cut through a new sub to get to this old road:
Henry, apparently not having caught the gravel riding bug, was wishing he'd brought his mountain bike.
We bushwhacked to the creepy house:
Henry wouldn't go any closer to it, but Sam wanted to peak inside:
Sam asked, "Can we go in?" No.
On the way home, we stopped for a Milky Way break:
and then a pleasant cruise home. We did about eight miles, and Henry did just fine on his new(ish) Trek hybrid. It's possible my eldest may turn into a road biker more than a mountain biker. That's fine, too.
The next night, I had to pick up Kat…

Milk Run with Sam

A grocery run on the bike used to be no big deal for us, just two miles each way to Kroger. With our new place, it's more like seven or eight miles, slightly uphill on the return trip. Saturday, Sam and I tried out my new Burley Travoy trailer for our initial big grocery run. Of course, we had to stop at our old haunts like the Avery park playground:

The new trailer works fine. It seems to be a little less of a drag to tow than my old Burley kid trailer. It think the wide profile of the kid trailer makes it act like a giant sail anchor behind me. At least, it sure feels like that. And, with the kids really too big to ride in the trailer, I'll probably be selling it this spring. It's had some good miles!

With the longer ride, it's important to maintain our energy. So, we stopped for ice cream before getting to Kroger:

I had to bring an insulated bag with some ice packs for the ride home, but everything stayed cold for the 40 minutes or so it took us to ride home. The Tr…

Fleet Update (Again)

A recent post on the Rivendell Bike list asked what is the ideal number of bikes. I should have three:

1) a mountain bike for fast single track riding

2) a road bike for sorta fast solo road riding

3) a city bike for camping, family rides, grocery runs, etc

So how did I end up with seven? I feel another downsizing event coming on. But here's the latest, this time in categories:

Mountain Bikes:

1a) Surly Karate Monkey:

I've tried to sell this bike a few times. The Jones is clearly a more premium bike, the Niner is better with B+ wheels... but I like the way the KM rides over either of them. Quick handling, a responsive frame, and dead simple technology is a winning combination for me. It's my favorite bike.

By the way, the left grip is spare orange bar tape. I ran out of grips during this build. No expense spared for my favorites!

1b) Niner SIR9:

This is my experiment with B+ wheels. I've recently updated it with gears and a sus fork to separate it more from the KM. It'…

Henry's Rack

I was working on my fleet in the shop the other night when Henry wandered in and asked about installing some bags on his bike. Do I have the stuff to do that? Well, of course. I'm happy to encourage any small bike interest anyone in my family has, so I shoved aside my latest project and we set to work. With a cheap Performance rack, my only set of panniers, and some homemade extensions, we were ready to roll:

These extra struts aren't going to win any awards for stiffness, but then again, Henry won't exactly be carrying all of our heavy camping gear back there, either.

We had to make up a destination that involved carrying stuff, so the next day we decided to go to the school and throw around some boomerangs and the football. Henry led the way, wanting to show me that he can ride his bike to school by himself next year:

I had to catch up for some action shots:

We made it to GRE and unpacked:

We messed around for a bit, but the field was too soggy, and it was too windy, to …