Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kate's big ride

This past Sunday, I took the twins out to the back yard to practice with their pedal bikes. Our back yard is slightly sloped, so it helps keep them moving, and is grassy, which is useful when they stop moving. Sam quickly grew frustrated and threw in the towel, but Kate, our little star athlete, started pedaling pretty quickly.

Later that evening, she talked me into letting her hit the side walk:


Monday, July 29, 2013

Bike #66 Intro: REI Novara Buzz One

Update: you can see some changes to my Buzz here.

July has been an especially busy bike month for me. Just this month, I've sold three frames (Soma Doublecross, Soma Juice, and the Globe Vienna), and have bought one (the Singular Gryphon). Er, make that two: late last week, someone on the Rivendell Bike email list mentioned that REI was blowing out single speed bikes for "nearly free!". Well, it wasn't quite free, but I've bought wheelsets that cost more. My willpower, never strong to begin with, erodes rapidly when I see that "half off!" signal. Amusingly, when I went to the REI website, I already had this bike in my cart from the last time I looked at it, during REI's 20% off sale. Glad I waited.

The bike is the REI Novara Buzz One, their attempt at a hipster fixie single speed whip (ugh):

I'm about as far from a hipster as can be, but I do enjoy riding a fixed gear, and I saw a lot in this frame that I was looking for:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Emerald Fields, Wedgewood Hills, Wedgewood Glen, and the Zoo

We had a beautiful morning today, so the twins and I first headed out to the zoo. We got there shortly after opening, so we managed to see Asia Quest before the crowds hit:

Up to North America for a train ride, but by 10:30 all the twins could see was a wall of people's backs, so we headed out to hit some playgrounds.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Darree Fields (and some notes on the Soma Oxford bar)

We finally got a break in the rain this afternoon, so after dinner the twins and I headed out to knock off another playground. Our destination for the evening was #16 Darree Fields, tucked away on the far western side of Dublin.

Darree has two playgrounds, so we stopped at the northern one first:

Rainy Saturday (In Which We Go to the Mall and Don't Buy Anything)

It's been raining constantly all day today. With Jodi and Henry off to see a friend in Virginia, I was left to my own devices to keep the twins entertained. We headed out mid morning to Polaris mall. We drove, and it was inside, but at least it has a playground:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dear 650B, It's Not You, It's Me (rerun)

A bit slow on the blogging front (until my new bike arrives next week), so I thought I'd dig something up out of my archives. As I was riding my Stumpjumper FSR:

around Alum Creek today, I thought about how well this bike does... everything. It downhills like a son of a gun, of course, but it scoots right back up the hill, too. Turns with a flick of the wrist. Easy to pick the front end up, or swing the back end around. What are the advantages of 29ers, again? That's a bit painful to say, as I've been mostly riding variations of a rigid 29er single speed for the last many years, but the FSR just makes everything so easy and fun, it's hard to find any faults in it. I guess it doesn't have the clean, lean lines of a steel single speed. That's something right there. Maybe my old knees are starting to tire of single speeding...

Anyway, if I backslide and end up buying that 26er Gunnar Rockhound I wanted 10 years ago, or a Surly Troll to put 650B wheels on, I'll make it easy for my reader(s) out there to call me out as a hypocrite, since just last fall I wrote this on mtbr.com:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Martin Commons Park

Sunday afternoon, we had some time to kill between lunch (BJ's Brewhouse at Tuttle Mall) and an afternoon matinee ("Epic" at the second run theater), so we stopped by #35 Martin Commons Park on the way to the movie. This is another on my list of parks that I was planning to drive to anyway, since it's not really hooked up to Dublin's 100 miles of multi use trails.

I'm glad I didn't make a special effort to bike here; there really wasn't much to see. This net stretched between two "rocks" was the extent of the playground:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dublin Veterans Park and Indian Run Falls Park

Saturday, we had some books to return to the library, which gave me an excuse to officially hit a few park that were nearby. Our first stop was the #19 Dublin Veterans Park:

After a quick stop there--little kids aren't big on reflecting on honor or sacrifice--we walked up to the nearby #27 Indian Run Falls Park. I tried to get a picture of all three kids at the trailhead, and this was as good as it got:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rawland Nordavinden to Thaddeus Kosciuszko Park

It's been slow on the blogging front lately--too much work has been interfering with my life! But, we have to keep the lights on and the 529 plans growing, so such is life.

Earlier, I broke from my blog theme and drove the kids to a playground. Today, I broke from my theme in a different way: I biked to a park without the kids. In this case, it was #48 Thaddeus Kosciuszko Park, which is a relatively new park for Dublin. It's--boring!--playgroundless, so I knew the kids wouldn't be that excited by it. And, it gave me an excuse to ride my Rawland, which I can't do when pulling a trailer.

I got up to Shawnee Hills before the rain hit:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Singular Gryphon meets 2x4

With my new (to me) Singular Gryphon having a bent triangle, I summoned up my courage, had a beer, and decided to get all Sheldon Brown on it. I had just sold my Soma Double Cross frame this evening, so I was feeling pretty good about things. Or maybe that was the beer. Anyway, I got down to business:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Myrtle Beach

We spent the past week taking a vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We broke the 11 hour/700 mile drive into two days, stopping in Virginia (motto: "rain and traffic") on the way down and West Virginia (motto: "curves and tolls") on the way back. We stayed at a little mom and pop hotel (if your pop is named "Hampton"), which had a pretty nice view from the balcony:

Mom and pop had nine different swimming pools:

The kids by far preferred the lazy rivers the best. Henry would have stayed in here all day if we'd let him:

All three kids have really expanded their swimming abilities since taking just two weeks of lessons this summer at the Dublin rec. Henry went from being afraid to get his head wet to jumping right in, Kate's learning to dog paddle, and Sam had a breakthrough and was finally willing to let go of me (or Jodi) and paddle around on his own with his noodle:

Kate loved the lazy river and the kiddie splash area:

Of course, we also spent each morning and late afternoon at the beach:

The first morning, we walked to a distant pier (about 1.5 miles down the beach, farther than we had thought). You can see our little hotel way in the background:

It's the one that looks godawful far away. We had to bribe the kids with ice cream to get them moving for the return trip:

We had to cut out to Ocean Blvd to route around a canal, so we stopped for a picture:

This is probably the longest any of us have walked, barefoot.

Kate and Henry showed off their victory dance upon returning to the hotel:

We had lunch one day at "Broadway at the Beach", which is kind of like a collection of theme restaurants (eg, "Hard Rock Cafe") around a fake lake. We had a mediocre lunch on the deck at Key West Grille, where we were serenaded by power boat rides and helicopter tours:

We did find a playground here, so there's my blog touch point:

Jodi managed to look cool in the little shade she could find:

Some of the playground scenery was a little different than our usual playgrounds:

But I managed to take this all in stride.

For our last night at MB, we attended a Pirate dinner show. I'm saving $36 by showing this picture we took outside, since we didn't buy the green screen picture they took of us inside:

And that was it. We headed home Thursday, stopping every so often so the kids could stretch their legs:

It's nice to travel, but sure is nice to be home where we don't have to share a bed with kicking kids!

Frantz Park (Field of Corn), Llewellyn Farms, Llewellyn Farms South, Smiley Park

We had a lot of parks planned for today. Henry was at my parents' place, but I invited my buddy Brian to come along with his two boys. Brian and I used to spend our weekends taking all day motorcycle or mountain bike rides down to Hocking Hills, now we pull our kids around town to playgrounds. Funny how things change. Brian was riding his vintage Cannondale from those halycon days:

Our first stop was #40 Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park, better known as Field of Corn or Cornhenge. Pre-kids, I used to mock this public artwork, but now it's really a place our kids enjoy running around in.

Gideon seemed to like it as well:

The corn is bordered by a hedgerow of Osage orange trees that provide some shade:

Sam found an Osage orange:

They're supposed to act as natural bug repellants, so Brian cut one apart to see what's inside:

It didn't smell THAT bad, but it wasn't something you would use to freshen up a room:

I put some new Soma Oxford bars on my Surly Cross Check while it takes over trailer pulling duties:

I'm really enjoying them so far. Compared to the On One Mary or Surly Open Bar that I had been using, the key advantage of the Oxford is that is uses a bar end shifter. This allows use of pretty much the entire bar as a hand resting spot, giving the rider lots of options. They run quite a bit narrower than either of the aforementioned bars, but this is OK for me after I got used to it.

After the field of corn, we hit the road for #33 Llewellyn Farms Park. The thing I liked best about this playground was that it was shady, a nice feature on a hot morning!

Sam showed off his balance skills:

Kate, Gids and Walter all hit the swings:

Then Walter showed off his acrobatic prowess:

After this, we rode around for a while trying to find #34 Llewellyn Farms South Park. Later, I determined it was just a big patch of grass that we rode past. Sorry, but this gets the award for the worst park we've seen to date.

Disappointed, we promised the kids a playground at the next park, #46 Smiley Park. We found these odd pillars on the way there:

No one wanted to walk between them--maybe they would get zapped off to another dimension or something.

Safely past the Pillars Of Doom, we found Smiley Park, but we weren't smiling:

Just a few picnic tables and some grass that needs mowing. Disappointed again, we took the kids through #13 Coffman Park so they could get another playground in. After that, we were ready for some A/C and a big lunch at Cici's pizza!

Four down, 20 to go.

Clem Again

Regular reader(s) may recall that I journeyed up to Ann Arbor to buy a Rivendell Clem Smith Jr last summer. That particular bike ride didn&#...