Sunday, January 15, 2017

First Road Bike of the Year

Iowa's Capital Building

The ice subsided from Tuesday's mess and the temperature was almost above freezing.  I got an invite to a friend's house whose bike route involved hills.  Hills, yuck.  The Single Speed was ruled out and I did not need the Ice Bike.  31F, I could get away with wearing my SPD sandals and take a fast bike. The Carbon Rod, 1994 Trek 2200, Campy groupo was selected.

Eric Crabb is the lost son of the Des Moines bicycling scene.  Got himself a GF and reason to stay home.  He used to be quite a strong commuter and 520 driver but he basically said F it and stopped riding for a few years.  Itry as I might, I cannot get him out on his bike.  But I(can visit him on mine.

Two fat bastards

He's an eastsider now.  I had to take the MLK Trail to 30th, a left on E 30th to Scott Ave and then a mile to the Gay Lea Wilson Trailhead and off to and through Copper Creek with a final turn on Williams and cross University Ave (US 163) at the light.  He lives just down the hill.  In the past I have gotten off the GLW at Sleepy Hollow and climbed that steep hill on Dean Ave.  Not fun and only a 2 CM shoulder with a wall of trees to impale bikers that get forced off the trail.  I contemplated videoing the descent on the way home but decided that a 40 mph dive bomb after the inevitable beers would not be a wise thing to do.  No Dean Hill up or down.  Eric's description that the hill on Williams would be one fifth of dean was correct.  The extra mile or 2 or 3 was worth it both ways.

Although I put over 2000 miles on the Carbon Rod I had not ridden it since November.  I've been riding on tires of the 32, 35 and 37 size, not the 23s.  I could feel the harshness at first especially since I pumped the Connies to 100 psi.  The brakes were the next thing I felt or did not feel.  The Single Speed has a front disc brake which is powerful.  The drum brakes on the Soho still feel brand new after 3 years and over 5000 miles.  The Ice Bike has brand new brakes.  the Carbon Rod needs new brake pads.  Effort to stop it is required.  No Flintstoning but a need to make a purchase and get it done before Spring has it on commuter duty.

Getting to the MLK Trail/sidepath revealed the bullshit cyclists encounter.  Every chunk of gravel, grain of sand and refuse was swept into the bike lane along SE 6th.  I was happy to get to the sidepath on MLK.  However, at John's Tree Service some vehicle crashed the nice fence and the path was littered with broken car glass.  I should go back with a broom.    On a positive note, two women on road bikes were on the trail heading to downtown.

The GLW was virtually ice free.  I only took it to Copper Creek so I cannot guarantee that for the rest of it.  But compared to the Clive Greenbelt, Walnut Creek Trail and Bill Riley Trail it was perfect. But, alas, that all is about to end in a few hours as the ice storm 2017 overtakes Iowa.  But for Saturday I was happy.

After crossing University at the light and with the light I encountered a few kids with a basketball  one of whom said he liked my "Lamborghini bike."  Damn, this screw and glue carbon frame was already outdated before they assebled in in Wisconsin.  What would they call a 2017 carbon roadie? A F-35 (price comparison)?  They have no clue about the price of bikes.  I'll let them discover that horror when they get jobs.

Sober driving!

Crabby was waiting for me when i pulled up.  "Are you sober?" he asked.

"Yes, please remedy that immediately," I replied.

"Got to go to Hy Vee and pick up beer.  You drive."  Eric has a license, guess he was not sober.  Just wise.

So for the first time in ages I drove a climate changer.  Nice ford SUV/crossover or something.  I enjoyed it and we took the back roads back after securing a case of Coors and a bottle of  Fireball.

Got back to his place in time for the Falcons/SeaHawk game which we tried to watch while enjoying a few libations.  When it got dark I decided it was time to leave.  I was prepared with lights.  A warmer pair of gloves would have helped.  Had to pull my fingers into the main part of the gloves until my body temperature increased enough to keep the fingers warm while wearing the gloves properly.  Yes, my fingers hurt for the first couple of miles.

Along the MLK Trail/sidepath

The ride home was nice.  Downtown Des Moines looks glorious at night and it is a rare treat for me to be able feast my eyes on the city from this side of town.  Some day I need to return at night with a proper camera.

16 and a half miles.  Felt great to clip in and visit an old friend.  I hope he starts riding again this year.  Far to long with him gracing our trails.
Another view from the MLK Trail/sidepath

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