Monday, April 15, 2019

Fat Bike on a Mini Cooper Countryman

The other day I picked up a barely used OEM Mini branded bike rack to match the other one and to carry my mountain bike. It's actually a Thule rack. I got the Thule Fat Bike adapters but found that there were some slight variances between the molding on the rack vs the adapters, but I was able to get them fit. The one thing that gave me a problem was the fact that my Cannondale Cujo has such a high bottom bracket that I had to play around with the tire holders to get the bike to be held snugly.  Finally, I got it set right and test drove it on the highway at 70 mph and it held fine! 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Lunch Ride

I was planning on a dirt century this weekend in preparation for the The Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo but then Gavin wanted to know if I wanted to do a road century with him instead. I said sure but it would have to be Sunday. He got the all clear from his better half and then I suggested that we ride to Great Barrington via Route 7 and get some lunch at the Barrington Brewery.

Kent Falls

The route I planned left from the Bicycle Center in Brookfield and skirted Rt 7 where it could and where it could not then we were on Route 7. I have always wanted to ride it up this way so this was a perfect opportunity.

Starting out was cool but by the time we got to New Milford the jackets came off. We brought jackets because there was a threat of rain in the afternoon but despite a little drizzle in the afternoon the jackets never came back on. Between Cornwall and Kent I recognized Terry Burke's car and waved to him but I don't think he recognized me. Terry rides all over the Northwest Corner of Connecticut. Later on, Gavin stopped for something to eat and Terry drove up to us and stopped to have a little chat. How ironic it was to pass him further south and then run into him again in Canaan.


We crossed into Massachusetts on Route 7A but had to head back to Rt 7 again because the bridge over the Housatonic River was finally being rebuilt and couldn't ride across it like we did on the Big Elm Ride last year.

We stopped at the Barrington Brewery for lunch and we both had the Black and Tan, but all it was black. Still, it tasted great.

I had the Chick Cordon Bleu for lunch but that was a mistake because it sat in my stomach the whole way back to Brookfield slowly digesting. I should have just had a big bowl of the Chili.

On the ride up to Great Barrington we had a head wind. On the ride back, the wind changed direction and we had a head wind, again! The ride back was slower probably due to the headwind and other factors, e.g. exhaustion.  There was one little scary moment on Rt 7 between Covered Bridge and Housatonic Meadows when an 18 wheeler wanted to pass on a curve and there was no shoulder.  He left us about 3 feet of room as the law dictates but he drove past us slowly which made the encounter a little unnerving to say the least.

This could have become my biggest ride to date if we had tacked a little something on. However, it was the longest ride for Voodoo Bondeye.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Haute Dog Hotel Route to OOF ... sort of

Gavin wanted to do a big ride Saturday morning with the early warm temperatures we were experiencing but with my wife out of town there were fatherly duties to attend midday Saturday. We decided to part company at Ovens of France.  For some reason, I can never get the transition down when crossing Route 6 and we always wind up back on Route 6.

Nothing beats OOF on a Saturday morning, though, or any morning for that matter. The danish, as usual was out of this world. I have switched from strictly the Ham and Cheese Croissant to favoring the Chocolate Almond Croissant.  Add a cup of hot, French Roast coffee, some great comrades and it's a great breakfast.

Gavin and Mike were headed on a route that I came up the day before that I call the Devil's Poggio. From OOF you head back on Rt 6 to Rt 47 and then turn off on Rt 132 towards Bethlehem and the big climb, known to the local riding community as the Southwestern CT version of the Poggio. From there, cut through the southern section of Bethlehem and over to Magnolia Hill Road passed the Devil's Valley Farm where we saw a rough looking, chainsaw wielding woman last year.  Then bomb down Hard Hill, ride out past Quassy and then back to OOF and the yuuge route to Cover Two. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

RAW: The Haute Librarian Route

I met Steven, Mike and Gavin at the Easton Library for a RAW (ride after work) and as I was getting ready realized that I brought the wrong gloves. My hands were freezing the whole time but still managed to have a great ride.

Relive 'RAW: Haute Librarian Route'

Afterwards, we went to the Red Rooster for beer and dinner.  


Monday, March 25, 2019

Borscht Belt Metric Century

Gavin and I drove to The Great Pumpkin Cabin in Smallwood, NY early Sunday morning for 60+ mile ride in the Catskills.  We got off to a delayed start due to Gavin getting snow stuck in his cleats and he couldn't get clipped in. By the time we started rolling my fingers were freezing and I was trying to warm them up as were riding.

Photo Cred: Gavin Arneth

The night before I finally replaced my Continental Grand Prix 4000sII tires with new ones. While we rode out from Gavin's cabin I noticed a hop in the front wheel.  I stopped to check it out and found that the bead had come unseated. I had to use a CO2 cartridge to re-inflate the tube and this time it held.


When we got to While Sulphur Springs we turned onto Dahlia road and started climbing but at 15 miles in we came to a hill that we weren't expecting and stopped for a snack . It's a Class 3 hill with a max grade of 12%. Gavin led the way up most of the hill but had to stop 3/4s of the way up so I went up ahead of him.

It was a tough climb but you felt great when you got to the top

Then we had a really nice downhill descent along the Little Beaver Kill. We came out onto Old Route 17 and our route took us to Livingston Manor where we stopped for hot chocolate a the Brandenburg Bakery.

From there we rode parallel to Highway 17 and then came back to Old Route 17.  We stayed on this until we got to Roscoe and then eventually stopped at the Roscoe Brewing Company for lunch.

Gavin went for the Brown Ale while I went for the lowest alcohol beer, the Wheat Beer. It didn't have that German style wheat flavor, rather more of an American style flavor - it sucked.

Lunch, however, was awesome. We both had the 3 Chili Cheese and Bacon Grilled Cheese sandwich. 

Back on the bikes we decided to call an audible and take the fastest way back to the cabin which turned out to be almost the same distance if we had stayed on the original course. The big difference was missing the big climbs, going from the Beaver Kill river valley to the Willowemoc river valley and then climb out from there and eventually make our way to Liberty. From there we followed Rt 55 back to Smallwood.

I am glad I didn't wash my bike after last weekend's ride because today the bike just got dirtier.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Ride of Two Meals

I planned to meet Gavin at Cover 2 Saturday morning and as I was riding up Hanover I got really self conscious about what I was wearing. I had seen a graphic on the interwebs somewhere about what clothing is the best for visability and black, what I was wearing was on the bottom of the list, so I headed back to get my green jacket. 

First stop on the ride was of course to our favorite breakfast stop, Ovens of France, where we enjoyed hot coffee and the best croissants this side of the Atlantic.  

From OOF we rode north up Nettleton Hollow into Washington Depot and noticed a new mural at the intersection of Rt 47 and 109. 

If you are riding to Lake Waramug the best lead in is on Flirtation Avenue. It's always worth taking a picture with the sign, too.

While the ride up had some head winds it wasn't till we got to the lake that the wind got really bad. Up until this point it was around 40 degrees but the wind made it feel like 30.

Once we got around the like we headed down into New Preston and I kind of wanted to continue home but Gavin couldn't feel his toes so we stopped for an early lunch at the 9 Main Cafe and Bakery. We warmed up with hot chocolate and had sandwiches. On the way home, we called an audible and retraced our route back which actually made the ride longer but I think it was still faster. 

By the time we got to Southbury I was really wishing that I had started from Cover 2 because I was dreading the climb home.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

The ground was still frozen on Sunday but it's not going to last.

Headed out to ride at Upper Paugussett on Sunday and there were quite a few revelations seen on the trail. Some new trees came down that were taken care of, however, it looks who ever did this got a little over zealous and cut through an up and over that has been on the trail for years.


Also looks like people are riding when they shouldn't be. 
Way to many ruts everywhere!

With all the rain we have been getting and the temperature fluctuations, freezing to warming, means you should not be riding the trails if the ground isn't frozen.

While climbing up the Mulikin today I rode the entire reroute, and it would appears that others have ridden it as well. It was really nice but will need a few tweaks here and there.

As I got closer to the new roller the shape looked oddly familiar

The shape reminds me of Jabba the Hut

More ugliness on the unsactioned trail.

Today, however, I was in rare form. I cleaned the reroute climb on the Mulikin Trail and then I rode down the section of the unsanctioned trail that is benched with rocks and went over the bridge. Hit the bridge going the other way, too. Once back on the Gussy Trail I came across some folks out for a walk who were a little lost and told them how to get back to the parking lot.

The Brew Crew Roller is always a little daunting with the way the blow down was cut. Still haven't hit my head yet! Further down the trail, where it splits off for the Reach Around it's really wet and I think a reroute is needed around that section.

Even the Reach Around is getting rutted

I can't believe people bag their dog's crap but leave the bag on the tail. 

Heading back down the Mulikin I hit a muddy patch that was frozen underneath and went on the deck.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

100 K on New Year' Day

The weather forecast for the first day of 2019 was predicted to start around 50 degrees and maybe even get up to 60 by midday. I was invited to the Bethel Cyclery (former) shop ride that was jumping off from the Broken Symmetry Brewery at 10 AM. It's also the former site of Bethel Cyclery. Heading out from my house at 9 AM I found that the roads were really we wet from last night's rain so I turned around and headed back to get a fender. This set me back 15 minutes but I new it was a 40 minute ride from my house to Broken Symmetry.

I got to the brewery with 5 minutes to spare. I met up with Stephen, Shin, and few others that I have me over the years that I have been road riding, even one guy that worked with at GE Capital. I thought Gavin and Mike were going to be there but they were no shows. All these guys here were really fast riders and I realized that this was the type of ride where I am going to get dropped.

I thought there were was a B group but learned later that they left at a different time. I figured I would just do my best to keep up and see what happens. We all headed out and made our way over to Route 53 and headed south towards Westport. There were some really fast riders in this group all sporting some really fancy bikes.  

Crossing into Redding we were riding 4 or 5 abreast. In Connecticut, the law says you are allowed to ride 2 abreast but I think there are conditions that go along with that. A Redding Patrol Car passed us going the opposite direction and then we heard the siren a few times and the loud speaker order us to ride single file. That's the second time I have encountered police saying that when here is what the law states:  

(b) Persons riding bicycles or electric bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or electric bicycles. Persons riding two abreast, as provided in this subsection, shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.

I guess the bit about shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic is open to interpretation and it appears the police have their own.

By the time we got into the Fred Zone and the first climb I found myself off the back and knew by the first climb I would get dropped. No worries, perhaps I could catch up to them at some point. There were even a few stragglers back there with me. I was trying to get one to stay with me but he faded at the Weston Market. I wasn't worried about where to go because this route is part of my bike commute. By the time I got through Westport, I caught up with the group waiting at the light to cross the Post Road.

Crossing over Greens Farm Road and heading back onto 136 under I-95, Stephen went down on the deck. He was in the shoulder trying to get onto concrete portion of the road and his front tire slipped out from under him due to the uneven transition and the fact that both surfaces were wet and slick. Fortunately, he was going slow enough that it wasn't a bad crash but it was still a crash. He had some road rash, and his shoulder and hip hurt but all in all he was good to go.

The group popped into Long Shore to use the facilities, have a snack, and take a few more pictures. The sun was out and it was starting to warm up.  From here we headed to Compo and then back out to Greens Farms. I was hanging but always off the back.

Heading back to Bethel I ended up riding with a smaller group that hung back with Stephen but Shin was having a rough go as well through Fairfield. Ironically, towards the afternoon, the wind came up and it actually started to cool off. We split off onto Hopewell and then took Boggs Hill. We said our good byes and Stephen and Shin headed down Platts Hill. Shin went on to ride 100 miles that day. I probably could have done more but I was looking forward to a nice cold 24oz PBR Tall Boy I had in the fridge.