Thursday, December 30, 2021

Let's dance, this Last Dance Tonight

The last Tuesday night Riding Club Ilumenati ride for 2021 occurred on Thursday night. Temperatures had dropped again requiring bar mitts and heated socks.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Oh my, what a big fender you have!

I picked up a new fender the other day to replace my old fender because it doesn't work with my Garmin Varia.  My old fender has a bend between the blade and the hinge that requires a much higher mounting on the seatpost.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Thankful, Blessed and Grateful

I took two days off from riding for Christmas and then Sunday, went out on the singlespeed for a 30 mile ride on wet roads. I was a bit overdressed and by the time I was 15 miles into the ride I was sweating.

Friday, December 24, 2021

New blazing on the Upper Gussy Trail


If you have ridden Upper Paugussett State Forest in the last month or two you might have noticed some new trail blazes on the now two legal trails.  I came to a verbal agreement with the State Forester that for official recognition of the Mulikin Trail, I and NEMBA (the Housatonic Chapter) would take care and maintain both the Mulikin and Gussy Trail and dissuade any future trails coming off these two trails.

The New Mulikin Trail is blazed yellow and it's a combination of my old Mulikin Trail, Easy Up, and my Mulikin Trail Re-route, which took the trail off the blue blazed, Lillalohna Trail.  

The Upper Gussy Trail has been blazed orange and in both cases there is no mistaking the trail blazes. Another unsanctioned popped up within the last year between the first unsanctioned trail and the Gussy and it seems over the summer a few stunts were built and were subsequently dismantled by the State.  The second unsanctioned trail has been blocked and I hope it stays that way.  

The creation of these unsanctioned trails has really been a set back for Mountain Biking and the development of new trails in this part of the state. The DEEP Foresters look at mountain bikers as selfish brigands who do what they want on public land. Just because you pay taxes in this state doesn't give you the right to build unsanctioned trails on State Land. You are paying taxes for the privilege of living in this state, as with every other state in the union. 

I am hopeful at some point that the first unsanctioned trail will be officially recognized but to do that I think what is needed now is the cessation of any additional illegal stunts and side trails, let things calm down and hopefully we'll be able to add this trail to the inventory, as well.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

A beautiful day at the beach with Santa

Following last night's Christmas Tree Decorating Ride with RC Ilumenati, I drove down to Trumbull to meet my brother-in-law because he and his family were visiting the in-laws. He had contacted me earlier about riding Thursday morning and I suggested that we ride the to beach. Along the way, we stopped at the RC Ilumenati Christmas Tree.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

RC Ilumenati Christmas Tree Decorating Ride


The riding club started this tradition last year, which ironically started with the formalization with the club. They picked out a tree on one of the frequently used roads and decorated it last Christmas. The ride was livened up by adding ugly Christmas sweaters and holiday themed attire.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Bar Mitts are the tits!

Since I am doing a lot more riding in cold weather this year I decided to get bar mitts for my road bike. Of course I can use them on any of my drop bar road bikes. I had to get the model for the externally routed cables because my Jamis has older Shimano 105 levers.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Bib Shorts in December!

December has been a lot milder this year over previous years and taking advantage of that warmth any time the mercury got above 45 degrees and were riding, we had our bib shorts on!

Thursday, December 09, 2021

First Tracks at Upper Paugussett


We got a bit of snow overnight on December 8th so the next morning I went out for a quick ride before work and hit Upper Paugussett State Forest just as the sun was rising. It wasn't terribly cold so I was able to get away with a couple of layers and of course a blaze orange top.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Ride Gravel, Hail Satan!

Hitting First Dirt that starts out as a Hike-a-Bike really makes you wonder what evil forces are at play here in Satan's Kingdom. I noticed last week that there was a group of people that did a 30 mile route starting from Collinsville that included Satan's Kingdom and I came up with a slightly longer route that hit some more dirt roads that have been on my bucket list in the New Hartford area. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Litchfield Hills Roubaix

There's a bunch of roads and trails in Litchfield that I have been meaning to ride, I planned to meet Mike on Sunday, November 7, at the Roxbury Town Hall. The weather was spectacular for a fall day and perfect for riding gravel.  We hooked around to Hemlock Road, bombed down the gravel and then climbed up Spargo to Judds Bridge. We then turned onto the dirt section of Sentry Hill, which was the easiest way to get to Davenport Road and that's where pain began.

Friday, November 12, 2021

New Handlebar Day!

Finally got some bull horns, aka pursuit bars, for the singlespeed!

The leverage is great and it makes climbing so much better


Roubaix to Brew: OEC again

I got kicked loose from work early on Friday, October 15th, so I texted Scott to see if he wanted to ride out to OEC for a beer and then ride back to Newtown. He game so we met at the Flag Pole and started towards the brewery.

Night Gravel

A friend of mine, Andy, leads these Thursday afternoon/evening gravel rides from his house in Roxbury and decided to attend one of them and this evening we covered a lot of dirt, too.

Riding the Rose of New England

I had to go to a wedding being held at the Norwich Inn and Spa in mid October. Since we were spending the night I, of course, I brought my bike.

Our accomodation was nice and it gave me the perfect staging area to prepare for my ride without disturbing my wife. I wanted to ride both sides of the T(h)ames River. In Connecticut, they pronounce it the name with Th as opposed the British who spell their river with the same letters but the h is silent.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day, Part III RC Ilumenati night ride

I got back from New Paltz around 4 PM which was more than enough time to prepare for the third ride with RC Ilumenati. I charged my lights the night before so all I had to do was switch bikes, put on the lights and leave for Easton by 5:45 PM.

Veteran's Day, Part II in the Gunks

We all headed out a little after 9 AM with Steve and two of his friends from New Jersey and another guy who is a professor at SUNY New Paltz. We rode up this new trail called the River to Ridge Greenway. The trail ended at Lenape Lane, which is a dirt road that heads up the ridge.

Veteran's Day, Part I in the Gunks

I reached out to some friends about doing a gravel ride on Veterans Day and Steve suggested that we ride in the Gunks. I invited my Brother-in-law, Will, and took the day off from work.  Since we were meeting at 9 AM, Will suggested we pre-game and found a route that used the rail trail that went past the parking lot where we would be meeting Steve and his friends. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Eel XI


From right to left:
Dreux, Nancy, Mike, Me

The eleventh running of the Eel started out on a cold Sunday morning from Brendan's house in Tarriffville.  The Eel had its origins as an unofficial mixed terrain rain along the CT River but now has moved a little further north and has gotten a little longer. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Roxbury Roubaix a la nuit avec Scott et Brad

Scott and Brad were interested in attending one of Andy's night gravel rides but Brad's work schedule wouldn't allow him to make the 5 PM meeting time so we met at the Roxbury Town hall at 8 PM to ride a dirty thirty route that I came up with. 

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Variations on a Theme

It's getting harder to come up with a different route each week for Riding Club Ilumenati's Tuesday Night rides. The route for this evening's ride had us cutting through the northern part of the Park City and there were a lot of cars. However, this was the only way over to the rail trail so it was a necessary evil.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Newtown Roubaix

In honor of the famed Paris-Roubaix, Gavin, Brad and I decided to do a little mixed terrain ride around Newtown Sunday morning and then watch the end of the race. 

It was foggy and a little chilly leaving my house but that all changed when the sun finally burned off the fog and things started heating up

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Starting to feel like Autumn

The seasonal change appears to be upon us and it was a chilly ride to Ovens of France this morning. It was foggy down in the Housatonic River Valley but broke when we started climbing out. We took the shortest route today because Gavin had somewhere to be.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Tuesday Night Ride on Thursday

Photo Credit: Scotty D

Scotty D is officially back with Riding Club Ilumenati and couldn't have picked a better ride for his come back tour. Originally, I had suggested a Key Party Route (watch the movie Ice Storm) because Pete needed a ride closer to home but then he checked with his mother and she said she would love to have us stop by so that was settled. Also, we needed to get a picture with her this time. She even said something about it.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Ride Bikes, Hail Satan

I don't know if its the change of the seasons or that the end of the 2021 cycling season is quickly approaching but I feel like I have to get out there are ride outside as much as possible. There's always things getting in the way like family, work, and rest days. For some reason, I am dreading getting back on the trainer and riding Zwift for some reason but to stay in shape its a necessary evil.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Stay between the ditches

Parents weekend at my daughter's college didn't hold the same attraction as it did when she was a freshman but we went down anyway because we wanted to see where she was living and bring her a few things that she forgot to take with her.  We drove down to Carlisle on Saturday morning and I brought my bike, of course, figuring I could at last get one ride in on Sunday morning.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Do Pink Flamingos on your helmet make you faster?

I went to see my son compete in his first Para-Tri that he had been training for all summer at the Madison Surf Club and he came in first place in the team event. His guide did the swim and he rode a tandem and ran with the guide. 

Elliot finishing the ride

I had originally planned on riding after the event from another location but couldn't get out of the parking lot because it was blocked by the event that was till in progress. I hopped on my bike and worked my way out of the backside of the Surf Club to Rt 146 and the route I intended on riding.

I forgot that September 11th was also the day of the 2021 Closer to Free Cancer Charity ride but due to increase of COVID cases caused by the Delta Variant the organizers went virtual or DIY. That would explain why I was seeing all these cyclists on Rt 146 between Madison and New Haven and one rider, a cancer survivor, caught my interest as she had a pink flamingo attached to her helmet.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Labor Day Roubaix with the Newtown Lunartics

The Newtown Lunartics headed out from Bridgewater Connecticut for a 30 mile, mixed surface, ride to Lake Waramug and back. It had rained quite a bit the night before which made for a wet start.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

One broken spoke, no problem, but two?

I noticed that someone I ride with on Tuesday nights was riding gravel in the Charlemont, MA area and the route he did looked pretty interesting so I put my own spin on it trying work a lot more dirt in hitting some new roads. The funny thing about RWGPS new dirt feature is that often what it thinks is dirt turns out to be paved.

I drove up to Spencertown and picked up Will and we proceeded to Florida, MA where I parked at the Abbott Memorial School. It was raining lightly the whole way up as well as when we started riding.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

IlLUMENati Wacky Tracks Ride

Snack stop at Pete's Mom's house

This week's Ilumenati ride started and ended from the commuter lot at the intersection of Wolfpit Road and Route 7 in Wilton.  The planned route had quite a bit of different terrain including gravel roads, rail trails and a greenway. We headed south towards Norwalk and Silvermine and then turned north. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Dirty Drunken Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder

Riding the dirt roads between Hillsdale and Chatham has been on my bucket list after the first Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder I rode in 2016. When Roe Jan Brewery opened up a few years ago it made for the perfect combination of riding, dirt roads and drinking beer but COVID dashed those plans last summer so here we are one year later riding brewery to brewery. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Abandon hope all ye who enter here!

The 160 KM route for this year's Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee was a modified version of the first mystery ride in 2016.  Of all the rides Will and I have ridden together, the 160 KM remains our favorite route and have been riding it since 2014.

Will and I attempted the first D2R2 Mystery route back in 2016, which I named my post about it: Napoleon's Death March. We probably would have had better success if we had did the roadie version instead of the mountain bike one. Today was our chance to take a mulligan on the original D2R2 Mystery route, accompanied by Will Boericke,  a member of our D2R2 crew with a similar lust for adventure and challenging bike rides. Wheels were rolling by 7:05 AM.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Gathering before the big event


When we learned that the organizers of D2R2 (Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee) weren't going to have camping this year due to COVID the Crew decided that we would make our own camping arrangements. We settled on Erving State Park, about 20 miles north of Deerfield.  Rob was already there but had went out with his wife and daughter so while Will and I were setting up the tent the others arrived.  We then went off for a little ride before dinner, not wearing any kit, around the park and on some back roads.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Gearing up for D2R2

I purchased a 11-42T cassette and a Wolftooth Road link before I went to Chicago and my plan was when I got back I would install at use that set up for the Farmer's Daughter and D2R2 Gravel Grinders. However, I didn't really look too closely at the Wolftooth instructions and when I got everything installed it didn't work correctly. It would shift into the lowest gear and then get stuck there!


That's when I discovered that the Wolftooth link only works for 11-40T cassettes, DOH!  For the Farmer's Daughter, I ended up going back to my old 11-32T cassette and putting my 32T front chain ring on and had no trouble climbing, albeit I was slow as molasses on the hills. When I got back to CT after the ride, I ordered the right cassette and the day before I was headed up to Massachusetts I installed the new cassette and it worked. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Price Drop!

Following up on my She cleans up good but buyer beware post from a month ago, the bike I sold to the Hartford Bike Flipper has dropped the price to  $1,200! It's a 7 year old bike with 21,000 miles on it. Of course any would be buyer isn't going to know that and neither does the seller because he never asked me.  I know bikes are still scarce right now but who would pay that much for aluminum 10 speed?

Monday, August 16, 2021


Lately I have been on a quest to ride as much unique mileage as possible driven by an application that works with Strava called Wandrer.  One of the motivations in going to Chicago for a week and bringing my bike is the target rich environment of roads that I have never ridden before.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Farmer's Daughter - Wandrer Edition

I signed up for the 2020 Farmer's Daughter but it was initially postponed due to the COVID Pandemic and then when things really went downhill during lockdown it was canceled altogether.  

For 2021, I initially opted not do the event but after returning from Chicago there was nothing going on that weekend and Will wanted to know if I wanted to ride with him. Seeing that it was a last minute entry to this year's Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder. Will was trying to see if he could get me in by some other means when I found someone on FaceBook selling their registration so I bought it off of them and was in. Had I registered with the normal people I would have had a personalized name bib.  Looking back, Will and I have ridden this together twice:
In 2017, Will and I rode the Columbia County Gravel Grinder that was put on by his bike shop and the Chatham Rotary that hit many of the same roads. So when I got the route and looked at it through the eyes of my Wandrer application I decided some route changes were needed in order to get more points.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

HVNEMBA's Rockhouse Hill Sanctuary Challenge

When planning a mountain biking event sometimes you have to roll the dice and take a chance on the weather. We did that this Saturday for the Rockhouse Hill Sanctuary Challenge.  The Housatonic Valley Chapter of New England Mountain Bike Association held their new fund raiser at the Oxford High School, which happens to neighbor one of the up and coming premier mountain biking destinations in Western Connecticut.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

More Cowbell

While I was in Chicago the 90mm EC90 Carbon stem that I ordered came in and so I took off the Ritchey handlebars that came with the bike and retaped the Salsa Cowbells that I got from a friend last month and installed the new stem.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

And we're back!

When I got home from work on Tuesday I rebuilt the Jamis so I would have something to ride the next day.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Beyond the Velodrome

For my last day in Northbrook I decided to hit a few more roads to add to my Wandrer total and ride some more at the Velodrome.

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Brats and Beer for Breakfast

I took a rest day on Saturday in anticipation for a big ride on Sunday to Wisconsin.  Kenosha is only 35 miles aways from Northbrook and that like my beach ride, only here there is no climbing.  I left my Aunt's house before 5:30 AM and took a circuitous rate to Highland Park where I planned to take Sheridan Road north. At this time in the morning I could have ridden Lake Cook Road because there was no one on it.