Friday, May 22, 2015

Head Tunes

I ride alone, no one to worry about, no set route to follow, no catering to someone else’s busy life, just me, a bike and a helmet full of random thoughts, but irritatingly often those quiet times are intruded upon by the dreaded head-tunes.

If a familiar old Led Zep number creeps into my conscious all is good, this old guy knows all of Robert’s lyrics and the notes of every one of Jimmy’s searing solos, so the entire tune can play out and my rambling thoughts can continue, but when some odd snippet of music worms its way in because I found it catchy, yesterday, but I don’t really know it, it plays endlessly, over and over, effectively jamming my thinking. An upbeat melody that motivates is great but imagine Pavarotti sneaking in with Nessun Dorma when you’re a Zeppelin fan.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Inspired by Tires

Most often when I ride I have one purpose in mind, get where I'm going without delay. I have spoiled a lot of good days by simply being in a hurry. Today was different. I picked up a pair of tires last night for the bike I most often grab, Lael. The Clement X'Plor MSO is all the rage with the gravel/adventure bike crowd. I did some reading and with some of the cash from selling a bike I made the decision.

They are close to mountain bike size and look very beefy on a drop bar bike. The ride is as advertised, very comfy and stable. At the last minute I had grabbed my point and shoot Nikon and threw it in the bar bag. Normally I don't stop to take many pictures.

It was foggy before I left but it had mostly burned off until I got over the bridge to the East End. From the top of the bridge to Mission Island it was clear towards town but the mist was rolling back in over the lake. I stopped and snapped a few shots wishing I had brought my glasses, without them the Nikon is literally a point and shoot camera as the lack of glasses and bright sunshine results in a very limited view from behind the lens.
from the Mission Island Bridge
Most trips to Mission Island are witnessed by a dozen or so deer but this morning the geese headlined. They are pairing up and getting ready to add to their population, there were couple along the road everywhere. Why this guy choose to roost here I'll never know.
Not a good spot for a nest
The road to Mission Island Marsh is a great place to test ride tires. The pavement needs some serious attention to say the least. The MSO's handled it very well. I pulled into the parking lot and the view was a bit stark. Not only could I not see the Sleeping Giant, I could barely see the water 30 yards away.
Where did the Giant go?
Since there was nothing to see from there I rolled back down and took to the trails along the shoreline. The tires make Lael a true 'do everything' bike as I was able to roll through the soft grass and go anywhere that looked interesting.
Well almost anywhere.
Other than lifting her over the tree recently dropped by a beaver nothing kept me from poking around and snapping pictures. The gearing with a triple on the front is perfect for off road exploring, she's not fast but that was the whole point. I wanted to take my time and look around. From this spot you can normally look across the river mouth, not today.
Not much to see past 100 feet out
The trail was almost eerie. It was early enough that only a couple of cars were in the lot and no one was wandering the trails.
This trail is all ours.
I completed the short loop and then zipped along the boardwalk but the fog was getting thicker and there wasn't much to be seen. I headed back and went through one of the gravel side roads and found a pair of deer. I had to make a few noises to even make her look up, they have no fear what so ever.
If you don't have a carrot, move along.
The bridge back was totally in the soup now so I didn't bother stopping but turned off to one of Thunder Bay's most scenic spots, the Fisherman's Dock. That's what the sign says but it's more like a garbage dump as people obviously drive in out of sight and dump whatever. The fog was completely blocking out the bridge just 300 yards away.
The remains of a dock with the Sleeping Giant in the background
I went another couple of kms and down another path to the lake but again the fog blocked everything. I headed back over the East End bridge, down Hardistry and over to Kam River Park where the sun and the drunks were out. Time to call it a day. I totally enjoyed the relaxed pace. A nice smooth couple of hours, never even used the big ring once.
Lael on the Fisherman's Dock

Monday, May 11, 2015

Old Stuff

I can hear the boys as clearly as if they weren't a two day drive away, "You bought a what? Why?"

Yes I bought another old school tool, a Weber charcoal barbeque. And it's awesome. And all the kidding about old stuff I will just shrug off, they just don't get it. Just like my push mower, my 1974 single speed bike and a host of other things they see as 'out there'.

After years with propane I got tired of replacing tanks because the valves were 'out of date', at least three times over the life of the barbeque. I got tired of burners so cheap that they last maybe a year. The hot spot on the most recent burner (second rebuild) was big enough to cook one burger so when tasked with cooking four it meant constant rotation over the miniscule spot that actually worked. With charcoal the entire 'burner' is replaced every time. But it takes to long to heat the charcoal they will say, get a chimney and the charcoal is ready to go in 15-20 minutes.

Last night I grilled some chicken and it was juicy and very tasty, no fuss no muss. Just add fries, salad and a glass of Famous Grouse.

I culled one bike from the quiver over the weekend, Bonnie went for full asking price. I haven't ridden her since the Marinoni has been built so it was time to make more room in the garage.