31 July, 2008

Badge of Honor?

Evidently, you can "ride the wheels off" of your mid-level road bike with machine-built wheels. After a few weeks of progressively worsening clicking, then pinging, then outright racket on Tuesday night's ride it was off to the bike shop.

I've had the wheels trued and tightened a couple of times in my Giant OCR's life. After listening to it, learn about my mileage, and observing that I'm a "bigger rider" the shop manager at Great Lakes Cycles (good guys -- check 'em out if you're near Ann Arbor) said my wheels are the issue. Machine built wheels just can't achieve the uniformity, tension and precision of a hand-built wheel. Plus, their hand-built wheels are lifetime guaranteed, and they'll re-true them anytime at no charge.

But OUCH, not cheap. We'll be doing the rear wheel now and perhaps the front over the winter when finances allow. On the upside, I'll get a better hub, stronger rim, and far better spokes.

Meanwhile, he got current wheel tuned up so I can get another week or so out of it while I'm waiting on the new one. Good, since I'm looking forward to a ride tonight and targeting 40+ mile ride on Saturday, weather permitting.

So, I guess I "wore out my wheels". Or maybe I'm just a monkey on a tricycle...


25 July, 2008


Got a reminder last night of one of the reasons I'm starting to really enjoy Michigan's summers (I was always mostly a winter guy) -- really nothing better than a nice long bike ride on a summer evening. Rolling out I was a little stiff after a week in the office, but loosened up quickly. The sounds and smells of Huron River Drive between Ann Arbor and Dexter make it a marvellous ride.

Quick aside, the 1-mile stretch between Huron Mills Metropark and Mast Rd. does NOT. I can't wait until the road repairs hit that stretch which is some of the worst in the County. Literally feels like it rattles your fillings -- especially on 23mm road tires!

At any rate, within a couple of miles had nicely settled into a 15 mph groove. Minimal traffic, and the river up high made for a very pleasant evening. But the ride back was the highlight. Hitting that zone where the muscles just loosen and it becomes pure muscle memory is such a great feeling. There's one stretch between Wagner and Foster that's super smooth, tree-lined, and right next to the river that just invites speed. Cranked through at over 20 mph and enjoyed every second!

Haven't been riding as much as I'd like the past month - rainy weather seems to always occur when I have the time to ride. Sure was nice to re-connect. Even fueled my workout at the gym this morning! Hope to get in a longer ride this weekend, weather permitting.


24 July, 2008


Was outside at lunch briefly. Man that cuts down the productivity in the afternoon! Just want to be out in the river, on my bike, or at the range! Oh well, 5pm's not so far away!

21 July, 2008


Heat finally broke after a week of A/C (ugh -- I hate the stuff). But after some long, hot bike rides in tropical heat and humidity, it got me to thinking. I've always liked cold weather (I was born in February in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, so I think that explains it), but the past few years I've gotten to really enjoy HOT, too. My favorite time to ride my bike is when it's over 90! Shot clays on Friday with friends in the 92 degree heat and loved it!

So now it seems what I enjoy most are the extremes -- very hot or very cold! Guess it's good that I live in Michigan, as we now seem to get plenty of both.


09 July, 2008

A different sort of outside...

Yesterday was my first shift as a food run volunteer with Food Gatherers, Ann Arbor's local affiliate of America's Second Harvest. I've been looking for some activites to try and give back to the community and stumbled onto this one after seeing a feature on ABC News. The story detailed how some stable middle-class families have ended up needing assistance due to the failing economy and gas price increases.

I rode with one of the drivers and delivered groceries to a local church for distribution, to a substance abuse treatment center, to a halfway house for people with psychiatric illnesses, and a few locations. Then we stopped at some local businesses to pick up items for re-distribution.

It was hot, humid, and hard work. And one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. I actually got to interact with the people I was helping. I've now signed up for a shift every other week and hope to expand this. A truly fulfilling, humbling experience -- and one that got me outdoors!


07 July, 2008

New Addition

There's a new addition to the family this weekend - a CZ 452 Lux .22 bolt action. I've wanted a good bolt since I started target shooting. And now I've got one. It's beautifully styled (very European, especially in the forearm) and feels wonderfully constructed.


Went to Johnson's Sporting Goods in Adrian. Great folks, and seem to be one of the few CZ dealers who carries much in rimfires. Was ALMOST tempted by a used Savage with thumbhole stock and a scope. But held out for the CZ and am glad I did. Finely crafted firearm.

Of course, had to stop at the range on the way home to shoot it a little. 2" groups on first outing -- not bad for a new one. Also shot Ruger 10/22 project gun. Can't believe what the trigger modifaction did. Though I think the new CZ will be my most popular shooter.


03 July, 2008

Time Flies

Jeez -- last post June 18th? Wow. Looking forward to the long holiday weekend. Trying to decide what I want to do. With all the rains, rivers may not be feasible for fly fishing. But might be perfect for kayaking! And, of course, time to get the bike out on the road once these storms clear out today. So many things I could do! Summer may be the best time to live in Michigan!

Enjoy your Holiday and be safe!