Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Igloo 2009

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! We had a bit of a blizzard here in Overland Park ... but family made it up from Wichita and in from Topeka and we had a blast.

I gave my wife a bike for Christmas so we can finally enjoy riding together (once the snow melts off). I'm pretty excited about that.

And, I thought I'd share a quick video of the igloo that Trevor and Peter (my two oldest) made on Christmas Eve. Enjoy.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Abby Someone

Winter came quickly here in Overland Park. And cyclists in and around Kansas City (like Noah and I) have once again become "hard core."

Of course, it doesn't have to be winter. Anything under 50° F seems to inspire awe in those that don't ride.

The temperature was 30°F when I rode to the grocery store yesterday during my lunch hour. I got some strange looks and one, "Isn't it too cold to ride a bike?"

Last weekend, my son Peter and I took a 24 mile ride that we'd been meaning to take since this last summer. It was 63° out, warm enough for shorts, although I still went with a long sleeved tee shirt. Not bad for late November.

As warm as it was, I expected to see more people out on bikes. Wasn't the case, and we got a couple "what the heck are they doing?" looks as we sat outside and enjoyed a mid-ride smoothie.

Nearly two months earlier it was ten degrees cooler when Peter and I rode ten miles out to Spin Pizza. As we were locking up our bikes, a couple walked by and we heard the guy say to his wife "Oh, it's normal to see people riding bikes here when it's warmer..."

Fredrick: Abby Someone. Abby Who?
Igor: Abby ... Normal.
Fredrick: Abby Normal?
Igor: I'm almost sure that was the name.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


You think to yourself: "I'm fit. I ride my bike; I get up early with my wife and hit the gym a couple times a week. Yeah, I'm fit."

Then, you play dodge ball with the scouts at the lock-in.

Where's that heating pad?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flashback Ride

We finally had a nice, ridable day again today. I took to the streets during my lunch hour and made a point of staying off the bike path. I did this for a couple of reasons; the path is most likely strewn with soggy leaves - and - I didn't want another ride like the one I experienced on Friday the 6th.

I can't fully describe the odd experience I had that day when I used my lunch hour to ride the path I used to take to work. I wanted to get out and ride, but it was so windy that I figured I'd be better off riding through the woods than on the street. The first half mile of the ten that I rode was fine and uneventful. The next 40 minutes was bizarre and unsettling.

How do I describe it? It started as I pedaled past the Christmas display on Metcalf just north of 103rd. I remembered riding home the previous year and having to half walk the bike through all the employees of the business there who were gathered on the path to formally light things up. From that point on, the entire length of the ride, memories of past rides flooded in. It was kind of spooky. I remembered minute details like the time three years before that as I rounded a particular corner I thought to myself that I should get my brake pads checked. I remembered the faces of pedestrians and other riders I'd encountered. I remembered words from a podcast that I was listening to during a ride two years ago. As I came to some sections of the trail, I remembered encounters with various wildlife. There were ideas for blog posts that were never written. Vibrant, exacting, mundane details.

As I rode past the office where I spent perhaps the best 3 or 4 years of my career, I realized how much I miss hanging out with the guys and just how good we had it for a while. I remembered random conversations and specific games of Call of Duty. The memories kept coming and coming and just wouldn't quit. This must be what it is like to have your life flash before your eyes. It is overwhelming and disturbing.

Putting the bike away in the garage and heading back down to the corner of my basement where I now spend my working hours, I sat there stunned for a bit, mentally exhausted. I miss many things -- including the daily commute on my bike. I didn't realize what a big part of my life it had been.

For 45 minutes or so, I biked around aimlessly on side streets within a couple miles of my house today. It was a good ride. It was a safe ride.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bumper Panda

It was a beautiful day and the jazz band was playing at the middle school during the lunch hour. I hopped on the bike and headed out.

Waiting for the light on the way home.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I've been taking advantage of every opportunity to ride as I can come up with lately so when I needed to make a run to the credit union today I figured that I could make the 12 mile round trip within the alloted hour for lunch.

I pulled up to the drive-thru and was greeted by a message that I should consider a loan for a new car.

  • No thanks, I'm good.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Tour de BBQ

    I'm torn. There is a lot going on this weekend, but I might talk to Peter (who's birthday is today) to see if he might be interested. I haven't read through all the information, but perhaps the 15 mile ride with stops at 5 BBQ places might be a fun ride...

    In conjunction with the American Royal’s annual barbeque competition, the LIVESTRONG Army of Kansas City is hosting the first annual Tour de BBQ to raise funds and awareness in the fight against cancer. Proceeds benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation and The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Rock Star Parking

    Parent/Teacher conferences where being held at the Middle School last night and I didn't feel like fighting the parking hassles. The lot is always full, as are both sides of all the streets within a block or two. I decided to ride.

    My suspicions about the lot being full are confirmed as I pull in on my bike.

    Once again, I score Rock Star Parking with my bike.

    My hope is that some of the other parents that live within a mile or two will catch on to the advantages of biking.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    2:00 p.m. = Magic Hour

    Temperature at departure = 70° F (21° C)

    I was just not motivated to get out to ride this morning. I've been off the bike since the 19th due to a scout campout, rain and general lethargy. I figured I'd get out during my lunch hour which didn't happen until 2:00 p.m. today. It was glorious.

    I rode the 10 miler which is normally moderately busy during the 7am and 1pm hours and was only passed by 31 cars. I passed one car myself, so let's call it a round 30 cars.

    Milage 10.857
    Average MPH 14.3
    Maximum MPH 26.8

    So, I wasn't even burning it up and still didn't have to deal with much traffic. In fact, at 4.6 miles I'd only been passed by 6 cars. Less than 3 cars per mile? I can deal with that.

    Here's to 2 o'clock rides!

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Tried the trail again...

    I'm starting to get some more time back in front of the computer again. New Podcast is updated HERE.

    Last weekend I was home from a trip to Dallas where I'd picked up a sinus thing that really knocked me out. I went for a 15 mile ride on Saturday and spent Sunday in bed. Monday was Labor Day and I took a 5 mile ride that knocked me out for the rest of the day. Tuesday morning I decided to try for 10 miles. Even though I've been harping recently about staying of the Indian Creek Trail bike path, I just didn't want to face the hills I encounter out on the road -- so, I headed out on the trail.

    Closing on 435 & Roe, I reached the Fox Hill detour seen here.

    Here is a better shot of the sign which shows the proposed finish date for the project as July 2009.

    And here is the detour...

    So I headed back out on the road to finish the 10 miles.

    Things I don't miss about the trail:

    Walnuts, spider webs, leaf covered slick spots, puddles, poodles (any dog, really), groups of joggers and novice cyclists.

    Things I don't like about riding on the street:

    Have a good weekend and get out and ride.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Routine, continued

    As I mentioned yesterday, I've been spending some time with and Google Maps - Street View trying to come up with some new routes. The 10 and 15 mile routes turned out to be just the change I'd been looking for. Fairly light on traffic, nice roads and some challenging hills. Next on the agenda was a 20 or 25 mile ride that could replace the whole Indian Creek and Tomahawk Creek Trails loop.

    A couple weeks ago, before he headed back to school, my son Peter and I were discussing my flagging enthusiasm for riding on the bike path and I told him I was going to start looking for some good streets to ride on. He suggested we try a ride on Kenneth road. He'd worked with the city's civil engineering department surveying roads over the summer and said a portion had been resurfaced and might be nice to try. So, I thought I'd encorporate Kenneth road into my longer ride. This last Sunday, I saddled up and headed out.

    I present: The 21 Miler

    My timing could have been better. There was quite a bit of traffic out on some of the major roads. I also saw quite a few other cyclists. When I rode over the bike path on Mission road it looked REALLY busy. I was happy to be on the road (even if I was passed by a young lady on a really nice road bike).

    Something to consider: even though maps say that Kenneth road begins its southern journey at 133rd street ... it doesn't. I had to hop over to State Line road which was busy as all get out and then use 135th to get to Kenneth. It turns out that Kenneth is a rather popular road for automobile traffic. It didn't matter that much as the road was wide enough for people to get by me, until Kenneth curves to the west and becomes 159th street. There the road narrows, adds guard rails and becomes a moderately steep climb.

    View Larger Map

    I wouldn't have minded the climb, but I was getting passed by cars and trucks every 15 to 20 seconds on the way up to Mission Road. Almost without exception the people passing my crossed over the double yellow line to give me plenty of room, but there were a couple times that cars were coming from the other direction and we were all a little too cosey.

    So, three sections that I would avoid during Sunday afternoon rides:
    119th between Tomahawk and Mission
    159th between Kenneth and Mission
    Roe between Tomahawk and 117th

    Other than that, it was an enjoyable ride. I'll probably ride it again, hopefully with Peter in tow, but on a Saturday afternoon when traffic might be a little lighter. I will be looking for a different 20 to 25 mile route in the mean time.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009


    Temperature at departure = 67° F (19° C)

    I realize that I've been somewhat disconnected from all things social on the web for a couple weeks now. Don't worry, everything is alright; I suffer from nothing more than a general sense of ennui. I'm starting to snap out of it though.

    Shortly before this break, I realized that I've ridden the Indian Creek Trail for several years and now that I no longer commute on it, the trail has become mundane. I'd go on a ten mile ride and come back without any sense of enjoyment at all. I might as well ride a stationery bike and replay the path in my mind. Truth be told, I am also tired of dodging all the pedestrians, dog-walkers and other cyclists. I started allowing myself to skip a day or two and recognized that I wasn't missing it.

    I KNOW!

    So, it was time to get off the path and take to the streets. Once the decision was made, I started to get excited about looking for new routes. I harnessed the power of and Google Maps - Street View to plan a few possibilities of varying lengths. I picked streets that I've ridden before for the first couple of rides and am happy with them; traffic is present, but even though I've ridden these in morning rush hour traffic -- they're not major arteries and traffic is light. I also see several others out on their bikes.

    The 10 miler

    The 15 miler

    Both of these are nice rides for weekdays when I want to get a ride in that is less than an hour long. Then I tried the 21 miler, but that really needs to have a post of its own. be continued.

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Library Rack Almost Full

    I rode to the library during lunch today and was surprised to see this many bikes out front. The most I've seen there before is 3 or 4. Hopefully, the trend will continue.

    Oh, shameless self-promotion time. I posted 3 podcasts this week. If you are a bike commuter or know someone who is, please let them know that the podcast is available at

    Tuesday, August 11, 2009


    Temperature at departure = 68° F (20° C)

    I was feeling very cosmopolitan this morning, so I executed a Copenhagen Lean while waiting for the light. It was another beautiful morning for riding the bike getting drivers used to the idea that other modes of transportation exist in Overland Park.

    Thursday, August 06, 2009

    From one state to another and back in a day

    ...actually, Kansas to Missouri and back in 50 minutes (State Line is only 5.5 miles away).

    The trail runs under State Line road. I just couldn't ride the normal loop today.

    Still, it WAS the ICT which is growing increasingly dull. The morning weather has been perfect for riding. I'm thinking I need to shake things up a bit...

    Wednesday, August 05, 2009

    I've been called a lot of things...

    The moniker ascribed to me during this morning's ride is my new favorite.

    Today's ride is one of this year's top ten so far. A little over half way done I had 6 different posts running through my mind. And then there were seven.

    I'd left the path over by the old skating rink and was growled at by this guy -- fully clad in lycra. We got to a little round-about where he turned left and I turned right. When I pulled up to Roe the guy was off to my left, well behind me. I chuckled to myself as I went along, wondering how long it would take him to pass me again. A couple minutes later, I'd started under the Roe overpass that leads to Roe park and the guy foolishly tried to zip around me and almost ran into a jogger. On the other side he cut through the grass to head me off.


    I honestly was not trying to make this a contest. He must have peaked because I rode my normal rate and was gaining ground on him. I actually thought about taking a break just to distance myself from the guy. We rode under Nall and he took the south fork and I took the east. "See you in a few," I thought to myself. Sure enough, I'd ridden under Lamar dinging my bell and saying "good morning" to several folk when I heard the guy behind me yell at a group of high school girls out jogging telling them to "Move OVER!" You could tell he was trying to make up for lost time.

    The path splits again at 103rd and Metcalf. The other rider passed me right before the split and blew past two older men and a woman walking a German shepherd. They were just taking the turn to the left that I was going to take so I dinged my bell well in advance, dinged it again and said "Good morning. I'll come around your right side."

    As I passed the lady said:
    "That is what a gentleman sounds like."

    Monday, August 03, 2009

    Helmet Debate

    There are two different sides to the argument that cyclists should wear helmets. Folks in Copenhagen would argue that they're worthless and, in fact, a deterrent to cycling. In the US, we're convinced that they save lives. I know for a fact that wearing a helmet saved me from a concussion once, so that one time out of ~ 1,000 times wearing it paid off.

    Anyway, I don't think this guy really fits either side of the debate.

    fail owned pwned pictures
    see more Fail Blog

    Sunday, August 02, 2009

    Sunday afternoon rambling

    Temperature at departure = 82° F (28° C)

    Without going into detail, I've spent the last 3 weeks nursing a couple of the members of my family back to health after 2 surgeries and 1 broken wrist. No need to worry, everything is looking fine on all fronts. Also, Google has now sold the Radio Automation business to WideOrbit and I found out Friday that another good friend that I've worked with for 16 years has been let go.

    I got a chance to have some time to myself today and it has been way too long since I've ridden my bike for anything other than errands. I decided just to wander. Here is the route I took.

    After 3.4 miles on the Indian Creek Trail bike path, I got off at Mission Road and intended to take it as far south as seemed wise. Had I looked at a map first I would have realized that Mission Road turns into Tomahawk Creek Parkway after a couple blocks and I would have had to have headed east on 119th to get back to it. Instead I stayed on the parkway until it met Roe. Traffic was quite light as you can see below.

    From General Bike Pix

    At the stop light at Roe, I met a road bike rider who turned out to be a decent sort. We waited at the red light together and talked for a moment about the path near by and his hydration back pack. The light turned green and I told him it was nice to meet him but I wasn't going to hold him back. Off he went.

    From General Bike Pix

    I followed the guy south on Roe and actually ended up drafting behind him for a couple blocks. He peeled to the left at 124th and I continued south. 1.5 miles up a 7% grade hill with a head wind that was gusting to 20 mph. I got to about 132nd and decided that was as good a place to turn around as any. A 7% downhill grade with a 20 mph tailwind is a fine thing indeed.

    Those 16 miles were just what I needed.

    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    Noah's Midnight Cave Ride

    A huge tip of the helmet to Noah for putting together a great midnight ride after Lenexa decided to change their annual Midnight ride. Noah sought out and found another cave that we could ride through and set up a great route to the site. Peter and I rode the Lenexa ride the last two years and were SO glad that Noah set this up. Anyway, here are some rather blurry shots from early this morning.

    Peter and Noah before the ride.

    The group mingles at the Merriam Marketplace before the ride.

    Noah explains the rules of the ride.

    We pass the Irene B. French Community Center.

    I was followed by some sort of alien. Made it easier to look out for man hole covers...

    Continuing down Merriam Drive.

    Peter to my right with the glow of several other rider's headlights off to the side.

    We wait for Noah to take a picture and open the gates. He warned the group that it would be slick and to take your time and be mindful...

    We wait at the bottom of the hill just inside the caves for the people who didn't take Noah's message to heart. Mark Rainey in the yellow shirt on the right.

    Riding in the caves. I was more concerned with staying upright than with having clear photos.

    Mark on his well accessorized Trucker.

    Having made it out of the caves, we stop to make sure everyone made it.

    Getting ready to head back.

    My one attempt at a panda portrait turned out so bad I decided to make it worse.

    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    What color is the "old guy" jersey?

    Curtis and I rode our bikes to scouts last night and talked Tour de France all the way. As we were riding along, I thought I heard my name being called and, sure enough, Mark R (who has been accepted as a Course Marshal for the 2009 Tour of Missouri) was working on a bike in his garage. We got the chance to chat a bit before I had to take off. Good to see you Mark.

    As we wrapped up the meeting I took the opportunity to step in to do the Scout Master's Minute. I explained to the scouts how the TdF that day had a huge peloton that was suddenly split into two groups by a cross wind. The group out front took the opportunity to take and keep a solid lead. This set up the possibility for Lance Armstrong to earn the yellow jersey if his team won the Team Time Trail the next day*. I said that there are a lot of times that people just go along with the group and that something may come along to shake things up; when it does be prepared to step up and be a leader. I thought it fit.

    Curtis then decided we were in a race home. We talked about the different jerseys that are awarded and with one block to go he decided he was a sprinter. I've NEVER had to work to keep up with guy before. He won.

    *Note: it almost happened today! Lance now trails Cancellara by about a tenth of a second. Ben Stiller did NOT look happy to be on the podium presenting Cancellara with the yellow jersey.

    Friday, July 03, 2009

    Gearing up

    ...for the Tour de France. I'm hoping I can get at least one of my kids to buy into watching it with me. Curtis did two years ago and I enjoyed our bike rides during that time when he'd claim to be his favorite rider.

    I jumped the gun and rode a couple miles to the grocery store yesterday and paid for it with some serious foot pain the rest of the day.

    I guess I'll have to rest up a couple more days before I try again. Bummer. I've got to get into shape for Noah's Midnight Ride. (I still wish he'd call it the Anti- or Un-Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride...

    Enjoy the 4th and stay safe.

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Back from Camp

    I am back from a week of Boy Scout Camp and trying to get caught up with everything I left (briefly) behind. The heat last week was unbelievable and there were a few times I didn't think I'd be able to make it through. I didn't really have a choice though, being the camp Scout Master. Glad we all made it and wouldn't have missed the experience for the world. We had a great group of scouts and adult leaders this year.

    Curtis and I were awarded Brotherhood membership in the Order of the Arrow. The only down part to that experience was our first attempt at the Brotherhood Walk on Wednesday night. We'd hiked a little over a half mile when a thunderstorm chased us under a picnic shelter. The scouts in charge of the event were radioed to have us head back to the dining hall as part of the camp emergency preparedness guidelines. They tried to get the group to head back together, but the driving rain and very close lightning got the group running for all they were worth. A couple of the scouts that were leading us started falling behind so I slowed down to keep them in sight. At some point in the half mile run, I must have stepped on a sharp rock. The result was a pretty sore foot that wasn't helped by the workday Thursday and all the hiking during the rest of camp. The last few days have been painful, but today I seem to be on the mend. Should be back on the bike in a couple of days.

    We made it home Saturday morning and even though I was having some trouble getting around, my lovely bride wanted to go to the Art of Cars show at the KC Art Institute that afternoon. I went just to spend some time with her but had a blast looking at all the vintage cars. They had some old bikes on hand as well. CAT said, "If I loose track of you, I'll know where to find you." Sure enough, I wandered off and she found me by the bikes.

    This Mitchell Bicycle (c.1896) - Golden Eagle, Girl's Bike was found in a barn in the Ozarks and hasn't been restored.

    Frame: 1 1/8" seamless steel tubing
    Finish: Carmine, four coats, hand rubbed and baked, gold striping
    Saddle: Leather and horsehair with springs
    Handle Bars: Chicago adjustable
    Grips: Cork
    Pedals: Rat-trap
    Wheel Base: 44 inches
    Rear Fender: Wooden, with skirt-guard lacing
    Spokes: Best quality #2, 15-17 guage
    Rims: Tucker, maple, V-shaped: finished to match frame
    Sprockets: Nickel-plated
    Chain: Skip tooth
    Tools: Leather tool bag, wrench, oiler, pump, etc.
    Original Price: $40.00, plus optional Morrow Coaster Brake, $5.00

    This 1919 Harley-Davidson bike has obviously had some restoration work done on it. Beautiful.