Looking forward to biking with Lance Armstrong next week on RAGBRAI.

Okay, okay, I’m the slow recumbent rider at the end of the pack so I probably won’t see Lance, he’ll probably be at the end point well before I hit my first town.  But hey, I can still say I rode with him.  For that matter, so can 10,000 other folks.

I read Lance’s book, It’s Not About The Bike, the year I started riding in 2009 and I so agreed with what he was trying to say, how the bike is just an instrument to a melody of life that you can only find through dedication to a sport, such as biking.  At least that is how I interpreted it.  Regardless of his process for getting where he did, he was still an inspiration for me and I found his book very education and helpful to a newbie rider like myself.  Although I don’t condone what he did, after reading about his earlier years I can understand what brought him to where he is today.  And let’s not forget about all the positive things he accomplished with LiveStrong.

If I have the chance to ride with him next week, I would gladly take it and thank him for his inspiration.  Biking is the only athletic endeavor I enjoy and am dedicated to.


Taking a break today while training for RAGBRAI at Chalco Hills recreation area in Omaha.  Thought it might be nice to show everyone what it looks like from my perspective, from the reclined position of my recumbent bike.

I have what is called twist shifters on the handlebar ends, which are very easy to use.  From the left you can see my mini bell, in such a position I don’t have to remove my hand from the grip, simply flick my thumb.  Next to it is my rear view mirror on a adjustable post.  Extra large to see as much as possible.  Next to that is my Garmin bike computer which, via GPS, tracks everything including my speed, distance, time, calories burned, altitude, climb and descent, cadence, heart rate and records this data for my review and comparison to other rides.  (Check out ebay as I did, much better deals than buying new)

At the center is my water bottle on the handlebar post. In front of that is my can of pepper spray in a leather pouch.  It’s there in case I ever need it for one of those farm raised four legged furry ankle biters.   Never had to use it, hope I never do.

I’m thinking that empty space to the right would be perfect for a remote control holder so I’d feel right at home.  But hey, look at that view!  Who would want to change channels on that!!

Where you can typically find me on Sunday mornings on nice days.


This is my first attempt to update my blog with my smart phone (Android system) .  With RAGBRAI just a week away I am preparing for the trip and plan to only use my smartphone instead of struggling with a laptop or tablet.


Looks like I need to shoot everything horizontal to make sure it posts correctly.

Here is a photo of my phone showing my last post I did.  Its pretty cool I can do all this from such a small device.   The only problem I recall is you have to have an internet connection to do this and should you lose that connection you may very well lose all the post you wrote if not saved.

5000milemarkerSometime in the last few weeks I passed the 5000 mile mark with my recumbent bike.  I started recording my stats shortly after buying my used Burley recumbent and I know my recordings hit 5000 this weekend, but the exact date and mile was sometime previous.

Wow, who would have thought this adventure would lead me this far?  Certainly not me, that’s for sure.  But it has been a joyous ride, full of visual delights, some hardships, some pain, but the new friends I’ve met along the way make up for all the hardships.  Below is a picture of me on my Burely with my most dedicated riding buddy (a troll nicknamed Ziggy Stardust – Google it if you are under 50 years old and don’t get the reference).


Yeah, I look pretty silly, but boy do I make oncoming people smile when I come upon them. It’s so great to know I made so many people smile and laugh each ride day.

The journey also continues in many other ways.  In the last six months I built the first completed prototype of a recumbent tadpole trike.  I say “first” and “completed” as there were several iterations of it before it got to this point and now that it is almost done, I’m ready to design another one from what I learned on the first.  To coin a phrase from Lance Armstrong (who will be on RAGBRAI this year), it’s not about the ride.  For me, with the trike, it’s all about the experience, the journey of building it long before I rode it out of the driveway.  I have never had a project like this where I lived and breathed it day after day and so proud of my accomplishment.  I wish my dad was still alive to see it, he really would have appreciated the intricacy of the design and the dedication it took to design and finish it.  Below is an almost finished picture of it, when I took it out on it’s maiden voyage last week.  After RAGBRAI, when I have more time to finish it, I’ll post more pictures of the trike so you can see all the details.

New Trike

This is a completely bolt together trike with the exception of donor parts (rear end and front bottom bracket) from mountain bikes and kids Razor scooters.  Over 90% aluminum.

Most times when I have a bad experience with a business I chalk it up as a life lesson and move on.  Not sure I’ve ever posted about any problems here, but recent experiences at the Bike Rack store in Omaha (14510 Eagle Run Dr) was so unbelievable, with so many problems within just a few weeks, I’ve got to blog about it.

  1. Strike One (actually more than one): Took the rear wheel in off my Burley recumbent as it was rubbing the brakes slightly.  I went on the Wear Yellow ride and the wheel started rubbing again.  I brought it into the shop that same day and was told by a service person that my spokes were too tight and I had pulled one of the nipples through the double wall rim.  I explained that their shop was the last to true the rim a week before.  They told me I could leave the wheel and could pick it up in about 10 days, their current service time.  I took the wheel with me and emailed the store manager that night.  He called the next day and told me to bring it in and they would make it right, most likely would have to build me a new wheel.  A few hours later I get a call that my rim is ready for pick up, no discussion about it’s status or a new wheel.  When I picked it up they said they replaced some nipples and spokes.  I looked it over closely and saw only two new nipples and no new spokes.  As I was trying to get ready for the bike ride accross Nebraska coming up the next week, I told them of my concern that the aluminum rim may have been stressed out with the over tightening.  I was told to “ride the hell out of this week” and let them know if I had any problems.  Well, you guessed it, the rim was still warped, now even worst than before.  Frustrated I cancelled my bike ride.
  2. They installed the wrong bottom bracket on the frame of the recumbent trike I’m building (it’s the bottom frame of a Mongoose aluminum bike).  It was not the right size (t00 wide) and was not tightened down.
  3. I brought in the derailleur hanger in from my trike that was noticeably worn where the axle meets it (it’s off a Schwinn mountain bike, which is used for that part of the trike I’m building).  They told me they did not have a replacement, they would need to order one, but that the part was really okay, there must be a problem with the wheel.  I found a replacement derailleur on Amazon, ordered it and it completely fixed the problem I was having.

My business is now going to Bike Masters in Omaha at 130th and Fort Streets.  Already I’m impressed as it their service time was just 2-3 days and they actually got something back in one day.  They were recommended to me by a fellow BRAN rider who has been very satisfied.  During my three visits there recently I did notice that the service and sales staff are older that what I saw at Bike Rack.  I assume more experienced, time will tell, but that is what I have heard from other bikers.  I did noticed they seemed much more organized and less rushed at Bike Masters.


Sadly I am not participating in BRAN this year.  Sorry to those of you who are here to follow my trip.  I cancelled my spot for several reasons:

  • My rear tire is questionable after the local The Bike Rack store incorrectly trued the tire, stressing out the spoke nipples to the point one came through the rim on a ride right afterwards.  I brought it back to them and they loosened the spokes, replaced some spokes and a couple of nipples, but who is to say if any of the remaining ones have metal fatigue.  I sure don’t want to find that out on the side of a busy highway.
  • I’m not physically in the shape I would like to be in.  I don’t want to, in a weakened state after days of riding, do something stupid and injure myself.
  • The weather here has been so unpredictable, riding could be dangerous.  I remember the 2010 BRAN ride we were up several night from sever storms and I was just plain exhausted from lack of sleep.

Sorry to be missing what would otherwise be a great ride, but I do have RAGBRAI to look forward to the end of July and hopefully will have my trike ready by then.

I’m way behind on my training and I’m feeling the pressure of it.  Two weeks from today is the first ride day of BRAN and I’m only at 269 miles this year, my longest ride of 43 miles on a windless day.  I’m far from being prepared for 70+ miles a day in wind, rain, storms, heat and cold.  I have to really push myself in the next two weeks.

To put it in perspective,  here’s what I have done in the past for BRAN riding years:

  • In 2010 I did 700 miles before BRAN, 2329 for the year.
  • In 2011 I did 460 miles before BRAN, 1137 miles for the year.
  • In 2012 I only did 402 miles total for the year and no state wide rides.

If so interested you can see my monthly riding stats here.


Brutal ride today, 100 degrees and very windy.  Could barely keep bike on the trail.    But the worse part was when I came upon two vultures on the side of the trail, who then took off and circled above me.  My imagination went wild and I was thinking, what do vultures prey on?  Hmmmm, perhaps the slow, the weak, the injured, the aged and the young.  I then realized I meet over 50% of those categories!  Wonder if my pepper spray works on vultures?

Edited to add:  I was told Vultures only eat the already dead.  Still, I think they sensed I must be close to it.  😉

I won the lottery!  The RAGBRIA lottery.  Out of over 10,000 riders, many turned away, I got picked.  Wooohooo!

RAGBRAI is the  bike ride across Iowa, held the last full week of July.  I believe it is the oldest state wide ride of it’s kind.  My only time riding it was in in 2010 and although I signed up for the last two years I had to miss for various reason.  This year I have more motivation and baring any setbacks I plan to ride and plan to ride it on the homemade aluminum recumbent trike I am building.