Up at 5:00, on the trike by 6:30.  Chilly, dreary and windy, even some sprinkles.   Yep, a perfect morning to practice for BRAN.  Only got in 41 of the 50 planned miles, either the wind was stronger than I realized or I just had no energy.


Took the trike out for it’s first real ride since building it and after 24 miles over 2 1/2 hours I can say I’m pretty pleased.  Although it still needs some tweaking, it performed without any adjustments or breakdowns.  Below is a picture at one of my stops, Seymour Smith park near 68th and Harrison.  They’ve installed a really cool free water park and it was a nice break watching the kids (and parents) play in the water.  Unlike my recumbent bike where you have to just about lift yourself out of the seat to put your foot down at stops, with the trike I simply set the parking brake I installed, sit back and enjoy the few.

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Below’s a map of my route today, around the Omaha trail system.  The orange dot on the trail is where the above picture was taken.


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


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.  😉

A Top Ten Day!!! Self portrait while riding, son Aric behind me.(OMG, is my helmet really on crooked? Oh, heck, I'll just blame it on a strong side wind!)

Who would have thought March 14 would be a top 10 day for riding?  It was, a wonderful 74 degrees with a 5 mph wind.  Went out with my son Aric (also a recumbent rider) and did 27 miles down the Big Papio trail here in Omaha.   Two days in a row of 27 miles each, I could feel it today.  Icing up the knee as I write this.  But all in all it was a great ride and fun with my son.  Rode 27 miles yesterday with my other son Alex.  These two, age 17 and 20, are going to get me into shape quicker than if I did it on my own.

Taking a break tomorrow.  Weather will be perfect, but it’s my birthday and getting together with my mom, my wife and all four kids.  Those opportunities will become rare soon enough, so enjoying them while I can.  Gotta give that knee a rest anyway, right?

I should preface this by saying that for the last six months I did not do any riding and practically nothing athletic.  Gained ten pounds and really was concerned that I would be staring over on the bike, having to build up muscles and stamina for my three upcoming state rides, the first and most grueling less than two months away.  Well, when they say “Just like riding a bike”, it must also mean we don’t lose our muscles.  Unlike a year ago when I’d be really sore after a ride I found the outing with my sons on Saturday quite enjoyable physically and no soreness at all.

Our local city trail heads mostly South and the forecast for Sunday was 15 mph winds from the SW, temps around 72 and dropping to 65 after noon, then winds gusting to 40 mph.  I thought I’d do my favorite 13 mile ride down to Bellevue, NE, and back on the trail, headwind first, then gliding home with the tailwind.  WRONG!  Throughout the ride I kept checking the weather channel on my phone and it always said the forecast was for SW winds but the current conditions consistently said winds from the NW.  I made the 13 miles down in less than an hour and it took over two hours to to get back home in a headwind with cooler temps (and me in just shorts and a thin bike shirt).  About half way home I was fumbling with one of my water bottles, trying to put it back in the under seat holder blindly, quite distracted from my riding when a strong gust of wind hit me and I went down.  A mild case of road rash on my arm, but all is well.

On a bright note I ran into Gloria at the turn around point, Culvers restaurant, a fellow BRAN and RAGBRAI rider I met last year.  We chatted for about 2o minutes, talking of last years trips and our upcoming ones.  She is suggesting we start an adult card group on RAGBRAI.  The teenagers had one last year and had a great time, so I look forward to the adult version.

Well, the season has begun and barring any further close encounters with the trail, I am looking forward to the next seven weeks of intensive training in preparation for BRAN.

Last Saturday, April 9, I went for a 13 mile ride with my two youngest children, Alex and Aric.  We have a city trail head just blocks from our house but some city sewer construction project has the most of the first mile blocked so we put the recumbents in the back of the pickup and the road bike on the used Yakima bike rack I had just installed on my 1972 Super Beetle (worked great).

It was most pleasant to ride with my two youngest (ages 16 and 19), something I don’t think we have done in probably a decade.  I’m pleased to see they are both taking an interest in riding and hope this is the start of many more rides.

Yep, we heard of a recumbent bike over in Griswold, Iowa, that was in need of a good home and on April 2 my son Aric and I drove our 1972 VW camper bus over to pick it up.  This recumbent, under the loving care of Duane, was quite different from other other adoptee, my Burley Canto.  The steering is under the seat and the rider position is much more laid back.  I enjoyed the drive over and back, as it was one of the first nice Saturdays of the year and a chance to get my vintage VW another adoptee) out for a country drive.  Additionally, half of the 50 mile drive is on the same highway as a stretch of RAGBRAI which I will be participating in this July.

We could not even wait to get the bike home to embrace it and let it know it was loved.  We stopped at a parking lot and took turns developing the bonds that only a recumbent rider can nurture.  It was splendid!

My son Aric was anxious to try the bike on the local trails so grabbed my bike and did about seven miles.  A great first ride and he did better than I probably would have with that unique steering method.

It’s only a few more days until RAGBRAI, The Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, where I and 15,000 people will ride across the state.   I am looking forward to this trip but with some trepidation.  My biggest concern is just the mass of humanity and my safety.  Recumbent bikes are long, low to the ground but the worst part is you can’t take off fast and getting into the flow of bike traffic will be a challenge, I’m sure.  And unlike BRAN last month, where nearly everyone was a seasoned rider, many of the people on this ride, just by the sheer numbers, will be newbies.  They won’t know about not taking sudden turns, pointing out road obstacles,  signaling a turn or slowing down, announcing their approach, etc.  Also, this is well known as a party trip with lots of drinking.

I’m pretty much packed but feel I’m forgetting several things.  I took way too much on my BRAN trip and have tried to reduce as much as possible.

Getting back in the saddle after BRAN was really difficult as that ride wore me out.  But I knew I needed to build up my muscles and stamina for this trip so I have been out several days a week pushing myself.  I did over 100 miles this last weekend.  On Saturday I went to my favorite training area, Wehrspann Lake, arriving at 6:00 in the fog.  First run around the 5.5 mile trail around the lake and I was sucking air.  The air was so full of moisture it was hard to get the oxygen I needed (lesson learned, slow down when really humid).  In addition, my prescription bike glasses were fogged up on front and back of lens and useless.  I just slid them down on my nose and rode a blurry ride.  But it was a beautiful morning (see pictures below).

I’ve not been on the bike since Sunday and I worry I’m going to regret it come Sunday.  Just too much going on this week.  Tuesday night I met friends for an outdoor music concert at Lauritzen Gardens and tonight I’m meeting friends and family at Jazz on the Green.  Both great music and social events in town and I highly recommend them.

Rainbow at Jazz on the Green in Omaha after a brief sprinkle

This will probably be my last post before RAGBRAI.  I will try to update daily on that trip, but my connections to the internet may be spotty with that many people trying to communicate on their phones and netbooks all at once.  It will all depend on me finding a signal somewhere.  But do check in because there will be lots to report about and many colorful people to photograph.

Here are my pictures from my most recent bike outings:

View of the lake as the fog was lifting

Rest stop at Walnut Creek recreation area