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Saturday, September 23, 2017

2017 TRAIL LIST PROGRESS REPORT

Okay here is an update to the list of trails I wanted to ride this year with the ones I have done having a line stricken through them.

Bike excursions in Illinois 2017:

1. Stern Woods to Hebron trail, FRT

2. Maywood, IPP

3. Sycamore, FRT,GWT

4. Greenbay Trail

5. 606

6. Robert McClory

7. Skokie Valley

8. Combo of lakefront trails to Milwaukee

9.  Jane Addams Trail

10. Pecatonica Prairie Path

11. Bloomington Normal to Peoria(on trails)

12. I&M canal path

13. Hennepin canal path

14. Mississippi river trail path to Galena

15. Oswego and back on FRT

16. Bliss Woods/Virgil Gilman Trail 

17. Long Prairie Trail.

18. Stonebridge Trail.

19.  Plank Road Trail.

Not very impressive for a summer already gone by! Only 7 trails of 19 ridden so far? Lame-o! Well, I may possibly be upward of 10 to 11 trails ridden by the end of this weekend. Hopefully.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mid summer update 2017




Despite having been injured by a fall off of one of my bikes I still have managed to get to approximately just over twelve hundred miles this year. I didn't ride most of July because of that. I still have managed somewhere in the range of about 800 miles on the Linear recumbent bike already.
Looking West on Des Plaines River bridge.


Looking East on bridge over Des Plaines river.



Looking North on bridge over Des Plaines River. Building is Westin Hotel.

Looking South on bridge over Des Plaines River.


The trail is somewhat foreshortened. Hehe.

Is that water?

Yup.

Can you see the trail signpost in the background?


There it is.











These pictures were taken on July 16th, 2017 near the Westin Hotel on Milwaukee Ave in Wheeling, Illinois. Obviously, this was during all that wonderful flooding of our waterways at that time.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Linear Recumbent Roadster

I have joined the ranks of recumbent riders this month with the acquisition of a Linear Roadster. While I have no problem with upright bikes, I want to keep riding long miles as I get older and do so comfortably. So a recumbent was a choice for me.



Bicyclemans picture of the finished product before shipment.
 I decided upon an SWB, with USS. This type of bike is shown in the above picture. SWB is short wheel base. It has more maneuverability and generally faster than a LWB. I did not want a high racer, which has tires of equal size in front and back because it will be tougher to get feet on ground(and off ground). And generally high racers have a tendency to lay the seat back farther into a laying down position. I also did not want a low racer even though it would be easier to get feet on and off the ground. But the low racer is much tougher to be seen on the road and in traffic. Also the riders own vision is somewhat more limited.
    With those choices made, I needed to decide on OSS or USS. Over seat steering is your normal handle bar style steering as seen on most upright bikes. While I initially liked that idea, there were a few things I considered. With OSS on a recumbent, you will constantly be hanging your hands and arms off of the bars chipmunk style. And does that wear on one over long distances? Also, with Under Seat Steering you have your arms at rest at your side while steering and you have a more unimpeded field of vision. With Linears method of construction, it is also possible to switch to a OSS configuration later, if you so choose. Maybe when I need to redo cables on the bike I might try that. But for now this USS is great!

Linear bike folded into handy carry case minus the seat and tires.
 When the bike is folded and broken down, it fits into the above pictured snowboard case without the tires and seat. A separate suitcase would be needed for those components.
Assembling the bike at night...hehe.
 There wasn't much daylight left when I got started on assembly of the bike. So I did most of it by porch light.
Day after assembly. No long ride yet.
My inexperience with this kind of bike made the first test rides interesting. I left the seat sitting in a position for a much taller person than I myself. I had to stretch so far by twisting my hip and pushing the pedals with my toes due to extended foot, I managed to pull muscles in my lower back and leg. After fixing that it still took many short test rides for me to set up most things properly.
First long ride. Vulcan lake in background.
My first long ride on the Linear Roadster was on the Fox River Trail(FRT). It was approximately 22 miles. I made lots of stops so as to not get tired or winded. Cuz believe it or not, it takes some new different muscles from what one is accustomed to for pedalling. Also I needed to think about the new balancing ideas i must always keep in mind as well as how to handle intersections.


Second ride. To Elgin and back.
On the second long ride I took on the recumbent, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that it has very soft suspension as I nagivated the compression/expansion fractures of the FRT between Dundee and Elgin.
My friends ride summary and map.
Yesterday I went for a long ride on the Fox River Trail with my buddy Rob. As we headed North the trail changed names as we changed counties. It becomes the McHenry Prairie Path or MPP. We decided to head as far North as the trail is paved. This was due to recent rains turning unpaved trails to mush. As seen on the above map, we made it as far as Ringwood Road just North of the Farmhouse in the Sky. The summary shows 38 miles for my buddy Rob. I rode about ten more miles at the South end of this. My total for the day was 47.5 miles at 3 hours 44 mins. His fastest speed says 28 mph. I reached 33 mph at one point on the recumbent. While his upright bike wins the day on the uphills, the recumbent is fast as heck on the downhills and seems to have a better avg speed on the flats.

 There is a bit of a learning curve for the recumbent. The starting from a stop being the most difficult of the new things to overcome. I kinda have to pedal my feet on the ground like Fred Flinstone to get up enough speed to put my feet up and pedal. This process can be improved or hindered by hills or intersections. Things to constantly consider. Here I am at approximately 3+ weeks with recumbent and my muscles are already improving. And my balance and maneuvering skills with the bike are better also. I recommend this kind of bike to anyone who would like to be comfortable while at similar speeds to a regular upright bike. Condition this information with the knowledge that I have only used this bike on trails so far. Happy biking!



p.s. lol forgot about this video MFin bike.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Goodbye mountain bike. You served me well.

There it is. My Ross Mt. Pocono mountain bike. Upside down. Where it spent a majority of its time in my possession. I owned it for quite a long time. While I did ride it alot and put on many many miles, it's been upside down much more than right side up.
Ooooh! Look at them shiny reflectors.
While I used it mostly to ride the Fox River Trail(FRT), I also used it to ride trails like the Illinois Prairie Path(IPP), the Meadowdale Raceway, and the Pecatonica Prairie Path(PPP). Oh, and a nice ride on the Skokie Valley Trail(SVT), the Greenbay Trail, and the Robert Mclory Trail.
Big knobby treads.
While I like having a mountain bike, I just wasn't riding it enough to see the sense in keeping it around. If I need a mountain bike in the future, I can just rent one or use my hybrid folding bike.
Sold and on its way off the premises for the last time.
So I sold this and my Hasa folding bike all in one weekend. I did so in order to make space for a new bike. More on that soon.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bought it, rode it, sold it

I am a bit late posting this. I bought this bike in early 2017 during winter and my recovery time from knee surgery. I had the idea in mind that this bike is so cheap that I will get it and try it out just for the heck of it and then sell it shortly thereafter.
First time out with the bike. I added my Avenir trunk bag.
We had a few spotty days of warm weather in March that allowed me to get some short rides in. The handling of this bike is great. Just a few differences that made it slightly awkward at first. The extended distance from the handlebars to the crosstube and the same for distance from the seat to the crosstube made leaning to assist maneuvers and turning different with the timing of it. But after a few rides it was easy to be used to that. I enjoyed riding it every time that I did so solo. Local rides are no different than for a regular bike. It was a different story when riding in a group though. The gearing is set up for casual local riding. So no really aggressive fast paced riding can be done. And hills. It goes up hills. Just not very fast. My buddy and I tried to do a 20 mile circuit and he ended up coasting with me most of the way as I pedaled my ass off the whole time. Meanwhile never really averaging anything more than 12-13 mph.
I was pretty tired after that ride and my buddy was pretty bored.  
Folding bike with trunk bag removed.
I bought the bike from Amazon for close to $300. A great deal for a folding bike! And easy to fold/unfold. I like the ease with which to get on and off of the bike as well. No having to swing a leg up and over anything. Just a nice step through and you're on. Oh yeah, it's called a Hasa folding bike.
Folding bike on the auction block. SOLD!
So as promised, I sold the bike and another to make way for a new bike project. That is the shortest time I have ever owned a bike. Three months-ish.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017 Trail Schedule

Time to compose a nice wish list of trails to ride this year!

Bike excursions in Illinois 2017:

1. Stern Woods to Hebron trail, FRT

2. Maywood, IPP

3. Sycamore, FRT,GWT

4. Greenbay Trail

5. 606

6. Robert McClory

7. Skokie Valley

8. Combo of lakefront trails to Milwaukee

9.  Jane Addams Trail

10. Pecatonica Prairie Path

11. Bloomington Normal to Peoria(on trails)

12. I&M canal path

13. Hennepin canal path

14. Mississippi river trail path to Galena

15. Oswego and back on FRT

16. Bliss Woods/Virgil Gilman Trail 

17. Long Prairie Trail.

18. Stonebridge Trail.

19.  Plank Road Trail.

I will try to start riding these trails as soon as 55F temps start showing up in the weekly weather forecasts.Any other illinois trails I should ride this year? I welcome any and all suggestions on this.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Progress Report

Hey everybody! This is about two and a half months since my knee surgery took place. Nice progress so far. I am getting about 13000 to 20000 steps a day in at work and the knee is finally accepting that. I have been getting in 5 minutes at a time on the inside bike for about three weeks now. And have pushed that up to ten minutes at a time for about the last week or so. The biggest issue with my knee still is the going DOWN of stairs. Still a bit weak there because it has been easy to cheat and use gravity to propel me.
     Another thing I have been working on since the surgery is my diet. I have been in need of losing weight for quite some time now How does this relate to biking? Well, I have gone through two rims on two different bikes in the last year due to my excessive weight of 235 lbs. I have since the surgery managed to lose 36 pounds and only just yesterday celebrated breaking the 200 lb mark. Woohoo! My goal is to aim for about 170 lbs eventually. Already I have noticed that my energy level has gone up in the last week(finally!). I started this care for my diet out by counting carbs, not calories! I focused directly on eliminating soda, breads, potatos, pasta, rice, fruit drinks and juices. I allowed myself all the proteins and meat and veggies and fruit. That got me to about 25 lbs lost over a two month period. I allowed carbs sometimes because it isnt too healthy to deprive ALL carbs all the time. I kept a food log every day to stay focused on the goal. I finally got the app for my phone called My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter. I set a goal of 170 lbs and 1880 calories a day to get there. That is aggressive enough without pushing things too much.
     So far all of this is working. And I hope to be ramping up that time on the bike really soon! Keep on biking!