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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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After the obligatory holiday weekend workload, my Bride and I skipped town for the flat coastland and some seriously needed R&R.
The nearly continuous rain for the first several days made sure we got our rest.
Finally, with good weather in the forecast, we chose to add three nights to the trip so we could return to the mountains looking like we went to the coast (sunburnt).

I’ve been able to get in 3 rides each longer than the last. This has been good to help build back my cardio fitness.
The first two rides were remarkably cool. Todays ride was brutally hot. I feel certain the real heat index was in the 90’s.
On all rides, i encountered sections of road with more traffic in 30 minutes than I typically see in a weeks worth of riding in WV. Thankfully, nearly all drivers gave me the lane or almost all of it.
Ride 1) 25 miles
Ride 2) 35 miles
Ride 3) 52 miles
As a veteran of a few cycling droughts of my own, I'm thrilled on your behalf to read that you were able to put miles behind you. How wonderful! Also, hooray for time spent on the beach. Here's hoping life will tolerate a little more frequent saddle time, going forward :).
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Today was a day I did ride but perhaps should not have. I took the recumbent out to validate its recent sensor installations and update to the Garmin Edge 500. The latter spent the ride falsely pausing and restarting, including 3x at speeds over 30mph. This is the same unit I used to ride my recent event, and it gave me no trouble there. Different bike, different sensors. Little matter. I caught the recumbent's too-long rear derailleur on a curb and bent it significantly mid-ride.

That took away use of maybe half the cassette. It's well that I know the area and could easily come up with a bail-out route which was mostly downhill for the return home. The end of the cassette I could use was the high gear end, not the low. I have the bike on a waiting list to get a new RD and cassette because the present hardware is just too much for the wheel size. It was installed by mistake. A mistake which I compounded by not demanding its immediate removal. Before I destroyed the gear, I found myself climbing this afternoon at a cadence of 95 rpm and 4.8mph. On my middle chainring. On the little one, things get silly.

22mi on the day. Would that I'd stayed on the couch.
 

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I had planned a group ride but as the weather here gets cooler and cooler (it went from Pretty Damn Hot to Mildly Cool in like a week) we get fewer and fewer participants so it was just me and this slightly older guy who used to race and who is really fast.
I was a bit nervous because of his speed, even though I know the guy well and know that he would slow down for me if needed.
Normally on the group rides I organize we have slower riders and I ride with the fast guys from one corner or intersection to the next and we wait for the slower people to catch up and it allows me to recover so I can ride fast again with the fast guys.
So I of course didn't want to ask him to stop at each intersection when it was just us, but I managed to ride at his speed the whole distance with just one water stop. Always feels good to push myself.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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5,976 Posts
Today found me aboard the recumbent for a quick trip to the LBS. It will come home with a new cogset and derailleur which actually fits the 20" rear wheel. Also a rear brake which does not howl when actuated. 4mi. Walked home as usual. The bike actually will fit in either my car or Mrs. Newleaf's, but getting it in and back out again is such a huge pain that I end up just riding it in for service.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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With all those trailers, you couldn't have folded up the Montague and dragged it along? :D
That probably should have occurred to me sooner 🥴. I'd need to install a different QR skewer on one bike or the other, but that's nothing. Simple failure of imagination: trailers are for hauling dogs, not bikes 🤓. Great idea.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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I did, and as Longjohn would say, I did it naked :cool:. No devices, apps, or other tracking. No clue as to the mileage, but not far. Offset by the smile factor.

The bike was a brand new Surly Wednesday :love:😘🥰. That wasn't the bike I visited the shop to see, but that's okay. It felt like a bank vault on wheels, in all the best ways. Smooth, steady, vault door solid. I felt bad riding such a magnificent cross country machine on pavement, but that's what surrounds the shop, and I explicitly wasn't there to buy a Wednesday. Perhaps I was wrong in that, but I wasn't.

What was I there to buy? Nothing today, as I indicated when I entered. I'm interested in riding an Ice Cream Truck. Quite interested, if the truth be told. I love the name, but the machine seems to be right up my metaphorical alley. Riding one is also a perfect excuse to visit establishments which sell ice cream. Not that I need any such excuse :D.

The shop I visited had a few Trucks in stock, none built. That is being changed soon. In the mean time, they sought to help confirm that the frame size which seemed right actually was. Hence, the Wednesday. Per the wrench, the bikes' frame geometry is different but close enough to validate general frame size. I appreciate the shop's willingness to send me out on a sweet ride I was explicitly not there to buy.

I fell for that Wednesday, and not just a little bit. Wow. It's not the bike I went in for, but it could be. I'd ride the wheels off that thing. I hope its fatter brother is as exciting.
 

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I rode yesterday and today.
Yesterday was a short loop with a good bit of climbing, after a day working on a different area, so the roads are not familiar to me. I bet I saw 50 or more deer. All were close to the road.

Today a rode to the nearest post office to mail a letter to my Bride. I could have left it at the front desk for pickup, but where’s the fun in that?

Ride one ~21 miles, 1886’ up
Ride two ~18 miles. 1801’ up
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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5,976 Posts
Today I didn't ride far, just over a mile. That mile mattered a lot, though: the somewhat-LBS I've been working with called to tell me they had finished building a Surly Ice Cream Truck for me to test ride. I have wanted an Ice Cream Truck since I first read about them. That quest is how I came to ride a Surly Wednesday a couple of days ago. The Wednesday is a sweet ride, but the test served confirm my choice of frame size on the Ice Cream Truck.

The Wednesday felt good enough to justify asking them to build me an ICT to ride. They did. Today, I rode then bought it. Didn't get it home until too late to do more than roll around the back yard a bit. It wheelies beautifully. Oh, tomorrow. I am in love, all over again. I am fortunate that Mrs. Newleaf is understanding about such things :love:. I can't wait to put those 26x4.8" meats to proper use.

Happy new bike day!
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Getting out on the new bike proved harder than expected thanks to a series of unfortunate events. In the end, make it I did. Managed a pair of rides, the first with canine companion Chip running alongside. His trailer will connect to the Ice Cream Truck, but I haven't ordered the necessary hardware yet. 2mi of running around the neighborhood helped with his adventure quota and left me wanting to explore something other than pavement.

A few hours later I did just that. Enjoyed 26 wonderful miles over a variety of terrain. First, I headed for 'that' trail. The one which starts really pretty, then begins romping through dry washes and other sections of deep sand. After riding and pushing large parts of it on my touring bike a couple of years back, I decided it was a great trail,but not one I'd ever ride again without a fat bike. Now I have one, and it is a really pretty trail. Off I went, hopping fallen trees and marveling at how easily I made it through the sandy sections. Those 26x4.8" tires are seriously like magic.

Then I got overconfident and learned that the magic is powered by cardio, and lots of it. I rode into a dry river bed, and then along it. That proved to be too much: not for the bike, but for me. I could totally ride the loosest of loose sand, but not for long at any one time. The energy expenditure is mind boggling. That said, it's actually possible. This bike is bloody awesome. Nevertheless, I ended up pushing again, only this time the bike's tires floated over the top of the sand rather than digging furrows in it. Much easier pushing, and I didn't have to push near as far as last time.

Back on the trail, I rode to the end of the Highline Canal and used it to loop around the southern end of a local state park. There's a particular road which runs through the park's back country. It's a beautiful ride, but one I rarely do because the road is rough and rocky. I can ride it, but significant portions are not enjoyable, just really bumpy. On my other bikes. Enter the Ice Cream Truck! That rocky road may as well have been a freshly paved super highway. I rode it faster than ever before, and without trying for speed at all. There was no need to bother picking a line, just point the bike where you want it to go and spin. Unless the surface is vertical and tall, Bud & Lou (the tires) will likely roll right over it. Occasionally I'd stand for a particularly large bump. It was wonderful.

At one place in the park, an older trail leads to a junction with the Highline Canal which involves a short but very steep and loose climb up the Highline's dirt bank. I ride that bit a lot, but have only ever succeeded in climbing it in the saddle twice. Both times were after rain firmed up the loose sand enough for me to muscle my way to the top. I've never tried to descend it because it would amount to sliding down the hill on a locked rear wheel.

Enter the Ice Cream Truck. Today I descended the canal bank for the first time, solely so I could turn around and climb back up it to see how much easier it would be. It was awesome: the sand was visibly thick and deep enough to make life on the touring bike or even the folding MTB more interesting than I prefer. The Truck just...rolled over it. No instability, no steer/counter-steer, no drama at all. Just joy.

Come time to climb back up, it was the same. No drama, no difficulty, just a quick climb. Over sand so loose I usually push the touring bike up on the extreme edge of the trail and still dig furrows. The Truck just ate it up. That was the theme of the day: I rode several of the nastiest, most difficult sections of trail nearby. Sections I normally avoid because while they are rideable, they aren't fun to ride. Unless I'm astride the Ice Cream Truck. With it, I may as well be on a personal Interstate. I'm honestly stunned, but in such a happy way.

When I was a kid, my Dad had a '78 Chevy Blazer which ended up with easily 100k off road miles. He was an Overlander before there was such a thing as Overlanding. I feel like this bike is the cycling equivalent of that truck. The Blazer would go darned near anywhere, but still did well on pavement. It was a truck, but it could move quickly if you wanted it to. Despite that, it always felt happier on dirt, especially two-tracks, the 4x4 equivalent of singletrack. Similarly, the Ice Cream Truck mows down pavement with aplomb. Feels rock solid up to a bit over 20mph, as fast as I went this ride. Holding 15mph on flat ground is easier than I expected.

The moment you leave the pavement, the bike comes alive. The tire hum falls to a manageable volume, the ride smooths out, and it feels as though you're ready to spin forever. At one point on the ride, I actually had the thought that I could sell all my other bikes and just ride the Ice Cream Truck in years to come. I recognize that is not correct in the sense that my other bikes offer a lot that the Ice Cream Truck can't, but the ease with which it handled otherwise challenging terrain was both eye opening and wonderful. The mud season won't mean much to me come Spring. Normally I'm reduced to riding only pavement for a few weeks. Whatever. I'm confident the Truck just won't notice.

I want to ride this bike...everywhere. Especially off pavement, but it's pretty great for tarmac, too. My single complaint, aside from the sheer volume of the tires' pavement hum, is that it's hard for me to spin in the range that I prefer because the whole bike begins to bounce in time with my pedal strokes somewhere around ~90rpm. I think. I have ordered sensors but not yet received them. I'm sure the bouncing is a function of the oversized tires. It forced a lower cadence than I prefer, but not forever: I found I can spin faster without creating the bounce, but I have to be much smoother on the cranks than I'm used to being. It's hard. I suspect that learning to spin without the bounce on this bike will pay big dividends on my other steeds.

In short, I'm in love. Again. Way more than I was yesterday. The Ice Cream Truck was well named. It's a truck through and through, and that is unspeakably awesome if a truck is what you were after. Score! I'm straight thrilled to call myself an Ice Cream Trucker :D.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Today I managed a total of 30mi on the Ice Cream Truck over a pair of rides. First, a quick 4mi jaunt around the neighborhood with canine companion Chip running alongside. I hope to be able to bring his trailer along soon. Until then, I run him until he indicates he's tired, then we head home.

After that, I headed out again for a straight wonderful 26mi. Indeed, the only reason I'm not still out there is my legs are starting to rebel and it's getting dark. I gotta get some lights for my girl.

Before setting out, I checked my tire pressure for the first time: found 6.5psi in the front, 8.5psi in the back. I'm used to running in the 65-100psi range. Single digits boggle my mind a bit. I inflated both to about 12psi and found that helped a lot with the tread noise on pavement. Also let me spin a little faster before the bouncing set in. Made no traction difference on the mild dirt trails I mostly hit today.

I did find a section of 'gravel' in the thumb to fist sized range, with the occasional baby head. The kind of rock field I wouldn't even consider trying to ride with any of my other bikes. The Ice Cream Truck barely noticed and ate the rocks up without complaint or drama, just fun. I love this bike. I love it!

I was able to hit 25.5mph on more or less flat paved ground, coming off a small hill at 18mph and accelerating from there. Along about 22mph, you can actually feel the tires' tread grabbing air and slowing you down. I've felt it on MTBs with knobbies north of 30mph, but never this pronounced. Despite the drag, the bike was rock solid and I never made it to the 10-tooth cog that's its tallest gear.

I rode part of the Highline Canal, a regular route segment for me. At one point, the canal crosses a major highway. There are two options: cross 4 lanes of high speed traffic, or duck into the canal (if it's dry) and ride the underpass. I end up doing the latter a lot, but typically walk the bike down and back out of the canal. I have climbed out on my touring bike, but going in it's very steep and loose, and I know better than to try. Enter the Ice Cream Truck. Today I pointed the front end into the canal and went. It was a joke. Climbing back out was a little work, but so much easier than it's ever been before. Those monster meats just grab whatever is in reach, and hang on like glue. They're big enough to render lots of real estate in reach.

This bike is not particularly fast, but it makes up for that by being a straight party to ride. It could make me a very lazy cyclist in the respect that I don't have to think at all to ride most of my favorite dirt trails. The monster meats just soak up whatever is thrown at them. Features that force thought and planning to safely negotiate on the touring bike are simply not features at all so far as the Ice Cream Truck is concerned. I intentionally rode into several washouts and other edge traps today, and the bike simply never noticed.

I also discovered a strange phenomenon: I ride an Ice Cream Truck which appears to be drawn to ice cream shops. At least she has good taste: I ended up at a favorite frozen custard shop, where I found some proper short term fuel before heading out again.

I seriously never want to get off this bike. It is so much fun!
 
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