I really suck at updating this, but I have some photos I also want to post. Norman came for a visit which was nice. He will be moving up here in August, shortly before I head out again. Right now he is in Israel though, which means no phone calls for a little while. I set up an SSH account on my VPS for him so he can have access to Hulu and other sites that don’t allow access to people outside of the US. While he was here we road around Minneapolis and St. Paul, but didn’t make it down to the falls. I guess that will be saved for when he moves. We have also planned for some pretty long rides for when he has down time. Minneapolis to Mankato is on the list, as well as some other places. It should be nice having someone actively pulling me out for rides, as some days that is just what I need.
Speaking of riding I have been trying to get my 12 mile route down to under a half hour. I think I got it to about 45 minutes which is averaging 16mph… I want to average over 20mph though as once I do that I should be able to cover 80 miles in around 4-5 hours once I build up my endurance. First thing is building up my continuous speed though. It would be great to eventually be able to bike to Brainerd, MN in a single day. I had a goal of 200 miles in a day, but I will save that for next summer when I have a lighter bike with more gears than one. The end of June I will be biking to Brainerd, but likely will just find somewhere to stay in St. Cloud.
As far as the photos go, here they are…
All of the photos were just taken with my point and shoot, but I like how they came out. Of course I did a bit of editing on them, as I usually do.
Oh man, we just got hit hard and wcco predicts up to 20 inches of snowfall by end of day today. Pretty amazing, and more amazing to see all of the cars and trucks that can’t make it through. Good thing I am on my bicycle with slicks. Definitely had to make a photo run, which turned out alright considering all I had was my point and shoot. I should have brought back more than juice from the grocery store though. I always seem to fail at planning.
This was the view outside my window this morning
Heading to Target
My bike started getting stuck in the snow around here. It is standing up right now which says something
Here is the view approaching downtown
Made it to Target
Locking up my bike while I walk around the skyway
Nothing special, just liked the Christmas lights (try and spot the tree)
I really enjoyed this view.
On my way home I stopped on one of the major streets to grab this photo
Welp, I made it to Phoenix. This place keeps changing, but it still means a lot to me. I almost forgot how bad the drivers here are, but sure enough I had a black Toyota remind me. It turns out that by using the bike lane instead of the actual lane, I put myself in a more dangerous situation. As I was cruising along with traffic on University a car decides to right hook me. It was pretty intense, especially while clipped it. I did some crazy acrobatics which was kind of awesome, but despite my awesome reflexes, the speed was a bit too much to come out unscathed.
My wrist is a little wonky, and the area above the wrist is bruised in a very unnatural way so I am heading over for x-rays tomorrow. I can type though, which is good. I kept it wrapped and Norman gave me an ice pack to keep the swelling down and in the morning my mom picked me and my bicycle up from Tempe.
The girl who hit me seemed like she was genuinely concerned and willing to stay with me which was nice. I just suck at getting girls’ numbers so I gave her mine and said she could call if she wanted to make sure I was still okay later. She didn’t end up calling, but that is fine. We were probably keeping pace with each other for about a block, and at one point I saw her texting, so it wasn’t too surprising she didn’t see me before she turned. Anyhow, what’s done is done, and it is my fault for not getting her contact information.
I will probably post the photos tomorrow, but if you want to see them now just take a look at my flickr.
I arrived in Sioux Falls Thursday after staying in Pipestone the night before. It was a decent 50 mile ride which made for a pretty intense ride. I ended up leaving Pipestone around 11:30am and tried making it around 6pm, but ended up being a bit late. I have a place to stay here thanks to fellow couch surfer Bridgette which made staying in Sioux Falls nice. Between the headwinds and hills though I am going to have to tap out on this trip. I also broke my laptop the day I got in by dropping it outside of a gas station. Luckily I had paid off enough of my credit card to where I could put the second cheapest laptop walmart had available on credit.
I should probably write a little about Marshall, MN as it was one of the larger towns I went through. I ended up finally rolling into town pretty late, and asked the gas station where I should get some food and camp out. The concensus was Applebees because it was open and had half price appetizers at the time I showed up.
Applebees actually made for an interesting story in itself. I ended up getting a booth in the corner, next to a group of 12-14 people who took up a couple tables. There was a tone that sounded like a cicada eminatting from my corner of the restraunt and the group of people kept looking over. Eventually I said it wasn’t me, and it then stopped. Minutes later it started back up and they looked over again. This time it was distracting enough for the waitresses and others to also look to my corner. Sure enough we all start looking for what is causing this noise, and sure enough the little guy was on my leg and the people I told the noise wasn’t me said it was me after all. We had a good laugh and then awkwardly went back to our meals.
Pipestone really didn’t have any good stories, and even my flat tire was pretty uneventful. I did however crash around 17 miles outside of the city the night before because I just couldn’t push myself any further. I camped out at a gas station and lit matches one by one in the 50 something degree weather to stay warm. Next ride I will bring a sleeping bag, even if the season is summer.
So here I am, in Sioux Falls. I copped out and my mom is flying me back home until I think of what is next on my todo list. I have more photos to add, some of which are pretty darn awesome. I also have a good story about an open highway and me marking my territory, but that will have to wait.
I have a new respect for people who do full out bike tours. They often take roads that aren’t paved and pull 60lbs of weight up hills. People who tour often have some serious willpower. I also finally am realizing why so many cyclists who do tours use mountain bikes. Having a high bottom bracket and mountain bike tires would have been amazing a couple days ago. I think if I could design my ultimate touring bike it would be a really short top tube, decent sized seat tube with a high bottom bracket, wide fork and chainstays, front & rear rack, easy laptop access pocket, 700×32 tires with small tread (think cyclocross), and both standard drop bar brakes and the interceptor brakes for holding the bars close to the stem. Oh yeah, it would also weigh negative pounds so the only weight would be the gear. That would be awesome. The granny chainring has come in ridiculously handy from all of the headwinds, so the bike would definitely have a triple crankset with granny chainring.
I am now in Granite Falls, MN. AT&T has no signal here, and it is just small enough of a town where there are no coffee shops with wi-fi access. They do have a public library though, which is where I am now. They limit the internet to four hours a day though, which is a bit sad. It isn’t like libraries are charged per bit sent.
I met a group of people my first day riding that were in Winsted, MN for a Christian music festival. I ended up using the lake in Winsted for my first bath of the trip. Lake water definitely has a better smell than BO. My merino shirts are holding up well though. One of the kids in the group, Adam, now wants to try and ride to Texas. I told him it would be better for him if he could find someone to ride with, as it gets a bit lonely on the road. You aren’t going to see anyone again that you meet on the road.
My next decent stop was Hutchinson. I am glad I came around that town when I did because they had a 24 hour wal-mart. Basically the only thing open after I waited out the weather in a coffee shop (that closed at 8pm). I met a couple people at the coffee shop, one who seemed really interested and asked how he could follow the progress of the trip. I like having a short domain for my blog. I picked up a thermal and a new case for my iphone that was on clearance. The case also gives my iphone a bit extra juice which has come in handy a couple of times. The towns between Hutchinson and Granite falls were sparse for a while, so I had to rely on GPS often to try to find a place that I could pick up some water.
Overall the past two days have been an interesting experience. I discovered I should not rely on google biking directions, as they might put me on a snowmobile path that hasn’t been cleared out likely since before last winter. More on that in the pictures (only some are being posted now). I think people out here are responding well to me riding on the highways, and I think it has something to do with my bike loaded up to the brim (making it easy to tell I am going somewhere far). I probably look like a homeless person though, as I haven’t shaved in 2 days and am pretty sunburned. Riding in the day is not a good thing.
So this one is from the “giant cob” in Olivia, MN. The town really wasn’t for me, but the people were nice.
The next one is of a storm that was fast approaching and I luckily got to the next city for shelter just in time.
I just thought this one looked neat.
I will upload more photos when I get to Marshall, MN I think. I still need to figure out my route a little better so I can plan it around working in the day.
Some awesome photos, but I really am dragging from all of my gear. I will upload the photos tomorrow,, because the coffee shop I am at is closing in 20 minutes. I got some neat ones of a storm approaching and some good ones of the trail and the “trail” that was not for bikes. I also took a bath in a warm lake which turned out pretty nice because I felt gross. I will probably update this post as well more thought out words. Just giving people an update.
Critical Mass was last night, and since I am trying to be a little bit more of an asshole I figured I should ride. The group broke off a couple times: once for a house show, once for fear of the highway. It was sad to lose so many people, but it ended well. We ended up going on top of a parking garage that was 8 levels. We hung there for a while and then headed off for another ride where we picked up a couple people along the way. I heard one of the lamest pick up lines ever and eventually broke off to grab some food and head to a show. Anyhow, here are the photos.
Here is someone trying out a tallbike for the first time…
The project is in a running state so I decided to take a ride. I basically got lost coming out of Fort Snelling area, but thanks to some helpful people got back on the right track. I got in a few good photos while riding around too which was nice. I also picked up some hazelnut chocolate, ginger snaps, a cheese grater (finally), and a new can opener because the last one broke.
Here are a few of the photos I took, my favorite one being of the dog.
I am a little rusty it seems, but I plan on working on that this summer as well as biking more.
I know these posts probably get old, but I mapped out a good route for tomorrow. It is around 18 miles, I couldn’t actually get the path to follow the bike paths, so this is just an approximation. I am hoping writing it down will make me more motivated. Also on the agenda for tomorrow is to watch the new episode of Defying Gravity and Psych which are both awesome shows. Feel free to try out the path I have mapped if you want a nice bicycle route to follow in Minneapolis and live anywhere near the greenway.
UPDATE: So my planned route was diverted due to a closed Dairy Queen and a mistaken lake. I thought I was at Lake Harriet when I was only at Lake Hiawatha. Anyhow, it was still around 10 miles and I got some photos. Better a 10 mile ride than no ride, right?
The West River Parkway bicycle path is being redone, so far so good with a nice, smooth blacktop. Once it is complete I might even start riding my new route more often. The bike path was pretty bad over there, so bad that the streets had less bumps.
UPDATE: The photos are up, click on the photo below to see all of them.