Still Waiting To Hear About the Calfee & Lost Keys….

The tandem was delivered to Calfee by FedEx on Friday afternoon around 2:30pm, according to their tracking system.  With any luck perhaps we’ll get the initial prognosis early this week. Given that we’ll be out-of-town next weekend, we’re not biting our nails. However, we do have the next PEACHES ride on September 13th out in Madison, Georgia, so fingers crossed… we’ll have it back by Friday the 11th so I can build it back up early on Saturday morning, take it out for a shake-down on Saturday late morning ahead of Sunday’s ride.  Time will tell…   Shipping is likely the long pole in the tent, as always.

As far as any riding around here, I was able to get out for what turned out to be quite a few off-road miles on Friday afternoon.  I’d had my usual off-Friday morning errands to run and met Debbie for lunch at The Red Eye’s Mule.  My to-do list was down to two items: wash the BMW R1100S and go for a bike ride.  Well, given that the headlight for the BMW still isn’t even due into the warehouse in Germany until September 3rd (it’s been on order since early July, noting that I’ve received and had to return two defective headlights since 8 July) getting the BMW all prettied back up before pressing her back into service for my daily commute to work still is anything by an urgent need.  That moves go for a bike ride to the top of the list and by golly, that’s what I was going to do with my afternoon.

20150828_145656I think I left the house around 2:00 and was on the trail by 2:30. I rode the 5.5 mile Turtle Back Loop & Spur and then rode the 7 miles that make up the Mason’s Bridge/Bluff loop with its various connectors.  I stopped twice to take phone calls and once to grab a selfie with one of the two Triceratops toy dinosaurs, noting both of them had moved since my last visit.

20150828_154315

I must say, the older of the two toys that found their way onto our local trails was looking pretty sad.  The fabric covering her tail had come off and I did my best to hang it back on and tuck it in to keep it in place. However, she was missing the horn on her nose and most of the fabric around her nose; oh, what a pity.  But, it’s still a lot of fun to encounter these things so my thanks to whoever it is that brought them to our trail and who keeps it interesting by moving them around.

It had been a great day on the trail… right up and until I got back to my truck and discovered my keys had gone missing from my Camelbak out there on the 7 miles that make up the Mason Bridge/Spur loop.  No, no hidden key on the truck either.  I’d removed it for some other purpose a long time ago and never put it back.  The ride home wouldn’t be all that bad: it’s about 4 miles.  Of course, getting home didn’t do me any good since the house key was on the same key ring that I’d lost with my truck keys; doh!

Since I’d have time to kill — noting I’d be waiting until 5:30 or so when Debbie got home to get into the house — and although something of a fool’s errand, I went ahead and re-rode the Mason Bridge/Spur loop at a much slower pace and with my eyes glued to the ground, scanning for black plastic FOB shaped objects and shiny keys.  Let me first say, riding these trails slowly sure as heck seemed like a lot more work than riding them at a normal clip.  Looking for a set of keys on 7 miles of single track is definitely right up there with the old ‘looking for a needle in a haystack’.  There were a couple of places where I thought I had been jostled pretty well on the loop where my keys went missing, but even an off-the-bike search of those spots yielded nothing.  So, having failed in my fool’s errand, I pointed my Dean Scout towards home for the 4 mile road ride on off-road tires.

Let me just say, my hats off to the folks who get out there on the road with their mountain bikes.  I’d forgotten just how much drag knobbies on asphalt generate.  No kidding, that 4 mile ride home was as much or more work than either of the two loops I’d ridden on earlier.  But, that said, I made it home around 5:15 and the lovely Miss Debbie arrived home around 5:50, so I enjoyed some quiet time on the breezeway which was nice.

Friday night was the usual: fajitas at Loco Willy’s.  Afterwards we headed over to Brewsters Bar & Grill where we met with our motorcycling friends and had a grand old time, as best as I can remember.  Debbie was tea-totaling for the evening and the designated driver, so no worries there, eh?

As far as any other cycling this weekend, while Debbie had hinted she might be willing to throw a leg over the Ventana and head to the trails, we were scheduled to celebrate our youngest granddaughter’s — Vivian Rose — birthday from 11:00am until 1:00pm.  Yeah, well, in that we were also helping to get things picked up and delivered to the affair, the morning was all but consumed so no time for a bike ride then.  While I excused myself a little early so that I could get some new keys made, Debbie stayed on until 3:00pm helping with the clean-up.  So, that pretty much ruled out an afternoon off-road tandem ride or a road ride on the singles as she was pretty tired by the time all was said and done.

20150830_133607Sunday was literally a wash-out, as it rained all morning… saturating the trails.   When our trails are wet, our trails are closed.  As for any hope of an afternoon ride, by the time we made our afternoon trip to Loco Willy’s for hot wings, any hope of getting back home and hitting the road had also been dashed as we stopped to visit with a friend at the local Harley dealership and before we knew it, it was pushing 4:00pm by the time we rolled in the driveway back at home.  With grocery shopping and other honey-do’s still yet to be accomplished before Sunday became Monday, that was all she wrote.

So, we’ll look forward to hearing something about the tandem this week and hopefully it will get fixed and be sent on its way back home by the end of this coming week, which would put it in my hands by the middle of next week.  That would be a good thing!

More to follow…

Posted in Bloggishnish | Leave a comment

Calfee Tandem Headed For A Check-Up After Coupler Loosens Up…

20150823_125739After our tandem ride on Sunday I made an interesting discovery as I lifted our Calfee tandem to put it back into storage until next weekend.

At issue was one of the four couplers — that little silver fitting you see next to my right shin and above Debbie’s left knee on the top tube of our tandem frame.

For those not familiar with S&S Bicycle Torque Couplings, I did a blog entry about them in November 2012 that you can read HERE.  Below is what one looks like before it’s installed.

ti coupler

Invented 23 years ago, these expertly designed and machined mechanical couplings allow bicycle frames to be broken down so they can be packed into checkable suitcases (or, at least what were checkable suitcases before airlines turned baggage into a revenue stream) or into smaller cars, taken on trains, etc.  To make them work with the composite tubes on a Calfee, a titanium coupler sleeve has to be used instead of steel to prevent galvanic corrosion, making the couplers for a Calfee a bit more expensive than most. The coupler’s titanium sleeve is pressed into and welded to a longer titanium sleeve that, in turn, gets inserted and bonded to the inside of the composite frame tubes. I should note, after our tandem was built, S&S Machine and Calfee introduced a less-expensive aluminum coupler so aluminum sleeves would logically be used on Calfee travel tandems produced with the aluminum couplers.

20150823_135106I make mention of all this because today I think that weld broke on one of our couplers. Now, before anyone looks at the photo of the coupler sitting next to the top tube gets excited and assumes the coupler or composite tube sheered in half, that’s not what happened.  In fact, the small (inner) sleeve you see sticking out from the coupler nut was still fully inserted in the top tube’s outer sleeve.  Moreover, the joint where the coupler is located is held in compression when two people are on the bike and riding, which is to say, the front and back-end of the top tube are being pushed together. So, there was no chance the coupler or frame was going to be pulled apart, never mind having a sheer-type failure due to torsional loads.  Now, to be sure, there were torsional (twisting) loads at that coupler; however, the rigidity of those sleeves and of the rest of the frame was such that I certainly couldn’t tell the coupler weld joint had failed during our ride.

In fact, I didn’t discover the loose joint until I felt and heard a slight clunk in the frame as I lifted the bike to hang it from the garage ceiling until next weekend.  It only became obvious because by lifting the bike I put the top tube under tension, which is to say the opposite ends of the tube were now pulling at the middle of the tube. That was, as I said, when it became obvious I had a problem.

After loosening all four couplers I was able to remove the top tube from the frame so I could more closely inspect the coupler nut.  Yes, the tandem had a freaky appearance with the top tube removed.  It just looks like the brake cable is holding the whole thing together when, in fact, the very, very slight compression loads from the static weight of the tandem’s front and rear end are trying to push the two saddles towards each other.

20150823_135052

It was only after I had the tube out of the frame I was able to slowly extract the coupler with its sleeve attached from the composite frame tube: it was a very tight interface, even after the spirited ride and all of the various loads that were working on that frame joint.  Once I had the nut separated from the tube I realized there wasn’t going to be any easy fix I could make to either temporarily or permanently solve the problem.

I shot a note off to our friend and builder Craig Calfee around 3:00pm with a photo of the failed joint and my sad story.  He replied to my note a mere 4.5 hours later with instructions to send the frame back to Calfee in LaSelva Beach, California so they can give it a complete going-over.  Craig noted this was the first failure of this type he’d seen. There was a similar failure several years ago when a coupler became un-bonded, but this wasn’t a dis-bond: this appears to be a broken weld.  Again, the take away was, get the frame to us and we’ll take a look.  Can’t ask for much more than that… on a Sunday night no less!

With that guidance from Craig in hand, I knocked down the tandem to just the frame, pulled a box out of the attic that was about the right size. I had the tandem packed by 9:30pm Sunday night and it was in capable hands of FedEx at 9:30am on Monday morning bound for California.  It’s a 3-4 day trip by ground, so hopefully it will be at Calfee by Friday.

20150823_203155 20150823_214300

We’ll learn more about what may have happened after the frame arrives when Craig and/or his technicians are able to give it a closer look.  It does no good to speculate at this point but I’m confident that we’ll have her back and she’ll be great.

Now, I would be remiss if I did not note that we have some awesome friends who immediately jumped in to offer up spare tandems for us to use until our Calfee is returned: we are truly blessed with great friends!  Now, we used to have a spare road tandem but sold that to some friends down in Florida about 20 months ago.  However, unless we hear that the repair and return of the tandem will take more than a couple weeks Debbie and I both have and ride single bikes so we may just give riding side-by-side a shot vs. riding in tandem.  I mentioned that we could always hop on the mountain tandem and got a look, but that was followed by a “maybe”.  So, there’s a possibility that we’ll be playing in the dirt  if it’s dirt and not mud next weekend: our trails close when they’re wet.

Again, more to follow.  It’s a bummer that the coupling came loose, but mechanical things do what they do for a reason and that’ll get sorted out.  It’s just nice to have relationships with the people like Craig who own the companies and who often times actually put their hands on the bikes during construction or when a post-delivery modification is needed.  There’s a reason that all of our frames (sans the two Bianchi’s) were made by people we know: it makes a difference if you plan to hold on to your bikes and put big miles on them.

Posted in Bloggishnish, Tandem Folks, Technology & Equip. | 2 Comments

New Old Stock Helmets!!! No, You Won’t Notice Anything Different….

After our ride on Saturday I decided it was time to retire our Limar 951 helmets as they’ve been in use since 2007. Some of my helmet padding was beginning to delaminate and Debbie’s straps and brow padding had been washed about as many times as they could stand.  So, what did I replace them with?  Limar 951’s!

20150822_120743

Yup, back when I found the Limar 951’s I liked them so much and the sale price was so attractive that I’ve had a second pair tucked away on the top shelf of the closet in their original boxes.  So, don’t expect us to be sporting a new look, as we’re simply wearing brand new, new old stock (NOS) versions of the exact same helmets we’ve been wearing.

As to concerns about the “age” of the helmets, given how they’ve been stored in a very climate controlled environment with almost zero temperature and humidity fluctuation (72°F – 80°F @ 35% – 45% humidity) and no UV light exposure, they should be able to provide all of their shock absorbing characteristics as well as they did when then were made in June 2006. Yes, they have born-on-dating.

It was nice slipping on brand new helmets that fit and felt just like the ones we retired for Sunday’s ride.  It was one of those things where any differences were so minor that within five minutes of putting on the new helmets we were both completely dialed-in to the new lids.

I was also able to cannibalize the two helmets that were being retired to come up with one helmet that we can offer up to our guest stoker / tail gunner on the triplet since she really, really, really likes to have matching apparel. Her helmet is white and our Limar 951’s have a faux carbon look, so we’ve been anything but a match over the past several years.  With the new 951’s called-up for duty and the “spare” helmet, I think we’ll finally have that “team look” that Lisa really enjoys.

Posted in Technology & Equip. | Leave a comment

Two for Two This Weekend Despite the Weather…

20150822_103318We headed into the weekend looking forward to two days of cycling and we’re able to achieve that goal.  We headed out around 9:30am on Saturday which was relatively early for us for a very enjoyable 25 mile ride on our usual loop ride from the house on what was an absolutely lovely morning.  The temperature was in the low-80’s with about 60% humidity and lovely blue skies with puffy white clouds.  Our average speed reflected a slightly faster than usual tempo which was also nice since neither of us felt like we worked all that much harder than normal.  Again, just a wonderful morning to be out on the bicycle.

After getting back from our tandem ride I turned my attention to yard work while Debbie headed out to get groceries for the week ahead.  After knocking out the yard work I hopped on the black Dyna Wide Glide and headed off to REI in search of padded cycling socks.

As a mixed blessing, I’ve slowly lost about 25 lbs over the last 18 months. Therefore, I’ve had to have all of my suit pants taken-in and cycled through four sizes of blue jeans.  Apparently my feet have also lost a little “padding” and I’ve found that unless I wear thicker socks I can’t get my cycling shoes to fit properly.  So, I’ve had to retire about 10 pair of ‘thin’ cycling socks and now need to supplement what are now just two pair of padded Smart Wool socks: the other two pair have gone missing (???).

Darn Tough11_25_13This time around I decided to pick up some Darn Tough socks from Vermont at REI, as an alternative to the Smart Wool.  I’ve had great luck with Smart Wool’s cycling socks, but the boot socks I bought for my western boots (well, OK.. they’re actually ski socks) have not held up as well as I’d have expected, with the heels wearing through to being nearly thread bare.  So, we’ll see how these “Endurance” cycling socks stack up against the Smart Wool variety.  When the Smart Wool boot socks finally wear-out (not sure I can darn them but we’ll see), Darn Tough may get the call given their life-time replacement warranty.

20150822_161858Back at the house, I decided to grab a little sun to knock down the cyclist / farmer tan on my legs and arms.  As it turns out, I got a pretty good tan while we were in Florida over the 4th of July and for the first time in my adult life I’ve been able to maintain it.  Hence, several references to “getting some sun and vitamin D”.  Yeah, yeah… I’ll probably come to regret it at some point.  But, so far I’ve been able to avoid getting sun burn through the use of sun screen and maintaining the tan I picked up in Florida.  We’ll see how it holds up through the winter (ha, ha).

11880669_1060395340645145_2609855399353241951_nAfter “chilling” for an hour in the late afternoon we began Saturday night with the “usual” routine, which was dinner at Loco Willy’s.  As we’ve mentioned time and again, the best things at Loco Willy’s are usually not on the menu. Charles made it particularly difficult to choose this week with a couple new specials that were in addition to the James River oysters and some amazing smoked BBQ ribs.  We were pulled in by the Ahi Pike Won Ton Tacos and the Kalibri pork ribs, which we split as our dinner.  Not a lot of food, but Tapas (appetizers) never are. The Ahi was, well, Ahi… delicious with a nice twist. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth good.  Again, not the kind of food that will fill you up, but our taste buds were definitely dancing.

We headed over to Brewsters Bar & Grille after Willy’s as they always have a good bands that start at 8:00pm instead of 9:00pm or 10:00pm.  Now, the bands are typically on Friday, but given Saturday was their Lobster Fest they had a band called Big Bang playing on Saturday. We found a number of our friends when we arrived and had a pretty good time for the hour we were there, getting in a few dances and chatting with friends. However, we wanted to catch our friend Roger’s band Exodus over at the Highland Grill on Johnson’s Ferry Road at 9:00pm.; always good to support your friends when you can!

We were pleasantly surprised to find some of the folks we expected to be on hand — Eve, Mitzi & John — but were also thrilled to find our friend Roger B. who had relocated to Fort Myers, Florida, hanging out at the club.  We had a great time and got in a good amount of dancing which is what Saturday nights are all about!  I think it was around 11:00pm when we headed out and checked-in back at Brewsters to see who was still on hand.  It was a different crowd and the band was on break so we headed on over to the Town Center Highlands Grill where our friend Sarge was doing his Karaoke thing with the college kids from Kennesaw State.  We had a night cap while listening to a really good Meatloaf tribute from one of the singers before calling it an evening around midnight.  It was s good night out, but we probably should have headed to Nashville and just camped out at the Two Fiddles or Crossroads, always a great time a TONS of dancing!!!

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.46.19 AMWhen I woke up at 6:00am I could hear a strong, steady rain falling outside which clearly put our morning tandem ride in jeopardy.  We’d heard there was a 40% chance of rain but for us that became 100% overnight night.  There appear to be a few periods of time during the day when the rain would clear for at least an hour or two so we set our sights on that and went about our Sunday indoor chores.

I think it was around 11:30 when the sun finally broke through the clouds and the promise of a tandem ride became a bit more real. To hedge our bets I put the mud guards on the tandem which would take care of the remaining wet spots on the tree covered roads as well as any rain that we might encounter.

20150823_125731Like Saturday, we had a very good ride where our ride tempo was above average for what we’ve seen all year; that’s a good thing!  The temps were nice but the humidity was pretty oppressing whenever we came to a stop. So, our strategy was, let’s not stop!  We kept our tempo high for the entire ride and it really was a great time on the bike. 20150823_125748Having the mud guards on really paid off as well, as there were a lot of lingering wet patches of road where we would have been splattered with all kinds of road crud if it wasn’t for our mud guards.

Debbie was looking fine as always sporting a new helmet and relatively new Tifosi glasses.  I got to try out my new helmet — OK, they’re the exact same models as the ones we’ve been wearing for 8 years  — and the new Darn Tough socks.  Helmet felt just like the old one, and the socks were really nice: I liked the low-cut cuff design a lot more than the crew cuff on the Smart Wood cycling socks.

Yes, I’m back to shaving my legs: it’s just a really hard habit to knock. I’d abstained until I dropped my weight but having met and surpassed that goal, I’m back to slick legs and it feels great.  It also ties in nicely with my new clean-cut / goatee-less look.  I’d toyed with growing the goatee back a few days this week, as evidenced by Saturday’s cycling selfie, but as you could see in today’s selfie the stubble was gone again.

After our ride I discovered that we had a frame issue on the Calfee which I’ll cover in a separate blog entry.  However, suffices to say, the Calfee is “grounded” for a while until the frame is made whole again.

On the bright side, while we no longer have a spare tandem, we do have our single bikes and our tandem family has come through an offered up spare tandems to fill any void left while we get our Calfee sorted out.  This is why we love our tandem family: they’re always there for you… ready to open their homes, share tandems and make sure that we can always continue to pursue our passion for tandem cycling.

I will say, my tank was empty when we got back home so after grabbing a coupe showers we jumped on Blue and headed off to Loco Willy’s for our Sunday hot wing fest.  It did not disappoint; the maggies were cold, the wings hot, the fries crisp and our friends on both sides of the bar were a joy to be around: I think it’s the combination of the great people, good food and avoiding eating alone at home that keeps sending us back to Loco’s.

After lunch we headed over to our friends Katelyn and Zack’s house-warming. Well, to be exact, it was Katelyn’s house-warming: Zack is reaping the benefits in a quid quo pro kind of arrangement.  However, we’re confident he’ll make good and close the deal in the not too distant future: love those kids!!!!  We also were reminded of how small the world is as we met quite a few of our Brewsters / Panama City Beach Bike Week friends there along with some co-workers from the Big-L.

So, here I sit on the veranda at home relaxing, collecting my thoughts and enjoying some pre-season football on the tele with beautiful blue skies and the ceiling fan cascading lovely late summer air over my head.  Yeah, work is waiting for me on the other side, but a nice evening at home with a ride to work on the Harley makes the whole work thing a pretty good deal. After all, without work, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy these weekends and our not-that-inexpensive hobbies.  Just something to keep in mind….

Posted in Bloggishnish, Tandem Folks | Leave a comment

This Past Weekend… Hour-by-Hour

Cycling related content in Bold Blue typeface!

Friday

  • 6:30am –  Up, finish light work-out, lite breakfast and into the home office to do a little work.
  • 8:00am – Drop-off dry cleaning, wash the truck, and then hit Walmart for “stuff”.
  • 9:30am – Finish truck cleaning with a quick detailing back at home.
  • 10:00am – Teleconference with financial adviser.
  • 10:30am – Off to Costco for provisions.
  • 11:00am – Stopped by High Plains and picked up a pair of jeans as all of my other ones were all starting to feel baggy; heaven forbid I try to fill them back in. Sadly, I ended up getting the wrong ones (Levis 517 vs. 527), so a trip to Horsetown is in our future this weekend.
  • 11:30am – Meet Miss Debbie for lunch at The Red Eyed Mule.
  • 20150814_13475912:30pm – Hit the local trails on the Dean Scout for a 90-minute ride to work-off lunch, aggression and be reminded why cycling continues to be a huge part of our life!  Oh yeah, grabbed selfie with Playskool Triceratops that found its way onto the local trails.
  • 2:00pm – Harley-Davidson Atlanta (HDA) calls to let me know our Road King “Blue” is ready for pick-up after a pro tune on the dyno; time to get off the trail.
  • fb_img_14395826943923:00pm – After heading home, taking a quick shower, hooking up the trailer and driving 30 minutes to HDA, spend 10 minutes talking with the HDA tech who did the dyno run, then paid-out, loaded Blue on the trailer and headed home.
  • 4:00pm – Diagnosed a floppy kick stand on Blue caused when I banged the kick stand spring loading the bike on the trailer: call HDA and confirm they have several in stock.
  • 4;30pm – Clean blue, unhitch trailer and put it in the garage for one more night.
  • 5:00pm – Head upstairs to get ready for dinner-out with Miss Debbie.
  • 5:30pm – Miss Debbie arrives at home and shortly thereafter we’re on our way to Loco Willy’s in the truck. Great time at Loco’s with partners in crime, David & Deb, and wonderful food: 1/2 dozen raw James River oysters and steak fajitas.
  • 8:30pm – Leave Loco’s and head to Brewsters Bar & Grille where the great local band “No Sweat” is playing.
  • 1:00am – Head home from Brewsters after another crazy evening out.
  • 1:30am – Sit and talk with Debbie for about an hour before finally calling it a night.

Saturday

  • 7:00am – Up, light workout, lite breakfast, start laundry, check Email / FB / Work Email.
  • 8:00am – Hook up the trailer to the truck and return it to my friend David’s house about 20 minutes away.
  • 9:00am – Hop on Black Dyna Wide Glide and make the 20-mile / 30-minute ride down to HDA to pick up kick stand springs.
  • 10:00am – Back at home, check on Miss Debbie (she’s still getting her 8 hours of sleep; I only need 4), throw 1st load of laundry in dryer, 2nd load in washer.
  • 10:15am – Replace damaged kickstand spring on Blue with new one.
  • 10:45am – Greet Miss Debbie who is now up and around.
  • 11:00am – Out to garage to install some 3M Stoneguard on Blue’s side covers.
  • 20150509_1714271:00pm – Head out for a 25-mile tandem ride with Miss Debbie: it’s hot, but not as hot as it has been: humidity is also low. Great ride!!!
  • 3:00pm – More laundry loads and then head to backyard to relax for an hour with Miss Debbie on the mini-chaise lounge while soaking up some sun and Vitamin D.
  • 4:00pm – Time to do the yard work: edge, trim and cut the lawn, pull weeds and the like. Finish up laundry.
  • 5:30pm – Load tandem bicycle into truck with other gear for Sunday’s tandem club ride down in Newton, GA.
  • 20150815_1843496:00pm – Cleaned-up and headed over to Loco Willy’s for dinner: Willenberger with fries and margaritas. Had the pleasure of meeting the owner’s wife and her parents: great time!
  • 8:00pm – Headed for home; we’ve got to be up a 6:15am for Sunday’s tandem ride.
  • 8:30pm – Relaxing with Miss Debbie on the breezeway with the fan blowing and pre-season football on the tele; what could be better!!
  • 11:00pm – Debbie calls it a night and I go in the house to do some work on the computer; eventually falling asleep… although I couldn’t say when.

Sunday

  • 6:00am – Up and getting ready to make the 70 minute / 80 mile drive down to Newnan, Georgia, for the April Georgia tandem club ride.
  • 7:10am – Out the door…
  • 20150816_1008288:10am – Arrive 20 minutes early and off around 8:30am for the 42-mile route option with three other couples: Roger & Eve, Randy & Claudia and Eric & Linda.  Coolish but incredibly humid with overcast skies, but otherwise a lovely morning to be out cycling with friends.
  • 11:30am – We finish the ride with our group mostly intact.  We tried to ride a steady tempo again and still seem to do fine on the climbs but have lost a few steps on the flat to rolling terrain: gotta work on that.  It was a beautiful ride, albeit one of those rides where you don’t realize that you’re making withdrawals from the elevation bank on the 1st half of the ride that you’ll have to pay back on the 2nd half. We opted to pass on the post-ride lunch and bid our friends a fond-farewell after completing the ride as there were a few things we wanted to do back at home.  However, we’re looking forward to September’s ride out in Madison where we’ll make a full day of it.
  • 11870770_948992895138793_1115121865608356700_n12:40am – Back at the house, we made quick work of getting ourselves out of our cycling gear and into clothing that would be more appropriate for a ride on Blue; first stop, Loco Willy’s for a plate of hot wings and home-made fries. Yes, we are indeed creatures of habit and savor our routine!  It keeps us level set, helps us mind our diets as we can predict with regularity how certain meals will affect our weight and performance and what we need to do (cycling & in week diet) to deal with that.
  • 2:00pm – After finishing up our wings and chatting with friends at Willy’s, we headed over to Horsetown so that I could pick up the right style of Levis 527 jeans.  The 517’s I’d bought on Friday were actually working out fine for riding the motorcycle, but there’s something about the cut of the 527 that make them a better choice for casual / social wear, noting that all I wear anymore is jeans: I’m not even sure I have a pair of khaki’s.
  • 3:00pm – After finding the right jeans as well as four lovely blouses for Miss Debbie, I thought about heading over to Killer Creek Harley-Davidson where they were having a Cruise ‘n Blues event. However, Debbie reminded me that we still had a few things to do back at the house to get ready for the week ahead so home we went.
  • 4:00pm – Debbie headed out to the grocery store while I grabbed a little sun out in the backyard and caught up on some reading.  I also knocked out an entry on my other blog that captured the fun and games associated with Blue’s dyno run & results.
  • 5:30pm – Debbie returned from the grocery store and got busy cooking up steaks and chicken for my weekday meals while I knocked out a few more chores around the house.
  • 11902470_949125538458862_3288034166394356684_n7:00pm – By the time was all said and done with finishing up the chores, Miss Debbie came to me and said, “I want some pizza for dinner; is that ok?”  Absolutely, so off to Olde Towne we went to split a 10″ Italian.
  • 8:30pm – Back at the house, it was time to chill and get our heads wrapped around the week ahead.
  • 10:30pm – Sadly, the weekend was truly over.  We called it a night and began to look forward to our next weekends, which include a house-warming, our youngest granddaughter’s 1st birthday, an overnight motorcycle trip to Gatlinburg, TN, tandem rides and alas repairing rotted wood / repainting the exterior of the house, some stacked stone wall repair, lawn repair and then back inside for other projects.
Posted in Bloggishnish | Leave a comment

Pedaling in Lake Wales By Kathy Foster

Once again we are pleased to share a Florida PANTHERS Post-Event Report from our guest contributor Kathy Foster.

Despite rain clouds covering most of Central Florida all weekend, the PANTHERS found two dry patches for biking on Saturday and Sunday, August 1st and 2nd. The Florida tandem club meets annually in August for a biking weekend in Lake Wales. Larry D. From New Port Richey said it was the only place in Florida that was dry on Saturday.

Now better known as the closest town to LegoLand, Lake Wales was once a stopping point for travelers and freight between the north and Miami and is making an effort to revive its picturesque downtown. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express north of town, which is just two miles from Florida’s Scenic Highway 17.

image1Saturday morning eight couples, including Jim and Sharon B. who had driven from Port Orange in the wee hours, gathered for an 8 a.m. start. Fearing rain, six teams chose the 39-mile ride. We were enjoying the scenery and the camaraderie and so we hung together. By the time we stopped at Lee’s Country Store for a break, we were deep into a rural Florida most of us rarely see. From Lee’s, the braver folks pedaled a loop around Lake Easy to get 55 miles. Jim B. says they saw Easy Street, too, and discovered it has a dead-end.

Saturday afternoon, Bill and I went downtown with Laura and Hugh A. to eat lunch at the highly recommended Lake Wales Family Restaurant. The food was good and plentiful, so much so that at dinnertime, we shared an entree.

FullSizeRender-1 Organizers Bob and Jan T. had made reservations for 16 at The Sizzling Grill for dinner. There was something to accommodate non-meat eaters like Gabe and Diana M. and Nancy R. The Chicken Parmesan Margaret and Tom F. ordered looked luscious. We shared the seafood platter, which was also good.

Again to avoid more rain clouds, we began our Sunday ride at 7:30 a.m. We saw many small lakes and passed through the small towns of Lake Hamilton, Dundee and right past Melonies Cafe, whose owner once sang about her pair of brand new roller skates. We made it back to the Holiday Inn ahead of the rain.

We look forward to seeing our PANTHER friends and plenty of other tandem riders at our next event, the Florida Tandem Rally Oct. 23-25 in The Villages. See floridatandemclub.org for details.

Posted in Events, Tandem Folks, Tandem Rallies | Leave a comment

One day on tandem and another in the dirt: I’m good with that!

This week was a bit of a roller-coaster….

DSCN1287Last weekend ended with our home’s 23-year old A/C systems — yes, plural… there are two of them — both going on the fritz during the hottest weekend of the year. The upstairs system was having a hard time keeping up for the last two seasons and was on it’s last leg: it was supposed to be a 3.0 ton system and only a 2.5 ton was installed. Amazing that it lasted as long as it did given how hard it was working! The downstairs was a 2.0 ton system that has been very reliable… until a baby Copperhead snake got into the electric box and bridged a circuit last Friday. Yup, that’s what killed the system.  After getting a local HVAC company out to diagnose the dead snake failure on Monday morning, I asked them for a new quote on both the upstairs and downstairs. The numbers were “good enough” so a five-man crew came out on Tuesday morning at 8:00am and didn’t leave until 5:00pm after installing two new compressors, two new cooling coils and two new furnaces. Yeah, pretty sobering in the wallet but at least the house has been cool ever since!

I worked from home on Monday morning, all day Tuesday and Wednesday as there were some “issues” with the initial installation that the super-tech had to solve on Wednesday. Thankfully, I’m able to do 90% of my job virtually so there was no real loss of productivity on the work front and I got to work in shorts and a T-shirt for two days instead of a suit! Pretty sweet!

I was also able to “knock off” from work early on Wednesday and headed over to the local off-road mountain bike trails for a nice 10-mile loop.  Man, if I could get back to an 8-hour or 9-hour day and get in an every evening off-road every day of the week I’d be one very happy camper!  Love the off-road riding: no motorists… actually, no anything. Even the trails seem empty as it’s rare to encounter another rider on the loops! What could be better.

The week ended with Finally a Friday at Loco Willy’s, per normal.  Our partners in crime were reduced to just one: David. Deb was not feeling up to par and passed on the evening. However, what made the evening a bit unusual was three co-workers sitting at the bar, which was quite unexpected.  I had a nice time visiting with them as I shuttled back and forth to Debbie & David.  We ended the evening at home with a movie… very nice.

20150808_150022Saturday’s highlight was a tandem ride with Miss Debbie.  Sure, there were quite a few chores around the house that had to be attended to and we had to drop Debbie’s little red sports car by Costco for the other 1/2 of it’s new set of Bridgestone tires, but the tandem ride defined Saturday afternoon!  Yes, I didn’t wear a helmet as it was in the back of the truck with the mountain bike and I didn’t feel like digging it out. Quite frankly, I miss all of those years of cycling without helmets before the helmet lobby / nanny state convinced the world that we were doomed if we rode a bicycle without one.  Yeah, well… it felt pretty darn nice having the wind blowing across my scalp on Saturday, so there!  And, I didn’t die!  Shocking….

11811446_945056252199124_8127443096019742740_nSaturday night became somewhat epic. We went to Loco Willy’s (yeah, there’s a surprise, we go there every Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and had a repeat of last week’s dinner: I had a 1/2 dozen raw oysters and a 1/2 dozen baked with bacon, cheese, garlic and butter. Debbie did the Salmon… OMG!  Great stuff!

After diner we headed over to Brewsters Bar & Grille because I mis-read a Facebook promo that cause me to believe a great local band — 3 Left Standing — would be playing.  Yeah, well, that will be on Saturday 22 Aug…  I forgot it was only 8 August!  But, imagine our surprise when we found the back table was filled with a bunch of our friends from Panama City Beach Bike Week.  Needless to say, we had an amazing night with a great group of dear friends.  We simply and without hesitation Love our motorcycling friends: they’re the best. They are all good souls without agendas who wear their hearts on their sleeves and always have their friend’s backs.  We were also celebrating our friend Missy’s birthday so it was an extra special time.

20150809_140942Sunday began early for me, but not for Miss Debbie who caught up on some much-needed rest. Since we weren’t able to get in a tandem ride, I grabbed the Ventana Marble Peak and headed back to the Allatoona Creek mountain bike trails for a quick loop. I finally made a point of stopping and grabbing a selfie with one of the two baby Triceratops who watch over the trails.

We ended the weekend with a motorcycle ride over to Loco Willy’s for hot wings around 3:30pm, sat out a short rain shower and got to know Corky a bit better: Corky is another Harley owner who frequents Loco’s on Sunday afternoons.  After our wings, we headed over to the Semper Fi Bar & Grille in Woodstock, a place that was just opened by our good friend Ralph with support from his awesome wife, Carrie.   They’re both retired U.S. Marines and owning a bar was on Ralph’s bucket list… a bar with a Marine Corps theme that will hopefully become a meeting place for service members who are looking for an alternative or supplement to the Legion Hall scene.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 7.21.49 PM

So, there you have it. Sure, there was a lot other stuff that went on during the weekend. I was able to keep our 23-year old refrigerator alive by replacing the ice maker’s water supply pump with a new unit, did a bunch of yard work, household chores, overhauled the tandem and my Ventana Marble Peak, deep cleaned the Honda S2000 after the tire change and 20150808_134900also cleaned and ‘polished’ Blue and the black Dyna Wide Glide with some Zaino products: they’re the best… really. Amazing stuff developed by chemists for car enthusiasts sold only over the internet. No marketing BS here; just darn good chemistry and fantastic results for over a decade since I started using it on Debbie’s little S2000.

I’ve got to hop on a plane Tuesday for a business trip that will delay putting Blue on a Dyno at Harley-Davidson of Atlanta to try and richen up the air fuel ration and bring down the engine temps, and obviously keep me off the trails.  Sure makes the argument for sticking with Plan A and retiring on 31 Jan ’16.  If it wasn’t for the skyrocketing cost of healthcare, this would be a no-brainer.

That’s it for now… Here’s hoping your roads are smooth, your temps mild and your time of the tandem plentiful.

Posted in Bloggishnish | Leave a comment