Three-Outta-Four Days of Cycling…

The second half of our long, Thanksgiving Day weekend delivered two more days of mild temperatures on Saturday and Sunday.


20151128_103741I made the best of the mild weather and clear skies on Saturday by heading out around 10:00am for my 2nd bicycle ride of the long weekend.  My ubiquitous cycling selfie created some well-meaning concern from my loving sister Betsy in northern Illinois and our dear friend Cheryl in Southeastern Pennsylvania since I opted to ‘go Euro’ and left my helmet at home.  Sorry, it’s just one of those things I do every now and again when I’m longing for those days when no one felt the need to wear a helmet when cycling, skiing, skateboarding, playing hockey, etc.

Editorial Rant: Part of me understands the concern, since an ounce of prevention could keep a minor incident from becoming a life-changing event. Then again, bicycle helmets didn’t become a common piece of safety equipment until I was in my mid-20’s and as I think back on all the crazy stuff we did on bicycles as kids… yeah, well. Somehow we survived before Bell Sport Group and it’s predecessors and peers created the need for just about every activity to ‘require’ a helmet. It was a good strategy as the company with just under 3,000 employees is generating $900M in sales each year and earning their CEO a generous $1.5M in salary and bonuses.  Yes, I’m a bit cynical because I always follow the money trail. But, I digress.

It was a great ride, much more spirited than Thursday’s ride with about a 1.5 mph higher average speed for the 20 mile loop.  While it didn’t feel strange riding without the helmet, it was strange riding without my rear view mirror.

With regard to the selfies when cycling, I suspect it’s something we do to let our friends know that we’re still ‘in the game’ and getting in a few miles.  It’s a cyclist thing I suspect, as it’s something we see from a lot of our cycling friends and, quite frankly, something we look forward to and enjoy seeing.  Call it a virtual post-ride social.

20151128_160500Once I was back at the house I did a little work on our new-to-us, duplicate replacement for our 2013 CVO Road King which is creeping ever closer to being road ready.  I’m still waiting for the aftermarket exhaust system and a driving light to come in along with the Florida title so I can get it properly registered / titled in Georgia.  But, I also need to confirm that a fix I made to the saddlebag speakers made the saddlebags water-tight, as they were taking on water when I brought the motorcycle home in a driving rain storm.

Around 1:30pm, Debbie and I went out to run some errands before heading over to a friend’s home on the other side of Lake Allatoona for a 60th birthday celebration.  With Debbie still being under the weather and on doctor’s order for limited activities we were only making an appearance for about 90 minutes, but it was good to get Debbie out of the house and out with friends for a bit.  We were back at home by 7:45pm for an evening of college football and a little hot apple pie and ice cream as a night-cap.


The weather outlook for Sunday was bleak and there was a little rain falling when I woke up around 7:00am. I’d hoped to get out for an early bicycle ride as the kids and grandkids would be coming by the house at 11:00am for our post-Thanksgiving get-together.  I used the down time to take care of laundry, some other honey-dos and also penning an update to my motorcycling blog.

The kids arrived shortly before 11:00am and we had a grand time.  The three little girls were all well-behaved and a joy to be with.  We had pizza for lunch — about as un-Thanksgiving as we could come up with and something the girls enjoy — and then played a couple of rounds of the board game, Clue.

20151129_145251After accepting the fact that the Falcons were not going to give the Minnesota Vikings a real challenge I did a status check on Debbie and then headed out for a mid-afternoon bicycle ride.  It was gloomy, but it just felt so good to be out on the bike for three out of four days of the mini-holiday break.  I could definitely find a lot of pleasure in getting in a few hours of cycling every day in a nearly perfect world.

Darn Tough11_25_13Oh, and let me give an endorsement of the Darn Tough ‘Tab No Show Light Cushion” socks that I picked up back in August.  They are without a doubt the most comfortable cycling socks I’ve worn in a long time.  As much as I like the Smart Wool cycling socks, the no-show tab design of the Vermont Darn Tough socks is definitely my cup of tea!

20151129_153917Debbie would have been right there with me cycling all weekend if she could have. However, as noted, she’s still working through a few issues and tires easily.  Having spent two solid hours playing with the three grandkids, you can imagine how drained her batteries were. So, when I arrived back home I wasn’t surprised to find my sweetie sound asleep in the family room.  I’m pretty sure she slept through the rest of the Falcon’s game and into the start of the Steelers / Seattle game while I did a few more weekend chores.

1434324997134It was a quiet night at home.  I substituted my Sunday hot wing fix with a special turkey wrap at home.  I chopped up some of the left-over turkey and heated it up mixed with Franks Red Hot original sauce — which I use for my homemade hot wings — before putting it on a soft tortilla with some spring greens and blue cheese dressing: yummy!  It was actually as good as or better than wings!  I got my fowl soaked in hot sauce, some greens and a little dressing in every bite and without having to gnaw meat off bones and dip celery in dressing.  Definitely a keeper!

So, that was about it. We finished up the evening relaxing, watching Sunday Night Football, talking with my parents and getting our heads wrapped around the return to work tomorrow.  It’s looking like a full week as Debbie has some follow-up doctors appointments, lots of work stacked up and my work-week is also filling up.  Hard to believe the year is almost over!  Oh yeah, and I’ve just been reminded that I need to put up the Christmas tree. Apparently the grandkids noticed that it wasn’t up yet and mentioned that to my dear Debbie.  Kids….



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Giving Thanks and Hanging At The House…

Being Thankful; Taking Pause & Taking Stock

thankfulAs I noted on Facebook yesterday after reflecting on the past year, I have much to be thankful for. Not just on Thanksgiving Day, but each and every day because I am constantly reminded how truly blessed I am… and to an extent I’ll never fully appreciate.

In regard to the latter, as I look at images and read stories from across the world, our challenges and daily worries pale in comparison to those the average citizen of our world must face.  Yes, we’ve had some health issues, a little misfortune and have said our last goodbyes to a few family members and friends over the last year.  But, we aren’t fighting to escape an epidemic, trying to figure out where to live after our home was destroyed or burying 1/2 our family following some natural or man-made disaster.

Therefore, as we enter the traditional holiday season I’m committed to becoming be a better person in the coming year.  I’m going to smile more, be more engaging, be less impatient, worry less about things I have no control over and spend more time focused on the things I can control.  New Year’s resolutions?  Not really; these are truly things I just need to do. If anyone sees me deviating from the plan by walking around with a scowl, being in a funk, getting stressed or getting into a serious discussion about the forbidden subjects please do me a favor and smack me upside the back of the head and remind me I told you to do that and why. Seriously….

Potpourri: An Interesting Week Thus Far

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s what’s been happening since last Sunday and yes, there was actually a little cycling and it’s not even the weekend!

Monday‘s highlight was reaching a final agreement on the total loss / write-off of our 2013 CVO Road King then signing over the title to State Farm in exchange for the pay-off check.  So sad seeing Blue sitting in the salvage yard (photo at right) not looking all that worse for wear at a casual glance. The repair estimate was in excess of $18,000, driven primarily by the purported need for a frame replacement: cest la vie.  We still have a few other losses that need to be settled to make us whole on the property damage front as we continue to rack up expenses on the personal injury front that we’ll have to settle with GEICO at some point in the future. However, having the fate of ‘Blue’ sealed was a huge relief and allows us to focus on getting the replacement 2013 CVO Road King “Blue II” squared away, insured and registered. And, lest anyone think that we’ve lost that addiction, Miss Debbie reminded me that it’s 103 days until we head to Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida on March 10, 2016!

I took Wednesday as a virtual work day so I could take care of some personal business. It was a hurry-up and wait kind of day that included several errands ahead of Thanksgiving when most businesses would be closed.  I ended the day a by making a last-minute decision to visit Costco before they closed for the holiday at 8:30pm to pick up a new Samsung LCD television for our family room, noting I bought our current 39″ Samsung TV back in July 2006. tvs I’m suspecting it was well past upgrade time as the 23″ Samsung LCD TV in our kitchen purchased shortly after the 39″ TV in the family room was starting to have display issues. Those issues started a discussion between Debbie and me about the need to replace the 10-year old set.  In turn, Debbie also mentioned she’d really like to have a TV with a larger screen in the family room as well as in our bedroom.  Hmmm.  I don’t watch TV all that much, but she does and with the big football games just around the corner — she’s the stick & ball sport fan in the family — now seemed like as good of a time as any. Moreover, Costco had many of their more popular LCD TVs marked down by 30% – 33% throughout November so the timing truly seemed right.

I was up early on Thanksgiving Day so I could get started on my TV upgrade project ahead of all of the “must-do” Thanksgiving things and still have some time for a bicycle ride in the afternoon.  As usual, Debbie’s mother was having the entire clan in for her traditional Thanksgiving Day brunch and we’d do our own little Thanksgiving dinner-for-two later that night. We always give the kids a pass on Thanksgiving as they’re already triple booked with dinners at the various other parents and grandparents homes.  This gives me a day to get the Christmas tree up on Friday or Saturday before we have them over for a relaxing turkey-free lunch or dinner over the weekend.

Phase I of the TV upgrade involved removing the 2006 era 39″ Samsung LCD and its mounting bracket from above the fireplace, then installing a new wall-mount and hanging the 55″ Samsung.  We chose the 55″ because it had about the same “footprint” on the wall as the older TV. The old set had a rather wide ‘frame’ around the 39″ LCD display area which made it look a lot larger than it really was.  The new set uses nearly every square inch of its face for display with just a 1/2″ picture frame.


Overall, we were thrilled with the larger, vastly improved screen on the new Samsung and the size was just about perfect: it didn’t overwhelm the room but significantly improved the viewing experience.  My rule of thumb was to not exceed the size of the slate surround on the fireplace. Also, in checking my records our new Samsung at $549.00 was about 70% less than the $1,777.00 ’06 model and about 20% lighter at 40 lbs.

For Phase II, I turned my attention to the loyal and trusty 39″ Samsung I just removed from the family room as I’d be moving it to our bedroom where it would replace the Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 9.47.22 AM90 lb, 27″ Sharp cathode ray TV (model 27SV65B) I bought back in 1991. Mary B. from Chicago will love this next part….

My dilemma with Phase II was figuring out where the 45″ wide Samsung LCD would go since the old TV was sitting in the upper part of an armoire / entertainment center that was only 36″ wide. Necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to take a closer-look at the Broyhill armoires’ construction to see if there wouldn’t be a way I could re-purpose the piece of furniture as an LCD TV stand.  I lucked out in that the very nice and solid top with its crown moldings looked like it would slide up and off the side and front pieces of the armoire in one piece and could be ‘dropped’ back on a shortened upper cabinet.

After wrestling the 90 lb monster out of the cabinet and taking as much of the armoire apart as I could in the bedroom so it would be easier to move, I took it into the exercise room where the surgery took place. The blackened area on the image at left is what I’d be removing with four cuts using a circular saw.

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If I do say so myself, I think the surgery went quite well and the re-purposed armoire is actually a much nicer two-drawer dresser / TV stand that it ever was as entertainment center / TV enclosure. The bedroom’s sitting area also seems more open; just a win-win!


So, the Samsung will hopefully continue to serve us for many years to come and, as you might suspect, Debbie is thrilled to have a TV screen that’s the appropriate size for the bedroom.  This is the second time that the Sharp 27″ TV has been displaced by the very same Samsung LCD TV; now, what the heck do you do with a 90 lb 27″ TV?

With Thursday’s TV projects now behind me and everything cleaned-up, there was still enough 20151126_162052daylight for me to take advantage of our lovely, mild weather and get in a bicycle ride from the house.  It was lonely being out there without my sweetie who is on a temporary hiatus from cycling so that her rib injury can heal, but it felt good to spin my legs.  With any luck at all, I’ll get in a couple more rides over the long weekend.

Friday seemed like a good day to sleep-in a bit, something I rarely do because I usually don’t sleep more than 4-5 hours.  However, whatever the reason, it felt good to get seven hours of sleep before facing the day.  I did a little work-work and then caught up on my personal email before Debbie came down and asked me to make her some breakfast. Interestingly enough, I’ve started to spend a bit more time in the kitchen and am really enjoying it, so it was my pleasure to whip up some eggs and tea for her.

Today’s only special project was Phase III of the TV upgrades. As mentioned earlier, the 9-year old Samsung 23″ Samsung acting up in TV was the catalyst for the whole-house TV upgrade project.  It was replaced by a 32″ Samsung LCD, yet another 30% off Costco offering.  One of the nice things about Costco is they don’t do anything special for Black Friday so there was no crowd or sense of artificial urgency amongst the other patrons so picking up the second TV made for a very relaxed, low-key visit.


Similar to the family room TV, we were both very impressed with the larger screen as it was much easier on the eyes.   This set was also hung on the wall instead of being perched on top of the hutch, making for a much safer installation and easier positioning of the TV screen.  I salvaged some wood from the armoire to put a level top on our antique hutch as part of this project as well.  So, as we enter the last week of regular season college football and head into college bowls and both the college and professional play-off / championship seasons we’re all set.

I had a list of other honey-do’s I worked after the TV project before spending a little time with my sweetie in the afternoon, remembering that she’s on doctors orders to relax and recuperate vs. engaging in a lot of physical activity… which is not making her a happy camper.

She got a big lift when her new Corral boots and Boot Candy arrived from Texas.  In fact, she spent the better part of the afternoon wearing her new boots around the house and simply didn’t want to take them off.  It always good to know that you’ve nailed a Christmas gift: hey, we celebrate Christmas gift giving year round and simply do an accounting when we reflect back on the year each December 25th! Well, in theory at least.

Given that we’d be staying in for the night instead of heading off to Loco Willy’s, I’d picked up some avocados while I was doing my last minute grocery shopping on Wednesday night so we could have some of my homemade guacamole in the afternoon.  It’s not fancy — just avocado, Pace picante hot, some guacamole seasoning and Chohula Hot Sauce in the proper quantities — but it’s very tasty stuff. And, interestingly enough, Publix restaurant tortilla chips are some of the best we’ve found.  It was yummy, even without the margaritas!  I know, how sad is that.

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In closing what I’d really like is more moderately warm, sunny days so that I can get out and ride a bicycle on the weekends.  Hey, I enjoy a good football game, but nothing beats a bicycle ride… even a motorcycle ride only comes close.  There’s just not a huge ‘sense of accomplishment’ associated with anything other than those epic rides that take the better part of a day.

Well, that’s it for Part I of the Thanksgiving Weekend update.  Not all that exciting from a cycling standpoint, but this seems to be the time of year when getting the ‘cave’ ready for winter hibernation tends to dominate free time.  Again, here’s looking forward to getting out tomorrow and Sunday for a few 30-mile loops from the house.

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Who Turned Off The Heat?! It’s Too Cold Too Soon!

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 11.27.01 PMYou know it’s cold when you have to turn-off the water that feeds your exterior hose bibs.  Yes indeed, our temps are headed down to the low 20°F’s over night and it’s not even Thanksgiving!  Therefore, “Cold” sums up the weekend, as the cold front began moving in on Friday and kept our highs in the mid-40°F’s on Saturday and Sunday.

As much as we wanted to, a tandem bike ride just wasn’t in the cards for us this weekend as Debbie no longer enjoys sucking cold air into her lungs; hey, she’s a Georgia Peach!  emotionrollersWhile I grew up playing in the snow, skiing, skating and riding snowmobiles Debbie was enjoying mild winters and never developed those chill-hardened lungs that us Yankees have.  Seriously, I can remember being in Chicago during March when the weather seemed warm enough to wash the car, only to find myself slipping on the ice that formed on the shady side of the car. Therefore, I’m thinking it’s probably time to get her set up on the trainer in the exercise room and I might be doing likewise.  We gotta get our legs spinning this winter; sitting out is just not an option if we want to participate in any group rides next year! All that said, we still had a full weekend, even if it didn’t include any two-wheel joy.


For me, the weekend began on Friday as it was a work-from-home / every-other week off.  I had a little work to do in the morning, but spent the better part of the morning scanning in documents and bills associated with Debbie’s medical treatments and damage to the motorcycle.  redeyedburger3501Around 9:30am I headed out to run some errands and ended the morning by meeting my sweetie for lunch at The Red Eyed Mule, something we hadn’t done since October 2nd.  It felt great checking off another “return to normal” milestone on our recovery path.  BTW, if anyone’s looking for the best-tasting burger in Atlanta, Jake’s Big Daddy cooked medium rare. Still amazing!!

After lunch I headed over to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta so I could talk to the service advisors, Kelly and Ray, about exhaust systems and Extended Service Plans before I made a decision on both things for the 2013 CVO Road King that will be replacing our original 2013 CVO Road King, Blue, as State Farm has finally determined as did GEICO that the cost of repairs hit the threshold for a total loss.  It turns out, the Extended Service Plan wasn’t transferable to a new bike as told by the business manager back on October 29th.  However, it can be cancelled and the pro-rated balance of the cost can be refunded so we’ll recoup most of our $2,680.00 expense and can then apply it towards an ESP for the replacement Road King, Blue II.  Also, based on what I learned from Kelly, I went ahead and ordered a new Fullsac exhaust system when I returned home.  I also knocked out a few chores around the house, changed our trash collection service to a local company and did a little work on the replacement Road King before Debbie came home around 5:45pm.

20151120_184626 As on all Friday nights, we headed off to Loco Willy’s for our Finally a Friday celebration.  Our friend David was out-of-town, but Deb came out and we also had a full cast of regulars on hand to make the evening interesting.  Most interesting of all was our meal, as we skipped the 1/2 price fajitas and had the blackened Cod, shrimp and vegetable medley, an off-the-menu special that was out-of-this-world delicious.  We then learned that Charles had just finished cooking up a batch of Brunswick Stew and that’s what we had for dessert!


It was a grand time, but we decided to head home afterwards for some much needed rest.  My sleeping patterns are all screwed up at the moment and Debbie still needed a lot of rest, so being “in” instead of “out” for the evening was a good thing.


For those who didn’t read or take notice in my last blog entry, I was successful with my road trip to Florida in search of an identical twin to our 2013 CVO Road King back on November 6th. I covered all of the details of the epic one-day journey in my other blog in a post weekend entry I hammered out on November 8th.

As mentioned, there were three of them up for sale within about 4-5 hours of each other: two were owned by private owners who put less than 800 miles on the bikes, whereas the third had 2,400 miles and was a trade-in on a sports car being offered up by a dealership.  I opted to go for the least expensive bike — the one with 2,400 miles — since all three of the bikes were a heck of a lot more fresh than ours had been with nearly 18,000 miles on the odometer when it was TKO’d.   The photo below shows the bike I ended up buying loaded up and ready for the 840 mile drive back to Atlanta where it would get transformed into “our” CVO Road King.

The point in bringing this up is that the replacement bike has been sitting in limbo ever since I brought it home, pending State Farm’s decision on repair or total loss.  During the past week it became pretty clear that State Farm had determined the bike was a total loss so I felt pretty confident that I could finally start to transform the replacement bike into “our” Road King.

When Debbie told me that she planned to go and visit with her mother for the better part of the day — noting it was still hovering in the mid-40*F temp range — I decided that would be as good of a time as any to start installing all of the upgraded parts and accessories I’d removed from our first 2013 CVO Road King back on October 31st onto the replacement bike. So, what all did that entail?  Gluttons for punishment and equipment geeks can read the entire blog entry, but the following ‘info-graphic’ summarizes the list of the 21 ‘things’ that were either changed or added to our original Road King and, in turn, the replacement bike on Saturday.

There had also been a few parts that I swapped-out between the new and old CVO Road Kings with a visit to the salvage yard on November 9th and, well, there are actually a few parts like the Fullsac exhaust system, Motolights and custom saddle work that are still in work.


Debbie returned home around 5:00pm and was really worn-out from a full day visiting with her mother; let’s just say there’s a lot going on there too.  As is the norm for a Saturday night, we got cleaned up and headed over to Loco Willy’s for some more of the Brunswick stew we’d had on Friday night and also split an order of Charles’ amazing smoked ribs with the Korean BBQ sauce.  It was fall-off-of-the-bone delicious, even better than what you’ll find at places who do nothing but BBQ as their specialty.  After dinner we talked about heading over to a holiday event at Brewster’s being hosted by our friend Rick Cope, but Debbie was simply wiped out, still struggling with her sore ribs from the October 16th accident and just looking to relax and enjoy some college football in the quiet comfort of our living room.  Apparently, I was also pretty tired as I’m told that I fell asleep not more than 15 minutes after putting my recliner back.  This was around 8:00pm and I didn’t wake up until almost 2:30am.


Sunday was another cold morning that definitely slowed us down a bit.  Debbie wanted to tackle some house cleaning and I wanted to finish up working on the replacement Road King in the garage.  However, what I needed to do — changing what were likely the 3-year old fluids in the bike — required firing up the engine and letting it run for a while so the lubricants could heat up before I drained them and with the exhaust system being un-muffled that had to wait until 9:00am.  Well, there was plenty to do in the house, mostly paperwork associated with the insurance claims and sending off an Email to our lawyer to update him on the events of the past week: he’s just making sure we don’t inadvertently release GEICO’s client from personal injury liability before we’re truly identified and resolved the resultant issues.

As 9:00am rolled around I headed out to the garage to make some noise and then change some fluids.  The engine got a fresh fill of Mobil 1 V-Twin synthetic oil and a new filter, although the oil that came out of the engine looked as though it had probably been changed back when the bike was traded-in in February.  However, the transmission looked to have the same fluid that was put in when the engine was built in June of 2012.  It got a fresh fill of Redline Transmission Lube.  The primary drive looked to have 3+ year old fluid also got the Redline treatment.

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I’m considering a new battery as the original one just seems to be marginal at best.  It’s been able to crank the bike over every time I’ve tried, but there have been moments when I wasn’t sure if it had enough cold cranking power to get the job done. As for the long cranking, I’m guessing the 1.2 gallons of gasoline in the tank is what’s been in there since the bike was taken in trade in February 2015.  Given that the bike is not yet ready for the road, I put some Sea Foam Fuel Treatment in the gas tank to take care of the old fuel until I can ride it over to a gas station for a fresh fill of the 91 octane.

Around 11:00am I headed over to Costco to look at LCD TVs and to stop by the local Harley-Davidson dealership to pick up a few small parts for the new bike.  It was a pretty day, but there was no way I was going to be able to coax by sweetie out for a tandem bicycle ride with the temps still in the mid-40’s and the wind blowing.  But, I was able to coax her out for lunch at Loco Willy’s.  Yup, three-for-three.

However, instead of getting our traditional hot wing fix we decided to try their Reuben Toothpicks (aka, a chimichanga), where the chicken or steak & nacho cheese stuffing inside the flour tortilla is replaced with smoked pastrami, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut before they’re deep-fried with thousand island dressing for dipping instead of ranch dressing.  Very tasty but very filling.  Neither one of us bothered to have any dinner as remained full from lunch well into the evening. A couple handfuls of popcorn were all we needed during Sunday Night Football to get us through the evening.

That was about it.  There was a lot of ‘other stuff’ that went on including a pretty heavy dose of on-line shopping (exhaust systems & passenger floor boards for Blue II, some new boots for Miss Debbie and some boot candy to dress up the boots she already has) ahead of the holidays.  Yes, Miss Debbie is covered for Christmas already and, well, so am I.  In fact, we’re probably both covered through Christmas 2020!  Hey, life’s too short and there are no guarantees!  Here’s to enjoying today while still preparing the future!

Oh, and speaking of the holidays, it’s looking like we’ll be spending the Thanksgiving holiday close to home and will be in town for Christmas day. However, assuming the Godzilla of El Nino’s doesn’t bring us a nasty dose of winter weather we’re thinking we’ll head up to Pennsylvania on December 26th for a couple days and be back at home the night of the 29th and spend 5 days enjoying the rest of our holiday break before jumping back into the work thing on January 4th.  With any luck at all, we’ll get in a little tandem bicycle and motorcycle riding on those 5 days!

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Back in the Saddle, Shimano STI & The Weekend At Home


20151114_153838After far too long of a hiatus from cycling, Miss Debbie and I finally found a day when the weather was nice enough and she was feeling good enough to swing our legs over the tandem and get out for a much-needed ride.

Although somewhat hard to believe, the last time we were able to get out and ride our tandem was back on September 27th.  That was after being without our Calfee road tandem since August 23rd when a coupler weld failed, necessitating the frame’s return to Calfee in California for a warranty repair.  Yes, we were able to get in a few rides on our single bikes and even managed an off-road tandem ride (woo hoo!) while the Calfee was out for repair, but there’s just something about riding our road tandem that feels right.

Saturday’s ride wasn’t a long once since it was our first time back in the saddle. Moreover, Debbie is still struggling with some type of injury to her rib cage — likely a soft tissue tear or perhaps even a light fracture that didn’t show up on X-Rays back on October 16th — and deep breathing cold air exacerbated the normal discomfort.  But, we both agreed it was good to get out and spin our legs after being house bound by both the weather and recovery from injuries.   Seriously, I’m pretty sure it rained on every weekend since early October when Hurricane Joaquin hammered the east coast. Add to that being run-down on our motorcycle by a motorist who wasn’t paying attention and there’s just not been a lot of opportunities to get out and ride.


The other big news from yesterday’s ride was how well the Shimano Ultegra 6700 STI shifters mated to our 1990’s era RD-M950 8 speed derailleur worked.  Regular readers may recall that on the rainy weekend when we were supposed to be at the Southern Tandem Rally in Richmond, Virginia, I was in our garage swapping out the hybrid Campy Ergo levers / SRAM X.0 rear derailleur shifting system on the Calfee with the Shimano 6700 levers & an old XTR rear derailleur.  Yesterday was technically the shake down ride for the new shifting system and it went rather well.

While I had to remind myself that the shifting mechanisms were very different several times during our ride, the shifts were all crisp and clean. Well, OK, the barrel adjuster probably needs to be rotated an 8th of a turn and the front derailleur needs to be trimmed just a touch as there was a little chain rub when the chain was in the middle up front and the tallest cog out back. But, for an ‘out of the box’ installation that was set-up in the work stand, that’s pretty darn-good shifting performance.

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I may need to put a somewhat shorter stem on the tandem as the STI levers seem to be a bit further forward than the Ergo levers.  More to come.


As far as the rest of the weekend goes, it was spectacular!  We had a great time on Finally a Friday at Loco Willy’s.  On Saturday, I started off my day composing an Email to my State Farm insurance agent to express my disappointment that no one from his office had bothered to follow-up with us since we first reported our accident a month ago, and to fill him in on what was going-on and provide feedback on the State Farm claims experience, as I suspected there’s not much communications between the claims department and agents.  A phone message from him later in the day confirmed those suspicions.

The rest of the morning was spent getting caught up on a lot of yard work that had been on hold due to the weather and then heading down to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta (HDA) to get Miss Debbie a new helmet, noting we’ll be wearing helmets all the time from here on out.  The accident in Daytona was a wake-up call: we were incredibly lucky.  BlossomSo, on my last visit to HDA I saw a lovely pearl pink HJC helmet with a lacy white flower pattern on the helmet I thought Debbie might like, noting she’s still not happy that I’m mandating the use of helmets at all times.  I figured if I found find her a helmet that’s somewhat fashionable and comfortable it might be a bit more easy to accept. I also spoiled her a bit with a couple of very nice Harley-Davidson women’s tops that she makes look awesome.

Once we were back at the house Debbie finally felt that it was warm enough and she was feeling strong enough to give the aforementioned tandem bicycle ride a try.  It was definitely a tights and long-sleeve jersey day, something I confirmed by going out with only a short-sleeved jersey that left me chilled to the bone.

FB_IMG_1447540955995We ended the day with another visit to Loco Willy’s for dinner. We arrived somewhat early and started off with yummy order of guacamole.  A short time later our friends David & Deb and Stewart and Teresa showed up and we had a grand time. We split the Willenburger for dinner as we both felt the need for some beef.

spectre-banner-3Around 8:45 pm  we decided it was as good of a night as any to catch the latest installment of the James Bond movie franchise — Spectre — and headed off to the local theater.  I wasn’t sure if it would be a movie I’d like, as the reviews had been mixed. However, being a die-hard James Bond enthusiast — we have all 25 movies on Blue Ray — I felt we needed to go and see it on the big screen.  Rather than writing a new review, here’s a copy of something I posted to Facebook when a friend and fellow Bond movie enthusiast asked what I thought of the flick:

Debbie asked me if I liked it as we walked out of the theater and I had to honestly say, “I’m not sure; I’ll have to think about it.” It had so much potential and simply wasted it on impossible Roger Moore era scenarios and fabricated a plot twist that I don’t believe ever existed in Ian Flemming’s novels and used in the 3rd Austin Powers spoof, Goldmember. Finally, I’m a huge Christopher Waltz fan (the bad guy from Inglorious Bastards & The Green Hornet) and they appeared to waste his talents while, at the same time, reducing the on-screen character from the most formidable villain Bond has ever faced to a Moore-Era psychopath done in by vanity: really? Frankly, it’s time to pull a Dr. Who and introduce a new 007 to bring in a new chapter in the Bond franchise. They simply don’t know how to use the 47-year old actor who IMHO as a Bond film junkie, has been the best of the Bonds both as an actor and as a character: he’s just a badass assassin. Ben Whishaw as ‘Q’ has also been a great addition, clearly designed to appeal to a younger audience but in a very effective and credible way. Well, sort of… he actually seems like he was cast in the mold of Riley Poole from National Treasure, a socially awkward genius who somehow enjoys being in a mid-level, salaried government job who’s worried about his pension. Oh well, I’m rambling.

A visually stunning movie and the plot was also a stunner but not in a good way.  It’s not to say the movie wasn’t entertaining and may have had some appeal to other movie goers, but from my perspective it was a huge disappointment.


I was up around 6:30am, but Debbie continues to need a lot of rest and didn’t stir until 10:30am.  It was still only in the upper 30’s when she woke up, but the temps did finally sneak into the lower 60’s by early afternoon.  However, in terms of getting in that second tandem ride of the weekend, it just wasn’t happening: Saturday’s ride took a lot out of Debbie and also left her with a tender tookus.

I was able to get six weeks of rainy road grime off of Debbie’s little car with a hand wash at home and then took my absolutely grimy truck through the car wash while out running a few errands.  We knocked out laundry, grocery shopping and I swapped out the upstairs and downstairs thermostats and added some backing plates to them to clean up the installation job by Hammock’s Heating and Air from this past July.

nicejeansBeing a Sunday, our normal routine always includes a third and final visit to Loco Willy’s for hot wings.  We usually make that trip on the motorcycle, but with Blue I sitting in a salvage yard somewhere and Blue II stuck in limbo not yet on the insurance policy and waiting for a new exhaust system and ECU update, today would be a truck trip.  It was probably around 2:00pm when we finally headed off and I decided to take the long way by heading over to Horsetown to see if we couldn’t find Debbie another pair of Miss Me ‘Skinny Leg’ jeans. I blame our dear friend Misty for this, as she introduced Miss Debbie to the skinny leg Miss Me jeans on visit to Skip’s Western Wear in Daytona Beach back on October 16th.  Debbie has really enjoyed the way the skinny leg jeans look and feel so we went in search of a couple more pairs to round out her wardrobe.

20151115_155725After our hot wings at Loco it was back to the house to finish up the weekend chores and to wind down from the weekend as we prepared for the work week ahead.  We had a nice phone call with my folks who sounded great; that’s always a highlight of our weekends.  After that and I  ended up taking a very long and uncharacteristic late afternoon nap.  I remember Debbie telling me what was going on with the football games, but was generally out of it for several hours.  So here I sit at 11:00pm wide awake collecting my thoughts from the weekend wondering if I’ll ever be able to get back to sleep tonight!

Oh well, that’s about it.

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So What Happened in October?

Wow, no updates since September 30th; what’s up with that?  

Well, I wish it was just a simple case of being too busy having a great time at the Southern Tandem Rally, the back-to-back motorcycle rally weekends down at Daytona and Panama City Beaches, Halloween and other fun stuff with a lot of tandem riding squeezed in between but, sadly, that’s not the case.

If you follow our motorcycling blog, Riding Two Up, this will come as old news by now. However, for those who only read our tandem cycling blog here’s the deal: an inattentive motorist traveling in the same direction on a two-lane road turned left from the right lane into us while we were riding our motorcycle in Daytona Beach during Biketoberfest.

For those who are interested, you can read a summary of the collision and the aftermath on our other blog in the entry entitled, “Although we never made it to dinner”…. The Reader’s Digest version goes like this:

  • Friday evening while riding on a two-lane, one-way street in the left-hand lane, a motorist just ahead of us in the right lane decided to turn left into the Walgreens parking lot on our side of the road.

  • Due to the Properties of Matter whereby two objects cannot occupy the same space simultaneously, our motorcycle impacted the side of the car at an oblique angle at a closing speed of about 20-25 mph. 
  • We were very fortunate in that we were able to keep the motorcycle mostly upright during the collision.
  • Miss Debbie was treated by paramedics at the scene and taken to the ER via ambulance for further treatment. My injuries appeared to me to be only of the soft tissue variety;  this was not my first rodeo so I have some experience when it comes to being hit by a bull.  Bottom Line: it could have been much worse.
  • Friends assisted us in getting Miss Debbie and our motorcycle back to Georgia on Saturday.
  • We have been on the mend ever since, with several follow-up appointments for Debbie.
  • Our motorcycle didn’t look all that bad at first glance, but frame damage made it a write-off.
  • We’re doing our best to return to “normal” but as you’d expect, these things take time.
  • We suspect the added stress of the event and follow-on activities with insurance companies, attorneys and the like gave me a bonus prize: an outbreak of Shingles.

We’re trying our level best to remain thankful that we didn’t have any life-threatening or serious injuries with life-altering consequences. However, at the same time, we’re feeling as though fate has snatched away what was to be an amazing October of cycling and motorcycling. The Southern Tandem Rally was a wash-out due to Hurricane Joaquin, our four-day mini-vacation in Daytona lasted 27 hours and a second four-day mini-vacation in Panama City Beach the following weekend had to be cancelled. There’s got to be a silver lining somewhere, but we’ve not yet found it and are still looking!

So, how’s the Calfee ride with the new drive train?

20151004_122813No idea, it rained every weekend leading up to our Daytona trip and while we’d hoped we’d have the time, weather and energy to get out for a short ride this past weekend it never came to pass. We eagerly await our return to the tandem and perhaps this coming weekend will provide us with an opportunity. The tandem looks great with the new components; well, OK. It looks like it has new component as it’s hard to top the Campy levers for classic styling and the Ultegra levers are anything but subtle or classic. Like I said, can’t wait to try it all out, as I’m expecting the performance will make up for the lack of aesthetically pleasing lines.

Do You Still Have That Triplet? Do You Ever Ride It?

Yes we do and no we don’t. Want to buy it? Seriously though, the Georgia Tandem Rally & Southern Tandem Rally are the two times when we typically get a chance to pull down the triplet from the rafters and ride with our friend Lisa.   Seeing as the Southern Tandem Rally was a wash-out — and frankly, even before that there were logistical challenges that would have prevented us from taking the triplet along to Richmond – the triplet hasn’t been on the road since late May. I know there are a few folks who might be interested in it, but still need to clear a potential sell-off of the long bike with Miss Debbie. She has visions of us riding it with our granddaughters but I’m just not seeing that same image. They’re too busy riding horses, doing ballet and Lord knows what little Miss Vivian will get into. So, if I get a green light it may be offered up to folks who previously expressed an interest. No, it won’t be ‘cheap’ but it’s a pretty awesome machine… and that’s probably why we keep holding on to it. Did I mention how much we like bikes???

So, Has the Month of October Been A Total Downer?

Absolutely not! Life is Good!!!

Yes, we missed out on STR, but we also enjoyed a great weekend here at home, overhauled the Calfee’s drive train, joined friends for a house-warming and monthly breakfast gathering, grabbed dinner at Henry’s Taste of Louisiana, got in a lot of good rest and prep time for our upcoming trip down to Daytona.

Debbie had a chance to sit with all three granddaughters on the weekend after the washed-out STR and we had some really great, impromptu fun with friends on a Friday night that went well into Saturday morning.   I also did quite a bit of big-bike pre-flight maintenance, knocked out yard work and made a new post for our mailbox: nothing like cutting into some cedar to remind you of how nice it is to make something with your hands. More details in our other blog entry entitled Getting Ready for Daytona… Four Wake-Ups To Go.

The ride down to Daytona on October 15th and our first night in town was fantastic. Most of the trip is covered in another blog entry entitled, Biketoberfest 2015… A Shorter Trip Than Originally Planned.

We rode down with our friends Chuck & Julie and met four more friends at Flagler beach who had arrived earlier in the day. After dinner our friends David & Deb joined the crew. Saturday was also pretty excellent. In fact, it was more than excellent. We had a 5 mile walk on the beach, visited with our friend Misty and played ‘dress up Barbie” with Miss Debbie at Skips before heading off to meet with our friends at Destination Daytona and Houligans for the afternoon.

Yes, Friday night was awful, beyond awful. It was a nightmare. But, the way people on the street came to our aid in a time of need and the professionalism of the first responders really made me feel good about people in general. We even had a good time on the trip home, noting that Debbie was feeling no pain given after being on her meds for the past 15 hours: they made her quite chatty and chipper while masking all of her discomfort. I still got in a 450 mile ride home on my friends bike and while I would have preferred to have Debbie with me on the bike, it was better for me to be on the bike than being a passenger in our friend’s truck. We finished up the day at Loco Willy’s and had a grand time being entertained by the very medicated and animated Miss Debbie.

While the following week was one that found me running Debbie between follow-up appointments and dealing with insurance claims calls while working from home in between the visits and calls, it was good to spend time with Debbie making sure she was feeling loved and cared for. Sometimes the emotional damage from these incidents and the side effects of the medications can be as bad as the physical harm. However, the love and concern that we received from all of our friends – including friends who were dealing with their own family emergencies – was overwhelming. We truly do have some wonderful and caring friends. Now, to be fair, we did keep the story under wraps for about a week so that we’d have time to bring our own families up to speed and to make sure we knew how we were during those 3-4 critical days that follow a major accident.

Debbie was able to return to work mid-way through the following week and Halloween gave her a much-needed distraction where she was able to dress up in costume for work, albeit somewhat scaled back from the original plan by excluding applying green make-up to her face. She also had a chance to enjoy Caroline’s first horse show and of course seeing the girls dressed up for Halloween.

debbie_witch IMG_2068


Sadly, November began with me pulling all of the aftermarket parts off of our soon to be hauled-off to salvage 2013 Road King CVO. I spent the better part of Halloween day and Sunday, November 1st, replacing custom color-matched parts and other accessories from “Blue” that I’d be able to put on what will hopefully be an identical twin 2013 Road King CVO. More details in our other blog entry entitled De-Modifying Blue Before She Goes to Salvage.

On Friday I’ll be making a whirlwind, 840-mile round trip drive to Florida where I hope to close the deal on one of three low-mileage, Sapphire Blue 2013 Road King CVOs. There were two bikes with under 700 miles for sale that we found along with another that has 2,375 miles. While the low-mileage bikes were the most desirable at first blush, the cost difference made the somewhat higher mileage bike far more attractive. Fingers crossed, it will be “as stated” and in like new condition. I’m somewhat hopeful that because it’s being offered by a high-end specialty car and motorcycle shop where they would have a good eye for detail and trained detailers on staff who will have already taken care of any issues with the finish. Again, with any luck we’ll have our replacement bike at home by Friday night. Here’s hoping the settlement on our other bike will more than cover everything.

So, looking ahead and being positive!

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Florida Tandem Rally Report By Kathy Foster

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

Something new was in the air at the sixth annual Florida Tandem Rally last  weekend.

As approximately 50 tandems gathered under the portico of the Waterfront Inn in The Villages, club president Bob Thompson told us not to look up as we pedaled out. A drone would be taking pictures of us. Some of those pictures appeared later Saturday in an online article about the rally at


Saturday’s 43-mile and 55-mile rides turned out to be the most challenging of the weekend. As one out-of-towner said, ” I didn’t think Florida had hills.”

These rides headed east toward the rolling hills in Lake and Marion counties. We’d fly down some of the hills, then pedal madly to get almost up the next. Our reward was sweeping views of Lake Weir, dotted with pastures and vacation cottages. Although not visible on this route, one of those houses was the hide-away where the FBI had a shootout with Ma Barker and her boys.

Saturday night’s banquet was held among a much more honorable history. The locale was the Eisenhower Recreational Center, where room after room showcased uniforms, medals and keepsakes from  World War II, as well as World War I, the Korean War, Vietnam and other conflicts.

flatroadThe rally wrapped up Sunday with a choice of two rides through flatter country. The temperature was perfect, with the sun behind clouds. The wind, which made the homestretch tough on Saturday, was missing. We also had police escorts to hold the traffic for us to cross busy highways.

The  experience was a new one for  several couples, like Mike and Mary Kay R., from Celebration, Fla., and George and Marti R. from Niceville, Fla.

“This is our first Villages visit. We’ve really enjoyed it,” said Marti R.

The PANTHERS, an acronym for Partners Aboard Neat Tandems Happily Enjoying Riding Simultaneously,  sponsored the rally.

The next PANTHERS rally will be in Sebring, Fla., March 11-13, 2016. The seventh annual FTR will be Oct. 21-23, 2016, in The Villages.

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

Calfee Refresh Follow-Up: Rear Derailleurs

gsgIt’s all about capacity, and the numbers are the numbers.

I’m not sure why I decided to ignore the specs on the Shimano RD 6700 Ultegra rear derailleur as they were pretty clear: 39T capacity w/28T max sprocket.  But, no, I bought into several accounts of using this derailleur on 34t cassettes, etc. and rolled the dice.

Yeah, well…  Once it was installed it was pretty clear that the cage just wasn’t long enough to support the 44T difference on our Calfee or the 32T rear sprocket.  It was close, very close, but close doesn’t cut it when your derailleur’s upper idler pulley is making contact with the 32t sprocket teeth in the ‘alpine gear’ with the B-screw all the way out.

T20151004_122747hankfully, the Ultegra 6700 10-speed shifters and 10-speed cassette work just fine with my late 1990’s vintage Shimano XTR / RD-M950 8 speed derailleur.  No, its specs also come up a little short on capacity, but since it supports a 32T rear sprocket it keeps the idler pulley and 32t rear sprocket separated. Oh, and even though it was designed for an 8 speed system, the derailleur geometry seems to work just fine with the 10 speed cassette spacing and Shimano Ultegra 6700 shifters, in the stand and on the road.

So, the Ultegra is headed back to the wonderful eBay seller who had made it available to us for a refund and we’ll just use the vintage XTR M950 rear derailleur until any problems develop.

Looking forward to getting some tandem time this coming weekend as we’ll be off the pedal bikes for the next two weekends, perhaps even the next three.

Posted in Bloggishnish, Technology & Equip. | 5 Comments