Monday, December 31, 2012

Tarik Saleh Bike Club Challenge Day 7

Scout, Pugsley and me.
Today's ride for the Tarik Saleh Bike Club Challenge was along park lands and trails adjacent to my neighborhood. It was a bit longer than what I've been able to do as of recent, ten miles or so of poking around and riding over various snow drifts and bumps and through ravines. It was not a fast ride, and it had no specific destination, but was a good way to spend part of the last day of the year.

Scout encountered a peacock who was seemingly unaware that it was being evaluated as prey.
Great flocks of Canada geese are present around here all winter.
One such flock of a couple of other birds.
This tranquil cottonwood grove is at the edge of a park.
Lots of good sniffing down among the leaves.
Scout is a trooper. She's up for any type of ride, but is happiest off road, nosing around exploring. The Pugsley and Scout seem to mesh together just about perfectly. I'm sure that I could ride far enough to actually tire her out, but I don't often get a chunk of time long enough to give it a try.

This past year, Scout went from being a nervous former stray to being a top-notch biking dog. In 2013, I hope to take her for some more dog bike camping. In November, we tested the waters, with solid success. I'm in the process of gearing up with appropriate equipment in order to make bike camping an easy possibility whenever the opportunity arises.

Tarik Saleh Bike Club Challenge Day 6

Pointy ears perked up.
Another daytime ride for the TSBC Challenge. It was warm today, well above freezing. Warm temperatures mean melting snow and slushy conditions. It's times like these that remind me that I have yet to construct a set of fenders for the Pug. There aren't any commercial fatbike fender sources of which I'm aware, but there are a lot of tinkerers out there who have documented their own solutions. I haven't decided whether I'll go the Toni Lund, Pat S or Gypsy Nicholas routes, or devise one of my own. Regardless, I'm not a fan of being unnecessarily sprayed by muck, so I think some sort of fenders are in my near future.

Today's ride was once again more nosing around my neighborhood. We met a few people out and about, and got our share of familiar greetings that go something like, "Whoa, those sure are some big tires," or the ever popular, "Where's the motor?" Anyone who rides a fatbike is certain to have encountered similar exclamations. Such is life on chubby tires.

Ice underneath makes it slicker than it looks.
Hackles up as we approach a suspicious dog being walked.
A little break after running a couple of miles.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tarik Saleh Bike Club Challenge Day 5

The word for the day was light. As in sunlight. Finally a day ride logged for the TSBC Challenge. As it turned out, I didn't take a lot of photos even though the light to do so was readily available. Instead, Scout and I concentrated on enjoying the weather and following animal tracks wherever they led us. The more I ride the Pugsley, the more its go-anywhere aura reminds me of that of the myriad random dirt bikes I had as a kid. Perhaps not coincidentally, on the Pugsley I find myself doing the kind of exploratory, no-particular-destination type riding now that I did back then.

Back in the old days, I didn't think in terms of long distance epic bike rides, as I wasn't allowed to go more than a couple of miles from my house in my small Wyoming town. Nowadays, I can ostensibly ride anywhere I want to go, but in reality, different circumstances set boundaries on my riding radius in much the same way. I have to seize chances to carve out rides close to home to best utilize my limited time. Something about the fat, omni-terrain tires of the Pugsley makes bounded radius rides on this bike very appealing. I don't have to go more than a few blocks to find inviting dirt or trails of opportunity that are packed with fun things to do and see. It's all a matter of perspective.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tarik Saleh Bike Club Challenge Day 4

A new pair of socks. Yep, they're wool and Surly.
Day number four of the TSBC Challenge. It was a somewhat perfunctory ride tonight. One of these days I'm going to have time to ride during the daylight. Note to self: riding after a large meal of Indian food may not be the best idea.

I once again continued the theme of exploring the surrounding vicinity with my riding buddy Scout. We didn't break any new ground or make any astounding discoveries, but we were out riding, and that's what matters.
Earlier in the day I did take the time to fit my new Revelate Designs Viscacha seat bag. It's nice.

Back down to under 20 degrees F.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tarik Saleh Bike Club Challenge Day 3

Slumber party equipment en route.
Another day, another snowy night ride. A light snow was actively falling as I ventured out to shuttle equipment to an impromptu little girl slumber party. I had to make this first segment of the ride expediently, because I was quickly notified that the the dog I had left at home was howling. Apparently, she was not too happy to see me leave without her. So, after making a delivery to the slumber party, I sprinted home to pick up my riding buddy.

Scout was happy to finally get out on the ride. Dogs certainly have ways of expressing their dissatisfaction with a situation, but are quick to move on. We had a nice ride, which turned out to be a bit longer than the previous couple of days; probably about four miles.

Balmy as compared to the past couple of nights: 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tarik Saleh Bike Club Challenge Day 2

Not technically a bike, but a happy rider just the same.
I am rolling on day two of the TSBC Challenge. I had some intention to do some daytime riding today, but things such as they are did not allow for it. Instead, I had another pleasant, if chilly, night ride of about 40 minutes and indeterminate distance. The route was ambling and leisurely, to explore familiar areas rendered somewhat alien by the darkness and a blanket of snow. Although the terrain of the ride was never far from my neighborhood, I ventured into fields and open spaces where the snow and darkness hid objects in an almost lunar landscape. At times, the Pugsley's voluminous tires and powerful new light made me almost feel as though I were riding on the surface of the moon. It didn't hurt that the moon itself was bright and approaching full.

Anyway, the ride for the day has been achieved, with some photos below for documentation. Enjoy!
A shot of the local farm in the moonlight. An Ergon grip on my Pug served to stabilize my Canon SD1300.

The Moon, Jupiter, and Aldebaran in descending order of magnitude and ascending order of mass.

The alien landscape typical of much of my ride tonight.

Along a stretch of trail that is well-traveled by geese.

Sometimes you gotta take the time to stop and smell the goose poo.

This major award is for Fixed Gal

Cruising around to look at holiday lights takes on an entirely different flavor via bike.

A little blurry because of camera limitations, but this is my bikejoring snow dog at speed.

Tonight's ride was ever so slightly warmer than last night.

My daughters got me a new pair of my favorite gloves that kept me warm on the ride: Outdoor Research Flurry wool blend.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas haul/TSBC challenge day 1

Happy holidays to everyone, in whatever flavor you prefer. We have done our fair share of celebrating over the last couple of days, including the requisite swarm of gifts. One item that came my way was a Niterider Lumina 500 bike light. My new light, when coupled with the Tarik Saleh Bicycle Club Challenge that I discovered this afternoon, led to a crisp, cold bike ride this evening.
Niterider Lumina 500
About 15 degrees Fahrenheit upon departure.
It was frigid enough outside that the fat tires of the Pugsley made the snow squeak as I rode across it. The squeakiness was especially noticeable in sections of un-compacted snow. The cold, dark and completely unoccupied streets made it feel a bit as if I were riding in my old town of Laramie, Wyoming. The big difference was that in the old days, I rarely had a light on my bike, and if I did, it was certainly not as powerful as the Lumina 500. As the name implies, on full power the light is rated at 500 lumens, which roughly translates in general terms as being very bright. It's seemingly as bright as a motorcycle headlight. I'm sure there are much more powerful bike lights out there, but this is the brightest I've ever had.
The glare on the icy surface of the road is from the Lumina 500.
The far end of the beam is about 100 feet distant.
The ride was quite brisk, but enjoyable, and ended up being a bit over two miles in my estimation. In this part of the year when the days are short and darkness comes early, this new, powerful light will change my riding dynamics.

A bit earlier in the day, we used a non-wheeled vehicle to do a little of another type of riding. The girls bundled up and I dug out their sleds. With a fresh coating of snow from last night, we pulled them for a few blocks to the local sled hill and put in several runs.
... and grinning.
After a full day of alternately playing and eating, the girls were ready for settling down, but not before a little more playing. It's a lot of fun to re-experience the discovery of familiar traditions through them.
Almost ready for bed.
But a little sisterly quality time first.