|We enjoyed this sculpture at the trailhead, but couldn't find any information it either there or online|
Curtis Corlew in Bicycle Land
Curtis Corlew blogs on
bike commuting, retirement, buying new bikes, maintaining his bicycles and other bike and bicycle related stuff. Complete with lots of photos of Tricia.
Friday, May 26, 2023
Black Diamond Trail, Ithaca
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Pine Creek Trail overnighter , Pennsylvania
Living in a new area it's been exciting to learn what's close by that I've never heard of. The Pine Creek Trail is one of those exciting discoveries.
When Tricia and I realized that this gem in Pennsylvania is a mere hour away we started making plans to ride it. It's 60 miles, but we thought we'd dip our toes in with a 30 miles out, overnight, then ride back.
The hardest part was figuring out where to start and where to leave our van. Fortunately there's a Pine Creek Trail Facebook group with lots of helpful folks. Using the advice we got from that group we avoided starting in Wellsboro and having to ride a busy highway. Instead we parked at the Butler Access area (after alerting the park staff our van would be there overnight,) which is the official northmost trail head.
We carried our tent and food in on our bikes and rode the stunning 30 miles to the Pettecote Junction campsite. We saw eagles, frogs, deer, groundhog, fly fishing people, kids on bikes and a lot of beautiful country. We didn't see bear, and I'm OK with that.
It went well with a couple of minor issues. I screwed up our Jetboil and only had enough fuel for slightly warm morning coffee. Tricia was not thrilled (though remarkable accepting.) We also discovered the morning's 39 degree temps were colder than we expected and we had not packed quite enough warm clothing. It wasn't tragic, but it wasn't warm either.
Th 30 miles back was slightly (very slightly) downhill and a lot easier. We took it slowly anyway and enjoyed the views.
A few photos!
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Tricia's new bike, and other cool stuff
Sunday, April 09, 2023
Sunday, April 02, 2023
No fools this April 1
Friday, February 24, 2023
Training on Zwift
I'm in a new land where going outside to ride is not going to be part of my world. At least not until it gets above freezing or stops snowing. So I bought a Wahoo computer trainer and signed up for Zwift.
I'm undertaking the Zwift "Back to Fitness" 13-week program.
It started with a test to see how strong I'm not (Functional Threshold Power, or FTP test.) That darn test was was very difficult, downright painful, and produced numbers indicating that, yep, I do indeed suck. And no, I'm not posting the numbers.
But the workouts themselves. though serious, are not killing me, which is a relief. Here's hoping they're at least replacing my daily bike commute if not doing more.
I'd been indoor riding doing nothing in particular and listening to audio books. These Zwift workouts are a different animal. I find I need to concentrate to keep my power in the right zone. And because the program has hills, and tells my trainer to make it harder to pedal I need to keep track of my cadence and gearing as well. So no audiobooks.
I've never been a music and ride guy. I don't need the distraction or audio isolation on the road. But on the trainer I find it really helps. I like roadhouse/Bakersfield beat country, or maybe some rockin' Tom Petty. But so far the best has been the Mavricks. (Play them loud.)
Thursday, February 02, 2023
Everywhere I've ridden my bike
Monday, January 23, 2023
Problems, solutions, more problems
I realized I haven't blogged since November. There hasn't been much to blog about. Cycling in Watkins Glen NY is...problematic.. in the winter. It's really cold and wet, then there's snow. I know people cycle in this weather, but I'm a California transplant and sub-freezing riding isn't in the cards.
I also got the garage far enough along to set up my Wahoo trainer and start "Zwifting" again.
Things were looking up. Until I woke up with a very painful Achilles tendon. I'm not sure what caused it. Maybe picking up my normal like after not doing much a while.
It's been a few days now and I can walk a bit. I'm doing every voodoo thing I can think of; tape, stretches, and such to improve and it seems to be working.
So I'm in the wait zone.
Thursday, November 10, 2022
I'm an idiot. New Trek 520 Grando bike woes
I wanted a touring bike. I'd signed on for two self supported bicycle tours and realized the bike I had wasn't ideal. It didn't have a way to attach a front rack, and trying to carry everything on a rear rack resulted in a very unbalanced ride.
In April 2022 we were still in supply chain hell. Buying a new bike was near impossible. But shockingly enough, when I was visiting the Trek shop in Geneva, NY they told me they had a Trek 520 Grando arrive that morning.
The Trek 520 is a classic road touring bike. It's darn near the gold standard for touring. I wasn't attracted to it because it ships with bar end shifters, which I find a pain to use. But their new iteration, the 520 Grando model checked all my boxes. It was designed more as a bike-packing gravelish bike. It has brake-shifters. (check.) Low gears that feature a 42-28 double crankset (check.) High spoke count wheels (check) Included a front rack (check) but no rear rack (can't have everything.)
The Trek sizing guidelines put me exactly on the line between a 51 cm and 54 cm size frame. The model they had was a 54. I figured that the slightly larger frame would be fine for touring, and still in within spec.
I was wrong. I thought I'd adjust. Sure, it felt odd at first, but all new bikes feel odd. And it wasn't horrible, just different... I thought.
But not only was the frame larger than I was used to, which made me feel more "on" the bike than "in" the bike, the cranks were 172.5 mm instead of the smaller 170 mm cranks like all my other bikes. Again, I thought "How much difference could that make?" It turns out it matters more than I imagined.
After a multi-day self-supported 346 mile trip on the C&O and GAP trails and a week touring in Cape Cod I had to accept that this bike was just not ever going to feel right.
So, what to do? After obsessing way too much, I decided I'd just have to start over. I'm not made of money, so this was a tough and painful decision. It feels a little like I'm borrowing money just to light it on fire in the back yard. But what good is a bike I really can't enjoy riding?
I begin shopping for a replacement, but interestingly enough the Grando really does have the perfect spec for what I'm after. The only other possibilities were custom zillion dollar solutions that were out of reach for me.
I visited with the wonderful folks in the Geneva Trek shop and learned Trek doesn't have any 51cm Trek Grandos to sell. They consulted their national database to see if there was a shop that could transfer a bike in my size. Alas, the only places that had one reported their model was shipping damaged and had issues.
But miraculously an "out of network" independant Trek dealer in Rochester, and hour and a half away, had one. Geneve Trek couldn't transfer it from in independent shop, so I drove there and bought it.
It feels soooooo much better. But now I have a hole in my wallet and a 54cm model of the same bike that I'll need to sell. Here's hoping I can sell it for enough that my error won't hurt too much for too long.
Wanta buy a touring/gravel bike?
Added photo of the new bike in front of the falls.
Monday, September 19, 2022
C&O and GAP tour photos
Friday, September 02, 2022
How much too much did my touring bike weigh?
|That's my bike on the left, Tricia with hers on the right|
|Item info||Weight in pounds|
|Trek 520 Grando (With pedals light, racks, Garmin and full water bottles)||33.2|
|Rear left pannier (Sleeping bag, pad, chair, etc.)||19.4|
|Left rear pannier (Mostly clothes)||21.2|
|Front right pannier (Coffee, stove, personal stuff)||8.2|
|Front Left pannier (Mostly food, electronics)||7.0|
|Front bag that sits on front rack (lock, rain coat, glasses, small stuff)||3.1|
|Tent (on rear rack, without poles or ground cloth)||4.8|
|Total weight without bike||63.7|
|Total weight with bike||96.9|
Yep, that's too much stuff.
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Hemlock Lake loop, Lake 6 of #BTFL
Tricia and I cycled around Hemlock Lake as part of our quest to ride all 11 of the Finger Lakes, part of teh Finger Lakes Cycling Club's Bike the Finger Lakes Challenge. #BTFL. We've now ridden all the lake to the west of Watkins Glen where we live. We still have the two largest left, as well as some that are smaller, but farther away.
Monday, August 01, 2022
New chain day and first ride with Finger Lakes group
In fact, it's super better, because I installed two new chains, one on the Roubaix and one on the gravel bike. It took a while, mainly because I cleaned the heck out of both bikes first, and because I couldn't find my Park quick link tool that disappeared in our move to NY. I used a wire wrapping technique I found on youtube, and it worked. Of course, afterwards (but in time for chain two) I was reminded by a comment online that I have a pair of tire levers that could double as quick link pliers. They worked better than the wire method. And I have the proper Park tool on order now.
Let me rant a bit. I know there are "supply chain issues" but holy smokes, the price of chains has sure gone up. And cassettes are even worse. At least I don't need the multi-hundred dollar 12 speed versions, but still, they are almost $100 now. Crap.
In happier news, Tricia and I rode with the Finger Lakes Cycling Club for the first time on Saturday. They're a nice bunch of people, and gaining some local knowledge is always a good plan.
Of course, I screwed up a bit. Just as we were leaving a cyclist rode past and told me "You left your van side door open." So I rode back and closed it, then spent too much energy killing myself to catch the group. I did catch them, and just as I did they stopped to regroup. I'd have been fine riding normally. Maybe I should just think of it as a bonus workout.
We look forward to riding with them again. But next time I'll check the doors more carefully.
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Beer and the Trek 520 Grando
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Continuing quest to cycle all Finger Lakes #BTFL11
We had to cancel our planned ride Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany. I tested positive for COVID the day before we were going to travel to the ride start. It was a mild case, I recovered quickly, and best of all didn't infect anyone else.
As a consolation we decided to ride a couple more of the Finger Lakes. It went beautifully.
We tossed the bikes into our Adventure Van™ and headed to Canandaigua Lake for Tricia's birthday ride. Just joked she was "45 miles old today." as we finished
We tent camped at a beautiful park and had it all to ourselves. Except for the zillions of fireflies that put on a great show into the evening.
The next morning we rode one of the shorter lakes, Honeoye Lake before returning home.
Thanks to Finger Lakes Cycling Club for providing a wonderful resource for us. Their Bike the Finger Lakes 11 Challenge web page has suggested starting spots, suggestions for food, road info and RideWithGPS maps. We could even attempt this without them.