Friday, July 1, 2011

This Week in Beer

Since this blog is really about nothing, and everything at the same time...I guess there is room for beer notes!  I feel this one is worth mentioning.  I am a long-time fan of Bell's, as their Hop-Slam may be the greatest IPA ever.  Sorry Dogfish Head 120-minute.  I would do a 'Pepsi challenge' between the two if either could be purchased from Iowa distributors...but I digress. Today, I had my first taste of the Oarsman Ale.  This is apparently available year-round, but today was the first time I had seen it on the shelf.  This is a mildly sour and acidic brew.  The alcohol content is a mere 4%, making it a perfect session beer.  Having put down two since mowing the lawn in 95 degree heat, I am now feeling quite comfortable; but not sluggish.  Though I have no idea how it is mashed, nor what kind of yeast it contains; I think this must be a tribute to fine Flemish ales.  The head is thin, but bubbly. Though there is quite a bit of cloudiness, there is not the filling quality found in some blonde-colored ales.  I taste notes of green apples and green peppers.  Bell's has done it again!  This is a fantastic summertime ale!  I drank it with my stir-fry dinner, and it held up well.  This is a very versatile beer, which could be imbibed at any time for any occasion.  Well done Bell's Brewery!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yard Work

The joys of yard work are mostly in retrospect.  It is always great to see the end result, but rarely is there much to celebrate in the moment...except when you find one of these!  While buried deep in our hedge, and attempting to save it from the wrath every imaginable other tree and vine trying to choke the life out of it; we discovered this tree frog!  He was just hanging around in there while we chopped away.  I didn't even know we had such animals in Iowa, and had we not been slaving away in there, we would have never seen him.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No More F***ing Rain!!!

What is the deal with the rain?  It's 95 degrees for four days, then back to 60's and 70's with rain.  This is not good for the guy who has to show up to work halfway dry.  Maybe I need to look into some waterproof panniers.  The weather this late spring reminds me a lot of the summer of 1993.  If it's going to be like that, then it's a good idea to prepare to be wet!  More to come on that.  I have spent the last two weekends accumulating tools to perform bottom bracket surgery on the old Rockhopper.  This will be my first unassisted attempt, and I hope all will go well.  If it does not go well...Rasmussen Bike Shop is right down the street!!  Wish me luck.  See you on the trail!

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's a hot one!`

It was definitely a warm one this morning...and this evening.  The trails are clear and the sun is hot.  I guess it's summer in Iowa!  Commuting was held to two cycling days this week due to circumstances beyond my control.  Next week there will be more bike miles.  I still REALLY want one of those xtracycles!  Ebay had one for a very reasonable price.  Sadly, my cheap Dutch blood prevented yet another sweet purchase.  I did, however, find a head/tail lamp set for a price I was willing to pay.  Reviews are forthcoming.  That's the week in cycling.  See you on the trail.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I want one of these SO MUCH!

My friend Joe has an xtracycle and I have admired it for some time.  Given my recent cycle-commuting initiative, I am becoming obsessed!  My ancient Rockhopper deserves to look this freakin' cool!!!!  It has served me well over the years, and even took me on a self-contained Ragbrai in '06.  If only it had this kind of cargo capacity.  Well, maybe someday.  For now I may just have to settle for a new bottom bracket.  See you on the trail.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Freakin' Rain!

Rain and cold!  That about sums up the day.  There was water over the Bill Riley Trail in several places this morning, and it looked as though the river was up significantly.  This evening, the ride home was cold and windy!  I'm sure I will think differently in August, but when do the scorching sun and 90% humidity begin?  Oh well...tomorrow will be better than today.  I'll see you on the trail.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BikePedia - Complete Bicycles/Frames 1993 manufacturers

Need to identify your bike, and its components?

Not Sure How to Title These Now

I suppose the pic sums it up.  Another day, another commute!  The bike lockers have been full at work this week.  Though there are only six, I am glad to see them in service...Even if it means I have to tie up at the rack.  It seems the old Rockhopper is in need of a new bottom bracket.  There is a fair amount of creaking and clacking down there.  It's time to do some online research, before it gets worse.  Let Sheldon Brown be my guide.  See you on the trail!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bike to Work...Revolution

So it continues....
It has become my mission to continue cycle-commuting to work.  Today was my first non-bike-to-work-week commute.  If last week taught me anything, it's that there is no excuse for my driving addiction.  I must ride!...And I must blog about it; even, if only, for myself (as I am one of my two followers).  I realize that there will be situations that necessitate a four-wheeled, roofed form of transport, but they seem few and far between.  Laziness is not a good reason to drive to work anymore!

 Now let's set some cycle-commuting ground rules.

I will ride my bike to work unless:

  • There is severe weather (Thunderstorms, heavy rain, etc).
  • I have some kind of important meeting or interview.
  • There is an after-work commitment, which requires a vehicle.
  • Something happens that I have not foreseen, which requires a vehicle.
I know that last one leaves some pretty big holes in the commitment, but you never know!  These rules will be revisited in the fall, and cool/cold weather measures will be taken at that time.  This is my commitment, and my blog will see me through. See you on the trail!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bike to Work Week Days 4 and 5

bike month logo

Day 4:

60's and sunny morning and evening.  It seemed that bike to work week must have been gathering steam.  There were more bikes in the racks at work than any previous day.  Since my shift begins later than most, all six bike lockers in the parking garage were full; but there was still plenty of room in the racks.  It is nice to see  so many people observing the holiday(?) week.  With any luck, some of us will continue our auto-commuting boycott.  

Day 5:

Rain!!  I awoke to thunder and lightning at around 7AM...then I went back to sleep.  Groggily, I convinced myself it would rain all morning; and there was no sense in considering a bike ride to work. Later, after oatmeal eggs and a shot of coffee; the sun began to peek around the clouds and through the curtains.  Guilt began to take hold.  This was the fifth and final day of Bike to Work Week, and I was considering a scratch? The wheels hit the trail shortly thereafter.  I arrived damp but not cold, and I was glad of my decision.  After work, the weather had not changed.  The streets were wet, but the air was dry; and Ingersoll Avenue saw me safely home.  

Bike to Work Week

Cycle commuting is a possibility in Des Moines, Iowa long as you have access to a few advantages:

  1. Your workplace provides a place to change clothes and shower.
  2. There is a place near your job to store your bicycle safely.
  3. While working, you have a safe place to store your cycling gear not attached to your bike.

It is even easier to cycle to work if:

  1. You live near the trail system or cycle friendly streets.
  2. Your workplace provides bike lockers.
  3. You have the time to dedicate to cycle-commuting.  

Cycle-commuting requires a conscious effort.  Many people have obligations that remove cycling as a transportation option.  Many others work in places that do not have the amenities necessary to make it an option.  Those of us who do have the choice should seriously consider options other than driving to work every day.  Fuel will never return to 1990's prices, and some believe our government can no longer afford to sustain its subsidies.  Maybe those of us who have a choice should consider our alternatives.  I, for one, choose cycling!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bike to Work Week Day 3

I forgot to post last night, so here we go.  My Wednesday cycle-commute was rather uneventful.  I decided I should run after riding home last night, and that was about all of the energy I could muster.  Dinner and TV and bed, were all I could handle.  I am at work now, and will see you tonight on the trail!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bike to Work Week Day 2

Two days, two success stories!  The trail gods smiled upon me again today.  There was, again, a vacant bike locker in the parking ramp at work; and I even remembered to pack a towel.  It was a good day to be a cyclist.  After work I checked out the new MLK bridge by Sec Taylor Field (aka Principal Park...but real fans will never call it that).  It seems there will be trail and a bike lane along this new street.  According to the sparse information I found online, it seems this will connect with 14th Street.  There is also a trail system in place on the East side of the river, that I have yet to explore.  This is another fantastic development for Downtown Des Moines and its ever-evolving cycling scene!  After a twilight ride home, some dinner, and a little TV...It's time for bed.  I am looking forward to Bike to Work Week Day 3.  I'll see you on the trail!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bike to Work Week Day 1

Vintage Bicycle with Fenders clipart

I have been cycling for many years, but I have always driven a car to work.  This is to be my inaugural Bike to Work Week, and I am proud to say that day one is complete!  I have officially cycle-commuted to and from work. There was an available bike locker in the parking garage; and, thanks to the excellent locker room facilities in the gym at work, I had a place to clean up and shower.  Since home is so close to downtown, I decided to add a couple of miles by trail rather than a straight shot down Ingersoll Avenue; though that is a quicker option in a time-crunch.  The Bill Riley Trail took me to Waterworks Park this morning, but I decided to take the road through the park rather than the trail past Gray's Lake.  Bike Iowa says the trail is open under the Fleur Drive bridge, but I was on the way to work; so I didn't want to take a chance.  Maybe I will try it tomorrow.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Ok...I need to do something with this blog.  What to do?  I have resolved to ride my bike to work next week in observation of Bike to Work Week.  Maybe I can write here about the experience.  If nothing else, I think that the act of putting this into writing may actually prompt me to do it.  Further, I hope that this will be a week that changes the way I commute!  Living within 3 miles of work, I really feel I could make better "green" choices.  Then again, maybe I am getting ahead of myself.  Look for updates starting Monday...or not.