Ahh…Spring

 

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Skyway Slideshow

My esteemed touring buddy, Tim, did a better job at describing the event details with his day by day accounts (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3).  But I can, at least, contribute a few photos to help further enhance the mood…

Tour Buddy Insight

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Having a good buddy to share a bicycle tour adds much to the overall experience. He points out things I miss, encourages me to go beyond my previous personal limitations, offers a congratulatory mountain top handshake, and validates my claim that “the climb in the photo is much steeper than it appears”. A good touring buddy magnifies all that is excellent about a bicycle outing. He also helps me overcome challenges encountered along the way. That means a touring buddy sees me when things aren’t going well.

A touring buddy has insight far beyond instagram images and blog posts. The information posted on this blog and on instagram is only the information I want you to see. It is carefully edited, and I have total control. But I can’t edit or filter life as it happens in front of my tour buddy. He sees the stumbles, silly mistakes, packing disorganization, and camp failures. He hears me whine when I don’t have my way. Vulnerability and humiliation.  Is it worth it?

When a tour buddy agrees to join me again for another tour, it is worth it. He demonstrates (by subjecting himself to my company again) that my shortcomings are somehow acceptable. That makes for a great touring buddy.

Choose wisely.

Glamping & Tramping

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My plan

(freaky spring weather permitting)

Friday

camp dinner 6ish

sunset 8ish

near full moon

short night ride?

Saturday

sunrise 6:45ish

bacon at 7

ride at 9

26 miles of mixed terrain (trail, gravel, paved)

lots of stops for lake views, photo ops, snacks, and coffee

followed by late lunch burgers in Greenwood (mid-afternoon?)

Planning done.

Tour Rhythm

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The bicycle is a ideal adventure vehicle for me. It requires physical activity, it is silent, and it has perfect pace. It seems motor vehicle travel is so fast, I miss too much.  Hiking is so slow, it doesn’t keep up with my curiosity. But the bicycle brings me new sensations just when I am ready for them.

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I’ve learned that bicycle tours have a certain rhythm which is different than normal life. It is slower, and has more of an “in the moment” flow. It seems to take me a couple of days to make the adjustment. Once body and mind are in sync with the rhythm of the tour, I experience something blissful that I’ve been unable to communicate to non-bicycle tourists.

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I’ve done several tours, and have found this rhythm. But my short tours usually end just at the time I make the adjustment. I feel like a surfer dropping in on a perfect wave, only to have it vanish as I carve the bottom turn.

Coffeeneuring 2017

Number 1

Avoca Coffee, 835 Foch St, Fort Worth, TX 76107, https://www.avocacoffee.com/

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This year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge started on the very first day of the season (October 13), and I arrived before they opened the doors.  I’ve never been more eager to get started.

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I enjoyed their highly regarded Cortado, and added an enormous chocolate muffin as a bonus. While my senses were being delighted, I couldn’t help appreciating the special bike parking accommodations.

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Today’s outing started with my normal 50-mile drive from rural northwest Denton County to my workplace in downtown Fort Worth. It then transitioned to more pleasurable transportation as I grabbed the Rivendell Quickbeam kept in my office for my city life. I turned on my lights and glided through dark and empty streets, on to the Trinity Trails, across the Trinity River pedestrian bridge, through the silent park, and up Foch Street to the coffee shop. After snapping my first photo of the bike outside, the boys raised the big overhead door. Coffee time! Finally, I took an alternate route back to work to make a 4-mile loop. It might be Friday the 13th, but it seems I’m off to a great start.


Number 2

Trinity Park, Downtown Fort Worth, Texas

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Pre-dawn, Friday, October 20

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Riverside… coffee outside. Fresh, hand-ground Avoca Noir beans, and a robust pour-over brew using my Soto Helix.

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Similar to last week, I decided to go coffeeneuring before work on Friday instead of waiting for my more typical Saturday outings. So the Rivendell Quickbeam was once again on call for another peaceful glide through the early morning darkness. Next to a silent blue flame, I watched a city come to life. As the sky became lighter, I saw the swirling clouds reflected on the calm surface of the tranquil river flow.

The weather was so pleasantly cool, I was tempted to secretly glide away from downtown. But I had my moment of peace, pedaled about 6 miles, and was appropriately caffeinated. So maybe I could manage one more day before the weekend.


Number 3

I enjoyed two coffeeneuring achievements this week. The first one was a mid-Friday (October 27) escape at Buon Giorno Coffee, 915 Florence St, Fort Worth, TX 76102. The second one was Saturday morning (October 28) outside my tent on a frosty morning in the nearby State Park.

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This MY parking space right around the corner from the door of Buon Giorno Coffee. It is only a 10 minute walk from my office, but I’d rather ride the Quickbeam, and lock it up to this gas meter.

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I ordered one of their famous cappuccinos, and added chocolate shortbread. It was the perfect way to cap off lunch on a Friday, and anticipate the coming weekend.

Because the coffee shop is so close to my office, I rode out to Trinity Park first, made a loop, and stopped in for my treat on the way back.  Total distance…about three miles.  A cold front blew in overnight. The sky was cloudy, about 50 degrees, and the wind was howling out of the northwest. I was under-dressed. When I sat down to enjoy my coffee, my ears were aching. With warm beverage in hand, I recovered. But my wife reported some sleet up at my house. Since I planned on an overnighter that night, it was not a great sign.


Number 4

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But the skies cleared nicely during my drive home. It was a lovely night, but colder than expected.

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I enjoyed my Avoca Noir beans via Soto Helix pour-over, brewed outside on my campsite table. The coffee was especially appreciated because of the unexpected cold.

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I had dressed for mid-30s, but awoke to 29 degrees. Fortunately, I tossed in my sleeping bag vapor barrier into my camping load “just in case”.  It served me well. As long as I was in my bag, I was comfortable. Making the coffee in the early morning was a little uncomfortable, so I retreated back to my bag and enjoyed warmth from the inside and out.

The sun eventually come over the tree tops, and it warmed up nicely. I loaded my gear, rode some easy park trails, and returned home for a total distance of about 41 miles.


Number 5

It was another two-stop coffeeneuring week for me, and both were coffee shops without walls. The first stop was at the confluence of the West Fork and Clear Fork of the Trinity River immediately north of downtown Fort Worth, at dawn on Friday (November 3). The second one was on a rock in a remote wooded area near the shore of Lake Ray Roberts on Saturday morning (November 4).

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When you step back and look at it, the reason I get mistaken for homeless so often is apparent. Say what you will, but sitting here in peace and watching the fog form, while the City comes alive is a joy. Since this was back in Fort Worth, the Rivendell Quickbeam was today’s ride.

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The air was cool, so it seemed good to mix in some hobo camp oatmeal this time. It was so good, I’ll definitely do this again.

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It wasn’t my first cup of the day. I had already driven an hour into town. So I didn’t need a lot of coffee. This shot of faux espresso, was perfect. I’m really enjoying this little GSI device. An old small jam jar has been re-purposed as my espresso cup.

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Ahhh…now I can face the workday. A six mile loop, and coffeeneuring 5 of 7 was done.


Number 6

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I enjoy coffeeneuring in the city, but brewing coffee in rural areas is the pinnacle for me. I rolled out Saturday morning with much more than coffee kit. I’m practicing carrying camping loads on rugged roads and trails for a big bikepacking trip planned in late December.

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The MTB trail wandered close to the lake shore, and a large rock was sitting there on the slope. Its a good thing I bring a little padding for where I sit.

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I had such a good time with the GSI device Friday before work, I decided to bring it along again on Saturday.

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All in all, it was a good 45+ mile load carrying practice session, including the adventure of completely tossing one of my panniers, repairing a flat tire, and with the delight of coffeeneuring 6 of 7 right smack in the middle.


Number 7

My last entry for this year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge happened on the last day of the schedule (November 19). I actually went coffeeneuring during my 9th Annual Fall Finale Fifty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble, but I was so distracted by having friends with me I simply didn’t get it documented properly. Go figure.

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I was not able to get out on the bike on Saturday, November 18, due to other commitments. But on Sunday afternoon, circumstances fell into place and I was able to get out to a special place and complete the challenge.

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The destination was the LBJ National Grasslands. I took the Bantam, and ambled along for about 12 miles in absolutely perfect fall conditions. The ride included gravel roads, double-track, and some single-track equestrian trails. The gorgeous afternoon light and stunning quiet made it hard to release the weekend from my grip, return home, and transition into another work week.

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I found a sandy beach area near a small lake to enjoy the sunshine and water view.

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The GSI Outdoor Mini Expresso made another appearance. I ground my beans by hand on the spot, and made a faux Americano with my pseudo espresso.

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I actually used the Aeropress during my (undocumented) Ramble ride to intentionally add a little variety to my excursions. I had sort of planned for some variation of indoor/outdoor, and a mix of brewing devices, this year. But in the end, I seemed to revert back to “going with the flow” as usual…and this is simply how it played out. At least I was able to use all three of my excellent bikes.

My first outing occurred before daylight on the very first morning, and my last (documented) outing was mid-afternoon on the very last day. So ends another successful and enjoyable Coffeeneuring Challenge during my favorite time of year. As thoughts turned into the Thanksgiving holiday, I was specifically grateful to be “challenged” to such shenanigans.