GAP Tour, Part 3

img_5461Steve cooks on a chilly morning

img_1306img_5464Carey’s morning cheer

img_5532Camp, after the fog lifted

img_5546img_5507Cruising to Connellsville

img_5513Library coffee shop stop

img_5440img_1307img_5572img_5527img_5463Ohiopyle State Park, we camped on the right side near the top

img_5411img_5398Carey works culinary magic with water outdoors.

Like is father above, Titus also plays with water outdoors. Someday soon, he’ll join us on tour.


GAP Tour, Part 2

 We could see the trail from our hotel room

Rusty and me at Big Dog Coffee

 Pittsburgh skyline

   Pre-lunch highlights

 Pedaling, conversing, and wondering how long it takes to get out of the big city

Bridge view

Semi-covered bridge 

 Glamour shot of the Rambler while Carey finishes lunch

 Finally escaped the city, serious touring now

 Post-lunch highlights

 Starting dinner in camp

…and sometime after dinner, but before bedtime, is a good time for story time. Which reminds of that time, just before our tour started, when I shared some story time with my grandson, Titus…


GAP Tour, Part 1


In my trip journal, I titled this excursion “GAP Tour and Grandson Squeeze 2016”. It was a 9-day trip that included a combination of family visit, socializing with friends, and a multi-day bicycle tour. Because this blog focuses mainly on my cycling activities and associated ponderings, this post (actually series of posts) will cover the cycling activities. However, because I am as proud a grandparent as any, it will also include a few photos of my adorable grandson, Titus. For this I do not apologize.


 The first cycling activity (after post-shipping bike assembly) was my first coffeeneuring control for 2016.In addition to my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, I was joined by DC area friends Jeff Lesperance (@heyjaffy) and Erl Houston (@erlhouston). I had met Jeff last year when he was part of a group who joined our group for a portion of the C&O tour. Until this day, I had only chatted with Erl digitally. There was so much non-stop bicycle talk, the women and children retreated to my daughter’s apartment and left us to our excesses. I am grateful for my family making way for me to visit with these two guys, and for their willingness to make special arrangements to meet up with me. Coffeeneuring with friends is a rare treat.



We hadn’t even started the GAP tour yet, but it already felt like a great start. The next day, my son-in-law, Carey, and I would drive up to Pittsburgh, meet up with friend, Steve Butcher (@graveldoc), spend the night, and depart on the GAP Trail on Monday morning. I’ll pick up there in the next post.

In the meantime, here is the gratuitous grandson photo for this post…  

…looking so cool in those Darth Vader jammies, that I am reconsidering my bedtime wardrobe.

Almost Ramble Time


Ramble on roads like this, except in more Fall-like conditions

Now that my GAP tour is complete (more on that later), I am realizing that the 2016 Fall Finale 50ish Mile Country Path Ramble is rapidly approaching. I’ll be posting more details very soon, but the key reminder here is the date of the ride…Saturday, November 12. If you happen to be anywhere near Sanger, Texas around this time, we’d love to have you join us. Are you making plans to be here?

It’s not too early…

cross leg

…to mark your calendar for the Eighth Annual Fall Finale Fifty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble.

That is what I was thinking as I sat there, striking a pose, and pondering the delightfulness of the shorter 35 mile loop option I rode yesterday.


Yes, it is still early September. It still looks like summer out there. But it was in the low 70s when I started out. Wow. It isn’t too early to plan.


Saturday, November 12

…on your calendar now.


For Sale: A. Homer Hilsen


I didn’t expect this day.

I thought I’d have this bike until I couldn’t pedal anymore.  It seems I accidentally keep re-building the same bike. Some of you know what I’m talking about. So it is time to rid myself of redundancy and build a completely different bike. More about that later.

I’ve decided to sacrifice the Hilsen to help fund the new project. I’d prefer to sell it as a complete bike (Carradice bag, Klean Kanteen, and tool roll not included) for $1800 shipped CONUS, but am willing to discuss frameset or partial builds if you wish.  I’ve got drop bars and some aero levers if you prefer that arrangement. It is a handsome, smooth ride, and it will make you smile.  Frame size 56.


Breck – Lofty Riding


In more ways than one, this was seriously lofty riding for me. My house is at elevation 778 feet, and most of my riding is done in an elevation range between 600 feet and 1200 feet. Last Friday, however, I joined these two gentlemen for a ride on a mountain somewhere in the 9600 to 10,500 feet range. That’s Brad (Association of Caffeinated Wheelmen and Instagram) and Jon (Two Wheels – Six Strings) shown in the photo above, somewhere along our Peaks Trail route.


My trip to the mountains for the conference was a last minute thing. I didn’t give these guys much advance notice. But they arranged their lives to make time for the lowlander, and drove up from Denver on a weekday to spend the day with me. They brought the coolest bikes I saw during my time in Colorado, including the Bridgestone MB3 above for me to ride. The fit was perfect. I had a crush on this bike all day long.


I had to stop frequently because the views stunned me. I simply had to obtain photographic evidence as proof that I was really riding a bicycle in such wonderful surroundings. This place had almost everything. The weather was perfect. We had climbs, descents, creek crossings, forests, open spaces…almost everything I could ask for. Well…what we didn’t have quite enough of was oxygen. And that’s the other reason I had to stop frequently.


The boys were kind and patient. They let me set a pace that my oxygen starved body could handle. But as I look back on the photos of them riding, it appears they were also having a pretty good time.


We fueled up with giant burgers before we left town for the ride. We rode for a few hours, rolled into town, and had pizza for dinner. Then we headed over to the coffee shop for one more indulgence. When we weren’t riding, the conversation was non-stop. All that talk was insightful and entertaining. They made me feel welcome, and as if I had been a close friend for years. Come to think of it, the conversation between the two of them was non-stop even during the ride. I would have joined in if I wasn’t so busy gasping for air.


We did, indeed, ride in some lofty places. But it was the quality of the company that elevated my day to the loftiest of heights.  Thanks, boys!