Monday, October 26, 2015

Coffeeneuring Ride 4-Sunday October 25, 2015

Windy fronts--Jen catches up to me on ride count

Jen's catch-up ride to Starbucks
We had a lot to do this weekend. October weekends on the coast are always full of places to go and things to do on the panhandle.  Perfect weather, usually in the 70's as highs, with early morning rides hovering around the 60's.  We had no such luck this weekend. Muggy and windy tropical system started to come in and it felt like late August with 80 degree weather.  I hate mid-August weather and humidity.

Jen started the weekend by riding to
Starbucks to 'make up' her first ride.  She was all business on Saturday, riding the dreaded Highway 98 with our daughter.  Just eeked in a 2.4 mile round trip ride to add it to the books and catch up to me with three rides a piece.  She said it was quite the windy ride on the way back, but she and Avery got it done.  They both enjoyed a chocolate chip frappuccino so hopefully, they had plenty of energy to ride the bike back against the wind from the west at about 15 mph.

Sunday's Ride (Bagelheads)

We had a late night on Saturday as my brother-in-law's band played at the Bridgebar, then wifey spent some time on the beach.  I headed home as I was tired from a day of football, drinking, band listening, and overall awesomeness.  11PM gets a little late for me after a long day--Jen went out with her cousin and brother and friends and hung out until about 12:15AM.

The original plan was to ride early to Pensacola as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia were heading our way. We really didn't want to get caught up in any of that stuff but it was a little hard to wake up early on Sunday morning from the prior day's activities.  Needless to say, we got ourselves out of bed, checked the local weather forecast and were able to hop on the tandem for and 'easy' ride to Pensacola.  We met Joe and Amber, along with a late arrival by our daughter--she REALLY likes to sleep in--and headed over.  The trip over was effortless and the weather, although humid wasn't horrible until we got to the three mile bridge.  The wind picked up. I was a little concerned how easy the ride westbound was, because, as all cyclists know--usually when it's a little TOO easy, there usually a helpful windy friend at your back.  My fears were realized once we had to double back in order to get to the Northbound bridge. I think the winds were only blowing about 10 knots but seemed to be getting stronger by the minute.  Oh well. In it to win it, right?

We made it to Bagelheads with no problems.  Ha. 


 The ride back was a different story.  After spending about an hour at bagelheads loading up on black coffee, tea, smoothies and bagels about the size of my head, we headed back.

The wind was needless to say--hell.  Luckily it was straight out of the east so, although the bridge wasn't extremely hard, the rain chance of 50% made an appearance.  At the top of the bridge.  Although it wasn't a pelting rain, riding in rain is never fun, especially when riding on the front of a tandem with carbon handlebars and no wrap or grip.  Bad decision.  VERY luckily, it only lasted about a half mile, however the vast expanse of water opened up to definite heavy rains from the east.  I really didn't know what we were in for as our home was another six miles to the east.  Luckily it never rained on us again.

We had to stop on the bridge as soon as the rain stopped, due to my daughter's problem knees and,  riding Jen's bike, not being able to keep up with us.  Since I wanted to be home before midnight, I decided to let her be my stoker and Jen hopped back on her bike for the rest of the trip. Not sure it was the best decision as the new stoker wasn't able to push the pedals too hard. She held her own though so I was happy with that.

Everything was going fine until we headed completely eastbound into the monster. The wind was blowing at about 25 knots right at us now and it felt like I was holding on to the rear brake.  Just awful, but an experience nonetheless. The final mile and a half was a final ha-ha by God on our end of trip.  The rains started about an hour later, I guess--I wouldn't know when they started, as I pulled out my power napping ability, after about 32 oz of coffee, i'm not sure it worked, but it sure tasted good.
Everyone is caught up on rides now at 4.  Jen, Rob, Joe and Amber. Go us!
Avery has an honorable mention right now with 3.  Maybe she'll be able to catch up to us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Coffeeneuring ride 3--Sunday October 18, 2015


When your 11 year old child plays football in far-away places on Saturday, it makes it a little hard to try and knock out two trips in a weekend.  It was also my beautiful mother's 70th birthday, so Saturday was a no-go.  Perfect weather, no wind, all sun.  Just a perfect day and we had to do some football travelling--not that there's anything wrong with that!

The cold front kicked in that day and the temps went from 79 degrees w/low humidity to 53 degrees with no humidity.  The wind was kicking on Sunday but Jen and I went through with our plan to make our first 'tandemneuring coffeeneuring' trip to Pensacola.  Right out of the gate we were cruising, then realized that the wind was coming out of the northeast.  Yay. I'll take a steady low cross-wind over a headwind anyday--bonus, the trip back will be much easier than the trip there!

Because my child is on a middle school sports team, and also in chorus, we always buy those ticket books.  This year we had one for Fosko's Coffee Barre downtown Pensacola.  By the time we got there it was about noon on Sunday--a perfect time to try out a cappuccino and Jen decided on a Cheesecake Frappuccino.  The frappe was very good, but the whip cream was something that needed to be worked on. She left that in cup! The weather warmed up and it was sunny and the wind died down.  A perfect day on the big-blue Burley.

Not long after, and since we were downtown, we decided to hang out right next door at one of our favorite spots for beer--Hopjacks Pizza kitchen, with 112 beers on tap.  Needed a little energy other than the Cappuccino so wifey and I filled up on some duck battered french fries and a few select half-price beers after meeting up with some friends.  In keeping with the theme, I was sure to have a Stone Coffee Milk Stout.

Three hours later, the sun started to descend and it was time for us to hit the road back as we were ill-equipped for nighttime lighting or riding.  Jen's sciatica was acting up a little too so it's a constant change of seat height for her.  Need to work on the fore-aft positioning also until we can get these shakedown rides dialed in.

The straight bee-line home via Hwy 98 and some accompanying bike trails had us home, albeit exhausted from not working our legs much this summer. As previously posted, the bike lane on bloody 98 will be extremely nice when it's done.  Problem is, does construction ever get 'done'?

My ride 3 and Jen's ride 2 are in the books.  No kids on the ride today (Sunday)--also no neighbors as Joe's shift has changed and he'll be getting he and Amber's coffeeneuring rides in on weekdays.

Joe and Amber were able to get their ride in today (Tuesday)--another perfect day trip to a beach breakfast joint!  Well Done Joe and Amber--y'all got three rides in the books now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Coffeeneuring Ride 2--Sunday October 11, 2015


Yesterday was slow-ride Saturday.  Local bike shops in the Pensacola hold a slow ride at their location.  This is to inform the community about bicycle safety and riding in groups.  The Bike Pensacola facebook page is really blowing up and it seems we have about 60-70 folks showing up for each slow ride.  No spandex required.  Folks stopping for us, etc.  Great times.

This was the first decent 6+ mile ride for Jen and I on the Burley.  We did alright and got plenty of kudos and thumb's up from fellow riders.  We SO love this bike.  It'll be even better after I dress her with some planet bike fenders and a new Brooks.  Enjoyed the ride.  We were going to stop for coffee before leaving but had to check the rule book.  Decided not to stop as we don't want any violations from the coffeeneuring police, ha :).

Sunday we decided to ride with our neighbors on a perfect morning.  Amber and Joe rode all of them a couple of years ago, but we never added them to our rides.  The rules changed last year so i'm going to be making sure they get creds this year for their rides.  They rode Saturday for Starbucks as their starting ride and rode again with us on Sunday to my favorite spot for coffee--Drowsy Poet overlooking Little Sabine on the intercoastal waterway side of Pensacola Beach.

If I could ride this ride every weekend, I certainly would as we're both sold on this place. We usually end up buying an item in the surf shop after our coffee anyway--I blame the weather. A perfectly beautiful morning with no wind, a chance to break in the tandem a little more and, bonus, my daughter decided to ride along too!  Love me some White Chocolate Mocha as did my wifey.  Perfect day to coffeeneur.  Love this time of year!

Joe and Amber's Saturday Ride                                                           Sunday Coffee Ride w/neighbors

Daughter checking out 'pirate ship'
Jen's White Chocolate Mocha

Joe is concentrating on the cappuccino. Not gonna drink itself

Rob's White Chocolate Mocha

A breather after the climb to enjoy the views
The happy ride back 

Overall, a great time was had with neighbors and kiddo today.  Rides like these make me wanna just stay in the saddle!
Only regret was the sonnyboy didn't go with us. 
Some ride tallies--Rob 2, Jen 1, Avery 1, Amber 2, Joe 2 Garrett 1

Coffeeneuing Ride 1 Sunday Oct 4, 2015


Well, now that I told you in detail about my new tandem, it was time to test it out.  The original theme was to ride the bike with wifey to all coffeeneuring destinations this year, however, on ride one Sunday, it just so happened there were shoe sales in town, so wifey and daughter went shopping instead.  Being that my day doesn't fare too well when I 'wait' for my coffee in the morning, I decided to stop prolonging my agony of the need for caffeine, and asked my son if he felt like riding to the local Starbucks for a frappy.  He was more than excited.  I have to say I was too--as he did great on the rear of the bike.

It didn't take long to find a rhythm, however, I figured I needed a new front derailleur as the darn thing would no shift in the smaller ring on the 'hills'.  That's OK.  I'll take what I can get on the first ride.  We rode through the golfing community and got a few stares, but mostly it just felt good going against the wind and having a little help pushing the pedals.  Great first ride and some great Starbucks coffee to boot!  Jen will have to catch up and maybe do a ride with the daughter on the tandem twice in a weekend.  I hope to have her in the saddle with me for the next trip, though, as this is OUR thing! Sonnyboy did great on our first long trip.  I'll need to make some adjustments to handlebar height.  Been looking at changing out the front bars too--maybe some Nitto Albatross or, better yet, Jones loop bars--just gotta find the way to justify the expense.

I'm going to try and keep track of everyone that rides so hopefully we'll all be able to earn our patches.

Ride 1 = SUCCESS!  Rob 1, Garrett 1, Jen 0, Avery 0 Neighbor Joe 0, Neighbor Amber 0

Sunday, October 4, 2015

New Bike Day--A rolla for Coffeeneuring 2015

2015 hasn't been a great year for throwing down miles on the bikes for me.  As much as I'd like to blame laziness on my part, every major route that I take, whether it be on my commute, my daily utility rides to the store, or just a casual ride with family, it seems EVERY route is currently under construction.  Not nice construction either--the kind of construction that leaves the road grader marks and cutouts on the bike lane and the road. Ruts that would leave me broken, bruised and defeated for a lot longer than the construction on the routes.

The good news is, it's coming to an end and the roads are NICE and SMOOTH in areas where it is completed.  My commute to work route new bridge is almost finished, which will keep me on the road and not on some soft asphalt garbage path to a slick wooden walkway over water. Yep. I'm ready to get back in the saddle and start riding, with a much (albeit) smaller mileage goal by the end of the year.  I'm aiming for 1000 miles this year.  I had 2000+ last year.  So far I have 565 miles and have grown a Dunlap, which makes it even harder to ride long distances, but I plan to accomplish this as a small goal set! Unfortunately it'll be the first year since 2009 that I haven't accomplished a 'more miles than last year' goal.  Oh well.

Last week, on a whim in order to buy a very good tripod that I found on Craigslist for dirt cheap, my wife wanted me to, as a loaner for $75 for the tripod, put our camper on Craigslist to attempt to sell.  Been there done that before, and it was a pain.  Never sold.  Took it off C/L after about two weeks of b.s. calls from b.s. people.  Just a total turn off.

This time was different.  I got a call on it the same day.  Long story short, I sold the camper in two days, adding fun money to both me and wifey's savings account.

I think things happen for a reason. I'd been looking for a tandem bike for a while, and yesterday, two days after adding money to my savings, I noticed the 2004 Burley Rumba sitting in the parking lot of a secondhand, curio type shop on Hwy 98.

After our weekend thrift store stops, I decided to stop in and see what it was.  What it was, was AMAZING.  Updated FSA carbon front handlebars, Tiagra components and deore components, Nitto rear bars and a Selle Anatomica X front seat.  I stood over her.  She fit me perfectly.  My daughter, who was with me stood over the back.  She's the same height as my wife.  Fit her too.  This looks good.  Might want to ask for forgiveness rather than permission on this one.  I made a command decision after I talked with the shop owner regarding the amazing price I saw on it.  I couldn't turn it down.  I even brought an older Specialized Rock Hopper Front Suspension to knock an extra $100 off the price.

I ended up being able to knock 150 off the original price of the bike, bring the final price to $250.  $250!  For a 2004 BURLEY tandem Road bike with that much alone in Bars and seat.  Needless to say I was stoked--or maybe that should read stoker:) or not true at all, being that I'll be the Captain:).

My neighbor went with me to pick it up in his truck.  When we got this beautiful baby home, we took it around the neighborhood on a couple of test rides.  He's heavier than me, and, as a stoker, it made riding a tandem for the first time, a little weird feeling.  We were grinning the whole way though. Super fun to ride. Next, my daughter got on the stoker seat. It was much easier to control the bike with her weightless butt on the back!

I was starting to get the hang of riding it after my son got on. It was a little big for him, but he hung in there on the half mile ride.  Wifey grinned and giggled and said she was glad I bought it after we took it for our lap.  We expect it to be our mode of transportation for all our coffeeneuring rides this year.  Might not go overly far until we're used to it, but should be a fun blog this year anyway :)

Welcome Big Blue.  Good Bye (and riddance) Trailmanor 3326 and goodbye 98 Specialized Rockhopper.  You won't be missed!