"Freedom and responsibility we speak of easily, nearly always without recognition of the iron courage required to make them effective in our lives." j. glenn gray

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Wonderful Husband

I rode with hubby the other day and he let me ride his trike! What an awesome ride! Now I see why he loves it, got to get one! for anyone out there that "likes" to ride but not sure ride one of these, you'll be hooked! Thank you Soldier’s Angels for helping my husband be able to ride longer with the medical condition he has and continue enjoying something he loves!

So my husband tells me one day he is going to ride his bike to the World Trade Center Memorial and I think “Has this man lost his mind! Should I call the loony bin!?!”, but Jack calmly goes on to explain why and the more he talks I realize no he’s not crazy and isn’t going through some mid-life crisis so I can safely call off the loony patrol.

Our family is very proud of Jack and we wholly support him in this ride. We are very grateful to all the men and women who fight for our freedom and the great country we live in. I hope this ride will help raise more awareness to other Americans as to how lucky they are to have these soldiers fight for them and all the sacrifices our soldiers have made.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a fantastic organization dedicated to helping severely injured service men and women by assisting and empowering them into the next phase of their lives. Please visit their website to learn how you can help our Wounded Soldiers and show them your support. TC

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

B.O.B.'s Your Uncle!

Woo Hoo! Received B.O.B. this morning from Anthony! Many, many thanks to Anthony! Brother, I sincerely appreciate the awesome gift and your wonderful show of generosity. I drove over to Walgreen's for maybe 30 minutes and returned to find a big box setting in front of the door. It really is an awesome trailer and should work perfectly for the mission. I'll be returning the trailer that Robert loaned me. Thanks again to Robert for the loan but it sounds like you'll be needing it for your vacation in the NE so we're both in luck.

I'll be making a couple of practice runs over to Brazos Bend State Park to check out my equipment and make sure everything is serviceable as well as to see what items I may want to acquire that I don't already have and to "86" those that I have that I won't be needing. I'll post the dates if anybody wants to join me for an overnight trip.

Check out the trailer at: And I'll be posting pics of it when I get it all hooked up and ready for a test ride.

Also, I've completed plotting the route on Google Earth. You can view the route on Google Earth ( as HOU-NYC Ride. I've broken the ride down by State for ease of management. I am currently transferring the route to Google Maps under TXPeddler as HOU-NYC Ride and breaking it down by day with campsites etc. Check it out here:

Ride On!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My New Ride

OK! Here is the review and some pics of the TerraTrike SnakeSkin recumbent bike (trike) that was given to me by Soldiers' Angels. First I must again say "Thank You So Much" to the Soldiers' Angels and Toby Nunn who made this happen. I don't feel that my words are enough to express the gratitude I feel at such an awesome show of care and concern for my welfare. Thank you. I won't go into details on the components here because I did so in the captions of the pictures.

When the delivery driver opened the trailer doors the first thing I saw was a sticker saying 73lbs and I thought "holy crap!" My superSIX weighs 14.6lbs... I started getting anxious and thinking "oh, boy, what the heck kind of a bike weighs 73 freakin pounds!?!" I think it must have been a government contractor that weighed that box for shipment because I don't think it was anywhere near that. The driver used a hand truck and wheeled the very large and somewhat unnerving box into my garage where I saw it was undamaged and so signed for the shipment.

We opened up the box and found the coolest bike I'd seen in a long, long time (when I was a kid I had a "swing" bike that had a pin in the frame you could pull releasing the frame into two pieces on a pivot, like a door hinge, so it was like sitting on a unicycle while holding an orbital floor buffer out in front of you... and it was really cool too). With Mick on the stern and me on the bow we lifted her gently from the box and placed her in the center of the garage floor where we all stared for a while and walked around her pointing at various parts and saying things like "cool" and "will ya look at this." Then TC said "well, sit on it and see how it feels." That sounded like a really cool idea and so I stood next to it and stopped short just long enough to realize that I was not in the most favorable of positions to mount this bike. I then went around to the bow, straddled the crankset and mast, grabbed a wheel in each hand and eased on down into the seat. Now, I've ridden plenty of different bikes, BMX bikes, mountain bikes, "swing" bikes, unicycles, various conflagrations of road bikes but never had I sat on a recumbent trike. Somewhat awkwardly at first I settled back and reached for the bars and pedals only to find the bars were folded for shipping. Right about that time Mick announced that the tires were flat as well. I dismounted and while I set up the handlebar and placed the flag in the seat tube, Mick aired up the tires and TC popped open the garage door. Once again I mounted the trike and, this time finding everything where it's supposed to be, pedaled out of the garage, down the drive and up the street for my maiden run. I pedaled around the neighborhood then returned to give Mick and TC their turn on my new baby. Each took her for a spin down the street and returned with large grins displayed upon their faces. It was the neatest thing on two, no wait, three wheels!

After our test rides we returned to standing around the trike in the garage sipping on sodas and just admiring it. The paint scheme is just really wild and simply pretty at the same time... natural camouflage. And carried over to the wheelset is just totally gucci! The paint is even and cleanly applied with no visible defects. Of course the cool thing about camo is that it would hide defects if there were any, or, if any are acquired over the years of riding I plan on doing. The embroidered snake on the seat is just the coolest. I love that snake! With his raised eyebrow and tongue hanging out you can just feel his attitude. The whole machine just flows simply like a raindrop from fore to aft. Terratrike did an excellent job of building the trike and then setting it up to my specs. The components were all nicely installed and the accessories (headrest, rack, bags) were ready to be fit to me; an easy task that Mick helped me with and took only a few minutes.

Since then I have pedaled some 300+ miles on the trike and we are a pretty good fit now. At first I was a bit hesitant and leery of sitting so low, having a wheel jutting out of the bike lane and finding just the right position on the seat to maximize effort and comfort. Those concerns have fallen away and with each mile I get more and more comfortable on the trike. I ended up moving the seat forward a notch and leaning it back 2 notches at about a 45 degree angle. I added a quickie solution for a lumbar support by halving a pool noodle; its a little too hard but it does take up that space and gives me a more solid platform from which to push the pedals. The SRAM Force road drivetrain with Shimano Ultegra front derailleur and FSA SL-K crankset perform flawlessly... smooth, quiet and efficient.

Aside from the obvious changes from an upright, diamond-framed bike to a recumbent trike the first thing I noticed was the use of a number of different muscles in my legs, butt and back. While there was no more pressure and pain on my lower back, neck and arms, my butt and hamstrings were quite worn out for the first few rides until I started to build them up a little. My lower back hurt a little at first but not the deep, bone hurt from the jarring of a bicycle saddle and compression of my vertebrae from bumps but, rather, a tired muscle soreness from having not regularly used those particular muscles very much in a long time. In other words, it was a good hurt and one that would soon be ameliorated by continued use and strengthening. All I keep thinking when I go out to ride now is "man, I should have been on one of these a long, long time ago."

The combination of the newness of the trike and the oldness of the motor had me cruising at about 12 mph for the first week or so. It left me wanting more each time I got home from a ride. Now I am cruising at 14 to 15 and with a little effort making 17 to 18. Last week while riding back from WeeMart on Mustang Rd. I managed 21 mph for the entire length of Mustang. Another difference with the trike is that you don't "spin" the cranks; you have to "push" the cranks, almost like walking up stairs. If you "spin" the cranks the trike will tadpole... the front end will move back and forth with each pedal stroke like the it is trying to walk rather than roll. Thus, you ride in a larger gear than you would normally.

I noticed one other huge difference... motorists tend to either give you more cushion or stay completely out of your way just so they can watch you as you ride past. The trike is such an odd looking machine that it commands attention. I have had motorists who would normally pull right out in front of me on my road bike sit and wait for me to go past all the while staring and pointing and smiling and waving. I continually get thumbs up signs instead of middle fingers. Adults wave just as quickly as children. Motorists in Z-06 corvettes wave just as enthusiastically as those in ford focus'. It just looks cool, period. Of course, uneducated, red neck punks joy riding in daddy's overly-large, tremedously expensive diesel pickups are still jerks but, hey, you can't please everybody.

So now I'm enjoying my rides more than ever. I get to sit up and see what's going on around me much easier and I don't feel like Quasi Moto when I get home. Overall, I'm totally satisfied with the product and the company who produced and sold it to me. I definitely recommend TerraTrikes if you are thinking about purchasing a recumbent trike.

Let's see... it's got a sporty 30 speed close-ratio manual transmission, front wheel high-performance disc brakes, custom velocity wheels, racing tires, carbon fiber high performance drivetrain, digital programmable instrument panel, digital dash-mounted GPS navigation system, environmentally friendly air conditioning and an Ipod compatible stereo docking system... be "Part of the Solution" with

Enjoy the ride!

Time's A Flyin'!

Well, well, well! Where do I start? Times are simple now though I've been keeping very busy. I've been riding and working on plotting the ride route and schedule. The route map took forever! I don't think there is a straight road in all of Virginia! I've been using Google Earth and plotting the route with way points so, I have to place way points throughout each curve in the road to make a turn. Corners are great... just 1 dot at a 90-degree and bingo, that's it. Texas was easy as most roads seemed to come to angular intersections but once into the mountain areas there are bunches of curves and switch backs. The ride is on Google Earth as HOU-NYC Bike Ride and google maps under TXPeddler and same title.

I've sent out all the request letters and posted fliers around LBS' and bulletin boards where we shop and mail and eat and wherever else I trod. No responses yet although we still have a few weeks to go.

Many, many thanks to my friend Anthony for the B.O.B. Yak trailer! This will be perfect for the mission. I'll be able to stow all of my camp gear and food on the trailer leaving the panniers for clothing and personal items thus distributing the load into a much more manageable arrangement. Anthony is shipping the trailer and I should have it this week.

I am still in need of a few items that are necessary and a few that would be nice to have for documenting the mission. Unfortunately, my entire budget was ate up when we had to put a larger-than-expected down payment on the truck. Besides eating into my funds for preparing for the trip, it ate up my motel budget and extras like my weekly dine out treat. So, I will definitely be riding this one RANGER style, which is actually OK with me because our Troops on deployment right now and those in transition to civilian life with serious injuries don't have all the comforts of home either thus, I will share some discomfort with them. I'm sure I will survive.

-sleeping pad (thermarest neoair regular... my one from college field camps fell apart)
-camp stove, cookware & utensils (jetboil group size as I don't think the personal one would cook enough to satisfy hungry cyclist... and I only have the large, old coleman stove for car camping)
-bike lights (1 front, 2 rear) (kids lost mine while on loan as flashlight for their job; have one rear but really want to light up the trailer by adding 2 more)
-mini pump with gauge (only have shop pump with gauge and frame pump without gauge... need to keep front tires at same air pressure hence the gauge)
-topek alien II multi tool (have serfas multi-tool but doesn't have box end wrenches in it).

-mini netbook
-12 mega pixel digital camera w/ video
-digital voice recorder
-helmet cam

I have request letters out for sponsors like Campmor and Sun & Ski but haven't heard back. Other merchants like REI & Sports Authority have a more convoluted way of asking for assistance and I generally got the impression that they would prefer to support large local events in specific areas such as bikes only or camping only (actually, they seemed like they didn't want to donate anything to anybody unless you were going to make payroll for them). Guess you gotta be a big guy to ask the big guys for more big stuff... like a loan where you have to have the money to borrow the money!?! If I had it I wouldn't be asking! However, REI seemed very receptive to contributing directly to WWP for specific events like Soldier Ride though their budget was set for 2010.

Anyway, off the milk crate and onto the bike. I've uploaded some pics of the trike and the truck for y'all to see. I'll post more in the next few days.

I'm having difficulty keeping up with updating the blog, plotting and planning, emailing, training, kids, eating, etc. So, I've asked TC to help out and make updates to the blog for me. Please be nice to her and if you have questions or comments for me please post and I'll be happy to get back with you as soon as possible. For those that are emailing me, it is difficult to keep up with each email individually so I'm going to add you to a group mail out list and answer everybody at the same time. This is only for me to be more efficient so please don't take it as a slight or that I am not being personable. If you get an email and don't want to be on the list just say so and I'll be happy to remove your name from the list.

Lastly, I fell down... again... the other day. I was simply trying to side-step around the kitchen table when I lost my balance and toppled over. I hit my back on a chair and slammed my rear on the tile pretty hard. It must have looked impressive as Mick, my son who was also sitting at the table, shot up like a rocket with eyes like saucers in an effort to help me up. It hurt a bit at first and I thought it went away. Turns out it was a pretty deep bruise and I aggravated it by continuing to ride. I took a couple of days off this past week and then rode yesterday. Last night I could hardly walk. I didn't ride this morning and have the heating pad on right now. Perhaps a couple more days along with hot baths and some epsom salts will help.