Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30 Days of Biking - Day 30

Thanks to all who've been following along with my 30 Days of Biking in April! I've appreciated your support and encouragement. It's been great fun to share the experience with words and photos each day.
Special thanks to Iras and Ethel for joining me on my 30th day of riding. It was great to have their company on the ride. After yesterday's snow storm, surprisingly, even the back roads we took were clear of snow and slush. Fortunately, we encountered only light rain during the ride.
Along our route we passed cows with young calves curious about our presence
and a flock of turkey vultures that alighted on top of an old barn.
At the end of our ride, we stopped for a cup of coffee at Backroads Coffee & Tea.
And to my delight and surprise, Iras presented me with a special memento to commemorate my 30 Days of Biking, a Sara Balbin bike sculpture adorned with words appropriate to the experience.

Onward to May and, let us hope, an improvement in the weather. My next endeavor is to successfully complete a 200K (120 mile) brevet in 13.5 hours or less at the end of May.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

30 Days of Biking - Day 29

Who would have thought I'd be riding the fat bike again on April 29?
This is what it looked like when I went on my short ride this afternoon.
I rode to New Moon, a local bike shop about a mile from my house.
The snow was coming down so hard it was almost white-out conditions.
Chris Young, one of the New Moon owners, brushes snow from the sign.
Mike came by the shop to check out the Borealis Fat Bikes
and then snapped some shots from the car as I was riding back home.

Monday, April 28, 2014

30 DOB - Day 28

As I was riding to the library this afternoon in the pouring rain, I thought about all the creatures who live out in the elements without the benefit of shelter that we humans take for granted. Riding in the rain makes me appreciate the comforts of a warm, dry home and the convenience, comfort and ease of being able to jump in the car to run an errand if I so choose. But my ride in the rain also made me think about the fact that choosing to use the bicycle instead of the car on a bad-weather day is really not so unpleasant as many people probably imagine it to be. As I was leaving the library and about to pedal off on my bike, a person said to me, "You're brave."
Dressing properly for the rain and temperature certainly helps to make the ride more tolerable and enjoyable, as well as having a bike equipped for the rain. My waterproof helmet cover, gloves with their waterproof covers, Endura rain jacket and rain & windproof pants, and my Bog boots all worked together to keep my head, core, hands and feet warm, dry and comfortable. Fenders kept my clothing free of road grime and waterproof panniers kept the items I was carrying protected.
 On my ride home, I stopped at Lynn's Custom Meats & Catering
for a couple of dinner items.
 Another rainy day that feels more like Juneau than Hayward.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

30 DOB - Day 27

Rain and snow this week
Temperatures still too cold
When is Spring coming?
Iras deserves credit for sharing the wet ride with me today.
Why is it that the weather forecast for the last four days of 30 Days of Biking is looking very un-Spring-like, with temperatures in the 30s and 40s and a high percentage of rain and snow? Ugh! This is when the determination to keep riding really gets tested.
Snow - still working as a bike stand

Saturday, April 26, 2014

30 DOB - Day 26

Today's ride (actually, two rides): To Spring Lake and
one of my favorite "S-curve" roads...
 ...and then into town to Art Beat...
 ...and the Park Theater

Friday, April 25, 2014

30 DOB - Day 25

Brown fields soft, muddy
Will corn seeds soon be sown here?
One lone patch of snow
Tree stands stark and gray
Skies threaten rain, sleet or snow
Bike in the landscape
Borscht for dinner in memory and in honor of a friend's departed mother.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

30 DOB - Day 24

This is what the local weather radar looked like at about noon today. Rain. Temperature 37F.
And this is what the regional radar looked like at the same time. More rain on the way.
This is one of the those days where, if it wasn't for my commitment to 30 Days of Biking, I would have been tempted to skip a ride. This quote from the official 30 DOB blog seemed appropriate:

Every so often, especially on days with rough weather, we get asked “Why April? Wouldn’t this be easier in May? Why are you subjecting us to this misery, 30 Days of Biking?!??!”

The short answer is that we thought of 30 Days of Biking in March 2010, and the next month was April. ;-)
If we’re being less glib, we’ll tell you that we like the way April is a confluence of all the different seasons, especially in our home state of Minnesota. Within a week, you could get a thunderstorm, a snowstorm, or a beautiful, soul-pleasing sunny day. If you can get through April, you can get through any month of the year.

For beginners, the idea is to encourage them to bike in weather they normally wouldn’t and realize it’s not quite as bad as they’d think. If you can bike on a sunny day, you can bike on a snowy day or a rainy day. The reward is that day where bicycling is easy, and the roads are clear, and you’re biking in a T-shirt without a care in the world.
Keep on pedaling!

Well said! Today's weather reminded me of Juneau, with overcast skies, mist and rain, rain, rain, sometimes changing to sleet.  The local Backroads Coffee shop seemed like a good destination for my ride, along with a book to read.
Backroads Coffee & Tea
I donned my rain jacket, rain pants, and waterproof boots and used the waterproof finger protectors on my gloves.
I was drawn to this novel, "Still Life With Bread Crumbs,"
because it is about a woman photographer.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

30 DOB - Day 23

Today's ride began with a trip on the utility bike to pick up our vegetarian share from North Star Homestead Farms' Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
Bringing home the greens.
Later, in the afternoon, as I rode over the Namekagon River, I noticed a Common Loon close to the bridge. What a striking bird he is.
I also noticed what I think is a fish trap, recently put there by, I assume, the State Dept. of Natural Resources, as there was a DNR flag on the float attached to the trap.
At one point, the Loon was swimming and diving close to the trap, perhaps checking out fish that were caught there.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

30 Days of Biking - Day 22, Week Four

Crossed the Namekagon River three times on my ride today. The first time was near Seeley. The second was a bit farther south.
Along the way, I passed some farm machinery that I've seen before on other rides and had thought about photographing.
I passed another Osprey nest on my ride today.
The Osprey left the nest and then came back with a stick to add to it.
This Osprey flew away before I got even close to the nest,
but I was able to get this shot of her as she came back to the nest with the stick.
My ride was late in the day, as the sun was getting low in the sky, casting elongated shadows.

Monday, April 21, 2014

30 DOB - Day 21

Spring Lake is still frozen but more open water is appearing along the edges of the lake and the little dock is almost snow-free.
One of my favorite "S-curve" roads.
Spring Peepers could be heard in many more bogs, ponds, and swamps today. This road-side pond is where I first heard Peepers last Spring. This Wisconsin DNR web link has a photo and description of the Peeper and its habitat as well as a recording of its call.
I often see an Osprey sitting on this nest on one of my favorite rides, but she usually won't let cyclists get very close before she flies off. Cars don't seem to disturb her.
The first green grasses are appearing in the bogs.
At the end of my ride, upon arriving home, I spotted a male Pileated Woodpecker at the base of one of our trees. I've heard the Pileated in our woods off and on all winter but haven't seen any. This is the first time I've seen a male. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a very good photo of him.
The male Pileated has a red mustache.
Last winter, a female Pileated Woodpecker visited our suet feeder quite often but I never saw her this winter.