Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Trot

Amish Market and Home: 9.11 miles
Tandem Pedal Time: 48 minutes, average speed 11.1

Can you believe it? We are biking on Thanksgiving Day! It’s a bit windy but the temperature is still in the low 60’s and the snow has held off. With the turkey in the crock pot and plans for the rest of our dinner complete, we plan a short bike route to the Amish Market and back home. Our reward: Pumpkin pie with Cool Whip on top—not a bad plan.


Another goal achieved:  Bike season 2012 total miles has now exceeded our 2nd highest season miles from 2007 and our season continues.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Million Dollar Ride

Douglas Trail + Rochester Extension: 33.13 miles
Tandem Pedal Time: 2 hours 43 minutes, average speed 12.1

Being the day before Thanksgiving, we slipped out of work early to begin biking the Douglas Trail northwest of Rochester, MN. The weather was gorgeous—reaching 74 degrees which is rare for mid-November in Minnesota. We were able to bike in our usual summer clothing without the layering of our winter bike gear.


We continued on the Douglas Trail to Pine Island and turned back towards Rochester. We still had time before the sun set so decided to check out the newly paved bike route connecting the Douglas Trail to Rochester’s inner city. We heard of the “million dollar” bridge built for pedestrians and cyclists and came upon it just a few miles from the Trail exit. The bridge was awesome! It took us over busy Hwy 14 and continued to wind towards the ponds at Cascade Park—all was very beautiful and we were very impressed with what Rochester has done here.


We truly enjoy exploring the unknown on the bike. We get excited about the unusual discoveries we find along our path to nowhere. We pedaled back to the van waiting at the Douglas Trailhead, packed the bike up and were heading for home just as the sun was beginning to set. Because of this bike outing, we are now only 7 miles from breaking our 2007 season total of 3251 and the weather looks like it will hold for at least one more day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Invisible Challenge

Dover Lunch Loop: 20.5 miles
Tandem Pedal Time: 1 hour 45 minutes, average speed 11.2

Not sure we were really up for the challenge today. The winds were suggesting we not bike but we chose to ignore the warning. We pedaled west towards Dover and did not notice the force of the wind at all; in fact, we noticed our speed was 14.7 mph indicating we were biking in top form. It wasn’t until on our return trip that we were faced with an invisible challenge. How could something you can’t see require every ounce of energy to overcome? It crossed our minds that we might have to get off the bike and walk as the wind was creating what seemed like a climb that never quit and we were getting tired. We did pedal the complete route, however, sometimes going as slow as 4 mph. A recheck of our final speed confirmed our struggles, it dropped to 11.2—from one extreme to the other. So, the next time someone gloats about their bike speed, keep in mind that they might have been travelling with the wind at their back!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cowboys and Indians

RRT Rushford-Huston-Whalan: 55.38 miles
Tandem Pedal Time: 4 hours 29 minutes, average speed 12.3

Because the Root River Trail is still under construction between Whalan and Lanesboro, we drove to Rushford to begin our bike ride. The 25 miles to Houston and back to Rushford were very enjoyable. We stopped at the Houston Nature Center at the Trail’s 42-mile marker, also the end of the Root River Trail. While Dennis was visiting with the naturalist, he was offered a bright orange vest to wear as protection. The center offers these vests at no cost to cyclists during the hunting season. With our bright yellow jackets on, we are visible from quite a distance so we passed on the offer. It is rather haunting to think you are biking through enemy territory during shotgun season but the weather has been so wonderful that we can’t resist taking the chance.


After miles of gunshots and ducking cowboys on the trail, we stopped at Shawnee’s Bar and Grill in Rushford to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere amongst the Indians. The grub was good and the rest was rejuvenating.


A 25-mile ride for today was just not enough so we ventured towards Whalan knowing we could go no further because of the bridge work being done. We squeezed past the sign warning of construction ahead and biked out to inspect one of the new bridges. Very nice—the bridge has been widened and it looks like maybe the trail section will be upgraded soon.  Completion date is set for November 30, 2012 and everything looks to be on target.


We were back at the van by 4:00 p.m. and the sun was already going down over the hills of the Root River Trail—this is truly a beautiful time of year for biking!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Record Miles

Dover Lunch Loop: 20.52 miles
Tandem Pedal Time: 1 hours 32 minutes, average speed 13.2

We had time for a quick trip to Dover for lunch and to add more November biking miles to the bike. We have been very pleased with our 2012 biking season with record high miles for 4 of our 10 biking months thus far – February (75 miles), March (285 miles), October (415 miles) and November (133 to date) and looking ahead it appears we will be able to bike Thanksgiving Day. We have yet to bike in December so maybe this will be the year.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dodging Bullets

RRT Lanesboro-Fountain-Harmony: 58.46 miles Tandem Pedal Time: 4 hours 36 minutes, average speed 12.6
The weatherman was promising an amazingly high temperature on this mid-November day so biking has to be on our list of must do’s. The early morning sky was gray and bleak when we set out on the Root River Trail. The temperature was in the 40’s so we dressed in our late season gear. We climbed up to Fountain first and enjoyed the glide down. As we began to climb up towards lunch in Harmony, we began to shed some of our outer clothing as the temperature was now in the 60’s and would reach 79 by ride’s end. With our bright yellow jackets now packed in our bike packs, we felt a little vulnerable as the hunter's bullets rang out around us. Can bike helmets stop a speeding bullet?
While resting in Harmony at the Crunchy Side, we realized we would reach our 111 goal for November and are now only 235 miles away from a total of 19,000 miles on the Rans. This would require the snow to hold through December but anything’s possible. Let’s go for it!
RRT in November

Friday, November 9, 2012

An Extended Season

Dover Loop: 20.66 miles
Tandem Pedal Time: 1 hour 41 minutes, average speed 12.2

It’s a chilly day in the neighborhood. We decided on the Dover Loop again so that we could stop in at the Roadhouse for lunch. We knew we would be facing a cool Southeast wind on our return trip so the promise of a visit in Dover is always a nice treat. We have now set a new goal: to beat our highest November miles of 111 set in 2009. The snow has not fallen here in Minnesota yet so we will continue to enjoy this extended biking season.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bales of Fun

Eyota Loop: 32.84 miles
Tandem Pedal Time: 2 hours 31 minutes, average speed 12.9


It’s November and we are still pedaling the bike down the road. Our Eyota Loop is a great route to take this time of year, especially when we can see rain clouds off in the distance.  The route allows us to loop back home via shortcuts if needed.

As we pedaled along Olmsted County Road 142, we were fully aware of the hills we needed to climb before resting for lunch in Dover. During one climb, I looked to my left and saw Hwy 14, also a bike-able road, and noticed while CR142 was climbing, Hwy 14 was descending—how is that fair?

We still manage to enjoy every bike outing and seem to find something to explore along our route. These hay bales looked inviting and we stopped to get a closer view—I thought I could climb on top for a photo never realizing how huge these bales really are.


Being football Sunday, I couldn’t resist having this giant Viking wrap his arms around me. The Dover bar was getting ready to host an afternoon football party but we would be long gone before the real fun began. The weather was beginning to get quite cool and we wanted to get home before getting wet.