Winter Blue

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Although the Fat Tad is red and I like how it looks, blue is my favorite color and if I could have gotten this trike in blue I would have a blue Fat Tad! I love blue skies, blue water, blue ice. In summer, the blues of nature can be beautiful, but in winter the blues can be stunning.

I’m not a huge fan of winter but I love the city where I live so I mostly tolerate winter for the sake of the rest of the year. This winter with the Fat Tad, I am able to do more than tolerate and for that I am glad. I would not have experienced all this wonderful blue today if not for my trike. Yes, there were people walking but there were so many icy patches I would have been afraid of falling if I had been walking. I would probably have missed much of the view as well as I concentrated on avoiding those ice patches.

With the trike I actually seek out the ice patches since it is fun to hear the tires crunching over the ice! I can stop for a minute now and then to drink in the winter views before I return to the confines of home once more.

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In the summer this beach would be filled with people. We know in Minnesota that the good days do not last forever so we had better take advantage of them when we can! I’m trying now to learn to have that same attitude in the winter, to find the good days and enjoy them! Today was one of those days – just me surrounded by the blues of winter!

 

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Young at Heart

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Overlooking the Mississippi River from Ft. Snelling.

Got in a 9 mile ride on Saturday happily splashing through water puddles, slush and snow, with a few slides on the ice just to add to the fun!  The Fat Tad is quite the machine.  Yes, it’s harder to pedal and speed is not the name of the game, but a person has to smile riding this thing!  It’s like being a kid again. I was dropping down off curbs for fun, running through potholes, swerving to hit snow and slush. I’m hoping once I have the seat readjusted further back, I’ll have the traction to tackle whatever terrain I might find along the way. Then I’ll really have fun!

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Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis

I have not yet seen another fat trike in Minneapolis, so likely this is still a novelty ride.  I definitely get attention when I’m out!  I do hope that my being out there will get other people who may have wanted to become winter cyclists but were afraid of falling to consider getting on a fat trike. This is Minnesota after all. We don’t let a little cold, snow, or ice keep us indoors for long!

 

Winter Triking Initiation

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Yesterday the sun was shining and the temperature was close to 40 so it was time to get out on the Fat Tad. Riding the Fat Tad felt so different from riding the ICE Adventure. There were times along the way when I just wanted to be back spinning along on my comfortable ICE. I had to remind myself that the first time I took out the ICE I just wanted to be spinning along on my 2 wheel Domane. I seem to get attached to my rides after all the miles we spend together.

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The Fat Tad was slow going, definitely not built for speed! It was a very comfortable ride with the full suspension, but I’m not sure if I like suspension or not. There is something about being able to feel a close connection to the road and I also wonder how much of my energy is being dissipated through the bouncing.

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Once I made it through a couple miles, I started to feel more at ease. I’ll get the hang of this trike in time. I’m happy I will not be stuck indoors this winter but will instead be able to explore away while listening to the crunch of snow and ice beneath my tires.

Cycling just makes me happy.

 

 

Tough Enough

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Medicine Lake, Plymouth MN

Why would I want to ride 51 miles on a cold and windy May day?  Why would two guys want to kite surf on the same day? Who knows? There is just something about pushing through the discomfort, something about that feeling at the end when you have once again proved to yourself that you are tough enough.

Man, that was a cold day. I stopped at the Freewheel Bike shop on the way out to buy some full fingered gloves because my hands were freezing. Although I love being by water I barely spent any time by the lake because the wind was so cold. I found a sheltered spot north of the lake to eat my lunch of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The whole ride back all I could think of was stopping back at the bike shop for some coffee to warm me up for those last miles to home.  The thought of that hot coffee helped me pedal all those miles back across the Luce Line Trail, through Theodore Wirth, and back down around Cedar Lake to the Midtown Greenway. By the time I reached the shop, the sun was out and I wasn’t so cold anymore so I skipped the coffee.

Temperatures were in the 40’s that day, windchills probably in the 30’s. If I were riding in those temps today, I’d consider that to be warm! Plus I now have better cold weather riding gear. Now I don’t consider it a bit deal to ride in the teens, but am still a bit leery about riding in subzero. In time, in time. There is just something about showing myself to be tough enough.

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Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis

The Potential for New Adventures

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The new trike, SunSeeker Fat Tad, is home so I dream of being able to cycle through the winter, dream of the adventures I will have, the beauty I will experience along the way. I have to get used to the new trike, however, before I’ll be willing to venture far from home.

So far I’ve only ridden the SUN around the block. The new trike feels strange. The seat isn’t the same and sits higher, the pedals are at a higher angle so my leg muscles won’t be worked quite the same. This trike has full suspension, so I don’t feel the road, the steering is different, the mirrors are different. It’s not yet my trike.

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I remember when I first started riding the ICE back in March. It felt strange, pedaling was weird, the steering felt awkward. It took a couple hundred miles before my ankles stopped hurting, before I figured out how to avoid hot feet, before it felt like my friend, before I started looking forward to the adventures we would have together. And then we ended up traveling thousands of miles together.

I’ll give the SUN the same chance to become my friend. I’ll start with the same short ride from home I did with the ICE and then we’ll go from there as I gain confidence. I find it somewhat amusing the the SUN will be my winter trike while the ICE will be my summer. I suppose their names capture my dreams for each season.

I wish I could have tried out the new ride this weekend but the first day it was too snowy and then it got so cold. I don’t yet know how to ride in the snow, just as I didn’t automatically know how to tackle hills when I first started triking. I’ll start learning when the snow is packed and not loose; the back tire seems a bit far back to get good traction in loose snow. I have the gear to ride in very cold weather, but I don’t want to try to become familiar with the new trike when the wind chill is deadly. I will wait for another day, and that’s the hard part. I’m nervous about riding a strange trike, but I’ve gone through this before. I just have to be patient.

December Rides

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This year I was lucky in that I got to continue riding all the way into December with temperatures warm enough that I didn’t have to be concerned about safety. This weekend there was no riding. First there was snow and then there were temps well below zero.  I plan to ride through the winter, but I need to start slow and easy with packed snow and temps closer to zero. It’s hard to sit in the house though, after so many wonderful weekends of being out there cycling. I’m feeling quite depressed.

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Hard to believe it was just two weekends ago when I rode along the Mississippi River to downtown St. Paul. The temperature was in the 20’s that day and the sun was shining. The grass was still green!

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Such a beautiful river, the Mississippi. This trail along the river isn’t the smoothest or the widest, but it is quite beautiful. I hope to spend a lot of time on it next year with my camera.

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Six days later, the temperatures had dropped another 10 degrees but I was still able to get in my last ride for the year on my ICE Adventure. I enjoy being out there pedaling and it is kind of fun cycling when there are very few others out there. I just like being able to accomplish what most people will not, or cannot. I saw a cycling meme the fits me well, “A bicycle ride is a flight from sadness.” Cycling helps me be a better person.

I’m mourning the end of my rides for the year. The ICE Adventure will be put away now until spring. Thank you for the miles, my friend. I miss you.

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Little Crow

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I think this is my favorite picture from last summer. That day I was riding the Luce Line Trail by the Crow River in Hutchinson, Minnesota. It was a beautiful day, a perfect day. I will ride that trail again, but when that happens I will spend more time in Hutchinson and not bother riding beyond that town. Beyond Hutchinson, the trail was crushed granite, a strange looking surface which does not make for easy pedaling. The granite part of the trail ran along a busy highway and was not at all scenic. There were also no places to stop for bathrooms or water, essentials for comfortable riding. It was just endless miles of me and grasshoppers! I hate that kind of pedaling, but when it’s over I always feel good that I met my goal for the day and accomplished something most people would not, could not, do.

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The riverfront in Hutchinson had a statue of Little Crow looking over the river. I felt sad for his spirit, for his loss. I sensed his love for the river, the same love I shared. Life makes sense when I’m looking over a river and I’m happy to have been alive to experience that moment.