Thursday, July 17, 2014

In Which Final RAGBRAI Prep Is Underway

I am ready to give a granddaughter a ride. Later, I took her cousin, a boy of the same age as her,on a ride. Final kid rides before the seat will come off the bike for RAGBRAI.

Well, I will try to update this blog during RAGBRAI, but you understand I’ll be borrowing the technology, and internet connections and networks in tiny towns across Iowa are often strained by the army of bikers that will start riding across the state Sunday.

I’m in the packing stage. Today, I took two grandchildren on bike rides on the toddler seat on Francis, which will be removed in the morning to lighten the load. Besides the new back bag, which I think will come in really handy, there are some other new technologies I’ll be using this year:

1) I replaced the hickeys. Eldon, one of the Team Joe members, gave us all rubber shoe ties last year, called “hickeys.” They are a great idea because the shoes fit snugly and there are no laces to get caught in a bike—but several of them also broke. So this year, I’m trying “no tie” elastic bands for shoe laces.

New elastic, no-tie laces on RAGBRAI shoes--shabby, but comfortable, sneakers.

2) I replaced my bike computer. There was nothing wrong with the old one, until the bike fell over during a training ride (Cate and I were lifting it over a tree, I wasn’t riding it when it fell). The fall seemed to knock a wire loose that killed the computer. Well a bike computer is not essential, but when we were shopping for item number 3, my wife pointed out several computer models, and I bought one when I picked up number 3. It is nice to be able to see the miles go by on an odometer and trip meter, and to know your speed as the other RAGBRAI riders zoom by.

New computer after 10 miles of use.

3) I, along with my wife, installed a bike rack on the van. It’s not quite as nice as Cate’s, it’s a rack the bikes do hang from, but it is a 4-bike rack, which we hope will make it handy.

Anyway, I seem to have all the stuff I need. I’ll put it all in bags in the morning, and then it’s off to an overnight stay in Storm Lake, followed by Rock Valley and RAGBRAI!

Flowers I saw this week--hibiscus or Rose of Sharon in bloom at MMU (above) and new hollyhock in my back garden at home. I had biked to MMU, and I was hanging out my RAGBRAI sleeping bag when I saw the hollyhock, so these are biking pictures, right?

As I hung out and when I took down my sleeping bag off of the clothesline, two tiny but very loud birds quite violently protested by presence. I suspect they nest in the lilac bushes or the trumpet vine near the clothesline. I tried to tell them I had no interest in their nest, but they were having none of it.

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