Saturday, December 30, 2017

It's in the bag...

... side bag, that is.

I just installed a new Arkel handlebar bag as a side bag on my Catrike Dumont.  The mounting bracket came from Terra Cycle (  I took a 24 mile shakedown cruise to see how it felt.  Ooooh, I like it!

It rode very well, caused no problems and I really couldn't tell that it was there.  My only concern was fitting through barricades which are placed to prevent any larger vehicle from getting onto the multi-use path, but I discovered there was plenty of room.  If I encountered a problem I could simply remove the bag, go through, and clip the bag back on. (Easy to do)

What I have decided from the ride experience is to:
  • move the bag to the right side of the trike.  Why?  My left shoulder has bone spurs and reaching around, then tugging on the zippers was very uncomfortable.  Actually, it was painful.  I wasn't thinking straight and I'm on antibiotics to cure a painful sinus infection.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  • I'm seriously thinking of mounting the bag a couple of inches closer to the trike.  I'll just have to see how it feels. (UPDATE: Moved the bag to the right side.  It's outer edge is even with the edge of the side mirror.  Issue resolved and I'm happy!)
The side bag is really convenient.  In it I have plenty of room for my digital camera, my plastic container of snacks, a chapstick, my cell phone and a power pack to keep the phone charged (I'm typically out 4 to 5 hours and I'm running Strava to track my ride).  The zipper pouch on the outside is where I keep extra AA batts for the camera as well as an extra power pack for the phone.  Each end of bag has an elastic mesh pouch, one is where I keep a shoulder strap.  

The bag has slide mounts that clip and hold the bag securely to the mount.  The bag detaches and can be carried with a shoulder strap.  The top flap of the bag and the inside of the bag are waterproof and the top flap's zippers have overlaps which discourage water from getting inside.  The zippers, because of the overlap, are a bit difficult to pull around but I can understand why.

Not pictured is the clear, sealable map pocket that goes over the top of the bag and attaches with Velcro (TM).  The pouch will hold 8" by 10" documents.  Nifty for maps or directions.

Pros:  It is so, so convenient.  I can reach everything right there while sitting on the trike.  The bag, with frame, is not heavy.  The bag is of very, very good quality.  It's rugged.  Tiger Lily bought all the stuff for me.*

Cons:  It's pricey, but for the convenience I like it and it's worth it. (Arkel bag)

The mounting bracket from Terra Cycle was $111 with shipping to AZ.

Also in the photos you will see my new Arkel trunk bag.  I like it too, especially the nifty strong Velcro (TM) mounting straps that have a nice reflective stripe and it has a built in rain cover.  In it are my repair supplies, first aid gear and a few other things I don't use often.  The bag is easy to install and remove.  It too has a lug for a shoulder strap.  (Arkel trunk)

*This is my family, Tiger Lily.  Like me she is a senior.  We think she is probably 16 years old and the origin of her name is lost to history.  I like to say she bought the new gear for me.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sunny Arizona...

... and how I keep from scorching!

Because of my fair skin I'll burn to a crisp if I'm not careful.  As a kid growing up in Tucson I turned as brown as a berry, but now as a senior I face the prospect of skin cancer.  Indeed, over the past several years even living in Arkansas I've had to periodically visit the dermatologist.  I wonder if some of the damage actually occurred as a youngster and if it's catching up with me now.

Various spots on my scalp, face and ears have had to be burned off with ye olde liquid nitrogen bottle.  Let me tell you, that stings like h*ll, but those precancerous growths had to be removed.  I have to be careful.

Now, living permanently in Arizona, I'm more conscious than ever of the problem. I've had to further address the issue.  If you look at my photo on the right side of the screen you'll notice I was wearing white compression pants that shielded my legs from the sun.  The photo was taken mid-November of 2016 as I approached the finish line of El Tour de Tucson after riding 37 miles (Noon til 1630 in a cloudless sky).  In the photo my long sleeved top is a medium blue, but I should have been wearing white as well.  I sunburned my face.  No sunscreen.  Hindsight... 

A time or two riding in the hot sun over this summer I could actually feel the heat on the fronts of my legs and was noticing how hot it was feeling.  Even clothed in white I got a rash on my legs.  I made it a point to ride even earlier and get home before it got that hot again.  I was learning.

Riding is my fun as well as my exercise.  Tucson and Pima County now has more than 120 miles of trails in the Loop System and I can easily get in a ride of 30 to 40 miles right from my home.  In the wicked heat I ride no more than 12 to 15, and I've no intention of stopping what I really love to do.

Here's what I do:

  1. I wear a white helmet that has a visor that can be pulled low to shield my eyes if I'm riding into the sun.  I searched high and low to find one that worked well.  I did a post in May, 2016: My Kingdom for a Visor  The link to the Giro website is non-functional but you can do an Amazon search for "Giro Feature mountain bike helmet".
  2. After removal of cataracts I noticed the world was suddenly a much brighter place so now I wear sunglasses all the time when I'm outside.  I chose glasses that are gray tint, UV protected and polarized.  I want to see the beauty of the desert landscape.  When the cacti and wildflowers are in bloom it's beautiful here.
  3. I wear both compression pants and tops that are white.  I wear high top white socks with my Shimano cycling shoes so my legs and ankles are covered.
  4. In the warm weather I wear Bell Ramble Half-Finger cycling gloves (Middle two fingers have pulls on the back that make removal a snap).  I like to have hand protection just for safety.  The ends of my fingers have become tanned but not burned.  Go figure.
  5. In my bag I carry some spray-on spf 50 sunscreen from Walmart to use on my face, ears and neck.  According to the label it's good for kids (Doesn't rub off easily).
  6. I now use a neck gaiter.  A what?  I found this one collection on Amazon.  A lot of the reviews say they are thin, but that's what works best here in the heat.  Other items are available on Amazon.  Heavier gaiters make good neck warmers when it's cooler.

    Mine was given to me at a vendor tent as a promotional item by a local medical clinic during Cyclovia Tucson.

    The cloth is very lightweight and breathing through it is easy and comfortable.  If I'm riding into the sun I pull it up over my nose and ears to block the sun.  If it's really warm I'll soak it with water and it acts just like an evaporative cooler.  It works great.

    You may notice the visor on my helmet is not the original white.  I called Giro and they sold me a colored visor.  The white visor let too much light through the visor itself and I wanted a bit more shade.

When? Whether or not...

When is a good time to ride?

A recent post on the Terra Trike Forum brought up the issue of what time of day to ride. The question was asked, "What time do you..?"  I thought about a number of valid issues:

  1. I'm worn out the rest of the day after riding.  If I take a ride, especially a long ride, I'll sit down in my recliner after a shower, and eat a snack.  Usually the lights go out and I'll easily nap for a couple of hours.  The ride wore me out. 8-]
  2. Today has been busy and I just don't feel like riding.  Life is just one of those things that tends to interrupt riding time.  Darn...
  3. The weather has conspired against me.  I don't ride in extreme heat, or in the rain or if it's too cold and very windy.  I absolutely @#$% riding in strong windy conditions.  It's frustrating and wears me down.  Ugh!  If there is some wind, and I want to ride, I choose my path so that I ride into the wind on the outbound leg when my legs are fresh.  Then I can have the benefit of the tailwind when I'm inbound.
  4. I'm not a morning person.  As I've gotten older I find that I tend to stay up later at night.  That makes it harder to get up earlier.  If I can get myself going I'm alright.  It's not easy. And yes, there are two types of people: Larks (mornings) and Owls (nights).  I seem to be in transition.
  5. My schedule dictates when I can ride.  Here's life again pulling the strings.  I really like to be consistent when I ride, but it's just not that simple.  Work, families, appointments, travel, you name it, it's just not that easy.  You play the hand you're dealt.
  6. I didn't sleep well so I just don't feel like riding.  Some days I just don't feel like riding.  I'm tired, I'd didn't sleep well, I'm worried about something, I'm waiting for the phone to ring, my stomach's upset, I've got the green apple two step and I don't want to get too far from the throne...  Those things just happen.
  7. All or some of the above.  Things can get really confusing.  Sometimes I wonder if it's not a conspiracy.

    Yes, life can interrupt that most important of all things, riding the trike, getting exercise and having fun!  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Getting things done in preparation for...

...El Tour de Tucson!

It's coming up on Saturday, November 18th and I'm excited!  This will be my second tour and I'm looking forward to riding the 37 mile section again. (I drove the entire route today for refamiliarization.)

Now that I'm a permanent resident I've been making some preparations so I can take good care of DP (Deep Purple, my Catrike Dumont).  Here is what I've done.

The 8x8 storage shed where I keep DP was getting way too hot on the inside with summer temperatures climbing to as much as 115° F (46.1° C).  I had the roof coated with a special reflective, rubberized white coating which helped some but not enough.  I had my nephew insulate the inside of the shed with foil backed foam insulation and it still wasn't enough.  I finally determined that the most serious problem was the hot afternoon sun shining on the door.  Insulating the door would be much too difficult so the solution was to have my carport extended nine feet so the afternoon sun would not hit the door at all.  It worked beautifully.  DP now would be much happier and safer.

Next, I had a concrete pad poured.  If I had DP out and was working on him I noticed that if I were to drop a small nut or bolt in the pea gravel floor I'd never be able to find the $#@% thing!  Besides, the gravel is dusty and dirty, not a good place to work on anything and keep it clean.

Then my nephew mounted a pulley system to a beam across the carport ceiling.  I could hoist DP up by his behind so I could clean and lubricate his chain.  Later I'll build a cradle to hoist the entire trike up to a level where it's easier to work on him without having to bend over. (I'm not getting any younger.)

And, for further convenience, we mounted a piece of plywood inside the shed door which would fold down to make a surface where I could place tools and such.  (I'm still not getting any younger.)

Now that that's all accomplished I can bring DP out onto a nice concrete surface where I can hoist him up by his little behind and give him a thorough chain scrub and relube.  It's very dusty around here and right now he's a little piggy.  He really, really needs a bath!  I want him to look his best for El Tour.  I'll be out there among several thousand participants and I want to look sharp for all those amateur and professional photographers.  Wouldn't you?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Six months now in Tucson

...I'm settled in and riding among other things.

It's taken me some time to get situated and I'm ready to start working on my blog again.

Having retired, moved and settled in Tucson, where I grew up, I have been re-familiarizing myself with the city, Pima County and Southern Arizona in general.  I've been gone this time for thirty-one years and a lot of things have changed.  Boy howdy...  I'll be doing posts on my travels as well as my triking adventures.

So far I have:
  • gotten my living space somewhat arranged.  For a long time the living room floor had a neat double line of cardboard packing boxes.  Moving is such fun and I recommend you do it at least every twenty-five to fifty years.  8-]
  • had to get the storage shed rotated so I could easily get my trike, DP (Deep Purple), in and out , and ready for riding.
  • had my carport extended to cover the front side of the shed which was being blasted by the afternoon sun raising the inside temperature tremendously.  I also had the shed roof coated with a special white, reflective coating along with installing sheet insulation on the inside to keep it cooler.  I didn't want DP to get roasted in the summer heat.  DP now feels much more comfortable.
  • joined the local ham radio club, OVARC (Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club) and have been attending regular monthly meetings, operating events and early Saturday morning breakfast and ragchew sessions (ragchew is a ham radio term meaning to have an extended conversation AKA yak yak yak).
  • joined the volunteer communications group of the Pima County Office of Emergency Management (PCOEM).  The group provides communications for emergency situations and public service events including El Tour de Tucson which I rode in last November (earlier post).
  • become a member of and visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum numerous times (west of Tucson).  I get there at 0730 when they open to hang out for a couple of hours before it gets too warm.  It's where you can see all of the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert. It's my special place. Website
  • become a member of the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson where there are displays of just about any aircraft you can imagine.  You can go there several times and not see it all.  The place is huge. Website
  • visited the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, AZ  Website
  • become a member of Biosphere 2 the Earth system research facility located near Oracle, AZ. Website
  • visited Kitt Peak National Observatory SW of Tucson. Website
  • visited the U of AZ Sky Center Observatory atop Mt. Lemmon north of Tucson. Website
  • visited the San Xavier Del Bac Mission known as the White Dove of the Desert SE of Tucson.  Website
And by the way, I've been taking regular rides on the Loop Trail System.  I will make a post on this topic alone.

At least now you'll see I haven't been slacking since I moved from NW Arkansas back to Tucson, Arizona where I grew up.  There's Saguaro juice in my veins.  It's good to be home.  I'll be doing a full post on the Saguaro cactus...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Home again...


I'll soon be home again, but this time permanently.  I can't wait to unpack a few boxes, settle in a bit and get on DP (Deep Purple the name of my Dumont) and ride some trails.  It's getting hot in Tucson so I'll be riding early, early to get home before I fry.  I may have to develop a trailer with a holding tank so I have a mister over my head but I'll figure something out.

I'll have to endure these most everyday:

...and drive through vistas like this:

How ever will I survive?  Moving home in retirement was but a dream that has come true.  Growing up here I came to love the Sonoran Desert with all its life forms.  I'll soon be riding the Loop Trail system and writing posts about my experiences.

I'm b-a-c-k...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Home again in...

Tucson (Chapter 1)

Having arrived a couple of weeks before El Tour de Tucson I had a chance to see and do things I hadn't done in decades.  I grew up on the northwest side of Town back in the late 50s and early 60s.  My father built the third house on our street in '56.  I drove by the house several times, but didn't knock on the door.  

Upon arrival I checked into the Candlewood Suites whose parking lot just happens to abut the Loop Trail System of Tucson and Pima County (Nudge nudge wink wink).  They gave me a first floor room at the end of a hallway next to an exit door and convenient to the parking lot.  I met the hotel's general manager and several of the staff and they were all exceptionally nice folks.  They made my stay most enjoyable.

I took a day to acclimate and rest up from the 1,200 mile, 30 hour drive (just a nap in the edge of New Mexico).  Now when I looked at my watch I had to subtract an hour switching from Central Standard to Mountain Standard time.  I slept pretty well that first night and I'm glad I brought my sculptured foam pillow.

The trip was straightforward except for some thick fog in the Texas Panhandle.  I slowed down to 45 mph and was white knuckle driving, but semi trucks were blowing by me like crazy.  I wasn't about to follow one of them.  Soon a fifth-wheel auto carrier pulled by a smaller truck passed me doing more like 55 mph.  His trailer was lit up like a Christmas tree and easy to see in the fog.  I released the pressure of my hands on the steering wheel a bit and sped up to 55 mph while keeping his lights just in view in the distance.  Two things helped.  The highway was pretty much straight and secondly, my Forester has fog lights which I was glad to have had that night.

I arrived in Tucson on Monday during evening rush hour all the way across town from my destination.  Ordinarily I would have rued the hour of my arrival, but I knew where I was going, put both hands on the wheel, lowered the sun visor and soldiered on.  Soon I was back in my old neighborhood, checked into my room and ready to relax a bit.  Did I mention that my hotel was just across the Rillito River from my old stomping grounds?  Clever, aren't I?

After resting a bit I went to visit my favorite fast food restaurant for some chicken strips and coleslaw, the Lucky Wishbone.  With a surge of nostalgia I bought a t-shirt to boot.

So here I am in Tucson.  Where to next?