Friday, November 28, 2008

Double Track Ride

Damn, it felt good to get back on the bike and in the woods! About 40 deg, sunny, some wind - a day to ride. Headed out from my mom's place and went to Richard Bong State Recreation Area (Wisconsin).

This was my first time riding here. Was hoping to get in some singletrack riding. I was a little disappointed when on got on the trail and found it is double track. Oh well, and day on the bike is a good day.

Interesting trail. It is multi-use trail - bicycles, hikers, and cross country ski. Rolling hills, in the woods, crossing a wetland, open prairie. Surface was mostly grass, some leave covered and patches of snow. With the snow, hills, and grass, I got a workout, that's for sure.

Heading home tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let It Snow

Yesterday, the weather reports were forecasting snow for this morning. I took my queue that it was time to get to Belgium, WI (the next stop on my travels). Got settle in before the snow hit over night.

First of the measurable snow that I had seen this season. Headed out for a couple photos.

Supposed to be into the mid/upper 30s later today so the snow will melt. Clearing for the next couple days - hoping to get out to singletrack in Kettle Moraine State Park Wednesday.

BTW, for the "hard core" riders here, I found this web site: IceBike

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Green Bay

It took me 2 days to drive from Little Rock to Green Bay. Stopped overnight in Bloomington, IL. Was thinking of riding there. But, was late when I got to the motel, not sure how to get to the trailhead, and still had a good drive the next day.

Yesterday the weather was not conducive to riding. Today was a little cool (28-30 deg), but mostly sunny, light wind, and I needed to ride.

Headed South on the Fox River State Trail from downtown Green Bay, past downtown DePere. When the trail surface changed from asphalt to crushed stone, it was time to turn back.

Anyway, I knew my feet would be getting cold. Time to be back. Got in my 15+ mile ride.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Symposium Closing

Yesterday was the last day of the National Trials Symposium. For some housekeeping, the name I have been using for the symposium was a little wrong. What I attended as the 2008 National Trails Symposium presented by American Trails

OK, that's corrected. Was a short day. No coffee Trail Talk, just 2 sessions and the closing luncheon.

Creating Trails the Users Want So You Don't Get the Trails You Don't Want was the first session I attended. Two of the 3 presenters are ATV riders - but most of the information presented is applicable to most all trails. The third present is from Minnesota DNR and presented 3 case studies.

The final session I attended was Volunteer Stewardship Planning and Integrating Youth and Trails. This was probably the least interested for me.

The Symposium ended with a luncheon address by Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods".

Now, I have been assembling my notes to forward to interested parties.

On to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Symposium Day 3 and CARP Ride

My day started with a bike ride downtown to the Convention Center. A beautiful morning.

Like yesterday, there were rolls and coffee for Trail Talk. I sat in on "The Impact of Trail Events". The talk centered around trail fundraising events.

All attendees gathered for a general session to discuss the future of trails. Four well versed trail advocates presented to "living room" talk of the history of the National Trails. Then participants got their "mike time". Comments were recorded and plans are to have the comments on the American Trails web site.

Broke into smaller groups for Concurrent sessions. I attended one titled: Improving the Built Environment: How urban trail systems and Complete Streets Provide Connections Within Cities.

In the afternoon was Mobile Workshop time. For me, it was mountain biking at Camp Robinson - lead by CARP (Central Arkansas Recreational Pedalers. OH it was a great afternoon to be in the woods, on my bike!

The day ended with the American Trails 19th National Trails Banquet.

OH, by the way, my trail bike (Trek Fuel EX7), topped 1100 miles today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Symposium - Day 2

Today, I had to take a photo of what I could use as a bike rack inside of the Convention Center. OH well.

The day started with coffee & rolls in a session called "Trail Talk". I sat at the table where the topic was "Trail Maintenance - You Built, They Came, Now What".

After coffee, it was off to the meeting rooms. There were 2 session in the morning that I was interested in: "Inviting the Community Back into the Woods - Nature Trails in Urban Landscapes" and "Biking Toward a Sustainable Future". Both of these were lead by IMBA.

We broke for lunch where the SHORT business meeting was held (elect the board and adjourn). Keynote Addess was made by Dr. Richard Jacksin, UCLA School of Public Health.

In the afternoon, I attended presentations titled "Buy, Sell, Beg, or Borrow: Creative Funding Ideas from American Trails" presented by Friends of the Katy Trail (the Dallas, Katy Trail) and "Understanding Sustainablity and Boulding Better Trails" presented by IMBA and Elakah Expeditions.

The day closed with the "Trails Rock" Party at the Clinton Library.

Symposium - Day 1

The American Trails Symposium opened yesterday afternoon. Rode my bike to the afternoon session.

The afternoon was visiting at the exhibitor booths. Several booths had not been set up yet. A couple were not manned. Anyway, checked out the exhibit hall. Picked up some information.

In the evening there was the Opening reception. Thanks to Lewis & Clark Outfitters for the food!

During this session, I talked with Scott Linnenburger of IMBA. I had met Scott in Rapid City for Black Hill Fat Tire Festival. We talked about THOR plans, and desires. Later, I met Mary Hanson from National Parks (out of Omaha) Did some networking there.

Ended the evening with a drive to the Big Dam Bridge to take photos. Got some good shots. (Sure was raw out up on the bridge.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Partial Redemption

Made it to the Convention Center for registration this morning. There, I commented about the "bike rack" out front. Someone was there that pointed to signs in the hall that one room includes for "bike parking".

The room is a unused section of the large hall. So, there is a inside space for bike parking, just no rack to stand up the bike and lock to a rack. Guess just locked parts of the bike together and lean on the wall or lay on the floor. (That's why I call it a "partial" redemption.

In other news from the Symposium, I perused the the Conference Program. I have selected sessions to attend.

The Immense Benefits of Trails: More Than Just Exercise

Biking Toward a Sustainable Future

Buy, Sell, Beg, or Borrow: Creative Funding Ideas from American Trails

Improving the Built Environment: How Urban Trail Systems and Complete Streets Provide Connections within Cities

Training and Resources for Building Better Trails

Camp Robinson Mountain Bike Ride

Friday, November 14, 2008

This Is A Bike Rack???

During my preparations for attending the American Trails Symposium,I contacted the group to inquire about a secure bicycle rack during the symposium. I am visiting friends in Little Rock and planned to bike the 2 miles from their home to the convention center.

The first response was: "No one has ever asked for that - we'll get back with you". A week or so later they told me they will have bike racks.

Today, a day before registration starts, I rode over to the State House Convention Center to check out the bike rack. What they showed me was not a bike rack, but crowd control fence sections - see photo. The person with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau told me that's their bike racks (or what the use as bike racks).

Now, I can understand the real bike rack may not important for many conventions like the VFW, or garden show, or an auto show but this is the American Trail Symposium. There are bicycle rides during the function.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bicycle Advocacy Luncheon

Yesterday I attended a luncheon meeting at the UNO Alumni Center. Feature speakers were John Burke, CEO of Trek Bicycles and Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists.

John Burke addressed the importance of the bicycle in the solution of the community problems. Big emphasis was on the obesity/health issue and concerns for the environment.

Director Andy Clarke talked about the League's Bicycle Friendly City program and what makes a city bicycle friendly.

The luncheon was sold out. Those that did not have a reservation were able to participate in the meeting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election of '08

Now I have tried to keep my politics off of my blog. Today, (and the quick one last night) I felt that I have to write about my feelings regarding the election of Barack Obama.

First, some history. I grew up on a Wisconsin farm. High school, I was a supporter of Goldwater. In the late 60s, I wanted a draft-deferred job out of college. That went by the wayside when I was drafted and served a tour in Viet Nam.

I was a Reagan-Republican. While not happy with the social issue view of Reagan, I thought it was easier to work for social change than it is to change fiscal change. The first big change for me was during the Clinton campaign and presidency – I sat out by voting for Perot.

When the Evangelical Right took over the Republican Party, I started looking for a political party home. I was looking at McCain (back in the 2000 campaign). Bush’s invasion of Iraq was the last straw. I started working for Democrats and changed my registration.

I wanted to work to defeat George W. Bush. Not that I want a Gore or Kerry Presidency – I wanted to defeat Bush.

Over the last 4 years, I have watched John Edwards and decided to support his candidacy. I had heard of Obama, but liked Edwards’ platform (did not know much about Obama). And, I thought enough of the Clintons. But, my basic motivation for working with the campaign was to defeat the Republicans and ideals of Bush.
I was an Us v. Them person. Bush and the Republicans were the enemy.

When Edwards dropped out of the race – I changed to supporting Obama. By now, I could see that he is where I wanted our country to go from here. As I heard more and worked more for the Obama candidacy, I felt a transformation.

His acceptance speech at the Convention was inspiring. The first time in many years that a political speech brought tears to my eyes.

Contemplating last night on my way home from the local Obama Victory Party, I realized that I, too, have changed. My view of the political landscape has changed. I was not working to defeat the policies of Bush – I was working for the “change we need”.

I hope those that try to divide us, learned their lessons – the vicious attacks did not work. The Rovian tactics do not work. Enough of blue states and red states.

Yes, there is lots of work to heal our country. But, as the chant started at the Grant Park Rally – YES WE CAN.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Can

I just got home from my local Obama Victory Celebration. All I can say is the "Yes We Can".

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Awesome Day, Sweet Ride

What a beautiful day. When I decided to head out to ride, it was about 65 deg, sunny, and no wind. The 4300 needed to be checked out after derailleur repairs, so brought it to the bike shop, switch pedals to the full (no flat side) clipless. Rode out from the shop.

Was not sure how far I would ride, see how I felt. Stopped at the Trail Center (10 miles). Feeling great to went on to the pedestrian bridge, rode over to Omaha, and took several photos. Went up to Millers Landing (first time there) and down to Lewis & Clark Landing. Finally, headed back across the bridge.

I have to comment. When I was a kid, I learned to look to watch for others around me. These days, just walk on the sidewalk, go to the the store. People do NOT look were they are going, do not watch for others near. I have many times when people would walk right into me, had I not stopped and back up. Well, the same thing is happening on the pedestrian bridge. They walk like they own the bridge. Hell, they don't even pay attention to on-coming traffic (walking or cycling). When I come behind them and call out "On your left!" they keep on walking like they never heard me. Today, I was coming behind 2 on the right, and 4 abreast coming my way. I called out to try to get through. NO ONE stepped over to make room. They kept walking, passing 6 abreast. WAKE UP, PEOPLE. There are more folks out here than you and your group.

OK, I will get off my soapbox.

Great ride on the way back to the shop. Much of the way, I was riding at 15-17 mph. Sweet ride. Ridden 30+ miles, gone for 2 hours and 40 minutes, 20 minutes stopped. Logging, I calculated the ride at 12.9 mph over the length of the ride, pretty good with the traffic on the bridge!