Monday, July 23, 2007

Hey Fan Club!

I'm back from my big bike trip - from Syracuse, NY to Portland, Maine all by my lonesome, via the Adirondacks, much Vermont, a hot second of Canada, eye-poppingly gorgeous New Hampshire mountain passes, and the awesomest Maine tidal beach ever. It was a great, great trip.

The whole day-by-day story is up here on crazyguyonabike.

The full set of pics are up here on picasa.

I texted friends & fam from the road. That seems like that little bit belongs here, so here it is. The links on the dates go to the full travelog page.

July 4 (Syracuse, NY)
Hey fan club! I'm in blah n rainy Syracuse. Airport hotels are like another world. Start riding tomorrow at the brick of dawn. Love, d

July 5 (White Lake, NY)
Hey there fan club. Safe n warm in White Lake ny just inside the park. 85 miles today n i feel good. Host fam had a cookout and raspberry pie!

July 7 (Keene Valley, NY)
Hi. Made it to keene valley and ate delicious pie! I'm kinda sore but pretty ok. Camped last night @ Forked Lake. Ridiculously beautiful all day, rain and all!

July 8 (Grand Isle, VT)
Hi again. Poured on me all day but I stayed dry. Yay poncho! Then I hit lake champlain n the sky got gentle. Camping on grand isle tonight. I love icy hot!

July 9 (Enosburg Falls, VT)
Hey kids. I'm in Enosburg falls vt almost in canada. Stormed on me all day today. Still hoping to see some stars tonight. ate 1/2 a blueberry pie for lunch!

July 10 (Lyndonville, VT)
Hi fan club. I'm in lyndonville vt almost to nh. No rain today! Fog then 90 deg. 85 miles of hot n stinky. More storms coming tonight. I want stars!

July 11 (Twin Mountain, VT)
Hey Fan club! I'm in twin mtn NH. Set up camp just before the rain hit. busted my chain this moning n got a hitch to littleton. 100 miles to portland..or more!

July 12 (Sweden, ME)
Hi fc. Maine smells great! Finally a clear sunny day. Crawford notch this morning then pretty pack roads n fluffy clouds. Camping between sweden n norway. Stars!

July 13 (Brunswick, ME)
Hey kids I'm in Brunswick ME. Long hot windy day down the mountains into farmland then sprawl. Ocean tomorrow! Ps I ate an apple pie n a tub of berries 4 lunch!

July 14 (Popham Beach, ME)
I made it! I'm at Popham Beach. Beau T Ful here.

July 15 (Portland, ME)
Hi all. Drying out in ptld. 53 miles today with one hell of a T storm. Rolling thunder, lots of fun. Swam in the ocean this morning. Brrr!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Five Things Game

Marjojo over at My Art Grows Around Me invited me to play the say five things people don't know about you game.

so here's a few before I go on walkabout -

(1) When I met my friend Shana in my first year at college, we were both eating acorns off the ground within five minutes.

(2) The majority of my driving has been in U-Haul trucks. I've moved, or moved friends, cross country 6 times. When I drive a regular car, I find the center mirror totally disorienting.

(3) The best present I ever got was a hazelnut chocolate cake a long-distance gf made and fedexed to me. There was a freakish blizzard that year and I didn't get it until a week late, and I don't really like hazelnuts, but it was delicious all the same.

(4) I have a homemade cookbook mostly comprised of recipes for carrots - carrot soup, carrot cake, carrot souffle...

(5) My desire to feel independent and self-sufficient often goes to rather extreme ends. For example, I'm about to ride 700 miles under my own power on a bike I overhauled myself that's never seen the inside of a bike shop. For another example, I own a headset press.

Want to play, too?

Monday, July 2, 2007


I leave Wednesday for the big trip. Here we go! I've spent countless hours tracing out my hoped-for route (the end of the Northern Tier with a detour around the Green Mountain Loop) across the contour lines of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. I made myself a faboo saddlebag. I've found some friends and friends-of-friends to stay with en route. I've trained and tuned up my bike. I've been 90% packed for more than a week. I'm just about as ready for this as I'm gonna get.

Today I loaded everything up and took Mercy for a test spin down to the beach and the only dirt road I know in NYC outside of Staten Island. The good news: Nothing fell off or even jiggled very much! The other good news: It still felt really good with most of the weight up front now that it's fully loaded (~25 pounds of gear in the front, maybe 10 in the back with 4 full water bottles). The bad news: I think the raincoat material I used for the saddlebag is a bit flimsy and prone to tearing. Not that there's a real danger of it falling apart on the road, but it might wind up a rack-top trunk instead of a saddlebag a few days in.

A few more snaps all loaded up:
The bike is a 70's (I'm guessing) Mercier mixte, with all the parts switched out from when I got it except the headset, brakes, bars, and fenders.
Gear-heads, here's the fine print:

Stronglight 99 triple cranks
Eggbeater pedals
Original mafac racer brakes & levers
Original stronglight headset
SRAM long-cage plastic rear derailleur
Shimano ??? front derailleur
Shimano bar-end friction shifters
XT 9-speed cassette, of which 8 are usable due to wacky mixte geometry (the middle stays get in the way, so I set the r/d limit screws as if the smallest cog wasn't there)
Vittoria Rando 700 x 32 tires
Brooks Pro saddle (borrowed from my commuter)
The front rack is an Old Man Mountain that mounts using a special skewer. The up-side for me: it's super easy to install ( the front rack won't fit in my bike box so I'll need to re-assemble it in my hotel room) The down-side: you have to pull the skewer the whole way out to change a front flat.

Finally, here it is all boxed up! I got a fancy aircaddy box that lets me put the bike on the plane without disassembling it -- the back wheel is still on -- I just had to pull the seat and front wheel and turn the bars backwards.

Thanks, everyone for your well-wishes! My next bike-y post will have the mountains in the background instead of my porch! There will be stars, it'll be cold at night, and I'll eat lots of pie. Hooray!