Yep. It looks like I’m doing this again – with extra travel this time around I think. More details later, for now just know that there are only about 250 days till RAGBRAI starts – Yeah Iowa!

Taking Five in Hilo…

I’m on a short trip to Hilo to visit dad. I ended up spending some time noodling with one of my ukulele’s and…well…it’s not great, but I had to try my new MacBooks camera. ๐Ÿ™‚


Malaekahana Again…

Aloha all,

I’ve been busy lately and feeling like I needed to get out from under everything so when a friend of mine let me know they would be camping this weekend I jumped at the chance.

Short Version:
Had a great ride 55 miles out and then back, stayed one night, had a great time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Long Version:

They aren’t cyclists but they did have a campsite at Malaekahana Beach Campgroundย for the weekend so off I went. My friends were actually there for three nights, Friday through Sunday as they had off on Monday, but as I had to work both Friday and Monday it was a classic SO24. Okay, maybe not completely classic as I didn’t head out after work, but it was just one night.
Malaekahana is 55 miles from where I live on the route I usually take (the other route involves climbing mountains and going through tunnels that aren’t bike friendly) so it’s a full day’s ride if you figure in breaks, a bit of this, a bit of that, and generally remembering it’s a bike ride not a race.
Naturally I left an hour later than I planned for one reason or another; always the case. I was riding my Hunqapillar with HAR bags and a Large Saddlesack. My gear included my Hennessy Hammock, a Trangia stove (good thing too – my friends gas stove wasn’t working and coffee is imperative), and an ukulele (it’s Hawaii after all).
The ride out was marred by a flat just about halfway. It was a front flat that happened on a long downhill. It was a leak more than a blowout so there was no loss of control (thankfully), just a realization that my tire had gone very mushy. I’m riding Big Ben’s so any flat is likely to be of the slow variety because my tires are never at high pressure.
Unfortunately with the HAR and bags I had to completely unpack the front end to get the Pitlock skewer. Hawaii has a very definite stolen part problem so I take a lot of precautions, though I won’t sacrifice my riding by using a something I’d not mind having stolen around town.
After find the tiny kiawe thorn (read mesquite), I discovered that my pump had come apart and the little bits of the head were floating about in my Saddlesack. I had to unpack that too. Sigh.
All of this added up to a 30 minute tire change instead of a 5 minute job but hey, I was on a mini-vacation and wasn’t in hurry. I celebrated being slowed down by stopping at the next cafe and having a big iced coffee and relaxing for a bit, I still had 25 miles to go so a cold drink break was definitely in order.
Soon I was off again and quickly reached the nicest part of Oahu’s Windward shore in my opinion, Kahaluu to Malaekahana. The road here runs between the Pali (mountains) and the shore and the views can be spectacular..


I stopped again with about 10 miles to go and had a snack of a bit of cheese. It was the first food I’d eaten so far that day and I wasn’t even all that hungry, it was more an exuse to take another break before riding the last few miles. I did take picture of my Hunq’s setup, though i didn’t remember to get the drive train. Here she is:

Hunq set up for camping

When I arrived I checked-in (it’s a semi private campground (http://www.malaekahana.net/) and found our campsite. Only one of my buddies was there at the time and as his stove was broken he’d been wanting coffee for a while. I obliged. We actually needed to be a team for this as his stove wasn’t working and I’d forgotten my AeroPress. I had beans and and grinder as well as the stove, he had preground coffee and a French Press – between us we had coffee.
After a few minutes of relaxation I set up my Hennessy, unpacked the stuff I needed (my ukulele) and camping was on!

Camping at Malaekahana

When everyone else showed up we headed the 50 yards down the beach and swam for a bit, showered, and came back to the campsite to being dinner prep. I didn’t know what the drill wasn’t going to be, and in fact I’d made the right choice and brought my own food. The exception was a buddy who’d bought some fresh whole mullet. He steamed those with garlic in foil on the fire and it was ono (delicious).
The rest of my dinner consisted of a couple of hard boiled eggs, a can of sardines, some more cheese, a piece of sausage. I’m pretty easy to please and mostly eat bacon and avoid jogging. To be honest, I wasn’t that hungry even after 55 miles of riding and 30 minutes of pretending to swim (in the water, mostly be lazy).
After dinner around the campfire I entertained with the ukulele for a bit, we chatted about old time (I’ve had these folks as friends for 25+ years) and then I headed to bed. They stayed up a bit but I was tuckered out.
Oversleeping the next morning (which is to say about 7 am), I freshened up, made some coffee with my friend’s French press, and packed up. I wasn’t going to stay long as it’s a longish ride and I did have to work on Monday.
The ride back wasn’t marred by another flat thankfully and though the weather had clouded up (and there’d been flood watches the night before) it remained dry, though more humid than the day before. I made a couple of stops, once to visit a friend who is a fireman and stationed a few miles from the camp. He was in the station and he showed me around (again) and we had a nice visit. Further down the road I ran into another friend who was headed out for his Sunday ride and we also chatted for a bit.
About this time I noticed that I’d, um, managed to rub myself a bit raw on one nether cheek. The humidity was playing hardball. I wear normal clothing so I didn’t have on my padding. Normally this doesn’t happen to me and I’m wondering if it’s because I was using my Cambium saddle rather than my usual leather Brooks. The Cambium, being rubber and fabric, tends to grab clothing ย a bit whereas the leather models are pretty slick. The last 25 miles or so involved a lot of shifting around, standing up on the pedals, and doing my best to find relief. It wasn’t really that bad, and after getting back to the leeward side of the island where the humidity was much lower and the sun shining things settled down pretty well.
I stopped twice on the way back, once to fill my water bottles and rest for 20 minutes (during which time I whipped out the ukulele and sat in the shade amusing myself), and again for an iced coffee while I caught up with some contacts on the mainland planning our 40th high school reunion. It’s amazing to me that next year it’ll have been 40 years. I remember bike camping back then too – though admittedly there’d been a big gap for this sort of thing after that time.
Anyway, that’s my ride report. I don’t take a lot of photos anymore I’m afraid. We don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to riding distances on Oahu so I’ve done this one many, many times and tend not to document it anymore. It’s familiar enough that I know were potholes are 30, even 40 miles from my home. ๐Ÿ™‚
Mahalo for reading!

Darn bikes…

I realize it’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted and, in all honesty, continuing to write about my summer trip doesn’t seem all that promising. The trip was great, now I’m thinking of the next one.

Which brings me to the topic of those darn bikes…especially this one at the moment:


I pulled out my Fujiyama the other day in hopes of resurrecting it a bit. A Fujiyama is really an obscure sort of bike, being the brand name employed by McCully Bicycle & Sporting Goods for their own branded bikes quite some time ago. Mine doesn’t look anything like it did way back when, not even the same color, but it’s still on the road.

Which brings us to the problem…

I’d laced up a wheel around the Sturmey-Archer Duomatic hub, a two speed “kick back” hub, a while back. Then it stopped working. You could ride it, but you could no longer change gears. It might not have been so bad had it been stuck in high, but it was in low and, well that was pretty slow – great for hills or hauling, but not so great for riding around town.

I did a bit of research and came up with a contact for Sturmey-Archer, now owned by Sunrace, in the US. I received a very friendly email suggesting that the fix was easy and all I had to do was open up the hub and tighten a washer.

Simple it might be, but not have the appropriate tools (mostly a spanner), I was out of luck. Then I met a new friend who volunteers up at Cycle Manoa. This is a place the builds up bikes for a once a semester sale to UH students who need healthy, inexpensive, transportation. A great thing really.

More to the point, they have an open shop evening where, with luck, I’d be able to find the right tools. Well…yes and no.

I was up there last night and had no trouble getting things ready to crack open my hub but…no such luck. It just wouldn’t open up as shown here…

S2 Hub

No matter what we did, and ultimately three of us had a go at it, the internals would not spin free from the body.

No love.

I haven’t given up hope yet, and I did manage to meet some great new folks and discover a great community resource, but I’m a bit disappointed that it just wouldn’t open up.

I’ll find a way yet…a way that doesn’t involve building a new wheel I hope, but hey, it is what it is.

That’s my report for now and, as always, I hope to get back on track with this blog.



2015 Road Trip Report #08

And so it was time to leave Atlanta. I had a great time here and really would love to come back some day, perhaps when the Beltline is complete and I’ve more time to explore.

My train wasn’t leaving till the evening so I had time during the day for one last ride through the park, a bit of shopping downtown, one last lunch at the student food services (and, I’m sorry to say I did grab a couple of hard boiled eggs for the road figuring I’d have eaten in the cafeteria as well).

I took a cab to the Atlanta Amtrak station, not quite knowing what to expect. I’d been to both Pennsylvania Station in New York and Union Station in DC before (and would be again soon) so I thought I knew what to expect. Nuh-uh. Atlanta’s Amtrak station is a bit more like what you’d expect in Mayberry.

Atlanta Amtrak Station


I had to spend about an hour waiting for my train while the room slowly filled to capacity. It seems a lot of folks use the train down here as the place was packed by boarding time.

And here’s where my journey took an unexpected turn for the better. A friend of mine and her son were traveling on the same train to DC. They’d be continuing on from DC and I would be staying for a bit, but it was great to have company. Admittedly most of the ride would be overnight and we’d be sleeping, or at least trying to do so, but I was glad to have her and her son, a very nice young man, along.

Even better, she’s had a lot more ‘train time’ than I’ve managed. Because of this she was able to act as my ‘train mentor,’ letting me know what was what. Off through the night we went.

The trip lasted from about 8 PM till 10 AM the next morning. The train made stops along the way, mostly short. I did end up with a new seatmate several hours into the trip and I lost a bit of comfort, she seemed to have a lot of stuff, but it was fine. She left a couple hours before we got to DC so at the end I had some extra room and managed a couple of hours sleep.

Good thing too. It’s pretty natural that when you get to a hotel in the morning you aren’t going to be able to check in; it’s an afternoon thing. So yes, I had to wait, but these guys were great and let me build my bike in the lobby – so I was off. The hotel, btw, is The Americana and it’s more of a motel amidst its larger and newer brethren, but it’s a small and inexpensive lodging in Arlington. It’s just fine. The staff is great, very friendly, very helpful, competent, and fun to talk to when you’ve got a minute. Who chats with hotel staff these days? At this place it seems natural. Good folks.

So instead of checking right in, I took off on my bike and explored the area in several directions. I almost felt I knew my way around after a few miles. Apparently I rode so much I ended up at the Library of Congress…

Library of Congress?Now let me state for the record, I think the folks who told me that lied to me. I thought I’d seen the LofC last time I was in DC and frankly, this doesn’t jibe with my memory. Oh well.

When I got back to the hotel I was able to check in. I took a shower and headed out because I had a busy day and evening ahead of me. It was almost time for my second MLB game on this trip; The Washington Nationals.

More on that in my next post…