Sunday, August 28, 2011

OK so I guess I'm officially in ROAM withdrawal. I've spend the better part of the day going through other riders blogs and searching YouTube for ROAM video. Since I found one the includes me, here it is:

Video from the last day of riding down the bike path in Virginia
Video of our arrival in Georgetown (a section of DC)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reflections on ROAM

As one of the riders said at the EU reception, "Others will do it, but we were the first to ride velomobiles across the US." It was quite an adventure. Had we not had a time definite that we had to reach DC (the Europeans had planes to catch), we might still be riding. The last couple of weeks I would develop "hot foot" 90 to 100 miles into each day's ride. It would have been easy to stop someplace else to camp if we hadn't had the imposed discipline of Josef's planning.

It was a great group of riders from 7 countries. 22 Europeans and group of North Americans that varied in size over the ride. Over 50 riders participated in some part of the ride. 35 riders peddled into DC and John Abbey drove the truck carrying his damaged velomoblile.

There were several velos that were damaged along the route. The primary culprit was the dreaded rumble strip. Great for waking dozing truck drivers, they were the bane of our existence. It turns out that when you ride a velomobile on a rumble strip, the bouncing it causes screws up the rear suspension and creates a phenomena very much like skidding on ice in a car. Three velos flipped after losing control on rumble strips. Drivers were generally courteous although two riders were forced off the road by passing cars. Finally on the afternoon of the "victory lap" in DC one of the Dutch riders was hit by what turned out to be an unmarked secret service car making a turn. The rider was a little banged up but the velo will need some serious repairs.

That said, we velomobilists (velonauts if you prefer) definitely prefer roads to Multi Use Trails.
Local bike activists, rightly proud of the the trails they have worked so hard to establish couldn't quite understand why we kept ignoring their carefully planned routes to ride down roads. The reality is that velomobiles are best suited to smooth surfaces with the gentle curves of roads rather than the sharper turns of some bike paths. Packed limestone may be fine for mountain bikes but give us a road any day. Gravel, forget about it. We spent a lot of time on US 12 the least traveled of the cross country routes. While there were trucks, it had a wide shoulder and a smooth surface. There were times in Indiana riding on bumpy back roads when we all longed for US 12. At the end of the ride Mike, one of the North American riders presented Josef (our tour captain) with a replica of a US 12 sign

For four weeks I focused almost completely on riding and related tasks, (eating, sleeping and keeping the velomobile running). I frequently found myself asking what day of the week it was, and only looked at the news for stories about ROAM. I think this was my favorite.

I got to know some great folks that I hope to stay in touch with. Roll Over Europe anyone?

Made it to Washington!

We made it to DC. The highlight of the trip was our arrival in Georgetown (a section of DC)

We arrived at 6:30pm and decided to stay together as a group. In order to do that the first two riders stopped to block the crossing traffic at intersections so that all the velos could proceeded through the intersection. We were all blowing our horns and ringing bells. No one on the sidewalk had a clue what was going on but they were all snapping pictures and shouting questions.

After our impromptu parade, we ended up parking our velos in the lower level of the basement parking garage and posing for a group picture. Maybe in front of the Welcome to Washington DC would have been a better picture, but here's the garage shot.

The next morning we attempted a "victory lap" around the capital city only to be thwarted by a combination of mother nature (it rained hard on us for the first time of trip) and the park police who wouldn't allow us into Lafayette Park across for a picture in front of the White House and then proceeded to chase us off of several other photo op locations. We did manage to line up the velomobiles on the mall for a picture in front of the capitol.Another shot of the velos.

Finally here's one of me in front of the Washington monument which was closed due to the damage caused by the earth quake earlier in the week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fort Wayne IN

Made it back to the eastern time zone today. The highlight of the day was the town of Nappanee IN.
Velos parked in front of the round Amish barn.

Namanne has a large Amish community that in addition to the horse and buggy have embraced>BREAK

bicycles and tricycles. This was new to me so you can imagine my surprise when I rolled up to an intersection to find twist young Amish guys one on a Tour Easy recumbent and the other on a Baccetta recumbent. I chatted with them for a couple of minutes and learned that an Amish guy runs the only recumbent shop in Indiana.
One of the Dutch riders works for a company called Ciber that is located near Nappanee and treated the group to lunch at the Amish Acres resort.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Battery replaced

Happy to report a good experiance with Golden Oasis New Energy Group.  After one of my 20 ah batteries only held 12.5 ah I sent them reporting the problem an told them I would be passing through Chicago today.  This morning one of the SAG vans drove me over to swap the bad battery for a new one.  No hassles and they were very impressed with our cross county trip

Location : Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007,

Met up with my brother outside of Chicago

On the ride from Madison WI to Evanston IL I met up with my brother Brian and his co workers who came out to see the velomobiles.

Location : 1451-1461 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Twin cities

Rest day in the rain cities. We only ride 60 miles between camp sites on the east and west sides.  Stopped for a vegan scone, soy cappachino and a new bike pump at freewheel cycle and cafe.  A very cool place.

Location : Midtown Greenway, Minneapolis, MN 55407,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Flooding in SD still causing problems.

The spring's floods washed out part of u s 12 in Roscoe south dakota so we had to take a detour be about 20 miles. When we finally got for lunch to Ipswitch SD, one of the locals mentioned that the priest at the catholic church had somethin sorta like this without the shell. I suggested he give him a call and a few minutes later there was a priest outside of the Subway checking out the velos.
It turns out that Fr. Randy Philips has a 2008 ICE trike that had been a demo. I asked him what he thought the odds were that 34 velomobiles would roll through his little town of ipswich. Later I wondered what the odds were that we would encounter a recumbent trike riding priest in at town of 941 souls in the middle of South Dakota.

Longest ride ever

Today was a 160 mile ride from Bowman ND to Mobridge SD.  It was generally down hill, the temperature a perfect mid 70's and partly cloudy. With the exception of a few miles of road construction the road was smooth with a car or truck passing every 5 or 10 minutes.  In the morning we were blasting along at 25 to 30 mph with a tail wind.  After 50 miles we had our coffee break and I joined a bunch of folks for an early lunch.  15 miles later I started wishing I had coffee instead.  70 miles into the ride I was gettring distinctly drowsy.  I kept hoping that over the next hill there might be aa town big enough to have a place to buy coffee.  At one point I found my self with my head resting on the inside of the roof fighting to keep my eyes open.  I looked down at the speedometer I saw that even on the verge of falling asleep I was still pedaling fast enough to be going 27 miles an hour.  Just then as I was writing off another cluster of broken down buildings and farm equipment as another us been town, I spotted a hand written sign for a restaurant with a neon "Open" sign.  I hung a quick U turn and went back to a little dive full of locals.  Coffee in hand, I fielded the usual, "What do you call them there little buggies?"  When I asked how much I owned,  the owner said, "That will be 50 cents, no you only had one it's on the house.  You have a safe ride."  Later in the day we stopped at the Prarie Dog cafe where they had a map where patron could stick a push pin in to their home town.  For you dewing the blog with my location shown on a map its clear, but for us riding through the endless hay and wheat feilds, it was quite a revelation that we are now almost half way across the country.

Location : Indian Creek Rd, Mobridge, SD 57601,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Miles & Miles in Miles City

Miles Kingsbury (ROAM rider) on right poses with Miles Milligan owner of Pedal Power Sports in front of the Miles city sign

Location : 299-201 Front St, Miles City, Mt 59301,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Repair day in Miles City

Our rest day in Miles City turned into repair day for a lots of folks.   I discovered a quite a few loose bolts on my velomobile which contributed to the lousy steering I was experiancing. 

In the picture Bengy is completing major surgery on his Quest.  Seated on the ground next to him is Miles, The owner of bike shop in Miles City. 

Location : 299-201 Front St, Miles City, Mt 59301,

Why no daily posts?

I had the best of intentions to blog daily about ROAM (Roll Over America) but the reality of the trip makes that hard.  On a typical riding day we get up as early as possible (someone's alarm goes off around 5:30am). Then we pack up, eat something and get on the road as fast as we can.  For me that's been as early as 6:30 and once as late as 8:30.  The reason for this mad dash to ride in the cool morning rather than the hot afternoon.  That and the later you get into camp the less time you have for dinner etc.  Typically we ride 100 to 150 miles each day.  Prior to ROAM I had done one century ride, so this has been challenging.  Each day we have coffee break and a lunch break planned.  In Montana, which will take us 6 days to ride across there are only a million people (less than a third of CT's population) and great swaths of the state don't have cell phone service.

Location : 299-201 Front St, Miles City, Mt 59301,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 8

Today we rode 131 miles.  We had a 12 hill that wasn't fun,  but we were rewarded with a the 10 mile down hill to lunch.  After lunch we had a couple of climbs but then a 20 mile stretch of rolling hills that gently decended into Harlowton Montana.  After realizing how primitive the camp site at the rodeo grounds was, one of our of our advance people called the superintendent of schools and got him to open the high school locker room so we could take showers.  Lots of towns folks came by to check out the velos including a guy with two six shooter on his hips.  The europeans assumed he was the sheriff an was surprised that a regular guy could walk around wearing guys.

Location : Address not available

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 3, State 3

Today after at long hot 150 miles we crossed into Idaho.  When my doctor told me I'd probably need to eat around 5000 calories a day I thought he was crazy.  I just finished my fifth meal of the day.  After 150+ miles I found myself polishing off a big ribeye, baked potato, plate of pasta, salad and bread.  Good thing the new headlight works because it's now 10:30 pm and I still have a couple of miles to ride to the hell's gate camp ground

Location : 3200-3298 Tina Ave, Missoula, Mt 59808,