Thursday, July 30, 2009


The “Big J” and I managed to celebrate the end of my work week along with almost the end of the month with a nice post-work ride today. We were joined for the first time today by “Dr. J” (no, not THAT Dr. J”). “Dr. J” recently joined our bicycle advisory committee. He comes by his title of “Dr. J.” honestly, He is an honest-to-God physician, which is comforting to know when riding with him. :)


We planned our ride to to take in NC 209, down along the Pigeon River on Riverside Dr. and then back up to “the Triangle” in Crabtree before returning to Lake Junaluska and circling the lake. While there was moderately heavy post-work traffic on NC 209 North, we had the luxury of minimal traffic along the river. We enjoyed an unexpected break when “Dr. J.” flatted while running along River Road. He was prepared though and a few moments later we were back up to cruising speed. After the climb up from the river to the Triangle, “Dr. J” left us to return home and “Big J” and I made our way back to the lake.

On this leg of the trip, we were passed by 3 cyclists working a nice pace line and, going in the opposite direction, our fellow advisory committee member Jay on his commute home. His employer, MAST General Store, is one of the few in the area that reimburses employees for using alternative forms of transportation. Once on the Lake grounds, we were amongst numerous walkers, runners, and cyclists as they completed their workouts in advance of the evening showers. We completed our ride just as the rain began to fall.

Upon arriving home, my “better half” and I were treated to a beautiful late afternoon rainbow superimposed upon Cold Mountain. (Yes, THAT Cold Mountain…) My thoughts turned to Eldon and Susan and of the struggle that they are facing and have faced. I’ve never met “Fatty” nor have I ever met Susan but I have been fortunate to read Eldon’s blog for about a year now (link above and in my favorites). As they have fought cancer, Eldon has given us all the gift of following and experiencing their fight. I have been lucky in that I’ve not lost my wife nor any children to cancer and I pray daily that I’ll never know that pain. My brother, sister, and I did lose both parents to cancer (father – colon cancer  and mother - multiple myeloma) so we have some inkling and understanding of what is happening to Eldon and his family. The rainbow this evening served to remind me of peace and hope and the strong wish that we might all come to that place at our days end. With that in mind, the best I can do for “Fatty” and Susan is to wish for them the promise of the rainbow and release from the pain…


Until later,

- Zeke

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My brother, David, who lives in Los Angeles, has been looking for “the perfect bike”. Here is his latest report…

I'm on a quest...a search for the perfect bicycle. "Perfect" may be a bit of a misnomer, but so be it. This pursuit has led me to try a crankforward bike manufactured by Rans . Basically, a crankforward is a cross between a recumbent bicycle and a standard diamond frame bike. Imagine sitting in an upright position on any standard road bike and gradually sliding your hips forward and your feet up in the air toward a position you would assume on a recumbent bike. As you slide from upright to recumbent you kind of get stuck in between and you end up with your feet on the cranks forward of where they would be on a road bike, but not as far out in front as on many recumbents.

A little history to explain why I am at this point seems appropriate. Too many collisions on the football field in high school and college left me with a stiff neck and ultimately pushed me towards recumbent bicycles. In my search for comfort, speed and utility on two wheels, I have ridden probably eight to ten thousand miles total on almost every style of recumbent out there over the last decade. In that time, I have returned to uprights several times, buying typical diamond frame bikes and trying to get comfortable on them. I even commuted to work most of last summer on a Specialized Sequoia, only to sell it recently after what was supposed to be a nice cruise down the beach bike path in Santa Monica left me with a jammed up neck for the better part of a week. I love riding recumbents, but I have always been faster and more in control on an upright bike. And, in all honesty, I'm kind of fed up with Los Angeles traffic and its distracted drivers. The question I'm trying to answer now is, "Is there something in between the two bike formats that will work for me?"

I am fortunate to have many miles of good mountain bike trails very near my home in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles. I have often wished I could take advantage of them more, but fire roads and single-track don't mesh with recumbents for most people, me included. From following some of the recumbent blogs, I was familiar with the crankforward or CF, but I had never ridden one. In somewhat of a leap of faith, I found a Rans Dynamik Pro demo bike at Angletech Cycles in Colorado and bought it from the shop's owner Kelvin. This is a mountain bike version of the CF.


It has a front shock and 26" wheels. On the CF my head and shoulders end up more upright and less hunched over than they would be on a typical road bike. Also, there is less pressure on my hands and wrists due to the upright posture.

With only one 12 mile ride under my belt I am convinced the Dynamik Pro will serve the purpose of a mountain bike quite ably. I have excellent control of the bike and it climbs like a goat. I still have to fine tune out-of-the-saddle climbing, but I have a couple of ideas for that. The only question now is will it keep my neck and upper back happy and that will only be answered over time. If it does, then it will be the "perfect" bike for me....for now...

I'll keep you posted on how things develop.

In other news…


In what must be one of the more bizarre “road rage” incidents of this summer, an off-duty Asheville, NC fireman is reported to have pulled over a couple riding their bicycles on Tunnel Road in Asheville. The fireman allegedly was upset over the couple having their child in a bike approved car seat and riding him in traffic. The confrontation apparently escalated to the point that the fireman pulled out a gun and shot at the cyclist. According to the Asheville Citizen’s report (07/28/2009), the bullet passed through the helmet of the cyclist, fortunately missing his head. The fireman is now being held under a $500,000.00 bond on Attempted First Degree Murder. To read the story on-line, CLICK HERE!

I think I’ll quit on that one for today…

Until later,

- Zeke

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Good Week To Be A Cyclist!

This week has been a good and interesting week to be someone involved with and interested in the world of cycling. Whether watching Le Tour De France and pulling for your favorite team/person or being involved at the advocacy level or being a recreational/fitness cyclist, it has been a packed week of events and entertainment.

I’ll start with my ride with the “Big J”, who is quickly rounding back into riding condition. We had good evening jaunt on Tuesday. It was short in total miles but long in energy expended and even longer in quality of enjoyment. We essentially tracked around the Pigeon Valley section of Haywood County and enjoyed a brisk river grade run down and back to Canton from Bethel.


Our local advocacy group, BicycleHaywoodNC, had its monthly meeting on Tuesday at High Noon in the Gateway Club in Waynesville. Our special guest was Claudia Nix, who is our local NC Bicycle Committee representative. Claudia covered a number of important topics including the importance of our participation in the French Broad River Metropolitan Organization as it is a major planner for our region. Ron Leatherwood, BicycleHaywoodNC member and former NC DOT Board member advised the group that 6000 people commute from Haywood County to Buncombe County each day for work.

Claudia also discussed the role of the NC Bicycle Committee and shared with us a copy of the current goals of the Committee. She reported on initial meetings with the new Secretary of Transportation and the new Deputy Secretary, who she reports is an avid cyclist. Both individuals speak highly of multi-modal transportation issues and are seemingly willing to work toward those goals and away from a car-centric policy. Finally, Claudia reported that the Transportation Board has just recently accepted that all roads in N.C. should fall under a Complete Streets Designation and have multi-modal transportation as a major organizing point for road construction in the future. She was also pleased to report that she had just found out that the NC DOT has amended their placement of rumble strips to align with the outside white line rather than the middle of the gutter along dual highways. This should increase the safety factor for cyclists where those roads are also the designation bike pathways (not to be confused with bike lanes).

In other agenda items, the Advisory Council agreed to support a proposed “backbone” cycling route through Waynesville. The next step in this process will be to approach the Waynesville Board of Alderman and solicit official backing for the route. Council members reviewed proposed routes ridden by members and settled upon a route that should be accessible to the widest range of ages and fitness levels. The route should also come into contact with the majority of the retail merchants and public offices. Additionally, the proposed route makes use of the existing greenway that is under construction in Waynesville.

In final activity, the Council voted to work with some upcoming Block Parties in Waynesville and to offer Bike Corrals and other cyclists related activities in order to increase the awareness of families cycling to these events. The Council also welcomed to the meeting CeCe Hipps, Director of the Haywood Chamber of Commerce, and Ashley Rice, representative of the Tourism Development Authority. Beginning conversations have started regarding BicycleHaywoodNC working with the Chamber and the TDA to provide a cycling event in the spring of 2010 with the hopes of increasing tourism to the area.

So, all of this sandwiched between watching the Tour in the morning and the evening has made for one fine cycling week. My ‘better half” has joined me each evening watching the recap of the day’s Tour events and has now become quite knowledgeable on race strategy, what an echelon is, and what “putting time into the Shlecks” means! I’ve yet to be able to explain effectively Contador’s dropping of his teammate but, then I haven’t heard a reasonable explanation by anyone yet!  Three more days of the Tour  and then I go into Tour withdrawal…

Until later,

- Zeke

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Riding At Its Best!

The “Big J” and I had a nice after work ride around Waynesville and parts of Haywood County yesterday sans the “Wood-man” The “Wood-man” is off enjoying some low country cruising on the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston, SC. I imagine that he is also getting in several rounds of golf as well.

“Big J” and I simply headed out from my office and enjoyed riding part of the local greenway, out and about through some rural 2 lane roads before returning to town and cruising the main roads to and from the big box stores at the end of town. We managed to find some climbs that got the quads burning and also some flat stretches where we worked on pacing.

I received word from my brother, David, that he has added back to his stable of bikes. He recently sold his recumbent and his Specialized upright. He took delivery yesterday of his ANGLETECH/RANS ZENETIK PRO HO27. Taking a page from our friend, Jim Artis, David documented the arrival and setup of his new bike.



David reported that a short 15 minutes later, he was up and running, err riding around his neighborhood.  He hasn’t had a chance to hit the fire roads and trails behind his home yet.



The finished product before the first test ride.


Miscellaneous thoughts: I’ve enjoyed the coverage and commentary of the Tour De France again this year. For my money, the four Versus commentators of Hummer, Roll, Sherwin, and Ligget are one of the top teams in all of sports. They never fail to keep you entertained and informed. Their expertise in the sport keeps being reinforced daily as they predict race conditions and strategies. I very much enjoy how they keep things humorous between them.

I keep being amazed at the physical fitness of these professional cyclists. I’m watching as Versus pops up heart rates, watts, and miles per hour for the individual cyclists. The most recent rider was running at 32 mph with a heart rate of 120 bpm. How is that even possible? When I’m taking it easy on a training ride, my heart rate is at least 135 and I’m probably only running 15 mph. My heart rate regularly tops 170 on local climbs. Of course, I don’t live in the saddle either. Sometimes, I think these guys could shave and clean up while pedaling down the road!

Well, the peloton is in the process of catching today’s break away. Time to close out and catch the finale to see if Cav can bring it home two days in a row.


Until later,

- Zeke

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pleasant Afternoon Ride Ends Long, Long Day!


A fine Tuesday spent enjoying Team Astana’s Team Time Trial ride and seeing LA back at the front led to a very enjoyable post work ride with the “Wood-Man” and the “Big J.”  This little ride was a 16 miler looping around Poison Cove Gap, Clyde NC, Hyder Mountain Rd, Lake Junaluska and then back to Rolls Rite Bike shop where we started. “Big J” is getting his legs back after a number of years out of the saddle and is picking up steam each ride. The “Wood-Man” was a good companion to have along today and to push us harder than we would probably have pushed ourselves. A few images follow…



For those who care about such, I mounted my wife’s Canon Powershot SD880 IS on my handlebar mount and just snapped away when the mood hit. All in all, given that I couldn’t focus and was generally just shooting straight ahead, the little camera seems to have performed well. I didn’t even realize I had slacked off on the images until I got home and downloaded them!

It has been a LONG day since my post this morning at 5:30 a.m. I think I’ll grab a bite to eat and call it a day… Hopefully, I will sleep through the night tonight!

Until later,

- Zeke

Post 4th of July Meanderings

The 4th of July has come and gone with the weekend’s events already beginning a slow fade to the past. As I sit here writing this post at 5:30 a.m. awaiting my first cup of coffee, thoughts and images of the past few days are running through my still sleepy head.

P7052124 The 4th brought time to spend with family and reflect upon our freedoms. Our local newspaper, the Mountaineer, had a special section and stories on several of our WWII Veterans along with stories of Vets of other wars since. My association this year with the HonorAir program and these WWII Vets has added, for me,  a depth of appreciation and thankfulness for their efforts on our behalf. While I’ve always felt a stirring of pride and awe when the flags fly on the 4th, I think it had an even deeper meaning for me this year. So, to all Vets still out there and to those, like my Dad, who aren’t with us anymore, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Our weather on the 4th allowed for an opportunity to get in a somewhat longer ride than I usually manage to pull off. After watching the opening of Le Tour De France, I checked out my tire pressure, pulled on a jersey and set off for the “Wood-Man’s” house where our family was gathering for a picnic, bonfire, and to watch the fireworks of Maggie Valley. I was pumped from watching Lance Armstrong’s performance in the opening time trial and realized that I needed to start riding within my self if I planned to cover the next 2 hours on my bike as I expected. My route took me down NC 215 from Bethel, NC to Canton, NC and then followed US 19 into Maggie where the “Wood-Man” lives. It was on this route that I confirmed that my bike computer wasn’t properly reflecting my mileage. It turns out that I’ve actually ridden about 20% more miles than I’ve recorded. This was pleasing to discover and I’m happy it wasn’t the other way around – having ridden 20% LESS mileage! I’ve recently been using MapMyRide and the mileages that I’ve recorded have not been matching up to those generated by the computer program or those recorded by “Big J” when we ride together. Suffice it to say that Sunday morning brought about some recalibrating of the bike computer. I’m using a VDO Series Z1 bike computer. It has been a good product and I’m sure that this calculation error was due to error on my part in the setup phase.

The ride to Maggie was mostly uneventful with traffic being moderate to heavy, which I expected on a 4th of July weekend in the mountains. My only brush with discomfort came on NC 215 when the 3rd car in a line of 3 behind me tried to beat an oncoming car in order to get around me. There was some serious horn blowing going on from the oncoming car on this narrow 2 lane mountain road. Fortunately for me, the reckless fool was closer to hitting the oncoming car than to hitting me. I guess he saved an entire 5 or 6 seconds in whipping around me…

I did detour briefly off of US 19 and rode around South Lakeshore Drive of Lake Junaluska. This detour kept me from a particularly dangerous segment of US 19 and allowed me to get an up close view of the decorated homes around the Lake, which is the site of one of the better fireworks displays in our area. Local citizens were already lining the shore with their picnic blankets, flags, and children some 4 hours before the start of the display. Most of the lake residents appeared to be hosting parties and had really decorated their homes in red, white, and blue.



The final run up to the “Wood-Man’s” was uneventful and tiring. US 19 in this area is a busy 4 lane road so I was hyper-alert on this section. I was able to “enjoy” about a 3 mile climb from Dellwood to the intersection of US 19 and US 276. Fortunately, the grade didn’t rise above 3% or so for this section. Once I reached the section of Maggie where the roads have sidewalks, I tried getting out of traffic and riding on the sidewalk. This proved to be intolerable as the sidewalks aren’t laid out level and the constant bumps were sending shock waves up my already tired back. I pretty quickly decided that the smooth road surface was a better alternative – traffic be damned. It was along this section of road that my “better half” passed me as she made her way to the site of our family gathering. I threw up my hand in greeting and to let her know that I was proceeding on. I made it to my destination with time to spare and enjoyed a nice cool shower followed by a nice cool post ride libation…

The light of day is now dawning accompanied by the sounds of the birds outside and Herbert and Rosie (the cats) inside. Work is calling as is that second cup of coffee. One other thing that I’m thankful for on this post 4th of July day is for the readers, who stop by and spend some time here and especially for those that make repeat visits! My thanks to all.

Until later,

- Zeke

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Updated Ride Schedule Released

Weekly Rides and More! June 24 - July 1
For additional upcoming rides, including  non-club major local events,
visit the website calendar:
(Be sure to click on an activity on the calendar
for the details, which will appear inside a popup)
Thur: Sunny.
     Lo: 62
     Hi: 83
Fri: Sunny.
     Lo: 63
     Hi: 83
Sat: Partly cloudy with stray T-storms, 30%.
     Lo: 64
     Hi: 83
Sun: Mostly cloudy with stray T-storms, 50%.
     Lo: 61
     Hi: 78
Thursday July 7
*** The following weekly ride has been altered from it's regular location
THURSDAY MORNINGS: Fletcher Blue Sky Road Bike Ride
Meet Thursday mornings and depart promptly at 9:00am from the
public parking lot across from "Quotations" coffee shop in Brevard.

This route, "Sassafras Mtn Alt Too", is 40 miles; the ride pace
will average 12-15 mph. No one will be left behind.
John Loia 696-0877 or
Sunday July 5

Lead by Pisgah Area SORBA members
These group rides depart promptly at 11:00am from Rice Pinnacle parking
lot in Bent Creek. These are easy and social rides. Helmets are required.
Contact Rick Schrader at 828-665-0015 or
Tuesday July 7

CASUAL Road Bike Ride from Fletcher Park
Begins promptly at 9:15am from Fletcher Park, located off of Howard Gap
Road. Please arrive early so you're ready to leave on time.
For folks who want to enjoy the company of others. Ride about 2 hours,
16-25 miles, no-one gets left behind.
No ride in inclement weather.
CALL FIRST. Claudia at 274-2453

Saturday July 11:  WOW: Rugby Scrum Ride

Weekend On Wheels
Departs 9:00am at Fletcher Community Park, located on Howard Gap Road
in Fletcher. An easy ride (REI 31) of 20.3 miles, total 1088’ climbing.
Cue sheets:
Bruce Rogers 243-2485 or
Saturday July 11: HOT DOGGETT 100
*BRBC is a Sponsor

Mars Hill, NC
To benefit the Rotary Club of Madison County
Proceeds go the the club's scholarship fund and other service projects.

WEDNESDAY EVENINGS: Biowheels Group Road Rides
Biowheels is a BRBC Business Member:
These rides begin promptly at 6:00pm from Biowheels, located at 81 Coxe Avenue.
Two Levels: Casual/Intermediate and Advanced. We'll split into 2 groups and
ride about 2 hours. Contact Biowheels at: 828-236-BIKE or
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS: Youngblood Bent Creek Rides
Youngblood Bicycles is a BRBC Business Member:
Rides depart promptly at 6:30pm from Rice Pinnacle Parking lot in
Bent Creek. Routes and difficulty will depend on who shows up.
Contact 251-4686 or
THURSDAY MORNINGS: Fletcher Blue Sky Road Bike Ride
** See details above for this week's ride
THURSDAY AFTERNOONS: Sunset Mountain Road Bike Ride
This is a show-n-go ride, meaning it may not have a regular attending
ride leader. Meet 5:00pm in the parking lot behind Asheville Brewing
and Pizza, located on Merrimon Avenue. Ride up Sunset Mountain using
low trafficked streets to Town Mountain Road, then up the Parkway to
the first tunnel. Return using the same route.
Contact Rick Hester at 776-4071 or
THURSDAY EVENINGS: Biowheels Trail Rides in Bent Creek
Biowheels is a BRBC Business Member:
Begins promptly at 6:30pm from Rice Pinnacle parking area, located in Bent
Creek. We'll lead a "social pace" for Intermediate and Advanced riders,
SS and Cross Bikes welcome! We'll also have a challenging route for Beginners,
but no-one will be dropped.
Visit our website blog: "Places we Pedal"
SATURDAY MORNINGS: Gary Arthur Ledges Park Road Ride (33-35 miles)
Departs at 9:00am from Ledges Park, located on Riverside Drive
6.5 miles off of the UNCA Exit on I-26 (Hwy-19/23).
Ride north beside the French Broad River to Marshall, where
we'll stop for coffee and to regroup. The return route will
include Ivy Hill and subsequent roads.
Jones P. Byrd at
SUNDAY AFTERNOONS: Folk Art Center Road Ride
Departs sharply at 1:30pm from the Folk Art Center on the
Blue Ridge Pkwy. This is a Show-n-Go ride which means there may not
be a regularly attending leader. Call or email Bill beforehand to check.
The route this year will vary each week, distance will range between
25-35 miles. Pace will be about 12 mph. Some of the routes suggested
are the Town Mountain Sunset route, various routes to Black Mountain,
and the Parkway to Elk Mountain or Ox Creek Road, just to name a few.
Bill Crownover 713-8504 or
MONDAY EVENINGS: Women Only Road Ride
Youngblood Bicycles is a BRBC Business Member:
Departs promptly at 6:00pm from Youngblood Bicycles, located at
233 Merimon Avenue. Ride about 27 miles, pace 12-15mph, rides are led by
ABRC members. Contact 254-4578 or