Category Archives: Bike

Big Miles

Holy smokes, my big ride, my CO GAP 2017, is happening in about one month!

Big Miles

I need to get some miles in!

Sippo Valley

Mileage Plan

I parked at Fort Laurens, biked thru Bolivar, and then took the Ohio-Erie Towpath North.

Bike Trail Route


When I got to the break in the trail-which is just over a bridge-I decided to take the Sippo Trail, which goes west to Dalton. It is ten miles long, which makes another twenty miles under my belt.
Turn Around Trail

After a fairly sketch first half  mile, you exit the city area and are into the suburbs and country life.

Sippo Valley Trail


After a few miles, the asphalt turns into limestone trail. The Sippo Trail is pretty tree covered.Sippo Valley Trail

Sippo Valley Trail

Sippo Trail

When I got back to the Ohio Eric Towpath, I decided to just head back south. I meant to ride 60 miles, I rode 52 miles instead.

Longest Ride to Date!

Big Miles

I did really well on this bike ride eating and drinking. I had to hop off the bike a few times because of hydrating a little too well! It was interesting to see the differences between 7 hours running and 7 hours biking-you just are not beat up the same way as running.

Time Factor

I am a bit concerned about the time factor. This was seven hours of pretty much biking. I did stop once each hour to get my butt off the saddle, stretch, drink, eat.  I will be stopping much more on the C&O Towpath to take pictures, etc.

Fast Forward my Bike Ride

The more I think about it, I realize this is my bike tour. I can do whatever I want. My first day of touring will be 59 miles. I may bail out at fifty miles and call my husband (who is driving a vehicle and coming along) to cut the day short. Maybe. There is no DQ or Bike Police out there to dictate the terms of my ride.

I still need another long bike ride, preferably two back to back long rides. The clock is ticking!


My Biking Mistakes

My Biking Mistakes

Biking Mistakes

Read  What I have Done Wrong So You Won’t Make These Same Biking Mistakes

Buying an Inner Tube with a Presta Valve

Did you know there are two types of bike valves? Me neither. There is the “normal” one, called a Shraeder valve, which is on your typical bike and all your vehicles.  Then there is the “Presta” valve which apparently is used on mountain bikes and What else I don’t know.

The problem is, everything is made for a “S” or Shraeder valve which makes sense. You then have to buy an adapter to work with your Presta valve.  The Presta valve is also tricky to use. You have to unscrew the little metal top to be able to pass air into and out the inner tube.

Conclusion: Read the label on the inner tube box and don’t buy a Presta valve.

Brake Pad on Backwards

Inspect your bike before riding.  In one of my tire changing epic moments, when I got the brake pads back on the bike, I flipped one upside down. It still worked. I didn’t notice this until I was changing the next tire on the bike and adjusting brakes.  I should have noticed this sooner.

Conclusion: look your bike over now and then, make sure your brake pads face the right direction, tighten up any loose screws.

Adjusting Brakes-it’s called a quick release

Getting my rear brakes working again after changing a tire has been a challenge. I discovered that there is something called the “quick release” so you don’t have to fight your bike to remove the tire to change a flat.

Conclusion: Understand the quick release on  your rear brakes.

Using An Allen wrench the long way

I even know the name “Allen Wrench” now. Sigh. I did not set out to become a bike mechanic, but if I am going to ride my bike, I am going to make sure I can fix some things on it.

You can turn things much easier using the allen wrench like this  |______   rather than like this

Conclusion: Have a collection of allen wrenches. But don’t call them allen wrenches. The correct generic nomenclature is “hex key”.  You’ll be a more cool rider when someone asks for a “hex key” and you know what they are talking about.

Make Sure Your Cleats Are TightGoing Clipless

If you are using clipless shoes, make sure the cleats on the bottom are tight on your shoes.  If they are not, you may find yourself unable to remove your shoe from the bike. When you are doing the little twisting action to release your foot, the cleat simply moves around.

If you can get your foot out of the shoe, and the shoe off the pedal, that’s great. I had to watch numerous You Tube clips and remove the pedal with the shoe and take it off to the vise.

I was able to successfully FINALLY remove the cleat from the pedal. I had lost one of the screws from the cleat. I then had to buy more screws from Amazon for my shoes.

Conclusion: Make sure your screws are tight on your shoes. Buy and have available spare screws-I have already somehow lost another screw, glad I had a stash of screws. Carry your allen wrench. Carry your hex key.

You Tube Videos

You Tube Videos are the bomb. Just type in something close to what you think you are trying to accomplish, you will either see a video or something suggested to get you closer to what your true problem is.

What’s your Newby Biking Mistake? Please share so I can avoid another one!



CO GAP 2017 Recon on the GAP

I was in the Laurel Highlands, working the first Aid Station for the Laurel Highlands Race at Maple Summit Road.

Workng the first aid station means you are done by noon and have a lovely amount of time to spend in the Laurel Highlands.

I decided to bike from Ohiopyle to Connelsville. Ohiopyle to Connellsville is 17 miles. I was all game for that before I started. After? Not so much.

I much prefer OP in the off season.

I have spent lovely amounts of time in Ohiopyle. But it’s usually out of the town, on the running/hiking trails.

Tourists Everywhere

Tourists are everywhere  People walk-and ride-all over the place, unpredictably. I unclipped and spun in my lowest gear to keep my eye on people.

After two-three miles out of town, there was nobody.

Great Allegheny Passage

It was lovely through here, dappled sunlight reflecting in the greenery. The Yough River is on your right, you can hear the screams of the white water rafters having fun.

Yough River

Speed Up! The Second Fall/Fail

I decided ten miles one way was enough. As I was carefully turning on the trail, I was WHAM! Down again! A too slow turn means no momentum and down you go! This time, I landed on my knee and no handlebar in sternum.


The Incline

I took a little break after my fall, eating my sandwich and drinking some water. Falls do knock the stuffing out of you a bit. I felt kind of sluggish on the path.

Really? I couldn’t get up to the same gearage as I had started out in. Then I remembered the trail CLIMBS from west to east.  Ugh!

It’s gradual. It’s not bad. But I guess since I was tired, dehydrated, I wasn’t really loving the incline. I’m glad I found this out now.

On my ride I will be going East to West. Yes, my elevation is much bigger, but at a shorter distance, about 25 miles of more steep uphill, versus about 125 miles of a steady incline.

Daily Miles

Change of Plans: Going with Plan H

Mile 77 GAP

My husband has decided to join me on my CO GAP Adventure. Which means, he will be driving the vehicle on the journey, and I will be biking. I will meet him at the end of the day in a hotel room.  Which means A) less gear for me to carry B) baths and air conditioning daily C) change of clothing too!

Revised Daily Mileage

We have friends to stay with in DC, so we will drive to DC after my work on Sunday. Then, the schedule will be:

Monday-Mile 60 Harpers Ferry-gulp! Big miles, but that’s the idea!

Tuesday Mile 99 Williamsport

Wednesday Mile 156 Paw Paw West Virginia

Thursday Mile 184 Cumberland Maryland-end of the C&O Towpath

Friday Mile 44 (now on the Great Allegheny Passage) Rockwood-hotel room in Somerset, PA

Saturday Mile 88 Connelsville PA

Sunday Mile 150 Pittsburgh PA Finish

Onto getting more time in the saddle!

CO GAP 2017 Planning Daily Miles

Planning Daily Miles

Planning my CO GAP Daily Miles


Daily Miles

Days Available

I have Monday through Sunday available in August. I will leave Pittsburgh on Amtrak to travel to DC. I will then start my journey on Monday after arrival in DC.

Camping or Beds?

This is the big queston! See how many miles can I pedal?  Camping gives me more options. But I am travelling solo. Which only bugs me..a bit. If I camp, I have to bring camping gear. More weight. If I choose to stay inside, I have to make the mileage every day, to get to my reserved indoor space.

Tentative Plan

The plan:

Amtrak to DC Monday

C&O Towpath:

Bike to Miles 48-55 Point of Rocks, Brunswick, Maryland-camp

Bike to Mile 99  Williamsport, Maryland Hotel Room.

Bike to Mile 141 Little Orleans, Maryland, Camp.

Bile to Cumberland, Maryland Mile 184-hotel room

Great Allegheny Passage

Bike to Rockwood Pennsylvania Mile 44-camp

Bike to Connelsville, Pennsylvania Mile 88-hotel room

Bike to Pittsburgh, mile 135.

The basic plan is camp-room-camp-room-camp-room. If I don’t get clean on my camping days, I will at least shower every two days.

Plan H-The Husband Plan

The husband has made a gesture that he wants to join me. And by joining me, he means being my sag wagon and driving a vehicle, joining me at my hotel rooms in the evening.  If Plan H occurs, then I shall have a room at either a B&B on my camp days-like Leesburg, Paw Paw, Rockwood.  The H Plan makes it very easy for me, as I wouldn’t have to carry camp gear, or extra clothes.

I am training with the intention of going solo. The husband will have to make up his mind sooner than later, so I can reserve hotel rooms for the camping days. Stay tuned to see what plan is finally chosen!





Biking the Conotton Creek Trail

Biking the Conotton Creek Trail

Conotton Creek Trail


The Conotton Creek Bike Trail is a bike trail that goes between the little Ohio towns of Bowerston and Jewett. It is eleven miles long. I was somewhat in the *area* and wanted to get a long bike ride in, so off to Scio I went. Scio is the little town in the middle of the bike path.

Covered Bridges

Conotton Creek Covered Bridge

A nice feature of this bike trail was the little covered bridges along the way.

Conotton Creek Covered Bridge

Conotton Creek Covered Bridge
Conotton Creek Covered Bridge

Rough Surfaces

The bike trail is a bit rougher than I remember.  There was an article in the local paper about applying for a grant to resurface the trail. I thought this would be good training for the more rough C&O Towpath Trail.


It was a cloudy overcast day for my ride. I think it would get a tad bit hotter in the summer months. There are little shelters every five miles or so along the trail, a good place to duck out a sudden thunderstorm.

I met Mr Snapper on his way cross trail.

lt was a little warm out, from the looks of my red cheeks!  I kept expecting rain to occur, it was nice to dodge that bullet.



I have installed my rear rack and a water bottle rack! This was my first ride with these installed,  I need to see if they need torqued down a bit. I carried my Wisp pack, with water and snacks brought along! I did drink all my water from the Camelbak, and was happy to have a granola bar at mile 18.

Twenty two miles in the book for this bike ridge! It was a change in my original plan, due to the overnight rain, but where there is the will, there is a way to fit in the training!


My Longest Bike Ride Ever

First Long Ride

Longest Bike Ride Ever

I have changed the date of my 335 mile bike tour from October to August. Yikes! That’s coming soon. It is time to hop onto the bike and start getting some miles under my butt.

Bike Trail Route

Route: Park in Fort Laurens Park, Bolivar, Ohio. Ride two miles over the road to pick up the Towpath Trail.  Ride through the cornfields for about 1/2 mile, Bike Ridethen jump Rt 212 for about a 1/4 mile of sketchy road,  stop signthen pick up the Towpath Trail again.

Deer on Bike Trail

The Towpath Trail, in the south, is mostly crushed limestone, gravel in a few areas, pleasant to ride on. Nobody was out at 9 am on this cool spring May morning but me and the chipmunks, geese, and a few deer.

Towpath Trail Tunnel


The Towpath Trail grows through the small town of Navarre Ohio. Do you know what is also located in Navarre? Nickles Bakery! Baking bread since 1909 and in seven midwestern states. Do you know what smells sooo good riding through town? Baking bread!

Bakery Trucks on Trail

I continued north past all the great smells.

Trail under railroad track

Buckeye Trail on Traill noticed the familiar blue blazes of the Buckeye Trail on the Towpath Trail. These would be some pleasant non-road miles to hike on.

First Clipped in Fall

It happened! My first fall. It was a doozy. I was about two miles from Massilion, when a rock caught my eye. Yes, one of those painted rocks that is going around the internet. While I was thinking, “oh I should stop and pick that up” I didn’t compensate for the little slope I was starting up. I tried to shift, but already had lost momentum BOOM down I went.

First Clipped In Fall

I got a handlebar straight into my sternum. I heard my head hit the ground-thwock! OOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW! Somehow I was unclipped and stumbled away. Knees were a bit skinned but the pain was in my chest. I walked it off for a few minutes.  I seemed to be okay, other than every time I took a big breath-it hurt!

Oh yeah, here’s the rock I picked up! 😳 Rock on Trail


I kept trying to decide where to turn around.

I knew there was a break in the trail. I was hoping the bike shop was on this side of the trail. (It wasn’t). I made the logical decision to turn where the Sippo Trail started.

Turn Around Trail



The bike ride went well. I carried my running pack, since I have yet to figure out how to attach the water bottle cage to the bike.  My private parts only got a bit sore, and I had less numbness in my hands. I think I need to move my handlebars slightly. The next day, nothing is sore except my STERNUM which is hugely painful.

I forgot snacks. I was tired near the finish. I thought I had left some gels in the back, nope!


The  Towpath Trail will be good training grounds for the C&O Canal Trail. I am going to have to download audiobooks and podcasts to deal with the long green tunnel on this for August.

What’s your longest bike ride?

Things I Don’t Understand About Biking

Things I Don't Understand About my Bike

This could be a long laundry list of things I don’t understand about  bikes and biking. Where to begin?

How to install water bottle and bike kit? Where do I carry the tire inflator and spare stuff? I don’t see how this fits on the bike.

What is the best way to fix a flat? I’ve only changed the tires twice. Both at home, not on the road.

How often do I need to clean my bike and oil the chain?

When do I need to replace the brake pads? Am I breaking too much going downhills?

What is a power meter and do I need one? Is a power meter the same thing as a bike computer? Do I need a bike computer? How will it help me?

How do I know what kind of brakes I  have? When do I need to replace the brake lines?

Why do my brakes squeak? Should they squeak?

How often should you replace your helmet? I do know to replace after a crash. I haven’t crashed. I think my helmet is about five years old.

Got any answers for me?