Belt Drive Bicycles - Trek District vs. Spot Brand Dualie

For some reason, I spent a few hours yesterday completely enamored with the idea of owning a belt drive bicycle. I don't often indulge such fantasies as I'm more than happy with what I already have, but I decided to slip a bit and endeavor to see what I could find. After a good amount of searching, I found a pair that really spoke to me, for a variety of reasons.

First of all, I don't have much of a problem with chains; they seem to last quite a while and work pretty well. I even kind of look forward to the zen of routine drive maintenance, spending a few hours a morning every other week to keep everything in great condition. However, the Gates carbon belt drive promises smooth, silent operation and grease-free maintenance that should last the lifetime of 3 chains. As someone who notices the instant a chain roller starts squeaking, and who seems to perpetually have the darkened imprint of a big ring on his right calf, that just sounds incredible. The lifetime of 3 chains? I'm not even sure how long one lifetime is supposed to be, but for the purposes I have in mind, I'm sure it would last a ridiculous amount of time. So, if a belt drive is so great, maybe it's worth looking into? Let's take a look at what I've found.

The first 
belt driven bike I came across was the Trek District:
trek district, district, single-speed, belt driven, gates carbon belt drive, bike
Trek District
Featuring a Gates carbon belt drive (as cool as that sounds) with a freewheel hub on an aluminum frame, the District gets off to a good start. At first glance, perhaps the District doesn't have the most exciting color scheme. There are some subtle orange highlights that add a bit of flair, but overall, I'm not a fan of the slivery-grey ("smoke" according to the web site) paint job. Other models in the District line include a greenish color and a darker grey. It's alright, I guess, but not that exciting, to me.

One unique standout is the eccentric bottom bracket and over-center dropout, allowing the bike to be converted to a geared drivetrain. I wonder, though, what's the logic, here? A concession that belt drives might just be a passing phase, or a selling point for customers who are wary of abandoning tradition? Perhaps it speaks more to the "everyperson" consumer, who wants the ultimate in versatility -- a bike that can fill multiple roles.

At an MSRP of $1099.99, there's a lot to like about this bike, but there could be more.

Next, a very interesting bike, the Dualie by Spot Brand.
spot brand, spot, dualie, belt driven, gates carbon belt drive, bike, bicycle, geared hub, dual gear, 2 speed
Spot Brand Dualie
Now this bike is a little more my speed. As above, it features a Gates carbon belt drive, but with an added twist at the hub. You see, "Dualie" isn't just a clever name, it's a part of the bike's featureset. It's got 2 gears!

The rear hub is a Sturmey Archer S2 Duomatic Kick Shift with freewheel. Simply reverse pedal to shift into high gear. Too much stress? Reverse pedal again to down shift. Easy peasey.

The Dualie comes in one color combination, but this is actually a combination that I like. It looks fantastic. I'm already sold on the belt drive, and the addition of an extra gear means I'm better equipped to tackle the hills around North East Pennsylvania.

One caveat is the steel frame construction, which tells me this bike probably weighs a bit more than the District. Then again, the steel frame might just handle bumps a lot better, and if there's one thing we've got around here, it's plenty of bumps.

At an MSRP of $1,199, I'd be saving my nickels and dimes a little longer, but the difference seems worth it, to me.

So, which would I choose? I think it's an interesting race. The Dualie seems like it would weigh more, but the dual-geared hub adds some versatility. On the other hand, if it's versatility you're after, the District wins due to that eccentric bottom bracket and the ability to convert to a geared drive -- it's almost like getting two bikes for the price of one! Aesthetically speaking, the Dualie looks a lot more appealing to me. I'd hate for this to come down to looks, but that's just how I'm leaning in this particular case.

Were this strictly about function, the District would win, hands down. It seems to me that it can do a lot more than the Dualie and would probably be the logical choice for a more practical person. But in this race, I'm not that guy. I'm not looking for a practical, versatile bike, I'm looking for an urban explorer.

In the end, however you look at it, the money is going towards the belt drive, and that's the whole point of this exercise -- finding a lower maintenance, quieter, simpler bike. Getting one with great looks and personality, however, couldn't hurt. Now, if I could just convince either of these companies to send me a demo model for a proper review, I'd be more than happy to tell everyone all about it. *hint, hint*
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How to Keep Bikes Off Sidewalks: Rig the sidewalk to explode.

Apparently, London has perfected a way to keep cyclists (and everyone else) from riding on the sidewalk: RANDOM EXPLOSIONS!

In this video I nicked from 
a post on BoingBoing, even hapless bystanders aren't safe from the wrath of hidden, underground fire devils. Get off that cell phone, citizen! MOVE ALONG!

So, there you have it. Riding the sidewalk isn't just illegal, it's potentially lethal!
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Once again, into the gaping maw of utilitarianism!

I was informed that we needed milk. Perhaps "informed" isn't the right word... but when it was suggested that I should also get some syrup to make chocolate milk, I folded.

In all truth, I was excited to have a reason to go out. About 16 days ago, I'd entered into
the fi'zi:k Tour Tune-Up Challenge on Strava -- a challenge to ride 30 hours in 16 days. As the deadline approached, I noticed that I was coming up 10 minutes short of completing the challenge. I'm not entirely sure if the challenge ends at midnight or if it runs until the end of June 23, but I figured I'd go get those ten minutes in sooner than later.

Aside from claiming those errant 10 minutes, I was also itching to test out the rear rack I had just installed on my bike. Carrying home a gallon of milk seemed like the perfect test. The question was, once I have the milk, how the hell do I get it to stay on the rack? Well, it wasn't easy, but I did it.

Does this mean I've given myself over to the dark side? Hasn't my speedy road bike suffered enough from being forced into daily commuter duties? Must it also serve utilitarian purposes? Then again, Giant created the bike frame with threaded mounting holes for a reason, right? I don't think it's too much of a sin, is it? Is that it? Is this the slippery slope? I even wore regular clothes and left the helmet at home! What next, a cargo bike? Man, that's like the minivan of bikes... I'm doomed.

The rack is a necessity -- I swear. It'll be nice to be able to carry stuff around without a full backpack pressing against me and making me even more sweaty, but I've been hard at work, completing my crazy plan to bike to Pittsburgh, next month. For that, I'm going to need to be able to carry a tent (at least) and some supplies. It's not exactly randonneuring, but my aim is to do about 269 miles over 2 days, with an overnight at a campground. Although, after a 62.3 mile ride on Thursday (that's metric century!) I'm wondering if I shouldn't cut the mileage down a bit and stretch the trip out over 3 days, instead. We'll see. If I can get myself conditioned to much longer rides, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'm really looking forward to this!
Panormaic view of Mountain Top, PA
Panoramic view of Mountain Top, PA

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Cicadas: The Vuvuzelas of the Insect World

Just out past Tresckow, heading towards Junedale and Beaver Meadows, I heard a sound unlike anything I'd heard in nature before. It sounded like the loud hum of truck tires, rolling along the highway, but a much higher pitch. Or maybe dozens of car alarms? Or, to my ears, dozens of Star Trek phasers being fired at once. For a moment, I really wondered if I were being abducted by aliens. It didn't sound like anything an animal, or an insect, would produce.

As I headed into a curve, I longed to see whatever was up ahead -- whether it was coming towards me or waiting for me to approach it. But when I got there, I only saw trees. Nothing but trees. And from every direction came this loud, spooky sound. I quickly pulled out my phone and shot this short video:


Until Thursday, I'd never actually heard the noise produced by the 17-year cicadas. I'd heard they were loud, but I really had no idea. It's a sound I'll not soon forget.
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Be like the wheel, my friend. Squeak for your grease!

I am the squeakiest wheel, as visitors to this blog will, no doubt, notice.

I find that maintaining a positive attitude is the best way to get things done. However, I eschew that kind of crystal-gripping, new age, hippie nonsense almost immediately, as I've also found that bitching and moaning is the best way to get other people to get things done for you.

We can't help it; this behavior/reward stuff has been ingrained in us since we were children, and it's hardly a new philosophy. "Ask, and ye shall receive," is just a fancy of way saying, "Have it your way."

We -- as in, humanity -- really are a bunch of whiners and complainers, and bloggers are the worst. Actually, bike bloggers are even worse than that. We're always looking for some cause to get behind, or some way to complain about the status quo. See here, for example, where I ask you to whine to your local legislators to get more funding for biking infrastructure in Pennsylvania.

If anything, it's cathartic. The road being a mess, for example, is something so out of my control that I have no choice but to complain about it. I could simply accept it, and move on with my life, but that doesn't make me feel any better and the problem is still there! So, I complain. But there's another reason, and that is because we, as citizens, have an obligation to demand that our elected officials -- the people we put in charge to get stuff done -- actually get stuff done!

Well, I'm not about to sit here and say that my nimble fingers tapping against a keyboard actually did one iota of good towards fixing the bridge -- I'm sure finishing it was in the schedule, all along -- but my ride was smooth and bump-free, today. As Axl Rose once observed, all we need is a little patience.

Now that I mention it, Axl Rose kind of cements the whole point of this blog post, which is that, if you complain -- and especially if you make a good show of it -- not only do you get what you want, but people actually make you a rock star because of it. Sorry, positive thinkers! Throwing a hissy fit doesn't just feel good, it makes you famous!

Here's the thing: I own up about my whining. When I make a complaint, and that complaint gets a positive response, I stop, and say, "Thank you!" Thank you, to all the road construction crews and maintenance workers out there who keep the roads smooth and even. You rock!

In closing, let the rabble-rousers raise rabble! Flip a table! Clench your fists and stomp your feet! Roll around on the ground and hold your breath until you're blue in the face! We're just trying to make the world a better place, damnit! Why is that so hard to understand? Life is unfair! You're not my real dad! WHY DOES EVERYTHING BAD ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME? #FML

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The Taste That Satisfies

There are moments when you have a craving, an unwavering desire for something -- a deep, passionate thirst that will not subside. Today, it was ginger beer.

It's hard to verbalize, but there was nothing that could satisfy my thirst for this drink. I don't normally consider it to be something I must absolutely have, but the feeling was overwhelming. Though, however willing the spirit may have been, the flesh was lazy, unwilling to get off the couch. Then, the real dilemma began.

Opposing forces within me grappled for control. I felt my senses leaving as I struggled in vain to fight. I was being torn in two. The fight was between the part of me that wanted -- needed -- to take the bike, and the part of me that thought, "Why not just take the car? What's the big deal?"

My soul was an unfathomably deep well, overflowing with turmoil at this point. On one shoulder was a little devil me, driving a car around with some tunes blaring out the open window. On the other, a little angel me, decked out in lycra, with a glowing halo hovering above his bike helmet. The angel won; albeit, with a pair of flip-flops and a cotton t-shirt instead of shoes and lycra.

One of the very few things I like about living in Hazleton is that there's a grocery store only a few blocks away, in almost every direction. Not that it makes the city unique, it's just that I find it to be a point of convenience. And, speaking from a purely utilitarian point of view, convenience is a very good thing. A long, extended ride is great when the point is to go on a long, extended ride. When you're just running a quick errand to pick up something for dinner, however... not so much.

And so, having finally hopped on the bike and made my way to the store, I claimed my prize:

So, actually, I didn't claim my prize. After all that, they didn't even have ginger beer, so I bought some Big Blue, instead. Turns out, my unwavering thirst for a specific taste was a lot looser than I had originally thought. I guess, really, it's just the carbonation I was after. I don't drink alcohol to excess, and I don't smoke, so if carbonated fizzy drinks be my one vice, I'll gladly roll with it.

As you can see from the label, it is naturally and artificially flavored; I'm not sure what it's naturally and artificially flavored with, though. I don't know what "blue" is supposed to taste like, so I can't even guess what the natural and artificial flavors might be. It tastes a little bit like bubble gum... I guess? I'll just say it was made from Smurf juice, which is both natural and artificial when you consider that they are living organisms that don't actually exist.

In closing, I salute the many smurfs that died to bring me the fine taste of carbonated, high-fructose corn syrup. Big Blue, you might not be ginger beer, but at least you have a taste that satisfies.
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Shots from the 2013 Heritage Explorer Bike Tour

Captain Don Chilly Willy, my hero and personal savior.

Vanilla ice cream on top of a root beer snow cone.

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In Search Of... Kickstands. Whatever happened to kickstands?

In Search Of... a razor, for that 'stache. Yick!
If you recall, In Search Of... went deep undercover to discover the whereabouts of Pete's Bike Shop in Hazleton, only to discover a front for the Ransom Young 2012 election campaign. Then there was something about an alien sasquatch, Elvis' attempt to sabotage the investigation, and I don't recall too much after that, but that's not what matters. What matters is that bicycles don't seem to come with kickstands, anymore, and I don't know why.

In my investigations, I've uncovered a myriad of reasons for this oversight on modern bicycles. One possibility is that kickstands just aren't "aero." Another cites weight as a possibility. Then there's the argument that kickstands are "useless" and that, eventually, your bike is just going to fall over anyway.

Actually, my favorite theory comes from a bike forum user who asks, "Is it just a 'Fred' thing?"

Nail on the head, sir! Heaven forbid we look "uncool" in our skin-tight, day glow racing kits while propping our bikes up against walls, bushes, trees, homeless people or whatever else is most convenient at the time. Imagine being seen with a kickstand hanging from your chainstay... Sakes alive!

Personally, I kinda do really want a kickstand, but rather than purchase another aftermarket part to scratch up my paint job, I decided to go DIY on this problem. Presenting: The PVC Bike Rack.

Instructables user fuego316 describes the steps necessary to build a small, "apartment" sized bike rack. Well, after a quick trip to Lowes and a swipe of the ol' debit card, I managed to put this little beauty together:

The best part is, it cost less than $10, and only took about half an hour to complete. It seems pretty sturdy, so I feel like I can trust it to hold up my Precious. Meanwhile, I plan to get another length of pipe and some more fittings to build another one for the office. I'm actually quite proud of this!

And so, another episode of In Search Of... comes to a close, with us no closer to a definitive answer. Until then, the search continues!
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Have you ever seen a dead porcupine?

Have you ever seen a dead porcupine? I mean, up close and personal and not simply a picture of one or an image on a screen? For that matter, have you ever seen a live one, frolicking in the wild? Do porcupines frolick?

Porcupines are frightening and bizarre creatures, when you think about it. "God's own pincushion" -- if such a deity actually exists. The quills, or spines, are actually hairs with a healthy dose of keratin that strengthens and binds them into sharp points that easily penetrate flesh. To get an idea of the toughness of this stuff, human fingernails are made of keratin, as is hair and the outer later of skin.

Contrary to popular belief,
porcupines can't actually throw their quills, which is something I actually worried about, recently.

As a cyclist, I'm keenly aware of the hundreds of sharp objects that litter the shoulders of the roadways I travel each day -- broken bits of stone, plastic and glass. Now I have a new threat to face: porcupine quills.

I can only think of two times that I've seen a porcupine in person, and each time was from my perch atop a bike saddle. Also, each time, the porcupine was decidedly dead -- victims of automobile drivers, likely late at night, when visibility is low. Late last year was the first time that I can recall seeing one in the wild, and yesterday evening was the second time.

It was a bit unnerving when I realized what the bundled clump on the side of the road actually was. My feelings were a combination of desire and wary. Of course, I felt some sympathy for it, but I welcomed the chance to get a closer look at the creature without it scurrying away. As I approached, I was mindful to maintain a safe distance. I wondered if, perhaps, spontaneous nervous reaction could cause a few of the spines to be thrown my way, even post mortem. As I later learned, the spines don't work that way, and so, I had nothing to fear. However, the buzzing of flies and stench of rotting flesh caused my upturned nose to happily continue pedaling on its way.

If your quest is to see a porcupine in the flesh -- the rotting, putrefying, festering flesh -- I invite you to aim your bike along the southward lane of Route 309, heading away from Mountain Top. Eventually, you will have your wish fulfilled. (At least, until someone or something carries it off.) Just remember to steer clear of it. Porcupines ain't nothin' to mess with.
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Be careful what you wish for...

...because the scumbag genie is just gonna screw it up; and probably on purpose.

I've read more than enough fairy tales and fables to know that you can't trust genies as far as you can throw them. In case you don't know what I'm referring to, take everything you know about Disney's Aladdin and toss it out the window. From The Monkey's Paw to the fable of King Midas and even Glinda, the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz ("You had the power within you, all along!"), anyone with magical powers is a scumbag. Don't accept their offer.

"Why?" you ask, as if you've never had your order completely botched up by a hapless fast food worker, before. Except, in the stories I've read, the wish granter goes out of their way to completely screw you over. You wish for a million dollars? Great, your wish is granted -- a bag with a million dollars worth of stolen money drops into your lap and the cops are banging down your door. Should've been more specific, right? Wrong. It doesn't matter. The moral of the story is always, "you can't get something for nothing," and wishing is about as good as spitting in the wind. So what's with all the bitter cynicism? Read on.

There's a section of road that intersects with 940 in Hazleton with a short bridge that crosses a small creek. I'm not sure what the name of the road is, but it's the bridge next to the Churchill Mall, for locals who know the area. The pavement is a little uneven where the road meets the bridge, and I always get a stiff bump when I hit it. I usually have to slow down, which isn't preferable as I have to go up an incline immediately after. I found myself wishing the department of transportation (or whoever is responsible for this stuff) would fill in the gap a bit, just to make it a little smoother. Well, I guess the scumbag genie heard my request, because roadwork began a few weeks ago. And then it never ended.

They did this:

It was an incredibly rough surface to ride on -- I'm still searching for some of my teeth -- but it was quickly repaved and painted about 48 hours later. Woo-hoo! That is, except for a large section where the road meets the bridge and again up at the light, which are about as rough as the surface in the photo. In fact, the deep gap you see along the road in the photo is still there. In other words, it's much worse, now. Thanks a lot, guys! You took a minor inconvenience (for me, on a bicycle) and turned it into a big problem for everyone -- even people who drive have to stop before hitting these gaps. Weeks have gone by, and it's still there. Are you ever coming back to finish the job, or is this how the scumbag genie fulfills this wish? Thanks, but I liked it better before.

Well Said, Cheryl. Pointless, confused and flat out wrong, but well said!
Here's a radical idea -- if you really want to stick it to the man, sell your car and ride a bike. No more road tax! No more high gas prices! A feeling of smugness that cannot be denied! Much more effective than letters to the editor...

I honestly wish there were a version of that applied to the United States, but I doubt it would help much. Actually, I just wish the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette would refrain from publishing stuff like this, but there I go, wishing again. Wish in one hand... you know what in the other.

Carnegie Science Center is teaming up with The Bicycle Museum of AmericaBicycle Heaven, and others to offer a diverse collection of historic, rare, peculiar, and all-around amazing bikes! Visitors will enjoy science demonstrations and hands-on exhibits that explore energy, forces and motion, engineering, and material science:
  • Explore the evolution of the modern bicycle
  • Check out uniquely customized bikes
  • Learn about the latest technologies for sporting bikes
  • See bikes you know from popular culture
On Saturdays through September, we'll spotlight a special bike-related outdoor activity along the riverfront trail. Activities are free with general admission.
Motha'. Effin'. Bicycles.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and although I haven't lived there in about 14 years, I still have friends and family I like to see when I'm out that way. Well, mostly, I just go to spend a day at Kennywood and visit places like the Carnegie Science Center. But now, seeing as how the CSC is putting on a big exhibit about bicycles, I almost have an obligation to be there! I mean, they're going to have Pee-Wee Herman's Schwinn DX as seen in the movie "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." You really think I'd miss that? Hells naw, man.

In light of this revelation, I'm getting these big, crazy ideas about making a bike trip to Pittsburgh -- all 269 miles of it. That's not impossible. I just... I don't know. It's crazy. I think I'm crazy, and the more I think about it, the more I think I wasted my wish on lousy road construction. Come to think of it, if I want to get that road fixed, maybe I should write a letter to the Post-Gazette. Apparently, they'll print anything. Crazy.
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The Therapeutic Effects of Lonely, Desolate Roads

Sometimes, it feels really good to tread old paths. I love going off on adventures, exploring new areas and seeing new sights, but after a wreck of a weekend, I just needed to get back that old feeling of pure joy that I had last year. Judging by how I'm feeling today, I was successful!

First of all, this weekend did NOT go as planned. I had intended to do some light cycling on Saturday and then head up to the Pedal & Paddle Fest in Prompton State Park on Sunday. Instead, I went to Moon Lake Park with some friends from Valley Cycles to ride the trails there on Saturday.

As I've mentioned, I usually head up to Wilkes-Barre to ride with a group from Valley Cycles. This past Thursday was to be an extra special affair, as June 6 is also my birthday. (34 trips around the sun!) But, due to rain, a lot of folks either opted to ride trainers in the shop or just skip the night, altogether. I chose to skip.

After 2 days of raining, the trail was incredibly slippery. My rear tire could gain no purchase on the many rock gardens and tree roots along the trail. I'd get the front wheel up and over an obstacle only to get the rear wheel hung up as it would spin out and dump all the energy I put into each pedal. I just wasn't having a very good time.

I realize now that the Excalibur is too big for me. I had an extremely difficult time controlling it and ended up in quite a mess. I fell a few times, and I even ended going over the handlebars once as I tried coming down a rock formation and ended up going vertical. As I felt the back of the bike coming up off the ground, all I could was tuck and roll. Fortunately, I wasn't hurt.

Wet shoes + platform pedals = OUCH
The worst part of the ride came towards the end; I was really beginning to lose my confidence. Instead of going all out and having a good time, I was trying to play it safe and avoid any obstacle that looked like it might be too dangerous. I lost count of how many times I slid sideways and was tossed off the bike, or lost my balanced and fell over. Then came the injury as seen in the picture to the right -- a result of my right foot slipping off the pedal. It's not as bad as it looks, but it hurt for a while.

After all that, I just needed to get back out there and get myself on familiar ground. On Sunday, instead of driving up to Prompton State Park for more trail riding, I chose an old, favorite route that I haven't been on since late last year. Going out Stockton Mountain Road to Route 93, then on down through Weatherly and up past the Lehigh Valley Gorge. I didn't have time to head down into the gorge, so I continued past the Weatherly Cemetery and up past Eckley Miner's Village and then home along Route 940. 2 hours and 29.3 miles later, I was feeling back on top.

Riding this route reminded me of the days when I had no plan and no agenda. I wasn't trying to make it to work on time and I wasn't trying to keep up with anyone else -- it was just me, with hours and hours to be alone with my thoughts. I could take time to feel the cool breeze on my skin while coasting along desolate roads lined with forests of evergreen that reach into the sky. Trees so tall, they easily block out the harsh rays of the sun and put you in the center of your own world. It was, and still is, the best therapy I've ever found.
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PA Live! Presents: The Blog of the Week (Spoiler: It's this blog)

I woke up this morning to a brisk 49 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought we were over this! At any rate, I mounted my noble steed and made way for the office. I felt I had to, since this humble blog was declared the Blog of the Week on PA Live!, and it would just be awkward to be known as the guy who writes about cycling in North-East PA and then drives his car to work because, "It's a bit chilly out." So, I did that. I rode the bike today. That was me.

NEPA Blogs presents a new blog each week on WBRE's PA Live! in a segment that airs between 4 and 5 PM.
I feel like they nailed the description of my blog pretty accurately. As I go about commuting by bike, searching for thrills and adventures in Pennsylvania (and beyond, someday), I definitely enjoy documenting my trips and keeping an informative edge to things. I'd say it's also fairly accurate that the majority of my treks are solo and that, gee, it sure would be nice to meet a few fellow bike bloggers to network with. (Fortunately, Google+ has been a great place to meet quite a few bike commuters who love to share their adventures and advice.)

I'm looking forward to seeing the segment once it airs. Usually, the broadcast is recorded and published online after it airs, so keep this post bookmarked and I'll have the video linked here as soon as it goes online.

Update: Here's the link to the video that aired on WBRE's PA Live!
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Friends of Prompton Host Pedal & Paddle Festival

If you've been looking for a chance to get off the road for a while and enjoy some single-track trail riding, I've been informed that there's a big event going on this weekend at Prompton State Park.

The Pedal & Paddle Festival is being held June 9th at Prompton State Park by the Friends of Prompton, and I'm pretty excited about the prospects, myself. I've never been to Prompton, so I'm eager to explore the area and see what they've got. It's been a long time since I've had the chance to get my wheels muddy, and this park promises at least 23 miles of trails.

As evidenced by the name of the event, kayaking is also supposed to be a big deal at Prompton. I can't say I've ever kayaked, unless you count buying plane tickets from I've rafted along the rapids of the Lehigh River, jet skied on a lake, boated, canoed and hydroplaned across a wet road, but I've never been on a kayak. I'm sure I'm missing out.

If running is more your sport, however, please be aware that there's a trail run going on at Prompton the day before the Pedal & Paddle Festival on June 8th, dubbed the Prompton Punisher. Running really isn't my thing, but if it were, by God, I would have my iPod set to repeat "Run Through the Jungle" the whole 10, 20 or 30 miles (depending on the particular brand of punishment you desire.) Let's be honest, that would just end up being stuck in my head, anyway; I can't help it.

Before closing this blog post, I ask, "If gingers don't have a soul, what can be said for ginger beer?"

It is delicious, that's what. On Sunday, I decided to go on another ride through the valley to visit Stewart's Drive-In in Conyngham, PA.
Stewart's used to make their own brand of ginger beer, but I guess they stopped making it and decided to stock Big Ben's from Catawissa, PA, instead. I can't argue; it's just as good, and totally worth the trip.

Finally, and I'm not saying it's because of the ginger beer, but, that same morning, I totally beat my personal record going up one of the sections I ride often. It's true, I got the whole thing on Strava! Amazing, no? I'm almost better than no one, but at least I'm better than myself.

Speaking of Strava, I've accepted the "Junedoggle" (their word, definitely not mine) Challenge. The idea is to ride as much as possible in June, which was, pretty much, my MO all along. I mean, really, I was going to do that, anyway. But, seeing as how I love stats, Strava  tells me that I'm currently ranked 19,040 out of 54,476 participants, which makes me feel better than at least 35,436 other riders. Woo hoo! See that? BETTER!

And now, as a reward for those who've read this far, a picture of Howdy Doody:
Note: Howdy Doody is a ginger.
And whatever is happening here:

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