I started long distance cycling at the tender age of 5 when my father started training for marathons. It was either ride my bike next to him or wait until after dinner. I worked my way up from there and by 12, I could pedal a 40 mile round trip to the movie theater by myself. I did my routing with an old folding map and a piece of string. No water bottles or helmet, just me and the wind in my face. I made it my business to visit every part of my home town of Cincinnati, Ohio on my bike.
I first heard about Paris Brest Paris at age 8. I was in an after school French program and the teacher talked at length about cycling and its importance in France. Everyone, she said, has heard of the Tour De France, but have you ever heard of the sport of Randonneuring where riders pedal hundreds of miles across France to cheering crowds and anyone, even women can participate! I told myself that one day I would do just that. Of course, it took a number of years to figure out exactly how to make that all work, but in 2011, I completed my first Paris-Brest-Paris.
In the 4 years that followed, I have finished 8 more grand randonnees from London Edinburgh London to the Natchez Trace 1500k to the Sunshine 1200k and more. Every ride is an unbelievable joy and I think back to myself with my piece of string, planning my next adventure.
Incorporated in this site is a record of my many wanderings and the things that I have learned along the way. Most importantly, I've learned to never give up - there is always a way no matter how long or hard it may be. My belief is that the lessons we learn on the road are the same ones so important to the rest of our busy lives and that, from time to time, we must all live our dreams.
The Summer Knight
Custom Steel Rando Bike
Built by Vincent Dominguez in Aug 2012
Major Rides: The Crater Lake 1000k 2012, London Edinburgh London 1400k 2013, The Central California Coast 1000k 2014, The Natchez Trace 1500k 2014, The Sunshine 1200k 2015
Gearing 34x50 12x36 SRAM
650B Hed Belgium Rims with 32 or 42mm Tires
This bike has couplers and is my main travel bike since it was built. Its all steel frame and fork have front and rear racks as well as space for full metal fenders. Since getting a hard case, it is much harder to pack, but I am learning. A great bike on rollers, flats and in the wind.
Custom Steel Rando Bike
Built by Waterford in January 2008
Major Rides: The Cascades 1200k 2010, Paris Brest Paris 2011, The Cascades 1200k 2012, The Gold Rush 1200k 2013
Gearing 34x50 12x32 SRAM (just changed to 36 in 2015)
650B Hed Ardennes Rims with 28mm Tires
My original long distance bike. It has a carbon fork and I was a lot more weight conscious when I built it. If I am careful I can get it down to about 19 lbs and its short chain stays still make it a very nice climbing bike. It's a very small frame, much smaller than most would think based on my height and has a very long stem as a result. If I could have put couplers on it, I might never have had anything else.
Puch Alpina Steel Frame purchased in 1982
Major Rides: Every ride I did between the ages of 12 and about 25, Midwest Flèche 2012
Gearing: Formerly a 12 speed, now a single speed 48x17 Sugino Cranks
700c Salsa Rims with 25/28 tires
While not my first bike, it's the first bike I ever purchased myself (my first bike was stolen in 1981 and I had a Huffy bought for $25 at a police auction for a year while I saved my pennies) for $234.85. I converted Rasputin into a single speed to be my commuter in 2009. I used it for my flèche in 2012 because the captain told my there was only 600 ft of climbing in the route - for the record, it was through southwestern Wisconsin and had about 10,000 ft of climbing. It is an Austrian frame and has a bizarre headset that can't be found anywhere today and has no bottle cage mounts. It is the bike I will always have.
The Golden Goat
Salsa Casaroll purchased in 2009
Major Rides: The Mt Lemmon 200k 2010, The Titanic 400k 2011, and everything else in Arizona
Gearing: Bought as a single speed, I immediately added gearing with a 34x50 and a 12x32 IRD Cassette with a set of 10speed Shimano shifters and a 9 speed MTB long cage derailleur. This was before SRAM came out with everything you needed to do compact in a wide range.
Dura Ace 2008 rims (the only year that is only compatible with Shimano cassettes) with 25mm tires
This bike lives in Arizona at my dad's house where it hangs from the ceiling. It was the first bike I ever put together out of spare parts and sale bits from the internet. It is the only single person bike I have that uses Shimano anymore. The cassette is still the same one from 2009 which has never needed to be replaced. I hope I can get one because the cassette for these wheels is a pain to find.
Co-Motion Persiscope Hammerhead purchased in 2010
Major Rides: The Coulee Challenge 200k 2013, Leaves and Lights 200k 2013, Cycle Oregon 2014
Gearing: 28x39x53 12x32 Shimano (the rear cassette is from SRAM)
Mavic Dyad 200c rims with 28mm tires
I wanted to get IronK on a tandem from the beginning of time, but made it a priority in 2010 when we were fighting her sarcoma. We purchased this tandem at our LBS where it had sat for years due to its small size. It has a rear disk brake and is incredibly light for a tandem having an aluminum frame. Probably way too much bike for us, we appreciated the ridiculous light weight in the 2014 Cycle Oregon which had 34,000 ft of climbing - we never sagged once. I added an Old Man Mountain Rack to it which is a great option if you want a rack but have no mounting eyelets on the frame.
The Snow Kitty
Kona Dew Plus 2010
Major Rides: January 200ks and all my winter rides
Gearing: 28x39x53 12x28 Shimano
Non descriptor rims with 32mm Tires - studs in the winter
I really needed to avoid trashing my other nice bikes during the winter and Rasputin could not mount fenders and had rim brakes so I bought this one for $300 brand new at my LBS. It has front and rear disk brakes. Since my asthma worsened, I can't ride at super cold temperatures anymore, but I still like having the Snow Kitty for the occasional warm winter day (the 20s).