Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The bumpers are in

Thanks to one of the engineers who helped me design them I have 15 bumpers. 10 are going directly to the WWP, including however many Truman needs. 3 are going to Rise adventures, the local group who helped me with the testing. 2 are going to some folks who helped and inspired me to build them. I can get more built, and plan to pass the info on to Rick, I am waiting on a quote.

Truman let me know how ,any and when you need them!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rollaid logo

Something I've been working on. I think this might be the finalized version. What do you think?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New web forum!

Thanks to Steve, we finally have a web forum to facilitate planning and discussion for next year's ride. Please jump right in, register and help get this beast rolling.

The permanent link is over to the right, there.

Or you lazier buggers can just click right here

With luck, we'll have a nice homepage soon, too. Thanks, Steve-O.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Routes? We got Routes...

This is based on some maps by the Fort Worth Bicycling Association and an array of S.W.A.G.'s by your humble moderator.

Please feel free to pick it apart, or apply your own special knowledge of the area and I'll revise as appropriate.

View Larger Map

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Time for the Flier??

It's getting to be the time of year that a lot of people do their last riding of the season. This will be the time that they start milling around their LBS instead of riding. I was wondering if it would be a good time to get this year's flier together so we can get it to the shops for people to see.

I know we haven't hammered out all the details, but we could put something together that had the rough strokes, and point the reader to our webspace that could have the latest and greatest. Maybe even have a link that they could use to subscribe to an email list.

I've got some ideas, but am light on the art skills to put something together. Anyone wanna give me a hand with this? Or was there someone already thinking of doing the same?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Roll Call

I have seen several folks on a couple of forums say they are "planning" on making it. What's your real feeling. I am 99%, the 1% is for unforeseen major issues.

I think dad is about 80%.

Where you at?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Brooke AMC to Portland, TX = 142 miles.

Seems doable. Who's in?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lunch Friday 17th - Weinberg's in Grapevine.

Say, 12, straight up?

I'm there, Steve & Tate, too. Anyone else? I called CR_Dean, but I don't have Cliff's digits. I emailed Luke.

Sorry for the short notice.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Planning Notes From Steve and Tate's Lunch

Okay, so it was more of a quick phone call than a lunch. I had some things to get to that wouldn't allow for a full lunch. At any rate, here's what we talked about:

Probably stating the obvious, but here goes anyway. This year's route needs to make it easier logistically for any soldiers that want to ride with us. That will include things like hotel availability at each stop between the start and Austin. Also, a good, reliable SAG will be a must this year. I think if we can get those things hammered out, we'll be able to get more interest from both vets and non-vets.

We talked about starting from the VA around Duncanville. If we can swing it, that sounds like a great plan. If we stay mostly East of I-35 like we talked about before, things should be quite a bit flatter. I put down a couple of towns (below) that are along the way to Austin, along with any VFW info I could find. There isn't a VFW in Italy (2nd day stop), but there are a couple that are about 10 miles away. We might be able to talk them into coming out to meet us when we get in. Also, by meeting up with Woody and the guys on Wednesday afternoon, we won't have to leave on Saturday like last year, Sunday should be fine.

David and I had also been talking about mileage. The daily mileage is a bit lower than last year, so we were thinking that if anyone wanted to do an afternoon ride after setting up camp, that might be interesting. Once we get the route finalized, I might be able to put up some options there. There will also be some long day possibilities between Austin and San Antone (80-ish miles), and San Antone to Corpus (140-ish miles !!!) in case anyone wants to stretch their legs a bit.

Below are some notes. Bear in mind, this is just what Tate and I talked about. If anyone has an idea about how to do it better, please speak up. We're certainly not running the show, just trying to pitch in.

Hotels available
Good SAG required
Low traffic roads
Camping a plus

Duncanville VFW (or VA hostpital) to Italy - 55 (Sunday)
- Route info: Magical Mystery Permanent
- Route info: Lancaster Community Ride
- Italy Inn Hotel
- Camping (??)

Italy to Mexia VFW - 55 (Monday)
- Route La Bella Rani Brevet
- Camping @ Fort Parker SP

Mexia to Cameron VFW - 75 (Tuesday)
- Route ??
- Camping ?? (VFW?)

Cameron to Austin - 70 (Wednesday)
- Meet up w/ the Guys
- Route ??
- Camping ?? (VFW?)

Post 7843 Duncanville Memorial Post
702 Hwy. 67 East
Duncanville, TX 75137-3408

Post 4694 Lancaster Post
317 S Martin Luther King Jr Hwy
Mexia, TX 76667

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lunch or Dinner?

It's about time to shift the planning apparatus into climbing gear. Who wants to get together for lunch or dinner to get the ball rolling?

Lunch is easier for me in the Mid-Cities/Grapevine/Irving vicinity, but given enough notice, I can pull off dinner about anywhere.

For that matter, I live in SW Fort Worth, about 8 miles from where we started the last trip. I could burn some meat if y'all bring sides.

Speak up.

Monday, September 22, 2008


OK, I have to go to a Sun wedding in Johnson City the end of Oct. I was hoping to leave Friday night, ride for a few hours, camp, then ride Sat most of the day and have the wife pick me up on her way down. So I thouhgt what a chance to scout a route. I know we talked about leaving from the Dallas area this year. Any Ideas, plans, thoughts, etc?

I used the new google walk mapping from the VA in Dallas. Route doesn't seem too bad may need some tweeking.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another BIG Heart Donates a Handcycle for the Wounded Warrior Project

Not long ago, on a Recumbent forum (rbentonline.org), someone posted a Freedom Ryder Handcycle for sale for a friend. I asked if they could get me in touch with the owner, with the idea that if the price was reasonable, we could get the money together and bring the bike with us to San Antone next spring.

I got an email back from the owner of the handcycle, Doug Exum. He had discussed my proposal with his wife, and had a change that he wanted to make. He wanted to donate the bike!! As part of the donation, there are a few upgrades that Doug would like to make to the bike, and I agreed that we should cover the costs required. There are a few little things like cables and such that we'll have looked at, and the handcranks themselves will be upgraded. They are currently close together, and we'll be upgrading them to the ones that are shoulder width apart. Doug has done all the groundwork, and Mike Lofgren of Freedom Ryder has agreed to donate the cranks themselves. Bear in mind, this is TWO sets of cranks, one for Doug's bike and one for the one David got for us!! We'll just need to cover the cost of the chainrings. So the total cost for Freedom Ryder will be roughly $300. Pretty darn good for 2 sets of cranks and all chainrings. The smaller stuff will be taken care of by JD at Richardson Bike Mart. He has agreed to donate the required labor, we'll just have to buy the parts.

David and I have met with Doug to discuss the handcycles and generally shoot the breeze. He's an easy going guy, and is planning to ride with us in the spring on his new handcycle. So to Doug, thank you so much for your generosity. Let's all welcome Doug to the group and thank him for what his selflessness will do to help out our wounded vets.


Building a new bike

Folks, I'm building a new bike. Dave mentioned that I should put up a list of the parts that I still need just in case a deal comes around on ChainLove or somewhere else while I'm asleep during the day. Here's the list:

Saddle - Specialized Toupe Team white/black 143
Seatpost - 31.6 diameter (Easton EC90 / Ritchey WCS Carbon / Thomson Masterpiece)
Bars - Easton EC90 SLX or ITM K-Sword - 46cmI now have bars
Stem - Not sure yet, need to test a few sizes first.I ordered the stem today, should be here soon.

UPDATE: I have the saddle, post and bars now. Just ordered the stem today.

If you see any of these things on clearance, give me a shout @ two-one-four, seven-nine-four, three-zero-one-five.


P.S. - Here's a pic of the frame...

... ain't it sexy??

Patriot Pedal this weekend?

Who's coming? I think Tate's in Montana, but surely one of you clowns is gonna come and help me drag Rod for a metric, right?

The Patriot Pedal

Don't forget, Gary Sinise and the Lieutenant Dan Band will be playing, PLUS it's Grapefest in Grapevine that night. A good time will be had by all.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Barbecue - that's what smelled so good!

Back before the Coast to the Coast and the WWP's Soldier Ride Lone Star State Challenge, I was talking up the trip to the owners of The City Cyclist bike shop on McCart Avenue in Fort Worth, to see if they would put up a poster for us in their shop. They agreed to do that, then took me to the back of the shop and showed me a Freedom Ryder handcycle that they had agreed to fix up and try to sell for one of their neighbors, another local businessman. The trike was in really nice shape and when I asked what they thought it would go for, they said they thought it was around $2000.00 when it was new, but that it was 5 or 6 years old now. I filed that away with the idea of maybe doing some fundraising and buying the bike. Ultimately I hoped to get one or two handcycles to take down and donate to the Physical Therapy department at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Jump ahead in time to about three weeks ago, when I wandered back into the City Cyclist and discovered the trike still hanging in their shop. I guess $4.00 per gallon gas was taking its toll-the shop was packed with new bikes, and it occurred to me that the handcycle was taking up a lot of room. I asked if they'd be willing to ask the owner what would be the least amount he would take for the trike if he knew I was buying it to hand over to battle-wounded veterans. A moment later I was being escorted next door to what has long been my family's favorite barbecue restaurant, Cousin's Barbecue.

The owner of the Freedom Ryder was Calvin Payne, who also owns several Cousin's restaurants around the DFW area. He wasn't in at the time, but his son took my information and told me he'd pass it to his mother and dad.

A few days later, I got a phone call from Calvin's wife Beverly asking for more information about my ideas for the bike. I told her about the Coast to the Coast and Rollaid and the Wounded Warrior Project. We talked about the guys down at BAMC and how glad some of them had been to get out of the hospital or the barracks for the day to go for a ride in the sun.

Beverly asked how much I had in mind to buy the bike for. I told her that any amount we agreed on, I'd have to raise, but that in consideration for a discounted price on the bike, I could offer space to print Cousin's logo on the upcoming Rollaid jerseys, as well as talk them up here on the blog. Beverly said she'd talk to Calvin and get back with me.

My phone rang a few minutes later and I spoke to Calvin himself. I gave him a shorter version of what I'd said to Beverly. I was gobsmacked a moment later when Calvin allowed that he'd be willing to donate the bike completely to Rollaid to take down to BAMC. Truly, I couldn't believe it. This guy had never met me, and here he was offering an expensive ride based on my say-so alone. I'm still in awe of the generosity of some people.

I made arrangements to pick up the bike at The City Cyclist on the following Monday. Calvin agreed to meet me beforehand at Cousin's to have a cup of coffee and chat. When I got there, Calvin and Beverly and a friend of theirs sat with me and chatted for over an hour. Walking in and meeting these complete strangers and talking with them felt exactly like walking into the house of your favorite aunt and uncle and sitting down at their kitchen table. I gave them a detailed description of our ride to Corpus Christi, including all the barbecue we'd eaten along the way (there was a lot) and talked about old times and old friends until it was time to go and get the bike. By then , they felt like old, dear friends.

Calvin agreed to have a picture taken with me and Mike from City Cyclist there in front of the shops - that's Calvin on the right, me in the middle and Mike on the left.

I think there might be another handbike in Rollaid's future, as well - maybe the guys at Brooke will be able to ride and train together instead of having to go out on their own.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hand cycle bumpers reach the WWP

After going through 3 round of "proto typing" I sent of 2 versions to Rick to test and try at the next ride July 23 in NYC.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Something smells great

Stay tuned to this channel for some exciting news (if you already know, don't spill the pinto beans)!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Roll Aid 2009 - Route planning.

Anyone got big ideas for the next tour? I'm thinking about starting the '09 ride from East of 35, maybe out by Cedar Hill, and rolling South, around Waco to Temple, skirting East of Austin, to San Marcos, New Braunfels and entering San Antonio from the East. Seems like there'd be a lot of good exposure, slightly better wind, fewer hills and different scenery. If we pick up a rider like Charlie, we can roll him up at Temple, I think.

Something roughly like this:

View Larger Map


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Woody Groton, Soldier Ride National Tour Director for the Wounded Warrior Project, has published his own blog.  Please put this site in your favorites and visit often, or you can just click the Soldier Ride Blog link anytime to the right of this post.

The address is:

Thank you for your support for the Wounded Warrior Project.  To read more about this organization, please visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

Monday, May 5, 2008

First MS 150

I thought I might take a minute to post a short blurb about my first MS 150. It was a great ride, and I enjoyed meeting Nieves, whom many of you have had the pleasure of riding with. It was a great couple of days. Through Nieves experiences, I learned much more about the Wounded Warrior Project, and its extensive reach into the lives of these soldiers. What a great organization.

Ride Report:

Day 1 – It turned out to be 84 miles (personal best distance for me) instead of 75 (I guess that is a frequent occurrence with these rides, but I didn’t know it). I was riding with Nieves from the Wounded Warrior Project, who is a great guy. We started Day 1 at 7:30am and rolled in at 4:45pm. I was pretty beat at the end, and the sun had taken its toll. Day 1 was nice and flat with hardly any hills, yet we had about a 20-25 mph headwind for the first 35 miles (which made the last of the ride quite nice).

Day 2 – (76 miles) I latched onto some pace lines with some of my team members. It made a huge difference in speed and enabled me to save some energy while covering some good ground. I was able to skip some rest stops and only stop to fill the bottles. I started Day 2 (yesterday) and my butt hurt like heck. I guess you finally get used to it and just deal with it. I had taken some asprin and rubbed biofreeze all over my legs, which helped a little. I started at 7am and arrived at ‘lunch’, the 30 mile point, at 9:10am. I was then feeling pretty good. I ended up finishing at 12:30ish pm. The terrain was anything but flat. It was rolling hills the entire way. Again, again this was news to me! It sucked, but at the end I think I had accepted the hills and just took them slowly and pedaled like crazy on the downhills to make up time. While I had caught different pacelines throughout the day, I ended up with 2 other guys for the last 10 miles, and we took turns pulling and averaged about 18-19mph to the end. It was a great finish in Sundance Square, and my wife surprised me by inviting all of our siblings and their families to the post ride festivities. It was pretty emotional and overwhelming at some points because of how amazing all of the volunteers were, and overall it was an excellent ride. I'll post some pics in the coming days.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Southlake independence ride weekend

A new road ride is coming to the metroplex, it supports the independence fund, This is a group that is similar to the WWP. I am helping them with support and some local information.

It is not just a 1 day ride. On Friday night there is a concert that you entrance fee will get you into staring Gary Sinise, and I have heard there may be a few bigger country stars. The ride will have Apache escort and will have many wounded vets leading it off. http://www.southlakeindependenceweekend.com/

If you watch the video you will see, Kevin and Charlie will hopefully they be at this ride as well. (does anyone have their contact information?)

Also if you know of a company or high roller who would like to be a sponsor and help stage the event they need your help. Just follow the link at the top of their page. They need some seed money.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Steak Night at the VFW = Good Eating.

Last Saturday, the Barlows, the Montgomerys and the Hills headed out to the Benbrook VFW Post 10429 to try out the much-vaunted Steak Night fundraiser.

They stage this on the 1st and 3rd Saturday night, every month. True to form, none of us thought to commemorate the event with photography, so you'll simply have to take my word for it. I've attached a stock photo to set the mood...

The Barlows and we arrived simultaneously around 7, found beers at the bar and ordered up our meat. Cliff and Erica arrived later, after the the VFW had stopped serving (at 8 pm). I blame myself for not checking in with Cliff earlier. I imagine that had I called earlier, they might have made it in time to eat. As it was, the VFW was cleaning up when they got there so we eventually made our way to Pulido's #2 on US 377 for more beer and continued munching while the Montgomerys finally got their dinner.

Before that though, chow time at the VFW was a lot of fun, with a good-sized friendly crowd and very creditable food. For your $11 you get a solid 16 oz. ribeye cooked to order, a big ol' baked potato, rolls, salad, desert and iced tea. For a buck more, you can get sauteed shrooms and onions for your meat - I heartily recommend this tasty option.

All the usual fixings are there for your salad and spud, and they cook your meat to order, bring it to the table for you and clear your plates. Given that it tastes great and helps out a worthy cause, I'm gonna call Steak Night one of the best dinner deals in town.

Post Commander Jim Noble and Vice Commander Don Rogers spent plenty of time with us, asking about the Coast to the Coast, and Don's wife made it a point to tease Cliff till he blushed - took about 7.2 seconds.

I recommend that next time we plan a ride, we have at least one dinner meeting down at the VFW. DOn Rogers has asked me to put together a short program for an upcoming VFW meeting to share the experiences from the Coast to the Coast with the membership at large, so I'll be working on that. More as it develops.

For the record, a gas-drilling operation will have the place closed down for 120 days in the near future. Be sure to call before going out there to eat, to make sure they're open for business.

Monday, April 14, 2008

VFW visit, and a hearty thanks

When could we meet at the VFW for a steak dinner? I know we owe them at least a stop by and a big thanks, and I think I finally have some time. I could also deliver some equipment I still have. I wish we could thank all the Vfw's that helped along the way, but we can start with our starting place.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Cheers to Richardson Bike Mart

And props to Barlows for finding a way of educating the owner on what Soldier Ride is all about at last Saturday's club ride. (It was the buttkicking WWP Jersey that got his attention, wasn't it?)

RBM has apparently donated the sum of $500 to WWP/Soldier Ride. Thanks, guys!

So, Barlows - was this your first club ride, then? How'd it go?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Starting the plan for next year

For next year's effort, I think I'd like to either change the name of the blog, or move the blog to a new site, and call it Roll Aid or something similar.

I had to deal with a bit confusion from strangers who weren't clear on the differences between us and the Soldier Ride. Additionally, I don't want us pulling traffic from the WWP site and I don't want to lose traffic that should be here going to WWP and not finding the info they want, so I think a clear separation is in order.

Once the planning starts getting locked down, I'd also like to put up a bulletin board, so that multiple threads planning different aspects of the thing don't get buried or lost.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Soldier Ride obliterates goal for Lone Star State Challenge

That's us standing next to the Larrymobile in the background there.

For those of you who don't care to read the fine print - the goal for the Lone Star State Challenge was $15,000.oo.

What they made - with our help - was $30,000.00.

The letter is addressed to me because of the donation my company made, but that donation would not have happened without each of you making the Coast to the Coast a real goal, and not some fantasy.

This letter should have been written to each one of you.

Yep Yep...

I'm here. What's up Truman? I've been checking in often and reading about all of your wonderful experiences. You guys took some amazing pictures. I think the last statement you wrote on the below post about the knee pain has really caused me to change my perspective on riding my bike. I have knee pain as well, however, I've not thought of it in as positive a manner as you described. I appreciate that thought.

I just signed up for the Sam's Club MS 150. Anyone in? I may only make it the first day although I am going to ride pretty hard for this next month to try to get in good shape.

Speaking of which, What's up with this wind?!? It seems that every time we have a nice day, it is accompanied with high winds.

Paging CRDean...

Where'd you go, buddy - are you just swamped at work, or what?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Riding home yesterday...

Into a headwind I'd qualify as "stiff",

I caught myself grinning and thinking, "Man, this would be pretty bad if there were hills and I was full of El Tapatio tortillas and tacos, but otherwise this doesn't suck."

I find myself occasionally being grateful for the knee pain, too - it reminds me that I still have knees.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The end is near, but will never be fogotten

Well we are in Corpus now, and I wish I was as poetic and as good a wordsmith as my memories want me to be, oh well.

Today was one of the best so far as I am concerned, it had a great start, and inspiring middle, and a restful end. What a way to begin the close of an awesome trip.

This morning we woke up at the dove hut, all before dawn? Not sure how that happened but I guess we were all looking forward to a great day. Priscilla had left fruit, juice, and left over brisket and bread for us. So we had a good breakfast to get us going and get the camp packed up and cleaned up. At 8 Priscilla came rolling into camp with ken in tow to take us to meet the WWP at veterans memorial park in Beeville. The Ride was to meet at 9am and start at 10am. But when we got there at 9 only the police and the VFW were there. The WWP was running a little late, but no surprise when you consider all the warriors had done the day before. Shortly after we arrived the corvette club of Corpus Christi arrived and announced that they would be escorting us to Portland, the planned end of the days journey by bike. All were vets and many had their Vettes painted in veteran themes, they all looked assume.

A little after 10 the warriors arrived, with expectation written on their faces, and most roaring to go. All except Kevin who was not feeling well, but insisted on at least riding out of the park to respect those who came to honor him? So a couple of us got him some ice for his head and helped him get into his hand cycle, ready to ride. All the others were quickly readied and with salutes from the VFW, and with police and corvette escort we began our planned 45 mile ride about 1.5 hours late. Kevin’s planned ride out of the park then stop quickly changed to “a little further” so he could get past the horded of screaming kids at a local elementary school, talk about courage, persistence and pride, he was truly amazing. But what was even more so, was how those kids cheers boosted all their moral and insistence on going on, even Kevin, suffering as he must have been road on through town and out the other side, where reluctantly, and after being sick again, was convinced to dismount his bike and take a ride in the van.

They day quickly became hot, and the long flat road let a head wind push against the warriors and use, but all road on. Some fast, and some at a nice steady pace. I can’t imagine how those n hand cycles and recumbent suffered the heat not more than a few inches off the baking blacktop, chip sealed roads. But they all kept driving on. After about 10 miles the line was stopped for lunch, sandwiches, chips and Gatorade for most. A few, Matt and Adrian for 2 didn’t want to eat for fear of cramping, they just drank. After lunch it was agreed to officially brake the group into the A and B groups to let the faster group hopefully finish the ride, the rest would ride until ~2 and them be picked up to make sure we got to the finish where another reception was waiting. But at 2 most wanted to keep riding, and in fact they went on to close to 3:30 before all but being forcefully loaded into the trucks and vans for the ride to finish into Portland. I had stayed with the hand cycles and for a second day they had gone 25 miles, truly inspiring. We were then escorted to within 1 mile of the finish. There they were off loaded and back on the bikes so they could proudly ride in to there welcome on their own power.

The turn out at Yummies in Portland was a sight to see. Hundreds of people waiving flags, the VFW had 1 giant flag they vets were proudly holding along the rode, and all the colors from each force on display. The FVW band was playing, and everyone was cheering. Once situated they played the national anthem, and each services song. Matt confided in me it brought tears to his eyes, and that he was embarrassed, but several of us told him we were also brought to tears by our pride, and emotions over what it means to us to hear it and see these warriors being honored. Once the formalities were over the warriors were inundated with visitors, well-wishers, and admirers, a truly proud American moment. After that is was free ice cream and packing of the vehicles for the end of our day. The WWP off the NAS Corpus Christi, Steve, Dave and Cliff to Dave’s Aunts, and Dad, Lari, Larry, and I off to our respective hotels for the night and a good night sleep…..Well after Steve, Dave, Cliff, Dad and I went down town for some great Mexican food, all crammed In my little truck. ….

I know this experience, these new friends, and old will never be forgotten. I look forward to tomorrows public ride, and an end to this adventure, but I know this will not end my memories, or renewed feeling to help these wounded warriors, it has so far been an unparalleled experience, and I already look forward to doing it again.. .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Of Heroes, Warriors, and Road Angels.

Nieves, his dad, and his home town VFW

Today was to be one of the best days for me yet, and one of the toughest for the rest. Thursday we woke up at the Holiday Inn in San Antonio after spending a great evening meeting most of the wounded warriors, and getting a chance to hear some of their stories. We went to Rudy’s for BBQ, beer, and stories, a great night, but today was much better. We were up early and loaded for the truck ride onto base and the Brook Army Medical center. There we were privileged to meet the rest of the heroes, and had the chance to help them get into their bikes and really see for the 1st time their resolve. I had the distinct opportunity to meet Matt Lammers and Adrian Garcia, 2 amputees who were going to ride hand cycles for their 1st time. I helped Matt get into his and figure out how to attach is left mechanical arm to the “peddle” and physically attach him to his chair. From there we rode to the Center for the Intrepid, for an official send off for the days ride. There we saw several dozen other wounded vets, and many well wishers as we took official photos and began the soldiers 25 mile ride. From there we rode to the Alamo where kids, regular folks, the police, and the press have these guys a heroes welcome.

Adrian getting ready

Welcome at the Alamo
Send off at the center for the intrepid
Ryan makes the climb
Kevin pushing the hill flying old glory proudly

I followed behind Matt and Adrian the whole 25 miles taking with them about how they got there, what this day meant to them, and generally riding in Aw of them both. It was a slow roll of about 7.5MPH average, but by far the best riding so far, for me. These 2 and all the others truly amazed me with their spirit, persistence, and presence. Their overall attitude could be seen, felt and seen. I cannot describe my emotions and feelings, I can only hope you will some day get the opportunity to meet these heroes or others like them. Trust me it is more than time well spent. Knowing it was Matt 1st real day out of the hospital for a day of recreation on his own power was awesome to see, you could truly see relief and enjoyment in his face as he moved that bike down the rode. He told me this was the 1st time he felt like he used to when he would get in a pick-up game of some sort, that feeling when your sports face kicks in and the bad seems to melt away for a time. He said how cool it was to see the outdoors, hear the birds, and smell the flowers while out on his own. I believed him when he said he fell in love with cycling, something he never would have considered on his own, nor known if not for the wounded warrior project. At the end of the ride we was hot, sweaty, tired, but looking forward to the next days 25 miles.

Matt and Ken relax with some suport after the ride.

Dave, Steve, Cliff, Lari, Dad and another wounded warrior Nevis Rodriguez broke off after about 12 miles and headed out for Beeville, what was to be a 106 mile day for them. I caught them at about the 50 mile mark, and along with Mr. Aycock (Lari’s dad) followed them to about the 70 mile mark. There Dave suggested I become and advance party and took off for parts unknown, well sort of. I arrived in Beeville at about 5:30pm where I called Pricilla Stuart, out won Road Angel. Lari had contacted her a few week prior about our camping at her RV park, which she promptly said no to, as she had no restroom facilities, but she asked why. Which is where Lari kicked in her salesmanship, and the angel in Pricilla came out. Lari explained the purpose of our trip, and immediately Pricilla offered her dove lease area, explaining it was way back in her pasture and not much but a field with electricity and a bathroom. Not sure what to expect I called her when I pulled up to the RV park, she came right over in a mini van and instructed I follow her, that her son Gordon would be “the gate guy.” Not sure what she meant I followed her about ½ mile to the 1st gate, in we went, crossing about another ½ mile of goat pasture until we hit gate 2, here we went into another pasture filled with Brahma cows and new calf’s, we again crossed near ½ mile of pasture where we arrived at the 3rd gate, this one reviled a small lake, surrounded with ¼ horses, with a small hut in an enclosed fence around it. She proclaimed this is where we would call home for the night. When we pulled up I met Ken her hired hand who was working on the final touch to the clean up they had pulled off all week. Apparently the dove hunters left the place a wreck, and they had to work all week to clean it up, get it mowed, and get fire wood in place for us…. They offered to help me get the camp ready for our weary riders who were still about 2 ½ hours out. I found everyone’s tents in the back of the truck and off they went helping me set up 4 tents and 1 hammock. None of which any of them had seen the like of before. We found level ground removed limbs and twigs and got them all up and ready. Then she showed me her real welcome, brisket, potato salad, macaroni salad, beans, bread, fruit drinks, etc etc, etc. And she would hear non of taking anything for any of it. I got to hear all bout her late mother and father and how they came to own the ranch and keep it going, a truly proud family with a great heritage.

Pircilla, and Ken serve Steve some great food

The dove hut

Dave "Truman" listens to the tail of the nut and the bass

At ~ 9:30 12 hours from the start of their days the riders called and said they were at the exit, at this point Pricilla brought her big farm truck with a 15ft enclosed trailer out and off we went to meet the riders. We meet them at 181 and 351 along with Nevis’s family. She loaded the bikes in the trailer, and the riders in her van and off we went back to the camp. Well after Dave asked if we could ride there, I just smiled and told him to get in the truck, no way a 700X28 time would make it. Once at the camp the food came out, the beer I had picked up along the way was un-capped and refreshments ensued. Pricilla was truly a road angel, and we couldn’t have asked for more, even leaving a cooler with juice and fruit for morning. She sat and visited by the fire for an hour or so then left us to finish the beer, clean up ourselves, and get some sleep. Lari and her dad headed to their hotel and we crashed after a short time. BTW Pricilla said she would charge us a dollar a night but waive it if we came back next year, and we hope to take her up on that. There is no way we could repay her kindness.

Today was truly about helping others, we had a small chance to help and see the help given to some great heroes, and we were helped by one road angel. Although I didn’t get the miles of the others I feel truly blessed to have had today.

Here's the news video from Corpus Christi

Here are some local news coverage of the Solider Ride, and more about the WWP from SA and CC. I hope to get some of the blogs I started complete and up soon, and get some of the photos organized.



All over but the pictures...

Roll Aid '08 is now behind us. Along the way we lost a few riders, picked up a few more and made some friends that I hope will be lifelong.

We'll be updating this blog with some of the better pics - I took almost two hundred, but it sure didn't make me any better a photographer than I was when I left.

The pics of the guys you see cranking handcycles - those don't belong to them, they're loaners from the Wounded Warrior Project. My understanding is that these guys stationed down at Brooke Army Medical Center don't have a handbike to ride or train on. I know of a nice one for sale in Ft Worth. My plan is to get a rock bottom price the owner will take for it and then raise money to buy it and take it down and give it to the guys at BAMC, or to the BAMC PT department if it has to go that way.

I hope Joe from Joe's Pro Bikes in San Antonio will be willing to do the maintenance that'll be required when Joe Dirt slams it into another Grand Am.

Pics forthcoming when I get them up at a host.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I just received this picture. The guys are getting ready to ride with the soldiers today. What a great privilege!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Days 4 and 5

Day 4 from Marble Falls to Blanco was a good day 48 miles not too many hills, but we did about 8 miles of gravel roads. At one point we were in-between to high fence areas, everyone thought it was right out of Jurassic park. We did see several different types of animals and even some wild turkeys. We crossed at least 8 cattle cards and one stream, where Steve took a wet fall. In Blanco Charlie, recommended eating at a small diner about a mile from our motel called the bluebonnet Cafe, he wanted liver and onions.......Anyway we walked in the exit only door and caught heck from the wait staff, all in jest of course. The food was great, but the pies were even better, During our dinner we talked with 2 of the waitresses who both had kids either in Iraq or going. So as we are leaving they gave us 8 free pieces of pie and a bunch or rolls and cornbread....Truman in his usual wit proclaimed "he would go in the back door any time for free pie."

Day 5 was another long day 73 miles. Good riding, more great south Texas views. About 30 miles in Steve had proclaimed for at least the 10th time that should be the end of our climbing we round a corner to see one of the longest steepest hills yet. Per the Gamin a 16% grade, but we all made it to the top. After a long catch your breath stop we got to reap the reward of a 35+ mph down hill, almost to the bottom I noticed that the back of my bike felt strange, so I stopped to find a low rear tire. I filled it back up, knowing I had slim and should be fine but when I spun the tire it rubbed the fender???? After closer inspection we found a bulge in the tread, strangest thing any of us had seen. So we pulled the tire off my dad’s bike and replaced mine and off we rode. Just before we came into SA we hit a rode about 3 miles long that we kept a better than 22 mph roll great rollers with a mostly down hill run. Then after about 10 miles of climbing we hit the SA city limits, what a great feeling. The 1st thing we saw was a highway adoption sign from Bicycle Heaven.....Then we hit an 8 mile long bicycle lane where we kept a 20 mile pace through SA. Once we passed that we took back roads to get to the BAMC through the some beautiful houses.

At the hotel we meet the WWP and meet several of the heroes. These guys are amazing, there heart and minds are incredible, to see the wounds and hear their stories it breath taking. What they have given, and several are still on active duty with incredible wounds is truly aw inspiring. They are the reason we are bringing their cause to light. Go look at www.woundedwarriorproject.org, look at the photos and read their stories. Hearing them 1st hand is even more amazing. We are all looking forward to riding with them starting tomorrow,

Sorry for the wanderings, spelling and grammar errors, I am tired, sore and well just want to get it out there. I am also having issues uploading photos....They will get up there, I promise.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Day 4

Picture 1 - The guys arrived safely at Blanco State Park, where they will spend the night tonight.

Picture 2 - A pretty church in Cypress Mill, a pic from the road.

Picture 3 - Lunch in Johnson City. The picture may be blurry, but at least we know they were fed well. There seems to have been no shortage of eating on this trip, but I guess they don't have to count calories!

Pic 4 - The guys have been able to take in some amazing views from the road. This picture is of the Johnson City Wildlife Area.

The guys have made it to Blanco State Park, and they are camping out for the night. The pictures above are from their 45 mile journey to Blanco, TX today.

Tomorrow, they will finally make it to San Antonio. As I am sure they are feeling the miles at this point, I know the cause is keeping them turning the cranks day after day. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to support our nation's troops and Wounded Warriors.
If you haven't already, please click on the Wounded Warrior Project link to the right and find out why this group of cyclists are spending their days in the saddle.

Also, continue to keep an eye on Tate's WWP page for more pics:

Monday, March 10, 2008

3 down miles to go

Well we made it to Marble Falls in about 5.5 hours 57 miles. Light rain most of the day, but actualy the best riding day yet. No wind and NO CHIPSEAL!!!. Charlie joined us today, a real Wounded Warrior. We made good time even taking our time. County road 200 from Cooperas Cove to Burnet was a real small, and smooth for the most part. There were a few 100 yard gaps that was dirt/mud, but no issues. Stopped in Burnet at Storms for a good meal of greasy burgers, and onion rings...good fuel for a cool wet day. The back road, Mormon Hills rd, from Burnet to Marble Falls was a great road mostly down hill, a few short STEEP climbs but nothing too tough. Steve took a fall at a creek crossing, green slime on the bottom and 700X23 don't do well in that condition. We also had 4 cattle crossing and all but Cliff walked them, he was young and brave and rode across them. About 1/2 way we came across the sign in the attached photo, we had to stop and get a shot. There were a lot more great shots but we think this one says it all. You can see all the shots from the below link

Sunday, March 9, 2008

And They're Off...

The guys should be approaching Copperas Cove by now, if they haven't already arrived. We are praying for their safety and a good night's rest. I have not been able to communicate with them by phone, but I have received one picture as posted above. I will update throughout the week as I am able to receive updates. Let's keep cheering them on!
Edit: The guys have arrived safely to Copperas Cove, yet they have lost two individuals due to the terrain and mileage. The first day was tough at 95 miles, and today's 77 miles included a 20 mph headwind. Needless to say, they have made it to the Howard Johnson Hotel for some much needed rest. The guys would also like to express their thanks to Charlie Hunt, who will be providing SAG Support for the remainder of the ride. Charlie will replace Mad Duck, who was originally going to fill that role. With this change, the guys will have a chance to sleep in tomorrow before riding the 55 miles to Marble Falls.
A couple of highlights: Good send-off from the VFW in Benbrook (these guys have been great), a top notch breakfast in Meridian with a friendly wait staff, and a good mexican food lunch at the halfway point. The little things make a big difference.
Tate is posting pictures on his photobucket site along the route, and his link for the Roll Aid ride is:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Let's ride before the rain

Well our long days look ok, maybe a little wind, and chilly i the mornings...I don't really mind the cold though so it's ok by me, just more cloths to wear/carry. Maybe Clarence can carry that stuff back to the duck for us once we hit the warmer weather in the south? Looks like it might be a wet night Monday...let hope it's only in the dark. At least we'll have shorter days by then.

Ft. Worth
Tonight Lo: 25° Partly cloudy. Isolated thunderstorms and snow showers in the evening. Lows in the mid 20s. North winds 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday Hi: 59° Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s. South winds around 5 mph becoming south 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.

Friday Night: Lo: 25° Partly cloudy. Isolated flurries in the evening. No snow accumulation. Lows in the mid 20s. North winds 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday: Hi: 59°Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s. South winds around 5 mph becoming south 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Night: Lo: 41° Partly cloudy. Not as cool. Lows in the lower 40s. South winds 10 to 15 mph.

Saturday: Hi: 61° Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 60s. South winds around 5 mph becoming south 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday: Night Lo: 45° Partly cloudy. Not as cool. Lows in the mid 40s. South winds 10 to 15 mph.
Sunday: Hi: 65° Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph.

Saturday Night:Lo: 45° Partly cloudy. Not as cool. Lows in the mid 40s. South winds 10 to 15 mph.
Sunday: Hi: 65° Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph.
Sunday Night; Lo: 50° Mostly cloudy. Lows around 50.

Cooperas Cove
Sunday; Hi: 65° Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph.
Sunday Night: Lo: 50° Mostly cloudy. Lows around 50.
Monday: Hi: 59° POP: 40% Cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms...Mainly in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 40 percent

Marble Falls
Monday: Hi: 59° POP: 60% Cloudy with showers and thunderstorms likely. Highs in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Monday Night: Lo: 45° POP: 40% Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 40s
Tuesday: Hi: 69°Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 60s.

Tuesday: Hi: 69° Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 60s.
Tuesday Night: Lo: 45° Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. Highs in the mid 70s.
Wednesday: Hi: 75° Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. Highs in the mid 70s

Drink up, fellas.

Worrywart sez: "Staying hydrated will keep you warm, and it's hard to know how much you're sweating when it's cool and dry out."

Here's something to cogitate on: If we add 8-12 (est.) miles to tomorrow's route, we can have a hot lunch in Cleburne. Or we can take the short route, carry extra food for all day and grab dinner in Meridian before getting to the Park.

I haven't ridden South of Cleburne State Park, but I'm pretty sure that after the Subway in Godley around mile 25, there's no kind of stores until maybe Morgan, possibly Meridian - which I know has some stores & restaurants

Caveat: Traffic can be pretty ugly in Cleburne on a Saturday.

See you tomorrow. Everybody good to go?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Say, "Map!" Say, "Map!"

Do you guys want copies of paper maps? I have several pretty granular books of Texas maps. I intend to scan the salient pages for routing changes on the fly. I know some of you are rocking the Garmins, but let me know before tonight if you want some paper backup.

I remember a smart guy telling me once, "If your GPS gets shot, you have a paperweight. If your map gets shot, you have a map with a hole in it."

Nature abhors a vacuum - a case study

I'm looking at the empty pockets and extra space in my panniers, thinking, "Surely I can fit something in there - I must have forgot something..."

I gotta remember I'll (hopefully) need some of that space to put the warm stuff I'll be wearing when we start out. Low of 27° Friday morning.

And the predicted wind shifted. Phooey.

Still that empty space just begs me to shove something heavy and comfortable in it.

It is gonna warm up as we ride South, right?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just had a call with the SR organization - Couple things

  1. Riders, including Lari and your dad - I need your full names to give to Woody so that we can be admitted to Brooke AMC, for the San Antonio ride.

  2. If we hook up with the SR group at 7am on Thursday, we can get a free Cracker Barrel breakfast with them and follow them onto base.

  3. I've asked for, and am reasonably confident we'll receive, some degree of police escort, either bike or motorcycle, from the vicinity of Mission Espada to Hwy 181 to ward Beeville.

  4. The SR group is staying in San A on Thursday Night, rather than Beeville, and trucking in, on Friday morning. The Beeville ride will start at 10 am. There is some question if any of the official riders are up to the full 45 mile ride to Portland, but many expect to.

  5. There are a few hairy portions of 181 with minimal shoulder. Lari's dad's escort services will be invaluable here.

  6. Lunch will be provided on the road to Portland with the SR group.

  7. The plan is to truck us with the official riders over the Harbor Bridge into Corpus from Portland Friday night, after an ice cream party in Portland. There is a social event at Theo's billiards on Friday night.

  8. Saturday, we hook up with the group with the public riders at Texas A&M, just outside the gate at NASCC, and we're invited to stay for the after party.

    *******EDIT! HEADS UP!******


I think that's it. Questions/Comments?

Tate, Clarence is meeting us in Copperas Cove, correct - or sometime Sunday before that?

Can we just go today?

Please? Y'all are ready, right?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Riders, check your emails.

I've sent you a document from the WWP with more detailed planning. Read it over and let me know if you have questions. Or let me know if you didn't get it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Brutal stinkin' wind.

I'm willing to pray to anyone that next Saturday bears no resemblance to today in the wind department. I rode the 1st half of the Day One route, due frickin' South. I was so happy when my wife called to tell me the weather was supposed to be coming in sooner so I had a legitimate reason to turn around. I wound up getting in about 60 miles, but it hurt like 100.

Knee doesn't like weather changes either, go figger.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Starting Point: VFW Post 10429, Benbrook.

These guys are outstanding. They offered us anything we need without hesitation within 5 minutes of me walking in and ordering a beer.

Post Commander Joe Wolfe will meet us Saturday morning. There's locked, fenced parking for personal vehicles. He'll also be on call to let us in Sunday night to recover our rides. Or we can take our own lock and lock our lock to his lock, so we can let ourselves out, and take ours with us when we go.

We just have to stop in some 1st or 3rd Saturday night for Steak Night and tell some stories from the road. They showed me the 16 oz NY Strip - I think I can manage that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MapMyRide GPS Courses

Gents, here are links to the latest GPS courses for each day. I only plotted days 1 through 5, as the others I think we'll play by ear. I downloaded these into my Garmin 305 and they seem to be solid.

Day 1 - Fort Worth to Meridian
Day 2 - Meridian to Copperas Cove
Day 3 - Copperas Cove to Marble Falls
Day 4 - Marble Falls to Blanco
Day 5 - Blanco to San Antonio

I didn't make any changes to day 1, but I didn't figure we needed to be that exact after all. I can update it if needed later.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Return Trip

I've reserved a minivan for our return trip. I can't guarantee how many people will fit with all their gear, but it's supposed to be a minivan. I reserved it from the Hertz at the airport. I know it's not the closest, but not much is open on Sunday morning. So it might just be a quick morning ride for a couple of us to get the van.

At any rate, the way I figure it is this: as long as we get the minivan, we can always add another sub-compact if we have more people. The bikes can go in the van, and the overflow people can go into the car.

Beeville Accomodations

As I said before, Lari Aycock will be joining us for the SA to CC legs of the trip. She's got her father driving SAG for her and may be bringing along a couple other riders to fill out the ranks heading down 181.

I asked her to look around and see about camping accommodations, since we're motelling in SA and likely in CC as well.

This, gentlemen , is how that's done:

(Quote) "I pursued the Hilltop Mobile Home Ranch information I had received and this morning talked to Priscilla Stewart. She tells me the Ranch was for self-contained units (although I told her each of you were self-contained) she meant more that the code is no camping because there are no restrooms.the place is definitely for RV'ers.

However, as she was looking up some numbers in the phone book for me (don't you love small town niceness?) she asked why we were coming, what we were doing etc. By the end of the conversation, she says the group is welcome to the pasture area near the fishing pond. It is definitely "roughing it", but there is a toilet and a water faucet. There is electricity as well.

She says dove hunters come every year and camp out just fine. She was concerned that it is really just a plot of land with a fishing pond and a toilet, and wanted to reiterate that it was definitely the "pack everything in" type of thing. I told her it was about 10 people. She seemed fine with it. I asked about costs and she said "$1.00 per person and it can be waived until next year, if you plan on doing this again".

She then started looking up numbers in the phone book for the newspaper and asked that we contact some folks there to get the word out. ... Speak to either Mr. Latchum. Tell them she (Priscilla Stewart) asked you to call (she went to school with them) the paper is the Beeville Picayune 361-358-2550.

The fishing pond is ½ mile off of the 181 bypass. She said she'd be willing to bring the truck to meet the group and haul the bikes in. I told her I would get back to her in a week or so about whether we'd be there, narrow down the number and details. When I asked why she was sticking her neck out like that to strangers she said, "it's the right thing to do".(/Quote)

Rough Schedule from DFW to San Antone

Folks, so here are the rough mileages we are undertaking each day:

Day 1 to Meridian - 81 mi
Day 2 to Copperas Cove - 74 mi
Day 3 to Marble Falls - 55 mi
Day 4 to Blanco - 44 mi
Day 5 to San Antonio - 48 mi

Days 1, 2 and 5 I'd almost swear to the miles, but days 3 and 4 could be 2 or 3 more as I didn't go over them as closely.

I've made campsite reservations for Meridian and Blanco (8th and 11th respectively). I reserved one site for each of those days. We will likely need a 2nd spot at each of these places, depending on our final count.

I haven't made any hotel reservations as of this point, but we should be thinking about that as well.

Shake down ride

Steve and I had a good shake down ride and camp. Learned a few things.

1st remember it’s a bike ride not a camping trip. Carry only what you NEED to camp minimally. Remember our 4th night will be in town and even before that washing machines will not be too far away. And your evening/night cloths will be used only a few hours.

2nd Organization of your bags is important. Think about what you need and when you will need it. i.e. flashlight, jacket, gloves, hat etc. I carried my foot print and tent outside so if it’s wet I can set it up without exposing my gear more than necessary, but buried my sleeping bag and warm camp cloths. Having some warm cloths handy is nice after getting off the bike all sweaty and warm to then going to a open windy campsite where is god cool fast. Have a few quick layers and a watch cap would be nice. Also we needed lights pretty quickly and having the flashlight handy was nice. In the morning I had a pair of over gloves(knit work gloves) handy which was nice when cooking in the 30 something cool wind. I think I can loose 8-10 lbs easily on my load and can make it much easier to get the stuff I need.

3rd I don’t think keeping a better then 12 MPH pace will be an issue, but we need to make sure an make stops when we need them, eat, and hydrate is essential to going the long distances the 1st 2 days.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Decisions from Lunch:

Topics were:

  1. Start date - the daily mileage we're looking at is pretty beefy. Do we want to start on Saturday the 8th and give ourselves an extra riding day - or start at noon and give ourselves an extra half day? Or do we tear it up as planned?
  2. On-Bike signage for advertising the Soldier Ride while we're on the road. Any progress on this?
  3. Gear sharing schemes.
  4. Protocol for people who may drop out of the tour.
  5. Getting back home. Can someone truck my bike back if I fly home?
  6. Maps/Navigation and route planning. Satisfactory?
  7. Open floor for discussion.

What we decided:

1. START DATE - We are departing from the general vicinity of NAS Ft Worth on SATURDAY, March 8th at around 9 am.

We plan to make Meridian State Park our first night's goal. It's 80-odd miles, so pray for a tailwind. It will make the subsequent days much less brutal to give ourselves the extra day's ride. Our pace will be dead slow.

Since we just decided today to leave on Sat. we do NOT know for sure that Mad Duck can/will accompany us on Day One. If they cannot, we will break Jack's necessary gear down and carry it among the rest of us, until Mad Duck Catches up with us, on Sunday.

2. Signage - Steve is looking into signs with a contact I have in McKinney. We should be good to go there.

3. Gear Sharing - Some people are lending gear, but nobody seems to be splitting loads for tentage and such. No problems here.

4. Drops - We don't intend to make Mad Duck to carry any passenger for more than a half day. It's agreed that while no one will be left alone on the roadside, neither does our schedule permit long delays while someone makes unexpected arrangements. If someone cannot continue, it's on each rider to have arrangements in place to get wherever they need to go next, whether that be home, to San Antonio, or Corpus.

5. Return - Rental of a minivan to move people and bikes home, departing Corpus early on Sunday the 16, seems to be the best plan to get back. If occupancy is a problem, I can likely fly home if my bike can travel in the minivan. IN this event, I would certainly kick in for the rental.

*Note* I had not noticed the U Haul sponsorship connection, till Jack pointed it out in email. That may be worth examining further if minivan rental appears to be a problem.

6. Route - I remembered coming back from lunch that the Trinity Trail runs directly from the East Gate of NAS Ft Worth, to Bryant Irvin Road, South of Interstate 20. If we like, we don't even have to *see* any city traffic till we're almost out of it. The Panther City tour boys said they had trouble riding on 377, so I'm considering alternatives. More on this later.

Taking the TT would knock a couple miles off the other route, and avoid a metric buttload of traffic and stops.

Did I leave anything out?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Check it. WWP in the Dallas Morning News

Article here

I already sent an email with the Roll Aid poster and appropriate linkage to the reporter, Michael Young. I'm hopeful he might see fit to find out more about Roll Aid for another article.

I copied Woody on that email and I see he's followed up as well. Thanks, Woody!

That's lunch, people...!

The second and last Roll Aid steering luncheon and meeting will take place Friday Feb 22 at 12:00 noon at Weinberger's Delicatessen.

The address is 601 S. Main St. in Grapevine. It's in the little historic downtown district on the South end. Parking is on the street and around back.

Topics will include:
  1. Start date - the daily mileage we're looking at is pretty beefy. Do we want to start on Saturday the 8th and give ourselves an extra riding day - or start at noon and give ourselves an extra half day? Or do we tear it up as planned?

  2. On-Bike signage for advertising the Soldier Ride while we're on the road. Any progress on this?

  3. Gear sharing schemes.

  4. Protocol for people who may drop out of the tour.

  5. Getting back home. Can someone truck my bike back if I fly home?

  6. Maps/Navigation and route planning. Satisfactory?

  7. Open floor for discussion.

Please post your own discussion points in the 'Comments' section of this post.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lone Star Challenge Jerseys

Hey guys, I was looking at the LoneStar Challenge page (linked from our humble blog). I see a pretty cool jersey being worn by most of the guys. Any chance there's a place we can buy a couple of those to help support the cause? Or are those limited to the soldiers only?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Well, got the BOB back together after the rattle can job to clean up some of the frame rust. Thought a color that doesn't blend into the road was a better option than the original gray. It's currently packed with all my "camp" gear, minus a few things I'll be borrowing. I will load more every day for the next 2 weeks. Didn't really notice it today on the roll to work, might have slowed me 1-2 MPh average, or that might just have been the sleep deprivation I had last night?

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Packing List

is here - please pick it apart. I'm trying to get it all into two panniers and a bar bag.

Coast to the Coast Packing list

If it's not highlighted, I don't have it yet.

I'll add "whiskey flask" to the next iteration.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Packing List

Well here is what I have, I am sure I missed something, or have too much of something else. Comment more than welcome

1 BOB trailer Get extra clips
1 Chain Oil Measure a small quantity sufficient only for trip duration
1 cleat set
1 Crescent wrench Small
1 Cycling Helmet
1 handle bar light extra batteries AA
1 Helmet cam get extra SD cards and batteries
1 helmet light Get charger
1 Locking cable Lightweight, just to act as a deterrent with combo lock
1 Multi knife small
1 Puncture kit Patches and glue levers CO2
1 Rag For general wiping1 pump
1 trunk bag repack
2 Rear panniers Small
2 Spare tubes
2 water bottles
10 Bungies Small and big
20 Cable Ties To tie various parts in bike box
1 flash light extra batteries AAA and AA
1 sleeping bag PAD??
1 tent
2 Misc bags
2 towel small
4 Large plastic bags To waterproof rear panniers
1 bathing suit
1 Evening shoes Light sneakers
1 Fanny pack To carry wallets in the evening
1 sweatshirt
2 shirts- 1 Short sleeves 1 long sleeve
2 socks
2 Underwear
1 Cycling gloves regular
1 Cycling gloves Warm
1 Cycling shoes With SPD clipless pedals - comfortable to walk on
1 Cycling tights W/O pad
1 Lime Green shell For visibility and light rain

Friday, February 15, 2008

Meet Jack, our newest rider.

Severely injured and paralyzed for 3 months after an Army training accident, Jack has recovered sufficiently over the years to join us on the Coast to the Coast. In San Antonio, Jack will link up with the official Soldier Ride organization for the remainder of the journey. Obviously a man of impeccable taste, Jack's planning on rocking a Cannondale for the ride.

He will be tossing his camping baggage into the Honda Element that Clarence of Mad Duck Adventure Sports has so graciously offered to shadow our progress and carry gear for those who don't have the equipment to carry it on the bike - all the way to San Antonio.

Since he'll be traveling light, Jack has generously offered to pull our little pelotón the whole way down into the Springtime breezes.

At least, that's what I think he meant when he offered to show us "how a real man breaks wind"...

Let's give a big hand to both of them.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The friendly cats over at Panther City Bicycles...

Are going to be covering a bit of the same ground next week, as we are next month. Hopefully, Bernie, Chris and Bryan will stop in and share what they've learned on their weeklong trip to Enchanted Rock which starts tomorrow.

They give us a little room on their blog, here

Bernie, you sure you're carrying enough stuff for a whole week?

Bike pics

Here's the intrepid adventurer after a cool night at Mineral Wells SP. This trip is fun because 16 miles of the 56 mile trip home are on the Mineral Wells Rail-to-Trail line. No traffic other than other bikes, and a couple horses.
I didn't get a pic, but I saw the biggest roadrunnner I've ever seen on this trip.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Welcome Nieves, Charlie and Jack !

These gentlemen are all committed to riding in the Official Lone Star State Challenge, but they've also contacted me about joining us on our little Coast to the Coast.

So far, Nieves sounds pretty sure he's joining us as we pass Ft Hood. I haven't heard back from the other two after their initial contact, though. I hope I didn't scare anyone off.

All three of these guys have expressed concern about not having equipment to carry camping gear with them on the ride, so it's getting more important that we know if we'll definitely have Mad Duck along and willing to carry what baggage can't go on the bikes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

At last - a truce!

Riding back from an overnight camping trip at Mineral Wells State Park yesterday, my knee told me that if I abide by a very strict "No Hammering" contract and religiously wear a strap around my leg under the kneecap, that it will agree to going along with me on this whole crazy Coast to the Coast idea. The strap made the difference. It went from "Freakin' OW!" to to "Huh - that didn't hurt..." in about 3 miles. Stayed like that for the next 40 miles. Yay, strap.

That said, a month basically off bike made me weak. I'll be commuting again as of tomorrow.

Pics from the park are at home. I'll throw them up. later

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Gearing up for the ride.

I just cut a nice deal for two Marmot Trestles sleeping bags - they came with sundry other gear that may come in handy. In a perfect world, I could trade one bag for a Thermarest Prolite.

This made me wonder if you guys have your gear all good to go, or are you hunting stuff, still?


Is that what it's called when you blog about someone blogging about you?

Texbiker has kindly given us some space.

He commented on the poster post as well. Pretty cool, sez I. I just emailed 'em yesterday. Thanks for the hookup Texbiker.

And I got posters going up at all Bikes- ...er - excuse me...BICYCLES, INC locations today.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Need a button?

If you like my Soldier Ride button in my posts at the various bulletin boards, you're welcome to steal the code and use it yourself to spread the word.
copy this text and paste it into your signature file at your favorite online forums.


Poster is ready!

Here's the poster.

You can download the .Pdf here:

It prints on legal 8.5" x 14" paper. See if you can get some up at the LBS's, will you?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fliers almost ready.

Need a couple changes to be compliant with WWP policy. I'll put 'em out in 2-page .Pdf format so you can print them at your leisure.

These are two-sided one-fold fliers on 8.5" x 11" paper. I will rearrange some elements for a one-sided poster-type flier, once I know what I can get away with - that'll probably be on legal 8.5"x14" stock, unless someone complains.

If you haven't sent in some personal info, don't bother, I don't have enough room for that anyway.

Paging: Barlows and crdean cm_shooter...

Send me some info on you that I can put in the flier: Name, age, hometown, vet status?, occupation... yadda.

And pics, I need pics - high contrast/ higher resolution is better.


davidwhill at gmail dawt com

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Roll-Aid Roll Call: Who's still in?

Answer up in the "Comments" section.



Who else? It's been quiet...

Also, if you want a brief blurb about you in the flyer, let me know and email me what info you want included. I recommend telling your name, what city you're from, your age, your occupation and a brief paragraph about why you're in on this and/or what you hope to accomplish with it.

I want pics, too - of your bikes, or your mugs.

Those of you who are promoting this effort with businesses, this flyer is to give you an air of legitimacy, and something to post around to drum up support.

Also: who would be willing and able to leave on Saturday the 9th? Would you prefer that, or the 10th?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A good day...

...NOT to be riding West:


Friday, January 25, 2008

Speaking of adaptive equipment for wounded vets

Check out crazy mister blootoof legs:


New Soldier Ride video

But LiveVideo doesn't support Blogspot right now, so I don't know how to link it directly.

You can watch the video here though...

In other news, I found a hella nice price on an eBay set of 2 Voyageur panniers, so I got that going for me, which is nice. We'll see what else pops up at the Swap Meet this weekend.

On the other side of the coin, I'm not noticing a lot of improvement in the knee. Looks like the weather will be cooperative for a spin this weekend to evaluate it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sun n Ski steps up some more

I chatted with Stephen, the bike manager at Sun n Ski, over by Grapevine Mills at lunchtime.

He volunteered that he could get those of us who are going to Corpus at least 20% off what gear we may need to get the ride done.

He said this as I had a tiny Thermarest Prolite 3 in my hand, which reminded me that some of the stuff I'd like to get together for this and future trips is NOT necessarily biking gear. I told him I thought we'd probably have some takers on his offer and I"d be in touch.

Vaguely relevant, at best

Peter White has an interesting way of looking at things. I very much like his perspectives on bicycle fitment.

Ever wonder if the fact that your butt hurts on long rides is in any way related to your shifters? Mr. White makes a somewhat persuasive case for that right here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

flippin' joints...

So the knee gave me no trouble yesterday or the day before. I took that as a sign to get back to my bike commute, so I won't hold the herd back on the Soldier Ride.

"How'd that work out for ya, Tru...?"

Well, it was great for about 3 miles, it was annoying for another mile after that, and it got pretty ugly in the mile after that. I decided to abort the commute and not make the climb over the bluffs into downtown Fort Worth. Even so, I had a nice 5-1/2 mile ride home with a pissed-off knee.

I got back to the house well after the time I normally leave for work, rushed to change, went out to get in the car and saw it had a flat. Fixed the flat, which allowed me to rub a nice streak of dirt on my pants, went back and changed again, and finally made it to work.

If it wasn't for the knee thing, it'd actually be pretty funny. Besides, if you HAVE to get a flat tire, it's nice when it happens in your own driveway.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Training Ride / Campout

Ray and I did a training ride / campout this weekend to Ray Roberts State Park. It was between 45 and 50 miles each way, and we stayed in the park on Saturday night. It was a good chance for us to get some miles in fully loaded, and I'm sure we learned a few good lessons (I know I did).

Us ready to leave Ray's house. (No, we didn't buy the same bike on purpose)

We got to the park pretty late due to 15mph headwinds and stopping for dinner at Sonic. It sure was worth it though!! We got there in time to set up the small portable TV and watch the Jaguars-Patriots game...my Seahawks had already lost by then.

Here's a shot of our campsite in the daylight the next morning. Those hammocks sure are easy to set up, even in the dark. You can't tell from the picture, but it got down to 30 degrees Saturday night.
On to the lessons learned.

1) I had read that the underside of the hammock needs some extra insulation. I wholeheartedly agree now. I had brought a thin reflective sheet (car sunshield), but I couldn't keep it under me very well, so my backside was fairly cold, even though my 20 degree bag kept the rest of me warm. Next time I'll have an inflatable pad strapped to the bottom of the bag to help with this.

2) Since there were no clouds, we both left the rainfly off. I think this was a mistake, as it probably would have held in some extra heat. Next time, the fly goes on the hammock if it's cold. I had ice crystals inside the hammock when I woke up!!

3) Need to bring warm socks and hat. Socks for sleeping in (as opposed to regular cotton), and the hat for while riding (Ray brought one, said it made a world of difference).

4) Need to bring chapstick. My lips are pretty chapped today. This seems like it's always on my mental "what to bring next time" list. It should be a no-brainer, but I forget it every time.

Anyway, enough rambling. As my first bike camping trip, I'd say it was very successful. I'm pleased by the amount of stuff I can get into my smallish panniers, and it didn't take a lot to get used to riding with the bike loaded like that. Looking forward to the tour even more now.