Monday, December 28, 2009

New Years Day Ride

What: New Years Day Ride to Randy's Bluffton Store
When: Friday, January 1st 10 A.M.
Where: Decorah Bicycles parking lot, 10 A.M.
How: Any damn way you want
What do I bring? Bike, Warm stuff, Money, Beer and Booze

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Provide the Ride

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so I’ll try to make sure to post enough stuff that you have to take a look at it, decide whether or not you want to read this much junk right now, and probably come back t it when you have some more time.

And this just in; O’Gara must have been fed up enough to post something as well, just before me, so read his post just below this when you’re done.

I’ve been busy but I haven’t had much time to ride. And now that there is about 1foot of snow on the trails and I’ve literally rode my gravel bike into the ground, I may not be doing much pedaling any time soon.

So what have I been busy with? First off, Ward and Jackie Budweg were back in the area for a short time.

- One of the 26 rounds of red bull cherry shots

There was a rowdy celebration held in Cresco that included at least 4 bottles of Cherry McGillicudies, several gallons of Red Bull Energy Drink, 7 or 9 cases of beer, Grilled Fish from Alaska that Ward and Jackie caught, Treadmill Races, Karaoke, Underwear Wrestling, and a lot of drawing on people with markers. I would say we partied like we were at a kegger back in college, but it was more like a whole bunch of 3rd graders loaded up on sugar with no TV and locked in a gym on a snow day.

- A toast from Freidhof: I think he said something about butter and jelly

It wasn’t the first time I woke up on a wrestling mat, but it was the first time I wondered how I had fallen asleep there.

- Brian Fuhrman: Unofficial Bike Club Light Weight

Then of course there are the new trail signs from Decorah Park and Recreation that we’ve installed. I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback on them and how visible they are, especially at night.

I had to go and make some adjustments to the user group access allowance indicators (horse signs) on some of the signs.

Now I know that trail rights can be a very sensitive topic, but here’s my view. As the Unicorn would say “Well, Ok, Here’s the Deal”

I don’t hate horses. I don’t hate horses riders. Horses have been riding in the Decorah Trail System for years and before Mountain Bikes were even around. I don’t like riding through a huge pile of horse #^&* because it is right in the middle of the trail. I don’t know about other bike tires, but if I am unlucky enough to get the smallest amount of #^&* on mine, they somehow become devastatingly accurate catapults taking aim at my ears, eyes, nose, mouth and water bottle. It is horribly amazing.

The fact is that people have to clean up after their dogs on a city sidewalk or in a home owner’s yard, and the trail user groups should show and receive the same respect. I was impressed last month when installing the sign posts for Backside when a man approached with his dog and stopped to visit and praise our work. He was carrying a walking stick and a shovel. A shovel. A shovel to remove dog #^&* from the trails. As we visited a little more I learned that he was a horse person and not only does he clean up after his dog, but he makes sure to clean up after other people’s horses when he comes across a huge stinking pile of someone else’s mess. I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow and golf clap. Fine job good sir!

Anyways, back to the Horse/No Horse signs. The fact is that the trails in Decorah are carefully built. Sure, it’s a bunch of outdoor enthusiasts walking around the woods with rakes, shovels and sticks on the weekends, but there is a lot of thought that goes into trail building. Since most of our geography includes hillsides we have a lot of “off-camber” trails. This helps with watershed, but some sections must be carefully built in order to sustain rainfall and water run off. And while our “Off-Camber”ocity helps with watershed, it forces us to use a lot of shoring. Depending on the angle, if water can run off it, the ground it self will erode down hill. We control this with shoring, and this isn’t just rocks and sticks laid in a row to guide your path. Many times we have to drive stakes into the ground and find nice long pieces of downed trees to lay into the ground, fill the trail with dirt, smooth it down and pack it, then repeat until the trail becomes ride able or run able. This is a very labor intensive process and we have built some very sustainable trails over the years. Our trails are very sustainable in regards to watershed, freezing, hikers, runners, and bicycles.

- Park Vandalism: A Trail Use sign torn from a tree.

Unfortunately: the majority of trails we are capable of building can not sustain a 1,000 to 2,000 pound animal with feet the size of a soup can. We just don’t have the ability, the time, the equipment, the geographical layout or the resources to build a sustainable trail to handle that kind of load. The Prairie Loop, Rocky Road, Old Randy’s and Wold’s can absolutely handle horse traffic. Absolutely, No Problem, Gallop On, Hi Ho Silver, have at it Mr. Ed. However single track like lower Palisades and Dead Pet, New Randy’s, Mother’s Day, Boa, Little Big Horn and Fred’s just can’t take it.

So I hope everyone understands that the issue of “Horse” vs. “No Horse” on the trails should not be a disagreement of opinions, but rather physics. And the logos on the signs DO NOT translate into “Screw You, Horses!” It simply means that heavy animal traffic will destroy the trail and make it unsafe and unusable for other user groups.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Years Day Ride to Bluffton

Tis' the season to make our annual homage to the birthplace of our savior, Randy's Bluffton Store. We will be meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday January 1st (further details forthcoming on the departing location)for a casual ride to Bluffton, where we will eat, drink and be merry. The ride home will be even more casual as reindeer games often ensue. Be prepared to make a whole day of it, the route home can be tricky.

This is the most funnest ride of the year, why not get it over on the first day of the year, so you have nothing left to look forward to for the rest of the year.

Here are a few pics from last year, just in-case you can't remember.