Friday, December 31, 2010


"Old Bicycle Bill"

"Old Sam"

I did not want the day or year to end without a ride, so I took Old Sam out for about 11 miles today, then put a couple more on the grocery bike to close out the year. Except for a stiff wind out of the north, it was a perfect day to ride, sunny and about 60 degrees. Old Sam is the bike that I started my serious riding on and I'm very comfortable riding this bike. I took the big chainring off the front so it just has six gears, but that's more than enough for riding around town.

We (Old Sam and I) rode much of my usual exercise route in town. I mentioned the north wind, and had to take a couple of pictures of Old Glory painting that northerly breeze.

I don't usually ride down Red Oak street, but I'm glad I did today. The street is obviously aptley named, and is a real picture of how autumn has passed and winter is upon us. Texas weather changes daily, and as nice and warm as it was today, it will be in the 30's tonight and the 20's tomorrow night.

"The Grocery Bike"
I put a couple of miles on this bike today, and this picture shows what it is best for; that is, bringing home the bacon, or in this case, the pizza! That's my New Years Eve dinner!

I put about 2900 miles on the bikes this year, and while I hope to ride more next year, it is not a New Year's Resolution. I resolved to ride as much as I can a couple of years ago, and have pretty much stayed with it. I actually was hoping to make about 3500 this year, I guess the heart attack in June set me back a mile or two.

So what about 2011? Well I don't know what the future holds. It doesn't really matter, as long as we know who holds the future, and I do. I hope I'm still here updating my blog at this time next year, but if I'm not, the world will go on, and I'm really okay with that. That's the main thing I learned about myself while I was lying on that hospital table this year. As hard as it might be to understand, the heart attack was a positive thing because of what I learned from it.

God bless you and yours for a prosperous new year.

"His eye is on the sparrow, and I KNOW he watches me."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bike at Work

One of the "issues" some potential bike commuters use for not being bike commuters is where to secure the bike at work. If you look at some of the bike commuter web sites and commuter specific blogs , you'll find lots of ideas and creative ways to manage this potential problem. I am fortunate to have access to a nice storage room, so the bike is out of the weather, waiting patiently for the end of the workday. My commuter bike, Kato and I look forward to the short ride home every day. If you've never tried bike commuting, give it a shot. You'll be more alert when you get to work, and have something to look forward to at the when the whistle blows!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Freedom to Ride a Bike

Today was a beautiful, sunny day with a sometimes brisk north wind, and I could think of nothing better to do than pull out Old Sam and go for a bike ride. Old Sam is the 1983 Trek 510 that is smooth, basic transportation. The all steel frame seems to absorb the bumps in the road better than any of my other bikes. I took the big ring off the front so it just has seven gears, but that is just right for rambling around Ennis.

I had no plans for this ride other than to just enjoy it. It was not long before I realized the Veterans’ Day flags that the Rotary Club puts up all over town were still out, and I took several shots of Old Glory painting the breeze. It turned into a 15 mile ride, and seeing all the flags and thinking of Veterans Day made me think fondly of my favorite veteran.

Thanks again, Dad.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Cargo Bike from Masden Cycles

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Well I have four bikes in the stable right now, this sure would make a GREAT fifth!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Coffee, Breakfast, and More Coffee

It was cool this morning when Mrs. Bicycle Bill agreed to ride to Whataburger for breakfast with me. It is about a mile and a half ride over there, so we ate a light breakfast and figured we’d burned some of those breakfast calories off on the ride back home. I really enjoy riding in the cool weather. All one needs to stay comfortable is a pair of full finger gloves and a light jacket to break the wind.

After we got home an old friend called and asked if we could meet for coffee. Dan Haynes lived here for years and now lives in Ruidoso, New Mexico. We have seen each other on Facebook recently, and Dan comes to Ennis every few weeks to visit with his father. We had a nice visit over coffee at Starbucks. Dan is a fine Christian man that really loves Jesus. We had a nice visit about Christian literature and the Bible Studies we have been active in, along with catching up on our respective families.

Dan has been a cowboy for as long as I have known him, working on ranches and such. He works with computers now. Of course I’ve tried to convince him to get off the horse and onto a bicycle. You have to feed a horse to make it go. To make my bike go, I only have to feed me, and I was probably going to do that anyway! Happy trails, friend.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ennis FFA Lion Pride Bike Ride 2010

The third annual Ennis FFA Lion Pride Bike Ride left from the Ennis High School parking lot at 9am, Saturday, October 23rd. The weather was cloudy and drizzly, with a little southerly breeze that made the first rolling hills a little tougher when we made the first turn to the south from Hwy 34.

TJ and I were planning to ride the 35 mile route because we both needed to be finished around 11am, and I thought the ride started at 8am instead of 9am. Since it started at 9am, we opted for the 20 mile route, and went straight through without pausing at the 10 mile rest stop.

There was a railroad crossing about 5 miles into the ride that proved hazardous in its rain-slickened condition, as a rider fell just before we got there. He was okay and continued on, but ride representatives hung around warning the riders about the slick tracks. We all know we should be more cautious in the rain, and things like rail road tracks, storm grates, and even painted road surfaces command an extra level of care.

The smooth roads with little chip seal and the outstanding organization of this rally make it one of the best ones we attend all year. I hope participation continues to improve as the years go by. The FFA works very hard to make this a great rally, and the hamburgers at the end of the ride were great. I will participate in this rally for as long as they continue to offer it.

On a very sad note, one of the participants in the rally this year collapsed about 15 miles into the ride, and he did not survive. One report said he had left the road complaining of chest pain, and collapsed when assistance arrived. My sincere condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to his family and loved ones.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hill Climbing

Today was my grandaughter Atalie's second birthday party in Tyler, Tx. I took my road bike with me, because I knew I wanted to go for a brief ride.

About 4 years ago, not long after I started riding, I tried to climb a steep hill in Tyler and could not make the top without getting off and walking. I've climbed a lot of hills in the past 4 years, but none as steep and long as the one in Tyler. If you know Tyler, the hill is Dulse Street near Green Acres Baptist Church.

My road bike has 27 gears, but to make the hill, I only needed one...the lowest one. I almost NEVER stand on the pedals, but I made it up the hill standing on that lowest gear. I did not have my bike computer on the bike. I do not know how slow one can actually go without falling over for lack of speed, but I would estimate that I crested the hill at 3MPH!

Next week is the Paluxy Pedal at Glen Rose. I hear they have a hill on that ride that only about 10% of the riders make it up. I'll let you know....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 Hotter N Hell Hundred Bike Rally

What a great time we had at the 29th annual Hotter N Hell Hundred bike rally in Wichita Falls Texas this weekend. Since my little heart problem a couple of months ago, I thought it best to ride only 25 miles this year, but it was still a very fun and memorable event.
Both of my sons, TJ and Josh went with me this year. TJ did the 100 miles. That distance on a bicycle is a tremendous test of your endurance. It helps a lot to have a buddy with you to talk to during the ride, and to share the pain with, if you will. To do it alone would be even tougher. TJ is pretty tough.
Josh was my buddy on the 25 mile ride. I really did not want to ride alone, and I am so glad Josh was able to go with me. It was his first bike rally, and the first time he has ridden his bike over about 10 miles at a time. It takes a while to get used to riding long distances on a bike, and I know Josh suffered more than he let on, but I also know he really enjoyed completing his first bike rally.

As you can see in the pictures, we camped out again this year. One does not really get as much sleep as you’d like in a tent surrounded by many other tents, with bright lights shining in the adjacent parking lot, but its all part of the experience.

The bicycle expo had lots of exhibits, and some real bargains if you needed a new jersey (not the state), or gloves or some other biking accessory. We partook of the spaghetti supper on Friday night and the pancake breakfast on Saturday morning.

The rest stops along the route were fabulous. The volunteers are so friendly, and the refreshments are always just what the riders need.

Taking one of the shorter routes this year allowed us to ride through Sheppard Air Force Base for the first time. It is so nice that they mark a course for us to ride through on. They have planes on display, and the airmen and women are out in numbers to cheer and give high fives as we pass through. They man a rest stop, and actually hold our bikes as we get refreshments. God bless our military!
Josh met TJ at the finish line. TJ had been out in the heat for over 9 hours, and really needed a coke!

We had a wonderful time at the 2010 Hotter N Hell Hundred. Next year is the 30th anniversary of this great rally. Start riding a little now, build up some endurance, and go with us next year! You’ll love it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ready for the HHH

In 2008 and 2009, I rode 100 miles at the Hotter n Hell Hundred at Wichita Falls with my son TJ, and 12,000 - 14,000 other cyclists. This year, TJ is still going for the 100 miles, while my younger son Josh and I will be riding the 25 mile route. This will be Josh's first bike rally, and 25 miles will be a good distance for him, and it will be a good distance for me as I recover from my littel mishap on my last rally.

I've been riding about 10 miles every morning before commuting by bike to work, and Sunday afternoon TJ and I rode 15 miles to Palmer and back in the 105 degree heat. There is a cold front rapidly approaching, and we expect the high at the HHH to be in the mid nineties. Josh and I will be finished by mid-morning. TJ will be out in the heat, but probably not as long as 2008 and 2009 when he was having to wait on DAD!

I'm already making plans to do the 100 next year...perhaps both of the sons...and maybe a daughter and daughter-in-law or two...will join us? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Riding with the Mrs.

It has been fun riding in the dark mornings for the past few weeks because Mrs. Bicycle Bill has been getting up with me at 5:30AM to ride. We both have lights on the bikes, and in town the streetlights help a lot.

Today we rode especially hard, as we got a good, early start and I thought we could get 10 miles in. We almost made it, as my odometer showed 9.8 when we locked the bikes back up. We also averaged almost 13 miles per hour, which is pretty good for in town with traffic and stop signs and such, although in the early mornings we actually see very few automobiles. We can find a number of small hills to climb on our early morning rides, and today I think we found all of them! We are both feeling them a little, but she actually thinks that is a good thing!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Macho Bicycle Bill

Last Saturday, I went to the local hardware store to purchase some U-bolts to attach a front rack to my commuter bike. Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from the sitcom Home Improvement made it especially cool for guys to go to the hardware store. There’s so much stuff to look at, projects to dream of, tools to lust after….(insert barking sounds here).

Unfortunately, I failed to take pictures of the trip to the hardware store. However, my daughter came in from Hawaii (vacation, she doesn’t LIVE there) and offered to buy a pedicure for me. At this point I should probably lie and say I’ve never had a pedicure before, and I only went because I had not seen my daughter in a while and she BEGGED me to go. That would not be honest. I’ve had several pedicures, the first was on a cruise about four years ago.

Frankly, I really enjoy having a pedicure. My feet have never felt better, and after they finish with the toes, they massage your feet and legs…(insert barking sounds here)…and I did take pictures at the nail salon.

So here is Bicycle Bill's daughter, Mrs. Bicycle Bill, and Mrs. Bicycle Bill's mom. Who sang that song "Macho, Macho, Man"?

Fat Tires

If you go back and read the early history on this blog that tells about my first foray into bike riding since I was a kid, you’ll see that I started out with a mountain bike. After a couple of long rides on the mountain bike, I soon desired a road bike for the long rides, and maybe became a bit of a bike snob about it, because I had been told that the mountain bikes were “wrong” for the rallies, even though I had done away with the knobby tires in favor of road slicks.

Well I haven’t exactly abandoned the skinny tires, but I have fallen in love with my hybrid bike in just a few weeks of riding it on my morning 7 to 10 mile rides in town and for commuting and errands. It is not just the width of the tires, though that is part of it. It is more the lower tire pressure that the wider tires require. I generally run 100 psi in the skinny tires on my road bike. That tire pressure is necessary for a clydesdale rider like me to avoid pinch flats and possible rim damage from hitting pot holes and other road hazards in town.

The wider tires run about 70 psi, so they absorb more of he bumps in the road. If someone asks me what kind of bike I’d recommend they consider for their first time back on a bike in a while, I’d probably suggest a hybrid today. If they really want to get into riding long distances at rallies and such, then the road bike is the way to go, but if most of their riding will be done in the city, I’d have to say the hybrid is the bike of choice.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mrs. Bicycle Bill's Birthday Bike Ride!

Today is Mrs. Bicycle Bill's Birthday! She did not HAVE to ride her bike to her birthday dinner, but she wanted to! Plus, she wanted to get a few miles in before we stopped to eat, so we road North from home, then back South to Don Jose's for delicious Mexican Food. We try to eat light on bike rides, but that's kinda hard at Don Jose's. We made a total of about 8 miles, had a wonderful time, and no, I don't think we broke any speed limits on the way home!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Road ID

I would be remiss if I did not tell you about one very important piece of "equipment" that I always have when I'm on my bicycle, and, since my recent experience, I have it all the time. It's called a Road ID, and it gave the doctors in the emergency room my wife's and son's phone numbers so they could get in touch with them while I was having my recent heart attack. I think the picture speaks for itself. Click on the picture to make it bigger if you want to read what I have engraved on mine. You can get one at

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Spinning and Coasting

Back on the bike again two weeks after the heart attack.

Two weeks ago, I left the Cow Creek Country Classic Bike Rally in this helicopter for a quick, ten minute ride to Baylor Hospital in Dallas.

Spinning on the bike refers to staying in a low, easy gear and spinning the pedals rather than hammering down in a high gear. Everyone knows what coasting is, and so went my ride today for the first ride of any distance since the heart attack two weeks ago.

Early this morning, while the streets were still damp from the rain, I “spun and coasted” to Starbucks for the typical breakfast of oatmeal and and bold, black coffee. I stayed there for a while and worked on tomorrow’s Sunday School lesson, then leisurely rode home.

Hey! I’ve got a new old bike! I purchased this bike just to get the 700C wheels for the Trek 510 that I recently rebuilt, but the bike is so relaxed and comfortable, I put my fenders and rack on it and plan to use it for my commuter and errand bike. It is a 1993 Trek 700 Multitrack. This bike has wide tires that are very comfortable, although it would not have been considered a “high end” bike when it was new. It has a very basic 18 speed drive train with twist grip shifters. I’ll never ride it 100 miles in one day, but for commuting and errands, I really like it.

I left the house again around 11:30 to get a little more spinning and coasting in.

It was good to get back on these two local streets, Preston and Sleepy Hollow. I've ridden on them so much, they seem like old friends. Dirty, wet, bumpy old friends!

Today was humid, but not unbearably so, and the cloud cover is keeping the temperature tolerable.

I put in another 7 miles, stopping for lunch after about 5 miles at Los Aztecas Market. I had the chicken quesadillas with rice and beans, and it was muy bueno! Mrs. Bicycle Bill and I have stopped there to eat several times, and we have never been disappointed.

So I'm feeling great! I have a followup visit with my cardiologist in early August, and I expect him to order a stress test to see how the old ticker ticks, but as far as I am concerned today, Bicycle Bill is BACK!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Cow Creek Country Classic Heart Attack

Several folks have asked "what happened?", so here it is!

It was a really beautiful start to the Cow Creek Country Classic Bike Ride. With a 7:30 am starting time, the weather was still pleasant. Rhonda went with me to ride the 19 mile course with our friend Jenny Vidrine, and my son TJ and friend Joe Vidrine were riding with me on the 36 mile course.

I've never felt better on my bike than I did at the beginning of this rally. TJ rides faster than Joe and I so he wasn't always right with us, but would allow us old guys to catch up from time to time, and I knew we'd see him at the rest stops. Joe and I have not known each other long, but had a lot to talk about...much about bikes, but other stuff, too. The first ten miles seemed to fly by...very few hills to climb, and the wind was mostly at our backs.

Just as we left the 10 mile rest stop, I got a flat on my rear tire. (Of course it was the rear tire, it's ALWAYS the rear tire!) While I was fumbling around wasting two co2 cartridges, some guys from Mad Duck Sports stopped and repaired it. Bicycle shops are represented at almost all of the rallies, and what a great assistance they are. I was back on the road in no time!

The next 10 miles had more hills and was more into the wind, but I still felt GREAT! Maybe it was the nice conversation with Joe that made this ride seem so easy, but it really was never a struggle, until....

At 19 miles we passed a bike car wash, and I thought maybe it was also our next rest stop, but there were not a lot of bikes there, so we rolled on by. Sometime during the next mile I began experiencing some chest discomfort. I felt like if I could rest for just a few minutes, it would pass (it has always done so before), but we still needed to make it to the next rest stop. The discomfort was bad enough that I began to get concerned that the car wash had actually been a rest stop, so there would not be another one until another 10 miles passed. I told Joe that I needed to stop so I could check the map, so we rode on to the top of the next hill and pulled off the road.

Neither Joe nor I will ever be known as cartographers. I'm still not sure where we were, but Joe was pretty sure the next rest stop was close, so we pressed on. It was only about a mile or so to the next rest stop, but it was a long way for me, The "discomfort" in my chest was moving towards "pain". When we got to the rest stop (it was about 12 miles from the previous one), rather than head straight for the water and sports drink as I usually do, I laid down in the first shade I could find. It was the shade of the port-a-potties, but still shade!

Joe had told TJ that I was not feeling well, and when TJ checked on me, the pain was going through my chest to my back. I have never failed to finished a ride like this, and it was a hard decision to make, but after TJ gave me some Gatorade, I told him to let Joe know that I was gong to SAG on to the finish, and TJ loaded my bike in the back of the SAG truck.

I actually felt bad about dropping out. I figured that after I was in the truck for a few minutes, the pain would subside, and I would regret my decision. I REALLY like to ride my bike. The pain did not subside, and actually intensified, so I had Rob Cagle, the SAG driver, take me to the hospital ER.

A LOT of stuff happened there, but in summary, there was an elephant on my chest that needed to get off! They asked me on a scale of 1-10 how intense the pain was, and I chose "8" most of the time. I figured it was at least two steps short of having a baby.

It seemed like a long time before the pain subsided, but probably was a lot less time than it seemed to me. I had three nitroglycerin pills, one aspirin, three shots of morphine (gotta love that stuff) plus some other stuff that I don't know what was. Eventually, they gave me the "clot buster" and it worked., By the time the helicopter came to fly me to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, the pain was gone.

It only takes 10 minutes to get to Dallas by helicopter, and since I was feeling okay, I looked out the window like a tourist. The flight was smooth with very little turbulence, so aside from being strapped to a gurney, I enjoyed it.

I can not say enough about the care I got at Baylor Waxahachie and from the care flight team. I thank God for them.

I also have to thank my beautiful wife, Rhonda for the strength and encouragement she gave while I was in the ER, and TJ for "riding like the wind" to get to he hospital. He got the call that I was in the ER and was probably 7 miles away. He looked for a SAG vehicle to carry him, but there wasn't one, so he raced to the hospital on the big chain ring and little sprocket all the way! You'd have to be a cyclist to know what that means, but it means a LOT to me. Some other riders were following him, thinking he was just racing for the finish line...he had to stop and tell them he was headed for the hospital. Sure hope those guys aren't still lost in Waxahachie.

I can't say enough about how our friends Joe and Jenny dropped everything to help us out. They took care of Rhonda and the bikes, plus got the prayers started for me.
I had not been in my hospital room 5 minutes before Doug and Pam Stokes arrived, and soon after, my room was overflowing with friends and family. My prognosis is good...I'll have a heart catheter on Monday to check it out, but I don't expect them to find anything. Thanks to all of the professionals, friends and family, I'll be back on the bike in no time. Thank you all for your continued prayers.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Preston Street Garage Sale Saturday

This beautiful, tree lined street is one of the main thoroughfares from North Ennis to downtown. There are beaufiful homes on either side of the street that comprise the Templeton McCanless Historic District, where many of the homes were constructed in the early 1900's. We live on just North of the historic district, and our house was built in 1945. For the past several years, neighbors along Preston have held simultaneous yard sales during the first weekend in June.Although the temperature would eventually reach the century mark for the first time this year today, the morning was perfect for two wheeling around town. I started at Starbucks for my most common breakfast of loaded oatmeal and strong black coffee.

These pictures show just a couple of the sales. Baylor Baptist Church had a sale on their vacant lot that benefited the children's ministry. At another sale, I saw a heavy duty bike rack for sale for $200.00. That's a pretty high ticket item for a yard sale, but I sure would like to see some racks like that installed around town.

Most folks I know don't take the time to read the historic markers in their own hometown. Ennis started out as a railroad town and both my father and grandfather worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Ennis has a really nice railroad museum, really worth going to see. My father also used to tell me about Miss Katie Daffan. Apparently she was somewhat of a local character, but a brilliant lady who made significant contributions to the state's literature and journalism.

I rode out to Braums for lunch, not EXACTLY on my low cholesterol diet, but maybe I rode enough to cycle through the extra calories!

After lunch I rode out to the hospital to visit a friend. Ennis is very fortunate to have this medical facility in our community, and it took a significant effort by the city and the hospital in partership to have this beautiful new building as part of our town.

I spent several hours on and off the bike today, from about 7AM til 2PM. The weather was great, and from a bicycle, you get to interact with so much more than you can in an automobile. I posted this last picture to show the newest addition to the bike I rebuilt as my commuter bike...fenders! They aren't too important on a day like today, although they did keep water from splashing up on me when I went through the Baylor street railroad underpass that was still holding water from the last rain.

Til next time...tailwinds!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rebuild and Repaint an Old Bicycle

After the rim on the real wheel on my commuter bike cracked, I decided to upgrade it to a more modern wheels. I put the 700C wheels from my Fuji road bike on just to make sure the brakes would reach, and noticed some popping coming from the bottom bracket, so I thought it should be overhauled. I had previously noticed a small amount of rust occurring around the braze ons on the top tube that the rear brake cable runs though, so while I was going to be "almost" down to the frame anyway, I decided to take it on down to just the frame and fork and repaint!

This is what the bike looked like when I started. It is a 1983 Trek 510 that I have had for about 3 years and have really enjoyed. I rode it on the first Hotter 'N Hell 100 at Wichita Falls, and now I use it as my main commuter bike.

Mrs. Bicycle Bill came out and took this photo. Perhaps you can tell...I REALLY enjoy doing this!

I painted the frame with black semi-gloss automotive paint.

In case you've never seen one, this is what the parts inside an old bottom bracket look like. There is more to the disassembly than meets the eye, but it is really not too difficult with the proper tools.

Here is is, all greased and back together in the frame.

With everything off the bike, it was a good time to clean all the parts that are hard to clean. This is the dirty chainrings. I cleaned them both, but only put the smaller ring back on, because I seldom use the large ring for riding around town, and also decided to remove the front derailleur.

Dirty rear derailleur.

Rear derailleur all cleaned up and back on the frame!

Here it is, all back together! I had enough shifter cable to replace it. When I get the new wheels, I will also get new brake cables and housing, and probably some new fenders. This will be just like a having a new bike...I feel like a kid in a candy store. I'm really looking forward to riding this one again!