back in March

See you in March….

What I may be imbibing until I return in March...

What I may be imbibing until I return in March…


city lights – cycling

I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow the lights of the city…

Does not a bike capture the best of being young at heart?

you can take the kid off of the bike…


the brightness of the lights – cycling

When I was a kid, we used to have streamers and take baseball cards and use clothespins to attach them so the spokes made them echo a baritone trrrrrrpppppp as we rode. Progress is good,
and cyclist visibility makes all the difference. Here’s to being different.

IMG_1256


the bike as art

Form and function as art

Form and function as art

I don't know if I would commute on this bike, or frame it...

I don’t know if I would commute on this bike, or frame it…

Also posted on 2wheels2kids.wordpress.com


winter cycling thoughts

Cycling in bad weather can still be fun, you just need to dress properly…

layers are what it's all about in winter cycling

layers are what it’s all about in winter cycling

Turn yourself into a layer cake… under-shirt, shirt, fleece, jacket, leggings, jeans, inner socks, wool socks, gloves, ear-band, balaclava will keep you warm. I can promise if you commute to work this way, you will be wide awake when you arrive!

And for those of you in the holiday spirit, we are set to give away at least two bikes to kids at 2wheels2kids.wordpress.com – here’s what we did last year.

Ride safely – and watch out for dark ice.


Gilman Trail – cycling – food and bridges

The Gilman trail, just off of the Fox River trail in Aurora Illinois runs just over twelve miles to Sugar Grove. It was a blustery day, gusty and cold. It starts on an old railroad right of way and I was struck with the thought that who doesn’t think engineers are artists has not contemplated bridges.

A converted rail-road bridge across the Fox river.

A converted rail-road bridge across the Fox river.

Crossing rivers, or highways

crossing the highway in style

crossing the highway in style

Or streams

A little suspension bridge over a stream

A little suspension bridge over a stream

And if you bike back to the Two Brothers Microbrewery at the old roundhouse at the train station in Aurora you can get a craft beer ( Prairie Path Ale ), and food to keep you pedaling in the cold.

Two Brothers Brewery Prairie Path Ale

Two Brothers Brewery Prairie Path Ale

Beer and a mufaletta… a fine lunch for a bike ride and fuel for the last 10 miles home.

Mufaleta.. what's that ? Better try one to find out !

Mufaleta.. what’s that ? Better try one to find out !


philly – cycling and food

It was blustery, I mean windy in Philly when my favorite youngest and her boyfriend took me through the city traffic to the bike path along the Schuylkill river. We had seven hard miles out, and then blew back like leaves tossed in the wind.

Cold, Sunny and windy along a tributary to the Delaware

Cold, Sunny and windy along a tributary to the Delaware

You just don’t go anywhere in Philly without finding something historical, and some of the stonework on the bridges or off the path is outstanding. But when we passed Paine park, which surely must be named after Thomas Paine, the author of “Common Sense” where he railed against primogeniture and the monarchy for the right of the common man, I thought history has a sense of humor. He got a skate park.

Returning, windswept we could see the setting sun reflecting gold against the sky-scrapers, and I was reminded of how the Spaniards must have felt about El Dorado, the city of gold. The city skyline is very nice, and nicely lit at night.

If you get to Philly, stop at Monk’s Cafe for Chimay beer, brewed in Belgium by Trappist monks where it with the restaurant’s wonderful scallops and mussels will fill you with pleasure.

And the one place that is a must visit is the Rim Cafe in South Philly. It is truly the best hot chocolate I have found ( my previous favorite was a little place near Garmisch at the border of Germany and Austria ) but at the Rim cafe, they are passionate about chocolate and everything is hand made. it’s expensive but the drinks are lovingly prepared

Each glass is meticulously prepared

Each glass is meticulously prepared

When they have drizzled the salty caramel, or the dark chocolate and add the molten hot chocolate ( either dark or milk ) you won’t regret it. I almost tried the edible gold cannoli ( but Jan convinced me a $24.00 pastry was over the top )

Here’s two of our drinks almost ready, before they added shavings of chocolate truffle and other amazing toppings…

almost ready... just a perfect cookie, and hazlenut, berry and chocolate truffle shavings to add....

almost ready… just a perfect cookie, and hazlenut, berry and chocolate truffle shavings to add….

Philly – a good place to cycle and enjoy the table.


mackerel sky and food and cycling

We set out to ride along the Des Plaines River but it was a Mackerel Sky – Never long wet, never long dry. At fifteen miles of rain it was time to turn about and admit defeat and try to get warm. There was a bit of color to offset the drab raining sky.

Chris and some of the lovely maple trees along the river

Chris and some of the lovely maple trees along the river

Once back, we were near Bob Chin’s Seafood Restaurant in Wheeling Illinois where ( we were amazed they let out wet muddy selves in ) and I enjoyed a fine clam chowder followed up by mussels and then finished off with a family recipe for dessert unlike any I have tried. It was pie, with the purple base made from potatoes grown in Okinawa which are regular potatoes with the purple color. It is whipped finely with coconut milk and served on a graham cracker and macadamia nut crust and topped with a layer of coconut with a texture like custard and that topped with whipped cream. It was rich and tasty and not overly sweet.

The perfect dessert, unique and satisfying

The perfect dessert, unique and satisfying

Of all the place in Chicago, Bob Chin’s is right up with the Publican in restaurants not to miss. It makes a day cycling in the rain and mud seem not so bad.


iowa, planking, cycling, rootbeer and chicken livers

Iowa was so friendly, and the Wabash Trace so nice that it needs a second post. In Shenandoah at the restaurant called the Depot – you can get a locally crafted root-beer. Rich and smooth with just a hint of anise it was a treat.

Root beer from the Depot in Shenandoah - served in a frosted mug.....

Root beer from the Depot in Shenandoah – served in a frosted mug…..

We stopped at several other nice restaurants, but I couldn’t find one that sourced local Iowa beef, maybe that’s something to find in nearby Omaha which is a larger city, but when I asked the waitress what they recommended everyone said “Onion Rings” and “Chicken Livers”.

Now that's an Iowa onion ring, served at J Brunners

Now that’s an Iowa onion ring, served at J Brunners

I have to admit that all my life I’ve never tried a chicken liver, though my mother a farm girl loved them. So to honor Mom’s memory we tried the chicken livers and they were very tasty.

Breaded hicken livers, mushrooms and provolone - rich and tasty

Breaded hicken livers, mushrooms and provolone – rich and tasty

Maybe this is Iowa foie gras? It was pretty good but very rich.

So, if we’re going to enjoy the table – we’d better do some extra along the trail…

My favorite oldest daughter planking on a break in the trail

My favorite oldest daughter planking on a break in the trail

Well, we can’t let youth have all the fun….

planking on the bridge over the Nishnabotna river

planking on the bridge over the Nishnabotna river

Safe riding everyone!


wabash trace cycling in Iowa

If the Wabash Cannonball still runs, it runs in Iowa along the Wabash Trace, sixty miles of delightful trail in Iowa. The original Cannonball, as legend goes was the death caboose that took the hobos of the depression to a better place. I suppose I’ll defer my ticket till a later date and trust my bicycle along the converted trails.

Iowa is prettier than I imagined with it’s rolling hills and miles of grain. Some of the hills are terraced to conserve the soil, and I could feel the farmer’s love for the land as we rolled along the converted trail, with 73 bridges along the 63 miles and the gentle long inclines that the old steam engines so favored.

The Wabash Trace near Shenandoah Iowa

The Wabash Trace near Shenandoah Iowa

The many bridges span ravines, little streams or the Nishnabotna River…

Across the river and onward....

Across the river and onward….

Pictures don’t do Iowa justice. On the cold blustery day the sky is so blue and brilliant the vistas so large I liken it to the ocean. We a red-headed woodpecker, a black vulture flew overhead and a state where the goldfinch is the state bird has to be just fine.

Every hill has a new vista

Every hill has a new vista

You can hop on the trail at Council Bluffs, and ride the length in a day, the hills are gentle but long and the people of Iowa seem to be friendly. This trail and all the bridges are all volunteer build, so there is a small fee at the trailhead. It’s very worth it to see a piece of history in a great state.