The Roxbury Tavern to Crystal and Fish Lakes is a long-time favorite loop. It works better on a kayak than a bike this year.

Photo by Pam Fornell

Notice the speed limit sign just right of center. This is a road. A detour was required for the ride this week.

The Roxbury Tavern was not your typical country roadhouse. When Tom took it over, he wanted to change the atmosphere and the clientele. He banned smoking, back when banning smoking in a bar was like banning singing in church. He threw out the TV sets, the juke box, and the pool table. He wanted people to sit at tables, eat, talk, and drink, probably in that order. When the kitchen closed, the bar closed and he went home. It closed earlier than any bar I’ve seen.

On tap was Esser’s Best, from nearby Cross Plains. Bud Light and Miller Lite were gone. He served Sunday brunch, with live bluegrass on the back porch. He had nightly specials – his pasta night, with Italian sausage and garlic bread was a favorite (and it was on Wednesday nights, when we ride). He made his own spiced ketchups and served homemade pickled vegetables as appetizers. Burgers and fries were still available, and better with garlic ketchup.

If we stopped for dinner after a ride, we called ahead so Tom knew he’d have a bigger crowd and keep extra staff on hand. He didn’t like surprises. Tom has retired and I haven’t been inside the place since the new owners took over. I’m kind of afraid to, wondering if it looks like a typical country roadhouse again. When the new owners took over, the headline on the newspaper story said “New owners… trade tradition for game day crowds”. They brought back the TV, juke box, and pool table.

P.S. I forgot to mention the car that played chicken with me that evening. I was riding down a flat, straight, open stretch of road when an oncoming small black sedan drifted into my lane. I was riding as close to the edge of the road as a I could. I thought about dismounting and running off the road. I checked the edge and saw that it was grassy and level so I could escape on the bike if necessary. We made eye contact and the driver continued to aim for me. She was clearly not on her phone or distracted. Her left wheels were about three feet off the edge of the pavement. If she kept going straight I would survive. If she swerved further left, I’d head off road or die. I didn’t think she really wanted to kill me, just intimidate me. Just in time, she eased back into her own lane – late enough for intimidation, early enough for it to be a smooth move. I guess you could say, as a game of chicken, I won. It did not feel like a victory. My pants stayed dry.

Adopt-a-Highway (take two)

Due to the lack of motorized transportation (the van brakes broke and no longer brake), the cleanup of our adopted highway is postponed to Sunday, October 13 and will honor the birthday of one of our riders who will be off to Spain and miss all the fun. Come and join us to clean one of the most beautiful miles of road in the county.

The next day will be the Half-fast Fall Ride. We’ll miss our weary traveler off in Spain but hope for another great ride, great food, and some fall color. Great camaraderie goes without saying. We’ll let you know how it went.

The reports are in and The Ride (the benefit for the Carbone Cancer Center) had its best fundraising totals yet. One might say this is remarkable since we didn’t even ride (canceled due to thunderstorms with torrential rains), but maybe that’s why it did so well – no day of ride expenses (but they must have had a lot of bananas to donate to the food pantry). Thanks to those who donated on behalf of the Half-fast Cycling Club, and all other donors.

The Ride 2019 Fundraising total

Floods are back. We usually have spring flooding here, if at all. Last year the river was out of its banks in August. It looks like tomorrow the banks will no longer hold. We know someone who had to sleep overnight in her office due to flooding last night.

Full service Hotel

sleet, freezing rain, goggles?

Tiny balls of ice falling from the sky; like sweeping sand off the steps. Sleet was followed by freezing rain – with the air just warm enough to keep it liquid until it hit the ground (or any surface). Maybe if I’d held off on clearing the sleet, removing the layer of ice would have been possible.

The temperature then dropped below zero just to be sure that salt wouldn’t melt it. Luckily I had sandbags left over from the summer flood and could spread that on the sidewalk. When I saw that the temperature was to drop below zero again, I ordered some ski goggles, as local stores were out for the season. They arrived just in time for these before-and-after pictures.

After a one day trial, preliminary results indicate that I am pro-goggle. The blobs of ice stuck to my eyelashes don’t help visibility, but they do make intriguing sounds when I blink. The smaller dots off to the side of the lens are salt spots, from evaporated tears.

I found some bikes that remained parked through the storm:


Best of all was ice skating down the street. It wasn’t easy taking an ice skating selfie, and I can’t upload the video. I hope you get the idea between the stills and the sound file. Near the end of the sound file you can hear a 180 degree turn, as the ice was getting bad in one direction.

Next up is more snow – 6 to 9 inches expected overnight.

Is that all ya got?

Rode into the moonset on the way to work this morning. Watching it low in the west over the city skyline, I thought setting over the lake would make a better picture. By the time I got to the lake, the moon was nowhere in sight.

Left work in a hard rain. Within the first block, it turned into torrential rain, driven by a 30 mph wind in my face. I grinned and said aloud, “Is that all ya got?” I immediately regretted it and thought, “Be careful what you wish for.” I still had >5 miles to ride (though the wind would be a tailwind in a couple of blocks), my house is still sandbagged, the river is still out of its banks from the last round of storms, and the water has barely receded from its high point. A few roads have reopened. Bridges are out on both sides of Black Earth, where I rode yesterday.

I guess 105 miles in cold rain this summer changed me.

I just received our official totals from the summer. 4324.2 miles (not counting trips into town, doing errands, etc – just the official daily totals), 152,606 feet of elevation gain. Of course, the net elevation change was pretty close to zero – from sea level at the Pacific to sea level at the Atlantic; but don’t tell your legs that the net change was zero. They still have to lift you up those 150,000 feet. Going straight up, that is near the outer limit of the stratosphere. “Space” is typically defined as starting 62 miles up.

And here is the coast-to-coast official portrait. coast-to-coast