Monday, December 20, 2010

Simple boot warmer - for those extra freezy morning commutes

Having been commuting through the winter months for a couple of seasons - thought I'd share a simple little boot warmer I've been using when the temps get below 15º F.


Roaster $ 22.00
Timer  $10.00

Electricity - not sure.  Runs for about 1 1/2 hours maybe twice a week during peak season.

Let's let the pictures do most of the the talking:

As you can see it's a pretty simple arrangement.  The timer kicks on the roaster at about 4:00 am and I head out the door at 6:00.  There are blocks of wood under the boots - keeping the boots from making contact with any of the inner surface - as that could cause unwanted meltage. Also I have flipped and used the liner as a lid - it leaves plenty of room around the boots - again preventing any surface contact.

The temp is set to roughly 135º so's not to cook the booties too much.  By the time I am ready to leave they are warm to the core.  My ride is 45-55 minutes and the result is most pleasant.


Sunday, December 19, 2010


It's been awhile since my last bloggery - but not quite as long as the wait for Salsa's new snowbike:  The highly coveted Mukluk. Why coveted?  Simple really - used to be you'd have to buy a frame - then some big wheels, then some special bottom bracket, then a special adapter for your front derailleur and so on.  By the time one finished spending, even the most obsessive bike geek might start questioning themselves - that's no good.   I had wanted a snowbike since the first time I saw the original Snowcat rims and still have an itch to go try the Iditasport race.   We'll see though - it takes a fair bit of money and planning to do correctly (like, not die) - but seems like a once in a lifetime pursuit.

Back when I first saw the Mukluk in August  I knew I was sold.  After a demo ride on whatever snowbike Bikeman had at the Wicked ride of the East, I got talking to the Bikeman man, and got to talking about the pending shipment of Mukluks.  I ordered mine the next day and it arrived last Wednesday.  Davis at Bikeman emailed  - stating that the bike had arrived on Tuesday - and asked if I wanted it assembled and shipped on Friday or just plain shipped.  That was easy to decide..

So here she is - in front of the basement fireplace - with a little holiday sparkle.   

 I had her built up and ready to go on Thursday night - and took her for a quick spin on the trail out back.  Holy #%^!!!  This thing is different.  Like just different overall - not necessarily bad or good.  At high speeds careening around the driveway and on the trail - she didn't want to go where you pointed her.  At low speeds she was very "turny" if that's a word.  After about a half hour - I had it figured out:  One must fully engage  oneself  "with the bike" if one should like to stay one with the trail.  Not that it mattered much, because if you went off the trail, you just runned everything over. It felt like riding a motorcycle - in that body position, not just subtle steering was required for proper cornering. 

First real ride report:

At this point, lil Rhody is still devoid of snow but the Mukluk was not to be denied.  As it happens we have some beaches in southern New England.  On Friday after some satellite Googling it looked as though there was some promising terrain at Nauset Beach down at the Cape.  Beaches..meh.. Until today  I shyed away from the beach scene. They are always too damn hot and crowded - not really an issue in the middle of December:)

I don't know about you, but often I'll stew up an adventure like this and get all excited only to be slightly let down upon realizing it.  Not so here at Nauset.  This was beyond my expectations. I met one (1) person while riding a total distance of 13 miles.  The beach was pristine, the views and terrain breathtaking.  It took 2 hours to complete the ride from the main parking lot down to the point and back.   Some of that time was spent fiddling with still and video recording of the experience.   I started southbound entirely on the beach - which at times was tough but manageable - then headed back on the jeep trail on the other side of the dunes.  It was easily one of the best "adventure" rides I have ever pursued.   Temps at the house were about 16º when I left at 7:00 am - when I arrived @ 9:00 it was about 43º.  Just plain perfect. 

I present to you a ride down t'the Cape -@  Nauset Beach.

Here's my kind of parking lot:

After a few minutes down from the lot nothing but wind and waves

Down at the point

Heading back on the 4wd trail - it's hillier than you'd think

A great little cabin along the trail - has to be some  seriously good times going on in the summer

 Leaving my new found riding destination behind

Salsa has nailed this "Adventure by Bike" thing.  The Mukluk is  like the Land Cruiser of bikes.  Gussy it up with some excess gear and suddenly you'll find yourself somewhere you normally wouldn't go.  The good times have only begun with this, my new favorite ride.
To the Cape - an official apology.  Sorry I took so long to appreciate what you had to offer. 

I'll be back (off-season at least)