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Tales from the Log of the Ruptured Duck

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,482
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82
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
ONE LEG LEFT

After a good ride of14 miles yesterday, we have just one leg left of the Heartland Trail from Alma to Greenville. We rode NE’ly from Stanton back to McBride, where we had stopped a few days ago. Once we got back to Stanton, it was time for lunch and ice cream. Then, we went SW’ly to the bridge on the West Branch of Fish Creek.

The weather was perfect - 75 degrees, blue skies, low humidity. And, did I mention the ice cream? Wildlife that we see includes white tail deer, sandhill cranes, song birds, barred owls, box turtles, and pet dogs There were lots of people out yesterday. Some couples had kids/grandkids along, some had dogs. Some on bikes, some afoot, and one couple on rollerblades. We would meet and remeet folks, swap stories, and learn about various kinds of gear.

We’re planning a multi day trip for a few weeks from now on a couple of other trail systems. May carry the camp gear on the bikes, or in small trailers
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
13,482
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
BIKING IN THE CATHEDRAL OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Since early childhood, I’ve been an admirer and lover of Nature. From the time I was 3 years old, I was outside most of the day. (Looking back, maybe Mom did that out of self defense?)

Sunday morning, Charlie and I met, then drove to the minute town of Sydney. Which introduces another realm additional to the Great Outdoors - Midwest Small Town Americana. Small towns are all different, and all the same. They represent abbreviated examples of full sized cities, in more compact packages. Sydney is too small to have a McDonald’s. Instead, the Meijer Heartland Trail runs through the town, bringing in people, business, cultures, etc.

These bike trails are on abandoned railroad (RR) rights of way (ROW). In the 1800s, when the RRs obtained the land, some of it was actually done legally and honestly. But, not a lot of it. The anger lived on in those farming families right up to the present. Originally, the RRs ran along a string of settlements and lumber camps. Trains hauled the finished lumber to markets, mostly to Chicago and Detroit.

Much of Michigan was originally forested with white pine. That was a profitable lumber tree. After those forests had been stripped off the land, setllers moved in and started thousands of small farms. My great-grand parents on both sides of my family were some of those farmers. So, the RRs eexpanded ro service the small towns, hauling farm produce out, and city produce back in.

Unhappily, RRs were owned and managed by men who were pretty much arrogant, bull headed, and ambitious. They dictated what was going to happen. They were able to get away with that up til into the middle of the twentieth century. Then trucking grew to the capacity where they could challenge the railroad industry. But, in most cases, blind arrogance prevented RR management from recognizing the changing business culture until they ran themselves right out of business.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) took over the land being abandoned by bankrupt RRs.. Someone had the idea of “Rail to Trails”, and over 10,000 miles later, Michigan has many, many scenic trails. Fredric Meijer, a businessman who started a chain of grocery-department stores in Michigan, donated many thousands of dollars to develop some of those trails.

The Meijer Heartland Trail runs from the refinery/college town of Alma, W’ly about 45 miles to the little burg of Edmore. There, it turns SW’ly, and runs about 50 miles to the town of Greenville. It’s hard surfaced full length, and almost all of its 98 mile length is in farmland.

Most of the trail Has trees along both sides. .The standard RR ROW was 100’ wide. They could run the roadbed anywhere within those borders. The roadbed has to be rock solid stable soil, of high load-bearing capacity. To get that, the soil has to be dry - fully, totally dry. So, when they had to cut through flat land, they dug a ditch along both sides for drainage, and used that soil as fill dirt to raise the actual roadbed. These systems of raised roadbed with flanking ditches are typically 40’-50’ wide, typically leaving the remainder as was. Those remainders are usually wooded. Within every 3-4 miles is an area that is physically suitable for camping, some better than others.

So, I am in three realms that are Lifetime favorites.. (1) The Cathedral of The Great Outdoors being the largest. It contains (2) Midwest Small Town Americana. And that realm contains (3) the Northwoods. I grew up in these realms, learning to love and appreciate them, but being a kid, I took them for granted. Having started out to tell of a 2 day bike trip, I’ve gone all around Jack Robinson’s barn to describe where we were, and still haven‘t told about the ride.

We arrived in Sydney. Having driven 80 miles to get there, locals had beaten us there. We see many older couple on the trails. Also younger families with kids. (They’re my favorites.) Another group is speed nuts who ride at 20-25mph. Walkers populate the trails in and near towns. By the time you’re one or two miles out of a town, walkers are non-existent. Almost everyone waves and smiles. The speed nuts just nod or grunt. As you pass through a town, and by houses along the trail, there are little, mown paths connecting to the trail. PEOPLE USE THESE TRAILS. Young parents with strollers walking and talking with friends are another portion of the users.

Anyway, from Sydney, we rode about 10 miles SW’ly to Greenville. There, we walked the bikes through a McD’s drive through, and enjoyed hot fudge sundae for lunch. (They are proof.that God loves us.). On the ride back up to Sydney, we took a rest. I stretched out on a roadside lawn, under a big, old white oak tree. This olde man needed that break.

Arriving back at the vehicles, we unlimbered the camp gear and loaded up. I was packed in 4 saddlebags. Charlie had along Dewey, his Australian sheep dog, so his 5 saddlebags were supplemented with a small trailer for Dewey. We rode a bit over 4 miles to a spot we had previously scouted, walked the bikes through and around brush, and onto a beautifully wooded bench of land.. Charcoaled steak for supper. On the trail or on the river, we cap off the day with a shot of scotch, and a seegar.

Weather was cool, and the down bag felt good. Along about 02:00, we were awakened by coyotes. They had evidently made a kill, and were howling to celebrate. What bothered me was the number of howlers. It had to take 20-30 individual coyotes to have all of that howling and yipping going on all at once. Concerning. A rough estimate would be 1/2 to 1 mile away. About 05:00, was a repeat performance, but closer! I judged about 1/4 mile away. It elevated from concerning to worrisome. Though coyotes aren’t noted for attacking humans, we had along a dog. And nylon tents and hammocks are no defense to that many coyotes.

They didn’t bother us any more. We woke up about 07:15, packed up and rode back to the vehicles. Biking in Michigan is fantastic. It is in other locales too.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
13,482
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
I missed a chance for a good bike ride yesterday. ANOTHER d@mned inner tube blew out the valve stem. The tire is supposed to have 65psi, but the crappy tubes seem to not take much over 50-55. Tomorrow, I’ll go to a bike shop and get tubes with steel valve stems.

i will not buy slime tubes, or ones with inflation jackets around the valve stem. I found both types are not reliable at all.

Maybe others have had similar experiences?
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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I have had a flat a while back and it was from the tube rubbing on the inside of the rim. Actually it was rubbing against the part of the spokes that are inside the rim. It's not a over night thing it took a couple of years to actually cause the problem. The bike shop put some rubber liners inside the rim so the tube is protected by it and have not had any more tire trouble. Since then both of the Recumbent bikes and my Mountain bike have the rubber liners inside the rims.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
13,482
91
82
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
You’re right, that rubber band liner is a good idea. Some spoke tips stick through so far that you have to file them down smooth.

They fix a different problem than I have been experiencing. My inner tubes were constructed with an inflatable jacket extending out of the inner tube, and up around the full length of the valve stem! So a thinly-sided little tube was inflated to 65psi OUTSIDE of the tire. The tire pressure is 65, but the tube can’t withstand much over 40-45. When first installed they hold. But, after a few months they blow.

I went to a local bike shop and bought two inner tubes with steel, valve stems that are held in place with a locknut. They cost about $2-$3 more per tube. I fully expect these to last several years.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Thanks for the tip on tightening. I suppose there is flexing in a spoked wheel assembly during riding? Hadn’t really thought much about it. I stuck with Schrader valves. No big reason, just habit, I guess.

BIkes are very efficient. It takes about 4-8 miles on a bike to equal calories burnt in walking only one mile.
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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BIkes are very efficient. It takes about 4-8 miles on a bike to equal calories burnt in walking only one mile.
Ever think the difference might be having the ability of coasting on a bike ? :D

I'm sure it's the amount of distance required with each step compared to the distance of each revolution of the tires. The larger the diameter of the tire the greater the distance with each revolution. Think about the distance with a Uni Cycle and 60 inch tires. WOW !!!
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
It’s strictly a horsepower thing. It’s so good that, if a human were transporting cargo, say, 50 pounds, it takes less power (energy over a distance during a time span) to push a bike that is carrying that 50 pound load, than if the person was carrying the load directly! and had no bike! Wheels and axles roll much easier than feet step. And hurt less than sore feet and aching backs.

Bikes, like boats, are one of the funnest, best things you can do with your clothes on.
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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Pardon me , I did not use any specificity with my previous statement.......

I'm thinking of the set distance to be traveled either by walking or by riding bike over that one mile. Which would be quicker and require less effort and calories.
Like we really did not know. :Do_O;)

My average step from the right heal to the left toe is 28 inches.
One revolution of my Mountain bikes tire is 87 inches which is three times ( 84 inches ) the distance of the one step with 3 inches left over for later.

One tire revolution is equal to three steps. Every 3 revolutions saves me three additional steps ( 28 X 3 = 84)
Golly !!! That might be why I can get places three times faster on the bike then when walking. LOL, LOL LOL.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
What we really need, are those little wings on the backs of our feet. We could fly like Mercury then. You’re getting operations on your eyes; I’m getting surgery on my right knee. The doc really will be a sawbones!
 

jdupre'

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Sep 9, 2007
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South Louisiana
I'll play. LOL. When you walk, you are lifting more than your body weight when you push off with each step. If you don't believe that, watch the scale when you step off of it. The scale goes up a LOT. With a bike, the wheels are supporting your weight and you are using a fraction of that power to move the pedals. I read where one guy described the efficiency of a bicycle as "100 miles with a ham sandwich worth of energy".
 
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Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
13,482
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
I think the 100 mile estimate is a bit stretched, but I would vouch for 10 miles on a ham sandwich worth of energy. My fitbit reports a discouraging 300-400 calories for about 10 miles on a bike. And that’s in the next-door neighborhood of a ham sandwich, by golly.
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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A true Ham Sandwich is with slices from a Honey Cured Ham , about two or three decent slices. A little of the Ham juice from the roasting pan with the ham is OK. A combined thickness of no less then a 1/4 inch , more is always better. Any Ham hanging/sticking outside the bread is considered a bonus. After all no one makes a neat/trimmed Ham Sandwich.
Next some mustard ( Yellow ) Frenches. Topped with a well aged Sharp Cheddar cheese , enough to cover all of the Ham. Then some lettuce and all of it between two thick toasted slices of Sour Dough Bread.
Garden fresh sliced Tomatoes is considered as a optional ( Seasonable ) item.
Or all of the above between some Buttery , Garlic , Texas Toast.