Two years later – Bicycle Crashes and Trusting in God

Jeremiah 32:17 – New King James Version (NKJV)

17 ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

Two years ago, our family was rocked by every bicyclist’s worst fear.  Or at least mine – my beautiful wife of many years was hit by a motorist while we were on vacation at one of our favorite spots in Florida.

Enjoying a ride on a separated bike path, one of the safest places one would think to ride, she was cut off by a driver turning off the main road and suffered a number of injuries from the impact.  I recalled the incident, her recovery, and the many people who have helped us in this post at the 5 month mark.

I believe that the Lord gives us the incredible ability to heal from the past through remembering the good in the bad; the life lessons and joy despite the pain.

I remember His Goodness in blessing us with so many people coming alongside to help us through.

I remember the incredible strength of my wife to push through the healing process and “cross that mental line” to start riding again.

I remember the impact this had on me personally to savor each and every day, to hold the moments we have here as precious, and to become even more of an advocate for safe streets.

Everyday life may keep me “busy” – but I will strive to remember my Purpose here.

Ride your Ride, or Run your Race – everyday!

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Enjoying one of our biggest rides together, almost two years later

 

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Family time on trails together, back at it and strong!

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Tandem, resurrected

A few years ago I was blessed with the opportunity (or cursed if you see multiple bike syndrome as a problem) to take a tandem off of a friends hands for free. A mid 80s (I think) Burley Rock N Roll tandem. Old school all steel!

The catch? It had been wrecked. Frame was straight, but it needed handlebars, cranks and chainrings, a new timing chain, wheels were tacoed and a few other random parts.

My goal was to fix it up and install a “child stoker” kit so the little ones could ride with me.

What is such a kit? It is composed of another bottom bracket in a housing that bolts to the stoker seat tube, two more chainrings, connector chain for the whole contraption to attach to the main stoker cranks, an extended stem for a shorter reach and kid-friendly (shorter) cranks.

Well great, just order one up from Burley, right?

Well, no.  Burley doesn’t even make bicycles anymore.  Sometimes this kit shows up on ebay as a whole, sometimes in pieces.

Thankfully I was able to score the “most” unique part of the kit from biding my time on ebay – the bottom bracket.  After that, I was able to re-create the kit with other various pieces and parts.

My own DIY child stoker kit parts list:

  • Burley Child Stoker crank bottom bracket and shell (ebay).  Even this could be fabricated on your own with a square taper BB, a BB shell from a wrecked steel bike and some cutting / welding work
  • “Standard” tandem cranks of any length (I got a used set from ebay)
  • Tandems East Original crank shorteners (ebay)
  • Control Tech Stoker Tandem Bike Stem – extends from 215mm to 255mm (Amazon)
    • However – this was not available in a size that would fit the Burley’s “Captain” seatpost (26.6mm).  So I ordered the 29.8mm (seatpost size) x 25.4mm (handlebar size) version.  On top of all that, the shims weren’t available to span the range from my seatpost to the stem, so I also had to order another seatpost too!  What I ended up with:
  • Chainrings (two) at 110BCD and somewhere close to 40T.  It didn’t matter what # teeth as long as both were the same.  I think I found two 38T rings at the local used bike shop (Lucky Bikes – link below)
  • 7/8/9 speed chain with a Powerlink.  You’ll need to adjust the length based on the chosen location of the bottom bracket.
  • Chainring bolts long enough to “double up” chainrings on the stoker crank (see image below).  A spacer might be needed based on your setup for timing chain clearance

 

Wanting to have the bike ride-able while there is still good weather left in the year, I turned to Lucky Bikes to do all the repair work.  Kip and crew did a great job fixing the beast up.  Rebuilt wheels (one needed a new axle), cassette swapped out to Hyperglide, new handlebars and cork tape, new Michelin tires…  etc…

Once those guys were done I installed my DIY child stoker kit and … Voila!

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Ready for fun family rides!

Anniversary date to the Bakery

BusyWife and I away for a Saturday morning bakery ride together … her first time up the watershed road!

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We got off to a late start in the morning and rolled into the bakery with only a few choices left.  But still it was worth it.

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Back to our starting point, Hotel Domestique.

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Not many places that have “cool” bike parking!

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We enjoyed a late lunch at the cafe:

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And a view from the pool (we would have liked to jump in the pool for the rest of the afternoon!)

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Church Family Camp 2014 – Devil’s Fork State Park

A nice weekend away with church family … although we had some rain during the weekend, we were blessed with some sunshine and a baptism service on Sunday.

Our campsite for the weekend:

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I did get out Saturday morning for hill repeats in the area.  What a difference focused training makes.  The last time I was out here I could only make the hill out of the State Park once or twice.  Now I was repeating it a number of times, and combining it with other climbs in the area…

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Boat ramp signage in the park:

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View of the lake from the boat ramp.

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Looks like some folks getting ready for a Saturday on the water.

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Later in the day the sun came out and we had a grand time down on the “beach.”  The lake levels were down a bit and plenty of sand and clear water to enjoy.

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One of my buddies swimming out to sea…

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Our Boykin Spaniel, Rocket, enjoying ball fetching in the lake!

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And the sand too!

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More great views of the lake.

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Clearest lake I’ve ever been to!

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BLTs for lunch.  Then the rain arrived…

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Some respite for an evening campfire.

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And a baptism service in the rain.  Still, a blessed time with church family.

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2014 Anniversary: Ocean Isle Beach Day 4

Time to drive home and back to reality.  But first, one more walk on the beach.  This was a cloudy morning and showers chased us home all day, but still very pleasant.

Views from the boardwalk:

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Chairs still out from a wedding ceremony the previous day.  Busywife walked down the aisle to me after (thankfully) accepting my proposal to marry me again.  I was a little nervous…

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Low tide and super smooth beach.  Very wide as well – lots of room for riding your beach cruiser.  Next time!

 

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God willing, many more years together!

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thank you Ocean Isle and The Winds, we hope to see you next year!


 

The drive home – more or less to make a note to myself of places to stop next time, and an interesting find.

Given the opportunity, I’d rather stop at indie food establishments than hit the chains.  Whiteville, NC is where we ended up looking for lunch, so we stopped in at “Subsational” instead of Subway.

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Looking for some coffee for some wake-up before the drive back, we stopped into Sophies too…

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Then I noticed this running through the heart of downtown… unused railroad tracks.

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I researched this a bit and it seems this entire line runs from Whiteville to Longs, SC (just outside of North Myrtle).  What a rail-trail opportunity.  As Greenville has seen with the Swamp Rabbit, these things take quite a bit of effort but are worthwhile to the community.  Maybe Whiteville can see something like this someday.  It can only improve the downtown, as I saw a good many storefronts unused.

2014 Anniversary: Ocean Isle Beach Day 3

Yet another beautiful morning at the beach.  There were rain showers here and there, but thankfully we were able to dodge them as they stayed mostly inland from us.

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This loop took us east first, to connect some roads that took us out to some viewpoints, and then back west to Sunset Beach before returning.

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Boat ramp near Seamist Camping resort:

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Inlet View Bar and Grill:

 

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Generally low traffic on these roads, although Beach Drive can be busy.

 

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Shortcut on Shoreline Drive to reach the bridge for Sunset Beach:

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Nice shoulder on the “climb” up to the bridge:

 

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Great views from up top, wider shoulders and a guardrail:

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A few bike lanes in town:

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Sunset Inn, one place we considered but was booked on our dates.  I’m sure it’s nice but I’m glad we ended up at The Winds.

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Getting ready for the “climb” back over the intracoastal

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More afternoon time at the beach.   What a wonderful time just being able to spend time together on the beach and to get some pool time.

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Our last night out … no trip is complete without stuffing yourself silly on Calabash Style seafood.  We decided on Dockside (Calabash NC of course!) and it did not disappoint.  No wait and we even got a table next to the windows.

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The dining room:

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Views from our table:

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I’d show you the huge plate of seafood I ordered but – sorry it’s gone!  Best fried plate of seafood I’d had anywhere.  I ordered the Deluxe Platter – Huge scallops and shrimp, oysters, fish and deviled crab.  When you’re in the area you may prefer one of the all you can eat joints, but I dare you to try and eat all that is served here.  There’s a reason plenty of people are leaving with boxes!