Saturday, December 29, 2012

Project: Bike Fork Lamp

Some of you might have seen this over on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Regardless it seemed worth of posting here.

This past week I was able to spend back in the homelands. Unlike most trips where I bring back a bike with me, I wasn't able to this time but I did bring with me items for projects I had rolling around in my head.  Since a vast majority of all of my tools are bike related, when I head to Iowa my fathers workshop is often calling my name - along with his expertise.

This project started back in July when I saw this over on Bike Rumor. Looking at it, I thought simple enough and over the last few months I have been looking for a frame I might cut apart to make my own. As Christmas fast approached and with no promising leads I realized the old fork off of Red would work perfectly as a lamp. So I gathered it up with an old Cannondale crosstop brake lever and a quick release - then drew up a simple design for the rest while explaining it to my father once I arrived in Iowa.

I'm super pleased with how it turned out and it seems like I have inspired a few others to try to make their own and had some wanting me to make more. Which begs the question...

Would you buy one if they were available?
If so, for how much?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NDJR/20 Liters: Day 12

DAY 12 -

Snow finally arrived in Holland but nothing to go home about. As the day progressed and the sun came out, much of the snow melted away besides a little on the grass. What was on the pavement during the day was the crunchy, not slippery kind so there was nothing to worry.

I was able to be the Cannondale switch back over to all it's glory (meaning, minus the rack) and then simply do a mini-tune-up on it to make sure everything was dialed.

The simple joys of working on a bike.

Nothing special to report today other than with today's miles I cross into the hundreds!


Totals to date:
Miles today: 4.8 miles

Overall miles: 103.4 miles

Sponsor a mile. Change a life. Donate here.

NDJR/20 Liters: Holland to Grandville... and back.


It was never the miles that made me nervous about commuting into Mars but the elements. How to be prepared and how to be safe - and strangely enough as I sit and wrote that it dawned on me that those are probably strikingly similar questions to what those seeking out clean water might have.

Yet again, I am in the privileged position of choosing to do this because I can, not because I have to and that difference is extremely important.

As far as the ride goes.

It was good, as far as the ride into Grandville went, I encountered from the get go a head wind which lowered my speed quite dramatically.  The temperatures on departure were slightly above freezing but I knew as I moved further east the temperatures were going to drop and the chances of some form of precipitation increased.

The ride along the highway took me quickly back to this summer and riding on roads with traffic going 55 mph+ which quickly brought a smile to my face. Although there were narrow parts along the highway shoulder for the most part I was able to stay a safe distance from the road itself.

Then I hit Hudsonville - a little over halfway and a rain/snow mix hit and began to collect on my arms and face. At this point it felt much like riding in the rain during the summer, outside of the temperature, the rain/snow didn't hurt when it hit. That was until I made it outside of Jenison when the snow faded, the rain turned more to a hard sleet. This was not fun, it hurt when it hit my cheeks but especially when it would hit my lips or the part of my ear that wasn't covered.

Fortunately, this was the final leg of the commute in with the most traffic and I was able to push through and arrive at Mars - taking around 1 hour and 45 minutes, if that gives you any idea of the head wind speed.

During my ride in, I received a tremendous amount of support and 'likes' from friends and individuals who were tracking my progress - many of whom also are involved at Anthem. Many voiced concerns about the ride back to Holland, being that it was going to be at night (leaving around 10:15p) and the uncertainty of the road condition due to the weather in the 8 hours between arriving and leaving.

I wasn't too concerned. I did fear ice, not snow but I knew that it was going to be warmer as I made it towards Holland so the question was how bad was it going to be in Grandville and for how long?

The roads proved to be in great shape. During the ride they were simply wet but had not iced over.

There was very little traffic on the roads and highway which allowed for me to experience a very still and beautiful ride home.  In many ways it allowed me to remember and rest in why I was doing but provided a time of reflection and prayer that I had not had in some time.

I did have one interesting encounter some where between Hudsonville and Zeeland. From the picture above you can get a glimpse of how far down the road I could see.

As I was riding, enjoying the slightly erie calm of the night, I saw some thing randomly weaving back and forth across all the lanes of traffic. And by saw, it might be better said I glimpsed movement. It was just out of the range of the lights to give a clear idea of what this was.

Could it be an animal of some sort?
Could my eyes be playing a trick on me?

I grabbed one of my lights, lifting the beam slightly higher to then reveal a reflector on the back wheel of the bike this person was riding down the middle of the highway on.

Yes, I jumped (or at least my heart did). This could be from recently watching a few episodes of the Walking Dead or the fact that I'm also reading World War Z - but my mind immediately went to thinking, 'this is how the zombie apocalypse begins'. Needless to say, a quick shift of gears and wave to the mysterious rider and I was off and past them in no time.

A mile down the road, I sat back and laughed at what I had just experienced and then said to myself 'I will call you Walker'.

In the end, I made it back safe to Holland in slightly over an hour. A great commute.

A huge thanks goes out to NDJR contributors Tom - for supplying me with an additional light - and Geoff who made some great suggestions on how to keep my feet and hands dry (I'll post on that later), along with all of you who gave me encouragement during the day.

Remember, you can still donate to my campaign until I reach my 140 mile mark (tentatively reaching that late next week).

Totals to date:

Overall miles: 98.6 miles

 Sponsor a mile. Change a life. Donate here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

NDJR/20 Liters: Prep


Tomorrow, I ride from my home in Holland to Mars Hill in Grandville - 35.4 miles round trip.  I stated upon starting this campaign that I would commute regardless of weather to 140 total miles. You might remember that this trip into Grandville was suppose to conclude the campaign, but due to my gorilla math and not factoring in a week off for Thanksgiving and being sick - the roughly 40 remaining miles will be ridden in the following days.

Well, tomorrow calls for 70% chance of precipitation - yes, that means snow and rain. But the temperature in Holland is not suppose to go below freezing, although in Grandville is it will be a few degrees cooler.

This all means that I needed to seriously consider whether to switch wheelsets over to my knobby 'cross tires or stick with my slicks. The dilemma was simple - knobby tires will work better in snow, slicks often better on ice.  I've landed on knobby and will play around with tire pressure. I also installed a rack onto the rocketship for the sole purpose of carrying on of the 20 liter jerry cans on it to help promote and hopefully help answer the question running through every rider on the highway that passes of 'Why are they riding/on this road in December?'

Since winter decided to finally show up here in West Michigan I fished out all my gear and prepared for layers.  Which go as followed:

_ Long Sleeve Baselayer
_ Short Sleeve Jersey
_ Fisher Long Sleeve Wool Jersey
_ Cannondale Jacket, with detachable sleeves and will start out as vest.

_ Tights
_ Chrome Knickers
_ Wool Socks
_ Shoe covers

I'm also going to run 2 front headlights for my return trip in the evening and 4 rear taillights so hopefully I'll be seen.  It should be an exciting day! Be sure to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for posts along the way at @adamlorenz or #ndjr20liters.

You can still sponsor a mile by clicking here.

Totals to date:

Overall miles: 63.2 miles

Sponsor a mile. Change a life. Donate here.

Teaching Respect

Maybe we this sort of thing should happen more often...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NDJR/20 Liters: Day 11

DAY 11 - Cold.

Another day. Another ride. December in Michigan, it should be cold right?

And the last few days of warmth have spoiled me and left me to think how different my commute from Holland to Grandville this Sunday will be. 60% chance of rain and temps in upper 30s - bike selection, gear and tire selection are all the table with having to consider ice being the roads for the evening return.

But at the same time, it's exciting.

It's amazing how in a simple act like riding bike, helps to center me - reminding me of what matters, showing me things that I often overlook and refreshes me.

Totals to date:

Miles today: 4.8 miles
Overall miles: 58.4 miles

Sponsor a mile. Change a life. Donate here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NDJR/20 Liters: Day 10

DAY 10 - Got to love technology

The last two days I've been commuting on my Cannondale which has slowly been gaining the name as 'The Rocket Ship' in my mind for the simple reason that this bike would be the closest race-day bike I own - carbon fiber and lightweight/high end components the whole nine yards.  Outside of Red, my Cannondale is my baby - I've ridden the gravel roads of Iowa with it and rode around Lake Michigan this past summer on it.  I have bonded with this bike, I've seen how small amounts of technology and upgrades can be felt and improve.

The timing of switching over to this bike was perfect timing in many ways.

Yesterday I received a check in the mail from another Aunt and Uncle in Iowa supporting this campaign. With their donation, it pushed what has been raised to 121%!!! That's right, I have met the goal and then some and I haven't even gotten reached the 140 mile goal yet! Upon this discovery, I was over on the 20 liters site and saw that they have been improving on the filtering technology which made for an encouraging realization. The new Slow-Sand Filters now can provide 4 families clean water for 10 years!

Yes, that means the original goal of raising $140 to help 7 people, is now going to help around 25 people get clean water!

90 miles to go. I would love it if we could bring in $280 total before I hit the 140 mile mark. Can we do it? Could the simple act of riding a bike, directly effect the lives of 50 people?

I believe it can.


Totals to date:

Miles today: 9.6 miles
Overall miles: 53.6 miles

Sponsor a mile. Change a life. Donate here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

NDJR/20 Liters: Pardon my Absence

DAYS 7,8, &  9 - Pardon my Absence.

When I decided to take on this challenge, it was simple - Ride. Ride 140 miles regardless of weather, raise $1 a mile and give a family access to clean drinking water for 10 years.

With classes for this semester hitting their final push and responsibilities at Mars, I have been running at a rather high capacity and as it normally does - my body does not enjoy this time of year and often pulls me out of commission for a morning or day.

In the most recent case, it was both - last Thursday for the morning and all day Friday. Because of this I was left to choose either letting my body rest and not ride or ride and risk getting worse. I choose to refrain from riding.

Which left me with things to think about and ask myself concerning why I was riding.  As it goes, the question that came to mind is how could I ask others to support this cause financially and not do so myself.  Was I really willing to put my money where my mouth was?

The answer was yes.

Was giving $20 difficult? Yes and no, given being full-time in grad school and not currently having a paying gig - money is tight. Every dime is being counted and going towards some thing. Yet, because I am not driving as much as I normally would 'extra' money began to show itself and the choice became clear.

Giving even a $1 or the $3 you might spend on a latte in the morning has the ability to change a life if we are willing to 'sacrifice' just a little.

Will you join me?

Fortunately, today I was able to get back on the bike today and enjoy this extremely warm/misty weather we are currently experiencing here in West Michigan. It's strange reducing layers at this point of the year.

Totals to date:

Miles today: 4.8 miles
Overall miles: 44 miles

Sponsor a mile. Change a life. Donate here.