Tag Archives: biking

The Hiawatha Trail

We took our kids on the Hiawatha Trail. It used to be part of the Milwaukee Railroad.

“It was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The “Route of the Hiawatha” is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.”

Now they’ve covered the tracks with dirt and you mountain bike over it.  It’s a beautiful path.  We put tag-a-longs on the back of my bike and Kevin’s so that the two youngest road with us and our oldest road his own bike.

The first 1.6 miles are in a completely black tunnel.  You have to wear headlamps or a bike light to make it.  On both sides of the tunnel there are 18 inch ditches for water runoff.

(I highly recommend learning to ride with a tag-a-long and kid before entering a slightly sloped, completely black tunnel with water dripping from the ceiling.  It throws balancing off just a wee bit.)

It took us 3ish hours to get down the path.  It was mostly downhill.  We paused occasionally to read the historic signs along the way and to eat unhealthy snacks.  We thought of riding back up but the shuttle was right there waiting for us.  It was a sign.  And we didn’t realize how tired we were until we sat down.  And closed our eyes.

They drop you off at the end of the tunnel so you have to bike through it again.  Seeing as we were experts at riding our bikes in the dark, it went much faster the second time.
I recommend riding bikes in a dark tunnel.  It makes you feel like you’ve done something incredibly cool and dangerous without actually doing anything cool or dangerous.

We're waiting for endorsement deals.

We’re waiting for endorsement deals.

Cross Chaining

Follow me on a journey where I take a very small lesson in life and twist it to where it applies to life principles found everywhere in the universe.

I recently took my bike in to be fixed because I was pretty certain my husband had messed with it.  I showed the bike store owner (I believe it adds to the story if you know he is about my age, very buff, and very, very knowledgeable about bikes and all things bike related.  Included padded shorts.)  I showed him what was wrong.  He looked at me and told me, “It’s time for some tough love.”  And then he told me I was cross chaining.

(You should google what this is because I’m about to destroy the definition.)

If your chain is on the front large wheel then it should be on the back small wheels.  If your chain is on the front small wheel then it should be on the back large wheel.  If your chain is on the front small wheel and the back small wheels then it is on an angle, or ‘crossing.’  So you shouldn’t ride your bike in every possible gear or you will cross chain and bring your bike into the bike shop thinking it’s broken when you really just don’t know how to ride a bike that has more than 3 gears or wasn’t purchased from JCPenney’s in 1988.

It’s tough love to be told something so basic and yet not exactly obvious knowledge.  If I shouldn’t do something, my bike shouldn’t allow me to do it.  That makes sense to me.  I need my margin for error shrunk to the smallest possible gap.  So that I don’t fall into that gap.

And here is where I enlarge this story to create a metaphor that only works if you read it while squinting.  Learning any basic lesson that you think you should just know is embarrassing.  But we gotta do it.  Because no matter how much we wish we could, we just can’t cross chain through life.

(Ok.  It’s at the very end it kind of comes a part.)

Mine is the one with a first aid kit.

Mine is the one with a first aid kit.


I Fell. And it hurt.

A month or so ago I said I would consider writing a part time job.  I lied.  Big time.  If it really was a job, I’d been fired about 3 days after I’d written that post.  Instead, I’m exercising.  I think I’ll do just about anything to avoid finishing my manuscript.

Yesterday, I ran around a block 7 times.  We ran up hill as fast as we could then recovered the next 3 lengths of the block, making a square.  My friend Cathy and I were the first ones there.  Sarah, the instructor, told the two of us that if I’d worn shorts, she would have cut the number of drills by one.  I wore capris.  I’m buying shorts tomorrow.

Then, after going home, I worried I wasn’t getting enough combination training in.  So I decided to go on a short bike ride. Then I was going to pack a room and write for an hour.  Because I’m nothing if not unrealistic.

I rode about a mile, turned down a side rode, and decided to turn around.  I hadn’t seen anyone on my ride.  Until I decided to turn around.  There were four people in their yard who watched me turn on gravel.  My bike slid out from under me and I slid across the road.  I’m really glad I was wearing capris.

I got up.  The people asked me if I was ok.  I said I was.  I tried to ride away.  My chain was off.  I put it back on before one of the guys got to me to help.  I was feeling really tough.  Until the air hit my arm which was missing a layer of skin.  Then I felt like calling my husband on my cell and telling him to come get me.  But I made it home.

Kevin wouldn’t clean out my wound.  He told me to shower.  He mentioned something about me being mean when hurt.  I took a shower.  I yelled a little when water hit my arm.  I got out.  Kevin looked at my arm and mentioned I didn’t clean it very well.  I told him to shut up.  (this may be what he’s talking about.)  I asked for morphine.  He said he was plum out.

I put a big bandage on it because it makes me feel better.  Then I wrote a paragraph and went to bed.

I will do anything to get out of writing.


This is smaller than it looks in real life.  In real life, it’s 2 feet long.