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Posts tagged ‘kayak’

#330daysofbiking Day 59: grateful

good night, bike

Once again, the best opportunity to ride was in the evening.  The sun was setting over my next door neighbor’s hilly field, and I just ” saw” my bike on the crest.

Today was a very fine day … not so much the biking (although it was lovely), but being embraced by some like-minded friends.  Inspiring exchanges with some great people in the cycling community – people who have such a great positive outlook on the cycling lifestyle, sharing the joy, advocating through enthusiasm … all of the stuff I love and admire and strive to be a part of in my own small way.

My friend Darryl at LovingtheBike invited me to be a part of the conversation – with a gracious mention in his June Look Who’s Loving the Bike page today, in the company of some other amazing cyclists and bloggers, including Ryan Van Duzer and his cross-country journey on a 3-speed (this is a must-watch video). 😀

I am especially enthusiastic about what Darryl is doing at LovingtheBike – there is something for everybody, and the content is always delivered in a positive, fun (and sometimes funny) way. One of my favorite posts is The Cyclist’s Wife … it is perfect!  Mostly, his site captures his attitude and excitement about cycling, his love of life and his family – and is such a great platform for spreading The Love.  I’m a fan – I hope you are too.   (And thanks again, Darryl, for letting me join in the fun!)

The other bike-y stuff of my day …. did some initial experimenting with the new boat and the Xtracycle.  Have to confess, this is looking a little sketchy.  The depth/shape of the hull on the new boat is fairly different from our old beater boat, and although I managed to get it loaded and pedal a short distance, I’m not convinced I have the pedal- and front tire clearance I need to safely take her out on the road. The X can haul virtually anything … and I’m not ready to give it up, but some additional adjustments may be called for.

Oh well.  Tomorrow is almost here.  Still loving the bike … with or without the kayak on board.

Xtracycle + kayak = bikayak

loving the ... bikayak(?)

#330daysofbiking Day 56: deliverance

Hey! My handlebar plug is missing?! :-0

Today’s big accomplishments:

  • got out and back before the rains came
  • saved another turtle from certain road peril (or at least I convinced myself that I did)
  • got a new kayak(!) 😀

I moved him ... hopefully in the direction he intended to go

Mark and I got out this morning for a ride – before the rains came.  Passed a box turtle sitting in the road, not moving.  Why do they do this?  The warmth?  Just taking their time?  Deciding direction?  I do not know – but of course I was compelled to deliver him out of harm’s way, and hopefully a little closer to wherever he was headed.

A slight sprinkle on the last mile before home, but nothing like the deluge than came later.  I think I start making Mark crazy with all of my stopping  Move a turtle, a picture here, a picture there.  More flowers. (What can I say? They are eye-catching, they’re everywhere … and yes, they appeal to my girlie side.)

Headed to Chattanooga in the afternoon, looking for a new kayak for the river this summer.  Managed to find a nice little boat, nothing fancy – a sit-upon model designed for fishing, which I think will really suit me well for managing camera gear, etc.  Looking forward to peaceful evening paddles, wildlife watching … and hopefully no banjo music. 😉

... and more flowers (sigh)

bikayak

kayak by Xtracycle ... rides better than it looks, truly

kayak by Xtracycle ... rides better than it looks, truly

A couple of miles up the road from our house we have a nice put-in to one of the Hiwassee River’s inlets.  Although there is water year-round, it’s most conducive for paddling/boating in the summers when TVA is releasing water to the Hiwassee.  In winter, water levels can get pretty low.

Despite the doubters in the house, I managed to get our old beater kayak loaded onto the Xtracycle and went for a paddle today.  OK, I’ll admit, when I first felt the (off-)balance of the load I wasn’t sure it was going to work.  But surprisingly, upon taking a test ride, I discovered that it was totally do-able – at least for the few miles I had to go.  You kind of naturally make a center-of-gravity shift, but nothing that changes your cycling position dramatically.  There was occasionally a funny little shimmy-shake in the front, especially when on a downhill coast, but pedaling seemed to eliminate it.  Optimum no-shimmy speed seemed to be about 13mph.  Not sure of the physics behind what was going on, but I’d be curious if someone could explain…

ready to go exploring

ready to go exploring

The great thing about this little inlet are all of the little islands and shallow channels – perfect quiet water for meandering about and bird-watching without a beastly motor.  I had barely paddled off when I spotted a Little Green Heron perched overhead (picture of him on the Pix page).  Also saw several Great Blue Herons, and another black and white water bird I have not yet identified.

Strangest event of the trip was spotting a very large creature swimming across one of the channels.  It was huge – bigger than a muskrat or anything I might have expected to see.  As I sat watching, I discovered it was a deer!  She was swimming across the water, only her head sticking out – and had two lovely little fawns trailing behind her!  I had never seen a deer swim before, so this was something pretty amazing for me.

Of course I didn’t have the telephoto lens on the camera, so I did the best I could.  You can just make her out in the distance, doe on either side of her.

doe and fawns, heading for an island

doe and fawns, heading for an island

closer ... but missed the shot; doe & fawns climb ashore

closer ... but missed the shot; doe & fawns climb ashore

Had a great day exploring, bird-watching … and deer-watching.  When I got back to the put-in, I was greeted by a rather mystified fisherman – a very nice older gentleman who introduced himself as Bill.  Think he was pretty baffled with my boat-on-bike set-up, but offered some help while I was strapping things up, and I enjoyed chatting with him.

We had a brief discussion over the safety of fish consumption from this part of the river.  Thanks to the wonderful folks at Olin Chemical, high levels of mercury in the river sediment and in fish have made it unsafe to consume the catch.  Tennessee Fish & Game and the EPA have posted warning signs, but it doesn’t stop people from fishing.  I was happy to hear that Bill knew about the situation and was strictly a catch-and-release fisherman.  Still, it makes me very sad – especially watching the herons and the other fish-feeding birds and thinking about how it may be harming them and the rest of the ecosystem.

Great day, great ride, great paddle, great sights.  Can’t wait to do it again.