Hey! For those of you interested, your somethingth favorite beaded cyclist will be embarking to ride to “the” RAGBRAI, then ride the monster cross-state, THEN ride back home to DSM. Along the way I will be documenting the ride both here and at my low-rent food blog, Locally Grown.

You can read about this little humdinger of a trip at the Locally Grown site, as I am tired of typing on my phone.

Tomorrow I will bring you the dreaded PHIGG2 ride recap. I needed a day of rest to be more subjective and positive about the experience.

Tuesday Ride Recap-Feed The Bears!


Above is a sign for a road that a few of you will recognize. Old Portland road runs north from G14 in Madison County (Iowa’s 2nd Most Dangerous Place To Bike) to the town of Adel and one of my favorite places to stop for a beer, The Rondezvouz. But back to the road…

I usually pick up OPR on 105th/Adams Street (the road on which I reside) and head north. It is a fun little 10 mile run to Adel filled with snapping dogs, plenty of farm truck activity and the occasional children fishing in the river (I almost gave two teens a heart attack yesterday as I rounded the corner onto the bridge from which they were casting. They weren’t expecting the Beard!). There are a few tricky hills and a good stretch of washout from the recent rains.

Did I mention Chew Toy Alley?

Rewind to a half mile north of the OPR/105th intersection where I was sucking a little wind due to the sun and hill combination. A quick pause for some water, then a leisurely pace for a bit to regroup. Oh Shit! About 6 pedal strokes into my recovery mile, dogs barking and running in on my position from all sides. Normally I don’t sweat the dog action too much, but these pups seemed serious. Serious enough to send me reaching for some gears and ‘sprinting off,’ barely missing the teeth of the pack leader. I felt the wind and fur of these little potential tire-chewers brush past my non-drive side leg. It was pure luck they were coming from the front and not the rear, my luck may have turned sour had they not missed and tried the quick turn around.

Fast forward back to the bridge…

Bridge, then cross I-80, then on to the last 20 hills before a couple frosty Fat Tires at the Rondo. Great ride. The plan was to head back south, pick up G14 and shoot over to the Cumming Tap, but I decided instead to head towards DSM and the Great Closed Greenbelt Trail. About 2 miles outside of Strip Mall Alley, aka Waukee, I ran into (or nearly ran into) what seemed to be a denizen of my home turf, Aero Bar Alley. This lil guy was stopped smack dab in the middle of the trail inspecting his carbon viber Tri-bike complete with Aero Bars quite quizzically and seemingly impervious to any words shouted through beards. After a few warnings, the Carbon Viber looked up and just in time for a scornful “get off the trail, buddy” from yours truly. I continued on for a few more miles, blowing by hybrid-palping 30-somethings and their children. As I entered the very heart of Strip Mall Alley, I passed a couple on road bikes only to notice a wee little shadow inches from my much larger shadow. It was the Viber, back on his bike, and thirsty for revenge. Or maybe he just wanted a good 20+ pull from a rolling plywood sheet. Viber pulled up, and I embarrasingly attempted conversation knowing I had just been an ass and ole Viber was about to wrap those words up in lycra and ram them down my throat with the aid of his Aero Bar Tongue Depressor.

“Oh, you havin trouble back there?”

“Yeah, my brake was rubbing”

*Insert out of breath boring story about my brakes*

Insert the Viber’s non-plussed look.

“Ok, well have a good ride, CARRY ON!”

And carry on he did. I was rolling my 250lb self and 30lb gravel bike shod with Cross Tires down the trail at about 24mph. The Viber took his 15lb Tri Bike and 140lb self, hunched down, and dropped my ass faster than a hipster fad. Oh, but the Viber didn’t impress, nor did he get far. I paced him from about a half mile back until a right-turning SUV about put the kybosh on the day’s ride. I wonder if they were in cahoots? Hmmm…

Abridged end of ride: Bridge closed at 128th. Big Surprise. Rode south to Ashworth then on the Charlie’s Filling Station and then home. I managed to miss my dinner target (Philly’s Finest) thanks to my drag race with the Carbon Viber and was beyond hungry. FINALLY I got to eat.

Ride Toll: Rear Hub pretty much cashed, a smidge of dignity lost (not as much as my last encounter on that trail where an old guy dropped me, I couldn’t catch up, then realized my wheel had pulled a little and was griinding on the brake pad. Don’t worry, old guy on the Masi, we will meet again!)

Not a bad ride.

Coming up next week: PHIGG 2! Are you ready?

A Simple Solution For Modern Day Living…


This is my first year in many as a lawn-caretaker, and during this rainy season I find difficult decisions lie behind every storm front. When the rain has stopped, do I ride my bike or do I mow my lawn? The constant rain/shine/rain/shine culls the grassy blades from the Earth faster than Contador up the mountains, but the Gravel Gateway (aka Adams St., which runs perpendicular to AeroBarAlley aka the GWT) bekons me. But alas, I never truly get my fill as the 5 hour mow-a-thon eventually trumps my need for severely dirty shins.

Then, as I realized the last paragraph was going to end up sounding like an eighth-grader reading his/her first Shakespear play, I ran into the solution. Bicycle lawn mower. Problem solved. Lawn gets mowed, bike gets ridden, shins get dirty, everyone wins!

There are many variations on the Bike/Mower hybrid (or as I like to refer to as the Mow-Bee) but one of the most amazing is to be seen in the current (006) issue of Bicycle Times on page 34. A Mow-Bee constructed of 4130 chromoly by none other than custom MTB builder Ted Wojcik stunned and amazed your humble blog-ist and cycler. Further interweb searching coughed up the doozie you see pictured above, the BikeMowerX, or BMX, model made by some anonymous genius. I dig the Silver/Gold colorscheme and the seemingly-unwieldy geometry. Perfect for the junkyard fixie crew. Will we see a hipster lawn service in our future? Will a crew of “GoinGreen” types be seen cruising from neighborhood to neighborhood looking for some fresh blades to carve? I don’t know about all that, but I do know that Me+MowBee Vs. Pink House Lawn would be the workout equivalent of 4 ‘Cross races in a row, hopefully with no portage. MowBee looks heavy.

Next Step: map out the mileage ridden while mowing the lawn on GPS.

BTW, for all you daily rider/recreational/commuter types, pick up Bicycle Times. It’s a nice change of pace-line from our other Lycra-pushing Carbon-loving pedal-publications.

*CNB was in no way compensated for name dropping, nor has any cross-sponsorship been offered or established between CNB and said name-dropped entities. Not that there is anything wrong with that.*

Pink House Gourmet Gravel Grinder 2 – June 27th!


It’s (past) time for another Pink House Invitational Gravel Grinder, and time for a name change. We are dropping the “invitational” aspect of the ride as it seems to have made the ride seem too “exclusive” and some riders may have missed out. (Actually, if you weren’t at #1 you definitely missed out on a great time!)

Here’s how it’s going down: we meet at the Pink House (2184 Adams St, in Orelia one stop south of Bambinos on the Great Western Trail) at 10:30 am Sunday, June 27th. We will be departing around 11:00-ish to ride 50-ish miles of South Central Iowa’s finest gravel until we land at the Almighty Cumming Tap for some beers and some food prepared by yours truly and Bob Of The Tap. After the festivities are through, those parked at the Pink House will ride the 2.5 miles back and enjoy a little pink house time.

For your consideration:

This is a FUN RIDE and not a race, although the pace may be a little faster than your average fun ride.

The ride is BYOB for the road, cash bar at the Tap.

We will be putting in some miles, so I encourage you to come prepared with the proper liquids and nourishment for the conditions. We can always adapt the route to hit a convenience store if absolutely needed.

This is a self-supported ride and all riders are responsible for their own well-being.

With that said, if you do not have gravel experience or are “not into hills” this isn’t the ride for you. Some of the roads get a little hairy, even dangerous for inexperienced riders. I do not want people getting hurt! Getting hurt usually isn’t fun!

All riders planning to attend please RSVP to me at sdauen@gmail.com by the 25th (or just show up).

Let’s Grind That Gravel and work up an appetite!

Address Rant. Gravel Ride Postponement.

I have been trying whole-heartedly to procure some high speed internet in my home for about two weeks.  My one major obstacle- no one knows what my address is.  The City of West Des Moines transferred me to 6 different uh…people before the last jackass gave me a phone number to the person who is evidently the all-knowing address queen of Polk County.  The phone number was for some company with no ties to the county no employed anyone by said name.  Look, people, I just want a little service in my goddamn home so I don’t have to bike somewhere to post blogs.  It is evidently too much to ask.


"Keep up the good work, WDSM...We are all counting on you!"

On another note,  The June edition of the Pink House Gravel Grinder that was to be held June 6th will be re-scheduled for a TBA date.  I have mangled my left foot and have to take it easy on the gravel until it heals.