93 days….Why I Miss The Pink House


A bout with sickness and a continued struggle with being the laziest/fattest bike racer in Central Iowa is continuing to f*ck with my Trans Iowa chi, but with only 3 months remaining I am still confident that when the rubber hits the rock that I will be in sufficient shape for the challenge.  (I don’t know that you can actually be fully prepared for that monstrosity, at least not if you are me, and the physical challenge Is only part of the odeal, there are many other factors).

Training for gravel used to be so much more convenient at my old abode, known to he world as The House Formerly Known As The Pink House (it was repainted in spring 2011).  THFKATPH sits at the intersection of the Great Western Trail and Adams Street, a gravel road which is known to the gravel grinding freaks of DSM as the entryway to all of the finest gravel South Central Iowa has to offer.  Adams is a big part of the Booneville Loop, is touched upon briefly during CIRREM, and during the fall and winter seasons is a great place for run-ins with like minded rock riders.

In the “old days” or the last two years really, gravel riding was as simple as wheeling my bike out the kitchen door, riding down the dirt drive, and hanging a left on Adams.  Then it was on to Gravel Glory, heading east then catching a few loops on my “vintage avenue loop” then back on Adams for parts unknown, riding until either my legs, brain, or comon sense started to get he best of me.  Then it was time to plot a course into DSM and to one of my favorite watering holes for a recovery drink (PBR Tallboys and Fireball) then point south on the GWT for my ten mile trek home to shower, eat some food, and bore my family with details of the ride.  I do miss those days of simple, convenient gravel. 

Today I live in Des Moines proper, South Side to be exact.  It takes work to get out to my old Grinding Grounds, Adams being an 11 or so mile ride from my house.  What? So I have to do the old ride home first now?  Not a big deal, right?  Well, it evidently is a big deal and has messed with my motivation on more than one occasion.  Being able to look out my bedroom window to survey the gravel conditions, walking out to the mailbox and looking west down Adams,  even mowing the enourmous lawn, were all just the preamble to leg and lung oblivion.  Seing that road made me gravel horny.  I would think to myself “just wait til I am done with _____, you dirty little road, I am ging to make you my bitch”.  And now I am whining about riding a few miles to get in touch with my rocky romance. 

I think this got me a little worked up, and I appreciate your time. It seems that I should quit writing and start riding…I mean Adams is only 11 miles away…

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 Invitational Gravel Grind (PHIGG)




This Sunday, May 2nd will mark the innaugural Pink House Invitational Gravel Grind fun ride. It will begin noon-ish at the Pink House (2184 Adams St., Cumming IA 50061) which is one intersection south of Bambino’s in Orelia on the Great Western Trail. We will be riding 30-50 miles depending on road conditions (and my condition) at a friendly pace then landing at the Cumming Tap around 6/7 pm for some expertly prepared food.

Coolers are advised and the ride is BYOB. Bring some cash for the bar afterwards.

The rider roster will be very limited for this first outing (which will be held monthly)

Contact me at centralcyclist@gmail.com to get in on the action.