Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm inclined to say very little right now about where I rode or how it was. I will say that it was my longest ride on Pugsley as of yet and the big boy performed flawlessly. The gearing (32x22) worked out well. The flats were easy and I was able to handle all of the hills, but some of them did require a grunt or two.
Another thing I discovered is that when you push a thirty-five pound bike with 80mm wide rims, four inch tires, and a single speed, your legs are delightfully tired. Fortunately those last two miles were paved and all down hill. I believe I may have hit 30 mph. Otherwise "Big Boy" is not designed for speed.
The day was another "bluebird" day of which we have had plenty of for the past several weeks. I was planning on the weather being somewhat cooler and actually hoped it would be because I was planning on testing out some newly purchased gear. However, it was just too warm but I did have an opportunity to test a new TNF Windstopper Hybrid top. It was perfect for the conditions and I can see this jacket getting some serious use for cool weather activities.
The route for the day was full of riding minimum maintenance forest roads. Which normally would be devoid of traffic. However, Minnesota grouse season is in full swing and it was a holiday weekend for many. Needless to say, I did run into some hunters, many of which were surprised to see someone out enjoying the day on a bike. Quote of the day from one hunter. "A Surly? Thought that was a beer, but I'll tell you what...The name certainly fits that damn bike."

I personally did not see any grouse and the reports from hunters where also somewhat dismal. However, the roads were littered with snow buntings who have made their way down from the Canadian.
I also discovered that loggers take their driving seriously and that they are not about to slow down just because they are coming upon someone riding a bike. While heading south on the Caribou Trail I had a close encounter with one of these large rigs carrying a full load and hauling ass to the mill. I was mid way up a long climb when this truck came barreling up from behind. I pulled as far right as I possibly could, but he gave me little leeway because of the hill and his inability to see what was coming from the other direction. It was a close dusty call that did get my heart rate spiked.

Turning off the Caribou Trail onto the Honeymoon Trail I spotted a large sign warning of the dangers of said logging trucks. Yes, I did stay alert!

The Honeymoon Trail runs east/west between the Caribou Trail and the Sawbill. Its rolling hills and twisting and turning nature make it a beautiful ride. Some of these forest roads get pretty narrow in places so caution is always necessary when riding them. Oddly enough, I've never encountered another cyclist on these trails and roads. Most keep to the paved Gitchi-Gami trail that runs along the lake. As you know, I'm not a big fan of pavement. That said...It is a beautiful ride and I do plan on logging some miles on it in the future.
Along the ten mile stretch of the Honeymoon Trail there are a couple of State Forest Campgrounds that offer some pretty scenery. The first is located on White Pine Lake and the photo above was taken at the Poplar River campground.
From Poplar River the trail winds its way west towards the Sawbill Trail which runs north from Lake Superior to Sawbill Lake on the edge of the BWCA. The Sawbill Trail intersects a seemingly endless ribbon of gravel simply known as "The Grade". It runs for miles and provides access to many of the beautiful lakes that offer entry points into the BWCA. I rode a long portion of it last year, but plans are in the works for a multi-day bike packing trip along its entire length next summer.
My last rest stop before riding into a stiff headwind for the final eleven miles down the Sawbill Trail toward Tofte, a cold beer, and hot shower.
The photo above shows Temperance River just off the Sawbill Trail where it intersects with the 600 Road.

This day would end just like the previous day. With a fine dinner at the Bluefin Bay Grill, a glass or two of wine, and some good conversation with our lovely hostess Nadia. Then, a crackling fire in the fireplace along with the beautiful moonrise over Lake Superior. What more could you ask for?

Today the bike stays put and we enjoy some running, and hiking.


Jeff Moser said...

Looks like an awesome ride! Would love to try a Pugsley on something like that.

Ali B. said...

Love that last shot of the mooon.... a keeper for my wallpaper. :)

Doug said...

"Not designed for speed"

Are you kidding me? In the right conditions, it is the fastest bike around. I've bombed down snow covered hills that a regular mountain bike couldn't even stay upright on. I guess you have to change how you define "speed".

Vito said...'re right. Going downhill it's fast. Must be gravity!