New things happening at my store.

Some of you may already know I have an e-commerce website. It’s called Salty Pedaler. I’ve had an idea to design my own bicycle themed tee shirts for more than a decade. Only in the last year has it become a reality. I design for myself and then put them out in the world in hopes others might enjoy them as well. You’ll see me wearing tee shirts with my own designs most days. I’ve never been a person that follows the crowd. So wearing my own unique tee shirts that I designed feels good to me. I’ve been seen wearing designs that aren’t even offered on the website. Some I just like to keep for myself I guess.

Today I’m announcing a new design I’ve put up on Salty Pedaler. I call it my “Ride Steel” design. All my bikes are made of steel. I feel steel bikes give you the best bang for your buck of any frame material. It rides comfortably, is reliable, and relatively inexpensive. This design celebrates my fondness for bikes made from steel.

I have two designs. One is more of a traditional diamond frame. The second is more of a mixte/step-through frame. I offer the designs on the above mugs in 11 oz or 15 oz sizes. And on tee shirts. Visit Salty Pedaler to see the selection of colors.

My wife Susan has been wearing the one on the bottom left all summer. It’s printed on an Aqua colored 100% cotton tee. It’s one of her favorite tee shirts to wear these days. That’s pretty cool.

The Salty Pedaler website also has a blog. I posted an entry there about this new design as well.

Currently you can get 10% off any order using the code: INSTAGRAM through 10-31-16.


Three Speed October Challenge: Week 3 Report.

I’m a bit behind on my postings lately. I finished the challenge 6 days ago. I’ve been trying really hard to take advantage of the Fall weather and Fall colors. I can say I have no regrets this Fall about how much I’ve been able to get outside. I’ve done lots of biking and hiking and even one bike camping trip. That’s my excuse for not keeping up on my blogging.

I was able to complete three rides of at least three miles in three separate weeks meeting the Three Speed October Challenge.  Three of the rides were for errands. Six rides were work commutes. Here is my ride summary for week 3:

Sunday, October 16.


I did a 4.5 mile errand ride to the pharmacy and Co-op.

Tuesday, October 18.


I rode my bike to work and back home, 6.25 miles. This picture was taken underneath the ore docks on my way to work.

Wednesday, October 19.


On this day I commuted to work and back home, 6.25miles. I happened to get the 5:00 a.m. early start that day. My Brompton has a generator hub that powers a bright headlight and the taillight. They work great on a dark morning like this. It turned out to be my most pleasant ride of all the rides during this challenge. The air was cold, but the wind was still. The traffic was light enough I didn’t need to stop at any intersections. I forget how much I enjoy riding in the dark in early mornings or late at night.

That completed the required rides for the challenge.

One thing I have to mention though. This may disqualify me from the challenge. The rules state the following:


  • Is this just limited to three speeds? Well, yeah. A three speed internally geared hub is what should be ridden for this challenge. We’ll also accept four and five speed internally geared hubs, hubs that were available from Sturmey-Archer by the mid-70’s. But no more or less speeds than that! To be clear, it doesn’t have to be a Sturmey-Archer hub, it can also be a Sachs, Sram, Shimano, SunTour, Hercules, or (insert brand here.) But it can only have three, four, or five speeds!
  • Any exceptions? We’ll allow Bromptons that have that infernal Sturmey-Archer with deraileur combo, but that’s it. And you have to promise to not use that derailleur!


My Brompton is one of those 3 x 2  6-speed set-ups. I promised I would only shift with the 3 speed hub. This is easier said then done even though it sounds very straight forward. Here’s why. The 6 speed Brompton uses a 3 speed hub in combination with a 2 speed deraileur. It was one of the hardest bikes I’ve ever ridden to learn how to shift. Maybe the word “hard” isn’t quite right. Let’s just say it took me between 1,200 and 1,400 miles to get to where I could do the shifting without having to think about it. To shift the hub you have to coast. To shift the deraileur you have to pedal. So each shift you make you have to think to yourself do I coast while I shift or pedal while I shift. I finally reached a point where I no longer had to think about it. Now the Three Speed October Challenge comes along and asks me not to shift the deraileur. Something that by now has become ingrained in me. I found it just as hard not to shift the deraileur as it was to learn how to shift it in the first place. And that took me a minimum of 1,200 miles of riding before it became natural.

In order to use only three of the six gears I have two choices. I can use gears 1, 3, and 5. Or I can use gears 2, 4, and 6. When using all six gears I’ve learned I use gears 1 and 4  90% of the time. I almost never use gears 2 and 6. And I only occasionally use gears 3 and 5. As you can see the 1, 3, 5, and 2, 4, and 6 scenarios wouldn’t work very well for based on the gears I use most. I live in a hilly city.

What I am trying to say is I slipped a bit on my promise. Mostly in the morning. I’m not a morning person, I’m always leaving the house at the last minute, just barely getting to work on time. In my morning rush my brain goes into automatic mode. On more than one occasion I may have caught myself shifting into a gear I promised I wouldn’t use. So there it is. Disqualify me if you need to.

Three Speed October Challenge: Week 2 Report

Ride one, Monday, October 10, 2016

A round trip commute to work, 6.25 miles. 

Ride 2, Wednesday, October 12, 2016. 

Round trip commute to work, 6.25 miles. 

Ride 3, Thursday, October 13, 2016. 

Round trip ride to work, 6.25 miles. 

As you can see I took part in the Three Speed October Challenge. This was Week two forme. I managed to get in three commutes by three Speed bike this week. As of this writing I already have my first ride of Week three done. Only two rides to go to complete the challenge. 

Three Speed October Challenge, Week One Report

I’m taking part in The Three Speed October Challenge. This challenge is the brainstorm of Portland, Oregon’s very own Shawn Granton of Urban Adventure League and Society of Three Speeds. You can go to his site to get all the information. To summarize I need to ride my three speed (The rules begrudgingly allow for a 6-speed Brompton like mine because it does use a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed internally geared hub) at least three times a week for three weeks for at least three miles. Hey, I just now caught on to the “three” theme.  At least one ride needs to be for utility, errands or commuting. There are more details to the rules, but that’s it in a nutshell….or maybe a 3-speed hub shell. Wink, wink.

Week One:

Turns out all three rides (plus a bonus fourth ride) were all errand or commuting rides. All rides had a purpose of using the bike for transportation.

Sunday, October 2nd:


I was packing for an overnight bike camping trip. I needed a few food items I was out of for the trip. I rode 0.8 miles to the local food co-op. I realized when I went to check out I had forgotten my wallet. I rode the 0.8 back home and returned to the co-op a second time. Paid for my items and returned home. I took a slightly longer way home for a total of 3.6 miles.

Tuesday, October 4th:

A stop at the bank.

I was off work this day and needed to run a few errands. It’s rare for me to go to my bank these days, but I did have a check I needed to deposit. A quick stop at the bank and then I made another stop at the local co-op. Total distance was 3.4 miles.

Wednesday, October 5th:

Taking the side streets.

Ride number three was a commute. It’s three miles to my place of work. Six miles for the day. I ended up riding a fourth day and it was also a ride to work:

Riding some alleyways after work.


Both days I rode to the Co-op I shared the bike rack with another 3-speed. And since then it’s been there every time I’ve stopped. It must be an employee bike.

I almost never see three-speeds in Duluth. I found it ironic that I spotted one while I was participating in the three-speed challenge. This brand is a brand I’ve never heard of, Nirve, Wilshire. It did have nice steel lugged construction. The racing wheel on the front and racing saddle was a bit out of place. Other than that it looked like a nice low cost three-speed.

Fall Bike Camping pictures.


I found out on Friday I wasn’t needed at work on Monday. Looking at the weather forecast and the DNR Fall peak color watch (which was at 50-75% for our area), I decided it was prime time for a Fall bike camping trip. Some might call it a S24O, but I don’t think mine version is a pure S24O since I’m doing it on my days off. I ended up with perfect conditions and some great pockets of intense color. Both days started out foggy and cleared to a vibrant blue sky. Temperatures were 60F-65F (16C-18C) and the low was around 45F (7C). Virtually no wind on the first day and light winds off Lake Superior the second day. Since I don’t care for hot weather, this weather was about as perfect as it gets for me.


New asphalt on the Munger Trail for a short section. I got a late start in the day. Check in time at the state park I had reservations for wasn’t until 4:00. I didn’t leave my house until 4:30.My destination was Jay Cooke State Park. Nineteen miles away the way I took. Sixteen miles of the 19 was on recreational trails.



First open view of the St Louis River as I approached the Park Office.

Tip: Bungee cords come in handy if you’re thinking of hauling firewood.

I arrived at the Park Office at 5:45. They close at 6. Not a big deal since I already had a reservation. But you can’t purchase a bundle of firewood outside of office hours. I almost never have a fire when camping solo. With no wind and cold temps, it was an ideal evening for a fire. I didn’t decide until I was in the office, but I did bring bungee cords to haul the wood just in case. I’m glad I did. What I didn’t bring was any type of fire starter. I improvised with one paper towel I had, twigs from around campsite, and handfuls of pine needles from the huge pine tree in the middle of the campsite. It worked.


Obligatory campfire shot.

When I camp here I like to arrive early enough to get in a walk down by the river before dinner and before dark. With sunset at 6:45 there was no time this trip. I set up camp, fixed dinner and had the fire. It was quite nice. The temp had fallen to 46F degrees by 10:00. I never got chilled with the fire going. It was a moonless night. It was pitch black away from the fire.


In the morning I woke to fog and my food bag still hanging in the tree where I had left it.


By the time I got the food bag down, started heating water for coffee and took the tent down the fog was lifting.


By the time I was done with my muffins and coffee, the fog was gone.


After breakfast I spent a few hours walking around the park and the St Louis River. The sun was so bright it made it hard to take pictures that weren’t overexposed.Here’s some of the better ones from my walk and ride home.

Here’s a link to the route I took home. It’s the same route I took to the park the day before.

Ely’s Peak in Duluth as seen from the Munger Trail.

I never thought I’d say this…..

……my next bike could very well be a squishy mountain bike. As the local mountain bike club continues to add mile after mile of more trails to the local trail system, I can’t stop thinking about the possibility of owning a trail specific mountain bike. I’ve attempted to ride the trails on my 10 year old Pugsley. However, between my lack of single track riding skills and the rocky, root filled terrain, I’ve learned the Pugsley is not the best tool for the job.

Fat tire on one billion year old rock.

The local mountain bike trail club, COGGS, has an ambitious plan in place to build over 100 miles of trail within the city limits of Duluth. It is utilizing the open space on the hills above Duluth and parks to create this vision. The Duluth Traverse Trail will connect all the mountain bike areas and run the entire 26 mile length of the city. An entire network of trails with access for every Duluthian within a mile or two of where they live. It has already received an IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognition. One of only five Gold Medal Ride Centers in the world.

Thursday evening, a father and son ride some of the trail below Enger Park. This section was built in 2015.

I’ve been amazed at the rate of trail building taking place. All summer long I would frequently encounter new sections of trail as I was riding around. This summer there has been an expansion of the system in my neighborhood. Seeing the trail being built so close to my house this summer has me thinking I need to take advantage of the trails. I’m increasingly looking for ways to avoid being on the roadways for some of my leisure riding. I see people everyday driving with their heads looking down. Riding some world class trails several days a week is now an option.

I discovered this section of trail yesterday. It must have been built in the last two weeks. It is only 0.8 mile from my front door.
The local club has raised enough cash to pay for professional trail builders to spend all summer building trail.

On my Thursday evening ride I came across new trail being built next to Keene Creek along Skyline Parkway. When this section is done I believe there will be continuous trail from Keene Creek, by my house, to the east side of Enger Park and Twin Ponds area. That’s 5 miles by road, maybe 7 – 10 miles by trail (??). It also passes through both the Piedmont and Brewers Park loops and trail systems. Here’s pictures of the newly constructed, and not yet finished trail along Keene Creek:

Here the trail is being cut into the side of the ravine.
New this week.
Only days old.
Not sure when they built this section. It can’t be more then two weeks old.

I never took up an interest in summer off-road mountain biking ( Winter, yes.) for many reasons. And I’ve never been a person to drive my bike somewhere to ride it. But now that the trails are coming to me, I can’t help but to take an interest in riding these trails. So maybe I’ll have a mountain bike by this time next year and be writing posts on trail riding. Who knows?

And…one more photo added to this post after the initial publishing. This is more new trail going west from Highland Street as seen from the Highland Street bridge over Keene Creek:

It appears there is a bridge that still needs to be built over a side stream where the trail enters the trees.