Two days, two bikes.

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Our Spring here in the Northland arrives later than many places in the lower 48 states. One way to know when it has finally arrived is by noticing when I bring out the bikes I don’t use in the winter. Sometimes that happens in March and sometimes later. This year I’ve been enjoying riding my all-weather A-train, so that has slightly delayed the emerging of my “summer” bikes. This weekend I had the itch to ride my other bikes. I took out two bikes in two days that I haven’t ridden yet this year. Yesterday I wrote about getting the folding Brompton out.

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Today it was my Ellis Cycles frames turn to see the sun.

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I call it my “fast bike” because with 32 mm wide tires it has the skinniest tires of all my bikes, with the exception of the Brompton. It’s also a very lively frame. It’s very responsive to any input of power.

What a joy it is to ride this custom bike. I say that every year. But it really is a delightful bike to ride.

Cycle on.

What’s that in the air?

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I believe it would be Fall. That’s what’s in the air. The seasons follow a different calendar¬† here. Winter lingers late into Spring. Fall and winter come early. The days are getting shorter. The green foliage is fading. It isn’t turning yet, but it’s definitely fading. The mornings are cooler. It takes longer for it to warm up. The warmth of the afternoon sun dissipates quickly at the end of the day. It’s all signs that Fall is coming. Sure, we may still get a hot spell or two. But it only lasts a day or two.

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Today was one of those days were it started with a mix of clouds with foggy patches. Susan and I took a walk over to our neighborhood co-op for a bit of shopping in the late morning. The temps were still in the mid-60’s. With the cloud cover it felt like the temperature was going to stick there the rest of the day. I don’t mind. I’m not a fan of hot weather. And we don’t even get the super hot stuff here. I look forward to these cool days. In the past I tend to put more miles on the bikes in September and October then any other months.

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The north coast of Lake Superior.

Things changed around 2:00. Gaps in the clouds started to form. Then bigger gaps. And then this (above). You can’t see it in the picture, but there is still fog out on the horizon of the big lake. There’s also clouds behind me in the picture. I managed to get out at the perfect time of this day. A brief window where the clouds opened up and the temp struggled to pull itself up above the 70 degree mark. Only barely. The view of the lake always awes me. I took a circuitous route that had me riding high above the lake. On the return portion I rode along it’s shore for a close-up view.

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I had to dodge the hordes Pokemon-go (SP?) players in Leif Erickson Park. It was my first exposure to this. At first I didn’t understand what was going on. Why were there people standing together in the middle of the trail looking at their phones. And people walking about in patterns looking at their phones in all corners of the park?. Patterns that didn’t register as normal in my brain.¬† It was a bit bizarre. Oh well. It was the only place I encountered these game players on the entire ride.

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Old skis on a shed wall in Chester Park.

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The blue skies and blue lake made a great back drop to just about every picture I snapped today.

Looking forward to Fall, cool temps and many more enjoyable rides…..and hopefully some bike camping trips.
//rwgps-embeds.com/trips/10766309/embed

Cruising into the summer season.

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Lush and green on the Alex Laveau Trail.

This blog is about riding in ALL four seasons. It may be no surprise to many of you winter ranks really high for me. But, fantastic rides can happen in any season. Mid-June can be a really good time as well. I most likely love winter so much because my body is more suited to winter climates. I don’t do well in hot, humid weather. One reason we live in Northeastern Minnesota near Lake Superior is because the summers are very mild. We don’t get the high humidity and high heat index numbers for more than a dozen days each summer. Some years we get none at all.

Right now we’re approaching summer. We’ve had lots of rain. The leaves have been fully out only for about three weeks. And everything is green, green, green, and growing like mad.

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Green along the Alex Laveau Trail.
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First cutting of the season along the Alex Laveau Trail.

It was a wonderful weekend day to get on a longish ride in the country. I did a mix of low traffic roads with wide shoulders and rail trails.

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Hwy 23 in Carlton County.

I took my Ellis Cycle. It was designed for light touring and long rides in the country. Really. That’s exactly what I asked Dave Wages to create for me when building this bike. Since there is always a chance of having to take a stretch of gravel to get from A to B in these parts I also requested clearance for 32mm tires with fenders. This was back in 2008 when running a road bike with a tire wider than 28mm wasn’t a thing yet. Or I should say it was just starting to come back. Regardless, it’s a great bike for this type of riding.

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I always take a break on this old railroad trestle over a dramatic gorge on the St Louis River. I watched some young people testing their level of invincibility by doing some cliff jumping.

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C’mon dude, you can do it!
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No points for style, but there he goes! No peer pressure there. ?

It was a long relaxing ride with one big climb at mile 15. Here’s the route with elevation profile://ridewithgps.com/trips/9416576/embed

 

This view never gets old!

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The title of this post came from a comment on the above picture from a long time viewer of my Flickr account. I have to agree. If I were to dive into my archived pictures on my computer over the past 12 years, I would most likely find 100’s of photos taken from this spot. Far more than any other spot I took regular pictures from. For 12 years it was on my route I took to and from work. This commute was done by bicycle everyday, in all four seasons for all of those 12 years. I can tell you from experience, “this view never gets old”.

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It never looks the same. The colors change with the weather. The water changes color with the seasons. The sky never looks the same two days in a row. Even the fog looks different from day to day. The view from this spot would routinely stop me in my tracks. I would always pull out the camera to try and capture the moment as it was happening. Once I got home and uploaded the pictures to my computer, they would never look quite the same as they did in person. I would be disappointed over and over again when I realized the photos didn’t capture what I had seen in person earlier in the day. I learn this lesson over and over, again and again.

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Darn finger in the way again……

This is no longer on my commute to work. With a change in jobs came a change in my route. Yet, I am still drawn to this spot even though I have seen this view from the seat of my bike twice a day on 3,000 previous days. Yesterday I headed out for a short ride on a nice day after getting out of work early. Where to go? I let the day and the bike decide. I ended up here once again unable to ride by this spot without stopping to take in the sweeping view and snap a few photos. Hoping to capture the view I was seeing in person.

Sunday ride pictures.

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Crossing the Bong.

I headed out this afternoon to take a longer ride. It was such a nice sunny day, although a bit cool with a wind off the big lake, I ended up only riding 17 miles. I crossed over into Superior, Wisconsin. My rides don’t take me over there too often. I did a little bit of exploring today and did some picture taking instead of a long ride. It was most enjoyable. I’ll leave you with the pictures. Here’s my route: //ridewithgps.com/trips/8872499/embed¬† I couldn’t figure out what was going on with the elevation profile when I crossed the bridge. It showed a drop in elevation when in reality I climbed up the bridge. Turns out it recorded the elevation of the river and not the bridge deck.

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Crossing the Bong.
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Old buildings.
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Old Soo Line Superior Depot.
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The (HE)RBERT C JACKSON getting a new paint job at the Fraser Ship Yards. They can dry dock a nearly 900 foot laker at this shipyard.
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Tugs
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Before the high bridge was built this was the main road to the swing bridge that connected Duluth and Superior. Now it’s a hard to find dead end with a mix of industrial buildings and private homes built in the late 1800’s. There is harbor access off both sides.
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Steel hulled boat. You had to be a thin person to get into to that cabin door.
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The Blatnik.
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Cats.
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Avoiding the highway, picked up a couple of Wood Ticks in the grass.
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Abrupt end to the Osaugie Trail.
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The inner harbor near Barker’s Island.
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A ship as a museum. A rare flat bottom Whaleback.
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Duluth as seen across the Harbor.

Sunday afternoon ride around town.

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Two days in a row on the Ellis. Life is good when that happens. It was mostly sunny and warm for April. I couldn’t resist getting out for a slow ride around town in the sunshine. I took time to stop and take pictures, or simply enjoy the sights and the day.

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Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge over the shipping canal.

People were out everywhere enjoying the day the same as I was. I’m out all year round. Six of those months I don’t see people outside of their cars very often.

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St Mary’s Hospital and Lake Superior beyond it. The white rooftop in the bottom center is a heli-pad for the Life Link helicopter.
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The world’s longest fresh water sand spit. Duluthian’s call it Park Point.

It was a nice way to enjoy my afternoon. Here’s my route: //ridewithgps.com/trips/8567444/embed