Saturday, November 10, 2012

Warm November Trail Ride

The buzz around the cubicle farm at work this week was we are riding Calvin Crest this weekend. Finally, Alroy, Chris B. and Nick are going to experience the trail awesomeness that I've been telling them about. Bryce and Dale were also free to ride so the 6 of us met up for a Saturday morning Calvin Crest adventure. It's weird November weather when the temps are already close to 70 degrees by mid morning. It made riding the single track that much nicer.

After the first lap I rode ahead to take some video.

The beavers are still busy dropping trees along the river trail. There were plenty of firsts on the ride. First ride at CC for the West PMO riders. Dale's first ride on his Surly Ogre. My first ride after trimming my handle bar ends back by 3/4 inch (great decision). Even with a few crashes it seems like everyone liked the ride and wants to go back real soon. Great ride!

This is the tower on the north side of the trail.

This is Alroy's view from the tower.

Chris had a narrow escape almost getting kabobed by a tree. But he survived the drop over the 20ft dropoff behind him.

Thanks for the photos Alroy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cranksgiving Omaha on Saturday, Nov. 17th

Cranksgiving Omaha is a little more than a week away.

Cranksgiving will be held Saturday, November 17 at Bike Masters. The function collects donations for the Omaha Food Bank. The fun is a scavenger hunt style event on bikes.

Here's how you can participate:

- Ride in the event to collect food.
- Bring a food donation to the event.
- Make a cash contribution.

VOLUNTEER TO HELP OUT! Perry Mitchell is organizing this event. He needs volunteers for registration, rider check-in, food preparation and food serving, etc.

Tell everyone you know! This event is great fun and serves a worthwhile, community-building cause!!!
Who knows, you might be the winner of the prestigious golden crank!

Contact Perry at for more information on how to volunteer for this event.

Bike Masters is located at:
5265 N 129th
Omaha, NE 68164

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Postcards from France

Well, one of these is from Emma's friend in Alaska.

But Cali has been some amazing places in France in her short time there. Last weekend she was in Normandy at the site of the D-Day landing in WWII. Before that she was in Paris, Saint-malo, Dinan, and Fougeres.

Thanks for all the postcards Cali. I miss you.
Pete says you are missing from me Cali or "vous ĂȘtes absent de moi Cali".

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to get on the singletrack at Calvin Crest

If you have not been to Calvin Crest to ride the single track this will give you a feel for how to find it. When you arrive at Calvin Crest you will see a basketball court on the left side of the gravel road. Please park in the large parking lot by this basketball court. See the map for the path (in orange) from the parking lot to the singletrack.
For the rules and up-to-date information on trail closures go to this link And finally, this is a great video by Mark Sullivan that gives a riders view of how to get into the singletrack at Calvin Crest. This is a great fall destination! See you out there. -Paul

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A trail bridge too far

The mission for the THOR brigade for today, build an alternate bridge at Calvin Crest. The sway cable bridge is nice but the bike traffic is putting a bit of stress on it and it would not be suitable in race conditions.
About a hundred yards upstream a new bridge was constructed out of two 17ft telephone polls and treated 2X4s. There was a large crew working the bridge and trail on both sides of the now dry creek. Using a tow strap tied to the heavy poles they were dragged into place.
It was Cody's job to guard the planks.
Once the job was finished there was the matter of a quality assurance load test.
And then the ride...
And finally, DMARS...
CC Trail Day September 23, 2012
Click here for more photos.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ride Some Dirt

Have a great Labor Day Weekend. Get out and ride some dirt. Thanks for the photos Omaha Dirt!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

THOR in the local news

Good news, THOR, our trail work organization, was on the channel 6 news last night. It was fun to see our friends from the Monday Night Ride at Tranquility on TV. Eric Geiger and Roxanne Feagan did a great job with the interview.
The link to the story:
Volunteers Build And Maintain Mountain Bike Trail In Omaha

Monday, July 30, 2012

Playing With Fire is back!

In years past the Playing With Fire series would have several blues concerts a summer. Last years flooding and the bad economy slowed that down. This past Saturday it was back in full force at Lewis and Clark Landing down on the riverfront. Thanks to Dave N. for sending me these photos. We got there in time to hear The Pounders (local band) finish up their set. Then we heard the first tune from Meena Cryle's band and we decided to head up by the stage. This was one of the better performances I have seen at PWF. They came all the way from Austria. Meena Cryle's band should have been the headliner.
We did not stay long after Rick Vito started. They probably should have had those two bands switched around in the order but I'm glad they didn't. Turned out to be a great night for an outdoor concert.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chicago - French Consulate Trip

Cali and I just got home from Chicago safe and sound. We were there two days and covered quite a bit of ground. The Photos in the link pretty much cover it.
Chicago - June 7, 2012
The French Consulate was not quite what I was expecting. The Visa office was pretty much like the DMV with the French people behind glass. Oh well, got r done.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I got a big surprise on my ride in to work this morning. It was on the right side of the pavement on the Big Papio trail. I was looking around and off into the distance and then I noticed just before I was about to hit it. I made a quick swerve and it snapped out at me. It was a large snapping turtle. It was abut the size of a large frozen turkey. I stopped, went back and snapped this photo.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lee's Schwinn Typhoon Deluxe

My friend Lee owns some classics. Most of these have four wheels and were built in the USA by Plymouth. He owns one with two wheels, no motor and also built in the USA by Schwinn. It's a Deluxe Typhoon cruiser bike. It has 3 speeds and a "nice rack".
Lee was not the original owner. He purchased it for $25 from a co-worker at Valmont who lived in Arlington. Lee has owned this bike since the 70's when his kids were little. It had previously been fitted with a child carrier. It's one of those bikes that could tell many stories about the places and people it's encountered in it's 45 years of life.
Based on the serial number (FA41930) it came off the Schwinn assembly line on June 14th, 1965. Lee did most of the cleanup on the bike. I took care of the mechanicals. The original black tires were hard and cracked so they were replaced with some classic white walls. The brakes are adjusted with new cables. The hubs and bottom bracket are lubed. A missing spoke was replaced and the wheels trued.
Lee's Schwinn Typhoon Deluxe Cruiser

New life has been breathed into this classic cruiser. It's ready to roll into the next 45 years. It's been a privilege and a pleasure to work on this bike.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Check out and win THOR a grant!

There is a good trails website called . Why do I say it's good? It's one of the best resources I have found on the web to get information about trails I have not visited yet. There are also well written, interesting articles and photograhy about trails. For these reasons alone it's worth checking out

Now there is an even BIGGER reason to join. They will select the two (2) $500 grant recipients on June 1, 2012 based on which clubs have the most singletracks members associated with the club. Each club has a page on but this link says more about this opportunity to win THOR a grant. If you are a friend of THOR, help us win!

Friday, March 9, 2012

First 2012 THOR Trail Day @ Tranquility

Tranquility Park Trailwork, this Saturday, March 10th, from 08:30-09:30AM. Meet at west entrance, 126th Street and Fowler. Tree trimming needs to be done, especially on the NorthHill Descent due to the heavy snow bending the evergreen branches down. Bring handsaw, loppers and maybe a rake. We will walk other sections clearing out of the mow zone (trail corridor) the deadfall and garbage from the high winds. Meet at the Fowler Street West Entrance (Green Placemark on Map)

View Tranquility TH in a larger map

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ponderosa Ride II

Another mild winter day gets us out to see some countryside. Brian and Greg were already at the parking lot of the Prairie View Lake when I arrived at 1PM. Dave P. was going to be a little late so we rode the limestone path around the lake. There were hundreds of geese in the water and in the fields along the path. Once back at the parking lot Dave P. was there and ready to go. There was a pretty stiff west wind so we rode out Dutch Hall Rd heading right into it. The hills out there are killer. However, the surface of the gravel was really compact and smooth.
We made a quick stop at the Ponderosa to fuel up for the ride back. The combination of the wind at our backs and the hills in our favor made the ride back fast and fun. Great ride today. And thanks to Dave P. for remembering to bring a camera. Here is the google map for the Ponderosa Ride...

View Ponderosa Ride in a larger map

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


(Monday Night Ride/Monday Night Snowshoe) Some did the ride and some were on snowshoes last night. We got a little bit more snow yesterday on top of the crusty snow we already had. Dave and I didn't want to fall down on our "skinny tire" Mountain Bikes. So we set off packing down the snow for Chris P, Mike W, and Dale. It was a cold night but there was no wind and the fog rolling in added some nice effect. Dave rigged up snowshoe lights...

Dale - Fat Tires, we don't need no stinking Fat Tires!

Chris P and Mike W - Ten pounds of air is too much.

Paul and Dave - Is there snowshoeing in the Winter X Games?

Not a great video but gives you the idea

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marin Bikes - Sold

Well I like Marin bikes so I guess you could say I'm sold. But the fact is they just got sold. I was reading BikeRumor and noticed this article posted about a European based investment firm called Minestone Limited that bought Marin. I've always been interested in Marin because of there location in the heart of "where it all started". I thought it was interesting that their headquarters was once the recording studio of the the band "Greatful Dead". I also like how their bikes are named after trails on "Mount Tam" in Marin County north of San Francisco. Here is the Marin video...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fat Bikes and Showshoes

The snow hadn't stopped falling when we got out to play over at Tranquility this afternoon. The wet heavy snow packed nicely but there was quite a bit of it to pack.
The long awaited arrival of Chris P's Pugsley is over. It's a beautiful thing and has a custom - one of a kind paint job. The green fading to black is really nice.
I started the afternoon out on my snowshoes. Jena and I helped pack down a loop north of the creek while Chris and Mike rode their fat bikes.
Mike and Jena were searching for sporting goods that will probably get found in the spring.
Mike's hands stay warm with mits that attach to his bars. After a while I couldn't wait any more and had to try riding my SS. It was challenging but fun. Great to get outside.

Chris is making it look easy.

Big Mike has to duck for the log arch.

Mr. Wong has a passenger of the abominable sort.

Chris and Mike packin it down.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Old Guy Yoga - Class Five

With temps close to 60 I decided to ride to Old Guy Yoga yesterday. I took the long way around and rode some Tranquility dirt before riding through Standing Bear Lake to get to the Saddlebrook Community Center. In addition to going through the Sun Salutation a few times, we talked about some ways that yoga can be done at your desk chair. Our homework this week is to practice the "x" poses, and movements for spine articulation: flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation (and drink lots of water).

In the video below Mark Wolgin, MD shows some Lumbar Spine Exercises. Even though he doesn't mention yoga, some of the exercises in the later part of the video are the same as what we are learning in the Wednesday night class.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

THOR Annual Members Meeting

Saturday, February 11, 2012

9:00am until 12:00pm 

National Parks Service Office
601 Riverfront Drive, Omaha, NE

- successes/challenges of 2011
- plan for 2012.

Other Good Stuff:
Coffee and donuts will be available. If weather permits, a gravel ride will follow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Save Upper Hixon Forest - La Crosse, WI.

UPDATE - After hearing the public speak on this issue, the La Crosse City Council voted unanimously to recommend park status (no development for housing). The final decision will be made in a session closed to the public on today(1/12). At this time it looks like we will be able to ride and hike up there for the foreseeable future.

Hats off to the people of La Crosse and those that traveled from out of town to respectfully defend this open space.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Swooping Owl Trail Ride

Greg and I got together after work yesterday to go ride Tranquility trails in the upper 50 degree temps. We heard reports that the trail was 98% dry on Wednesday. But last night it sure wasn't. Since riding frozen trails early last Monday, the North Creek section heading north to kiosk was far from dry. It's severely rutted in places. So when we saw the damage we turned around and rode the trail to the kiosk backward. But even that was a bit soft. There were very ride worthy sections out there. New Trails north of Fort St. were fine. The south hill and creek was real good. We saw Cole S. and rode with him. He said the trees – nursery – fort st loop – and north creek had many areas that were muddy and loaded up his tires. So we avoided that too.
We rode up the meadows and stopped for a bit. Even though we hadn't seen owls last night we were talking about seeing owls on the trail in the past. This conversation must have been a premonition. Once we took off into the pine trees on the North Hill Descent a huge owl swooped down right in front of me. I've never been that close to a flying owl and it's quite a rush. About the time I regained my nerve another owl did exactly the same thing, The second owl was not as big but shocking just the same. We did also see the deer back on this ride. Good to witness the ecosystem working in full force at Tranquility. Great ride Greg and Cole.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Old Guys Yoga - Class One

Breathing - Yep, we learned how to breath again. There were five of us. Dale, Brian, myself and two others. I think this is also what we are learning to do. It's harder than it looks:
My daughter, also a yoga instructor, asked if we talked about our feelings afterward. I said no, we talked about how much our arms were shaking under the strain during parts of the class.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Eve Ride

The forecast said to expect a warm New Years Eve day this Saturday. There was some talk at work last week about having a bike adventure on New Years Eve Day. We decided to meet in Mineola, IA @ noon and ride south to Malvern. IA and back. This would be about 12 miles each way.
Brian, Dale, Chris N and I met at Dave N's and we were able to save some gas and pile into his Honda Ridgeline with all five bikes.

Stop at Austin's in Silver City, IA.

Once the wheels were rolling, we found out that this trail takes longer than we thought to dry this time of year. It's not often that coasting a downhill grade on the Wabash feels so sluggish that you have to pedal. It was like a damp beach. The trail was not really muddy but just soft enough to steal your energy. We only rode half as far as we planned and that was more than enough in these conditions. We just couldn't make enough power. It was still a good adventure and bikes are powerful machines. They have the power to improve our lives, build friendships, and create good memories. This appears to be a shared understanding that bikes do this in a way that is kind to the earth and our bodies. I'm looking forward to new bike adventures this year. Happy New Year!

Blog Archive

Who is Stratomatic?

My photo
Stratomatica - is my blog place where I document things happening around me or that interest me. The name Strata, geologically speaking, are layers of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers. Too deep? Well, I like guitars. Mostly I like the sound and feel of Stratocasters.