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July 28, 2009

The Road Bike

After many years of riding a mountain bike with slicks for road riding, and a year of thinking and testing, I made the plunge two weeks back and now own a road bike.

In the process of making a decision I rode Trek, Cannondale, Felt, and Fuji bikes, in varying amounts of frequency. I took many trips to a local bike shop to look at the options, talk to the riders there, etc.

On paper (web) I liked the Felt Z35, and was pretty sure that was the bike for me based on the specs and the philosophy of the Felt bike company. However when I did some test riding the Felt didn't feel right. The comfort ride was too upright for my liking. I tried a few different sizes of the Felt, and tried the Z45 as well, but they all had the same feeling.

I rode the Fuji CCR 2, and while I really didn't (and still don't) like the color or design, the ride was just better. It's hard to put my finger on or describe, but there was just something about the bike that fit me better. I rode the Fuji, and then went back and rode the Felt again and it confirmed that I preferred the fit of the Fuji.

So I'm now riding a Fuji CCR 2. Except for the paint job, it is so awesome. Riding often feels like floating. Have logged many miles already, trying to get a few good rides in each week.

Posted by mike at 9:38 PM

July 14, 2009

Service Vacation in Peru

This one in a series of articles about taking a service vacation to Peru, coordinated by Globe Aware.

Heidi and I spent a week in Peru for our 15th anniversary on a service vacation. During the week we took a lot of photos, some short video clips, and kept a hand-written journal of the experience. This post brings together links to the photos and videos, and includes a brief summary of each day's activities.

Working in San Pedro de Casta, Peru
San Pedro de Casta
Marcahuasi, Peru
School Children from San Pedro de Casta
Lima and Cosica, Peru

Videos from Peru Trip (YouTube playlist)

Daily Summary

July 3 - Fly to Lima late. Ride in 70's VW bus to hotel in the middle of the night.

July 4 - Meet up with other members of the group; Chad, a musician from Michigan, and Jen, a kindergarden teacher from Washington, DC. Meet Jackie, the Globe Aware coordinator. Travel via taxi to Chosica, tour the city center and market. Eat lunch at Norky's. Ride the bus to San Pedro de Casta, climbing 10,000 vertical feet along Andean cliffs. Meet other group members; Mike and Adam, high school students from Chicago. Eat dinner, check into hotel, sleep with heavy wool blankets as there is no heat in San Pedro.

July 5 - Breakfast. Tour San Pedro de Casta, meet folks, learn about the village and culture. Lunch. Work on bathroom/shower project in primary school. Dinner.

July 6 - Work on bathroom/shower in primary school. Play against, and then watch soccer match between very skilled footballers. Visit home of residents to see baby goats born in past 24 hours. Say goodbye to coordinator Jackie.

July 7 - Work on bathroom/shower in primary school. Meet Globe Aware coordinator Melina in the evening.

July 8 - Finish work on bathroom/shower project. Start work on refurbishing school yard by painting volleyball court and installing volleyball net anchors. Play games with students at secondary school. Cook "American dinner" for students and teachers.

July 9 - Up early for a horse ride to and hiking in Marcahuasi, one of the 7 wonders of Peru. Dinner and dancing hosted by students and teachers.

July 10 - Finish work on school yard. Pack up bags, ride bus back down to Chosica, taxi back into Lima.

July 11 - Spend the day walking around Lima, fly out in evening.

Posted by mike at 11:32 PM

July 2, 2009

Off to San Pedro de Casta, Peru

This one in a series of articles about taking a service vacation to Peru, coordinated by Globe Aware.

Tonight we make final preparations for tomorrow's flight to Peru. If you haven't read, Heidi and I are spending a week in the Andean village of San Pedro de Casta, Peru on a service vacation. Kids are staying at home with their grandparents, who arrived earlier this week.

We probably haven't spent enough time preparing (Spanish vocabulary is still only a handful of words), but we've got the most critical stuff lined up.

Globe Aware, the organization coordinating the trip, has been excellent. They've provided good information about what to expect for travel, accommodations, food, and more. As we've had questions they've been great about getting back to us. All-in-all, they've done a great job at helping us know enough to be comfortable about going to a distant land and living among strangers-to-become-friends for a week.

A few weeks back the coordinator asked if we would transport some internet routers for boosting network signals, but it fell through as they were on backorder. I've been asked to take a look at the school and the computers and provide some feedback on getting a network and internet connection there.

Here's the page on the San Pedro trip, with a video and photos from previous groups.

Very excited, a little bit nervous....

Posted by mike at 5:09 PM

Latest Bike Route - 20 miles from Malden up around Lake Quannapowitt

It was raining this morning, but was my last chance to get out on the Cannondale all-carbon road bike I've been borrowing and riding for the past week.

Instead of my usual "wind through neighborhoods to avoid all main roads" I mapped a ride straight up Route 28 until it meets I-95/128, across Wakefield past the Converse Factory and down along Lake Quannapowitt. A beautiful ride, the best route I've done yet from an enjoyment perspective (even through I was soaking from the increasingly heavy rain).

Toward the end of the ride it started thundering and lightning...which made me a bit nervous to scurry the last few miles home.

The Cannondale goes back to it's owner today. Has been a great week of riding, that thing floats compared to the mountain bike that I usually ride.

Posted by mike at 8:50 AM