Here it is. My new tour bus. It’s the xtracycle free radical kit. I tried it out last night for the inaugural ride to Augustana Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. I had the honor of playing for an ELCA mission training event. There were about 150 pastors from all over North America joining to learn how to better serve their communities with the gospel. That’s a powerful thing. And stinky ol’ me got to lead them in song. In a decision based on simplicity and personal challenge I decided a few days ago to lead all the songs without any printed materials. No hymnals, song sheets, powerpoints, tag boards etc… And it worked wonderfully. Of course in no small part to the fact that there were 150 worship leaders in the room.
I’m looking forward to putting more miles on this bike. The round trip last night was just under 20 miles which was a nice test ride distance. About 3 weeks ago I played at Edina Community Lutheran Church which was also about 20 miles round trip and I did that with my guitar and merch in a burley trailer. Comparing the two rides I will say that traveling with an xtracycle is way easier for a couple of reasons. Better handling. Narrower load. Both of these things are way important when cruising in the city. Of course on family outings when handling and width aren’t an option there’s always what my kids refer to as the dinosaur train:
Lydia rides the tag-a-long, and elsa sits in the trailer/trunk with the groceries or whatever we’re hauling. I think contraptions like this explain my excessive drive train wear.
Here’s the deal with riding bikes though. It’s contagious and it only gets easier. It doesn’t have to be intimidating or le tour-esque. The xtracycle free radical kit is pricey, but I put it on a bike I got for free off craig’s list. Not perfect, but it works. (Actually the frame was free, the bar end shifter and seat I got from my friend Jim ‘century’ Welton and the handlebars that could accommodate bar end shifters are from Hiawatha Cyclery. And while we’re giving mad props, I purchased the extension kit from Capital Deals in West St. Paul, where Alex and his wife are tops and the two mechanics are MK’s like me. But much younger. PS when did i get old?) (oh yeah, and the brake levers and rear cassette are from the greatest used parts store in St. Paul, Express Bike Shop)
Where was I? Oh yes, bikes are great. Living in the country’s most bikable city doesn’t hurt – I’m constantly amazed at how many trails are out there to navigate the cities and there are more bike lanes every day. I also think that drivers are getting more bike friendly. I’ve had way fewer rude interactions and way more thumbs up this summer. So go ride your bike. And if you want to check out my xtracycle come over and take it for a spin. And if you buy the kit and need a hand I’ll help you put it together – it’s that great and I want that much for you to drive less and bike more.
And that’s the last blog for a few weeks. I’m off to camp in ID. I’ll drive to the airport fly in a jet plane take a two hour drive in a big old pickup and buy bigger shoes to fit my carbon footprint and help balance my big head. All in moderation people, all in moderation.