“POLLUTING COLORADO COAL PLANT” (Friday, September 24, 2010)

Kicked the day off with a mocha at Peppy’s Drive-Thru Coffee. The staff were all smiles, having never seen anything quite like the rocket trike roll up to their window.

Big media push today. Started the day by swinging back by The Fort Morgan Times for a quick interview:


Later hit the Brush News-Tribune:


Pedaled a few miles out of my way to get some shots of Xcel’s coal-fired power plant in Brush.

Was then fortunate to catch Washington County Commissioner and geothermal expert Bruce Johnson at home (he’s someone I had met years ago assisting enXco with a proposed a wind project for Washington County), so I stopped by to talk to him. Have always liked Bruce, so it was really good to see him again.  Then made a stop at the Akron News-Reporter.

Bruce called ahead to the next town to alert Cheryl Patterson (co-owner of the Otis Telegraph) about me. She was kind enough to drive out to meet me to get a photo of the trike before the sun went down. In response to my question about camping options in town, she generously offered her own backyard. The Patterson “campground” came complete with a laundromat, hot shower and a cat named “Snickers” (you might be able to find an amazing story about how their cat survived 16 days trapped under their porch by googling it in the Telegraph). Cheryl then treated me to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, joined by her bubbly 4-year old granddaughter and teenage son. Another big ride day (87 miles).

Tagged , , , , ,

“BREAKDOWN!” (Tuesday, September 21, 2010)

Picked up breakfast at Vic’s and Moe’s Bagels, then rode the first 3 miles east with Marti. Sweet. Then made a pit stop at the Valmont coal-fired power plant to bid adieu to the coal burning there.

The ride east started well. Hit some nice little hills coming out of town, which got the blood pumping. Good to be away from a computer and back outside on a bike pushing my body. Lots of thumbs up and compliments on the trike from fellow bikers and motorcyclists. Made it 26 miles on Hwy. 52, near Fort Lupton, when cruising down a hill the steering got dangerously loose, so I pulled off the road. My first thought was the joystick steering mechanism might be compromised. Fortunately it was just a flat tire, and a very fortuitous one at that.

The bad news is the flat was in the rear and my wrench (should have checked that before I left) was not quite big enough for me to loosen the bolt. The good news is I bought roadside bike insurance for the trip, so I was able to get a tow to the nearest bike shop in Frederick, which lucky for me was open today. Breaking down this early in trip, where I was still close enough to get the kind of repairs I needed, ended up being a huge blessing, as the flat tire unearthed a much more serious problem that could have derailed the ride for a week or longer.

Angel Berdiales, owner of Shalom (meaning “peace”) Bikes, pulled off the back tire and immediately spotted trouble. Where the derailleur screws into the rear carbon fiber fork, the threads were badly stripped, likely due to a sloppy original installation, so it was only a matter of time before the derailleur would shake loose, leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere. No more biking for today.

Angel consulted with his friend, Armando Caban, and came up with a creative solution. They inserted weld bond to set overnight and will drill a new hole and try rethreading it in the morning. Will it solve the problem long-term? No way to know, but I’m hoping for the best. Despite my little emergency backing up his other jobs, and having to leave tomorrow for the Interbike Expo in Las Vegas, Angel is determined to get me fixed up and back on the road, which I hope will be tomorrow morning.

While we’re figuring all this out, another friend of Angel’s, Roland Voss, stops into the bike shop, hears I’m stranded, and offers to let me crash at his place in Firestone.  So here I am, having a great conversation with a like-minded green energy advocate, being generously treated to dinner and my second cold beer. Roland has a creative idea about reforming our political system.

Tagged , , , , ,