Monday, January 20, 2020

Marky-Mark Maintenance

Looking a bit more like Winter here these days.
Well, Winter finally stuck around long enough that fat biking makes sense and the wet spots are frozen, making fat bike travel ideal. The level of snow is still on the meager side. We could do with more for good fat biking, but hey! We'll take it. the way things have been going this is almost more than we could hope for.

Wednesday last week N.Y. Roll and I went out on a mission. That mission was to make Marky-Mark somewhat traverse-able. there were about five points where dead falls had made things where you had to dismount to get over them. I had already been there and done a bit of clean-up through a re-route that had been neglected. That happened about a month ago or so.

It was colder, but not crazy cold. 19°F when I started out with no wind to speak of at all. However; it was spitting something. Freezing rain? Freezing fog? Not sure, but whatever it was had coated the street and I knew it was going to be dangerous to ride on the pavement. Car drivers would be getting out of control on this stuff. So, I ducked off onto the nearest straight through alley I could find and the snow was perfect. Packed but it had traction. I noted an accident on one corner as I crossed a street. N.Y. Roll told me later he almost got taken out by a car out of control on his way over to the Green Belt.

The whatever it was falling from the air ended up turning into snow, then it disappeared. I got into the Green Belt, met up with N.Y. Roll, and then I followed him to the first dead fall on the East side. I had brought my "battle hatchet" with me. It is a funny tool that came out of a fire kit on a light aircraft from France. (Long story) Anyway, it has a weird, frightening shape and a red and yellow striped handle. We started hacking away and actually got about 3/4's of the way through this 12'-15" round log. It was hard work. We really should have had an axe. A nice long handled, heavy axe.

CAUTION! Men at work!
Then we came to our senses. N.Y. Roll grabbed a 7-8 foot long branch and tried levering the log. I looked and remembering my 7th grade physics, I motioned that we should find another shorter piece of wood to act as a fulcrum. With this crude, simple machine the two of us levered the 25' long tree trunk off the tread of the trail Success!

The rest of the trail is navigable and passable by skilled riders adept at hopping logs. Probably when Spring comes I'll have to get someone with a bigger saw or axe to chop out about two other dead falls. But beyond this, the old Marky-Mark is doing just fine after 23 years. Can't ask for much more than that.


MuddyMatt said...

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

Yesterday my mate dropped his phone on a ride around Hindhead in Surrey, UK. Lots of low gorse and heather on sandy soil. Not much chance of finding it even though we knew pretty much where he'd dropped it.

After ages trying to 'find his phone' via Google (while enjoying a fat bacon roll at a rest stop) one of our other riders said 'why don't you just ring it?'.

Light bulb moment. It was quickly answered by a friendly lady who was sitting in a pub having lunch about four miles away and waiting for the call!

She'd found it while walking with her family and was very happy we'd tracked her down - a quick detour later (too quick after the bacon roll) and mate and phone were re-united.

We were very happy for her goodwill!

Guitar Ted said...

@Muddy Matt - It is amazing when you get that revelation, isn't it? I love those moments when we realize how daft we can be sometimes.

And kudos to the lady who found your phone and waited for that call. There still are lots of good people in the world.

teamdarb said...

I had to laugh at the hatchet account. I carry two folding saws. One flimsy hardware store and the other is from a murderer or some robot alien overlord. It will cut you even folded. The blade itself is double the thickness of a nickel. The other day I tried cutting a dead fall log about six inches round. It gave up on me after I realized that long was froze solid.