Saturday, June 05, 2021

Country Views: Testing Changes

It was one of those picture-perfect days I got to ride on.
Wednesday I made a few changes to the 'Gravel Bus', (documented on Thursday here), and I wanted to get out for a short run to see how these changes affected the ride. So, after lunch was settled I headed out to Prairie Grove Park in the truck to embark on a little test ride. 

It was one of those 'picture-perfect' days which you dream of riding on. The clouds were puffy, the breezes were light, and the temperature was about as 'just-right' as you can hope for in Iowa. Even the humidity was low. 

It reminded me of a lot of rides I got in last year. It seemed that those sorts of days just piled up one on top of another last year. I highly doubt that I will ever experience the string of awesome riding days like that again, but Wednesday was a possible start of another run of these days. I won't complain if it happens again, that is for sure! 

So, the plan was to head South, kind of backwards to my usual loop, going West on Orange Road to Aker Road instead of East to Ansborough. I thought about heading down and doing Petrie Road, but as I got close to the right hander a Jeep passed me by and headed down that road, so I decided to just keep heading South. It was an odd ride in that this was just the first of several cars and trucks I came across during my ride. That usually is not the case out here. 

The land keeps getting greener.
The new set up: Ergon grips and re-wrapped bar tape.

The new set up on the Standard Rando v2 is going to do the trick, I think. The handlebars were much more comfortable and tolerable than before. I may do some tweaking on things. One of the minor changes may include just wrapping with bar tape starting at the base of the levers and the little bit past there towards the stem. The space between the end of the Ergon grip and the lever base could be taken up by bits of ESI silicone grip which I happen to have a longer section of here. That grip section would fit the Winston Bar well at that point. We'll see. For now it is just a thought.

Wind rows of freshly cut hay. There is a baler and wagons in this image, but they are hard to see.

The same area as above. Wagons waiting to be loaded with 'square bales'.

A couple years ago I noted some farmers baling hay with an old 'square baler'- the traditional way hay was baled from the early 20th Century up until the 1980's. That was when I noted that the big, round bales were all you'd see anymore. Things remained that way and that is still the way the majority of farmers seem to handle hay and alfalfa these days. 

But now I've been noting a resurgence of 'square bale' activity. I saw at least three different examples of it last year and now this South of Waterloo where it appears that this entire crop of hay in this field will be taken as the traditional, 'square' bale which I remember as a kid. I have no idea why this would be happening now. Obviously these smaller rectangular hay bales are easier to handle and transport, so maybe that has something to do with it. 

I could have ridden all day, but I had other things to get to....
A big Ag sprayer in action off Ansborough.

The test was successful and I got a decent ride in to boot. So I was pretty pleased with how things went. There will be a few changes yet, but this is very close to where I want to be. I may opt for the 700c wheels and tires again soon. The 650B diameter is jusssst small enough that I feel a bit spun out at times. The 700c set up will rectify that. However, I must say that I have enjoyed the way these voluminous tires roll over chunky, loose gravel. The thing is, we've had so little of that this season so far. Now you just wait, I'll put on the 700c's and the maintainers will be out en force.  Ha!

1 comment:

graveldoc said...

On the subject of hay bales. I grew up on a farm in west central Missouri in the sixties to seventies. My dad bailed square bales until the seventies when he went to the big round bales. The reason was ease of transport from the field and ease of storage. The thing he noticed with storing the big round bales outside, was the amount of waste caused by rotting of the hay where the big bales sat on the ground. The big bales were easier to move to the cattle, too. Those were the days...