Thursday, December 30, 2021

Rear View 2021: Winter Begins

Header from the beginning of Winter 2021.
  Hello! it's time again to review the year on Guitar Ted Productions. The "Rear View" has been a staple of the blog since almost the very beginning. This year there will be five Rear View posts looking back on Winter's End, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter's Beginning. I'll also have a post looking ahead at 2022 near the end of the month. Enjoy the look back and thanks for reading Guitar Ted Productions!

I have a confession to make: "I really do not like the months of November or December". Lots of bad things have happened to me in these months and as Winter approached, it seemed as though this was the case again. At the very end of October my Mother died and then on November 23rd, I found out my job at Andy's Bike Shop was over when Andy called and told me he was pulling the plug on the business. 

But I've weathered these month's storms before and worse ones than this. (If you can believe that.) And, of course, it wasn't all bad stuff. No, something happened which really was a huge surprise to me and alleviated much worry concerning my finances going forward for a bit. (Sorry about being so cryptic but I am not at liberty to say a lot more about what happened. Just that something good did happen.)  I had lots of riding going on yet. I had a nice surprise when a former coworker of mine had her son down for a visit and he came over to ride some gravel one day with me. That was a good time. There was also the wrapping up of review items for the year/season which kept me busy as well. 

Ben Morris snapped this image of me from our ride in November.

The weather, while often times so windy you dare not ride, was actually pretty nice. We did get a couple of good rains, but we are still really dry and the end of the year was mostly too dry again. Cracks in the roads in November are not a very good sign! Record temperatures (70 degrees plus! What!!) and tornadoes and high straight line winds (WHAT?!!) hit Iowa as well. Hopefully late Winter in 2022 will see snow and Spring will be wet enough to bring things back into balance again. 

On the blog I reviewed some oddball Tubolito tubes which weigh next to nothing, pack down to the size of a golf ball, and feel like plastic. They work great though, by the way. I also reviewed American Classic's 700c X 40mm tires here since I purchased them, and that published here late into November as well. 

I did a series on bikes I've kind of neglected. This one is my 2003 Karate Monkey

 I continued the series called "Neglected But Not Forgotten" which was concerned with bicycles I haven't used much or at all in 2021. I did this on a lark, but I'll be danged if it wasn't a popular series, based upon the hits those posts racked up. Who knew that you folks were into bicycles? (Ha! Only kidding. Of course you are into bicycles, if you read this blog, that is.) 

I did a post on not getting in a long ride on my single speed Standard Rando v2 and someone suggested that I do a "Virtual Turkey Burn" challenge over the Thanksgiving Day weekend where folks could drag out a 'neglected bike' and do a long ride. So I put the word out. I did my own long "Turkey Burn Ride" the Saturday after Thanksgiving on a glorious, warm, Sunny day which saw temperatures nearly reaching 60°F. 

A scene at the bridge over the West Fork of the Cedar River on Willow Road in Butler County.

I compiled a few folks images and stories into the "Virtual Turkey Burn Report" which ran on the blog here a week later. It was fun and I was pleased to see some folks get inspired by a reader's suggestion for a ride. I ended up getting four reports with images. I also found out a fifth ride was done in Kansas of 100 miles on gravel. So, I was glad the idea sparked some activity.

December came in warm at first, for December at least, and my focus became one of wrapping things up on the reviewing side, as mentioned above. There was some cleaning in the shop, (my personal shop!) and plans were made to clear out some more old junk that had accumulated over the years. I guess you could say I am a bit of a pack rat! 

Early in December we got Felix to come and live with us.

Early in the month of December we brought home a new cat from the animal shelter and named him Felix. He's been a ball of energy and is keeping me on my toes! 

I also reviewed the Bontrager Circuit WaveCel helmet here which is about the best fitting helmet I've ever used. I also wrapped up my take on the Twin Six wind vest I had gotten earlier in the Fall as well. 

December took a turn for the cold and windy just after the beginning of the month, but then it went all warm, (for this month) and nice again, which got me out for more riding. As mentioned earlier, on the 15th we broke a record for the warmest day of any December ever. Weird! As of this posting we just got snow on the ground! About three inches.....maybe. It's downright cold - in the single digits- and will be that way for a few days with more snow to come New Year's Day (/) Stay tuned on that.....

Later in the month I brought home all my stuff from Andy's and that kind of put a bit of finality on the bike shop days for the time being. 20 years straight (between two bike shop gigs) is a long time to be doing anything. I did pick up a part time, fill-in gig as a mover just to keep busy. 

Of course, the blog was rife with the usual end-of-year stuff and now that brings us to today. Tomorrow I will have a look at the future here and what may happen with me for next year. Thanks for reading, as always!


Gravelo said...

The picture of The Bus on that bridge is a GREAT shot. Wish you the best rides in the coming year!

JimpanZ said...

I'm sorry about your current challenges. I hope you are able to keep posting this. It is always informative and an inspiration for me.

Guitar Ted said...

@JimpanZ - Thank you! I plan on continuing for as long as possible. Thank you for reading here!