Life’s for the living…

Just some morning ramblings…

Just some morning ramblings…

I was on a bike ride today, and as I was pumping along some lyrics came to my mind, “Life’s for the living, so live it or your better off dead”. How many years did I live as a dead man? I sat and watched endless hours of tv, played computer games until my mind went numb. I let the world slip by me like I was allergic to concrete. I let my weight climb so high that doing anything was becoming a seemingly impossible task. I was dead…

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Yet, I turned it around, I dropped from 450 down to 250, I was living life to the fullest! But, it was short lived. Slowly, at first, the weight started to creep back up. 280, 290, 300, 330, 340, finally finding myself around 360! I was living like a dead man again. I felt dead inside, and my outside was beginning to match it. But I always held on just a little bit, I would bike occasionally and every time I did, I felt that taste of life again. I recently recommitted myself to improving myself in multiple areas, from spiritually to physically. Yet I always feel like the boy who cried wolf. How many times have I “recommitted” to this journey just to fail again? To many to count. This time though things feel different. I’m not living like a dead man anymore, I am living life. I feel it every time I hit my daily step goal, when I take in a moment of quiet meditation in the mornings, and when I ride my bike.

I finally feel alive again.

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Living LIFE!

Le Tour De Shore 2016

After a restless night of sleep I woke up early at about 4:30 to begin my day. I loaded up my bike, while my oatmeal cooked in the microwave. I ate it nervously, and began to wake up the household. Today was the day. The day I had been both looking forward to and dreading since February, the Le Tour De Shore ride. A 100 mile 2 day ride from Chicago,IL to New Buffalo, Mi.

We arrived at the McDonald Cycling Center at about 6:30. I quickly unloaded my gear and saying goodbye to my family, I figured I would try and mingle. Accept for one little problem, I found myself full of anxiety. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone, because I had this irrational fear gripping hold of me. I did ask one lady for some help pinning on my riding number (number 31), but I soon found myself standing all alone again. However that same lady approached me about 5 min later and asked if I had anyone to ride with? I responded that I didn’t and she offered to let me ride with her group.
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We ended up leaving a bit early as another rider offered to show us a better way to get to the Lake Shore trail head. He was a local and his route was very simple to follow, though I doubt I’ll remember it for next year. It was a pretty uneventful start, my nerves were still high as I was worried about completing the mileage for day one. We were keeping a decent pace through Chicago which was a nice difference from the last time I rode through it, Tri-State Ride. Everyone I was riding with was very friendly, which made the time go by very nicely. Everything was going smoothly, until we realized that we were missing someone. We waited for awhile, and one of the guys went back to look for him, but didn’t find him. After a bit we decided to keep going, as we thought he might have actually been ahead of us (he was a very strong rider). After a bit he came up from behind us, he had dropped his bike pump from his jersey pocket, it had wedged itself between the frame and the back wheel! I don’t know how but he didn’t fall and none of his spokes were broken. Luck was definitely on his side!

We were on our way again quickly and things again were moving at a decent pace. I could tell we were getting close to Hammond, IN where our first SAG stop would be. It was at this point we met a train, and not just any train, a REALLY SLOW train. It moved in front of the crossing about 300 feet and stopped. Ugh! We sat there for what seemed about 5 mins and it slowly, inch by inch started backing up. A bunch of us decided that when it was past the crossing we would cross. It was a single track and with the train moving so slowly it wouldn’t be any risk. A few people did yell at us from behind as we crossed but again, there was no danger. We quickly regained our speed and as we rode through a park area it started to turn, and turn, and turn us right back to that same train! Nooooooo! We were stuck at the middle of the train, the slowest moving train that has ever existed in all of human history! About 3 people decided to attempt for a Darwin award by going under the train. Now it was stopped at times, but it was still moving at others. While the 3rd person attempted a crossing the train started moving again, this time at a decent pace. Luckily they realized it in time and were able to get back. One guy had decided to go over the train and he almost lost his bike. It ended up being about a 15 min wait, and we all cheered when the train finally pulled away.

We finally reached the SAG point, and what awaited us was some gloriously yummy PANCAKES! We were all starving at this point, and we quickly found ourselves in line for the delicious food. We were lucky too, about another 10 mins and the line was wrapped around the corner. My oldest son had me bring along one of his transformers, and asked me to get some pictures of him on the ride. So here is Heatwave, in dinobot mode, enjoying some pancakes.

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The next section of the ride is kind of a blur, I was keeping a good pace of around 13-14mph. I remembered some of the roads and trails thanks to riding the WHAM Rides WHAM 2014 Night Ride WHAM 2015 the last couple of years. I do remember riding down a “hill”, which was really an overpass on the road. I was ready to get some speed, I moved into my drops and head down low, only to find out the bottom of the “hill” was where we had to make a left turn! Yikes! By the way, my brakes DO work, and I really love the stopping power from my disc brakes. There was another hill, this time on the bike trail, and I the ride down it that time I was able to coast for a good ¼ mile or more and still was passing people. Big Boned Bikers do well downhill. By the time we reached the second SAG stop, our group had split up. One of the riders, the lady who had invited me to join them, had been getting cramps in her legs. We called them and told them we would wait for them at the SAG stop though, and after about 30 mins they caught up. Turned out the ended up in some construction and had to walk their bikes for awhile. While we had been waiting though An ambulance had shown up, and a helicopter started flying over head. All of a sudden the helicopter started getting lower, and lower, and lower. It landed in a field next to the park we were at! I wondered if it was a medical flight, but I noticed on the side it said “LAW ENFORCEMENT”. As it was landing a squad car pulled up quickly, lights on. I was thinking to myself “what the hell is going on!?!?!”. Out of nowhere a bunch of kids started running up to the helicopter though and I quickly figured out it was a “touch the truck” type of event.

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At about 1pm we left the SAG stop and continued on, heading to the last SAG of the day in Chesteron, IN. The sags were all spaced about 20 miles apart, and about 10 miles in, we had all split up again. We stopped at an unofficial SAG stop. It just was a park with a restroom and some water. It was here that I ended up splitting up with the group. I didn’t want to be late getting to the campground, because dinner started at 3pm and only went to 6pm. What was interesting, and kind of weird, was that this section of the ride was right by my house (less than a mile). It is the trail I ride all the time! In fact, I almost turned to go home by mistake at one point. I was starting to feel a bit run down about this point, and ended up stopping to rest a couple of times. It wasn’t so much my legs that were feeling it, it was my “boodle” as my son likes to call it. I should have applied more cream( I use diaper cream to help protect and it works great), but for some reason I decided not to even though I stopped at a spot with a restroom. I kept on going though, one pedal at a time and found myself arriving in Chesterton! It was getting late at this point, almost 3pm but I had decided that I would stop at the bar next to the SAG and have my one beer. It was at this point one of the guys from the group I had been riding with pulled up! We decided to go grab a beer together. I had a Lagunita IPA, which on such a hot day was amazingly refreshing. We went outside and I quickly drank my beer. It was so damn good, I couldn’t make myself nurse it like I normally would.

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After finishing my beer, and checking out Broomhead  bars booth, who I must say have AMAZING bars! I couldn’t believe they were gluten free/healthy! I was headed out, and I must say this was the hardest part of the day. I was completely by myself, and I there were a few hills. I was tired, my butt hurt, and I just wanted to get to the campsite with out getting lost. I eventually ended up stopping to check my directions and someone else came along at that point. A lovely couple on a tandem bicycle, I offered to take their picture for them and they let me follow them to camp. Well I tried to follow them. I was just barely able to keep them insight. After what felt like forever, we finally pulled into the campground. It was a free for all setup and I found myself a nice quiet spot to setup my tent.

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I had expected people to be already eating but the place was pretty empty. Turns out dinner didn’t start till 6pm and it was only a bit after 4. I was starving, and if I do this ride next year, I plan to pack a second bag of just food! The campground slowly began to fill up though and dinner was finally served. It was from this AMAZINGLY FANTASTIC SUPER DELICIOUS OUT OF THIS WORLD wood fired pizza place. This is coming from a guy who hates thin/crispy crusts. Here are some photos of dinner and the firetruck they cooked it out of.

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Feeling a bit jelly aren’t you? You should be.

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That night, I slept pretty well, despite the party that raged outside my tent for what felt like hours. I fell asleep quickly though and I remember waking up to complete silence at about 1am. I had decided to leave before the official start time the next day. There was a 5k race taking place along the route that I knew would end up slowing down the ride, and the weather was going to be warm out. I got up at about 6am and packed up as quietly as I could, and was on the rode by about 6:30. I did take a quick stop by lake Michigan to grab a photo of Tallulah.

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Again, I found myself riding alone, and this time along a busy hwy near sunrise. This sent me into a small panic attack as one car decided to buzz right by me. An inch more over and he would have clipped my handlebars. As I rode along I shortly found myself riding along the lake, it was amazingly peaceful. I passed the location where the 5k was going to take place, no issues at all since I was so early. After going a ways though, I hadn’t seen any marks to turn, and I knew I had a turn somewhere near here. I stopped my bike along the narrow lane, and pulled over as far as I could. I dug into my yellow bucket and fished out my cue sheet. Damn it, I had missed my turn. I back tracked about a mile, back to where the 5k was going to take place. They had painted over the turn marking on the road! I made the turn this time and kept a sharper look out for my next turn. This time I missed it again, but only went about 100 yards before I realized it. Eventually though I was on course, riding through a swampy area and wondering to myself why I decided to pack the bug spray with my camping stuff. After what seemed like an eternity though I finally got to Michigan City, where my first sag stop of the day was taking place. As I pulled into town I meet up with some other riders, who invited me to join them. They were planning on riding at a slow pace, so I figured it would be a great group to ride with. I was surprised to find out that the reason they were on the road so early was because their hotel had a fire the night before. They had been up since 2am and had spent most of the early morning drinking coffee at a nearby panera.

Here is a photo of the group, they were all from Indianapolis.

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Despite my best efforts, I was quickly dropped. In all fairness, they did offer to slow down, but I knew that this was going to be a tough day for me. The night before all I was hearing about was how hilly this part of the ride was going to be, and it didn’t disappoint. This was the worst part of the ride. 20 miles of hot and hilly riding. At one point it got so bad I did the unthinkable, and something I really hate to admit. I called my wife. I told her I was done. I couldn’t go on any more and that I was exhausted. That’s right, I quit and gave up. Only, she wasn’t able to come get me for at least an hour or more. I decided that instead of sitting in the middle of nowhere I would keep on riding. I’m proud of myself because instead of completely giving up and throwing in the towel, I decided to keep pushing on. Turns out I was over half way to the sag stop! I ended up making it to the SAG, after having to stop a few more times to rest, and nearly going through 4 bottles of water. I was sweaty, thirsty, tired and beat up. It was still another 10-15 miles till the end of the day. Why 10-15? Because the mileage had seemed to be off on the cue sheets. I really didn’t know if I had it in me. But thanks to some encouragement from a stranger, who told me that if you do 90miles you do 100, I kept on riding. Luckily this was a much flatter portion of riding, and I was told it was just meandering through town. They lied. While it was less hilly, it was still hilly, and it wasn’t a simple ride through town, it was a ride through the country side, which meant less shade. However, after stopping one more time, I finally found a pace I could keep up with. My “boodle” was on fire, because I had developed 2 bad saddle sores, but I just kept pedaling. After what felt like 10 hours, but really was only about and 1.5 hours I rolled into the end of the ride! I couldn’t believe it, I made it!! Big Boned Biker completed his first Le Tour De Shore.

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So the big question is, would I do this ride again? I honestly don’t know. If I do it again, I need to drag someone along with me, because the times that were hardest were when I was having to ride alone.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

The little engine that could…

I have also been training for my up coming ride with Le Tour De Shore! Day one will be the toughest day as it will be a bit over 60 miles, though I was able to do 60 last month it was still a struggle to complete it

From the Desk of the Big Boned Biker:

Still going strong here! I haven’t posted in awhile, life has gotten in the way, and maybe a touch of laziness. I have been doing great with my workouts; consistently on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. I have found my time lifting at the gym almost as relaxing as well as fulfilling as riding my bike. It helps me focus and really centers my mind. Here are a few pictures from the gym, though they might not be the most “flattering” I am still proud of them.

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I have also been training for my up coming ride with Le Tour De Shore! Day one will be the toughest day as it will be a bit over 60 miles, though I was able to do 60 last month it was still a struggle to complete it. I really need to work on my food intake, as I think I bonked at the end(ran out of “fuel”).

The ride started out well, it was a cooler day and I wore some gym pants and a light jacket. I wish it had been a touch warmer as I felt a bit overheated wearing the coat. I did try taking it off a few times but the wind from riding made it a bit to cold still. I had originally planned to ride to Michiana MI. but decided the night before to ride to La Porte instead. It looked like a nice easy ride, mainly on calm country roads, in other words some of my favorite riding.

I took off around mid morning and quickly made my way down the Prairie Duneland trail that runs near my house. That took me to Chesterton, and even though a couple people have shown me a route around the downtown, I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. I HATE riding through the busy intersection that is there, and I am pretty sure the cars behind me hate it too. I continued along the roads, I knew them pretty well as it is the same route I take to get to the campground. When I reached the point where I normally turn left, I continued straight. This was my first break, and about 20 miles in!

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I was feeling strong and had only about another 10 miles to go before I turned around. Piece of cake! I take off and am riding along with a big grin on my face. There is something about being on a bike to make you feel alive! Wait, what was that up ahead? Ahh @#$@ a hill. Yeah, I didn’t know about the hills on this route! I ended up having to walk up one of them and this was waiting for me at the top.
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So apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way! Despite the hills though I enjoyed the country scenery. I even stopped for a couple of pictures, or at least that is what I told myself the reason for stopping was.

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Now my wife and I have a deal of sorts, when I go riding she wont come get me. If I got myself somewhere, I can get myself back. Now this isn’t serious, and it is more of a joke than anything, but it is a mentality that helps me push through some tough spots. This ride though, she had said that if I needed a ride she would come and get me. As I pulled into La Porte, I stopped for another couple of photos.

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I was half way, I was tired, I was drained, I was feeling like quitting. I called her up, and told her how I felt. Those hills had wiped me out, and there wasn’t even that many of them. I also was getting over a bad cold and would go into minute long coughing fits, which didn’t help the matter. I told her though that I wasn’t 100% sure I was ready to give up, and decided to rest for about a half hour before heading home.

One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. I counted a cadence in my head as I cycled slowly along the road. Through a bit of luck I took a wrong turn and ended up missing a couple of the hills, but I still was feeling like I was running on fumes. When I made it back to where the campground turn was though, I knew I could make it home. I called my wife and said to cancel the red alert, I would be biking home today! 4 miles later I was on the side of the road coughing, sore, tired, and wishing I hadn’t made that call. One positive note though, I did figure out the alternative way to go, so i was able to skip the busy area!Still, all the way home, about every couple of miles I was having to stop to rest my legs. I was finished. I couldn’t go one bit more. I stopped on the side of the trail, sat down and felt like crying. How could I have let myself get this far our of shape! I had done harder rides with ease in the past, even at heavier weights! The ride to Dodgeville was a tougher ride and I don’t think I could do that right now. However, I gathered my strength and pushed on. I just kept pushing myself, on pedal stroke at a time. I eventually made it home and I remember saying out loud “I f’ing made it”. It was a hair over 60 miles, but it felt like I had ridden a century.
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I learned for my June ride that, I can make it if I push myself(at least I won’t be riding alone hopefully) and that I really need to get my food intake figured out. The power bars I brought just weren’t enough fuel for my body. I further learned that, when you do a big ride on Tuesday, make sure Wednesday isn’t leg day! Ouch!

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Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Body Fortress: Super Advanced Whey Protein Chocolate

This is my review for the Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein powder! As always, this is a product I purchased on my own, and not a sponsored post. The opinions are my own, and represent how I feel about the product.

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Cost: The cost was reasonable from what I have seen of other similar products, and it was an influence in picking this brand. I paid about $18 for it at my local grocery store. Using just one scoop it comes out to about $1 a serving, so about the same as a bottle of soda.

Taste: I bought the chocolate thinking it would be the safest, and it wasn’t bad. It made me think of carob though more than chocolate, having a sweet but slightly tangy flavor. I think I will try a different flavor next time, maybe the strawberry? My wife also had the thought of adding PB2 (a peanut butter powder mix) to it, and I think I will give that a try also. Another plus, it wasn’t chalky! It was very smooth and didn’t leave a powdery taste in my mouth after drinking. I tried it both warm and iced down, I recommend it served cold.

Feeling: It left me feeling very satisfied and full. It has about 30g of protein per scoop! Wish it had a bit more fiber, it only has about 1g, but that is OK. About 2 hours later and I am still feeling fine, not overly hungry(I ate a late breakfast today so this was my lunch/snack).

Thoughts: I am happy with it, though the flavor isn’t exactly what I had hoped for. My biggest fear was that it would taste chalky and I was happy with how smooth it actually was! My main reason for buying this is for an afternoon snack, as it tends to be when I struggle the most. I think this will work very well for that!

Would i buy again: Yes I would, and if you are thinking of buying it via amazon here is a link

 

Gym

Really proud of myself today! Not only did I go to the gym, despite my having to reschedule with my trainer, but I also stepped outside my personal comfort zone

Really proud of myself today! Not only did I go to the gym, despite my having to reschedule with my trainer, but I also stepped outside my personal comfort zone.

When I first started working out at the gym, my biggest fear was being noticed by people. The first time I had to do squats and lunges on my own, I was so scared I was shaking! I pushed past that however, and have finally gotten to the point where I feel comfortable doing my workout. I realized that everyone was to busy looking at themselves in the mirror to notice my reflection. I could workout in peace, and now don’t even need to headphones when I lift(I used them to drown out the room as opposed to listening to music). I saw my fear, faced it and moved on.

So here I am, mid workout, just finishing my sets of lunges, when a man walks up to me. Not only does he walk up to me, but he asks me to come spot him. Inside I am freaking out, my mind races and thinks about all the times I have been the butt of jokes, but I reply “no problem happy to help”. As I am walking over I remember that he had briefly introduced himself a week or so ago when I was working with the dumbbells. This made me feel slightly better but inside I was still feeling very self-conscious, my belling showing slightly due to the cut of my workout shirt(it is made for biking so it is shorter in the front and longer in the back). It sorta came to me at this time that I really didn’t know how to “spot” someone actually. I knew the idea behind it, but having never done it, I wasn’t sure the etiquette of doing it. Would I help him lift to soon? To Late? Was I about to get someone killed because the weight was higher than I could handle? Anxiety makes you think of these types of things.

“I’ve never spotted anyone before, what would you like me to do?” I asked, because despite not wanting to look like an idiot, I didn’t want to do this wrong.

He explained what he wanted me to do, but my thoughts were still galloping around in my head. Filling me with doubt. Would I be able to handle this weight? No, because you are just a fat weakling. Is this some cruel joke that someone is playing on me? YES, because why else would they ask for your help! Are you going to just mess this up and look like an idiot? Of course you will. These were the type of thoughts that were going on in my brain.

He didn’t get hurt, he didn’t laugh at me, he didn’t do anything besides lift weights and say thank you. Afterwords we talked for a few a couple of minutes and I came to the realization that he probably was having the same self-conscious feelings that I was. Turns out, we are both humans, both new to this, and both just trying to get our “burn” on. As I went back to my workout I felt a sense of pride in myself, a few weeks ago I would have just said no, and just the fact that someone noticed me, I may never have wanted to step foot in the gym again. I did it though, I proved that I was stronger than I believed. Physically, but even more so emotionally.

I read somewhere that the best thing to do with anxiety, is to do the thing you are anxious about. Every time you don’t, you are reinforcing that negativity behavior, making it more difficult next time to push through it. I know next time, I won’t feel like I did, or I should say, I won’t feel AS bad as I did. I am a stronger person, I am a healthier person, and I am learning to enjoy to workout physically and emotionally.

Finally starting to see some progress again(and time for a haircut again I think)!

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Starting to see some progress
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Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Determination

Today was a day where I woke up feeling defeated.

Today was a day where I woke up feeling defeated. No energy, not even 2 cups of DeathWish coffee could wake me up! Despite this, I really wanted to get in a workout this morning, and the best time was after dropping my oldest off at pre-k. One of the most awesome things about my gym is the free daycare! I love the fact that it allows me to work out during the day time, and not having to wait till the kids go to bed. My youngest loves it so much, he practically runs the entire way once we get inside.

After getting him settled in I went to the locker room to get changed. While in the locker room I felt like I could lay down on the bench and sleep right there. I honestly wasn’t sure how I would make it through a workout, let alone off the damn bench. Yet, I managed to get dressed and found that the gym was happily dead. I picked a treadmill, with a buffer on each side because my heart rate monitor will get picked up by the machines next to me as well. While loading up my Couch to 5k app, I really wondered if I could actually get through the entire 30 mins. I had no get up and go, no energy to speak of, and I was pretty sure I would start walking and quit 5 min. into it. Ever felt this way? What did you do? Here’s how it went for me.

I did the warm up and realized this was crazy and quit. I went next door to the pizza place and ate an entire large pizza, with 4 full calorie sodas. Not really though, after the warm up I decided I would just walk the entire thing, but when the “ding, start running!” sounded, I found myself turning it up and running. When it finished I swore that I was going to walk the next one, because I am beat. “Ding, start running” and again I turned it up to run. This went on for awhile and each time I would finish running I would tell myself “next time we walk”. I was defeated but I refused to give up, I ended up running all of them and finished out the full 30 mins! I ended up earning a badge, and I must say it was highly appropriate.

Determination

Determination? Even though I swore I was quitting at every chance, when it came time to make a choice, I picked pushing through it. It wasn’t an easy choice, and I instantly regretted it as I gasped for air like a fish out of water. But the regret I would have felt by giving up would have been even worse. Remember, when the road gets rough up ahead, just take it one step at a time. When you do, you will find yourself getting through the rough patch before you know it! YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Missed you guys..

How has everyone been doing? I have been ok, I tried starting a new blog only to realize that I missed having this one! So Big Boned Biker is back again, and I have some new things going on in my life to share.

First, for those that don’t know I suffer (hate this term) live with  Bipolar with OCD, and am finally getting my meds changed around. Night and day difference! What this means for me is that I am finally feeling good about myself again, and focusing on my weight. I have re-joined a gym,  getting a personal trainer, and am back on track with weight watchers! So far I have lost close to 30 pounds on the new weight watchers plan, and already planning some bike rides for this year!

For Christmas I got my oldest son a new bike! Presenting Green Bean Heat-bot Troll! It is a tag-along type bike and I think he will enjoy it more than the cramped trailer. It will also allow him to pull the trailer and we will have a really cool/long “bike train”. I might even have to find a train whistle to use!

PLEASE IGNORE THE MESS

Tag along, green bike, sons new bike

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I hope all is going well with those of you who read this, and I look forward to some more in-depth type posts soon.

Sincerely

Big Boned Biker

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