Last year, my Mom and Dad crowdfunded a coffee shop in my Dad’s hometown. I’m really proud of their accomplishments and how they give back. The coffee shop provides jobs, but it also gives the town a gathering place that has been absent for some time. I think is was a great idea, and I’m glad we could be a part of it.
About thirty years ago, my family started doing a thirty mile bike ride on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Now that EF is big enough, we decided to take her out on the trip. I’m not nearly as in good of shape as my dad was when he was my age, and EF’s bike trailer is not fun to haul with a bike. Pair that with the heat and humidity we’ve been having, and it doesn’t make for a very enticing trip. I was researching ebikes for my Mom, and came across Riide. Riide is an ebike that does about twenty mph, charges in three hours, has a range of about twenty-five miles, and only weights about forty pounds. When I found out they do three day demos, I had an idea… I booked two Riide ebikes for Thursday afternoon-Sunday morning, picked them up in DC, and headed straight for Oxford, MD. During the demo, we covered over twenty miles in MD, and then when we got home, we rode about another twenty. The short story is that the bikes were awesome, but I have a more detailed review after the gallery.
Our traditional Eastern Shore ride is from Easton through Oxford, over the ferry, to St. Michaels for crabs, and then back to Easton. Its about a thirty mile loop, and a long day trip. Not knowing how EF would sleep in the trailer, we decided to spend the night in Oxford, go to get crabs in St. Michaels, and then retrace our steps, riding about fifteen miles. The riide ebikes did great. The say the have about about a twenty-five mile range, but thats obviously not while pulling a baby trailer loaded down with a baby and accoutrement. We did the fifteen miles no problem, and then tooled around Oxford about another five after the ride. The bikes still felt strong and zippy at the end of the ride. At this point, I was about sold.
When we got home from Maryland, all three of us really wanted to take the bikes back out. I charged them (it only takes about three hours for a full charge), and we went out on the W&OD trail, and hit up some parks. We biked to dinner and brunch. While we had the bikes, we enjoyed being outside constantly, and the bikes really made it easy and fun to get out there. In one day, we had brunch at Caboose Brewing right on the trail, and then rode back, hit up a park near our house, and then rode out to El Tio for dinner. On the way to dinner the bike pulling the trailer died. It had been fully charged and we had only traveled about ten miles, but all the hills and the trailer took their toll on the battery. Earlier I had marveled at how I was passing serious road bikers wearing all spandex while in casual clothes and pulling a baby trailer. Now I was stuck pumping a fixie with a heavy trailer behind it. Once we made it to the restaurant, I took the other riide (stilll charged because it was not pulling a trailer) and rode it home to get the truck. The bottom line is that these ebikes can pull a trailer twenty-five miles when its flat, but max out at about ten when its hilly. My wifes bike did about fifteen with hills not pulling a trailer, which is still pretty impressive. In Maryland I was sold on the riide, but now I was thinking I should test ride some electronically assisted bikes (you pedal and the bike adds supplementary power) before deciding on the riide (Which is more like a moped with pedals. You can twist the throttle, or you can pedal, but you really can’t do both except while going up steep hills.) I haven’t had the chance to test ride another ebike yet, but I still do really like riide and may end up with one. If I didn’t have to haul a baby trailer, I would own one by now. I definitely think its worth doing a free demo if you’re interested in an ebike.
by rsiv with no comments yet
Lets start with a quick book review. I read The Boys in the Boat earlier this summer and thought it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’m sure I particularly enjoyed it because I rowed crew, but my dad, who did not row, recommended it to me and it was on the best sellers list. I definitely can see how anyone could appreciate the story of some average Americans coming together to achieve something spectacular. Its a great book for anyone to read at anytime, but with the Olympics in Rio on the horizon, what better time than now? PBS is doing a special on the story of the Olympic crew from 1936, which aires Tuesday August 2nd at 9pm. If you’ve never followed US rowing, the book and PBS special might just peak your interest. I watched some of the Royal Henley this year, and the use of drones to film rowing has really changed the game for spectators. Now is a great time to read the book, watch the PBS special, and enjoy US Olympic rowing.
Preview for the PBS Special:
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Several years ago, I honestly don’t remember exactly when, I read an article in Cigar Aficionado about a guy in Great Falls, Virginia that grew his own tobacco, and had it rolled into cigars. Inspired, I bought some books, did a ton of internet research, and then decided to go for it. That first season I learned that growing tobacco is relatively easy. I learned about grow lights, propagating seeds, growing seedlings indoors, and then planting after the last freeze. While this took a lot of research, it wasn’t all together difficult. Once outdoors, my tobacco plants thrived. I had a few seasons where I had a small insect problem, but really it was just a matter of keeping the plants watered regularly. After the harvest is when things get difficult. One must build a kiln, live where its constantly warm with 75% humidity, or get creative and lucky. I opted for the latter. I bought a space heater and some air tight containers. I used cigar humidifiers, and tried to keep my tobacco warm and humid, while I tried to ferment and age it. The first year I let the tobacco dry out too much. I lost the oils that give tobacco its flavor. The second year, and every year but last year, I let the tobacco mold. The tobacco, fermented and aged my way, requires almost daily attention. It just has to breathe and be rotated, but weekends, vacations, and life tend to get in the way. Last year I managed to get my tobacco fermented without mold, and then let it age a bit drier than normal. I also used some alcohol (bourbon) to slow mold growth, which has not be scientifically proved to be effective, but is a fairly common practice. It seemed to work for me. I lost about 80% or more of my harvest to mold, being dried out, and other problems. That may sound bad, but this year was the first year I ended up with smokable fermented and aged tobacco. It smelled good, looked right, so I put some in a pipe. It was good, but a bit strong. I decided to buy a Virginia tobacco pipe blend, and mix my own tobacco into it, to make for a more enjoyable result. I pulled my can out when a friend came over. We each smoked a bowl, and found it to be very pleasant and enjoyable. So after what must have been at least five years, I’d finally enjoyed some success with my tobacco project.
This summer has been a great growing season. Its not going to be my biggest harvest. I had about 20 plants my first year. But it looks to be my highest quality harvest every. My leaves are big and full with no insect damage. I’ve used no pesticides or chemicals of any kind. If my plan was to grow leaves for wrapper, I’d probably be doing pretty well right now. However, I’m going to continue to work on fermenting and aging my tobacco. I also want to improve my blending. Once I get a good pipe tobacco made entirely of my own harvest, maybe I’ll think about cigars again. For now, I have my hands full, and plenty more to learn.by rsiv with no comments yet
We went to Nostos in Tysons for some upscale Greek. Everything was great. They had some incredible swordfish, and EF tried everything. Definitely check it out.
Tons of catch up. Got pretty far behind on the blog this year.
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