June 26, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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June 26, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Kansas

Pittsburg to Chanute, Kansas. (58 mi.) Mile 1705

Hubs and spokes

We're in a motel in Chanute, Kansas. According to the flier put out by the Chanute Office of Tourism, a "Fascinating Fact!" is that "Chanute is known throughout the state as 'the Hub of Southeast Kansas'". The flier goes on to explain that, "The first and most obvious reason for this nickname is that when one looks at the map of the 15 counties comprising the Southeast Kansas region, Chanute lies exactly in the middle of the region". That said, we now know the most fascinating thing about Chanute.

Sunset over the softball fields in Chanute

Unfortunately, Chanute may be a hub but it does not have a bike shop, so when Mike broke another spoke today, he had to change it himself. There seems to be unhappy, uneven tension in Mike's wheel, which we hope resolves soon. For those interested in tires, Mike had to buy a new Continental Top Touring 700c x 38 yesterday because it was starting to delaminate. He estimates it lasted over 4,000 miles on the rear wheel.

So far the flat riding in Kansas has been a treat, but we have to get started early. I love bicycling down the quiet Main Street of a small Kansas town very early in the morning on a long, summer's road trip. Several times on our trip, while methodically pedaling through a small town, we have noticed out of the corner of our eye, kids on bicycles trying to race us. Should we give them the satisfaction of knowing they are faster? Heck no! We have not been pedaling our heavy bikes half way across this continent everyday without something to show for it. We try to act like we don't notice them while we step up the pace just enough to stay ahead.

Today we had done 30 miles before stopping for breakfast at a small cafe, where, as usual, we were the only ones not wearing a farmer's cap. We learned over breakfast that the price of wheat is lower today then it was 40 years ago ("Now tell me why that makes any sense."), and that blackstrap molasses is good to add to the hog feed.

The miles go by much faster without the steep hills. I am able to draft Mike more often, and the scenery is more varied than I expected. I feel we have been very lucky with the weather, since we are not having anything tornadic or rotational, as they say on our favorite TV program, the Weather Channel. The temperature peaked at around 90 today, with 50+ % humidity, and a cross wind from the S-SW. We're appreciating the air conditioning this evening.

We made a trip to visit Yodeling Katy of Chanute, another TransAm personality like the Cookie Lady. She welcomes bicycle tourists with hospitality and song, but she wasn't home. We know she yodeled some special songs just two days ago for two college age TransAm cyclists, Max and Charlie, whom we met outside Wal-Mart in Pittsburg. We had already taken showers and were in casual clothes, so we showed them our tans lines in order to establish the common bond. "You're doing it too?", they exclaimed,. "You look like ordinary people."

Mike's "Arstistic" Side: He has two pairs of bike shorts, a shirt, and two pairs of socks bungeed onto
his bike to dry, and he's wearing his French Foreign Legion sunblock helmet attachment that, we've discovered, doesn't do the job in action.

Wildlife photography. When I stopped to take a picture of this church, thinking the Yield sign
a little funny, especially since the church shows up conspicuously at a great distance, a raccoon
ambled out of the field and across the photo.

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