Author Archives: swampyankeecyclist

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.

Those Roots

A lot of my gravel rides lead over one particular section of singletrack. It’s not even singletrack really. It’s just a short hiking trail that runs between an old railbed and an abandoned road. Not more than 100 ft. long, … Continue reading

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The Pond

We call this ride “the Pond”, but the town’s disused pond has nothing to do with the ride. It’s just the reason for the parking lot. The pond itself is an old sand pit that sits at the edge of … Continue reading

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The biggest thing in the industry right now, e-bikes piss off almost every cyclist I know. Except John. John owns the bike shop and he sells a lot of e-bikes. I don’t blame him. For utilitarian purposes, an e-cargo bike … Continue reading

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Just now, I was sitting on the couch. Unbidden, one of my dogs jumped up and laid down next to me, his head on my leg. He let me pet his head, feel the soft fur around his ears. A … Continue reading

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A Bit o’ Winter

We rode Rockhouse yesterday, a cold and gray day. The trails were icy, but it was grippy; snow textured into ice by the passage of mountain bikes. It took a solid 15 minutes for the fingers I’ve mangled in power … Continue reading

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The First Ride of 2021

I try always to ride on New Year’s Day. I’ve ridden in some gnarly weather to accomplish that, but yesterday wasn’t bad. The first cycling thing of the new year wasn’t riding though. At 8 AM on that crisp morning, … Continue reading

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The Last Ride of 2020

When I got to Waldo, the gate was closed so I had to park outside. The day was cold, gray, and a little windy, but the night was supposed to bring rain, so this was the moment. I was alone … Continue reading

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Chilly Willy Nilly Old Ride

I spent yesterday afternoon fretting about the ride I was to do last night. It was a cold day, breezy, with little sun and occasional snow flurries. Adding in the fact that we weren’t starting until after sunset wasn’t inspirational. … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving Eve

I’m not really sure if it’s a tradition. On one Thanksgiving Eve a couple of years ago, the parking lot beering was epic in that a cold front blew through and enveloped us in a snow squall. Prepared for the … Continue reading

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A Good Ride

It was a long and uncertain week at work. There was no time for a Wednesday ride. I was getting through 12 hour days with 5 hours of sleep and 5 cups of coffee. On Friday, the situation seemed under … Continue reading

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