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.

Mark’s Ride Went to Eleven

At the dead end of Valley Road is a chain-link gate protecting the Shepaug Dam and reservoir, the main public water source for Waterbury, Connecticut. The land is posted emphatically against trespassing. To the west, a sign optimistically indicates the existence … Continue reading

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No-Hopers, Jokers, and Wildlife

Heading fast down Judd’s Bridge Road at the start, hip-steering my bike around the potholes in the dirt, my mind briefly turned to how different my legs felt riding up this same stretch at the end of last week’s 30 … Continue reading

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Skills Aren’t Free

Jason passed when I took the ride-around and he hit the drop. I fell in behind and the ride turned into a Red Bull video – At every dirt hump or trail-side boulder he had both wheels off the ground. … Continue reading

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Spent, Bleeding, Sweaty, and Hungry

When I got to Waldo last night after work, the parking lot was full. Paula was there on a NEMBA PR mission, circulating and encouraging people to come to this week’s meeting. A youth team was there for a practice … Continue reading

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April Showers

One thing I miss now that I work from home is commuting by bike.  Wanting to get back into a more regular riding schedule now that the weather is warming (Marginally – we got 4 in. of snow on Monday), … Continue reading

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Until last October, I worked at The Taunton Press, a 16 mile bike ride away. I commuted a couple of times a week in all weathers except when it was icy. Between two and three years ago, I kept a … Continue reading

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Fear and Biking

One common thread with cyclists is what non-cyclists often see as a degree of fearlessness. Or stupidity. Cyclists accept that it’s only a matter of time before they get hurt. Non-cyclists frequently use fear of injury as a reason to … Continue reading

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