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.

Tech or Skill?

I wonder where the line is between the bike and the rider. Two years ago this month, I decided to try mountain biking. I had a bike – a 1985 fully-rigid Ross that I had bought new and had never … Continue reading

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Fun

Two years ago, I had known the DT crew would be faster than me. But what I didn’t expect was the variety of terrain we’d ride, how that would beat me up, and how much more skilled the other riders … Continue reading

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Early Autumn Riding

We rode a Dirty Thirty this week whose route was similar to one we did in April. Fall is fast approaching. Leaves covered the trail in spots and our lights were on for most of the ride. It was humid, … Continue reading

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The Strava Siren’s Song

  Saturday dawned cool and sunny, a perfect September morning. Saddling up before seven, I went out for a casual ride. Grassy Hill was a slow climb, as it usually is when it’s the first vert I hit from home. … Continue reading

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Ah, Fall

After the Labor Day Roast at Rockland, this weekend’s cloud cover and highs in the 60s felt invigorating. I rode both days. Saturday’s solo 18 mile graveller was quiet. In an hour and a half, I saw 10 cars, 11 … Continue reading

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Hot at Rockland

Arriving in the parking lot at 9, it was already warm. When the fast guys started showing up, I knew I was in over my head. On the first climb, pushing myself to just below nausea, I got dropped. This … Continue reading

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Hot, Slow, and Buggy

It didn’t feel bad when I left the house to ride the trails at the pond – hot and humid, to be sure, but bearable. I didn’t consider how well the forest would hold the humidity. Within the first mile, … Continue reading

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