“Hmmmmmmm,” I said to myself this morning, “where should I ride today that I haven’t been to for a while and isn’t too far away?”

“I haven’t been to the Vermillion River recently,” I answered.

“HEY!” I shouted out excitedly, “VERMILLION!  Vermillion is RED, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m right about that, me.”

“Yes, I sure am right about that, and do I know what that means?”

“I sure do!  It means I can take a couple of pictures of the Vermillion River for the Cycle365 Monthly Challenge.”

“That’s right.”

“I appreciate the excellent idea, me.”

“I’m welcome, me.”

When I was done congratulating myself on the great idea, I started riding into the -1 degree (F) morning.  There was a little wind too, giving the air a wind chill factor of -17 degrees (F).

Now, some of you know that I have a pretty good system for cold weather biking.  It involves lots of layers and knobby tires.  Maybe even a few of you believe my claims of being a tough guy.  Yet, I still prefer to stay within a couple miles of home on days like this – especially when I’m riding a bike that is truly on its last legs (or, should I say, its last wheels.)  I’m still hoping my 24-year old mountain bike can hang in there until the new 2020 Surly Ogres come out in February.

You see, even us tough guys are fully aware that a flat tire or any simple mechanical issue is going to involve touching freezing cold metal.  That’s why my criteria for todays ride included the words “not too far away.”  For personal reasons, I’d like to avoid the pain of frostbite.  No matter how well I’ve developed the ability to stay warm, I still haven’t come up with a way to change an inner tube without removing my mittens.  The same is true for taking pictures & videos with my phone.  Once I’ve taken the mittens off a few times, for a minute or two each time, it’s tough to warm the fingers up again.  That’s why you will only find three pictures and one video in this post.  It’s also why you might not see another post from me until Christmas.

That’s it for my introductory words, my whining, and my excuse-making.  The rest is all serious business.





The Vermillion River, it ain’t red,

The colorblind eyes in some guy’s head,

Couldn’t differentiate

The crimson of life

From the gray-brown of the dead.


Proof that the Vermillion River is a misnomer. (i.e. It ain’t red.)


I have included a very short video too.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t feature ME performing my usual stupid antics.  As I said, the rest of this post is serious business, and the video stars a man in a red suit conducting serious business.




The cartoon alter-egos of Mr. and Mrs. Claus are all about seriousness too.


Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

15 response to "WHEN VERMILLION ISN’T RED"

  1. By: Scooter Posted: December 11, 2019

    Very impressive feat, Gregblood and friends. Unfortunately, I must point out that the challenge requires that the subject APPEAR red, not just SOUND red. For example, showing a selfie of GregBLOOD wouldn’t qualify either, in case he actually appeared red. Which I suppose may happen, and possibly did on this occasion.

    • By: gregblood Posted: December 11, 2019

      You are right, as always, Scott. I know I didn’t succeed in meeting the monthly challenge THIS time. My only claim is that I tried. But you must give me some credit for Doris and G-2’s RED costumes.

  2. By: Seasidejanet Posted: December 11, 2019

    I love the holiday attire !! And you are truly amazing getting out there in that ‘cold’!! Impressive…….you will love your new Surly!

    • By: gregblood Posted: December 12, 2019

      Yes, I was kind of proud of the holiday attire. I made it myself. And now I can understand for the first time why kids used to like to play with paper dolls.

    • By: gregblood Posted: December 12, 2019

      I’ve seen those pogies before, but I’ve never used them. Other than not having to stuff them in your pockets when going into a store or something, I don’t see where they have any significant advantage over a good pair of mittens.

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 11, 2019

    – 17 Wind Chill YIKES!! As cold as the proverbial well diggers *** in the Klondike!

    Our Vermilion river isn’t red either, but the clay along its banks does turn red(ish) when the indigenous people built fires on them — so says the History of Vermilion county concerning how the river was named anyway.

    • By: gregblood Posted: December 12, 2019

      You are always so scientifically and historically well-informed. I guess my brain isn’t wired for curiosity. I just look at something and say, for example, “Hmm, the Vermillion River isn’t vermillion,” and then move on to the next clueless observation. But now that you’ve told me the legend about how your Vermillion River was named, I suddenly feel like I should research how my Vermillion River was named. I’ll let you know if I actually follow up on it.

      • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 12, 2019

        I had to know: “Vermillion, derived from the French for “red” was probably so named from deposits of ochre Indians used for body painting”

        (Wiki article on the Vermillion River of Minnesota)

        Does Surly make an ochre Ogre? 😉

  4. By: Suzanne Posted: December 11, 2019

    Tough guy you are! And as we all know, Scott is color blind. You didn’t have to tell him that the river isn’t red. Or how about just posting a black and white shot and saying it was red? No, not at all necessary. You more than fulfilled the challenge with the other picture and video.

    • By: gregblood Posted: December 12, 2019

      Darn, I know Scott has mentioned he has no sense of smell and very limited sense of taste, but had I known about that color blindness I would have titled this post “When Vermillion IS Red” and everything would be hunky-dory.

      Even so, I wasn’t too concerned about his vicious attack on my monthly challenge attempt, because I had already met the challenge on my previous collection of reds.

  5. By: NancyG Posted: December 12, 2019

    You got reds in your post — maybe not a red river, but oh well. Who else would be out there in the weather YOU are riding in?!?

    • By: gregblood Posted: December 12, 2019

      “Who else would be out there in this weather,” you ask? Actually, there are quite a lot of people who do it. The differences between me and most of those other folks is that they generally have more technical cold weather clothing and gear, and they don’t constantly brag about their rides on internet websites.

  6. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: December 13, 2019

    I had to get my bike out of my car for a night ride after work a few days ago ,it was red hot and the rubber hand grips were molten but at least I didn’t have to worry about frostbite.

Leave a Reply