Saturday, May 18, 2019

park to park to park to...

I hear it was Jack H who asked Tom H about Cheesequake Park. Jack had never been, and wondered about it, so Tom set up a ride there today.

We started at the Monmouth Battlefield park: in addition to Tom, Jack, and your humble reporter, Chris C, Ricky G, and Peter G came... along with Laura OLPH, who's finally finished blowing glass until fall. We had expected another, and held the start a few minutes, but finally we seven left.

Tom had picked maybe the only reasonable bicycle route (when you see the ride page, you'll see that much of the out-and-back retraced the same roads). It was a great day, and, while we weren't fast, we did move right along.

We stopped at a Wawa about halfway through the route.

Ricky and Laura both had pretty, lugged-tube bikes, and set 'em up near one another so they could get beauty photos.

I can't blame 'em.

From there we proceeded to Cheesequake, first to the euphoniously-named Crabbing Bridge (there was a certain amount of speculation about what might go on at the Crabbing Bridge; the idea that it was for catching crabs was simply too obvious):

...and then to the Lake at Cheesequake, which was underwhelming.

So now I feel like I've done Cheesequake Park.

On the way back, we took the Henry Hudson trail. Where we went to get on, the police had the road blocked, and we had to get permission to go through. Tom has a reputation for riding on closed roads, but this set a new standard.

The Henry Hudson Trail is paved, but in places the paving is so buckled that you wish it were not. Ricky G pointed out, in an excellent reframe, that it was probably better than dangerous traffic. (Someday I'm going to inherit a small piece of Ricky's equanimity, and nobody will recognize me ever again).

The trail goes through yet another park, Big Brook.

Then, to avoid the downtown Freehold traffic, we went around behind the courthouse and came back to Monmouth Battlefield Park.

(I just wanted credit for bein' there.)

Ride page. We were slow!

There were, of course, the obligatory references to Cheese Steak and Cheesecake. The Insane Bike Posse enjoys the worst puns. Few who come out with us leave because of the pace or destination, but many never return after they hear the tenor of the conversation.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Frenchtown Loop

Even the littlest biker was out today.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, for which I have A Command Appearance at The Excellent Mother-In-Law's house, a commitment not to be missed. Plus, rain is predicted to such an extent that some of our more suggestible neighbors might be collecting pairs of animals and building boats. So when today's prediction promised a comfortable riding day, and Tom H listed a not-too-hilly one (ideal for this early in the season), four of his Insane Bike Posse took him up on it, along with one newcomer, who perhaps didn't know what she was getting herself into.

I got  to the starting point (the CVS Parking Lot in Lambertville) early, of course, and there was a delegation from the Central Bucks club who were preparing for a start a half-hour earlier than Tom's ride.

I love the look of that guy above. I wish my beard would come in like that.

 Aside from the Central Bucks club, Ricky was already there, and he said Jack H was out getting a few extra miles in.

Tom came in, as did Peter G... and Hilary (whose name I may be misspelling), whom none of us knew.

Usual-Insane_Bike_Posse member Laura OLPH was NOT there; she's out blowing glass for the last time this semester. Tom wondered if Hilary could stand in for her.

I think she fits in just fine, don't you?

Since we had a newbie among us, Tom re-instituted the Ritual of the Holy Kickstand; as the kickstand holds up your bike when it's stopped, the Holy Kickstand will hold up your bike when it's going... unless you do some dumb stuff.

We took off on a route with almost all of the climb in the first half, heading up towards Sergeantville and then to Franklin (no, not that Franklin... No, not that one, either; there are four towns named Franklin in NJ) and Pittstown. We separated into fast and slow groups, but we mostly took turns being in each group.

The Psoriasis Foundation ride was today, and pretty much every other biker was out... and when we got to Frenchtown, most of 'em were converging on the Bridge Tavern with us.

So we took up an easily-defended position near the bridge.

After the break, we mostly just bombed straight down 29 towards Lambertville, until we turned off onto Kingwood-Stockton and Lower Creek to avoid the narrow shoulders in Stockton. Along 29, we had a tailwind (I can tell, because I'm not that fast, especially this early in the season).

Ride page here.

Tomorrow, as noted above, to celebrate Mother's Day with the in-laws, and to call my own mother (a relationship that can best be described as fraught, especially after her recent troubles and move into assisted living. This ride was a pleasant escape from some of those responsibilities.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

2019 Spring Fling

For the Princeton Freewheeler Bike Club All-Paces rides, I like to lead a ride that The Excellent Wife (TEW) can also do; that way I get a bike ride AND a date credit. Early in the spring, TEW wasn't sure she could keep up with a C+ pace, so she asked, "How about a high C?" Meaning, of course, the pace, but I'm never one to allow the easy (if stupid) joke to pass, so I decided to call my ride the Soprano, because we would be reaching for a "high C". Right?

Oh, never mind. It's never funny to anybody but me.

The weather gods didn't seem impressed with my humor, either; all week they were threatening to drown us with various amounts and ferocities of precipitation. But this morning dawned without rain (if very grey), so we drove down to the start at Tall Cedars in Hamilton. All the way, we figured the two of us might be the only people on my ride, and we were figuring what we might do if it started to rain, and when to turn back if it did.

But when we got to Hamilton, there were a number of other rides going out... and nine other people came on the ride, some of whom had ridden with me before and some had not (and I'm not sure which takes more courage: riding with an unknown leader the first time, or coming BACK when you know the depths of which I'm capable).

We did a route I stole inherited from the Ride for McBride (Laura OLPH was kind enough to forward it to me).I had to do it old-school, because I forgot to load the route onto my Garmin, so I used the tried-and-true count-the-mileage-and-follow-the-cuesheet model. There were only a couple of glitches when the cuesheet, automatically generated at the RideWithGPS website, didn't quite match the roads on the ground... but I only added about a half mile to the proceedings.

I had promised an average speed in the range of 12.5-13mph, but we actually brought it in well above 13mph. Everybody kept up, and despite my repeated questions, nobody admitted to leaving lung parts behind (and nobody looked like they were working too hard; one woman was a bit off the back, but she pleaded a new [to her] bike and inexperience riding in groups, and she did fine as the ride went on).

We stopped at Scott's in New Egypt.

...and then brought it the rest of the way home with only minor mishap (a failure-to-disengage-cleat, with the usual sequelae with which all of us who ride with our shoes clipped to the pedals are only too familiar).

Wanna see the ride data?

From there, we went to the feed at the Spring Fling, where yours truly brought home his first jersey for leading over ten rides in a season, as well as a token for having swept on rides. I offered a tire repair clinic, but the requirement that you bring your own tire or wheel seems to have been too stringent; there were no takers. Alas.

And instead of the usual photo album on a commercial site, the pics are uploaded to the Club website. Look for the "Photos and Albums" button on the left button bar.