Saturday, June 30, 2012

nothing in particular

No group ride today; instead, The Excellent Wife (TEW) & I are off to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to take in the Gauguin, C├ęzanne, Matisse show. Prior, we'll do lunch at the Reading Terminal Market (there may be other places to eat in Philly, but I'll never get a chance to find out...). After the museum, we may drop in at a spice store in Chestnut Hill; TEW will undoubtedly have a coupon or a deal. Merchants tremble to see her come; she is a terror at combining coupons and sales - some time, you should ask her about the reading glasses she got for 1¢.

Instead of a group ride, I did the 20-mile Coppermine loop from home. My average was a leisurely 18.5, but I tried to sprint up the hill in an effort to improve my results on Strava.  Alas, they're having troubles right now, so I can't see my results yet, but I'll check in later or tomorrow and see if they've cooked 'em up to see how I did. (Good heavens - as I write this, I'm King of the Mountain on this route. I have no doubt I'll soon be ousted, but that is an ego boost!)

And I have 2145 miles for the year; more than halfway to my 4000-by-12/31 goal.

ADDENDUM ABOUT TEN HOURS LATER: I checked Strava, and feeling like I was working a lot harder, I only cut 4 seconds from my time on the course - and I dropped from 19th to 20th. Grumble, grumble.

Friday, June 29, 2012

ending the charity rides blog

I've had a (pretty universally ignored) charity rides project blog. It's become clear that it's never going to amount to anything, so I'm closing it. I'll be casting about for another project to work on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

old guys ride on a great day

Today is the only day I'll get a group ride in until the all-paces ride on July 4, so I emailed Erich last night and asked about the ride-to-the-ride. The Wednesday rides start from Byron Johnson Park in Allentown (I can't find a decent web link), which is about ten miles from Etra Park in East Windsor. Erich lives near there, and a few Freewheelers who like getting a few miles more than the 35-40 that this ride usually goes, will leave from there about an hour before the listed ride is scheduled. The leader lists his ride for 8:30 in June, so it was an early-out morning for me.

But a beautiful day it was to do the ride. About seventeen of us, most of whom I know to one degree or another. I swept, as I always do on these rides. It's a touchy situation: the pace on this ride is starting to pick up, and the old guys sometimes get tired and need a pull in the wind, or they just start falling behind, but pride doesn't like either of us to admit it. It's hard to do a pull without letting it be known that's what you're doin', but if somebody's falling behind, I try to ride where I can see the group ahead, and the straggler in my mirror. I know that most of these guys know these roads better than I know how to find the upstairs bathroom, but I like knowing that if one of 'em did have a problem, he wouldn't be alone. (I also know that for ever time I go out with 'em, they go out five to ten times without me, so they've certainly faced this issue before.) One rider was falling behind, but when I spoke to him, he didn't seem overtired, and he was riding fine later.

Who knows where we went? Certainly not me.  We stopped for a break at a store around Columbus/Mt Holly, and Howie L was incensed that they didn't have his preferred Fig Newtons, but Howie is frequently incensed; I think it's how he knows he's awake. (He complained once that the bandanna I had tied to my seat rail didn't match my jersey; now I make a point of mismatching them any time I might see him.)

About 57 miles at a slower pace than recently (especially on a flat route). I'm glad I got my fast rides in, so I wouldn't feel deprived by sweeping today. I've recently started a Strava account, but that feeds my worst throw-caution-to-the-winds demons, so I'm not sure I'm going to keep it up (especially in view of the infamous Strava lawsuit). I think I do better sweeping and riding friendly. As the Hill Slugs say, amicitia quam celeritate: friendship before speed.

Monday, June 25, 2012

i gotta get me one of these

Dave C sent me the weekly Gizmag feed, and I'm smitten:

It's a six-propeller flying bicycle designed by Czech engineers, and I want one.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dvoor Farm/Open Space ride

Laura OLPH was asked by Mike H, another member of the Princeton Freewheelers,to to a ride out of the Dvoor Farm, a project of the Hunterdon Land Trust.

The Land Trust supports a farmer's market at the farm from late spring through mid-November, and the point of the rides was apparently to point out some of the land that the Trust was able to preserve... and other land they could not, because it is owned by developers who are biding their time until they can build more McMansions on the properties (that is, of course, an arrant slander; even I must admit that not more than about 60% of the properties being developed in these areas are McMansions).

The farmer's market is right on the circle where Route 12 in Flemington meets Route 523.  I went early, sure that I was going to get lost, and I almost did; while the roof sign in the picture above is easily visible from the road, the driveway entrance is not. I went around the block (and blocks are big in comparatively-rural Flemington) and missed the driveway twice before I found a place to park; then, after I suited up and assembled the bike, I parked myself at the entrance so that the other riders would know where to turn.

Although the ride start was not ideal (it was difficult to get out into traffic from the circle, although it did have adequate parking and porta-potties), it was another lovely ride on another lovely day. Laura OLPH had two routes, and I suggested we take the less-challenging one, and I did not hear a complaint. So off we went on this route. Pretty through Readington & Stanton, and with a stop at Jerry's Brooklyn Grill in Whitehouse, where we were chattin' up the counter gal, who might buy a bike and come out with us when she's good and tired of indoor spinning sessions. Then, after the break, to some real hills, a view of the Round Valley Reservoir, followed by a grand downhill. Later, we got to go along a road that appears to have been abandoned, but it makes a great bikeway; if I weren't so geographically-challenged, I might be able to say more about it.

Eleven of us went: besides Laura and me, Ron, John D & Jane B (who was Jane C; she can't change one of her email addresses, so I have a bit of confusion there), Jack, sometime-photographer Ed C, Peter (who's been out on a few Slug rides), Bob (who came with us on the Bloomsbury Boogie of two weeks ago), and two new to me: Chris and Ted. Chris will be going on the Anchor House Ride this year. Ted does triathlons, and had a bag on his back to see how that worked on a ride - his verdict towards the end was that it was an idea that was better in the abstract than in the concrete.

Some of us missed a turn on that last spiffy downhill, and we had to be sure we collected all of our group of eleven, but we did; all of us completed at the Farmer's Market, where we saw Mike H's C+ ride come in behind us. Several visited the farmer's market; I saw some honey (which The Excellent Wife said was expensive) and some alpaca wool goods, which were not: I now own a pair of alpaca socks for winter rides (the vendor said they would be good for wicking sweat on summer rides, but they look too heavy to be comfortable in hot weather to me).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

only a little sweepy

I've been itching to do a faster group ride. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Hamilton Y, hoping to hook up with Chris C's B+ ride; he wasn't there, so I did the short B ride instead. This week, I emailed and he told me he intended to be there (in no uncertain terms; in a way, I'm sure, unique to Chris C), so I went out this morning. The Excellent Wife (TEW) was out working at her soon-to-be-closing second job, and I didn't tell her I was doing a B+ ride today; after an accident last year (not involving me) we agreed I'd only do B rides or lesser. I will need to get her indulgence for this one.

But I needed it. Several weeks ago, I got an apology from a leader for whom I was sweeping for the pace of his ride. I think he forgot he asked me to sweep. I could certainly have kept up with his pace. And that was only one of a series of remarks, pitying looks, and so on, that I've been collecting for being near the back of the group when I've been sweeping. Ego demanded I do something about it.

I was reasonably sure Chris would keep to a B+ pace, and wouldn't put up with rough stuff or riding that posed a threat to the group, so I chose the ride he was leading from the Hamilton Y today for that ride. It was a good choice. I was not the fastest person on the ride, but I was more than able to keep up; I took several pulls, and my ability to whip up hills came in for a bit (not that there are any real hills along that route).

I met my personal goals. Although my overall average was 17.8, I was over 19 at the break. I hit my top speed of 29.5 on a flat, not a downhill, if I'm reading the graphs correctly. And, although I'm tired, I'm sure I'll be in shape to do the hilly Farmer's Market ride with Laura OLPH tomorrow.

A beautiful day; a beautiful ride. Again, pretty geography, like two weeks ago. There WAS a section, after the break, where we were paralleling 70 (if you magnify the map, you'll see that only about a quarter of that  strip across the bottom was actually ON Route 70; we jumped onto the service road as soon as we saw it was paved) where we passed what used to be a pig farm; the pigs are gone, but their effluvia remain; I gagged once until I stopped breathing through my nose (it felt like miles before I could breathe normally again - maybe it was!). Much of the route tracked what I remember from the planned First Joe McBride Ride from last summer, through the military base, and the lake at Browns Mills. On the way back, the group got a little strung out, and my sweep reflexes kicked in; I slowed down to make sure the folks in the back weren't having trouble (they weren't; one of the folks in the back was Chris making sure we kept down to a B+ pace).

Six of us: Chris and me, of course, Ron, Jackie, and two quick riders whom I didn't know: Doug and John. John and I got into a discussion of titanium frames; he'd just disposed of one and regretted it. John, if you see this, I got mine from Habanero Cycles. Doug disappeared toward the end, as did Chris, who had ridden in from home - so I depended on Mr. Garmin to get us back. Which he did. Thanks to Chris for leading this ride, and tomorrow (and likely for the rest of the season), back to sweeping and riding sensibly.

Friday, June 22, 2012

michigan my michigan lyrics

I make no secret of the fact that The Romance of the Glory of the Old South drives me nuts (and that makes my mother nuts; she lived in North Carolina for years among all those wonderful people! Except most of her friends were other transplanted retirees. And the few real Southerners she knew were people she hired for stuff like cleaning and painting. They were invariably polite to her [moreso than I ever was], but many of them drive cars with stickers on them of an emblem representing a rebellion founded on the right to hold other people as property [because what other right do you think "state's rights" was about?]).

Recently, I heard a version of the not-official-state-song of Michigan, Michigan, My Michigan, sung by Jeff Daniels. This version, written in 1862, was a response to local boys dying in the Civil War. It comes close to expressing my feelings about the Civil War South:

Home of my heart, I sing of thee! Michigan, My Michigan,
Thy lake-bound shores I long to see,
Michigan, my Michigan.
From Saginaw’s tall whispering pines
To Lake Superior’s farthest mines,
Fair in the light of memory shines
Michigan, my Michigan.

Thou gav’st thy sons without a sigh,
Michigan, my Michigan,
And sent thy bravest forth to die,
Michigan, my Michigan.
Beneath a hostile southern sky
They bore thy banner proud and high,
Ready to fight but never fly,
Michigan, my Michigan.

From Yorktown on to Richmond’s wall,
Michigan, my Michigan,
They bravely fight, as bravely fall,
Michigan, my Michigan.
To Williamsburgh we point with pride—
Our Fifth and Second, side by side,
There stemmed and stayed the battle’s tide,
Michigan, my Michigan.

When worn with watching traitor foes,
Michigan, my Michigan,
The welcome night brought sweet repose,
Michigan, my Michigan.
The soldier, weary from the fight,
Sleeps sound, nor fears the rebels’ might,
For "Michigan’s on guard tonight!"
Michigan, my Michigan.

Afar on Shiloh’s fatal plain,
Michigan, my Michigan,
Again behold thy heroes slain,
Michigan, my Michigan.
"Their strong arms crumble in the dust,
And their bright swords have gathered rust;
Their memory is our sacred trust,"
Michigan, my Michigan.

And often in the coming years,
Michigan, my Michigan,
Some widowed mother ‘ll dry her tears,
Michigan, my Michigan,
And turning with a thrill of pride,
Say to the children at her side,
At Antietam your father died,
For Michigan, our Michigan.

With General Grant’s victorious name,
Michigan, my Michigan,
Thy sons still onward march to fame,
Michigan, my Michigan.
And foremost in the fight we see,
Where e’er the bravest dare to be,
The sabres of thy cavalry,
Michigan, my Michigan.

Dark rolled the Rappahannock’s flood,
Michigan, my Michigan,
The tide was crimsoned with thy blood,
Michigan, my Michigan.
Although for us the clay was lost,
Still it shall be our broadest boast:
At Fredericksburg our Seventh crossed!
Michigan, my Michigan.

And when the happy time shall come,
Michigan, my Michigan,
That brings thy war-worn heroes home,
Michigan, my Michigan,
What welcome from their own proud shore,
What honors at their feet we’ll pour,
What tears for those who’ll come no more,
Michigan, my Michigan.

A grateful country claims them now,
Michigan, my Michigan,
And deathless laurel binds each brow,
Michigan, my Michigan;
And history the tale will tell,
Of how they fought and how they fell,
For that dear land they loved so well,
Michigan, my Michigan.

From now on, every time I see a Rebel flag, I will sing to myself, "...Beneath a hostile southern sky/They bore thy banner proud and high/Ready to fight but never fly,..." And if those Southern states ever want to secede again, let us remind those who would use force to hold us together, of the words in our own Declaration of Independence:

...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...

If they do not consent, then we should let them go. But they gotta take Texas.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

more on helmets and protection

I've heard from a couple or people about my thoughts on helmets; one is concerned about protecting the head, and the other points out that people are likely to ride more safely without them (as Grant Petersen also points out; see the previous post).

I have one more thing I want to say, and that is this: if you're REALLY concerned about safety, get, and use, a bicycle mirror. I know they're a pain (they ARE; I won't deny or minimize that). But as I said in my mirror post, over a year ago:
I believe in bicycle mirrors. By the time your helmet comes into play, it's too late: something drastic has already happened. My contention is that bicycle helmets really protect everybody else: riding clubs, schools, municipalities; they either can say that the helmet saved you, or they can tut-tut if you get into an accident and you weren't be-helmeted. But the mirror, once you've gotten used to it, and you know its limitations (and it both requires getting used to, and has limitations), saves you from getting into the accident in the first place. If helmets protect everybody else, mirrors protect you. I can say with certainty that my bike mirror has saved my life at least twice.
The worst accident I ever saw between two cyclists probably would have been avoided if one had been using a mirror. And I stick to my claim that the mirror has saved my life at least twice. You are undoubtedly safer wearing both a mirror and a helmet. But if you're only going to use one, use the mirror.

ny times helmet article

I received an email forward of this article in the New York Times about the town of Milton, WA, which is dropping its helmet laws to reduce their risk of lawsuit and liability. (Link is to NT Times, which is a good source, but their online-access rules are a bit Byzantine; it's not your fault if you can't get in.)

From the article:
For 15 years, until June 1, Milton, population 7,000, 45 minutes south of Seattle, required helmets for all bicyclists and skateboarders. But with its 12-officer police force stressed by an increase in domestic violence, alcohol abuse and property crime, all of which surged through the recession, law enforcement priorities now go way beyond hectoring people about their headgear.
And an inability to enforce a law on the books, the town’s insurance consultant argued, created administrative unevenness that — in the event of an accident by someone who was not nagged or cited about helmet use — posed a liability risk that could bankrupt the community with one swipe from a punitive-minded jury.
The article goes on:
Milton’s decision on helmets has also tapped into an old and divisive debate in the broader bicycling community about how best to get people out of their cars and onto saddles.
Some bike advocacy groups in fact oppose helmet laws for adults and have applauded Milton’s new path. They say the focus must be on pushing communities to create safer biking conditions through more bike lanes and trails, car speed-limit reductions and other measures, and that helmet laws put the onus on bikers to be safe, letting cities off the hook in making safer terrain. For both sides, though, it comes back to money.
“Is it worth passing something that you’re not going to enforce?” said Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists, one of the nation’s oldest biking advocacy groups, which has maintained neutrality on the helmet law debate. “That’s a responsible question to ask, especially in this day and age when the role of government is questioned at every turn,” added Mr. Clarke, who says he sometimes goes bareheaded.
I "replied all" with an email that included this:
Noted. It should also be noted, as Grant Petersen points out in his new book, Just Ride, that there are two other points about helmets: first, that in many cases helmet laws actually reduce riding (either because they're a pain, or they're too dorky, or they cause helmet hair, or people just object to being told they have to wear helmets when they ride); and second, that there is evidence that people actually are more careful riders, AND get more deference from drivers, when they DON'T wear helmets.  It's anathema and blasphemy to say such things, I'm sure, but to a certain extent, we wear helmets because those around us do, or because they're required, or because we feel like we ought to. Even if riding with helmets is five times safer than riding without (and the numbers are nowhere near that high)... how many of us actually change behavior based on research?
After all, in the article quoted, the president of the League of American Bicyclists admits he rides without a helmet sometimes.
As for me, I invariably wear a helmet on club rides, sometimes wear it and sometimes not when I'm riding the fast bike on my own, and generally don't wear it on the commuter bike (on which I usually wear street clothes).

Monday, June 18, 2012

this week's gizmag

Dave C forwarded me another Gizmag weekly post. Two things caught my eye:

Pedelec electric folding bike

That's the BMW Pedelec electric folding bike. You can get two of them into receiver harnesses in the back of the BMW hybrid vehicle, where it will also charge up while you drive. Then, when you arrive at your destination, you can pull this 44-lb. electric-assist bike out of the hatch, ride it up to about 16mph for 16-25 miles (depending on "rider profile", which I suspect is Latin for "how fat you are"), then hoist it back in the car for a recharge. If you want to go farther or faster, you can pedal it.

I don't think I'll see a lot of 'em in MIddlesex County.

The other:

Aston Martin bike

Aston Martin bike control panel

... is the Aston Martin One-77, "the world's most technologically advanced road bicycle." From the article:

What really sets the One-77 apart is its advanced computer system, originally developed for the F001. The computer uses a complex array of sensors, including GPS, a rear-wheel speed sensor and a crank position sensor, to take performance analysis well beyond the speed and distance measurements of other systems. It gives cyclists a menu of more than 100 specific measurements, including crank torque, leg power and crank force, all broken down into left and right legs. Other measurements include acceleration, wasted leg power, rate of ascent and rear wheel speed.

...The One-77 is built as a training tool for serious cyclists, and we're guessing buyers will need a big sponsorship or two to cover the cost. There's no listed price, but Bike Radar reports that the bike will cost around £25,000 (US$39,000 at time of publishing).
I find it hard to believe that it's really meant as a "training tool for serious cyclists", in that it's made as a companion to a luxury speedster also named the One-77, and that production is to be limited to 77 units (get it?). I think it's a separate-you-from-too-much-money tool for serious spendthrifts.

I like to see the Gizmag stuff - I remember the first post I did about the Chinese bike club wiht the velodrome on the roof. But so much of the stuff they post seems like just expensive silliness.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

making the kessel run in under 12 parsecs

Remember that cranky post about sweeping rides? I swept again yesterday, and then today I went out for a slow eight miles with The Excellent Wife. Riding with her is fun, and undoubtedly good for my marriage, but it doesn't do a thing for my riding ego.

Today, we're heading up to the in-laws' for Father's Day (when you have an 88-year-old father in law who is as cool as mine, it's pretty much a command performance that you appear). That means I don't want to risk a group ride, and possibly not getting back in time... so I did my Coppermine Loop today.

Average 19.5 mph, 20 miles in under 1:02, including going up Coppermine.

I intend to be insufferably prideful today

(In other news, I really needed it. I've been cranky and suspicious recently, and a good blowout attack ride like that helped to blow some of the ghosts out of my machinery.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Althought Laura OLPH and the gang were doing a century today, I had agreed with The Excellent Wife (TEW) that we could go out with some friends this afternoon, so I did Ira's ride out of Cranbury in order to be home in time. I've been in the habit of going to Bagel Street in Plainsboro for a morning bagel-with-a-schmear, then riding in to the park in Cranbury, but I wondered if I was courting a ticket or a tow by leaving the car in the lot. I found that fellow Freewheeler Cliff H had an office in the buildings next door, and he was closed on Saturdays for the summer, so I parked outside his office... and not three minutes later, up he drives with his bike on the roof rack! So we rode in to Cranbury together.

There we met Ira and the eighteen-or-so who started on the ride to Phil's on a route with which was unfamiliar (meaning I was even more lost than I usually am). A beautiful, clear day, warm but dry. A bit breezy, but I don't remember difficult headwinds.  I haven't seen some of these folks to talk to in months, and it was pleasant getting back in contact (and pleasant to sweep such a large ride; a ride this big needs a sweep). On the way to Phil's, Giorgio took a shortcut (but met us there); as we were leaving, another rider had a flat and told us to proceed.

I had several chances to speak to Cliff on this ride (I do not know him well), and afterwards, he took me on a bit of a loop so we could top 50 miles (that's the loop up above Dey road to Broadway. Broadway? Here in farm country? Are you serious? Oh, please.). It turns out that our ages are a year apart and our birthdays are two days apart; he suggested that we do birthday rides in future (and I like the idea). He thought he would plan to ride his age in miles forever, or as long as he could.

I told him, "Shoot for forever."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

king of the mountain

Some of my fellow riders use Strava to compare ride performance (and I've started to look at my progress there). Many also use MapMyRide, primaily to set up courses.
It turns out MapMyRide is planning to compete with Strava. From the article:
The main difference users will see between Courses and Strava is that the MapMyFitness version goes beyond ranking times up climbs and awarding King of the Mountain designations accordingly; it uses a points-based system, meaning the rider with the most trips up the local climb could be the highest-ranked rider on the climb, without logging the single fastest time. Virtual polka dots come with consistency, in this case.
In the interests of accuracy, I should probalby do accounts at both and compare... but I probalby won't. (This was sent by Dave H - and Dave, if YOU set up accounts at both and compare, I'd be interested in your feedback.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

more likely to die on your birthday?

"Birthday Blues" Confirmed: You Are More Likely to Die On Your Birthday Compared to Any Other Day.

From the article:

The new study also found that the likelihood of someone dying on their birthday also increased with age, with the probability rising to 18 percent in people over the age of 60...

Researchers also found that, among men, there was a 34.9 percent increase in suicides, a 28.5 percent increase in accidental deaths and 44 percent rise in deaths from falls on birthdays.

Great. Just great. "What do you want for your birthday, honey?" "Oh, just to get through it alive..."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

bloomsbury boogie ride pics

Ed C got me his pics from the Bloomsbury Boogie ride:

Leader Winter Larry en le maillot jaune:

Rick, Sean, and co-leader Laura OLPH having a garden party outside the Bloomsbury rest stop:

There were two bridge crossings, and I've got them confused, I'm sure, so these are just pictures of folks crossing bridges. Rick:

John & Jane (good picture of them, don't you think?):

Laura OLPH:

Gathering in (I think) Milford:

Views of the river:

One of the many great views:

Some guy who was tagging along:

Monday, June 11, 2012

more neat gadgetry

Dave C forwards me the weekly email from Gizmag every now and then, and I pot the stuff that catches my fancy, especially if it's bicycle-related. One of these is, one is more motorcycle-related, and one I just thought was cool, perhaps because two of my nephews were into the skateboard culture in the past.

The first is this Gnarboard, a 3.4kW electric skateboard. It's got enough power to do the cool stuff that skateboarders want to do. At $6100, it's probably beyond the means of many of the semi-outlaw teen skateboarders who might want one... but it's cool. Too cool for me, I'm sure; I'd never be able to balance on it.

Now the bicycle thng: I'm a sucker for bike tools, especially cool bike tools. And this is a cool concept:

It's a bike mini-tool that stores inside the handlebars. It includes a number of the standard hex wrenches that seem ot work everything on a modern bicycle. It doesn't include a chain tool or spoke wrench, as far as I can see... but it might allow you to use a smaller seat bag, or eliminate it completely. Check it out.

A motorized mono-wheel, from 1910. Enough said.

bloomsbury boogie vids


Laura OLPH has vids up! Check 'em out on her post (new tab, natch).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

bloomsbury boogie

Winter Larry (who led this ride along with Laura OLPH) described today's Bloomsbury Boogie as his favorite ride, and I might be inclined to agree. It was beautiful, long enough, with demanding (but not exhausting) ascents, whippy descents (sometimes terrifying - one rider got up to 51mph - but a little terror is not always a bad thing), a multi-mile flat, some sprints, a paceline in Pennsylvania, and (best for me) a ride along River Road in Hunterdon County above Riegelsville, my favorite road to ride in NJ - not because of hills or speed, but because it's a taste of "vacation on a bike" at 16-17 mph.

Ten started: Larry, and Laura (who co-led), Laura's friend Sean,  John D & Jane C, Ed C (photographer on the Tour de Franklin), Peter (whom I know a little), Rick, and Bob (I think; I never met either of these last two before today). We started at Mine Brook Park in Flemington (just behind the outlet malls! Everybody can find those, right?), and went right into a fairly demanding climb, then to a fairly flat bit, before we split into two groups (apparently a failure in communication, or map-reading, or something: Larry thought there would be a tough ascent on the route that Laura led; she said there was none. I went with Laura). We did have a white-knuckle descent (with traffic, and a dogleg about 2/3 the way down) into Bloomsbury and the first rest stop. After the rest stop, Bob decided he had other things to do and left us, so the nine of us continued and finished.  Climbing out of Bloomsbury (which is apparently in a bowl) was nowhere near as tough as the road in would have suggested (although Laura did suggest that she might lead the Hill Slugs up that way sometime in the future...)

Then to the Delaware and a trip down River Road (but I've already waxed rhapsodic about River Road on that ride you would have hated. I feel lucky to have gone down it twice in three months). Across the Delaware (on foot, playing hell with our average times) at Riegelsville, and down the Pennsylvania side in a paceline (traffic at our elbows - and weren't ALL the motorcycles out today!) to a second rest stop at Upper Black Eddy, where we can look at the canal on the Pennsylvania side (and can we please get going before my legs stiffen up again?), then back over a bridge to Jersey (walking again...) to cover some more hills. One of the final hills before we stopped had more than a 17% grade - Jane stopped to check (I could tell it was steep; my front wheel wanted to come up).

Back at the stop, John and Jane pulled out beers (and a bottle of water that I could take). It was a great day. I loved this ride. Thanks to you both, Larry and Laura.

Ed C and Laura got pictures. I'll steal 'em link to 'em if I get the chance.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

short ride from hamilton ymca

I saw in the list that Chris C was leading a 40-mile B+ ride from the Hamilton Y today. I know Chris wouldn't allow things to get too out-of hand- so I drove way down there, only to find a number of things:
  • The Y was a beehive of activity, with buses pulling up, and excited young people in all colors of matching t-shirts shouting, applauding, and cheering;
  • ... so that thee was apparently an inter-camp competition of some description. this suggested that the lot in which I'd parked was not really available. I looked around, and found...
  • ...the Freewheelers parked OUTSIDE the fence (they quickly told me I should move). When I parked again...
  • ... I learned that Chris would not be coming today.
So instead, I went along with ride captain Sue M on a 35-mile B-paced ride. A 35-mile ride is shorter than I wanted to do, but I'm planning to do a long, hilly ride tomorrow, so maybe it's better that I didn't burn up today.

Eight riders, including yours truly; the only one whose name I know is Sue, although there was another I've seen ride out of Cranbury. A quiet group; I think I was the most conversational (and maybe the most irritating; for all I know, they relish the silence). Mostly flat, as rides in that area are, but very pretty; horse farms, old towns, and estates on which I won't be able to afford to retire. I got a couple of good sprints in, including one on the way to Phil's where I was trying to catch up to a (much) younger lady who does triathlons.

At Phil's, we were met by Ira S's Cranbury riders, and I got a lesson in the use of Strava.Com from Dave H (he sent me the story about the treadmill bike last week). I looked at it when I first signed up, but there's apparently more to it; I'll have to go back and visit again (I haven't done so yet).

One rider deserves a mention, even though I didn't get his name. He was riding a Giant hybrid, with an upright position, a suspended fork, and fat, knobby tires. And he (mostly) kept up with the group, even though my pace was 16.8mph, and another rider's pace was over 17mph. We were talking about how he was going to do better if he ever got a road bike (he undoubtedly will), and I said I thought his bringing that hybrid on a B ride was like racing in a minivan. He was like the Energizer Bunny; he just kept going and going....

OK. We'll save the B+ ride for another day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

pedal power pics

Go look at this page for wonderful pictures of bicycles - all kinds, in all kinds of uses, throughout the world.

I got it from the Rivendell Bike Blog. You should be checking them out, too.

what i did on my summer vacation

The niece graduated from high school this year, so The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I bundled into the car, along with all our hot-weather gear, and drove for two days down to Daytona, Florida. We got to stay in a condo owned by her sister's family, with a view of the intracoastal waterway: view 1 out of Daytona Condo
view 2 out of condo
Who goes TO Florida in JUNE, for heaven's sake? Sheesh, it was hot, and it rained part of every day. TEW and I would get up early and walk the mile-or-so to the Starbucks for internet access, then walk back; we'd get back before 9:00 am, and it was already above 90°. On the drive back home, we were laughing with joy when we were chilly in the morning.

We redeemed some pleasure by eating every day at this place on a pier: Crabby Joe's
It's called Crabby Joe's, and it reminds me of the place that Spongebob Squarepants flips crabby patties. The food was great; the prices low, and "casual" doesn't begin to describe the atmosphere.

Some pics from the graduation. Here's the grad and her brother: Amy - Alex
The grandparents: Babci & Dzadziu
(They're Polish immigrants, with about 11 years of formal education between 'em. All four of their daughters have college degrees and more, and they own three houses. Good story, eh?)

The nephews, sons of the in-laws at whose condo we stayed: Nephews
In the picture below, the gal in the middle is the mother of the boys above: Helen & family)
This below, with Dzadziu (Polish for "grandpa"), is a suspected boyfriend... but we're not sure. Alleged BF
And here's the grad and her mom: Amy & Ceal
So what did you do on your vacation?

Friday, June 1, 2012

more cycle weirdness

Dave H (not Dave C) sent me a link to this bit of whimsy:

From the site:
When the weather's nice, the last place you want to be is cooped up in some stuffy gym. Imagine running through evergreen forests or strolling down country roads. All of this is possible thanks to the rugged design and all terrain tires on the revolutionary Treadmill Bike.
Not for nothin', but why do you need to be running "through evergreen forests..."? What's wrong with riding there? Or if you want to be running... why not just run?

I just don't get this one. Thanks to Dave for forwarding; it's a prime example of a design whose time may not EVER come - at least for me.