Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I came across a recent bit of text that made reference to being a "giver", not a "taker". It reminded me of something, and after a bit of thought, I remembered what it was: it was Romney's unfortunate, but honest, remark about being able to count on 47% of Americans voting against him because they were "takers", not "givers".

I'm also reminded of this piece by Nicholas Kristof, entitled "A Nation of Takers?". From the piece:

Here are five public welfare programs that are wasteful and turning us into a nation of "takers."
First, welfare subsidies for private planes. The United States offers three kinds of subsidies to tycoons with private jets: accelerated tax write-offs, avoidance of personal taxes on the benefit by claiming that private aircraft are for security, and use of air traffic control paid for by chumps flying commercial...

Second, welfare subsidies for yachts. The mortgage-interest deduction was meant to encourage a home-owning middle class. But it has been extended to provide subsidies for beach homes and even yachts...

I'm not going to quote the whole thing; it goes on from there. Let's be honest about who the "givers" and "takers" are. We are all BOTH givers AND takers. And you are lying, either to yourself, or to everyone else, or both, if you think that any class of people is only in one category or the other. Having worked both with business owners and with welfare recipients, I know the truth of this.

Monday, April 28, 2014

mother-in-law's cooking

Below is a graph of my weights for the past quarter.

My mother-in-law is an excellent cook, who makes sure she has the stuff I like when I go to visit. Can you guess when the most recent two visits might have been?

Graph from the Hacker's Diet.

requiescat in pace

Eoghan B, who's become a favorite ride companion, recently lost his father. My thoughts are with him.

2014 tour de franklin

The Tour de Franklin is one of the season's first charity rides, and one that doesn't require a large financial donation to participate (while they ask for more money, early registrants could sign up for only $40 this year). I' led a team on 2012 & 2013, and friend Dave C has such a good time on the ride (evidently) that I got an email while we were still shoveling snow that the registration page was up and he had taken the day off.

I put some links on the blog, and on the Freewheeler Facebook page, and wound up with a team. I applied for to the Freewheelers for an additional donation (but I think I got the procedure wrong; the check hasn't gone out yet).

The Tour is in its 25th year, and they do it well: many routes of different lengths, lots of markings on the roads (good for someone as navigationally-challenged as I am), cheerful people at the stops, not too hilly of a route. This year, they put the route online for those of us with GPS units to download (and it was ACCURATE! A rarity for charity rides!).

One downside for normal people is that the departure for the 100-km ride leaves at 7:30 am (that's not a problem for me; it's 4:40 am as I write this, and I've been up for almost an hour). Amid the grumbling, my team (which included a few last-minute registrants) gathered... and I think we were off and rolling by about 7:35.

Here's my results page. I had a bit of a problem not takin' off after the the folks who passed us... but we mostly stayed together. Two went off the back and one off the front in the first hour (Dave C said that at that rate, I'd finish the ride alone!).  But Sean I, who thought he might peel off and go home early, wound up finishing with us.

I don't have good stories to relate abut the conversation; I was so concerned about getting lost, and alternately whipping out up front, then worrying about people we might drop, that I don't remember much. I do remember getting a therapy session from Laura OLPH, and trying to keep track of people at the stops so we coudl get going in a reasonable time... and I remember my flat about four miles from the end. Sheesh! And we brought it in at 15.5mpoh, which was right in "B" range, as I'd promised.


Registration. That's Avatar signing in:

First rest stop:

On the Road:

Last rest stop:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

spring fling

The Princeton Freewheelers Spring Fling was this weekend. There was a great lunch, and they gave out the awards, but you don't care about that. I went along with Ed C, who took a break-off group of B riders on this ride (we picked up Barry, who missed going out with his group), but most of you probably don't care about that, either.

What you want is to see the pictures! I got some before the ride...

... and a few on the ride...

... we went by the ruins of the old Peacock's to see what was left...

... and I got a LOT of pictures after the ride:

Go check out my Spring Fling album on Photobucket.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

tour de franklin

Freewheelers who are riding with me on the Tour de Franklin: the metric century riders are expected to leave the start at 7:30 am. I'll leave a space for the inevitable moans of dismay:

However, prompt departure is expected; SAG services will not be available late in the day, and food is served within a limited time frame.

You can click here for the info page. Start is at the Franklin Township Senior & Community Center; the link goes to a map at a slightly different address, but the address they give is 475 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ.

As I noted in the announcement, I expect to lead the group at a "B" pace. Everyone will be able to get cue sheets, and the routes are marked, so if we're not moving at a speed that suits you, you can break off (or if the bad jokes degenerate into the completely insufferable, and you HAVE to leave...).

I expect to be at the start by 7:00 am. Look for my battered black Prius, or for people whom you recognize.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

next crankset

Not that they ever die, but if my current crankset ever dies... I'm going with one of these. Fluted and polished, and available as a compact, in different lengths, for not a lot of money. IRD Defiant. Lovely.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

chocolate bunny ride

Laura OLPH's already posted about yesterday's Chocolate Bunny Ride; I just wanted to add a few things: the route, of course (Laura changed a part of the traditional route that puts us on Amwell Road along a section with poor shoulders and lots of traffic; many thanks... and RideWithGps now lets me correct my elevations, so this one should be closer than past elevations), and the few pics I got before my camera batteries went out (I thought I loaded the ones I'd recharged...)

Aren't these excellent tights on Chris?

And wouldn't he be a lot of fun if he'd just loosen up a little?

And Ron, of course:

And one more thing. That anxiety problem has been moving in again; the previous day I had a particularly bad experience. Riding, in general, is good for managing it, and group rides with people I know and like are more effective than solo rides. This ride was particularly good for what I needed. I'd like to thank Laura for leading, and all of those who came along, but I'd particularly like to thank Eoghan B. He probably has no way of knowing, but the jokes and chatter with him in particular acted like a tonic. He left the ride to go straight home before I could tell him so yesterday, so I'm taking the opportunity to do so here.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

no D ride 4/20

Sorry; I had to move the D ride to LAST week. I didn't know that 4/20 was Easter when I set the ride, and I have a conflict.

The next D ride will be 5/10, and will probably be the canal towpath ride I wanted to do this time. Watch this space!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

best-laid plans ride

Well, it was SUPPOSED to be a canal-towpath ride... but when we got to New Brunswick, there were roads closed everywhere, and the closer we got to Johnson Park, the worse it got. We couldn't get to Grove 5 at all; the best we could do was park at Grove 4.

It turned out that today was the day of the UNITE half-marathon (d-mn runners!). We wouldn't be able to get to the entrance to the canal towpath until after noon. What to do?

What to do, after thinking about it for a minute, was to head up to Piscataway on the roads. We wound up doing about 14 miles around Piscataway and the Rutgers campus (and, because I'm lost all the time, I got a lot of input from the local kids - yes, they're mostly kids; students at the Bloustein School), and then we made our way to Highland Park to PJ's for coffee.

From there, a short hop back to the park. The Excellent Wife (TEW), who was along for the ride, wanted a few extra miles, so we got onto the towpath (open, by this time), where we ran into Zach and a few others who had started from the other side of the ride. And then back home.

Next D ride will be the weekend of Rutgers graduation, so I'll probably avoid New Brunswick completely. And maybe after that, we'll try the towpath again.

A few pictures:

Edit: I understand some riders got to Grove 5, and were waiting for us there. I apologize for the missed communication and confusion.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

quicker ride with snakehead ed

Most of my regular riding companions were probably off doing Tom H's unofficial didn't-make-it-in-the-list ride... but that was gonna start way down in Burlington County, and Snakehead Ed was leading a ride right out of Piscataway, and new leaders need support, and Ed's ride was likely to be faster and hillier, and I'm doin' a D ride tomorrow (so I can use the workout today)...

So I headed for Ed's start location. He starts at the historical village parking in Johnson Park, and I've had little success finding a toilet there (all my parts are as old as I am, which will be 59 early next month, and a toilet near a ride start is no unnecessary luxury). As I was passing Grove 5, I saw that there were porta-potties, so I stopped in one, and as I was attending to my inner muse, I heard the THUNK of the door of the next. When I emerged, there was Eoghan B's Rivendell, and when HE emerged, we had a few words about the excellent new Sackville Bag on the new pannier rack.

I was wearing my Justice jersey, and we had a quick discussion about why it didn't say "Liberty", and whether it should say "Mercy," (I opined that mercy is not an American virtue), and as we were settling these and other matters, Rick and Ed came in. As we expected no others, off we went.

We'd gotten down to the canal, when up from behind comes Alexei (I have no idea how to spell his name, so I may spell it differently each time I list it). He said he saw us and decided to catch up, but I wouldn't put it past him to have purposely gotten a late start just so he could show us up by catching up; he's that strong and fast.

My Garmin is having issues regarding elevation, so here's the route on RideWithGPS, and this link is on MapMyRide. (I'll be grateful if you let me know which, if either, you think is more reliable.) We did Dutchtown-Zion on the way out. The unpaved section was dry and gravelly today, and we can not do that again, thank you; it was terrifying, not least because I got a lesson on why not to use the rear brake on a gravelly downhill (Eoghan was most elucidating afterwards; thanks).  We stopped at the Main St Cafe, where I ate too much junk, and where Aleksey told us about a bad crash on Ed P's ride last week. Then four of us took off to head back up Canal Road (Eoghan was close enough to home that he left us).

 We went up Old Georgetown/down Coppermine on the way back (Coppermine is repaved, so I can go down in slightly less terror [I'm not a great descender; Rick suggested I not go as fast as Ed, and when I caught up to him at one point going down Coppermine, I decided to re-think my priorities]). Then back through Colonial Park, and a circuitous route that Rick knows that gets us back near the river crossing without going on 514 (I can get lost in a bathroom, and Rick just whips through this; it reminded me of Han Solo going through the asteroid field, and that's what I call that area now). He went off home, and Ed and I made it back to my car; I was the only one who drove in.

On being lost, though: I've now done this route enough that I can get from Johnson Park to the bottom of Dutchtown Zion without getting lost. For me, that's an accomplishment!

Pics (not many):

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

d ride - changes

Hey, all. Due to a series of missed communications, I'm moving my D ride from 4/20 (did I know that was Easter?) to 4/13, and the time to 10:00 am. We'll start at Grove 5* of Johnson Park in Piscataway, and travel the canal tow path to Bound Brook and back.

So get out your wide-tired hybrids and mountain bikes for this easy trip of about 14 miles.Helmets required, of course.

This ride is co-sponsored by the Princeton Freewheelers and the New Brunswick Bike Exchange. No attitudes, lots of stops, nobody dropped, and I'll try to keep it down to three lectures: the obligatory safety lecture, my rant about mirrors, and a plug for the Bike Exchange.

*If you can't find parking at Grove 5, park at Grove 4 or the historic village and meet us at Grove 5.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

laura olph leads a recovery ride

Laura OLPH's blog post for today's ride said:
Because so many of us will have been on the road on Saturday, I'm going to tone it down on Sunday.

Really.  There won't be as much climbing.  We will go 50-55 miles, though.  I can hear you razzing me already.
It must have been enough of an invitation; eight others, besides Laura and I, came out to do this ride. She came with two routes, and this one, to the Oldwick General Store, was chosen randomly. Whether toned down or not, we wound up with 4900 feet of climb over the 55 miles... but none of the ascents were awful, and only a few were "annoying" (I hear about "annoying ascents" more and more frequently; I'm beginning to suspect that term has a specific meaning of which I'm not aware).

One of those who joined us was Peter H, astride his bike after hip surgery. He left before 15 miles (he had anther commitment), but it was good to see him nonetheless. I noted that Ed C, aka "Snakehead", was chatting with Peter; I know they've ridden together in the past.

Despite the climb numbers, I found much of the ride surprisingly flat, given the area we were going through. It was a pretty day (started cold, though). You should have come out; you would have liked it.

Pictures - early porta-potty break:

Along the road:

At the Oldwick General Store:

Back on the road:

Wait... is East Mountain Road... CLOSED?!

Hrmph. Just some dirt road. Hardly worth worrying about.