Friday, October 31, 2014

tss visits grovers mill

I used to ride with Dennis W's "Team Social Security" frequently, but then my every-other-Wednesday-off became every-other-Friday-off, and The Excellent Wife (TEW) has off on Fridays, so I began spending time with her of a Friday. But the stars aligned for a ride with The Old Guys today, so off I went to Etra for the adjusted-to-10-am start.

I saw a number of guys I haven't seen in a long time, and met a couple of new guys. There was the usual chiding about avoiding them, and getting out from under the missus's thumb. But how else would I know I was welcome?

It being this close to Halloween, Dennis picked a route that led us by Grovers Mill, the site of the "Martian landing" from the infamous Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" broadcast. On the way there, a driver drove perilously close to a rider, and they got into a verbal altercation; the woman said she was terrified of us, but I think she was having a good time making believe we were terror-bikers.

We got to the park at Grovers Mill, where there is a walk with information stations about the broadcast, and a monument (see pictures). Then we went to Grover's Mill Coffee, which is not to be despised (I might need to find a route just so I can stop there). The coffee was good (and fair-trade), and the guys who had the soup said good words about it.

Then back. I had ridden to the start at Etra from Village Park at Cranbury (ever in search of extra miles), but when the group stopped for a flat tire near where I'd parked, I opted to go back to the car.

I need to ride with these guys more often.

Pics. At Etra:

On the road:

At the park:

(text above says: On the evening of October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre presented a dramatization of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds as adapted by Howard Koch. This was to become a landmark in broadcast history, provoking continuing thought about media responsibility, social psychology, and civil defense. For a brief time as many as one million people throughout the country believed that Martians had invaded the earth, beginning with Grovers Mill, New Jersey.)

At Grovers Mill Coffee:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

words fail me

Words fail me...

...but I love the bratty, smirky face under the unicorn helmet. D'ya suppose her dad, pedaling*, has any idea what she's doing?

And what's she gonna be like in 10 years?

I stole it from Oddman.

*I presume that's her dad...

nbbx ride to main st cafe

Today was the group ride for the New Brunswick Bike Exchange, which is going to become a monthly thing. We did a ride from Blackwells Mills down to the Main Street Cafe and back, on the towpath down to 518 (volunteer Alex B said the path was in good enough shape that it could be managed with road bike tires [and he was right]), then on the road. It was an uneventful ride, a pretty ride on a pretty day. The Excellent Wife (TEW) came along for support, and we had one newbie, Nelson, who's not a volunteer and hwo hasn't been on the rides before, but I'd met all the rest of the riders.

My route includes some extra miles I did, riding from home to the start, then up to Millstone to see if the little store there is open on Sundays (it's not), and my ride home after the group ride. Not a fast ride, but the group appeared to have fun and we all stayed together. Next month, the ride will be on a Saturday, as my Sundays have filled up.

columbia trail ride

I refer to my road bike as the "Yellow Maserati". It's neither yellow nor a Maserati, but it's a good road bike that fits me well, and it's the equivalent, in bicycles, of a sportscar. I've also got a Giant hybrid that I made up to be a commuter (and then didn't use it to commute). It's got wider tires, so I can use it on trails, but if the road bike is a sportscar, the hybrid is more of a station wagon.

But this weekend, Laura OLPH decided to do a ride on the Columbia Trail. The announcement on her blog said:

Saturday's ride will be on the Columbia trail.  It's a flat, 30-mile, out-and-back MTB/hybrid trip that should be beautiful this time of year.  We'll start at the High Bridge side, go to the end, double back, and have our rest stop at the Califon General Store (they love us there).
The trail is very well maintained, wide, and mostly crushed gravel.  Mountain bike tires at 50 psi are fine.  Hybrids are fine too.  The pace will most likely be a low C+, but the effort to get that speed will feel like a B.

As for the pace, you can see my results (ignore the top speed; I forgot to turn off the GPS until after I'd driven a mile in the car). It is mostly flat, but if you look at the route; you'll see two turn-offs. One is where we stopped in Califon at the General Store (good break stop, and they treat us like folks). The other, at Middle Valley Rd, was where Tom H decided he wanted to see if he would take his road bike up what turned out to be a ferocious hill; one (very) short section includes a 30% grade.

We decided not to take the road bikes there.

Further along the trail, we came to a place where we were told it ended, and a bit further, there was a brand-new wooden wall across the trail. A local said we could go around it, and we did. I have no idea what the wall is for, or what they're trying to keep out, but you'll see pictures below.

At the wall:

Do not enter! Maybe because of the bow hunting?

Sights along the trail, including some of the Ken Lockwood Gorge:

On mountain bikes, you put the mascot up front. Every extra pair of eyes helps. Here's Chris's Tigger:

And Laura's Grover:

It's election time up there, of course, as it is all over the country. But unless this team endorses child abuse and distribution of rifles to disgruntled junior-high-school students, how could you NOT vote for these great names?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

nbbx ride sunday 10/26

This Sunday beginning at 10, we'll do a ride from the parking lot by the Blackwells Mills Canal House (mountain bike riders will know it as the beginning of the trail at Six Mile Run). We'll take the D&R Canal Towpath down to 518, and then go by road to the Main St Cafe in Kingston. And then we'll go back.

If you click on the link in the previous paragraph, the lot is the short road extension pointing to the right just below the Canal House.

As usual, no attitudes, lots of stops, nobody dropped, and a minimum of speeches. This will be a slow, social ride; if you can keep the bike upright for the (roughly) 17 miles, you can do the ride. I expect about 2 hours of riding time, plus stops. (I'll have just done a long ride on a similar path the day before, so I'll be in no shape to be speedy!) Helmets will be required. This ride is an activity of the New Brunswick Bike Exchange.

Alex B tells me that the towpath surface is good enough to ride on. I'm counting on him to be right.

The Main St Cafe is one of The Excellent Wife's (TEW) favorite coffee stops, and their baking is good, too (and there's usually a chili that's not to be despised).

At this point, weather looks good. I'll post any changes by about 7:00 that morning. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

weekend rides

Friday was one of my Fridays off. I had chores to do, and hadn't slept well the night before, so it was afternoon before I got in this short, easy ride... besides, I had two other rides planned for this weekend that promised to be more demanding.

For Saturday, Tom H had emailed a few of us about a ride from near where I live to Lambertville, but when I contacted him about the ride, I was the only one who could go. The start was about 7 miles from home, so I rode in... and then added six miles when I couldn't find a porta-john. So I had 13 miles when I met Tom.

This route includes my ride from home, the ride to and from Lambertville, and my meandering up Canal Rd to New Rd when I decided to add a couple miles rather than fight the hill on Old Georgetown on the way back. It was almost a Plain Jim route; close to straight out and back. We discussed bikes, family matters, jobs; we slandered a few people who weren't along with us. We stopped at Rojo's, where I should have had something in addition to the coffee; I nearly bonked on the way back. It became a 70-mile day.

WE did see one of the oxen from the Hopewell Valley Stampede; Tom got a picture, and I got a  couple pictures of Tom in the lovely autumn day.

Sunday was the Central Bucks Covered Bridge Ride. I didn't have a group to ride with, and Paul I said he planned to lead a group at a B pace, so I hooked up with him. We had eleven to start, including Paul and Alf, but eight of them disappeared up a hill, leaving Paul, Alf, and I. Where the 50-mile route split from the 60, Alf went off, and Paul and I continued on the longer route, promising to maintain a reasonable pace. A few miles later, I noticed we had picked up a hanger-on. His name is Cen, and he liked our pace, so we were three.

At the second rest stop, Paul met Larry, who rides with Paul sometimes (I'm sure I've met him, but I can't remember where). Paul and he got going a bit faster than Cen and I, and, when Cen and I got to the last rest stop, Paul was already ready to leave. I told him to go, and finished the ride with Cen at a pace we could both handle. (Link to my route page.)

 Too many pictures. I'll post a few below; the rest are in my 2014 Covered Bridges Album page.

Above: Alf, Paul, and (I think) Brent D at the start. Below, some of the bridges:

Above is my attempt at a National Geographic cover. Below, Cen:

... and Paul:

Below, the reason I didn't stay for lunch - the line, in several pictures:



Oh, sheesh.

More pics in my Album.

Addendum: Cen sent me these two: