Sunday, January 11, 2015

"nope, it's the other way" cold ride with tom h

I was sure it was going to be too cold for a road ride this weekend... plus, we were switching from Verzon DSL to Optimum cable and VOIP for our phone and internet service, so I had a number of phone-number changes and suchlike chores to do, so I wasn't sure I was going to get out on the bike at all this weekend. But Tom H sent out an email about an off-road ride around the Duke Mansion in Hillsborough, and with some reluctance (and many warnings from The Excellent Wife [TEW} not to come home with frostbite), I set out this morning to Duke Farm for the start.

Folks who know me know I'm always early, so I wasn't surprised when I didn't see any other cyclists in the lot. Shortly thereafter, though, in rolled Barry Y, and then Joe M and Tom (who, sensibly, didn't get out of the car until he absolutely had to; it was that cold). A few minutes later, Laura joined us, so we were five.

Tom told us that the Duke Farm was originally an estate owned by a man who made his money in hydroelectrics, and the grounds are full of man-made lakes and waterfalls. The current generation, however, is more interested in sustainability, and the farm is now host to a number of earth-friendly technologies. This barn, with the excellent horse relief at top, is now largely solar-powered and uses rain water for non-potable water needs (really, though, I just needed to get a picture of that horse...).

Below, another picture of Joe M's Bridgestone with the cork grips and tape, and bar-end shifters (and suspension stem). I love the way this bike looks.

Tom didn't have a clear idea of the course today, so there was quite a bit of "wait, let me look at the map; nope, it's the other way", which, along with many stops for pictures, means that a lot of you would have hated this ride (presuming you'd even come out on such a cold day). You can see this on the route, although some of the out-and back was to investigate some of the features of the farm, such as this unfinished foundation:

Tom told us that Old Man Duke started making enough money in tobacco that he figured he ought to move to North Carolina, so he abandoned this place for there. There are still excellent waterfalls, though...

... including this one that was constructed to be dramatic, and I'm sure it is, in season:

A few other pics, including us at an unfinished building that has become a sculpture garden:

So, yeah, between the cold and the stops... you probably would have hated this ride.


  1. Yep you are right. I would have hated this ride especially since the temps in SW FL were in the mid 70's when I rode mid morning. I do miss all of you though.

  2. That unfinished building that is now a sculpture garden, isn't unfinished at all. It's know as the Hay Barn. It was used to store hay, until there was a fire and the roof burned away. Instead of rebuilding a soon to be obsolete building, Doris Duke built that garden.
    An the water fall is dramatic, but it's only turned on for about 1/2 hour a day.
    I live very close and ride there all the time, it's best just to wander around the place. It's relaxing, and a good place to warm up\down before a longer ride.
    Next time, make sure you ride on Fox Hollow Rd.

  3. What an amazing place! Love the waterfalls. Can't imagine riding in such cold weather.