Saturday, May 28, 2016

illicit, stolen ride

I had hoped to go on Tom H's ride today, but it didn't work out.

We've finally actually started doing what I was hired to do all those months ago, and I got the first weekend on-call. I thought on-call meant I just had to carry a company cell phone... but the metric for response time is measured by entries in the computer system, and there's dodginess about security and adequacy of response on cell phones (HIPAA and HI-TECH, for those with healthcare knowledge).

So the decision was that I couldn't be more than 30 minutes away from a computer with a secure browser and internet access. So my on-call has turned into a modified house arrest; in any case, I can't do my beloved 45-to-70 mile rides on days I'm on-call. (Those of you who know me well: can you IMAGINE how grumpy I was when I heard that? An administrator who was in the room when I got the news remarked on my possible instability. I'm glad I'm a union worker on permanent status.)

Not to be outdone, though, I decided I could do one of my usual from-home routes. Since the ride is usually just over an hour, there are only a few points on the ride where I'm over 30 minutes from home.

I decided to risk it.

I brought it in just about 1:06 door-to-door (well, they're both our door, aren't they?). I went pretty quick, for a 61-year-old, and I saw the Kim's ride coming down as I was going up through Millstone (I heard a couple of the guys call, "Mr Jim!" I gotta drop in there and let 'em know I wasn't just blowin' 'em off).

So there. Even in the face of adversity and employment, I was able to get a ride in this lovely morning. Since then, I've improved upon the time by attending to chores that I've been avoiding either because the weather interfered, or because I was riding (hey, if the weather doesn't interfere with the chore, then it probably doesn't interfere with the bike, either).

Here's hoping you've been doing something fun, too. Anyone?

Edit May 29: Got in another one this morning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

bike maintenance class 5/24

We spent most of this class on brakes, and I forgot to tell youse about the brake adjustment screws on vee-brakes, so I'm putting it here as a reminder to myself.

I also want to remember to re-do the stuff on truing wheels. Few of you were there when we did that.

For next week: shifting and shifters.

Homework: go look up Bike Snob NYC. (I hope he's not too profane this week...)

Oh, yeah. One of you said you get most of your stuff online. You can get cheap handlebar wrap at Nashbar... but I like to spend a bit more and get the Specialized-brand S-wrap tape; Kim's has it.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

easy flat 30

Laura OLPH had hoped to do a ride yesterday for her birthday, but weather threatened, so she cancelled... and then the threatened weather didn't appear, so Laura was all mopey about having cancelled. She had thought to do some hills today, but had partaken too well in the junk food, yesterday, so she opted for John K's offering instead.

John K has become the drill instructor, or something like that, for the JDRF charity rides in this area, and he was taking out a couple of comparative newbies on a flat 30 today. Laura opted for that, and, in support of her birthday, I joined that ride. Laura added over 20 miles to and from her home... but I was lazy and disorganized this morning, and just showed up at the Reed Recreation Area above Allentown, which, apparently, you can only find if you already know how to get there, because I can't find it on any maps and the location baffles the GPS.

In addition to John and Laura, we had Cheryl:

and Maggie.

So we were five.

Because it was a JDRF ride instead of a Freewheeler ride, John had a different form to sign, but the rest was similar: helmets, ride safely, don't be a jerk.

We did this route, at an easy pace. We stopped for wardrobe adjustments (mostly to shed layers no longer needed)...

and at a park that had a porta-potty.

(I like that picture of Cheryl, above.)

(I like that one of John, too.)

I made an adjustment to one of the newbies' pedals, and did a quick lesson in gear selection with the other, and started my rant about mirrors (oh, crap, there's more than one), but managed to stifle myself before anybody actually yawned with boredom. (I'll stop talking about bikes when you look bored... but that doesn't mean I'm done, by any means).

The folks had to get back to their real lives, so I came home, after picking up some flowers for The Excellent Wife (TEW). Then she and I went out to the Princeton U Art Museum, where I was not blown away by the show on Jewish contributions to colonial and 19th-century culture, but both TEW and I loved the show about the Newcomb Pottery Enterprise. And the price is right; if youpaly your cards right and don't mind waliing, you can even park for free.

Here's hoping you had a good Sunday. Been doin' anything cool?

Edit: John reminds me that the JDRF rides are fundraisers. So I'm including links to John's fundraising page, and Cheryl's, and Maggie's. If you've got the cost of a week's worth of Starbuck's in your pocket, you might throw some cash at 'em. I'm gonna do it as soon as I finish this edit.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mr Jim

An earlier plan for a group ride got changed, so The Excellent Wife (TEW) suggested I go out with the Kim's group today; we have a midday commitment, but I'd be long back before that. Got to the shop early (of course.

Francisco, who's a mechanic at Kim's and who lives above the shop, called down and said he'd be along soon. Up rode Andre:



And soon there was a peloton assembling.

Francisco came out.

And a few others showed up, so we left to go on the usual route. Along the way, we picked up a few on River Road in Highland Park, and more at the Olde Town lot in Johnson Park; we were probably twenty.

As apparently happens with this ride, they broke into a faster group and a slower. Within a short time, I decided to go with the slower (or perhaps it was decided for me!). It turns out that Francisco has about a half-dozen he goes with on this ride; he does fast training during the week, and uses this as a recovery ride. He likes to keep his group together, and doesn't like it that the others go off the front and don't keep together as a group. Now where have I heard that before?

Well, that kind of group ride is right up my alley, so I stayed with his crew, except for a few sprints so I could show off to some of the younger guys (they're all guys, and all younger; some aren't 25 yet). One apparently burns all his energy in the first few miles of a ride and then spends the rest barely keeping up; another needs to get in shape (but he stuck with it, and I hope he continues).

The group is about half Rutgers fast boys, and half Francsco's friends who have varying amounts of English. Because Francisco does, I think, they've taken to calling me "Mr Jim" and showing  certain deference that I know I don't deserve (but I'm a sucker for it anyway).

The route's almost always the same: about 32 miles from Kim's shop to Bound Brook, then down to Colonial Park, where there's a sprint, and where we recover for a bit at the other end of the park.

Then we go through Millstone to Canal Road, where there's another sprint to the parking lot at Blackwells Mills/Six Mile, and another few minutes recovery.

(That young fellow in the last pic was afraid that people would think that the only thing he does is eat energy bars. He needn't worry: he can spin those cranks plenty fast, and he leaves me in his dust.)

From there, up Coppermine. We gather at the top before heading back up 27 to the store.

I like the picture above, but Vincencio is better in the one below.

Above: Umberto, who cooked me a couple weeks ago. I didn't recognize him right away. I think I have brain damage from that ride.

My ride page is deceiving: it shows my ride to the store (with a side trip looking for a place to pee), then the ride with the guys, then my ride home.

Francisco is always happy to see me, and, as I said, he and his friends treat me with a respect I know I don't deserve, but which I find bewitching. I need to ride with them more frequently, which means I need to make time. It's hard, because I have other friends I like to ride with, and non-riders I need to see.

Having to choose between friends is hard... but there are worse problems.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

bike maintenance class may 17

Just a couple things tonight: first, I want to give you a link to the excellent patch kit I showed off today, the excellent Rustine Expedition Patch Kit:

Get it at Velo Orange. The have all kinds of nifty, retro-bikey stuff there.

And for your homework: check out Jim Langley. All kinds of bike stuff there, too, including a great page on noises and fixes.

this pic is too good not to steal

This one is so good, I had to steal it.

Pull that trailer, dad.

From today's Oddman.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

not complaining

I would have thought, with the inclement weather we've been having, and with no rain predicted for yesterday until at least 3:00, that Tom H's Pinelands Metric Century scheduled for yesterday would have brought a lot of riders to the start in Columbus, NJ, not far from a deli where the Team Social Security (the three-day-a-week Old Guys Ride) often stop.

I would have been, and was, wrong.

The only folks to appear, with ten minutes to go before the ride started, were Tom himself:

Joe M, with the nifty new Soma San Marcos (and a VERY handsome Lezyne pump, way cooler than the Road Morph that Tom and Laura OLPH use):

...and Very Truly Yours, who, as usual, managed to keep his own picture out of this week's blog post.

After slandering some Freewheelers who show up minutes before the ride is due to leave (or, in some cases, minutes AFTER), we left just at 8:30 to do the route. It's one from Tom's book, and it's a great route; you can see it here.

The day was warmer than I expected. I showed up with two layers, and stripped down to a jersey and arm warmers before we left, and soon that was too much. Here's Joe at a "wardrobe adjustment" stop (I think Tom was changing the battery in his GPS):

As Tom noted in his post, much of the ride went along the routes (mostly in reverse) of the Urban Promise Ride. This ride had a lot of support, not only with SAG and rest stops, but plastic signs for routing and for warning of hazards ("Dangerous Intersection", "Pothole Ahead"), and paint on the roads around rough spots. Tom pointed out that there is a limited number of roads in this area with little traffic, so if you're going to ride there, you're probably going to use these roads. (I was impressed with the rider support, though, and jealous: I remember saying that "this ride has too much money.")

We stopped at Nixon's in Tabernacle, which I really liked, even though the porta-potty was about a quarter mile away. If you're gonna do this route, or one like it, plan a stop at Nixon's.

In the middle of the ride, we did a seven-mile stretch along the euphoniously-named Sooy Place Road, where we got to talking about how good this ride was, and how we expected more takers. I really liked it. I told Tom, "I'm not complaining. I'm anxious and depressed, but I'm not complaining."

We stopped again at the big Wawa in Pemberton, where I got The Obligatory Bikes Pic:

...and thence back to the start at the park in Columbus. Kids baseball games were breaking up, and Joe was impressed by the amount of gear the kids had; we saw many backpacks, full of something (what? Steroids, maybe?), with holsters for two bats.


No formal ride today; wind threatened, and chores to do, and I just wasn't up to it. I did this one before the wind got too bad, but then came home to many loads of laundry and umpteen other things to do, than which I'd definitely rather be riding the bike.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

bike maintenance class links and homework

The first class of the bike maintenance course I'm teaching at the New Brunswick Bike Exchange was tonight.

A few things came up: people wanted to see pictures of downtube shifter bosses like the ones holding my shifters.

Two of my tools caught their fancy: the Quik Stik:

... which is usually available at local bike shops, so I'm not linking to a source for it (go to your local shop, already!), and the Kool Stop Tire Jack:

... which is usually not available locally, although you should check. If not, you can get it at Universal Cycles, which is one of my regular sources; they carry a LOT of stuff.

And for homework: go find out who Sheldon Brown was, and why am I asking? What can you get from him?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

two for the road, and a few words on learning my limits

Laura OLPH planned a long ride for today; up to a century to Belmar, with alternative starts for those who might not want to commit to so long of a ride. But:
  • I really only like to do 100-mile rides if they're supported, with, like, formal rest stops and stuff. My preferred distance is about 60-70 miles...
  • ... and while I could have gone for that option, weather reports were iffy for today (although they improved as the day approached, and the day is supposed to improve as it goes on; it's about noon as I write this), and I am just SO DONE with riding long distances while I'm wet and cold, because...
  • ... my 61st birthday went by recently. I've had to do a bunch of (expensive and painful) dental stuff, and even though it's just dental stuff, it's been a memento mori, and...
  • My pal Francisco promised a ride from Kim's today at 8:00. That's about 32 miles (plus the six-plus miles to and from the shop from home) and none of the usual route is more than about ten miles from home.
So I opted for the Kim's ride. I rode up to Kim's from home, and got really wet and gritty in the mist; I had to clean off my glasses, and trying to find dry cloth to wipe the lenses took some imagination. I got there about fifteen minutes early (now THERE's a surprise) and was the only one waiting (also not surprising). But as departure time approached, nobody else was coming.

Finally, at about 7:56, up rode this gentleman:

...who introduced himself as Umberto, and who had enough English so that we decided we'd wait to see if anyone else came. I mentioned that Francisco had said there would be a ride, and, as he lives above the shop, I expected him to appear... but appear he did not, and, at about 8:05, we left, figuring we'd see some more people at Johnson Park.

We did see some more people (the roadway was closed for a road race, but the ranger let us ride though anyway, cautioning me not to run over any runners), but there were no cyclists waiting a the old town lot. Se we decided to do the usual route anyway.

We took off down River Road at a good clip... and Umberto just kept it up. At first, I was with him, but my energy started to flag. He assured me that the pace was OK for him, and kept a lookout for me through Bound Brook and down Elizabeth Ave. I did my best to keep up. He mentioned that part of Elizabeth Avenue was a "mini-uphill", but I'm not persuaded; I think he wanted to make the old guy feel better.

And he apparently wanted the company. So he kept just in front of me (or, sometimes, WAY in front of me, until he looked back and let me catch up), and I rode my tail off like I haven't in a long time. We sprinted through Johnson Park at about the posted speed of 25mph, cruised through Millstone, and picked up the pace again on Canal Road, where we stopped for a while at the parking lot at Six-Mile, so I could put my lungs back in.

There we met a newbie who's just bought a bike. It turns out he's moving to Princeton soon, so I told him about the Princeton Freewheelers (as he had been told by the folks at Halter's), and he said he'd join.

I chatted with Umberto a bit; it turns out he's Brazilian, and speaks Portuguese; he's only got a little more Spanish than I do, although he admits that Romance languages are similar, so he has a head start.

He gave ME a head start on the way to Coppermine, which we did about side-by-side, due more, I think, to his politeness and my gearing (I have a 46/34 on the front and a 11-28 on the rear) than to any hill-climbing prowess I might possess. At the top of Coppermine, the average showing on my Garmin was 18mph, and by the time we got back to the shop, it was 18.1.

My ride page, though, shows 17.8 (I think that's high), because I was so out-of-gas on the ride home that I might not have broken 15mph, even on the downhills. Still, I was home early, and took the time to rinse several pounds of road muck off the bike, clean the grit out of the brakes, and dry the chain preparatory to a re-application of lube, which, I expect, was mostly gone by the time we topped Coppermine.

For the rest of the day I'll be ether aching or napping. While I'm grateful for the deference shown by Umberto (I really am), I got some recuperatin' to do.

So what did you do on this grey day?