Saturday, July 22, 2017

blue army shrine, asbury, and one of my favorite roads

Tom H was away in Ireland for business this week, and it wasn't clear if he'd get back to do his ride scheduled for today, which included this in the description:

Join me as I head up to Warren county to try out some new roads and probably get a little lost. This will be a hilly ride with 2 or 3 tough climbs but it should be scenic and I promise a few good downhills.

Laura OLPH told me early in the week that I needed to do this ride: it would include one of my favorite stretches of road (River Road around Riegelsville, where it follows the railroad right-of-way), and my mental health demanded it (and pretty much anybody else is a better judge of my mental state than I am). I also think she wanted my Catholic education handy when she was drifting around the Blue Army Shrine.

Laura had ridden though there on this ride last year, and wanted to make another visit. She's been having GPS problems, though, and despaired of her GPS recovering when she found she couldn't map the ride through the Shrine.

So, with some GPS trepidation, we gathered in Frenchtown this morning.

I got there early, and was sort-of dozing in the car when Jack arrived and woke me from my reverie by bouncing the rear suspension of the Prius. We started getting ready, and Blake and Tom appeared, and then Laura. We swept the surrounding lots for stragglers, but found none (although I think everybody in North Jersey who had a bike might have been out today, except for the few who were tubing down the Delaware instead).

We got underway.

Early in the ride, Laura came up and asked if I'd learned a song she'd learned in religious (Edit: Laura reminds me she never had anything to do with religion, at any time in her life) school (I'd learned a slightly different version in camp):

Oh, you can't get to heaven
On roller skates
You'll roll right by
Those pearly gates!
Oh, you can't get to heaven on roller skates
You'll roll right by those pearly gates!
I ain't gonna grieve my Lord no more...

She'd got to thinking about that song worrying about losing the route on the GPS at the shrine, and she'd come up with:

Oh, you can't get to heaven
On a Cannondale
Your climbing legs
Will surely fail (I may be remembering it inexactly)...

Well, this sort of thing is addictive:

Oh, you can't get to Frenchtown
From Mary's Shrine:
Your GPS
Won't draw the line!
Oh, you can't get to heaven from Mary's Shrine
Your GPS won't draw the line
I ain't gonna pedal hills no more.

(Laura and Tom compete for the maximum amount of silliness on their rides).

I was singing that sort of thing in my head until we got to a crossing of Route 31 that was even worse than the one at Ringoes, when I started chanting something else.

But we DID go to Mary's Shrine. There are a number of statues, including one of Pope John-Paul II looking like a Nazgul, and a couple of weird crucifixes:

The Shrine appears to appeal to Catholics of all stripes: besides these (mostly Polish) statues, there were some Byzantine rite objects, and a busload of Latinos (of what type I didn't get) were out for a picnic or something.

And both our GPS devices kept the route. So there.

On to Asbury. It's a shame this place is so far away, because I like it (on the other hand, it is expensive, and it CAN be, because there doesn't appear to be anyplace else close). We met Mike H's ride there.

From there, back. You'll see from the ride page that all the worst hills were in the first, oh, 60% of the ride, and Tom, who had just gotten off the plane from Ireland the afternoon before, was in no condition to challenge us too much. There was that bit on River Road I love so much. I was too busy enjoying the easy pace and the beautiful scenery to have paid adequate attention to these pictures:

Well, that's that. Weather prediction is dodgy for a ride tomorrow morning (The Excellent Wife and I have a date with The Excellent Mother-In-Law later), and I'm the house mechanic for the Z-Trek Charity Ride next week. Free tune-ups to registered riders; need a tune-up?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

joe takes a page from tom h, and a bit of bike history

I worked again last Saturday, which means I was able to get today off; I drove down to Allentown to pick up Team Social Security's ride at Byron Johnson Park.

Lynne, above, came out to the New Brunswick Bike Exchange last night; I've been doing my best to get her to make time to come back.

Team Social Security does two rides on Wednesdays (and maybe most days, I don't know); the C+ ride is led by Joe (arms akimbo, above; the other is the back of Bruce), and Ira, below, leads the C.

Joe led us down to Columbus.

But along the way...

... we found road construction. I made the usual jokes about what happens on Tom H's rides, and thought to ask Joe if he was ready for a copyright infringement suit.

But we couldn't get through; there just was't room between the trucks and equipment. If you look at the ride page, you'll see what looks like an appendix in the route just below Georgetown (wait... Jersey has a Georgetown?) where we had to back up and go around. Joe couldn't remember if this was on the route for the event; I'm sure he's checked into it by now.

On we went to the usual stop in Columbus.

Of COURSE there are bike pics.

I like that pic of Joe, below.

In other news, we got (what I consider) a historic bike at the New Brunswick Bike Exchange. Many of us get the catalog from Terry Bikes, but they got their start from Georgena Terry, who is apparently still making custom bikes for women. Before custom bikes, though, she was making production road bikes for women. Smaller women had problems with the high, long top tube required to build a bike with the standard 700c (622mm) wheels; Ms Terry had the unusual, but effective, idea of using a smaller wheel in the front. It was radical enough that I don't think anybody else ever followed the idea. Well, we got one at the Bike Exchange. Pardon the potato quality of the pic; I took it on my phone, and I'm a phone cheapskate:

I just love it. It's got the original saddle. I know the eventual buyer won't give a hang about the history, but I'm glad we got to see it. I'm showing it off to everybody who comes to the exchange, making a real bore of myself... but that's not unusual.

Edit: So many typo's...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

chris c leads almost 50 out of allentown, I fall down and get right back up, and I get a new pump

Both The Excellent Wife (TEW) and Laura OLPH sang the praises last week of the rides out of Jimmy Bruno's in Allentown, so I drove down this morning to do the "B" ride led by Chris C, and to get a pump from Jimmy after the store opened to replace my benighted Blackburns.

Jimmy's got quite the picturesque bicycle graveyard behind the shop:

... which will play a small role later in today's post.

There are two other rides that leave from the shop at about the same time, rated B+ (way too fast for me) and C+ (with whom I'll probably be riding in a few more years), so there were quite a number of riders getting suited up and started, in the lot behind the shop:

... and on the street in front:

Below, the eponymous Jimmy of Jimmy Bruno's; he's in the finals for the nicest bike shop owner in the state (it's a hotly-contested competition, I assure you!).

Six of us were out for Chris's ride: besides me and Chris (of course) were Joe M, Marty, Ken W, and Prem, who evidently has been cuttin' his teeth on C+ rides, and who so impressed Laura yesterday. Chirs started leading us south, on a route that eventually had us in Mt Holly, which was lovely on this gorgeous day. (I didn't get pictures of Mt Holly, but I did get some of our progress there.)

We stopped at a 7-11, with some shade, next to a pond; we went turtle-watching.

There IS a turtle in that picture above, I promise.

The 7-11 didn't have toilets for us, so on the way back, Chris found a park with a porta-potty. The way in was graveled, and graded; at the bottom of the lot, the gravel was deep enough that my wheel dug in and I went over. I got a bit of a leg scrape (that I didn't discover until I got home to shower) and a pain that persists in my hand where I fell on it, but no blood, nothing torn, no damage to the bike - even my bar tape was unaffected. Henceforward, I'm walking on gravel, and I'm forswearing Dutchtown-Zion Road until they pave that last bit; here's my excuse, all pre-wrapped for me.

Other than that, and some seat-of-the-pants navigation that may have added (or subtracted) a bit of the route, we got home without incident on this beautiful day. Chris left us around Crosswicks, but Joe and Marty knew the way back. Y'wanna see the ride page?

When we got back, I stopped in at the store to part Jimmy from one of those Bontrager pumps I'd seen on Wednesday. I bought the Turbo HP tall, and on the way back to the car, I tried it on one of the Schrader valves in Jimmy's bike graveyard, and on the Presta on my bike.

It works great.