Saturday, November 25, 2017

borrowed tire

Laura OLPH and I had just ridden from her house to the ride start at Twin Pines when Chris C noticed that my back tire was down to the fabric...

... in more than one place.

I don't know where I got the idea that I could get more than 3000 miles out of a rear tire, but Chris had thought the tire was wearing a few weeks ago, and I poo-poohed his concern. This is the second time, at least, that he's been right about a mechanical issue. I need to pay more attention to him.

Luckily, Chris had a tire in his truck that I could borrow for the duration of the ride.

Laura didn't have a real plan for this ride; she was planning to go to Sergeantsville, but she got to talking to Ken G about routes and roads, and the next thing I know we were heading to Rojo's in Lambertville. It was a pleasant day, and I didn't really care.

I noticed the barn...

... before I noticed the self-satisfied cat sunning himself on the windowsill.

I think these were on Brunswick, after the climb up Woodens Lane.

And, since we were going to Lambertville by way of Alexsauken Creek, we stopped in at Mt Airy to chat with the girls.

There was another rider at Rojo's, and Ken G went and invaded his table, as did Laura and I a moment later (Chris had disappeared for a few minutes). I would not dare do that on my own!

(Chris keeps telling me I need more color than my black tights. I keep telling him that if there were a bicycle-kit-equivalent of a button-down collar and a bow tie, I'd be wearing it. And don't bother showing me those faux-tuxedo jerseys; that's not what I mean at all.)

From Laura's, just under 46 miles and 2400' of climb. I didn't eat enough (can you believe it, this close to Thanksgiving?) and I was a bit under it at the end of the ride. But I'm glad I got it in.

Friday, November 24, 2017

no love for team social security

Laura OLPH and Tom H (I forget who was first, and I'm too lazy to look it up right now) sent emails around about a ride for today, the day after Thanksgiving, when many of us are off from work, and many of us are regretting the overindulgence in empty calories we indulged the day before. They agreed on a ride to Etra this morning from Tom's house, to join up with the usual Team Social Security ride, the guys who go out three times a week on weekdays for morning rides (you don't HAVE to be retired to ride with 'em, but you do have to have the available time, and retirement is one of the opportunities that offers the time).

I had commitments this afternoon and couldn't do the extra time, so I drove to Etra.

Not afraid of color, is he?

The regular parking at Etra was locked; we parked in the athletic lot across the road. One of our number was baffled by the locked gate, and didn't turn around to see us until another went over and rapped on his car window. (I'm always pleased when I'm not the one who does dumb stuff like that. I do enough dumb stuff that I don't usually tell youse about.)

Shortly before departure, Tom, Laura, and Robert N rolled in.

Team Social Security splits into a C and C+ ride these days. Al P led a ride of 18 on the C+. I think overeating guilt and acceptable weather helped to bring out the peloton.

It was only a bit above freezing when we started out, although it warmed into the 50s by the time we finished. Some of the guys seemed to be struggling, and I'm blaming it on cold weather.

The one cloud on this otherwise sunny ride was that three times, we had drivers pass and yell at us to get off the road, or express their displeasure that we slowed them down. I've ridden with Team Social Security on a number of occasions, and it's true they're often less than careful about keeping right and sharing the road with traffic. But there was nothing today that earned the poor treatment we got.

Perhaps the drivers in question used up all their thankfulness yesterday, and only had ingratitude and grouchiness left in their personality baskets today.

At the stop in Jackson:

As far as the guys struggling, the ride page shows we were near the top of the C+ range...

As for me, I got the chores done after the ride; the last of the laundry is rolling around the dryer as I type this. Tomorrow, we'll see what devilry Laura has in store.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

didn't count on november rain

When I emerged from Rojo's to check on the bike, I noticed the freckling on the sidewalk that suggested the rain had started.

(So did that get your attention?)

Before that, though, we had begun to warm up from a cold ride start. Laura OLPH had decided on a ride to Lambertville today from Pennington; she'd offered extra miles, but I'm just not up to it these days (well, maybe I am; we'll see). So at shortly after 9 I was in the Twin Pines parking lot, looking at Ricky G's and Jack H's cars (I like Twin Pines; there's a porta-potty there). Jack was undoubtedly off doing his pre-ride miles; Ricky showed up on his bike after a minute while I was setting up. He rode off to see if he could meet Laura on the way in.

Shortly after, Andrew rolled in, then Tom H, and Robert N, and some other guy.

Laura rolled in, did the speech for the new guy, and off we went on a moderately hilly ride to Lambertville. Laura picked a few roads with some hills; we figured she was getting back at us for some pictures; we'd sent when she wasn't riding with us (she was blowing glass instead). One picture had a group of about twenty riders doing a middle-finger salute; another had three of us making finger hearts the way the cute Korean girls do in the videos. Knowing Laura, she was probably crankier about the latter than the former.

About three miles in, Ricky had a worrisome sound emanating from the bottom bracket, and an even more worrisome display of metal where he was used to seeing some kind of seal. He decided to go back and see if he could get Jimmy Bruno to take a look at things.

Laura usually stops for cows, but I guess sometimes she stops for horses.

New guy turned out to be Rick, who's been doing C+ rides and triathlons. He's talked to Laura and was sure he would be able to keep up on the bike. He did, We're trying to decide if the barrage of bad jokes, insults, and profanity will keep him away, or perhaps the frequent picture stops or the long breaks.

Breaks like the one today at Rojo's.

You know: upscale coffee place, too many hipsters, good junk food. You already know the most dramatic thing about the stop.

We took the most direct route home, dodging raindrops as we went. We STILL got over 40 miles, 2500' of climb.

Maybe someday, I'll be warm again.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

cranksgiving 2017

I'm always surprised when real, actual people come out on my rides. I'm especially so when, as today, the temps were below freezing at the start time, and people were gonna hafta pay money and maybe carry stuff.

The Princeton Cranksgiving ride starts at the firehouse in Dutch Neckl, goes to the McCaffrey's on Princeton-Hightstown Road, then to a ping-pong parlor near the Princeton Junction train station, then to the Trader Joe's on Route 1 (don't worry; you don't actually RIDE on Route 1), and then back to the start. Along the way, we buy $15 worth of groceries, and either leave them with volunteers at each stop, or (as I did) carry them back to the start. The food goes to a local food kitchen. It's a 20-mile route.

I had the idea of leading some Freewheelers on it last year, and posted it on the new website this year. 20 miles didn't seem enough, so I advertised that we'd add miles from Cranbury and back, for anybody who wanted; anybody who just wanted to do the 20-mile route could meet us at the firehouse. The cold almost put me off, but I decided to go, and, as I was waiting in Cranbury for what I was sure was going to be a solo ride, in drove Joe M, and then Ricky G rolled in... and as we were rolling out, we met Tom H.

We were ridiculously early (now THERE's a surprise) and decided to take a trip to Mercer Park to see the lake.

When we got back, riders were assembling.

We met Jerry F, who lives close by, and took off on the route.

The folks at the McCaffrey's didn't know what to make of us; we were bobbling around the store looking for items (different people had different lists) and there was a certain amount of confusion, but taken in good spirit, apparently.

We started to ride to the next stop to buy socks, and Jerry was falling behind; he was on a heavy bike. He said he was near home, and so I sent the others ahead and rode with Jerry to his place, where he swapped out for his road bike and we caught up with the others.

The team at the ping-pong parlor (really? There IS such a thing?) were cheerful and polite. They agreed to this picture and laughed at my stupid jokes.

On to Trader Joe's.The planner's found us the least fatal way in, and the volunteers met us with water (not yet frozen on this chilly day) and energy bars.

Then back to the firehouse from which the ride started. Some riders had left their pickings with the volunteers at the stores, but Joe and I carried our groceries back.

Jerry and Tom went home from the firehouse. Before he left, Tom (and Joe, too) gave me some good advice about a lower-traffic route back to Cranbury... but it was a bit longer, and with the cold (and the wind, on which I had not counted), it was a quiet ride back.

Ride page.

It was a fun, inexpensive charity ride. You ought to come if it's five degrees warmer next year!