Wednesday, May 29, 2019

in which the excellent wife is, of course, right

(If you're looking for info about the ride for June 2, that's a separate post, a bit further down.)

I have been cranky the past few days, and did not feel like going on a ride today. The Excellent Wife (TEW) urged me to go (she was not nagging; her means of persuasion are more nuanced than that), and, with a trunkload of reservations about it, I got my act together and headed down to Byron Johnson Park this morning, planning to ride with Al Porter's C+ crew.

At this time of year, the lot is full with overflow of student cars from the nearby high school, but there were still spaces enough for us.

(Sometimes, when I'm taking pictures, I tell the victim subject to "look competitive". Rarely am I taken as seriously as I was by that woman in the picture above. It was gratifying.)

Al wanted to get back in time for the monthly Team Social Security luncheon, and had a route in mind, but I'm not sure he had all the details worked out at the time of departure. We had a little discussion about the use of the RideWithGPS phone app, and then the C+ crowd took off.

You'll see by the ride page that this is a C+ ride about the way my Sunday rides are B rides, but in the other direction. We were cruisin' at a pretty hot pace... but we all kept up. Spence, who's got 20 years on me, and I traded pulls for a while before we pulled into Emley's Blueberry Farm.

We'd had a tailwind on the way out,and got the corollary headwind on the way back. Some of us got spread out a bit, but we all caught up.

And we brought it in with an average speed somewhere above the C+ range, as you can see from the ride page.

And, of course, I felt better and my mood was lifted by the time the ride was over, just as TEW had predicted. Do you suppose she ever gets tired of being right?

ride for june 2 2019

Route 518 is going to be closed forever, I think, and I want to go to Hopewell anyway. I've tried the crossing at the closure, and a few weeks ago, it was doable... but there was so much mud, I had to walk my bike a long distance, and it appeared that there was another section on which construction had yet to start. So I'm not going to risk that.

But I feel like doing a Franklin-to-Princeton-to-Hopewell loop, and I want to stop at the Boro Bean. So I've plotted this route, with that longish detour and a couple miles of out-and-back on the same road.

As noted on the ride listing, my usual low-B pace. Nobody dropped. Start 8:30 a.m. at the Blackwells Mills/Six Mile parking lot.

Hope to see youse there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

exhausting recovery ride and memorial day all-paces

On Sunday, May 26, I posted a ride that I thought was going to be a recovery ride, but first, I was more tired than I thought, and second, Ricky G and Dave H (who were the only takers) had other ideas than mine about how a recovery ride should go.

(I can't really blame it on them; I was pushin' it, too!)

You can see the ride page here. (It includes my ride to and from home.)

The next day was the Memorial Day All-Paces ride. I posted a "low C+", having planned on The Excellent Wife (TEW) to join me, but she had a fall, with skinned knees and road rash, the day before. I still had three takers: Judy F, Joe M, and Mini B. You can see our ride page, but for the pictures, go to the "Photos and Albums" page of the Princeton Freewheelers website.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

covered bridges

One of the things you learn on a covered bridge ride, where the covered bridges are real and not restored artifacts (like the one near Sergeantsville), is that every covered bridge is the gateway to an uphill.

Including this one.

(A portion of that picture will be the background of the Princeton Freewheeler web page for a while.)

Tom H's listing said:

  • This will be a hilly ride through three covered bridges on the PA side of the Delaware. The ride will be 45 to 50 miles with a few steep climbs but I promise some good scenery and downhills.
 He provided the route link, which promised 3200' of climb, and despite that (and the knowledge that Tom sometimes likes to torture his riders), six of us came out, including the long-lost Mike M, here shown with Tom H.

The rest of us (besides y'r ob'd't, Plain Jim) were Ricky G, Jack H, Robert N, and Laurie, who is new to me, but was apparently known to the others. (She must have been; they were not much better-behaved than usual, as I expect they might have been were a comparative stranger present.)

About eight or ten miles in, Mike had the good sense to turn back. I'm sure we were meant to think that his legs weren't up to the hills, but I think the deterioration of the level of the bad puns and gossip likely had more to do with it.

There WAS a lot of climbing: a decent few near the start got us up to Wismer Road, and then to Uhlerstown and Erwinna. Tom's got a new GPS, and we had a few discussions about the route (I'm no stranger to those), but we kept to it.

As promised, there were covered bridges.

Just before the drop on Bridgeton Hill Road, we had discussions about leaving space for each other on that downhill, and about ambulances and wills, and the like. But we all made it down to the stop at Black Eddy... as, apparently, did every other person with a bike along the Delaware.

It was good to see all those riders out. There were others out, too, not on bikes, and some of them didn't seem to know what to make of us. Don't worry; we're not as scary as those other biker gangs.

We sat where we could.

We returned on the Jersey side of the Delaware. Once again we climbed up to the ridge, but this was a bit more forgiving that the other. It was a great day.

The last descent was down Federal Twist, on which one of our number has had some drama. We mostly did not take it at breakneck speed (you can call it cowardice; I call it prudence), and made it back to the start at a reasonable pace. You can see my ride page here.

With perhaps more ambition than discretion, I've listed a ride for tomorrow AND a ride at the All-Paces on Monday. Perhaps you'll want to come out and see how crippled I really am!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

park to park to park to...

I hear it was Jack H who asked Tom H about Cheesequake Park. Jack had never been, and wondered about it, so Tom set up a ride there today.

We started at the Monmouth Battlefield park: in addition to Tom, Jack, and your humble reporter, Chris C, Ricky G, and Peter G came... along with Laura OLPH, who's finally finished blowing glass until fall. We had expected another, and held the start a few minutes, but finally we seven left.

Tom had picked maybe the only reasonable bicycle route (when you see the ride page, you'll see that much of the out-and-back retraced the same roads). It was a great day, and, while we weren't fast, we did move right along.

We stopped at a Wawa about halfway through the route.

Ricky and Laura both had pretty, lugged-tube bikes, and set 'em up near one another so they could get beauty photos.

I can't blame 'em.

From there we proceeded to Cheesequake, first to the euphoniously-named Crabbing Bridge (there was a certain amount of speculation about what might go on at the Crabbing Bridge; the idea that it was for catching crabs was simply too obvious):

...and then to the Lake at Cheesequake, which was underwhelming.

So now I feel like I've done Cheesequake Park.

On the way back, we took the Henry Hudson trail. Where we went to get on, the police had the road blocked, and we had to get permission to go through. Tom has a reputation for riding on closed roads, but this set a new standard.

The Henry Hudson Trail is paved, but in places the paving is so buckled that you wish it were not. Ricky G pointed out, in an excellent reframe, that it was probably better than dangerous traffic. (Someday I'm going to inherit a small piece of Ricky's equanimity, and nobody will recognize me ever again).

The trail goes through yet another park, Big Brook.

Then, to avoid the downtown Freehold traffic, we went around behind the courthouse and came back to Monmouth Battlefield Park.

(I just wanted credit for bein' there.)

Ride page. We were slow!

There were, of course, the obligatory references to Cheese Steak and Cheesecake. The Insane Bike Posse enjoys the worst puns. Few who come out with us leave because of the pace or destination, but many never return after they hear the tenor of the conversation.