Tuesday, July 30, 2019

ride for august 4

Time to go back to the Boro Bean (apparently they don't have a website and I refuse to link to their Facebook page).

We'll leave Blackwells Mills/Six Mile at 8:30, and do this route. It's a little different from the other times I've done this (actually, it's a little different each time I do it, although the variations are so slight that nobody might notice). About 37 miles. The route goes the wrong way around for the Princeton/Lawrenceville area folks to ride home after the stop, but I don't want the stop coming twelve miles into a 37-mile ride.

I'm hoping for a reasonable B pace, but recent rides have been accelerating (except for last Sunday's last-of-the-month ride, but that was different. I'm planning to keep those for the last of the month). I, for one, will bring it in at the B range; if you go off the front, you're on your own. This is a Club ride; members welcome; visitors get one ride free.

I hope to see you then.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

first of the last of the month...

The Excellent Wife (TEW) decided that she wanted to come along on some rides withe me, so I figured out a few routes that are shorter and less hilly than my usual rides. We did one last week, and, while the ride sort of took off without me, report was that the route would work for the kind of ride I had in mind - for people who'd like to ride the areas I usually lead in, but who aren't up to the Plain Jim pace (which, admittedly, has gotten faster than I expected).

I decided I'd do these on the last Sunday of the month. My listing for this one included this:

A little shorter, flatter, and slower than my usual rides; read the link at my blog (by the start address) for more info. 32 miles. If this works, I'll plan to do these on last Sundays of the month. Come on out if my regular rides sound like just a little too much for you. 

Well, evidently it sounded good to a number of folks: I had five pre-registrants (one of whom later emailed that she could not come) and eight to start.

(After about five miles, one decided it was not the thing for today and turned off; the rest continued at least as far as the rest stop.)

I made it clear that this was to be a casual ride; that people off the front ran the risk to getting Spragued*, and that we would cater to stop requests for all manner of purposes.

(*The practice, named for the late Don Sprague, of changing the route mid-ride to cut off the riders who are off the front. Chris Cook says he invented the practice, and says that we should call it "Cooking" the riders instead of "Spraguing" them, but club usage is club usage, and this blog is an adherent to the policy of DEscribing club language instead of PROscribing, as I think I've learned from Laura's husband Professor Jack, although I'm sure he would be happy to point out my many errata. Ahem.)

And cater to stops we did, for water, for catching breath, for a mechanical complaint (that turned out to be an easy fix; some water bottle cages can be easily tightened to grip the bottle so it doesn't rattle. Thanks, I think, to Dave S for the suggestion), for pictures:

While we did get spread out, we collected at all the turns and other stops. We stopped at the Montgomery Thomas Sweet (and now I think TEW is slightly less jealous of my regular junk-food habit).

(None of us look great in those pictures. In my defense, I can only plead that you should have seen the ones I've already deleted.)

After the stop, John W, Laura OLPH,* and Dr A went their separate ways; the rest of us took a somewhat circuitous route back to the start. TEW and I then took a side trip to get a few more miles in.

(*Yes, that is an Oxford comma. I make no apology and have no regrets.)

Which makes the ride page require a bit of explanation: It includes:
  • My ride from home to get a bagel for breakfast;
  • My ride from the bagel shop towards the start;
  • My subsequent side trip when I figured I was going to be stupidly early;
  • My ride to the start when I decided I wasn't actually going to be THAT early, and maybe I'd better get up to the start point;
  • The ride itself (you knew I'd get to that eventually, didn't you?);
  • The extra miles that TEW and I did; and
  • My ride home.
The ride itself was about 32 miles. The average on the ride page, linked above, is a bit faster than the ride itself was (the page shows 13.5; I think we actually did about 13.2).

For next last-of-the-month, I plan to visit Boro Bean. In order to avoid hills, much of that route will be 518 out-and-back, which TEW tells me will be no problem to her. 

And out of that, I've gotten this blog post with lots of prolix verbiage and at least two digressions. It's been a great day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

ride for july 28

So this is something different: we'll do 32 miles at a C+ pace.

My wife has been hinting... well, no; she's said straight out that she wouldn't mind coming along on a ride that I led. And there are a few folks that would like to ride around here more often, but don't want to fight the hills, or keep up with the usual Plain Jim pace.

So I set a few routes that are a bit shorter and flatter, and I've set a plan to ride those, at a C+ pace, on the last Sunday of the month. This Sunday, July 28, will be the first one. We'll do the same route as last week, with the same stop at Thomas Sweet. (There's one cutoff that doesn't show on that map; come along and you'll get to see it.)

8:30 am start. Meet at my usual place; the Six Mile/Blackwells Mills lot on Canal Road in Franklin. (If you're using a car GPS to find it, put "625 Canal Road, Franklin, NJ" into the address bar, and that will get you close enough.)

If you can ride at a C+ pace, you can do this ride. If the fast folks show up, we'll let 'em go off the front and we'll complain about 'em, OK?

(It happens that July 28 is the 25th anniversary of my wife and my first date. Romantic, isn't it?)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

the only game in town

So the blog post for this ride listing said, in part:

So The Excellent Wife (TEW) was saying that it would be nice if we could do a shorter, slower ride together every now and then, maybe stopping at some of the places that The Usual Suspects enjoy. I looked at the maps and rejiggered the routes, and came up with a couple of possibles. I'm thinking on last Sundays of the month, I might do a shorter ride as a C+, and see who comes out.

Now, this Sunday is supposed to be just ridiculously hot (although less so than Saturday), so it might be a good day to try one of these shorter routes.

And it was my intention, especially after having roasted yesterday (or, considering the humidity, it may be that "poached" better describes the process), that we do it at a pace that was near my usual low B (or, frequently, high C+) pace.But that wasn't how it worked out.

It turns out that the usual Sunday ride from Etra was cancelled, and three or four of the riders from that group showed up on my ride. Their energy and high spirits were, evidently, contagious, and we would up doing the route solidly in the middle of the B range. despite heat and humidity. In fact, before the stop at Thomas Sweet, they got far enough ahead that Laura OLPH and I briefly discussed the idea of Spraguing them... until we remembered that they would be enjoying air conditioning and empty calories at Thomas Sweet, and we'd be continuing to ride in the heat and humidity.

So there was that.

Laura laid down the law a bit about running off with the ride and pace pushing, and everybody was apparently properly apologetic. I was grateful I didn't have to be a hard nose about it.

As noted above, this is one of the routes that I had set up for the last-Sunday-of-the-month C+ rides I have planned. It got good reviews, because much of the roadway is newly-surfaced, and because it avoids the worst hills. We may try this, or another one, next Sunday for a C+ ride if the weather holds. And if folks show up who want to run away with the ride, I'll let 'em, and ride at the pace I advertise.

Ride page.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

stupid way to temporarily lose 2½ lbs

So do you want to know a stupid way to temporarily lose 2½ lbs?

On the hottest day of the year, go out with five of your bike-y friends and do 37 miles. Make sure you stop at the most excellent coffee shop in the area so you can both congratulate yourselves, and shake your heads in wonder at your own folly.

(By the way: if you're lookin' for info about the ride for July 21, click here.)

Over the course of the week, Laura OLPH and the Hill Slugs were hemmin' and hawin' about whether to go out today, predicted to be the hottest so far this year. Finally she sent out a tentative-sounding email asking whether she'd have any takers for a short, no-break ride starting at 7am from the Pig, my favorite stop... which means we could end there, and have a coffee and some junk before going our separate ways.

Chris C, Ricky G, and I decided to add some extra miles by starting from Laura's house.

We rode to the Pig (about 6 miles) and picked up Andrew A and Peter G at 7:30 am.

While there, the Stylish Barista Woman drove up and said she'd be opening in about a half-hour; we said we'd be back, and I privately worried that a bunch of sweaty cyclists might drive off whatever legitimate customers the might have.

We left and did this route. Leaving early was the right thing to do; it was still cool enough that we didn't feel wiped, and I suspect there was less traffic about than there would have been later. The overcast day helped; the few times the sun did come out, it was wickedly hot... but the rest of the time, between the overcast and whatever shade we passed under, the temperature was bearable. (That said, the humidity was awful; if you're one who is beset by humidity miseries, today was a good one to stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning.)

At one intersection or other, I saw the light change suddenly and stopped while the rest went through; there was no traffic, so it was safe for them. When we started again, Chris referred to that intersection as "stoptional", a portmanteau word of "stop" and "optional", for which he wins the prize for Neologism Of The Day. "Stoptional" is one of those words that is next door to perfect.

We got back to the Pig and there was, indeed, a certain amount of sweat...

... but I don't think I needed to worry about driving off the legitimate customers.

So... you comin' on my ride tomorrow? It'll be later, but also short and mostly flat, and the temps tomorrow are supposed to be less worse than today. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

ride for july 21

So The Excellent Wife (TEW) was saying that it would be nice if we could do a shorter, slower ride together every now and then, maybe stopping at some of the places that The Usual Suspects enjoy. I looked at the maps and rejiggered the routes, and came up with a couple of possibles. I'm thinking on last Sundays of the month, I might do a shorter ride as a C+, and see who comes out.

Now, this Sunday is supposed to be just ridiculously hot (although less so than Saturday), so it might be a good day to try one of these shorter routes. We'll do this one, and we'll start at 6 Mile/Blackwells Mills at 8am. There will be a stop at Thomas Sweet in Montgomery, and no judgment will be passed if you decide on ice cream at that early hour; you'll have earned it.

Pre-registrants get names printed on the ride list (I hate the act of handwriting) and an email if I cancel. Hope to see you. Am I stupid or crazy to go out in that heat, or what?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

bastille day

There was nothing particularly revolutionary, or French, about the ride today, but, of course, today is July 14; it's the 230th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, so the event has to be commemorated.

The only thing that we did was storm across the newly-reopened bridges on 518 (yes, there are two of 'em; see yesterday's post), but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I looked early yesterday, and two of my regular friends, Laura OLPH and Ricky "Front Wheel" G,were registered for the ride; I checked a few hours later, and two more, Andrew A and Jack H were registered; this morning, Gary W and John W (not related to the best of my knowledge, despite the similarity of last initials) had signed up; this morning, John K, and Mindy N and Jeff P showed up at the start... good heavens; there were TEN of us! (Andrew complained that I had chosen this route just so he couldn't cut it short but cutting out at the break, but I pointed out that at the time I chose the route, I didn't know he was coming, as I hadn't seen him in some time. I chose the route so Laura couldn't cut it short... but she sort of did anyway.)

We started at Blackwells Mills/Six Mile, headed down to Princeton, went through ETS, chuffed our way up the hill to Mount Rose (courageous cyclists among The Usual Suspects; that hill was right near the edge of some of their capabilities). Thanks to Gary W for taking on sweep responsibilities.

Somewhere along the way, we encountered a group that might have been the East Brunswick Cyclepaths (they were in the distinctive, de rigeur safety-yellow jerseys). I thought I recognized Steve S, and I'd swear I saw Dov K among them.

We stopped at the Boro Bean.

(There's one more, with the WORST picture of Laura ever. I'm not posting that one; my friendship with her is worth more than that.)

John K had an old Lotus, replacing a Lotus he had decades ago, and Laura and he were discussing pictures of that, and bike pictures in general, at the stop.

... which, for me, was just an excuse to take more pictures of the bikes.

That's John's new-old Lotus right in front.

Someday I'll get over my love of bike pics... but not today, and probably not soon.

We went across the newly-reopened bridge at 518. It's not pretty... but it's OPEN.

That's enough.

On the way back, Laura and John W rolled off; the rest of us returned. Ride page here.

When we were at the lot at the end, Ricky showed me pictures of the great improvements at the New Brunswick Bike Exchange. They've made great strides; I'm very impressed.

Bastille Day, right? Off with their heads! Let 'em eat cake! Allons enfants de la patrie...

Oh, never mind.

Saturday, July 13, 2019


If you're looking for information about the ride scheduled for July 14, click here.

All of 'em - Tom H, Laura OLPH, Ricky G - all of 'em were doing something else this morning. The B ride out of Cranbury, normally led by Dave H, was to be led by an unnamed volunteer (I thought for a short time of showing up with a ride sheet and a 40-mile route, but them boys [and girls] generally go faster than I wanna go]). And the news was that the construction on the bridges at 518 near Aunt Molly Rd was complete - so I decided to head out alone on one of my routes that crosses there, and see for myself.

One of the advantages of going out on my own is that I can start when I want to, and I was on the road before 8 am. I made a detour to a local bagelry (there was a committee outside the laundrette next door, some of whom looked a bit shady, so I took the front wheel off the bike to dissuade any of 'em from just jumpin' on the Yellow Maserati and making for some unknown destination). After the purchase, I headed over towards the Blackwells Mills/6 Mile lot, and did the latest version of my route to the Pig.

Yes, the construction at the bridge appears complete; the bridges are passable to any kind of traffic, with the possible exception of Mr Trump's tanks.

(These two bridges are right next to each other - the only thing separating them is a [possibly man-made] island in the creek they pass over. How are they numbered 252.2 and 252.8? Where are 252.3 through 252.7?)

I also noted that the milled sections of Harlingen-Dutchtown near Veteran's Park in Montgomery, and Camp Meeting Road in Skillman, have also been repaved.

Life is good at the Pig; it wasn't busy, and the barista woman let me ask questions about her interestingly-colored hair (apparently, I haven't risked a "Me Too" outing by so doing). I had my usual decaf Americano and the double chocolate cookie, for strength for the ride home.

And back. Go see the ride page. I'm not that fast, so it's pretty clear I had a tailwind pretty much the whole way.

OK. My ride for tomorrow is also planned to go across 518, but in the other direction. I feel better knowing that there will actually be road under my tires.


In other news: my rear shifter setup has been falling out of adjustment for many months. I haven't been able to determine what the problem was, until I had the suspicion that the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur might not be holding its position. But the part is small, and one section of the turn collar looks like the next. I had put some beeswax on the doings, but that didn't seem to make a difference. I finally had the idea of making distinctive marks on the turnbuckle to see if I could see that it had loosened... and, after a ride across some particularly rough road, I could see it had.

I opened up the barrel adjuster, and put in some teflon packing usually sold for plumbing applications (it's usually sold for about 99¢, so it's not worth remembering if I have any at home, and now I have two or three rolls). And that seems to be holding; I haven't had to re-adjust the adjustment in a few dozen miles, where I used to have to do it after every rough stretch of road. The marks on the rear derailleur look a bit dodgy (done freehand with a silver-paint Sharpie), but I'm glad to know what the problem is and to (apparently) have a fix for it. (The "proper" fix is, apparently, to use Loc-tite Purple, but that's not easy to find, and while you can get it for $7.95 for a bottle that holds about ten drops, the $15 shipping charge makes it seem less desirable of an idea.)

Also have a new mirror; I'll post about THAT debacle another time. Maybe.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

ride for july 14 2019

So I hear the construction at 518 has gotten to the point that it's bike-passable. Let's check it out. We'll take this route over, with a stop at the Boro Bean.

The usual Plain Jim, low-B pace; about 40 miles. 8:30 am start.

I'll be grateful if you pre-register, but (of course) you don't have to.

(It will be Bastille Day. I have no doubt there will be references to La Marseillaise and "let 'em eat cake".)

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

not doin' that again.

So this week's ride was basically a re-run of last week's ride, because I wanted to see if there were a better way in or out of the center where the Thomas Sweet is. Six or seven adventurers joined me: Dave S, Lynne W, Bill B, Laura OLPH, Tom H,and Robert N; Dave H found us along the route and rode with us for a while (the second time he's done that. He doesn't get it together for my early starts, so he figures where we're likely to be, and when we're likely to be there, and picks us up as we go. I'm flattered he puts in the effort).

Tom H has a way in that goes through the parking lot of an abandoned building... but the dropoff is steep; Tom fell trying to manage it. He wasn't hurt, but his controls were affected:

Yeah, that shouldn't be twisted to the inside like that. Some of us tried to move it back, but I was afraid the plastic would break before the shifter would move. It really ought to be uncabled, and then loosened and reset.

We made quite a party goin' down the hill.

Yeah, we're not doin' that again.

At Thomas Sweet:

On the way out, I tried a route that kept us off 206, on whihc we had ridden last week. Although the roue on 206 has a wide, safe shoulder, I wanted to see if going on 518 to Merrill and Montgomery Ave worked better. The Sense of the Meeting was that it did not: the shopping center parking lot was more hazardous than the road traffic.

So we're not doin' that again, either.

(But Bob N DID give me a hint about avoiding that long-enough-to-need-a-shave-afterwards traffic light at 206 and Homestead Road, and it looks good on RideWithGPS, so we might try that next time).

Ride page.

I really want to do one of my routes that goes out to Hopewell, though. Any news on when the construction on 518 near Aunt Molly Road will be bike-passable?