Wednesday, February 19, 2020

ride for feb 23

I want to get back on my plan to lead a C+ ride (13.0-14.9mph) on the last Sunday of the month, so if my usual rides have been just that little bit too quick, come on out for this one. I've shaved off the worst of the hills and shortened the route a bit.

Start at 9:30 on Feb 23 at Blackwells Mills/Six Mile lot on Canal Road near Blackwells Mills Road. Route will look something like this. We'll stop at Boro Bean so I can get my loyalty card validated.

Princeton Freewheeler ride, so club rules apply; non-members get one free; then you gotta join.

Hope to see you, especially if you haven't been out on my faster rides, or if I haven't seen you since fall. (And if you pre-register, I pre-print your info on the ride sheet. How much more welcome can I make you?)

Sunday, February 16, 2020

minor offenses

I decided today was the day for what I call my "backwards" route, for no other reason than I always used to ride it in the other direction when I did it alone. But when I did that, the stop in Hopewell came at mile twelve of what was then a 34-mile ride, and that just seemed wrong. By going the other way, the stop comes at about mile 24 of what is now a 38-mile ride, which makes more sense... but doing the ride in this direction still feels wrong to me.

So that's the first transgression. The second is for the careful eye to catch in the picture of the redcoats above: Dave H, Andrew A, Prem R (with his back to you; trust me; that's he), and Peter G hiding behind the folded umbrella. Do you see it?

Well, that titanium bike in the rack visible over Andrew's shoulder is non other than my Yellow Maserati (which is neither yellow, nor a Maserati, but I digress [imagine that!]).  You'll see there is no bottle in the cage, in direct transgression of the ride guidelines posted on the club website (go see number two at the link). I had inadvertently left it in the cupholder in the car. I almost never drink except on the hottest rides, so I didn't notice it until we were down to four riders on the final stretch (more on that later).

Seven came out to the ride start: Andrew A, Tom H, Dave H, Laura OLPH, Bob N, Prem R, and Anouk W, a club member, but new to me (and to most of us on this ride, I think). My pictures did not all come out:

Now, one of my Usual Suspects has suggested that Route 27 might be better than my usual circuitous route through Rocky Hill, then up Herronton for a bit, then the realtor's tour of North Princeton and the trip down Rollingmead/Hamilton/Wiggins, but I like the way I go, so there, and that's the way I led today. As we came down, there was a rider ahead in red (see all the red in those jerseys? It must be the happenin' color this season), and I didn't know if one of my number had gotten ahead.

It turned out none of the riders who'd stated had gotten ahead; it was Peter G come to join us. Now, as we pedaled down Rosedale (which gets traffic-y later), Peter suggested we could get off this busy road. I was up for an adventure, so I let him lead us onto Province Line Road a block before I planned to turn into ETS.

There were signs for a bridge out and local traffic only, which, of course, got Tom H interested, but we hadn't gone very far before we turned onto what I think was a new section of the Lawrence-Hopewell trail, that connected with ETS Drive (it's not even a path yet on the map on the ride page).

I'm 68% sure I'll never be able to find it again. It's my own Platform 9¾.

From there, up to Carter and Bayberry, where I couldn't get a decent picture of the goats today.

And then to the Boro Bean, which was busy. It took a while for a few of us to get seats; as you can see, the redcoats sat outside.

(I the pics above, you can see that Anouk, who was evidently feeling ostracized for not having red on her jacket, decided to  show off the red on her inner jersey. I hope nobody feels that they have to wear red to come on these rides! We're not the East Brunswick Cyclepaths, required by papal fiat to wear a uniform color!)

Laura showed off her new wheels:

Blue on the front (and an excellent blue it is!); green on the back. No, they don't match each other, but they pick up the multicolors on the frame. There is a higher art and symmetry.

Other bike pics:

On the way back, we had the usual attritions: Laura headed straight back from the Bean, Peter G and Bob N decided to do some exploring at Hollow Road, Anouk and Andrew turned off to head home at Griggstown Road. Prem, Dave, Tom, and I coasted back to the start.

It was enough. I hope to see 'em all again soon. I gotta plan a C+ ride to get some of the other folks out, too. We'll see what's up next weekend.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

ride for feb 16

So if we leave at 9:30 and head down to Princeton before heading back up to Hopewell, the traffic on Rosedale Road shouldn't be too bad, right? And we can cut into ETS before Carter Road.

I'm ambivalent about that stretch along Pretty Brook that I've been doing the last few times. Rosedale has one long downhill and uphill, and, if nothing else, it's variety from the up-and-down-and-up-and-down on Pretty Brook.

Anyway, 38-ish miles, leaving Blackwells Mills/Six Mile at 9:30; more or less this route. I'm still avoiding that climb up to Mount Rose (unless youse piss me off; I can always change things mid-pedalstroke). The elevation is the same the way I go, but the climbs are shallower.

We'll stop at Boro Bean (I'll probably get another endorsement on my loyalty card).

Hope to see youse. Did you see that you  can now cancel your registration right from the ride page? No more of that Byzantine process I had to describe on the Freewheeler page (but don't cancel; I'd like to see you!).

Princeton Freewheelers Club ride; rules apply. Non-members get one free; then you're expected to join. ($25/year. Cheap date. We listed over 850 rides last year; where you gonna find a deal like that?)

If you pre-register before I print the ride sheet, you get your info pre-printed! Won't that make you feel special?

(I gotta get a life...)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

the redcoats are coming

(Pic above, and another below, courtesy of Prem R, because the battery in my camera didn't want to get out of bed in this cold.)

It was a dumb decision today to plan a ride to the Pig, that closes at noon on Sundays, and set the start for 10am from Blackwells Mills/Six Mile. It meant I had to start promptly and keep a quicker pace than I like.

One of my pre-registrants, Ralph S, got lost on the way to the start. Normally I would have waited... but I just didn't have the time today. So off we went at about 10:05.

We were nine, all but one of whom had pre-registered: Andrew A, Ricky G, Peter G, Jack H, Dave H, Laura L, Prem R (who came to my rescue for photographic duty)... and Darren K, who isn't a member. I was all set to butter him up about the joys and privileges of PFW membership... but it turns out he lives in Maryland, was here for a family birthday celebration, and found us through a web search fro group rides. So, before departure, I made sure to give the whole safety speech, and tried to act friendly anyway (it's not a behavior that comes naturally to me).

He sure could ride well enough. He mentioned that the tidewater area of Maryland where he lives now is flat; it's sparely-enough populated that they don't even have much in the way of highway overpasses. So when we came to a bit of a hill on Sunset Road, he asked what THAT was supposed to be! And then he gave us all a lesson in the expeditious traverse of an annoying little hill.

Young punk.

We did my usual route down to the Pig at a pretty good clip (I didn't know I had it in me). The offerings were a bit disappointing; they'd been mostly cleaned out by the morning crowd. (Pics from my phone.)

Above, Darren K, after schooling me on how to climb hills.

We went outside after, and who did we see but Ralph S!

He'd passed us in his car on the road, and had followed the route to get to the Pig.

(On a fixed gear. On some hilly roads. Sheesh!)

He joined us for the rest of the ride. We went back up Cold Soil, Carter, and Pretty Brook, and then into Princeton. I'd gotten a suggestion from one of my Usual Suspects that coming up 27 to Kingston might be as good as, or better than my usual real-estate tour of neighborhoods that I use to avoid heavily-trafficked roads, so this time I took the group up Nassau Street through downtown Princeton, and up to Kingston to turn on Laurel to go back to the start.

I asked for feedback, and the sense of the meeting was that we should NOT take the group through downtown Princeton. In future, I'll probably take the back way. I might zag over to 27 at Harrison Street or above, but not below that again.

Oh, and as for the title of this post? Get a load of this:

We musta looked like we were in uniform. (Another pic thanks to Prem R.)

Ride Page.

And thanks to Madhu A, who came out early on to say hi and wish us luck. She had been on yesterday's ride, and saw I was leading today. I hope she can come along again in the future. Do you suppose it's time to start C+ rides at the end of the month again? Maybe I'll plan one for Feb 23, or as soon as possible after.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

steve's ride was just the thing

I wanted to get a group ride in today. I knew if I went out on my own, I'd probably do about 25 miles and be back, which isn't bad, but it isn't really enough. Neither Laura OLPH nor Tom H listed a ride for today. In fact, the only rides listed were the one for the B+ fastboys (oh, heck, no!), Prem's B ride (averaging 16+mph -- maybe in June or July, but not in February; my legs haven't gotten into summer shape yet)... and a C+ ride posted by Steve S.

Now, I normally ride at B pace, and it felt like a concession to drop  level. But, truth to tell, most of the rides I lead come in at a high C+ pace anyway. And I was specifically avoiding a B ride that I felt like was going to be too fast.

So who am I trying to kid?

So i showed up early for Steve's ride, and who was there but Chris C, also normally a B rider. Well, that made me feel better.

There was also Madhu A, who came along on my ride last weekend, Barry Y, and a couple of riders I didn't know, Pete and Bill.

Steve had posted his route, so I knew that the ride would go along some roads that we usually avoid due to traffic... but they were fine today. What was memorable, though, was the headwind. Laura OLPH says that riding into a headwind is good training for riding into headwinds (implying it's not much good for anything else), and we got a bit of that training today. A couple of riders turned back early after deciding that this was a bit more than they could handle.

The rest of us went on. We went along Sloan Ave, close enough to the Grounds for Sculpture to see these guys:

There's stuff I love about NJ.

On to the stop at the Whole Earth Market. I know this as a health-food grocery, but they had food enough to make a stop. A couple of us had real food, but I engaged in my usual empty calories. Coffee wasn't obviously available, but there were some perfectly good Espresso Chocolate Chip cookies that gave me sustenance to get home on.

And back. We went through the Sarnoff compound, and then straight up through Plainsboro back to the Cranbury Village Park start. I made a pilgrimage stop at the repair station.

It's good enough that you can actually do useful work there!

Ride page.

I'm leadin' tomorrow. It'll probably be about the same pace, although a smidge longer. Y'wanna com out?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

ride for feb 9 2020

Time to do another ride to the Pig. The way there will look mostly like this route, but the way back won't; I had a credible complaint about Hamilton Ave in Princeton, so we'll try something else. 45-50 miles.

Start at 10am at the Blackwells Mills/Six  Mile Run lot (local address is 625 Canal Road in Franklin, but the map shows better at about 643 Canal Road). There's an iffy prediction of rain that will (I hope) have passed by then.

Usual low-B pace, I expect. I get a range of different abilities coming along these days, so we let the quick ones go off the front, and we wait for the ones in the back, OK?

Princeton Freewheelers club ride; non-members get one free. Link to listing on PFW web page.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

as advertised

Back about three weeks ago, I wrote about a ride on which I had adjusted and shortened the route because of the weather prediction; I didn't want my charges out in the rain. Well, today the predictions were less ominous, so I decided to do the route I had planned for that ride.

The weather did cooperate, and seven decided to come out, many of whom had pre-registered. We had Peter G, Tom H, Laura OLPH, Dave H, Prem R, Marco B (who brought a single-speed -- well, I was impressed and a bit shamed!), and a woman, new to me, Madhu A. Madhu had contacted me asking if I thought she could manage this ride, since I keep it low in the B range. I pointed her to some of our recent ride pages, to see the averages and climbs, and apparently she thought she'd be able to keep up. I was sure that if she started to fall back, some of The Usual Suspects, my regulars, would watch out for her.

We needn't have worried. She did fine; at some points she was out ahead, a-prancin' and a-dancin' like my noble Stewball.

We did one of my usual routes that goes end-to-end on East Mountain Avenue. As usual, I was about last.

We stopped at the Thomas Sweet in Montgomery... but Dave H decided that the pizzeria next door was a better offer for him.

The rest of us went for empty calories and caffeine, or the road food we'd brought.

At the Thomas Sweet, at the next table was this knitting and crocheting club. I think having club meetings at the Thomas Sweet is a great idea. I may go back to knitting! (I made that multi-colored neck gaiter some of youse have seen on these rides.)

Prem's winter bike:

Below, Marco's single-speed. You'd never know it from the way he takes the hills. He said there weren't any serious hills on this ride, but between Homestead Road, the hill on East Mountain, and the annoyance on Opossum, I know of riders who would happily take exception.

Ride page. I'm always surprised when I get such a group on a cold day. Maybe youse oughta come out!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

we four

Laura OLPH's ride was gonna start from the Pig today, but there wasdrizzle when I got there about half an hour before the ride was to start. Her return text indicated the ride was still on, so I went inside, delighted to find that Stylish Barista Woman was working.

I figured we'd probably stop for coffee afterwards, and was glad to see a large collection of empty calories for our enjoyment.

I got my Americano and went out to get set up.

As I did, Bob N drove up, and then Peter G rolled in. At about 9:30, as expected, Laura rode in... but, unexpectedly, she was alone. So there were just the four of us on this ride.

We did the widdershins Sergeantville route that I liked so much better than the usual route the last time we did it. Even though the day was grey, this time I stopped on Yard Road to get some of the pictures I didn't get last time. Yard Road is one lane (maybe one-and-a-half) through farms; it's hard to believe we're in the most densely-populated state in the Union.

(I call that "Adirondack Sag".)

It just wasn't a day for getting pictures of riders.

We stopped at the Sergeantsville store. Bob N decided that he would get a plate of the dumplings that are one of the house specialties. I had a couple. They're better than I would have thought. Some might not choose 'em for ride food, but on this cold, drizzly day, they weren't a bad choice.

We didn't see a lot of other bikers out; I remember three passing near the Sergeantsville store as we were mounting up to leave, and asking them what kind of crazies would got out on a bike on a day like this.

Then back to the Pig, to see this:

Oh, well. I had other stuff to do today, anyway.

Ride page.