Thursday, February 27, 2020

no plain jim ride for march 1

I'm not listing a ride for March 1... but Laura OLPH might list a D&R Canal Towpath ride. Keep an eye on the ride calendar.

If she lists, it will likely be a "no registrants, no ride" listing, so don't wait until the last minute to make up your mind.

I'll plan to list another ride when the temperature is less gelid. Hope to see youse then.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

big crowd

Well, despite my tribulations yesterday, I still had the Krakow Monster to take on today's ride. I had advertised this as a C+ ride, slower than my usual pace, and I set a route a bit shorter and without the worst of the hills.

Good heavens, I had eight signed up by the time I went to bed Saturday night; and three more came in unannounced, making twelve, including me.

Not bad for a ride in February, when it's too cold for many Freewheelers to even think about getting on the bike.

Two of the registrants were club president Ira S and vice president Andy C. I'm going through some difficulty at work, and my first thought was that this was to be an audit of my leadership skills.

Yes, there IS no bottom to my paranoia.

But it appears that some of the folks thought a slower ride sounded like a good idea; others were some of my Usual Suspects.

Don't worry, Jerry, nobody will ever recognize you.

I had GPS wonkiness a couple of times; once at the start, and once about four or five miles in. At that point, Robert noticed that his tire was low and pumped it up a bit.

We hadn't gone much further when it was flat again, and we had the usual Princeton Freewheeler committee to assist with the change.

WE proceeded to the Boro Bean without further mishap.

Even though I've decided not to get a pretty bike, I did cast the eye of lust on Andy's Tommasini:

... but I'd never want to ride it, and I'd never put the required Campagnolo components on, either.

Other bikes:

With the range of riders we had, we split into fast and slow groups, but I'd advertised a C+ ride, and kept to that pace. There were a couple of places where I announced sprints, and a couple of places where people got ahead and missed turns. We waited... this time.

On the way back, I had the usual defections: people who had ridden in and were heading straight home, people who had other commitments. And several of the riders zipped through the last few miles at the end back to the cars... but I'm just glad folks came out.

Ride page here, after I fixed the GPS wonkiness. I added a bunch o' miles; the ride itself was just under 36.

You might have been able to do this one (the average is artificially high because of my solo ride; most of us averaged in the mid-13's). I hope to see you as the weather warms.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


Yeah, with all due respect, I call B.S. on your claim, Gevenalle.

Gevenalle markets their derailleurs as extra-tough, built for the cyclocross market, where a regular road derailleur can't stand up to the mud, strain, and other conditions that are so demanding of cyclocross racing.

Their branding is that these are "B.U.R.D", Blatantly Upgraded and Rebranded Derailleurs. The mounting bolt on mine broke after 7500 miles and less than three years of road riding. And folks who have ridden with me will verify that I don't have such a strong pedal stroke that I should break through a derailleur bolt.*

I planned to go on Laura OLPH's ride today from the Pig...

... when, about ten or twelve miles in, I felt the pedals get stiff, apparently because a shift on the rear hadn't completed correctly. Then, the shifting felt generally wonky, and I resolved to adjust the cable when we got to a stop.

But fourteen miles into the ride, on Wertsville Road, the derailleur bolt gave out. The derailleur came loose and rode up the chain, and the pedals were limp against the wheel.

In the last couple of pictures, you can see the rear derailleur hanging off the chain.

There was no way I could continue or ride back. I tried to get a Lyft, but there were no vehicles. Peter G called up an Uber... but when the driver came, he refused to sully his pristine trunk with my greasy bike.

I called The Excellent Wife (TEW), and she picked me up.

Before she did, I was able to remove the bit of bolt from the derailleur hanger on the frame.

Above, you can see the broken off piece of bolt to the right. It's supposed to be connected to the bright bit just below the jockey wheel on the derailleur.

I've got another derailleur in the garage that should fit (of course I do), and even if it doesn't, I've got the other bike, the Krakow Monster, to do tomorrow's ride.

Hi ho, hi ho, a-wrenching will I go...

* That said, I still like the Gevenalle shifters better than any other I've tried. I'm lucky they'll work with other brands of derailleurs.

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.