Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fairhaven Homecoming and Beach

Sue and I went to the Homecoming Fair, one of the many events in the small village of Fairhaven, Ma. I'm not a big fan of the fair, it's ok, but not something I go out of my way to attend. Sue loves the crafts, because they are really classy items. (Not the usual flee market stuff). The food is generally lousy and it is very congested which can get annoying.

Eating on the Town Hall lawn

High School Choral show


An hour or so was more than enough time to browse the stands, meet a few old friends and have a quick snack. We decided to head to the ocean. The beach around here has a few connotations. We need to specify. West Island (the bay) East Beach (the harbor), West Beach (the cove) or Horseneck (the ocean).

There is a huge difference and we decided on Horseneck. It's at least a couple of miles long, and the surf can be heavy enough for some decent surfing. Sand dunes separate the water from the roads and parking lots and the beach go'ers have over the years developed a kind of segregation. We plant ourselves in the general population. As you walk toward Westport point, you pass the high school/college "sport" section. Lots of volleyball and soccer. Next is the gay area, followed by the "New York" section. (Out of state summer residents pay a hefty annual fee that is in excess of $1000. Seasonal pass for the general population area is $30. The last large section is the Westport residents area. Here a free town pass is required to use the parking lots. If your walking on charge.

The law in the State of Massachusetts states that all waterfront is public below the high tide mark. With that in mind, everyone mingles. The people who pay $1000 have to share the beach with those who pay $30 along with those who do not have to pay. But the thousand dollar section has a waiting list.

Living on the beach.

Biking the beach

Walking the beach

We stopped at the LBS Village Cycle, looking for a helmet. I am trying to find one that doesn't make the rider look like and ant, with that pointed back part. I have a 20 year old Schwinn helmet that I like because it's round. I can't find anything even remotely like it. Any how, the LBS is doing it's weekly Sunday morning ride and the owner promised something different. It's a secret but it did peak my interest.

I have been considering trying to ride with this group for a couple of years. Now that I know there are four distinct speed groups, I will definitely give it a go. Sue is going to pass on this to go to the Animal Rescue League to clean kennels and play with the dogs. Everyone has their calling.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Riding Your Bike Across Country.

In 2005 I found a website that featured people having fantastic adventures on their bikes. Riding around and across the US and a plethora of other places. By leaving comments I got friendly with a couple of them. One was Mike, who live in NYC. He took a bus from New York to Virginia, got on his bike and road to Oregon. He took along a small laptop and blogged the whole trip on Crazy guy on a bike.

Last week Mike and two friends Jamie and Chuck, left Maine to ride the Northern Tier to Seattle. They are posting in crazy guy using Team Northern Tier as a title page. Jamie is also making videos as they travel posting them at Team Northern Tier Videos Poor Jamie had to return to New York with knee problems. He is getting treatment and plans to return to the trip withing a couple of weeks. Mike's first journal was really interesting and lots of fun to read. This one is proving to be a match.

Another really fantastic journal is a couple riding their bicycle from Beijing to Paris. If the thought of safety crosses your mind, here is a quote from Heather.
To the various dear kind people who have expressed concerns for my safety on this trip... may I tell you that the most dangerous thing I do every day, is to carry my bags up and down hotel and guest house stairs which have one step which is radically different in height to all the others.

Friendly people, good food. This one is such a unique and interesting journal that I cannont recommmend it strong enough. Give it a try.

Finally, a father and teen son riding cross country on a tandem. They are also very early in thier tour but so far it is proving to be a fun journey to ride along.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Snow Leopards

Trying to get a photo of the other commuters is proving very difficult. They are like the elusive snow leopards. You very seldom see one, and when it happens, a glance is it.

My main problem is "highway hypnosis". The commute in the morning is so quiet and routine that I very often don't remember much of the ride. There are six or eight other regualar bike riders at 6:30ish in the city. A city of 90+ thousand by the way. Eight biker riders, whatevahhh!

This morning for example, I was cruising along the main thoroughfare and "BAM" out of nowhere, a rider passed me going the other way. A little later, I did my regular stop at the local newspaper stand and just happened to see the commuter I have been trying to photograph for close to a year. I caught a quick glimpse just as he turned a corner through a parking lot, and rode behind a building. Later as I was about to exit the asylum, I saw a bike pass the main gate heading to the right. My route is left, but I wasn't letting this leopard get away. I chased for a little bit and got close enough for a photo.

There is a regular commuter at work, but he doesn't talk that much. Yea, no, hey, is about all I can get out of him. He is an upper level manager too, so I don't know what that is all about. Maybe he feels uncomfortable around union people. Who knows? He is ok though, 35-38 years old.

It's predicted to be very humid for the next few days. Temps around 90 and most likely hazy. The three "hay-chiz". Hazy, hot and humid.

There are a couple of after work rides to look into. One near the office and one near home. I think they are both on Thursday nights which forces a choice. Both would have been nice.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

West Island

Sue and I planned on a long ride. We tossed around a few places like Newport, R.I., Tiverton/Litle Compton R.I., Dartmouth and Westport Ma. By the time we got all the things done around the house, a shorter local ride fit the bill.

West Island is located at the southern most tip of Sconticut Neck Road in Fairhaven, MA.

"The Neck" road is roughly six miles and ends at Wilbur's Point, a peninsula where the houses have to be built on stilts with break away walls if they are built at ground level. This allow the ocean to pass under and through the stilted foundation when the flooding to exceptional high tides arrive.

On the loop back from the Point o Causway Rd. to West Island. The newly paved road traverses the small beach area and the island off the island. There is some speculation that a very high profile movie star put an offer on the island. Just speculation, but there are however, quite a number of famous families in the area because of the seclusion and small town atmosphere. The helicopters are the give away to where they are living.

Causeway Rd.

Town Beach

The island off the island

West Island has a variety of homes, both seasonal and year round. Small ones, and oversized gawd awful ones.

Small year round cottage

Small seasonal cottage

Gawd awful oversized abomination

The town beach is right at the end of West Island. There is an old WWII navy convoy tower still on the beach. This is a five or six story concrete monolith looking thing that was used to spot and organize convoys. As far as the local teens know, it the big cement thing on the beach.

Lots of bikes on the roads, and paths. Tomorrow however, the commuters will again be the lone biker on them.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bike Newport

Ten Speed Spoke bike shop in Newport R.I. put on thier annual "longest day of the year" ride. Around 80 bikers showed for the event, most were hammerheads. A police escort was hired for safety, and they provided a motorcycle cop in front, and a patrol car took up the rear.
Photo slideshow here

The starting gun sounded at 6PM and we were off. Little did I realize that we were suppose to keep up with the bullet. When the owner was announcing the rules and he said, "no one should pass the motorcycle", that should have been a clue.

I did manage to hammer my way into a paceline, looked at my computer and was stunned to see we were clipping along at 22mph. I planned to move up, find my buddy Steve and talk him into dropping back and doing a ride more to our liking, 12-15 mph.

I dropped out of the paceline a couple of times on turns, and was amazed how fast the space opens up. The rear police car continually sounded it's sirene and I imagine the lead motorcycle was doing the same. A quick rear glance showed 10 or so riders behind me. I lost the paceline again and this time there was no catching up. I'm thinking Steve was having a grand ole time being pulled along by all the hammerheads, and for the life of me, couldn't figure how he and some of the others were keeping up.

The police car seemed like it was trying to pass me. When I looked back, I was alone, the last rider. All the others had already dropped out. Enough of this I thought, and pulled over. The nice police lady stopped and asked if I was ok. I told her I was fine and she waved and continued on with full wail.

Once I dropped out of the "race" things got much better. I was able to take lots of pictures, stop at some interesting places and talk to some nice people. I spotted quite a few of the riders making thier own routes, as was I. There are some grand homes on Ocean Ave. aka Ten Mile Drive.

Bellveue Ave brought me by the really big mansions like the Breakers. Here is where while taking photos I drifted to the curb, caught my front wheel and over I went. No damage to anything or anyone. And, there was not a person in sight, which also salvaged my esteem.

Memorial Blvd to First Beach was next. Surf, volleyball and a really hotspot nightclub.

2nd Beach was the extent of my geographical knowledge of this section of the island. To contine was on a wing and a chant. Purgatory Chasm, Sachuset Preserve, a Puritan church and cemetary, St. George School and a couple of Navy riders. The extended ride into the unknow was well worth the chance.

Second Beach

Navy gal

Puritan Church

Navy guy

St George School

The sun began to set, there was pizza waiting, so it was time to leave. Throught the city streets back to 10 Speed Spoke bike shop to chow down, meet people and tell war stories. I met Steve and found out that he dropped out of the ride in the first mile. No wonder I couln't catch him. His friend Bill was still not back by 9PM, and I found out that he was on a search for a woman rider, lost with only her cell phone.

One hammerhead crash, resulting in a toasted wheel, a dented SUV and some scrapes. One near miss where a tandem couple who were so close to clamaty when a big tractor trailor rig, was actually touching the flapping shirt sleeve of one of them. Spooky story that was. Everything got worked out nicely though, which made for storytelling with smiles.

Darkness settled and I had a little more than a mile ride back to my car. The night riding on the quiet city street route was very nice ending to the evening.

Longest Day of the Year Photo Slideshow

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstace

The longest day of the year ride in Newport R.I. is tonight after work. The two of us in my office will be cutting out early for the hours drive to Aquedneck Island and the 45 mile evening ride. Steve and I drove to NYC for the Five Boroughs ride in May. He is inviting a friend and the three of us will join a pretty large group for this annual event.

My youngest son lived in Newport for a couple of years and I learned of some convenient, "free" parking areas. I will be riding a little over a mile to the bike shop and have more beer money. I'll park right on First Beach by the way, and very close to Cliff Walk Todd was so close that he would walk to the beach with his surfboard. He lived in a mini-mansion and his rent was unbelievably cheap. The owner was an older very well off woman who rented two sections of the home mostly for security. Todd also swears he saw the ghost of the old captain a couple of time. *>( I wonder if he ever saw ailens?

Anyhow, Steve and I opted for the 25 mile loop, mostly to get back to the shop while the pizza was hot. Although I fear that some of the "hammerhead" doing the 46 mile loop may still get there ahead of us.

Newport is quite a town and the after ride festivities may add a lot of character to the ride.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

US/Panama Soccer

Saturday the Gold Cup quaterfinal was played in Foxboro. The Midnight Riders and Sams Army were represent'n in fine form.

Friday, June 15, 2007


The wind made the bike commute a chore yesterday. The temperature remained in the high 50's for the day, which is pretty good bike riding weather. Tomorrow is football Saturday, a tripple headder at Foxboro. The games have been set and the full gang should be there. The tailgate starts at 10:30 am.
Fathers day wifey wants to walk Horseneck Beach in Westport. I may use this in place of the club Sunday morning ride. It's a very easy nineteen mile cruise mixing coastline and country roads. Here is the google map. I'll ride out and meet her there. Then we can do the "death march", together. She loves to walk the length of the beach, (around two miles each way). Walking the beach is practice for personal adds. (SWAM, NS, ND, loves long walks on the beach.)

The second Tuesday of every month is AHA night in New Bedford, Ma. Last's night main entertainment was done on the grounds of the Whaling Museum in the National Park

Santa Mamba, a very exciting Latin band from Providence R.I. were featured. It took a little coaxing from the lead singer, but the crowd warmed up and the band got into "the zone". They really raised the roof last night.

Here is the slideshow. Unfortunately, I tried resetting the camera when dusk settled in and lost about half of the photos. So the dancing in the street shots were all lost. Too bad because some of those Latino women were very pretty. (me gusta la bumpas del latras).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Seven Words You Can't Say

I was twenty minutes into the drive to the game last night when I realized I didn't bring my camera. That's when I recited George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV". (Before cable of course).

The tailgate was quiet because only about half of the usual Midnight Riders showed. There was lots of good natured bantering between the El Salvador fans and us for a short while. It was soon evident that the US was going to win big. The game ended a 4-0, but three or four missed "sitters", by Demarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, and Taylor Twellman, kept the scoring down.

The fans from Guatemala were with us since they were competing with El Salvadore for second place. They gave our group an ovation after the match. Some of the younger members of Sams Army took offense and had to be reminded that that was the Guatemalans not El Salvador fans cheering. They then changed the one finger salute to a friendly wave towards the blue and white.

We will all be back on Saturday for a three game extravaganza.

Man do I love soccer.