Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Weekend

That was the double header at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. The crowd was down for the international because Ireland, (who is normally a huge draw in Boston), came with the squad of youngsters trying for a spot on the A team. Very few of the regular Revs fans made an effort to see much of that game. We were all content to spend a little extra time in the lot, prepping for the Revs.

Kansas City has a very good record in New England. Not losing since Sept. of 99. After the Revs struck early twice, KC came roaring back to keep the streak going. A 4-3 victory for the Wizards. The "Fort", which is where "The" Midnight Riders reside, was spot on and loud for this one. Probably from the extra time tailgating. The exception of course was a free kick taken by our deteriorating Bermuda striker, Khano Smith The shot was hard, but it was so far off target it drew reactions like this

"On the bright side, at least it stayed in the stadium, and no unsuspecting fan was injured."

"It was unbelievable. The crowd hardly re-acted for a few seconds because we didnt believe it was an actual free kick. I was thinking maybe there was an extra ball on the field and he was just getting rid of that one. Nope. He is just an awful player."

"After that horrendous kick, he and Ralston lined up for a free kick about the 18 yard line. No doubt Ralston was going to take it (eventually off the post) but I wanted some kind of warning if Smith was going to take it because I wanted time to move my car from the West lot in case it got hit by the ball."

Many of the fans take a loss by the team personal. It must be a younger persons thing. Going to the games and getting to know the hometown players and those around the league is fun and interesting. But getting too happy with a win or upset with a loss, just doesn't happen for me any more.

Sue and I spent some time with the dogs at the pound. She is a volunteer there, which by default makes me a volunteer. When the kennels were finally cleaned, the dogs were properly played with and picked up after, and they were given their treats of peanut butter on a graham cracker, we decided on an afternoon bike ride to the city. It was her initiation into urban riding. Traffic was lighter than usual because it was Sunday, but heavier than Sundays because of the holiday.

Taking the lead involved talking her into taking control of the lanes when it was necessary. Also portaging the bikes at the bridge, crossing a busy highway at the "quick" traffic light. Backtrack on a couple of one way streets and a few other common and uncommon techniques. I heard lots of complaining behind me. Things like, "I'll never ride with you again.' 'This is crazy and not safe". After a little explaining and a gentle reminder that I do this every day, she came around. All that is needed is some experience riding in traffic to show how easy it really is. No more getting off the bike at every left turn for her. Signal and take the lane. That's our motto.
Both days are on the video. There is some uncommon music thanks to limewire and bit torrent.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Zoom Lens

"Bon dia senior, come esta?

"Sta bon, esta?"

I stopped and chatted with a gentleman last year, originally thinking he may be French. "Portuguese", he said. Now, we great each other many a morn. He out for his constitutional, me on my commute to work. It was too early to see the other regular commuter. The camera is ready when the next opportunity arises.

The halfway point "pit stop" is closed for renovations. It is the winter "warming house" and "summer cooling house". There, I always say hello to Arthur, who said the place will be closed for at least a month.

The renovations was cause enough to try a different route. The city hall in Taunton Ma is a grand building, in disrepair, but grand. The detour allowed a new perspective. The following are the back side and alley way of the city buildings.

The weather is cooperating and providing a great incentive for getting up an hour early to commute.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


The day after racquetball is not a biking day. The legs are very, very sore, from heel to quads. A friend needed a ride which put me on the road between the bike and car commute usual times. This is where I saw the "new guy" on a bike. He was obviously comfortable riding, wearing a shoulder bag and riding a faux mountain bike.

What struck me was his lack of awareness of his surrounding. His comfort was not from commuting. The best guess is a bmx rider in his younger days. On the commute, there is one section, between a quarter and half mile that if there is going to be an incident, it would be here. The three foot fog line fades to the edge of the road. Here the vehicles cruise at around 40-45MPH. It's the most likely place a biker would get squeezed. This 20 something commuter was without a helmet, which is neither here nor there. It was the headphones.

As stated, he seemed not to have a care in the world, but also he was really enjoying whatever he was listening to. Sitting back in the saddle, one hand on the handlebar, and was weaving just so slightly, to the music, and was oblivious to his impending predicament.

The no helmet and the headphones are his choices and if he is willing to do that fine. However, there are times when it is very very foolish, and riding adjustments need to be made. Then again, maybe he did realize the spot he now found himself and adjusted to his new surrounding. Lets hope so.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Three Days of Rain

The whole weekend was a washout for riding. This morning's commute was routine. Thanks to Vice President Gore, the internet is available to everyone, and there are good bike videos to watch.

The following was first noticed on Planetary Gears, a bike shop in Minnesota. It's a two part (youtube, limits videos to 10 minutes), video of bike tourning in 1955 Great Brittain.

Cyclist Special

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's Tempting to Sleep In

When the alarm goes off at 5AM, it's very tempting to roll over and sleep in for an extra hour. All it takes, usually, to overcome that is to sit up. The morning routine can be done by rote.

Rising early enough to lollygag a little really makes the early morning more bearable. One of the highlights is opening the front door to retrieve the newpaper. The serinade of the birds and critters is astounding, not so much that they are there, but by how loud and frenzied they are.

In Taunton, Ma the early morning commuters on bikes is can be counted on three fingers. Trying to catch a photo (candid) can be daunting. One rider never looks or acknowledges anyone. This mornings attempt at a photo just missed.

A second commuter was spotted at the half way point.

Others have been seen, but they get on the road later in the morning. The vocational school and middle school have a few, and there are a couple of retired gents on bikes.

Happy bike to work month to all. Charging $3.09 for unleaded regular today.

Todays video entry.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

No Gas

The club ride in the East Bay Bike Path was iffy. Staying local seemed the more prudent. With the camera of course. The first photos that struck were a couple of young riders doing tricks on the Phoenix trail in Farirhaven. After agreeing to being photographed, one went right into character, happly doing track stands and wheelies. His friend was a little uneasy so I cut it short. It would have been pretty neat to get more photos because both were pretty good tricksters. They need to get themselvs on "fixies", and have lots more fun LIKE THIS. Or THIS

They set the tone for the ride, and I began focusing on human powered transportation. Ironically, gas powered, were all stopped. In traffic jams no less.

The bridge crossing often offers photos that are unique to the are. Huge freighters in port, the fishing fleet, that is incomplete without and icehouse. And of course, traffic.

I found myself in the south end of New Bedford, Ma, in the Portuguese district at lunchtime. Fresh baked bread called, and I answered.

I expected to see lots of bikes, when I got to the Fort Taber/Clarks Point
section of the city. The youth baseball field was always a haven for bikes, now this

Not a bike in sight. But plenty of overweight kids.

The wind contributed to the lack of bikes and peds, for sure. The flags are flying on the southern tip of Clarks Point in New Bedford. On a clear day, Martha's Vinyard is visible from this spot.

Here is the production.

Friday, May 11, 2007

We're Even

I have read often about riders having confrontations with motor vehicles. Yesterday was the first time I was sure someone tried to force me off the road purposely. He was upset that I was in the middle of a lane at a stop light, to allow right turning cars to go behind me. Seems like I was too slow crossing the intersecion when the light changed.

The huge pickup pulled into a McDonalds (go figure) and I rode up. It's true what they say about size issues and big trucks. This mousey little guy driving was so apogetic, and pathetic, denying everything. "Oh sorry, I didn't see you. But you were weaving all over the palce". (Nice observation for someone he didn't see). Looking like a cop on a bike, does have it's privledges.

The truck was very big, with double rear wheels. The color was very unusual as was the plate number. In other words, it cannot be mistaken for another vehicle. I was angry for a long time, fantasizing on what I would do if I saw it again.

There are times when wishes come true.

I'm not angry any more. *>)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Five Boroughs of New York 2007

We were near the back of the pack. I was always told, "don't get caught in the family section". Last year I started out there, took the advice and rode hard for 10 miles to move ahead in the pack. Being with friends I/we didn't do that. There is a reason.

The problem with the family section is that many are not fit riders. Hills make them dismount and walk. There are other reasons too. Like this
When a few dismount and walk, the multitude behind them have to do the same. We finished the ride just ahead of the SAG.

Steve kept drifting in and out of our ride. Going ahead, falling behind, falling down. One of the things about riding with people is that usually everyone goes at their own pace, and we meet up along the way. If you know how to use a cell phone, they come in very handy.

We did lots of standing, lots of walking and lots and lots of riding.

Crys had been teased about Canadian pizza and was told that it can't hold a candle to pizza in America. "Lets try a Brooklyn style pizza", I suggested. We asked the cops on detail if there was one, they directed us to Russ Pizza.

Steve kept telling Crys the proper way was to fold it. We both suggested that doing that would probably move the toppings from the pie to your hand or to the ground. There was lots of stuff. And I can confirm that pizza in Brooklyn is much better than the Brooklyn style the chain advertises.

The ride took us over bridges

Over Highways

And we made the critical mass riders green with envy.

It's all set to music below. Enjoy.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Made in Manhattan

Steve and I met Margie, our Canadian riding partner at the Staten Island Hotel. After a quick check in, we were on the 44 bus to the Mahattan ferry. We met our friend and guide for the day "Ticktack", in Battery Park. All of us were hungry and decided on a $14 burger at Fraunces Tavern on Broad St. in Manhattan. Mike who likes to ride his bike across the country, had to back out to finish his thesis. Those of us who decided to imbibe, celebrated cinco de mayo in fine fashion with some fruity French wine.

I mentioned that I would love to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge if it was close enough. It was, we did. That is a very sweet experience. A lane for walking and a lane for biking and no one violated the others space, so the flow stays smooth. It's also nice to look down on the cars.
"Most were bursting with rage. The road is packed with bat black cars, one person in each, going nowhere. Doubled up wherer there's only one lane, honking, fuming, stagnating and stupid". samuelkb
Also there were probably five times more people on the walkway as cars on the roads, but the road was were all the problems were. Nice.

We were closer to the starting line than I was last year, but we did not push to move ahead. I had previously been warned not to get stuck in the "family" secion as it is called, near the back of the pack.
Here is my gift to anyone who asks. "Don't get stuck in the family secion. Work hard to pass as many people as possible during the first 6 or 8 miles. Your ride will be much better.

By being stuck in the back section, we walked most of Central Park. We walked the 59th St. bridge and any little hill that happened our way. Last year I finished the ride around 1PM and got back to my car around 3. Home by 7:30. This year, because of our positioning. We finished the ride around 3. Walked out of the festival around 4:15 and got back to the car around five.

If I go back next year, I will be staying in Brooklyn. Meet the ride in Central Park after riding over the bridge, and leave the ride back in Brooklyn.

Crys heard that pizza in Toronto is not as good as in America. How about a Brooklyn style pizza? There were NYC police on every street for traffic contol in Brooklyn. We stopped and asked, and were sent to Russ Pizza, on Manhattan Ave in Brooklyn. It was the best I ever had by a long shot.

We hung around Manhattan on Saturday and did some sightseeing.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I Hate When That Happens

I went to my LBS today to get a pair of velcro pant leg straps, at lunchtime. They did not have any and instead of leaving I stayed to browse the store. I had a pair of $30 riding glasses in my hand, and decided to put them back on the shelf.

Just as I was about to leave I noticed bike carriers. Tomorrow, Steve and I will be driving to NYC with two bikes on my double carrier and one bike inside the car. It'a a Pontiac Vibe, which has good interior versatility. Now I spot this nice three bike carrier for $99.95 and my wheels start turning.
{{{{It sure would be nice to have the whole interior of the car available. I could bring a cooler with food and liquids. Three people would fit comfortably on Sunday.}}}}

Then the calculator in my head begins to operate.
If I go to Dick's Sporting Goods, it would be a lot cheaper.
But the LBS has been good to me.
But I need it before 4PM.
It's either this one, or none.

I bought it. $104 with tax. But I did save thirty two dollars by not buying the glasses and velcro for my pants. Which is about the price for the rack at Dick's. So I got a good deal right?

Speaking of Dick's. They just opened the new Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver. The home of the Rapids. My goodness, there are so many possibilities for abusing that name.

Lucky Me

I have seen lots of blogs with posts like this from The Reflector Collector in Roseville MN.
"The other day I took flack from the security guards that management doesn't want bikes in the building any more. Okay, I can deal with that. At least they had moved the bike rack (though small and not securely mounted to anything) to near the front door. Perhaps there might be enough traffic to discourage theft? This morning I arrived to find no bike rack?" The full story

When my office opened 15 years ago, it had a full sized track inside and ample shower facilities to accomodate those who wanted to excercise. The track has been swallowed by increased office space, but the unused warehouse and mail room are empty and available.

A group of workers turned part of the warehouse into a basketball court. The only other biker in the office of 800, stored his bike in the mailroom, which leaves the warehouse for me. He and I are the only two shower'ers in the mornings, but he arrives thirty to forty minutes after me. So, I get the warehouse and the hot water.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hey Boo Boo!

We're going to have a pick in-ick in New York. All systems are go from Cape Cod. The advanced team of Eglwng, hubby, and sons are scouting the area for good bars and places to buy salsa. (Everyone knows the best salsa is from New York).

Crys is all packed and standing at here doorway waiting for the dismissal bell to ring. I'm trying to figure out how to fit all those bikes in and on my car. We are all checking the weather reports every 30 minutes, and my spandex shorts are tide clean and woolite fresh.

I did two hard days of training, one for fitness and the other to work on my camera skills while riding.
All I need to do now is get a haircut and cut the grass. (oh and buy a pack of zig zag's).


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Runny Nose and Popcicle Toes

Yesterday's training ride just may be the impetus to get me into riding for fitness again. Commuting is fun, but these faster rides kind of get to you.
Noah, a blogger in Kansas City, is going to find this to be true very shortly. Maybe it's the nicer weather and more daylight. Whatever, biking just feels better the last few days.

I did the same 21 miles but today I took my camera along. A couple of things that seemed so unique yesterday, like the golfers and horse farm, today felt mundane. I think the cold got to me. My nose was running the whole ride and my toes felt like popcicles.

The cranberry bogs are planted and fertilized. The different color flags? Someone knows why, but not me.

New houses are being built that are the size of small hotels. Most have a family of three or four. I passed by one that had a camper that is bigger than many trailers I have seen a family of four live in. The VW is a nice touch. Kind of reminds me of the extra large pizza with four toppings a side of fries and a diet coke.

I also saw a few guys cutting lawns. Every one was on a riding mower. This blogger can sure use some help with the connection of riding mowers and guys with size 40 pants.

Here are the photos, that were all taken in Rochester, MA.

Fitness Ride

Last night I decided to resurrect the "fitness ride". Twenty plus miles, head down, high cadence. The first few miles I kept drifting into anerobic riding. I was pushing too hard and had to keep reminding myself to stay aerobic. I had to keep downshifting and increasing the cadence. I was telling myself "this is why I stopped doing fitness rides". I hate them.

As the "second wind" began to form, I started to recall that I used to love this ride. I didn't do it much last year because of all the commuting. On this route, the first few miles are up a slight grade. It's difficult to get a good rythmn or cadence. The grade changes from road to road, but it's always up.

Reaching the apex of this part of the ride, I began to feel better. I started to get into a good aerobic cadence just as the downhill began. The head wind held the speed to around 30, but it was still refreshing. I intended to stop across the the ice cream stand for a rest. (Past practice). When I made the turn I just kept going and actually began planning where to stop for a water break and maybe sit a spell. The golf course? Yea, that's the ticket. As I passed a small variety store, I though I saw my neighbor entering. I turned back and planted myself in the parking lot. After a couple of minutes I decided to move on.

Between the store and the golf course is a nice climb I call "Lances Hill". It remindes me of a commercial I saw with him training on a lonely country road, with cornfield on either side. It looked like a very cool place to be riding.

The service road in the golf property goes along side the 9th green. I noticed a ball around two feet from the cup, and one guy on the tee. His shot did not land on the green. I stopped to watch the final outcome of the play and asked the guy who missed the green, "has he been doing that all day?" He made the put, by the way.

During the final leg, I ran into Brandon (my neighbor and sometime bike riding partner who smokes). I stopped to talk a bit and noticed a couple of odd things. He had a six pack of beer, but no empties and his rod had no hook attached. He is not supposed to be drinking. He can't do it at home, or at his girlfriends house. Therefore he spends lots of time alone. Or more likely with his little friend who live in Budwiser bottles.

"Where are the empty bottles", I asked? He nodded towards the pond. I suggested he become a "green" drinker, help save the planet and bring the empties to my house. "Just throw them on the lawn", I said. I'll cash them in, and the amount he has been drinking lately, buy myself a new bike. A nickle at a time.

I left my camera home purposely in order to keep it a fitness ride. Tonight I'll be doing the same one with the camera. The last ride before the Five Boroughs of New York.