Friday, August 31, 2007

Guess Who?

Ghost Rider approaching

Ghost Rider Ghost shot

I caught him just before he disappeared

The threat of thunder storms kept me off the bike today. The sun was rising on the drive to work but I also saw the distinct line where the clear sky turned cloudy. It looked ominous.

My 11 year old neighbor Austin, left his bike lying in my front yard. I noticed the bike had a flat and there was a spare tube on the ground next to it. Am I being taken for granite?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Ghost Rider.

For three years the "ghost rider" has been able to avoid getting his photo taken, unitentionally for sure. I have caught glimpses of him passing an opening between buildings, or as a tractor trailor passes. I have dug my camera out of the handlebar bag to take a picture only to have low batteries or a stuck shudder. Something always happens.

Yesterday, I was on a busy section of my commute. I heard the sirene approaching and decided to pull of the street. The reason being most drivers will be more concerned looking into their rear view mirrors than paying attention to what is in front of them. Specifically, a guy on a bike.

I stopped, looked back and followed the police car as it approached, then drove by me from my left to right. As the car passed in front of me, the ghost rider rode by going the opposite direction. This is crazy. One of these days I'm going to set up a hunting blind and just sit there and wait for him.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Here is a Good Story

Part of the soon to be developed MUP in Mattapoisett Ma.

Back in 1976, some 31 years ago, the smart folks over at SRPEDD had a terrific idea.

Wouldn't it be great if the cities and towns of Bristol County had bike paths where local folks could have some fun, get some exercise, and even get around short distances without using fossil fuels?

If you're old enough to remember 1976, you know that was the last time the country faced a Middle East oil crisis.

The folks at the Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Planning and Economic Development District even envisioned a classy bike path that would start in Fairhaven, run through some breathtaking SouthCoast scenery, and end up at the Cape Cod Canal
Read the whole article here

My favorite spot on the MUP in Fairhaven, Ma.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A little excitement.

The work commute is nice but it is also pretty predicable and mundane. When something different happens it can cause the body to start firing up the brain electrodes. Kind of like pushing the start button on a gas grill. Sometimes it lights, sometimes not.

Today's commute took a couple of snaps of the button. I saw the fire engines turn into one of the huge trucking outfits about a quarter mile up the road. I road bye my usual turn off, to take a look. When I passed the firm, the fire equipment was way in the back of the property. I rode past and caught a glimpse, before deciding to turn back and see what was up. I didn't want to ride onto their property, then though, "cheese, it's 7AM on a Sunday. Whose going to complain?" "Or know?"

I was struck by how many people were working back there, and how many trucks were being loaded.

I then noticed the lack of urgency among the firemen and realized it was a false alarm.

As I got closer to the office, I decided to ride through another trucking triage area. Like the woods along side a fairway looking for golf balls, these lots are a good source of ten, twenty and sometimes larger bills that have been dropped by truckers. Unfortunately this guy had the same idea. I hope he did ok.

The industrial park roads are quiet on the weekends and especially so on Sundays. The park was originally a WWII POW camp, and there is still plenty of the original streets, overgrown and bumpy, but very much rideable. With some imagination you can hear the Italian POW's and their GI guards getting through their mundane days.

Quiet industrial road.

Where the POW's and the GI's roamed.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sunset on the Dinner Train

A weekend spent working again. On the bright side, the Revs are playing and the stadium is only three exits up the road. The match is at 7:30PM and I get out of work at four. Those facts made today a logical ride to work day, allowing a 21 mile ride, with time to shower, change and still get to the tailgate. It is going to be hot though, around 90ish.

Sue and I got an invitation to experience the Dinner Train in Newport R.I.

Four of Sue's friends and co-workers were our companions for the evening.

The train rolls slowly north for an hour, stops and rolls south to the starting point. It's always on a slight tilt making sitting quite uncomfortable. (trying to keep yourself in the chair).

We all piled into the cocktail car for the first part of the journey. A couple of speeches by our host, (our financial company) before stopping for a group picture.

We all gathered for a group photo with the train at our backs.

Actually what was behind the camera was pretty impressive too. The USS Saratoga, a retired air craft carrier. But as we passed the bohemoth what was more impressive was....

...there are two carriers. Next to the Saratoga sits the USS Forrestal. Impressive no?

We reboarded the train into the dinning car this time. In the cocktail car we were "entertained" by a guy who looked a lot like Frazier Crain. All the staff were from Serbia and very friendly and professional. The food was ok, but as mentioned earlier, the company was great.

"This way for the dinner train"

Sue and the life of the party, Marian.

Some of the staff.

The dinner car.

Sunset Kayaker

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Things People Say

I was called a bike fanatic this morning. I'm starting to think I talk about it too much at work. When I tell people I ride 20 miles a day I notice that they begin to scan me to see what kind of shape I'm in. "Wow, that's a lot", is the usual comment.
I'm guessing they are thinking, {{{should'nt he be in better shape, and younger?}}}

Yesterday one of the women at work was shaking her head when I told her my route. (through abandoned state hospital grounds) She though it was too dangerous to be on a bike, because there may be some homeless people there.

She then asked the person I was with if he saw the roll over on the highway. Now I have a decision to make. Do I want to ride my bike on abandoned roads, or roll my car over on a highway? I need to sleep on this one. By the way, I have been approached twice by security on the hospital grounds while riding through. The second time the young guard said, "oh your the guy who works in the industrial park right". Then he gave a good long look at my backpack.

Both times I have been stopped is when I had the backpack. I'm looking forward to the cold weather when I ride through with the backpack "and" a mask, holding a bottle of hair jell aloft.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Seafaring Biker

After I wrote the title I'm thinking, "that's not a bad blog name".

The Newport Yacht Club was sailing from Nantucket and was scheduled to enter New Bedford harbor between the hours of two and four pm. Sue just happened to catch a radio announcement saying "because of high winds the boats would arrive just after noon". A two mile ride to the ideal spot got us there just as the boats were passing through the hurricane barrier.

We were expecting, unrealistically, boats the size of the "tall ships" that often call on the port. We did get a nice ride and split a dozen clam cakes from the "Clam Cake" man. Not very healthy, but very very tasty.

Lots of people who did not catch the news report began to arrive around two. Many were very disappointed at missing the parade of ships. Just as disappointed as those of us who saw the parade. Most were very small and able to be sailed by a single person easily. The exception was the Alabama that is widely regarded as the ultimate example of yankee craftsmanship and traditional wooden shipbuilding. Originally used as a moored bar pilot vessel.

Gathering for the parade of ships.


Insert cricket chirp here

May as well do some fishin'.

The Steamship Authority was promoting a new high speed ferry route. New Bedford to Woods Hole. There is no charge all week for the passage. One round trip at 8PM and one at 7PM.

Sue and I took the evening trip and except for the overcast sky, it would have been a wonderful sunset cruise. But it was nice none-the-less. A 35 minute ride to Woods Hole, pick up the returning morning passengers and a 35 minute return trip. The cost will be $7 each way with a $3 charge for bikes. Not bad at all. From there a 30 minute slow ferry ride to Martha's Vinyard for twelve bucks (each way with a bike). The alternative is a $70 high speed ride directly to the "Vinyard". There is some really great riding in and around Woods Hole. A short trip brings a biker to the Cape Cod Rail Trail. The CCRT is a 45 mile round trip excursion on the newly refurbished MUP.

Palmers Island Light

Scalloper heading to sea

Fishing Trawler

The return trip was cool and very dark so Sue and I settled ourselves below deck to a typical Cape Cod snack of a quohaug, some chowda and a Sam Adams beeyah. It was freakin awwwsum.

All Aboard for Woods Hole

Fishing fleet at pier 2 in New Bedford, Ma.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Hounds of Fairhaven

Saturday and Sunday mornings I head over to the animal shelter and help wife clean up and take care of the dogs. There are other volunteers but none work on the weekends. She is the official volunteer and does most of the kennel cleaning and feeding the dogs. My duties are cleaning the yard, (picking up shit) and playing with the dogs.

I always bike to the pound, usually stopping for breakfast on the way over. The photos tell the story better.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Commuting weather

It's been really good commuting weather the last few day. Cool mornings requiring a light jacket and evening temps in the mid to upper 70's.

There were quite a few bikes out this morning and none of the riders had helmets or any type of bike clothing. They ride on the sidwalks, on the wrong side of street and weaving in and out of traffic to avoid having to wait their turn to cross or turn or whatever. The problem is that they are not highly skilled or experienced riders. They are all around 35-40 and it seems like they are riding like they did when they were 14.

The camera has been stuck in the handlebar bag. Bike hypnosis has been setting in lately and lots of good shots have been missed. Thats the down side of a routine hour long bike commute. The upside is the extra hour of sleep. And the view.

Finally this thanks to Jamie in Columbus

Take the Lane

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Grand Possibilities

The week has the potential of being a big milage week. Temps in the 70's and low 80's and the weekend looks the same. There is a family gathering in Conneticut, and biking may be part of the day. I could very well become an honorary member of this group

Got up easily today (some days are a stuggle that I don't always win), and even left the house 10 minutes early at 5:20. Got a block away and realized this was a jacket and long pant day since the temp was 58. I also noticed my cup of coffee on the counter, which is an essential part of getting the engine running. I have a 30 minute drive to the mall before unloading the bike and ride about an hour to the office. A few miles from home I realized I had left without my cell phone. It's a fact that this would have been the day a cell phone was going to be needed if it was not retrieved. With all that drama, ten minutes early ended up 15 minutes late. Also, I loaded the "tank" for todays commute, a Marin Belvedere, that not only is heavy, but also sports upright handlebars, that turn me into a sail. A little creative riding, blasting traffic controls, and taking shorcuts and the end result was five minutes later than the normal arrival time.

That other commuter that seems to appear all of a sudden showed today. Funny thing is, I was looking for him, thinking that being late I may see him and get a photo. As usual, I looked up just in time for us to cross paths with the camera snug in my handle bar bag.

My dog walking partner is comming home from hospital today. I'll still be taking his dog without him till he recovers from a collapsed lung. He is also comming home with a bag full of pain meds, so there could be trouble. Two people in his family and his girlfriend, are itching to get their hands on that stuff and I really expect the meds to go missing.

There is a neat book site called BookCrossing dot com. It's similar to "where's George" and tracks the travels of any book you register with them. I'll be dropping off three books to "travel" withing the next two days, making sure they are in a spot most likely to be taken home and not simple disgarded. But you never know.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gathering of the Midnight Riders

The Midnight Riders will be gathering in full force at Gillette Stadium in the "Fort" tonight. Beckham is here! Beckham is here!. No a big deal for the "Riders", but the game is such an important one for the Revs.

The stadium is an hour from my home, but two exits from my office. I am working today and usually bike commute on Sundays. I was torn between biking and skipping the match becaue I think the Beckham cam would drive me nuts. I am thinking a good part of the game will be "all about Beckham", but when I saw on the news that he is probably not going to play, I decided to go. There are probably going to be lots of other celebs there also.

Lots of the fans are there not only for the match, but also this.

Monday will be a good commuting day weather wise and I will certainly take advantage of that.