Sunday, December 20, 2009


We got a humdinger of a Nor'Easter snow storm dropping one to two inches per hours over the course of 12 hours. Lucy our Welsh Terrier didn't know what to make of it at first, but once she figured out the fun of snow, there was no stopping her.

Wifey did a wonderful job shoveling. She loves to do it and I love that she loves it.

The two older dogs, Jenny the Pit Bull and Pretty Polly Pointer, wanted no part of the snow.

I purchased a set of fenders for the SS at REI and may install them. But then again, what is better on a snowy winter Sunday than watching old movies? I may just plop in front of the tele for the afternoon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Preview

After last nights ride to the polls I really was itching to use the SS for commuting. The weather postponed that till at least tomorrow.

A fast moving winter storm gob smacked us today. Heavy snow for a little over an hour blanked the area. The decision to walk the usual morning route found me a little past the halfway point when the change over to rain occured. I made it back to the office just in the nickle of time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SS Voting

Today is the primary for Senator Kennedy's replacement. I was going to stop on the way home but decide it would be a pretty good inaugural ride of the SS.

I had it finished last week but installed 44x16 gearing. That 44 on the front stopped me, from even the smallest hill, in my tracks. I could not find a smaller (say 39-40) chain ring so I installed an 18 on the rear wheel to gear it down.

After voting I decided to keep on riding and continued to the town center for a cup of coffee with the old timers. Our local Mickey D's is very retro and looks pretty neat. Especially with some decoration in front.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SS for Commuting

An old Raleigh 10 speed came available a couple of months ago. After dismanteling it to to the frame and rebuilding from scratch almost, it will be ready this afternoon. The only thing I didn't attempt was to redish the rear wheel.

Just in time for the full moon ride.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Summer Tour

Krimmll Austria

Touring on a bicycle allows us to do and see things that usually pass us by if we are using another mode of transportaion. The slowness of bike travel allows the rider to see hear and experience things in a whole different way. It can get dicey but in general it's one of the best vacations a person could have.

The Crazy Guy on a Bike website has been a boon for those who tour on bicycles. The journals can be entertaining, a good source of research and a place to fantasize in the off season. Another important benefit is that it can also eliminate a tour choice. That was the case with DC to Pittsburgh, where every journalist complained mightily about the condition of the trail. Rain makes the canal impossible to ride.

This looks like fun

We soon discovered the The Underground RR bike route. This is a 45 day ride from Mobile Alabama to Owen Sound Ontario. Just over 2000 miles.

Next came The Natchez Trace bike route. We were talked out of them by people who had done journals and both seemed like the only reason to do them was to say you did them. The C&O can turn into a mud pit very quickly and the Trace and URR present challenges that personally neither of us care to undertake.

Natchez Trace where parts are very remote

We have things narrowed down to three rides. Two are door to door round trips and one is 5 hour drive on top of a six hour train ride. The later is the Erie Canal, which we did in 08. We want to do it again but differently. We had a time constraint that forced us into too much rushing.

Leaving Rockport NY along the Erie Canal

Another choice is riding Cape Cod and Martha's Vinyard. This one is really easy for us and although we will be out riding and camping for a week, we will never be more than 80 miles from home.

Crossing the Canal on the Bourne Bridge

The top of the list right now is Cape Cod to Montreal. It looks like a moderate, not easy yet not that hard, ride. Just over 400 miles each way and we figure we can do it in two weeks or less. A viable option is to take a train or bus back to Boston from Montreal, and ride the 50 remaining miles home. This journal is the one that put the bug in our pants to do the Montreal ride.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

White grass=frost

Living so close to the water in Fairhaven Ma. there is an ocean effect that keeps us cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It was 43F pulling out of the driveway, and as the 30 mile commute inland progressed the temperature kept dropping. While packing for the final few miles at the Park and Ride in Taunton the drop in temps to 32F became very noticable.

Seeing all the cars with frosted windows during the commute brough on a chuckle. A tee shirt under a long sleved riding shirt under a wool sweater were fine, as long as the head and face were covered.

Traffic is always light for the am commute. Evenings can get busy but most of the route is out of traffic. When the ride merges into the commuters it's dog eat dog.
Keep the head and face covered

Racing dusk on the evening commute

Monday, November 9, 2009

Galaxy advances by beating Chivas USA, 1-0 --

Galaxy advances by beating Chivas USA, 1-0 --

Posted using ShareThis

A great back and forth match. Beckham and Donovan were both at the top of their game. The back four of LA put the kabutz on Chivas' potent offense.

It's so much better than the Revs who have become as boring as watching the NFL.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Review of REI Camp Dome 2 Tent

Originally submitted at REI

Ideal for 3-season camping, the REI Camp Dome 2 is durable, trustworthy and a cinch to pitch—and it's offered at a sweet price!

Perfect for bike touring

By capejohn from Fairhaven Ma. on 11/6/2009


4out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Sturdy, Fly Works Well, Waterproof, Lightweight, Comfortable, Easy To Set Up

Describe Yourself: Casual Adventurer

What Is Your Gear Style: Comfort Driven

I have used this tent for two years while bicycle touring. We have been through some very stormy nights together without any issues at all.

Every time I was in a torrential rain, it reinforced my decision to buy this tent.

Get it, you won't be sorry.

It's like spending the nite in luxury.


Tags: Picture of Product


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Visiting Far Away Galaxies Under a Full Moon

We were going to meet friends at Cork Wine and Tapas Bar and left early so we could visit the Hubble traveling exhibition downtown.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Working the Neighborhood

***Click Photos for big***

As usual we got overwhelmed with kids on Halloween. Many travel from the city to find a friendly place to bring the kids trick or treating. The neighborhood is three streets that are down and back. Cars must loop back to exit the area which means there is no through traffic. Perfect for walking on the street. During the peak time from 7-8:30 the street is filled with monsters, movie stars, cartoon characters and frazzled parents.

We bough enough candy for 200 visitors. When we closed up at 8:30 there were five left.

The talk of the neighborhood was this couple.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Haven't been doing much riding lately but walking every day. Two or three sessions totaling around 10 miles. The industrial park is loaded with trucks from all over the country and Canada. It's neat to see where they are from. There is a bike blogging friend who lived in this town I think.

Then again I could be wrong. Noah?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Commuting in the Dark

I met a fellow commuter a couple of weeks ago. He lives a little over a mile from my winter parking spot. Since there is a super market there I decided to ride the extra mile and do the home bound commute with him.

I still have to ride in alone in the morining and today it was very dark, but nice. The dark actually helps my lights be more noticeable and I still get "what the" looks from my MonkeyLectric light. It's a really unusual light and very cool, if I say so myself.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Washington DC. US/Costa Rica WCQ

The two goal lead was here a minute ago. I don't know where it went.

We had a great time in Washington, topped off with a really fantastic match. The us came from two down to tie Costa Rica in extra time and win the group outright edging rival Mexico 20-19 on points.

While doing the sightseeing thing during the day we were studying a map to try and find Pennsylvania Avenue because we wanted to see the White House. Personally, I wanted to see what kind of protests were going on, because those can get interesting. We got frustrated looking at the map which was in a bus stop kiosk and were about to say screw it. That's when I looked up at the street sign. Yup. We were standing on the corner or Pennsylvania Ave. at the 800 block.

We walked to 1600 and just as we got there the Capital Police began shooing people away from the White House viewing spots. We never did find out why and none of us gave it a second thought.

We walked so much trying to decide what to do that we didn't really do much besides walk around. We did get to spend 30 minutes in the Space museum before it was time to go back to the motel and change for dinner and the match.

Our hotel was very European, the price was right, it had very few amenities but it was clean and more than good enough for a place to sleep. It had a couple of nice touches, like the bathroom window that opened to the hallway. The Americana Motel has remained a family place, refusing to sell out to the big corporate giants. If you go to DC, this is a decent place to stay. None of the fluff you get with the big guys, keeps the price low.

Keeping in with our Washington tradition, we had duck at our favorite place in Crystal City. You need to like spicy to enjoy this duck specialty. I had to stop eating for a few minutes to hyperventilate and wipe the tears from my eyes. Then it was extra white rice to put out the fire on my tongue. That soon passed and we adjusted to the heat. YUM.

Looking into the bathroom from the hall.

Americana Motel, dwarfed by the Marriott Hotel. Our room overlooked the highway

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Night Riding

Thursday and Friday were nice enough for night rides. The FBC crew took on the streets of New Bedford and Fairhaven, MA. The only time we have any kind of confrontations with motorists is in New Bedford. They really don't like people on bikes mucking up their potholed roads.
Read the full story

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bike Building, Commuting and FOOTBALL!!!!!

We'll be picking up another bike for a single speed conversion tonight. The Raleigh may be ready this weekend and if all goes well, we will begin work on the second. That will give Brandon and I a single speed each for winter riding.

There is another regular commuter in the Industrial Park. We crossed paths last night and I'm sure we will again. He is new to the area, moving here from WI. I could see that he was a serious rider and I wouldn't be surprise to see him join our touring posse.

Everything is a go for next weeks game in DC. The American Outlaws will be representing along with The New England Brigade of Sams Army.

Our group will travel Wednesday morning, spend the day in DC before traveling to JFK for th 7PM match. This will either be a celebration of the US qualifying or a must win to earn the chance to travel to South Africa in June. Either way, the place will be rocking.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rebuilding Bikes

My neighbor had a couple of bikes in storage and asked me to take a look to see if I could do something with them. It took less than a minute to decide that they were both junk. I stripped one down to the frame and am looking into making a single speed out of it. The first stop is to bring the rear wheel to my LBS and see if it can be cleaned up and converted.

I need to learn how to do everything and am going to ask the LBS to take me in as a paying student and rebuild the bike at the shop. I know bikes are a simple machine and once someone shows me how the thing is put together, I'll be fine and do the second one on my own. In the mean time I just may have a decent single speed for putzing around.

Friday, September 25, 2009

27 More Fridays

Twenty seven more Fridays and work will no longer get in the way of bike riding, or anything else.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Riding With The Stoners

Last night I got everything ready to commute this morning. A couple of the neighborhood 20 somethings saw my garage open and approached with an offer to go riding. It was eight pm and dark as all get out. Naturally, I agreed.

On this night I chose the touring bike, the Novara Randonee. Naturally it's the one with the Monkeylectric lights.

As soon as we left I noticed I had to keep a good eye on one of our group. He was all over the MUP and I really thought he was going to ride off the path a few times. A couple of miles into the ride we stopped and they lit up a joint. "Home grown stuff", said Jason. "Want some?"

"Nah, I'm good".

I only said that because I don't know if I would be able to ride after. I'm thinking it would be like eating McDonnald's food and make me too sluggish. Steve's riding became more eratic as expected I guess.

We did a little under 20 miles and a lot of it was hammering. There is something about riding at night that make some of us want to ride faster, and we also rode a lot longer and further than we intended, pulling back up to my garage around 10ish.

It was after 11pm when I finally got settled and consequently today's commute was scratched. Tonight however is expected to be a great riding night. We may just do it again. A little less under the influence I hope.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Rides

Saturday's bike ride caused a bit of heat over diner plans. Our companions like to eat early, like 5:30ish. I like to go late, more like 7:30ish. I figure on Saturday I can accomodate without a problem. This week however, Brandon and I got a late start and I was at the furthest point on the ride from home when wifey called.

"Where are you?"

"Near Glen's house in Dartmouth". I responded.

"What about dinner, it's 4:30 now".

My computer showed 3:30, still on Daylight Savings Time. It also showed that we were 16 miles from home. I told my riding partner we had to make like the wind and hammer home. We blasted through a few stop signs and traffic lights to pick up some time. We took a couple of shortcuts through the side streets of New Bedford and at one point hooked a left at a red light which really pissed off some kids in an old Oldsmobile. A loud unfriendly blare of the horn, which prompted a friendly wave, smile and thanks in return. That got me a "you fuck" from the passenger, to which my partner yelled, "suck my dick". Ahhhh, city riding.

We made real good time and as we approached the bridge over the harbor the light had changed and the gates closed. We sped up to them, scooted under the gate, scurried across the bride and under the gates on the other side. The bridge tender never had a chance. he he.

When I got to the house wifey was downstairs doing something or other. I did a quick change and and at 5:10, was standing at the door dressed for dinner when she came upstairs.

"You ready", I inquired

"I already changed the reservations till 6".

"OK, I'll shower then".

The up side of this is that I don't care for the originaly restaurant and the change in time also forced us to change restaurants. It also brought us to the center of New Bedford where the "half way to St. Patrick's Day festival" was going on.

Gotta love the Irish.

We ended up with a 25 mile ride on Saturday. Sunday we saddled up again for a 17 mile spin, but nothing nearly as exciting happened.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wifey is Still Away

Wifey is still hiking in Montana and the forcast called for a beautiful day in Boston. Brandon and I both had the day off from work, and decided it's a great day for a hike. We talked about driving to the Blue Hills again, but then the idea of visiting another of the Boston Harbor Islands called us.

As we apprached the ticket kiosk, I noticed everyone was standing in line in front of one window. Another was open and I approached and asked if he sold tickets to the harbor island. "Sure do" he said. Next thing I know everyone who was at the other window was behind me. That one closed and sent all the people in line to my window. I quietly made my purchase and slinked away toward the ferry. Smirking of course. Naturally, every one of those who I pissed off boarded the same ferry.
"There he is Merle. That's the guy who cut in line. Go say something to him". Said Dot.

Without doing much research, we disembarked on Spectacle Island. It boasted a five miles of hiking trails. What is not so well know is that it's a barren island, and if your not a really devouted nature sucks. During the peak season, you could reboard the boat and go to another island. This time of year however, the only choice is to return to Boston. We made that decision.
Longing to get outa here.

"What do you want to do?"
"I dohno, what do you want to do?"

"Lets go look at a cemetary" I finally suggested

We walk to the Grannary Cemetary and burial grounds. Founded in 1660, the Granary is the third oldest burying ground in Boston proper. In 1737, when grain was stored where the present Park Street Church stands, the burying ground was renamed the Granary. Along with Massachussetts Governors, Clergymen, and Mayors, three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine, are buried here. There are a few others like Paul Revere and his sidekick Robert Newman (the lamp guy).

From Boston

We walked around the places that very few tourist get to see. This is where the real flavor of any place usually live. Where the locals go like the Barking Crab (above), that has it's own docking spots for boats.

From Boston

Boston from across the harbor
From Boston

China Town Street
From Boston

It's nice to be so close to the city and be able take a quick train ride and spend the day.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Short Cuts

The commute has a couple of variation. One is to cut through the abandon Paul Dever State School. Last year, there was a movie shoot starring Bruce Willis. One Monday morning the place had changed noticebly. There were traffic signals, a market, a stage, gravesite and all the roads were cleaned up. I stopped my bike, looked around and could distinctly hear the Twilight Zone song off in the distance. I had to change my route through the school, but in general we all stayed out of each others space and got along fine.

The school now abutts an industral trucking area. Lots of huge warehouses and cold storage buildings. Hundreds of 18 wheelers travers the main roads and all the trucks from the quary must use the industrial park to avoid the residential areas.

The roads are quiet in the late afternoon.

Riding behind the warehouses is a good alternative.

There is talk about tearing down all the old building and converting the site into a bio engineering industrial area. There are lots of feral cats, deer, skunk, rabbit and a host of other small animals that call this place home. Progress is coming and they will have to fine a new home and it will also mean the end of some really nice commuting.

He is where the commuter returns to the somewhat busy roads of the city.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Day in Boston and the Harbor Islands.

Line at the Kennedy Library waiting to pay respects

Both boys were home from out of state and had tickets for the Red Sox this weekend. We decided weeks ago to spend the day in Boston with them, and things worked out for us, even with the passing of Senator Kennedy. The tributes were everywhere including every highway alert sign. Which said,
"Thanks Ted
From the people of Massachusetts"

We were torn between changing our plans and stopping by the Kennedy Library to pay our respects. As we continued past the Library exit, wifey lost it and began crying sobs. We both cast our first votes for Teddy and have voted for him every election since. Even when he ran unopposed, just to show our support for him and his work. Things will seem out of sorts in the state for quite a while, but we will all move on and elect a replacement that will continue to fight for the little guys of America. We are both hoping the health care plan will be named after him when it passes next month.

Kennedy family members were spread around the lines outside greeting the people in line.


If $31 dollars to park for a day is reasonable, then we found reasonable parking in downtown Boston. It was walking distance from Pier 14 and the boats to Georges Island, one of the many islands of the Boston Harbor Islands chain.

While we were waiting a Segway tour formed. At first when I saw the helmets, I though it was a bike tour. All of the tourist adapted very quickly and had little difficulty controling the things. Then they all road off in single file. Cute.

A twenty five minute ferry ride got us to Castle Island and Ft Warren before lunch. Todd, #2 son, acted as our guide and directed us through the fort according to the brochure. Ft. Warren has lots of historic significance, which can be read by, Clicking Here

From Boston with the boys

From Boston with the boys

From Boston with the boys

From Boston with the boys

From Boston with the boys

We ended the day in the North End of Boston with some wonderfull seafood and shopping in the market district.

From Boston with the boys

From Boston with the boys

From Boston with the boys

It was a beautiful day in Boston in spite of the sadness.