Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Review of Novara Randonee Touring Bike - 2009


Touring wine country, rolling down the coast or cruising past endless fields of corn, our Novara Randonee is built for comfort over the long haul.

Surprisingly Smooth

capejohn Fairhaven, Ma. 4/30/2009


5 5

Gift: No

Pros: Versatile, Comfortable, Durable

Best Uses: Uneven Surfaces, Light Trails, Leisurely Rides, Commuting, Street Riding

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist

This bike was purchased for annual summer touring. It performed exceptionally well on the Erie Canal tour of 2008.

I own a bike for commuting and a road bike that I also use for the daily commute. Touring season is approaching and I took the Novara for todays commute. The bike immediately got my attention because of how smooth it made the ride. I was not anticipating that, and was very pleasantly surprised. Being a steel bike, it also takes most of the "bumps" off the ride. Granted, it's a little heavy, but since I don't race, that's a moot subject.

I very highly recommed this bike especially for touring, but it's a really nice commuter also.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Forty Miles for the MUP

The Friends of the Mattapoisett Bike Path sponsored a ride to raise money and awareness to complete that towns section of the tri town bike path extension. Seven of us chose the 40 mile option. The ride from Mattapoisett to Wareham and back.

The start was a little over 2 1/2 miles from my house and I was able to ride there mostly on the old rail bed that has not yet been converted. It's a really beautiful section, as you can see.

Being the first organized riding event for the committee they kept their goals to a minimum and they were easily exceeded. They offered a very basic flat ride through the towns of Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham, Rochester and Acushnet MA. placing water stops and people to direct the riders at what could have been confusing turns. The seven of us saw a few larger groups of riders going on shorter rides that originated on one of the other two towns involved in the event. A nice mix of country roads, waterfront streets and lakeside avenues kept the ride interesting and the sights always changing.
Riding under the RR

Lakeside Avenues

Country Roads

Turn here (after I take your picture)

Posse path crossing.

Saddle sores and cramped legs were the only complaints about this ride. Being the first long ride of the season for many and temperatures topping off at 95F, make those very understandable. Everyone would do it again next week if were offered though.

We all hope for another of these events and suggest that the organizers get more press from the local daily papers. The general consensus was that the long ride numbers would increase ten fold if the word got out to the larger cities. There is a very big bike community in the area and a solid fund raising ride could attract those riders in big numbers. Comments like that are a testament to the organizers. It was done well, and we want more, more.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

MUP Extension

The town of Mattapoisett Ma. has been trying to convert a rail trail for more than five years. So many roadblocks, many of which were very silly have caused this project and it's proponents so many headaches.

Phase one has been completed. The state and federal money has been approved with the stipulation that the town provide the money for the planning process. It's not really that much, but these economic times have forced the people to go to private fund raising. All is going pretty well and I'll spare the details.

However one thing worth mentioning is the walk/bike fundraiser on the 26th of May. For us who are really into biking, the committee has offered a 10/15/40 mile supported ride. The cost is $20 and the details are HERE.

There is a Web Page will all the details of the MUP and it's planning HERE

The extended forecast is for a beautiful weekend, providing a sunny 65-70 degree day for the ride.

Below are a few photos from taken along the MUP in Mattapoisett.
MUP Volunteers

Marshes along the trail

Mattapoisett/Fairhaven boundary

Riders taking advantage of a warm sunny April morning

The remnants of the original railroad bed

Friday, April 17, 2009

Six Buses at the Z

Wifey said a couple of times, "Even if I go alone, I would love it".  The show was sold out but I heard on the radio that the perfomers had turned in some of thier tickets.    I called at 6:30 and there was a single remaining.  I grabbed it for Sue.

I was so proud and I called her at the Animal Shelter to break the news.

"No!  Don't say that.   I can't go. I don't want to go".    She said

Apparently there is a brew ha ha brewing among the staff and volunteers.   She was in tears and wanted no part of the concert.    She convinced me to go.  That and the $90 ticket I had waiting for me all paid for.

The show opened with BIlly Bob Thornton and his band.    I figured this was a country music event and I got my self a glass of cheap bourbon on the way to my seat.   Billy Bob's set ended just around the time my glass dried up.   A refill before the second act, Ray Price.   Before he came on I asked the woman next to me if she had ever heard of him.   The look I got from the 6'6 guy in front of me was classic.   He was amazed that I did not know him. I was singing along to a lot of his music, and his band was very very classy. 

Willie Nelson came on stage with a small group. The drummer only had a snair drum and brushes.  No bass, tom tom, top hat or cymbals.   Will can play though.  He cut loose a few times and brought down the house.

I have never been a country fan and can honestly say that I'm still not.   But a live show is a live show.  It's really cool to see these stars do their thing even if you have no interest otherwise. 

Did I mention that I had my glass refilled before Willy came on stage.  I just did I guess.

There were six buses outside the Z.   Five decoys I suppose. 

Maybe he's on this bus?  Maybe not.

This is a new program I'm using. I still need to work on the sound.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Bagging

Poor Newt. He and his minions at Fox spent weeks organizing a "spontaneous" tax day protest. They blew it again. The right has very quickly turned from a party in transition to the laughing stock of the nation. They tried the race card, the President knowing a minister, a college professor. Nobody bit. They tried socialism, and the facisism thing isn't working out that well either.

Sara Palin as the anti Hilary.

Michael Steel, the token Black.

Piyush "Bobby" Jindal the Hindu/dark Middle Eastener.

Nothing is working for them. The conservative numbers are shrinking as they begin to realize that working together is the way to make thing better for everyone. No more hate, discrimination, alienation or exclusion.

The Teabagging protests have brought the consrvatives to a new level. It was a chance to test the resolve of America's 21st Century anti-intellectual movement. We saw this during the 2008 election season, where fatuous myopia, paranoia and frothy-mouthed rage set in at McCain/Palin rallies. The most ironic is that they are protesting the Bush/Conservativs tax system. Calling it every name they can think of. Let me rephrase that. Every name the elite, rich, Fox opinion show hosts can broadcast.

My personal favorite was the call for term limits. As the Boston interviewer told one of the protesters, American have been imposing term limits since 2006. The American voters are fixing the problem.

Then there is this. Link

"They're doing everything they can to brainwash our public...This thing they're putting on our TVs," he says, presumably referring to digital cable converters, "it's a brainwash unit!"

As his speech winds down, he exhorts his listeners to get their kids "the hell out of college. They're brainwashing 'em!"

The anti-school message resonates with one woman.

"Burn the books!" she yells from off-camera. The surprised camera man asks if she's serious, and which books she'd burn. "The ones in college, the brainwashing books, like the evolution crap."

The sad fact is that there is simply no place for this type of wretched anti-intellectualism in America anymore. It can be expected from the margins, but it's troubling to see it embraced and validated by more mainstream entities. This movement represents the lost and left-behind. And, pitifully, it's a one-way street. It is not as though there are educated or "intellectual" people who crave ignorance and despise knowledge. Anti-intellectualism is a purely circumstantial outlook, whereas education or knowledge acquisition is indisputably a normative societal goal. Thus, it is no surprise that anti-intellectualism is promptly defenestrated as soon as alternative options become available. It is, in short, a last resort, knee-jerk reaction to abject desperation

The "teabaggers" want to lick President Obama. Fortunately they have a Dick Armey on thier side.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Pal Jim

Walked to the market last night with my neighbor. I wanted to get some cola to keep in the house. Wifey likes it much more than me and she always likes to have some around. I felt obliged to try this generic cola with my Jim Beam. Works pretty good if I say so my self. It did cause me to sleep in and extra 1/2 hr. Fortunately my bimodal commute gives me lots of flexibility.

With that, I parked at the police station and got a few shots of the sights in downtown Taunton, Ma.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Working Weekend

Had every intention of riding to work both days this past weekend. Rain on Saturday and cold wind on Sunday kept me in bed the extra hour.

Easter has dropped off the holiday list since the kids have grown and left the state. I did hide a box of peeps in the microwave for wifey. She has always loved them, not for the candy but because they are so cute. I went to the market Saturday night and was dismayed when they had no yellow ones left. A nice woman who works there had put aside a box and let me buy it. I ended up having a plate of fresh asparagus with pectorino cheese for Easter supper . That was plenty good enough for me.

The commute was cold again this morning. 34F at the beginning and my toes began feeling cold about a 1/2 mile from work. Unlike last week, I was ready for the early morning temperature.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Taunton State Hospital at 0630

One of my coworkers gave me a heads up as quitting time was nearing. "I hope you can ride fast".
"I can, whats up?" His response

"Did you see outside? It's getting cloudy. And windy".

I assured him that I was up to the challenge. A few things caught my attention during the commute and I shot a couple of photos.

Taunton is not as old as the coastal cities and towns like New Bedford and Plymouth, but she does flaunt her patriotism proudly, and leaves no doubt that she is a northern community.
Taunton is one of the first communities where a woman was instrumental in it's founding and the heroic patriots of Taunton raised the Liberty & Union flag on Taunton Green on October 21, 1774 presenting the first patriotic flag to fly in the American colonies.

During the commute I see lots of unusual things. Buildings, flags, and other stuff. I ask people who are natives of the city about them and they have no idea. Same with people who drive the same roads that I bike. They very seldom see much of the surroundings and really miss lots of neat things.

Riding a bike at around 15 MPH allows us to "smell the roses" and the experience is pretty nice. I used to like the Sunday morning hammerfests with one local group or another. I still participate in those rides, but don't start till all the roadies are on their way. Nothing wrong with that kind of riding, but it's not for me any more. I'd rather bop along at a slower pace so I can experience the things around me better.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Back to the Old Route

I decided to return to the 11 mile commute today. Gradually working myself into rising at 5AM over the past few weeks made today's early start pretty easy. I was able to extinguish my lights about a mile into the ride.

When I began commuting a few years ago I did not know the layout of the city. With that I pretty much rode the same roads that I drove when going to work. I did eventually find better and less traveled routes. Today I decided to return on the original ride back to the car, from 2003.
Reed and Barton, a silver company built their factory on the Taunton River. They placed dams, to control the flow, that are now beginning to cause problems. The center of town was evacuated two years ago when heavy rains threatened to overwhelm one of the dams. Everything turned out ok, and that one has been bypassed. But there are still a few others that it's only a matter of time before they also become a problem.

The water runs through the factory property and actually runs through a couple of the buildings. Waste was dumped from the shops into the river for many many years.

The old route had some places that I struggled with. Those hills that gave me so much grief back then were actually very mild. One in particular I practically coasted up today. I guess my technique was pretty bad, and I can remember doing lots of mashing on the hills.

The shortcut through the cemetery is still the last quiet part of the ride before battle with heavy rush hour traffic. Everyone is in a hurry to get to the red light and wait. As soon as it turns green the engines rev, the horns blast and the yelling to move it asshole, begins. Ten minutes of this and I'm back on a wide country road for final push to the park and ride. That's where I get in my car and get to remind other drivers what assholes they are. MOVE IT, DICK HEAD!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Getting Better

Things are getting better for commuting. I saw a video from a friend in New Orleans and had to remind him that spring has arrived in SouthCoast, Massachusetts. It's all relative and after the winter months, temps in the mid to high 40's are just fine.

I'm still only parking 6 miles from the office and am thinking tomorrow will be the move to the 11 mile lot. Ole blue (the bike) still gets to ride in style no matter where I park.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Not Much Has Changes

I though April would be much better for bike commuting, but the weather is no better than it was yesterday. Wearing the wrong gloves (too light), made for a painfull last couple of miles.

Got a call from wifey while on the commute when she realized that she was reading a newspaper from 2006. I usually put a year old page here and there in the todays paper, but the front page was generic enough to try to pull off a major "fooling". While I was getting ready, she commented on a couple of the articles and I had to keep my back to her so as not to show my reactions. A few years ago, she was cutting cupons out of a year old paper commenting on the great prices.

This is year #12 that she has been reading old newspapers on April 1st.