Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dogs, Governors and Bikes

The Dog
Jenny is part Pit Bull part Bassett Hound. She has advanced heartworm and was due to be put down at the town kennel last week. All the woman became attached to Jenny who has responded in kind to her first taste of being loved. Jenny spent the first 8 years of her life tied up in her yard and had never been to a Vet.

Jenny is now living with us and follows wife around like they are conjoined. She had taken to being loved so much that she cannot be left alone. She will do everything she can to get out and find wifey. Curtains, windows, doors etc. Wifey has been taking her everywhere and has left her at the kennel when she cannot bring the dog with her. The kennel is full now and sadly Jenny's time is close. Probably this week.

The Governor
The Governor of South Carolina....Hmmmmm, is there really any more that needs to be said. Not only is the guy a hypocrite, do as I say, not as I do, but he is trying to bamboozle us with his spiritual bull shit. Spiritual advisor??? Spiritual boot camp? This may work in South Carolina, but the rest of the common sense world can see right through it. The more he talks, the more Sarah Palinish he looks.

After all the nutty things he did and subsequently said, the news reporters mentioned that those in his party still think he may have a shot at the 2012 Republican nomination. It was so refreshing when the they looked at each other and neither could stiffle a laugh.

Finally people are beginning to laught at the crack pots.

The Bike

The rain has taken it's toll on the amount of commuting days. This time of year it really shouldn't matter. Put on some gear and ride. Problem is that doing a dual mode commute, car/bike, the tendency is to keep driving to the office.

A few photos taken during last night's eleven mile commute.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Very Expensive Free Group Ride

From 10 Speed Spoke, Newport, R.I

We parked a few blocks from Ten Speed Spoke bike shop to avoid the crush and crazies around Thames St. in Newport, R.I. Actually it was a couple of blocks from First Beach, Gibbs Ave. is also where #2 son lived when he was working in the area.

The night before I got distracted while loading the car with all the bike stuff and neglected to pack my riding shoes. I was able to buy a new pair at 10 speed for only a hundred bucks. $80 for the shoes, $20 for the clips. I have to say however that these are really, really comfortable shoes. If I had tried them with it being a necessity, I would have purchased them.

By the way, there was one other thing. While we were riding to the shop, I noticed a police motorcycle with the lights and sirene blaring. My first thought was to stop blasting through red lights and stop signs. Then I realized he was leading the paceline. I turned to my riding partner and said, "It's six oclock, we're late". It was after 6:30 by the time I got my new shoes fitted and we rolled out of the lot.

Because of all the rain the last two months, riding has been at a premium. It seems that every time the weather would break, I would get stuck at work. I also began running again and my legs and body are still protesting. That combination made parts of the ride pretty difficult. There was one point when I was huffing and puffing up a good sized hill near St Andrew's School where a woman passed me. As she was doing this I wondered how she was able to stay upright going so slow. She was in a much higher gear than me, and I was lulled into a false sense of speed by my cadence, which was somewhere in the vacinity of 120 RMP as I was screamed up the hill at 6 mph.
This hill was a real struggle.

Along with the struggles, there were also lots of good to talk about,like riding by the mansions, which was pretty neat.

From 10 Speed Spoke, Newport, R.I

From 10 Speed Spoke, Newport, R.I

But the mansions take second fiddle to the beach. The volleyball section.
From 10 Speed Spoke, Newport, R.I

There were decisions to make. And like someone once said. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it".

From 10 Speed Spoke, Newport, R.I

We cut the ride to around 20 miles because
1. It was getting dark
2. There was pizza back at the shop.

Maybe those two should be reversed.

In short:

    A no fee bike ride around Newport R.I.

    All the pizza you can eat for free.

    All for only $100.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Longest Day of the Year Ride

Ten Speed Spokes Bike Shop in Newport Rhode Island, puts on this annual bike ride on the closest Thursday to the actual day of the Summer Solstace. A police escort boxes the hammerheads for the 46 mile route. The rest of us drop out of that kind of riding within a couple of miles, but have no doubt that this ride is geared to paceline riding.

Once a rider makes the decision to do this at a more casual pace, Newport is a very great place for an summer evening spin. The weather will be in the low 70's and the sky overcast. Not bad at all for the event.

From 10 Speed Spoke, Newport, R.I

For a slideshow of the 2007 Longest Day ride, CLICK HERE

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New York City

From New York City

If you have ever been to New York you know it's one of the coolest cities in the world. It's a five hour bus ride from our little city on the south coast of Massachusetts. A bit longer than driving it yourself but the bus is not a bad way to travel.

Off and on heavy rains greeted us on Thursday and lasted throughout the day. Friday turned out very nice and allowed us to do some great walking activities. One of my favorites is the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Another is Times Square, which by the way is close to vehicle traffic. That was a really good decision by the leaders of the city. There were lots of complaints before the closing that were pretty much exclusively traffic related. That falls on deaf ears to those of us in the bicycle community.

The food. Again. The food. Everyone braggs about the style of cooking where they live. The southerners are very good at making the "food of the south" sound like it's the best in the world. Every tried it? It's good, but by no means do we us a capital G in good southern food. A place as big as NYC you are bound to find Good Food. We found this Mexican restaurant on the corner of 50th and Lexinton in Manhattan. They advertise the best guacamole you will ever taste. So far, they are right. It's the best I have ever had.

Dos Caminos on 50th and Lexinton. Put it on your list

A walk through Central Park is also one of the more interesting things to do in the city. All the fields were being used, mostly for softball this day. The usual banter could be heard at these venues. However there was a different tone coming from the fields up the hill. Lots of good natured cheering and geering. It was kick ball games. Not your usuall playground matches either. The thing that struck me was the pitching. They rolled that ball as fast as they could with lots of spin. Needless to say, "bunting" was the most common play. Thats when the fun started.

These were all twenty something players who took the game very seriously but managed to keep things upbeat and fun. The kind of thing you can only pull off in New York, and something you really have to witness to appreciate. There was a lot of in your face talk, but it was back and forth. And when one player struck a cord he would get a finger pointed at him and a head nod by his adversary with a "ok, you got me" look.

There were tons of bikes riding the streets of Manhattan, and you really have to be ready to get a photo. They appear and ride by very quickly. It's always said that if your in a hurry, you don't belong on a bike. Well in Manhattan, a bike is without a doubt the fastest way to get somewhere.

Hundreds of these around, but some of the drivers seemed very shady. Especially in Central Park. A good thing going bad.

We also spent some time in Brooklyn at the Botanical Garden. Later we wanted to have pizza at a place right under the bridge but the line of people waiting to get in made that impossible with our time limit.
Waiting for the 3 train in Brooklyn
From New York City

Dead Heads at the Brooklyn Museum
From New York City

Upper East Side (I think) from Central Park
From New York City

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Between The Rain Drops

Rain has dominated the area for that past two weeks. The commute was put on the back burner because of that and and entertaining family and friends. We have had visitors the last two weeks off and on including #1 Son from Boulder and #2 Son from Atlanta. Sue and I will be visiting him in NYC this week while he is doing a trade show.
Click any photo for big
Fort Phoenix Plaque

Looking East from the Fort.

Looking west

Roc bike

When the sun finally made it's appearance the grass needed an immediate cutting. The kids across the street had big plans and two of them went to work to get things done.

You going to be much longer?

Fishing off the hurricane barrier in the middle of the harbor.

Peace tall ship.

Lemonade stand on the MUP

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Day of Riding

Fiasco #9 began on time with a very small possee. It turned into a religious showdown. Budda Monks vs Evangelical Sailors. Riding through downtown we came across the Budda monk ceremony at Gallery X When we began riding down the hill we noticed a tall ship in the harbor. It was a "faith based ship and I don't remember the name, but I was given a brochure with an envelope inside. Both groups were dominated by young followers. The younger the are the easier to indoctrinate.

The full moon rose at 7:40 and as in the past, the clouds began to roll in around 7 and completely obscured the sky. A few of us will ride out tonight while it's still full. I'll be the guy in the black cap with the bicycly imprinded on the crown.

Barrier road to the middle of the harbor

Fresh seafood with the fishing boats in the background

New Bedford, Ma. Library

No Problemo grill man's fixie

"Dead whale or a stove boat"

Ants climbing Gallery X

Martha's Vinyard ferry

Join us Tuesday,July 7th and ride the full Buck Moon. 6:30 at Pub 99 in Fairhaven.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rain? Maybe. Maybe Not.

"You riding tonight" I asked John at work.

"I just talked to a tech and he said it's raining in Rhode Island" he answered.

"I'm going out right after work, Weather Underground says no rain till around 11PM."

"Didn't you hear what I said? It's raining in Rhode Island" John said with a disgusted tone.

We bantered back and forth about the track the rain may follow and I said the downpour will probably happen at my halfway point. I could almost count on that happening when I used to golf. The farthest point from shelter and the sky opens up. But I'm putting my faith in the professional weather watchers.

After quickly changing in some riding duds I was on the road around 5:30. There was and off and on rain that was so light, one could barely feel it. The road was wet but not enough to cause any pooling. Ole Blue was feeling good, the gears were shifting smoothly and the tires, freshly topped off, offered a smooth hum as we spinned along at a comfortable mid to high teen rpm.

A two hour ride gave a really good fitness workout while still providing childlike fun that riding a bike often presents. The air hung thick under the threatening clouds and light traffic, which allowed me to zone out and enjoy the evening.

I wanted to get home in time to work on this blog, take the dogs for their evening walk, have dinner, and watch the 8PM US/Costa Rica football World Cup Qualifier. Now that I write this out it seems like a lot. Things improved when I noticed that the 8PM start was MT, translating to 11PM here. No problemo.

This ride was on the country roads away from the coast. As mentioned the traffic was light, but fast. Most vehicles speed along at around 50MPH in this usual 30MPH zone. The roads are plenty wide for sharing, and most crossed the solid line to the left to give me lots of room. Mainly locals driving these roads, which are also very popular bike and motorcycle routes.
Wide, wet and quiet

I take most of my photos on the run so to speak. The camera is stored conveniently in the handlbar bag. It's very simple to reach in, hit the on button and snap a photo or two. Very seldom stopping to get that perfect shot. In the beginning a few years ago, the technique made for some shaky riding, but in time it became very easy and natural.

Trailer homes on Main St. Acushnet, MA.

Handy man's shop that really could use a handy man to tidy things up.

Keith's farm is expanding. They only had peaches and apples for years.

Boats at a blueberry farm.

Mattapoisett Chowder House. It's not bad but there are lots of really good seafood places in the area.

There was no weather problem during this evening ride. Such a heavy, quiet evening did bring on a little melancholy and will also provide an "I told you so" moment at work tomorrow.