Monday, May 30, 2011

Rochester Boat Race

As always click any photo for big. Click again for bigger.

I am always on the lookout for events in the area that I can ride my bike to attend. Naturally there were plenty of parades and services around the area, but those types of things are not something that interests me.

The Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race is a quintessential town event that has deep roots in the community.
The event, which began in 1934 with 14 teams, has morphed into a much-anticipated annual race where about 90 teams jockey to paddle down 12 miles of the Mattapoisett River with the fastest speed. With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, Boat Race Chairman Arthur Benner delighted members of the Rochester Historical Society with a special talk on May 18 that focused on the history of the event that is a dear tradition to many in Rochester and beyond. more

It was a pleasant surprise to see so many people on bikes at this event.  Anyone could pedal to different crossing to get a good feel for the race.  I rode to Wolf Island road to watch a few of the racers cross under the road.  The place was mobbed and the road was bottle necked with motor vehicles. Those of us on bikes simply road on to the next viewing spot while the cars began jockeying to get out of the area.  

After a few boats crossed under, a few of us saddled up for the four mile ride to the finish line.  The place was festive and had the feel of the beginning of summer.


Crossing the finish line

Last few yards

Yup, this here is our boat.

Lending a hand

The finish line judges



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just Like a Commute

A seven mile ride to the local hospital to have some testing done seemed like commuting again.  It was also the first sunny morning in over 20 days.  Every other has seen rain in one form or another. 

Whenever I go into the city now days, a detour is in order.  It seems that a couple of states refused stimulus funds from the federal government.  Massachusetts applied for a share of these and got a really big chunk.  Lot of construction going on fixing roads, bridges and building the commuter rail to Boston.  

While cooling off outside the hospital entrance, I struck up a conversation with the security guard who is also a bike rider.  Two and a half hours later he was still on duty and told of some guy inspecting my bike.  He doesn't know if the guy was a fellow rider or if he was casing the bike.  The guards presents no doubt kept my bike safe if in fact the other guy was a dirt bag.  It could have been innocent also, but either way, the bike was in good hands. 

The camera is usually in the bike bag because we never know what we'll see. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lap Dog

Serenity a young terrier was stuck in the town shelter far too long. He got adopted by a family with a small dog and two young children, settled in, and now thinks he is a lap dog.  Also on the MUP I ran into a couple of regulars on bikes.  Unfortunately the photos came out very blurred and are not good enough to post.  One 30 something guy on his trike and an 80 year old  Mr. Botelho who calls his daily rides on a comfort bike his Portuguese triathlon.

Riding down town I saw the big rigs and buses near the theater.  I had to detour a couple of block to see who was playing tonight and was tempted to get a couple of tickets.

I also took a ride through the city's original cemetery and found some very old graves in unusually good condition.

A co worker recently bought a home in the historic district of  downtown.  It's a very unique place that was once a carriage house for either a whale boat owner or textile factory owner.  I didn't recognize the name on the plaque of the home, but it pretty much had to be one of the two.

Storm clouds were brewing and it was a race home to beat the rain.  By the way. The local weather man says he has awakened to morning rain the past 21 days.  This crazy weather has lingered for a few weeks and it will be an event when the sun and warm temperatures return.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

People on Bicycles

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Distance      33.1 Miles
Time              2:37
Max speed 33.1 MPH
Ave speed  12.6 MPH

People on Bicycles Connecting South Coast Communities sponsored a bike ride to raise bike awareness in this part of Massachusetts as part of the Bay State Bike Week activities. The weather forecast threatened thunder showers and heavy rain.  There was a group leaving New Bedford and one leaving Fall River and were to meet at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus.

Five of us hailed from Fairhaven which added a few extra miles to the trek.  The ride went off without a hitch and the weather also cooperated on the New Bedford side.  Fall River however got dumped on pretty good just as the riders were gathering.  That probably kept a few from participating and a couple of not so hearty souls were debating weather on not to do the New Bedford section also.  But we all left en mas from Fort Rodman for the twelve mile ride to the campus destination.

In Fairhaven  on the way to the ride I came across a fully loaded couple.  Being a touring cyclist I couldn't help but ask, "are you on tour".  They were, and had began in Connecticut three days ago and were on their way to Ottawa.  Yes that Ottawa, in Canada.  First they wanted to see Cape Cod and the islands and their next stop was Woods Hole.  We talked a bit about touring and went our separate ways. 

At the end of the ride while returning from U Mass, I saw two more fully loaded riders.  Naturally the question arose,  "are you on tour".    "No, but we are training for one".   Two young women were training for their ride from Anchorage to New Orleans.   Yes, Alaska to Louisiana this summer.  We rode together and talked of touring for quite a while till our routes parted ways.  Naturally I now have the fever to pack up and ride off for a couple of weeks.  If only....

On their way to Ottawa via Nantucket
Anchorage to New Orleans in July

Here are some shots taken on the fly.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

West Island, MA.

A short ride out to West Island locate at the end of Fairhaven Sconticut Neck Road peninsula.  It's a 7 mile spin from the house that can provide some really nice photo ops.  For example.

 Home of the plumber from This Old House series

Lobster men

Low tide

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chow dahh

Miles 19.6
Max  22.5 MPH
Ave   13.3 MPH
Time  1:28

It's been over a week for a long ride, since NYC actually.  Today finally offered some decent weather with the bonus of some sun.  Tomorrow is the last day without rain for the next six or seven according to the forecast.  Just after taking the above photo riding through the parking lot, I turned in time to see a monster pot hole a foot away.  I had just enough time to grab the handlebar and the camera strap caught on my wrist just as it was about to go flying across the lot. The bike went into the pothole hard and the camera hit the handlebar while in the zoom mode and I really fear it's toast now.

Happy Friday. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's A Conspiracy I Tell Ya.

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Thing have lined up perfectly to keep the bike miles to a minimum. Not only that, but the walking miles and the time at the spahh has also suffered. Now that the time is available again to get back to some serious miles, the weather man says, "I'm afraid it's going to be like this for the next ten days or so". There is no need to repeat his forecast, but obviously there is no mention of the sun.

Commuting in ugly weather is really no big deal. Just dress for it and ride. However, joy rides for us retirees lose their luster in the windfograincloudycoldsonofabitch weather patterns. There is an event type ride on Sunday that has a chance of success, and maybe, just maybe, there will be something between now and then.  If not, there will be other days to ride.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Five Boroughs Bike in New York City

The decision was made a few months ago that this years Five Boroughs bike would also include a couple of free days to see New York.  Those who tour on bikes know that the best parts of places we visit are those that are not the popular places.   For example Times Square was a crazy place to be but walking over the Williamsburg Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn was really something tourists don't normally do.

The amount of people in Times Square seemed infinite

Walking over the Williamsburg Bridge from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn 

We visited the Tenement Museum in the Lower East side and had lunch at a very interesting Himalayan joint, before walking over the bridge to Brooklyn.  The Williamsburg district is one of the places where the blue collar workers of Manhattan live.  Live outdoor racquetball and soccer games were the norm.  Hundreds of vendors from every corner of the world, and very eclectic looking flats decorated with the renters flair for art.

 This was with a 40x zoom from two block away and seven stories below.

Williamsburg vendors hawking under the El

 Public transportation and walking were the only means of getting around on this trip. A couple of the subway stations were really interesting in that the art deco was crumbling, but still very much evident.

Chambers St. stop in Manhatten

Another of the places where tourist don't normally visit is the Bowery District.  We all know of it from movies, but how many people make it a point to walk around the place.  We also looked around the Five Points section which has recently had a spike in fame from the movie, "The Gangs of New York".
The Bowery Courthouse

Still there are some things you just gotta see. Like the theater below where the Beatles made their American debut and Central Park.  Everyone goes there and on a nice day, all at the same time.

Athletic fields of Central Park

Common area.  Lots of Frisbee, Thai Chi, and other low key games.

We got a late start from the hotel to the Ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan for the ride on Sunday. The boats ran every 30 minutes and we had to wait for the second one once we got in line there were so many bikes in queue.  Parking the car and getting every thing together, riding the bikes the quarter mile to the terminal and all the waiting was so hectic that I forgot the camera in the car.  Photos of previous Five Boroughs Rides can be viewed  here   here  and here.

We got word that there were some really bad backups in a couple of spots because of road construction, so a few of us combined our knowledge of the city and detoured off the route ending up cutting the ride short. A common theme among bicycle riders is that it's not the destination, it's the journey. We never made our destination, but and still experienced a great journey.