Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Commute is a Commute

Short cut behind the super market. 

I looked at the sticker on my car windshield that has my oil change information.  I last had it done on Dec 4, 2011 and the sticker gave my the mileage.  I have driven just over 800 miles since that date.  Everything else has been by bike.  I have been asked where I get my gas and how much I pay.  I can only tell them where I get gas and really don't pay any attention to the price.  Even if I did I would be hard pressed to remember what it was the last time I filled up.  When I worked, it was a 30 mile drive to the park and ride.  I would bike the remaining 10 miles to the office.  On average I would put around 700 miles a week on the car and was always bitching about the price of gas. 

Commuting to work has been replaced by commuting to play.   Now the commute is to play early morning tennis twice a week.  I also use the bike to get to the gym, go shopping or pretty much anything else within five or six miles from home.  

Early morning tennis commute in Fairhaven, MA.  

Two mild winters have allowed me to bike year round since June of 2010 which put a nice dent in my gasoline bill.   That makes me feel really good when I'm asked the price of gas and I say.  "I have no idea, I'm not a user".  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Arrows Of Different Colors.

Lots of arrows mapping routes for different bike groups.

Click any photo for big.  Click again for bigger. 

Distance 40 miles
Ave Speed 12.4

Local blogger Paul  posted his Thursday night ride and his twenty one mile loop took us to some nice areas in Dartmouth MA.  that none of us had biked, but we all knew.  Adding the distance from my house, and a loop around Fort Rodman in New Bedford to his mapped ride, gave us exactly 40 miles.

Pit Stop

Itcheecoo Park.   You may know the song if not the place. 

Passing the torch so to speak to the younger generation

A famous catcher once said.  "When you come to a fork in the road take it

Pig farm in Dartmouth MA. 

Most of the ride was in the country which pretty much gave us the roads to ourselves.  On the return we decided to add a few more miles and go to the south end of New Bedford which is a peninsula.  Fort Rodman is located at tip and has been converted into a sewer treatment plant/family beach and park.  It was crowded with locals picnicking and swimming.   I need to mention that the river is also a super-fund clean up sight loaded with pcb (s).
An engineering marvel 

The section in Dartmouth was arrowed by at least three different groups.   We followed the two newest, The Narragansett Bay Wheelmen's red arrows and some other organizations green arrows.  They took us on the same route.

We hammered for a while but not as much as usual.  It was more of a social ride where we stopped for lunch and later for ice cream.

In two weeks we will be on tour riding the Erie Canal.   We are ready.

Lunch Break

Some are just comfortable on a bike. 

Little River Bridge in Darmouth Ma.  Above and below

Padanaram Harbor

 Padanaram Bridge

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Can I Ask A Question?

Distance 20 Miles
max speed 29.7
Ave Speed 15 MPH
Time 1:22

I figured I could get a ride in and still catch the second half of the Spain/France match.   During the ride I ran into local MS ride.   I struck up the usual conversation with a guy.  Where you from?  How far you riding today?   We were riding together when out of nowhere he said.  "Can I ask you a question".   Here it comes  I realized.
"Where is your helmet".
"I don't own one" I responded
He gave the same old stale response by telling me of a friend who fell and if he didn't have a helmet he would have been dead.
"How do you know that"  I asked.
"By the dent in the helmet".  he said.
"Of course.  The dent".    "See you around"

As I rode off one of the riders past me at a pretty good clip.  He was taking his lane when this guy in a car passes me and rides right up to this guys back wheel.  "WATCH YOUR BACK"   I yelled.  The biker could not hear me so I turned on the after burners.  As I caught the car I yelled through his open window.   "What the fuck is your problem.
"The guy is riding in the middle of the road"  he said.

I responded,  "Why don't you just go around and leave him alone".  

The car eventually did that and the biker was oblivious to all the drama going on behind him.

Otherwise it was a pretty good ride.

BTW   France lost 2-0.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ride Into the Sunset

Click any photo for big. Click again for bigger

Distance 28 Miles
max speed 34 mph
Ave speed  13mph
pedal time 2:05

Ten Speed Spoke bike shop in Newport R.I. sponsors a really nice ride around the island annually on the Thursday closest to the Solstice.   They provide pre-ride fruit and drinks and post ride pizza, water, soda, and this year ale.  You got a ticket for two drinks after signing the waver with the ride rules.

The temperature moderated from the 96F as we got closer to the ocean.  By the time the ride started it was a comfortable 85ish with low humidity.

The ride began downtown Newport on the famed Thames St.  That's where all the America's Cup people rubbed elbows.   It took us along the harbor to ten mile drive.   We rode through the mansion district and past the tennis hall of fame property.  The police escort left us as we turned on Memorial Drive for the steep downhill fall taking us to First Beach.   Up a long climb to Purgatory Chasm followed by another steep down hill to Second Beach.
10 mile drive.  Newport R.I.

Ocean Drive  Newport R.I. 

Bellview Ave.  Newport. R.I.  

International Tennis Hall of Fame

Screaming down Memorial Dr. to First Beach. 

Approaching Purgatory Chasm

Second Beach

We lost Steve way back on 10 mile drive and he decided to turn back at first beach.  He said he didn't know the route and was very disappointed when I reminded him that the route was marked with green directional arrows painted on the surface.

Two of us coasted along the Indian Road for a couple of miles before u-turning for the return trip.  We got back to the shop with plenty of time to mingle, talk bikes, drink beer and eat pizza.

Riding easy on Indian Rd. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tennis Night

Bikers have the roads to themselves.

I am a regular in the Monday/Wednesday morning tennis group.  Occasionally I get asked to sub in one of the evening groups.     US Rt 6 takes all the traffic leaving the side streets to us bikers.  There is also an enclosed walking path leading to the Middle School that I usually have to myself.

It's about a three mile ride each way which is just about right for the ride home when one is tired and sweaty.

Path to school yard

Wednesday night tennis

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sucks To Be Last

Beginning the ride together

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

Distance  46 miles\
max speed 29 mph
ave speed  14 mph
Time in saddle 3:18

Paul always talks about his group and how fast they ride.  He doesn't like it but keeps up.  We were originally going to have 7 of us on this 50 mile ride to Buzzards Bay, in Massachusetts.  Three bagged out so four of us set off on what was supposed to be a mild ride.   Brandon, Dave and I have been riding regularly the past few weeks.  We have done lots of hill work and built up our skills enough that we can clip along at a really good pace.

The four of us stayed together for the first few miles of this ride, but once we began to loosen up, we started to ride at our own comfortable speed.  Someone is always way out front in many small group rides, someone is in the middle and someone lags.   If you ride you know that as long as there is someone behind you, it doesn't matter how far ahead anyone else is.   But if your the one who falls behind, that really sucks.  Paul got that honor today and we don't think he liked it very much.

Every time we ride the lead rider eventually stops and waits for the second rider, who waits for the next and so on till we all are together again.   None of us will ever drop another rider in our group for the day.   We should have told Paul this before we set off, but we didn't have any idea how much our training had improved us.

At around mile 18 we stopped and looked back for Paul. Dave said, "I saw him a couple of miles back." We waited, and waited until Brandon our young CAT 2 rider doubled back to find him. We started to worry that something had happened to his bike, a flat or chain failure.  Paul thought we took a side road to a coffee shop and went there.   Brandon found him and led him back to our group.

We took a break for a light lunch and coffee at mile 24 of our ride in Buzzards Bay. We rode on the Cape Cod Canal MUP for a couple of miles before the return leg of the ride.

amidnightrider sends his greeting. 

Lunch at Dunkin Donuts in Buzzards Bay,  MA. 

There seemed to be a theme to today's ride. 

 On the return leg we spread out again with the distance between each of us gradually increasing over an 8 mile sprint.  We gathered together again and rode the final 17 miles home together.

The point.  We start together and end together.  In between,  it's dog eat dog.

Paul hasn't been riding and it showed in spades today.  We will keep inviting him and we all know that within two or three weeks he will be right with us and may move into third place behind Brandon and me.

Ending the ride together

P.S.  It also sucks to have your boat break down in the fast moving waters of the Canal

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hills, Hills and More Hills.

Click any photo for big.  Click again for bigger. 

Distance 42.5 Miles
Max Speed , 30.5 MPH
Ave Speed 13.7 MPH
Time Peddaling,  3:04

Three of us get together every weekend for a ride.  These compliment our weekday rides with others or those we do solo.   I am always asked to plan the route and two things  always happen.   Lots of hills and we don't end up where we are supposed to be quite often.

Today we got to a spot and I said, even though the arrows tell us to go right, I know we should go left.  "It's a different route"  I said.  We were riding along with Brandon way out in front, Dave way behind and me the meat of a bicycle sandwich. Somewhere in the middle.  Twenty miles, give or take, into the ride two guys in orange pull up along side of me and say howdy as they pass,   I look back to see where Dave is and see another rider in blue really pushing up the hill we are climbing.   The first orange guy pushes hard to catch Brandon and passes him.  The second guy in orange can't quite catch him.  Blue man passes me and I see that he used up everything to catch us.

Brandon is a CAT 2 rider, which means that on flat terrain he rides along around 24-26 MPH.  After the first guy passed him he became aware of the other.  He picked up the pace just enough to keep orange 2 and blue man from making any progress.   Bike riders often do things like than and we can't help ourselves.  We are like dogs who have the instinct to chase.  If we see someone ahead we have to catch them.  If we become aware of someone chasing us, we have to speed up to prevent them from passing.

 I ride around 22 on the flats and Dave around 20.  Obviously when we ride together there is considerable space between us.   At times during the ride, Brandon slows for me to catch up and we both slow a bit for Dave.  We ride together bantering back and forth a bit but soon enough the gaps open up again.   We all know and are comfortable with our abilities and enjoy riding together.

After our little encounter the road arrows directed us to turn off that hilly road and begin our loop back home.  That's where we stopped for me to look at the map.
"You know that place a few mile back when I said it's a different route?  I was wrong. We should have taken a right there".

"I'm not riding back there"  said Brandon.

"We can take it to the bank you will get us lost" said Dave.

I responded,  "Not to worry, follow me".

Our intention was a 25 mile loop. We did 42.  No problem.

Lunch Break at Dunkin Donuts.

Dave, our designated helmet wearer. 

Brandon and Dave 

There is usually a gap between us when we ride.  Especially when Dave is doing Pilates 

Refilling the water bottles

Town line

Brandon though the signs was "ill"  as he says it. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Another Sunday 50 Mile Ride

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

Those 30 mile rides don't seem to cut it any more.  We need to approach or exceed 50 to feel like we got something accomplished.

Only two of us managed to sync up our time to ride this week.  Last week Brandon was under the weather, this week Dave had some work to finish.  The down side of self employment I suppose.

Again we chose a marked route of the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen.  During the ride Brandon and I decided not to do the 50 miles because it was getting late.   We made so many wrong turns that we ended up doing 50 miles any how.  Just not the same 50 the Wheelmen arrowed.

We had the roads to ourselves again for the most part.  A couple of times the route took us to very busy main routes but the Sunday traffic is not bad at all.

This is my usualy view when riding with younger riders.  They are waaay off in the distance.

Cranberry bog in Carver Ma. 

The pipe siphons water into the pump house and from there it's piped across the road to the cranberry bog. 

We so some talking on the ride but Brandon is more of a listener. 

He is an old softie though.  Here he rescues a turtle trying to cross the road. We alway hope we place her where he wants to go and not back to where she started

Safe and sound on the ground and off the road.