Friday, November 30, 2012

Behind the Scenes at the Salvation Army

It's a 5 mile bike commute to the Salvation Army headquarters in New Bedford, Ma where my job has me driving the bell ringers to their assigned stores.  This on the new Single Speed I bought last weekend in Maine.

A look behind the scenes could be of interest to some.

We all meet up in the basement of the building.  Outside there is always a line of people waiting to apply for assistance.  They have to go through quite a bit to prove they are poor with documents, IDs and for some, recommendations form other aid organizations.    The bell ringers are the ones who go out and raise most of the money so the Salvation Army can provide those families standing in line a chance to have a better Christmas for them and their kids.

Showing the love

A candid shot

Waiting for their assignment.

Bell Ringer gathering.

The Major prepping the kettles.

On the ride home I took a detour that brought me to the shipyard district for a look a shipyards in the winter.

Block Island, R.I. ferry

In dry dock for the winter

Provincetown, MA  Whale Watching Fleet

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cold Toes

It began to drizzle as the ride began.  It continued off an on for most of the ride.  The temperature hovered around the 43F mark.  The wind added it's two cents and don't forget to add the rolling hills.  If it were'nt for those things, the ride would have been perfect.

Climbing the hills dressed for the cold was a sweaty ride. Add a little light rain to the mix made for a wet body.  Now it was time to descend and a choice had to be made.  On the downhill the wind made it very cold once the speed hit 24 MPH or so.  Breaking could eliminate the cold but that would make more work climbing the next roller.  Accepting the cold and letting loose on the downhill got me up to around 35-38 MPH and it was really cold, but I could coast part way up the next roller.  I opted for the cold and more coasting uphill. That went on for 8 mile then things settled down as the road leveled. The last 17 miles had a couple of easy climbs but all in all it was relatively flat.  Maine flat, not Cape Cod flat.

Actually today was one of those rides that was difficult but the type your glad you did once it's complete.   It began with eight miles of rolling hills traversing Pleasant Hill Rd from Freeport to Brunswick.   Yesterday at the end of Pleasant hill the ride continued through Bowdoin College into downtown Brunswick.  Today the ride turned away from downtown and looped back along Casco Bay.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Afternoon Ride in the State of Maine

We arrived at the hotel in Freeport Maine and were told our room would not be ready for another three hours.  Wifey and I were fine with that and took the short walk to LL Bean's Outlet store. It took me all of three minutes to realize I wanted no part of that.  I walked back to the hotel, unpacked my bike, got dressed in lobby men's room and was ready to go.  The desk clerk was a bike rider and gave me a printout of the route to Brunswick that took me through the campus of Bowdoin (bow din) College.

The hills caught me off guard and it took a few good ones before I settled down and accepted this is the way it's going to be.  Naturally I got off track in Brunswick.  I did not get to loop around back to Freeport but instead was forced to back track using the rolling hills.

When I tired a couple of times I began to mash up the hills and that killed my legs forcing me to stop.  After a brief rest and a drink I was able to continue up the hills without a problem.

Tomorrow, Saturday, will offer another opportunity to get some more miles in the state of Maine.

Downtown Brunswick, ME.

Bowdoin College

The smooth ride back to the hotel. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cool but not yet cold

 The early morning commutes are beginning to be chilly.  A medium jacket, hat and gloves are still good enough to keep the ride comfortable.  My commute is at the tail end of the rush hour which keeps the ride mostly civilized.  There has been no head banging with motorists and everyone is sharing the road and getting along.  Maybe we have forged an alliance finally. 

The ride begins off road along the salt marshes.  That stretch ends abruptly and soon enough I'm in the middle of construction. 

Once through the construction the commute crossed over the new boulevard into the historic district of New Bedford, Ma.   That's when the rider enters the time warp and finds himself back in the whaling days among all the 18th and 19th century buildings and Honda Accords.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Freeport Me.

I will be leaving Friday for a weekend in Freeport Maine.  While the family is shopping I want to do some bike riding.  I have heard there are some pretty good routes to ride.  If the weather is decent enough, I'll find out. 

Here is the route I'll probably ride.  Or maybe this one.  Comparing the two it really looks like the same ride by different groups.   So, there we have it.  Riding in Maine.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Wind Is Our Friend. The Hills Are Our Friend

Crossing the Dighton Bridge

Four of us did one of the rides I stumbled upon this past summer. It took us through the Massachusetts towns of Somerset, Dighton, Berkley, Assonet, Freetown and Fall River. It was around a 25 mile loop with the temps in the low 50's.

 The outward part of the ride was with a pretty good wind in our face and a couple of short hills. On the return sections we had the wind at our back but we were riding through a place called the city of hills.

 While riding the hills, "10-40" was  tossed around as the title of this post. Ten MPH climbing, 40 MPH on the descents was close to the standard speed. We did our usual stop at a Dunkin Donuts for a light lunch before setting out for the hilly section of the ride. In the past this is where we encounter the angry drivers. Today wasn't bad. Only one pickup truck took offense to us being on his road. Everyone else had no problem sharing.

Lunch At Dunkin Donuts in Fall River. 

The Assonet Inn

Nearing the end of the ride crossing the new bridge spanning the Taunton River. Fall River to Somerset

Monday, November 12, 2012

Commuting Again

With the holiday season upon us my volunteer work allows me to bike commute 10 miles daily.  I drive the Salvation Army Bell Ringers to their morning stations at local businesses. It's my third year doing this and the bike commute is the best part of the day.  Just like when I was in the corporate world.

Here is a glimpse of my commute this morning.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Night Rider

The night was sultry......

With that in mind we did a short night ride.  The sky was clear.  The stars were bright and the temperature was comfortably cool.  

The ride took us around the town of Fairhaven and to the hurricane barrier that let us ride to the middle of the New Bedford Harbor.  This is a file photo where you can see the opening for ships and boats to enter the harbor.

We did have to move some debris from a section of the ride.  The tree had been sitting across the walkway for a week and we decided to fix this dilemma. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Newport R.I.

  All the photos are HERE
 None of my riding friends want to leave the comfort zone of being close to home.  It's the same route over and over and over and over again.  I was beginning to feel like the world had me locked in and was trying my best to be set free.

Today two of us took the plunge and  packed up the bikes for the short drive to  Newport R.I. Midway through this ride we both agreed that this was the most spectacular ride of the year.   We didn't go fast and we stopped a lot.  We talked to people, made killer sandwiches at the local market with fresh ingredients and two of us ate for under $10.   We rode Thames street and visited The Black Pearl, winner of the Newport Chowder Festival.  We saw Newport Yacht Club, home to The America's Cup for many years.   We stopped at the sight of the Newport Jazz festival at Fort Adams.

Leaving Fort Adams took us back to the main road leading to the famous 10 mile drive.  On this road is Hammersmith Farm (Jackie Kennedy's summer home).  We stopped and visited with some very friendly Animals.  Llamas, cows, donkey's, rams, and more.  When we did hit the ten mile Ocean Drive the views were spectacular. There were more photo ops on this short stretch than one could shake a finger at. (did I ever tell everyone that I hate analogies and avoid them like the plague).

At the end of Ocean drive is Bellview Avenue.  That's were the mansions of Newport are located.  Behind the mansions there is Cliff Walk which is another spectacular sight.  We ended the day by building a lunch at the local Stop and Shop.  I had a killer seafood salad on a Kaiser Roll and Brandon had his favorite, ham salad on the same bread.  We split an order of just fried chicken wings and washed everything down with a cold chocolate milk.  We ate our food along side the main court of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

All in all if you want to be oohed and ahhhed for a few hours, ride your bike (slowly) around Newport, Rhode Island.

The Black Pearl Chowder House.

Everyone loves llamas

One of our new animal friends


CLICK HERE to see all the photos