Friday, May 31, 2013

One Less Car

I was celebrating my birthday in Santa Monica and came across a pony tailed gentleman who had set up his sidewalk shop.  It was a couple of banquet type folding tables with dozens of bumper stickers.  Not all for car bumpers mind you, but I'm sure you get the drift.   I commented on his accent and picked him as a northeasterner.  I guessed New Jersey, he complimented me on my ear and said close enough.  He was from Philadelphia.    I told him why I was in Santa Monica when he wished me a happy birthday and told me to pick a sticker as a gift.  I chose "One Less Car" and it has been proudly displayed on my commuter bike for three years.  (almost).

He offered his hand and asked my name.
"John Sullivan", I said.
"A pleasure to meet you John and happy birthday.  I'm Jerry Rubin".
That was very cool.   By the way. During that trip I had spoken to Whitey Bulger on the pier and had no idea who he was till he was arrested and I saw his image on TV.

My California friend Jerry peace activist Rubin.  His "sticker table" can be seen in the background. 

Today's ride was over the New Bedford/Fairhaven bridge for a late afternoon appointment. While traversing the bridge just after traffic had resumed following an opening, it was necessary to cross the two lanes in order to get to the opposite sidewalk, because of construction.   Many riders might stop, dismount and wait out the heavy slow moving traffic to get across.  I gave that some thought, but looking back over my shoulder, I saw an opening and veered into the middle of the road.  I signaled the oncoming traffic that I wanted to turn left across their lane and the second car waved me on.  That kind of courtesy I found is very common around here when a bike rider makes eye contact and lets his intentions be known.

The one thing that struck me was that every car,  I'll say again, every car had one person.  I'm sure there were a few who were upset at the traffic.  The traffic that they were causing by the way.  I was on my bike, on the sidewalk, which is the accepted and preferred way to cross the bridge by bike, and was the fastest moving transport on the bridge.  I am reading a book that I recommend for anyone who is interested in how the country has deteriorated by being a car oriented society.   "The Geography of Nowhere" by James Howard Kunstler.
The Geography of Nowhere traces America's evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots. 
In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern auto suburb in all its ghastliness. The Geography of Nowhere tallies up the huge economic, social, and spiritual costs that America is paying for its car-crazed lifestyle. It is also a wake-up call for citizens to reinvent the places where we live and work, to build communities that are once again worthy of our affection. Kunstler proposes that by reviving civic art and civic life, we will rediscover public virtue and a new vision of the common good. "The future will require us to build better places," Kunstler says, "or the future will belong to other people in other societies."
As I entered the city of New Bedford, looking at all the traffic and people in such a hurry to get to a stoplight, I looked down at sticker on my bike tube, smiled and thought.  Thank you for my birthday present, Jerry Rubin.   "One less car"

Smooth move. 

Pre automobile downtown arcitecture

A friends place

Wyland location #99 in New Bedford Ma. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Same Ting Like Lassss Time.

The title is written to show how it sounds in the local dialect.   The Fairhaven to Wareham ride solo this time.  I'm still working out the new Garmin bike computer.  It seems I need to manually pause the thing when I stop riding, otherwise the stats are way off.

  The temperature hovered around the 90 degree mark but was not a problem on the bike. It certainly didn't feel hot.   There is really nothing new to say about this ride because it's a regular route and pretty much everything about the route has been blogged.

I am posting the Garmin link for those in the local bike community who may want to use the route for one of their own rides.  It's a nice rural, very low traffic ride.  From my lunch spot in Wareham center it's another easy 6 or 7 miles to the Cape Cod Canal.  When I'm in a little better shape, I'll Garmin that ride on this blog.  Stay tuned.  For now though click   HERE     for today's ride.

There is a recovery of a very large cranberry bog in progress.  It seems the bottom dropped out of the business for a few years but all indications are that the crop is once again very profitable around theses here parts.

Click any photo for big. Click again for bigger.  (as always)

There is a very old sign in Rochester, Ma center that probably dates back to the 40's or 50's.  It's pretty unique and also well maintained by the town.  It's a milage and direction to various cities and towns on what once was the main route before the super highways.   Water for the horses or radiators was also available. Not now though.  The pump is locked

Rest stop at the Rochester Ma. Library. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fairhaven to Wareham Ma.

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

We left my house around noon for a ride on one of our regular routes.  Neither of us had any desire to push today so we kept this as a holiday stroll so to speak.  We arrived at the annual Mattapoisett boat race just as things were winding down.  All the rowers were done and everyone was packing up.  This is an event where the contestants have to make their own boats and the race requires shallow water and portages over the 15 mile course.

We got to Wareham center in decent time and decided not to continue on to Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal.   Lunch at the old RR depot followed by a slow ride home.

Fishing along the RR tracks in Wareham Ma. 

All in all just a nice day riding our bikes.  I picked up my new Garmin at REI yesterday. Click the link below to see what my new toy does.
Garmin link to today's ride

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When That Foghorn Blows, She Will Be Coming Home.

Click any photo for big.  Click again for bigger. 

The day began with a short ride to the fitness center and after the workout I decided to ride to the south end of New Bedford, Ma. to one of my regular morning coffee stops.  It's around seven miles from my home but it's flat and bike friendly.

Most of the churches in town are either closed or close to it with the decline in religion in the area.  This building has been transformed into a wonderful home for a lucky family.

The humidity was up there and the sun had not yet burned off the fog.  Last week I rued the fact that I did not have my camera on an early morning ride.  I now make sure to keep it in my handlebar bag because one never knows when a photo opportunity will present itself.  A couple of nautical sights caught my eye and I tried some different techniques to get the best shots.

Boats under repair at Popes Island facility.

 Trawler heading out to sea for a long trip

Gulls sunning on the pier near Davy's Locker in New Bedford, Ma.

This hurricane barrier will soon be turned into a bike path by the city of New Bedford, MA

Freddy of the New Bedford Bike Committee will soon have his sail boat launched. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Ride With The Wheelmen

The number of riders who showed up for this 16/25/50 Narragansett Bay Wheelmen ride looked to be around the hundred mark.  The first group of 19+ MPH average speed riders was the largest, followed by the 15+mph.  The rest of us filled in at the back of the pack.

My riding companion for the day.  We got very lost.

I decided to stay with a woman who was on her first NBW ride and opted to take her on the 26 mile option.  While we were yakking away, we missed an arrowed turn in Dighton.  We only had to backtrack a mile to find the red arrows for this ride.  As we were following I couldn't shake the feeling that something was amiss.   Why didn't the faster riders doing the 50 miler start to overtake us.  The feeling intensified as were were riding through Somerset, MA.   I kept thinking that we shouldn't be in Somerset but in Swansea.   We decided to trust the red arrows and carry on.  I knew the area somewhat and my sense of direction (which is pretty good),  confirmed that we were heading toward Swansea.   Up, up, up some hills till we finally saw some of the hammerheads who rode their bikes to the start point returning home.  Then we saw more, and more and I'm thinking, gee, a lot of people rode their bike to the lot.  Finally I asked one guy "is this the way to the bike shop".   He pointed emphatically that I needed to turn around. 

My riding partners twice pulled out her phone and was going to call family to come and pick her up.  I convinced her that we were close and only had to back track a couple of miles to get to the finish line.  That's when I saw the ORANGE arrows.   We had been following red and somehow stumbled our way back to the arrowed route.  We finished our 26 mile ride in just over 34 miles.   Not to bad for being off course by a whole city.   It all worked out as it always does on a bike.  I did have to convince our first time rider that getting lost should not be traumatic, it's an adventure.

We came across this giant Tulip Tree and are saddened to see a piece of US history lost. 
Read about this tree planted by a signer of the Declarations of Independence HERE

I shouldn't have been able to take this photo if it wasn't  for the fact that that we were so far off course.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bike Day in Fairhaven

A chilly start but things worked out fine for the Fairhaven Bike Committee's ride.  Around 75 people showed for the event and were met at the finish with some free schwag.  Bike bells, Velcro ankle straps, water, nutrition bars and a t-shirt.  Not a bad bounty just for riding your bike.  Pumpkin Head Ted provided some cool jazz entertaining the masses.

Lots of families and a few spandex clad roadies took the plunge of a 7 or 25 mile ride.  I opted out of this ride for the 50 mile Narragansett Bay Wheelmen ride tomorrow.  No schwag but lots of miles.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ride To Work Day In New Bedford.

I don't work but had lots to do.   The day started with a bike ride to the fitness center.  After a good shoulders workout I headed over the river into New Bedford to have coffee at Center Cafe on Brock Ave.  To my surprise a friend who lives in Seattle was visiting with his daughter and was also at the cafe.  It ended up as a nice reunion for us.  Back to Fairhaven for lunch with Dave before returning to New Bedford for a dentist appointment.   The total bike was just under 30 miles.  Not a bad bike to work day for a retiree.  Not bad at all.

Harpo and his daughter. Both from Seattle.  

My home now has the no vacancy sign on display since we opened up to guests.  Fabio from Milan is staying with his friend Kate from Pittsburgh while they are getting their newly purchased sail boat ready.  Also our friend Gunna   (goon'ah) from Norway is with us for a few days.  Norwegian cheese and chocolates have been topping off our dinners of great Italian pizza and avocado and cheese sandwiches on fresh bread.  Washed down with good wine of course.

Fabio from Milan working on his new boat

Sue and Gunna checking out the new boat with Kate. 

Lots of different sights on the ride today and of course there are always good photos of the activity around the New Bedford/Fairhaven bridge.

 Me and the bike stopped for lunch at Hungry Heroes.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mattapoisett Village

\The Village sits on the south coast of Massachusetts.   It's a coastal community where one, if so inclined, can board a small power boat and travel across the bay to Falmouth for breakfast or lunch.   Martha's Vineyard can be seen from the harbor and beaches and Boston is a stressful one hour drive north.

Mattapoisett is a quiet little town of  6,000 and was settled in 1750.  There are some old places to see in this quiet bike friendly hamlet.   The sun was shining this afternoon and all my chores around the house were done by noon.   A nice time for a short bike ride.

Part of the ride is on the Phoenix Bike trail in Fairhaven but most of it was through the side streets of Mattapoisett.  Large waterfront and water view homes make this ride a little different from the rural rides we usually take.

Bike trail in Fairhaven

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Evening Ride

It was the best day of the season to date.  High 70's, no wind and sunny skies. The ride began around 5:30 just as the temps were dropping.  It was still nice, but it was also long sleeve weather.  The route of choice was the back roads of Fairhaven, Acushnet, Rochester and Mattapoisett.  Twenty miles of low traffic flat riding.

Spring has arrived and is showing off her colors.  The grass is green, the flowers are in bloom and the trees are budding.  Not only does spring require twice weekly grass cutting, but also gutter cleaning.  Those buds we have been waiting for weeks to sprout bring a cloud to fill the silver lining.  Not a big deal, just saying.

A great weekend riding the five boroughs of New York City has awakened the desire for another road trip.  This one will be in Maine sometime in June.  It will be in the Portland, Freeport area where I rode over the Thanksgiving weekend titled Friday Afternoon Ride in the State of Maine.  Three of us will make the trek and surely will turn it into another great biking weekend.