Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rivergreenway Ramble

Alex and I rode part of the Fort Wayne Rivergreenway today. The St. Joseph River from the north meets the St. Marys River from the south to form the Maumee River in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Parks Department built the Rivergreenway paths along all three rivers in Fort Wayne.

Here's the north end just south of Johnny Appleseed Park.

This is a floodwall that was built along the St. Joseph River. The Rivergreenway follows along the top of the floodwall for many miles.

This is Historic Fort Wayne, a replica of the fifth and final fort at Fort Wayne. I worked here as a soldier in the summers of 1980 and '81 while I was in college.

Looking across the St. Joe River, Don Hall's Gas House (a restaurant) has a deck right on the river. The restaurant is located just north of where the original fifth fort was located, and is next to the location of a former basin on the Wabash and Erie Canal. The basin was essentially a parking lot for canal boats where goods were loaded and unloaded.

Across Spy Run Avenue from the fort, I took a photo of downtown.

The temperature got up into the low 80's today - a beautiful day to get out on the bikes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bike to Work Week complete

Well, my Bike to Work Week is complete, having ridden 4 out of 5 work days, covering 158.8 miles total just from my commuting. I figure I saved 9.9 gallons of gas not having driven my truck those 4 days. That is 9.9 gallons of gas not burned which means 188.6 lbs of carbon dioxide not released into the air.

I'd like to personally prevent releasing a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere this year by commuting which will mean 44 more days of riding my bike to work. That's a little over 1700 miles, which, added to my current 1218 miles accumulated since Jan. 1 will pretty much meet my goal of 3000 miles for the year. That doesn't include other rides in the evenings or on weekends, since I'm not substituting miles driven. So, if I can prevent releasing a ton of CO2 into the air from commuting alone this year, I will very easily smash my goal of 3000 miles for 2009.

I've already ridden to work several times this year, but no more than twice in one week. I won't count those trips. My next goal is commuting 5 days in one week. That won't happen for at least two weeks, since next week is only a 3 day week for me. Alex and I are going to Wisconsin to go biking on some of the rail-trails there next Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bike to Work Week for me

"Sunrise Over Front Wheel" taken Wednesday morning at 6:45 am, just north of the Allen-DeKalb county line.

I have been enjoying my Bike to Work Week this week. The mornings for the last two days started in the mid 40's warming to 80 for my commute home, with not a cloud in the sky since Monday. Outrageously nice weather for riding. I've been wearing my heavy long sleeved jersey with my rain coat over the top, which is warm enough but not so warm that I'm covered in sweat by the time I get to work.

This is my bike locker, a storage closet I share with another office. The only thing I claim in this closet is my bike. We pay half the rent for the closet - crap's going to start disappearing.

But it won't start disappearing until I have to drive to work again, and judging from the forecast, it could be quite some time away. I hope the weather is good for all of you folks out there.

Happy Riding!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Work to Bike Week

We're hoping this is the last frost for the season. This is what I saw when I left this morning at 6 am on my commute. My toes were plenty cold by the time I got to work (1 1/2 hrs later).

I know that last week was "Bike to Work Week", but due to my work schedule last week I was unable to ride to work at all. Fortunately, I treated myself to several evenings of bike therapy (nice long rides) ending at dusk. I did feel especially bad on Friday, but alas, I have vowed to ride 4 out of 5 days to work this week. Tomorrow (Tues.) is the only day I can't ride to work.

Last week for me was "Work to Bike Week", this week is my "Bike to Work Week".

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May Madness

Alex (above) and I rode the May Madness bike ride today. It started out cool (40 deg) and warmed up to a balmy 55 by the time I got back. She rode the 14 mile route and I rode the 54 mile route (which was actually 59 miles).

I discovered something cool. If you like a particular car, have someone take your picture while you are standing next to it with your bike. Then, when other people see the photo, they ask, "wow, nice car, is that yours?" If you don't want to lie, make sure at least a little of your car is in the photo, or change the subject right away. Of course, it helps to not tell people about this trick and then show the photo.

I don't claim to be particularly smart.

Despite the wind and the hills, I managed to average 15 mph, which is good for me. The last 5 miles was directly into the headwind with roller coaster hills, so I was especially glad to see the water tower which was next to the school where we started.
I saw this Terra Trike on the way, complete with its own windsock. It's a great idea for pilots that want to ditch their planes on the road in front of you. Seriously though, these trikes sit so low to the ground you need to have something stick up so cars and trucks can see you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Van Zile Bridge

I thought this was a nice scene on my ride tonight. It's on the Van Zile Bridge over the St. Joe River. Most of the trees are fully leaved out, and the weather is consistently in the 60's for high temps. It got up to almost 70 today and tonight was a great night to be out on the bike.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Green grass of home.

Took this photo last night on a 22 mile ride. It's great to see green grass again. It's growing like crazy. I'm still thinking about getting a herd of goats to graze the yard, if only Alex would be a little more willing.

The weather here lately has been great for biking, especially when it's not raining and windy. The soreness from the TOSRV is almost gone now. Thinking about a 54 miler this weekend in Roanoke (Indiana).

Having accomplished the TOSRV is a great feeling and has added to my enjoyment of biking this spring. Looking forward to more rides and more centuries this year.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The start of my first Tour of the Scioto River Valley - a ride from Columbus to Portsmouth, Ohio. First done in 1962 by a father and son, the tradition continued and grew to 3,000 riders for this year's event.

Most rides I do I meet interesting people. This year was no exception. I pedalled most the the route both ways with Ron from Pennsylvania. Ron averages around 8,000 miles a year on this and his other recumbant.

Ron is retired and will turn 72 years old this summer. I consider myself to be fit and stronger than the average rider, and I had to work to keep up with Ron. A pedaller with itchy feet, Ron never waited at the food stops long, but he always waited for me to show before he left. Being a seasoned TOSRV'er, Ron was a huge help to me telling me about the route, and most importantly, telling me to eat at the Methodist Church in Portsmouth Saturday night. That was the best meal I've had in a long time.

Here's a view near the south end of Columbus, ready to head for the country.

A good bit of the route followed alongside a canal. What a bonus for me! This is the Ohio & Erie Canal which stretched from Portsmouth to Cleveland.

Pace lines (or draft lines I don't know which) were the way most people rode the route. Their 20 mph suction was intoxicating. I indulged in the splendor of three such groups for short periods, but found riding solitary or with Ron was a better way of watching the scenery. Being politically conscious, I did not want to offend any riders by my lack of pace line etiquette. This seemed to be the major item of discussion for many folks at the food stops.

I think pace lines are fantastic and I occasionally like riding with other riders in a line. But what is the point of a tour if I'm always looking for the wheel in front of me? I can do that at home.

The halfway food stop at Chillicothe was fantastic! Actually, all the food stops were fantastic. I refuse to weigh myself because I'm pretty sure I gained weight on this ride.

I saw this bike in Chillicothe and had to take a picture of it. I saw it many miles down the road being ridden by an elderly fellow with one arm. Going into a 25 mph headwind. I chatted briefly with him as we rode. He was having a great time. For the short time I rode with him, other bikers sped by with their thumbs up, or said "way to go", or "good job". I believe they were inspired by this fellow, and at first I felt sorry for him. But then I realized he's riding because he could and because he enjoyed it. The same reason why I rode. No need for pity.

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes!

Downtown Chilli

Between Chillicothe and Waverly City were many hills. None of them were particularly large (remember, I'm from northern Indiana), but with a 20 - 25 mph headwind, they grew old. Waiting for us at the Waverly food stop, about 75 miles from Columbus, was this set of stairs leading to the food and water. I didn't mind this hill.

The surrounding territory both north and south of Waverly City was spectacular.

Finally, after 105 miles, Portsmouth and the Ohio River. Portsmouth literally opened its arms to all of us bikers, some of us inconsiderate and rude, but Portsmouth took us anyway. Signs along the route in Portsmouth advertized food at area restaurants and most churches served supper as well. Ron and I ate at the Methodist church just east of the Portsmouth High gym where we stayed the night. There were several bands playing outside across the city and it was a great atmosphere being welcomed into Portsmouth.

The room for the night.

These murals are worth the trip to Portsmouth alone. I don't know how many there are, but there must be at least twenty different floodwall murals, each being a great work of art.

Here's a Portsmouth working bike.

The start of day two began at Crispie Creme Donut Shop. These folks provided free doughnuts and coffee. These carefully crafted doughnuts were truly worthy of being placed alongside the murals as great works of art.

On the way back I caught this canal lock. Sorry for the picture quality - it was foggy and my camera lense was slightly fogged up also.

This guy played David Brubeck and Vince Guaraldi. He played some cheesy stuff too, but he knew how to play good jazz. In the glare on top of the bag that held the speaker was his web address. I thought it was, but I must have it wrong.

I had a great time on this ride. I just wish it wasn't on Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

TOSRV Done, I made it.

215 miles in two days, 3 1/2 hour drive home. I'm going to bed - will post more tomorrow.
Sweet dreams.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Back in Action

After several weeks, the Tri Cross is back on the road. It's ordeal started with a broken rear rim, and ended with two new wheels. I built the front wheel myself and ordered the rear wheel from Peter White Cycles. If you are ever depressed and need someone to talk to, call these people. They were extremely helpful, friendly, and built me a wheel and sent it to me in time for the Tour of the Scioto River Valley coming up Saturday and Sunday.

I put Velocity Dyad rims on because they are supposed to be strong. I think these will be good for commuting on rough roads and gravel also.

I debated for a long time whether to ride the Tri Cross or the Trek. I decided to commit to riding the Tri Cross (henceforth the rim) and after riding on the new wheels tonight I made the right choice. The Tri Cross is not as fast as the Trek, but it is much more comfortable. And since the TOSRV is 200 miles, I'm going to want some comfort. I'll reserve the Trek for rides of 100 miles or less.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday Ride

Here's a nice barn along old State Road 3 I saw on my ride yesterday afternoon. It's an old barn with a new foundation, siding, and windows. Most barns in this area didn't have windows, and I suspect this one didn't have windows originally either. Most barns like this were used for storing hay and straw for dairy cows and a few horses. I'll bet this is used for storing equipment. There are big doors on the opposite side, but my camera died before I could take any more photos.

I've been riding fairly consistently since Jan. 1 (at least 2-3 times per week), but my longest ride before yesterday was 56 miles. I did 71 miles yesterday and felt amazingly good, but I am concerned how I'll feel this Sunday, the second day of the Tour of the Scioto River Valley in Ohio. I rode northwest of Fort Wayne into the hills for most of the route, but did feel really tired when I got home. The TOSRV route is supposed to be flat with a few gentle hills. I'm looking forward to going and seeing all the people.

Bike wise, I'm still confined to the Trek for riding (except for my Schwinn fixed gear, which I ride only short distances). I ordered a rim for my Specialized Tri Cross only to realize the hub from my original wheel had too few holes.

So I ordered a new hub. The new hub was for a front wheel, not the rear wheel like I needed. So I ordered a complete wheel from Peter White Cycles, hub spokes and all and making sure to tell them I needed a REAR wheel.

I went ahead and bought the front hub anyway, since I already bought the rim a couple of weeks earlier. I'll build the front wheel tonight or tomorrow night, then when my new rear wheel arrives, I'll have a completely new set for the Tri Cross.

One thing I like about the Tri Cross is it is that it's very comfortable to ride long distances. My hands are still sore from riding the Trek yesterday and I believe it's from the thin, relatively non-spongy tape I put on. I don't wear cycling gloves, so I can't blame them. Also the Trek is much more upright so that much of my weight is borne by my hands and arms.

I couldn't complain about the weather though - 68 degrees, full sun and no wind!