Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Ride Of The Year & Year Totals

A bit colder this morning and a stronger wind, but another gloriously sunny morning as Annie and I rode our last loop of the year. It has certainly been a very enjoyable and productive year cycling-wise. All of our various group rides as well as our regular morning rides; our learning more about bike maintenance; our various new bikes and growing collection of cycling paraphernalia; all and all a very special first full year riding together. Our schedule didn't allow a longer ride this morning, though once again I would have liked that, but we settled for the usual 13 plus miles and brought the total for the year for me to 5082.3 miles! That is 1082.3 miles above the very ambitious goal of 4000 miles I had set for myself. Well, I will err on the side of caution, mindful of my ever increasing responsibilities and more and more hectic work schedule and set the goal for 2008 at 4500 miles. That increases last year's goal but doesn't presume that I will necessarily be able to duplicate this year's riding.

So, tomorrow we begin the count again. Unfortunately a previously clear forecast has been changed to rain (again!)I hope we will be able to start out the year riding, but we'll have to wait and see. And you, dear reader whoever you are, will hear all about it hear at Bicycle-Musings - (I'm A Ludwig) as usual. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Blogaversary

Yes, one year ago today I set out to blog about my new found pastime, bicycling. I can't say that I haven't missed a day, but I can say that I've been very consistent and while not pretending to be either an expert or a blog/journalist, I have tried to also find and share other items of interest that I pick up from my browsing of the web and other sources. I hope those of you who have read Bicycle-Musings (I'm A Ludwig) regularly have enjoyed it.

Today was another lovely late December day. The temperature was 48 degrees when Annie and I went out and rode a loop. I wish we had more time today as the ride felt really good and I could have kept going, something I haven't felt in awhile.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Anniiversary Ride

No, not the anniversary of the blog, that's coming up in 3 days. Today is Annie and my 38th wedding anniversary. The weather is gorgeous and we rode a lovely loop this morning. Would have liked to keep riding, but our kids are coming and we are having our Thanksgiving dinner (postponed.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Gorgeous Sun and Wearing Wind

Another great looking day, but much more windy than yesterday. I rode by myself as Annie had an early appointment and it was a hard but invigorating ride. So much so that I couldn't resist staying on the bike to do some food shopping after my ride. Came home and put the panier on the bike and grabbed my messenger bag and went off to Trader Joe's to shop. big dinner tomorrow for our 38th Anniversary; a kind of Thanksgiving for the Thanksgiving we missed due to my mother's passing. The granddaughter will be joining us...and her parents and a few friends. Hope to get another ride in first. The warm December is wonderful, though at 38 degrees it was hardly as warm as yesterday.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Big 5000

Misty and threatening to rain but 50 degree temperature lured Annie and I out for a Sunday morning ride. The thirteen plus miles around our loop put me over the 5000 mile mark for the year! Given the small number of miles I will cover in December, it is both a great milestone and a bit anti-climactic. I would have rather burst through the 5000 mile barrier with a good 50 mile ride, but beggars can't be choosers, or something like that. So now with only a few days left in the year, if the weather cooperates, I should be able to add at least a bit to the yearly total, but I will have to give some thought before setting a new goal. Conventional wisdom would say that if I reached 5000 this year I ought to shoot for more next year; at worst I ought to at least try to match this year's total. But it took an awful lot of riding and a schedule that miraculously cooperated with some of our weekend rides to accomplish this years total and there is no guarantee that my schedule in the coming year will cooperate equally. So I may just be cautious and shoot for 4000 again and see what happens.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ah The Winds of Late Autumn

It is relatively warm and the sun has just come out through a dense morning fog. Couldn't ride this morning...too tired. But Annie and I did our loop this afternoon. Even more windy on Kelly Drive than on Wednesday, but we need to ride when we can these days.It was actually lovely.

Thought I would share this great idea for a bike rack that comes via Allen Snell's Bike Stories Thanks Allen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Evening Sunset

A pleasantly warm December day lured me back out on the road, but not until late afternoon. Temperatures were already beginning to drop and the wind on the east leg of the river loop added to a much needed workout. So often I've watched the sunrise as I am finishing my morning ride. It was quite nice to watch a particularly beautiful sunset on today's ride. I did the loop twice and given the forecast have no clue when I'll be out again. It sound like tomorrow will be a washout but there may be another window Friday morning. The weekend looks like snow. I shaved 24 more miles off my new goal of 5000 miles for 2007. With a little weather luck I should make it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Despite a very late night last night I was determined to ride this morning. The spinning machine was an ok work-out yesterday, but it is not a lot of fun. While I may still have to use it when the weather is really bad, 36 degrees and clear is not a good enough reason to stay in bed even if I didn't get to sleep until midnight! So Annie and I rode and it felt great (I have to admit the spinner makes riding the actual bike seem much easier, though the significant reduction in wind from the previous few rides helped, too.) The sun rose magnificently over the river as we rode.

Before riding I glanced over Today's NY Times and found this great picture and article on cycle cross that I recommend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Talk about riding with all the comforts! the New York Times ran this picture of a guy with a 500 watt stereo on his bike and this accompanying story:
check it out.

As for me, I must admit, the cold and dark mornings are getting to me, especially in light of my heavy schedule. So I decided that today would be the day when I experiment with the trainer indoors. We'll see how it feels.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pretty + Windy = Pretty Windy

It was a very pretty morning and I thought I might get a long ride in. But the wind was very strong and coming directly at me along Kelly Drive and I almost gave up after completing one loop around the river. I convinced myself that I really needed to push to get to at least two loops, my fitness is off a bit after last week's lay-off, but thaqt was all I could do. Of course, the fact that it was about 36 degrees didn't help and in the windier sections of the ride my hands and toes were pretty cold. It was a good ride and a good workout, but that beautiful sun can be decieving.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Cold Crisp Return

My week of formal mourning came to an end and Annie and I went out for a quick ride in the cold (32 degrees0 crisp morning. It was really beautiful out and I enjoyed the ride. Felt strong and very happy to be back on my bike. It has been a long week, sad but mixed with much appreciation for all the support I received from the community. Not much more to say.

If you haven't seen the following incredible video, take a look. Imagine cruising through Manhattan traffic on a Unicycle!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Mourning

Blogging and cycling will be on hiatus following the death of my mother this morning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Quick Hello

Given my schedule I have been riding less and blogging not at all. Perhaps things will slow down in a few weeks. Meanwhile I didn't manage to get up and out yesterday morning and only added a few around town miles. today Annie and I managed one loop despite both being home on my "day off" (meaning only two meetings!) I also rode around town a bit and added 16.4 to the total. The 5000 mile goal is beginning to fade, but much will depend on December's weather.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Perfect Autumn Sunday

Annie and I waited to ride after I returned from work this morning. We went out around 11 AM and the weather was perfect: sunny and brisk. We wrestled our way through the crowds on Kelly Drive gathered for some regatta or other on the river and then were clear, riding up to Ridge Avenue and then up the Wissahickon trail to the Rittenhouse House and back along West River Drive. Only about 18 miles, but very pleasant and a good re-entry for Annie who hadn't been on her bike all week.

In other items of interest, check out the upcoming Tour of Pennsylvania scheduled for the last week in June. It is a UCI event for under 25 year olds with a huge purse of $25000. The tour starts in Philadelphia and ends in Pittsburgh. Should be fun.

Friday, November 09, 2007


This morning's ride was brisk and wonderful; first frost sighted along the grass on the West River Drive. But it felt so good to ride and I rode a bit more on errands today, but not nearly enough. I wanted to keep going in a way that I haven't felt for a few weeks (getting two good night's sleep in a row helps,) but time did not allow.

I did come across this fun internet tv series, The Bicyclist which I had time to watch a few episodes. Just fun. I recommend watching a few episodes, though I'll eventually view them all.

No ride to Lancaster Sunday; life is too hectic right now, but we'll ride somewhere.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A beautiful fall day: sunny and crisp. Exhausted as I've been I woke up a bit late and then rode 30 miles around the loop. It was not easy and at points not even fun. I'm too tired and the wind was strong. But in the end I was happy I did it and loved the ride. I thought about getting off the loop and heading out but I didn't feel like dealing with cars and I wasn't sure how far I'd be able to go anyway.

I returned home just in time to spend some time with my visiting grandaughter in the park. a great way to end the ride!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Looking Ahead To Sunday

Not much to write about today. The rain this morning combined with growing exhaustion kept me off the bike until late afternoon when I used it to go out to vote and run an errand or two. A paltry 2 miles. But tomorrow is a much needed day off and if I have the energy a longer ride. Meanwhile, if things are stable we may join Hazon in an unsupported ride back in Lancaster county. for those who might be interested here's the ride info and route map.

Lancaster Farm Fresh
Bike Ride
Nov 11, 11:00 am
(raindate: Nov 18)

Savor the sights, sounds and smells of Lancaster County Amish and Mennonite small family farms. 30 mile route on rural roads over rolling hills and four covered bridges, few moderate climbs.

11 AM start at Ephrata Middle School This is not a supported ride.

Link to route map | Directions

RSVP to Ride leader and contact Mark Kaplan cell phone (215) 906-6200

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tough Weekend/Great Cycling News Story

We had a tough weekend. Our cat began having seizures on Friday and we spent hours at the University of Pennsylvania Vet Hospital on Friday, Saturday night and Sunday morning, wiping out all plans to ride. The cat is holding his own, but it remains precarious. I finally got back on the bike this morning and did a regular run. It was particularly enjoyable since after the clock change it was light again for most of the ride and that's really nice.

If you haven't seen today's NY Times you should check it out. A great story about the bike economy growing in Portland Oregon, including a great video if you can check it out on the web page. Bike Economy

Friday, November 02, 2007

Busy Isn't The Word

Busy isn't the word for the past few days. Both yesterday and today I was out and about on my bike working, from meeting to hospital to meeting. After yesterday's regular morning ride I added enough miles so that the paltry 7.3 miles I rode around town today still left me with an average two day total. I was unable to get up this morning to ride for really only the first or second time since I began to ride every day. Yesterday was just too long. But while I didn't ride in the morning I rode all around town to and from three hospitals. The ride s between sharing in people's angst helps clear my hear, too.

I stopped by Bicycle Therapy on the way home and picked up a set of brake pads for my rear brakes. I put them on and toed the front brakes which are still squeaking somewhat. I'll bring the bike in next week when i have a chance. The shop was too busy to look at it right away as they usually do and I didn't want to leave the bike. I hope we'll have a decent ride Sunday morning, though I still have too busy a day planned to do any distance. We hope to ride over to the Schuylkill Banks Park in mid afternoon for the community meeting about the plans to construct a bridge over the rail track to access the trail.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

3 Rides: Fitness, Commute and Therapeutic

The Fall weather is really even better than riding during the spring or summer, I've decided. Despite the fact that today should have been my day off, I couldn't take it. Too bad as the weather would have led me to ride to Valley Forge before the winter makes that impossible. Instead I had some important meetings that I had to attend to. So instead of catching up on sleep and then riding, I awoke at regular time and rode the loop. Then I took the bike to work and rode into North Fairmount for the meeting. Rode back making some stops around the University including the newly opened EMS Store where, lo and behold, running the cycling department is our old friend Mike from Bustleton Bikes. It was good to see him and chat. Then I went to the office for some more appointments. Finally, at the end of the day I felt like taking another ride and so did the loop yet again. This last ride was necessary to keep my psyche in check as it had been a somewhat frustrating day, I had missed a day off, and it was starting to affect my mood. The ride cleared it all out.

Today's rides amounted to 35.5 miles allowing me to close out October with over 431 miles putting me over the 4700 mark for the year. It looks like I have a pretty straight shot at reaching 5000. Not bad!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"I'm Always Happy When I'm On My Bike"

Yes, I could have said that, but I didn't. After a lovely ride this morning I took my bike to work and used it for a hospital visit this afternoon. As I was riding back up Spruce Street from the hospital I pulled up at a traffic light next to woman on her bike. We simultaneously acknowledged each other, said hi, and I must have routinely said "how are you doing?" To which she replied "I'm always happy when I'm on my bike." Of course, I couldn't agree more. And it was a gorgeous day to ride. I thought about just riding on for awhile until my next appointment. But I contained myself. I do have one more appointment to ride to later today, and will fill in the mileage later.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Here We Go Again

A beautiful morning's ride. The temperature was about 34 degrees and it took me a little while to remember how to dress! But with my doubled jersey, fleece lined paints over knickers, thick socks and long-fingered gloves and ear warmers, I felt great. As expected, it takes a few more minutes to warm up the muscles in the cold, but it was a fine ride in the clear, crisp air. I'm not sure how much colder I want to go this year. I think I went out on some days last year that were potentially more dangerous than I realized. Now that I have the spinning machine at home (which I still haven't tried) I may forgo the single digit days.

I have one errand today that will allow me another quick ride. Tonight, after what promises to be a very hectic day, if I'm not too tired, I want to go back up to Philly Bike Works for a make-up class in bike maintenance. It is the class on truing wheels. But I'll have to see how I'm feeling.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Last Sunday On The Drive/Some Cool Videos

This is the final weekend for the closing of the West River Drive to cars and the weather is perfect. Annie is home and we slept in, both of us being pretty exhausted, but got out at 10 AM for a ride. As expected that late in the morning, the drives were crowded. The section of West River Drive from Sweetbriar to the parkway had some kind of organized charity walk with masses of people. We took Kelly Drive which was passable but crowded. I didn't mind as much as usual. I was glad to be out on a beautiful fall morning. The temperature was in the low 50's and there was a brisk wind. And I liked being amongst the larger community taking advantage of this great Philadelphia asset. When we got round to the West side it was clear all the way to Sweetbriar but impassable beyond that, so we turned back and came around Kelly Drive again. We traveled 17.9 miles.

Speaking of cycling in Philadelphia, thanks to the Philadelphia Bicycle Blog for bringing this U-tube video of bicycling in Philadelphia;. For those readers who've always wondered what our fair city looks like, here it is. A couple of the shots come very near to where I live and to where I work. Enjoy!

And friend Fritz at Cyclicious shared this great video from London and I pass it on to you all. It is really fun.

Late Ride, Wet Ride, Good Ride

Not only did I hesitate this morning, I bagged it. Too wet, too dark, too tired. But I was able to get my work and errands done and save an hour this afternoon to ride instead. It was still raining, though not very heavily at first; by the time I finished the ride it was pouring. There definitely were few distractions in the way of pedestrians, riders, runners or dog walkers, though there were one or two of each over the course of the hour. I arrived home good and soaked on the outside, but shed my rain gear and except for my gloves, socks and shoes, I'm good. A few more miles in this relatively low mileage month can't hurt.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rain Gear

I can't deny that I hesitated. I've become spoiled by all the good weather of this summer/fall. This morning it was raining and the temperature was falling a bit (but not much.) For a minute I thought of skipping the ride, but I had prepared for the weather and had my new rain gear and so, I suited up and did my regular ride. Slightly wet, well protected and thoroughly enjoyable.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our Hearts Go Out

(photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

This incredible photo taken off the Kryptonite Blog by way of the Fredcast Blog really says it all. Our hearts go out to those who have been and are being impacted by these tragic fires.

Today I managed a very nice 30 mile ride, just a triple loop around the path, but much needed to rebuild some stamina that I think I'm losing by not having time for longer rides. My legs felt dead and I didn't think I'd make it around once! But, as usual, as I rode the strength began to return and my speed increased. I must say though that it was still a struggle through all three loops. I went out around 1 P.M. after much needed sleep-in morning and slow start. Which was OK as it was raining in the early morning. And not long after I came home the rain began again and doesn't look like its going to let up tonight. so my timing was perfect. tomorrow morning is a question mark.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

You may be asking yourself, what in the world an uninteresting picture of a NY Taxicab is doing leading off today's post. Well, I snapped the picture while stopped at a red light along 9th Avenue on Sunday because the advertising space on the top of the cab read: "I Break For Bikes"! Which I thought was pretty cool, amazing, in fact. I knew there was a good chance the lettering wouldn't show up because of the way the light was situated, the fact that I wasn't as close as I would have liked to be etc. And then I saw that, in fact, the lettering didn't show up and thought I'd skip using the picture. But then I thought, well using the picture would remind me to bring this to your attention. I don't know who pays for those ads; whether it is part of a NYC campaign or a cycling advocacy group, but it was truly inspiring to see such a message atop a taxi. I only hope the driver read it.

Good ride this morning; just the regular loop but I have my bike for errands today so will add a couple of more miles before I put in today's total. Rain is predicted for later today and tomorrow. I hope it won't be significant tomorrow as I'd like to get a longer ride, something I haven't done really since the summer ended.

Returned my light to Bicycle Therapy as the battery wouldn't charge. He tried the other unit he had and that wouldn't take the charge either, so I got a refund. Meanwhile my regular little light wasn't working this morning and I had no AAA batteries left in the house. So I rode without lights and went around the West River Drive. Was that smart? Probably not, but I just couldn't deal with the pedestrian traffic on the Kelly Drive side of the path.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Can't Believe I Woke Up

But I did, despite arriving home from N.Y. last night around midnight. I was up and out at regular time and even managed to ride fast enough to increase my morning mileage to 17+ miles. Annie is away with her sister who is undergoing some surgery. I rode the loop and then some, but decided that riding the West River Drive is really unsafe in the dark. I just won't do it again until the clock changes and it is lighter. Or, I thought, until I get some serious lighting instead of the little battery powered lights we've been using. So I stopped in to Bicycle Therapy on my way home from work and bought a serious lighting system, with a rechargeable battery pack etc. It is a Blackburn System X6 and looks like it will make a real difference not only in being seen, but in actually being able to see the roadway, which is what I'm looking for. I wanted to attach it all tonight and try it in the morning, but the battery pack does not appear to be charging, so it will be back to the shop tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'll be turning around at the falls bridge in the morning.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Sunrise

A very early Sunday ride and only once around the loop. My incredibly busy streak continues and I'm off to NY (third time this week) again today. But the weather is beautiful and West River Drive is still closed on Sunday for a few more weeks so riding that side before daylight is much safer than it has been this week. Annie and I have been riding the West side of the river on the path despite the slightly unsafe darkness, trading that risk for the more annoying and equally unsafe numbers of people clogging up Kelly Drive even at 6 in the morning. My schedule being what it's been I haven't been paying too much attention to other cycling news but there doesn't seem to be that much this time of year. Certainly all the news on cycling seems to be taken up with discussions of the growing trend in the trade to create comfort and commuter bikes and to "grow" cycling amongst non-sporting types. It's a great idea and a great trend, but I'm not sure if there is a real market there. To the extent that I've seen an upswing in cycling around here, it is fitness that is driving it. We'll see. It certainly would be great if more people used bikes to get around, especially for the high number of short trips that city life requires. More bikes in the street ought to increase awareness and safety. Right now, more places to easily park bikes along the streets would be a boon for me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Long Time No Write

I have continued to ride on a regular basis, my usual morning routine and occasional commuting days. but the pace of my professional life has simply not allowed time for even the quickest check-in on the blog. Sorry about that. All I've been able to do each day is enter the mileage, a subtle sign of life for those of you who may have noticed.

I won't bore you with everything that has kept me from the blog; but this week alone I've driven back and forth to New York twice and Washington once with another trip to NY scheduled for Sunday. I've done two weddings, two funerals...Oh well, I said I wouldn't bore you.

Meanwhile the weather remains wonderful and I'm happy to get in my daily ride, though I wish it could be more. I haven't had time for a long ride for weeks.

Anyway, time for another photo at least. this one was taken sometime last week when I went out for an afternoon ride after forgoing a rainy morning ride. I noticed that the Park ranger along Schuylkill river Park was on a bike and snapped him talking to one of the park users. I was surprised that unlike both the City Police and The campus police on bikes, he didn't wear a helmet.

Monday, October 08, 2007

In Winter Mode - At 70 Degrees!?

Yes, Annie and I, after missing a great riding day yesterday for various personal reasons, set out in 70 degree October weather for our morning ride today, but had to switch to our winter mode of route choice because, despite the summer temperatures, sun rise is now too late for us to have safe lighting on the West River Drive portion of the route. So we crossed the Falls Bridge and then turned back. We had enough time to return along Kelly Drive all the way to in front of the Art Museum and thus did not lose any distance, but it is not quite as enjoyable a ride because by the time we come back along Kelly Drive jogger and walker traffic has increased significantly. The West Side is less trafficked. Such is life.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Holiday Weekend

Annie and I were up and out early this morning because I needed to be at services early. We rode our regular loop. but it was very dark and I think we probably shouldn't have gone down the West River Path, but should have turned back on Kelly Drive as we did all last winter. But we made it despite the darkness. Now we go into the last weekend of the long High Holy day period and I'll be off the blog until Sunday. Enjoy!Go Phillies!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Off To A Good October

Not a sight one expects to see everyday: How about a Rolls-Royce equipped with a bike rack. But in Center City you never know what you're going to see. In fact, just as I was snapping this photo I missed a better one - a gentleman, perhaps from the Philadelphia Orchestra, riding by on his bike in a tuxedo and carrying in one arm a cello.

But nothing is stranger than the fact that the Phillies actually won the Eastern Division Championship. The stars must indeed have been weirdly aligned.

Making up for yesterday's abbreviated ride because my early class was canceled today we were able to do a double loop of 21.9 miles. I will actually update the numbers again later since I will be taking the bike to do some errands today.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Mileage Totals

September came in like a mileage lion, starting on the Hazon ride with over 100 miles in two days, and has maintained a decent pace reducing as we've moved into the work year. Annie is back and we did a lovely Sunday morning ride today at our usual early morning time since we have numerous events to attend today. So despite beautiful Fall weather and the still closed-to-traffic West River Drive, we only did our loop once and clocked 13.3 miles. That brought the September mileage to 472.5. That brings the year-to-date mileage to 4262.8. If I am to reach the 5000 mile mark for the year I will have to average 245.7 miles for each of the next three months. If we get any kind of cooperation from the weather it should be doable. That is my goal.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What's good For The Goose

I did ride on the second morning of the holiday. Annie did not and I was moving fast, getting around the loop twice. On the second go round I hit a goose. Three geese crossed the road together and one changed his mind mid-way and it was too late for me to change my trajectory. We all went down. Miraculously neither me, nor the bike nor apparently the goose were seriously hurt. The bike was fine. I took some minor road rash and a slightly sore shoulder. Came right out of the clips and -- this is going to sound weird -- actually felt good after the crash. I've never really gone down other than the stupid falls when I was almost standing still and could unclip. This was a real spill and it felt ok to get it over with. I managed to finish the ride with no further incident.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Abbreviated Wednesday

Still in the midst of holidays Annie did not travel to New Jersey and I don't really have time for a day off. So while we had the luxury of not having to awaken at 4:45, we were still out pretty early and only for a short ride. But the weather is spectacular and it was a nice ride except for the fact that there is some major repair work started on the path coming back on the West Side. We had to dismount and carry our bikes up a short stairway and back down to return to the path. We lost time and momentum but it wasn't too bad. Sunday we will not be able to take advantage of the usual West River Drive closure because of other obligations beginning pretty early in the morning, though we may be able to get a quick ride in if we start early enough.

Meanwhile, in another corner of the world Interbike has begun. The major U.S. trade show of the bicycle industry is taking place in Los Vegas. It began with an outdoor Demo for a day or two and will move indoors for the rest of the week. Anyway, The Fredcast is providing daily coverage podcasts and Cyclecious is covering it pretty heavily if you want to check out what's new.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yesterday's Breakfast Ride

We went for a wonderful breakfast ride yesterday morning. Organized as usual by Henry, there were nine of us, including our friend Sandy whom we enticed to join us. She had an adventure! The route was up the West River Drive, over the Falls Bridge and into Manyunk. Up Main Street, up Umbria and down to River Road. I'd been afraid to try this ride with Annie, but she did great and I'm glad we were able to do it with others. The hill up Umbria was really a lot for Sandy. But we all waited for her and eventually she made it. Then we followed River Road instead of just using it to access the Schuylkill River Trail. I'd never done this. It is a lovely ride. Unfortunately, not five minutes after getting on River Road we heard a load pop. It really sounded like someone was shooting at us. But it was Sandy's tube blowing out, and I mean blowing out. Six of the group were already ahead of us and did not realize or stop. Larry and I stopped and luckily one of my tubes fit so we managed to change her tire pretty quickly and catch up with the group. Then we made it to the appointed breakfast location, ate and returned home with no further incidents. The day was glorious weather-wise and the roads, both on and off the trail, were crowded with cyclists. It was really great. I had to officiate at a wedding last night and we were out until midnight, so with the ride after the fast the day before and our regular ride this morning, I'm feeling a bit tuckered out. But the ride was worth it. It was just 30 miles round trip.

Here's Larry working on Sandy's bike (and Sandy.)

Here we are at breakfast. Henry is in black against the window. Next to him is Nancy.

Oh! And lest I forget: on the ride home a wasp become stuck behind my glasses, between them and my eye. I was "lightly" stung, before I could get my glasses off and let him out. It bothered me all day, but was really not a bad sting. Just a funny sensation that took until this morning to get rid of.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Catching Up

Rode on Friday and added the total to the monthly count, but had no time or psychic energy to write. I was completely taken up with preparations for Yom Kippur.

Meanwhile the blogosphere has been commenting on the Floyd decision, though not as manically as I had expected. There have been many fair analyses. Perhaps among the most succinct is this from the Fat Cyclist:

So, Is Floyd Innocent?

My natural tendency is to believe that most people have good motives most of the time. So I believed Tyler is / was innocent, and I’m inclined to believe Floyd is innocent, too. I sure hope so, because Stage 17 in the 2006 TdF was the most inspiring race in modern times.

Innocence aside, I think that Floyd made a strong case that the lab failed in its job to provide unimpeachable results. Strong enough to provide reasonable doubt. Which means, as far as my sense of justice is concerned, that he should not have been found guilty.

So, is Floyd innocent? I think so. Should he have been found not guilty? yes.

This morning Annie and I are joining Henry and the Sunday Breakfast ride again. A couple of our other friends are planning to join us. I'll report later today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Lovely Ride A Lousy Commute

Annie and I rode in the beautiful rising sun this morning. We encountered a train blocking the tracks both coming and going which has not happened in awhile. It doesn't seem nearly the pain in the neck it was when we first started; it is, rather, an opportunity to ride at least an additional mile in order to use the Chestnut Street access.

I took the bike to work in order to use it for a hospital visit. Yikes! Traffic in town was horrendous. Even on a bike getting through the streets was very difficulty and all the more nerve wracking since the cars were in a frustrated state of mind. I managed, but really for the first time, didn't enjoy myself. I was just glad to finish and get back on this side of Chestnut Street.

The big cycling news of the day is the arbitration ruling against Floyd Landis. I am saddened but not surprised. Not because I believe Landis is guilty. Obviously I don't know and having read his book can really see his point regarding the lapses in the chain of evidence against him. But unless the verdict is overturned on appeal, and I haven't heard whether Floyd will make an appeal, he has to be considered guilty and the cycling world loses a pretty great cyclist (or gets rid of a juiced up impostor - which is it? That's the problem.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Too Gorgeous To Miss

I declined taking a long ride with a friend in order to conserve strength for the weekend, Yom Kippur requires a great deal of energy, fasting, and speaking all day. But after a quiet morning of working on sermons it was time for a little ride. The little ride turned into a 30 mile ride, just a triple loop around the Schuylkill, but I couldn't resist. The day was so beautiful. Perfect blue sky, perfect temperature and low humidity; a breeze but not too significant a head wind. Luckily I had just enough water with me for the ride, but hadn't brought any snack. So I stopped at the truck-stand that is always on Kelly Drive and used the opportunity to get a picture. I think the guys name is Dave who runs it. He is 80 years old and has been running that truck for close to 60 years I'm told! I tried to take a shot of one of the mansions on the ridge above the drive just to showcase the day; not sure it came out too well.

Took a shot of some of the activity that greeted me at the start of the Schuylkill River Park both coming and going. Looks like they're shooting a scene for a movie or commercial. We see more and more of that in Center City Philadelphia these days, which I guess is good.

Finished the afternoon with a visit to my Chiropractor, George Rhodes. George is also a very serious cyclist and I thought the old bike chained to the front of his office for use as a bike rack was worth a picture.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Commuting Day

I rode my bike all over town today for different work-related errands and a few personal ones. The weather is perfect and it helps my spirits to be on and off the bike all day. I rode the loop this morning without Annie; she was very tired and we were up rather late after our bike class. It amazes me how few more miles I add on riding around town. My total today was 19.9 and 13.3 of that was the regular loop. So doing everything else that I needed to do, really going from one side of town to the other and back, a distance that some people would drive, others would take a cab or a bus all together only added 6 miles!

Nice comment on the blog from one of the guys in the bike class. I hope others in the class get a chance to check it out.

I've been really enjoying two great cycling information sites:Bike Radar and its sister site: They are great sites, though Bike Radar is much more sophisticated aesthetically. I am adding both to my site-roll for easy daily check-ins.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Last Bike Class

Our four session bike maintenance class ended tonight with a session on brakes, cables and shifters. This session was less hands-on than I would have liked, but I did learn a fair amount, especially about brakes and brake cables. The second part was too rushed and I didn't feel like I knew what was going on.

The ride back and forth was good and added a few miles to our otherwise regular ride this morning.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

4000 Miles and Counting

The first phase of the holidays came to an end and Annie and I were out riding on what felt like a beautiful fall day. Perhaps a bit early, but the chill was fine and we road over 20 miles before I had to get to work. I took the bike for a variety of errands later on. It felt good to be riding today. A good way to decompress from the tension of the holiday services. Most particularly my mileage chart has now topped the 4000 mile mark, my original goal for the year. It is hard to tell the rate I'll be able to ride as the season gets busier and the weather begins to turn, but 5000 miles is not out of the question. It has been a great year of riding, a transformative year, really. That transformation and the role of the bike was the subject of one of my sermons during the holiday. Now if I can figure a way to create a link to it and store it as a pdf I'll make it available here. But it may take me a few days to figure it out.

I listened to the latest Fredcast today. David was offering an invitation to "joost" a beta program that has all kinds of TV content. Most importantly cyclingtv, so I asked for an received an invitation (its is an invitation only site in its beta form) they are being given away first come-first serve. I downloaded it and browsed around for awhile. Way more TV than I need, but the cyclingtv does make it worthwhile.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pre-Holiday Ride

A gorgeous pre-fall morning; because of the holiday Annie did not go to New Jersey so we had a Wednesday together, however because of the number of things that we need to do individually and together to get ready we still only rode one loop of 13.3 miles. It was nice to ride in full daylight. I've found that as the season changes again I'm not enjoying the deep darkness that we ride in at 5:45 AM. Plus, I'm not satisfied with our lighting systems. I hate the thought of spending what it looks like we should in order to have a better solution, but I will have to look into that after the holiday. Meanwhile, that's all from me until Sunday

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No Ride Today...But More Great Pictures

Last night Annie and I rode up to the Neighborhood Bike Works (known as Bike Church, as it is housed in the basement of a Church on the University of Pennsylvania campus) for the third of our four sessions in basic bike maintenance. It was the first time that Annie felt comfortable to ride in Center City traffic to get there and back. It was great having her make that step. This week's lesson was on headsets and wheel hubs. We took apart our headsets and greased the bearings and ditto for the hubs. The headsets on the Fuji's are threadless, integrated and sealed. We took it apart basically to show it as a comparison to the unsealed type which most of the other folks were working on. Then we took apart our front wheel hubs and took out the bearings and greased them up and put it all back together. Great fun and I'm beginning to get a little more confident about working on the bike, though I'm not sure how much I will do on a regular basis. Next week is the final class, on brakes and cables. Below are a couple of photos from last night's session.

This last one is my bike with the handlebars removed and the headset exposed.

So, this morning it was very dark and wet outside. Not actually raining, though it is right now, and we were tired from going to bed late after class last night. For one of the few times in the last year we just bagged the ride and got a little more sleep. It's a stressful week for me and I have to take care. I have the bike with me for things I have to do for work today, so I hope the rain stops or I may not get on it at all.

But we have been receiving various photos from friends from our last two adventures and I thought I'd just put them up here today. The first one was taken by Dineen at Bike Philly.

The next is a series taken by our friend Jake on the Hazon Ride. Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Quiet Ride

After all the excitement of yesterday a new week began with just a regular quiet ride of 13.2 miles. Humid but fine for riding and relatively empty trail made for a relaxing ride before a busy day. Counting down to the Holidays and to the waning riding weather. Not that the weather will be a factor for a few months yet, but the time for long rides and the number of organized rides will definitely be impacted. We are looking into some in October, but haven't decided.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bike Philly!

We have just returned from Bike Philly. It was a great success. So far the estimates are that there were over 3000 people riding. More official numbers may be forthcoming tomorrow. We were at the start at 7:30 and took off at 8 AM. These first photos are of Annie lining up for the start (wearing our new Philadelphia jersey);

Mark, our companion on the breakfast ride a few weeks ago doing the same;

and the barrier behind which we assembled. We chose to ride with the "relaxed riders," but in such a crowd I'm not sure it made much difference. The pace was slow and occasionally hairy with all these bikes nudged together in places. But we didn't see any mishaps.

We rode down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway onto Arch street and down Arch to Delaware Avenue. We rode along Delaware Avenue to Christian Street and back up Christian around 4th and then over to Lombard. We rode up Lombard to 16th (almost past our house!) and along 16th back to the Parkway and then off into Fairmont Park for another 10 miles. In Fairmont Park we stopped at a rest stop by one of the great mansions,

and there we ran into Dineen from my office, whom we had tried to hook up with but missed at the start.

The ride through the Park was really pleasant. The spirit of the riders was wonderful. The organization and support for this inaugural event was terrific. The only little fly in the ointment was that we decided at the last minute to follow the 20 mile route rather than go for the 35 or 50. I was out very late last night for the services starting the Penitential season and have much to prepare for the holidays approaching. I was a little tired and tense and we called it a day pretty early. Still, it was a lot of fun.

We came to the Finish Line festival and dismounted, spending some time browsing the booths, getting our tee-shirts and grabbing some food.

Hopefully this will become an annual event and we will ride the longer routes in the future. We still managed to put 21.7 miles on the meter.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ready For Bike Philly!

Annie and I had a pleasant morning ride. I seem to be getting more used to the clipless pedals, though I'm still a little nervous. Changed clothes and shoes and took the bike for running errands today, so added 15.4 miles to the total. We are psyched for the first Bike Philly this Sunday. 20 miles of streets will be closed for cycling; another 30 miles will be available for share-the-road riding, fully supported. Not sure yet how far or how long we'll ride. I'm guessing we'll do the 35 mile loops, but maybe the 50. It will depend, in part, on the experience of riding with close to 3000 people. That's the expected turnout with 2000 already pre-registered. It will be an event and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Nun On Wheels

Today only time for another very quick post. This is going to be the way it is now that I'm back into busy season. We rode 13.4 miles this morning. I didn't feel so good on the bike today. Partly because it suddenly seemed quite dark at 5:45 in the morning; partly because now that school is back in session the trail seemed more crowded with more people who don't follow the rules of the road. And partly because I took another dumb tumble because I couldn't get out of my clips well. This time I wasn't even clipped in on the left, only on the right, and still lost my balance. Oh well, I had predicted four falls and this makes three.

We are on our way over to Whole Foods in a few minutes to pick up our registration packet for Sunday's Bike Philly! Should be great.

Finally, as a tidbit for the day, check out Biking To The Monastery a blog by a bicycling nun courtesy of Cyclicious.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back On The Road

We took Tuesday morning off from riding after the Hazon weekend. Annie went up to NJ to visit Tamar and Shail and today would normally be my long ride day. But I didn't feel like taking a very long ride, partly because I had a million errands to do and two medical appointments late in the day. So I started out late, nearly 10 AM and stopped first at Bicycle Therapy to pick out a new helmet. My old one was shot. Then I headed for the Schuylkill path figuring on doing a loop or two. Actually only had time for one, but it was particularly fun as I met Jacob on the way and we did the loop together traveling at a pretty fast clip. Later in the day I was back at the bike shop. I really needed to get the tension in the pedals adjusted; it was just too hard for me to get out of the clips and I was getting really wary of using them at all. And while I was there I had to bite the bullet and admit that the bike shoes I bought were too tight. They had killed my feet on the ride. So I got a pair a size larger. With the better fitting shoes and the adjusted pedals, clipping in and out became as easy as it always appeared when others did it. I'm feeling much better about using the clipless pedals now. So, with the errands and the loop I added 16.5 miles.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What A Weekend!

There really isn't going to be enough space to describe the extraordinary experience we had this past weekend. Since this is a bicycling blog, I will focus on our ride, which was wonderful fun, challenging and satisfying almost beyond words. But the real meaning of the weekend transpired from Friday night until Saturday night: the experience of being with a multi-generational, eclectic and diverse practicing Jewish community inspired to use all of its resources to developing a healthy and sustainable Jewish community and thereby contributing to create a healthy and sustainable world. But if I begin talking about that part of the weekend I won't stop, and its not the topic of this blog.

So, that's me at 6 AM on Sunday morning just before we took off from Camp Isabella Freedman in Falls River Connecticut at 7 AM. I am wearing my full Hazon NY Jewish Environmental Bike Ride kit: socks, shorts and Jersey, all earned as fund-raising incentives. I was a couple of hundred dollars short of the jacket and a couple of thousand short of earning the GPS.

And that's Annie at about the same time. A few minutes later, obviously, as we joined the group for the mass start. There were three routes: 50, 75 and 100 miles from Falls River to Hopewell Junction NY. Annie and I did the 50. On my own I may have tried the 75; I doubt I would have tried the Century yet, but I was happy to ride with Annie and most of the group. The 75 and 100 mile routes all included the 50 miles we did and all agreed that the 50 miles we did were the hardest part of the ride. It was hard, but not too hard. Probably not as hard as the hills we did on the Lancaster Metric Century, but close. And then there was the killer, nicknamed "Frank," the final 3 miles straight uphill at about a 6 to 8% grade. Knocked the socks off us all.

Along the way we passed country as pictured above. Just beautiful! The roads were fairly free of traffic, though there were some exceptions on more major routes. In a few places local police directed traffic, which was very helpful. And the ride crew! Enough cannot be said about the support, the cheering, the Marshals and medics riding the route and the SAG wagons passing by. There was even a bike mechanic with a trailer-bike shop. I had my front hub bearings greased and new brake pads put on Friday afternoon - free - this was the mechanic's contribution to the cause! Annie's fender was rubbing the wheel the second morning, probably got pinched in the truck carrying the bikes, and he fixed it right up.

Speaking of support, that's our lunch stop on the first day. The food was plentiful and better than expected. (Except that they could have done a much better job of accommodating folks like Annie with wheat allergies. We will try to gently communicate this to the leadership. We know they tried, but it really does need to be more of a priority. It's a long way to ride without proper nourishment.)

Sunday night was spent at Camp Kinder Ring. Marvelous accommodations! Above is the view from our room at sunset.

I didn't take many photos the second day but here are the last two. Above we are all congregating at 79th Street and Riverside Drive for the ride en mass to the Manhattan JCC for the conclusion. And below is a shot of the group on the roof of the JCC at the concluding ceremony. All in all an awesome ride and an awesome weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Off To Connecticut

A quick note before we take off. We will be at our daughter and son-in-law's home in New Jersey tonight. They live close by the pick-up point in West Orange N.J. where will catch the bus to Connecticut tomorrow morning. We are psyched for the ride!

This morning we did our regular loop of 13 miles. We will not expecting to ride tomorrow so my August statistics seem final today. 516.5 miles for the month is pretty good; my second best month of the year. September will obviously get off to a good start with two 50-60 miles days back to back. After that, after Labor Day, long rides will be fewer and more far between and even regular morning rides will be impacted by the many Jewish holidays in September and October. But I'm well on my way to meeting the 4000 mile goal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Golf Day

Before I started riding I used to play golf pretty often. I haven't played in a year and probably only once in the preceding year. Today I was invited to play and decided to do so. It meant giving up a big Wednesday ride, but I thought it would not be such a bad idea to forgo a 50-60 mile ride today knowing that I'm going to ride two 50-60 mile days back-to-back on Sunday and Monday. Besides, variety is the spice of life and the weather was perfect. Of course, having not played for a year, I played pretty badly, but it was fun. When i came home I took the bike out for a spin, just 14.7 miles on the day. another regular ride tomorrow morning and then no ride on Friday or Saturday. Friday we'll be traveling and Saturday is the Sabbath. Then the two big days. We are looking forward to the people, the learning and most of all the ride. Watch this space for a report and, hopefully, pictures. but not until Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Annie's Back!

It was really nice to get out on the trail this morning with Annie. Here she is (and below) decked out in our Lancaster Covered Bridges Jersey. Despite having had x-rays only yesterday and not knowing the results yet, there seemed to be no reason to stay off the bike. The pain she has is only when the area on the side of the ankle is touched; neither walking nor riding seems to impact it (we hope!) Since she's already been spinning in the house all week and we are still psyched for our big Labor Day ride, getting back on the road today seemed important. We had a good ride, good pace until a train blocked our return. We lost some time going up the Chestnut Street ramp and home on the streets, but it gave us a few extra miles and some good work on the hill. No incidents, thankfully. In fact, the spinning workouts are clearly more strenuous than our usual ride and Annie's general fitness and leg strength seemed better today than if she had been biking all this week.

On another front: we decided to sell the Treks! They just don't seem nearly comfortable enough for where we are now. If we need fatter tires for trail riding next summer we can either buy something with less of a "comfort" set-up since that set-up no longer feels comfortable, or try to get fatter tires that we can change-out on the Fuji's. So, the first Trek, mine, was sold in an hour. The other one, Annie's step-through frame may take longer or may not sell at all. We'll see. Next to go will be the Citizen folders.

Last night we took our second of the four class series on Bicycle maintenance. We learned how to take apart, clean and re-assemble a bottom bracket. Great fun!

I've got the bike with me for some errands, so the mileage chart will be updated later.

Finally, just a quick report on a new book. I read Tour de Life, by Saul Raisin and Dave Shield. It's an unbelievable story. Raisin suffered a catastrophic fall that resulted in a coma and necessitated brain surgery just to keep him alive. His prognosis to live was not good; his prognosis to walk was not good; his prognosis to ride a bike was impossible and his prognosis to race at the professional level was beyond impossible. Never the less he will be racing in the U.S Championships coming up this weekend! The story is moving. The funny thing is that while he emerges as an inspirational figure, the recovery proceeds through personality changes that do not really allow him to emerge as a very likable character. One assumes that as time passes this will change. The writing is not as good as the writing in Dave Shield's novels. He obviously needed to create lot's of dialog where the actual conversations could not be recorded or remembered or were conducted in French and broken French. This accounts for a lot of stilted dialog that one has to just read with a grain of salt. In addition to the link above, I've added the link to the side bar book&movie section for your later consideration.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Countdown To Connecticut

On Friday morning we will board a bus in West Orange New Jersey, after spending the night with Tamar and Alan who live not far from there, taking us to Camp Isabella Freedman in Falls Village Connecticut. We will spend Friday and Saturday there enjoying the Sabbath filled with opportunities to learn and share with others around environmental themes and their relationship to Jewish texts, traditions and communities. On Sunday morning we will ride from Camp Freedman to Camp Kinder Ring in Hopewell Junction New York. There are various routes, but I think ours will take us between 50-60 miles. On Monday we will ride from Hopewell Junction to Manhattan along the Westchester Bike trail, another 60 miles. We are excited and have prepared all summer for this ride. The only problem is Annie's physical condition following Thursday's accident. She is still pretty sore, especially around her ankle. It does not appear to be broken nor particularly sprained and she is walking relatively well. But it is very tender to the touch and she did not bike today for fear of just knocking the foot against something. We thought about wrapping it in bubble wrap but it just didn't seem worth it. She is feeling disheartened and "picked-on" by fate. She did work out hard today on the spinner, so her fitness should remain good. I am hopeful that as the week passes her wounds will heal and her confidence will return. It would be a real shame if the highlight that we've worked toward for the whole summer was ruined because of that stupid dog walker!
So I rode on my own this morning again. I was up early and out quickly and rode with very good speed. I was able to do the loop three times for a 29.8 addition to the mileage chart. I didn't enjoy it as much as usual because I felt badly about Annie's not riding. But it was a good ride.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Riding Solo Again

Good news and bad news. Bad news is that, as expected, Annie could not ride today. Her ankle is making progress, the swelling is down, but she's not road-ready. So I had to ride by myself today. The other bad news is that the weather is not getting any more enticing. It is oppressively overcast today and though I've taken my bike with me to do hospital visits I am now seriously worried about rain.
The good news, such as it is, is that being on my own I was able to get out of the house a bit more efficiently and ride at a harder pace and therefore road 17.6 miles this morning instead of the usual 13. The extra pounding felt good. Since, as mentioned, I have the bike with me I won't be posting today's mileage until later.
Also, since I was alone, I wore my ipod. I know there is a lot of controversy about how safe this is, but I use a one ear piece headphone, only listen to podcasts which I think are not as distracting as music, and have found no problem in hearing everything along the ride: cars, other people, etc. For those offended, my apologies. I "discovered" a new bicycling podcast, which was lucky since I'm all caught up on the archives of my other favorites, The Fredcast, The Spokesmen, The Bike Show, Bikescape,etc. and after the intense activity around the TdeF no one has been putting much out lately. So I found The Two Johns and listened to my first show on this morning's ride. Nice stuff.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Annie Can't Win

After our great ride on Sunday Annie's confidence was just about all the way back and her lingering aches and pains were just about gone. But it seems she just can't win. This morning just at the end of our ride she collided with a dog. Said dog was not leashed and its owner was sauntering along the path some yards distant from the site of the crash. The level of inconsiderateness, stupidity, irresponsibility and self-centered-ness is astounding. The dog walkers, I've said from the beginning, are the worst offenders hands down among the various people who make sharing a multi-use trail difficult. They have no sense of where they are as long as their little puppies have the freedom to do whatever they need to do. We were furious, but, thankfully, it does not appear that Annie was seriously hurt. Her right side did take another hit and until we see how sore she gets we won't know for sure. Her glasses were bent, her head did hit, although not hard, so a new helmet may be in order and the bike will definitely have to be looked at again. The fenders, at the very least, look mis-aligned. I was so angry and so helpless. If it would not have taken hours I would have called 911 just to get a cop to cite the girl. It is, after all, illegal to walk a dog without a leash. We are amazed at how much we try to not only obey the rules of the path, but extend ourselves in the interest of politeness. Always calling out "bikes passing on the left" and so on and how many people just don't care. Cyclists who shoot by us on the left without a word, walkers walking 3 and 4 abreast plugged into ipods, skateboarders and dog walkers oblivious to everything. It really does suggest that the safest place to ride is in the road, but I'm not sure I could get Annie to go for that, especially since we ride when it is still dark and rush hour traffic is just getting going. What a bummer. And to top it off, the weather is still lousy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm Clipped In!

The misty autumnal weather continued into today though I had hoped for a break. Not that it was raining hard, but misting and dark and very cool for this time of the year. That combined with being a little tired and I got off to a really late start for my Wednesday ride today. I didn't leave the house until around 10:30 and the dismal weather caused me to change my plans for the day. I had hoped to ride up the Wissahiken into and through Mt. Airy in hopes of getting all the way to Wynncote and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical college where I teach. I thought I had mapped out a route that might allow me to take my bike at least sometimes on teaching days. I was also carrying with me a new set of Shimano PD-M324 Pedals that I ordered. They arrived yesterday and my plan was to stop at the bike shop on the way home from the ride not only to have them put on, but more importantly, to see if I could find a comfortable bike shoe given my small, wide foot. These pedals are set up to use cleats on one side but a regular shoe on the other side. I figured this would allow me to use clipless when I'm just out riding, but still be able to wear regular shoes when I'm using the bike during the work day. But the unknown was whether I would find shoes that worked for me. But bummed out by the weather I decided to go to the bike shop first. Indeed I found a really nice pair of shoes, much less expensive than I had imagined, that fit fine. So I waited while they put the cleats on the shoes and the pedals on the bike. At that point I was going to start my ride (in regular shoes) but the weather had worsened. It was really kind of raining so I went home where, following the advice of the salesman at Bicycle Therapy, I stood over the bike in a doorway practicing getting in and out of one pedal at a time. I must say I felt like a jerk for awhile until I found the spot on the first foot and could get in and out reasonably well. Then I started on the other foot. By the time I felt, not exactly comfortable, but willing to give it a real life try, the rain had stopped. Still no sun and cool enough to wear a jacket (in August!) but I re-started my ride with the same destination in mind and wearing the new shoes and working the cleats in and out. Now, before I continue the saga, just let me say that I continue to ruminate on the inappropriateness of the term "clipless pedals." I know the history, that they are called clipless because they replace toe-clips (hence without toe-clips=clipless.) But it is really the only cycling term I've come across that is counter intuitive and, in fact, misleading. These shoes clip into the pedal. They should, by all rights be called "clip-in" pedals. Ah well, so much for logic. Anyway, I managed pretty well. I was told by someone to expect to fall four times while learning to use them. I only fell once. Very minor fall that I hardly felt. I am able to get into the pedals really well now, but getting out of the left to put my foot down is still a second or two slower than I want it to be. But that will come. Do they make a difference? It may be too soon to tell. I certainly felt the extra pull going up some of the big hills I took today and even felt a better level of efficiency on the flats. But I'm no racer and I'm not sure how much in the end they add. We'll see. Meanwhile, now I know what their like.

I rode into Mount Airy and realized that while I wasn't certain how long more it would take me to get to Wynncote and back, I'd already spent an hour and because of my late start didn't have the time to find out today. I had to be home before 4 PM and would need to eat and shower before that. But just riding around Mt. Airy is quite lovely. I passed this great house with this great piece on its front lawn. Took the picture and headed home only managing about 20 miles. Not much for a Wednesday, but I'm still a little tired from the weekend and my legs felt heavier than they have lately.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

League of American Bicyclists

Hey, give this e-mail I received a read and consider joing the League. They do get work advocating for cyclists. and if you decide to join, cut and paste the link so that I get the credit! Who does it hurt?

BikeLeague: Be a Member, Get a Member Campaign - Win Prizes

Dear Ira:

Now, through October 19, 2007 you can help power the League across the country with new members … it’s 2,428 miles from San Diego to New York City, and we want to get there with your help.

Each new member that you refer pedals us one mile on our journey across America. Even better, each referral wins you a coupon for Performance Bicycle's on-line stores and when you refer three new members you are automatically entered in a raffle to win a new bike donated by our friends at City Bikes in Washington, D.C.

The process is simple:
This email includes a unique link that allows us to track your referrals. Forward this email to your friends and family. We have outlined the League membership benefits below. Be sure to add the reasons why you continue to support us in building a bicycle-friendly America.

(If this link is not live, cut and paste it into your Internet browser)

Why Join the League?

1. We Protect the Rights of Cyclists
The League has been protecting your rights to safe and enjoyable cycling since 1880. What started as a movement by "Wheelmen" on high wheel bikes to get roads paved continues today with our Share the Road campaign to make sure cyclists are welcomed and respected out on the road.

2. We provide valuable education programs
Through our bike education program - BikeEd - we teach cyclists and motorist life-saving skills. Our national network of League Cycling Instructors set the standard in bicycle education and safety for children and adults.

3. We create better cycling environments
As the leading voice for cyclists in Washington, DC we advocate for more bicycle-friendly environments. Working with state and local bike advocacy organizations through events such as the National Bike Summit we education Congress on the benefits cycling and the needs of cyclists.

4. We promote cycling as the commuter option of choice
We introduce cycling to countless Americans each year, especially during National Bike Month and on Bike-to-Work Day. We believe sharing our passion for cycling with others is one of the best ways to create a bicycle-friendly America.

5. You can create bicycle friendly communities
When you join you'll have the good feeling of knowing that you're playing a crucial role in creating bicycle friendly communities. Town by town and city by city we are transforming how America moves.

6. You will receive all the benefits of membership
As an added bonus of joining, you'll receive great benefits such as 11 issues of Bicycling Magazine and six issues of our magazine, American Bicyclist. League members also get discounts on bike shipping, roadside assistance, bike tours and more!

7. We provide a charitable deduction
The League of American Bicyclists is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Membership dues are fully tax-deductible less $3 for American Bicyclist and $7 for Bicycling magazine.

8. We will use your donation wisely
We understand the trust you are putting in us when you support us with your membership dues. We strive to maximize the amount of your dues that fund our programs. According to our most recent financial audit (2004) we spend 80% of our revenue on programs and only 20% on fundraising, management and general expenses.

If your friends and family are cyclists, they should be members. Refer them to the League of American Bicyclists today!

(If this link is not live, cut and paste it into your Internet browser)

Questions? Email or call 202-822-1333.

Rules and Regulations: Only League of American Bicyclists members in good standing are eligible to participate. • All online renewals must be received between August 21, 2007 and October 19, 2007 • To receive credit for each new member must use the link from the existing member’s e-mail. • A new member will be credited to the existing member when the new member’s online application is successfully processed. • The existing member will have his/her name entered one time into the prize drawing after referring three new members and once for each new member there after enrolled by October 19, 2007. For example, if an existing member refers three new members, they will get their name entered one time in the raffle and if they refer a fourth new member, they will get their name entered a second time, and so on • Prize drawings will be held on October 26, 2007. Winners will be notified immediately. • Offer void where prohibited.

Still Soggy But Satisfied

I think I forgot to mention yesterday that we did not ride. When I woke at 4AM it was raining and generally ugly out. I felt like we both needed to sleep after Sunday's outing and with the weather being so uninviting I shut the alarm and we slept through until we had to get up for work. Annie used the Spinner but I skipped cycling altogether. Today the weather was much the same and Annie spun again, but I put on my rain gear and rode my 13 miles around a soggy loop. It felt good to be out on the bike and I really don't mind the rain, especially when I'm dressed for it, which I was not on Sunday.

Last night Annie and I attended the first of four sessions on Bicycle Maintenance offered by Philadelphia's Neighborhood Bike Works. There were five other students though we brought the average age up significantly. The others were all college-age kids. The instructor, Rickey was good. We spent a fair amount of time on "bike anatomy" and then each got to fix a flat. Next session is devoted to bearings, after that cables, and I forget what comes after that. I really enjoyed it and look forward to feeling more comfortable about doing my own minor maintenance preventitively, dealing with minor things that go wrong on the road, and just feeling like I understand the machine better. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to build up my own bike someday.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Successful, If Somewhat Soggy

The Lancaster Covered Bridges Metric Century has come and gone. It was a most successful and enjoyable day of cycling. We left our house at 6 A.M. and arrived at the start point in Lancaster at about 7:40. What with taking care of nature, setting up the bikes and checking in at the registration desk, we were on the road at 8:30. The "we," pictured here are Annie, Alan and Jacob. And, of course, me, not pictured, but you know what I look like.

It was a fantastic feeling, and our first experience of riding in such a mass. We later learned that there were 3,305 cyclists on the ride. Cyclists of all shapes and sizes with all manner of bikes: recumbent, tandems (a surprising lot of them) mountain bikes and very, very upscale performance bikes. It was really neat seeing them all gathered. And it was really neat riding amongst such a contingent. Of course, as the day wore on and we fell further and further to the rear, we were eventually riding quite a bit seemingly by ourselves, although even at the end we were always in sight of a group or two of other riders.

The first 34 miles, until the lunch stop were marvelous. Much more hilly than we'd expected. The lunch tent is pictured here. Not long before we reached the lunch tent we crossed the first of the seven covered bridges, also pictured here. By the time we crossed the other six the weather didn't allow me to stop and snap a picture. Also at about the same time or just before we reached lunch, the weather was good enough to stop and snap a few "candids" along the road. That's Annie and me. Then Annie, me and Alan; then Annie, Alan and Jacob.

After lunch things got messy. The rain became steady, fairly hard at times. I think we still really enjoyed the ride but there is no question that we would have enjoyed it more on a nicer day. We were, however, aware of the fact that more typically the weather for this ride might be sunny and very hot and humid. All in all we agreed it was worth the trade. A very hot and humid day would not have been easy, especially up the hills. Just as we hit the 52 mile mark we made our first and only mistake following the route. This resulted in our climbing a very steep hill that we later learned used to be part of the ride but had been taken off because it was too challenging. When we realized our mistake and went back down the hill we came upon the SAG wagon making its rounds. Soggy and tired and, I think, disheartened by the last unnecessary hill, Annie hitched a ride, her day of riding finished. She did a fantastic job! She had never ridden over 30 miles and certainly never on this hilly terrain and in this lousy weather. She really showed her stuff and I was very proud of her.

Alan and I continued (Jacob had already decided to ride ahead to keep a faster pace for part of the ride.) We made much quicker time and devoured the last 10 miles pretty quickly. I can't tell you how satisfied I felt riding back into the start/finish point, nor how good the ice cream provided there tasted. It was just great. It took us a few minutes to figure out where Jacob was, but then we packed up and headed home for dinner together being prepared at home by Tamar and Shuli. We were all famished!

Among the other highlights to mention in passing were, of course, the country itself. Just stunning. But more than just stunning, inspirational when you really looked and saw that people were still living on the land, working the land and living in small sustainable communities. Given my present feeling that cars are truly the root of all contemporary evils watching the Amish families pass by in their horse and buggies and their bicycles no longer looked like a quaint idiosyncrasy but a reminder of a road not taken. Congestion, people living in more and more isolation, people living too far from work, not to mention the environmental crisis, all can be attributed to the automobile. Maybe these Amish knew something we don't want to know? These pictures were taken while riding and didn't come out too good; one shows an Amish buggy passing and one tries to capture a couple of kids riding behind ion their bikes. It was fun seeing the Amish/Mennonite kids riding in their Sunday best as all of us passed in our Lycra. Also, none of them wore helmets!

The other highlight was the incredible job that the Lancaster Bike Club does to host this ride. I couldn't believe the amount of work necessary and the number of volunteers manning the water stations, the feed stations, marking the route, riding the SAG wagons and generally providing a wonderful time for over 3000 riders. I will certainly write to them and express my appreciation ASAP.

Annie and I both certainly feel ready for our Labor Day ride with Hazon now. That will be 50 miles a day for two days. Piece of cake!
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