Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hey Ludwig! - A Fine Day and February Totals

I'll explain the title in a moment. First, the news. I rode out at 9 A.M. with the temperature at 40 degrees, an overcast sky and light winds. I felt like a traffic cop on the last day of the month trying to make my quota for the month. Not that I have a quota, but I did say yesterday that I wanted to make sure that I reached at least 200 miles for the month and given that this is February and that we had two moderate snow storms I thought this was pretty good. And as I said, since the last day of this short month fell on my day off all I needed was decent weather to make my "quota" and more. I rode 23.9 miles today and it felt great to get in such a ride, my longest since 30 miles on January 30th. I could have ridden further, though I was a bit more tired than I'd have liked, but I do have other things to do today.
As I also said yesterday, I wanted to bring my camera with me again today now that it is warm enough to use my fingers. However, since I decided to ride around the loop twice rather than venturing off through Manayunk and beyond, there wasn't much to take photos of beyond what I've already posted in the last two-three months. But I did come up to a train, thankfully not blocking my way, but characteristic of those that often do, and thought I'd at least share that view.

I took this picture just after crossing the Falls Bridge where I stopped to have drink and dial in The Spokesmen #10 on the ipod having finished The Fredcast #2 as I work my way through all the back shows. I can't tell you how much I enjoy these two shows; I find myself, especially listening to The Spokesmen, smiling along with their banter. So in the news section of The Fredcast David told the story of one Ludwig from Znnin Poland who at 84 years of age went out for a ride on his bike. To make a longer story short (and you really should listen to the podcast to get all the details) Ludwig ended up in London, England! So I figure if (again, according to the explanation on The Fredcast #1) a Fred is someone who not only rides a bike but is severely attracted to the gadgets and accessories of a certain bike-cultural look (and I guess I'm a Fred without the financial resources to really express my Fredness) then a Ludwig could be anyone over the age of 55 who is not only a Fred, but also loves to just keep riding eating up the miles pretty much unconcerned with speed. Go Ludwig! I'm a Ludwig. Maybe someday I'll figure out podcasting and do a Ludwigcast.
Oh yes! My total for the month of February is 208.4 miles bringing the total for 2007 to 577.7 miles.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ah Spring

I know it is still a few weeks away, but comparatively speaking it felt like Spring this morning - 34 degrees! Annie came back on the trail with me and we had a great ride. I must say she is a bit rusty despite riding the trainer everyday and so our ride was a bit slower and I had to really rush to get ready for work, but it all worked out. Tomorrow the weather promises to be even nicer and it is my day off so I hope to be able to really add to my February monthly miles total. Right now that total stands at 189 miles, which I think is pretty darn good for February. Perhaps tomorrow I can shoot for bringing it at least up to 200!
Once again I was accompanied on the ride by podcasters. I suppose this will now become a regular part of my experience and not really worth mentioning unless I hear something particularly interesting and want to report it. But I began back at the beginning of the Fredcast, downloading program #1 for the ride along with program #11 of The Spokesmen. It was just the right amount of content for the time of my ride and I enjoyed both shows. This is a great service to the community and I hope others will join in this listening community.
I wish I had some photos, but one of my goals tomorrow will be to get some nice new ones now that it isn't too cold to remove my gloves for a minute.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Brief Interruption

Back on the indoor trainer again today, but the storm was not as bad as predicted and there is little reason to doubt that I will be back outdoors tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, my indoor spinning is much more pleasurable since I discovered Podcasts. I listened to the last of the Fredcasts from the Amgen Tour of California while I had my coffee before riding, so for the ride I listened to a show called The Spokesmen who are David from the Fredcast, Carlton from Bike Biz magazine and Tim Grahl from The Crooked Cog Network talking bike stuff as a roundtable. It was really quite informative and just plain fun. I have also downloaded some Podcasts from Velo News which I haven't had a chance to listen to yet, but that's the whole point of this new media-on-demand. I've got it on my ipod and if I don't get to it today I will tomorrow. What a world. Well, I've got plenty to keep me busy if I get out on the road in the morning, and more importantly, if I don't.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Once More Before The Storm

I had a late night on Saturday and almost couldn't get up early enough to ride this morning before work. But knowing that another storm was heading our way and that I would probably not get to ride outdoors for a few more days this week motivated me to get out...a bit late, but better than never. It was a really nice day for a ride and I had my ipod with me for the first time so that I could listen to the Fredcast as I rode. So I got in my 12.7 miles and the fifth stage of the Tour of California. The snow began to fall at around 3 PM and I'm not expecting to ride for at least a day or two.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Wind In My Face...The Wind At My Back

Having decided that I could not resist getting back out in the fresh air after another morning riding indoors yesterday regardless of the chance of ice on the path, I had a wonderful 12.5 mile ride this morning. The ice was there but not a problem. The wind was another matter. It had to have been around 20 mph sustained with higher gusts. I sometimes felt I was still on my trainer for as fast as I could peddle! I was all set to give up reaching my usual milepost of the Falls Bridge both because it was going to take too long and because of the sheer effort required. But I managed to get there...and then flew home making up all the time. It was one of the rare times that the wind seemed logically to be going in one direction only. So at my back it felt great.
I was also a tad late getting out this morning because of my new routine: Downloading the The Fredcast when I come down to have my morning coffee and listening to it as I do so. I'm really enjoying Dave's commentary on the Tour of California and especially the interesting folks he's lined up to interview. I really recommend it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another Sunny Day

Temperatures soared to near 50 degrees today and as it is my day off I could ride in the daylight. I headed out after 1PM and had just a great ride; it feels so good to be out after a couple of days lay-off! The roads were fine but very wet from all the melting. I had to traverse some puddles as deep as streams. And while there is a fair amount of melting going on there is still much snow and ice on the sides of the road and no reason to think that the roads and path won't be even more dangerous in the early morning when I normally ride. Despite the warm temperatures today I can't trust that most of this wetness will freeze over the road creating a thin and very difficult to see sheen of ice. So the very wetness of the road reinforced for me the fact that I won't be out in the early morning tomorrow.
Meanwhile I've had a little space to catch up on my blog reading and must thank The Cycling Dude who recently had a post on podcasts he has been checking out. Today I had time to do the same and listend to both The Fredcast and Bikescape. Loved them both and have subscribed to both via Ipod. The Fredcast is broadcasting almost live from the Tour of California. In case you didn't see the horrific pile-up that marked the first stage of that race here is a shot from The Fredcast website:

I was able to watch stage two on Versus last night and now I'm listening to The Fredcast recap of that stage. All very helpful to enriching the cycling experieince.
At the end of stage two Levi Leipheim still was leading the race, pictured here also courtesy of The Fredcast.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Back Outdoors

The skies have cleared and the temperature has risen, though not by much, and I could resist no longer. So I took the chance on the snowy, icy roads and went for a ride. Not bad, not bad at all. I did a 13.7 loop over mostly clear roads. The streets were worse than the path and I had to do some maneuvering to get up to the path. Then on the path itself there were definitely some dicey spots covered with frozen slush that had to be bumped over. Still, it was great to be out. Riding in daylight is a necessity since without the daylight to see some of the less safe spots would have been very ill-advised. Thus, until we get some good rain and warmer temperatures to clear the roadways, I'll be limiting my outdoor riding to days when i can ride in the light.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pedalling In Place

I finally gave in an attached the bike to the home trainer. The snow and ice are still to scary at 5:30 AM. This is a very different activity -- no relation to bicycling at all. The peals go round but I go nowhere. It is boring, the TV makes it worse not better, and since I'm already home when I start to get tired I have no incentive to keep going. This is exercise, which I have always hated. But I did it anyway for 40 minutes so as not to have to start all over again in terms of endurance when I get out on the road again. Soon, I hope.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


My first year of regular cycling has proven to be a very lucky one. Our mild winter through December followed by a colder January and early February, but without much bothersome precipitation has been very supportive of my riding every day. That has finally changed and promises to cause me a longer hiatus. Certainly, I could not ride today. In fact, after making it to the train station in order to get to an appointment in NY, I discovered the train had been cancelled. If the train can't get through then the bike surely can't. And while the snow accumulation doesn't figure to be massive, the ice and related mess will likely cause me to miss riding tomorrow and I'm not optimistic in the short run after that. Perhaps by Sunday or Monday I can ride again. I can't complain, its been a great run of decent weather. It could easily have been different and I could have been forced to give up two months ago and to stay off for the whole time.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Beat The Snow

Still having difficulties making as much time as I might like for blogging. But yesterday and today were fine mornings for riding as the temperatures soared into the low thirties. Yesterday I did 12.4 and today 12.5 miles. Today, with the temperature at 35 I really got around quick. I can't wait to feel how good it will be when it really gets warm. I actually didn't expect to ride today and almost didn't set my alarm, but I'm happy I did. Despite predictions of overnight snowfall, it held off until long after I had returned from a clear, crisp ride. But it is now snowing and the outlook for the next day or two is not promising.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Friday and Sunday Rides Combined

I didn't have time to blog on Friday, but I did have time to ride. I rode 12.5 miles in 15 degree temperature. Today was even better. Being Sunday I went out a bit later, temperature was still about 16-17 degrees, but no wind to speak of and I rode 16.4 miles at a healthy clip before having to start a long day of work. while I'd hoped to have more time to blog, I did just check out Bicycle Diaries and want to recommend the clip from Video Jug on How To Buy A Bike. I found it very informative. Had I seen it seven months ago I would have been saved much aggravation. so if you know someone considering getting into a bike, share it with them.Meanwhile Alan Snell's Bike Stories had a link to an interesting Bike Information site on which I found the accompanying photo of a covered bike and pedestrian bridge in Cambridge, England. Very neat.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Schuykill Is Frozen But I'm Not

Despite the 5 degree temperature I finally got back on my bike after a two day lay-off. The first day because I had to pick up Annie from the airport, the second day because of snow. But this morning was a beautiful ride and I was thrilled to be riding beside a frozen Schuykill River.My schedule has crimped my blogging style, but I hope to be able to write a longer and fuller post over the weekend.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's The Wind Not The Cold

Regardless of how cold it is there is always someone taking a picture of the famous "Rocky" steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and then often running up them. I saw this on Sunday morning and I wouldn't be surprised if I would have seen it today, too, but I wouldn't have snapped a picture for fear the even a moment out of my gloves would have been dangerous.I rode this morning with the temperature at around 5 degrees with a windchill well below zero. I really had no problem with the cold, though I added another layer around my ears and legwarmers over my knickers under my winter outer pants. No problem. The problem is the wind. At certain points it reduced me to the lowest gears I've ever used around the trail and, therefore, my ride took longer than usual. I am not much of a scientist, but I will never understand how the wind can be directly in my face whether I'm going in one direction out or the other direction back in.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I Call It Crisp

Some call it crazy, most of my friends and even my wife said: "I don't know how you do it," but I just call it crisp. Truth be told, not even that. It was 16 degrees with a wind chill factor of about 8 degrees and I felt as comfortable as ever. I simply went to three jerseys layered under my wind breaker, a thinsulate hat and earmuffs over my balaclava and toe warmers. I felt fine and managed 16.3 miles on a lovely morning with a breathtaking sunrise. I left home a little late, 6:05, intentionally in order to have pretty much daylight by the time I arrived at the Falls Bridge. That allows me to go around the full loop, otherwise the West River Drive is too poorly lit and I would have to turn around and go back down Kelly Drive which is what we do most mornings. But having a little more discretion on the clock, this being Sunday, I managed to get to the bridge just as the sun was coming up and take the full loop. In fact I had enough time do do an extra quarter loop, hence my additional mileage. I wish I'd taken my camera with me, but, truthfully, it is a bit cold when one stops and takes off one's gloves.

The new issue of Citycycling was published on the web yesterday in which my letter to the journal appeared. Check it out City Cycling Another good issue from those folks.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Winter Storm Postponed

I went to bed certain that I would not ride today. The weather forecasts were filled with dire predictions of snow, sleet, freezing rain and perhaps locust and frogs! But when I awakened this morning there was nothing but 32 balmy degrees and dry streets. So off I went. Actually it began to flurry, sometimes heavily, for the first fifteen minutes of my ride. Riding in snow showers is far less of an impediment than equivalent rain showers and I didn't mind at all. It was all over before I reached the bridge. I had a good, fast ride. I was able to get out by 5:35 and back by 6:50 giving me more time than I've had lately to get ready for work and even write up this post! I can tell when I'm having a really good ride: I'm not thinking about bicycling! Instead my mind wanders to all sorts of different topics in my life and I often find solutions to problems that have been bedeviling me either in my studies, writing or personal life.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Night Riding

I was away overnight and therefore not home to ride as usual this morning. I spent yesterday in NY on business, stayed at my daughter's house in Northern New Jersey and we went back into NY this morning for a family event. I drove home from New Jersey arriving in Philadelphia at about 5PM and feeling the need for a ride. So I jumped into my gear after feeding the cats and was on the road at 5:40 PM rather than 5:40 AM. I had never ridden at night before. Usually I'm working and if I'm not I'm tired from a day of work. But today I felt energized and the ride was great. It was about 34 degrees when I went out and no appreciable wind. The temperature was dropping and I started getting a bit cold when I had to wait about 7 minutes for a train to pass while on my way home. There were plenty of people out on the path: joggers, walkers and cyclists. The quality of the darkness at night did not differ from the quality of darkness in the pre-dawn morning.
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