Thursday, May 31, 2007

May Totals

I felt really good on my ride this morning despite having ridden over 60 miles yesterday. Annie was not home so I was able to ride a bit harder and covered 15.7 miles during my regular time. It is warmer and more humid today but still glorious weather for cycling. I also had several meetings in town again today so was able to take my bike with me and add a little more mileage to the monthly total on this last day of the month. All together I managed 25 miles today which brings the monthly total to 445.7 miles and the cumulative total for the year to 1942.4. Pretty darn good, I'd say.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off To Perkiomen and A Metric Century

Here you see a photo of me somewhere along the Perkiomen Trail today. I reached Valley forge on a glorious day for riding and happened to meet a couple of other riders coming up from Center City and asked if any of them knew how to hook up with the Perkiomen Trail. One man did and gave me good directions, so, feeling like I had more ride left in me, I took off. Made it as far as Collegeville along a lovely path running next to the Perkiomen Creek. Along the way I met a very pleasant woman out walking and asked her to snap a shot of me on my bike. I have so few since I'm always the one taking the pictures.It shows the updated bike and the updated me (50 pounds lighter) than the picture I've had in my profile. I hope by the time you are reading this I've replaced the old one with this one.

To reach it I went back over the bridge over the Schuylkill seen above, one of my favorite views of the ride. I knew I had found the correct way when I finally came up to this sign post shown below.

I stopped to get a shot of the Perkiomen Creek and then turned around to show the parkland through which I was riding.

Along the way I managed to get a quick action shot of a cyclist of the future also out for a ride today.

The only drawback to this trail is that most of the way between Oaks and Collegeville is not paved. It is packed dirt, perfectly smooth and rideable in places, and heavy gravel in other places making for a bit of a hairy ride. It looked from where I stopped that the next section is paved again, but I could be sure as there was a pretty big street (Second Ave) between where I turned around in Collegeville and the continuation of the trail.

I managed 62.3 miles today, (that's a metric century - 100 kilometers) my single day record and ended by riding through the city to meet a friend for a late lunch. Lovely.

Meanwhile, many thanks to friends who have already responded to my request for support for the Hazon Ride. In one day I've reached 25% of my goal. But my goal is modest and I'd be very happy to go way over goal. So, if you're inclined, click the link on the top right of this page. Thanks

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Support My Hazon Ride

A gorgeous morning! Temperature in the mid-sixties and the humidity has disappeared. Annie and I rode our 13 miles both feeling chagrined that having to return to work cut our ride back from the 20-25 miles we've been doing.

I have registered us both for the Hazon ride...and now I need sponsors to raise my fundraising quota. If you'd like to make a small donation (or large) feel free to Click here Later I will link Annie's donors page as well in case you prefer to sponsor her. We are really excited.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Philly Flips For Fixies

The front page of this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story on the upsurge in folks riding fixies around town, accompanied by the picture above. check it out on their web site here.

This morning was beautiful again. We rode another double loop, without untoward incident this time. Annie is now very comfortable riding the 22 miles of this double loop and soon we'll try to push her a bit further in terms of distance. We are working toward being able to ride the Hazon ride this coming labor day weekend. Hazon is a Jewish environmental activist organization the uses bicycling as a focus for many of their consciousness raising programs. The ride we are registering for is preceded by a Sabbath retreat focusing on Jewish texts and traditions around environmental themes, followed by a two-day ride from Connecticut to Manhattan, about 160 miles. You can read about the organization and their rides here. We've talked to folks that have done the Labor Day ride before as well as folks who have done the ride from Jerusalem to Eilat. Someday maybe we'll be able to do the latter, but for now we've set our sights on this ride.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Annie Has A Flat and I Don't Have My Camera

I meant to bring my camera just because we had more time to ride today and I thought to get some good shots. The sky had a misty tone to it, the ride was wonderful and I bemoaned the fact that I hadn't brought my camera. This become particularly intense regret when about half way through what we had planned to be a double loop, while coming down the West Ri9ver Drive, Annie had a flat. We began the process of changing our first tire and were having some trouble, particularly because the quick-release mechanism on the Fuji is really tight and very difficult for me. The a good samaritan named Jerome came by and took charge. While I knew what to do i'd actually never done it so it was a great learning experience to watch him. And I felt really good that he couldn't open the quick-release either. We ended up taking the tire of without disengaging the mechanism. It all worked out and we continued our ride for a day's total of 24.5, Annie's furthest yet.

The other reason I wished I had my camera was that the Drive was covered with debris again from another fierce thunderstorm last night. This included a small patch of the rode being entirely covered by thick mud. We rode through it which may have been the reason for the flat. It would have made a good picture.

After the ride I was off to work. Busy day. After morning services I was of to officiate at a funeral and after the funeral I officiated at a wedding. Then I stopped and the bike shop to refill on tubes and CO2! Then i came home and cleaned both bikes and lubed the chains, ready for tomorrow's ride.

Finally, this picture has been circulating in the bike blogosphere today. I thought those of you who might not have seen it would enjoy it.

I believe it originated at this flickr site

Friday, May 25, 2007

Quick Ride

The beauty of the day and the fact that I will be busy over most of the holiday weekend -- funeral, wedding, make-up class, etc, I took the opportunity of a quick hard ride. Only the usual 13 mile loop, but at higher cadence and speed than I usually have gone. Felt great.

Back From The Holiday - Into The Holiday

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot has ended and Memorial Day Weekend has begun. It was very quiet already on the trail this morning. We started with a temperature of 62 degrees. It is going to be hot for the first time this year today. We rode our 13 miles as the sun rose and loved it. Annie is back on the Fuji, having found the Trek impossible on her knee. A few more adjustments and the Fuji is treating her much better, though still not perfect. But we are working on it and are almost there.

Meanwhile, I awoke to a scurrilous column in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about Floyd Landis by Phil Sheridan. Here's how it begins:

Only one thing was proven beyond a reasonable doubt during Floyd Landis' appeal hearing over the last two weeks. Professional bicycle racing is a filthy sport and, in a perfect world, the Tour de France would go away and never come back. Certainly there is no reason for anyone to watch cycling's premier event with any faith that it is clean.

Read the rest at the above link on your own.

I have written the Inquirer before to complain of their lack of cycling coverage and about the fact that they only cover the doping news but never the racing or anything else connected with the sport. Sheridan's blanket condemnation of the entire sport is just incredible. While he suggests that the Tour de France be canceled or ignored, his paper reports all of today's other sporting news, including a special box watching the chase for Hank Aaron's home run record by Barry Bonds, highly suspected of doping himself. No one would like to see all of sports cleaned up more than I, and in fact I look upon the present troubles in cycling as the death throes of doping in that sport, a hard process of changing the culture in which many will be implicated. Rather than using this as an opportunity to pan the sport, he should have pointed to its advance over other sports, not to mention highlighting the hundreds of pro racers not implicated. He should be ashamed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tour de Jerusalem

Almost as historic as this Bicycling History photo:

How about this headline in the Jerusalem Post on-line sports page: Sun shines on first Tour de Jerusalem check it out. The article goes on to describe the successful first running of this event. Sounds great.

Along those lines, I am close to deciding to sign up for the Hazon Labor Day Ride. Hazon is a Jewish Environmental advocacy group and the run a number of rides during the year, including a great week-long event from Jerusalem to Eilat, along with their other activities. The ride I am about to register for takes place over Labor Day Weekend. It begins with a Sabbath retreat at a Connecticut Jewish camp focusing on environmental issues. On Sunday there is a 60 mile ride to another camp in New York state and on Monday the ride concludes in Manhattan. I know I'm ready for it physically. I'm hoping that Annie will feel ready to join me.

This morning we rode a lovely 13 mile loop; the weather just gets better and better. Met one of my congregants heading out for his ride. Nice looking bike, pretty serious looking rider. There are probably many among the congregation and I'd like to figure out how to organize something fun that people would participate in.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Zabriskie Watching

A bit chilly and with a strong wind, Annie and I rode our daily 13 miles. If it weren't so beautiful it would be boring. The goslings who we've watched for the last couple of weeks are getting bigger and bigger, and their parents are as ornery as ever, protecting them as we pass by. We rode the loop "backwards" today, that is, from the West River Drive side over the bridge and returning along Kelly Drive. It cuts our having to look into the sun by a little. But it also varies the scenery and the experience interestingly.

Despite the pace of my schedule this time of the year, I'm trying to keep one eye on the Giro. I was interested to read this piece in Velo News today (click it from the side bar list of favorites) about Dave Zabriskie, to wit:

"For the first time of his career, Dave Zabriskie is making a serious stab at the overall classification of a grand tour."

It will be fun to watch how this American is faring after the next difficult climbing stage.

Though I have to work later tomorrow night, I am going to try to attend my first meeting of the Philadelphia Bicycling Committee, a committee of the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia. The coalition hosts smaller committees focusing on advocacy issues in particular localities in the five county area. I hope I can make it and get involved.

I will try to report, but because of another two-day Jewish holiday I will not be back on the blog until Friday.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Sunday Afternoon Ride

We returned from our retreat at about 1 PM today and I headed out to the trail at 3:15. Despite having to dodge the Sunday walkers/riders/skateboarders etc. I had a very good ride. It is always especially pleasant when the West River Drive is closed to traffic. Met a few folks out on the ride. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon for a ride.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Cold May Ride

Exhausted after my travels this week, I none-the-less pulled myself out of bed this morning and rode, with Annie, 13 miles. It felt great despite the fact that it was colder than I'd planned for and I could have dressed a bit warmer! Who needs this cold damp weather in May?

P.S. Annie can't ride the FX 5. It killed her knee, so she is back on the Navigator and we are back tot he drawing board. She'll probably re-claim the Fuji and go with it. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I think that it is instructive to see how other cities are trying to encourage cycling. The city of London is in the forefront, having increased the number of people and the number of trips by bike exponentially over the last few years. Certainly the entry tax, the fee to bring a motor vehicle into London helps; so do campaigns like the one the Lord Mayor of London recently announced which is exemplified by this video spot: view here I hear that London still has a way to go, but you can't say they're not trying.

Because of my work obligations I missed The Ride of Silence on Wednesday night. I had really hoped to be able to participate. Unfortunately, it poured. But 50-60 folks still rode and here is a video of part of it.

We're off for a Congregational Retreat weekend. May not get to ride or post until Monday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Back On The Fuji...One Less Car

Picked up the Fuji from Bustleton Bikes yesterday. Also picked up a new bike for Annie. she was really not happy with the Fuji geometry, no matter what Pete and Mike did to swap out elements in order to make her more comfortable. Her knee was killing her. So she finally tried a Trek 7.5 FX WSD (that means women's specific) and she loves it. Eureka! They took back the Fuji and we paid the difference for the Trek. That's it in the above photo.She is off to NJ today and won't ride. Tonight I head for NY for an overnight in order to attend ceremonies tomorrow for the ordination of new Rabbis so she'll take her maiden ride alone; I'll miss yet another day! But today is my day to ride, though not as much as I would've liked. My schedule won't allow a very extended ride. I could only get in 26.3 miles. But, meanwhile, back to the Fuji. When I got it home I decked it out in newly acquired stickers. This first one, for those of you who can't see it, says: "One Less Car" on the top bar, and "Bicycling Is Not A Crime" and "Cars Kill" on the bottom bar.

Picture number three shows the rest of the top bar with the "Fredcast" sticker.

Picture number four shows the other side of the top bar with a sticker that "prescribes" one ride daily to relieve depression.

A little bit crazy, but what the hell.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back Again

A beautiful morning in Philadelphia. As it was a beautiful weekend in Berkeley where I neither took a bike with me nor rented a bike and now I'm pretty sorry about that. It was beautiful biking weather and a much more bike-friendly looking place than I usually ride in. But it wasn't logistically workable and that's that. Now I'm home and rode the Trek today which was an incredibly nice change of pace and will go pick up the Fuji from the shop this afternoon. We rode our loop and then went directly to the polls for today's Philadelphia Mayoral primary. Too bad the Bicycling Coalition folks didn't think to make a bigger deal of a "ride your bike to vote" campaign, especially as this election falls directly within Bicycle month and a host of other cycling events this week.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to follow the Giro d"Italia happily on the one hand, and the Landis drug hearing et. al. on the other. What a roller coaster! I listened to a bit of the streaming video this morning of yesterday's hearing. Pretty dry stuff to sit through. The whole thing continues to break my heart. I want to believe Floyd; I am in total agreement that the WADA procedures are unfair and arbitrary. But I also would like to see a creditable crack down such that drugs would be removed from the sport.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

While I'm Away

In my continuing perusal (via ears rather than eyes) of the available world of bicycle podcasting I think I've mentioned The Bicycle Show from Renaissance Radio in London. If I haven't I should have. Now that I'm almost caught up on all the Fredcasts, Bikescapes, The Spokesmen and KBOO Bike News among a half dozen others, I recently discovered The Bicycle Show and find it right up there as the best or one of the three best. The variety of subjects is one important reason and in a show I listened to recently, (though not a recent show) I heard about Rouler Cycling Journal and was intrigued. After tracking it down from the show notes I was convinced that it was of a quality that I couldn't resist and have ordered all the back issues as well as a subscription. you should really look at this. Ernesto Colnago is pictured in a photo by Ben Ingham.Good reading while I'm away.

On The Road Again

Another beautiful day; warm, somewhat humid, and light fog hiding the sun, but great for riding. I did my morning loop of 16 miles because I had a little more time and Annie wasn't with me. She is rightly preoccupied with our granddaughter who has been with us (along with our daughter) for the past two days. In fact this shot shows Annie helping Shail ride the little bike we bought her yesterday. I hope to get her a glider for her second birthday, but at 15 months this will do.

This afternoon the Fuji goes in for its new-bike check up since I will be off to Berkeley California for the weekend on business and will not be riding it. I've decided against taking a bike, folding or not, with me since I'll only have Sunday afternoon free to ride. But my host for the weekend is trying to line me up a "mount" and if it works out I may have some cycling stories to tell upon my return. I'll take my camera with me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

To Life!

The season is awash in new life, as evidenced by this shot of a family of geese with goslings. Cutest little group, and the parents let me know in loud tones just what they thought of my stopping so close by. the picture was taken in the course of this morning's 26 mile ride. I had enough time for a longer ride than usual, but not enough for a real Wednesday day of riding.

So I rode into Manayunk where I stopped at Starbuck's to pick up some coffee to take home and snapped a picture both of Starbuck''s and of the mural across the street, along the canal towpath. I did not ride on the towpath but on the streets which I have come to love, though traffic was very heavy and a little crazy today. But I had a good ride and then stopped for a haircut and home to spend the day with my daughter and granddaughter.

As the latest news continues to unfold regarding doping in the pro pelaton and if you are as tired of the whole cycling drug thing as I am you might find this little essay by a self-confessed fanatical fan with a great idea that won't ever be accepted regarding how to get beyond this sorry moment.It is called "It's time for cycling to enter rehab."read it here

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Two P.S.'s to today's blog entry. First, Ivan Basso at a press conference today attempted to clarify the report that he'd been involved in the operation Puerto affair. He claims to have attempted to dope, but never actually did. He says, therefore, that all of his wins were achieved cleanly and that he is prepared to pay his penalty and come back to racing. In his words:"I have never taken banned substances and I have never employed blood doping. I did admit having attempted to use doping for the (2006) Tour de France and I am ready to pay the penalty for that," Basso said. "All my wins have been achieved in a proper and clean manner and I have every intention of returning to action and continuing with the job I love once I have paid the penalty." Hopefully this statement will be corroborated in court and we can mover on.

The second P.S. has to do with today's riding. I did, indeed, take my bike with me and commuted between three different meetings around town. Glorious weather for cycling and I am coming to love riding in city traffic: dodging around buses, watching for parked cars and driveways...the whole nine yards. I really was having fun. And I brought my total for the day to 18.5 miles!

High's and Low's And A Beautiful Ride

The weather continues perfect for morning rides. Annie and I did our loop with great pleasure. Today is another one of those days when I may be able to use the bike to get to and from various meetings around town. So my mileage for the day is not yet determined, nor whether I actually will be able to use the bike, depending on the weight of my schedule, but I will report.

Meanwhile, last night I went to see the movie "The Flying Scotsman" about Graeme Obree, the eccentric bicycling record setter.I'm not much of a movie critic, but this is no great movie. It is interesting enough, but given that one always knows the outcome in these kind of pictures, the movie must work harder to build the emotional tension. The movie "Miracle" comes to mind, in which the characters and the motivations of the folks involved in the Olympic Hockey upset of the Russians pretty much had me cheering and in tears. Nothing like that for the Scotsman.Relationships are superficial, even the protagonist, though ably acted, seems superficial. On the other hand, the cycling scenes are great and there is enough of an inherent story to have carried me along. And the story itself is one of the "Highs," the indomitable spirit that cycling can articulate.

That is one end of the bicycling world: the heroic, the eccentric, the appreciation for the pure love of the machine and the extraordinary feeling of release that I've come to love despite being anything but a champion. The other side of the bicycling world become more and more dispiriting. That dispirit carried today on the news that Ivan Basso now does admit to having been a participant in the Operation Puerto drug scandal.

Good for Basso for finally having come clean. but it took to long and there are too many others out there who haven't. My only complaint is that there surely was/is a culture of "performance enhancement" in the sport for a long time and it had to have been abetted by the teams themselves. They seem to be going Scott free. The Director Sportif, the doctors and the trainers on all of the pro teams should be punished when and if one of their riders turns up dirty. Now that Basso is in the open, can Floyd be far behind? and dare one say it: Lance?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Our Weekend In Vermont

We are home from our weekend in Vermont. All went really well. The young Rabbi whom it was my pleasure to help "install" in his new pulpit orchestrated with his community a truly lovely weekend of events culminating with the formal installation at the Bennington Museum on Saturday night. Coincidently, the Bennington Museum (shown below) was the starting point for a 13.3 mile historical bike route that I found on the web at . However, the printer at the Motel we were staying at and on whose computer I was working quickly on Friday afternoon was out of order. So I tried to sketch the map quickly and later super-impose it on a rather inadequate map I found in the Motel lobby. Needless to say we had a lovely ride Sunday morning but got nowhere near wherever this route was suppossed to take us. It was still beautiful, though a bit shorter than we planned at only 10.5 miles. On the other hand we did some pretty serious hills along our route. And we rode in traffic the whole way. Light traffic to be sure, but a first for Annie and good practice.

Not long after leaving the Museum we were looking out at this view. Actually the picture is taken from a flat spot after descending a very steep hill that we'd climbed and gone beyond and then returned on heading back into the town of Bennington itself.

Which is characterized from almost any point with views such as these.

And this one as we rode into downtown:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Morning Ride Then Off To Vermont

A view of the path this morning with another riding couple up ahead of us.
Another perfect Spring morning and Annie is back with her reconfigured Fuji trying to eliminate some knee pain. We rode 13.3(?) miles and the verdict is still not in, but the ride was great. We are off to Vermont where I will officiate at the installation of a new Rabbi in his Congregation. He is a student of mine and the synagogue was my first student pulpit some 30 very odd years ago.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Quick Thursday Ride And A Quicker Blog

Busy day. Only time for a quick report. I left the house a bit late this morning, almost 6 AM with the sun already shining and temperature in the mid-fifties. Had a lovely quick loop ride. Not sure what I did, but according to my trip odometer the loop covered 13.3 miles, having covered 13 miles even all these other mornings. Either the device is off a bit for some reason, or I didn't realize some minor change in my route to account for the extra.3 miles. Whatever, I'll take them.

Annie and I are off for Vermont where I have a professional obligation this weekend. The weather predictions are good and we will take our bikes and hope to have some nice riding time both on Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. You may not hear from me again until Sunday night or Monday, but I hope I'll have something more interesting to talk about than my usual routes, and some good pictures, too.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Glorious Wednesday

Over the next few weeks my long Wednesday rides will be somewhat cut short by obligations. This is a very busy time of the year for me. So I was very pleased that the rain I heard falling during the night was gone when I set out at 8:30 AM in 70 degree weather, not sure of how far I'd go, but determined to get in some miles and get some pictures. The latter process began as soon as I started out with some previously promised pictures of Spring on the trail, specifically the Azalea Garden and another view or two from Kelly drive.

Of which these are two.

Then I continued on thinking that I would change my route a bit by taking a new fork toward Plymouth Meeting rather than toward Norristown where I'd just been Sunday. The Plymouth Meeting path is only three miles off the main Schuylkill path, but I thought that would be enough for today and I'd see where it went etc. However when I came to that fork in the road (after traveling through Manayunk again and going up the hills on Umbria street but not making the wrong turn and going up Shawmont again) I found this:

Off to Norristown it was. Took a couple of shots of the Norristown Transportation Center ( really just a train station, after all) shown here:

By this time the thought of stopping was long gone from my head. I continued on knowing I was going to Valley forge. Along the way I passed the now defunct Breakaway Cafe. There's been a lot of chatter on some email groups about some kind of incident here on Sunday, perhaps attacks on cyclists by local hoodlums, not clear and not confirmed. I'll report if I hear anything, but here is the place. It's a shame it is no longer functioning. It would be a great spot to take a break, mingle with cyclists and have a mechanic handy just in case.

Finally, arrived at Valley Forge. According to the signposts I think the mileage is calculated to this point where the Park must "officially" begin: It is the Betzwood Movie Studio, a pioneer spot in the making of the earliest movies. But the park really doesn't begin there.

It requires a few more miles and crossing my favorite spot, the bridge that actually goes along Interstate 76. I wish every freeway had such a set-up.

Finally one reaches the Park and the first rest stop. I had my snack and used the facilities. I wished I had more time to actually ride around the park. I wished that they had some info on where the other bike trails are and how one could reach them from here. Perhaps when and if the rental facility in the parking lot ever opens, they will be able to tell me.

All in all, a great ride of 49 miles.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

April Totals And Good Riddance

With a backward glance at the rainy month of April, the rainiest month of April in memory and maybe in history, I am happy to report the total mileage for the month at 479 miles! This brings the total for 2007 to 1476.4. That's a monthly average of 369.1, about 36 or so more miles per month than the hoped for 333 needed to reach 4,000 for the year. Of course, there are going to be slower riding months to come in the late fall and winter, so piling them up now and in the next few really good months is important.

This morning was a beautiful 1st of May, despite the fact that already, as I write this about an hour after our ride, the skies have turned ominous. thunder showers are expected around noon, but hopefully the rest of the week will be decent. As I mentioned the other day, the Spring colors are really making themselves known. Passing the Azalea garden behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art this morning was breathtaking. I hope to have time to bring my camera along tomorrow and get some pictures.

Meanwhile, I have been waiting for the appearance of a new Cycling journal that was announced awhile ago called Urban Cyclist and it came out today. It is being published in a limited print edition (which I don't know how to get, but I'm sure details are at the web site) in addition to on the web in either pdf or for navigating with your browser. Haven't read it yet, but will try to get to it today. Take a look.
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