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.

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