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.
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