Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today is the last day of 2008. It will certainly go down as one of the more interesting years in recent memory, what with the soaring gas prices followed by plummeting gas prices, a soaring economy followed by a plummeting economy and one of the most exciting political campaigns in anyone's memory. And The Phillies won the World Series!! And the bicycle achieved a place in the public discourse because it touches and is touched by these aforementioned subjects. They even got to lead out the Phillies victory parade.
Personally it has also been a very exciting year marked by Yoshi's wedding and the impending birth of our grandson in the next few days. (Technically that makes that part of next year's story, but grandchildren are relevant to any discussion.) Meanwhile, through it all we rode. Annie and I rode in the Freedom Valley Ride, The Harlem River Valley Ride, The Lancaster Covered Bridges Ride; I rode in Bike Philly without her because she had to be out of town, and we probably did another ride or two that I am forgetting. And of course, we rode almost every morning on our usual route around the river. Which brings me to my mileage for the year. It was a beautiful morning for a ride today, about the same temperature as yesterday, a bit colder perhaps, but almost no wind (which has since picked up to howling this afternoon) and I was sorry that I'd made a relatively early appointment to have my second Apple One-To-One. And since I stayed up late to watch a really exciting Flyers game from Vancouver last night, I didn't get out at my regular time. It was nice to ride in the light and I managed to push harder and ride over 17 miles to end the year. That brings my yearly total to 4701.4. Two hundred miles above goal, three hundred miles less than last year. A well chosen goal. I'll stick with it for the coming year: 4500 miles.
Meanwhile, January should get off to a rocky start riding-wise. The baby will be born in the next few days and for a good couple of weeks we will be either staying up in New Jersey or going back and forth a lot. Even if we take the folders with us, given the winter weather, miles may be hard to come by. But when things settle down I will be on Sabbatical and expect to at least maintain if not increase my normal riding patterns. As you may remember I hope to begin working in my local bike shop as soon as things do settle down. I will try to document my experiences there on a separate blog that will link from this one starting in a few days. It will be called Mussar and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance and the link will be up soon. Till then. Ride safely. Happy New Year.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The thermometer read 44 degrees and frankly, even with 20 to 40 mile an hour winds I wasn't cold as Annie and I rode this morning. But there were times when I was actually scared! I thought I might get blown over. I rode most of the way up Kelly Drive out of my clips just in case I had to catch myself going over. I think it was all mostly in my head. Of course, riding back the other way was much more pleasant.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
As I mentioned today is the second anniversary of this blog. While I've been a little less attentive of late, I still think it has been pretty consistent for what its worth. Thanks to all for reading and commenting.
Below is a picture from Gene's Blog, Bike Biz, from my old home of Seattle. Sixty degrees in Philadelphia, riding in the snow around Lake Washington? Something is wrong with this picture. Good luck on making your mileage goal, Gene.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Meanwhile, for your holiday entertainment I offer this video:
UPS Delivery By Bike! Salem, Oregon from nwduffer on Vimeo.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Yesterday Annie and I both road. Temperature on both days was around 32 but today's bright sunshine felt good.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Anyway, for those of you who never thought the day would come, this sign on Lombard Street says it all...the day is coming and it's going to last at least two years. There will be some inconveniences for those of us who use the bridge regularly, but when the new bridge is up, with its dedicated bike lane and pedestrian amenities, connection to the trail, and cool design elements in general, life should be much improved in the hood.
Finally, for anyone who cares, today"s ride pushed me over the 4500 mile mark, my goal for the year. December mileage is gravy. Also of some note, this blog has gone over 15000 hits. Thank you all.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This is a photo taken last Friday. It represents just one of the reasons i haven't been riding much. More to the point has been the pace of my schedule, getting to bed late and having a really hard time getting up early enough to ride, especially when I need so much extra time to dress and undress and when the weather and the wind takes a bite out of my average speed. but excuses aside, I rode this morning. 38 degrees, light wind, very sunny, although the sun disappeared soon after I got home. it was a wonderful ride and if I wasn't so busy even today (remember when I had liesurely days off?) I would have gone around twice.
It was an interesting ride in that going out I felt like I was flying and therefore felt pretty smug that I hadn't lost any fitness with a week's lay-off. However, uncharacteristically the wind was in my face on the ride back in toward town and my speed dropped markedly. I had to work much harder and definitely did feel the lay off.
Meanwhile, getting around the Art Museum was a bit of a trick since they were very much in the process of setting up for tomorrow's Thanksgiving Day parade. I plan to ride in the morning before heading to my daughter's house for the holiday, but will have to modify my route to miss the parade.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Bike Racks in the news today. The first new bike rack has been installed on South Broad Street by the Bicycle Coalition office as seen below
And the very cool design pictured below won the New York city bike rack competition.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I guess, as the week ends, we will have to deal with the passing of these last two special weeks. So here is my final photo from the Philles parade and while the glow of both the World Series and the election linger, life returns to its normal routine and our hopes and expectations turn to the future. Our hopes are with the President-elect and, as always, our hopes lie with the possibility of a return to the World Series of the Phillies next year.
This morning the temperature was 60 degrees and while the air still felt wet and the roads were, it was a lovely solo ride to end the week.
Another lovely ride in 60 degree temperature, but this one through a mist of wet with occasional drizzle and one downpour. the strong winds along the river also slowed me down. The trail is carpeted by wet leaves in places,which also caused me to use caution. But the glow from the election remains in the air, in people's conversations and in the media coverage of the impending transition as this cyclist reminds us.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Well, actually it was only our regular morning loop, but it felt historic because everything feels historic today! What an inspiring and wonderful day to be an American. The election of Barak Obama now raises great expectations that will inevitably be disappointed. But the very fact of his election, the fact that Americans chose substance over mean-spiritedness only adds to the extraordinary fact of this act of redemption for the original stain on the body of the nation's psyche, the treatment of African Americans. The fact that we can also expect a sympathetic hearing for bicycling is icing on the cake. I wish the President-elect a smooth ride with the wind at his back.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
As we do every year, Annie and I ended our ride by stopping at our polling place and voting. Usually we are number 1 & 2. Today the line went around the block! Good on you America! And most of the people on the line were young people, which augurs well for Obama. Anyway, it turned out that the line was then split between two wards and our ward (an older contingent I'd guess) was not as long this early. We ended up being numbers 29 & 30 and the wait did not set back my schedule very much. If you are reading this early: Go Out And Vote (for Obama...please.)
Sunday, November 02, 2008
And then there was one of those exasperating dog walkers walking his dog without a leash. The dog was all over the trail and there would have been no way to maneuver around him/her so we had to stop and have a few polite words with the owner about caring enough about his pet to protect him. But people like this depend on the good sense of others to protect them from their own stupidity so of course he was belligerent toward us. I just don't get people even after all these years. We were both seething for a few minutes, but didn't let it ruin a really nice ride.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Ok, so this is completely off topic, but, hey, this is from Philadelphia, ground zero and home of the Champions of the Baseball World! Well, not entirely off topic because guess who lead out the parade? The bicycle police. Pretty neat.
Annie and I went to the parade today. We were lucky enough to be invited to view it from one of our friends' offices at 16th and Market right near the beginning of the route. The sea of people that we had to get through in order to get to the building entrance almost foiled our plan, but after a fair amount of perseverance we pushed our way through. From the fifth floor we had a great view of the entire scene. But the pictures to follow really don't do it justice. It must have been like this on V-E Day. The entire city was in party mode. After leaving the Parade route and wandering back to my office every street was filled with happy people dressed in Phillie regalia. There were horns honking and fans cheering all the way back to Rittenhouse square which was packed with people. And beyond, as I came near my house there were even morepeople. The weather is perfect, better than for any of the games, go figure. Anyway, here are some of my pictures and captions.
Truth is, it waqsn't easy from my vantage point to make out any faces on the floats. But Harry Kallas was unmistakable.
Of course, where would we be without the Phanatic?
These next two shots give you some idea of the crowd; one aerial view and one from ground level as we worked our way into the PNC building
HERE THEY COME:
And there's the World Series trophy on display!
Finaly, the mass of humanity following behind and heading from Market on to Broad and all the way to Citizens Bank Park...without me!
My thanks to Cathy for inviting Annie and I and to Betsy for making us lunch. Let's do it again next year!! Why can't us?
Not that it still wasn't a little tough to get out of bed this morning. These cold dark mornings are tough. But we managed it and had our first ride together in a long time, and a lovely ride it was. The temperature was 33 degrees, but without a wind and properly dressed it wasn't bad. Even my hands weren't too cold (and thanks for comments with some good suggestions regarding hand protection) so I guess the wind really impacts that as well. After the weekend we will be back on standard time so it will be a bit lighter for awhile. That will be nice.
Meanwhile October has come to an inglorious (cycling-wise) end. Between the holidays and the Phillies my mileage total is way down. I don't think I'm going to have trouble meeting my goal for the year, but I sure didn't take advantage of a good riding month. The total for this month was 283.7.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
After about ten days hiatus, probably the longest in three years, I was able to get out for a lovely ride this morning. Thankfully, not only did the Phillies win the World Series, but they did it early enough in the evening for me to get to bed early enough to get up and ride. Since the play-offs and World Series began I have been unable to watch every game and ride. So, between not riding and munching through the 7th inning stretch, I have a few extra pounds to get rid of, but it was all worth it. The series was stupendous. It was plain old fun baseball, complicated by the inevitable Philadelphia weirdness, playing through a monsoon and then having the first suspended game in series history. And the city is electric with excitement and pride as we await tomorrow's parade. While not on a bike, it has indeed been a great ride.
So off I went this morning wearing my improvised Phillies helmet. It was 37 degrees and I was in full winter kit. But except for my hands, for which I have found no glove sufficient, I was not cold. There was little wind, which was also a help. I rode a single loop but a little slower than usual. The cold always does that, plus my muscles had definitely lost a bit of fitness. I hope to be back on regular riding schedule again from now on.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Below is a picture from the Brompton World Championships that I took from Bicycle Diaries. They are by John Spooner and they are great. Check them out.
Visit John Spooner's flickr page
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Speaking of the Brompton, the article below appeared in the N.Y. Times. Enjoy!
Biking on a Brompton: One Reporter’s View
By James Kanter
It’s funny how falling in love can change our perception of beauty.
I used to think the protruding seat post and humpbacked tube characteristic of the Brompton, a brand of folding bicycle, were supremely ugly. Now I can spend inordinate amounts of time contemplating the genius of its design.
Brompton, a British brand, makes one-size-fits-all folding bikes. Once you have the knack, a rider can tuck in the back wheel, fold the midsection, flip down the handlebars and left pedal, and lower the seat – all in about 20 seconds.
Suddenly I’ve started to notice people on folding bikes everywhere in Brussels. We trade knowing smiles when our paths cross. When we meet, we talk in self-congratulatory tones about how we lead more convenient and environmentally sound lives without having to deal with the hassle of bike thieves. We also are quick to remind any skeptics that folding bikes still go pretty fast for an item with such small wheels.
The world produced an estimated 130 million bicycles in 2007, more than twice the 52 million cars produced, and bicycle production has been increasing in each of the last six years, according to the Earth Policy Institute.
So does that mean there’s a bike boom underway, driven by a passion for greenery? Not necessarily.
Much of that recent growth has been driven by the rise in electric, or e-bike, production, which has doubled since 2004, the Earth Policy Institute reports. Some of these electric models need to be pedaled to start, before an engine kicks in, but they are essentially motor-driven.
Indeed, pure pedal power isn’t practical for everyone, and it seems unlikely to take hold everywhere.
BromptonBetter living through technology. (Photo: Brompton)
In some hot climates, the physical exertion required of even a short cycle ride makes riding to work very hard work. In these places, for white-collar jobs at least, there would need to be showers and lockers at the office. As for very cold climates, it’s elementary that bikes don’t work so well on ice or in snow.
Besides, in many developing countries, where cars and motorbikes are a sign of social and economic advancement, riding bicycles – let alone riding an expensive folding model – just isn’t cool. Instead, it could be taken as a sign that you’re down on your luck.
I paid 846 euros for my Brompton, which seems pretty steep. And while I have to admit that it’s one of the best buys I’ve ever made, commuting to work in supposedly bike-friendly northern Europe isn’t quite as easy as you might think.
The weather can be appallingly damp. And unlike next door in towns in the Netherlands, Brussels does not appear to have what I would call a fully integrated system of reliably safe and dedicated bicycling routes. The lanes I use need repainting and many of them need repairs. Other lanes just peter out, and I have to improvise.
In Brussels, cyclists also have to dodge drivers who compulsively race yellow lights and display poor lane discipline. And for riders of bikes with small wheels (and that includes most folding models) some of the cobblestone streets in Brussels are impassable.
Still, it all becomes worth it in moments like this one: I put my folding bike through the X-ray machine at the European Parliament the other day, and then marched it into a formal lunch with a French government minister. It was so small that neither the security guards nor the dining room attendants batted an eyelid.
As for hauling around a chunky U-lock, those days appear over.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Finally, feel free to check out two new books of my poems, available through blurb.com and listed in the sidebar under recommended books and movies.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Regular loop this morning. Hot and humid but a very nice ride.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I arrived at Eakins Oval a few minutes after 6 AM to help out with registration for today's BikePhilly ride. Above are two pictures of the predawn mobilization and some of the early registrants who started showing up just as the sun began to rise. Unfortunately, though I got there as early as I could, all the chairs were filled and there didn't seem to be much for me to do. I hung around for over an hour, occasionally getting something for somebody, but eventually decided to give it up and left for the line up area pictured below.
The ride out was scary, what with thousands of cyclists slowly, very slowly trying to get going. I met up with Steve Masters and Mindy and a few other Mount Airy folks and rode with some of them at different times throughout the day. That was good because not having Annie home this weekend to ride with was tough. The first 100 yards or so I was walking my bike with one leg, As we turned on to the Parkway things got a little better, but were still pretty cramped through most of the in-town street riding. When we looped back to the Parkway and took off into Fairmont Park things were much better. I'm not sure when we came to what was the third rest stop along the way, pictured below, but it was far enough that we stopped at this one and took a little break.
That's Mindy and her friend Steve below at the rest stop and below that Chaim and Pearl, two students of mine, also at the rest stop.
After the rest we finished what was left of the twenty mile ride. I decided not to do the 35 mile ride for various reasons. I have a busy afternoon, it was unexpectedly hot and humid and my feet swell and hurt in the humidity, but most of all I think, I didn't want to do it alone. So we continued to the finish line celebration where there were some good eats and treats as pictured.
Never did connect with Denine, but saw quite a few people from our community including Alan Sandals, Jason Roe, Deborah Kahn, Laurie Segal and her kids.
All in all a great day, kudos to the Bicycle Coalition and all the volunteers. A fitting end to the "official" biking season.
When it was over I felt like I needed to get in just a few extra miles and so I rode another loop around the river drives bringing my total for the day to 33 miles. It shouldn't be a total loss.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
With thanks to ecovelo for bringing this to our attention, a great piece on the pleasures of Brompton. Read on: from the Independent by Will Self (pictured below)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I rode another 22 miles today. 14 in my morning ride and another 7 throughout the day. Last night I received my new saddle from ISM pictured below:
It is not as radical a design as the last saddle and after one ride at least it felt very comfortable.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Meanwhile, Annie went out this morning for the first time in a week. It was good to have her back on the bike and out on our morning ride. She was a bit nervous (read: terrified) and it didn't help when I cut in front of her as we were returning home. But aside from that she had a good ride.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I guess the official end to the riding season is at hand, embodied in next Sunday's Bike Philly. I'm very much looking forward to it.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
That means that my August monthly totals are now final. I managed to get soundly over the 500 mile mark for the month, so I can't complain.
But I can join everyone in complaining about this sight, a sight that I see almost everyday and someone on the Philadelphia Bike blog recorded (not for the first time.) If the cops can't stay out of the bike lane, why should anyone else?
Have a safe Labor Day weekend. Last year at this time Annie and I were packing up for the Hazon ride in New York, our first major cycling goal. It would've been nice to do it again, but I couldn't miss this conference of the North American Levinas society.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The miracle August continues. We rode in long sleeves and with lights again this morning. A brisk and beautiful ride. Then I had a meeting conveniently at a coffee shop in East Falls, just off the end of the Kelly Drive section of the trail. so I rode the Brompton and arrived a few minutes early. Took advantage of the time, the place and the weather to pull out a book and sit on a bench along the river for ten minutes or so. Here is a shot of the river behind the Brompton and another of the view unimpeded by human artifacts.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
These two shots give you a pretty good idea of the damage that this 8 alarm blaze caused. I would imagine that these buildings are beyond repair and will have to come down before anything new can replace them, but I'm no expert.
This next shot shows how close the edge of the complex is to the construction project next door where the fire was begun by a worker's torch.
After taking the photos I turned back and went to the Manayunk dinner for lunch and then rode back into town ending up in front of the Art Museum, our meeting place. Though I had checked my email at lunch and my timing for the day was very good, I did have a few minutes before 2 PM so I checked it again. Not surprisingly there was an email saying that my friend had to cancel because of work. Rabbis are notorious for this since so many things can come up at the last minute. I really wasn't disturbed. I hadn't been much in the mood to keep riding out to
Valley Forge or someplace like that. The ride to Conshohocken had been fine, the lunch had been fine; I just decided to ride another loop around the drives and head home. Which is what I did and then lubed the chains on my bike and Annie's.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Unfortunately, just as we were leaving the water stop, Annie mounted her bike on some uneven ground, lost her footing and balance and went down. Another scrapped up knee. The same knee, of course, that has been scraped-up the last three times. We washed it off and put on a few band-aids and with no loss of good spirit carried on. We rode past farmland like this:
But the hills were beginning to get to Annie, and there were plenty of them. Finally, with only 3 or 4 miles to go before lunch, after having put in a great ride of 30 miles, she couldn't go on and the sag wagon came by at just that moment and she hitched a ride to lunch. I continued on alone and when I got to the final hill before the lunch spot I was very glad she wasn't riding. It was a killer, a good mile of very steep climbing. People were getting off and walking all over the place. I must say I made it (as did most folks, to be honest) but it was a rough end to the morning. We had a great lunch and re-grouped. Here we are just before setting out. Notice the new "do." Yes, I like it so much I've changed the template photo above for now.
Anyway, Annie felt fine and wanted to get back on the bike.
So we set out for the second half of the ride, again in good spirits. We crossed some six covered bridges during the ride, hence the name "Covered Bridge Metric Century." Here is one:
Unfortunately, Annie pooped out again after reaching around the 50 mile mark which made about 45 miles of tough climbing for her. She called for the wagon and I went on. She felt bad, but I didn't mind, as long as she was ok, and actually enjoyed going at my own pace through what were some of the prettiest scenes of the day. And yes, there were some more big hills, though not as steep as earlier in the day. More like a pretty steady climb much of the way.
On account of having to stop with Annie a few times and having to wait for the sag wagon, I rolled into the finish pretty late. but not before the cut-off and not the last to arrive. I went straight for the ice cream, which tasted really good, and then we loaded the cars for the trip home. Tamar and Shail were waiting for us and I charged up the bar-b-que for some steaks. A perfect ending to a perfect day. And then they all left. That wasn't too bad either.