Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery

You will find a new addition to the blog today. Over on the right side bar is Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery, a relatively new comic strip featuring a cyclist. Yehuda works in a bike shop, commutes to work, and faces all the vicissitudes of a commuter cyclist from snow to being passed by Fred's (like today's strip.) The above image is just to give you an idea of what it looks like. Click on the feed to see it more clearly. Check it out daily (I think.)Thanks, as usual, to Cyclicious for the referral.

It was great having Annie back on the road this morning. We went out later than usual because today is Wednesday, my day off. You might ask why is Annie home on a Wednesday? She is usually at the daughter's/granddaughter's. However she had to re-arrange her schedule and go up yesterday. Unfortunately, we are both pretty busy today so though it might have been a great day to ride a bit of a distance together, we just took our regular route. We met our friend and Chiropractor George on the way home and rode together for awhile. The temperature was around 38 but the wind was stronger and it felt colder. Tomorrow we're off West so probably no blogging, but possibly some riding on rented bikes.


It is that time of year: even on a cold day like today there is an inexplicable hint of Spring in the air. Time to start thinking about this summer's organized rides. We cannot do the Hazon ride this year (all you donors will be happy to hear) because of a schedule conflict. I am speaking at the North American Levinas Society conference over Labor Day weekend. So I started looking around for some rides for us to schedule. So far we are registered for the Hudson Valley Ride sponsored by the New York Bike Club in July. We have reservations at a motel near the start in Millerton NY and are signed up for the 30 mike ride on Sunday. We will register for the Lancaster Covered Bridges Metric Century again when registration opens. That ride is mid-August. I will probably sign-up for the Montauk Century (and choose the 60 mile option) for mid-May. That will be on my own as Annie is busy that Sunday. I had hoped to ride the 5 boro bike tour, but the date conflicts with a wedding I have to officiate at. Of course we will sign up for Bike Philly and this year do at least the 30 mile option, if not more. It is nice to know we have some events to look forward to and perhaps we'll add another one or two before we're done.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

U.S. Bicycle Route System

I attended a meeting sponsored by the Bicycle club of Philadelphia last night featuring the Executive Jim Sayer of The Adventure Bicycle Association about the envisioned U.S. Bicycle Route System. It was an excellent presentation and a visionary project. And it was fun to be out with all these cycling advocates. I cycled there and back and a bit around town so added a bit more than 5 miles to yesterday's totals.

This morning I beat the rain, got out a bit earlier than usual and rode harder allowing me to do 17 miles this morning, a loop and a half, sort of. Felt great. Weather permitting I will ride again tomorrow and then we're off for a long weekend in Seattle. I've made inquiries about renting bikes there and it should be very easy to do, but I have to see what my schedule there will be and check out the weather.

Meanwhile, just to finish the story, I sold the second Citizen folding bike on Sunday. The end of that experiment.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Let Levi Ride!

Levi Leipheimer yesterday won his second consecutive Amgen Tour of California. Levi rode hard when he had to: winning the Solvang Time Trial, and distancing himself from the competition on Wednesday's climbing stage. And then Levi and Astana rode smart, controlling the Peloton masterfully most of the way. And even if they couldn't quite catch up with yesterday's break a way and let George Hincapie win the stage, they kept David Millar in check and that was what counted. The weather was miserable throughout and a stomach virus swept through the Peloton, but it still was a great race and clinches its place as America's premier cycling event. There is little doubt that Astana showed itself to be the most exciting team in Pro racing and close to being unchallenged as the best. It would be great to actually see whether that it true throughout the season by watching how this team does at all the major races. But unless ASO changes its mind and lets Levi and Astana ride, we'll never know. So don't forget to click on Levi's website and add your voice to the groundswell of support for a fair and competitive Tour De France, etc.

Beautiful morning for a ride. The weather said it was 32 degrees, but it felt warmer and I took my alternate route home stretching the ride to 13.6 miles

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Riding In A Winter Wonderland

That's how it looked this morning as I took my ride in 24 degree weather. the road itself was mostly clear. A few patches of black-ice where snow had melted and re-froze presented no problem (unless I would have had to brake at just that spot.) There were a few spots where whoever plows the path had inexplicably just skipped a section. One such section, just coming off the Falls Bridges, was so bad I had to dismount for twenty or thirty feet or so. Otherwise it was a lovely ride. My new cyclometer clocked the distance at 13.3 miles, a shade more accurate than my old computer? Or just different? As always I'll go with the present device, but I've clearly been within a reasonable margin of error. Having the cadence meter was very interesting. It was a little hard to get an accurate sense of my usual cadence what with the cold and the need to use caution around the ice, but my cadence is certainly lower than I would have expected and when the weather is better it will give me some new goals to work toward.

Stage 6 winner Pagliarini

Yesterday's 6th stage of the ATOC ended with a great sprint finish won by Mark Cavendish; however that's not him above on the podium. Cavendish was involved in a crash and then was relegated by the judges who said he used the team car to draft him back into the race. Thus Luciano Pagliarini wond the stage. Levi continues to wear the Golden jersey going into today's final stage.

Below: Slipstream's David Millar

In its coverage of yesterday's stage the NY Times focused on David Millar and the great race that team Slipstream Chipotle is having. The big news is that a team committed to the strictest doping controls is at the top of the peloton.

Friday, February 22, 2008


That's Domonique Rollin, the Canadian Road Champion from team Toyoto-United winning a super-soggy stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California. Leipheimer retained the Golden jersey, but only seconds separate the first bunch of racers and today's time trial will be very important in determining the true leader.

Meanwhile, after a glorious day for riding yesterday, during which I did indeed get my cycle computer up and running and rode around town a bit partly for the sheer enjoyment of a lovely, albeit chilly, day, today there will be no riding. At least two inches of snow is on the ground and it continues. We have to travel today so it should be interesting, to say the least. The forecast is good for Sunday.

That said, though I really miss riding today and the prospect of messy streets could pose a problem even after the weather clears, I must say that there is something comforting about having an actual snow storm in winter. This is the first for this year, and I really don't remember having even this much last year, though I suppose there was a day or two when I couldn't ride, but I remember that being more sleet and slosh than snow. I'd prefer living somewhere I could ride everyday, but the associated down-sides of such places for me would preclude it. So here I live in the mid-Atlantic region and sometimes it snows. All's right with the world.

Thought I'd share this great idea for a bike rack taken from an Amsterdam Bike Blog by way of Cyclicious. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Under A Winter Morning Moon

I couldn't resist stopping and taking this photo of the moon shining as I came around the curve on Kelly Drive this morning, despite the fact that it was around 21 degrees and I loathed taking off my gloves. It was a cold ride, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. And the sun continues to shine today so I have my bike. One thing I hope to do if I have a spare hour is to take it over to the bike shop. I attached my new cycle computer and I can't get it to work! Maybe its me, maybe its not, but I hope they'll take a look and let me know.

And, as expected, the third stage of the ATOC saw the race hit the hills and therefore saw Levi Leipheimer take the Golden jersey while coming in second for the stage. I'm pretty confident that it will be difficult to get the jersey away from Levi now. I also hope that this somehow puts more pressure on ASO to change its mind about inviting Levi, Contador and all of Astana to the Tour de France and other big races this year. The UCI is threatening to go to court about it, but I'm not sure whether there is really any legal issue at play here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crisp and Clear

29 degrees as I set out alone this morning in the daylight of a day off with Annie at the granddaughter's. The thought of a longer ride, still tentative given all I wanted to do today, soon vanished into the 16 degree wind chill. I enjoyed my ride but returned home after a single circuit. Snow showers predicted this afternoon but it should be cleared out for an even colder ride tomorrow which I dare not miss since Friday is really supposed to be a winter mess.

I sold one of the Citizen Folding bikes last night. I actually had two or three e-mails and a gentleman who test rode it in the afternoon but didn't buy. Then I spoke to a woman at 9 PM who didn't want to take the chance of my selling it today before she could see it this evening and asked if I would show it to her last night late as it was. I was at work anyway, where a I still had one bike and told her to come over. She came, she saw and she bought. Not bad for the first day. No nibbles today, but I'm sure it will eventually sell.

This afternoon I did some bike shopping. first I drove out to Paoli to Performance Bikes. I've had a $100 gift card for some months and though I've looked on line several times, never felt comfortable buying what I was looking for without actually seeing it. Namely, a new cycle computer. So I drove a quick 30 minutes to their store (they are opening one here in Center City soon.) And I bought a really nice VDO wireless unit that does everything I wanted including cadence. Then I drove back into the city and visited Bicycle Revolutions on 4th Street to test ride the Fuji track bike they have. I loved the bike. It actually now comes with breaks and a freewheel so its a single gear not a fixie, but the wheel can be turned around if I want to try it as a fixie. It rode really well, though I'd also have to switch the bars to a more comfortable, less deep drop or flat bar if I bought it. Truth is, at that point what would be the point. So I'm probably not going to buy it but enjoyed the ride (and I'm still thinking about it... the price was right.)

Yesterday's ATOC 2nd stage was wet and wild with the win going to Tom Boonen (I'm glad) and the Golden Jersey to Tyler Farrar (That will be short-lived.)I am anxious to watch today's action as it is the first big climbing day and I anticipate Levi moving up in the GC big time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Let There Be (More) Light...and More Winter

Annie and I rode out into the 36 degree morning and despite the weather channel's assurance of almost no wind, by the river there was plenty. It slowed us some and definitely made it a colder ride. After yesterday morning's ride in the 60's it was a bit of a shock. But at least the sun was shining (well, we go out before the sun is up but right now it is shining, and it was beginning to shine as we made it home this morning which is one of the topics of this post.)Suddenly, we noticed just after the half-way point in our ride that we really didn't need our lights anymore. Just like that, as if a switch had been pulled from yesterday to today, we noticed how much more light it had become in the morning. That is very nice, except that I know that we are only a month and a half away from turning the clock forward again and then it will be pitch black for awhile. At least then we will trade light for warmth...I hope.

The second miracle of the morning was that my speedometer decided to come back to work. I had taken it off the bars yesterday to try to get the battery out and change it. Could not open the d--nd thing for the life of me, so put it back on the bars so that I would at least have the clock with me this morning, which has continued to work. Well, the jostling obviously got the whole thing working. The good news is that I guess I don't need a new battery, and if I ever really do, I'll probably be better off buying a new one not only because it is so hard to get to the battery, but because there is obviously something else ajar in the mechanism which probably can't be fixed. For now, however, I'm able to count my miles a lot easier. That is good since I am hoping to take a longer ride tomorrow (no promises.)

So with the sun shining and a fairly flexible day ahead of me, I've got the bike with me and I'm planning to take another ride at lunch time in addition to using it to do some errands. So I'll update the mileage later.

Next to report, (gee this is a busier than lately post) I've listed the Citizen Folding Bikes on Craig's list for sale. I've received a few nibbles already. As usual I'm giving a really good price just to unload. But we haven't ridden them in a year and I see no serious use for them at this point. They are taking up space. So I rode one back from my office where they've been stored to home and will ride the other one back later. Wow, what was I thinking. Those twenty inch fat wheels really are not what I want to be riding on anymore. I hope they will find a good home.

Finally, yesterday's first stage of the Amgen Tour of California was won by J.J Haedo of CSC. He is a great rider, especially sprinter. You may remember that he won the Philly International here last June. This is his record 6th ATOC stage win. Cancellara kept the yellow jersey and Levi is not far behind. Tomorrow begins the mountain stages and everything will change. I tracked the race via computer all day as well as receiving text-message updates from the Fredcast throughout the race. If you did the same then you know about Jackson Stewart of BMC led out on a solo ride for most of the race until being reeled-in in Santa Rosa. It was fun.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weird But Wonderful

I watched the Versus coverage of the opening of the Tour Of California last night. Very nice to have Phil and Paul and Bobke back and though there was a lot more talking than racing, that felt good for the first show of the season. Good introductions to the new teams and some of the pressing problems of the sport.

It was pretty clear to me that yesterday's course would pretty much exclude the possibility of Levi's winning. I'm pretty impressed that he did as well as fourth place given the competition of sprinters and time trial specialists. Wiggins' ride was beautiful but Cancellara pretty much has a lock on these events. There is a long way to go until the end, and Levi is well placed.

I just signed up for the Let Levi
web site. Excluding him, Contador and the entire Astana team is ludicrous.

Finally, in the spirit of California, Annie and I rode in 61 degree weather this morning! Weird but Wonderful in February.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Good Ride Preliminary To The TOC

I rode a nice 14 miles. My regular loop plus a slightly altered route home in order to vary things. It is getting just a bit boring riding the same route all the time. When the weather is better I will have more varied rides to break up the everyday ride. Anyway. It was a good ride and then I drove to NJ to spend the afternoon with my granddaughter and now I'm home in time to sit down and watch the first stage of racing from the Tour Of California on Versus. Hope you are watching if you can.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Double Loop Into The Wind

Actually, the first time around the wind wasn't too bad, The second time around between the wind and this being the first time in a long time I've pushed beyond the usual one loop a day and made it to almost 25 miles for the ride, the wind became a real factor. But it felt great. A took a bit of a break after the two loops and thought about trying a third before I needed to get to an appointment. In fact I started out to do either another loop or a half a loop, but by then the wind was really whipping on Kelly Drive and I turned around and headed into town.

Looking forward to the beginning of the tour of California on Sunday. I know this blog is getting pretty boring. I haven't been doing a good job of finding interesting cycling tidbits on the web to share with you and I haven't been taking many pictures. But spring is coming, and aside from riding more, I may start to have a bit more time in my schedule to pay more attention.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I'm Back!

I returned from Washington DC on a 1:30 train and was out on the Schuylkill by 2:30 with Annie. We had to walk to pick up the bikes as she had used my absence to wisely bring both of them in for tune-ups. Turned out my bike needed a new chain and rear cog. I guess my over 5000 miles really wore out the bike! What a difference. I felt like I was flying on the path. It was so much easier to pedal. We had a really nice ride in beautiful sunshine, a bit windy and 38 degrees. I won't be able to ride tomorrow because my car has to go in for service now. So it felt doubly good to get out there.

While I was away I did catch up on most of the magazines that had piled up and some, but not all, of the podcasts.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gorgeous Sunday

A wonderful 39 degrees and the sun just coming up stunningly over the river as Annie and I rode this morning. I'm really happy I was able to get a ride in before leaving for the week. And, at least according to the forecast, I might not have been riding much even if I were going to be home. I'll be taking a pile of cycling magazines that I need to catch up on, and at least 6 podcasts that I'm behind, and I'm hoping to find some time for them. I know there will be some more information about what is going on with the Giro excluding Astana and other Tour teams. Bad business, again.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Quick Check-In

Just time today for a quick check-in. We rode, Annie and I together, for the first time in awhile. Did a very nice loop despite one dismount for construction on the path, and one for a train passing over the Locust Street exit. Then I took the bike for a day of errands, meetings, appointments, hospital visits, etc. I am awarding myself6 miles for all of that, though I can't be 100% sure since my odometer is not working. It may only be the battery. I'll check it when I get home next week. The temperature this morning was 38 de4grees and the day warmed nicely into a lovely day for riding. The forecast is for bitter cold this weekend, so we'll see whether I get another ride in before I leave.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Back Into The Routine

The temperatures are still cooperating, though beginning to fall. Not 60's but high 40's this morning. I'll take it. Hopefully I'll get another ride in tomorrow and Sunday (though it is supposed to be pretty cold Sunday.)After that I will be out of town for the rest of the week and don't expect to be able to take the bike with me. I'll take the pile of latest cycling magazines that have been piling up the last week or so instead. Perhaps I'll have some interesting things to share, though I won't be riding. I'm not even sure of my internet access during this trip, so Sunday morning may begin a hiatus.

Too bad I have to leave, I feel like I'm finally getting back into the routine.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Catching Up

Today was an exceptional day for a ride, but I only had time for a late morning single loop. Still, it was good to be out on the bike after really not getting out much the last few weeks. The hectic schedule I've been keeping and the cold, dark mornings have really discouraged me this year. But, I rode today and I will continue to try to ride whenever it is reasonable. finally took the time to close out my January stats and start the February count. At 230+ miles January didn't set any records and I'm not sanguine about February. I'll just have to make up for it come spring and summer.
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