Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April's Not So Cruel After All

I rode to Valley Forge and back today bringing my April mileage total to 456.3. I still have awhile to go to overcome my abysmal January and February mileage, but this is progress. I started out today in bright sunshine with temperatures back hovering around 50. I thought it would warm up and I didn't wear any outer garments, just my long sleeve jersey. I thought the sun would warm things up soon enough. It didn't, and by the later part of the ride it had disappeared anyway. I was not uncomfortable, but I was a bit chilly the whole ride, but it felt great.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Really Stupid Bike Lanes

If you watched the original Slate video about the stupidest Bike Path in America, you must watch this follow up. Thanks to correspondent Jacob for turning me on to it.

Better weather today and getting better throughout the day. We rode in an overcast morning, which beats rain. But my other riding around town today was in more and more sunshine.

Holiday Recovery

In case you haven't seen this in the Daily News:

Tired, and swamped at the office after the holiday. It was too rainy (and we were too tired) to ride yesterday, but got out today despite the continuing bad weather. Rode in steady drizzle and temperature hovering between the high 40's and low 50's. Not ideal, but still refreshing. Luckily I know the mileage precisely of our loop because my cycle computer is not working. I think I knocked something off-line when chaining up the bike on one of my errands on Friday. Hope it isn't too much of a hassle to get it back running.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Even Stronger Ride

It was good to have Annie out with me this morning; it has been awhile what with her cold, her schedule and the holidays. We rode a good loop in brisk spring weather. I didn't feel like I was even pedaling. Since Wednesday's ride my legs have just felt incredible. So I went out and rode a faster loop by myself at lunch and then went off to do some errands on the bike. Great day for riding.

Check out Bicycle Diaries for a fascinating story attached to this photo:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Strong Ride

After my long ride yesterday my legs wee very strong this morning. riding in 60 degree weather at 5:45 AM doesn't hurt either. I did a loop in 1 hour and 4 minutes. Very good time for me, a 13 mile an hour average, but keeping in mind the time spent getting to and from the trail with red lights, even higher on the actual ride. Felt great.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Longest Ride Of The New Season

It was a beautiful day today and I finally really aired it out. I rode past Valley forge to Lower Perkiomen Valley Park for a 52+ mile round trip. I felt really good. the new tires seemed to have helped make an easier ride and I rested briefly in the park and then again on the way home in Manayunk. The only negative was a persistent and very annoying rattle that I couldn't locate. After over 50 miles a little rattle can get really big. I knew it had to be coming from the fenders but it sounded to me as though it was coming from the front fender , so I tightened it up when it really didn't need to be tightened. Finally, on the way home I stopped into Bicycle Therapy and Andi found that the front tire was a bit out of line and fixed it; still didn't solve the rattle. He took the bike for a ride and came back to report that it was the rear fender. Since fixing it required taking off the tire etc I just asked him to do it, much more quickly than I could have. A pleasure, the rattle is gone.

The new bridge at Oaks, crossing the Perkiomen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hail To The Chimp

You never know who you're going to meet on the famous "Rocky steps" of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This gentleman was being interviewed as I came around on my first loop in a couple of days this afternoon. An election day stunt of some kind: "Hail to the Chief" "Hail to the Chimp:" same difference.

The holiday was hectic here, but very nice. I rode one Sunday morning after having been up very late on Saturday night and was ready to ride again Monday morning but woke up to a flat. And not just a flat: the tire was pretty much shot. I had been told at the last tune-up that the tire would go soon and that was close to 1000 miles ago. So after trying to change the flat for a minute and then realizing that it would not make a difference I walked home (not very far)and had to forgo the bike until after the holiday in order to buy two new tires. After doing so today I did ride a late afternoon loop. Weather is gorgeous and I felt surprisingly strong. Hoping for a longer ride tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Now This Is Spring

And it feels like it's going to stay this way. Just a gorgeous ride this morning, 15 minutes earlier than usual (that's 5:30 AM instead of 5:45 in case you've forgotten) because I had to be at an earlier pre-holiday service today. The rest of the day was filled with holiday (Passover) prep, but some of that included errands that I could do by bike so I eked out over 19 miles for the day. Posting will get somewhat infrequent over the next week or so. For all to whom it is relevant: Happy Passover!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Perfect Day - A Triple Loop

Despite a very busy week I was really looking forward to today. The prediction was for bright sunshine and 60 degree weather and the prediction was right on. I did not ride early, figuring that it was still in the 30's and I had all day. So I took care of some errands and paper work and visited someone dying in the hospital, came home, ate lunch and went for my ride. I decided against heading out to Valley Forge partly because, tired as I am, I wasn't sure it would be a good idea to push myself all that way and back. Besides, the ride to Valley forge is fine, but really only pretty in occasional spot while the ride around the river loop is beautiful right now. So I did a triple loop of 30 miles, hesitated about doing another, decided not to and made the right decision. A great ride on a perfect day and not more tired than I need to be.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Back Briefly

I ended up being too sick to ride on Wednesday and was out of town yesterday. This morning it felt great to get back on the bike and ride out in the mid-50 temperature. But I'm swamped! No time for much blogging. Just checking in.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More Than One Meaning Of Traffic

Annie and I rode our loop this morning. It was damp and chilly. I rode around town this morning shuttling between appointments. Both of this facts do not reflect the fact that I've developed the first head cold I've had in two years. I'm stuffed up and not feeling great. And tomorrow I go off to do a gig in Boston. Oh well, I'll manage. My plan, since they are actually calling for nice more spring-like weather tomorrow, is to get up early and ride a few loops before heading out to the train so as to get some of my usual Wednesday riding in. Unless this cold progresses and I decide not to. I do have a five hour train ride to recover.

The video below has been making the round on the web. It was on the Philadelphia Bicycle Blog and others. It's a pretty good instructional video, but my reason for providing here today is to allow me to rant. As the weather has begun to turn the number of bicyclists is sky rocketing around town. That's good, right? Sure, except that those riding the bikes are riding the wrong way on one-way street, riding on the wrong side of the road forcing cars to squeeze through two cyclists (really, no wonder they get annoyed), generally zig zagging any old way and making themselves into hazards...and this is the clincher: TO OTHER CYCLISTS! I don't car if you get yourself killed. I don't even care if you wrangle with a car and the car either sustains damage or injury or whatever. I do care if you directly endanger other cyclists. that's just unforgivable. (of course, indirectly you are also endangering other cyclists because the way you act will predispose drivers in some way towards cyclists, for better or worse. Now, I'm not saying to be angels out there. You all know I believe that bicyclists should not have to wait at red lights and that I believe that for safety reasons among others. But some semblance of order and courtesy, please!I'm beginning to be more worried about cyclists than cars as I navigate the city streets. So check out this video about how to drive in the city. Add a grain of salt, but take its spirit to heart: We're all in this together.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Annual Meeting

As I indicated yesterday, last night I attended the Annual Meeting of the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition. It was very well done. Much better than last year. They skipped the dinner, (good idea) went right to the program (which was good) and then had a quick dessert and done. There seemed to be many more people (after all, last year it was pouring) there was valet bike parking in Rittenhouse Square, and people where definitely friendlier.

There were two speakers. But before the official speakers, State Representative Babette Josephs presented a check for a grant to investigate Philly bike sharing and said a few words. She is a committed cyclist, doesn't own a car, and was a pleasure to listen to.

Then Rina Cutler, the new Deputy Mayor for Transportation spoke. Very impressive woman. Smart, slightly caustic, very knowledgeable. The commitment of the new Nutter administration to re-create this position and to fill it with a really qualified person is heartening. She, obviously, spoke to some of the critical issues facing the Philadelphia transportation scene. I think she is not so knowledgeable on the role bicycles can play in the mix, but seems to be "getting it" quickly and shouold be a force for good.

She was followed by Congressman Joe Sestak from somewhere in the suburbs, I always get them mixed up. He was also very impressive. He made me think he'd be a good candidate to go beyond the congressional office someday. He didn't have a lot to say about cycling and didn't seem much versed on our issues, but did bring a larger perspective, especially in the question and answer period. Namely, a kind of "get real" -- spending money on bicycle infrastructure is important, but we have children who don't have food and seniors who can't get medicine. It is not so easy for Congress to champion one issue without impacting another. I think it was helpful.

Not great photos but below is Rina Cutler and below that, Babette Josephs speaking at the meeting.

Rode with Annie this morning. Not a bad ride but I'm still waiting for the warmth, and a little sun would be nice even without the warmth. took the bike to a meeting today too, and have a few meetings tomorrow, so should have decent mileage totals despite missing some rides later this week.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

April Showers

Didn't ride Friday because of heavy early morning rain. this morning the rain was lighter, I could get out a little later and it was warm; but best of all West river Drive was closed for the first weekend this season and I wasn't going to miss the ride. That's what I bought rain gear for, no? It was a lovely ride, a real Spring flavor. My legs were a little on the dead side, especially in the fairly heavy wind gust that accompanied the rain. But I was glad to have gone out. I will miss some rinding this week as I travel a bit on business. Should get a short ride in Wednesday morning instead of my usual longer ride of the week. I leave Wednesday late morning for Boston and will miss Thursday at a minimum. Depending on what time I get in Thursday night and how exhausted I am, Friday is in some jeopardy too. So I was especially glad not to miss today.

Hope to get to the annual meeting of the Bicycle Coalition tonight. Report to follow.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Double Loop

I did my regular loop this morning. It was a beautiful morning aside from the fact that it was 32 degrees -- still. But I had the bike with me at work and nowhere particular to go, so I had a quick lunch and added a lunchtime loop to bring today's mileage over 26 miles. The weather is changing. It is still cold, getting windy and overcast and rain is in the forecast. It would be nice if I can manage to make the lunch time loop a regular addition to my routine.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wind Dry Cool:Ah Spring

It was not as wonderfully warm as yesterday, and the wind was so gusty that at stops I actually was a bit afraid of being blown over. I went out around 10 AM and it was 43 degrees. I didn't think I wanted to ride all the way to Valley Forge partly because of the wind and partly so that I might accomplish something other than riding my bike today. But I was enjoying the ride. I thought I might take the trail out past Conshohocken and instead of taking the fork toward Norristown and beyond I'd finally check out the left fork toward Plymouth meeting. That would give me a fairly long ride and something new to look at. I also decided to take the tow path through Manayunk rather than fight the Umbria Street hill in the fierce wind. It was a pleasant enough of a ride until, near the end of the tow path, I came to this:

A tree had fallen during the storms of the last few days and was completely blocking the trail. I debated whether to lift the bike over the tree or sneak the bike and me under. We went under on the right side there where it is a bit higher off the ground. No real problem.

After following the Plymouth Meeting sign I arrived at the ostensible destination: Ikea, pictured below.

The trail, by the way, is called the Cross County Trail and I wanted to see how much further it went so I kept riding.It goes about another mile or two past other interesting stores: Barnes&Noble, BJ's, etc. It then ends rather ingloriously:

You can see where the pavement stops, I think, and in the distance there is some sort of bridge behind red caution fencing. I don't know whether a longer trail is in the making or not, but I didn't get any closer to explore. I turned around and came home with a total of 36.4 miles on the day, very much satisfied.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Warm, Wet, Windy: Ah Spring

And add to that, tired. I returned from work way too late last night and couldn't get up for my morning ride today. That doesn't happen often, and the fact that it was yucky out didn't help. I couldn't tell whether it was raining hard, but there was enough evidence of rain to convince me to get more sleep. I had to take the bike with me to get to a couple of appointments throughout the day and I managed to avoid the few periods of showers in the morning. After a lunch appointment the weather seemed nice enough, warmer than it's bee so far this year, 68 degrees, to head for the Schuylkill trail and do a later than usual loop. It was a lovely ride despite some pretty heavy wind gusts.
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