Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Meanwhile, I thought I'd add a few thoughts about the weekend as well as some stuff from around the web. In my rush to write my entry on Monday, and in a fever haze, I forgot a couple of minor points. First. That on the Saturday ride there were two Bike Fridays; two young guys riding with an older gentleman, the father of one of them, who was on a comfort bike and must have been in his 70's or 80's. Nice group and we were impressed that they were riding folders. But their Bike Fridays had 22 inch wheels, which is a lot more than we have on our folders. On Sunday we saw at least three other folders, Dahons and a Montague.
I also forgot to mention how great the town of Rhinebeck NY was. We really enjoyed it and found some fabulous restaurants.
And I think I forgot to mention that the weather held out perfectly. We rode in comfortable overcast skies which turned into ferocious thunder storms on our drive home. It was good to be safe and warm and dry in the car. I guess they do come in handy!
On returning to my email at work today I had a message from a young man named Matt Stewart who was just beginning a journey with his father, cycling through Eastern Europe in search of their family's origins. He asked if we could swap links. I checked out his blog quickly today and he is on the journey and may or may not get my message replying: sure! So here is the link to Matt's blog and I recommend you take a look at his fascinating trip. Check it out
Finally this item from Bike Bis:
"According to the blog Gawker, though, Chinese condom-maker Elasun is going for the gold with some Olympic-inspired condom advertising.
It gives a whole new perspective to the race for the finish line or riding the time trial in a skinsuit.
In Elasun: The Condoms of Champions, Gawker shows the Elasun ads for basketball, swimming and archery, but I thought the symbol for cycling was more appropriate for this blog."
Friday, July 25, 2008
On Sunday we arrived promptly by car at the start in Millerton. Lots more people, though not exactly a mega-ride like Lancaster or others. We took our cue sheets and started off. The road was so well marked and the difficult road crossings manned by police, it was really a breeze.
It was a gorgeous route from start to finish. This time we spent more time on the Rail Trail, about 10 miles or so. After that we were on gorgeous country roads with very low traffic. Perfect. The hills coming home both days were fairly big so riding 25 or 30 miles (Sunday) was harder than it sounds. We were pretty tired at the end. Annie had to walk up one of the last hills.
Here we are at the first rest stop:
I didn't stop to take many pictures along the way but these two should give you some idea of what we were riding through. Notice the herd of cows watching us.
Amongst the reasons that I was glad that we didn't sign up for the longer rides was that I was (probably foolishly) breaking in a new saddle that I mentioned the other day. As you can see it is pretty weird. It is supposed to relieve pressure on the privates and the fact is it does that really well. It is generally comfortable. The only problem is that it changes the bikes geometry and requires that the handlebars be raised. My handle bars won't go any higher. So I have to decide whether to go to the bike shop and see if I can get a spacer or extender to raise the bars and then try the saddle again for a few days, or just give it up, not fool with the bike and put my old saddle on until I can buy a new less strange but more comfortable saddle. Of course, it didn't help that about half way to the motel I realized I hadn't put my cycling shoes into my bag! So I rode in closed Crocks, which actually wasn't so bad, but may have affected my judgement about the saddle. I'll think on it.
Anyway, it was a fabulous weekend. But next time we'll have to plan to stay over after the ride and come home the next day. After the ride there was a bit of a concluding festival which we stayed at for awhile eating sweet corn, pizza etc. We should have had a proper lunch. On the ride home I bonked. I was shivering with what turned out to be 102.5 degrees fever. I think it was from stressing the body too much and not properly eating. The fever is down this morning to 100.5 and I feel fine, but a little tired. Needless to say we didn't go for a ride. Unfortunately today was supposed to be my first day back at work! But I'll take it easy, rest, eat and I'm pretty sure this will pass.
I know, I will miss the crucial time trial tomorrow and the ceremonial (or maybe highly competitive) ride into Paris on Sunday. Bad planning, but riding is better than watching. I'll catch the news as I can.
Next week back to work, sigh. It's been a great month what with a wedding, a century, some really fun rides. But summer is not over, though I won't be riding as many miles on a daily basis. We still have the Lancaster ride in August, BikePhilly in September and we're considering another BikeNY ride late in September.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tomorrow morning we head to Millerton NY where we will ride in the Harlem Valley Ride sponsored by bike NY. Should be fun and the weather forecast is good.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
No, I'm not going into a new business or running a rib joint on the side, but Mindy and I rode out along Woodland Avenue today en route to the John Heinz Wildlife Sanctuary and couldn't resist getting a shot of me in front of this aptly and mysteriously named establishment.
There's the entrance off Lindburgh Ave. We rode through West Philly and some less than engaging neighborhoods and fairly industrial strength trafficked streets but Lindburgh itself was a pleasant and ample street. Once inside we stopped at the visitor center for some info. Fascinating place with lots of information about the watershed etc.
We sat on their front porch and had our snacks before setting off to ride the trail around the refuge. It was rough road and we got a little lost. What we were told was a 3 mile loop turned into an almost 10 mile ride, but it was beautiful and enjoyable. We passed scenes such as these.
Not to be confused with scenes such as this one of a major industrial site along the Schuylkill on our way home. We chose a different route, going along Island Avenue to Bartrum to Essington which turns into Passayunk to 22nd and back into town. All in all about 28 miles for me and a little more for Mindy as she came down from Mt. Airy for the ride. But it is always nice to have somewhere to go, something to see and to be with someone as opposed to my sometimes endless solo circling on the trail.
So while I tried not to find out what happened at the tour today so that I could watch it in innocence, the news of Sastre's winning the stage and the fact that he didn't win it by enough to leave him safe before Saturday's time trials was even on the NY Times web page. So now I'll settle in to watch the stage for the sheer enjoyment, despite the suspense being gone.
Tomorrow our attention will begin to shift to getting ready for our weekend in the Hudson Valley. We leave Friday for the New York Bike Club's Hudson Valley ride on Sunday. More on that next week.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Anyway, it was also disappointing that George Hincappie didn't finish better, he looked poised for a stage win. The highlight for me is really the riding of Andy Schleck. His brother Frank may have the Yellow Jersey, but Andy is a phenomena. So it was a fun stage, but, as I said, I expected more attacks and more definition as to the leadership. Tomorrow should tell. As the book I'm reading says "The Tour is Won on L'Alpe.
Had to take my car in for inspection so I put the Brompton in the car and road it home and back again to pick up the car. Terrific convenience.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Finally we were able to continue around and decided to double back on West River rather than go around the museum and back down Kelly. By the time we came around to the Falls Bridge from that direction we could see that the crowds had disappeared so we continued down Kelly the other way, which worked out fine, except for the incessant interruptions by the geese. Just about every time I really got rolling, we'd come to a gaggle crossing the road. Ugh. By that time I was hot and I'd forgotten to bring any food with me, not even a power bar, so I decided to call it a day after 20 miles. It really is going to be a scorcher and I think discretion was the better part of valor. I'll do another couple of loops tomorrow and hopefully a longer ride Wednesday when it is supposed to be a little less hot.
After watching the tour via DVR without commercials yesterday I am looking forward to Wednesday's very important stage and not watching it first thing in the morning. I'll go for a nice ride and come home and watch it without commercials. The only drawback is that I have to stay away from the computer so that I don't see what happened before I watch.
Finally, today, a little Brompton propaganda that someone in the Brompton users group passed along. Aside for its folding propagandistic virtues, it is incredible to me how well done this little film is and how typically European (Dutch) the enigmatic nature of the protagonists is. enjoy.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Anyway, a great stage. Almost a stage win for Danny Pate of Garmin, and while Vandevald lost a few positions in the top five, he is still hanging tough, still within 38 seconds. Only 38 seconds from first, Frank Schleck now in Yellow, and fifth. It is going to be a great week.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Some photos of last night's opening of the Velo+City exhibit that I wrote about yesterday. The Exhibit will be up for a month and the gallery is open from 10-7 daily except Monday. The food spread was pretty impressive, though we didn't eat. The period posters from the Golden Age of cycling were really quite nice (and expensive.) It was not a large show, but there were some really good pieces. It was great to mix with the biking community, especially impressive was the number of messengers, poorly photographed here, that were in attendance.
This morning Annie and I road a single loop of just over 14 miles (due to train detour.) It is going to be a quite hot day. We met George along the trail and rode with him for a bit and I have a few errands that will put me on the bike again later today. Speaking of which, if you pledge to use your bike to commute or do errands around town you might win a new Trek bike. The widget below will continue to appear in the side-bar as well. So, take the pledge and good luck on winning the bike!
I know it was just yesterday that I mentioned Bill Strickland's piece on the Lanternne Rouge, but Bill has an even more interesting and timely view of the doping in the pro peloton issue that you might really be interested in reading.
Meanwhile, closer to home, I rode a harder double loop today pushing much more than yesterday's recovery ride. It felt great and I had to rein myself in after 22 miles as I do have other things to do than ride my bike. I went out early enough to enjoy the cool of the day and then took the folders in for their 30 day check up.
Tonight I plan to attend the opening of the exhibit featured below. The opening reception is from 6-9 so if anybody reading this is in the neighborhood come on over, it sounds like fun.
an Exhibition of original prints, posters, and ephemera, from the penny-farthing to the diamond frame.
opening Thursday July 17 6-9pm
live music and refreshments
Lisa M. Reisman et cie
Fine Original Art & Decoration LTD
1714 Rittenhouse Square Streets
(near the giant construction pit)
Finally today, I've mentioned his work before, but if you don't follow the writing of Bill Strickland on cycling you are really missing something. Check out this piece on Lanternne Rouge
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Just some food for thought. The lines below are taken from the blog The Climb by David Mackay. The speak for themselves and, to some extent, from me.
"I admit I was taken aback by the intensity of the reaction from people who thought that I was somehow either not worthy of taking this on, or was in some way disparaging the sport by trying to use the Étape to get even a hint of an answer to the fundamental question of ‘How hard is one day of the Tour de France?’ I won’t say that I’m qualified to explain what that intensity is about. There is obviously a whole subculture of cyclists, and I’m guessing in particular of racers, that appears to be unwelcoming of newcomers, or, at least, of newcomers who do not approach the sport in a way they considered to be right and proper.
As Stuart Stevens, a fellow Play contributor, and Etape rider, who has posted several interesting and thoughtful comments here on the blog wrote,
One of the extraordinary by-products of this blog has been exposing how many US cyclists seem to view riding as an elite cult to be pursued by the chosen. I’m not one of those “France is better” guys, but in places like France, Italy and Spain, you see tons of older, not-great riders dressed in team kits out enjoying themselves. Some have fancy bikes, some don’t. But the young racers passing them don’t seem to resent them or assume they are crashing the club.
In the US, you’d never expect young runners to express a like disdain for the many older, not so great runners who fill marathons across the country. Why is it that there is some segment of the US cycling culture that seems to think this sport is about anything more than, well, riding a bike, something we learn to do at an early age and, with luck, continue to enjoy?
As I said, I don’t have an answer to why those people were so disturbed by my attempt to learn enough about cycling and get in decent enough shape to make it through the Etape. And I don’t have any deep, meaningful explanation of why I, or any of the other 7,500 starters, volunteered to endure this day. But I can explain that, for me at least, it was very simply a way to see what I could do if I really applied myself to a sport in a way that I never had before. I’ve always been a sports fan, and I’ve always been reasonably athletic, but, for one reason or another, I never played a sport seriously. So my goal here was simply to see what I could do if I dedicated myself to an endeavor that I came across only recently. Another way of saying it was that I simply wanted to stop being purely a spectator and participate."
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Then I rode on to Valley Forge and, perfect timing, as I sat down to eat the other half of my sandwich Jake rolled in. He took a break and after awhile we started homeward. It was great having his big body blocking the wind and we traveled at 17 mph average most of the way. We were quickly in Manayunk and then home. We parted ways and I went to the bank and stopped for a cup of coffee. Still feeling fine and the trip odometer sitting at 78 miles. I just couldn't get that close and not finish. After all, if I didn't I'd just have to try it again sometime and I really didn't want that hanging over me. So I headed back out to the SRT and rode two loops around to finish off my "century." 100.1 miles! Still feeling great, but the last 10 miles were getting to me, my feet especially. And the heat was much more of a factor. When I rode out this morning the temperature was 67 degrees with low humidity. The perfect day for this ride. While it was still not a scorcher, the afternoon sun had heated things up closer to 87 and the humidity seemed to be rising. I'd had enough. Out for dinner with Annie now and I'm betting a very good night's sleep. Thanks Jake, it was a great ride!
Monday, July 14, 2008
After all that I went out solo. Annie needed a day off and besides, my late schedule conflicts with hers as she still works. For whatever reason I wasn't in a great mood or feeling very relaxed and even riding didn't seem to be helping. The trail was not too crowded but whoever were out were particularly stupid. People stopping, blocking the path in various ways for various reasons, completely oblivious and unresponsive, it was frustrated and when added to the geese which seemed to choose to cross the road every time I was really getting up a good head of steam, and the various construction and maintenance projects along the Drive, I was feeling pretty lousy. I decided not to come around the West Side Drive on my second loop but continued into Manayunk and up the Wissahickon trail to Rittenhouse House. I stopped and rested and with the serenity of the park scenery allowed myself to feel better.
Came home via Kelly Drive and stopped at the bike store to replace my rear break pads that I'd noticed going yesterday.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
So Annie and I decided to do our first real ride with the Philadelphia Bike Club: The Sunday C Spin-Off Ride to Havertown, about 30 miles round trip. A C Ride means that we need to be able to travel 15 mph on flat roads. We felt we were ready, and we are, except that there weren't many flat roads. In fact about 12 miles into the ride the hills were steep and came one after another after another. It was a tough ride but I would have been ok; Annie was not. She took a respite in a driveway and we ended up not being last to re-join the group (which very nicely waits for everyone) because someone else made a wrong turn and didn't get back until after we'd not only rested, but she'd walked her bike up the worst of the latest hill. But when we started off again and the hills continued to come one after another, she was fried. We made in to Montgomery Ave across from Rosemont College and had to call it quits. We thought about riding back from there if we could figure out a flatter route (didn't take the GPS with us) or trying to determine the location of the closest train station which probably wasn't too far away, but in the end called a friend and lucked out. He was able to come get us. So ended our first club outing aside from the breakfast rides which we've enjoyed and the one instructional D ride we did last year. The thing is, although the group waited patiently and the ride leader couldn't have been more solicitous, it really wasn't a particularly friendly or social bunch. Aside from riding a new route rather than our usual loops, and getting in some good work (for me anyway) on the hills, there didn't seem to be much reason to be with this group in which no one introduced themselves ( I would have tried but really no one seemed interested after my trying the first sort of nod) no one rode near each other except a couple of people who seemed to already know one another. It reminded me of my first experience with the Bicycle Coalition that I complained about. These folks are always crying about joining and getting new members and they are worse than a synagogue (about which I am an expert) about welcoming them, integrating them, etc. Or is it just Philadelphia for both the bike groups and the synagogue? Would such groups out West or in other communities be more welcoming? Even if only superficially? Can't say for sure, but given our physical experience, the social experience doesn't entice us to try it again, though I will check if there are any D rides we could do. They may be more our (her) speed.
One nice thing is that the ride didn't start until 12:15 PM. So I was able to watch stage 9 of the tour today, won by Ricardo Ricco, his second stage. Other than his aggressive attack the day was mostly transitional despite its being the first mountain stage with 7 categorized climbs. The leaders pretty much played it safe setting up tomorrow's climb up the Hautacom. One note of interest was the fact that Stefan Schumacher doesn't seem to have survived this stage so Christian Vandevelde moved up to number three in the overall standings. Hard to imagine he really could take it all, but he's making a very good show of it.
Finally today, here's a video report courtesy of Fritz from Cyclicious of the recently held Folding Bike Festival by the Bay in San Francisco.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Home in time for the very end of stage 7 and Louis Leon Sanchez's victory. It looked like a tough stage and a good one to watch. I only saw the very beginning and the very end, but will watch the re-broadcast later today.
Not much else to report.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Last month's caption competition was this image
The pick of the entries we received just had to be this suggestive number from Rabbi Stone:
"I'll switch to spandex if you will..."
Too bad that there is no prize, as far as I am aware.
I rode 22.2 miles this morning and then watched the last hour of stage 6 of the TDF. A pretty exciting uphill stage, the first of the mountain stages, although not quite the Alps or the Pyrenees yet. For a few minutes it looked like Christain Vande Veld of Garmin, one of my favorites, was going to take the stage and catapult pretty close to the Yellow Jersey. But it wasn't to be. Rather, Ricardo Ricco won the stage and Kim Kirchen moved into yellow due mostly to the fact that Schumacher crashed less than a kilometer from the end. While on flat stages such a crash would not count against a rider, on mountain finishes there is no mercy. Everyone expected a move from Valverde that didn't come, and Vande Velde was really stalking for Millar, who couldn't follow. So the so-called big boys are all still close and no one has really decided to take the lead yet.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
I finally got out today, after the TDF stage 5. As expected, it was pretty boring as the first flat stages are intended to be. But, also as expected, toward the end it got really exciting. First of all, for a minute or two it really looked like, for the second time this week, the break-a-way was going to succeed. The French champion Vogondy came very close to riding out front all the way to the finish. But at the last minute the sprinters came through and Mark Cavendish of team Colombia took his first ever TDF stage win. It is great news for team Colombia which is having a great year and a great tour with its tough-drug policy. The other American team, also a leader in the anti-drug movement, continues to have to men in the top ten, Christian Vande Veld and David Millar, while Colombia has three riders in the top ten: George Hincappie,Thomas Lovquist and second place Kim Kirchen. Quite an impressive beginning for America's teams and the anti-drug teams. Among them are some true potential winners, namely Kirchen and longer shot Vande Veld. But Cadell Evans is still lurking very comfortably before the turn to the mountains.
Then I went out and made a quick stop at the office to check my mail and show off wedding photos. Then to the bank to do a little business after being out of town for the week and finally off to the trail just as the first drops began to fall. But it was a false alarm and I had no trouble riding a double loop. Then rode to Whole Foods for a bit of grocery shopping before arriving home some 29 miles later. A nice leisurely ride.
At the Locust street entry to the trail there is now a four poster display (two shown) of the history of the trail, its development over the years and, most importantly, the plans for the upcoming years. I don't think you can read it from the photos but it includes the new access over the tracks, expansion of the trail with the construction of the new South Street bridge, plans for a path across to the West Side of the rivcer and finally on to Bartram Gardens. An exciting 4 or 5 years to look forward to.
So at my leisure I can peruse the great bike blogosphere more. For your reading and viewing pleasure the following tidbits from today's troweling.
First, courtesy of the stalwart Bicycle Diaries: an intriguing new bike for commuters. How I wish I could just own them all!
Then there is this clip courtesy of the Philadelphia Bicycle Blog of the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia:
Finally, I great site for following the Tour de France and professional cycling in general courtesy of Bike Blog. Europeloton is written by a guy in Oakland CA and really shows a detailed knowledge of the sport of cycling hard to come by in an American. Europeloton
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Tired as we were, after quickly unpacking and grabbing a light breakfast, we went out for a loop on the Fuji bikes. Weird feeling to be up on a "regular" bike. It took a few minutes to get re-acclimated. We had a very good ride that sort of woke me up.
Spending the next few hours watching the re-play of stage four of the TDF. Then a nap.
Monday, July 07, 2008
But the picture is from the first day. My son just emailed it to me. It gives you a good shot of me going down the hill in front of our rented house for the week and should explain why we didn't ride regularly from the house, but rather drove to the trail. I think there is another shot of me going up the hill, but my other son has that one and is presently on his honeymoon.
We are packed and ready for our flight home. We are tired and I slept uncharacteristically late this morning. We didn't get out to ride until after 10:15 AM. It was already getting pretty warm and Annie was particularly tired. We only rode 6.5 miles, but it was a good way to start the day, as always. And a nice way to bring this fantastic week to a conclusion.
I haven't written anything yet, but of course I am following the Tour de France and have watched all three stages. It is early in the race and all of the major contenders seem to still be in good shape except for Solar. That's a shame, he is one of my favorites mostly because he looks exactly like the bike rider in the animated movie the something of Bellville. I'll gegt more into it once I'm home.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Annie and I went out riding today along a new route. We wanted to try the bike path along the beach in Santa Monica. Since it was Sunday morning we expected no traffic problems (on the highway) and therefore only a 20 minute drive to the beach. Thankfully, we were correct. Traffic on the path is a different story. It wasn't as bad as it could or would be later in the day. But we didn't get there until around 9:15 AM and plenty of people were already out. Pedestrians, dog walkers, novice cyclists renting bikes from kiosks at the beach, kids, etc. We managed a satisfying 16 miles but not exactly a training ride in terms of speed. Of course, it is also very flat, so not much work there. But it was still fun.
We rode from Santa Monica into and beyond Venice. Venice is home to a very quirky mix of people and businesses along the beach, including this little "Shul by the Sea," officially called Pacific Jewish Center, I believe.
We move out of the house in Woodland Hills today and stay overnight with our son Shaul. We leave on the red-eye tomorrow night, so plan to ride the bikeway tomorrow morning. The Bride and Groom left today for their Honeymoon.
Friday, July 04, 2008
A wonderful time was had by all at the wedding. The blog has many fans among my sons' friends which was a lot of fun. Many cycling conversations throughout the night.
Of course, we were home late and tired, but I was up and out of the house at around 8:15 AM without Annie, who chose a late morning swim instead, I rode further along the Busway bike path for a nice 19.5 miles to start another busy day of post wedding gatherings and a large Sabbath dinner at our house tonight.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Last night was the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner in beautiful downtown Burbank. I don't know how "beautiful" it was in the days of "Laugh-In," but it certainly is beautiful these days. Filled with "chick" restaurants and clubs. After dinner, heading back to the car we passed this bike rack which I think I put up on the blog when a picture of it first surfaced on the web, but here I am posing by it in person.
Annie was out this morning early with Josie to get to the LA flower market to purchase the flowers for the wedding, so I rode solo. Fifteen miles along the path from Woodland Hills past Encino. Great morning for a ride and, except for stopping so often to wait for green lights along the way, a great ride.
The best part was riding at 15-16 mph while the "racers" in full kit and racing bikes couldn't figure out why they couldn't pass me or, when they could, couldn't shake me. Finally one gentleman stopped to comment about the Brompton and ask me about it and to "marvel" that he couldn't shake me. Great feeling.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Annie and I left the house a bit later than we would normally. We are, after all, on vacation. We also had a wonderful late night with all our kids and our grandaughter thoroughly entertaining us all. We had a little trouble finding the entry to the bike path we were looking for, but after a while we found it. Getting the folders quickly and easily into the car was a blessing. We ended up riding our regular 13 miles, passing the Encino Velodrome along the way and going into Balboa Park. Thus, we now know exactly where we were. Tomorrow we'll leave earlier, cross the park and we can head all the way back to where our sons live for a longer ride. It is a great path, the same one we've both ridden when out here before. The only trouble with it is that it crosses many big intersections where you must stop and press the cross button in order to get the light. But what the heck. If we were going to be here longer maybe we'd look for other alternatives. Meanwhile it was good to ride and the folders were great.