Friday, October 31, 2008

SPECIAL: Phillies Victory Parade

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


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?

Back To Routine

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

Colder and Darker

A beautiful Sunday ride with the bonus that both Kelly Drive and West River Drive were closed to cars. It was definitely colder than it has been and a bit darker, but we managed a double loop and loved it. After work this morning I came home and took all the bikes out to lube the chains and clean them down. The Brompton has a noise coming from the internal hub that will require taking it up to Trophy bikes hopefully tomorrow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Full Foliage Ride

The weather was perfect again and Annie and I did a double loop. The highlight of today's ride was the colors. All of a sudden, it seems, the leaves were changing. From a distance, across the river, the trees are gorgeously multi-colored, whole some particular trees, on closer look, a truly spectacular. I thought about stopping to take a few pictures, but I was having just too much fun riding.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Indian Summer

After last week's almost winter ride, this morning I rode in regular summer regalia. Felt good. Gorgeous post-holiday ride. I woke up a bit late and rode in the daylight, which is also always nice. Didn't have quite enough time for a double loop, but managed one and a half.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Almost Like Winter

Annie and I rode this morning our regular loop. The temperature when we left was 43 degrees and I'm sure the wind chill at certain spots was much lower. We were not quite dressed in full winter gear, but each day we seem to add another component. Today I moved up to winter socks, long gloves and double fleece on top. But it was a fine morning with bright sunshine (on the way home. It is pitch dark for most of the ride.)

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

Sunday Double Loop

I finally caught up on some sleep from Friday through yesterday and rode well this morning. The weather was brisk but not as cold as we expected and we managed a double loop. We were out so early that West River Drive had not yet been closed to traffic so we had to ride the regular trail the first time around. The second time around the gates were up and we were able to ride in the road. Much more enjoyable.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Late Friday Ride

I finally took a much needed day off. Slept late and puttered around the house. Worked on some poems and read. thought about taking a long ride, but also thought better of it. Anyway, Annie was busy this morning and wanted to take an afternoon ride that would be too late to make it very long. so we did our usual loop at around 3 PM. Traffic on the trail wasn't bad. The wind was pretty strong so it was a good work-out.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


October is suddenly upon us and it is just as suddenly cold. After not being on the bike for two days I rode a single loop this morning and it felt pretty good, despite the dropping temperatures. I still am able to manage with my half-gloves and just longer pants and a fleece shirt. But it will be time to really bundle up pretty soon. I did encounter the garbage train in both directions which extended my ride, made me a few minutes late for work, but gave me an extra mile of riding. Speaking of which, my September mileage is now official at 328.2. Not very impressive, but it has been a strange month in many ways. Basically the difference is that I didn't have time or energy for even one really long ride. Without that my daily mileage will only get me to around this point. October promises to be very busy also and all the holidays fall on Wednesday which is usually my long ride day. Maybe I can eke out a little more. Meanwhile my cumulative mileage stands at 4031.2 and I'm pretty confident of hitting the 4500 I set as my goal. I'm glad I wasn't tempted to set a higher goal just because my actual total was much higher last year. Anyway, I managed 14.3 on the Fuji and another 1/2 mile in the neighborhood on the Brompton for today.
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.
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