Friday, December 25, 2009
I hope the weather isn't as bitterly cold as last year. I had held off scheduling this because I thought I would spend time with my wife and daughters but they opted for Momma-daughter time; my wife forbade attempting to coax the kids into a nice winter bike ride so I'll go out with the NYCC.
Last year's Polar Pancakes ride was fun for the group but I ended up having to go home sick after brunch (and ended up in the hospital saturday night). Hopefully this year will go better.
Meanwhile, the ride for this Friday looks like it will have reasonably good weather. Not clear but not raining -- and not as cold as it is sometimes with a high near 40 F.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
One has one's choices coming back to the GWB. Coming up through Englewood is hard; the hardest way is a direct approach up Fort Lee Road -- not only for the climb but the traffic. Since this isn't a training ride, just to get out and have fun with friends, we'll take it the easiest way we can. With only 17 miles to lunch and 13 back to our start point at W72nd St and Riverside, it's quite feasible -- but to make sure we have time on Friday to get to and eat lunch and return well before sundown, I am starting out at 9:30 AM instead of my more usual 10:30 AM.
The Persian Grill is a cozy place with reasonable prices and tasty food. If the weather is really nice, we may have a large crowd and need to punt to Dougie's BBQ which has more seating capacity. Still, the Persian Grill can seat about 40-ish people: I took the group on my spring training ride to "West Englewood" there for lunch last March and we were quite a few people.
Some of my pals from the Wheels of Love may turn up. Depends on weather. Riding in the rain is something we're quite familiar with but sleet is a bit trickier; certainly the combination of freezing temperatures and precipitation gives one pause. At least I'll have dressed for the weather on this ride. No booties, though -- go straight for the Answer Kashmir winter cycling boots. I do need waterproof gloves. My SCUBA gloves aren't all that warm -- if you think 7 mm of neoprene is enough insulation in freezing temperatures you're wrong; now, if I had dry-suit gloves that might work but I only have wet suit. If it doesn't actually rain (the forecast at this time is 60% chance of precipitation) the Pearl Izumi AmFib gloves with glove liners should suffice even in single digit temperatures.
My Canondale carbon LE bib tights will suffice I am sure; last year I had the somewhat lighter Pearl Izumi insulated bib tights. Definitely the Pearl Izumi Winter Slice jersey; probably will need the extra layer of the long sleeve jersey and of course my GoreTex cycling jacket. The Psolar balaclava is of course a must; this year, rain or shine in cold weather I'm going to wear my new Illuminite helmet cover to keep some of the warmth in my head. One of the reasons extremities get cold is that blood gets pulled from them to keep the core, and especially the head, warm.
You still need some insulation -- those metal brake levers get COLD -- but its not quite as critical.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I have tried getting away with just leg warmers on my May 3rd ride in the Shawangunks and I was unhappy, though that was partly due to the rain while tomorrow is calm and no rain. I think I'll wear my Pearl Izumi insulated bib tights and a regular long sleeve jersey. Autumn is here, and it's not Indian Summer yet (if we get one). NYC will go to 56 degrees in the evening, which is a nice comfortable temperature for a hard ride -- if I have anything left I can try to play keep-up-with-the-cars going up 6th Avenue but it's more like dodgem.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
First half hour, watched 1st episode of "Yes, Minister" (old BBC series from 1979). Very funny. Since I work in the (NYC) civil service, perhaps I get the jokes even more. The rest of the time I watched the first part of "Ice Pirates". I was forced to stop when my wife came home. My daughters objected to the bit they lifted from "Alien", with a creature hatching from a large egg. I tried to continue anyway but got massive flack/grief. Sure, I'm 'the boss' but the girls (and that includes my wife) can inflict sufficient mental anguish....
"Yes, Minister" was funnier than "Ice Pirates".
- No sign of a lock or chain so where's this surfer dude going to park his bike and does he really expect to still have it when he gets back from surfing if he just leaves it on the boardwalk or even on the beach?
- No helmet -- but he's wearing sunglasses.
- Where's his towel, wetsuit, etc. supposed to go or does he put his street clothes back on over his wet bathing suit? I suppose he could have a 'wet' bag strapped to the board but he doesn't in this photo. I'm not a surfer, but my brother Ken does and he always wears a 3 mil shortie wetsuit.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
One key difference between riding out in, e.g., Central Park vs. trying to use the trainer: when you're out on the bike in the Park, your family can't come up with priority requests for assistance with their projects etc. etc. -- once you're out the door, you're more-or-less free (esp. if you turn off your cell phone :-) ). I think the thing to do is get up very early, slip out the bedroom door and spin. Admittedly, part of the interference issues come from parking this contraption in the family room where everyone is coming and going etc.; if I clean out my office and get the file cabinet put back I might have a chance at the "out of sight, out of mind" effect.
Mind you, most of what was asked of me was important -- the trouble comes from lack of pre-planning on the part of the requester (or her teacher). Perhaps that's an overly-cynical system sort of administrator perspective.
I had to start work extra early this morning for a system migration test (which failed due to ineptness of various other departments who are notorious for things like hard-coding IP addresses into configuration and source code) so I get to leave at 5PM instead of 6PM (I already did my overtime this morning . Of course, that still gets me home well after my daughters get home from school -- and even if I do get in some spinning, they will subject me to much loud complaining if I dare to put on a TV show/movie of which they do not approve (not on moral grounds, mind you -- it's not the 'mature audiences' thing, it's Daddy's taste for things like "Enter the Dragon", "Golden Voyage of Sinbad", "Fistful of Dollars" etc.).
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It is 80 miles and a 'B18' meaning moderate difficulty with an 18 mph cruising speed on level ground: faster downhill, slower up hill.
This hilly Columbus Day ride with a rotating single paceline will take us up Seven Lakes to Bear Mountain with a stop at a kosher bagel shop in Monsey along the way. After we climb Perkins and picnic there for lunch, it's on to Storm King After Storm King, we'll head to Beacon to catch Metro North home. In case of need, there is an option to bail via Harriman Station instead of pushing on to Beacon.
We will try to make the 5:18 PM train home from Beacon. Next trains depart 5:57pm and 6:57PM.
- your paceline skills
- front and rear lights for night return when you get back to the city.
- consider bringing layers (jacket etc.) as the weather may be cool in the morning and evening.
- lunch or buy something at the bagel shop (dairy only)...or both.
RSVP via e-mail: limited to 15 riders.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This ride was a very different experience than Linda's early-morning rides. The conditions were more challenging with many others on the road: pedicabs, sometimes two or three abreast; horse-drawn carriages; the occasional police or Parks vehicle; joggers (though they stayed in the recreation lane this became an issue when we had to use that lane because of obstructions). The riders were a mixed group: despite that A riders are supposed to have paceline skills, this wasn't the case for all (I'm no great expert but I know what to do from having done Linda Wintner's early-morning paceline clinic rides for several weeks whereas it seems two of the riders didn't have any such practice). After the ride, Doug reminded me to make minor steering adjustments by leaning -- use my hips rather than arms. I noticed myself that I had to remember to keep my right arm not only flexed but relaxed.
All issues notwithstanding, I had fun and I pushed myself. I don't think I've ever ridden up Harlem Hill that fast much less on 2 consecutive laps. I need to work on stamina and climbing ability: the third lap up Harlem Hill I just couldn't push so hard anymore: I down-shifted and spun up the hill at about 10 mph instead of trying to do 13. After riding out the downhill, I dropped my pace to just under 15 mph as I rode down the West Drive back to the Tavern on the Green start point. By the time I got there, I had recovered and could breathe normally.
I think its time I setup and used the trainer I bought. Tomorrow night...meanwhile, Doug invited me back for next Tuesday night.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
While there are substantive differences one can see between the P.R.O and the Slice shorts, such as the grippers on the legs, I haven't felt significant difference in comfort of the P.R.O. over the Slice.
I also own two sets of insulated winter bib tights with built-in chamois: the Pearl Izumi Slice thermafleece and the Cannondale LE Carbon all-weather bib tights. The Pearl Izumi bib tights are theoritecially the same chamois as the shorts but it seems bigger and thicker to me. It is my very subjective opionion that both pairs of bib tights are more comfortable with better padding than the road shorts. The trouble is that in winter temperatures I don't go out and ride 80-100 miles a day though I do get some rough roads.
With the winter bib tights in mind along with the description of bib shorts as for "high mileage" cyclists, I ordered two pairs from Performance Bike recently: the Pearl Izumi Slice UltraSensor Bib Short and, because it was out of stock and to try the house brand which got good reviews, Performance Ultra II bib short. I'll post my initial impression after I've received them and had a chance to give them a try.
I inquired at work about any plans for these laws. None is contemplated despite that our building has freight elevators and contains a parking garage for over 100 vehicles. I'm pushing on them just a little now; we'll see how that goes. The facilities director had never heard of either of these measures despite NY Times coverage but when I requested him to do so, he made inquiries.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I had gotten a bit of a late start, leaving Central Park at 8 AM. As a result, I had to work my way past many 15 and 35 mile riders. It was great to see so many riders on the Brooklyn Bridge enjoying their ride. Once we got into Brooklyn, I was able to get past many riders. Climbing the hills of Park Slope in a harder gear made for a better workout and gave me more power to get past other riders.
At the Prospect Park rest stop, I saw some of my riding buddies from the 5BBC including Ken Williams who was marshaling the 55 mile route.
After Prospect Park, I was able to cruise at 18 mph as we made our way to the Greenway. As we went through Coney Island, a section of Emmons Ave. was wide open and I pushed myself as hard as possible for a couple of minutes. I reached 24.8 mph on that level stretch of road then eased back down to 18 mph again.
This year we had a new section of route through the Rockaways after the Marine Park rest stop, on the 75/100 miler route. It was a breezy day and we saw fabulous kites in the sky over the beach as we rode along the boardwalk. I passed a few riders and most told me they were doing the 75 mile route; one told me he was planning to do 55 so I told him he'd made a wrong turn and was well on his way along the 75 mile route. I encouraged him to give it a try as we had plenty of time left in the day and moved on.
When I got onto the Gil Hodges bridge as we headed north , I started asking riders what distance they planned on riding as I passed them.. Most answered 75, which was very appropriate. A few, rolling along at about 11 mph, said they were trying for the 100. I informed them I was the sweep on the 100 and urged them to pick up the pace and to consider their options at Astoria. I never saw them again.
The pace through the Greenway in Queens after Kissena was mostly slower as it wound its way through Cunningham Park, though that route segment included both some climbing and fast descents as we crossed the Harbor Hill Morraine. Along the Joe Michaels Mile, I cruised around 16 mph; I was getting a bit tired after pushing hard for over 50 miles (one of the benefits I missed of group riding with a rotating paceline). Still, the weather held and I arrived at Astoria Park rest stop shortly after 4PM where I found Bob Ross, the sweep captain, and Paulis from Poughkeepsie, the other remaining sweep team member.
Shortly after 4:30PM, we set forth at a moderate pace to sweep the 100 miler portion of the route. Once we got to the Bronix, we encountered a few riders going too slow and warned them that they were now on their own. One trio we encountered as we rode near the Bronx Zoo was an 8-year-old boy on a mountain bike with his Mom and Dad riding their bikes. He confirmed he was doing the 100 mile; when we told his Mom that we were the sweeps, she decided they should turn back to the subway at 180th St. That they got as far as they did is absolutely amazing (and probably a bit much for an 8 year old).
A few riders awaited us at Van Cortlandt Park Rest stop, which was next to the entrance to the "Old Put" trail. As we left, a few more riders straggled in. Some of them caught up to us as we entered Manhattan and we formed a peloton with Bob on point and I brought up the rear (Paulis had gone on ahead). It was getting dark and I had the only headlight; Bob had put on his rear flashers. We reached Central Park shortly before 7:30PM.
A long day on the roads of NYC but a lot of fun.
Monday, September 7, 2009
The climb up Clausland Mountain Road felt longer than the .3 miles listed in the NYCC regional hill guide. The park didn't in fact have the advertised picnic area but given that there's no other option we stopped there, ate our lunch and took this photo.
The day started with a much larger group. I announced our route and plan for the day to the assembled riders. I specifically mentioned that we'd go up 155th St. and make our way to the GWB from there as well as the 18 mph cruising speed and that we'd go via River Road in NJ. A group of riders nonetheless proceeded up Riverside Drive to 165th St., hammering a 20 mph pace. I felt I had to follow them though I refused to match their pace lest I leave the rest of the riders behind.
The lead riders did stop after crossing the bridge to wait for me but as soon as I arrived they proceeded to head north on Hudson Terrace despite my loudly calling to them that they were going the wrong way. That left me with four riders to follow me to Palisades Park. We opined that we were better off without impetuous hammerheads who wouldn't stay with the group and headed for River Road.
At the traffic circle for the Edgewater boat basin, Eliot split off. He was just ahead of me by a second or two and I called out loudly to him that he was going the wrong way but he ignored me. The rest of us figured he'd catch up to us at Alpine and continued. We never saw or heard from Eliot again. With the park full of cyclists, police and motorists we weren't worried about Eliot's safety.
Our group formed up in a paceline on 9W and headed north. We had a great time and the paceline went fairly well. I managed to hold my line fairly well. As the miles went by, we got better at keeping a consistent pace. I had no trouble communicating turns (I didn't prepare/distribute a cue sheet, I just programmed my GPS and in so doing studied the map; I'm familiar with the overall area from other trips up the lower Hudson Valley) to the lead rider even from the back of the line.
Garmin Connect - Activity Details for this trip
My constraint for the day was that I had to get back by 2PM to get ready for the trip to New City. We got back at 2:22 PM but it worked out in the end: by the time I got myself showered and dressed, my wife still was almost ready and I didn't have to wait long.
Friday, September 4, 2009
If you haven't signed up yet, I recommend you do so. It's a great way to see NYC.
Per the NYC Century website, if you register by September 11th and you will be entered win a mixed case of Brooklyn Brewery beers.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Regardless, I need to get as many of the NYC area WOL Challenge riders together as possible at least twice before the trips. With the NYC Century and 3 weeks of Yom Tov on Sunday I'm running out of Sundays. Therefore I'm going to put in an NYCC ride up the lower Hudson Valley via River Road leaving from the Eleanor Roosevelt statue at 8:30 AM and aim to return back 2PM. I intend to run a single rotating paceline (except on the return down Riverside Drive we'll run a double if we've enough people) where practical. It's a 55 mile route with hills. I'll list it as an NYCC B18 ride meaning we keep a 18 mph cruising speed on level ground (I personally intend to zoom down River Road from Edgewater at 30+ mph...no point to a rotating paceline on River Road, there's precious little level ground on the road from Edgewater to Alpine).
The route is a combination of the "Nyack Classic" and "Nyack with Hills" rides from NYCC library. The key difference is that I'm not taking the group into downtown Piermont or Nyack. Instead, we'll do hills. Specifically, the NYCC listed climb of Clausland Mountain Rd., an 11% grade for .31 miles. We'll stop at Tackamack Park North, which has a picnic area, for lunch. After that we'll continue up and around on Tweed and Bradley and back onto 303 to 340 and home (with the additional climb of Churchill Rd.). finishing this ride in 5 hours is a real challenge only possible if we get a paceline. If short on time and stamina, we'll have to bypass the Tweed climb.
I tried to put the complete route into Bikeroutetoaster but it drove me crazy.
Here's a google map:
View Larger Map
We might punt on coming down Piermont Ave and stay on 9W, substituting a climb on 9W for the climb on Churchill. Coming down Piermont is somewhat safer but there's more traffic lights.
I have less trouble holding my line in solo practice but when it comes to that first lap or two around Central Park I still have some trouble. Practice, practice, practice.
The Challenge route group for WOL looks like a mixed bag. One veteran rider, Steve N., told me that on the first day, the organizers will move (or ask to voluntarily accept transfer) of the weakest riders down to the regular on-road group. Steve says the strongest riders ride very fast in a strong paceline and some even race each other.
Steve doesn't sound like too strong a rider when he said he was hoping to stay on my rear wheel. I don't intend to pull for hundreds of miles! I can't do anything about those not in the NYC area but I've got to try to get as many of these Challenge riders together and make sure they understand rotating paceline. Of course, I don't want to have an 18 mph paceline slow to a 15mph paceline when some weaker rider gets rotated up front.
That's OK in a practice session and it's not terrible on a day ride back here in the US but when we have 81 miles to cover and the police are holding the road closed we have a deadline -- not to mention the 11,000 feet of climbing.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Dana's Ashokan Reservoir trip.
On the outbound leg, I had our group of four riders practice a rotating paceline. Not bad considering two of four riders had no experience pacelining. We held the line together most of the trip into New Paltz at a nice pace.
Our group had two experienced cyclists on road bikes, David and msyelf, and one relative newcomer, Marty, on a road bike. Our fourth rider, Scott, was intermediate in experience but countered this advantage by riding a Dahon folding bike with only one chain ring and a seven speed cassette.
Our original route called for us to return home via the climb up Mohonk west, from Kerhonkson. By the time we reached the top of Minnewaska, it was clear to me that this wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, I'd preplanned a route home down Springtown Road across the Rosendale Plain.
The views at Ashokan Reservoir, former site of Olive City and Olivebridge, were gorgeous. Slide Mountain and the Catskills formed a fabulous backdrop as we ate our lunch.
We crossed the Reservoir on a long level road that passed through some woods. It was smooth asphalt pavement and closed to motor traffic. We went around the east end of the reservoir led by one of our number, David G., a local from Kingston who cycles in the area frequently.
David took us on a detour that saved some hills although there was no way to escape the rise into the town of Tillson. We'd passed through the hamlet of High Falls, it looked quaint.
All in all a good day on the bike. Scott managed to get through the day; the 8-odd miles of mostly level riding down Springtown Road at a moderate pace, where David and I pacelined as I practiced keeping my sight line out an appropriate distance and maintaining a steady cadence, gave him additional recovery time he badly needed. I don't know that I would have survived such a day on that Dahon. Marty was on a ride with me in June and has improved quite a lot since then; he's also an Alyn WOL 2009 rider and considering moving up to the Challenge route from the regular On-Road.
Pictures from the ride, mine and eventually Marty's, will come in a later post.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Much of NJ was industrial at one time thanks to first the Delaware and Raritan Canal and then the railroads. Former mill buildings like this one are sometimes converted to other uses. At left is one I saw which is divided up into multiple stores and other businesses.
The better residential sections had some nice houses, but even the largest and most elaborate were more modest than those seen on the Bloomin Metric in CT. I did see several horse farms on both rides.
My day started much later than planned and I didn't attempt even the 100 mile route, choosing rather the moderately hilly 50 mile route. The temperature hit 98 degrees. I had filled my Camelbak at the start location, Campgaw Mountain Ski Area, with as near to its full 70oz capacity of water as I could manage and left shortly after 11AM to start my ride. When I reached the first rest stop, Kinnelon Boro Hall, I found that it was closed-- no sign that any rest stop was ever there. I found a shady spot, ate one sandwich and went on. I reached the second rest stop and it, too was gone -- and so was my water. Fortunately, Pyramid Mountain Preserve was across the way and it's air conditioned visitor center provided a superior alternative with a real bathroom and running water. I ate my second sandwich, refilled my water and off I went.
On my return route I skipped going back to Campgaw and went back to the Ramsey NJ Transit railroad station.
While I was out cycling and baking on the roads of northwest Bergen County in the Ramapo Rally, the girls were running a stand for about an hour and a half selling the homemade lemonade and cookies which they made this morning. They placed their stand in front of our apartment building, which is diagonally across the the Eleanor Roosevelt statue in Riverside Park.
Their stand and big sign advertising fresh cold lemonade and fresh baked cookies, all of which they made entirely on their own with minimal supervision from my wife Golda (who bought all the raw ingredients and the pitcher for them last night) with (a portion of) the proceeds going to "a children's hospital" (i.e., the charity for which I'm raising money this year: Alyn Children's Hospital in Jerusalem) were quite visible to hot and thirsty cyclists coming down Riverside Drive and up from the West Side Greenway.
Hannah told me that four cyclists bought numerous cups of lemonade -- so many that one of the girls had to run back upstairs to frantically mix up another pitcher which promptly sold out. I believe they sold out something like ten pitchers worth of lemonade and Shira told me that their cookies were also a huge hit: they sold eighty of them in all.
The girls were very pleased to donate $13.80 to sponsor me in the 2009 Wheels of Love from today's enterprise. I am very proud of them. They plan to do this again next Sunday if it's hot.
Friday, August 14, 2009
We are taking NJ Transit at 6:13 AM out of Penn station to Ramsey NJ which is 3 miles from the start at Campgaw Mountain Reserve. It's an hour on the train (plus travel time to Penn Station and from Ramsey to Campgaw) but if I had a car with a bike rack I could get there in 40 minutes door to door. Oh well. It's not worth a hundred dollars to rent a car for the day. I won't get any sleep on the train I'm sure, lots of other cyclists with whom to socialize. Or maybe we'll all sleep.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
We did four laps around Central Park (24.2 miles) in a double rotating paceline (that's two side-by-side pacelines). I had some trouble with consistent cadence and with holding my line tightly though by the end of four laps I had made some progress. I still need more practice at pacelining before I'm ready to try it on the open road (though Central Park at 7 AM gets fairly busy with cyclists, regular automobile traffic isn't allowed until 8 AM; before 7AM I don't believe we saw even any park maintenance vehicles). Linda gave me lots of patient good advice and I have to practice cadence consistency and holding my line. On the half-lap home to the West 72nd st. exit from our finish at the Engineer's Gate (90th and Fifth) I practiced following the center white line even downhill. I managed to stay pretty close but I need more practice.
I find the NYCC is good. I can lead rides and take a trip with a group of riders at my level of ability to a destination of my choice on the route of my choice and have folks who are more skillful cyclists and willing to share their expertise to help me raise my level of ability.
Monday, August 10, 2009
This year I have made a commitment to donate my time and energy to raising funds for the physically challenged children of ALYN Hospital Jerusalem. I will bicycle the 326 mile Challenge route in the 10th Anniversary Wheels of Love International 5-day Charity Bike Ride in Israel from Rosh Pinna up Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights, down across the Galilee and then up to Jerusalem beginning this November 1
ALYN Hospital, a not-for-profit private center which receives no automatic government funding, is one of the world’s leading centers for the active and intensive rehabilitation of children who are afflicted with a broad range of physical disabilities from everything from congenital defects to fires and car accidents. The ultimate aim of ALYN is to rehabilitate the youngsters in its care and to return them to their families and to the community as quickly as possible having provided each child with the skills to function as independently as possible within their limitations.
Donations from the Wheels of Love help to fund the vital care which every child in ALYN receives regardless of their ability to pay or the amount of health insurance reimbursement. I therefore ask you to join me in helping these children by making as generous a donation as possible to sponsor me for this important fund-raising effort. Each rider is committed to raising a minimum of US $2,000.00 to help cover the $3 million dollar difference between the cost of care of the children each year and the payments received from health insurance . Your support is deeply appreciated by myself and the children of ALYN.
Please find full instructions for making a donation on the Wheels of Love donation page. Remember to to sponsor me by filling in my name on the appropriate form.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
We met up with our PA Police escort and went through the tunnel. Jesse Brown, riding sweep, was last out of the tunnel.
One of the riders shot a few video clips on her iPhone.
I ate lunch at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck, overlooking the harbor as seen in the photo at left and watching the boats come and go. There were no working water fountains in the park, though there were working bathrooms, possibly because there were several vending machines selling bottled water and other drinks. After lunch, I cycled up into town and found a store where I bought a 24 oz bottle of water to top off my camelbak.
I followed the cue sheet for awhile. When I came to Pelham Rd., I diverted onto the Pelham Rd. greenway and followed that to another greenway to City Island and over the City Island Bridge as seen in the photo at left.
The parking lots for the fast food tourist trap resturants at the bottom of the road afforded some nice views of Long Island Sound.
From the same vantage point one can see the Throgs Neck Bridge in the distance.
The ride home through the Bronx on the rest of the Pelham Greenway was reasonably pleasant. The views from a drawbridge I came to showed the dichotomy of cycling this route. On my right, in the photo at left, a view of the tall apartment buildings of Co-Op City. The next photo, below, shows the bucolic view to my right of grassy knolls in undisturbed waters.
I made it home around 4:30 PM. The rains did eventually come shortly after 6PM. It took me extra time because I periodically had to stop and check my location against the map (via GPS) and the cue sheet. With a leader to show the way, I would have kept a faster steadier pace but it was still a good day out on the bike if humid.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I called those folks for whom I had phone #s and emailed the others. I had two riders who were supposed to meet me at GCT at 7:30AM but one I had no cell phone or home phone # so I emailed him and the other one I could not reach so at 7:20 AM I headed out on my bike to GCT to inform them in person (and perhaps grab a muffin from Zaro's Breadbakset). As I cycled down Fifth Ave., I got a call from the fellow whose cell phone I had repeatedly called (but whose cell phone voicemail greeting says "I do not use this voicemail" and says to call his office voicemail, which I did but which seemed rather futile). He said he was all alone at GCT and I told him the ride was canceled.
Having canceled the ride I took my next right over to Sixth Ave. and went up and into Central Park to do some laps. As I neared the top of the East Drive, the rain came. I pedaled harder. I managed to get up Harlem Hill at 10 mph as the rain intensified and continued down to the 72nd st ramp and headed home.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I need the hill work and I must say the roads are generally in better condition up in Ulster County. The route starts at 58 miles but its another 20 miles round-trip to Poughkeepsie.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
One person responded: Marty, on the right in the first photo below with Irv S. who showed me the way through Ulster County across the Gunks for my ride on May 3rd. The climb up Hungry Hollow Rd. didn't feel nearly as steep as the first time I ran the ride, for my first 5BBC ride in July 2008. It's only a 5% or so grade. This year's group handled it no problem. Actually a couple of riders felt the route was insufficiently hilly so on the way home they bid us farewell and continued up the hill on Allendale to head over and down 9W to Alpine and go back to the GW Bridge via River Road.
This year's group opted not to split a few pizzas but everyone found something they liked. We were too many people and the resturant too crowded so we just hung out in back and dined "al fresco". Below is a group photo in back of Chai Pizza and Falafel.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The initial leg of the South County Trailway was quite pleasant: a smooth asphalt path through the woods. The side roads in Yonkers for the on-road connector to the next leg weren't in such great shape but that cleared up. I knew from various reports that the Trailway was closed at Odell Ave. but I had checked out the area with Google Earth and was optimistic that I would have a ready exit onto Saw Mill River Rd.
The satellite imagery was misleading because it was out of date: the ready exit had been turned into a construction support site and was fenced off. I had to backtrack and tried to find my way out to Saw Mill River Rd. through the subdivisions behind Toussaint. No joy, despite having a GPS: the map in the GPS clearly showed a road as a through street which was in fact very established as a dead end. Given that I'm using the Garmin City Navigator 2008 maps which are really from 2007, it's possible that the street was changed but it sure looked well-established not 2-3 years old. After almost an hour exploring to find the way out I gave up, took the Trailway back to Toussaint and took Tuckahoe Rd. over to Saw Mill River Rd. and thence up to the Barney St. trail entrance. The rest of the ride was no problem.
By the time I reached the bridge over the Croton Reservoir, the weather had changed dramatically for the better as you can see from the view from the bridge, seen in the photo below, out over the reservoir in the photo at left.
The quality of the pavement decreased after the reservoir crossing. I could not comfortably keep an 18 mph pace, even though much of it was a slight downgrade, due to all the bumps -- presumably tree roots. The pavement improved again somewhat and was pretty good going through Yorktown Heights.
The Yorktown Heights station, seen in the photo below, from the Putnam Valley Line is a Westchester historic site. It's the only intact station left from the "Old Put". The town has a nice little park built up around it and this is the place to take a slight detour across the street for bathroom and refreshments at the gas station. It's a long ride since Barney Ave. and there's no more opportunities to leave the trail for many miles so this is it.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We headed out to my Mom's in Dix Hills where we enjoyed a kosher BBQ of burgers and hot dogs and knishes and more grilled up by my brother Ken. A lovely time was had by all thanks to my Mom and my brother.
After lunch, I took the group back to Hicksville station at a slower pace to keep the group together. At that point, most of the riders got on the LIRR. One NYCC B-SIG graduate, Erica, and I headed up Rt. 107 to the LIE service where we cranked it up to 18 mph until we hit traffic in western Nassau (apparently there was some problem on the LIE so a large number of cars got off onto the service road). We made our way to Queens and then found our way onto the Queens Greenway at Creedmor and eventually to the F train at Hillside and 179th just about a half-hour before sunset.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I was supposed to ride with some NYCC C SIG graduates both on the ride and then back to NYC afterward. I originally posted a B15 ride, meaning a 15 mph moving average. The C SIGgies were supposedly able to keep up, per their e-mail. When I started out at about 16 mph I ended up losing them. Since the Bloomin is a supported ride, I rode on with the one rider who was able to keep up until he dropped back to ride slow with his friends. I stopped here and there to take photos and they caught up with me a few times.
The scenery was lovely once we left Norwalk.
Waterfall in the woods
There were quite a few cyclists. We passed through some areas with very large homes with low stone walls out front.
After the ride, I met up with several of the riders who had contacted me in advance and we set forth on a route based on the East Coast Greenway's on-road connector route. The idea was to bicycle from Norwalk to New Rochelle, have dinner and continue on. Some of the group weren't too sure about riding all the way back so I had bailout options via Metro North planned.
On our way, we stopped to use the port-a-potties and water fountains at lovely Bruce Park.
We continued on but blew a turn. Recovering took us some time. By the time we reached Mamaroneck, we were all tired and it was getting late so we opted to bail. We boarded Metro North at Mamaroneck Station and had a pleasant train ride back to the city.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The weather did preclude stopping for the scenic overlook after Minnewaska. I've uploaded the GPS data to MotionBased
I managed to make it up Mountain Rest Road at about 5 mph without stopping unlike our scouting trip where I had to get off and walk at Spies Road. Some of the riders barreled ahead on the climb just before Spies Road. I passed them a few moments later around the bend, stopped by the side of the road panting and gulping water.
This is a nice area in which to ride. I think I'll build another trip in the area. I'm thinking of a ride over to Woodridge, starting in Poughkeepsie taking the 7:47 AM rather than 8:47 train.
|From Gunks ride: On the road to Minnewaska in a drizzle|
Monday, April 20, 2009
This was a scouting trip for my May 3rd 5BBC/NYCC ride.
The climb up to the Mohonk Golf lodge was long and steep. There were other climbs as well.
Looking at the elevation profile, I can't imagine what it thinks is 1500 feet of elevation and a 30+ % grade at the roughly 12 mile mark; that's in the town of New Paltz. Our really serious climbing started where Mountain Rest Road crosses Butterville and Canaan Roads. I did some calculations from the GPS data for the climb up Mountain Rest Road from that point, an elevation of 317 feet and at 13.66 miles into our ride.
At the first bend in the road, its an elevation gain of 152 feet and we'd traveled .38 miles so that's a 7.58% grade.
From there to Spies Road, it's an elevation gain of 268 feet and .74 miles further. That makes it "only"a 6.86% grade.
The whole leg from 1st bend to 2nd bend is 435 feet elevation gain over 1.07 miles: a 7.70% grade.
After that is a deceptive recovery leg to the 3rd bend in the road: 103 feet of elevation gain over .38 miles for a "mere" 5.13% grade.
From the start to the stop at the golf lodge is an elevation gain of 811 feet over 2.12 miles for an overall grade of 7.25%.
Huff. Puff. Repeat.
Jim Zisfein, myself and Irv Schacter at the Minnewaska overlook
View from the Minnewaska scenic overlook
First off, I have become quite fond of my new Carbondale Max carbon-fiber reinforced bib tights and the silk long underwear from Campmor.
Next, on Feb. 22nd Dennis Griffin led and I rode sweep on a ride through Queens. Very nice, even if it was raining and cold, now I have a solid basis for routes from the Queensborough Bridge to Kew Gardens. From Kew Gardens I can get to wherever I need to go and I'm going to use this as the 1st leg of my June 7th B-15 BBQ ride #1 to Dix Hills.
March 1st was my training ride to Riverdale with Jesse Brown. We had two riders with us due to an uncertain weather forecast but we only had a few snowflakes and plenty of winter sunshine. One was our friend Jim Zisfein and the other was a new NYCC member whose name I don't recall. We had lunch at Skyview kosher Deli in Riverdale. You can check out our route as recorded on my GPS on Motion-Based. We had fun, even with the gratitious hills I added to the route, and those who stayed home missed out on a nice late winter ride.
March 8th was my training ride to Teaneck/West Englewood with my buddy Jim Zisfein riding sweep. Wonderful spring day and we had quite a turnout including my friends Moshe R. and Shimon S. -- in all I think about 16 riders from 5BBC and NYCC. One fellow showed up at the start with no helmet so we sent him off to a local bike shop to get one. He caught up to us in NJ and shortly thereafter got a flat in his front tire. Jim tried to help him even though he hadn't actually signed the signup sheet (we wouldn't allow someone with no helmet to sign in) but he had no spare tube and no tire tools (and no cell phone). Another rider tried to help with his tubes but they blew out because they were the wrong size. Jim phoned me to tell me what was going on and I sent the fellow's riding buddy back to help him. In the end, the poor guy got his front flat fixed but then they found that the rear had a flat. At that point they were out of tubes, called a cab and sent him home in it while his buddy pedaled back to join us at lunch at The Persian Grill. Here's my GPS track at motion-based.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This is certainly a welcome step but it still leaves 26 U.S.C. §132 heavily tilted toward subsidizing driving. Look at the law before amemndment
and you see that parking is worth $175/month. Mass transit is worth $100/month. While $240/year is a nice sum for operating expense of a bicycle it doesn't address acquiring the bicycle -- or the lock and related upgrades to make the bike safe to lock up on the street -- in the first place.
All this about money for the employee, which is a deduction for the employer and therefore not really going to help those who work for the public sector or non-profits, aside there remain two serious issues:
- What do you do with your bike when you get to work? We need indoor bicycle parking and we need it in quantity. Many cities already have indoor parking garages but they are not set up for bicycles. The garages need a proper bicycle rack and ready access to it for cyclists. Take some of the space currently used for cars and convert it to bicycle parking. In the space used for 4 cars you could put enough bike rack slots for over a dozen bikes -- I estimate about 16 inches of horizontal space per bike.
- Not everyone has a short ride, and may need to change out of bicycle riding clothes into office clothes. My own commute isn't terrible at 8 miles each way and in temperate months I can and do commute in street clothes with the sole concession of mountain bike shoes (so that I can walk in them when I'm off the bike). I have winter cycling gear: I am not up for just putting on long johns and a parka and pedaling to work, I want to wear my insulated tights and so forth. Am I to just show up at my office and change clothes in a bathroom stall in the men's room? I've tried that in the summer, its annoying at best (and the door to the stall has an annoying habit of swinging open as I lean against the stall trying to get my pants on or off). A locker room would sure help.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The Caucus is bipartisan with many members. The NY Times published an article on Rep. Blumenauer and the Caucus. There is also a Senate Bike Caucus. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is a member as is Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT).
Anthony Weiner (D-NY)is listed as a member of the Congressional Caucus but I don't have an impression of him as particularly pro-bicycle considering his opposition to congestion pricing.
I see that my local Congressman Jerrold Nadler is a member. He certainly needs to get out on a bike a lot more.
I see a potential for organizing rides with the various members in their home districts / states. For NYC I imagine such an event could get the attention of DOT Commissioner (and cyclist beyond question) Khan. Senator cyclists are potentially interested in highlighting the state of bikes on trains with a train + bike ride. Probably not reasonable to drag Sen. Schumer from GCT to Poughkeepsie but you never know (its not THAT long a train ride and perhaps he would like to walk the train gladhanding people).
Representatives not on a rail-related committee are probably not interested in riding the rails with a bike, but a bike tour of the district doesn't seem an unreasonable concept.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Metro Noth has the same rule. NJ Transit is worse, forbidding bikes the day before a holiday. That may make sense in summer on the Long Branch lne, the Jersey Shore is no doubt popular. But how many people can possibly be going to Long Branch on Columbus Day or Port Jervis is summer? Sure in winter perhaps someone is going to ski. -- and the bulky ski equipment is not only welcome on these winter holiday trains, the railroad has getaway pacages which include lift tickets, rail fare and a shuttle bus!
Looking beyond commuter rail Amtrak needs to upgrade its policy on bikes. All baggage cars need a bike rack so one can roll on lockup and go. I would prefer it in the passenger car but having ridden Amtrak in the Northeast I don't see where they could fit a bike rack (and I have yet to see a car with a wheelchair area such as is on LIRR and Metro North; obviously if they had such one could reserve it for wheelchair or bikes). A baggage car I have no sympathy whatsoever they could relatively inexpensively securely put a proper bike rack in if they wanted. Some lines do have it but not in the Northeast.
We cyclists need to work with the congressional Bike Caucus and get legislation passed (with a little funding for commuter rail; Amtrak charges for a reservation for the bike rack just as for checked luggage so that is potentially a profit center not just self-funding) requiring bike access. It makes tremendous sense and I understand this is available on many European railroads. Once again we are behind on mass transit.
All this really came to a head for me trying to organize a rail-based self-contained overnight trip for Sunday/Monday of Memorial Day weekend. As it is I put the return on Tuesday so all concerned have to take the day off which is limiting the audience. That of course results in less room nights for the hotel and less money spent in resturaunts in the destination area.
Indeed some folks may want a day trip to someplace because they have a day off but they can't bring their bikes on the train so they don't go
The 5BBC does do "weekend" trips with vans but that's more expensive, requires 2 van-certified leaders (for insurance reasons) per van and is not ecologically friendly as you're burning fossil fuels etc.
We'll see how things turn out for my trip. Technically, on a weekeday offpeak train its 4 bikes/train. Indeed there is a 8 bike limit on Sunday bike trains. In both cases its up to the train crew I have seen us get away with more bikes on Sunday to Brewster. It comes down to available space and cooperation with the crew. Which while the reality today is wrong: bikes onboard should not be subject o expulsion to make room for passengers getting on at a later stop. This isn't Jim Crow South and we are fare paying passengers we don't deserve 2nd class treatment. Another item for the Bike Caucus but their clout is small (more than just the one legislator has but limited)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I need to work out and get stronger and faster on the bike.
The link here is to the track from my GPS.
Next Wednesday weather permitting 7 AM at the Boathouse again. I think it doesn't help that I live so close to the park that I barely got breakfast down before the ride; next time I will get up on time and eat earlier so that my food has a chance to digest before the ride.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The ride went well and everyone (all 3 trippers and my co-leader Ed Defreitas) liked Garden of Eatin. The route worked out quite well. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the ride as I became aware at lunch that I was feeling rather ill: another kidney stone attack on the rise. I bailed, leaving the ride to continue with Ed and Lee Ann, and took the subway home. I heard later that they had a great time, we'll do this again next year.
Upon reaching home, I lay down on a heating pad and took some painkillers and drank water. That helped enough to allow me to write the previous post. Things got worse and eventually I ended up in the hospital where on Sunday the stone was removed with laser lithotripsy. I went home Monday to recover. Eventually, I did recover and this past Sunday I got back on my bike and went for a ride for the day to scout my March 1st trip.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
A nice lunch was had by all at the Royal Persian Grill. We headed back to the bridge and several trippers were suprised at how few hills we had to climb and that they weren't too long or difficult (there's no escaping the altitude gain its a question of how you go). A fun ride for all of us, with some good natured joking about the hills: "any more hills left after this?" asked one tripper; "Just the wall" I said deadpan then broke out laughing.