Thursday, May 27, 2010

Get Bent

In the course of looking at various websites to recommend to my daughter Shira to help her with her electronics project for science class and understanding electricity, I found an interesting hypertext book of basic physics (I don't know the highschool physics curriculum but it looks like the material covered when I took Physics I, II, and III). It turns out that the the author, Glenn Elert, is not only a highschool science teach but a cyclist who did a cross-country bike tour on a recumbent bike which he documented. It looks quite nice.  The Physics hypertextbook is interesting but in terms of electricity there are other interesting sites as well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Euro bicycling

Rush hour in Utrecht, Netherlands.  They're not zooming quite a fast as it appears, the video is running at a higher-than-normal frame rate (look how fast the few pedestrians scurry).  Notably, nobody is wearing a helmet.

Crossing the Susquehanna

In plotting the route for the "Capitol Invasion" leg from Philadelphia, the problem is that there's no way for bicycles to ride across any of the southeastern bridges: the Conowingo Dam road has a very narrow shoulder and Google Maps bicycling mode won't route you across and looking at the satellite images on Google Maps and Earth, I agree; US 95 is out of the question; no bicycles are allowed on US 40 Hatem bridge. The bridges across from Lancaster don't look too great but are less traveled; the problem is that is over 40 miles out of the way though great bicycling on either side of the river. The solution seems to not ride across but to utilize the bike transport services of Biller's Bikes between Perryville and Havre de Grace MD.  This service is officially part of the East Coast Greenway. By 24 hour advance appointment, $10/bike will get up to 8 bikes and riders across in one trip.

My route from Philadelphia via the Wall still needs a hotel in the Pikesville area. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

TheManayunk Wall

I consider riding up the Wall an important part of a bike trip to/through Philadelphia even though I'm not a racer nor do I particularly follow bicycle racing.
In bicycling terminology, a "wall" is a relatively steep incline. The "Manayunk Wall," part of the course for the USPRO championship race, refers to two streets along the race's course in the northwest section of Philadelphia, Levering Street and Lyceum Avenue. The bottom of the "wall" begins at Main Street and Levering Street in the neighborhood of Manayunk, proceeds shortly on the well-worn cobblestone Cresson Street under the elevated railway, then proceeds back onto Levering Street. S... most of the Wall is part of Levering Street, but suddenly becomes Lyceum Avenue at Tower Street. The steepest section, a 17-percent grade, commences just after the slight left turn (when going up) at the intersection with Tower Street, and ends at the intersection with Fleming street. It becomes slightly less steep on the stretch with "O'Brien's" as it crosses Manayunk Avenue. It nearly flattens out and is considered to end at Pechin Street in Roxborough..... The right turn off Lyceum Avenue onto Pechin Street begins "The Fall from the Wall."

Capitol Invasion leg 2 plan

No way can we get to Pikesville MD from Philadelphia in a day. We should not only see the Wall in the Philadelphia area but also take the NCR trail from York PA to Ashland MD. That's over 156 miles after having done 95 the day before.

I'll have to find a way to break this up into two segments. That makes this trip into a 4 day / 3 night one with Wednesday return.

Nowhere to stop for lunch either, just dinner from the kosher food place at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster area which supposedly can sell you food without a park admission.

Pkesville area has a number of kosher restaurants and there are hotel options in the area as well.

Washington trip leg 1: Philadelphia

Newark to Philadelphia is the first leg of the "Capital  Invasion" bike trip I'm planning for August 22nd. I found a lovely B&B in the Elkins Park area but over $300/night is way out of our budget. I found a few hotels in downtown Philadelphia for under $130/night as listed and the hope that priceline will get us an even better rate.  This leg runs 92.3 miles.

The restaurant, Max and Davids, in Elkins Park sounds much better than either option for dinner in Philadelphia itself -- I've eaten at Maccabeam, it's OK --, but it means 12 miles after dinner to the hotel though it gives us an opportunity to ride through Valley Forge. This variant is 96.9 miles. 

There is a hotel in Chestnut Hill but it's expensive and out of the way. At least in downtown Philadelphia, breakfast options exist.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cherry Hill super century

A fabulous day on the bike yesterday. We started with four riders and myself. Before we reached 20 miles, we had one flat tire. After fixing the flat, that rider dropped off the ride at Long Branch station. The rest of us continued on to enjoy a ride along the ocean, including a stretch on a boardwalk -- which changed from wood planks to stone along the way. We saw lots of nice homes and stopped for lunch in Deal at Jerusalem II Pizza. We stopped for a look at the famous Sea Girt Lighthouse. Pretty, but surprisingly low tower. After Sea Girt, we turned westward toward Lakewood and, as planned in advance, bid farewell to another rider who stayed to explore the beach communities further before taking the train home.

The three of us remaining rode on at a very brisk pace down the Edgar Felix bikeway and on country roads and residential streets into downtown Lakewood for a snack stop. From then on, it was a long hard fast push to Cherry Hill. Construction on Highway 70 / Marlton Pike West that eliminated the nice wide shoulder we had enjoyed as well as one lane of traffic, forcin us off the direct route to dinner and through more back roads. We reached dinner shortly before 8PM.

The roads of south NJ were quite pleasant overall.

Cherry Hill super century by dhudes at Garmin Connect - Details

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cherry Hill Adventure

It's a narrow window in time after weather warms up and before the summer season begins on the Jersey Shore. I've plotted a route for a fast, flat ride for May 16th instead of doing Montauk again. The route takes us along the shore through many of the beach communities and past the Sea Girt Lighthouse before it turns inland through Lakewood and the Lebanon / Brendan Byrne Forest, using several paved greenways along the way as shortcuts. It's a long day, but the route from the start at Newark PATH to dinner at Cherry Grill should prove quite nice after Elizabeth. It's 125 miles to dinner so we've got to keep moving at a 17 mph cruising speed to maintain a 14 mph moving average. Lunch in Lakewood is a definitely needed stop around mile 70 at Bagel Nosh.

Return transportation is on NJ Transit from Cherry Hill station on the Atlantic City line, only 2.7 miles down the Marlton Pike from dinner. Service to Trenton via Philadelphia is fairly quick: one gets back to NY Penn station about 3 hours 30 minutes after boarding in Cherry Hill. We have to ride fast and keep stops to a minimum such that we finish dinner to reach the station for the 6:59 PM; next train is 8:53 PM. We change trains for NJ Transit in Philadelphia. Amtrak doesn't allow bikes on board Northeast Corridor trains.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednedsday night River Road

As the shadows lengthened early this evening, I clipped in and rode down to the West Side Greenway headed for the GWB and Palisades Park for an evening ride. I noticed that the connecting section of Greenway at 84th st. is looking pretty good but the gates are still closed; hopefully, this summer it will open at last. As I spun up the hill from the path by the river's edge to the promenade in Riverside Park, someone passed me. I took this as a sign that I was going too slow, not pushing hard enough -- so I up-shifted one gear and pushed myself for as fast a standing climb as I could manage under conditions (it's not just the slope, it's the pedestrians in both directions and the occasional oncoming cyclist). I continued pushing fast and hard up on the promenade and couldn't quite close the gap completely. I lost track of the faster cyclist while dodging pedestrians.

Back down on the Greenway at 96th St., I shifted to my 3rd (biggest) chain ring and and pretty small gear. I know I was doing about 20 mph for a while. The hill up to the hill to Riverside Drive was tough. I remember glancing down and seeing about 11% there but Training Center claims only 9%; similarly, I thought the steep section of the switchback was 18% but TC says 11%.

The ride from Edgewater down was lovely. The climb up to Alpine was great, I pushed as hard as I could -- even standing for some sections, which I seem to have improved at somewhat. It's been a busy stressful time at work and this sure helped blow off steam.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stony Point results

Shimon and I met up with Karen on the NJ side of the GWB and headed off up US-9W. As we rode through Alpine, Shimon suddenly found that he couldn't downshift his chain ring: he was stuck on the big ring. We all pulled into the Palisades Park HQ and had a look to see what was wrong. While there, we met up with Yehuda, one of my fellow Challenge riders from the 2009 Wheels of Love. He also looked but didn't find anything wrong either -- cable had tension and everything looked right. Yehuda suggested we take Shimon to either Piermont Bicycle Connection or further up on 9W to Toga Nyack.

I felt Shimon would have great trouble with the hills on 9W beyond Piermont and the best thing was to head for Piermont. So much for my carefully planned ride.

Shimon's problem was quickly resolved when we got to the store. That left me with the problem of us several miles east of our route, not to mention on the wrong side of a very steep ridge. I rerouted us on-the-fly to proceed north on the route I'd planned for our return. We went through Piermont and the towns north of it and into South Nyack Beach Park to pick up the bikeway through the park.

After exiting the park, we followed NYS Bicycle Route 9 the rest of the way to the turn for Stony Point Park. When we arrived at the park gate at about 12:40 PM, we found a sign "site closed. No restrooms available". We decided we were hungry and sat on some rocks near the gate overlooking a small pond and wetlands to eat our lunch.

Everyone was hot and tired. We took 9W back through Stony Point, stopped at a store and got cold drinks then continued on south. As we progressed, I saw that Shimon and Karen were not keeping up and having difficulty climbing. I changed our route from hauling down 9W to veer inland -- and downhill -- to take Piermont Road back through to Tenafly. It's a much less hilly route until of course the end when you have to get back up across the ridge. We stayed on CR-501 the whole way and climbed up Palisades Ave. . At the top of Palisades, Karen and I sat on a bench for a while to wait for Shimon, then headed on to the GWB and home.

Stony Point try 2

Tomorrow morning we're off to attempt Stony Point. I listed it as an NYC B16 ride. If the rain comes or we're not going fast enough, we'll turn around at the C-Mart in Central Nyack 19 miles from the GWB and take Piermont Road back instead of 9W. I hope we can push on to do Little Tor Road, then hook down and pick up the regular return route.