Tuesday, May 31, 2005

May Total

Total Miles in May: 136

I guess being sick for a week and on vacation for a week limited my total. I was hoping to ride to work tomorrow, but I have to take my son to school at 8:00 and pick him up at noon. Maybe after work.

[Man on Big Wheel Bike]

Sunday, May 29, 2005

DC - Not What I Had Planned

So, I thought I had planned pretty well. I was going to have a great time biking in DC.

However, by Friday night, I was already exhausted from the walking. When one has no car and depends on the Metro line 4 blocks away from the hotel for all transportation to the sites that require more walking, sore feet and legs will result. As I was walking over to the Washington Monument, I decided to skip the whole bike thing. It was going to cost too much anyway. However, while in line for tickets, I saw a family ride up to the line to meet the Dad who was just walking away with his four passes. They had matching mountain bikes, and they pedaled off looking like a commercial for the rental company. When I got back to the hotel, I called Better Bikes.

The voice on the machine said they would call back in five minutes. After 30, I gave my wife the instructions and set off with the kids to climb the monument (at least, climb into the elevator). We also made a quick visit to Lafayette Park and the White House. Returning two hours later, there was still no call. After lunch and a nap, I called back a couple of times, but still got the machine. I left my cell phone number and went out for a walk to Georgetown. I was actually inside one of the competing rental shops when the Better Bikes guy called. I found out later that this was a one man company, and the owner was having a very busy day. He was out of mountain bikes, but had a comfort bike in my size.

[Wright Brothers Bicycle]

A comfort bike is apparently a skinny tired 18 speed with a spongy seat and upright-style handlebars - nothing like the Wright Brothers bike (pictured) on display at the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian. I felt pretty geeky riding it past all of the roadies out that morning, but I guess I would never see them again anyway.

I started out on the Rock Creek Trail, but I ended up heading south from P street instead of north (since the trail was described as being in bad shape). This took me down past some of the monuments and eventually over the Potomac to Arlington National Cemetery. It was still closed, so I headed into the city center. Then, I found a bike trail heading back south and went all the way to the Navy and Marine monument.

[Navy and Marine Monument]

It was time for the Cemetery to open, so I headed back north, but I couldn't find a way to get the entrance on the Memorial Bridge, so I hopped up onto the parallel street when I saw signs directing me to the Cemetery. It wasn't 30 seconds later that I heard the loudspeaker on the police car ordering me "off the parkway." Who knew it was a parkway and bikes weren't allowed? Not me! He had me walk for 10 minutes to the next bike path that crossed the street and took me to the gates. That's the first time I've ever been pulled over on a bicycle.

The Cemetery was already very crowded, so I just took a quick walk to the JFK eternal flame, and then headed back across the river. I found 14th street near the Washington Monument, and headed back to K street, ending at the hotel at 22nd and N streets.

In hindsight, I wish that I would have taken the trail north to see a different part of town, but I am glad I was able to visit Arlington. Next time I vacation, I will try to arrange the bike earlier in the trip so that I can get a good ride.

Miles Ridden: I rode for about 2 hours, not counting stops and walking, so let's say 24 miles
Total This Year: I'm not going to count this in the total.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Training Ride

I'm trying to get my wife used to riding so that we can do the Indy N.I.T.E. Ride in late July. Today, we took a short ride to the gourd house on River Road and back after the kids got on the school bus. I hope to have her up to 10 miles by the end of June.

Miles Ridden: 3.7
Total This Year: 316

Monday, May 23, 2005


Thomas over at My Bike Blog posts a common complaint. Don't ride on the sidewalk!

You can imagine that I see all kinds of unsafe riding on campus, but there are three behaviors, sidewalk, wrong way, and wrong side riding, that really get me going. Throw in the ubiquitous iPod earbuds, and we've got trouble. I've yelled at a few, and they've either couldn't hear me, or look at me like I'm insane. Granted, there are non-automobile areas where sidewalk riding is allowed, but bikes lanes are marked.

(I see bikes on the sidewalk almost daily, but I can't find a picture of one. I'll have to go out on a "shooting spree")

I Thought My Legs Would Feel Fine

The neighbor and I took the Granville Bridge Route with a run up Indian Creek Hill to the golf course. Even though I spent Saturday helping my brother-in-law move, I was sure that my muscles were back to normal today. Unfortunately, my thighs starting screaming about 2 miles from the end. I made it, but it took some work.

Miles Ridden: 12
Total This Year: 313

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bike to Work Day (sort of)

It make sense last night. The logistical complications and reasons for riding were clear in my drowsy state, but during the day today, it seemed kind of silly.

I wanted to ride to work today because it would make three in a row and because it was Bike to Work Day in Lafayette. I didn't even know it was Bike to Work Week until reading Thomas' post about it. Anyway, I had heard on the TV news that today was the day being observed here. Also, I have seen rain forecasted for Thursday and Friday, and I'll be out of town on Saturday, so this would be my last day for a while.

The problem was that my son had marching band tryouts today at 4:00, and needed a ride from his middle school to the high school.

So, the plan I concocted while half asleep in my easy chair was to drive my bike to work, ride home, shower for work, ride back (thus riding to work), take the car to chauffeur the boy, and ride after work.

It started out nice. I was able to find a spot right behind the building, and the ride back through campus was calm.

Ross-Ade Stadium in the Morning

After my shower, I rode back to the office, and I had to hurry to get to another building in the next block for a training class. I walked in a couple of minutes late and was quite hot and a little sweaty.

The shuttling of the teenager was without incident, and I was ready for a good ride after work.

But, I couldn't just ride home, because then my car would still be at work. I ended up riding all around Lafayette and coming back to the office. I put the bike back in the car and drove home.

So I at least covered some of the benefits of commuting to work: exercise for me, and setting an example for others on Bike to Work Day that it is possible and easy to do. However, I also drove my car to work, which still burned gas, took a parking place, and showed that one can only ride to work if he has no other life.

Oh well!

The Route

The first leg started at Wood and Grant Streets in West Lafayette. I traveled up Grant to Northwestern, up to Stadium, and west to University Street. North on University took me around Ross-Ade Stadium (pictured), and I came down the other side on Beering Drive. A right on Tower Drive led me back to Stadium and on out to McCormick Road. A quick south jaunt to SR26 and a left on Newman took me back to Division Road and home.

Leg two was the direct route back to work.

After work, the wind was coming from the southeast, so I headed south on US231 over the Wabash River, and east on SR25 and Beck Lane over to 9th Street (past Armstrong Park). North on 9th past Central Catholic High School (which just fired its basketball coach), down to the Lafayette Country Club, up to the Highland Park area, and down through the Ninth Street Hill Neighborhood®. At Main Street I headed west downtown to the John Myers Bridge. Tapawingo, Brown, and Roebuck is the route around Wabash Landing. Finally, I headed up State Street Hill back to Grant Street and my car.

Miles Ridden: 17.2
Total This Year: 301

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Free Bike

Since last fall, there has been a bicycle locked onto a high tension power line tower at the corner of Klondike and Lindberg in West Lafayette. I pass that intersection often, especially on the North Work Route as I did today.

I had planned to photograph the abandoned bike and offer it to my readers. However, when I came by today - camera in hand - I found that the bike was gone. I don't know if the owner came back, someone stole it, or the power company cut it off.

Anyway, there's no picture again today.

Miles Ridden: 11.7
Total This Year: 283

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Fast Ride Home

I rode to work today, and I had to get home quickly afterwards. I took the South Work Route home and tried to keep the speed up. The toughest thing with that is paying attention. I normally tend to let my mind wander away, and I'll find myself moving at 9 or 10 MPH. Today I kept my mind on task and averaged 13.6 MPH. For me, that's pretty good!

Miles Riden: 8.3
Total This Year: 272

Saturday, May 14, 2005

New Bike

I bought my daughter a bike at the Evil Empire today. The best part of the shopping trip was when I talked her in to test riding the bike in a cleared part of the store. I wish I would have had my camera!

Anyway, we took a short ride around the neighborhood to try out her new wheels. She is used to her 20" fixed gear bike, so she can really pedal! I was a having a time keeping up for part of the trip.

[Corinne on her new bike]

Miles Ridden: 3.7
Total This Year: 262

Monday, May 09, 2005

Campus Quickie

I took a fast run on the River Road/Campus Route this morning.

Miles Ridden: 9.9
Total This Year: 256

Sunday, May 08, 2005

My First Review

Nikkieyes mentions me.

Cairo Watchtower

Great Ride Today!

The Highlights

Last night, I dropped off my wife at work. So, this morning when I went to pick her up, I threw the bike in the back of the van. My ride started from near Salisbury and Cumberland in West Lafayette, which extended my northern reach a little.

Not far into the trip, I came across this stone sign at the entrance to a new subdivision. I don't think that this silhouette (presumably of William Henry Harrison) could be any more of a caricature. Probably not what they planned.

[Harrison Highlands subdivision sign]

My goal today was to find the Cairo Watchtower. This 30 foot tower was erected in the 1950s so that volunteers could watch for Soviet planes and report them to the Air Force. (The author of the linked page proposes another, hidden purpose.) I was actually surprised by the small size of it. Maybe the trees weren't there 50 years ago, but I'm sure it would be tough to see planes from the deck now. Not that I would actually want to climb it. It looks to be in pretty bad shape. These photos from 2001 show the platform to be in much better shape than my photo from today reveals.

[Cario Watchtower]

Unless some work is done soon, I'll wager that it will be coming down.

I could see the water tower from Brookston about three miles to the north when I crossed SR43. I contemplated running up there, just to say that I had done it, but decided to save it for another day.

I'm guessing that this family has been having trouble with mailbox vandalism.

[Hit Me mailbox]

(It's probably secured to a buried car axel.)

Along Pretty Prairie Road (which was very pretty), I road past a box laying in the ditch that seemed to have a picture of a naked woman on it. Upon closer inspection, I found it to be a blow up sex doll. I didn't take it out of the box (afraid to touch it), but I found it most interesting that it would be cast out along the road. Maybe the owner couldn't find a place in his bedroom to hide it from Mom.

No trip to the northern part of Tippecanoe County would be complete without a stop at the Tippecanoe Battlefied Memorial (where my friend Kathy is the Park Manager). The park includes some very old trees that were standing during the battle in 1811. I've heard that some even contain bullets from the fighting.

[Tippecanoe Battlefield Memorial]

There were some pretty strong headwinds when travelling south on Tyler, Pretty Praire, and North Ninth Street roads. I think that if I had gone on to Brookston, I would have been quite tired before reaching Lafayette.

My ride ended at my office. I had left my car there on Friday, and after working for half an hour, I loaded the bike in the trunk and drove home.

The Route

  • Starting at Salisbury and Cumberland in West Lafayete, I headed north on Salisbury, which out of town becomes 50W (aka County Farm Road). This took me past the Tippecanoe Villa and Harrison High School.
  • After a quick jog to the west, the road becomes 100W.
  • I stopped at 850N to view the Cairo Watchtower.
  • Continuing north on 100W, I crossed over I-65 and turned right (east) on 900N.
  • This road led me across SR43 and through the former town of Ash Grove.
  • 900N ended at Tyler Road, which I took south.
  • Tyler travelled a short distance to Pretty Praire Road. I followed it south west into the town of Battleground.
  • Downtown, I turned south onto North Ninth Street Road and pedaled into Lafayette after a quick stop at the Battlefield.
  • I continued south on Canal Street and grabbed the Wabash River Heritage Trail at the base of the Harrison bridge.
  • After passing the Amtrak station, I crossed the Wabash on the John Myers Pedestrian Bridge
  • I took Tapawingo Drive and Brown Street around Wabash Landing.
  • After a quick run up State Street Hill, a left on Grant Street depositied me at the office at Grant and Wood

Miles Ridden: 28.0 (This blows away Friday's one day record!)
Total This Year: 247

Friday, May 06, 2005

Working on Friday

After a quick shower and breakfast following my morning ride, I left for work (a little late). It had already warmed up considerably since 6:00, and I was comfortable in my short sleeve shirt.

I rode home on the North Work Route, and I had the camera ready looking for shots of students moving out. Finals ended today, and I had seen several Ryder trucks clumsily backed up to porches and alley doors during lunch. However, by 5:15, they were all gone. So, no photos today.

Miles Ridden: 11.7
Total This Year: 219

That makes 22.1 for the day - this most in one day this year! I'm sure I'll have longer rides (maybe on Sunday), but I feel like a marathon rider today.

Another Cold One

Once again, my thumbs are stinging with pre-frostbite (I'm so dramatic) after a cold morning ride. The thermomemter read 40┬░F as the neighbor and I took the Granville Bridge Route. We've been taking an extra jog at the end where we take River Road from Division to 350W, then north back to Division. With the closure on River Road near the Fort, there isn't any traffic on that stretch. Division Road, however, was pretty busy during the entire ride.

Miles Ridden: 9.4
Total This Year: 207

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Farmers' Market

I rode to work today along the usual route in with a quick stop at SSOF for a meeting. I took the North Work Route home with a detour north on Salisbury to visit the inaugural Sagamore West Farmers' Market up in Cumberland Park in West Lafayette. My wife and daughter were there buying a tree. There were a few booths selling plants, but it was mostly crafts and jewelry. They even had a band playing.

[Harrison High Jazz Band]

The ride was pretty good - cold in the morning, mid-60s in the evening. Plus, there wasn't much wind either time.

Miles Ridden: 14.8
Total This Year: 195