Thursday, June 30, 2005

Total for June

Total for June: 194.2 Miles

Monday, June 27, 2005

Monday - The Usual

I didn't have much time this morning, but the neighbor and I were able to fit in a quick ride on the Granville Bridge Route this morning.

Miles Ridden: 9.0
Total This Year: 69 + TBD

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Noodle Legs

I took a quick ride through West Lafayette this morning, but after yesterday's marathon ride, my legs were pretty noodle like.

I started on Newman Road down to South River Road. I headed east to the beginning of the Wabash Heritage Trail and traveled the entire West Lafayette portion of the route.

[Wabash Heritage Trail - West Lafayette]

At the north end of the trail, I headed up the hill on Robinson, then west across campus on Stadium. Finally, I took McCormick, SR 26, and Newman back home.

Miles Ridden: 10.5
Total This Year: 60 + TBD

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Dune Acres 2 - The Lighthouse

I thought it would be neat to ride to Michigan City, so I left around 5:30 so that I could get back in time to visit a little more with family before everyone left at 10:00.

The route was easy - take US 12 all they way to Washington Park in Michigan City, ride through the park to get to the lighthouse, and ride back. On the way out, I passed the "Morse Code House" at US 12 and Mineral Springs Road. (If any of my readers know the code, I would love a translation.)

[Morse Code House]

US 12 is an interesting route. It must have had much charm during the pre-Interstate Highway days, but now the area is being purchased for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore project. Many of the houses and businesses in the park area are either empty or just gone. I wonder if towns like Dune Acres will be there in 50 years. So, the scenery was pretty quiet for the first part of the ride. Even though I was heading east on a sunny day, I didn't need my sunglasses for the first eight miles because the tree cover blocked the sun. I even scared a deer that was in the ditch next to the road (actually, the deer probably scared me more). Once I got past the Lakeshore area and into the towns of Beverly Shores and Pines, things began to look a little more interesting.

[Pumps on 12]

Pumps on 12 is an example of the charm of the area. There was even a luthier across the street.

[Cooling Tower]

The cooling tower at the power plant was my landmark for most of the trip east.

[Michigan City Lighthouse]

It didn't take long to find Washington Park and ride out to the lighthouse. Here you can see my bike hanging out with the fisherman.

On the way back, I passed the Superior Court building (where my friend Steve works) and the Indiana State Prison. Then, I noticed how late I was, so I tried to speed back to the house. I kept up a 15 MPH pace for most of the trip with just one stop at a store for a fresh drink. It was around 8:00 when I passed the guard shack at the town entrance.

[Dune Acres Guard House]

No one asked me how far I had gone.

Miles Ridden: 30.9
Total This Year: 50 + TBD

Friday, June 24, 2005

Dune Acres 1 - Lost In Burns Harbor

This ride really started yesterday at Buck's Bike Shop in Valparaiso. I had forgotten to pack my bike shorts, so I asked the cashier at the Speedway on US 30 where a bike shop was. He tried to explain the route to me, but it had been too long since I lived there, and the street names were unfamiliar. Another customer offered to lead me to the store. It was only about a mile and a half away. Thanks to the guy in black with the green mini-van!

[Bike in Storage Room]

It was about 6:30 when I retrieved my bike from the storage room at the Nau's house in Dune Acres and hit the road. I didn't really have much of a plan, other than I was going to start out on the Calumet Trail to get to Indiana Dunes Start Park. As I remembered, the trail is not paved, but is instead packed stone with sandy sections. I would not recommend it for anyone with a road bike - mountain bikers only!

[Dune Park Station - South Shore Railroad]

It was only about a mile and a half to SR 49. On the right, I came upon the Dune Park Station of the South Shore Railroad, a commuter line linking South Bend, Michigan City, and other Indiana cities with Chicago.

[Trail to Indiana Dunes]

On the left was a trail through the woods leading to the park.

[Indiana Dunes State Park Pavilion]

Since it was early on a weekday, the parking lot at the beach pavilion was nearly empty. As I rode up to the beach, I remembered doing the same thing about six or seven years ago with my son following on a trailer bike hooked to mine. I haven't thought of that in years, and it just popped in my head.

Next, I traveled about half a mile back west to Waverly Road and Porter Beach. Then, it was south on Waverly to Porter and Chesterton. I tooled around the towns a little and found the head of the Duneland Prairie Trail. This is a paved pedestrian and bike trail that was very smooth. However, every street crossing presented a gate to go around (twice - once on each side of the street). I tried it for a couple of blocks, but found it to be too annoying. This kind of safety feature is great for children and families riding. I know the scare a parent can feel when he thinks his kid is going to blast into traffic at each crossing. But, on a solo ride, it wasn't for me.

By this time, I was getting hungry for breakfast, so I started heading back north. After riding a little bit north and west, I found Mineral Springs Road, which is the only road leading into Dune Acres. The feeling that my superior route finding skills gave me was short lived as the road ended one block later with no crossing over I-94. I headed west to find the next crossing, which turned out to be US 20. Now, the intersection of I-94 and US 20 is a scary place for a little bike, with big, fast trucks, dirty shoulders, and lots of entrance and exit ramps. I took a deep breath and quickly pedaled through the exchange. It wasn't too much farther where I found the other side of Mineral Springs Road and headed back to the house.

[Nau House - Dune Acres]

The other guests at the house, especially my sister's in-laws, were amazed at the distance I had traveled. (I didn't tell them that I hoped to do more tomorrow.)

Miles Ridden: 19.1
Total This Year: 19 + TBD

Monday, June 20, 2005

Another Monday

I wanted to get to work early this morning, but I ended up not leaving until after 7:15. The ride in was uneventful, although I did get a little warm. We're having a hot and humid week - by this weekend it will be 90s and sticky.

I had another meeting at Ross-Ade Stadium. This time, I got caught by the building deputy taking my bike down the hallway. He had me lock it up in the loading dock area next to some dirty linen carts.

After work, I took the North Work Route home. I was a little late getting out and didn't notice the time. My wife called me when I was about 10 minutes from home looking for me. It was already after 6:00, and I had to leave for my son's drum lesson at 6:10. She grabbed the son and my supper and drove the van out to pick me up. I was only about a half mile from home when we met up.

Miles Ridden: 13.8
Total This Year: TBD

Saturday, June 18, 2005

2...2...2 Rides In One

I decided to ride up to my wife's place of employment to see her at the end of her shift and then continue my ride north. The route was Newman, to SR26, to McCormick, to Lindberg, to Salisbury, to the place near Cumberland.

[Geese on Lindberg Road]

On Lindberg, I saw several families of Geese trying to cross the road. The cars were waiting patiently. There was also a great blue heron fishing in the pond, and an angry swan desperately wanting to be left alone.

[Angry Swan]

I ended up driving my wife back home, so I left for a second ride. This time, I took the Llama Route. I was hoping to get a shot of the llamas, but instead caught this young lady feasting on the young corn plants.

[Deer in Corn Field]

Towards the end of the ride, I came across a small herd of cattle. The one on the right was not thrilled about my visit.

[Cows on 350W]

The ride went quickly, and I felt good throughout.

Miles Ridden: TBD 19.9
Total This Year TBD 427

Friday, June 17, 2005

Number 2 of the Day

After a quick shower, I was back on the bike to head to work. I was scheduled to speak at a staff meeting, so I dressed up in nice pants, shirt, and tie. I took my sportcoat in yesterday, so I was ready for action! (A side note: I love having an office with a door. It's much easier changing clothes there than in the handicapped stall in the mens' room.)

I took the North Work Route home, and I wish I would have brought my camera. First, all of the cars parked in the bike lane on Grant street caught my eye. It wasn't until later that I realized that they were parking outside the area to be blocked off for the Soap Box Derby competition held on Saturday. I'll forgive them this time.

Towards the end of the ride, I passed a pack of wild miniature terriers. Actually, they live at the trailer on 400W that is near the hill heading down to 350W. It would have been a funny shot.

It was on this ride that I noticed that the mechanic must have messed with my seat. I don't mind them checking things out, but they should put them back when done. The horn of the seat was much higher than I was used to, and the boys were complaining.

Miles Ridden: 12.4
Total This Year: TBD 407

It's Back!!

I retrieved my bike from the shop yesterday. While I think they do a pretty good job there, I was a little miffed when I had to take the bike back for a tweak. Last year, they didn't fix the gear slippage problem I was having. It turned out that the grip shifter was broken, and they didn't catch it the first time. This time, I had asked that they check the front brake since one of the pads was rubbing on the wheel. When I got home, I tried it out, and it was the same. I returned about 10 minutes before closing time, and the mechanic grabbed a screwdriver and fixed it. Next time, I'll check everything before I leave!

Anyway, the neighbor and I traveled the Granville Bride Route this morning. The weather was great, and we saw a deer waiting patiently on the side of the road for us to pass.

Miles Ridden: 9.4
Total This Year: TBD 394

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dune Acres

My sister and her husband are renting a beach house in Dune Acres, IN next week, and we'll be spending a couple of nights up there. Dune Acres is a small gated community just west of the Indiana Dunes State Park. I spent some time today looking for biking opportunities.

First, I'd like to find something for my wife, and possibly the kids, to ride. We can tool around the neighborhood just to enjoy the morning air, but I'd also like to get them out a little bit. We could head next door to the park and visit the beach. Or we could try one of the hiking/biking trails there in Porter County.

We had a family reunion/camping trip at the park about six or seven years ago. My sister, her boyfriend, and I headed east on the trail that runs next to the South Shore tracks between Chesterton and Michigan City. A ten mile trail sounded like a nice ride. Unfortunately, it was a gravel cart path used to access the high tension power line towers, and was full of potholes. We quickly jumped over to US Highway 12 and rode the shoulder to Washington Park in Michigan City. I doubt if I could get my wife to ride on the highway, and she won't let the kids anywhere near it.

I found reference to a couple of other trails, possibly rail trails, that start in Chesterton and head down to South Haven. I'll give them a look and see what shape they are in.

I'll take some pictures and give a nice report.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


I took my bike in for its spring tune up (a couple of months late!), so I'm on the sidelines until Thursday after 3:00. I'm hoping they call early, but I doubt if that happens since the bike shop, and especially the service area, was quite busy today. I looked at a Trek 1000 while I was there. I've been thinking about a road bike for a couple of years, and that model scored well in a recent Bicycling Magazine buyers' guide.

Since I'm not riding, I won't be posting, so I'll give you something else to read.

Crazy Biker Chick
I found this blog in a Google search, and her latest entry is a nice rant against sidewalk riding
Terry's Cycling Diary
I'm thinking that he's in the UK. Unfortunately, he says that he has decided to stop posting. Still, the archives are a good read.

Frank Wilson's Bike to Work Journal

I stumbled upon this set of new articles from 2000. Apparently, Frank tried commuting to work during Bike To Work Week. I like his writing style, and he has a great opinion about mirrors.

Give it a read:

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Missed the Rain

The neighbor and I left early this morning to avoid the oncoming rain. We set out to ride to West Point, but the strong south wind convinced us to turn on 200S instead. We ended up taking the Lilly Route counter-clockwise. It is mostly an east-west route, so we only had to tackle the wind for a mile or two.

Cows in Pasture

The best part was heading north on US231. It is a little downhill, and combined with the wind, it was a nice coast.

Miles Ridden: 18 (WAG) 17.7
Total This Year: TBD 385

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pick Up the Car

My car has been in the shop, and it was due to be completed today. I rode into work with the neighbor, along the usual route.

Since I had a meeting at the Ross-Ade Pavilion in the morning, I took a quick ride up there. Last year, I was scolded for parking my bike the hallway near the meeting room. (There are no bike racks anywhere near the building, and I'm not leaving my ride in a Cary Quad rack.) Today, I took the bike into the conference room with me, and had no comments.

[Ross-Ade Stadium loading dock]

After work, I headed up to Gilliland Motors on Sagamore Parkway. It was a quick ride up Grant and Salisbury, with a quick run across the parking lots at Goodwill and Burger King to the crossing near the garage. (I had no urge to ride along the highway.)

The bike is still in the trunk.

Miles Ridden: 3.5 + 2 + ??? 8.0
Total This Year: TBD 367

I tried to take a picture today to spice up the entry, but the battery picked that moment to die. I may have to go out this weekend and take a bunch to fill out these recent posts.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Soon Will Be the Llamas

The neighbor went out on yet another great morning for a ride. We went by the llama farm owned by a friend of our wives. Let's call it the 'Llama Route'.

Until I make up a separate post - complete with pictures - here's the route:

Division Road west to 400W
North to Jackson Highway
Northwest to 600W
South (past the llama farm) to SR26
East to 550W
South to Division Road
East to South River Road
East to 350W
North to Division Road
East to Newman Road

Miles Ridden: TBD 13.2
Total This Year: TBD 359

(I know, I need to get a new cyclo-computer soon.)

UPDATE: The official route post is here.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Beat the Heat

The forecast was for hot, sticky weather today, and we were not disappointed. The neighbor and I went out early this morning to miss the uncomfortable humidity.

We started on the Granville Bridge Route and took the extra jog past the Gourd House. (I've got to get a picture of the gourds in the tree!)

Miles Ridden: 9.4
Total This Year: TBD 346

Friday, June 03, 2005

I Get Misty

It was a misty, foggy morning, but I got out to ride this morning before work. I thought that I had seen the neighbor's porch light on (the agreed upon sign for a morning ride), but I was mistaken.

I had a nice solo ride on the River Road/Campus Route.

Miles Ridden: 9.9
Total This Year: TBD 337

[McGraw's Boat]

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


[Sign: Thur bikes use right lane]It's getting more difficult to find time for a ride. My son now has summer school every weekday for the next 2 months. He has to be there before 8:00am and be picked up at noon. That kills both the 6am ride and the ride to work for me. Maybe on the days when my wife isn't working night shift...

Anyway, I solved the problem this time by taking my wife to work the night before. This morning, I tossed the bike in the back of the van, took my son to school, and drove to my wife's workplace. I left the van for her and took the bike downhill to campus. What a great, easy ride to work!. I'll try this again tonight.

Unfortunately, I couldn't record my distance today, since the cyclo-computer seems to have bit the dust. (It may just be a dead battery, but I want to get a new one with more features than my six year old model.) I'll have to measure the distance later and fill in the blanks.

I started near Salisbury and Cumberland in West Lafayette. The route to the office is Salisbury, Grant, Northwestern, North, Andrew, State, Grant to Wood Street. Coming home, I used the North Work Route.

Miles Ridden: TBD 11.0
Total This Year: 316 + TBD 327