Sunday, July 31, 2005

July Total

Total this month: 211.3 miles.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Non-confrontational Meandering

After yesterday, I thought I'd take it easy and stick to quiet roads and bike lanes. I didn't really have a plan in place, so I just started riding. I ended traveling a couple of roads I hadn't seen in a while, and some stretches that I've never seen before.

I started west on Division and north on 350W/325W. This passes the Par View golf course leading to SR26. A short easterly jaunt on the highway and I turned left (north) onto Klondike Road. This is a narrow county road that can be pretty busy, but this morning, it wasn't bad. Up near the schools, I saw a couple of deer crossing the road. Klondike becomes 300W and then Taft Rd.

At 500N, I turned east. This took me by the tall trees I saw a couple of weeks ago. I continued east onto a portion of the road I've never traveled before. After a little bit, the road shot down a hill and came out on SR43 at the American Legion Post 492. I only rode south on SR43 at short time before coming to the end of Soldiers' Home Road. On the tall trees ride, I had gone down and then back up the switchbacks in front of the Veterans' Home. This time, the road went straight up the ridge, and it was a little tougher.

Heading back into town, I stopped at my friend Eric's house and talked for about 20 minutes. He has been fixing up bikes he 'rescues' from campus bike racks after they are abandoned by students. He had a couple of Specialized models and a nice Trek in the garage.

Cumberland Ave took me west to Wally World and the Cattail Trail. I followed the trail to McCormick road, SR26, Newman Road, and home.

Miles Ridden: 20.9
Total This Year: TBD + 282

Friday, July 29, 2005

Is It Just Me?

I've whined before about how I hate it when someone passes me unsafely. My routes to work take me up the hill on Newman Road where I have had trouble many times. More than once, oncoming traffic has had to pull over and stop to get out of the errant passer. I used to get mad about it, but now I just let it go - until today.

I heard the car coming up behind me and then as it began to come around. Imagine my surprise when I saw a Tippecanoe County sheriff car on my left! After he passed, I made the exasperated hands in the air signal, and he stopped. I rode up beside his window.

Before he could say a word, I started in:

DanOnBike: I can't even count how many times I've wished there was a cop around to ticket people who pass me on this hill on a curve with double yellow lines - and now you're doing it, too!

Young, wet-behind-the-ears deputy: How do expect people to get around a slow moving bike?

Dan: I expect them to wait until it is safe to pass!

Deputy: OK

Dan: The law is pretty clear about it, and you should know that!

Deputy: OK

Dan: Be a little more careful out there!

And I rode off.

(Imagine as you read that I was pretty much out of breath and pumped with adrenaline, so I sounded pretty upset. He had that "this guy is about to explode and I need to calm him down" look on his face.)

As I was riding on to work, my heart was beating amazingly fast, and I couldn't tell if I should be laughing or scared or what. By the time I got to the office, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and had to tell someone.

However, as I said it out loud, it sounded kind of strange and definitely out of character for me. As I think about it this evening, I kind of feel bad for yelling at him. Most drivers don't wish us cyclists any harm; they have been driving this way for ever. Instead of possibly convincing him that he shouldn't do that, he probably thinks all bikers are nuts. Oh, well! Sorry, young deputy. (Did I mention that he passed me again closer to the top of the hill?)

Anyway, I took the North Route home and saw a couple of neat things on Lindberg Road. First, someone must be counting the number of dead frogs on that stretch (there are a lot of them). Each squished amphibian had a orange stripe of spay paint marking his final resting place. Also, remember the couch pillow from April? I seems to have met a nasty end thanks to the county lawn mower. There was stuffing everywhere. Oh, the carnage!

Miles Ridden: 12.9
Total This Year: 261 + TBD

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Cool Morning

We've been suffering through a heat wave for the last week and a half, so I haven't ridden much (except for the N.I.T.E. ride). Today, I traveled the River Road/Campus Route. It was actually a little chilly in my T-shirt and bike shorts as I went down the first little hill.

On River Road from Newman down to the Purdue horse farm, there was much damage from Tuesday night's wind storm. Several large trees and lots of branches had blocked the road and trapped customers at McGraw's for over an hour. It's going to take a few days to get it all cleaned up.

Bike Lane in Academy Park
Bike Lane in Academy Park

Miles Ridden: 10.0
Total This Year: 248 + TBD

Sunday, July 24, 2005

N.I.T.E. Ride 2005

My wife and I attended the Navigate Indy This Evening, or N.I.T.E. Ride, on Saturday night. The ride leaves from the Major Taylor Velodrome at 11:00pm and meanders through the IUPUI campus to Monument Circle. After a SAG stop at the American Legion Mall, the route heads north on Meridian and Washington streets, cuts through Butler University and the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art before returning to the starting point.

[Click Here for the route map]

However, this isn't about the route or the town, it's about my wife's first bike ride over 10 miles. I bought her the bike back in April so that she could ride on the N.I.T.E. ride with me. I've been there 3 or 4 times before, and she said it sounded fun. Somehow, I talked her into it.

It takes a long time for the ride to start, so it was 11:30 before we left the park. She was riding around 8MPH, so we were passed by most of the riders behind us. It was when the volunteers (green shirts) started passing that we started feeling like the last riders on the route. We eventually got to the SAG, and found it very crowded. We took a short break and took off before the rest of the crowd did so that we wouldn't be last. My wife decided to ride a little faster, and we started passing others. It was fun!

Once we hit 46th street, we noticed that the police officers directing traffic were disappearing, as were the green shirts that should have been posted at the turns. It was then that I noticed the marks on the street indicating the route. We encountered few of our fellow riders for the last six or so miles.

[Kelly crossing the finish line]

Back at the Velodrome, we got in line for our supper. Cold, soggy pasta from Fazoli's does not hit the spot after a two hour ride! We drank a soda and bought some ice cream for the ride home. We arrived back in West Lafayette around 3:30 and hit the hay.

My wife is very proud of herself for finishing the ride, although she says she probably won't do it again.

Miles Ridden: 20.1
Total This Year: 238 + TBD

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Life Without A Car

Tom talks about wanting to go car free today.

While he laments not being able to let go of his four-wheeler, I'm still impressed. He owns a car, but routinely chooses to not use it in situations where the rest of us wouldn't dream of it. He rides to work in the winter! In Buffalo!

I'd love to ride to work (as well as for errands), but I always find an excuse. Weather is the biggest one (too hot, too cold, too wet), followed by time, clothing (I need to dress up for work sometimes), and company (my wife and kids won't/can't ride along).

I'll keep trying, and I hope that Tom keeps inspiring me.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Aborted Ride

This was a good day for a ride to work. I was scheduled for training all day, so I didn't have to dress up, and the weather was looking great.

I started in a little early, and the trip went fast. I took Harrison Street in place of State because of the construction in front of Matthews Hall. When I arrived, I noticed that I had forgotten my bike lock, so I parked the Trek in my office. (I have a feeling that if I were to ask permission to bring the bike in, I would be told "NO". Sometimes, it is better not to ask.)

However, my wife and kids decided this was the day to hit the county fair. They talked me into being picked up at work so they wouldn't have to wait 45 minutes for me to get home. It worked out pretty well since we beat the crowds, but my bike is still at work!

I'll pick it up tomorrow afternoon, so I'll have it for the NITE ride. More on Sunday.

Miles Ridden: 3.8 (not enough to count as a ride!)
Total This Year: I've really lost track of this. Hopefully, I can get the numbers figured out soon.

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm Late - Very Late

The neighbor and I headed out in the steamy, hot morning air for a quick ride. I had to take my son to school and be at work early, so I needed to be home by 7:00.

We headed northwest on what ended up being a modified Llama Route (with 500W in place of 550/575W). The problem was that even though he said we would be back maybe five minutes late, we didn't return until 7:15. I ended up not getting breakfast at home, leaving late, stopping at Mac's on the way in, dropping a piece of Egg-a-Muff on my pants (which immediately left a small grease stain), and walking in 10 minutes after 8:00. Things were already hitting the fan.

Welcome to Monday!

Miles Ridden: 12.3
Total This Year: TBD + 214

Here's a GMaps Pedometer Map for the route.

UPDATE: Oh! I forgot to mention that there were workmen on Division Road preparing to add the bikelanes to the newly paved stretch. We thought that maybe they had decided against installing them. This will make this road much safer for us cyclists.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Mid-Day Mountain Stage

It was 11:15 before I started out today. I had to see the end of the Tour stage before I left.

I thought about taking the Lilly Road Route clockwise, but at the last minute I decided to head into West Lafayette. I ended up on River Road pointed north. My legs were feeling great, and the speed was good. One car honked at me for being in his way, and I didn't let it bother me. I just waved back (with all of my fingers - not just one).

I turned northwest onto Happy Hollow Road. It's a bit of a climb, but I've done it before. However, about half way up I started feeling quite bad. Hot, dizzy, a bit queasy - I pulled over for a rest. After a couple minutes straddling my bike trying to get my breathing under control, I walked over to a shady spot under a bush and sat for a while. It was 10 minutes before I felt normal again. I need to quit riding right after watching a bike race run up a few mountains. Lance Armstrong I'm not!

Anyway, after I recovered I completed the hill with dark clouds rapidly moving overhead. The route continued north on Soldier's Home Road and east on Kalberer Road. A few raindrops came down, but no big storm.

I turned south onto Salisbury and traveled down to Grant, and on south to Stadium. A right took me west by the dorms and Slayter Center. South on McCormick, west on SR26, and southwest on Newman brought me back to Division Road and home.

This would have been a good ride to have taken my camera. I saw:
  • A golden lab on a walk wearing booties. I'm guessing to protect his feet from the heat.
  • A partially hidden police car setting a speed trap.
  • A four wheeled "pedal buggy". I don't know the proper name for this contraption. It had two passengers, and they were pedaling down the street pulling a trailer carrying 4 plastic recycle bins.

Maybe next time.

Miles Ridden: 15.8
Total This Year: 202 + TBD

Friday, July 15, 2005

Early Work Day

I've been going into work early every day this week, and my plans for today are the same. Therefore, I once again took the reverse South Work Route. Nothing notable happened - no traffic scares, no wildlife, no joggers (weird), and no rain. It was, however, a nice mind clearing time.

Miles Ridden: 8.4
Total This Year: TBD + 186

Monday, July 11, 2005

Before the Storm

Since the remnants of Hurricane Dennis are due to dump a bunch of rain here this week, the neighbor and I took advantage of the nice morning to get a few miles in. We took the Granville Bridge Route with an extra mile south on 700W.

Miles Ridden: 11.5
Total This Year: TBD + 178

Sunday, July 10, 2005

East and West ... with Bicyclemark

After watching the Tour this morning, set out to ride the bike to work (I had an hour or two of things to catch up on).

My route basically was another run of the South Work Route in reverse with an added trip up to Five Points via South St.

[Five Points Fire Station with Hog Wild Pig]
The Five Points Fire Station features a pig from the Hog Wild event in 2003

I also sped up the State Street Hill rather than Williams Street.

[Triple XXX Drive In]
It's on the hill, but on the level

I tried something new on the ride today. A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law gave me an MP3 player for bike rides. I have never used it during a ride since I like to hear the traffic to help keep track of cars. I even once chided Nancy about it once in a comment. Today, I listened to a podcast from Bicyclemark (I don't agree with most of his views, but he's fun to listen to and makes me think about things). Since it was a recording of BM talking and not music, I was able to hear the traffic noise just fine. In fact, there were times when a passing truck would drown out the dialog. I may try it again some time.

Miles Travelled: 12.0
Total This Year: TBD + 166

(Gmaps Pedometer Map of the route)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Gmaps Pedometer

I stumbled upon this neat tool called the Gmaps Pedometer that allows the user to enter a route and see it on the map along with a calculated distance. Pretty cool!

Click Here for a map of the South Work Route.

[Gmaps Pedometer Route]

Couples Only Ride

My wife joined me for a short ride this morning. Although, it wasn't that short for her, since it was her longest ride ever.

We took the Granville Bridge Route.

At one point she said that "this must be excruciatingly slow for you." I replied that it was relaxing, but actually I had a hard time holding back. I let her set the pace for the entire trip, and I think our average speed was about 7 MPH.

Regardless, we had great weather, lovely scenery, and good conversations. I'd do it again in a minute.

[Clouds in July]

Miles Ridden: 9.0
Total This Year: TBD + 154

Friday, July 08, 2005

You Want Me to Kill the Golfers?

The neighbor and I had a nice morning ride west on Division to the Ravines Golf Course.

Miles Ridden: 12.2
Total This Year: TBD + 145

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Foggy Start

I got a late start this morning, so I took a quick ride through campus, which turned out to be the South Work Route in reverse.

I used my blinky light to help drivers see me in the fog. At the stop sign where River Road meets US231, a truck driver sped up to pass me and swerved to the right to be in his lane at the stop. I yelled at him, and he did a good job of not turning his head.

Miles Ridden: 8.4
Total This Year: 133 + TBD

Monday, July 04, 2005

Another Sunday Monday

The neighbor and I repeated this route without the trip by the gourd house. Once again, the weather was perfect.

Miles Ridden: 20.5
Total This Year: 125 + TBD

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Great Sunday!

The weather couldn't have been better, and my mood was up before I started. This was going to be a great ride!

I started by driving the van up to my wife's place of employment at Salisbury and Cumberland where she had just finished the night shift. After talking with her for a few minutes, I headed west on Cumberland to the Cattail Trail near Wal-Mart. I took the trail north and west to Morehouse Road next to the Wild Bird Shop. From there I headed north on Morehouse. I passed a lady picking raspberries on the side of the road and said hi. She said "What are you doing up here?" Turns out she was a co-worker. We chatted for a few minutes.

[White House on Morehouse]
This house has been a fixer-upper at least since the 80s.

At 600N I turned east. This area is full of high-end subdivisions. Big houses on big lots - way out of my league. I passed Harrison High school and continued on to 75E. This was a nice quiet road with old farmhouses and a shady tree canopy. At 500N, I came upon a large mowed area with many tall trees - pretty regal looking.

[Old Brick Building on 500N]
I don't know if this was a school, a grange, or something else.

75E hits Soldiers Home Road which I took south to the Indiana Veterans Home. I rode through the compound looking at the buildings. I had forgotten that the old Commandant's Home had been turned into a Bed and Breakfast a few years ago. I didn't see any guest cars there.

At the front of the site facing SR43 and the Wabash River, an access road snakes its way down the bluff. This driveway with two switchbacks is the closest thing Tippecanoe County has to an Alp. I coasted down and rode back up.

[Indiana Veterans Home Driveay]

I returned to Soldiers Home Road and took to south to Cumberland Ave, and then went west to Salisbury (my starting point). From there, I sped down Salisbury to Lindberg Road, and west to Northwestern Ave. I enjoy sailing down the hill on Northwestern past the big houses and the go cart track. Usually, there is too much traffic, but not early on Sunday in a holiday weekend. I pedaled all the way to State Street, and turned west through campus. With a right on Newman Road, I was soon back to Division Road and home.

Miles Ridden: 22.0 (I circled once through the cul-de-sac until it flipped over)
Total This Year: 104 + TBD

Friday, July 01, 2005

Severed Animal Parts

This morning, the neighbor and I went out for a quick morning ride, and his 12 year old daughter joined us. She did a very good job of keeping up, and we didn't have to slow down much until the last couple of miles.

We took the Granville Bridge Route with a couple of changes. Instead of crossing the bridge on 700W, we headed up to Martell Forest. On the way back, we took the Gourd House Jog.

What made this ride interesting was all of the dead animals on the roads. (Thankfully, there are no photos.) Right outside the neighborhood, there was a fresh skunk kill. We kept a wide berth in case it was not entirely dead. There were many raccoons, an opossum, and a squirrel. Somewhere on Division Road, we saw a disembodied raccoon head. Not sure if it was some sort of forest mob hit.

Miles Ridden: 11.5
Total This Year: 81 + TBD