Wednesday, August 31, 2005

August Total

Total miles this month: 162.2

Lake Mendota

On this last day of my conference in Madison, WI, my goal was to take a long ride along the southwestern edge of Lake Mendota. It is too big to circle in my allotted time, but I could run up and down the bike path that apparently runs up that section.

Things don't always work out as planned.

First, I think there was too much merry-making the night before, and the escargot and gin that I ingested made it difficult to wake up in the morning. I finally hit the road at 6:30.

My map showed a bike friendly route over city streets that would lead to the desired trail. I found every other street in the area except for that one. In desperation, I stopped to ask the attendant of the parking lot that seemed to be where the street should be. (The parking lot didn't look new, so I'm questioning the recentness of my $8.95 map.) He had no idea, but pulled out a different map that didn't show that street at all. He suggested another route that my map didn't show. When I got there, I couldn't find that street either.

I gave up and found a bike trail to ride. I took it to its end, and then turned around a came back. The section of trail behind the UW dormitories along the lake was not paved, but packed dirt instead. Because of the dry weather Wisconsin has been having lately, the surface was easy to navigate. However, I'd hate to be there right after a rainstorm. Anyway, the trail ended near the Student Union, and I took city streets west past the Capitol to the point where Johnson and Gorham streets merge back together (or split apart - based on your point of view), and then I came back on Gorham/University to my hotel. Once again - the bike lanes are great!

Just an hour today, but I felt much better at the end than I had at the beginning.

Miles Ridden: 11.8

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Lake Wingra

Today I headed southeast towards Lake Wingra. The route included the Southwest Commuter Bike Path (an old rail trail), the UW Arboretum, the Wingra Creek Bike Path, the John Nolan Bike Path, the Brittingham Park Bike Path, and a quick run around the State Capitol building.

Once again, I was amazed at how well the routes were marked. There was even a bike route detour posted. Can you believe it?!

I'm not sure how long the Southwest Commuter Bike Path is, but I only traveled a short section - due to my limited time available. The surface is smooth, and the riding was easy. There is a nice bike bridge over the busy US12.

The UW Arboretum is a great park in the middle of the city, and it contains Lake Wingra. There is no through auto traffic allowed (except on Sundays), so the road was clear for bikers and joggers. And there were many of us. I also came up on a turkey hen and her brood of poults.

The Wingra Creek path is another great ride, with several small bridges, and a nicely maintained creek bank on the south side. John Nolan was just as good as it was yesterday. The Brittingham Park path was heading the opposite direction I had intended to ride, but it looked inviting.

This was a small problem when I left that trail and start back east to find the Capitol Building. All of the roads were getting busy a 7:45, so I took a somewhat serpentine path along secondary streets to make my way in. I took what should have been a neat auto-timer photo of me on the steps of the building, but the camera focused on me as I pressed the button, not on where I stood for the photo. The shot is out of focus and overexposed. Oh well!

Miles Ridden: 17.8
Total This Year: TBD + 433

Monday, August 29, 2005

Lake Monona

My first ride in Madison, WI this morning was a trip around Lake Monona (counter-clockwise). I started on the John Nolan Bike Path, through Olin-Turville Park, along Waunona Way, down a very busy street, across Olbrich Park, past the convention center, and back to my hotel.

Even with the occasional lack of markings, I did pretty well finding my way. I only got lost twice, and the trail seemed to find me. There was one place where the trail map showed the choice of a 6 or 7 block detour or an optional sidewalk. I tried for the sidewalk, but ended up on a busy 4 lane road at the beginning of rush hour. I was about to give up and turn around when the detour came back to my route.

Madison seems to have a great bike trail and bike route system. There are quite a few signs, plus I bought a map at a local bike shop. I'm planning tomorrow morning's route right now.

There were many riders out on the trails today, and I also saw quite a few adults riding to work. (By adults, I mean 30's through 60's) The guys were dressed as I do when I ride to work - Dockers with an ankle band, dress shirt, and dress shoes. I wish that West Lafayette had that kind of commuter crowd.

Miles Ridden: 13.9
Total This Year: TBD + 415

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Madison, WI

I'm driving up to Madison, WI for a conference today. The University car has a big trunk, so I am able to take my bike along. I noticed all of the great riding opportunities here last year, so I excited about trying them out.

I tried to find some bike routes on the web, but I didn't find too much, except for a 48x60 PDF map. I wasn't able to find a way to print it.

I'll take some pictures to post, along with descriptions of the rides.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Need to Ride to Work More

This story on CNN explains why Oregon hasn't increased its percentage of obese residents like most of the country has:
What makes Oregon different is its emphasis on urban design, which encourages outdoor activities like biking to work, the study's authors said.

Ten percent of Portland residents pedal to the office on a system of bike paths that crisscross the city like arteries

I need to ride to work more!

Campus Tour - Plus Ladies Night

I wanted to ride to work today, but I had a meeting at the Ross Building at 8:30. For those of you not familiar with the Purdue campus, the Ross Building is across town from the rest of the campus, and the route climbs a major hill (at least for a rider like me). I can climb it without too much difficulty, but I was worried about arriving in a big sweat.

Instead, I took a quick power ride around campus, including a ride up and down the Wood St. Garage and around the Stadium. I stood up for most of the hills and tried riding fast on the level parts.

After I got home, I talked my wife and daughter into going out for a quick ride. As we were leaving, my daughter says "My bike is leaking!" Turns out her front shocks dumped all their oil on the driveway. She rode anyway, but the shocks were bottomed out and the brakes were rubbing, squeaky, and ineffective. (Serves me right for buying Chinese made crap!) Unfortunately, my wife was afraid of the (light) traffic, so we only covered a mile and a half.

Miles Ridden: 11.0
Total This Year: 401 + TBD

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Llama Route

Lasting just over an hour (at least at my pace), this route rolls past a farm that allegedly houses several llamas. Since I've never seen them out when I go by, I'm going to have to take the word of family and friends who have.

Start on Division Road and head west to 400W. After climbing the 'wake up' hill, continue north to Jackson Highway. Take the Highway northwest to 600W. A sharp left will lead south (past the llama farm) to SR26.

This is where the llamas should be

A quick jog east on SR26 leads to 550W. Turn south and coast down the hill to Division Road.

Bunnies and duckies?

Pedal east to the South River Road intersection and continue east to 350W. Take this road north to Division Road and turn east to return to Newman Road.

This little cottage looks to be vacant

See more photos from the Llama Route here and here.

UPDATE: And here to see actual llama photos!

Llama Farm

Monday, August 22, 2005

Breaking Out of the Rut

As I mentioned on Friday, I need to find some new morning rides. Today, the neighbor and I combined some familiar roads in a new way to shake things up a bit.

We started west on Division to north on 400W. We turned left onto Jackson Highway and headed northwest. At 475W, we hung a right and traveled up to US52.

US52 has a wide paved shoulder, so we were able to ride side-by-side back to 400W. Heading south, we rode to Lindberg Road/200N and turned east.

At Klondike Road, we turned south. This road was a little busy at 6:40, so we jumped off at Drury Lane. This is a little subdivision road that loops around to SR26. The scariest part of the ride was SR26 east to Sharon Chapel Road (250W). Sharon Chapel heads south to Newman Road, where we rode southwest to Division Road and home.

I'm not sure if this will become an official route, but it was a good change of pace.

After a quick shower, I rode to work along the usual route. Unfortunately, the head cold I've been fighting since Friday made me wonder if I would be able breathe on the way home. My wife picked me up on her way home from the store.

Miles Ridden: 11.1 (part 1) + 3.5 (part 2) = 14.6
Total This Year: TBD + 390

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Hot Bed

The reason I've had all of these TBD mileage totals is because I never recorded the distance of the Llama Route back on June 7. Today I followed the same route to determine the miles. As usual, there were no llamas to be seen.

The weather was nice, and although I've been fighting a slight cold, I felt pretty good throughout.

The construction zone on Division road was bumpy. The crews seem to be grinding down the places where the new pavement meets the bridges so that they can apply the top coat of asphalt. On one bump, I lost my blinky light.

Halfway down 350W, I came upon a futon mattress on fire. What an odd way to dispose of it.

Miles Ridden: 13.2
Total This Year: TBD + 375

Friday, August 19, 2005

Where the Big Boys Play

The Granville Bridge Route and the River Road/Campus Route are two good before work routes since I can ride each in less than an hour. Unfortunately, I seem to be falling into a bit of a rut. (I could probably design a new route using 400W or Klondike Road with a similar distance. I'll work on that.)

This morning, I took the Campus route again, and I brought the camera along to get a shot of the trombones I saw yesterday. No such luck.

However, as I circled around Ross-Ade stadium, I noticed that one of the gates had been left open. So, I rode into the stadium up to the seating area. I snapped several shots of the empty seats.

Ross-Ade Stadium


Later in the morning, I was in a meeting being held in the Shivley Club (the first visible level of the pavilion). The team was having practice on the field. At lunch, we watched the groundskeepers fill the divots, roll the bumps, and mow the grass.

Miles Ridden: 10.1
Total This Year: TBD + 362

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Them 'Bones

The River Road/Campus Route called me this morning. Campus is still pretty quiet this last week before classes. There are a bunch of Freshman running around attending orientation events, but not this early.

At the Class of '39 Fountain, there was a gathering of trombone players (no picture). I'm assuming it was a section rehearsal for the All American Marching Band. The first home game is in a couple of weeks.

Miles Ridden: 10.0
Total This Year: TBD + 352

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The neighbor was back from vacation yesterday, so we took a quick ride this morning on the Granville Bridge Route.

Miles Ridden: 9.1
Total This Year: TBD + 342

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Rain Delay

After wimping out on both Friday and Saturday, I finally got out on the bike today. I tried starting around 8:00, but the rain had started up again. I gave up and drove to work for a couple of hours. At 11:30, I started out again. It was sprinkling a bit, but I decided to not worry about the rain.

I took the River Road/Campus Route, just so I could see all of the new Freshman moving onto campus. There were lots of SUVs, U-Haul trailers, loft salesman, and mini-refrigerators. There were also many policemen around - at least one per dorm.

Miles Ridden: 10.0
Total This Year: TBD + 333

Thursday, August 11, 2005

No Rides This Week

I haven't been able to ride since the marathon tour on Sunday. I can point to a couple of excuses. My son has been in Marching Band practice this week, and I have to pick him up before the end of my work day. Therefore, I've been going in at 7:00 to make up for my early exit. Also, since I am coming home for lunch to visit my daughter, I can't really ride to work. Plus, it has been too hot!

However, the real reason is that I have not been motivated. I think that I would have been able to figure out a time for at least one ride during this time.

I've lost about 5 pounds this summer (and it sure isn't from eating right), and I'd like to keep that going as long as possible. I'll try to get out in the morning (unless it is raining). :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Other Side of the Coin

I was driving to work this morning, and I came upon a rider starting up "the hill". I waited behind him as he struggled. He was in a tough gear, and he was trying to get out of my way by riding on the white line or in the dirt next to the pavement. I didn't pass him, and he soon gave up on staying out of the lane.

Then, a small red car came speeding around both me and the cyclist. (Do I need to point out again that a driver shouldn't pass on a hill - with a curve - and a double yellow line?) Unfortunately, a white car appeared coming down the hill. The oncoming car immediately slowed and pulled over, and the red car was able to squeeze through (although very close to the white car).

After that, I didn't feel too guilty about yelling at the deputy. I just wish he had been there to see it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Tour of Parking Garages

I know what you're thinking. What else would you do if you needed a little inspiration to get out a ride? Visiting every public parking garage in Tippecanoe County has got to be at the top of everyone's list. Now that you're all with me - let's go!

Tippecanoe County GarageOur tour begins at the Tippecanoe County Garage next to the County Office Building. This garage has two way driving and a nice slope - making it a good ride. The only problem is that the entrance and exit are on busy streets. They exit onto South street right at the bottom of the SR26 bridge over the Wabash, and I often have a long wait for traffic when I leave the garage after parking there for lunch. I would hate to be in line there at the end of the work day. It's too bad the architects didn't use 2nd street for the exit.

City GarageNext is the City Garage on 6th street. Unlike the previous garage, this one is laid out so that the exit is on the relatively quiet 6th street. Goovy Ham - 2003It's only a 3 floor garage, so it's not much of a workout destination. This structure is connected to the office building where my wife's pig art was hosted during Hog Wild in 2003.

Up the hill on Ferry street, I found the Home Hospital garage. This one is special to me because it was a common destination for me when I lived in southern Lafayette. From my house to the garage and back, including twice up and down, was 10 miles. I used to often ride there at night - with my bike lights on and taking advantage of the street lights along most of the route. I'm much less comfortable riding at night here in the country. It is just too dark!

Ste. E GarageLafayette's other hospital, Ste. Elizabeth, has a garage that I haven't visited before today. While not as big as the Purdue University garages, it is the biggest so far today. I don't ride into this part of town very often (except while speeding down Salem street), so it was nice to see the neighborhood where my daughter was born.

Back downtown, I jumped across the river on the Myers pedestrian Bridge to visit the Wabash Landing garage. This garage normally has an attendant, so I was worried about getting out without being scolded for ignoring the "no bikes" signs. However, while I was up there, I noticed several bikes chained to the posts inside. They probably belong to tenants.

Wabash Landing Garage

I should mention that the garage is surrounded on two sides by apartments, one side faces a hotel, and the fourth opens onto the Wabash Landing shopping center. It is a neat place with a Borders, Scotty's Brew Pub, and several other businesses. My family visits quite a bit. The top two floors are for hotel guests only, but I had no problem getting around the gates. Down at the exit, there was no one on duty in the cashier hut.

I had to head up the hill on Quincy street to get to campus, and I stumbled upon the West Lafayette Public Library garage on Chauncey Ave. This is the newest garage in town, and I had forgotten that it was there.

West Lafayette Public Library Garage

Those first six garages are exactly half of the total to visit today. The 2nd half dozen are on the Purdue University campus. I made a quick loop starting with...

...The Marstellar garage. This is a nice double spiral design (one path up, and another path down), and it was closed much of last summer for major repairs. There are nice views of the south campus and memorial mall areas from the top.

Marstellar Garage

The Wood Street garage is the same double spiral design, but covers more area. This is a favorite destination of mine, since it is near my office. I have been known to hit the garage once before riding home from work. My family watched the downtown fireworks from the top a couple of years ago.

Grant Street GarageThe Grant Street garage is a unique design utilizing square levels with up and down ramps in the middle. It's not a very challenging ride up, since one has to ride around each level before getting to the next ramp. The hills aren't long enough to get the heart rate going. This is the only garage offering paid visitor parking on campus.

Winning the award for the most interesting layout, the Northwestern Garage is actually two in one. One side is the same double spiral seen in other campus garages, but tacked onto that is another level that is oddly shaped to apparently fit the space available. There is only one set of ramps, but it is connected at each level to the original structure. It's kind of confusing to drive through, since one has to use a different set of down ramps depending on which street exit is desired. The visitor information center and parking office are hosted on the ground floor.

The University Street garage is also two garages built side by side, and they are only connected at the top level. I use this quite a bit during the winter when attending meetings in Hovde Hall or Elliot Hall of Music.

Finally, the McCutcheon Garage is located near Purdue West, and is dedicated soley to student residence hall parking. It is also only three levels, but I've heard rumors that two or three additional levels may be added.

McCutcheon Garage

These garages aren't that far apart, but starting at my house, riding up and down each garage, doubling back for photos, and heading back home, I traveled 26.0 miles during this tour. (I got a few odd looks from pedestrians when stopping to take a photo of a garage!)

'No Bicycles Allowed' sign - Tippecanoe County Parking Garage

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

$899.61 Later...

It was a short ride, but an expensive one.

I threw the bike in the back of the van and drove to the mechanic to get the air conditioner fixed. I rode downhill to work.

A quick ride back after work (and one big check to write), and I was on my way home.

The path to work followed some parking lots, Navajo Drive, Salisbury Street, and Grant Street to my office. The return route was the same in reverse.

Miles Ridden: 5.6
Total This Year 296 + TBD

Monday, August 01, 2005

Foggy Bottom Land

It was a quick ride to Granville Bridge this morning, and the fog was thick enough to require the blinky light.

Wabash River in Fog
It's tough to get a good picture of fog!

Miles Ridden: 9.1
Total This Year: 291 + TBD