Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Total For January

Total this month: 71.0 miles CORRECTION: 95.9 miles

Saturday, January 28, 2006

He's a Good Friend of Mine

Dirty Bike
Note the Hodson's Bay sticker

I was faced with a very dirty bike this morning when I left to pick up my car at the shop. I'm going to have to clean it before taking it in for a spring tuneup. There is a slight wobble in the back wheel, and I'm having trouble again with the chain slipping when I'm standing up on the hills. For the past few years, they've been telling me that it might be time for a new cassette, but they never replace it. This could be the year.

Bread on River Road
As seen on River Road

The car was over on Sagamore Parkway on the east side of Lafayette, so I naturally headed south over the Branigin Bridge. I didn't travel far on SR25 before turning SE onto Beck Lane. After I crossed Poland Hill Road, I saw the beginning of the Linear Park path. This is definitely a work in progress which current only stretches from Beck lane, across 9th street at Armstrong Park, to 18th street on the south side of the rail tracks near the Eagles lodge. The plan is to extend it NW to Powderhouse Lane, and possible farther SE. It was nice not having to bother with traffic for 9 blocks at a stretch.

Under the Twychenham Bridge
I think that Lafayette is having a tough time keeping up with the taggers

I arrived at the Saturn Service center about 15 minutes before closing. I don't like patronizing Bob Rohrman because of the horrible TV and radio commercials he bombards us with. Anyone in the TV and radio markets around Lafayette, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Chicago know about Santa Bob, the taxman, and his blooper reels. I will never buy a car from this man! The only reason I took the car there is because the other transmission shops in town didn't want to mess with it. I've never heard of that before.

Anyway, $1,085.23 later and I was on my way.

Miles Ridden: 10.7

Saturn Service

Friday, January 27, 2006

It's Easy to Ride to Work When You Have No Car

My car's in the shop again, and instead of hitching a ride with my wife, I decided to pedal it.

I didn't leave until after 8:00, after an unsuccessful turning upside down of the house to find biking shorts. Oh well, it's boxer day! It was 32° Fahrenheit (0° Centipede), sunny, and calm, and I warmed up pretty quicky. A roadie passed me going west.

My trip home included a trip to the Marsh store for supper food, so I left all of my work clothes in my file cabinet to save room in the pannier. I used roads called Grant, Salisbury, Lindberg, Klondike, Sharon Chapel, and Newman. For details on the route, see any number of previous posts for descriptions of the same blank-i-ty blank roads I travel every time I ride!

Anyway, Lindberg offered great photo ops for a pinkish blue sunset. If I only had remembered my camera. By the time I hit Sharon Chapel Road, it was dark.

I've mentioned before that I'm not comfortable riding in the dark on county roads. There are no street lamps, and even with my red blinky light in the back, I feel pretty vulnerable when a car passes. Because of poor planning on my part, I didn't have the headlight with me. The traffic was light, and I got home fine.

The other day, I saw a guy riding on campus with a white strobe light in front. It wasn't blinding, but it really got my attention. I may have to get one.

Since Indiana will be observing daylight saving time this year (first time in 30+ years), my 6:00am rides will start before sunrise a lot more than last year. I'm thinking of investing in an orange reflective vest and maybe some better lights to make myself more visible. By fall , I should be pretty comfortable in the dark.

Miles Ridden: 11.8

Oh! I almost forgot. The free bike is gone.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Last Minute Decision = Late Start = Short Ride

It was only after the Purdue/Indiana game today when I decided to ride. Since I didn't leave until almost 5:00, I only had about an hour before sunset. I decided to take 400W up to Fat Ass Road*, and back on Klondike and Sharon Chapel Road. There was a little traffic on Klondike Road and on SR26, but they were all polite (as was I). I was going pretty slow and stopped for pictures several times, so it took about 45 minutes.

Farm House at Sunset
I like the way the setting sun lit up the cornstubble

*Did I ever tell the story about Fat Ass Road? The neighbor and I were riding along 400W about a quarter of a mile from 250N before work. A pickup type truck with a flatbed in back had to wait for about 5 seconds before it could pass. The driver gunned it when the road was clear, turned onto 250N and stopped. He leaned towards the passenger window and screamed "Get off the road, fat ass!" Now, the neighbor is pretty thin, so I'm guessing he was referring to my 240lb frame. Apparently, he doesn't appreciate the sight of a gentleman of my size in spandex shorts.

Anyway, 250N has been "Fat Ass Road" ever since.

Long Shadows

Miles Ridden: 8.0
Technorati Tags: sunset, cycling, fatass

Monday, January 16, 2006

Cruisin' the Avenue

I was trying to come up with a title that somehow tied into the MLK Holiday, but none sounded right. (It's much easier to come up with something cute about Arbor Day or Labor Day.) Regardless, today was a nice day, and I was able to enjoy it.

On this ride I explored the newly defined Wabash Avenue Route. The sky was clear and sunny, the temperature was warm, and the wind was light.

On the Bridge, I noticed what looked kind of like broken safety glass particles, but it turned out to be road salt. The hill up to SR25 was surprisingly easy.

Here's a question for you. At the US231/SR25 intersection, I had to cross 2 lanes of thru traffic to get to the left turn lane. After I got there, drivers started passing me on the left shoulder to get to the light first. Is there a better way to make a left here? I didn't want to go all the way to the left shoulder because I would then have to cross the path of the left turning cars to get over to the right shoulder on SR25. Another option would be to continue straight on US231 until I reached the far side of SR25 and then make a 270˚ turn to enter the shoulder going east. It's a little confusing to both me and any auto traffic trying to guess my path. Any suggestions?? The turn onto Old Romney Road has similar problems.

At the top of Wabash Avenue, I rode up into the parking lot of the concrete factory to an overlook to the west. Here is a panoramic view of the wastewater plant in the foreground and the Purdue campus in the back.

View from Wabash Avenue
click to embiggen

When I reached Smith Street, I did a little backtracking to find the bottom of the pedestrian bridge wheelchair ramp. There was no doubt that there was broken glass in the alley.

Downtown, I saw the Trolley that I often take to lunch. It runs right past my office building.


The Myers Bridge offered some nice, sunny views.

Sundial on the Myers Bridge

As I was heading up the last hill on Newman Road, my son called to remind me that I was late to take him to a school function, so I tackled the last 10 minutes at a good clip.

Miles Ridden: 14

Technorati Tags: trolley, wabash, sundial

Wabash Avenue Route

I haven't added a new route in a while, but I was looking for something to ride to the south in about an hour. So, I present the Wabash Avenue Route.

Starting from the home base at Newman and Division Roads near West Lafayette, head south to River Road. Following it east towards the Levee, turn south again onto the Branigin Bridge.

Branigin Bridge
Five years later, we still call this the "new bridge"

You can see in the picture that the wide shoulder makes a great bike lane - enough for two riders to ride abreast.

At the top of the hill, take a left (east) onto SR25. This can be a tricky maneuver in traffic, so be careful! After a short distance, the wide shoulder disappears, so we have to share the right turn lane with the car types. The very next left (another tricky one) heads north on Old Romney Road to the Elston area. I tried to get a picture of the neat church on Elston Road, but the sun was behind it and it didn't work out. Maybe some other day. Old Romney Road, Beck Lane and Wabash Avenue all intersect at the top of the hill near the yard where concrete bridge members are cast.

Take another left to head down the hill on Wabash and cross under and over the various railroad tracks and pass the Lafayette Wastewater Treatment Plant. The smells bring back memories of my past career in a similar plant.

Down on "the Avenue", there is a little neighborhood area boasting a meat packing plant, a Catholic church, an old fire station (now a government office), and a Christian-themed coffee shop in a building that used to host a strip club. Here at Smith street, there was much outcry when the Rail Relocation project closed the street as all of the downtown rail lines were consolidated into one corridor. The locals were (understandably) worried that the school children would have a tough time getting over to Miller Elementary. So, the project built a monstrous pedestrian walkway over the tracks. The wheelchair ramp on the west side is a block and a half long!

Pedestrian Bridge

Continue north on Wabash to the downtown area. At Main Street, take a left onto the Myers Pedestrian Bridge over the Wabash. This is a nice, traffic-free way to get back to the West Side.

Sundial on the Myers Bridge
Sundial on the Myers Bridge

At the west end, turn left onto the Wabash River Heritage Trail. I've talked before about this paved trail through the woods that cuts behind the West Lafayette Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Hey! It's the second treatment plant of the route! Maybe I should call this the tour of sewage.)

[WL Plant Arial Photo]
See the bike path in the lower right corner?

Back at River Road , a quick jaunt north leads to Williams Street. Power up the hill to Grant Street. A couple blocks up, turn west onto Harrison Street and pedal through the south campus area past the Vet School and Physical Plant buildings.

North on Intramural Drive passes the Purdue Police station and two Discovery Park buildings under construction. At State Street turn left (west) to head home.

State Street becomes SR 26. At Newman Road, turn left to head west-southwest and back to Division Road.

Not a bad way to spend an hour.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I'll Be Right Back

Last Sunday, I was driving to work around 9:00, and I saw a guy (presumably a student) park his 20" bike in the middle of the sidewalk - far from the door - and run into Young Hall. I thought "What a strange place to leave a bike."

When I left a little after 11:00, it was still there. (It's tough to tell from the angle, but the door to which he ran is far to the right.)

Just for a Minute

It was gone by Monday morning.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Trash Day

Trash Day

Miracles Never Cease

Stormcrowe wasn't the only one to ride today. I grabbed the camera and hit the road about 4:00 with the Weather Channel reporting 55°.

With sunset just 90 minutes away, I opted for the Llama Route over any thing longer. This takes about an hour, so I would be back in plenty of time to make dinner.

The first part was pretty uneventful, with little traffic and the wind at my side or back. As I turned the corner on 600W, I saw a very strange site; two people walking a llama down the road.

Walking the Llama
I think she said his name is "Jack"

Janet and David are acquaintances of my wife and I, but I've never been to their farm to see the herd. They said that Jack was a little more energetic than most, so they liked to take him out from time to time. They were at least a mile north of the farm. It was neat how he heard me coming long before the humans noticed. Llamas have been described as "guard dogs".

Llama Farm
Two more in the pasture

Down the road at the farm, I found these two who were quite curious about me walking up to the fence, and they posed quite well. I'm glad I was finally able to document that the llamas exist.

Miles Ridden: 12.8

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ross Hills Park

Flag on Windy Day
Windy Day

Today was a nice sunny day for a ride. The temp was in the mid-40s, but as the flag at the Cooper place indicated, it was a little windy.

I decided to head west into the wind and rode up to Ross Hills Park. The last part of Indian Creek Hill really got me. I must be a little out of shape. :) Mike Prangley predicted a good day for golfing, so I had hoped to get a picture of golfers at the Ravines. There were none there.

David Ross "A" Frame

I rode back into the park to see the David Ross "A" Frame. Apparently, he used this house as his weekend getaway. The park was empty, and someday I'd like to watch a team play Frisbee golf on the course there.

Heading back with the tailwind was much easier.

View From the Axle
What my shoes see

Afterwards, I was telling my wife how I should have started this cool weather riding years ago! Just an extra layer or two, and I'm doing pretty well in the 40s. I haven't tried the 30s year, and I think I'll need a headband and better gloves.

Miles Ridden: 13.7

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Fun with Comments

Wow! I'm not sure what's worse: being called an ass or being compared to Bush spokesman.

(See Comments)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Today, I met the Amazing Shrinking Man at Panera Bread in West Lafayette, and we rode to Granville Bridge and back.

Dan and Tom on Granville Bridge
Dan and Tom on the Bridge

It was sunny when we started, but the clouds soon returned.

Division Road Bike Lane
Division Road Bike Lane

What a great way to start the year.

Miles Ridden: 24.9
Total This Year: 24.9

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