Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 2006 Totals and Year in Review

Like everyone else, I feel compelled to summarize my year in the saddle. First, the totals:

December 2006: 62.4 miles
December 2005: 21.4 miles

Nice improvement there.

2006 Total: 1,537.7 Miles
2005 Total: 1,296.6 Miles

Not only did I beat last year's number, I passed my secret personal goal of 1,400.

A big part of that increase (other than the great weather in January) was due to the purchase of my new bike, the Trek Pilot 1.0. I divided the miles by bike as follows:

Trek 820: 1,186.3 Miles
Trek Pilot: 351.4 Miles

However, after the Pilot rolled into the garage in August, the 820 was limited to 261.9 miles - mostly commuting. The Pilot may be the favored ride.

The Spinner Saturday miles will be posted soon by Stormcrowe on both of this sites (here and here), and the group may pass 40,000. Even though I've only met 2 of the other members, it's fun being part of the group.

Have a safe and happy New Year's celebration, and I hope to see you out on the roads and in the saddle in 2007!

Dan and Tom on Granville Bridge
New Year's Day - 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

See Yesterday For Details

Another great day, so I rode to work and back - same as yesterday.

There was one muppet (as Steve would say) today that was waiting on a side street to turn left, and pulled out in front of me. I yelled "Hey" as I squeezed the brakes.

Miles Ridden: 7.0

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Day So Nice, I Rode It Twice

Thirty-seven degrees, sunshine, little wind - a good day to ride to work. The ride in was remarkably uneventful, mostly because this is dead week on campus. There are no students and few employees, so the traffic at 7:50, which normally would be a nightmare, was very light.

I didn't take any pictures, but I did try my hand at a video (UPDATE: See the video here).

Came home around 2:00 using the direct route with beautiful weather and even less traffic.

Miles Ridden: 7.0

Later in the afternoon, I needed to pick up my car which was stranded across town at my wife's workplace.

(I thought about leaving the keys and hoping someone would steal it. I'm so tired of that beast! Would that work? Jerry Seinfeld did that in the B O episode. In my fantasy, I don't replace it and either ride the bike or carpool with my wife everywhere. In reality, I would be about six days into the experiment when one of the kids needed a ride to or from school or a friend's place, or maybe it would rain buckets of water during my commute time, or I had to come home for lunch, or something. I wish my house and the schools were all on bus routes.)

Anyway, it was an easy trek on River Road, US 231 S, SR 25, and Old Romney Road to Twycknenham Drive. Heading east, over the bridge, this road becomes Brady Lane and later Creasy Lane. I found the car (it was sill there - darn it!), squeezed the bike into the back, and drove back home.

Man, I live an exciting life!!

Miles Ridden: 10.5

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Eve Photo Tour

I had a tough time getting out today, as a nap was much more inviting. I slept for a while and didn't get out until 4:00.

On River Road

I basically followed the Wabash Avenue Route. I recently had noticed an entrance to a bike trail on the downhill section of the Avenue between the Norfolk & Southern and CSX tracks, and I tried it out today. It was a little hilly and overgrown with some trash along the route. I only went about a quarter of a mile before it joined a gravel road heading south east - presumably towards the trail I rode last January between 9th and 18th. However, I didn't want to give the gravel a try with my skinny tires, so I'll have to come back on the other bike.

Wabash River is High
The River is High

These pictures don't really capture the subtle light and color presented to me as I crossed the Wabash River. The water is up right now, and the currents and eddies downstream from the bridge were most interesting and mesmerizing.

Leslie Bridge

On the west bank, there was a good crowd at the ice rink.

Ice Rink

Miles Ridden: 12.4

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cyclist Fatality in Lafayette

A cyclist died this week in Lafayette after an early morning accident. There is no word yet on whether the driver was charged with any crime, but the evidence (as listed in the newspaper) is sketchy. The cyclist is blamed for possibly not using lights and for not wearing his helmet, while the driver was said to have frosted windows - I guess he didn't scrape them very well. Poor visibility, presumably fog, was also cited as a factor.

I'm not the kind of guy who will attempt to decide the case based on poorly written news articles, but I do have one point to make. Not wearing a helmet may have increased his injuries, but it didn't cause him to be run down by the car.

Here is the text from the two articles.

First on the 20th:

Early morning bicyclist hit, critically injured


A bicyclist suffered a serious head injury Tuesday morning when he was struck by a car in a predawn crash at 18th and South streets.

Stephen K. Jones, 52, of Lafayette was in critical condition at Home Hospital late Tuesday.

Lt. Chris Weaver of the Lafayette Police Department said limited visibility because of darkness and the fact that the car's windows were still partially frosted are being investigated as likely contributing factors in the 5:45 a.m. crash.

Weaver said Robert M. Lovvorn, 31, of Lafayette, the driver of a Pontiac Grand Prix, was southbound on 18th Street and made a left turn onto South Street, striking the bicyclist, who was headed east on South just east of the intersection.

It appears the bicyclist struck his head on the south curb of South Street, Weaver said.

There was no major damage to the car or the bike, which was equipped with a light. Police aren't sure whether the bike's light was turned on.

Medics who responded found a bicycle helmet hanging from the bike's handle bars. Police suspect the rider was not wearing the helmet at the time of the crash.

"No skid marks; no tire marks," Weaver said. "It was probably a low-speed crash, but when you're on a bike it doesn't take much speed."

Lovvorn submitted to all required tests, and police determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

South Street was closed between 19th and Main streets until about 8:30 a.m. while traffic investigators took measurements.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is encouraged to call Officer Tim Bonner of LPD's traffic division at 807-1292.

Next on the 21st:

Bicyclist dies after car crash


A bicyclist from Lafayette died Wednesday morning after he was seriously injured when struck by a car at 18th and South streets.

Stephen K. Jones, 52, suffered massive head injuries in the predawn crash Tuesday after falling and hitting his head on a curb, according to Officer Tim Bonner of the Lafayette Police Department.

He was pronounced dead at Home Hospital.

Tippecanoe County coroner Donna Avolt said Wednesday that Jones died of multiple traumatic injuries. An autopsy will not be done.

Police said limited visibility at the time of the 5:45 a.m. crash Tuesday and the fact that the car's windows were still partially frosted were investigated as likely contributing factors.

Jones was hit by a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Robert M. Lovvorn, 31, of Lafayette as Jones was headed east on South Street, just east of the intersection with 18th Street.

Lovvorn, who was not injured, was turning left on South from 18th.

Medics at the scene found a bicycle helmet hanging from the bike's handles bars, and police suspect Jones was not wearing it at the time of the crash.

Police found no major damage to the car or the bike. The fact that neither skid marks nor tire marks were found at the scene indicate that it was a low-speed crash.

5 Things

I've been reading these things all over the web, and it's finally my turn. Tom got me.

My assignment is to post 5 things about myself that others may not know. Here goes:

  1. In high school, my friends and I broke into a church to borrow a piano.
  2. I've seen Abe Vigoda's naked feet.
  3. On two occasions, a police officer has drawn his revolver and pointed it at me.
  4. I ran naked through the school on 'Senior Skip Day' just before graduation.
  5. I didn't actually burn the garage down, but I did light the fire.

I had to throw in my own twist, so I've included one false statement in the list. Can you guess which one?

(Leave your answers in the comments)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wanna Have Some Fun?

Watch the Year Round Biker ride to work and from work.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Man's Best Friend?

If had known it was going to be misting rain, I probably would have never left the garage. However, I had a good ride, and I'm kind of glad I went. This picture shows the overall gloominess of the day.

Goat Line Up
I'm not sure why these goats were lining up like this

My route took me on 400W and Jackson Highway to Montmorenci, and then east on US52 back to 400W. Early on, I was greeted by a barking dog, either a miniature collie or perhaps a sheltie, that ran out to meet me. His tail and ears were up, and he seemed to be saying hi. Later, when I was riding up a hill in an area without houses around, I heard another dog barking behind me. Assuming it was some feral dog that had come across the corn stubble looking for cyclist meat, I turned around expecting the worst. Instead, I saw a large white German Shepherd with his head out of the window of a car waiting patiently for me to clear the hill so it could pass. (Actually, the driver was waiting patiently. I have no idea how the car was feeling.)

Old Barn

I've been riding past this place on 400W for a while now, and I'm surprised it's still standing. I especially like the hood from an old farm truck on the roof.

Miles Ridden: 13.8

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Man's Best Friend

I was was finally able to get out today!

The neighbor and I took a quick ride before supper. The wind was stronger than the Weather Channel had predicted, so the ride west on Division and South on 700W was a little tough.

As we were stopped at the top of a hill waiting for traffic to pass before turning around, we noticed three cyclists coming towards us at a pretty quick rate. They asked how we were doing as they passed. We followed them back north, and I remembered how much my size and weight help me on downhills (just as they impede me on uphills). With the tailwind and the downward slope, I left the neighbor in the dust - pedaling in the top gear with little effort. Still, the three cyclists were quickly becoming specs on the horizon.

The clouds and the lateness of the hour conspired to make things darker than usual. I put away the sunglasses and fired up the blinky light.

When I arrived home, this little guy was waiting to greet me.

Post Ride Greeting
Nelson welcomes me home

Miles Ridden: 11.7

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Windy City

I'm in Chicago again for my yearly conference, and while I spent some time this morning on the recumbent in the hotel health club, I don't think I'll be getting many street miles in during my visit. It's a little cold, a little wet, and a little crowded for my tastes.

However, I did ride in Chicago once. Maybe in 1999 or 2000, I took part in the Boulevard Tour. This year's was held in September, but my foggy memory puts it in the spring - maybe May. Regardless, we started at the U of C campus at the site of the 1930 something World's Fair and rode up through Chinatown, the Loop, the Puerto Rican district (there was a big neon PR flag installed over the street in the business district), and then back south on a path slightly west of downtown. I think it was around 45 miles.

I hadn't been in a big city ride before, and I just loved the idea of thousands of riders taking over the LaSalle banking district - even on a Sunday. The tall buildings, which are a little intimidating and are difficult to see from a car, were resplendently visible, and the normally busy streets offered lanes for the taking. There was a tandem bike pulling a trailer that contained a drummer, a guitarist, his amp, and a generator. The two riders were working hard to keep the music traveling. (The duo sounded horrible, but I still loved it!) The route was barely marked, and the SAG stops were undersized and backed up - what a great day!

I wish I had photos to share, but I had a camera accident at the beginning of the ride. My Kodak camera was bumped while in the pannier, causing the lens mechanism to attempt to engage. I had things packed tight, so the plastic gears stripped instead. It was fixed about $250 later. (One would never think of fixing a digital camera today. The price of repairs is too close to the price of a new one - with better features!)

I was riding with a co-worker who pushed very hard through most of the ride, but bonked about 5 miles from the end. He was cursing himself and getting generally upset, while I was happy just to be finishing. We rode in the Wabash River Century later that year, and he did the same thing on that route - stopping every five minutes of the last stretch to restate how much of an idiot he was for not pacing himself or for not being strong enough. I didn't ride with him after that.

While I'm out sightseeing/shopping this afternoon, I'll look for messengers or commuters. And I'll be a little jealous.