Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Morning Bridge

Granville Bridge Route today.

Miles Ridden: 9.0

Sunday, May 28, 2006

South Side

New Bike Wheel
My New Wheel

I haven't been able to take many morning rides for recreation this year, but today was an exception. Knowing that the heat was coming later in the day, I started out at 7:00 am.

It was a pretty simple route: East on River Road, south on US231, east on 350S, north on 18th, west on Main, over the Myers Bridge, west on State Street, WSW on Newman Road, Division Road to home.

Farm on River Road
Farm on River Road

While riding around the south end of Lafayette, I had the urge to detour onto some of the other roads I used to travel when I lived down there. However, with my time limited, I stuck to the planned route. When I was waiting at the light at Main and South, I noticed a formed co-worker of mine in her SUV in the next lane. We chatted for about 30 seconds waiting for the light to change.

Miles Ridden: 17.2

Friday, May 26, 2006

Aborted Ride

I tried to ride this morning, but little piddly things seemed to be working against me. Distance was limited.

Later, I took my rear wheel in for yet another broken spoke, and decide to replace the wheel. The bike shop promised to have it done by tomorrow.

Miles Ridden: only 3.5

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Little Windy

I rode to work today, and came home on the North Work Route. A pretty strong south wind pushed me up the hill on Grant Street, and slowed me way down on 400W.

Miles Ridden: 11.7

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's Getting Warmer

Today felt like a real spring day with the temps in the low 70s. I came home from work on the reverse Wabash Avenue route.

I had some trouble getting over the river. I planned to cross on the Myers pedestrian bridge, but with all of the 5:00 after work traffic I couldn't get over to the left lane to turn onto Tapawingo Drive. Instead, I took a right into the River Market parking lot and waited for a break in traffic.

US231 Bike Lane

Bike Lane on 231 South of West Lafayette

Miles Ridden: 12.2

GMaps Pedometer Route

Monday, May 22, 2006

Drafting the Cushman

I rode to work today along Harrison street and was motioned through the 4-way stop by a Physical Facilities worker driving one of those little golf cart type vehicles that they drive to work sites - sort of like something a parking enforcement officer (meter maid) would use. He passed me half a block down the street going around 5MPH faster than I was. I thought about dropping in behind him to catch the draft.

After a hair cut, I traveled home using the direct route.

Miles Ridden: 7.6

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Sometimes these posts discuss the setting in which I ride, or include a story about the ride. Not today. Nothing really came of this one, but I did get some interesting photos as I rode to Granville Bride and came back passing the Gourd House.

Indian Creek
Indian Creek

Remember, this shot of Indian Creek from February? Here it is after this month's big rains.

Ross Camp Sign
Caution, Party Ahead!

There must be a wedding reception at Ross Camp today.

Blue Sky

The blue sky and the interesting clouds caught my eye.

Miles Ridden: 9.8

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bike (Back) to Work Day

I drove to work this morning, but I was able to ride back after lunch.

When I pulled up to the bike rack at the office, I noticed that I didn't have my keys with me. Then I realized that they were back in the ignition of my car at home. The weird part was that I wasn't worried that the house was unlocked and the keys were in my unlocked car in the driveway. However, there was no way that I was leaving my bike in the rack untethered. I took it downstairs to my office.

Egret celery bog west lafayette
An Egret?

I saw this white bird flying around the Bog as I rode the North Work Route home. Is this an Egret? I don't know.

Miles Ridden: 12.3

(I still don't get why this route has such a variation in length. It comes back anywhere between 11.8 and 12.4.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thinking of an Accordion Player

I didn't ride to work today (the Greater Lafayette assigned day to observe Bike To Work Day) for a couple of reasons - one was the thunderstorms predicted for late afternoon. Well, by 4:30 they were still 30 miles or so away according to the Weather Channel radar, so I came home early to grab a quick ride.

I was able to leave early because my employer put on the Spring Fling - sort of a grown up field day. A lunch is provided, and activities including softball, swimming, euchre, and a nature walk are organized (I didn't participate - too much work to do). The best part is that no one really watches the time clock, so working until 5:00 not expected.

Anyway, I decided to take the Granville Bridge Route before the light show started. When I was about halfway to the bridge, a little sprinkle started, but it never developed into anything. I guess the big storms kind of petered out.

Now, after 8:30, we're seeing a little bit of lightning in the distance.

Miles Ridden: 9.0

P.S. Why the accordion player? Back when I was in college, I knew a girl who was a virtuoso accordionist (don't laugh - she was quite good - plus, she was kind of hot). She played lots of classical music, including the piece that played in the Wizard of Oz movie during the tornado. I always sing that song when a storm is brewing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Davis Stripe

I came out of the office building after work to find that my little area had just experienced a rain shower. It was sunny, but everything was pretty wet. A co-worker who was formerly employed by UC Davis told me that they used to call the wet spot on a fenderless bike rider's clothes the "Davis Stripe". I expected to get one on the way home, but since I had changed into riding clothes, I didn't really care.

Grant Street Bike Lane
Half a Bike Lane on Grant Street

The bike lane on Grant Street has a seam in the pavement that runs vertically along the road. I don't have to tell you that seams are bad, since the tire can catch on an uneven spot and toss the rider into the auto lane. At the south end of the street near the Union, the portion to the left of the seam is only about 14 inches wide. Up north by Salisbury, it widens up to around 22 inches. Neither is very wide by bike lane standards.

After I passed Klondike Road (where I could have cut south towards home), a light rain started. It never got very strong, but I did get wet. Not "drippy" wet (except for the helmet), but the front of my clothes was wet enough that I had to change everything when I got home. The cotton/polyester blend clothing, the leather shoes and belt, and the metal and plastic electronics in my pannier bags stayed completely dry.

I checked my shirt and shorts, but found no "Davis Stripe".

Maybe tomorrow; the forecast is for pop-up thunder storms.

Miles Ridden: 11.9

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Caught a Window

There were a couple of hours this afternoon without rain - something we haven't seen in a while. I was able to get out on the bike and log some miles.

However, before I started, I had to reattach my rear wheel after getting the wobble fixed. (Two spokes this time.) While watching the pro racers on OLN, I see them change a wheel in about 10 seconds. I can get the thing off OK, but getting it back in place with the chain where it needs to be takes me several tries and around five minutes. I'll keep practicing. I also had to adjust the screw that holds one of the magnets for the Reelight.

Viaduct on 400W
Viaduct on 400W

Anyways ... I went west on Division Road, north on 400W, east on 450N, north on Taft Road, east on Morehouse Road, south on 250W, west on US52, south on Klondike Road, east on SR26, south on Sharon Chapel Road, and west on Newman Road back to Division Road and home.

Because of the low pressure system wobbling around Indiana and Michigan, the wind was unpredictable. I caught a headwind heading north, a tailwind heading south, a headwind heading south, and another headwind heading east.

Peanut Butter Sandwich and Cashews
Lunch on the Road

Miles Ridden: 14.1

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


It's pretty late in the season, but today was my first before work ride. I took the quick Granville Bridge Route.

Another first - this was the first time I really used my Electrodynamic Bikelights. I installed them way back in March , but I haven't ridden in the dark until today. (The installation was quite easy.)

Reellight Electrodynamic Bikelight
On the front

These things work exactly as advertised. When the bike is moving, the lights blink. Since I have two magnets on each wheel, I get two blinks per revolution. Do some math with speed and tire size, and one can figure the blinks per second. (I'll save you some time - it blinks pretty fast when I'm going fast, and not as fast when going slow.) No batteries required. I especially like the front light, since it will help make me visible even when a headlight doesn't do much. On this ride, I wasn't able to find my headlight, so it came in handy.

Unfortunately, no one passed me on the tree shaded portions of Division Road heading west, and by the time I was out on the busier part of the road, the sun had popped up. Still, had there been an oncoming car, the driver would have seen me.

Miles Ridden: 9.0

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Long Way Home

Rode to work today, and took the North Work Route home. A south wind was pushing me along quite well, so I kept going north on the extension route.

As you can expect, I had quite the headwind coming back south.

Miles Ridden: 15.1

Hey Look! Tom's in the Paper



Here's the text in case Gannett takes it down...

Letters to the Editor

How not to be a street pizza

Situational awareness is always necessary if you are going to ride a bike in traffic.

The best method I know is to pretend you are invisible. Assume the driver in the two- to three-ton steel box just cannot, for whatever reason, see you.

In a perfect world, all drivers would be aware of everything going on around them at all times. Unfortunately, and sadly, this isn't the case. Here are some basic guidelines I try to go by:

# Wear bright colors; be visible.

# If riding in bad weather, use a blinkie set (flashing LED taillight and headlight). A flashing light can be seen five times as far as a stead light. This is especially true if riding in fog or rain.

# Wear a helmet, preferably one that can be seen at 200 yards in headlights or the sunlight.

# Always, always be aware of the traffic around you, the damage you do to their vehicle is very minor in comparison to the damage they do to you.

# Use a mirror (either handlebar or helmet mount) to be aware of traffic approaching from behind.

Follow these simple guidelines and your cycling experience will have a greater likelihood of a successful ride versus being a street pizza. This always ruins your day!

Tom Leonard


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday on the Avenue

I only had an hour to ride today, so I decided to take a modified Wabash Avenue Route. I turned it around and rode clockwise, plus I avoided the entire campus area by using River Road both outbound and inbound. I think I may like it better clockwise, since I didn't have the left turns on and off of SR25 to worry about.

Lafayette Skyline
The Lafayette Skyline from the Myers Bridge

I was surprised with the traffic on River Road - especially heading east. I was passed by many people, and all but a couple waited until the oncoming lane was clear before doing so. On the way home, I heard a car coming up fast from behind. I tend to ride in the "take the lane" position - about 2-3 feet left of the white line, and while I didn't edge left to convince him to wait, I didn't give up my position either. Even though I was well within my legal rights to use any part of the lane as I wished, I didn't want to be the cause (at least in my mind) of a horrible accident. Instead, I kept traveling in a straight line, knowing that anything that happened was not my fault. The oncoming car swerved into the grass on the shoulder and honked angrily at the passing car.

Miles Ridden: 13.1

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hardware Ride

There are only four streets/roads that I try my best to avoid, and the new Home Depot in Lafayette is at the intersection of two of them - Sagamore Parkway (US52) and South Street (SR26). Both are divided, 4-lane, urban highways, and drivers don't expect bikes to be there.

I needed to get a new lawn sprinkler, plus I wanted to see the new store. I thought about the route quite a bit, and decided to use Beck Lane to travel east through Lafayette. I used Earl Ave. to get to Kossuth Street, and then Farabee to South. It was only a quarter mile or so along South Street to Home Depot's back entrance. Despite the wide shoulder, I still had to navigate several right turn lanes and access points.

Home Depot
No Bike Rack at Home Depot

Since there was no bike rack, I chained my ride to a bench that didn't weigh much more than the Trek. Note the rusty Schwinn tied to the post. It wouldn't be too tough to lift it up two feet if one wanted to take it.

After shopping, I took the parking lot route over to the Milk Barn by lifting my bike over the railroad tracks separating the lots. (I saw the former mayor buying a Powerball ticket.) A little more parking lot travel took me to the crossing leading to the McDonalds. They seemed to be hosting some sort of hot rod show. Mac's back exit leads back to Earl Ave. Union and Salem streets took my back across the river and then home. I even was able to take a quick side trip through the Horticulture Park on the west side of campus.

Hort Park
Hort Park Trail

Miles Ridden: 18.3

Friday, May 05, 2006

Enjoying Nature

I came home from work today on the South Work Route. I usually find Fridays to be a little stressful with all of the auto commuters in a hurry to start the weekend. However, after I left US231 and started down River Road, I found things to be pretty peaceful.

Riding under the freshly green canopy of trees, I listened to the wind rustling the honeysuckles, birds singing from hidden branches, and automatic weapons fire echoing through the valley.

Law Enforement Shooting Range
The Entrance to the Law Enforcement Shooting Range

Miles Ridden: 8.3

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No More Mutants

Calves and Cows
These calves ran away from me when I whipped out the camera

I rode to work and took the North Work Route home. On Lindberg Road I noticed that the Ginormous Baby Ducks sign has been taken down and replaced. The new sign simply contains the text "DUCK CROSSING" - not even worth a picture.

Miles Ridden: 11.7

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is That Guy Talking To Us?

It was wet and a little rainy this morning, but I came home from work to beautiful weather - 70s, light SW wind, sunny. I hopped on the bike and rode the Granville Bridge Route plus a little bit south on 700W to the Granville Historical Marker at 75S.

However, something weird happened. I think I must be mute, because I said 'hello', 'how's it going', or 'hey' to at least 15 other bike riders, and not one said anything back. Most just looked at me like I was an idiot. (I'll give a pass to the guy wearing the iPod.) So, they must have just seen my mouth moving with no sound coming out.

I also gave a slight wave to most of them, and only one acknowledged the gesture.

Miles Ridden: 9.8