Friday, June 30, 2006

Ending the Month on a High Note (In More Ways Than One)

I haven't ridden much this month, so I wanted to grab one more on the last day. Despite the forecast for isolated thunderstorms at drive time, I hopped on the Trek to head to work.

The weather this morning could not have been better for a ride. Sunny, light breeze, temps in the 60s - I could get used to this.

For lunch, I rode downtown to Sgt. Preston's of the North to meet my wife. There's no bike rack, so I chained the beast to a sign post next to the handicapped spot. (I should have brought the camera. I love posting about merchants with no racks.) Riding back to my office, I tried to see how slow I could go up the hill. The lowest speedometer reading was 1.7 MPH!

Because of a 7:00 engagement (and I needed to include cool down time), I took the shorter South Work Route home. Because of light tailwinds and an overall good mood, the ride was quick and fun (and thunderstorm free). One nice thing about the south route is that the US231 portion includes a bike lane. I seem to often take this route home on Friday when drive-time traffic can be heavy and impatient, and the lane provides a bit of safe haven. Once I leave the highway, South River Road offers no such protection.

US 231 - South River Road Bike Lane
Bike Lane on US231 South of West Lafayette

(When I took this shot the highway was surprisingly clear. Traffic was actually heavy most of the way out.)

My 7:00 was a rehearsal of the Lafayette Citizens' Band in preparation for the Stars and Stripes concert on the 4th. Even though I'm playing 2nd trombone, I still had some high A-flats to belt out.

Miles Ridden: 11.2

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Post Issues

Sunday's ride would have been a good one. I had a route of about 25 miles planned, but once I was dressed and had the water bottles ready, I found a problem. The seat mount bolt had stripped when I tried to tighten it.

Ride cancelled, I instead took the seat and post to the bike shop. The mechanic offered to try to find a replacement bolt and nut, but he recommended a new seat post. Since it was only $20, and I wanted it to work for a while, I took home the new post.

Today, I tried it out on an early morning ride on the Granville Bridge Route. The weather forecast is calling for afternoon pop up storms for the foreseeable future, so I may be doing a lot of these.

Miles Ridden: 9.0

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Back In The Saddle (Again)

I spent the last week in Philadelphia on business, and there was no riding there. Driving through the Valley Forge/King of Prussia area, I saw several roads with nice bike lanes, but never saw a cyclist. The routes were a little hilly and curvy, but that wouldn't stop everyone, would it?

This morning offered downright beautiful weather for a ride, and there was no way I was going to miss it. A co-worker talked about the house he is having built north of town, so I thought I would go take a look. The place is north of Harrison High School (almost to Cairo), so I headed up Salisbury Street/County Farm Road to take a look.

Neil Armstrong Engineering Building Under Construction

I passed the Neil Armstrong Engineering Building construction site on the way out of town. There is a monster crane there, but haven't yet been able to take a good picture of it. Here we see a dedicated worker putting in time on a perfect Saturday morning.

The subdivision is just now being developed. There were a couple of houses up, but I don't know if they are yet occupied. The reason I didn't go to see them is because the gravel road was vibrating my teeth out! I could see that this was an old farmsted, and I stopped for breakfast under the old trees that I'm guessing surrounded the original house.

Breakfast in the Shade
Breakfast Stop

On the way back, I stopped for a Gatorade at the "Klondike Mall".

Miles Ridden: 23.5

Friday, June 16, 2006

Bob Goes For a Ride

I took a quick ride on the Campus/River Road Route before work this morning.

As I was turning onto Newman Road to return home, I waved at a passing cyclist. He waved back and yelled "Hi, Bob!"

Miles Ridden: 10.0

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Back In The Saddle

(I've got the Aerosmith song in my head as I type. "I'm BAAACCKKK - I'm back in the saddle again")

Today was my first ride in almost 2 weeks. I rode to work and came home on the North Work Route. Nothing special, but it felt good to get out again (except for the pain in my knee and the cramp in my thigh).

No pictures today, but wish I could have recorded the bicycle cop in Lafayette that pulled over a car. I didn't see it happen, and I'm wondering how he did it.

Also, on the way home I was passed by two different groups on riders on Lindberg Road, and at least one was the WRCC All Class ride leaving Burtsfield Elementary. They passed very politely with an 'on your left' or 'it sure is getting hot today'. I kept up pretty well on the slight downhill, but when the road pointed up, I fell back quickly. I'm not trying to keep up with fit people on skinny tire bikes.

Miles Ridden: 11.8

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Biking in Mexico

My family and I just returned from a week long trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico (south of Cancun). I had to get a few blocks away from the resorts to see evidence of local bike riders, since all I saw there was a couple of tourists riding full suspension mountain bikes on the sidewalk.

Morning Commute

On the main drag, I saw lots of residents biking to work or school. The bikes were pretty much all beaters.

Bike Lane in Playa del Carmen

10th Avenue featured a raised brick bike lane.


Most of the bikers seemed to be following driving laws (I have no idea what the Mexican rules are, but they were riding safely). These guys were on the sidewalk inside the gated resort area.

Cargo Bike

Check out this cargo bike! These things were all over.

Abandoned Bike

This seatless wonder reminded me of home, since they can be found all over campus.

Wet Roads

My riding time was limited to 20 minutes on the recumbent exercise bike inside the air conditioned health club.

Miles Ridden: 0 (but I plan to get out tomorrow!)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

New Stuff

I wasn't able to get out yesterday with Tom, but today presented an early morning opportunity for a quick ride. It was a little chilly, so I got to try out my 20th wedding anniversary present from my wife - a cycling jacket. It did such a great job of blocking the wind, that I had to take it off about 20 minutes in.

New Jacket
Yep, it has the pockets in the back and everything

I took this self portrait by balancing my new Sony Cyber-shot on a pipe coming out of the ground (probably a marker for the natural gas line), fired up the 10 second self-timer, and ran back to the bike to line up for the shot. Not bad if I say so myself.

My route took me north on 400W: east on 500N: south on 75W, Soldiers' Home Road, and Happy Hollow Road; and south and west on River Road. There was little traffic and plenty of sunshine. Also, I had loaded up the MP3 player with a couple of podcasts and three songs. What better tunes to try out a new toy than Crazy In Love by Beyonce and Jay-Z ("History in the making, part 2!"), Little Red Light by Fountains of Wayne, and Do It For The Kids by Velvet Revolver. Yes, I wear the eclectic badge proudly.

Lauren Lakes
Homes by CP Morgan

I passed the new Lauren Lakes subdivision, and noticed how boxy the homes look. While I wouldn't call them McMansions, they do look pretty large. The bad part is that the fronts look massive with huge garage doors and fake pillars, but the sides and back are flat expanses of vinyl siding and Pella windows. Plus, they are very close together. I may have a somewhat modest house, but I'll take my quiet wooded neighborhood anyday.

Speaking of new stuff, I'm going to half to do something different to stop the squeak in my bike seat. I had asked the guys at Hodsons Bay to take a look at it, and I'm guessing now that they just tightened it really tight, because it was back to its old noisy self about 30 minutes into today's ride. I'll ask them to order new parts as needed.

Miles Ridden: 21.1

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pick Your Favorite Story Line

In the last couple of posts, I haven't had much to write about. Not a problem today. I had issues with equipment, clothing, and heat. But, it all started with a ticket.

Expired Plates

I got a ticket on Wednesday while my car was in the parking garage. Not for parking illegally, or for not having a permit, but for having expired license plates. They were expired exactly 30 days, and I'm wondering if the police officer had seen them before and was driving by every day until the 30 day grace period passed.

Anyway, I didn't have time to get to the License Branch on Thursday, so today was the day. This was also my first ride to work since last Wednesday. (It's been rainy all week.) At 11:30 after a meeting, I headed east to the Lafayette Branch.

Now, I could have gone to the much closer West Lafayette Branch, but a crazed former staff member now works there, and I'd rather not see her. (The last time I saw her was seven years ago when she threw her office keys at me and stormed out of the building. What a psycho!) So, I crossed the river and took 4th street to Greenbush and on to Market Square. I had to lock the bike on a post since there was no bike rack to be found.

The lady at the front desk told me about the 30 minute wait, but then told me that if I was paying with a card I could use the self-service machine in the entry way . I was, and I did, and I was out in 10 minutes.

I couldn't decide where to grab lunch. I wanted something different - like Chinese food - but couldn't think of how I would carry it back to the office with just my one pannier bag that was already stuffed with stuff. It was at the corner of Erie and Salem where I turned the grip shift to come down to a smaller cog when I heard (and felt) the distinctive sound of a cable snapping. The chain dropped to the easy cog, and I pedaled at too high of an RPM back over the river to the bike shop.

They offered to fix the cable while I waited, but I instead asked them to adjust new wheel and its brakes, and to look at my squeaky seat. It was promised to be done by 5:00.

As I was standing at the service window explaining my troubles, I noticed that I was very hot. I probably would have been anyway, but crossing downtown in the granny gear surely didn't help. I walked across the parking lot to Wendy's for lunch, and waited outside for the Trolley, which took me back to work. I was a sweaty, sunburned mess by the time I got back to my desk. I'm glad I didn't have any meetings with big wigs!

No Bike Rack at Wendy's
No Bike Rack at Wendy's

The Trolley took me back to the bike shop after work, and everything was ready to go. I biked over to the Wendy's and use their men's room to change clothes (no bike rack there either). I rolled out of the parking lot and through the evening traffic to get to South River Road. The bike lane was full of gravel, and the bumps were jarring my hands. That's when I noticed that I wasn't wearing my gloves.

I had left them resting on the rack while I secured my helmet, and they must have fallen off. I pulled a U-turn and biked back to Wendy's and found them just out of the parking lot - in the right tire track. They looked pretty flat, as if several cars had run them over. I grabbed them and rode home. For some reason, I felt very tired and sloth-like.

Miles Ridden: 16.1

Thursday, June 01, 2006

May Total

Total for May 2006: 203.6 Miles