Monday, July 31, 2006

Another Early Morning

After yesterday's ride my total for this month was 189.2 miles. In order to reach 200, I had to get at least 11 on this ride.

I decided to head out to Martell Forest and back. It was a pretty foggy morning, plus it was pretty dark at the beginning. Luckily, my light system was up to the task.

Before I started riding regularly, I had never seen a bluebird in the wild. Now, I see them all the time, including two today.

Miles Ridden: 11.1

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The New Breakfast Club

Before the Ride
Before the Ride

Trying to beat the heat once again, the neighbor and I went out early. His daughter had planned on joining us, but the hour was too early for a 13 yr. old to pull herself out of bed.

The route was pretty fun. We started out with the Lilly Road Route, but we kept heading east to Wabash Avenue. When we hit downtown, we went up the hills on State Street and by the stadium, and then found the Cattail Trail which took us north to the Route 66 Diner. I was feeling like I was being pretty healthy until breakfast came.

Mid Ride Breakfast
Probably more calories than I burned today, but it was delicious!

We rode back south on the trail to Lindberg and followed the back half of the North Work Route to get back home.

Miles Ridden: 28.2

Friday, July 28, 2006

Back to Black Rock

The neighbor and I talked about going to Independence today (about 35 miles round trip), but our late start, plans later in the day, and a general fear of over-doing it helped us to decide to cut the ride short and visit Black Rock in Warren County instead. Being the middle of July, the rock is even more covered with vegetation than last time, so there is no picture.

Old Barn
This barn is slowly being reclaimed by the woods

We had a good ride with light wind and mild temps. However, the humidity was brutal. There were portions of the route down by the Wabash where the road was covered in haze.

Retired Silo
A Retired Silo

Miles Riden: 23.5

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I said yesterday that my legs were feeling pretty good. Well, that wasn't the case today. I headed north into the wind, and my right knee was screaming. (I have an old rock-n-roll injury that involves a small town festival, a flat bed trailer, and "Wipe Out".) My other knee was complaining as well. Up hill with a head wind is not how one treats a sore knee.

Anyway, enough griping!

Straw Rolls
What are these things called? Are they hay or straw?

My route started northeast on Newman Road to SR26, east to McCormick Road, and then north. I haven't ridden north on McCormick past Cherry Lane in a long time because the stretch from there to Lindberg Road is narrow, curvy, and busy. I've had many drivers express their dissatisfaction by either yelling or driving too close (sometimes both). However, traffic was light at 6:30pm, so I went for it.

McCormick crosses US52 and continues to Morehouse Road. I turned left and caught 500N going west at the next intersection. At 375W I took another left which pointed me south with the wind at my back. This part of the ride was much more fun, and I ignored the knee the rest of the way home. After a couple of turns, the road becomes 400W and travels all the way to the big tree on Division Road.

Miles Ridden: 14.6

Bike Lane or Traffic Lane? You Make the Call!

When riding to work, I travel one block on Sheetz Street. There is a short bike lane there, and I'm having trouble deciding if I should use it. I'll try to describe the layout and the issues.

Sheetz Street, West Lafayette

State Street from the west is the path of SR26, and is 2 lanes in each direction. The eastbound lanes both turn right onto Sheetz, and then left onto Wood Street one block later. While State has no marked bike lane, Sheetz does for that one block. The problem is I also want to turn left onto Wood Street, but drivers in the right traffic lane have a choice of left turn or straight travel on Sheetz. I end up merging back into the traffic lane before the left turn so I'm not hit by a straight traveling motorist. (If I were hit, it would be my fault for changing/crossing lanes without yielding.) This maneuver sometimes requires me to stop and wait for an opening in traffic.

Reasons Why I Should Use the Bike Lane
  • Eastbound traffic turning south on Sheetz street can't see around the corner, so they may not see me in the traffic lane
  • At 7:50am, the drivers are close to being late for work, and it is polite of me to use the provided bike lane to allow them faster travel
  • I'm basically a polite guy, and I don't want to inconvenience anyone

Reasons Why I Should Use the Traffic Lane
  • The merge back into the traffic lane can be dangerous, and I'd be better off traveling in a straight line.
  • The numerous driveways, garage entry/exit ramps, and alleys provide many places for inattentive drivers to run me down. (Which would be their fault, but it would still hurt!)
  • 'Taking the lane' - while annoying to some drivers - is much safer for me
  • Because I can!

What do you think?

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Soggy One

No, it didn't rain today, but it was so humid that I was pretty soggy when I arrived at work, and again when I rode to a meeting at SSOF. I wasn't paying attention to the weather report this morning other than the promise of no rain. I should have noticed the warm temps and high humidity. I had to close my office door, open my shirt, and crouch over my tiny fan to try to dry off before an 8:30 meeting.

Coopers' Tree
I wonder if this dead tree will ever fall on their garage

I came home on the South River Road route. My legs have been feeling pretty good lately, and the ride home was no exception.

Miles Ridden: 12.1

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Morning Quickie

I took the reverse South Work Route this morning before work.

Miles Ridden: 8.4

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bridge, Fog

I rode the Granville Bridge Route through fingers of fog today.

Miles Ridden: 9.0

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Hazy Morning

The forecast calls for mid-90s with high humidity today, so the neighbor and I left just after 7:00 to beat the heat.

Hazy Morning
Haze on Jackson Highway

Our route took us to Montmorenci on Jackson Highway (which isn't really a highway - at least not anymore) and then west to the County Line. We followed Co. Line Road south across SR 26 to 75S (with the last 3/4 mile on gravel). This road heads east to the Ross Hills Camp. With a couple turns we were back on Division Road and on to home.

Miles Ridden: 22.1

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I See the Light

Steeker asks, "How did those new blinky lights work out?"

I first installed the Electrodynamic Bikelights in March, and I've only ridden in the dark one time since then. However, I can report that they are holding up well. I performed a quick inspection tonight, and I found that they still look great. They are also still working just fine. I just need a night ride to get any benefit from them.

When I picked up my new wheel back in May, the tech told me that the magnet brackets that attach to the spokes may limit the spokes' flexibility and could contribute to breakage. I'll watch for any more problems, but nothing so far.

Speaking of a night ride, I don't think I'll be attending the Indy NITE Ride next weekend. My wife has already said she wouldn't be joining me after last year's ride. Apparently, she didn't have as much fun as I thought she had, and she actually hasn't ridden since. I probably pushed her too hard.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On The Road Again

(Another song title for a post? It's unheard of! It's unimaginable. It's unnecessary!)

I got a call Sunday afternoon asking if I would fill in for an ill co-worker at a three day conference. So I was out of town once more - which means no bike rides. If I had driven myself, I could have put the bike in the trunk of the Purdue car (as I will next month for my trip to Columbus). However, I was riding with the SrVP this time.

My travels took me to East Lansing, MI - Home of Michigan State University. I was only able to see a few showcase buildings (the Breslin Center, the new suites on the side of the football stadium, the Weldon Center for the Performing Arts, and the Harrison Roadhouse), but what I saw was impressive. What I didn't see was any bike riders.

Discarded bike in the river
In the Red Cedar River

The dorms all looked empty, and even the bike racks were barren. I did see a few bike lanes and a trail along the river, but they were idle.

Bikes Only - Bike Lane Marker

On the way back, we stopped in Saugatuck for lunch. This is a small lakeshore town, and despite the crowded streets and sidewalks, I saw several cyclists even on a sleepy Wednesday.

Comfort Bikes for Rent

It looks like the next few days will be great for riding, so I should be out.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Blockbuster Ride

The neighbor just returned from a 6 month sabbatical out of the country, and today was our first ride since last September.

He had to return a video to the south side Blockbuster location, so we headed over the Brannigan bridge. After Blockbuster, we rode through my old neighborhood, along the bike trail between 9th and 18th, past the old Pythian Home, down into the valley and the Art Museum, and finally the Farmers' Market on 5th street. We stopped for breakfast at the Sunrise Diner where my short stack and sausages was quite filling.

Across the river, we watched the beginning of the boat races on the Wabash as a part of the annual Riverfest.

On the Wabash

We traveled through campus to return home.

Miles Ridden: 18.0

Friday, July 07, 2006

Good Samaritans

Another great day to ride to work. Next week looks rainy, so I've been happy to take advantage of this week's sunshine.

I wasn't about to take the same route for the third day, so I opted for the North Work Route home. However, I ran by the theater on the way to pick up tickets for Pirates 2 (there were none left), so I headed up Robinson to Salisbury and followed the rest of the route as usual.

I was coming up to the rail tracks on Lindberg when I noticed another cyclist coming up behind me. I figured he was a roadie that would blow past me after the bumpy crossing, but he seemed to disappear. It was only about 10 seconds later when I noticed a gentleman getting out of a pickup that had just passed me and then pulled over. He asked me if I had lost a pack, and sure enough, my pannier was gone - containing my wallet, keys, camera, Blackberry, and work clothes!

Just as I turned around to head back (after thanking him profusely), a 2nd pickup pulled over while honking. The driver motioned to the bed of his truck and said the bag was there. As the missing cyclist rolled past, the #2 driver told me that the lagging biker had stopped to grab the bag to return it to me.

A big thanks to all three of these guys who saved me much aguish and trouble.

It all turned sour, unfortunately, when the #2 pickup turned around in the middle of the road, stopping traffic in both directions. A lady in an SUV honked at him, and he returned the anger by stopping next to her and screaming something back at her. She looked to me for support, but I gave her the two hands up maneuver signaling "I'm not getting involved". I waited until all of the traffic had cleared, and my pannier was as securely fastened as possible, before continuing. I checked about every 3 seconds for the rest of the trip to make sure everything was still there.

A quick story from Wednesday's ride. I was waiting in line at the stop sign at the bottom of Williams Street about 6 cars back. Williams is a narrow 2-way street with parking on both sides where it hits River Road/US231 - a five lane, busy highway with a bike lane on each side. I refrain from passing the waiting cars on the right, since I know they won't be watching for me as they look for an opening in the passing traffic. Another cyclist was at the bottom to the right of a car waiting to turn right, and he made a sudden move to the left. Crossing in front of two waiting cars, he pedaled north in the southbound bike lane. What a bad move!

Miles Ridden: 12.8

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Burger Day

Today, I took the same route as yesterday. However, instead of the meeting ride, I rode downtown for lunch. Once again, I didn't have my camera to document the lack of a bike rack at Sgt. Preston's of the North.

Coming home on River Road, I had two cars pass me while there was oncoming traffic. You'd think the 2nd guy would learn watching the first car almost get hit head on!

Miles Ridden: 11.1

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Paid to Ride

Rode to work today, and came home on the South Work Route. Also, I took the bike to a mid-day meeting across campus. I know I've mentioned it before, but I love riding while in pay status!

I stopped to talk with these two on the way home.

Horses on River Road

Miles Ridden: 10.8

Sunday, July 02, 2006

West Point Lions Club

I haven't had many AM rides this year, so I decided to ride down to West Point and back before breakfast.

It's time for the winter wheat harvest, so there was some interesting scenery along the way. The first field I came to only had one pass of combine so far, and the contrast between the cut and uncut wheat was striking. A little farther down the road, a field harvested earlier had those big rolls of straw ready for pickup. There was as arrangement of three that with the morning sun looked interesting. It was then that I noticed that the camera I had brought had no battery. It was back at home in the charger!

I would have also taken a shot of the plethora of pick-ups in the Lions Club parking lot, and the group of greyhounds in a pasture ready to run off some energy. I'm sure that my little shots are a little boring to my readers, but still like taking and posting them. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Wildlife spotted included a deer very close to the road munching on soybean plants, and a bluebird flying away from me as fast as possible. (I may never get a shot of one of those.) A surprisingly large snapping turtle was on the approach to the Granville Bridge, but he had lost an earlier encounter with an auto, so I didn't get too close to look.

Miles Ridden: 18.6

Saturday, July 01, 2006

June 2006 Total

Total This Month: 102.7 Miles
Total This Year: 582.8 Miles

Total June 2005: 194.2 Miles

I guess being out of town for 2½ weeks took its toll on the total. I'm still 72 miles ahead of last year's pace.