Friday, August 31, 2007

August 2007 Totals

Bike as Art

Miles this Month: 240.0
This Month Last Year: 211.9

2007 Total So Far: 1,499.8

August has seemed like a light month for riding, with the weather and my travels keeping me off the road. However, 240 miles isn't bad. September's schedule looks to be bike ride friendly, and the weather should be better than August.

Bike Friday

I'm a bit too far from Toronto to participate in Bike Friday, but I can start my own route.

Unfortunately, I didn't see another commuter on either trip.

Miles Ridden: 6.9

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Great Day to Chase a Bunny

It was a little gloomy this AM, but the ride home weather was perfect. Sunny, 80 degrees, light east wind - couldn't be better.

As I was waiting at the light at Grant and State, a tall, thin, 50-ish guy came flying up on the sidewalk on my right and jumped the curb in front of me to get in the bike lane. I saw that as a challenge to stay with him (despite his long-legged thinness). I held his wheel up the hill on Grant and on to Salisbury up to Lindberg where I took a left while he continued north.

Miles Ridden: 11.7

P.S. I was walking back from a meeting after lunch, and I crossed State Street mid block. As I stepped up over the curb, a kid on a road bike came screaming past me on the sidewalk. We nearly got very well acquainted.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dark One

The neighbor and I rode the Granville Bridge Route plus a little extra to the top of the hill and back this morning. Even with the barely waning moon, it was still pretty dark for most of the ride. We couldn't tell how fast we were going, since we couldn't see our computers or the passing scenery. There was one place where we heard a dog bark kind of close while his tags jingled. He must not have been hungry, because he didn't appear in our headlights.

Miles Ridden: 11.4

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Commute, Interrupted

I was riding home from work today on River Road when my wife passed me, pulled over, and asked me to drive her home. Who am I to refuse the request of a beautiful lady?

Miles Ridden: 4.9

Pony Up Close
No, He Isn't Chewing my Saddle

This little guy is usually harassed and chased away by the bigger horses, but they weren't around this morning.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Commute

Miles Ridden: 6.8

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another Great Day for a Ride

This morning started in the mid 60s, and the high reached 80 with minimal winds and lots of sun. It would have been nice to have this kind of weather yesterday.

I made a big breakfast for the family and a visiting relative, so I had some pork sausage to work off. The Trek 820 seemed like the right ride for a trip to Wally World and a quick stop at my office. The Celery Bog along the Cattail Trail was looking especially green today.

Miles Ridden: 13.3

Celery Bog
As Seen from the Wal-Mart Parking Lot

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wabash River Ride

The Wabash River Cycle Club held their Wabash River Ride today. (This event was formerly called the Wabash River Century). I was excited about going, since the routes included roads I haven't ridden before. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate as we had hoped.

Ready to Go
Ready to Go!

The neighbor and I, plus his wife and two friends, made plans to start out early. Instead of leaving at 6:30, we waited for the skies to clear and didn't get on the road until 10:00, and we left the starting point just after 11:00. Somewhere close to noon, the rain started. It was a sprinkle at first, which changed to a light shower, then a little stronger, and finally a downpour for about the last three miles before the SAG. We were soaked!

I Got a Little Wet

The SAG was in a park in Mulberry, and the barn gave everyone nice shelter. We had PB&J sandwiches and cookies while we waiting out the rain. Once the rain stopped, we were back on the road.

There was a decision point about five miles past the SAG. A left turn left five miles to go on the 26 mile route, while a right turn promised 23 more miles on the 43 mile route. The neighbor and I had planned to leave the ladies on the short route while we tackled the longer distance. However, I was feeling less than excited about two more hours of riding with the possibility of additional rain, so I convinced him that we should take the left. It wasn't tough to bring him around.

We got back to the starting point, and we talked with my neighbor's grad students, who had just finished the 65 mile trek. They still seemed pretty energetic.

I'm hoping that the weather will be a little better next year.

Miles Ridden: 27.0

(More photos here)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Salt Lake City

Nifty Bike Rack
Nifty Bike Rack

I spent most of this week in Salt Lake City at a conference. I had no bike with me, which is too bad, because those flat, wide, empty streets were calling me. The morning rides on the world's most uncomfortable exer-cycles in the hotel health club did not satisfy my cycling jones.

Salt Lake City Transit is Bike Friendly

Looks like the light rail in Salt Lake, UTA TRAX, encourages multi-modal transport. Pretty cool. Had I procured a bike while in Utah, I could have taken the train to a different part of town for variety.

I didn't have any time to ride anyway, with the conference being an 8am to 8pm kind of thing, yet I'm hoping that sometime I'll be able to have a bike along again as I did on this trip to Madison a couple of years ago.

I took a quick ride this morning before work so that I could remember what a real bicycle ride was like.

Miles Ridden: 9.9

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Raced a 10 Year Old, and Almost Lost

The neighbor and I headed NW to Montmorenci on Jackson highway this morning, and we passed almost two dozen garage sales. Must have been some sort of organized neighborhood thing - even though the neighbors are sometimes separated by a quarter mile of bean field.

We came up behind these three boys riding to the next sale, and the neighbor offered to tell one how fast he was going. The first boy spun up and reached 13MPH. I measured boy #2 at 14MPH. The youngest, smallest one then threw his discount store 20-incher into the big chain ring and took off. I had to gear up to catch him, and I clocked him at 20MPH. Not bad!

We continued west to the county line, south to Division Road, and back east to home.

Miles Ridden: 21.0

Friday, August 17, 2007

Short One

I didn't feel much like riding this afternoon, so I took the direct route home.

Miles Ridden: 6.8

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shot Not Taken

As I was riding into work this morning, the sun was a very distinct orange ball through the haze. I thought it would be a neat photo to have the orange sun rising next to the bell tower. However, when I rode over to the Engineering Mall, I saw that the sun wasn't yet high enough to clear the Engineering Administration building (ENAD). I couldn't wait around for 20 minutes, so I'll have to try it another day.

At 5:00, I checked upstairs and noted a little bit of rain - more like spitting rain than actual rainfall. The radar didn't show anything worse coming from the west, so I chanced it and took off for home on the South Work Route. Luckily, the rain never materialized.

I passed a bunch of stopped cars (two blocks worth) on Williams Street heading down the hill towards River Road. It saved me a couple of minutes, but I felt a little unsafe for doing it. I'll wait in my place in line next time.

Miles Ridden: 8.7

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Multi-Use Path

I guess I'm pretty undecided when it comes to bike lanes. I'm likely to use one if it's there, but I don't avoid streets and roads without marked lanes.

The City of West Lafayette is equally ambivalent. My North Work Route follows several streets with bike lanes, and that's by design. I wanted to have a non-stressful route to take home on those especially hectic work days. Unfortunately, the city hasn't setup their bike lanes in a way where riders can rely on them.

I traveled Grant and Salisbury Streets, along with Lindberg Road, and I found trash cans and brush piles in the lane waiting for pickup. This is pretty common, and apparently legal. I think I've documented this before.

On Lindberg Road, there is the added obstacle of cars parked in the bike lane. Apparently, this is allowed by law after 4:00pm or on non-school days. Sure, having the lanes clear between 8:00 and 4:00 helps school kids get around, but it's not much help for the harried manager looking for a little sanctuary. Lucky for me, I have no problem taking the lane when needed.

West Lafayette Bike Lane
Part Time Bike Lane

When I was riding up Salisbury Street, I heard this horrible noise to my right. It turned out to be a discount store bike with an amazingly squeaky chain. The helmet-free rider passed me on the sidewalk, and them jumped back to the bike lane well in front of me.

Miles Ridden: 12.0

Sunday, August 12, 2007

There and Back

Just a quick jaunt to work today in order to get some desk time before the work week hits. Lots of freshmen moving into the dorms today.

Miles Ridden: 7.3

Newman Road Rail Underpass

Saturday, August 11, 2007

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Ride

With my plaid bib shorts, long late-70s styled hair, and a thick brogue, I left the house at about 8:30 on the Lilly Road Route.*

Deer in the Clearing

I see deer fairly often as I ride around the area, but I never seem to have a camera ready to go. Today however, I happened to already be stopped with the camera powered up when I saw this young lady. She watched me for a while, and only moved about 10 feet when a car came through. I took a few shots and continued along Lilly Road. It was then that I noticed the fawn on my right running along with me. He got a little ahead and turned left to cross the road at an opening in the fence, and he screeched to a halt when I came by.

I'm guessing that the deer on the left side was the mother of the fawn on the right, and they were trying to get together. Hopefully, all was well after I left.

Between the Fields
Not My Kind of Route

Miles Ridden: 17.9

*Those who are old enough (like me) to get the Bay City Rollers reference before reading this footnote get five extra points for just hanging in there.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Shedding a Little Light on the Subject

I need to get a better headlight, as these early morning rides are getting more difficult. Today I couldn't really see the road surface, and I was surprised by potholes and cracks in the road. Maybe one of those LED jobs would be nice.

It was a little spooky this morning watching the distant lightning flash in the north. The weather site assured me that the storms were at least two counties away, but I still watched the sky pretty closely.

This is one of the few weeks of the year where campus is pretty empty. Next week, the freshmen (now called 'first years') and international students will arrive, and classes start on the 20th. That first day is a killer traffic day. Hopefully, I'll be able to ride past them all.

Miles Ridden: 10.1

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wabash Before Dawn

Wabash River Before Dawn
More Fun with Low Light Photography

Miles Ridden: 9.0

Don't Bring a Bike Unless You Already Ride

Allegro TerranautApparently, Purdue University is tired of all the abandoned bikes on campus.

In a Journal & Courier article today, University Residences Administration Director Bob Heitert cautioned non-riders to leave their bikes at home:
He said the one item he discourages, unless students regularly use them already, is bicycles.

"If a student doesn't ride a bike regularly now, they're not going to start"
Well, they certainly won't if they don't have a bike to ride.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Early Morning at the Stadium

It's only six weeks since the summer solstice, but with DST in effect, it's dark! (I promise that I'll quite complaining about DST in Indiana someday) For most of my hour, it was headlight required.

Cycling in the Stadium

While riding the River Road/Campus Route, I found the stadium gates open, so I went on a quick self-guided tour. Through the magic of long exposure photography, it looks as if it wasn't dark at all. (Not quite as dramatic as I thought it would be.)

Miles Ridden: 10.0

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bike Patrol

Yesterday, Lafayette's local news channel had a story on training for bicycle patrolmen. I think that bike based police are a great addition to local forces, but I don't understand the training. In one excercise, the officer jumped off the back of his moving bike, and then chased it down before it rolled away. How does this help in law enforcement? Is it just a way to work on agility?

Anyway, the TV station has posted the video. I can't seem to link to the video directly, so take a look today while it is still up.

Their home page is

Breakfast Run

Clouds Obscure the Sun

The neighbor and I took a morning ride before breakfast. After heading west to Kalberer Road and north to Montmorenci, we turned east to stop by his vet for some prescription cat food. Even after an embarrassing navigation error on my part, we made it there just before the office opened.

There was a little dodgey section where we rode along the shoulder of US52, but we made it to the Route 66 Diner for breakfast. I ate much more of my short stack than I should have, but it was delicious.

Miles Ridden: 26.4

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Old Routine

Horses on River Road

It feels good to be back to my usual weekday routine - riding to and from work and taking pictures of horses on the way home.

Miles Ridden: 8.3

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Pork Chop Man

It's been almost a week, and I haven't yet written about my RAGBRAI trip. I had been thinking about writing a long post with lots of details, but I just can't find it in me. Instead, I'll post some pics and add a few comments. If you'd like to skip my ramblings and just see the slide show, click here.

Ready to Go

The Route

We started in Aredale and rode west to the overnight town of Hampton. The next two days took us from Hampton to Cedar Falls, and from Cedar Falls to Independence. Twenty miles the first day, and around 70 each of the next two, for a total of 162 miles.

Roger and his Tiny Bike

The People

Right off the bat, I'd like to say that the people on the ride were the best part. I had lots of impromptu conversations with those passing me or those I passed, since it was easy to ask a question about a rider's bike, or what the slogan on the team shirt meant, or where the next food stop would be. The best were those that were out of the ordinary. Roger said that his 16" wheeled bike was the smallest in the ride, and I never saw another that could challenge him. When I asked if I could take a picture, he said as long I as I took it while moving. I got the impression he was asked that a lot. The barefoot man was riding with a minimal amount of clothing. Ms. Sacramento felt that she should wear a tutu and her bra over her shirt (she was a hoot to talk with). And everybody wanted to know where we were from. I met a guy who grew up in Lafayette, and I saw the Purdue unicycle guy (who had his unicycle stolen last month and had to spend $900 to replace it). Plus, I talked to people from all over.

Family of Five

The Equipment

In addition to Roger's tiny bike, I saw all kinds of rides: Road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, comfort bikes, touring bikes, fixies, racing machines, cruisers, home made rigs, Franken-bikes (including a "tall" bike), recumbent bikes and trikes, tandems of all flavors, trailer bikes, hand powered bikes, kids' bikes, old bikes, new bikes, expensive bikes, cheap bikes, and even the unicycle from Purdue.

Donna in the AM


My sister and I were some of the few to actually carry our gear. Most only had a water bottle and maybe a small under seat bag to hold their money and ID. There were portage trucks that would carry tents and bags from one overnight town to the next. Also, many teams would have a camper, bus, or truck with a driver that would travel ahead and setup camp for the rest of the team. We got a lot of comments, especially because she was carrying two aluminum camp chairs along with the rest of her stuff. They weren't very heavy, but it looked like a big load.


The Towns

There were a bunch of great small towns we road through, and they were all friendly and rolled out the red carpet for the riders. My favorite was the town that had all of the charities work together and split the take at the end, rather than competing for our food and drink dollars. The locals setup lawn chairs in their yards and watched the constant parade of cyclists go by. As we entered Independence, there were crowds cheering us on and spraying us with cold water. Each night featured food booths, a beer garden, and lots of entertainment. I patronized the food booths operated by local non-profits as a thank you for the great hospitality.

Live Large

The Cost

I spent a bunch of money on gas, bought a bunch of food and drinks in the towns and at the roadside stands, and had to get a new tent before I started. But, I think the biggest cost came when I waved at a passing truck and sent my wedding ring sailing into the air. I heard it hit the pavement a couple of times (ting! ting!), and then I never saw it again. My sister, along with a good Samaritan that stopped, searched the road, the gravel and the grass to no avail. It's probably embedded in the treads of the Tyson Chicken truck whose driver had honked his horn. I was pretty bummed about it, and I felt all of the stress that had finally left my body lunging back in.

It was then that we passed a rider who had caught her wheel in a crack in the road and had apparently gone down hard. There were plenty of people helping, and the rest of the riders were asked to keep moving. After that, I didn't feel like my life was so bad, especially compared to the rider carried off in the ambulance. I'll ask my insurance guy if the loss is covered, but I'm not holding out much hope. We'll go shopping for a new one this weekend.

Tough Guy


As I mentioned above, I really felt all of my work stress go away for a couple of days during the ride. All I thought about was what was ahead, things already passed, and the neat people I had been meeting. Although, I did miss my family a bit. I'm sure that I'll do this ride, or something like it, again.

See a few more photos here.

And I Can't Dance Either

Sunrise in the Power Lines
Sunrise on the Power Lines

In my haste to pack my bag this morning, rather than including one pair of shoes, I instead packed two left shoes. Lucky for me one of the shoes was wide enough to fit on my right foot for the ride home.

Two Left Feet

I also rode downtown for lunch today (less than a mile each way, and the burger was great). On my way back, and guy in a truck pulled up next to me and we talked a bit. He said I was brave for riding in the street, and I answered that it wasn't so bad. (The Lafayette area is pretty nice to bike riders.) He then said that he supposed that I have as much right to the streets as anyone else. How cool is that?

Just to show that I was right about the nice drivers, the many cars that passed me on South River Road tonight all used the entire left lane only when the way was clear. Not a bad day for a guy with two left feet!

Miles Ridden: 10.6