Monday, April 30, 2007

April 2007 Totals

Even with all of the days lost to rain this month, I was still able to beat last year's total and surpass the amount required for my secret goal by over 30 miles. I hope that I can keep up this dedication/enthusiasm all year.

April 2007 Total: 195.3
April 2006 Total: 124.3

2007 Total Miles: 301.6

Bikes in the Garden - Mesa, AZ
Two More Bikes in Arizona

I thought at first that these bicycles were part of the garden decor, but then I noticed the grocery bags tied around the seats. The riders must be storing them here between rides.

Fun with Traffic

Today ended up being a record setting high temperature day. Also, another great bike to work day.

As I rode into work this morning, I had a fun encounter with a red pick up that saw fit to rush around my bike and then make a right turn in front of me. Three blocks later, when I was almost to the office, an aging VW Rabbit pulled out of a parking spot on the left side of the one-way street. He never looked back to check before he gunned it, and I thought for sure he was going to merge right and take me out. Luckily, he was working on a left at the corner, so he stayed on his side.

I came home on a slightly modified north work route. (The bridge is still out on Division between Newman and 350W.) At the intersection of Grant and Northwestern, there was a car coming around the line of cars waiting at the light - across all of the lanes. He was barely rolling, and he looked at me as he slowly crossed my lane. I stopped a ways back, giving him plenty of room. He finished crossing into the right turn lane (which is to the right of the bike lane), and then proceeded to back up across my lane again to get himself facing the right way. All of this happened in what seemed like slow motion because he was being so careful. It was then that I realized that he had probably turned onto the one-way street the wrong way and was trying to fix it without hitting anyone.

The rest of the ride was uneventful.

Miles Ridden: 10.8

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Independence Vulture Loop

I'm hoping to take longer rides during the weekend to help me prepare for the RAGBRAI ride in July. Last week was 24 miles, and the neighbor and I decided to try the Independence loop today. We did this last year in a clockwise direction, so we went counter-clockwise this time. The weather was fantastic, the wind was cooperative, and we had plenty of water. What a great ride!

Picture of a shady creek
We crossed this creek somewhere close to Independence

It's tough to put into words how calm this ride was. Traffic was light, and those that passed often waved, and they always waited patiently behind us on hills. Trees and wildflowers are starting to bloom, so there were neat smells everywhere. Even the skunk odor we went through added to the experience. The plants are just starting to leaf out, so we could still see into the trees, yet everything was green. It's tough to beat rural Indiana in the spring.

Picture of Wet Fields at Riverside
Soggy Fields

For some reason, the turkey vultures were out in force today. There was plenty of roadkill, and at one point, we passed a group of eight or ten birds huddled around something (hopefully a deer). I thought of the Far Side cartoon. (Hey look! I'm a cowboy. Howdy, howdy!) They all scattered into the air as we rode by.

Picture of sign - Vandalism At Work - $500 reward
Vandalism at Work
$500 Reward

We couldn't figure out what the point of this sign is. Are they labeling this dilapidated building as an example of vandalism? Perhaps to encourage it? Is someone trying to find work as a vandal? Don't know.

We modified the route slightly from last year, so we gained a couple of miles.

Miles Ridden: 35.6

UPDATE: Route here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I'm planning a longer ride tomorrow, so I just went out for a short one this afternoon up Indian Creek Hill (Alpe du Kerber) to the Ravines Golf Course and back.

No Where to Hide from the Wind

The west wind was pretty strong, and I found that while riding on the floodplain on River Road, there was no protection from it. However, the tail wind coming back was nice.

Ravines Golf Course
Big Trees at the Golf Course

Coming back, I had to get around the bridge construction on Division Road, so I headed up to a second golf course - the Par View.

I Love the Quote Usage

On my last road ride, my cyclocomputer wasn't registering the cadance. Today, I didn't get get any distance or average speed numbers. I think it's time for a new battery. I used Gmaps Pedometer to estimate the mileage.

Miles Ridden: 16.4

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another Work Day

On the way out this morning, I met my neighbor at the entrance to the subdivision, so we ended up riding in together. He usually leaves later than I, but I was late and he was early, so it worked out. Since it was so close to 8:00, there were a lot of cars, which prevented us from talking much.

Came home on the direct route.

Miles Ridden: 6.8

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rack 'Em Up

Arnett Clinic Has No Bike Rack
Arnett Clinic in West Lafayette Has No Bike Rack

CVS Has a Bike Rack
CVS Has a Bike Rack, But It's Blocked

I should have talked with the manager about the lawn furniture chained to the rack, but I didn't want to bother. I guess they're not too worried about attracting the cycling customer.

Miles Ridden: 13.0

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Heading South

With a southwest wind already blowing at 9:30, I decided to head west and south to West Point. Then I headed east and north on some roads I've never ridden before (500S, 500W, and SR25). Here's the route:

Click to View in GMaps Pedometer

Just over the Granville Bridge, I saw a gathering of greyhounds. There were about 10 dogs and seven or eight people in a fenced field behind a house where I had seen a couple of greyhounds before. These dogs were wearing muzzles and running around the field having fun. We used to have a couple of greyhounds, and I remember how much they loved seeing others of their kind. They acted differently with greyhounds than they did with other dogs.

On 700W, as Spanish company has planted a couple of fields of black walnut trees. They are growing them for hardwood, so it will take at least 30 years (or maybe more, not sure) before they can harvest. Those are some patient investors!

East of West Point, I saw a pothole wetland. surrounded by trees and bushes. The bushes haven't leafed out yet, so I had a good view of it.

The 5MPH wind from the beginning of the ride had turned into 15MPH with 25MPH gusts by the second half. Lucky for me, I was heading north for most of that time, so my speed was pretty good.

Miles Ridden: 24.0

I'll have to do three times that much EACH DAY of the RAGBRAI in July. I'd better get to training!

Black Walnut FarmPothole WetlandRetreat
Click Each Picture to Embiggen

The Amazing Writing Man

Tom made the paper!
Enjoy bicycle touring and commuting

I'm sure you have noticed the annual trend of gas prices rising in time for the summer season -- not that it's very summerlike. One answer to this is to ride your bike to work or on your vacation if you have the time.

There are several benefits to this lifestyle change: health, economy, and stress relief. It's said that every hour you spend exercising adds two hours to your life.

The reduction in stress is another major factor as well. Have a bad day at work? Take the long route and ride the stress out -- your wife, kids and family dog will thank you for it.

Now, the vacation aspect: My wife and I are doing a short bike tour this summer. The average cost of a camping bike tour is about $25 to $50 a day. You don't have to buy gas, and you actually get to see things. It's very cool to have a deer just amble across the road when you are rolling along at 10 mph, and you don't spook it. You get to see things you'll never even notice if you are blasting by at 70 mph in a sealed glass and steel box.

The best thing, though, is that it's just about the journey -- no complications, no worries about how far you are going to go.

We average about 40 miles a day on tour and take it easy and just have fun.

Tom Leonard



Friday, April 20, 2007


My old Cannon digital camera has a mode called Intervalometer that allows time lapse photography. The shortest time setting is one minute. I lashed the camera to the handlebars and recorded my commute today on the South Work Route.

You may have noticed that the morning ride ended at the back door of my building rather than the bike rack. That's because I couldn't find my keys this morning. I learned later that my wife had grabbed them by mistake.

As part of my continued effort to document where I park my bike, here's a shot of the Trek next to the conference table outside my office. (What a messy desk!)

Parking Inside
Parking Inside

Miles Ridden: 8.4


Thursday, April 19, 2007

After Work

The neighbor and I took a quick ride almost to West Point and back.

Miles Ridden: 18.1

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Wet One

Allegro Terranaut
Allegro Terranaut

This bike has been chained to the bike rack at my office for at least 18 months. It is an Allegro Terranaut. I don't know if it was ever worth anything, as there was only one result in my Google search that referenced a bike. It is now pretty rusty everywhere except maybe the frame. (Sorry for the lousy picture. I didn't notice the shadows in the shot until I got home.)

The other bike that had been there with the Allegro disappeared last week. I don't know if the owner came for it, if Physical Facilities cut it off (and couldn't cut through the major league chain on the Allegro), or if someone took it. I can't imagine it was worth very much - a dept. store bike with more rust than metal left. The Allegro was knocked over but otherwise untouched.

Anyway, I had a good ride in today. It was in the 40s; about 10 degrees warmer than the past two mornings. Unfortunately, the sunny weather from lunchtime changed to rain by 5:00. My kids told me over the phone that it was just misting, so I turned down my wife's offer of a ride. By the time I got out on the road, the misting had turned to sprinkling, and that soon became a shower. I was both cold and soaked by the time I got home. Still, I got to ride, so I had a good time, and there's a neat story to tell at work tomorrow.

Miles Ridden: 6.9

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Best Day of April So Far

Nice rides today. On the way in, I came upon a freshly killed deer on the road. An oncoming car was trying to drive around the carcass that was blocking his entire lane, so I pulled over to let him around. A co-worker told me that when he came through a half an hour later, someone had apparently pulled Bambi to the side. I won't go into details, but it looked NASTY!

I've been feeling very comfortable lately while taking my place in traffic. My ride up Salisbury street up to and across Sagamore Parkway requires that I take the left lane for about three blocks. Once I saw a break in traffic and got over, I was confident that I was OK there. No one seemed too upset.

Walgreens Bike Rack
Walgreen's Has A Bike Rack, Sort Of

I don't know why Walgreen's put their bike rack so far from the door and so close to the building. I eventually turned the bike around with the back wheel against the rack so it wouldn't fall over. With the sidewalk kind of narrow, I was pretty much blocking access to the ramp at the end. In fact, right after I clicked the lock, a lady came out with a cart, and she seemed a little steamed that she had to push it over the edge of the sidewalk to get to her car (although, if she hadn't pulled up so far, there would have been room).

I saw lots of commuters, students, and recreational cyclists riding around.

Miles Ridden: 13.0

Oh, I almost forgot about the weird bike I saw. Some kid was riding what looked like a 20" BMX bike with a normal rear tire, and a 26" front tire. He must have changed out the forks to handle the bigger wheel. Plus, the back tire was flat! I was going to ask him if I could get a photo, but he took off the wrong way down a one way street, and I didn't feel like following him.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Still There

Moe at Bike Commuters submitted this post about why he likes being a commuter. One line that made me laugh out loud was "I check on my bike from time to time, yeah, it is still there, waiting for me for the ride back home." I realized that I do that as well. When I have a meeting on the south side of the building or just walk by a window, I have to look down to see if the Trek is still there. It always is.

Also, Commute by Bike posted a poll asking where we park at work. So I thought I would take a shot of the bike rack out of the meeting room window to demonstrate my parking situation, and to make sure I had a ride home.

My Bike at Work
My Bike on the Rack

My plan today was to drive my daughter to her 7:00 orthodontist appointment and then take her to school. I would leave my car in the middle school parking lot and pull the bike out of the trunk for the ride to and from work. However, the appointment took all of 3 minutes, so we went out for breakfast and then back home for her to catch the bus. On the way to the Doctor's office, we passed Bill Arthur.

My ride in was the normal straight shot, and I saw two other commuters on the way. (One shot past me on the hill as if I were standing still - and I almost was.) Coming home, I took a slightly abbreviated North Work Route, cutting south on Klondike and Sharon Chapel roads because of the bridge construction on Division Road.

Miles Ridden: 10.6

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tale from the Crypts

Finally, a good day for a bike ride!

I had planned to just wander around the roads of unincorporated Wabash Township for an hour or so, but I ended up heading into West Lafayette and across campus.

Crypts Behind the Cemetery
Burial Crypts Behind the Cemetery

Where the Cattail Trail loops behind the cemetery, we pass the storage area for the burial crypts.

Ross Building
Ross Building

This is the Ross Building where the OnePurdue team is housed, and where I have meetings every week or two.

Cattail Trail Still Closed
Trail Still Closed

The portion of the Cattail Trail between Lindberg and Cherry has been closed since last fall. The construction work on Cherry Street has just finished, but I predict it will be a couple of weeks before they re-pave the trail.

On the way home, I rode around campus while Spring Fest was wrapping up. They had a good crowd today after the near rain out yesterday.

Miles Ridden: 16.2

After the ride, I went to the LBS for some chain lube, and I found that they were having their Super Sale weekend. I ended up with a frame mountable pump, 3 tubes (for $9.99), two Team Discovery water bottles, and two different types of lube. I love sales!

(Not sure why I was in a black and white mood today.)

Friday, April 06, 2007


I saw a student riding one of these as I was driving home today.

Might be fun to try out.

Monday, April 02, 2007

No Fools Today

April 2nd is my work anniversary - six years! I decided to celebrate by riding to work.

I threw in a ride to a meeting, and the direct route home.

Miles Ridden: 15.5

Sunday, April 01, 2007

5 Reasons I Blog

Tom tagged me to report 5 reasons why I blog. Here goes...

To Remember
I enjoy my rides, and I like to remember the details. The blog helps me do that. I often revisit old posts, and I can visualize the ride as I read.
To Organize My Thoughts
My mind is racing all the time, and it's nice to get something down once in a while. This removes one more thread from the tangled mess in my head.
To Write
I've always been jealous of people who write journals or diaries, but I've never had anything to say. I'm not sharing my deep, innermost thoughts here, but it's something. Plus, I get practice with punctuation, grammar, and vocabulary.
To Share
I like reading about others' ride experiences, so I put mine down in case someone wants to read them. Plus, my contribution may inspire someone else.
To Document
I'm no great photographer, and my pics are more like snapshots than art work, but I still enjoy trying to capture moments and interesting scenes. The blog gives me a place to post them and put context around them.