Saturday, September 26, 2009

$&#@!* CARS!!!!! - #2

A couple weeks ago, I was riding work. Running late, which seems to be the rule lately, I took the shorter route which goes through Huntington Park. I was exiting the park at the light that crosses Mercury Blvd. Since I don't have enough metal on my bike to trigger the traffic light sensor, I rolled over to the light pole and pushed the button. My light turned green and out of habit, I first looked right, towards the James River Bridge, all was clear. I then looked left and noticed a white car approaching the intersection at a pretty high rate of speed. Although they had a red light and it had been red for several seconds, it was obvious that they weren't slowing down.

As the car barrelled through the intersection at 45 MPH, I noticed the female driver chatting away furiously on her cell phone. She was completely oblivious to the dangers she placed herself and others, principally me, in.

My dear readers, never take a green light for granted. Look both ways before you stomp on those pedals. It may mean the difference between life and death. It did for me on this particular morning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I am in La this week visiting my parents. I took the Bike Friday. As I write this I am in the middle of a bike ride. I stopped outside the library to use their WiFi. I am writing this post using my new Apple Itouch. Slow but effective.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bicycle or Motorcycle or Both

On a recent ride, I noticed a bicycle locked to a light post. Then I noticed something peculiar about it. Running along the chain stay was the tell-tell sign of a muffler. A bicycle with a muffler - hmmm - that deserves a closer look.I had never seen anything quite like it. Notice the 2-cycle engine mounted beneath the down tube and forward of the bottom bracket and the fuel tank integrated in the rear rack.

When I got home, I googled it and found that it was a Motorella S1, made by Micromachine.

Monday, September 7, 2009

C&O Canal and GAP Ride - Postlude

Well - there you have it. 34 Blog Posts (35 counting this one) chronicling our Epic Journey of the C&O Canal Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage.

As I mention in my intro, this blog is about "looking over my handlebars and telling you what I see, experience, think and feel." That's what I've attempted to do in this series. I hope you've enjoyed reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.

If you wanna see all the pics of this ride, check out the photo album "C&O Canal And Great Allegheny Passage Ride 2009".

Ya'll stay in touch, cause I got more riding to do and more stories to tell.

For now though, I'm gonna sit back, relax and sip on an ice cold beer (Bell's Oberon - my favorite wheat beer).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

C&O Canal and GAP Ride - Day 7 - The End of the Trail

The closer we got to the end of the trail, we noticed that the demeanor of the riders we encountered changed. More often than not, these riders refused to make eye contact with us and in no way, shape or form were they going to return our greeting. They all seemed to have the exact same expression on their faces - a scowling concentration on a particular spot of the trail that was 15' ahead and slightly to the right of their front wheel.

Considering the huge number of people we passed over the last week that were jovial and friendly and quick to smile and wave, the mannerisms of the folks we now encountered was peculiar. I'm not going to venture a theory as to why. People live their own lives in their own way. It's not my place to figure them out or judge them. I'm just gonna keep riding and every rider I pass, I'll give a smile, a wave and a friendly greeting. what they do in return is entirely up to them.

The closer we got to the end of the trail, we also noticed that the trail itself and the scenery changed drastically as well.

The wonderful crushed gravel trail that we had enjoyed immensely since leaving Cumberland, ended abruptly on a run down, pot hole infested paved road just a mile or so outside of McKeesport.

The beautiful, dense forest was replaced with a huge metal scrap yard.

The tranquility of the woods was broken by tractors and machinery working feverishly on the mountains of scrap.

We followed the dilapidated road and the limited number of trail signs into town. We crossed a bridge over the river and once again found some semblance of the trail. It was littered with broken glass. All evidence of the trail ended in Riverfront Park. We were at the end - we think. There was no sign to mark it. It just ended. As did our ride.It was an anticlimactic and disappointing end to an otherwise phenomenal week.

A little later, Bob's son met us in McKeesport with a chilled bottle of champagne.Ahhhh - maybe it wasn't all that disappointing an end after all. Cheers!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

C&O Canal and GAP Ride - Day 7 - Small Towns

The final day of our trip, the trail was marked by small towns/communities that were clustered around it. The houses were on each side of the trail. The setting was quaint. The yards well manicured. Each of these communities had several things in common.

The trail.The river.Houses of worship.Ball fields.The river no longer raced through the mountains like it had the last couple days.Now it flowed nice and slow.Much like the pace of life I envisioned in these small communities.

C&O Canal and GAP Ride - Day 7 - Breakfast

On our final morning, we fixed coffee, but otherwise decided to skip breakfast in the campground. Our plan was to ride a couple miles to the little town of Dawson and sit down and have a proper breakfast. After navigating a herd of stray cattle,we rode into town, only to find that there was no place to eat. I tried to approach the only person I saw and ask directions. When the lady saw me riding toward her, she spun around and hastily walked to the back of her house. That was odd.

We got back on the trail and headed for West Newton, some 20 miles away. We made it there around 10 AM and then enjoyed a really nice breakfast. As we were eating, guess who walks in - Ed and Deb (Tandem Couple from Ohio) and Ed's Dad, who was there to pick them up. We visited a bit, bid them farewell and hit the trail for the final leg of our trip.

We had a mere 20 miles to go to McKeesport and over 2 hours to get there. we had plenty of time and hence rode at a very easy clip.