Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Bike 2012

Much as I have been with this blog this year, so have I been negligent in celebrating my annual Christmas tradition - The Christmas Bike. In the past, soon after Thanksgiving, I'm cracking open a craft beer and decorating my bike for the season.

This year, I stood in my garage the evening before my last ride to work before the Christmas holidays and my bike stood there all plain and forlorn. Well - better late than never. I climbed into the attic and found the decorations, took a cold beer out of the frig and went to work. I decided to downscale this year and limit the decorations to a wreath on the handlebars and lights around the frame.

On my first and only Christmas Bike ride of the year, I realized the full measure of my negligence. It was early morning and quite dark. The Christmas Bike blinked brightly and cheerfully. I rode up to a stop sign and cars were coming from both directions on the crossing road, so I came to a complete stop. As I stopped, so did the car heading East and then the car heading West. So there were the three of us at a stand still, no one moving. The thing was, I was the only vehicle that had a stop sign. The two cars had the full right away. On any other day, they would have run me over had I even thought about crossing their path, but this morning, they stopped and waited patiently. I pushed off while the cars waited patiently and waved as I passed in front of their headlights. I couldn't see the drivers faces, but I'm certain they both smiled.
When I decorate my bike and don my Santa hat, I'm under no disillusionment, I raise my dorkiness level to new heights. So why bring that kind of attention myself? That's simple - it causes people to stop and smile - a pleasant interruption in our otherwise hectic lives and in a world of tragedy.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Russian Roulette on a Bike

We all see them, especially those of us who ride. You know them, the folks we notice riding bikes that go to great lengths to, unbeknownst to themselves, to get in harms way.

Today, I witnessed perhaps the most egregious example that I've ever had the unfortunate privilege of witnessing.

- a teenage male

- riding down a busy, one way, 3 lane road road - On the LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD

- rush hour traffic

- no helmet

- riding a clunker

- ear buds in his ears

- one hand on the handlebars

- the other hand on a smart phone - non stop texting

- head down and focused on smart phone

- weaving precariously between shoulder of road and closely zooming traffic

He might as well have put a single round in a revolver - spun the cylinder - put the barrel to his head and pulled the trigger.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Last Piece - Let's Ride

One may be tempted to look at these pictures and conclude that they have nothing to do with bicycling. That would be a rash conclusion indeed. These pictures have everything to do with bicycling.

The story begins the Summer of 2011. That was the Summer that I did a week long bike tour in upstate New York. I promised my wife that when I finished that ride, I would start focusing on getting things done around the house.

True to my word, as soon as I got back, I hung up the bike and picked up a tool bag. Over the last year and half, I've completely re-sided the outside of our house. It took longer than I thought and was much more involved than I envisioned. But yesterday, as documented in the pictures that started this post, I installed the very last piece of siding!!!!!

Now my attention will once more drawn toward that which has been in the past and will be in the future, a ever present and comforting force in my life - my bicycle!! And you my faithful readers will benefit as well, cause I plan to talk about it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cargo Bikes Carry More Ice

Four 10 lb. bags of ice with room to spare...


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Riding Above the Clouds

It was the final day of my final Summer Micro-adventure.  The day dawned beautifully, sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60's.  I was slow to get out of bed.  These were perfect sleeping conditions.  I turned my head to the right and looked out the window of my camper.  Nothing but trees and sky atop the mountain upon which I chose to make camp.
Check out time was noon and I still had a bike ride to get in.  After 2 quick cups of coffee and a muffin, I donned Lycra and mounted my trusty steed.  I shot down the mountain to the Skyline Drive and headed North.  I glanced at my watch and realized I had a scant 2 hours to ride, a woefully inadequate amount of time on such a gorgeous day amidst such stunning scenery.  Then I looked on the bright side, I could be at work right now.

How far did I ride?  Uhhhh - I don't know.  What was my average speed?  Don't know that neither.  I didn't even bother to turn on my cycle computer.   Today was not about distance or speed or cadence or heart rate or power.  I stopped at every scenic overview.  I took pictures.

At one scenic overview there was a Sign that indicated that on only 10% of days in summer was it clear enough to see 48 miles and the mountains in West VA.  I saw them clearly.  I hit the one hour out hard stop far too fast and was forced to turn around.  I was back at the base of Loft Mountain before I knew it and was forced to climb the hill that earlier I had shot down.  It was long, it was steep, it was ecstasy.

As I slowly rode upward, I noticed something black just off the side of the road and a few feet ahead.  Then that something moved and I realized it was a black bear.  I startled it as much as it startled me.  It took off running into the brush just as I stood on the pedals and hammered uphill.  Realizing neither of us were a threat to the other we both stopped and looked at one another.  Then the bear went its was and I continued riding to the top.

It was a simple, but epic ride.  Perfect weather and breathtaking scenery and close encounters with wildlife.  What better way to celebrate and remember it but than to toast it with a pint of Ordinary Bitter and put it into words.
Two days earlier I hiked the Appalachian Trail for 13 miles and to quote Karle Wilson' "...I have grown taller from walking among the trees.". 

Today I rode on the Skyline Drive and to quote myself, "...I have grown taller from riding above the clouds."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 18 - Useless Rain Gear

Just yesterday I became the proud new owner of cycling specific, Gore Tex rain gear.  No expense was spared.

Today as I rode to work it rained and I got wet.

This blog is not only inspiring and entertaining, it is also educational.  Occasionally I like to impart a tidbit  of useful commuting information.  So here you go - If you leave your top of the line rain gear at home, it will not keep you dry while riding your bike in the rain.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 17 - Coffee Break

This morning I decided to skip the gym.  I had a little extra time on my hands.

So, I poured a thermos full of coffee...

 Threw it in my pannier...

Rode down to the river and poured me a cup...

Kicked back and watched the Deadrises at work...

The life of a cycling commuter - it don't get no better!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 16 - Nothing Of Note

Each commuting day this month I've tried to cover the gamut of things I see and experience while riding to and from work. Nothing spectacular or earth shattering. Just simple things. However, I don't want to leave you readers thinking that each day you ride to work will be a life changing experience. Most days are not noteworthy, they are simply getting back and forth to work.

Today was one of those days. I didn't see anyone. I didn't see anything, except the squirrel I almost ran over. It was foggy and there was no spectacular scenery. It was hot and humid.

I just mechanically climb on the bike and pedal and sweat and breathe.  Not thinking.  Not feeling.  Just riding.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 15 - Looking Left and Right

While the title is certainly something you want to do continually to keep an eye on traffic, that's not what I'm referring to in today's post.

As I rode to work this morning I glanced to my right, the West and was struck by a view of ominous storm clouds just beyond the river.

I glanced to my left, the East and my view was greeted by a beautiful sunrise against clear skies.

The two views were a dichotomy of sorts. The direction of my gaze conjured within me two totally different and opposing perspectives, one of gloom and one of hope. I can't control the weather, but upon which I rest my eyes is a choice totally mine.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bike To Work Month - Day 14 - Bike to Work Day

Today the rest of the country celebrates what I do everyday, bike to work.
I hope that someone out there who opted to give it a go for the day will...

...experience the joy that I experience each and every day.

...discover that 13 mph is plenty fast enough and to go much faster is a waste of life.

...realize that the world is just a short bike ride away.

...fall as in love with it as I have.

Maybe that lucky person will decide to take biking to work beyond an annual event and make it a lifestyle.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 13 - A Pathetic Bike Path

There is about a mile stretch of my commuting route home where I ride on the sidewalk. While it is legal for me to do so, I hate it because it crosses a lot of side streets where I have to slow down to cross. Furthermore, I have to regularly navigate around pedestrians, most of whom are walking dogs on those leashes that expand in and out. When I come upon these folks, quite a few give me ugly looks for being on the sidewalk. If only they knew that I hate it as much as them and that I ride on the sidewalk out of necessity, not convenience.

For you see there was a time that I rode on the shoulder of the adjacent road. Then people started parallel parking on that shoulder which forced me to ride out in one of the three lanes of rush hour traffic. After an untold number of close calls, honking of horns, cursing, gnashing of teeth and shaking of fist, I could take it no longer. I opted for the lesser of the evils - the sidewalk.

Recently though, the city reworked the sewer system on this road and in so doing shifted the lanes to eliminate the shoulder on the right side of the road, thus creating this...

Now I've never heard of a bike lane on the left hand side of the road. I've never heard of painting diagonal yellow lines on a bike path. Then I remembered the city in which I live and realized that our city designers and engineers can't even spell "bike path", much less conceive of creating one. But those yellow lines also mean no parking. So - I have abandoned the sidewalk and now claim this yellow hatched, left hand side of the road as my bike path.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bike To Work Month - Day 12 - Blogging Central Open for the Season

As I rode home today I had some time to kill, so I stopped at 7-Eleven and picked up a six pack of my favorite beverage...

Then headed to my favorite picnic table in the woods for some unwind time...

I haven't sat in this spot since last fall. It felt just like home. I'm looking forward to a Summer long tradition - a sabbatical of sorts - where I detour to this secluded spot - commune with nature - sit alone with my thoughts - drink cold beer - and share with you my faithful readers what's rattling around in my head and heart.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 11 - Tricky Weather

So far this week it's been all about the weather. Yesterday morning the radar showed the entire area blanketed in light rain. I donned rain gear and no rain fell, so I took off the jacket and finished the ride in my rain pants.

This morning, the radar showed very widely scattered showers. I skipped the rain gear and walked outside to pouring rain. I waited 5 minutes for it to let up and rode off. Just half a mile from the house the roads were completely dry.

This afternoon the radar showed some scattered, really ugly storm cells. I put on my helmet and walked out the office. On the way to my bike, I looked north and the sky was ominously dark, I looked west and the skies were equally ominous. Then a clap of thunder shook me to my core and I turned around and walked back to the office.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 10 - A Flat

As I rode by she was just coming round the quarter panel of her SUV.  She obviously had places to be and things to do - take the kids to school - get to work...  Then she looked down and to her right promptly followed by a raising of her hands,  lifting of her head and rolling of her eyes.  She would be going no where soon, for the rear wheel on the driver's side was flat.

I was tempted to suggest that she ride a bike, but obtuse as I am, even I could tell that this was neither the time nor place to counsel her on alternate modes of transportation.  I smiled, but not until I was sure she couldn't see me, and rode on.  I was secure in the knowledge that I had air in my tires and even in the unfortunate event that I flatted - I possessed the tools, spare parts and know how to make the necessary repairs and continue on my way in as little as 15 minutes.

Simple and self sufficient - that's what I like - that's why I commute by bike.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 9 - Stuck in Traffic (NOT)

As I was riding home through the quiet neighborhoods that make up my daily commute, I was re-riding in mind the commute of the day before. I was trying to make my way to Fort Monroe when I snapped the following photo as my route paralleled I-64.

I was the only bike on the bike path while the interstate was a parking lot jammed full of cars. There I was enjoying the sunshine and fresh air while countless drivers sat and waited. Surely each of those drivers had a place to be and I doubt it was sitting idle on the interstate. I wonder how many were tense and frustrated? I wonder how many sat numb and resigned to their fate? I wonder if it dawned on any of them that they had an alternative, a two wheeled alternative? An alternative that improved their health, rejuvenated their state of mind, saved them money, was friendly to the environment, relaxing, fun and simple. Bikes may not be able to save the world - but they can make a heck of a dent in improving it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 8 - After Work Fish Fry

After work today, I attended a fish fry for a society that I'm a member of. So when I climbed on my bike, I pointed it east towards Fort Monroe. I wasn't sure exactly what route I'd take, what to expect from the traffic, nor how long it would take. It turns out that the weather was perfect, the wind was to my back and sticking with the back streets the traffic was minimal.

I first made my way to Chesapeake Blvd. to ride along the water.

As I rode, I could see my destination in the distance and watched as it grew nearer.

I traveled through downtown Hampton and then found a small bike path that took me to Hampton University. I rode through the university and the adjacent medical complex, all the while paralleling the interstate.

Crossing over the interstate, I once again detoured into the neighborhoods and rode through Phoebus and after an hour of riding at a very slow, relaxed pace, I found myself but on small bridge from my destination.

 I pushed on and in a matter of minutes stood outside the Chamberlin Hotel which I had been keeping an eye on for most of my commute.

I rode even slower through historic Fort Monroe to my final destination...

The ride - in a word - BEAUTIFUL!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 7 - Commuting by Truck Averted

I poured my first cup of coffee this morning, clicked on the "Weather Channel" app and noticed that there was an 80% chance of rain -starting at around 7 AM and throughout the day and evening. I decided to drive the truck to work. As an added benefit and justification for taking the easy and dry road, I also recalled that I needed to get home quick this afternoon to take my wife out to dinner. I took another sip of coffee and then it dawned on me - May is Bike to Work Month - I committed to riding and blogging everyday - dang me and my commitments - why can't I just be-bop through life without a care in the world - why do I have to go and make such a commitment to the entire blogosphere?

Oh well, what's done is done. I put on my riding shoes and helmet and climb on my bike. I stopped at the gym to work out and when I came back out to my bike around 7 AM to continue my commute, there was a light drizzle dangling in the air. As I paralleled the James River I looked across at the grey, threatening clouds and hoped the rain would hold off.

I made it to work still dry and with my commitment intact.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 6 - An Alternate Route

We are all creatures of habit. I have ridden on River Road hundreds upon hundreds of times over the last 20 years. I have ridden it so often that my bike has memorized every bump. I believe I could take my hands off the handlebars and my bike would navigate with ease. I choose to keep my hands on the handlebars, not for fear of crashing, but for fear of how unsettling it would be if my bike actually took control.

Of late, the city has been replacing the sewer system one house at a time and the impact upon River Road has grown with each passing day. Having now reached a point where the destruction spans 4 or 5 blocks and makes riding downright unbearable.

I am now forced to alter my route. The detour runs parallel with river road and is scarcely one block to the east, but I still feel like a stranger in a foreign land.

I long for the day when River Road will be restored to its rightful place and my commuting world can be set right once again.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 5 - For Want of a Pant Clip

The minutes were clicking away, I searched frantically for them. I rummaged through the garage. I emptied the contents of my bike bag. It was all in vain. They were no where to be found.

I cried out, "For want of pant clips my commute is lost!"

In their absence, I resorted to the only thing that prevented the unspeakable, driving my truck to work, I reached down and rolled up my pants leg.

I had to set aside the clean cut look of pant clips...

I shudder to think the impact that something so small (pun intended) had on my sex appeal.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 4 - My Morning Routine

4:30 AM - I'm out of bed.

4:32 AM - making Coffee

4:34 AM - let the dog out

4:35 AM - go to bathroom

4:45 AM - getting dressed.

4:50 AM - let the dog back in.

4:53 AM - kick back in recliner with iPad and Coffee. Blog, read, surf the net, pray, listen to music, check e-mail. This is my time. No noise. No distraction. I protect it religiously.

5:55 AM - replace battery in riding lawn mower (normally I would be climbing on my bike and heading for the gym, but the grass needs cutting and to do that the lawn mower needs starting. I hate it when life gets in the way of what I really want to do).

6:25 AM - climb on bike and take short route to work (normally if I were leaving at this time of day I would be taking the longer route, but I played golf yesterday and bummed a ride home with a buddy and like an idiot left my riding shoes at work. This is shaping up to be one heck of a day.)

6:55 AM - I arrive and work and lock up my bike.

7:00 AM - I walk across the street to Ernie's (small restaurant) and have a big breakfast of eggs, sausage, potatoes and toast (normally I would walk to my office and eat yogurt and granola, but I'm a bit frustrated with my morning so far, so I skip the stupid yogurt and granola.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 3 - Caught Between Winter & Summer

Riding in April and early May in VA can be a crap shoot. I'll wake up one morning and the weather is absolutely beautiful with clear skies, mild temperatures and a gentle breeze - its the kind of morning when no matter how slow or far I ride, I still get there way too soon. I wake up another morning and it's hot and humid - it's the kind of morning when I get to work soaked in sweat. 

This morning I was expecting warm temperatures and sunny skies. I was playing golf that afternoon and so, as tradition would have it, I donned my pink, Nike, golf shirt. I was only a few pedal strokes down the street when I realized that I overestimated the temperature (that's what I get for believing the forecast in Eastern VA) and found myself a bit underdressed. I was cold, but once I start pedaling away, I generally have a rule of not turning back. My shirt which is perfect for letting air in and sweat out, performed to perfection. It let lots of cool air in to rotate freely around my goose bump covered skin. It was the kind of morning when no matter how fast or short the distance I ride, I still don't get there soon enough.


Oh well - at least I still rode and that's always a good thing.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 2 - A Random Epiphany

I've mentioned before how when riding back and forth to work, I have lots of time to think. That is simultaneously a good thing, but also, considering my mind, can be scary as well.

A case in point, there's one particular house I pass each day in which lives a middle aged couple. They don't have any children. They don't have a dog or cat or goldfish (at least they don't take the gold fish outside). What they do have are two or three of the biggest, hairiest, ugliest rabbits I've ever seen. Now, I've known folks that raise rabbits, but they have been entirely confined to a little wire cage. This couple actually takes their rabbits outside everyday and let's them rummage around the yard getting exercise, fresh air and vitamin D. Sometimes they bring them out in a little cage. Other times they construct a small portable fence and let the wander around this makeshift corral. Often times though they let them wander around the yard freely.

Most days that I pass, this couple are on their hands and knees trying to coax these small minded mammals out of some bush that they've burrowed themselves into. Every time I see this couple, I actually feel sorry for them. They have pets that don't bark, don't fetch, aren't squat for home security, don't come when they're and have very little to no personality. This couple's lives are relegated to scooping up little round turds, crawling around on their hands and knees trying to keep their critters out of the shrubs while all the time scanning the skies to assure a random hawk won't swoop down and carry away their loved ones.

Just today as I rode past their house, after stopping at the tavern for a pint or two, I once again witnessed this couples poor plight in life and was struck by an epiphany. I was one pint shy of crying aloud, but it still screamed in my head - "eat the dadgum rabbits and be free!"



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bike to Work Month - Day 1 - Good Boy

I haven't blogged in a while. Been busy - distracted - kinda gotten out of the habit. I'm not ready to give it up. I've been looking for a way to get back into the groove. May is Bike to Work Month. I thought I would try to jump start my blogging again by attempting to Blog for each day I will commute to work by bike. Considering the fact that I am also committed to riding to work everyday, that means that I will blog each and every working day during the month of May.

Today as I rode the foot bridge across the drainage ditch from Huntington Park, I climbed onto the adjoining neighborhood street and two BIG German Shepherds came charging across their front yard in my direction with barks and growls that didn't exactly instill a warm and fuzzy feeling. I didn't feel particularly threatened by their advance because they were in a fenced in yard. Were this incident to end here it would not be particularly blogworthy. What troubled me for the rest of my commute was the response of the dogs' owner. As the dogs barked ominously and displayed obvious signs of aggression, the lady in the front yard with them kept praising their antics repeatedly with "good boys - good boys - good boys!!! ".

Other than giving her a look that clearly relayed that I thought her a less than intelligent female dog, I held my tongue. Shaking my head exasperatingly, I rode on. I pondered this event for the rest of the ride. Not choosing to assume the worst in my fellow human race, I refuse to believe that she was encouraging their aggressive behavior directed at an innocent cyclist. Instead I choose to rationalize that what she was praising was their self control in not jumping the measly 3 foot high fence that separated them from their arch enemy - a cyclist.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Learning to Ride

On my ride home yesterday, I saw a young boy. He was straddling the bike sheepishly. He was unsure of himself, but determined. His left foot was hopping along the ground as his right foot was busy coaxing the corresponding pedal to the 1:00 o'clock position. By this time, I drew abreast of him and quickly passed by. I glanced over my shoulder to gauge his success to find that he and the bike were a cohesive heap on the road. He immediately jumped up, grabbed the bike patiently and started to attempt the whole process again. I smiled to myself and thought, bravo, keep at it lad. The joys and freedom that await you once you get up on two wheels will far outweigh the bumps and bruises you suffer while learning to.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Typical Commute - Mile 0

The alarm goes off at 4:30 AM and my day begins.  I throw some beans in the grinder and start the coffee a brewing...

The smell of coffee does it to me every time, so its off to the throne...

I let the dog out...

I get dressed...

I pour a cup of coffee, piddle a while on the computer and enjoy the peace and quiet.  The mornings are my time.   In the next couple hours, I'll be at work enduring constant interruptions and being pulled in a million directions.  When I finally make it home, it will be time to invest in this wonderful thing called marriage.  I'll sneak in a drink or two.  I'll go to bed early.  The mornings are my time and I protect them religiously and savor them immensely.

I don my riding gear...

I load the bike...

Before I get to the end of my drive way, I am faced with a choice...

Do I turn right and take the longer route to work (10 miles) or do I turn left and take the shorter route (5 miles)?  It's cold and still dark out, so I turned left.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Musings of My Spinning Instructor

This year, I've started participating in a spinning class on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.  This isn't my first foray into this form of exercise.  10 years or so ago I found myself enthralled with spinning on a regular basis.  My instructor at the time was this drop dead gorgeous brunette that looked phenomenal in tights.  She would position her bike at the front of the class facing us.  Behind her was a wall of mirrors.  We were afforded an all around view of her assets.  It was like surround sound and 3D on steroids!!  I never missed a class.  After too short a time, she quit to pursue other career opportunities.  I lost all interest in spinning, until just recently.

Now I am proud to admit that it is all about the bike.  My motivation to spin is no longer driven by a shallow obsession with a scantily clad, drop dead gorgeous brunette.  Bob positions his bike amidst the rest of the class and leads us through an hour long sufferfest.   I think he fancies himself a bit of a philosopher, cause as the sweat pours, he occasionally throws out a tid-bit or two of things to chew on mentally.  Case in point, as we were spinning along yesterday morning, he yells out this jewel above the hip-hop music...

"When you think you're at you're end, the BIKE calls for more!  Repent!!  Repent!!!"

I fancy myself a bit of a philosopher as well, so I smile, put my head down and pedal harder!  I repent!!  I repent!!!

PS - Bob if you're reading this, I like you, but if the drop dead gorgeous brunette ever shows up looking for a job, I'll be leading the charge to have you replaced.  Sorry - It's nothing personal!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Commuting Persistence

I was riding home from work.

It was late - It was dark - It was raining.

The visibility wasn't the best, but I was taking my time and actually enjoying the even slower than usual pace.  I was in no hurry.  I had no place to be.  I had no schedule to keep.  It was me - the bike - the darkness - the rain.  We weren't  in each others way.  No matter what else the world was doing at that moment - we were coexisting in harmony.

I approached a side street and noticed a car pulling up at that instant.  I instinctively tapped the brakes and it was a good thing I did.  It wasn't until my headlamp was shining bright in the drivers shocked face that she became aware of my presence.  It was too late, they had already pulled out.  If I had not slowed down and pulled slightly onto the street they recently vacated, their first inkling of my presence would have been me sliding, none too gracefully I'm sure, across their hood.

Commuting on a bike is dangerous business.  I don't do it cause I like flirting with danger.  I do it cause I like riding.  I take every possible precaution to minimize my risk.  I obey the law.  I wear bright clothing.  I avoid main thoroughfares.  My bike is lit up like a Christmas tree.  I ride defensively.  I like to think that these things reduce my risk.  The operative word is "reduce".  Yet despite my due diligence, there are times when the unexpected happens.  This night I was ready.

Tomorrow morning, despite the close call, I will once again straddle my bike and pedal away.  Given the danger, why do I persist in riding?  The answer is quite simple really - The alternative is something I cannot and will not brook!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Roaring Wind

 I first heard it as I regained consciousness from a sound night's sleep.  I thought the nearby Air Force base was flying training runs in the early hours.  It wasn't until I drug myself out of bed and stumbled to the coffee pot that the true source of the sound manifested it's way into my brain.  As the coffee brewed, I leaned against the counter and, in my groggy mind, hoped it would be a tailwind. 

It was still quite dark as I slung a leg over my bike and pushed off for my morning commute.  As I rode through the neighborhoods making my way to the gym, the presence of the wind made itself eerily known.  It was too dark to see it blowing the trees about.  I was sheltered by the houses and could not feel it.  But the sound - oh the sound.  It was veritable roar as it rushed overhead.  It sounded like the echo of an angry giant.  I cringed and pedaled on.  Hoping to escape its notice.

When I left the gym, daylight was starting to dawn.  I stopped a moment to gaze upon the James River and the tempest into which it had been thrown.  In the daylight, I no longer feared it, but instead was simply grateful it was to my back.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Commuting Pearl of Wisdom #1 - Intro

I have been commuting back and forth to work for more than 20 years.  During that time, through trial and error, crook and brook, school of hard knocks, bumps and bruises - I've managed to pick up a thing or two.  With that being said, I thought it would be a prudent and selfless act on my part to publish, for world, wide consumption, some of my "Commuting Pearls of Wisdom".

To that end, I will be imparting to you, on a, hopefully, regular basis, various commuting tips that I've picked up over the years.  We'll be talking bikes, gear, clothing, riding techniques, preparation and the Lord only knows what other topics my twisted mind may come up with.

So stay tuned!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Dark And Stormy Night and cold too

 I don t mind riding in the dark.

I don't mind riding in the rain.

I don't mind riding in the cold.

You combine all 3 and it makes for a memorable commute that I'd just as soon forget.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year Plans

The holiday season has zoomed past in a blur and I am out of the starting blocks of the New Year in a full out sprint.  My mind is already churning out plans for my adventures in 2012.  I thought I'd let you in on them so you could know what to look forward to in the coming year.

In past years, my cycling season revolved around one major, week long bike tour.  This year, I'm gonna try something, not just a little, but a lot different.  

- Instead of a single, full week, I'm going to break my adventures into not less than five - 4 day weekends.  By combining vacation, with flex time, I'm figuring I can up my days of adventure from  7 days to 20 days without using any additional vacation.

- Instead of solely bike touring, I'm going to diversify my mode of personal transport.  The below pic is what Santa Clause brought me for a Christmas...

Now - before you go off donning sackcloth and smearing ashes upon your forehead, let me assure you, I am not walking away from the bike.  There are still many more miles to ride in my legs and many more stories to be told.   I am simply endeavoring to diversify.  At a high level this is what I'm tentatively planning:

Weekend 1 - 4 day bike tour

Weekend 2 - 4 day hike

Weekend 3 - 4 day bike tour

Weekend 4 - 4 day kayaking trip

Weekend 5 - 4 day hike

At this point I don't know where or when, but you can rest assured that I will be sure to keep you in the loop as plans develop.

I realize that this blog is about bikes and I plan to keep it that way.  But, as vain as it sounds, it is also about me.  I will use it as a forum to also bring you, hopefully interesting tales of all my upcoming adventures whether they be on two wheels whirling, two legs walking or two arms paddling.