Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Takin it to the streets

I decided to do my part to alleviate some of the heavy traffic on the Rock Island today by riding home on S 20th street. Signs prominently marking it a "bike route" are posted every block or so along the way.

I seldom have a car come up behind me on that street, and I encounter maybe 10 or 11 coming from the opposite direction, 4 or 5 of which are stacked up at the South Street light, all of them happy to see me push the pedestrian crossing button so they can finally cross South.

This is during rush hour, starting at about 5:15pm. I would imagine it's empty during the day or late at night.

If you want to change up your ride, consider riding on a street. If you need help deciding which streets to ride on, the Great Plains Trail Network has a handy map of bike trails and "bike route" streets.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cycle Traffic, Qu'est Que C'est?

That was a busy bike trail. The ride this morning wasn't so bad, I got to work in my usual 27 minutes.

The ride home? 38 minutes. The stretch of Rock Island from the bridges to South Street was BUSY. Lots of people out enjoying the weather. I can't blame them, I wanted to take the scenic route and soak up this dry air, too.

I now know how motorists feel: I didn't spend much time in the big ring. I wanted to, despite the headwind on the way home. I was stuck plodding along at 13mph for what seemed like forever because the other cyclists weren't interested in commuting, they were interested in bird watching or butterfly observation.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

I need to use the streets for part of my commute tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gravel dust tastes so sweet

Pavement Ends: Adventure Begins!

Gravel Ends: Nebraska Begins!

Looking North out on the "Bohemian Alps" from the "Summit" of NW 70th street. 

I took my Specialized Crosstrail Sport on a round trip to and from my in-laws place (aka "The Funny Farm") on Sunday. It's a 43 mile round trip, 26 of those miles were on gravel roads, 2 were on hard-packed dirt. The rest was in-town streets and bike trail.

The first couple off-road miles were shaky while I tried to hammer with the bike skipping across the rock towards the ditch, but I found a sweet spot between speed and control. I had a grand old time riding into Raymond at 13mph.

The road I took into Raymond largely follows a rail line, so it's flat.

I turned left about a mile north of Raymond and entered the Bohemian Alps. Short and steep monsters. I just put it in the stump-pulling gear and spun up at 7mph and coasted back down at 15. Evil things, the Bohemian Alps.

The ride back wasn't bad. I had a lot more confidence in my ability to keep a straight line and decided to bomb down the Alps at 30+mph. I rode the one mile section of dirt road in about four minutes on the way back. (Hard dirt is a lot smoother than gravel.)

During those 28 off-road miles, I saw a total of six cars. Two were on the way out and four on the way home. Not a bad car/mile ratio for a bike ride. I can see why riding a bike on gravel roads has been growing in popularity.

Doing my best Lloyd Dobler impression: "Gravel is the cycling of the future."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Only half a commute tomorrow

My wife is going to a conference for the rest of the week. She's leaving from work at 11ish. This means I have to cart kids in her absense, which means I have to drive.

Since I'm forced to be bikeless, I'm going to drop the road bike off at the shop for a tune-up over my lunch break and then hoof it to her workplace. (We both work down the road/round the corner from Joyride and down the road/round the corner from each other's workplaces.) It'll be nice to have a relatively quiet bike for a change this weekend.

I'm going to do the same thing with the not-road bike next week, since we're taking a vacation and I won't be able to ride for three days.

Now that I read this back to myself, I feel kinda weird not riding.

Update: who ordered the rain? I'm not going to be "that guy" who drops a super dirty and wet bike off at the shop. Maybe next week.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Three-Hour Tour

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fun filled trip,
That started from a suburban house,
Aboard a two wheeled ship!

The cyclist was an average biking man,
Chipper to be sure
No group ride today, instead he chose
A three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather was never rough,
The cycle was not tossed
If it wasn't for familiar turf,
The cyclist would get lost. The cyclist would get lost.

The bike went to Palmyra, not a desert isle
The MoPac Trail,
84th Street, too.
Breathing fresh clean air
(Without his wife)
Had some Pop-py-Tarts
Dr. Pepper and
then rode home
for a total of 43 miles!

(This is your brain. This is your brain on a bicycle. Any questions?)