Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ride from Lee to North Adams

Yesterday, we had a perfect plan. Kim would take the girls to an set class in North Adams, and I would bike 36 miles or so to meet them.

Everything went to plan until about 30 miles. My trusty Rubel Western Mass bike map helped mestick to a good route which, my now, is reasonably familiar to me. Ran into a bit of bother around aptly-named Pittsfield when I couldn't find a good quiet route and ended up on big roads - I knew there we alternatives, but I was trying to make it to Mass MoCA by 1130...

A highlight was the wonderful Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. We'd discovered it on Sunday - it's very well marked along busy Route 8. It starts at a big-box mall north of Pittsfield and goes 11 miles to Adams, through wetlands and forest, and along Cheshire Reservoir, with gorgeous views of the water and mountains beyond. The quality and state of the path surface and infrastructure were almost equally impressive.

I was maintaining a good pace until about mile 30, about 2 miles before the end of the bike path, when my rear tire started to feel low. On inspection, there wasn't a noticeable puncture, but I was losing air for sure. So I pumped and rode, pumped and rode, all the way to Adams, where the trail ends. I had a close look at my tires and discovered that they were in pretty sorry shape and definitely needed replacing. (I knew this to be the case, but didn't know the urgency.)

I had no phone service at the Adams Visitor Center where I was waiting, but a very friendly guy I met let me use his phone, and I left Kim a message to come and get me. This guy was 82, snd he rode the path almost every day. He worked his whole career at Crane Paper - he told me that the company was wonderful to work for, and is still the major employer in the area. Then another couple arrived, it was Ozzie and Irene, on holiday from Ontario. Ygr four of us chatted about cycling, travel, the Your, etc....

And 90 minutes went by. By this time, it was clear that Kim also didn't have service, so I changed my tire in a flash and sped off to North Adams, where I met the girls, who were just getting in the car to head back and look for me! Whew.

On the way to Tanglewood after that, we stopped at Plaine's bike shop, where I got a set of Kenda Kwest tires to replace my threadbare Paselas.

I'm going to put them on this morning and do a short ride on the unpronounceable bike path with Kim.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Good morning Stockbridge

Our first morning in the Berkshires, and I have time for a nice early ride before everyone wakes up. Beautiful so far! Coffee and pop tarts in Stockbridge. Scouting out a nice route for kim and me later.

Heading towards Lenox, I am warned of a bear on the road ahead by a walker. Apparently equally a danger and a curiosity. Glad to have 1 remaining pop tart to divert bear if it comes to it.

Found tanglewood! Eating pop tart.

Back at condo. Got lost after Edith Wharton's house. Home at last, great ride!
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

I did the B2B today! Sort of.

The Harpoon Brewery to Brewery is known as one of the toughest rides in New England. It's about 145 miles, starting at the Harpoon brewery in Boston to the one in Windsor, Vermont.

It's all hard core riders, and when you sign up, the minimum avg speed you can commit to us 16mph. That's pretty fast! The ride is also moderately hilly.

Ciclismo manned the last rest/food stop, so Lauren and I decided to skip the first 50 miles or so so we could get a nice head start and be at the rest stop in time to help out the rest of the gang, who drove there directly. Trouble was, the first riders left Boston an hour earlier than last year, and because our stop was at mile 120, it took us a while to get there. So we weren't that helpful and just ended up hanging out, chatting, and refueling. Then we headed off for the last 25 to Windsor. (I felt bad about missing the first riders at the stop, but the gang did a GREAT job without us!)

In any case, Lauren and I did 100 miles on the dot. I hope to do the full ride next year! It was a good route and generally nice and scenic, though there were some pretty busy stretches.

The hills everyone was griping about were really no big deal.... Nothing compared to the Mt Washington Century, the CRW Climb to the Clouds (Mt Wachuset), or the D2R2.

Mauro lent me his 10 year old Merlin, which mad all the difference for me. I actually managed to average between 15 and 16mph for the century! The bike felt great - really stable and fast, particularly compared to my Thorn. I'm really looking forward to riding it for the rest of the summer!

We're on the bus back to Boston now, and I only hope our bikes will be there to meet us.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

What's that noise, Daddy?

That's what the girls used to ask me on the way to school when the brakes on our Cristiania cargo/passenger trike would squeal. Now, it's been going on so long that the question has become "Daddy, why haven't you had the brakes fixed yet?"

Well, girls, today's the day. I have an appointment at Ace Wheelworks in Cambridge. I've been nervous about doing this because the trike is a bit unusual, and I don't want anyone mucking it up.

But after 3+ yrs, I guess it's time to have some work done. The real problem is indeed the brakes - the no-brand discs in front aren't really that powerful, and I think I've pretty much ground the coaster brake in the back down to a nub. Is that even possible? I haven't the foggiest what goes on in there.

In any case, in addition to the brakes, I imagine I might need a new chain, and the big pivot underneath the box surely needs a bit of lube.

One way or the other, I need it back today because I'm giving rides to the toddlers at Elsie's birthday party tomorrow!