Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New mixte!

Discovered this lovely Peugeot mixte for just down the road in Cambridge... I emailed the Craigslist seller a while ago and just heard from him today. Seems he was travelling and only turned up today with a queue of people wanting to see the bike. Remarkably, he was on his way to Arlington today, so we met behind Panero's and did the deal! It's ready to ride, though I would like to swap out the seat and wheels, and add a rack - all from other bikes I've scavenged!

Monday, July 16, 2007

On top of Mount Wachusett

On top of Mount Wachusett
Originally uploaded by ahconway
The day after, I feel remarkably fresh! Not getting on a bike today, but probably will bike to work tomorrow.

All in all, the ride was a really positive experience. I do wish there had been a greater range of abilities represented - it was a bit demoralizing being on the bottom end of the speed scale. My average speed overall was 12.9 mph, but for long stints, I was spinning along comfortably at 16-17 mph. My high speed was 41.

Thorny got lots of attention - lots of people thought it was a fixed gear - but very few people had heard of the hub. Towards the end, a couple people named it "coolest bike of the day!" It was certainly among the most unique - I'd say that over 80% of the bikes there high-end Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized. Snooze! If you're going to spend $3k, aren't there more interesting ways to do it? I saw probably 3 other bikes with mudguards, one other kickstand, and two other 26-inchers.

I certainly appreciated my gearing. I had just the right low end to make it up the steep ones comfortably.

I do find it odd in retrospect that I really didn't pal up with any riding buddies. Most people were either too fast or too slow for me, and there were virtually no people on their own like me. I would certainly have regular riding buddies if I had a more regular weekend riding schedule and could belong to a club, but I'm not too bothered. The last 28 miles or so were a bit rough, though, riding completely on my own, just trying to beat the rain with not another soul (on bike or not) in sight.

I definitely hope/expect to do at least another century this year, and I may even do this one again next summer! Now that I know what to expect, that will certainly make it easier.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Actually, I pulled in to the finish exactly 9 hours and 55 minutes after I started - in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm! There were still some cars in the lot, but not many. I made it!

80 miles, sore

But ok. It's my back & hands. Managing ok. Store at this stop, will get something cold! Lots of talk of thunder storms and anti-inflamatories.

60 miles - lunch stop

Bananas all gone. Glad I brought my own food! Feeling pretty good still, thoug not really looking forward to last 40.

At the summit!

I'm here! Tired and just halfway mileage. Deep hope relatively speakin, though. Gorgeous day, nice breeze now but pretty go in spots.

On the way up...

At the base station on the mountain. Just finished initial climb, more to come.

Feel pretty good, might throw up later.

40m * mountain in sight

Oh boy

One third done

At the 34 mile stop. Water & snacks. Real good so far. Somke nice folks, some snobby. Feeling good!

Crowds building at the start

I got to the start point just before 7, so registration was no problem. Of course, this gives me over an hour to get completely intimidated by all the hardcore racer-types! Probably 200 bikes here so far, none with my wheel size, most weighing half what Thorny weighs.

Must remember my big Audax lesson: go at your own pace!

Climb to the Clouds

Today's the day! It's the Charles River Wheelmen's Climb to the Clouds, starting (and finishiing) in Concord and taking in lots of big hills including Mount Wachuset. (See http://www.crw.org/CTTC/climb2clouds.htm )

I haven't been training much specifically for this ride, but I am hoping that my usual commute, plus my hill climbs back up to our house will serve me well.

The bike is all set - map holder, 3 bottle cages, seat pack - and I've got a bag full of provisions. One unknown: will it rain? Another variable: Can I do it? Gemma assures me, "You can do it, Daddy!" so I'll just have to remember that one.

Okay, time to load up the car! If I have the wherewithall, I'll post some updates from my phone later.

Ci vediamo all'arrivo!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Independence Day 2007 Bike Parade

Here we are bedecked in our stars & stripes finery on the 4th. Click through for bigger image on Flickr!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Day Tripper Dispatches links to Velo Fellow

Charlotte Pierce, publisher of the "Compleat Day Tripper" (which has provided us with innumerable days out and other valuable local guidance) linked to my post about our ride to Lexington. See: Day Tripper Dispatches: Bike 'N Play

Monday, July 02, 2007

Globe Rage

After returning from our beautiful ride to Lexington, I read the front page story of Sunday Globe, "Rage on the Bikeway", a pointless article discussing some some of the troubles that come with the popularity of the bike path.

Here's an email I sent off to the Arlington list about it (lots of similar posts have since appeared on the list):

I certainly experienced my moment of Globe rage after seeing thispiece, and it was all the more irksome because I saw it just as my family returned from the most lovely ride along the path to Lexington and back.

Sure, I've seen the odd spill here and there, and not all of the path's users are as good-natured as you would like. But Geez! Exactly what was the point of this article supposed to be? The path was a major reason that my family moved to Arlington, and I've yet to experience anything to make value it any less.

If the implicit logic of the piece is to be followed, we should probably close the path due to excessive popularity. But if we follow common sense, shouldn't we use this as a cue to develop more facilities that keep people fit, reduce traffic and CO2 emmissions, and contribute to our local economy?

Minuteman milestones

Big milestone yesterday! We did our first big bike ride with the whole family.

We loaded up a bag of provisions and set off for Lexington - with the girls in the Christiania and Kim on her Fahrrad. It was a lovely ride from Park Ave up to Lexingon center. Beautiful weather, if a little chilly, but that that actually cut down on the crowds a bit.

The girls both had a great time; Gem was in charge of the cheese bunnies and doled them out to Elsie when prompted by a finger in the ear.

As usual, we had lots of nice comments from various other path users, including a guy on a recumbent who said "Nice vehicle!" - typical for a recumbent, he was surely using "vehicle" as shorthand for "human powered vehicle" or HPV.

Our destination was the big playground near Lexington High School. Everything was brand new, including a great rock climb that Gem really loved. Seemed we weren't alone with this plan - there were lots of bikey families there as well. We even met a couple who were interested in the Christiania with kids of similar ages, and it turns out they live not too far from us in Arlington!

It was getting late by the time we left, so we got some snacks at a little fair in Lexington and went straight home instead of getting lunch out. Good thing we did, too, because Elsie fell asleep on the chug back up Park Ave, and we put her right to bed when we got home.

Another milestone: Kim cruised all the way up Park like a pro!