Tag Archives: Mid life bicycling

Bike tested by the Poconos

Friday 7/24 & Saturday 7/25/2015

Happy face having avoided the bears and snakes!
Happy face having avoided the bears and snakes!

Apparently the size of the climbs and steep pitches of the Pocono Mountains went unnoticed while researching “best routes” for our final 150+ miles. A few other details also went unnoticed.   Such as we are in “black bear country”, and the area is well known for timber rattlesnakes.   And, the roads are narrow, apparently no budget for bike able shoulders and abundance of 90 degree blind turns.   We had a decision to make.

We could ride the back woods bike trails along the Delaware River and take our chances with the black bear and rattlesnakes, or opt for the open roads with no shoulders.   I am not fond of black bear, and equally not fond of rattlesnakes, but the super skinny switchbacks on the open roads left us with no choice.   We would bike along the trails in the wilderness along the Delaware River. Continue reading Bike tested by the Poconos

Seaside to mountains…

Thursday 7/23/2015

Along the coast of Newport RI
Along the coast of Newport RI

Getting internet has been a challenge for the last few days.   Our final day of ocean side bicycle touring is in Newport Rhode Island.   After revisiting our route and wondering how we could possibly navigate the busy narrow roadways through touristy downtown, we happened on a road called Ocean Way.  Who can resist a road called Ocean Way?

Newport is home port for sailors (The Americas Cup), the Tennis Hall of Fame and some of the most amazing seafood.   All of these attractions draws tourists and traffic.   And here we are, trying to ride our bikes on one way roads that are foreign to us, with drivers that are not as bicycle friendly as our prior days of touring. Continue reading Seaside to mountains…

Bike friendly roads and less hills

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fogged in lighthouse
Fogged in
Pausing as the fog rolls in
Pausing while the fog rolls in

Somewhere south of Portland Maine, our ride took on elements of bicycle friendly roadways (shoulders the size of entire lanes), off-road trails, and substantially less intense hills.  This area embraces bicyclists, and this is obvious by the dramatic increase in bicycle traffic.

Today’s ride was to begin at 6AM, and at 6:05 we realized that we had overslept.  Camping under huge spruce tree cover, plus very dense fog had our bio-clock confused.   Despite the late wake-up, we managed to shovel down handfuls of food, place our gear on our bikes, pump up the tires and break-down everything else that needed to be done in a 15 minute window.   By 6:20AM, we were on the road, traveling.  The only worry in our world was getting beyond heavily traveled Route 1 before the rush of humanity had the same idea.   We biked fast, together, with front lights and tail lights blinking like a Christmas tree.   And then we veered off Route 1, to begin a ride that would soon morph into a biker’s dream. Continue reading Bike friendly roads and less hills

The gear & shakeout rides

I see why running is so appealing.  You lace up your shoes, ‘connect’ your watch with the satellite gods, and off you go.

Training for a bicycle tour is a different beast.   It begins by training with your favorite fast and lightweight bicycle that you’ve used for years, only to discover that your triathlon-machine is not so good with potholes, gravel, dirt, flooding and carrying anything more than a human with a skin suit.   A few flat tires later, you decide that your bike gear needs a touring-specific makeover.

Fast forward during the two months of bicycle training – and my new aluminum (a.k.a. “slow”) bicycle frame has sprouted extra-wide heavy duty puncture resistant tires, a whole different set of gears, disc brakes that manage your descent without locking up your tires and a suite of electronic devices that ensure you don’t miss your next turn.   The comfort of riding your bicycle without having to worry about flat tires, braking on wet terrain and knowing where you are at all times comes at a cost.  Weight.  The touring bicycle with all it’s gear is nearing 35 pounds, and I can barely lift her into the car. Continue reading The gear & shakeout rides

Sprinting turtles

Training for a bicycle touring adventure, means getting miles in on the saddle.  It doesn’t matter how many zip codes you pass, or how many state lines you’ve crossed.   It’s all about getting in the miles with the least amount of car traffic.   Even if the miles are done in a 1 mile loop in a park,  less than 1/2 mile from Friday morning rush hour traffic.  Beginning at 6AM, inside of Martin Luther King park in Montgomery County, we will knock out 26 laps.

Encouraging the turtle
Encouraging the turtle

No matter how fast or focused we are while riding, all pedaling ceases when there is a turtle sighting.   How is this creature going to get to the other side of the road without being run over by a car?   Of course we had to step in and help.

“I think we should pick him up and carry him to the other side of the road” I suggested to Jill.  She nodded approvingly, and as soon as I reached down to grab the turtle by the shell Jill added “don’t let it bite you!”.   Now, from the looks of the turtle, it didn’t appear that it could extend it’s head 6-8 inches and reach over to the back side of it’s shell to bite me.  But I don’t have a lot of experience with turtles so I wasn’t sure.  “Maybe we can just encourage him along?” I countered, and with that we each positioned our feet near the little turtle’s backside to get him to move.  The turtle moved along surprisingly fast, for a turtle.  It seemed like he was trying to sprint, but as soon as we re-positioned our feet, he got scared and all forward momentum stopped.  We had to get this turtle to the other side of the road before a car approaches.  Continue reading Sprinting turtles

Marking the date makes it all real

calendarOne of the best parts about planning your bicycle tour, is selecting the start date.  We selected July 18 as the start of the travels in Bar Harbor Maine, with an end date of July 26.

For some reason, just selecting the date – which is difficult considering the busy work and life schedules of 4 people, still didn’t feel real.

Continue reading Marking the date makes it all real

The Festering Itch

tips-for-recalling-dreamsA dream begins as an itch.  This is not the kind of itch that you scratch.    It doesn’t appear as a spider bite, or dry skin in need of lotion.  Rather it is an itch that bubbles inside of you.  Just when you think the itch has disappeared, it comes back.  And it keeps coming back.

Most of the time, you ignore it.  There are no thoughts that even consider acting out on that itch.   Years go by, and your only thought is how to get rid of the itch.  To make it go away once and for all.

Continue reading The Festering Itch