Type 2 Diabetic. Cyclist Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday 28 miles; Bicycle Sabbatical; June mileage

Thu 6/30/11 #222

Rode 28 miles in the city this afternoon: Chateau Street Trail, Heinz Trail to Millvale, back to the Stadia, Ft. Duq bridge, Strip Trail to 24th Street and back to the Point, Mon Whorf Trail (saw two bike police officers), Jail Trail, Hot Metal Bridge, Baldwin Trail (saw two more bike police officers), stopped at SouthSideWorks Subway, Station Square, Ft. Pitt Bridge, Ft. Duq Bridge, return to Western Penitentiary.

I think the reason I felt off yesterday, and was a little bit off today, was that I had a shingles vaccination on Wednesday.

It was a great day to ride downtown, and it was good to get an urban ride in before the Regatta crowds begin.

Last day of June, I'm real pleased with having got a lot of mileage in, 734 miles for the month. I took a three-week sabbatical from work to get to that mileage and I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sign of the Times

06/29/11 #223 18miles
Rode 18 miles on the Montour Trail today, didn't feel great and kept it short.

I did notice a new sign (below) on the trail at Enlow Road, I think we're going to see more and more awareness of the connectivity of the local bike trails.

Cool that when the highway signs say "Washington" they refer to the town 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, but when the bike trail signs say "Washington" they refer to the nation's capital.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Rest Day

6/28/11 #219.8
weight 219.8, first reading below 220 in quite a while. Short term goal is 212 by next Tuesday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday 45 Miles, Reuben

Mon 6/27/11 #222

Rode 45 miles in the late afternoon with K and R. Went to FarmHouse Coffee, had two glasses of a pomegranate tea and a slice of iced lemon cake.

Recently I've been experimenting with taking a Zyrtec anti-histamine before riding. Today I didn't take one, and experienced some allergic reaction to the flora.

It was good to be back on the Surly LHT again, in contrast to yesterday's road bike ride. Very nice ride.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tour De Cure Diabetes Pittsburgh 2011, Often Alone but Guided by Velocio

6/26/11 #223

Rode the Tour De Cure (diabetes) 50 mile course today; great weather, perfect conditions, had a great time.

The discredited auteur once explained that 86% of life is just showing up. I almost didn't show up for the ride. I woke early, went back to sleep for a bit, and woke up much too late. Argghh.

I had my gear packed the night before. I drove quickly to the start, and I rushed through the registration. Fortunately the event was a little behind schedule and I joined the group of riders for the start of the 100 mile ride.

The logistics of the start were very well organized, and in fact the entire ride was a demonstration of planning and execution.

The riders doing the 100 mile ride were a quite fit bunch, and they were off and well out in front of me. Essentially, the peleton dropped me coming out of the starting blocks. As I rode along contemplating my lot, feeling unprepared in terms of breakfast and chamois creme, I considered my option to switch to the 50-mile route, and I chose to do that. Success in the 50 was as certain as these things could be, but the 100-mile distance was a stretch, and the hills in the area were more than I'm used to. What tipped it for me was Velocio's Maxim: Ride Within Yourself.

Velocio was the pen-name of Paul de Vivie, father of French bicycle touring and randonneuring and the developer of the derailleur. That's quite a palmares. Mssr. de Vivie was a contemplative bicyclist and philosopher, which may be redundant, and he distilled his advice for bicycle riding into seven rules:

  • Make your stops short and infrequent so as not to lose your drive.
  • Eat lightly and often. Eat before getting hungry, drink before you are thirsty.
  • Never ride until you are so tired that you cannot eat or sleep.
  • Put on extra clothing before you’re cold, and take it off before you’re hot. Don’t be afraid of exposing your skin to the sun, air and rain.
  • Don’t drink wine, eat meat, or smoke – at least during the ride.
  • Never rush things. Ride within yourself, particularly during the first few hours of a ride when you feel strong and are tempted to force the pace.
  • Never pedal out of vanity, don’t be a show-off.

The course was very well marked. Navigation was no problem. It was a bit hilly, but no more so than is necessary in this region.

After the 100-mile and 50-mile routes diverged (I took the path less traveled), I was in a new situation for me; I was the first rider out on the 50-mile course. All the cars that passed, all the dogs that barked, I was their first rider of the day. I was first into the rest-stop at 29 miles.

We rode west into Beaver County, then turned north and rode by the Cemtex smokestack I've been passing on the highway for a long time. The route included beautiful homes and trailer parks, golf courses and boat clubs, industrial and pastoral settings. It was a ride through America.

I finally got to see McConnell's Mill, and it was a challenging climb out of there. At the 38-mile marker I was joined by the leaders of the 50-mile's main pack, and at around the 42-mile marker we were joined by riders on the 20-mile and 30-mile routes. (Sally Wiggin rode the 20, I'm told)

There was quite a bit of climbing - nothing epic by Western Pennsylvania standards, but it was a significant bit of work.

The finish line was great. There were folks applauding as the riders arrived, they checked you in against the tally of starters, there was lunch (ice cream!) and t-shirts. It was very well organized.

This was a great ride, I look forward to doing it again next year, especially after I eat breakfast. I think the decision to ride the 50 was a good one, a great experience and 50 miles is better than a DNF and 85 miles out of 100.

I'd like to say Thank You to:
Marc Yergin, President WPW, Team Lead of Red Riders
Nicole S of the American Diabetes Assoc for a well-run event.
Ambridge Bike Shop

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Coffee Ride

6/25/11 #220.6 34m
Rode 34 miles with R. Nice day. We rode down to FarmHouse Coffee, my favorite trailside indy coffee shop, I had a Espresso Machiatto with an Extra Shot and half a cheese danish, mmm mmm good.

On the way down we saw a through-bicyclist breaking camp from an overnight stop, that was cool. I've been continuing to nag at my dashboard organization, I think it's coming along. An older lady cyclist at Farmhouse Coffee found my assembly of geegaws somewhat amusing.

This was a 100-mile-week, and I crossed 1500 miles year-to-date.
Week 25
this week: 115 miles   [2nd quarter: 1227 ]    2011: 1543

In the news: TB shot (BCG) and spleen for Type1 Diabetes?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pittsburgh Bike Museum, Pamela's, VIPs, 1500 miles YTD

Fri 6/24/11 #222 34miles

Rode 34 miles in Pittsburgh, in the rain at the start, 75F.

As we approached the start at Western Penitentiary, we took a detour to see the new Bike Museum at 1800 Preble Street. It's a bit of a needle in the industrial park haystack but we found it, and the sign said "Grand Opening, July 2, 10am". I'm looking forward to that.

Here's a 1999 article by Brian O'Neill about bike collector Craig Morrow. Here's a 2009 story in the Trib-Review about Craig Morrow's bike museum, which is called Bike Heaven.

We (J,M,K and I) met at 1000 at Western Penitentiary. Our ride started in the rain (today's cartoon, below, is appropos). As we rode past the Casino we saw the VIP motorcade crossing the Ft. Pitt bridge. We ate at Pamela's Pancakes in Millvale, rode back to the stadia after checking out a Pittsburgh Protractor on the Washington's Landing switchback ramps.

Rode the Ft. Duquesne bridge to the Strip Trail, then rode Penn Ave to Market Square. The ride in downtown traffic was a change of pace from the trail. We joined the Jail Trail at Smithfield Street, and as we worked along the Mon we noticed that the cars on the Parkway were stopped for the VIP motorcade leaving the city. It was a Yehuda Moon moment to ride along rows of stationary cars.

We rode the Junction Hollow Trail up to Oakland, took a break outside the Carnegie Library, then returned down Panther Hollow to the Hot Metal Bridge. We rode the Southside Trail to the closure and then reversed and rode to Station Square.

We crossed the Ft. Pitt Bridge and the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, and coming off the north side of the Ft. Duquense bridge my bike's chain had a disagreement with the front derailleur cage and the der-cage lost. We pressed it into position so it wouldn't rub, and I rode back to the cars in the big ring up front.

The ride ended uneventually, we all had a good time, and right after we got into our cars the skies opened and a heavy rain began. It's remarkable to me that you can ride 34 miles along the rivers on (mostly) trails.

Also, today I crossed 1500 bicycle miles in 2011, year-to-date.

I stopped at Pittsburgh's Best Bike Shop, the Ambridge Bike Shop and they were able to repair the damage. Excellent local bike shop, I really appreciate them.

BTW, six months till Christmas Eve. Just saying.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mullet Bike Handlebars

06/23/11 223.6 0 miles #223.6

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bike Porn at Keiren Race: Bright Colors and Big Guns

6/22/11 #223

These photos are from the flick photostream of y.hayama, taken on a trip to the Hakodate Keirin Velodrome located in Hakodate (City), Oshima (Subprefecture), Hokkaido (Prefecture), Japan.

This article gives an overview of Keirin racing at Hakodate. This is a Chicago bike tourist's report on the races.

The monocolored outfits look much better IMO than the multicolored, frenzied NASCAR-sticker-crazed kits the European bike teams are wearing.

click image to embiggen in a new window

Check out the Big Guns

Look at the leg muscles on this rider:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice Twilight Ride and the Morning Dew

06/21/11 #226 23m

Today I took advantage of today's solstice the longest daylight of the year to take an after dinner ride on the Montour Trail, ending in darkness at 2105. Very nice ride, got to use all of my lights. There was a surprising number of people out on the trail late in the evening.

It is curious that today is the first day of summer, and yet somehow, starting immediately, the days begin getting shorter. It reminds me of a phrase from the Analects (I think): the morning dew is as fleeting as life.

Interesting article about Sonio Sotomayor's diabetes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pittsburgh Urban Trails

06/20/11 #226 24m
Rode 24 miles on the Pittsburgh city trails today. Started at the Western Pen, got a flat after a mile, fixed the flat, continued along the Allegheny to Millvale, reversed course. Ran into Curt and some friends on a group ride, that was a pleasant surprise. There was a lot of foot traffic around the stadiums at 6pm, due to the Pirates game. Took the Ft. Duquense and Ft. Pitt bridges, stopped at Station Square for a little shopping, rode to SouthSideWorx and enjoyed a Subway sandwich. (Subway rocks for food and water bottle refills.) It looks like the trail below HofBrauHaus could be open any day now; I suspect they need to put railings on the trail over the cutouts for river access. Back to Station Square, back across two bridges, back to the Pen. Very nice ride.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday: No Ride, Some Kit Planning

6/19/11 #226

Didn't ride today, the time just didn't work out. Cycling (as opposed to running) does take up blocks of time.

I spent a little time bike-obsessing and window-shopping. I've recently become aware of how well prepared my riding buddies are, because I've had events where I've needed something and they always seem to have the right thing in their bag.

Bike Kit is the term broadly used to refer to a cyclist's clothing, usually identifying the team, the sponsor, or the country of origin. The phrase comes from "field kit", meaning the uniforms and equipment a soldier would carry on his person. The uniforms I'm not interested in, but I'm increasingly interested in what I should be carrying on the bike.

Last week I cut my finger open while kludging a tire boot, and K. had neosporin and bandaids. M. came to the rescue with some antihistamine he carries.

Last Friday we encountered a bicyclist who had taken a rough tumble, and we ended up calling 911. I don't carry any first-aid supplies, but I can see now that I should. There are quite a few suggestions of home-made kits that seem to revolve around empty Altoids tins, and there are some pre-made kits.

I don't intend to get into carrying survival gear - generally, I'm not that far from civilization and cellphone coverage - but I think a good first aid kit is appropriate.

I also did a bit of dashboard planning - I've removed my largish GPS from my aerobars, which frees up room for my bell, computer, and AirZounds. I'm going to move a few things around.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

GPS, REI, Cateye Astrale 8, and RoadID

06/18/11 #224 26.3 miles

Rode 26.3 miles, Montour Trail, 1h57m, 85F. Nice ride and the bike did real well.

6/18/11 Week 24    this week: 121 miles   [2nd quarter: 1112 ]    2011: 1428

This week my Garmin GPS gave up the ghost and died - which would ordinarily be a tragedy, except that I had purchased it at REI in 2006. So this morning when I was shopping at REI, I asked them to check my membership records and asked if I could return the GPS since it was now an inert brick. They looked up the records, found it, and said "sure, bring it in for a refund". That's why I shop at REI: they don't sell junk, and if you're unhappy with it for any reason you can return it. Absolutely awesome.

Part of losing my GPS is that I've replaced the bike computer on my Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT). I originally outfitted the LHT with a Cateye CD300 wireless cadence backlit computer. I was pre-disposed to loving this device, and was never satisfied with it - the cadence display used characters too small for my old-guy eyes, and the wireless cadence/speed sensors really consumer batteries. It was about a $130 purchase.

I replaced the high-tech CD300 with an old friend - dare I say old lover - the Cateye Astrale 8, which is IMHO the best wired, cadence computer on the market - and which has the capability of displaying the cadence values using very large characters. It's simple, the batteries seem to last for two years, and I can read the cadence numbers even in the rain without my bifocals. I love this $30 cyclocomputer.

Today the UPS man delivered my RoadID. I've had a few incidents in the last few weeks that left me convinced it was a prudent investment. Two weeks ago I rode with some members of Team Red (they're both diabetic riders) and I saw they were each wearing a RoadID that contained their identification and medical info. Yesterday on the Steel Valley Trail my friends and I encountered a rider who had fallen off his bike and was a bit shook up. When I see that I wonder, how would first responders know who I was, or my medical situation, if I fell of the bike in a remote area (always a possibility with me) and I wasn't able to communicate? I am glad to have the RoadID; it's not that expensive and if I need it, it's worth a million bucks.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Forty and New Trail

Fri 6/17/11 #224 40miles

Attended the opening of the new GAP trail segment between Duquesne and the Waterfront. Got there by bike, started at Western Penitentiary, rode the Strip Trail out and back, Jail Trail, Hot Metal Bridge, Route 837, cut through Sandcastle parking lot, Waterfront trail, etc. Nice ride down there.

A Peddling Padre did a Bike Blessing ceremony (which was cool, I need the help) and then a variety of dignitaries made speeches. While that was going on I got to say hello to Linda Boxx, Roy Weil and Mary Shaw, and world-famous trail advocate Betsy M.

There were some cool new maps on hand, along with a 2011 Montour Trail Map, and the 2011-2012 GAP Trail Book for sale.

One thing I always enjoy at these events is checking our the various bikes and the way people have them rigged. The Bike of the Day was a very cool Strida, a belt-driven folding bike that breaks down so easily that it makes a Dahon seem unreasonable; saw a rollerblader with a mirror attached to his glove that he uses as a rear-view every time he raises his hand; saw a cool rig of maps on aero bars that I may experiment with; saw a bike with a golf ball attached to the kickstand to make it reliable on soft surfaces.

News video of the opening:

The new trail sections were very nice. It was a rolling, pleasant ride, well engineered, and PAVED which is wonderful. The spot where you can watch the Phantom's Revenge roller coaster pass below the bluff was pretty cool, they're going to need some benches there. The two new bridges are excellent.

Stopped at the Pump House on the way back. Took a look at the Homestead Labyrinth, which is a tribute to those lost in the Battle of Homestead. Two years ago, it looked like this:

Now it's overgrown and rather hard to locate:

Our route back home took us through Sandcastle, out on Route 837 to Southside Works, then to Station Square, the Ft. Pitt Bridge, the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, and the Casino trail back to the start.

It was 40 miles and a very nice ride. The trail from the Point to DC is moving closer and closer to completion (and the sooner we can get there without riding Route 837 the better).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alberto Contador Stopped by Gendarmes for No Lights

06/16/11 #222

We reject schadenfruede in all its ugly versions, but we do believe that Freds (bicyclists with a penchant for gadgets and who proceed without regard to fashion or trend) everywhere are chuckling at this bit of news: Alberto Contador stopped by police for riding in dark tunnels without lights on his bicycle.

In the NY Times: Alberto Contador, the three-time Tour de France champion, was pulled over during a training ride in the Alps by a French police officer for cycling without lights. Contador’s spokesman, Jacinto Vidarte, said the officer told the cyclist that he needed to be visible on the road, the famous Galibier pass, which snakes down through dark tunnels.
  • Chapeau! to the gendarme who stood his ground with the VIP
  • I see a gig as a bike light spokesman in Contador's palmares

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Diabetes by the Numbers

Wed 06/15/11 #221

Went to see my Endocrinologist today, a routine visit. if you have health insurance, when you get diabetes you get an Endocrinologist. A lot of the diabetes thing is about numbers - are they in the range, which way are the numbers trending?

I'm told that for diabetics, the key numbers are the ABC's - A for HbA1c, B for Blood Pressure, C for Cholesterol.
They tell me my numbers are moving in a good direction.

It's always a good thing when they don't give you the speech about cutting your toes off.

No riding today. I was getting ready to ride and it took on the feeling of a rote obligation; I don't want to burn out or get turned off, so I took the day off. Strictly affective behavior; the body was willing but the spirit was weak.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reunited with my Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT)

6/14/11 #224 26.4m

Today I got my main-squeeze bike, my Surly Long Haul Trucker (you down w' LHT?) back from its brief visit at Pittsburgh's best Local Bike Shop (LBS). During the period of confinement I've been riding my road bike (which has been an interesting interlude) but it was great to get the LHT back and take it out for a spin. I took some pictures since it may never be this clean again.

It was curious to get back on the LHT. The longer wheelbase made me feel like I was stretched way too far forward, and I kept reaching for the road bike's STI shifters instead of the LHT's barcons. The changed seat setback relative to the bottom bracket, and the change from an EasySeat to a Brooks sprung saddle, made it a study in contrasts.

The bike had new Kool-Stop Salmon brake pads on the front, which Sheldon Browns says "are the finest bicycle brake shoes made.". I had a young bicyclist cross the trail in front of me and I need to apply the brakes quickly, and the new brakes really performed well.

I (we ?) rode 26.4 miles on the Montour Trail in 1h56 minutes, which IIRC is the first time I've done that route in sub-two-hours. It was a pretty, cool day without significant wind. When I was riding east near Ikea a rider caught up with me and engaged me in conversation, I had to boost my speed to keep up with him, and although I later begged off and resumed a pace closer to the speed limit - it's a congested area - the sprint certainly helped my time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Pamela Mazeroski Infrastructure Ride

6/13/11 #226 29miles

Fabulous Ride today with K. We used the Casino trail, the Heinz trail, the Strip trail, the Mon-Whorf trail, the Jail trail, the Junction Hollow trail, the Southside trail, and the Station Square trail, along with the 31st Street bridge, the Hot Metal Bridge, the Ft. Pitt bridge, and the Ft. Duquesne bridge. Major infrastructure review.

Segment One: Penitentiary to Pamela's Rode from Western Penitentiary via the Casino Trail to Millvale, stopped for breakfast at Pamela's, excellent as always.

Segment Two: Millvale to CMU We rode the trail from Millvale to the 31st Street Bridge, crossed the river, and rode in traffic via Railroad Street and 24th Street to the Strip Trail.

Stopped at the Convention Center to experience the excellent arrangement of waterfalls at the underground walkway. I don't know if the water-walk predates the Strip Trail, but either way it's remarkable. Very well done. K's video below:

At the Point we found a service sidewalk that seemed to be somebody's bedroom, but also led to the Mon-Whorf Trail. We rode the Mon-Whorf Trail to the end, then backtracked to a staircase, portaged to the surface, and joined the trail system again at the Smithfield Street Bridge.

The Jail Trail has a detour due to construction at Bates Street, and it's a well-planned and well-marked detour. I think somebody was having mischief with the signs, because we ran into this situation and it seemed photo-worthy:

We rode the Jail Trail to the southern terminus, then circled around and rode the Junction Hollow Trail up to CMU. We looped around Oakland on some side streets, and K. posed for a photo at the Forbes Field wall where Mazeroski's homer crossed the fence.

Segment Three: Forbes Field, Station Square, Western Penitentiary We left Oakland via the Junction Hollow Trail, rejoined the Jail Trail, and crossed the river using the Hot Metal Bridge. We ogled the new trail behind the American Eagle building, then ogled it again from the HofBrauHaus. Rode to Station Square, crossed the Ft. Pitt and Ft. Duquesne bridges, and posed at the stadium so K could get a picture along with the Mazeroski statue.

We returned uneventfully to the Penitentiary, to the car that was still there which, happily, was willing to start.

It was a wonderful ride on a gorgeous day. 29 miles on paved trails. It really amazes me that Pittsburgh has done so very well at this.