Sunday, April 21, 2013

Touring Practice

April 15, 2013

Taxes are done and in the post!

After a thorough cleaning this morning, I mapped out a route that would take me on a 40 mile circuit of Syracuse that included a number of stops. Having never toured by bicycle, this is my attempt to somewhat simulate the experience, without being fully loaded at this point.

Like Fernando at The Dirty Brompton, I've been slowly getting touring gear together. I'm a few weeks away from a trial run. I'll post soon with what I've put together so far. Gear lists beg to be shared!

A beautiful day filled with sunshine! The touring bag, while not filled, does have my iPad and some snacks for the ride.

Part of my route took me along the Onondaga Lake Park path. I didn't see as many people out as I thought I would.

First stop was Heid's for a hot dog with onions, mustard, sweet pickled peppers, and dill relish. Oh, yes... and a Saranac Adirondack Amber Lager. We do have to remember to fuel up when we ride, don't we?

Notice the complete lack of bicycling infrastructure? This is a busy section that was pretty easy to travel and led to a nice but short bike path.

Entrance to the path.

While I love to find these paths around the city, added together they cover very few miles and don't really go anyplace useful.

Now there's a sign of spring! It's the Ice Cream Man! For those of you with out this cultural reference, in the warm weather, an mobile ice cream stand drives around residential neighborhoods using music or bell to attract patrons (mostly children) to come spend their parents' change for frozen treats. As a child I would drop what ever I was doing to beg for money to get a ice cream. :)

Here's another section of bike lane as I ride toward the downtown part of the city.

Sharrows and a reminder to traffic that a bicycle may use the entire lane! Woot!

Shoulder is narrow here, and it's 4 lanes wide and not too busy. Bright sunshine!

I didn't rush during this ride but traveled what I think is more of a touring pace.  I have found the using Map My Ride drains the battery on my iPhone pretty quickly, so I didn't use the GPS feature for this ride. I will need to come up with a better solution for this. I am considering buying a lithium ion battery back up system to see if that would help me keep my iPhone charged on these longer rides.

After the ride I was not as tired as I was when riding a few miles an hour faster for shorter rides. My right foot cramped up and gave me some trouble, and I wonder if that has to do with the shoes I wore. I'll try some different combinations to see if it helps.

Ride Stats

Avg Speed

Brompton Helicopter Tape

Much has been said about the use of "helicopter tape" on the places on the Brompton where it is likely that the paint will be rubbed by the cables or scratched. When I got my Brompton, well, actually, even before I got it, I had bought some protective tape to apply. I used a product called Bonk! which one applies in the same way as a screen protective sheet. Clean with alcohol, spray a wetting solution, apply the sticky film, squeegee and allow to dry.

 Here's most of the places I put the tape.

Downtube behind the crank.

Chain stay where the hook rests. This I have had to replace already.

Left fork where brake cable rubs.

Left side of A frame. Mine seems to get scratched easily?

Fore and aft of the main hinge where the cables rub while unfolded.

And here where the hub cable ferrule rubs.

I've also covered the left side of the stem where the cables rub.

Access to Western NYS Bicycle Route 5

April 14, 2013

Today I took a ride to see a way to access the other side of NYS Bicycle Route 5. Because I'm located on the west side of Syracuse, once I left my neighborhood, this nearly immediately took me through a more rural area.

And I saw a Bluebird! The Eastern Bluebird is the state bird of New York, and I have only ever seen one other. They are pretty timid birds. When riding past this one, he flew up to the wire and I could see the bright blue of his wings and back.

Most of the ride was on these nice single lane roads with the wide shoulders.

Spring seems like it has arrived late, so these daffodils are a welcome sight.

Pretty barn :)

I found Route 31, State Bicycle Route 5, easily. It's wide and two lane with good shoulders. The return trip to home was more difficult, as it included a short but steep hill. I made this ride more difficult than it needed to be due to my laziness. I'd taken a ride to the pub two days earlier and it had rained on the way home. The water and splashing dirt had made a mess of my chain. I have kept things pretty clean before, and found that the sloppy chain interfered with shifting and just made things more difficult. A thorough cleaning is needed!

Ride Stats from Map My Ride

Avg Speed

Access to NYS Bicycle Route 5

April 8, 2013

An aim of mine for late spring and summer is to tour on my Brompton. While New York does not have the network of dedicated cycle trails other states do, it does have clearly marked State bicycle routes. One of them, Route 5, runs north of Syracuse and is the major bicycle route between Albany and Buffalo. Today I thought I would see how hard it would be to access that route from my house, with an eye toward doing the ride fully loaded. 

Once I left the city behind, I found a relatively flat ride where most of the roads had a nice, clean wide shoulder. 

Traffic was light, and moved at about 40 mph.

There is also the Old Erie Canal mixed use trail that connects Albany and Buffalo, but much of that route is crushed stone. Right now, that surface is still too damp to ride dependably.

I rode about 14 miles to find the route going east. Access to the western side is a little closer.

Ride Stats from Map My Ride

Avg Speed

Sunday, April 14, 2013

First Ride with the OCC

April 6, 2013

Saturday morning turned out to be a lovely morning filled with sunshine. And a temperature hovering right around 32 F - 0 C. I perseverated over how to dress. I have cool weather cycling gear, but it's more like I'm-off-for-a-cold-ride-to-the-pub clothing, not riding-with-the-club clothing. Finally I dressed more like I was going for a run; I just don't have the lycra tights and multiple jerseys of the club. And I don't really want to spend my money on that gear, since that's not really how I ride.

I drove over to the meeting place. I could have ridden, and it would have added about 7 miles to my ride, well, 14 there and back. I didn't because I wasn't sure what the morning would hold. Next time the club rides from that spot, I'll think about riding over.

When I got there, only a few members had arrived. I met the ride leader, who was very friendly and nice. While unfolding my bicycle, a gentleman with a lovely new Trek carbon fiber road bike spoke with me. He was understandably proud of his new ride. This would be a first ride for him. As the other members showed up I saw about 15 road bikes, 1 'bent, 1 triathlon bike, and guy on a carbon fiber fixie. I was both the only one on small wheels and the only one not in lycra.

I chose to do a 25 mile loop. The rest went off on a 33 mile loop. I knew that I would neither be able to keep up and I didn't want to be the last one back, making the ride leader wait for me or start looking for me.

At about the start of the third mile, the club went away. I tooled along enjoying the sunshine and a route that followed the river. At about 4 miles the ride leader caught up with me. At 62 and with a knee injury that meant he shouldn't really have been riding, we were more closely matched in pace. 

He kept a very friendly chatter up while we road, and he shared the task of cutting the headwind. I ride alone nearly all the time, so I didn't realize how much a difference that makes!

The ride leader turned back to only do a 17 mile loop. He could feel his knee acting up. I continued to follow the river, went over the bridge to loop back, enjoying the tailwind all the way to the start. 

Some of the faster riders were there when I got back. Others trickled in after me. Friends stood around and talked after signing back in. 

You can see the ride leader to the far left talking to the florescent green jacket. 

I'll do another ride. There were only a few good natured comments about my small wheels. Most were about how I would have to work harder. I mentioned that it's my weight and fitness that makes me so slow, not really the small wheels. 

Riding with the club is a good challenge for me. And I am jealous of those around the world who can ride regularly with other Brompton or foldie riders. 

I used the Map My Ride app on my Iphone to track the ride. 

Ride Statistics

25.58mi Distance
1:36:21 Duration
15.9mi/h Avg Speed
2142 calories

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Does Bicycling Reduce Stress?

April 5, 2013

The anxiety and stress of finishing my Federal and State taxes pushed me out the door for a bicycle ride. Why did I even work on my taxes on such a beautiful day? I should have been riding instead! I randomly rode around the area.

The old pump house for the reservoir for the city seemed like a good place to frame a Brompton. There's a newer pump house now, but it doesn't have columns.

Pretty windy day! can you see the bottom part of the sign floating in the wind?

Guess which direction I was riding?

A cold, clear day... You can just see the white roof of the Syracuse University Sports Dome; my homage to the SU Mens Basketball team. We'll see how they make out this weekend in the NCAA tournament.

Brompton makes me happy! Again I'll tout the advantages of the Touring Bag. My ride included a stop at  E J Wren's Homebrew store in Liverpool. I didn't buy much, and everything fit in the bag, a fact I can be sure of every time I pull out on the bike.

Yes, I felt much better when I got home. My stress had receded as my enjoyment increased.

I've just joined the local cycling club, the Onondaga Cycle Club. There's a ride tomorrow I'd like to do. I'm sure they are all big wheel, lycra wearing riders. How will it work to bring a Brompton to that mix?

Early Spring in Syracuse

March 30, 2013

Finally the sun shown brightly through the white clouds. I gathered up both Bromptons and met a friend for a ride along the Creekwalk and a stop at the pub. It was warm enough that to sit outside, eat lunch and have a couple of drinks.

On the way back, we stopped so I could get a couple of photos of some interesting places along the way.

I'm not really sure about the story behind this mural. 

And it's really pretty. I don't understand why I haven't noticed it before. Perhaps cycling slows us down to see what is really around us?

One pretty bike!