Friday, January 30, 2009

No ice scraping

One nice benefit of bicycle commuting on cold winter mornings is not having to scrape ice from the car's windows.

Perhaps I am 'scraping' too deep to find anything good about bicycle commuting well below freezing, hehe. Nonetheless, here is my trusy Honda Civic in the driveway at about 6am this morning in the glow of my bike headlight, as I rode past it on the way to work.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

56 Percent

Some randonneur website had a hilarious de-motivational poster with a photo like this, making fun of the absurd behaviors exhibited by randonneurs. This staged photo, taken today outside a convenience store, is my homage to the hobby.

Today was cloudy all day, with no sunshine at all, and temps hung in the 30s. My cycling companion surprised me with long-lasting single-use chemical toe warmer pads. Wow, what a treat. Popular with ice fisherman and hunters, they worked great in my boots. A few of these pads will soon go into my already overloaded bag of tricks.

As we were riding, a chain came loose at an intersection where we were supposed to turn. In the distraction of re-railing the chain, we forgot to look at the street sign. Focused on moving again, we continued straight, thus missing the turn. I was watching my GPS, but thought I had programmed it wrong. By the time we realized our error and doubled back, the missed turn gave us three extra miles. This brought our total today to 70 miles (112km). Oh well, lesson learned.

We ate a little better en route today, and drank more too. Our overall speed is on target. But our 70 miles today is only 56 percent of a 125 mi (200km) brevet, and my butt was (and is) quite sore. My respect for randonneurs increases with every ride.

Today's GPS minutia: Distance 70.36 mi. Moving time 5:54 hrs:mins. Stopped 1:45. Moving average speed 11.9mph. Overall 9.2mph.

Interactive route map:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More biking in Chatham County - Hilly Sleety

Today we bicycled in rural Chatham County NC, 53 miles in just under six hours. Temps were mild for a January, starting out just below freezing, and staying close throughout the day. Nothing very remarkable, just a very enjoyable day.

We encountered sleet and/or hail three different times. It pinged off our helmets, glasses, and arms, and crunched noisily under our tires. Luckily, it didn't stick to the roads, and luckily, it wasn't liquid rain.

We rode past the Carnivore Preservation Trust, a non-profit wildlife refuge I've heard about for years, but never seen myself (

We experimented with inexpensive rechargable chemical hand-warmer packs from the dollar store. They give about 30 minutes of warmth. They worked, but not great. We need to think about how best to use them.

Interactive route map:
Misc photos:

Friday, January 16, 2009

A New PR

I biked to work this morning in a temperature of 15 deg F(-9C). I call it a Personal Record. Friends and family yelling at me call it Purely Ridiculous. My previous record was 22F(-5C), set last winter.

I was wearing the 'right' number of layers. I was comfortable when pedaling, but got cold when I stopped at traffic lights. To reduce wind, I didn't race down hills. By the time I got to work, about 10 miles, hands and feet were doing okay, but my exposed mouth was really cold. I will work on that.

To ride in any colder temps, I would probably need to buy some expensive high-tech bikewear, instead of wearing common street clothes. Given my reluctance to part with cash, I will probably drop out of tomorrow's planned 55 mile (88km) ride, forecast to be 9F(-12C) at 7am. Such a wuss...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bike ride Chatham County

My cycling companion and I took advantage of an unusually mild January day to go bicycling in Chatham County today, around and west of Jordan Lake. The day started with thick soupy fog, but cleared to glorious warm sunshine by lunchtime. It was a great contrast to a shorter ride two days ago in sub-freezing temps (New Years Day).

We even found a brand new tres chic McDonald's Cafe just north of Pittsboro with $1 32oz sweet tea, no less. I must admit, it made for a nice stop.

Today's loop was 45 miles, moderate rolling hills, mostly low traffic, and we did it in a moderate 5hrs, including stops. Almost half a century, and very enjoyable.

Interactive Map:
Random Photos: