Saturday, October 30, 2010

Raleigh Santacon, Sat Dec 4th 2010

Come wander around downtown Raleigh and trendy Glenwood Ave for an evening of frivolity with 50-100 crazies dressed like Santa, elves, reindeer, gnomes, jokers, and so on.  It's fun, even for non-drinkers like me who enjoy consuming large quantities of bar food.

The Raleigh event notice is on Facebook  For general info on these events, google 'santacon' or 'santarchy'.

Obligatory bike content:  At last year's event, about 50 Santas inside the Hibernian Pub spotted a bicycle pedicab driver outside riding in a Santa suit.  We yelled and waved and caught his attention, he parked, came inside, and joined our festivities.  I think he had a few Santas as fares later on too!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Carthage Coffee Checkup

Jayjay and I biked the southern portion of the Carthage Coffee Run in central NC today, from the Maxi-Mart near Moncure to Carthage and back (80 miles round-trip).  We did not do it for RUSA credit, but just to scope it out.  It is delightful.  The route is easy to navigate, most of the neighborhoods and houses are immaculately appointed, most pavement is smooth as glass, and most of the rolling hills are manageable.  (and, shhh, only one dog.)

We stopped at the namesake coffee shop at the turnaround, the Coffee Court in Carthage. It is surprisingly nice inside.  We sat and dined for more than an hour since we were not on the clock.  We spoke with one waitress about signing perm cards.  She got all excited and called the staff over.  Another waitress remembered signing two cards a few weeks ago (likely Geof and Bryan's inaugural ride).  The owner welcomed us and other cyclists to come back.  Nice.

On our way back through Sanford, we happened upon the Jubi-Lee Fall Festival at the Depot Park downtown.  Again it was really nice to stop and enjoy for a little while.

We look forward to riding the full 200K length for credit soon, particularly for us because the start is so close to our homes.  We encourage other randos to try it too.

Here are a few random photos and two videos:  a one-minute descent, and some live music in Sanford.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cat Encounters of the First Kind

I had my first encounter with a cat while biking on Tuesday afternoon.  This one completely ignored me as I crossed its path two times, first as I was headed home, then as I circled back for a photo.  Only when I snapped the photo, and the camera made a shutter sound, did the cat look up, hiss aggressively, and run away.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Whips and Trains

Please don't stand too close to a moving freight train.  

Every so often, a long length of strapping steel will hang out the side of a box car.  As the train races by, the end of the strap whips wildly alongside the train, doing a number on whatever it strikes.  I've seen one once, about 30 ft (10 m) long.  Not fun.

Oh, and then there are the garbage trains with their fragrant misty spray.  It's worse than skunk.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bike lane hazards

This disabled car blocked the bike lane on my commute this morning.  Thanks to the headlamps on cars going my way past it, I saw it at least one mile in advance.  (Cornwallis Rd eastbound, between Maughan Dr and NC 147, in the Research Trailer Park.)

In other news, I did my first commute today with my 'new' derailleur.  It feels okay.  The old one cracked part-way through on Saturday's 200K and needed to be replaced.  Photos and story here:  photos

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A taste of Autumn

After endless weeks of hot summer drought, then four days of heavy rain, yesterday was *the* perfect day to ride the NC Bike Club's 200K brevet from Morrisville to Siler City and back.  Of course, it felt wierd to be applying sunblock while wearing a Norwegian wool hat in 50 degree F (10 C) temps before the start.  (Click the little photo to embiggen.)

Jayjay and I 'rode sweep' at our usual tourist pace.  We were delighted to get 50 miles before meeting the first group of fast riders on their return.  But the cashier at the checkpoint in Snow Camp yelled "wow, you're slow" when we answered why our brevet cards had fewer signatures than the fast guys who had just passed through.

Dogs:  A tiny white poodle chased Jayjay.  I laughed, but was afraid she would crush it.  Later, a deranged black dog was running erratically in the road.  We waited for a lull in traffic to avoid the skidding, swerving, and honking cars.  Hopefully Darwin fixes it soon.

Mechanical:  Early in the ride, I bent my rear derailleur in half.  I had pedalled backwards coming to a stop, unknowingly spanned the chain across sprockets, then I mashed the pedals to go.  I didn't get far.  After a few minutes with vise grips, I was able to baby it in the big sprockets for the remaining 100 miles.

Traffic:  Scores of cars were overtly polite throughout the day.  But four cars and one big truck buzzed us.  Very unusual.

Basket:  I love my new basket.  It's so flexible and convenient while riding.  (See photos.)

Rando Elan:  We had just finished climbing Jack Bennet Rd, the first attention-getting hill on the ride, when Jayjay spotted a low-mounted super-bright headlight charging up the hill behind us.  As the cyclist passed, he was sitting upright, hadn't broken a sweat, had that sparkling confident smile, and greeted us warmly.  Classic rando.  Chapeau!

Thanks to RBA Alan and Dorothy for organizing the ride, thanks to Jerry for volunteering at the turnaround point, and thanks to Skiffrun for waiting and greeting us at the finish and joining us for a fine Mexican dinner.

Here are a dozen random photos