Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another Rule 9 Day

Left home late, by design, almost 7 A.M. temp was 39 deg F and there was a light mist in the air, not quite raining but certainly not dry. The ride was slow and uneventful. Coffee at my desk never tasted so good.

At 5 pm I left the office for a Cub Scout pack committee meeting where the adult volunteers meet to plan the upcoming activities for the remainder of the school year. I made a bit of a stir arriving by bike while it was cold and misty.

When the meeting broke up I received at least 3 offers for a ride home, but of course I couldn't accept the ride of shame. The last 3 miles from home where we met to my home were cold, dark, wet and uneventful.

The last two days I've been quite impressed with how comfortably I can ride while wearing the ShowersPass gear and a wool base layer. This really has been the best test of the rain gear since I bought it last fall. Both products are quite remarkable. The forecast tomorrow morning is more of the same. The SPP club, correctly, had a bunch of chatter about weather to have the usual ride tomorrow morning or meet for breakfast on four wheels. I'm 4 days in to a complete week of commuting. The stars will never align for another year to let my evening schedule mesh with such a feat, so I'm inclined to suit up and tough it out tomorrow morning.

But before I call it a night tonight I must complete an update of our software for two customers. If those go well I'll be to bed at a decent hour and my prospects for riding in the morning will be good. If they give me trouble... it could be a late night. Lack of sleep and cold rain will likely result in driving. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rule 9

The ride to work this morning was uneventful.

On the ride home tonight I qualified under Rule 9. Cold and wet. But the rain gear and wool layers did their job.

More of the same on tap for tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cold and Clear

The unseasonably cool start to spring continued this morning. I set out from the house about 6:15 and it was 29 deg F. But warmed nicely as the sun got up. I again tried the wool and jersey for my upper body with no jacket or vest. Quite comfy.

Took the WB&A route home again for a few extra miles. It was a nice afternoon and the loop trail around the airport was busy. Loaded down with a steel bike, fat tires, 12+ lbs of laptop and clothing in my panier and I left a couple of other riders in my dust on the loop trail! Stupid display of testosterone, and celebrating a "win" at 16 mph is about as lame as it gets. But I enjoyed it anyway.

Later after turning from WB&A on to Thompson Ave I stood up to climb a small rise and TWANG! I popped a spoke, left side rear wheel. A neighbor who lives on Thompson asked me if I needed help when I stopped on the shoulder in front of his home. Nice fellow, genuinely wanted to help. Fortunately I had the spares and tools. I'm getting good at this. 15 min later I was on my way.

A wintery mix is forecast for tomorrow so I'll have to put something on to keep the water out. But no accumulation is expected, at least not yet. I can probably get in to to work early and beat it, but the ride home will be cold and wet. I intend to ride in anyway.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting in to a groove?

I'm trying to get myself in to a steady rhythm riding at least 5 - 6 days each week. Today makes 5 straight days since last Thursday I've ridden and it's looking good to commute every day the rest of the week with my work and family schedule. The weather will vary from clear to tolerable throughout the week but nothing in the forecast looks un-rideable.

The fat tires and new fenders are working well for the commuting. I broke a fitting that clamps the fenders to the stays, I over-torqued it. It seems to be holding despite the crack and the vendor I purchased it from agreed to ship me a replacement at no cost.

I've been adjusting my cold weather clothing lately. Wearing an extra base layer and no jacket when it's cold but clear. Seems to be working quite well. It was just below freezing this A.M. and I wore two layers of wool under my jersey with no jacket or vest. I can feel the breeze more, blowing through the clothing but as long as I'm pedaling and my heart rate is up, it's remarkably comfortable. I keep a jacket in the panier in case something happened and I'm suddenly out without the motor running. But so far it works well and the clothes breathe better, leaving me more comfortable. Merino wool is good stuff.

The rides to and from work were uneventful. I set out about 6:30 and saw Earl on my way north as he was heading home after the 5:45 club ride. On the way home I took WB&A road for few a extra miles. Even opted for Old County for the last 2 miles south to get a few hills in.

Food intake has been reasonable lately too. Now if I can just keep it going....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Ride Around the River and a Little Maintenance

The new fenders needed more adjustment than expected to get them set right, but they do have the clearance I was looking for with the fat tires.

After getting them set I went 'round the river and enjoyed the cool, sunny day. Stopped at Baltimore Tea and Coffee for an Egg and Bagel sandwich and a delicious cuppa.

When I got back I replaced the chain and cleaned the rest of the drive train. Ready for another week of commuting.

Garmin connect still won't accept any uploads. But the same track load just fine to Frustrating.

Busy Saturday

Started the day Saturday with a cold but clear ride with the SPP to Annapolis for breakfast. Always fun to meet the club on Saturday mornings.

Next up, Lacrosse with Zach, his first scrimmage of the year. The boys played well and he's in his element playing contact sports.

Then to Jones Elementary School to watch Beauty and the Beast Jr. Zach played the bookseller and a knife in the chorus. The future of community theater looks bright, these kids did a wonderful job.

Got a couple of errands done, including eyeglass repair and fresh batteries for the Garmin heart and cadence sensors, put new Axiom fenders on the bike (pics to follow) and then to Mom and Dad's for a family meeting with my folks, my brothers and a great dinner.

Mom and Dad updated their wills and completed living wills with clear direction for how to proceed when the time comes. The meeting was an opportunity for them to share it with us. Dad's fighting leukemia though it is a slow moving form, and his prognosis is good. No need to act on those living wills is imminent, but I'm glad to have it all spelled out just the same. Need to get on with the same plans for Tivy and I.

Wow all that in one day.

Note: route embedded from I've been having more and more trouble with GarminConnect. So I'm giving a try for a bit.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bike Ride Interrupted

A nice day on the bike. Started with the 5:45 riders heading to breakfast in downtown Annapolis. Then to my office. Finally I headed home. The only downside.... interrupting the ride with a day at work.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cool and Wet

Well spring is here so of course we have to have another cold snap. I got a late start this morning and left the house a little after 7. Approx 43 deg F with rain in the forecast. Half way to the office the mist turned in to a steady drizzle. I've been carting my rain jacket in my bag for weeks, it finally paid off.

The new knobby tires I put on for commuting seemed to work well. The Continental Touring tires wore very quickly over the winter. So I replaced them with Schwalbe Marathon Extreme 700x40c. They seem bomb proof for commuting and perhaps some light trail riding. The clearance around the fenders is tight. The Planet Bike fenders I have are shot, falling apart around the rivets, so I've ordered new Axiom models that should have better clearance.

Coming home I took the scenic route down WB&A to get a few extra miles. The rain had cleared and it was just clear and cool.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Breakfast Ride - 24 Riders - Awesome Weather

24 riders set out from the RB for the Saturday Breakfast ride. Wonderful to see so many coming out from hibernation.

The only down side was an unusual mechanical failure for Bill Cunningham. The lower cog of his rear derailleur came completely loose from the bike just as we approached Boulters Way on the trail. He found the cog after a few minutes searching but not the bolt that normally holds it in place. With so many riders, there certainly wasn't anything the whole gaggle could do. The consensus seemed to be to convert it to a fixie by shortening the chain. I loaned Bill my multi tool which includes a chain tool to contribute to the job. Dave Provine volunteered to stay with Bill to offer technical and moral support.

The rest of us continued on to Annapolis where we enjoyed a great breakfast in the morning sun by the dock. From there the group started breaking up. Some were headed to Crofton and then North to make a day of it and probably rack up 70+ miles. Others were headed back home more directly. Chris Lane and I opted to stay downtown and enjoy our coffee. Then rode back home together at a leisurely pace. It had been several weeks since we'd had the chance to ride together. It was good to catch up.

After the ride we received an email from Bill confirming that the plan worked and he was able to ride home under his own power. As Dave said, the SPP never leaves an injured bike behind.

A good morning. The rest of the day will include donating the kids' old bikes to Bikes for the World, toting the Cub Scouts' haul of donated food to the local food bank, and dinner with Tivy to celebrate our 22nd wedding Anniversary. Tomorrow we go see Justin perform in the Rock N Roll Revival at the High School. Always an active weekend in the Binnix house.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Weather - 71 miles on the bike!

A great day on the bike. Started with the 5:45 ride to Annapolis for Breakfast. 11 riders including Janet B who doesn't often join us that early.

After breakfast Earl and Bill C joined me for the ride to work up by BWI. We had a great time in great weather. But then.... I arrived at work, boo!

At 4:30 I checked out of the office and met Bee for a ride around the Airport. By then it was 70 deg F and sunny. I could wear just shorts and my jersey. No winter kit or base layers!!!!! I learned that Bee retired after a career as a Navy meteorologist. She enlisted then later earned a commission as an Officer. Now she works for the Defense Department as an instructional designer. A bike is a great way to get to know people. She is forming a group of women at her office to ride together on Friday afternoons. She hadn't ridden the loop trail and asked if I'd go along to show her the path while she scouted it for her riding group.

Bee has coordinated the purchase of the club's new jersey's jackets and other kit, a huge job. I was certainly glad to escort her on a ride 'round the airport and I hope the other ladies she works with find it a successful activity.

From her office I left Bee and turned for home. A really great day on the bike.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Well that was a stupid thing to do

I had a slow but otherwise uneventful ride to work this morning. The forecast was wet and dreary but it wasn't raining when I got up, just a bit misty. So I set out for work in the damp air and it worked out just fine. A bit slow, but otherwise uneventful.

The ride home was another matter. I worked late to finish a project for a client and headed out about 7:15 pm. It was warm and pleasant, if slightly overcast. No reason to expect anything but a pleasant evening ride home. As I was coasting down the trail on the east side to the airport I started thinking about Janet's experience last winter where her brakes froze up as she started down a long mountain descent. How would I handle that situation? I don't know why such thoughts come to me at odd times. But suddenly the gentle slope seemed a good place to "practice" for such a contingency. So I unclipped my right foot and pressed my toe against the mud flap of the front fender pushing it against the tire. I was doing about 14 maybe 15 mph a the time and was curious if I could slow the bike to a graceful stop this way.

No I didn't fall. But I missed a good chance. The tire grabbed the mud flap and inverted the lower portion of the fender, dragging my foot in to the spokes in one quick motion. No harm to the foot or shoe and only one broken spoke.

20 minutes later I had replaced the spoke and decided that preventing frozen brakes might be a better strategy than solving the problem after they become inoperative.

On the ride home I could hear some sort of birds or other animals, starlings I think but I can't be sure. They were incredibly loud as I passed one flock then another. But the loudest batch by far was in the marsh next to the Ranger Station. They were deafening. I stopped and turned the bike with it's light towards the marsh to see if I could see any of them, or if the noise would change at all, it didn't, and I couldn't see them. I can't even be certain the sound was from birds, but it didn't sound like any frog or cricket I've ever head. Paying attention the rest of the way home, I heard a few more cluster's near the other wet or marshy low spots along the trail, but none as loud as the Ranger Station.

Another sign of spring I suppose.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another trip, another 33 miles

An uneventful trip to work and back today. The highlight was passing the 5:45 crew on my way north. Looked like they had a great turnout. No run-ins with traffic, no pothole strikes, and the weather was quite pleasant both ways. If only I could find something besides work to occupy the time between the morning and afternoon rides.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crisp and Cool - Good Riding Weather

Had a great ride both ways to work today. I set out this morning at about 5:20 and met Dan O on the trail, a pleasant coincidence. Dan was heading to the 5:45 meet up and I was going to work. So we had about 3 miles together and then saw Earl and Bryan at the RB. Offered them a quick "Bon Route" and continued on my way. It was clear and cool, in the mid 30s heading in this morning. A good way to start the day.

On the way home it had warmed up to the upper 40s. Just warm enough to loose one layer of clothes and feel the cool air riding home. The extra daylight with the time change helps too.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

55 Miles - A good Saturday

Peer pressure is a wonderful force if you harness it correctly. Chris and I agreed by email yesterday to meet at 5:30 am to get a few miles in before meeting the rest of SPP for the regular Saturday social ride to Annapolis. Without the pressure to meet a friend, there is no way I would have ridden that early by myself. But I'm glad we did.

We met at the Park N Ride and headed for the Ranger Station to see if any others were out for an early ride. We didn't see anyone so we selected a loop up towards the airport. We set a nice easy pace and solved most the world's and our families' problems by the time we got back to Java Diva's by 7:15. I grabbed at coffee at J.D. then we met 17 other riders at the Rusty Bridge for the ride to Annapolis.

It was a great turnout for a nice day. It was still cold, in the upper 30s, but the forecast was for sun and warming to the 50s. The group ride downtown for a gnash at Hard Bean was fun. Great to see so many folks out enjoying the nice day.

After breakfast nine of us set out for an extra loop around Bay Ridge. I had a hard time holding the pace and fell off the back. Then I saw Isais O'Daniell heading the other way and stopped briefly to say hello. It's always remarkable to me when I randomly encounter another biker I know while out on the roads. Isais covers enough ground every week for three riders, so I suppose the odds of encountering him during his weekend rides are higher than others, but it's still a fun coincidence.

After I passed through Annapolis on my way home I saw Bryan up ahead. He had turned back when he noticed I'd fallen off the pack. So for the last couple of miles over the bridge and up the hill back home Bryan and I saw the Navy sailing team out and shared some old military training stories. Good to have friends.

Next up, some administrative duties for the Cub Scouts, a nice long nap, and then I'm taking Zach and Erik to see the Navy Women play for the Patriot League Basketball Championship.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nope, I've not retired from biking

Contrary to rumor, I've not retired my bike just yet. But 6 days off the bike is at least 5 too many.

After yesterday's torrential downpour, everything was wet, there was leaf litter and small branches everywhere, and at 5:15 there was still a light sprinkle falling when I set out. But the temps were in the mid 40's and it was nice to ride with less than full winter kit. Others were getting out after extended hibernation as well, with 10 ten riders setting out from the Rusty Bridge at 5:45. 9 of us continued to Annapolis for breakfast.

A great start to the day.

When I got home my wife shared the headlines from Japan with me. Makes my challenges: busy work, too little exercise, disappointing weight control, all seem pretty small. Prayers to those struggling to find their loved ones and the cavalry mustering to come to their aid.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A good commute

Had an uneventful ride in this morning. Set out a little earlier than usual so I could try to get some work done before an afternoon visit with a customer.

After the meetings I meet up with Bill C for the ride home. A strong tail wind made for a quick trip while we traded stories about navigation challenges. The road signs and intersections in the south part of AA County aren't always clear. We had a laugh realizing that at different times we'd both followed the same wrong turn while riding home from North Beach. (Odd name for the southernmost town in the county.)

Always fun to ride with a partner.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No Ride Today

Stayed up way too late last night. So I slept a bit later in an effort to ensure I was coherent at work, then drove in, no bike ride.

I've done a decent job with the chow the last couple of days. Trying to get myself back on track and loosing weight after packing it on for nearly 3 months now.