The tulips bloom for my puttanesca.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
It goes on like that for 35 more emails. Anyway, the East Coast Greenway is having a ride from New Haven to Simsbury. We Snails support the greenway, so we're going. Some people are taking a bus down from Simsbury. We're going to ride. Damian, maybe Dario, and I are leaving from my house at 8:15 this Friday. We're meeting Salem and Peter a little bit south of rt 66 around 10:15 to ride together to New Haven. We'll then ride with the group from New Haven to Simsbury for activism's sake. Then, we come home. All told it's right about 100 miles.Brendan Mahoney to Damian, salemm, dario.delpuppo, lamoscashow details Apr 26 (1 day ago)Jeez. I try to make my life easy because I'm unfamiliar with new haven and you get all offended. Fine, let's meet near the Meriden/Middletown line on 66.Sent from my celluar telephone- Hide quoted text -On Apr 26, 2011, at 6:21 PM, "Damian" wrote:I'm going to paint my tongue chartreuse and have someone else pedal my recumbent.It sounds like you know interesting ways to get down New Haven way, so I'm leaning towards that.-Damian
Monday, April 25, 2011
I took a solo wander yesterday down through Portland, across the ailing Arrigoni Bridge to Middletown, then up to Hartford. Much of this was retracing my old tracks, but I'm always impressed how easy it is, with a bike and little time constraint, to find something previously untraveled. Yesterday, that something was Watrous Park in Cromwell.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
I have a relative who likes to go to parties. Trying to party at Spring Weekend, she got her car towed and I was the only one who could retrieve it. So yesterday, instead of riding an epic century out to the wilds of western Massachusetts, I had to ride to Mansfield to get an SUV. However, this did afford me an opportunity to ride the length of the Hopbrook trail and test my Manchester intuition (it's getting better).
Friday, April 22, 2011
I live in the end of Hartford with giant grinders. I try to follow suit by putting giant tires on my bike. A little more than a year ago I bought this lot of a couple dozen (or maybe more) tires. There were a lot of downhill tires, which aren't much use to me because the front fork of my Stumpjumper is the only place with clearance for them. None the less, I really enjoy putting a giant tire on there. For awhile, I had a super tacky 2.5" Maxxis High Roller. It was pretty good, but I knew I could do better. A couple months ago while wasting time on eBay, I spotted 2.8" Bontrager Big Earls at a good price. So, I bought them. I finally took it out yesterday and it's quite the experience. And, it has surprisingly low rolling resistance. However, I think I've met my match in terms of tire width with rim brakes (or at least V-brakes), because under heavy braking, the left arm hits the outside knobbies. Read more!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
While Salem was attempting to visit Hartford in the most difficult way possible yesterday, I decided to go out to Farmington to race on what I'm assuming were the only passable trails in the state: Winding Trails. I grew up near Winding Trails and that's probably why I'm a bad mountain biker. The Farmington River valley probably has 20-25 (30?) miles of trails from rt 4 in Farmington to rt 44 in Avon, it's twisty, but there aren't any rocks or climbs. My parents wouldn't let me ride up to the Reservoir until like ninth grade because they thought the roads were too busy. Sometimes we'd climb up this cliff at the top of Stonefield in Farmington and but through a friend's dad's yard on Deercliff, but that was really complicated. Going downhill into the river valley was way easier.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Looks like I hexed myself with today's earlier post. I headed out to take the long route into Hartford via the east side boardwalk, but was thwarted at multiple turns.
I did get to where I was headed, but probably rode a sum total of 30 feet of boardwalk. Next time, flippers.
This past Friday, with his hibernation completed, Peter came out of his den to join Brendan, Dario, and me for a Friday jaunt. With the elder statesman and his road bike along, the Snails avoided their typical magnetic attraction to water, even escaping the CT river valley completely with a foray over the Metacomet ridge.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
THIS IS A SERIOUS FLOOD EPISODE. FOLLOW THE DIRECTION OF YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICALS. IF ASKED TO EVACUATE...DO SO IMMEDIATELY. ALL FLOOD PROTECTION MEASURES MUST BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION IN FLOOD PRONE AREAS. TOWNS FROM WINDSOR LOCKS AND EAST WINDSOR SOUTH THROUGH HADDAM AND PORTLAND WILL EXPERIENCE SIGNIFICANT FLOODING OUTSIDE OF LEVEES AND FLOOD PROTECTION WALLS.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
As a crappy cyclocross and mountain bike racer, I decided it was finally time to try racing on the road for once and went to Battenkill. Salem told me that racing in the Cat 5 field may be frustrating because I'd have to do a lot of work. I wasn't totally sure what he meant by that, but I think I get it now.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Today, the Bikes Outside lens drags itself away from hiatus with a proper steel workhorse. This 1970's Raleigh Sprite 27 shares both the color scheme and solid, overbuilt construction of the Checker Marathons that still ruled the streets of New York back in the day. Given that this one could actually accommodate a passenger, the taxi comparison is somewhat appropriate.
Aside: I was obsessed with Checkers as a child, once asking for a ride in one for my birthday (we almost never splurged on taxi rides). They were increasingly outnumbered by Chevy Impalas by the early 80's, so my Dad's attempts to hail one resulted in an errant Impala stop or two, followed by Dad explaining to an irritated cabbie that his shiny new Chevy was not what he was looking for.
Between the bright colors, the trailer flag and the massive twin horns, this rig should be hard to miss (or hit, as it were) The bright Brit machine was parked at a gas station convenience store on Albany Avenue, making it the first Bike Outside profiled in the Clay Arsenal neighborhood. Read more!
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
While recently reading a forum when I probably should have been doing something useful, I saw a question asking what the advantages of a fixed gear are. There were the usual responses of simplicity, training a good spin, and the Zen art of bicycle riding, but being my frequently unhelpful and sarcastic self, I proffered, "What is the advantage of riding a bike when cars are so much faster and easier."
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Survey says that 73% of women who have a safety concern related to bicycling named "distracted driving" as the concern.
In conversations (that are generally one-sided) with "well-meaning" (re: busybody) coworkers and acquaintances, not a one has asked if I was afraid that a distracted driver would slam into me. No. The fear that they try to transfer from themselves to me is that of being attacked by a stranger. According to the same survey of female cyclists, only 13.1% named stranger attacks as one of their concerns.
In the February issue of Bazaar, Liza Minnelli is quoted as saying, "Keep moving. Always be a moving target. [...] Marilyn Monroe taught me that." Those who have concerns of being ambushed might calm themselves by keeping those words (completely out of their context) in mind. Read more!
Monday, April 4, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Of note is definitely how ignorant I am of CT east of Willimantic and I bet most people are. When riding on dirt and paved roads out by Riverton, the Barkhamsted Reservoir and all those scenic places out to west, you'll still see some cyclists because it's still relatively close to some population. But, when you head out that way and the biggest population center is Willimantic, nary cyclist (or person, really) is to be seen. It's cool, our suburban state generally doesn't feel so remote.
So, mark your calendars for May 7.
Last fall, I played host to the first Detour de Connecticut with great success, or as Brendan put it, "Nobody died." That ride included such novelties as traversing officially closed dilapidated bridge girders and mid thigh deep Glastonbury Cove crossings, but for this year, I'm scaling back the "adventure course" aspects and substituting an extra 30+ miles. Introducing: 2011's Detour de Connecticut. This will be the "Bow Tie" edition, based on the rough shape traced by the route.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
In the spirit of the Red Sox, I also had a completely bootleg opening day for cycling. Now, it's not that I stopped during the winter. It's just that my cold weather cycling was transportation-only, not joy riding. So, with today's forecast of temperatures in the 50s and sunshine, I was excited to get out and go down by the river, where it would not be flooded anymore.
I loaded up the Jenny, who does not go out when there is snow and ice on the ground. The plan was to ride around, read a book in the sunlight, and maybe stop for coffee before meeting up with friends on the other side of town. Everything is all set and ready to go, and I realize the tires are really soft. I usually make such observations once I'm miles for home. Oh, and I have no idea where my pump is. I had to unload everything and take Starry Starry Bike, which does not have a basket and which still does not have the seat/handlebar arrangement quite to my liking anyway. I like to sit upright, not hunched forward.
Since the tires are all inflated and I needed to get out for fresh air, I was not going to be too annoyed about it. Anyway, it's got working brakes, which is more than can be said for most local bikes.
The first thing I notice is that everything is out of whack. The shifting is rough. There are three separate sounds coming from the bike that ought not be. But the brakes work and the bike can move, which is all I need for the time being. I just wish it would be a more stealthy ride.
The public path is, of course, blocked with a gate. There's enough room to walk my bike around it, but a cargo bike wouldn't fit. This is total bullshit and there are other barriers that could be put into place that would allow bicycles to go through more easily, while blocking cars. Patrolling of the Riverfront is sporadic -- heavy during the week and less so on the weekend -- which is only a concern in so far as I wanted to immediately complain about the gate to someone.
So, there is a new crop of graffiti, none of which is impressive. Really, if you're going through the trouble of making illegal "art," why not write something worth reading? Step it up guys!
My irritation with how inaccessible this awesome path is continues. The elevators to the elevated plaza were marked "closed for season." It's April, sunny, and warm. What season are they waiting for? So, I have to either go all the way around from the edges of the Riverfront path (which I do) or I have to portage my bicycle up all the friggin steps. I can't walk up half the stairs without getting winded. Those are crap options.
A large section of the path is now muddy from what the Connecticut River gifted us when it overflowed its banks. It ended up being better that I took Starry Starry Bike because the Jenny's tires probably would not have liked it. As sloppy as it was, the mud only got on my boots, thanks to my fenders.
It was fun watching people sliding around on the path. Looked like the MDC trucks had trouble with the path too. Suckers.
When I got to the Riverside Park I saw that there was a festival of fire or something on the East side of the river.
One marvels at the things that go on over there. Fires. Dirtbikes on sandbars. It's comforting to have a river in between us and that nonsense. We only have to contend with uninspired graffiti and drunks passed out on the stone benches.
Like a drifter I was born to bike alone.
When I finally abandoned the riding around in circles aimlessly, I thought I'd stop off for a late breakfast. After manhandling the quaint sidewalk cafe so that I could lock up my bike, someone came over the inform me that the new cafeteria-with-canned goods has a bike rack inside of the parking garage next door. They might want to post signs advertising that. Anyway, I sat where I could see my bike just in case some ironic young professional decided to mess with it. Next time, the bike is coming in with me. If people can bring strollers into stores, I can bring my bike. There's nothing on my bike, after all, that wails or shits itself.