Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Canoe race!


Discover Hartford? I live in Hartford! There's nothing left to discover.

What you really need is a canoe race. I missed the one on the Hockanum back in the Spring, but another one is coming up and it partially benefits a good cause (not that the other part benefits a bad cause, I think it just benefits canoe racing, which is still a pretty good cause).

So, anyway, come down to the Nayaug Canoe and Kayak Race on Oct. 7. Here's the schedule of events. From a cyclist's standpoint, the race can be watched from the meadows, which always a nice place to be.

The part that benefits is the paddle with a pro and it benefits traumatic brain injury. Joe Damon, who has tbi, is organizing that part. Here's some info about paddle with a pro:

  • Can you describe the new Paddle With a Pro event?  Who is eligible to enter and how and when do they register?  When will it take pace?  What is the cost/suggested donation?  How many people can participate?
PWaP is a benefit event of the NCR, which teams up a novice canoeist. The pro should offer casual paddling instructions. Paddlers must be over 10 years old and are selected by a random drawing of tickets in a hat. There will be  6 paddlers selected to paddle with one of 6 pros. The minimum donation is $10 and we hope that folks will purchase several chances to improve their odds of being selected in the drawing. Proceeds benefit the Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut. The PWaP event will be held at 12:30, after the pro races and before the novice level races. The paddler drawing selection is at noon.

After paddling with a pro, you'll totally be ready to win the race next year.

Pictured above, of course, is the Hockanum, where I missed my chance for canoe glory this year. Read more!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Are you ready to get out and ride (greater) Hartford?

Open letter to folks that like to have fun,

Get off your ass and ride both these great events in Hartford happening within a week of each other.  Tell your friends, co-workers, and perfect strangers that they are total dorks if they don't show.  Hartford's bike culture is rising like ocean sea levels - started slowly, but now we're picking up speed.  Watch out for bike flooding in low lying areas.

Real Ride - Riding Around a Tree - Saturday, September 22nd.  

  • There will be three sound systems (think boom box times 10) blasting tunes from bike trailers.  Front, middle, and tail of the group.  An upgrade over previous rides.
  • Meet at Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Street, Hartford) to fancy up your bicycle. Cover yourself with things that glow and blink. We ride once the sun has set. Light up the night on this guided bike party through Greater Hartford.  We all leave together, pause a few times to regroup and finish at Real Art Ways for snacks, sips and tunes. 
  • Highlighting this ride: Adam Niklewicz 's "Walking Around a Tree" projection will make its debut on Saturday, September 22 on the facade of the AT&T building downtown. "Walking Around A Tree," along with the sculpture/installation "The Charter Oak" on 215 Pearl Street, is a collaborative effort between the artist, the City of Hartford, The Wadsworth Atheneum and Real Art Ways. 
  • The ride is FREE. Refreshments and light-up accessories will be available at the cafe for purchase.

Discover Hartford Bicycle Tour - Saturday, September 29th (NEW ROUTES)

  • Family-friendly, leisurely ride to discover Hartford's neighborhoods, parks and architectural and cultural gems.  Choose from 10-,  25-, or 40-mile routes.  Registration / check in begins at 7AM in Bushnell Park and the rides leave at 9AM.
  • Online Registration is open.  $30 for Bike Walk CT members and $40 for non-members.   Online registration ends on September 27th, and goes up to $45 for everyone day of the event.  
  • Proceeds benefit Bike Walk CT, the organization making you safer with the 3-foot law and vulnerable user legislation.  Bike Walk CT gets more bike commuters on the road with the very successful Bike to Work events.  You can learn how to ride the streets safely with their Traffic Skills 101 course.
  • Volunteers are still needed.  You can sign up online.
  • Spread the word by inviting your bike loving (or bike curious) friends to the event on Facebook.
See you out there.

Tony C

Read more!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cheap or expensive?


When people started singlespeed mountain biking back in the Tour de France or the 1870s or whatever, there weren't really any singlespeed frames. People took old ones with vertical drop outs or horizontal drop outs and used tensioners or didn't. Therefore, the bikes were pretty cheap. I've only read about this, because I think it took a long time to get to Connecticut and I wasn't born yet or something. Now, as you know, they make whole bikes of this sort of and they're fancy and not fancy, but with the exception of Redline Monocogs, I only ever see the fancy ones.

Anyway, which way is it meant to be? The lowest functional thing that can get you through the woods or the artisanal jewel? Can they co-exist?

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Very slow ride

Some years ago, erstwhile beat bike blogger El Presidente de Chine (de Cine?) wrote about riding slowly. People were way into it. I don't own a Raleigh 20 folding bike, so I was unable to get into it. I wish I owned a folding bike, because I'd like something that I could take on an Amtrak train. Johanna has this old JC Higgins kid's banana seat bike in Vermont that makes me ride slow, but in addition to being very hard to ride  farther than a mile, the tires are always exploding. So, I don't ride it very much.

I do like the idea of going slow. I mean, if you've seen me race, you've seen me go slow. I also like walking slowly. I canoe slowly. When I grill things, it usually takes four hours.

So, to add that ethos to a bike ride, I decided that I should go fishing in the middle of it. This is distinct from riding to a place to go fishing, this is fishing during a bike ride. I rode 15 miles yesterday in 3 1/2 hours. Very slow!

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Broken Shoes

How long are cycling shoes supposed to last? I used to have a pair of Cannondale shoes and they broke after two and a half seasons. The plate where the cleat mounted detached from the rest of the sole and would flex a lot and make it difficult last night. Up until last night, I had a pair of Answer shoes. I knew they were on the way out because they were developing holes, but they failed because the left shoe's sole detached from the upper. It was an interesting feeling. Those lasted three and a half seasons. May my knee over pedal spindle is all wrong.

I bought a pair of Carnac shoes. I hope these work ok. Maybe four and a half seasons?

Also, I narrowly avoided this cute guy and wowed him with my bike handling skills.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's not alright. He was 8 yrs old.

Last Thursday Elijah Montalvan was struck by a car and he died on Saturday, September 1st, 2012.  He was riding at night, pretty damn late, and was struck by a driver with a suspended license and no insurance.  It doesn't say in the article, but I can almost guarantee that there wasn't a bike helmet or bike lights involved.  How many things are wrong with this?  Too many.

The street where Elijah was hit is a curving, dense neighborhood drive thick with parallel parking.  No one in that neighborhood should be driving over 25 mph.  When we put up the entirely avoidable ghost bike on Monday  there was a lot of car traffic, much of it moving much too quickly.  When someone gets in a car, why is it that  concern for others usually gets left behind?  Shaving 20 seconds on my 5 minute drive to the grocery store somehow warrants risking life and limb of children in the neighborhood.

Linda was our inspiration for putting together a ghost bike for Elijah.  She is just one year past the death of her partner, Will Laramie, who was struck by a repeat drunk driver.  Linda was planning to put up a ghost bike back up on Burnside, locking it securely this time so the bike isn't lifted by scrappers.  The intersection where Will was struck, Burnside and Larrabee, needs some work.  While mounting the bike, we chatted about how the intersection would be safer for bikes and pedestrians if instead of a speed encouraging Y-intersection, the streets came together perpendicularly.  This would reduce speeds through the intersection and provide better sight lines.  Much thanks to the always vigilant and motivated Kevin Sullivan for finding the youth bike and towing the bikes over to East Hartford.

The question is, "Will East Hartford take the tragic death of Elijah, and many other cyclist deaths in their city, and choose to take action?"  Bike Walk Connecticut has education programs that can be implemented in schools, and the annual Will Laramie Benefit Concert was organized to help benefit / support that type of education.  Ghost bikes can only do so much.  The next step is making bicycle safety education part of a child's education.  Kids learn how to play bean bag dodge in gym class, why not basic cycling safety?  Cycling safety education could even be worked into a recess program.

Note:  For those that know me well.  The Burnside ghost bike is the Huffy Sweekstakes, also known as Good Vibrations Deluxe.

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East Coast Greenway comes to Hartford

Wrapping up a seven day tour from Portland, Maine to Hartford, Connecticut, a triumphant group of cyclists finished with a 60 mile leg starting in Putnam and finishing in Hartford.  The cyclists are experiencing and celebrating the East Coast Greenway one week at a time.  Last year the cyclists rode from Calais, ME to Portland.  Next year the cyclists will be starting in Hartford, CT and finishing 7 days south of here.  Where?  I'm not sure.  The rides are FREE for ECG members.  Pretty sweet, huh?  Something to keep on the radar for next year.  At some point I'd like to ride the full route from Key West to Calais, ME ~ 3,000 miles.

The riders were met in Bushnell Park by Mayor Segarra, who recently showed his bike / ped chops by riding to the Bike to Work Breakfast.  The Mayor has a real bicycle advocate on his staff, Thom Deller, so expect change in a good way.  Thom came to Hartford from Providence, RI and did great stuff for that city.

The enthusiastic DJ welcoming the riders was perhaps a little hard of hearing...

Have you registered yet for the Discover Hartford Parks Tour?  Rapidly approaching on Saturday, September 29th.  Still looking for volunteers too if you can't cough up the dough to ride. Read more!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bald Mountain Failure

Several months ago, I endeavored to ride a difficult ride. It was to be in Vermont and go up Bald Mountain (in Westmore). Bald Mountain is taller than Burke, but shorter than Gore and an East Mountain that is somewhere in Essex County. I thought it was the tallest one around, but it looks like it's only the tallest one in Orleans County and the third highest in the Northeast Kingdom. I snowshoed up it this winter and it was enjoyable. I even wrote about it on this very blog, sort of. The icy window is the observation tower. There are two trails that go up to the summit, so an out and back isn't required. This led me to the conclusion that I should ride my bike up it. There'd only be like a mile or two of hike-a-bike. So, in May I attempted that, but got lost because I couldn't find the eastern trail head and wandered down some moose trail for a while and cut my legs up pretty bad. Two days ago, I did it and didn't get lost. There was a bunch of hiking, but it wasn't all hiking and the descent was fun. Hikers were perplexed.

It just goes to show that there's much more to the Northeast Kingdom than Kingdom Trails. Not that I have anything against Kingdom Trails.

I also put a sweet grocery basket on the Pueblo and rode it with flip flops on.

The spring in Sutton quotes Auden now.

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