Monday, September 30, 2013

Second great idea of the day

As a visionary thinker, I like to start off my day with really good ideas. My first good idea was I should start a hip hop news site. This grew out of a conversation I had with Johanna yesterday where it was determined that no one has ever asked me about what's going on with contemporary hip hop or rap. Apparently, there's a new Eminem song, but I had no idea really. I thought he'd retired. The only reason I know who's hot in the game is from the Hot 93.7 signs on the sides of busses. This site would be a good idea, because you'd get the outsiders' perspective. Moms and Mormons could use it to figure what everyone is listening to, who's beefing with whom, who just had a nasty break up, etc.  I think it's going to be huge.

My second great idea was that the Beat Bike Blog should become the title sponsor of the Hartford Marathon. Apparently, ING is dropping its sponsorship of marathons. Like contemporary hip hop, I don't really know anything about running. I do it every so often, but the further I've ever run is maybe like 10 or 11 miles. I know a number of people who are good at running, but that doesn't matter, because I would totally change the format into The Eel. You could run it or ride it and the since The Eel that goes up and down the Connecticut River is about 60 miles, there'd be an ultra-marathon class.

I think this idea is awesome and I'm going to go set up a kickstarter page ASAP.

In the meantime, why don't we give another Eel a whirl on Oct 19? How does that sound?

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

In My Own Backyard

Went out for a spin this weekend, initially with the intent of camping near the Barkhamsted Reservoir after exploring some of the dirt roads.  It was a soft plan, so soft that I changed it part way and looped back to Hartford after bush whacking a particularly gnarly gravel road (Broad Hill Road, off of Simsbury Road), that degraded into quad track (Weed Hill Road), and then became a vague memory of what at some point seems to have been a trail.  The rock walls on either side of the downhill track were the only thing that hinted at the creek bed having a prior life.  Somehow I got from Weed Hill Road to Firetown Road (LINK), which Google doesn't recognize as a road.  Lots and lots of undeveloped preserve land out here.  Prime for a weekend out and back trip with primitive camping overnight.

A beach in Hartford.  WTF?  
Part of the reason I turned back after lugging my camping gear most of the way to Barkhamsted was to catch the Pipes in the Valley festivities at the Hartford Riverfront.  An amusing pale alcoholic crowd, with a few in kilts.  In addition to the numerous beer tents, there was a whiskey tasting table and an Irish coffee booth.  I didn't stick around for the later shows, but I'm guessing the crowd was well soused, perhaps enough to even dance, when the Red Hot Chili Pipers went on at 9PM.

Wee driftwood campfire on the beach.
Instead of spectating the bag pipe fueled shit-show I rode North along the riverfront path, past the boat house, in search of a camping spot.  It was a beautiful evening, and clear.  Camping could still be had.  While considering potential spots to tie up a hammock for the night I noticed that the island just off shore appeared to have a passable land bridge.  I'd heard this happens with low water levels.  It ended up being a surreal location tucked behind a large pile of trees deposited by higher flood levels, but just a few steps from a great view of the city.  I set up my camp and put together a small driftwood camp fire.  The sand on the island was great for lounging next to the fire and gazing up at the heavens.  Now that I've told all 8 readers of the BBB about this priceless spot, I'll have to kill you all.

Rolling fog and amazingly quiet.
On the topic of amazing stuff in Hartford's backyard, if you didn't get enough during Hartford's bike-splosion last weekend, Providence is trying to do one better this coming weekend.  During the day on Friday, October 4th, Providence is hosting the New England Bike Walk Summit.  That night in the same venue you can catch the FREE New England Builders' Ball.  The ball is chock full of regional frame builders with their drool worthy rigs.  Saturday and Sunday brings the Providence Cyclocross Festival.  Just a short drive.  I'm planning to catch a carpool over on Friday morning, and ride back to Hartford on Saturday.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013


I've been 30 for about a week and boy do I feel old. Last night, I was angry at the dehumidifier for shutting off randomly, so I kicked it and the free hub broke yesterday on the snake bike, so I got a ride home from Johanna.

Now that I'm old, I suppose that my joints are going to start aching and I'm going to require a lot of Bengay. For example, I was riding in Vermont this road that heretofore had always been open, but someone had run an electric fence wire across it. Since wires and gravel are the same color, even with the help of my glasses (further indication that I'm old) I hit the wire about went over the bars. My shoulder was stiff for a week. The reason I was riding there is because I'm a member of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, which in the last few years has developed some pretty good singletrack. I joined it. The trails are more difficult than Kingdom Trails and I can ride to them from Glover. Also, I can ski there in the winter. They have rowing stuff, too, but I haven't seen any canoes, only those fast, tippy boats.

Since I haven't written a real blog post in a long time, I can also tell you about riding the Dirty 40. It was low key, cheap and a lot of fun. It got Salem out of retirement. He finished 10th and I finished 35th. He's still way better than me. Todd Bowden won. At cyclocross practice last week, Todd Bowden did not lap me. That was a big victory for me.

Another thing that has nothing to do with getting old, but is a cool secret thing that I've been doing is riding at Nathan Hale in between a class I'm taking in Storrs and when I have to be back for my Admiralty office hours at the law school. In that vein, does anyone know a good sandwich place near 44 in the Storrs/Coventry area? Highland Park is sort of expensive.

So, this is my return to the beat bike blog after a month or so. No great insights.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Clean up the river again

I know have written any beat bike blog things for a long time and this has nothing to do with bikes. For the fifth year (though not fifth year in a row), I am organizing a clean up of the bank of the Connecticut River at its confluence with the Park River. This spot doesn't get the attention that Charter Oak Landing & Riverside Park get, so I think it's due a good annual cleaning. This year promises some good trash, because I didn't organize one of these last year since I went to a wedding. The clean up will take place Oct. 5 from 10am to 1pm.

If you come by car, your best option for parking is either on Charter Oak Ave or Van Dyke Ave. From there, you can walk down the paved access road and up the levee. I'll have some gloves on hand. I advise wearing pants and closed shoes. Also, bring water and perhaps a snack, because I'm a poor student and can't afford a case of water for everyone. Give me a call if you have any questions at 860 729 9603 or email me.

This clean up is part of the larger Source to Sea Clean Up, which is happening all up and down the river on Oct. 5. If Hartford is too far away for you or you just don't like it but still want to clean the river, here are other locations:

Here's a map illustrating approximately where the access road is and where you should park:
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

What the Bike is Happening?

This past weekend was a veritable orgy of bicycle events, with a heavy dose of walkable community.  Then this week while wandering by the Goodwin College garage across from work when I spotted a bright blue cargo / commuter bike emblazoned with the Goodwin logo.  Since I'm not shy around bikes, I sauntered over and struck up a conversation.  The one bike was the first of twelve being un-boxed and assembled for the loaner bike fleet of Goodwin College staff and students at their various Riverside Drive and Main Street buildings.  So freaking cool.

Color coordinated and well branded.  Rugged, chic commuter bikes.
Oddly (bike gravity?) in the same week I was approached internally at Pratt & Whitney by some intrepid engineers on the Green Committee looking to float the idea of a loaner bike fleet to go between buildings on our huge campus.  I takes 20+ minutes to walk from one side of campus to the other.  Many critical, in-person meetings are replaced with teleconferencing because no one can afford to blow 40 minutes walking.  It is a great idea, and I really should get behind it.  The funny part is that P&W policy (in the travel and transportation policy document) currently prohibits riding a "two" wheeled bicycle or motorcycle when on company business - which means between meetings during the day at work.  Awesome, huh?

And.  AND!  There is a Bike (and Walk) to Work Breakfast in East Hartford on Friday, September 27th.  The Town of East Hartford is picking up the torch and sponsoring an event smack dab in the front lawn of town hall on Main Street.  In addition to the P&W bike commuter regulars, this event will reach an entirely new geographic and demographic group of commuters.  The expansion of the event to include both walking and biking commuters is genius and captures the intent of Bike Walk Connecticut to be an inclusive active transportation advocacy organization.  The breakfast is being promoted by the Town of East Hartford, Capitol Region Council of Governments, Pratt & Whitney Cycling Club, and Goodwin College.  Cycling Concepts (Glastonbury and Rocky Hill) will be the bike shop onsite to answer your questions and consult on bike stuff.  Help us spread the word (Facebook Invite), and stop by if this is anywhere near your regular commute.

East Hartford Bike (and Walk) to Work Info:

  • When:  Friday, September 27th.  6:30AM-8:30AM.
  • Where:  East Hartford Town Hall, Main Street.  Downtown, right next to the fire station.
  • What:  Food and beverages.  Usually coffee, juice, bagels, fruit, etc.  
  • Why:  It is fun!  General hanging out with bike (and walk) friendly folks.  Trade tips.  Make connections.  Encourage beginners to give it a shot. Complain about crappy drivers.
  • How:  On a bike or your feet.  Pretty damn simple.  Only note is that it days are getting make sure you are visible (lights, reflective) for your trip.  An invisible cyclist is a cyclist in danger.
Sweet.  Keep up the awesomeness, and I'll see you around.
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