Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Greenway Signs

The Hinshaw Greenway in Cary has new signs. I am hoping this is the beginning of a project to improve the signs on all the Cary greenways. When I first started riding the greenways, the hardest things to figure out were how to stay on the greenway when it crossed roads and you needed to know which way to go to get on the next section and where to get off to get where you wanted to go. The only signs were the ones stating that the greenway closes at dusk. There were plenty of those.

Here is one of the new signs at a trail intersection. The first shot shows the yellow arrows indicating which way the Hinshaw Greenway goes. The second shot has a yellow arrow pointing down a spur which goes to Glenngarry Drive and another pointing up the Hinshaw Greenway towards the end that has Marla Dorrel Park.

I think these will be a grand improvement. Thank you to the Town of Cary.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Clothes

The summer weather has gotten a head start here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Over on EcoVelo there is a discussion about clothes for commuting or just cycling clothes in general. Right now it is hard to imagine riding even in the morning here without having access to showers. I saw a guy walking in business attire (chinos and a long sleeve button down shirt) on the trail this morning. He has in the shade, moving slowly and carrying a water bottle. For me, it would not take much effort all to break a sweat in the weather - 75 degrees but a dew point of 73.

I wear loose style cycling shorts or cycling underwear and some nylon hiking shorts with a inexpensive high tech t-shirt. And of course a helmet and gloves.

By the way, Mr. P's new tires looked and worked great this morning.

Wednesday's wildlife count: 3 rabbits in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pop Goes the Tire

A story about tire problems, but they weren't my tires.

I have recruited a friend who lives in my neighborhood and works at the same place to ride with me. I will call him Mr. P., since he is a few style points short of Mr. T in the hair department. Right now Mr. P is joining me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We had a nice ride in this morning with the temperature in the low 70s. We left our bikes in the bike rack in front of our building which is in the sun. When we came out just after 4:00 to head home in the 94 degree heat, Mr. P discovered he had a flat front tire. On further inspection, the tire itself had a hole in it. Then I noticed a large bulge on the back tire. The tube was still holding but the sidewall was giving out. The route we take, while paved, is twisty enough that it is more comfortable on a mountain bike than a road bike. Mr. P had put on some street tires he had on his mountain bike to better handle the pavement. But the tires were over 10 years old and as the day heated up they could not contain the expanding tubes.

Mr. P decided to call his wife to pick him up. He was planning a stop for tires and tubes on the way home, so he should be good to go on Thursday morning.

Ride Rating: Tuesday 3 rabbits, all in the afternoon

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Cockpit

I upgraded my bike some recently. It was been working out very well. I had seen the new FSA Metroplis handlebars and I thought they would be nice. The problem was price. First they are ~$50 and second they would not fit my current quill stem. So I would have needed a convertor and a new stem. That would bring the total to at least $80. Instead I found some similar shaped bars that did fit my current stem.

My old shifters were grip shifters which turn out to be too convenient. I found myself sometimes shifting or half shifting without meaning to. So I was interested in replacing them too. I at least needed cables and housing, since I was using 15 year old stuff. I think that just cables and housing would have been $15 to $20. I was offered a set of combined Shimano shifter and break levers complete with cables and housing for $30. So I decided that was worth it.

I added some $10 ergonomic grips with palm rests.

I got it all put together and adjusted pretty well. Now having ridden it 5 or 6 days, I can say it was a good upgrade. The handle bars are set to be higher and more swept back than the originals. I feel more comfortable. I can still stand and climb and I have not noticed my average speed suffering at all. The hand position is definitely better.

I also recently replaced the chain and cassette. I am practically riding a brand new bike for just over $100. Really makes it hard to justify the $8600 Black Sheep bike I dream about.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tour de Cure

No commuting today. I took the day off to recover and do some errands.

I rode in the NC Tour de Cure this past weekend. The routes started in Cary Saturday morning and went to Southern Pines. After spending the night, we road back on Sunday. I rode 106 miles on Saturday and 82 on Sunday. The heat was brutal. I beat my best 100 mile time by over 4 minutes, but that did not include a total of 2 1/2 hours of breaks. After the first quarter I was just riding from rest stop to rest stop. I needed water and the blessed ice even when it had been only 7 miles since the last stop. I rolled in to the finish, checked in my bike and caught a shuttle to my hotel. After a nice but quick shower, I headed back to the finish for some dinner. The Mexican food hit the spot. I piled on the rice and beans and grabbed some cheese quesadillas to push it all around with. Then I repeated that with a second serving. At some point somebody filled me a cup of New Belgium foam which worked out to a perfect half a glass of beer.

Sunday I started the ride a little weak, but felt better after each of the first three stops. The day grew hot again but choosing the shorter route worked out to be a good choice.

This is a well supported ride and a really nice route. You pass some nice horse farms and other scenery. I would recommend it.

The best news is my friends helped me raise over $300 to fight diabetes. This was part of over $2500 raised by my team, the Spiritual Spinners. The NC ride has raised $187,980 so far.

I will be back on the bike tomorrow and report on some recent upgrades.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend Bike Activity

I had a good bike weekend. I got some new handle bars for my mountain bike commuter. They are more swept back. I also got new shifters and brake levers and a new chain. So I had some work to do to get that all set up. But first up was going to be a 50 mile ride with some friends. But I forgot to update my Facebook status from Maybe to Yes for this ride and they ended up cancelling due to a combination of not enough people and wet roads. But I road my errands, Hilltop Farms and the grocery store for food, instead and had a nice ride although much shorter than 50 miles. I am really enjoying not using the car.

Sunday I worked a little more on the commuter upgrades. All the new stuff is on, but the cables and derailers need to be adjusted.

Monday is our normal ride day for the Spiritual Spinners but usually that is at 6:30 pm. Because of the holiday we road at 8:30 am - no pressure to finish before dark. I road 10 miles to the ride, we road the 50K Ride For Life route, 3 good hills, and I road home for a total of 51 miles. Later in the day I got most of the adjustments done on the bike.

A mid-afternoon appointment will keep me off the bike today, but after a few final adjustments to the derailers tonight I should be ready to go tomorrow.