Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday ramble

 Just a few random miles to bulk up my Bike to Work Week totals, which include bicycle trips one would have taken by car. I took the DuPage river Trail south from 87th Street to downtown Naperville. What a scenic ride, with the duck-filled river on your right as you head north. It's not all this pretty, but much of it is.

Einsten Bagels in downtown Naperville is my usual Saturday morning haunt. Today I tried a turkey sausage with salsa, which sounded tasty. The actual result was on a "thin" tasteless bagel and a tasteless turkey patty covered with a cylinder of tasteless egg whites, which I discarded. The "salsa" was a squirt of mexi-flavor gel. Blech, except for the fruit cup and the fountain Diet Coke. Next time I'll have my usual wheat bagel.

Behind the Naperville Police Station
is this picturesque pond with a surrounding bike path.

Anyway. Next stop: The Naperville Police Department, so I could register my new bike. Up Aurora Avenue I went -- but it turns out the Naperville Police Dept. doesn't work on weekends. At least, as far as bicycle registration goes.

The DuPage River Trail devolves into a series of backstreet left-right
turns in what used to be historic Naperville. These huge easy-credit
mansions -- built right out to the lot lines -- are replacing the
human-scale housing in downtown Naperville.
A stop at Ace Hardware for toilet parts, and back home. Total was 17.7 miles, which counts toward my Bike To Work Week total. Cool.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yay, it stopped raining.

Only managed two bicycle commutes during “Bike to Work Week” — today and Tuesday. Got rained out the rest of the week. Total will be a paltry 50 miles or so. Oh well.

 This morning was glorious. Temperature in the low 60s, cloudless and windless. A lightweight bike in tip-top condition. A middleweight rider in so-so condition. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the 60 minutes and 33 seconds it took me to get to work today.

79th Street running through the
Greene Valley Forest Preserve.

Should be a great ride home, too: an easterly breeze at my back, and 80 degrees. I can rack up a few more miles tomorrow running errands; BTWW doesn’t officially end until Sunday.

dsj 110617

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bike to Work Week!

It's on! Doing my part to help Argonne National Laboratory best Fermilab and Alcatel-Lucent. My son accompanied me on this morning's 12.5-mile, 64-minute inbound commute. Looks like tomorrow will be a washout, but Thursday and Friday promise to be rain-free and warm.

Learn more about bicycle commuting from the Active Transportation Alliance.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mr. Metric!

Mary and I visited the kin down on Cincinnati this weekend. I brought the new bike with the idea of attempting a "metric century" -- 100 kilometers, or 62 miles -- on the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

Well, shoot. I did it.

Perfect day for the attempt: warm, very light winds (supposedly from the north). The trail, as I've noted before, is smooth and paved with asphalt. Just right for a fresh-out-of-the-box road bike.
Got on the Trail at Kings Mill and headed north. Most of the trail is fully tree-lined; it's like riding in a cool green tunnel. You get glimpses of the Little Miami River on your left. (See my previous post about this wonderful trail.)
A representative stretch of the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
The trail was littered with a lot of small debris from storms that had rolled through in previous days: twigs, leaves and the occasional downed branch. At one point, I had to stop and carry my bike over a downed sapling.

A fellow road-bike rider got in behind me about 10 miles into the ride. It took me a while to figure out he was drafting. That was a first! I was flattered.

The trail was busy -- turns out there was a triathlon in progress, sponsored by one of the local campground/canoe rental outfits. 
The town of Spring Valley was the turnaround point, 31 miles from the start. I had a most excellent chocolate ice-cream cone at the Two Scoops shop. And of course, the weatherman lied: the wind was out of the south, right in my face on the way back.
A rare opening in the tree canopy.
About 50 miles in, I really started feeling the distance. My shoulders started getting shaky, and my hamstrings began to bark. I stopped at the Morgan Campground/Canoe Rental HQ in hopes of finding a fountain Diet Coke. No luck there, but I bought a Clif energy bar and was offered free bottled water, courtesy of the triathlon. I gratefully accepted.

The last 10 miles was a true test of my endurance. I haven't pushed myself that hard in a long time. But the anticipation of reaching a long-time goal kept me chugging along. Four hours and 22 minutes after I started, I was sitting on a bar stool in the Train Stop Inn, celebrating my first metric century with a Rolling Rock and a well-deserved hamburger.

Next: a full century. I can do it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Welcome Naperville Sun readers!

The Naperville Sun's Grace Wong was kind enough to interview me for an article. I was only too happy to help spread the word about bicycling in Naperville, the SW burbs and across the Midwest. Your suggestions for good rides are welcome!

That blur was me

The new bicycle is a white-hot bullet of justice and awesome. This morning's commute: 12.5 miles, 56:08, a new personal record (previous best was 58 minutes and change). And I wasn't even trying that hard.

New goal: <50 minutes!

Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.