Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hill Slug Substitute Ride

Laura is bailing on us this weekend so I will be leading her ride. Since it is a hill slug ride there must be hills so we will start in Lambertville and explore the hills above the Delaware between Lamberville and Frenchtown.

Starting time will be 9am at the CVS in Lamberville. The ride will be between 45-50 miles with one stop. It will be a hilly ride but nothing real long or steep. I will post the route here on Friday. Currently the weather looks good for Saturday but if anything changes I will update this post by 9pm Friday

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Change of Pace

I passed on riding with the hill slugs this week to do a local ride and see a few people I haven't seen in a while. I rode over to Ira's C+ ride and picked up Herb on the way. Since it was a warm day there were a lot of people there. I think there were 20 people on Ira's ride including Lynne, Bruce, Marc and a few other people I haven't seen in a while.

Ira's took us through Roosevelt and down to Emily's hill before making a stop at Phil's. I spent most of the ride just catching up with everybody and enjoying the fact that I wasn't leading.

At Phil's, Herb had a soft tire so I helped him change it. We told the rest of the group to leave with out us as we were planning on taking a longer way back anyway. After the tire change we headed out on 526 and in about a half mile I hit a large sharp piece of gravel that nicked the sidewall of my back tire and gave me an immediate pinch flat. So within 2 mins of changing Herb's tire I had to change my own.

At this point neither of us had a spare tube so we decided to take the shortest way back home. Which took us past Reed Rec area in Allentown where Chris and Ron were hanging out after their ride. We stopped by to talk to them for a few minutes before heading for home. We made it home with out any more problems. It was a nice relaxing ride and a nice change of pace after the last few weeks.


I also heard from my Swedish astronomer friends. After an extended vacation in the US they are back home and sent me a few of their eclipse pictures. Since I didn't take any picture on today's ride I decided I would share the spectacular picture they took just as the sun was emerging from behind the moon. It is definitely one of the best eclipse pictures that I have seen.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Big Skies over Peace Valley

Last year I did a ride in the fall around Peace Valley when the leaves were at peak color and decided to do the same route this Saturday to see if it was as scenic as I remember. I called the ride the leg buster as I have been trying to give my rides interesting name. It was a hilly ride with around 2700 ft of climbing but the route was nothing worst than other hilly rides we've done this year.

The ride was entirely in PA so after we crossed the bridge at Bulls Island we headed up Flecy Dale then through Doylestown on our way to Peace Valley. Peace Valley is a park that surrounds Lake Galena one of the reservoirs in Buck country. Its a very scenic park so we hopped on the bike path to take a look a get a couple of pictures by the dam.

After that is was an straight up hill for a few hundred feet to ride along the quiet roads on the ridge on our way to Perkasie. The roads on the ridge are mostly along open fields and farmland so you have wide open views of the sky. It was a mostly cloudy and windy day which made for some dramatic views.

I made a few changes to last years route to go through the town of Dublin. This lead us to Rickert Rd and a bridge out which makes it an official Tom ride.  This wasn't much of a bridge out. The bridge was fully intact and just had a couple of concrete barriers that were easy to ride around.

Our rest stop was in Perkasie at the Down Earth Cafe. Its got good coffee and good baked goods and is my go to place when riding in this area.

After the break we made our way back through more open farmlands and some more big sky views. We had mostly head winds on the way to the rest stop and finally got a few stretches with some tail winds. Although there was some rolling hills and a few climbs it was a relatively easy ride back to our starting point.

I like this route. Its hilly enough to be interesting with out being too challenging. Its also very scenic so this in a route I may do at least once a year.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

My Number One Fan

One of the great things about biking is the community that surrounds it and binds all of us together. It is always enjoyable to talk to other bikers and share stories and advice. On Saturday I decided to forgo the PFW picnic to do a little hill training in the Sourlands. I did this loop towards Stanton with Jack. We stopped at the Wawa on 202 and met a biking couple there. They had done the Grand Fondo of NJ and we wanted to know if it was a good event to do(they liked it). As we talked about the different rides we do I had mentioned I had a done a series of county high point rides in the counties where the fondo is and I could send them some routes if they wanted to explore that area some more. The woman, Bobbi (on the left of the photo), asked if I had seen the Road Biking NJ book which they thought had a lot of good routes. I responded that not only have I seen the book but that I was actually the author.

At that Bobbi got real excited and starting jumping up and down. She said she loves the book and wanted a hug and a picture with me and made me feel like a celebrity. I occasionally meet people who have bought the book and have received mostly positive feedback. I want to know if they like the routes, are they easy to follow, what other type of information would you like to see. Bobbi was so enthusiastically positive about the book that she is definitely my number one fan.

It is good to know that people enjoy the book and find it useful. Part of the reason I started this blog was to continue to share routes and stories about the best places to ride and visit in NJ. I have collected a lot of good rides over the years about where to ride in NJ. I don't know if I will update the book or write another one anytime soon but I think over this winter one of my project will be to overhaul the website associated with the book to better share all the places to go and things to see so that it will be easier for people to find this information. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

High Tech Table

Since I work from most of the time I have been slowly updating my office to make it more comfortable and efficient. I have made a computer rack to better organize my multiple computers and built a charging station to charge my many devices. My latest project was to replace a 30 old end table next to my recliner.

I have hated the end table since I bought it as Service Merchandise for $25 for my first apartment and wanted to replace it but never found anything that I liked. I wanted a good looking end table to be next to my recliner to have a place to store the books I'm reading and hold a pad, pen and reading glasses.

After looking online and in furniture stores I couldn't find that perfect table so I decided to build one. Its a two tone piece built out of maple and some mahogany Formica to match the other furniture in the room. Its a simple box shape but has some cool hidden features.

Although it looks like a solid box from the front it has a shelf cut out of the sides.

This give me a place to keep my reading glasses and current book I am reading. This table may look like it doesn't have a lot of storage but this is where it goes high tech. I used a linear actuator to add a hidden vertical draw. There is a switch in the cut out shelf that uses a linear actuator to raise the top of the table... revel two internal shelves where I can store a lots of stuff. I also added an internal plug strip that has two AC plugs and 3 USB ports where I can plug my laptop in or tablet in to recharge it.

Although the table is really nothing more than a box and vertical draw with some shelves it was a little complicated to build. Getting the maple and mahogany Formica to fit perfectly together took some precision cutting and patience to get it just right. I had never used a linear actuator before so fitting it and determining how to connect it to the table and wire it up took some trial and error. 

However all the work was worth it. I am really happy the way it turned out. It is not only looks good but is a cool combination of high tech and functionality that perfectly fits into my home office.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


After 3 years I'm finally back in Cape Cod. We usually come up here for a long weekend once a year but because of my vacations to Hawaii and Alaska the last 2 years we just didn't have the time. Although I like to explore new places its also good to have a go to vacation destination that you enjoy and know what to expect. My wife and I come to Cape Cod mostly to relax on the beach and enjoy the local fair. If you like beaches, there are some great ones here that have been the subject of many artistic photos and paintings. If you like seafood there is no better place to be. To be honest I don't really like seafood except for a good clam chowder. Although I have tried clam chowder at a number of different places around the country the only place where they make is right is Cape Cod. It must be New England clam chowder (none of that Manhattan shit), it must be thick almost stand up a spoon in, and it has to taste good.

After a hectic summer it was good to hang out at a beach and just relax. We rented a house in West Yarmouth on Hyannis bay. It was a small place with just enough room for the two of us with an amazing view of the bay. 

In front of the house was a small creek with some resident swans. Across the creek was a beach overlooking the bay. The view and quiet neighborhood made it one of the best places we ever stayed in Cape Cod. We were even able to see the sunsets. Of course pictures don't do the view justice not only because they can't capture how it actually looked but also because you can't smell the salt air, hear the water hitting the beach or feel the wind blowing across the bushes.

We lucked out with the weather. We had 4 days of mostly sunny skies and it was warm enough to sit on the beach. Besides hanging out at the beach and enjoying our view we did a little sightseeing and headed to some other parts of the Cape to check out our favorite scenic spots and do a little shopping. There are a lot of artists and craftsmen on Cape Cod especially towards Provincetown. There are many of galleries of original art and unique crafts that are interesting to walk through.   

There are also many scenic vistas and light houses along to way so it is easy to spend an enjoyable day visiting them while doing some shopping.

As usual when we come up here we eat way too much. Not only did we get lots of clam chowder but also a lot of other food that tastes great and is not entirely healthy. Our favorite breakfast is at Pancake Man which merges a cinnabon and pancake and is as sugary and delicious (and filling) as it sounds. Then of course there is home made ice cream at the many road side stands that you just have to stop at. We even managed to find a new version of clam chowder. Its called fried clam chowder and if you are thinking how the hell can you fry soup let me explain. Its like a crab cake only made clams, of course, but some how it is soaked in chowder and breaded so when you actually bite into it it tastes exactly like clam chowder. I still prefer the soup but it just proves you can fry anything.

It was a good trip and a relaxing vacation but I've had my quota of fat, sugar, and salt for the year. It is time to go home to detox and get back to my normal riding schedule.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Flat and Fast

I did a lot of hilly rides in July and August so as a break and to get a long ride in I scheduled a Pineland Cruise for today. I was hopping to attract a good crowd and maybe get a couple of the Florida flatlanders to join. Maybe it was the holiday weekend or the possibility of rain but I only get a few regulars for the ride (Laura, Chris and Jack).

It was a cool morning and was barely 60 degrees when we set out. The route I created was as flat and simple as I could make it. We went out at a good pace and got to the first rest stop in the Wawa in Browns Mill in quick order. There aren't many place to stop in the Pinelands so we had to stop a mile 18 because the next possible stop was in Vincetown at 45 miles.

We made a quick bathroom stop in Lebanon State forest where we I checked the radar and saw the rain just south of where we were. It was headed west but if it moved north a little we would get wet.

For the next 20 miles there was some spirits of rain then some light rain as we skirted the northern edge of the storm. We really didn't too wet at all and once we turned north to Smithville we left the rain behind us.

When we pulled into the Olde World Bakery we had a 17mph average. It was still below 70 degrees and felt a little cold. We had just over 50 miles in and I was feeling strong so I pushed the pace a little to see if we could maintain our average.

We cranked along as fast as we could and made quick work of the last 14 miles back to Bordentown. We slowed down a little through Bordentown but I still finished up with a 16.95 mph avg which is the fastest ride of the year for me.

Although we got a little wet the weather was really perfect for a fast flat ride and it felt good to get a long ride in at a fast pace.