Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bicycle Bridge to Nowhere

Today'sTracking to Nowhere

This was a short ride, to "See What's On the Other Side".
I just replaced the Terratrike's front seat fabric and was anxious to take it for a ride to see how the new seat felt.  Since I had limited time this evening, I decided to ride east over the quasi-new pedestrian/bike bridge over I-25.  Jacque and I actually rode it over a year ago while it still had orange cones marking final construction, and were disappointed that it merely emptied into the parking lot of  a local "Men's Club" called TD's.
Seems like we saw this silly sign before, just as you top the grade at the top of the ramp leading into the enclosed bridge;  the absolute slowest part of the ride.  It still seems like a stupid warning that would be better advice going DOWNHILL out of the bridgework:

Well, the bridge seems quite well done, although it feels like you're in a rabbit run going across I-25:

On the east side of the bridge, once over the breathtaking view of I-25 whizzing both ways below you, the bike trail just..... opens into a small cul-de-sac between Texas Roadhouse Restaurant and TD's "Show Club".  I turned into the large littered TD's parking lot and rode around the perimeter, looking for other outlets or bike trails, and I noticed one just on the other side of the fence parallel to the I-25 frontage road.
If you still have the energy to be titillated, you can ride your bike and park it and go inside for the expensive entertainment.

As I explored further by riding out to Osuna, I found the "entry" into the aforementioned bike path:  Another almost-invisible ramp combined with the sidewalk leading to TD's.  I did a hairpin turn, as best I could with the 12 foot wheelspan of the trike, and rode up on the path to see where it went.
It went all of maybe 50 yards before encountering an "End of Bike Trail" sign where the entrance to Texas Roadhouse intersected the frontage road.

I rode into THIS parking lot hoping to find a bikeable exit or ramp somewhere and NO such luck.  I turned around and went back the short way I came.  Then I rode past Cliff's Amusement Park parking lot on Osuna looking for any hint of further bike trails or lanes.
Nothing was found, and with only the busy intersection of San Mateo looming ahead, I turned around.
After I got home and looked at the map, it shows a bike lane in that area along Osuna leading to better lanes and paths farther east.  Oh Well.

Ride Started: 6:28 PM    Ride Ended:  7:12 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.7   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.0
Lowest Temp  71 F      Highest Temp:  78 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  2.83
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   4.2 MPH                            5.5 MPH                       20.6 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
40 minutes                             30 minutes                   9  minutes

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Few More Miles on the Dream Machine

Today's APRS Ham Radio Tracking

Today the Albuquerque Caravan Club and the Albuquerque Amateur Radio Club sponsored a "Tailgate" affair at the Team Solutions parking lot just off South Eubank just outside the Kirtland gate.
Since we were going to stay the night in Albuquerque, I thought about riding my bike or the trike over to the tailgate instead of just driving.  I looked up the route on http://maps.google.com and, according to that wonderful source, it was only a 10 mile ride requiring a few minutes more than an hour to accomplish.
Well, of course, I should have factored in the fact that I often average around FIVE MPH and thus such a trip would take 2 hours minimum.
Add that to the fact that "Bike-Friendly" areas on ALL maps are notoriously inaccurate.
This Google route tried to take me across I-25 on the new bike overpass but I was already familiar with the North Diversion channel route, though longer.  Google also wanted me to ride through the Los Altos golf course on their so-called "Bike Path".
When I crossed I-40 on the bike overpass adjacent to Los Altos Golf Course, I rode into the golf area looking for the so called bike path, and seemingly the only path I could find, I took.  It was rough as  the dickens and wound around through the course and - be advised -  I will never enter this golf course again.  Especially on a Saturday morning like today.... the place was full of golfers and golf carts and I repeatedly had to pull off on the grass to avoid colliding with golf cart drivers who seemed unable to bother allowing ME to stay on the narrow paved path.  I finally exited on Copper and was unable to find any bike path leading across Central.  So I turned on Conchas and crossed Central there.  I was ready to turn around and abort the trip but an unusually long gap in traffic allowed me to get clear across and continue my way down to Southern.  Southern wasn't too bad and when it intersected with Eubank, there was the predicted bike path leading the last mile to the tailgate parking lot.
Thus it was no wonder I arrived at the ham tailgate about 10:30 when most of the participants had already left.  Lilly and I wandered around the area visiting with the remaining hams for about an hour until almost everyone had gone and then we returned.  I was in no hurry to engage the return trip since my out-of-shape legs were so tired.
The return trip wasn't as tough as I thought it might be, likely because going west is slightly down hill or level, unlike the eastbound mild climbing involved on the trip out.
The trip was supposed to be only 20-something miles but with my detours it came in slightly over 25 round trip.
This was the Puppy Lilly's first belly-pack ride on a people powered machine in many many months, and unlike her agony when a new puppy, she enjoyed this long ride with a minimum of complaining.
This turned into a several hour tiring ride, but it reminded me of several things:
-Albuquerque brags about having over 400 miles of  bike paths, but SO many of them are largely unmaintained, with debris, large cracks in the pavement, and of course unrepaired pot-holes.
-Many, if not most, of the barriers trying to prevent motor vehicles from entering the bike paths are so poorly located and close together that it is still dangerous, and sometimes impossible, to get through with the 28" wide trike.
-The wooden bridges over so many of the bike areas, especially along the North Diversion Trail, don't seem to have been maintained since I rode them in discomfort several years ago.  The floorboards of the bridges are splintered, rough, and downright nasty.  The entrances and exits to all of them are horrible, causing stuff to fall off my trike repeatedly and jarring my very skull, and I was taking it SLOW.
-Albuquerque has a few smooth bike paths, but only within a few months of new construction.  One pleasant surprise was the intersection of Pennsylvania and the bike path paralleling Constitution. 

Trouble is, it's only maybe 50-60 yards in length before it rejoins the old beat-up path.
-I reiterate my supreme desire that Albuquerque's bike path engineers and designers be REQUIRED to personally ride bikes on these routes they tout so often.

Poor Lilly - she was EXHAUSTED before we got back.  She went several hours without a speck of nappy-time, and crashed immediately when she had the chance.....



Ride Started: 7:46 AM    Ride Ended:  1:42 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.6
Lowest Temp  49 F      Highest Temp:  71 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  25.38
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   4.2 MPH                            6.5 MPH                   16.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
5 hours 59 mins                    3 Hours  53 mins         2 Hours 6  minutes

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Few Miles on a Butt Buster

I saddled up the tandem Terratrike Pro this evening for a preplanned ride from work to the Loma Del Norte Park where we enjoy letting the dogs play in the dog park and do their business.When I started to ride away, however, the trike seemed extremely sluggish and noisy. As I glanced around to see what was the problem, I noted the left  front tire was  almost entirely FLAT.  I tried to air it up but it would not hold air..
So, I borrowed one of  the used mission bikes in our facility and rode the route with an unfamiliar upright Diamond Frame (DF) bike.
It got me there and back but it was not a pleasant ride.  The bike had recently been worked on and the seat adjustment screw was loose, allowing the seat to tilt back when I tried to find a comfortable spot to sit and pedal.  I tried tightening the screw with my Gerber pocket plier-multitool. but it only improved things slightly. The reason for the ride was to try out a Google mapped bike route  to  the dog park from our office.
This route was not too bad, though it pointed up several undesirable aspects of Albuquerque's sputtering bike-friendly attempts:
-Jefferson now has a mostly decent bike lane, although it has bollards so close together it is dangerous and sometimes impossible (for a trike) to enter the bike path off Jefferson without blocking vehicular Jefferson traffic, endangering all involved.
-Anyway, this ride took me from Jefferson to the Ellison intersection, which wasn't bad at all.
-Ellison has NO bike lane, but it was not terrible due to less traffic....
-Then, at the intersection of the East Frontage Road, Ellison, and San Antonio, the cyclist must divert off the pavement up onto the SIDEWALK at the SE corner of this intersection, which gets you started on the bike path that leads about 100 yards parallel to the Cracker Barrel parking lot, then hard-lefts to the east running parallel to San Antonio.  There was a homeless guy flopped at this left-hand right-angle bend, who was still squatted there when I came back when it was almost dark.
-Like most bike paths in Albuquerque, this one is seldom maintained and has lots of rough bumps and potholes as you pedal merrily along.
-This route had me ride all the way up to Louisiana, then turn North.  Louisiana has a mostly rideable bike lane, with the occasional stretch of rocks, trash, and gravel.
-Coming back the other way involved quite a set of risks.  At Louisiana the bike path is right on the corner, with pavement, sidewalk, and bike path all conglomerated into a small space difficult to find and navigate.  I made that with only one failed attempt, but at the bottom of the hill at the intersection of San Antonio and the dead-end of the bike path, one is forced to stop, wait for no traffic (HAH!), and carefully walk the bike ACROSS the traffic lanes so you can be found waiting in the left turn lane to get back on Ellison.  I did not manage that one so well, and likely in future will ride up into the Cracker Barrel lot and turn around and cross Ellison there with a bit of a gap away from the derned crowded intersection lower down.  The City seems to have non-cyclists designing and laying out such avenues.  I wish such officials had to ride bikes on their own creations and see just what it's like instead of bragging about how many more miles of bike paths and lanes they've accomplished.
It was only 2.8 miles each way, which won't be a bad shortie bike ride in the future on my OWN  bike  with  a  comfortable seat.
On the way back, a young lady called out to me from her car "Love your HAT!!"  - Which no doubt was  sarcasm, seeing how silly my helmet looks with  faded neck curtain, homemade plastic oil-can long front visor, headlamp and tail-lamp, GoPro camera mount on top, and not to mention the radio boom microphone and earpiece.
My adoring public.....
Since I was riding a featureless bike with no electronics,  I have no GPS speed  or distance or tracking data tonight.   BAH

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

FINALLY Got in a 10-Mile Ride

 Today's Ride Tracked via GPS and Ham Radio (APRS)

I've been struggling, what with our busy full time volunteer jobs, when and how to schedule a (preferably) daily bike ride again.
We stay in the RV at work during the week and don't commute by car, so I can't just have Jacque drop me and the bike off a few miles from work and let me ride the rest of the way like I used to a couple years ago, before I got involuntarily retired.
I actually also rode my upright beater-bike over to the Doctor's office yesterday, so I can (coff) brag about riding somewhere  2 days in a row. Trouble is, yesterday was only like a mile each way, not enough to even register on the  exercise  scale.  I must confess my  legs, long out of  shape again, complained anyway.
Today I saddled up the Terratrike Tandem Recumbent and was determined to  go out at least 5 miles and come back, making an actual  10-miler.  And, even though I did the full ten miles, my legs found the pedaling much easier on the recumbent than on the old Diamond Back upright.
It got almost  totally dark by the time I  got  back,  so in future I need to leave early enough to both get in a decent few miles AND get back before dark.

Ride Started: 5:28 PM    Ride Ended:  7:29 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.5   Ending Voltage: 12.8  Lowest:  12.6
Lowest Temp  64 F      Highest Temp:  75 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.47
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   4.0 MPH                            6.5 MPH                   19.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
 1 hour 55 mins                     1 Hour  36 mins           19  minutes

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NEW TIRES on the Bounder RV today

Just a journal entry to help my fading memory powers:
6 new Goodyear high dollar Truck Tires, $309 each
Total bill 2280 bucks, ouch.
RV current mileage 78000 and change

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ugly March Riding Weather

Today's WINDY APRS/GPS/Ham Radio Tracking

I'm tired of never getting around to riding the people-powered machines, and even alarmed at the gradually increasing spare tire around my belt line.  Today was a bit cold and breezy but I decided I just had to get out and do a few miles at least.
When I rolled off our mile of rocky goat-path onto Frost Road, and turned east to do my favorite 10-mile loop, I found a stiff cold wind at my back.  This is always a treat for cyclists, EXCEPT for the nagging fact in the back of the brain while pedaling effortlessly:  When you turn around you PAY for the previous tailwind.
And PAY I did indeed.  As soon as I turned left at Mountain Valley Road and the wind was no longer mostly at my back, it was left, right, head on, and gusting in various directions..... leading me to ride like a drunken sailor, all over the road, this way and that, gearing down, trying to stay upright, and getting colder by the second.  I made almost 3-4 more miles with such scattered wanderings and wobblings until I finally had enough.  I pulled over and called Jacque on the cell phone and asked very politely if she wouldn't mind coming to rescue me with the pickup.  She met me 15 minutes later and I gladly threw the rig in the back and rode back to the house with considerably more comfort.
It was great indeed to finally get off my butt and get a bike ride going, in spite of the bitter weather.
Maybe now I'll be more motivated to take advantage of the other 300+ sunny days we normally enjoy in New Mexico.

Ride Started: 4:10 PM    Ride Ended:  5:45 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.4   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.9
Lowest Temp  46 F      Highest Temp:  60 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  7.97
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   2.0 MPH                            6.7 MPH                   29.6 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 45 mins                       1 Hour11 mins           34  minutes

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Beautiful February Riding Weather

Today's Short-Track Tracking

Just another short ride on Monday afternoon.  This time Tink  and I got maybe 1/2 mile west along the parallel Paseo del Norte trail before running out of time and turning back.
There seem to be a lot more cyclists out as the weather warms up, more than I remember encountering back when I was riding more regularly last year.  Of course there's the usual mix of friendlies and too-high-class-to-care types, but it's great to encounter any and all of them.

Ride Started: 3:21 PM    Ride Ended:  4:49 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.1  Lowest:  12.4
Lowest Temp  55 F      Highest Temp:  64 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  6.65
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   4.5 MPH                            6.7 MPH                   18.7 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 29 mins                        59 minutes                  30  minutes