Friday, October 13, 2017

Back Roads, Beaches, Broken Chains

Today's Tracking Along the Rio Grande

Fridays have recently become a togetherness day for us to ride together.  Since it's supposed to be our weekly date night too, it's a great way to spend part of the day together.
Last week's Friday ride ended with a chain that gave up the ghost just before we arrived back at our vehicle & trailer combination, requiring only a short walk tugging the now non-operable trike.
I replaced the broken link the next day, and today the patched chain worked fine.  MOSTLY.
We again immediately entered the non-paved packed gravel paths that wind in and out of the shady trees, sometimes adjacent to the Rio Grande with the river water flowing only a few feet away, sometimes deep into the cottonwoods.  We rode around until we got good and hungry, then turned around and rode back towards the trail intersection with Mountain Road, which when followed, takes us to Old Town and Steve's Ice Cream Shoppe.
We enjoyed a very nice snack, visits with touristas from all over the country in town for Balloon Fiesta, and even bumped into some dear Church friends on the plaza while listening to the Mariachi band playing on the bandstand.
On the way back to the vehicle, our chain AGAIN locked up:  This time it was my front chain; it had jumped its idler pulley and jammed.
After gently rearranging the chain back in its rightful channel, we made it back with no further incident.
However, after returning  home and examining the chain and idlers, I found the chains were all so worn that they allowed too much slack, allowing such things as chain breakage and jumping since the idler pulleys are no longer able to keep the chain tight in its winding travel through all the pulleys and gears.
Thus, another order to Ebay for new chains:  On these recumbents it requires THREE new chains to get enough length to thread the entire chain circuitry.  More greasy hands and busted knuckles coming up soon.

Ride Started: 11:22 AM    Ride Ended:  2:59 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.9Beginning Blood Glucose:  157   Ending BG Reading: 159 (after ice cream) Lowest Temp  71F      Highest Temp:  91F   Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  13.89 Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  4.7 MPH                                 6.0 MPH                      15.2 MPH Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 2 hours 59 mins                     2 hours 20 mins           39 minutes

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Fabulous Day for Riding Indeed

Today's impressive tracking

Today's ride wound around the same 15 mile loop I rode a few days ago.  I was impressed with the radio coverage with my newly elevated antennas but upon comparison with the route from last Monday I see the coverage is no better, and perhaps a bit lacking in comparison.  The higher flags on top of the antennas help motorists to spot me earlier but evidently I'm getting no increase in radio range.  Sigh.  Oh Well.
Gutierrez Canyon is a lovely place to ride with the scenic area and low traffic.  It does have some steep climbs but it's a fun route.
This is Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta week and thousands of folks are here to participate and attend.  Lots of visitors heard on the ham radio today.  I enjoyed talking to several and  hearing them talking to others.
It is definitely getting pretty nippy now.  I wore my windbreaker until about the halfway point and it was a bit chilly without it.
My insulin pump ran out of insulin also about halfway through the ride.  I continued riding anyway and checked my blood glucose to make sure it didn't get too high.  It actually got down to 59 - this after running out of insulin - and I "forced" myself to eat a cookie to continue climbing the hills. Yum.

Ride Started: 11:47 AM    Ride Ended:  2:21 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.9
Beginning Blood Glucose:  207   Ending BG Reading: 135 
Lowest Temp  50F      Highest Temp:  67F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  15.64 
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
6.1 MPH                                 8.1 MPH                   37.5 MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
2 hours 33 mins                     1 hour 55 mins           37 minutes

Monday, October 9, 2017

Experimental Riding Around

Today's Maybe Improved Tracking

My radio tracking range has lots of holes in it, what with the low transmitter power (~5 watts) and low altitude antenna.  The top of my antennas is normally about 7 feet in the air, and when I go behind hills or down into low spots, the coverage is often very limited.
I decided to try adding about 30" in height to the antennas, but inserting a couple of pieces of aluminum tubing into the existing mounts, as seen here:
So today the antennas were both about 8 or 9 feet to the tippy tops.  That's not much of a height gain  but sometimes small changes help out.  Today's ride was a familiar route with taller antennas to see if any advantage was gained with the additional antenna height.

Normal Tracking with Lower Antenna Height

Today's Taller Tracking

A bit more coverage was seen today, but on some days the coverage shows up better even with the lower antennas.  The aluminum extensions were small, about 3/8", and the wind was stiff today (Balloon Launches were cancelled due to wind today), but nothing bent or broke.  If I was riding in town or along the Bosque I would have to contend with low hanging tree branches.
I actually had to stop and pull on my windbreaker today, as it actually got colder when I got to my halfway turnaround point and realized the breeze was COLD facing into the headwind.  I left it on the rest of the ride.
It won't be long before I have to start wearing more layers, with gloves and face mask, etc, to keep warm while riding.
I have to remind myself that even if my rides get boring they help keep my metabolism up and my blood glucose down.  So I need to ride whether I'm in the mood or not, or "whether I have time" or not.

Ride Started: 9:52 AM    Ride Ended:  11:07 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.8   Ending Voltage: 12.9  Lowest:  12.9
Beginning Blood Glucose:  170   Ending BG Reading: 66 
Lowest Temp  57F      Highest Temp:  64F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.33 
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
7.6 MPH                                 8.8 MPH                    28.1 MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
1 hour 13 mins                        1 hour 3 mins            9 minutes

Friday, October 6, 2017

BREAKING: Tandem Riders Unchained

Today's Friday Tandem Tracking

Friday seems to usually be the only day Jacque and I can ride together, so today we rode together.
Since the Tandem Terratrike hadn't been ridden for a while, I topped off the air pressure in each tire.
The tires, I noticed, are getting a bit on the worn side, and should soon be replaced.
We started after noon, and since neither of us had eaten lunch, we decided to ride first to Old Town and dine there.  We've eaten before at the Quesadilla Grill on the Old Town Plaza, and there are outside tables where they allow our doggies to sit with us, so we again feasted there.  They've changed to a buffet dining methodology and we really enjoyed it, though it was a tad pricey.  This is entirely understandable since Balloon Fiesta just began, seemingly driving up prices all over town for  everything from food to gasoline.
As we exited the Old Town Plaza and rode west on Mountain Road, we were followed closely by a white car hanging right behind us for a half mile or more.  Even though this "bicycle boulevard" has a speed limit of 18 MPH favoring bicycles, most cars zoom around us in such situations.  This car stayed behind us in spite of several opportunities to pass, and when she finally passed us, this was the result:
Evidently she had been admiring our cute puppies riding in the back behind Jacque's head in the basket.

The forecast called for high winds, and it was gusting quite heavily by the time we left, but as noted before, riding low and slow and close to the ground on recumbents lessens the effect of wind.  It did buffet us a bit and slow us down somewhat at times, but not terribly so.
We have learned the fun of getting off the paved straight-north-and-south multiuse path in favor of the twisting and turning of the backwoods gravel trails between there and the Rio Grande, and most of our ride today was in such pleasant paths:

We rattled around and totally enjoyed ourselves.  We were surprised how high the water was in the Rio Grande.  A few weeks ago we had parked and walked across a sandbar maybe 100 yards wide to reach the river, and today the sandbar was under water, with a narrow spit of it showing out in the middle of the river.
The heavy shade and foliage of all the trees in this section of the Bosque both provided shade and protection from the howling winds overhead.  Very nice riding.
I was a bit more tired than usual today and considered shortening our trike time but was surprised to see we had exceeded 10 miles.
As we approached the last 100 yards before getting back to our parked gas-burning vehicle, the slight grade caused me to downshift so we could pull the grade with tired legs, and POW!  The rear chain separated, leaving us unable to pedal the last bit of distance.  We had to dismount, unload, and hand-push the trike to its destination.
We were AMAZED the chain "chose" to break so close to the end of our ride.  What if it had come unglued out in the middle of the bosque?? God is Good !

Ride Started: 1:29 PM    Ride Ended:  4:50 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.0  Ending Voltage: 12.9  Lowest:  12.9
Beginning Blood Glucose:  239   Ending BG Reading: 145 
Lowest Temp  75F      Highest Temp:  78F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  11.29 
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
4.6 MPH                                 6.2 MPH                    13.6 MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
2 hours 26 mins                      1 hour 48 mins            38 minutes

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wow, Long Distance

Spotty Tracking Today
We awoke again, this morning, to thundering rain showers pounding the roof.  It startle me awake but I promptly went back to sleep while Jacque could not get back to sleep because of the racket.  So she got up before the alarm went off and I slept blissfully until about 6:30 AM, by which time the storm had stopped pounding.
All well and good, but it was soaked and soggy outside, with heavy fog.  I looked several times at the live weather radar on the internet and could see nothing storm-wise except for cloud cover.
I stepped outside several times early in the morning, and though it wasn't raining, the mist and fog was so thick it "splished" on the face while walking around and promised to soak me if I dared to saddle up the pedal-powered trike.
By noon, the sun still was in hiding but the sloshy fog had thinned out to the point it felt almost dry outside, so I loaded the trike into the trailer to ferry it through the mud down to the paved road.
By the time I got to the parking spot alongside the pavement of Frost Road, there was a wee speck of sunshine in evidence, but threatening clouds in almost every direction.  Desperate to get in at least a short ride, I decided to ride my usual shortie 9-10 mile loop and turn around early if I go hit by rain.
All this because the weather forecasts for the next few days indicate frequent showers.
At first it certainly looked like I might hit rain and have to retreat:

Interestingly, the threatening clouds seemed to drift to the north and away from me as I rode east.  I did actually get a little rain on my head... as I was riding along in the clear, with NO clouds overhead!
Evidently a few drops had blown quite a ways sideways from surrounding clouds, allowing me to feel a few of them.  As I noticed the raindrops hitting me, I looked overhead to see where they were coming from, and could see no nearby clouds.  Only in New Mexico??
I usually talk on my ham radio while riding, to two or three hams who might answer me when they hear me on the trike.  Today I heard a weak signal on 146.52 MHz, the national simplex 2 meter calling frequency.  I tried calling back but got no response, so I remotely switched the remote base station at home over to 146.52 and tried again, talking through the remote radio.  This time I got a response, from a ham who was working on his antenna in Santa Fe.  As I finished talking to him, I heard a call from KG5LRB George, who was ON HIS BIKE somewhere up in Santa Fe.  This happened at 1:36 in the afternoon and I record it since it's so unusual to actually talk to another ham radio nut on  a bicycle.  It's happened less than a dozen times for me during the last 20 years of riding bikes with ham radios a-squawking.
The I exchanged greetings and salutations with 2 or 3 other hams on the same frequency, so 146.52 was more fun than usual today.
As I cruised along, I became convinced that I might actually make my full 9-something-mile route without getting rained on.  The closer I got to home, the more the dark clouds seemed to be coming at me over the Sandias.  I thought this time I might get wet before I got back to the Exploder-and-trailer combination.
Amazingly enough, I made it back and got the trike back into the trailer just as a few sprinkles started coming down.  It still did not actually rain, though storm clouds continued to gather and threaten.
A few moments ago, as I was typing this, KOB radio issued severe thunderstorm warnings for Sandoval and Bernalillo counties.

Ride Started: 1:10 PM    Ride Ended:  2:35 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.9  Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.4
Beginning Blood Glucose:  95   Ending BG Reading: 67
Lowest Temp  67F      Highest Temp:  78F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.32
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
6.3 MPH                                 8.2 MPH                    30.5 MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
1 hour 22 mins                        1 hour 8 mins            14 minutes


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sunny Monday, WhooHoo

Monday's Surprisingly Good Tracking

Well, yesterday was another of New Mexico's 300-Plus days of sunshine, in spite of the recent monsoonal rains several days (and inches) in a row.  Thus, another great day for  a ride.
It was so great I rode about 5 miles farther than I normally do.
The wind was again a bit gusty, but on recumbents wind presents less of a problem than when sitting upright in higher profile on the "normal" upright DF (Diamond Frame) bike.
My three new tires have been doing well, thank you for asking, and not requiring added air since first installing them.  Air leaks slowly no matter what, given sufficient time, but so far so good.
It's always great to be out with the wind in my face, under my own steam, with sufficient snacks and water on board to satisfy the occasional bursts of thirst or hunger.  Since it was so late in the morning (and early in the afternoon) there wasn't very much shade to take breaks under, but I did find a few shallow shady spots along the way.
The extra five miles cost me an extra half hour in total riding time, but the only bad thing about spending extra time on the bikes is the time lost doing productive work elsewhere, leading to (at least) faint guilt pangs.
With the sunny weather starting to dry out the mud in the road, I need to get out there with  shovel and wheelbarrow to fill in some of the new cuts and pot-holes therein.

Ride Started: 12:05 PM    Ride Ended:  2:34 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.8  Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.9 
Beginning Blood Glucose:  222   Ending BG Reading: 74 
Lowest Temp  67F      Highest Temp:  78F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  15.67 
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
6.3 MPH                                 7.4 MPH                    33.1 MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
2 hours 28 mins                     2 hours 7 mins           21 minutes

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Rider

Today's Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

The soggy weather recently has made me a bit desperate for riding time.  Since today was sunny (After the unusual morning fog burned off) I again took a quick ride between LDS General Conference sessions right after the first session ended at noon.  Amazingly the weather was still sunny - though a bit windy - but that was small sacrifice.
Since it rained AGAIN last night, enough to endanger the arroyo crossing we must pass through to get up to the house, everything was again soggy with many puddles, including my normal parking spot down by the pavement.  I gingerly parked in sufficient gravel so that I could walk without too much mud pickup and ride the trike out to the relatively dry pavement.
I didn't want to run short on time, and I thought at first I'd just ride up to the Post Office to retrieve 2 days' worth of mail, but that is around 3 miles total round trip and I wanted to get in at least 10 miles somehow. 
Thus I first rode east on Frost Road, watching the GPS to see when I reached the 3 mile mark. 3 miled out plus 3 miles back and then 2 miles west to the Post Office and back and Presto, 10 miles more or less.
The weather and sun were perfect, traffic was not too heavy, and the breeze was occasionally stiff but not terrible.  Trouble is, by the time I got back to the vehicle at the 6 mile (or so) mark, I only had 20 minutes left and no way of making it to the Post Office and back in time.  So I terminated the ride early and DROVE the short hop to the P.O. and back home.
Whatever.  Didn't get in a marathon ride, but at least got the blood pumping and the blood glucose lowered.....

Ride Started: 12:17 PM    Ride Ended:  1:24 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.0  Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.9 
Beginning Blood Glucose:  245   Ending BG Reading: 57 
Lowest Temp  64F      Highest Temp:  71F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  6.06 
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
5.7 MPH                                 7.5 MPH                    28.1 MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
1 hour 4 mins                          48 minutes                 16 minutes