Monday, August 25, 2014

It Wasn't 20 Miles, but Close

My tracking system failed to report but One Position today.
My local Internet Gateway was dysfunctional, but I also need to go double check the antennae (common failure items on the bikes) to make sure they aren't needing soldering iron attention.
I could download the route out of my Garmin 350 GPS but I've never succeeded when I've tried.  Oh Well.

Jazzy and I were by ourselves again today, since Jacque and Tinkerbell are helping on a quilt project for the upcoming NM State Fair.  So between us we decided to ride east on Frost Road to Mountain Valley, south on Mountain Valley to Crestview Road, east on Crestview to County Line Road, south to Dinkle, then west back to Mountain Valley and a short jog across the overpass covering I-40 and then west on Olde Route 66.  We rode that to Sedillo Hill Road.  Jazzy forgot to remind me we'd planned to keep going on Route 66 to Zuzax and then cross I-40 there to Gutierrez Canyon Road and north back up to Frost, which would have likely resulted in a bit more than 20 miles on our bike's GPS.  So it's HER fault we didn't get our total expected mileage today.
Everything is lined with sunflowers nowadays with all the rain and many are head-high.
Rear View Sunflowers

Front View Sunflowers

The weather was sunny when we started but started to cloud up and cooled off nicely but it was threatening rain.  It actually did start to rain but it was at least a couple miles east of us around Edgewood proper and it seemed to be migrating east away from us so we kept going, though I did note open awnings and porch overhangs and such shelter opportunities along the way - Just in Case.
The weather forecast had called for a high of 78 or so but my bike thermometer showed at least 84 so it was a bit warmer... but the days are already getting noticeably shorter and cooler.
Arrived home safe, sound, and dry.... except for the perspiration from pushing the bike by hand up the goat path hills to our house.
Huff-Puff Uphill on Foot

Ride Started:  12:02 PM    Ride Ended:  3:10 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.2       Ending Voltage: 13.0
Lowest Temp  72 F      Highest Temp:  84 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  17.85
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.5 MPH                               9.0 MPH                    33.0 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 Hours 44 mins                    1 Hour 58 mins          45 minutos

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bosque Bliss

Today's Tracking via APRS, GPS, and Ham Radio

Yesterday, Friday, was drizzly and wet until late afternoon, precluding an earlier bike ride.  By the time it finally cleared off late in the afternoon we had too much else going on to do anything healthy like taking off on the bike.
Today, Saturday, was a different story, with beautiful blue skies this morning, prompting us to skip breakfast and rush off to Albuquerque with the Tandem Terratrike Recumbent on the roof rack for a ride down New Mexico's favorite bike venue:  The Bosque Trail.
We arrived at our favorite parking place at the huge parking lot at the Albuquerque Bio Park and got rolling on the trike almost right on the dot at 10:00. 
The weather was just absolutely delightful.  The breeze was cool yet it was sunny and warm enough to just be comfortable to the max.
I used to resist the idea of driving such a distance to ride around on the trike but it seems the hills are getting steeper out here in the East Mountains and we always have to ride in or near the traffic, with only a few miles of available bike pathways out here.  Plus the Bosque Trail is mostly flat, the scenery riding along the Rio Grande Irrigation ditches is fabulous.  The scenery down on the South Valley end with all the warehouses and junkyards is not what you would call beautiful but it IS striking. 
At the junction of Rio Bravo and the bosque trail we stopped in the shade for a rest break and met several other recumbent trikes who stopped to say hello and swap lies, er, stories.

The yellow panel sticking up vertically is Jacque's new shade attachment for her and the doggies.  When rolling it simply is bent over their heads and fastened forward so it forms a curve roof over their heads.  It sometimes acts a bit like a sail in strong winds but at the breathtaking speeds we normally achieve (see average of 5-7 MPH) it is definitely not a problem.
Our last trike destination was Old Town, which is an easy 2-something mile ride along Mountain Road (now co-named 'Bicycle Boulevard' with max 18 MPH limit). We dined at Tio Chava's and had a great taco plate (me) and a chicken salad in a fried tortilla shell for Jacque (who is on the South Beach diet currently and thus I got to eat her fried tortilla shell.... drool drool.  By then it was getting late in the afternoon so we saddled up and came home.  The doggies had their usual crush of admirers on every hand everywhere we turned....

Ride Started:  10:02 AM    Ride Ended:  3:12 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.2       Ending Voltage: 13.0
Lowest Temp  64 F      Highest Temp:  82 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  21.19
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  3.8 MPH                               7.5 MPH                    24.3 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
5 Hours 35 mins                    2 Hours 49 mins         2 hours 45 mins

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A-Riding Around Albuquerque

Today's Short Tracking has Great Coverage

Jacque wanted to go into Albuquerque today to put flowers on her parents' graves.

So we decided to load up the heavy Tandem Terratrike and ride somewhere along one of the many bike trails in the Big City.
We decided, since we were in the Northwest part of ABQ, to park the vehicle at Balloon Fiesta Park and ride from there as far as we could with our limited available time.  We had to be in Edgewood, cleaned up and presentable, not smelling like overheated cyclists, by 6:30 PM.
We made it, but not with lots of time to spare.
Jacque purchased a shade canopy for her single Catrike about a year ago and has been making noise about adapting it for use on our block-long tandem trike.  We stopped at the hardware store for a few clamps;  I already had some aluminum tubing for mounting, and we set out to do the adaptation in the Balloon Fiesta Parking Lot before we rode off into the Albuquerque heat.  We neglected to take pictures but we'll post some soon.  The canopy provides welcome shade for Jacque and the doggies, the most important travelers in the operation, but not for me.  Which is probably OK for now.
We only rode around along the bike path parallelling Paseo Del Norte for about 4 miles out and back.  It was a hot but enjoyable ride, and the shade of the many trees available along the trail as it nears the Bosque Trail near the Rio Grande was more than welcome.
The shade worked, the trike worked, the tracker worked, we survived, and didn't run out of water.  How cool is that?

Ride Started:  2:32 PM    Ride Ended:  4:36 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.5       Ending Voltage: 13.0
Lowest Temp  78 F      Highest Temp:  88 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.46
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.2 MPH                               6.7 MPH                    22.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 Hour 50 mins                      1 Hour 25 mins           25 minutes 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Terrific Tuesday Travel

Today's Boring Tracking

I needed to get in my quasi-20-something miles on the bike today but was a bit short on time again, as usual.  Down at the intersection of Frost Road and Mountain Valley Road, turning left (north) and following the pavement results in a 4-mile loop that is not boring to ride, so I figured I would ride that loop 3 or 4 times, come home, and be ready for a productive day.  When we (Jazzy and I) got to Mountain Valley, however, it was under destruction.

You can barely see the destruction crew behind me.
I rode through the butchered pavement - barely missing a small steam roller - and found the new pavement I passed over was still smoking hot.  So I decided looping several times through that was not an option. I found a smaller paved loop of Juniper and Cedar and Mountain Valley that I traversed a few times just to add some time and mileage to the ride.  We finally exited the loop, enjoying meeting some new dogs and neighborhood oddities, and rode over to our friend's house for a quick visit.  Very enjoyable family, with 7 kiddos, all of whom we count as friends.  Here are a couple of them helping me tend to Jazzy while we visited:
As I was getting ready to leave this fun bunch and ride on homeward, I saw a different cloud arrangement in the sky:
Clouds on Gossamer Streams
These clouds look as though they are screaming at high speed across the sky, yet they were just hanging there, with the strange streamers.
We were still a bit short on miles when we got to our goat-path turnoff, so Jazzy and I rode on up to the Post Office and then the Ice Cream Sandwich Store, commonly known as the Shell Station.
Then we came home, and now I must get busy to justify my existence.

Ride Started:  10:04 AM    Ride Ended:  1:17 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.8       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  78 F      Highest Temp:  87 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  17.96
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.7 MPH                               8.3 MPH                    28.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
3 Hours 9 mins                      2 Hours 9 mins           59 minutes 

Monday, August 18, 2014

We'll Be Comin' Round South Mountain When We Come

Today's Pretty-Good Tracking

I determined to start the week out right, for once, and saddled up the bike for a ride.  Jacque had previously scheduled sewing engagement and did not ride with me but told me she was going to leave "one" of our doggies at home to reduce her confusion level at her sewing klatch.  Which meant Jazzie, our noisy hyper-active Yappy Pappy.  I told her I'd take the little miscreant with me on my bike ride.
She is a fun companion even if she does get a bit out of bounds occasionally.   I carry her in our little papoose-style belly pack, which makes for a bit more warmth on a sunny day like today, but it calms her down and keeps her from whining and yapping as we ride along.
I'm currently striving for 20-something mile rides to help lower my A1C readings and calm my endocrinologist down,  but like most riders I would love to be able to do different rides to keep the boredom factor down.  I've been to Beautiful Downtown Edgewood (That's a Joke, Son) several times recently, so today I thought maybe I'd just ride Frost Road all the way to the intersection at 344 just north of Edgewood, whereupon it turns abruptly into State Road 472 the rest of its length into downtown Stanley, NM (Another New Mexico Joke).
As we neared this intersection on this very lovely morning, I noticed the prominence of South Mountain off to our left and recalled I had not taken THAT route in almost a year or so. 

I didn't remember the mileage exactly but knew it would exceed 20 miles handily.  For many miles there is no shoulder and the pavement is not smooth much of the way but the motorized traffic is sparse.  So I turned north on 344 at Cedar Grove and took the loop around South Mountain.  Going the direction WE rode today is a much easier proposition than riding it the OTHER direction:  Just up 344 from North-14 at Golden is a 15% grade hill that is a strain on a motorized vehicle and bloody murder on a bike, aptly earning the name "Heartbreak Hill".  Going the difficult direction involves me dismounting  the bike after about the first quarter mile and walking it the next couple miles uphill.  I just plain don't have the legs for it, though the hardcore riders in the area all despise it, many make it all the way without having to get off and push, unlike Yours Truly.
Thus the easy direction I took today:  Gradual hills up to the top of Heartbreak Hill, then SMOKIN' downhill curves all the way down to 344 just south of Golden.  You may note my max speed today was 43+ MPH, and that would have been exceeded had I not ridden the brakes part-way down.  Much faster than I'm used to OR comfortable with.  When I was younger and bulletproof it would have been fun to let'er rip all the way down to see how fast the machine could achieve without my help (My max pedaling speed is between 20 and 24 MPH).  Now that I'm old and wishing to get older and all too aware of the limitations of my frame, brakes, tires, and lack of smoothness of the pavement.... I use the brakes.  Sorry.
Jazzy did herself proud today.  She did not bark, yap, or whine at all today, and mostly laid her head on my arm trying to relax while we rode:
Ya have to look close, she's partly shaded in the crook of my arm
All in all a very satisfactory riding companion.  We stopped several times for shade, pee, food, and water breaks.  Each time she happily took the leash, poked around, drank offered water out of my cupped hand, and generally made herself lovable.

Ride Started:  9:16 AM    Ride Ended:  2:28 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  14.0       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  78 F      Highest Temp:  98 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  33.08
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.3 MPH                               9.1 MPH                    43.3 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
5 Hours 12 mins                    3 Hours 37 mins          1 Hour 3 minutes 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Fifteener



Today's ever-so-partial GPS/APRS/ Ham Radio Tracking

I had a request to examine a good friend and near neighbor's (out here in the East Mountains a neighbor can be within 20 miles or so) riding lawn tractor.  This neighbor is only about 3 miles away so I thought I'd use him for an excuse  to ride the bike and get in a few miles as well as a good deed, which I'm way behind on lately.
He has 7 kiddos from upper teens to baby-in-arms and they are all super people.  I got the usual warm welcome when I rode up and rang their doorbell.  The older boys took me out back to look over the defunct tractor and, after deciding it needed gas, tools, and a voltmeter to check it out, we walked back to the front of their house.
My recumbent bike was swarming with kiddos; twisting levers, pushing buttons, and generally smothering the weather-beaten bike with attention.  If I'd had my wits about me (Very rare) I would have pulled out my cell phone and got some pictures of them crawling all over it.  The only girl in the family, age 3 or so, loudly proclaimed her firm belief "Trikes are Better than Bikes!" at least 13 times as all of her siblings, including her, admired the clunky recumbent.  As I was saddling up to leave, she again announced this firm sentiment, well louder than her less-opinionated brethren.  As I rode away from the house they began screaming "BYE! BYYYYYEEE!  Later, Alligator! Etc.!" until I was well out of sight.  What a fun bunch.  Jacque and I keep warning them we're going to snatch one or two of their little twerps, since they have so many they'd never miss them, etc, etc.
Weather today was a bit overcast, providing partial shelter from the baking sun of recent weeks... when it's not raining.
I still lathered on the sunblock.  This stuff is so thick it looks like I've rubbed toothpaste all over my arms.
How do you tell if you have enough sunblock on?

When Your Arms are Covered with Dead Bugs?
I get a kick from some of the signs I encounter riding around, and signs directed to cyclists are almost always some of the silliest there are.
This one is out in the middle of nowhere, on a road that is well used for cycling by dozens, if not hundreds, daily....
Bike Route..... BEGIN?

There is nothing different before or after this sign, the bike lane or wide shoulder is nice and well used by cyclists going both ways, and there is absolutely nothing that is a destination or interest point for cyclists... or motorists for that matter.  Sigh.
By the time I got close to home I wanted a few more miles to burn off some more of my too-high A1C, so I rode on west past our turnoff to the Post Office and then the East Mountain Refreshment Spot, more commonly known as the Shell Station, for an ice cream sandwich to get that A1C back up there. 
I guess one of their employees drives this low-slung little buggy with a bumper snicker I had to go back for....






Ride Started:  9:59 AM    Ride Ended:  1:05 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  14.0       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  78 F      Highest Temp:  84 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  14.41
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.5 MPH                               8.6 MPH                    26.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 Hours 36 mins                     1 hour 40 mins           56 minutes 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rain, Rain, Make Some Hay

Today's Short-Track Tracking

We determined to do a joint trike-ride today but by the time we got everything down to the pavement of Frost Road (our mile-long goat-path driveway cannot safely be traversed on the trike) it was getting dark, cloudy, and threatening.
So, we decided rather than do our 10-mile planned ride to the east (where the clouds seemed most threatening) we decided to just do the shorter but more intense ride up the long hill to the Post Office, where bicycles are expressly forbidden.

Bernalillo County surprised us by having weed-mowing operations going on today.  Not only was our parking spot partially blocked by the mowing-machine's truck and trailer but the so called bike trail was covered by piles of cut weeds and seeds.  We dared NOT to ride over this detritus as there are usually lots of thorns and other goathead style tyre-puncturers in such stuff.  So we steered up onto the automobile-centric pavement and rode up there, which is a smoother ride anyway.
Nobody gave us any trouble today, except for the lookie-loos who slowed WAY down and followed us slowly, either trying to get a better look at us weirdos or takin pictures through the windows.
We also got some cute-doggie and wow-trike comments once we arrived at the Post Office.
Normally, from there we usually ride on up the last 3/8 mile to the Shell Station for a drink and/or treat, but with the ever darkening clouds gathering over us we decided to cut it short and beat feet back to the car in hopes of beating the seemingly-imminent rain.
Of course, when we got back to the car the sun promptly came out... which would have provided us at least another hour of riding time if we had the ability to tell what New Mexico weather is going to happen from moment to moment.

Ride Started:  10:39 AM    Ride Ended:  11:30 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.2       Ending Voltage: 13.2
Lowest Temp  67 F      Highest Temp:  75 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  3.59
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.7 MPH                               6.8 MPH                    28.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
38 minutes                             31 minutes                 6 minutes