Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Unexpected Attack

It's been way too long since I last rode the bike or trike.  Lots of stuff has happened, but none of it on a bike.  I'm starting to fall back into the trap of being too busy to try staying healthy.
The recent winter weather, making everything soggy and cold and occasionally icy, has not helped my motivation.
I ALMOST took a ride yesterday but by the time I "got around to it" it was already after 3:30 PM, meaning I remembered the LAST time we rode that late and had to contend with heavy going-home traffic on our normally less crowded roads out here in the East Mountains.  So I again gave it up for another day.
Today was that day, finally.  The sun was out and shining brightly from an almost-clear sky and I had some mail that needed depositing in the "OUT" slot at the Post Office, so I had the perfect excuse and motivation to get off my butt and do a bike ride.
Of course, the tires were a  bit saggy when I dragged the bike out of the shed, so I used the wonderful huge Craftsman air tank and topped them off.  It took a bit of poking around to find my favorite bike helmet, but I finally got going about 11-ish.  Our goat-path mile of mud and rocks from the house to the pavement had firmed up somewhat,  so I was able to get to the pavement without getting coated with mud.
I always have to dismount to push the bike up the last 20 feet or so to the pavement up the slight hill, and as I did so I realized I was in TROUBLE.
Faithful readers are surely aware that bike-riders have basic bodily functions as much or more than those unlucky enough to NOT ride bikes around the countryside.  Sometimes when "the Urge" hits there is time enough to wait for a "legitimate facility" and sometimes disaster happens.  Today was disaster.
Sparing the Too Much Information segment, suffice it to say I'm grateful for thick juniper trees so close to the roadway.  And, if you are ever blinded by a sudden flash of white from inside some trees or bushes along a bikeway, hopefully it won't be MY fishbelly-white backside at fault.
Then, after escaping that episode, I felt safe enough to continue the leisurely ride to the Post Office, short though it may be.  Trouble is, the WIND was gusting strongly and very cold, almost blowing me and my trusty recumbent bike over or off the road several times.  The chain jumped too many gears on the way up  and on the way  back, requiring me to stop and make adjustments on my knees to both release the chain from the bound-up cassette on the rear wheel AND to adjust the limit screws to try to keep the blooming machine from doing it again the NEXT time I up or down-shifted.
As usual, the trip TO the Post Office was the hard part, since it's uphill most of the way, AND the wind was eastbound and REALLY in my face, with the irregular gusting this way and that just to keep me off balance more than usual.  Coming back was mostly downhill, with most of the headwind now at my back, until of course I turned into our goat-path and bounced off the pavement and rode/walked the last mile to the house.
Amazingly enough, I've noticed feeling more energized and less foggy all day after the ride, proving again that the results are well worth the discomforts of getting going, even on a hardly ideal day.  Even though, as usual, I'm way out of shape again.
My GPS-Radio tracker did not make it to any receivers today.  My 50 foot ham radio tower fell down in 75+ MPH winds on Christmas Day and thus there is no local Igate to pick up the stray cyclist with handlebars full of electronics widgets.

Ride Started: 11:04 PM    Ride Ended:  12:39 PM
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  5.54
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
3.5 MPH                               6.1 MPH                   32.3 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 35 mins                      54 minutes               40 minutes (Thanks to Road Repair Stops)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tinkerbell Missed Tuesday

Today's Tuesday Tracking via Magic Technology

Jacque went a-quilting today, so Lilly and I took a trike ride starting around noonish.  Tinkerbell, the elder wonder-dog, missed out because SHE went with "Mom".
First we rode up to the Post Office, to pick up the mail and deposit an ougoing envelope in the hopper.
Onlookers seem to think it's special that Lilly rides in a belly-pack on my chest, but she's a bit blah about it.  She tolerates being bound up in the papoose thingie, but she absolutely HATES being left behind.
Without Tink around to engender jealousy, Lilly actually does pretty well, and even moderates her excitement and outbursts when encountering other dogs along the way.  She even decided to totally ignore a couple of noisy dogs that she usually gets excited about.
LOVING this balmy break in winter weather around here.  It was at least in the mid-fifties today; sunny  with only mildly blustery breezes, and I had to take off the windbreaker by the time we arrived at the Post Office.
After a short water break we zoomed back down the hill towards home, but rode on another several miles in a vain attempt to rack up bragging rights.  I was mildly shocked to receive a call on the ham radio from ANOTHER cyclist - way down in Las Cruces.  It was Thaddeus, KG5ES, an old friend of many years that we have not SEEN in years.  Bicycle-to- tricycle radio conversation, very nice but rare indeed.
Still not qualifying as a "Real Ride", it was - as usual - fun and invigorating.

Ride Started: 12:04 PM    Ride Ended:  1:19 PM
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  8.66
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
6.7 MPH                               7.3 MPH                   28.8 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 15 mins                      1 hour 10 mins          5 minutes

Monday, December 12, 2016

Unplanned Monday Riders

Today's Partial Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

Bike and trike riding has not been in my calendar of activities since the week before Thanksgiving.
Jacque and I went to Utah for a week to visit my brothers and sister and a few of the nephews and nieces, but primarily to attend the Temple wedding of my brother John's daughter Katie to her lucky choice Abram.
Since we were already near most of the fam and Thanksgiving was only a few days after the wedding, we crashed John and Danese's Thanksgiving feast.
Since I love Barq's Diet Root Beer, and it is not sold anywhere in New Mexico in cans, I always buy out several store's worth during a visit to Utah and bring home a vehicle sagging under the weight of dozens of cases of Barq's.  We also brought home nasty head colds, unfortunately.
Thus I haven't been on the bikes since then, trying  avoid overdoing it and causing a relapse of the dreaded drippy-nose disease for which there is no cure but time and sleep.
I have slowly begun feeling strong enough to ride in the last few days, but the firewood pile and the Stihl chainsaw have been strongly calling my name, keeping me much too busy to get any decent exercise.
I hadn't planned on getting a ride in today, since I had volunteered to spend the morning vacuuming the floors of the Albuquerque LDS Temple.  I assumed (1) I would not have time and (2) the weather would be nasty in the afternoon, as it has been the last couple of weeks.
By the time I got home, however, it was absolutely balmy outside and shirtsleeve weather.  I invited Jacque to ride HER Catrike along with me and she decided to come along.
Unfortunately, by the time we got the trikes down to the pavement of Frost Road, it was nigh past 3:00 PM and the wind had come up and the temperatures had dropped a bit short of shirt-sleeve caliber.  Being tough, we saddled up and rode eastward anyway.
We had only gone a couple miles when I remembered why it's an even worse idear to ride this late in the afternoon:  The Going-Home Commuter traffic is AWFUL starting at 3 PM or shortly thereafter.
So many residents out here in the East Mountains work in Albuquerque, and a large majority of them at Sandia Labs or Kirtland Air Force Base, that the so called flexible hours result in hundreds of commuters clogging the roads after 3 PM.  Most are courteous and careful, but the sheer number of them whistling by, only a few feet separating us, makes it too unpleasant to do unless it's an emergency.  So, we turned around early and only got about 5 miles accomplished coming and going.  I was great to be stretching our wobbly legs again, but too worrisome with all the traffic.  I had gotten almost a mile ahead of Jacque and pulled over to wait for her to see what she thought about turning around early.  I waited several minutes and still didin't see her coming so I decided to keep pedaling, but planned to call her on the cell phone while rolling.
(We are both ham radio operators and radios would be much easier to use for communicating between bikes, but I have not gotten around to installing a radio on HER ride.)
Unfortunately, as I pedaled along, I realized my cell phone was NOT in my possession.  I had stuck it in one of my cargo pants pockets but now it was nowhere to be found.  I wheeled across the pavement and turned around, and spotted the phone lying on the road shoulder only a few feet from where I had been waiting for Jacque.  It had fallen out either just before or just after I pulled into that spot.  Thankfully no crushing of the device had occurred, and I again turned around and snatched up the phone while rolling and called her.
Of course, by now she was less than 100 yards behind me and laughed at my antics.  We agreed to keep chugging for another mile or three, but by the time I topped the next hill, the traffic was worse than ever and I had enough, so I again turned around.  I was at the top of the hill and she was just starting to climb toward me from the bottom.  She saw me and kept coming for a few dozen more feet and then turned around in front of me  back toward the bike-hauler only a few miles away.  We didn't have to say anything; we both knew it wasn't worth it.
STILL, short though this ride was, it made us feel perkier when we got back.  As usual, a short ride is much better than no ride at all.....

Ride Started: 3:06 PM    Ride Ended:  3:47 PM
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.31
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
6.3 MPH                               6.7 MPH                   22.7 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
41 minutes                            40 minutes               1 minuto

Monday, November 14, 2016

Two Monday Riders, With Guide Dogs

Today's track courtesy of Ham Radio and the GPS

Finally took a decent photo of my new fairing on the Catrike :

I wouldn't mind the fairing being a bit taller on top, so as to deflect more air away from the eyes and face, but for the price I paid this one is FABULOUS.
I cut up a small load of firewood today and stopped about 1 PM and asked Jacque if she wanted to go for a trike ride too, and she did indeed, so we loaded up both Catrikes into the junk trailer and took them down to the paved road for a non-destructive  ride.  Tinkerbell rode with Jacque and Lilly rode in the belly-pack papoose carrier with me.
We again fully realize trying to ride the road-shoulder after 3 or 4 PM is an exercise in frustration.  The traffic was horrible with unending lines of cars rushing around us to get home from work.  Many out here in the East Mountains work at Sandia Labs and other government related jobs meaning the "Rush Hour" starts early compared to a typical 9 to 5 crowd.  No one endangered us at any time but it's still unnerving to have such a huge number of cars roaring by.
Temperature-wise it was a bit cool outside, and as the sun began to set about 4:30 it of course got noticeably cooler.  By the time we got back to the Exploder and trailer I was rather chilled, in spite of having Lilly tucked up close to me on my chest while we rode.  I should have stopped and put on the wind-breaker, which would have improved life for both Lilly and me.  I was in too much of a hurry to stop and dig it out of the pannier.

Ride Started: 3:41 PM    Ride Ended:  4:47 PM
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.31
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
8.6 MPH                               7.6 MPH                   32.0 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 6 mins                       1 hour 1 mins             5 minutes

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Me, Myself, and a Dog Named ... Lilly

Today's East Mountain Tracking

I thought I had me a title to a song there for a minute, but it didn't play out.
Today involved a Ham Radio Swapmeet at the Intel Parking lot in Rio Rancho.  I didn't have anything to sell or buy but the main reason I went was to meet up with the fellow who sold me my Catrike back in August: He had found a fairing for the trike he had never installed and wanted to give it to me! Whoo-Hooo....
It turned out to be surprisingly small but it's cute.
I found it had only a simple bracket and a couple hose clamps to tie it down with, and surprisingly enough, it actually fit the bike without modification.  It looks too tight to allow feet to clear while pedaling but it works fine, although I think I will add some extenders eventually to increase clearance for my big feet and different size shoes I occasionally wear.
It only took maybe half an hour to get it satisfactorily mounted.  Of course I had to take it for a ride to see how it felt.  I didn't really notice a whole lot of difference, but it does seem to deflect some of the headwind out of my face & feet, though I didn't notice any radical improvement in average (or otherwise) speeds.
I note from the GPS speeds that I may have picked up a wee bit of speed with this widget.  Time and future rides will tell.

I've often wanted to try a fairing or windshield on my other bikes but they are normally super expensive, unless you buy your own plexiglass sheet and fab your own.  This is a real treat to get this one.  Such a Deal.
Lilly seemed to like it too, since she rides strapped to my chest in a papoose-liked harness.  Going down hills with a stiff breeze in the face normally overrides her doggie enjoyment of wind-in-the-face, and now with the fairing in place she tends to duck her head ever so slightly to hide below the slipstream off the fairing.

Ride Started: 2:17 PM    Ride Ended:  3:39 PM
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.42
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
 6.28 MPH                               7.6 MPH                   30.25 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 22 mins                      1 hour 11 mins            11 minutes

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thursday's Cool Ridings

Today's Cool Track

The only progress I made on my full-cord wood crib was to sort and stack the wood already thrown inside.  I want the wood tightly stacked so I can claim it as an accurate cord of wood.

By the time I got that organized it was getting on into the afternoon.  I wanted to get in a trike ride before exhausting myself chainsawing up more wood, so I layered up and loaded up the Catrike into the trailer and hauled it down to the pavement.
It had been sunny most of the day and not bitterly cold but it wasn't very warm either.  When I got saddled up and riding I was glad I had put on the long sleeved wicking body-shirt since I never got overheated at all and actually got cold  in a few areas, especially my feet.  I wore leather shoes today to help ward off the cold feet and thankfully so.
I decided to try a route up hill and down dale that I haven't ridden in quite a while, around Vallecitos to old Route 66 and then at Zuzax getting on the north side of the frontage road - over to Gutierrez Canyon road and back north on that less-traveled road to Frost, not far from whence I started from.
The hills are much steeper on this route, and I was soon reminded why I don't ride it much.  The road surfaces for a few miles are extremely rough with either narrow or NO shoulders, making it frustrating for passing motorists.  Since I had started so late, too close to 5 PM, there was considerable going-home traffic to dodge.  But, as usual, it was a fun ride anyway.
I ran low on blood glucose about halfway around the mountain, and had to dig into my stash of chocolate chip oatmeal bars.  They were so old they were barely edible.  The first one was easily digested but the second one I dug out of my pannier was so old and hard and dry it was like chewing  a stick of wood.  I was finally able to get it chewed up and down the hatch, but I'm going to dig through my bags and panniers and throw 'em out if they are more than a couple months old.  The wrapper keeps them safe but too many months really takes the appeal out of 'em.
By the time I got back to the exploder and trailer, it was close to dark-thirty and even colder.  Maybe I'll finish filling the wood crib sometime next week.  Hopefully the snow won't be too deep by then :O)

Ride Started: 2:32 PM    Ride Ended:  4:29 PM
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  12.17
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
 5.8 MPH                               6.8 MPH                   33.3 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 57 mins                      1 hour 47 mins            10 minutes

A Non Political Bike Ride

Tracking courtesy of GPS, APRS, and Ham Radio

Jacque and I again did the 2-trike ride on Wednesday, yesterday.
We enjoy riding the big heavy Terratrike Tandem Pro but it's slow and hard going up hills.
We love our individual Catrikes which allow us to zip around, turn tight corners, etc, but we get separated while riding since Jacque is a slower pedaler and she insists on me going on ahead and "Not wait for her".
Then, after getting too far ahead and losing sight of her, I start to worry and usually turn around and ride back to intercept her to make sure she's not broke down or stopped for anything unusual.
We rode the short-but-intense ride to the Post Office and thence on up to the Shell Station for the usual soda & snack.
The weather is starting to feel closer to winter conditions, but BEAUTIFUL sunny days in spite of cool breezes.  I didn't wear anything but the disgusting baby-barf-incandescent yellow/green eyecatcher tee shirt, and the only time I got a bit too cool was coasting the mile or so downhill coming back from the Post Office.
At almost 30 MPH the cool air had a bit of a bite to it.
It is cold enough in the evenings and mornings that we are burning at least small fires in the wood stove AM and PM, so I still feel the imperative to bust up as much firewood as possible before snow flies.  My 1-cord wood crib is now about a third full, and as soon as we returned from our ride I changed into even grubbier clothes, mashed the earplugs into my ears, put on the steel toed boots, and drove over to a deadfall just past our house that I cut out of the roadway a couple years ago and is now well seasoned enough to put through the stove for heat.  There was more wood there than I had time to finish, since the sun started going down about 5 PM (Thank you, Congress, for playing with our Clocks!).  I plan to get out there again today to finish cutting that pile up to stove length and then go looking for more deadfalls I can cut up.
Lots of dead Pinon trees all over the place.  I wonder if Pinon will survive as a tree species out here in the Southwest since the bark beetles seem to show no sign of dying off or even slowing down their slaughter.
Oh, yeah.  I just noticed in my last entry about us going to the Hacksaw Ridge movie.
The verdict:  We LOVED the movie and its portrayal of a man believing in God and refusing to fight in WWII, yet becoming a war hero without firing a shot.
Caveat:  It is an intensely bloody gory film, but you will still need some Kleenex to get through it.  We highly recommend it.

Ride Started: 1:32 PM    Ride Ended:  3:14 PM
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  6.14
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
 5.7 MPH                               7.5 MPH                   31.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hours 42 mins                    1 hour 4 mins            40 minutes