Friday, August 1, 2014

Back on Burque Bosque

Today's Track Out and Back

We've not ridden Albuquerque's Famous Bosque Trail for some time now, and it's murder trying to pull these hills close to home on the Tandem Terratrike .  So we saddled up and burned some expensive gas to ride an almost-level path with no auto interactions to worry about.

And what a beautiful day it was for a ride.  We had barely started north from the Albuquerque Bio Park when we encountered the intersection labeled "Bicycle Boulevard" or Mountain Road.  This intersection, interestingly enough, takes you directly to Old Town Plaza ... which has food, shade, and ice cream.... don't even IMAGINE we didn't take this 'exit' and enjoy a wonderful break even if we hadn't yet gone 3 miles.
Of course the doggies, Tinkerbell and Jazzy, had to endure the endless exclamations of admiration from young and old alike, and put up with unending requests for petting them and talking baby talk to them, which of course they hate :O).
When we finally got rolling again it was even warmer, but we were blessed with at least mild cooling breezes most of the way.  We merely rode north to Paseo Del Norte, with several water and rest breaks, and back again, but this is indeed a very nice path.  Albuquerque seems to do a pretty good job of maintaining this pathway, especially compared to what Bernalillo County does out closer to home in the East Mountains.  We have a fairly new bike path from North-14 to Camino Alto running parallel to Frost Road that has been commissioned maybe 3 years now and the sides of the path are overrun with weeds as tall as 4 feet and higher, and the paved surface is very thin and the weeds are rapidly popping directly through the asphalt and  crumbling it.  Another year without major repairs or repaving and it will not be ride-able at all.  Already, most cyclists choose to ride up on the automobile roadway instead of the bike  path because of it's disrepair.
Again, we had hoped for a 20-miler today but decided to turn around a bit earlier due to storm clouds menacing the horizon, as well as the heat and humidity getting to us.

Ride Started:  12:20 PM    Ride Ended:  4:07 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.4       Ending Voltage: 12.9
Lowest Temp  80 F      Highest Temp:  86 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  17.72
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.9 MPH                               8.4 MPH                    19.6 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
3 hours 35 mins                     2 hours 7 mins           1 hour 27 minutes

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Do I Ride Tractor or Bike?

Today's As-Usual Spotty Tracking

Our monsoon season has left us literally soaked, with the ground literally saturated.  Several of our recent storms have been fairly intense, with at least minor damage to our mile-long goat-path dirt, rock, and gravel road.
Since it is private road, meaning Bernalillo county has not "accepted" it as a county road, we have to maintain it ourselves.  "We" in the sense that Jacque and I are the sole maintainers of the road, in spite of the 5 neighbors who use (and cause damage to) the road.  We actually bought a tractor with accessories for the specific purpose of maintaining the road.  Prior to the tractor purchase, we used pick, rake, and shovel to fill potholes and cuts and dragged an old I-beam trailer tongue with a chain behind the Ford Exploder trying to smooth out the road surface.
All of which explains my frustration yesterday, when during a cloudy and rainy monsoon July day, the skies cleared and it was perfect to get out and do a quick bike ride around the wet and wonderful-rain-smelling neighborhood.  BUT, the road had not been maintained recently and was suffering lots of washouts and cuts because of the downpours.  So I had a conscience attack and fired up the tractor, removed the rotary brush cutter, and attached the scraper blade to the 3-point hitch so I could do battle with the rocks and mud.  I got in maybe an hour and a half before it clabbered up and started raining again and I had to high-tail it for the house.  So no bike ride yesterday. BAH
Today, howsomever, I saddled up and rode.  And I was pleasantly surprised how well the tractor treatment had smoothed out the rough road surface..... much less bouncing and sliding around on bumps and loose gravel and rock.
Great riding conditions today.  Even though it wasn't an early start, the temps were mellow and the breezes benign.  The few passing motorists gave me no trouble either. 
It's kind of a pleasant sensation to ride parallell to the I-40 freeway with enough distance to lower the danger and the noise.

This road is the New Frontage Road

With Freeway Traffic almost 100 Yards Away
I had wanted a 20-miler today but miscalculated.... sixteen will have to do for today.

Ride Started:  10:27 AM    Ride Ended:  1:20 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.2       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  78 F      Highest Temp:  87 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  16.62
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.0 MPH                               8.5 MPH                    32.6 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 47 mins                     1 hour 57 mins          49 minutes

Friday, July 25, 2014

Never Enough Water, or We're Just Outa Shape

Today's Tracking When Not Obsured by the Hills

Jacque and I had a bright idea for today:  Take off earlier than usual and ride to a favorite eatery and do breakfast "out" as a reward for riding the bike.
We might have had a shorter ride had we looked up the hours for the few local restaurants in our area, but one of our favorite places is Katrinah's East Mountain Grill just north of Edgewood at the corner of Dinkle Road and NM State Road 344, and we've ridden to Edgewood fearlessly many times before, so that was our choice without much advance thought involved.
So, I set my insulin pump for 10% of normal basal rate, ate no breakfast since we were going "out" for breakfast, and took off.
Trouble is, this distance from our house to this restaurant is slightly over 11 miles, with several stiff hill climbs involved.  I got so low on blood glucose we had to stop more than twice so I could check my blood and eat snacks to get my available energy back up.  And, since it takes at least 2 hours to get there on a bike, I realize now I should have eaten breakfast BEFORE such a ride and called it Brunch or Lunch when we finally rode up to our diner.
We love taking such times for longer rides, but we haven't done such rides in recent weeks, and our muscles certainly "talked" to us doing 20-mile rides in 2 subsequent days.  About halfway there we discussed giving up and turning back to get the dinosaur-powered vehicle and go get breakfast with THAT mode of transport.  However, since we both really need decent exercise,  after another short rest break, we trudged onward.  By the time we got to breakfast, we were low on water and I forgot to ask the restaurant to refill our bottles.  Which led to a fairly low water situation by the time we got home. 
Water is one of the heaviest things we have to carry, but I sure wished we had brought another bottle today... or better yet, remembered to have mine refilled at the restaurant.
It seemed to take forever but it was only slightly over 2 hours transit time.  Very tired and very hungry by the time we got there but they had a nice shade tree on the corner of the restaurant where we parked the trike and the girls.  The doggies  promptly went to sleep, waking only every few minutes when new customers walked by them and exclaimed at their exquisite cuteness  and accepted sweet talk, pettings, and even a freshening of the water bowl by one couple coming into the cafe.  US?  We were promptly served enchiladas and huevos rancheros and wolfed them down.  Well, at least I wolfed.... Jacque couldn't eat all her plate but I had no trouble at all snarfing mine.  Then on the way home... I had to eat a couple more snacks to keep the blood glucose up to snuff.  Killer hills on the way back dampened our enthusiasm, and one hill in particular took 3 breaks every hundred feet or so to accomplish.  In the past we've been able to make the same hill in one effort but it was cooler last time we tried.... and probably a bit more in shape and used to longer rides.

Ride Started:  8:45 AM    Ride Ended:  2:36 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.8       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  75 F      Highest Temp:  87 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  22.84
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  3.9 MPH                               5.9 MPH                    32.7 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
5 hours 48 mins                     3 hours 53 mins         1 hour 54 minutes

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Separate Bikes, Same Ride... Pretty Much

Very Spotty Track, Power Blinked Off the Igate

Well, the RV is running... but not very usable.  It eats coolant, so it is headed for the trade-in lot or the junkyard or as-is on Ebay or whatever.
Anyone interested in a cheap living arrangement on real estate of your choice kindly leave a message.  It runs cool long enough to get it anywhere within 100 miles or so under its own steam, pun sorta not intended.
So we celebrated by taking an extra long ride today.
Actually, I had a Doctor's appointment in Albuquerque today at 11 AM, and had I thought just the least bit ahead I would have used it for an excuse to get in a REALLY long ride all the way from home to the doc's office, which I have done before.... but since it's 30-something miles away it takes me almost 3 hours to get there on the bike, and by the time I realized I shoulda, it was too late.  I had to jump in the gas burner to make it on time, and even then I was several minutes late.
The Doc didn't chew me out about being late, however.  He chewed me out for the long list of high blood glucose readings my pump confessed to when he read its memory.  Wants me to attend some insulin pump training sessions and all that.  Been there, done that, but doctor's orders, after all.... plus he wants more biking.  I'm up for that, too, but I will have to get serious about riding the bike more often and for longer distances.
So we started today.  Again, actually, Jacque started it.... whilst I was frittering away precious time at the doctor's, she took off by herself to ride her Recumbent Catrike .  By the time I got home she was almost to the Post Office but accepted my offer to saddle up MY bike and meet her at the snack, er, that is, Shell Station.
She was having such a good time riding under her own steam she just wanted to keep going, so we did.  Even though it was by then late afternoon, it didn't seem overly hot and the prevailing breezes, both coming and going, helped keep us from overheating.
At one of our shady spots along the frontage of Frost Road we encountered a friendly female walker who was full of questions about the weird looking contraptions we were riding.  Jacque told her quite a bit about the Catrike and, to the lady's surprise, insisted she hop aboard and take it for a ride.  We waited in our shady spot while she rode, and I took the opportunity to check my blood glucose and eat a snack to bring it back up over the 100 mark.  These trikes are addictive:  They are fun to drive and more like sporty-vehicles than what one normally thinks of in a "Trike".  I wouldn't be the least surprised if this lady didn't become a Catrike owner in the near future.  Too bad we don't get any commissions on such demos.  Two Wheel Drive in ABQ does give us some nice discounts on our parts and other purchases though.....

Ride Started:  2:22 PM    Ride Ended:  6:15 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.2       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  94 F      Highest Temp:  101 F (Whew!)
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  19.41
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.5 MPH                               8.4 MPH                    27.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
4 hours  16 mins                    2 hours 18 mins         1 hour 57 minutes

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Choice Time: RV or Bike?

Today's Track Courtesy of GPS and Ham Radio

Today's complicated question is not all  that complex.  The RV is almost back together now.  I could have reinstalled the batteries and started it a few days ago but did not want to get things out of order, even though I'm anxious to see how it runs:  I don't want to have to remove the batteries again (right up front next to the grilles) to finish putting the grilles and front facia back on.
I need to ride the bike to stay flexible in my joints and such, and I have a soft goal of riding at least a short ride every day and then use the afternoon hours to labor on the RV.  The trouble is, that when I ride the bike, I often wind up taking a long time to cool off and rest and get to WORK on the crippled RV.
Saturday I chose to spend the available hours on the RV and did not ride at all.   I made progress but of course missed the motivating and energizing activity of taking the proverbial bike ride.  So today I rode my piddly 10-miler.
It hasn't been terrifically hot the last couple weeks temperature-wise, rarely getting more than a few degrees over 90 F but it has FELT quite hot.  I suppose it's due to the increased humidity from our summer monsoon season.  We keep proposing getting out to ride really early in the morning, like before 8 AM or so, but always wind up frittering away the early hours.  Maybe someday good sense will set in... like perhaps the day after they put me in the grave.
I again met our skittish-horse rider ladies and had to pull off the side of the road and stop and allow them to pass so their horses would be less spooked by my horse-eating bike flags flapping in the breeze.
Just past this area, and around much of the East Mountains, we see and smell the sweetness of alfalfa (Lucerne to our British Brethren) growing wild and uncultivated.  In our yard we have several patches of the stuff and it is exceeding difficult to keep under control and of course there's not enough of it to bale and sell at modern day inflated alfalfa hay prices.  Out here there's so much of it overgrowing everything, especially with summer rains, I wonder why folks don't either offer to graze their horses or other livestock to help control the stuff or why landowners don't advertise their acreage for free grazing... or even find someone with a baling machine to pay a visit.
Hay on the Roadside and in the Field

ACRES of Alfalfa as high as the fences
 Oh, I know it's not that simple.  I've allowed neighbors' horses to graze in our 2 1/2 acres a few times and they wind up eating the flowers, ignoring the weeds and even the alfalfa clumps which are harder to get rid of than normal weeds.... they leave piles of horse-poop up close to the house and crowd up close to the radio tower in the back yard for shade and break or bend valuable radio antenna cables..... and accidentally do other mischief.
Now that I'm safely home again and cooled off enough to get back to work on the RV, it's begun drizzling rain outside and we CAN'T complain about RAIN.  We desperately need these showers even though that's why everyone's weeds are too tall to see over....

Ride Started:  10:47 AM    Ride Ended:  12:16 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.9       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  84 F      Highest Temp:  94 F
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.5
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  7.2 MPH                               8.8 MPH                    31.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour  27 mins                     1 hour 11 mins            15 minutes

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dragging Main..... Well, Frost Road Anyway

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

Jacque and I decided to once again break out the Tandem Recumbent Terratrike  and do an early ride.  Trouble is, after a posh homemade breakfast including fresh homemade eggs and fresh homemade whole wheat bread made from freshly-ground whole wheat flour, saddling up and getting all the equipment and doggies ready....
Well, it was about the usual hour when we got going, almost 10 AM.  We talked about going into Albuquerque and doing the wonderful flat no-grade Bosque Trail (it may actually have a 50 foot rise in 16 miles from the junkyards on the South Valley end to the north end at Alameda) but I griped my way out of that because of the heat, which would have been at least 10 degrees hotter in metro ABQ compared to our 6800+ feet of elevation.  Jacque almost has me convinced that these hills we have to climb out here more than make up for the 10 degrees of extra heat down where the trail is level for miles...
There was almost NO breeze at all today so it did indeed get a bit warmish.
I have been chagrined to notice that when we get to Tumbleweed
Road our GPS positions are no longer picked up on the radio relay at the house.  I looked at the surrounding terrain today to see what might be affecting this, and sure enough:  a small but prominent hill blocks the view (and the radio waves) right west of Tumbleweed.
What frustrates me is that Sandia Crest and our Manzano tower are clearly visible from these same areas but rarely hear anything but the most powerful transmitters, which rest assured our battery powered systems on the trikes and bikes are NOT.  The higher relays on such peaks as Manzano and Sandia Crest evidently are overloaded with data continuously transmitted from other mountain peaks within 150 miles or so and do not hear lower powered stations.  So when my own Internet Gateway (IGate) is blocked from hearing, only rarely - if at all - are any of my positions successfully relayed via the high mountain top stations, which theoretically they were designed to do.
We had a fair amount of 2-wheel company on the roads today.  About 10 cyclists in groups of varying size, including loners, passed us while we were dismounting our trike from the roof rack and lashing everything on board for the ride.  As we turned north on the far end of our loop onto Mountain Valley Road a three-party cyclist group passed us, exclaimed over the doggies, and the male participant circled around for another look at our "rig" and some chat.  "You guys on a long tour or....?"   Which is a typical question, since we always travel with full panniers, dual flagpole/antennas, water bottles here and there, dogs in their perch under a shade custom built for the enterprise, etc, etc.  We always answer "No, we're just riding around the neighborhood, but we like our STUFF!" 
Minimalists we AIN'T.  We try to carry more water than we think we'll need, and that stuff is heavy.  We've run low a few times anyway, but we've never had to beg for water from passing cars by waving an empty water bottle in the air and gesticulating.  We also carry supplies for ourselves and the dogs..... just because we're only doing a few miles doesn't mean we don't think we'll get tired, thirsty, hungry, or break down along the way.  We carry a spare tube for the tires, CO2 cartridges to air them up again if they go flat, tools and spare parts which have come in handy both for ourselves and other broke-down cyclists we've encountered from time to time.  So that helps, hopefully, to explain the bulkiness of our stuffings and the slowness of our trundlings.
We even went a few hundred yards off our beaten path to investigate a yard sale today and then brought home a prize or two.... that for which, luckily, we still had room to get it on board.

Ride Started:  9:35 AM    Ride Ended:  11:53 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.3       Ending Voltage: 13.2
Lowest Temp  71 F      Highest Temp:  84 F
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.77
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.3 MPH                               7.1 MPH                    32.6 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours  15 mins                   1 hour 22 mins            52 minutes

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Signs of the Times

Today's Spotty Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

We Need this Sign on OUR Gate!
I hadn't ridden in a few days due to various lame excuses:
-It's been raining and everything has been wet (NOT complaining!)
-I spent most of Monday driving the tractor over to Daughter Sarah's house to mow their 3 acres of weeds
-Too Busy to Stay Healthy, Etc.
Yesterday, Tuesday, I just sorta took the day off and didn't do much of anything except a visit to our friendly local acupuncturist for a neck & shoulder treatment.  Second visit for this sort of treatment and am underwhelmed with the results.  As with chiropractic, I leave the office hurting worse than when I went inside.  BAH
Usually my sore neck & shoulder receive at least temporary relief while riding the bike, so I did a ride today in spite of not being in tip-top  condition.  It was great, terrific weather and temperatures and all that, but the last few miles before arriving home produced a fair amount of stiffness and soreness.  What can I say?  Getting Old Sucks...
I noticed the "Ignore the Dogs, Beware of the Owners" sign as I rode past a place where I don't recall seeing such a sign before.  Cool sign, I thought.
While driving the tractor over to Darling Daughter's house, a couple in a pickup stopped me and asked if I could come mow THEIR acreage and how much I'd charge.  So now I have ANOTHER project to do that requires attention soonish.

Ride Started:  11:21 AM    Ride Ended:  1:06 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  14.0       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  78 F      Highest Temp:  87 F
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  12.52
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  7.1 MPH                               8.7 MPH                    33.3 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour  45 mins                      1 hour 26 mins          19 minutes