It has been a difficult few weeks, but a day of heavy rain and two days of mild weather cleared the paths and roadways enough for people to get out and use them again. They were out in numbers on the bike path today and I’m sure the streets got their share of roadies. Tomorrow will be another nice day which will find me on the East Bay Bike Path (EBBP), in Providence, R.I. The biking felt good and there is no doubt that the past two weeks on the stationary bike made that possible. As long as there is no snow, the miles will begin to add up very quickly.
Residents have been advocating that the town of Fairhaven, Ma clear the MUP (Multi Use Path), or as it’s more commonly know, the bike path, for three years now. More and more residents have started to make noise about this issue. It seems that because people consider this a recreational path there is no need to keep it accessible to the public. The Phoenix Bike Trail, a rail to trail project, has been around for over 10 years. It has been plowed of snow in the past by the town Department of Public Works (DPW), a selectman, a town policeman and a private citizen on a riding lawn mower with a plow attached. The last three are a testament to the popularity and necessity of this route.
The main grip is that this MUP is the only alternate route to the busy and shoulder-less, US Route 6, part of IKE’s Grand Army Highway System, for those residents on the east side of town. For days and sometimes weeks after a snow storm, town residents are forced to walk this busy and fast highway. Most walk with the flow of traffic which means they have their backs to the oncoming traffic.
The Fairhaven DPW consistently uses the bike trail as a shortcut to the town yard. Trucks equipped with snow plows use this shortcut but are not allowed to drop the plow and clear some of the snow. The latest excuse is that the plows will tear up the pavement. Even the most casual observer knows that during the first pass of snow clearing, nothing comes in contact with the blacktop. The first pass always leaves an inch or two of snow. It takes multiple passes and also salt/sand to get any road down to the pavement. None of that is necessary in this case. All of the path faces south, and all of the path in the winter gets a full day of sun as the trees are bare of leaves. Getting the snow down to an inch or two, one pass of a plow, would be more than enough of an aid to the natural melting and clearing of the path. One day of sunshine would make the MUP passable and prevent people from taking the risk of walking on a state highway. Most of all twelve year olds would not be forced to ride their bikes on this dangerous, shoulder-less high speed road.
Just when things are beginning to clear on the alternated routes through town, we are getting blasted with another major snow storm. It’ wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that the elected members of the DPW will not allow that department to clear the MUP during the winter. Spring, summer and fall the town sends trucks and tractors of all sized to maintain the path. In the winter however, those same pieces of equipment are too big for the path to handle. The excuses for not plowing? Choose one below and if that doesn’t stick, Choose another
The Plow is too big.
The Path is too thin.
We tried it and the backhoe tipped over
The plow will tear up the grass on the side.
It’s for the cross country skiers in the winter
We don’t have the proper equipment
The town can’t afford it
Town Finance committee won’t fund a special piece of equipment so nya nya
The good news is that after the storm, the temperatures will gradually rise to the high 40’s over the course of a few days and all the new stuff will be gone by next weekend.
It began snowing pretty heavy and we decide to cancel our dinner date with friends. I cooked up some leftovers but not before taking two of my buddies for a walk on the MUP.
I couldn’t wait to hear from any of my usual riding partners on what to do this summer. I have done the NYC Five Borough ride many times and usually sign up on the opening day of registration because it fills up quickly. This year I waited almost a week before deciding to take the plunge. Two friends from town registered this past Monday and I was really surprised they got to to that. Yesterday I got an e-mail from PTNY and along with the instructions for ride packet pickup, they have closed the registration. 32,000 of us signed up.
I have always resisted using the stationary bikes in the gym opting for the elliptical machine instead. While going through this months issue of Bicycle Magazine I read an article on winter training. It intrigued me and yesterday I did one of the four suggested routines. Well to put is succinctly and in a nice way, it was a bitch and I liked it. During the first set I was visualizing having a heart attack but that passed. The article recommend 2-4 sets and I did 3. It also recommends adding these routines to your weekend rides that are not happening in my neck of the woods with all this snow.
Eight 20 second sprints with a 10 second spin in between.
Do 2-4 sets with a 1-2 minutes easy spin between sets.
Today it’s snowing again, no surprise there.
On the down side, my riding partner and #3 replacement son loaded his dog and his belongings into his pickup truck and began his drive to his new home in Austin, Texas. I made a video of his hiking, biking and travel adventures for his mother.
My last post about a 20/20 style of video shooting offered a duplicate video from another ride. I deleted that post to repost here.
Thanks for reading and watching.
It’s called the 20/20 style of shooting video. Shoot a short video, take 20 steps and shoot another one. Do this 20 times. I substituted the 20 steps by riding my bike for a minute between videos. This one was done with a Cannon Power Shot 810 and a Nokia Luna 928 smart phone. Neither are really good for shooting video but neither is that bad.
The Vivitar a cheaper version of the GoPro retailing for $99 when it’s not on sale. I hit it right at Kohl’s department store and got it for $40. On this ride I recorded with the camera on the handlebar using the enclosed mount. I will try the helmet mount soon but first I’ll have to dig around the garage to see if I can dig up the helmet I bought a few months ago. I took it out of the box to take a picture of it and haven’t seen it since. It will turn up I’m sure. The Vivitar also came with a sealed case for underwater or space filming. I may never do either but at least I have the protection for my camera if I do go back home to Mars or visit wifey’s family on Venus.
There were times when I though the thing was on and it was not. Consequently I don’t have footage of any of the good stuff I thought I was recording. I also learned that pointing the camera straight ahead was very blah. When it was taking shots to either side the footage was much more interesting. Practice, practice, practice.
This is an unedited video as a test of how things look on the web. It will be here a few days while I edit to the final cut. I added some music so anyone looking can at least enjoy bopping your head during the preview.
The East Bay Bike Path (EBBP), in Rhode Island has plenty of winter beauty. Leaving the path and venturing into the quaint New England towns should be part of the day’s ride.
Today was a break in the winter weather that had the temperature hovering around the 50 degree mark. The wind was blowing pretty good, not bad, but good enough to make you work for your miles. There were very few riders all decked out in their tour de France best, riding hell bent for glory. This day it was the locals walking and riding leisurely. Quite a few who were obvious commuters with the tell of backpacks, paniers and no helmets. Very little traffic on the roads that crossed the MUP and there were times when it was just me and the low murmur of my tires rolling over the blacktop.
Deciding early on that this would not be and end to end ride, the path dropped me off in the town of Warren R.I. My first stop was at the 2nd Story Theater company to get a schedule of plays. This is a very professional local theater group that has captured the interest of the community. The choices the director makes it what keeps people going back. Many of the productions are controversial, dark at times, and quite frankly, are sometimes right on the very edge. They definitely have eliminated all the prudes and holy rollers but they are also always the hottest tickets around.
Across the main road is the waterfront district. The East Bay where the aroma of fresh seafood fills the air. Clam shacks, lobster huts, seafood cafes are abundant in the center of Warren. The city is also the winter home of a couple of island ferry operators, as well as the home of Blount Gourmet Foods.
By mid afternoon the sun was setting the the temperatures dropping signaling the time to ride the return to the head of the trail. Rail to Trail conversions are always a nice way to spend a few hours on a bike, but there are also lots of thing to see and do when the rider gets off the beaten path. Warren R.I. is one of those places.