30 Days of Biking

cranberry bog 2
Cranberry bogs in Rochester Ma. Day 21 of 30 Days of Biking

Day 21 of 30 days of biking took me on a longer loop of 25 miles.  Ten days from now is the NYC five boroughs bike tour and I’m doing my best to get some serious miles in. I did stop a couple of times and took photos but today was a training ride.

One of my stops was to answer my cell phone when wifey called from the Dominican Republic. When we travel we use WhatsApp.  We were turned on to this app by an Israeli soldier when we were in Panama last year.  WhatsApp uses the internet to make calls, texts etc anywhere in the world.  No more paying for international calling on my cell phone.

I used the Novara Randonee touring bike for this ride to make sure everything was working OK, not only for the NYC ride but also for my short summer bike tour.  The tour is narrowed to two possibilities.  Leaving from home and riding Cape Cod and the Islands or traveling to West Virginia to ride the North Bend Trail.  The Cape is solo and West Virginia is a fully supported tour.  Decisions, decisions.

Mattapoiset Rd. fish bridge

Novara Randonee Touring Bike.

Old highway sign in Rochester, MA.


Touring season is approaching and I took the steel bike for a longish ride to the town of Wareham Ma.  The Novara has been in my stable since 2008 when I did my first tour of the Erie Canal. 

Wareham has been my go to ride for medium miles for years. There are two hills to climb to get to the center of town on the back road route.  As I was climbing the first hill, a 30 something rider passed me and the only thing she did was a psheh sound when she looked at me and my bike. An old guy, no helmet, riding steel. psheh. Continue reading “Novara Randonee Touring Bike.”

#3 Son Has The Baton

Pace Oddity

The Daily Post Asks. If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?”

When you wait for hours for the race to come to you and it’s gone by in a matter of seconds, you often wish you could hit a button and slow them down just till they pass you. Then let go of the button and they resume at speed.

Continue reading “#3 Son Has The Baton”

I’m Thinking of Not Riding Today

Thanks, Hindsight This year is moving along just fine. The retired life is treating me well. Biking, weight training and yoga are keeping me fit in body and mind which allows all the other things in life to fall into place nicely.

I am seriously considering riding my bicycle cross country on the Adventure Cycling Southern Tier Route in October.  Not doing the whole route but pedaling from Ocala, Florida to Austin, Texas.  It’s 1200 miles and should take somewhere in the range of 20-30 days.  I like to take days off to smell the roses if any show themselves. Continue reading “I’m Thinking of Not Riding Today”

Reminiscing. The Erie Canal Ride Day 3

Day 3: Medina to Fairport


Sunday July 15, 2012, 62 miles (100 km) – Total so far: 124 miles (200 km)

We arrived in Medina very late last night and had just enough time to set up camp before it got dark. The fire department directed us to a park at the far end of town that gave us a nice secluded campsite. The traffic on the road near our site was just enough to keep up awake most of the night. We all got some sleep, but not much.

Continue reading “Reminiscing. The Erie Canal Ride Day 3”

Bike Touring. A Life Changing Adventure Or A Fun Vacation

As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger

All of us who visit  touring sites either do, or want to do long distance touring. Since 2005 when I signed onto bikeforums and crazyguyonabike, I have envisioned myself doing some kind of cross country tour, be it east to west, or south to north. Last year I was within a week of riding the Southern Tier solo until things happened to force a postponement. I ended up riding the GAP/Martha’s Vineyard tour a few weeks ago as my annual bike tour.

I rode the GAP, Montour and Panhandle trails last year with a large group, and had a wonderful time. Being a social person who also enjoys time riding solo made the Rails to Trails sponsored sojourn, a good experience. I did some riding alone, some with new found friends and at the end of the day participated in the social events that were made available by the locals when we passed through or stayed overnight in their towns. This year two of us did the same ride on our own and the experience

Great Allegheny Passage
Great Allegheny Passage
Barroom in the basement.
Barroom in the basement.

was the polar opposite. Converted rail trails are often long stretches of nothing between major rail yards with a few small towns scattered between. Without an event with 300 bike riders coming to town, there is no reason for any business to remain open past 6 or 8 PM.

Riding 60+ miles a day on dirt with a slight incline can certainly test the patience and endurance of older guys like me. The reason for those miles was to get to a town, relax over a nice dinner and have a few cold ones while rehashing the day. There was also a time factor involved when riders have to get back to work.   In reality, we ended up walking to a Walmart one evening and settling into a bar room in a house basement the next night eating frozen pizza and potato chips.

On the flip side, towpaths like the Erie Canal have towns every couple of miles, catering to bike and boat tourist during the summer.  Again to finish the end to end bike ride, it’s 8 days on crushed limestone averaging 50 miles a day. The Erie Canal has the option of NY Bike Route 5 (Rt 31 for cars), which allows riders to make up time by riding on pavement. If your ride, you know how

Bike route 5 paralleling the Erie Canal towpath
Bike route 5 paralleling the Erie Canal towpath

refreshing it is to ride on pavement compared to crushed limestone, especially if it’s wet.  The Erie Canal offers a plethora of choices to stay or if one prefers, free camping at any lock station. The Erie Canal is a fun bike ride as opposed to the Great Allegheny Passage, which is more of an adventure.

Our Brockport home. Camping on the canal.
Our Brockport home. Camping on the canal.

There are lots of local day rides available on these converted trails, and I’ll continue to ride them, but the long, boring, dusty week long rides on rail trails have been eliminated from my touring list.

Bike touring for many is a life changing adventure.  For many it’s a fun vacation or it can be anywhere between the two.

Next years tour is narrowed down to three choices.  The Erie Canal, an 8 day tour.   Cape Cod and Martha’s Vinyard in 6 days.   Inn to Inn in Bar Harbor Maine in 6 days using Adventure Cycling’s Itinerary without the off days. 

Martha’s Vineyard.

The Campgrounds at Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard
The Campgrounds at Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard

We drove back to New England but were certainly not ready to end our bike tour. We decided to drive out to Wood’s Hole and catch the ferry to “the Vineyard” to do a day of riding, eating, drinking beer and sightseeing. We got all that accomplished.

A bit of fun with the panorama function on my camera.
A bit of fun with the panorama function on my camera.

One of the things that struck me was how much better riding is when it’s done in civilization. The GAP for me is rated a little below OK. With the stories we heard of the C&O conditions, I really think it would have soured both Brandon and I on bike touring.  MORE

Bike Tour Day 1. Pittsburgh to Connellsville PAore

After staying in a wonderful airbnb, we took a Uber to the train station to unbox and assemble our bikes. Withing a few pedal strokes I knew I had severely over packed. I found a post office a mile away and shipped home all my cooking and some of the camping gear. Keeping only the tent and a pillow, just in case.

It was 1:30 by the time we got riding and we got in a slow 62 miles to the town of Connellsville, PA. We ran into a father and son from Alaska, Jeff and Finn who turned us on to a cheap motor lodge at the top of a pretty severe hill. Normally this would not be an issue, but after riding 60 miles on dirt, it was kind of tough.

Today we will continue into Myerdale, around 60 miles. More about today later today.  Pictures and all that stuff.

Bike Tour Travel Day

Red Roof Inn Baltimore Airport
I like Red Roof. It’s inexpensive. That’s the extent of the good things to say. You get the point.

I drove the the Red Rood Inn at Baltimore airport last night. Brandon is flying in from Austin this morning.  We will drive 30 miles to Union Station in DC, box our bikes and do the tourist thing while we wait to board the 4:30 Amtrak to Pittsburgh.

Tomorrow morning we begin our bike ride from Pittsburgh to DC on the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O canal towpath. We will be mixing camping with soft beds and hot showers.

It’s Touring Time

The bike all packed up and ready to go.

Early Sunday morning I drive to Baltimore to pick up Brandon.  We begin our tour on Monday in Pittsburgh and should arrive back in DC on the following Sunday or Monday.  The weather looks dicey but we will make do.

Brandon from Austin.
amidnightrider from Cape Cod