Keen Sandals Update

I first wrote about these cycling sandals here; now I’ve been actually using them.

They’re a hit!  They’ve fulfilled their promise, and more — they’re a joy to wear, and now a permanent part of my warm weather cycling kit!

Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Two Bridges

. . . and two paths not taken.  Come to think of it, the bridges were also not taken. One has been abandoned, some time ago.

There was once something of a road leading up to it, with a run-off gully to the side,

however, the road looks more unfinished than actually abandoned. I wonder what the story is?

The second bridge is probably in a park of sorts, but I’m not sure which one. Or perhaps it’s in a nearby golf course.

This road — one just ridden past, today — runs through an older area that reminds me of the unincorporated neighbourhood of my very early childhood, when large lots were sold, and ordinary houses built upon them — before developers moved in.

Further along, this spur appeared. On a map, it looked as if it went through to another neighborhood.  Had it gone through, this would have been a terrific route back to my starting point; it’s very short, but marked with “no trespassing” signs, so we turned around.

This was an utterly glorious day for a ride, at 66 F/18.8 C, with lots of sun and only a light wind.

My Brompton

Basil Goes Fabric Shopping

I make my own clothing (with some exceptions, athletic gear generally included), and sometimes I run out of material in the middle of a project. That’s a great excuse for a quick trip to the fabric store — on my Brompton, naturally.

That’s a bolt of rayon bemberg lining in Basil’s basket.  It’s easy to go all around the shop guiding Basil with the handle on his basket — and wonderfully refreshing to resume sewing after a lovely little cycling trip into town!

Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Quick Trip to NYC

Sadly, I travelled without Basil,  as this was a fast turn-around, with no opportunity whatever to ride Basil — discounting the few short blocks I navigated by foot, which weren’t enough to justify having to check him with strangers for the rest of the day.

I was at the train station at 4:45 AM, and it was surprisingly pleasant.

Riding SEPTA at that hour is a lot like riding in a private rail coach, but not so posh.

I was in one of the new Silverliner V cars, and, for the first time, made my way to the front of the train.  On standard SEPTA trains, this window is blocked off, so a seat at the front is no different from a seat anywhere else.  Not so on the Silverliners.  I wasn’t able to get good photos while the sky was still dark — too much reflection from lights inside the carriage — but this was a long ride, and dawn made for a better result.

I usually arrive in New York at Grand Central Terminal and scurry through it without ever seeing daylight.  On this trip, I found myself outside. On another day, I’ll have to make a point of spending an hour or two exploring the building’s exterior. Clearly, there are points of interest!

Virtually all of this trip was spent indoors; I didn’t do nearly as much walking as is normal when I’m in New York, but I did manage to spy a few things of interest in the few blocks I traversed, including these new, as-yet-unoccupied, bike share racks.

New York’s bike share racks are not permanently installed; that is, they are not bolted to the ground.  Instead, they are held in place by weight.  The idea is that they can be moved around the city — using heavy equipment, not your pick-up truck, presumably —  as needed.  (Some cities with bike share programs have discovered that patrons prefer to cycle only downhill, which has required constant shuffling of bikes and, sometimes, racks.)

Roll-out for the program was yesterday:  Memorial Day.  There’s been huge interest in the program, with thousands of people signing up before the racks even began appearing.  It will be fascinating to see how the program works, how popular it is, and how both cyclists and motorists adapt.

Though this was an excellent day, it was, alas, a non-cycling one for me. I arrived home just as the sun was setting.  All was not lost: a nice sleep, and then I could be riding Basil once again!


Halsted Cargo Bike

While missing Basil on a recent blitz trip to New York (yet to be transcribed here) I spied this cargo bike, with one small wheel:

It’s a Civia Halstead, in a bright apple green.  This one is fully loaded (or can be!) with a cargo platform in front, and a child seat in back. The front wheel is 20 inches/50.8 cm; the rear is 26 in/66 cm.

At least one review suggests keeping the front load under 50 lbs/22.6 kg, which seems light for such a large platform; on the other hand, this is clearly meant to be a light cargo bike, and that kind of weight is a good grocery haul. Between the many cut-outs, and a selection of bungees, this bike could handle a variety of oddly-shaped loads, too.

Gear My Brompton Water Bottle Sagas

An Unexpected Cupholder Limitation

I didn’t see it when I first used my mesh cupholder with Basil’s Brompton “basket”

but Basil can’t be folded with the basket in place if the cupholder is folded down for use.  The angles are wrong, and the basket frame hits the cupholder, so that the hook that holds a folded Brompton together can’t engage.

The difficulty is easily solved by simply removing the basket, but, when shopping, that solution’s not ideal. Of course, the other option is to simply put the water bottle into the basket, and flip the ring and mesh upward — or, in  my situation, forego the water bottle altogether on these basket-enhanced trips, since I shop close to home, and can easily get water at the market.

It’s little details like this that make one appreciate how carefully a Brompton is engineered, and how neatly all the bits fit together.  I, myself, hadn’t considered all of the ramifications of my water bottle/cupholder fix . . . not that the stakes were high, but it’s well to remember these little missed calculations, in order to avoid them in the future.

Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Among the Green . . .

a spring sighting:

A Victorian, with a exterior color scheme worthy of San Francicso’s Painted Ladies. Makes me long for Baghdad-By-The-Bay, it does. (And how I love those bay windows, wherever they appear!)

Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Conquering a Nemesis

This has been a month of firsts for Basil and me:  First huge cycling event (the 5 Boro Tour), first time riding in New York City traffic, and this ride, my first attempt to conquer I ride I’ve feared for quite a while — the long steady climb into a local town. Inclines are not my friend; I have a lot of trouble going up, particularly if the action must be sustained.

This one doesn’t look like much, does it?  In my defense, it continues beyond the curve ahead; somehow I just can’t seem to capture its fearsome nature in a photograph. The ride is equally steep either way, with equal breaks, too, where Basil and I can just fly downhill.  It was hard work, and I struggled a bit, but Basil and I made it into town and back:  One more first!

We stopped along the way to explore a cemetery.   Though these trees are enormous, they have a certain grace. Basil posed beneath this one. (Mr. Diarist saw this shot, and said “Haven’t I seen this before?” knowing full well he hadn’t — Basil is just fond of posing with trees!)

From a distance, I wondered if the tree had been burned. I think, instead, that it must have lost a limb.  When I lived in orchard country, if I recall correctly, damaged areas on trees were often treated with tar (maybe creosote?) to seal and protect the vulnerable spot where there was no bark.  I think that’s what I saw here:

It’s a fascinating look at the texture of the wood — as well as testimony to the resilience of the tree itself.

Other than going, at times, very, very slowly, we had only one bothersome moment:  A single gust of wind nearly knocked us over.. When I checked the weather record after, the highest recorded gust was only 14 mph/22.5 kph, so it’s surprising that it affected us so greatly.  (Although it’s worth noting that measurement was taken at the weather station, not exactly where Basil and I were.)  In any event, we held our ground, and arrived home safely.  Now I want to see if, with practice, I become stronger, and more capable, at managing this route. That’s what spring is for!

Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Brief Ride, With Goslings

After Basil and I returned from New York, Mr. Diarist, his mountain bike, Basil and I took a short ride together on a local trail.

It was a lovely temperate day. Newly-revived greenery provided lush frames for the usual sights along the way.

We spied this hearty little family, too.  Mama was leading nine goslings, all of them larger than usual at this time of year, having (apparently) gotten a good start on spring.

Mr. Diarist offered directional assistance to a fellow looking for another trail. Whereas I can’t find my way out of an open paper bag, Mr. Diarist has excellent geographic skills, so it’s likely that the lost cyclist found his destination, as he’d had to good sense to ask the right person!

I snapped a picture of this house while Mr. Diarist was assisting the cyclist. It’s perched on a hillside overlooking a lovely green patch (and, now, the end of the trail).   The location must have been wonderful once, but these days the building is all boarded up and no longer occupied.

Below the house, to my left as I took this picture, was once some kind on industrial installation — part of a mill, perhaps, as they were once common in this area. It’s likely that both were abandoned at approximately the same time. I’m surprised, though, that someone hasn’t snapped up the house and refurbished it. Though it now overlooks a trail parking lot, the setting is still marvelous, and that porch would be a marvelous place to spend a bit of evening on a summer — or spring — day.


Spotted Under the George Washington Bridge

This beauty:

So shiny new that it still had a retailer’s tag on it. It’s a Huffy Nel Lusso one-speed, with a coaster brake, a rear rack, a massive comfort saddle, a tiny basket, and a leatherette cupholder, in chocolate brown and caramel.  Oh-la-la — and get a look at those sidewalls!

Note the “longhorn” handlebars. My wrists hurt when I think of using these, but you’ve got to admit they’re quite retro.

Practical considerations aside, I think this is an arrestingly attractive bicycle. I doubt I’d find owning it a pleasure, since it’s engineering that makes my heart sing, but oh, is she pretty — and maybe not a bad choice at all for a rough-and-ready city bike which may be only minimally, if regularly, used.