Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ringwood, NJ

Why am I in NJ?

A friend of mine from my high school days was turning 40. His wife had invited me without his knowing. My showing up was to be a surprise. It worked out great! He also got a Wii for his birthday so we stayed up playing that until 3:00 am Saturday night playing it. On Sunday morning we were back on it playing Guitar Hero III.

Anyway, the party wasn't until 2:30 pm, Saturday afternoon. So, having driven down the night before and spending the night at my Father's house, I had plenty of time to get a ride in. Yes, I did bring my bike :-)

What to Wear?

The forecast during the week had been calling for rain on Saturday. It held off. However it was in the upper 50's and sometimes cloudy, sometimes, sunny, and sometimes windy. The type of weather where you either dress too much or not enough, and never just right. I wore my long Pearl Izumi bike pants, my Germany bike shirt, and my Lime Transformer Shell. It was a bit chilly when I headed out so I was glad for the shell and long pants. However, at mile 5, the inside of my shell felt like a rain forest. It was still too chilly to do without the shell and my shirt was, well, wet with sweat. So I opted to just zip off the sleeves and wear the vest part. It looked funny, but it was the perfect combination.

The Germany Shirt clashes a bit when worn underneath the Lime Vest.

Westbrook Road

I originally wanted to do a 30 mile ride, however there were signs on Westbrook road saying it was closed ahead. As I was riding it to where it splits off onto Stonetown Road I got passed my 3 very large dump trucks in just under a mile. The part of the road that was open was also very crappy. So when I came to Stonetown road, I made the right onto it.

Ringwood State Park

I wanted to include Ringwood State Park as part of my ride. I haven't been there in over 30 years and I figured it would be cool to ride through it.

Unfortunately, I just learned that due to NJ's fiscal problems, the Governor is going to close this state park, along with a number of others. That is a shame.


The Governor's budget proposal will close nine parks, among them High Point and Shepard Lake. Reduction in services intended at others, including Ringwood Manor historic site. The Ringwood Manor reduction is drastic; it will affect school programs, tours, maintenance, special programs (Independence Day Celebration, reenactments, etc.), and collection management. In total, the Park Service will be losing 80 permanent positions.

PLEASE HELP: Contact your state legislators to let them know you are not happy with this. Ask them to help restore the money necessary to allow the parks to operate.

To find your district's legislator: and write to them, asking them to stop the cuts in the already understaffed parks.

Shepard Pond

I knew about Shepard Pond Road, but I didn't know it had been closed. It was still paved and ridable, but not for too much longer as nature is starting to take over. BTW, this is a great place to mountain bike. There is more mountain biking here in the highlands of NJ than one would think.

Shepard's Pond Road - I don't know how long it has been closed for, but it was bikable.

Shepard's Pond

The Chapel at Shepard's Pond

Skylands Manor

Skylands Manor

Botanical Gardens

Tree lined path.

GPS Issues

Because of the deep valleys I rode through and the mountains (Ramapo) nearby, my GPS dropped the signal a number of times so the map below isn't 100% accurate. I may massage the GPX file and regenerate.

Map My Ride Version

This is a more accurate, non-GPS, mapped out version of my route.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Phat Tuesday, Ride 1

First Group Ride of the Year

Ready or not, here we go. I figured I had gotten enough miles under my belt so far this season that I wouldn't be sucking too much wind on fast paced group rides such as this. "Ya gotta start sometime!"

I was doing pretty good. I focused on trying not to push myself too hard and just make sure I had enough energy to stay with the group. I was doing "OK" until about mile 5.

Chain Derailment

At mile 5 my chain derailed. I stopped. Quickly popped the chain back on, and tried to catch up with the group. No such luck.

After about a half mile, the lead group disappears...

Eventually, I saw my neighbor, Ed, in the distance up ahead of me. He had gotten himself a Garmin Edge 305 GPS bike computer. I saw him, but I couldn't close the gap. It turns out that we were both averaging 17.0 mph. You can see how I tried to catch him via's (soon to be Garmin Connect) Dot Race feature: Me and Ed (NOTE: IE only!). I hope they keep this feature when the switch over is made.

I saw a number of other riders with the same, or similar, device. however, I don't know if they upload their data. It would be cool if they did. At least I think it would be cool...

Finish Behind Some Big Guys

In the last 2 miles of the ride, I linked up with a couple of, how shall I say, "larger framed" and "non skinny" riders. They really powered through the last two miles and it was all I could do to hang onto their wheel. In the last mile we were averaging 21.2 mph! A nice way to finish :-)


While sitting in the parking lot after the ride I called and ordered a pizza from Imperial Pizza in Franklin. It was one of the few pizza places in Franklin we haven't tried and they claim to have "New York-style" pizza. It was also on the way home. Well, their pizza wasn't bad, but it wasn't "NY Style" pizza. Why is it so hard to find really good, (or just half-way good), pizza in Massachusetts? Papa Gino's should not be the best tasting pizza around. That's just wrong!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Short Norfolk Loop, Evening Ride

A Quick Evening Ride

After two days of 30 mile rides each, I should probably have rested this evening. but as I was driving home, the weather was too nice and too tempting to pass up. Not to mention that my wife and kids are out of town visiting with my in-laws, leaving me a bachelor until Wednesday.

I decided to just do a quick, 13 mile loop through Norfolk since the sun was still setting a little too early for a longer evening ride. I had done this ride earlier in the month (Short Norfolk Loop, Eventually...), but with much different weather.


the cool thing about posting your rides, particularly your benchmark rides, on (soon to me My Garmin) is that you can run a "Dot Race" and compare rides.

Check it out: Short Norfolk Loop: Dot Race
(NOTE: The necessary plug-in, (Adobe SVG Viewer), works in Internet Explorer only.)

Tomorrow night I will try and join up with the Phat Tuesday ride here in Franklin.

New Tires for the Schwinn

Yesterday, after getting a good ride in, I decided to head to my local bike shop and see if they had any tires that would fit my Schwinn. I know at least one of the tires on the Schwinn is original. It is bald, cracked, and crumbling.

The guys at the shop hooked me up with a set of 27 ¼" Specialized Armadillo All-Condition tires. I made of point of saying "weight is not an issue!".

Mounting Them...

The old tires came off pretty easily. The rim tape, which looked it was plastic, didn't look like it was going to be easy to replace. So I just put the new rim tape on over it. The guy at the bike shop recommended that I do not go over 80 PSI when mounting these tires on the original wheels. He said that the steel rims might not be able to handle the higher pressures. I can tell my wheels are steel because aluminum doesn't rust.

Crappy Brakes

The front brake calipers had oxidized just enough so that they wouldn't pivot. I loosened up the assembly and took a hammer to them to "free them and shake out the corrosion". It worked! Now instead of no front brakes, I have crappy front brakes. These calipers will need to be replaced at some point.

Test Ride

I took the Schwinn out in the neighborhood behind me for a test ride. It is a one mile hilly loop. Man, that bike is heavy. It doesn't help when the bike auto-shifts out of the lowest gear either by itself, or when my knee hits the center pull shifter. The front brakes weren't really working. They would grab, but not release. good for only stopping (barely) but useless for slowing down.

At one point the crank kicked back and now I have a new scar on my calf much like I did when I repeatedly did this when I was 14.

Then, Near the top of the hill the chain snapped. I happened to have a zip lock bag on me and I put the chain inside that. Then I walked up to the top of the hill, and rode the bike down to my home. I have a feeling this will be a long term project bike...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hopkinton State Park

Another Nice Day

What a bonus! Two nice days in one weekend. Today I decided to head north/north-west. Route 495 makes plotting north-westerly routes problematic. Anyway, I figured I'd ride up to Hopkinton State Park and back. Tomorrow's the day of the Marathon, so i thought it would be fun to pass through and the day before. nothing to see really but a bunch of gates prepositioned for the runner's corrals.

Rt 85 Descent

The descent from the center of Hopkinton to the State Park was, well, fast. It was fun to go that fast, and a bit scary also. I try not to make a habit of it going almost 45 M.P.H. Mistakes at those speeds are costly to say the least.

Another Slow Day...

I only averaged 14.6 m.p.h. for this ride. I know it is still early in the season, the ride had its share of climbs, and my goal wasn't for speed (yet), but still, 14.6? Well, at least I didn't feel like I was going to cramp up. And I actually felt pretty good riding today, so I guess speed isn't everything.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Sunny Day

It was a nice day for a ride, so I did. I rode 30 or so miles, my longest ride so far this year.

Fighting off Cramps

All throughout the ride I felt my calf muscles twitching like they were going to cramp up. I made extra sure I stayed hydrated and didn't do anything stupid like launch off into a sprint.

I was close to home when I thought the threat of my calves cramping up had passed. They didn't cramp up, but my thigh almost did. That never happened to me before. Maybe the 1,977 feet of climbing had something to do with it.

My overall average was slow, 14.9 mph. But it is early in the season and my goal for this ride was to not cramp up.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fair Weather Rider...

Fair Weather Rider... That's Me

The weather was back in the high 40°'s, overcast, and drizzly. "Raw" pretty much sums it up. If I was hardcore, I would have ridden, but I can afford to wait for nicer weather.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

First Decent Ride of the Season!

Nice Weather

It was sunny and actually hit 70° today! No long sleeve, layered clothing today.

Headed North

I headed north up through Holliston and circled back via Sherborn, Millis, and Norfolk. I saw a good number of other riders out there today. I even linked up with a pair of riders in Sherborn. One was named Craig, I didn't catch the other guys name. They were coming off of Nason Hill St. onto Mill St just as I was approaching it. I rode with them until I turned off Rt 27 onto Rt 115. I took a picture, but the Camera on my cell phone was less than reliable.

Warm Weather makes a difference

My average speed was a more respectable 15.7 mph and my knee didn't bother me or complain. Hopefully I can get another ride in on Sunday.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Crappy Weather...


I forecast I saw for today was for sunny skies and 50°.

That's a bit different that the 40° cloudy, windy, drizzly weather we actually got. No biking today...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Short Norfolk Loop, Eventually...

First, The Yard Work...

The weather was crappy for most of the morning. So I took advantage and did a lot of yard work. Who wants to do yard work when the weather is nice? I raked a lot of leaves, a lot of Oak leaves. Funny thing, I don't have any Oak trees on my property, but my neighbor across the street does...

The Shed

I cleaned out the shed also. I needed a place to put the bags of leaves. I didn't want them to sit outside for 2 weeks. Part of cleaning out the shed involved moving my 1982 Schwinn Varsity to the bike stand in the basement. The tires are toast, they're the original tires. They are practically crumbling off the rims. I weighed the bike, 38+ pounds.

Short Evening Ride

Around 4:00 I got my act together and rewarded myself with a short loop to Fruit St. in Norfolk and back. The sun came out and took some of the chill away. It was good to get out

I plan on going for a longer ride tomorrow, so a short ride tonight will suffice :-)