Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Road ID

I finally signed up for a RoadID

I don't know why it has taken me so long but I finally went ahead and shelled out a measly $20 and ordered myself a RoadID.

I've ridden with people who have wreaked and have had friends who have wreaked. I've even had some minor wreaks. So I figured with all the bike commuting I hope to be doing, the Pan Mass Challenge, and possible some vacation biking in Alabama, that I really should go ahead and get this for peace of mind.

If you are reading this and you run, cycle, or do any sort of outdoor activity, you should get a RoadID also: www.RoadID.com.

Ride to Work

Perfect Morning

It was 58°F when I left my house this morning at ~5:45 AM. Clear skies and the sun was almost up. I decided to wear shorts because I knew it was going to warm up as I rode and the the sun rose. It turns out I wasn't chilly at all :-)

The Sun Rising
The Sun Rising, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Less than two miles into my ride, I stopped to take this picture. Good Morning Sun :-)

Computer Issues

My CatEye Wireless bike computer has been iffy for a while. For some reason it isn't registering the proper speed and distance (occasionally it says I'm going 0 m.p.h or half the speed I am actually doing). I've put fresh batteries in both the transmitter and the main unit, so I don't know what the issue is. It seemed to work fine last night.

Add to that, the batteries in my Garmin eTrex Legend died.

Uneventful Ride

It was a nice ride and I felt pretty strong. Though I don't think I put in the average MPH I did at the end of last season. I did have to alter my route after encountering the "dirt" road that was a paved road last year. It should be nice when they finish resurfacing it.

My Soap!

I didn't realize I had lost my soap (and soap container) until I walked into the (little used, almost secret) shower here at work. I open the door, turned on the light and saw my soap container right where I left it when I last used this shower back at the end of last September. Bonus!

Monday, April 27, 2009

First Bike Commute of the Year

Hemming and Hawing...

The weather reports kept on saying how beautiful the weather was going to be over the next couple of days. Finally, on Monday morning, I gave in. I packed the bike in my car, packed up a change of clothes and a bunch of bike crap, and drove into work. the plan was to drive in, ride home, ride in on Tuesday and drive home Tuesday after work. No more excuses!

The Ride Home

The ride home was uneventful. I had to stop a lot to make left turns. I don't remember stopping this much last year. The only real problem occurred when I hit High St. in Holliston.

High St. in Holliston

The entire road from South of Locust St. is being resurfaced and has been scraped down to the underlying "dirt" base layer. It was firm enough to bike down, but I made a note to to come this way on Tuesday Morning.

GPS Issues

My GPS shut itself off a couple of times. How annoying!


My wife made Stuffed Shells for dinner. It was Yummy. I ensured that there were no leftovers :-)

After dinner I spent some quality time on the Hammock.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First REALLY Warm Day of the Season

Sunny and in the 80's

Sunny day, warm temps, and the lawn mower is still broken = plenty of time for a ride :-) I lathered up in sunscreen and headed out.

I decided to head north and east. I like to mix it up a lot and try not to ride the same roads to often. I rode north through Holliston then east to Sherborn. I meandered south to Medfield and then made my way back through Norfolk. A nice 30 mile ride.

Approaching Central Sherborn
Approaching Central Sherborn, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is one ofthe big white churches in the center of Sherborn. It is a beautiful town. It should be since it has the highest median home price in the state. One of the few towns in the area with a network of trails dedicated to horseback riding. There were a lot of homes for sale in this town.

North Street Market in Medfield
North Street Market in Medfield, originally uploaded by Martinator.

With one water bottle empty and one full, I decided to stop for a refill. The problem was that I had only $1 in cash on me. I asked the clerk if they would take a debit cart for a bottle of water. They said sorry but it was a $10 minimum purchase for debit cards. Then she referred me to the ATM. I didn't fell like paying a fee for cash just to buy a bottle of water. So I said thanks, put back the water bottle and left.

Then,while I was unlocking my bike, the clerk came walking out of the store with a bottle of water and just gave it to me. I told her that I did have a dollar and she refused to take it. That was a nice surprise :-)

I guess this would qualify as a "random act of kindness"

I'm really glad she gave me that water. I poured the water into my water bottle, dropped an Elixir tab in it and finished it pretty quickly. The coldness was very refreshing. (NOTE: If she hadn't given me the water, I would have just bought one someplace else.)


When I got home, the thermometer read 87°. That's hot!

I'm glad I had the sunscreen on :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Team Switch: I am now on Team Phat Tuesday

Why Not the PMC Monsters?

Well, to make a long story short: The team that was the PMC Monsters was not sanctioned by Monster this year and that really put a crimp in things. Most of the members of the PMC Monsters are merging with another team. I decided not to follow them.

Phat Tuesday

I decided to leave what was left of the PMC Monsters and join a team called Phat Tuesday. They are a well established team in the town I live in, (Franklin, MA).

I’ve ridden on their Tuesday Evening Training rides for the past couple of years so they are no strangers to me. Their founding member has been riding the PMC for 22 years.

I am eager to get my hands on their website: PhatTuesday.org. This team is also lacking its own FaceBook page. I plan on fixing that :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nice 30 Mile Ride out to Blackstone and Mendon

Crisp, Sunny, Spring Day

It was right around 50°, not "too" breezy, and sunny. Perfect weather for a ride, as long as I dressed right. Last time I biked in shorts and regretted it. This time I was smarter and wore full length bike pants, a long sleeve cycling shirt, and a feather weight layer underneath on top. Result: I was neither too warm nor too chilly. Dressing right in the spring is both an art and a science.

30 Mile Goal

My goal today was to get in at least 30 miles. I wanted to go either south or west. I made it up as I went along. I went west and headed out towards Blackstone. I meandered south through Franklin and through Bellingham, past Lake Hiawatha, and eventually picked up the Charles River Wheelmen's "Two State Tango" arrows. (I really should do that ride someday from the start.) Almost halfway through I stopped at one of the few convenience stores in that area.

After updating my various "social network status" and refilling my bottle, I continued to head west and climb the big hill on Mendon St (in Blackstone; Blackstone St. in Mendon).

Overall it was a really nice ride. I saw a few other riders, and a lot of people on Motorcycles. Hopefully it will warm up soon. It is getting light enough to ride to work in the morning, but it is still pretty cold.

Lake Hiawatha
Lake Hiawatha, originally uploaded by Martinator.

I like to incorporate riding past this lake when I ride west. Lake Hiawatha is a private lake, approximately 70 acres, that is partly in Bellingham (MA) and partly in Blackstone (MA). It reminds me a lot of the lake communities in the town I grew up in, West Milford, NJ.

Daniels Farmstead
Daniels Farmstead, originally uploaded by Martinator.

The Daniels Farmstead is a scenic farm that sits on top of a hill in Blackstone, MA. It is about 484 ft. above sea level and about 200-300 ft. above the average elevation of the surrounding area. Apparently it has been around since the mid 1600's.

Daniels Farmstead and Me
Daniels Farmstead and Me, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is me as I bike past the farm. Happy because I made it to the top. The descent was nice, not insane.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PMC Page on FaceBook

Become a Fan!

I created a "page" on FaceBook where you (or anyone) can become a fan and help support me as I ride for a cure. So far I have it importing posts from this blog that are labeled PMC2009. I'm sure I'll find other fun ways to use it.

Marty Rides the PMC FaceBook Page - Become a Fan!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kick-stand for Catherine

Lousy Day for a Ride

It was cold, very windy, and threatening rain on Saturday afternoon. I took a pass on riding. Instead, I did some work on Catherine's bike.

Bike Shop Customer
Bike Shop Customer, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Catherine successfully graduated from using her training wheels late last summer (Catherine Loses the Training Wheels). While we were at the bicycle shop in town (Bicycles Plus), she reminded me that she needed a kickstand for her bicycle. Here is Catherine and her bike in the workshop area of our basement.

Measuring the Proper Kick-stand Length
Measuring the Proper Kick-stand Length, originally uploaded by Martinator.

The instructions on the packaging that the kick-stand came in were rather vague. So I came up with my own method. First I mounted Catherine's bike on my Topeak PrepStand Pro Bicycle Repair Stand and made sure the wheels were level. I used a flat piece of wood and a level.

Then I mounted the kick-stand (which was about a foot long in its unaltered state) and looked to see where it met with the board/level. I made a mark about a half inch above where it met the board. That is where I will be cutting (It's aluminum, so it should be easy to cut I'm told.)

A Tool with a Tool
A Tool with a Tool, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is me, ready to cut away with my Black & Decker Jigsaw. Scott at the bike shop (yes, I'm on a first name basis there) told me that a hack saw could cut through the kick-stand. I don't have a hack-saw, but I do have this. I even had a metal cutting blade. Always wear goggles for safety.

Kick-stand Ready for Cutting
Kick-stand Ready for Cutting, originally uploaded by Martinator.

That the kick-stand in my ski tuning vise attached to my cluttered workbench. I used my left hand to further stabilize it by holding on to it on the left side of the vise. I did the cutting on the right side of the vise. The Jig Saw made quick work of it.

Right Length?
Right Length?, originally uploaded by Martinator.

After cutting it I loosely attached it to the bike (hand tight only) to see how the length was. Although the angle of the cut was wrong, the length was correct. It was good enough.

Back on the Stand
Back on the Stand, originally uploaded by Martinator.

I put the bike back on the bike stand so I could securely attach the kick-stand to the bike.

The Result
The Result, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Catherine's bike now has a kick-stand!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

NOT the PMC Monsters

PMC Monsters no more...

For whatever reasons, the PMC team I joined here at work will no longer be able to use the company's name in our team's fund raising efforts.

This is rough. Last year, in 2008, the team was able to raise $177,000 in partnership with the company. This year we'll be lucky to raise even half of that on our own.

So we are left on our own as a team of independent employees to raise funds and meet our minimum commitments.

We are in the process of coming up with a new name and refocusing our efforts on a few key fund raising events. More on that will appear on the team's blog page (yet to be developed) and on the team's FaceBook page (which needs to be renamed, or deleted and re-created).

Another Possibility: Merge with Another Team?

There is also the possibility that we might be able to merge with another team. There are a couple that we are looking into.

The worse case scenario: PMC Monsters totally disbands and we each find another team to join.

I guess it is time to really start focusing on individual fund raising efforts...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More Street Sweeping News

Franklin Street Sweeping Schedule

I just saw this on the Town of Franklin website:

"The Franklin Highway Department will begin sweeping streets the week of March 22, 2009 starting in the center of Town and then proceeding to Precinct 5 and working counterclockwise for the remaining precincts."

Town of Franklin - Street Sweeping News

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Street Sweepers!

Clean Roads!

I saw the street sweepers out yesterday in some of the town I pass through on my way to work. that's a sure sign of spring for us cyclists :-)

Soon I will be able to swap off my "off season tires" (Continental Grand Prix 4 Season) and mount lighter, faster tires.

Which Tires?

My tires from this past season are shot. I threaded my rear tire and my front tire is not too far behind. The question is, should I stick with the Continental Grand Prix Attack / Force Combo that I rode last season or explore something new. I've had Continental Grand Prix 4000 tires in the past, but they cracked rather early in their life cycle.

I really liked the Attack / Force Combo. I like the way they felt riding and they also seemed less prone to cracking than the GP 4000's. Like I mentioned before, the rear tire threaded before anything else (like cracking) happened.

Any thoughts before I go and buy myself a new set of tires?