Thursday, December 10, 2009

Revolution Kids

Annapolis is taking part in a national contest by Brighter Planet to help make our planet more green. Annapolis submitted their idea of "Revolution Kids" which teaches elementary and middle school children about biking and bike safety while allowing children from low income families to earn bikes. It is a great cause and something that, if they win, I would love to assist in. You need to register on the Brighter Planet website and you can each vote three times. Take a look at the Contest Page and cast your vote!

Even if you don't decide Revolution Kids is the best choice, anything that helps keep our planet healthy is a good thing in my book!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

East Coast Greenway

I had read about this awhile ago. It was posted on a sign along the B&A. I have a slight fascination with incredibly long distance trails. Having hiked a good portion of the central Appalachian Trail, I find the idea of a parallel bike route to be absolutely awesome. The East Coast Greenway is an attempt to create a complete trail from the northern tip of Maine to the tip of Key West, Florida. (The AT goes from Georgia to Maine). So basically, an East Coast bike path that I could get on and go visit my cousins in Florida or hang out with some friends up in Maine.

Their Maryland Section is coming along nicely, although I really question their want to go through inner city baltimore. I mean... gross. Either way they are using the B&A path and BWI Loop as segments along it. I really want to go out and ride the rest of this area, I've never heard of most of those routes!

And speaking of long distance cycling, check out some of the Bicycle World Records!

No room.

It saddens me to say that there just isn't enough room in the townhouse to fit another bike. My road bike is already jammed next to the dinner table, resulting in me having to slide in sideways to my seat. The only real option would be to store it at the in-laws house, but I really don't have much interest in dealing with that every time I take it out (and having to give it a thorough cleaning and drying afterwards). So for now, looks like I am outta luck.

I did get out and go biking around to the Baltimore and Annapolis Path yesterday. It was my first real "night" ride, although it wasn't even 7pm. I got in about 10 miles before the rain started coming down again, so I hauled ass back home for a total of about 15 miles. Took a nice hot shower to get some of my body heat back.

I brought in an extra pair of work clothes and a towel, so if tomorrow I wake up early enough I am going to attempt a ride into work... my first since the temperature has gotten below 70 degrees. Not sure exactly what I should be wearing, but its only 13 miles, so it really shouldn't matter all that much.

It is one month away from New Years, which means I need to start coming up with my New Year's Resolution. I have a terrible habit of not keeping them but figure any goal is better than no goal. I think I want to compete in an Olympic Triathlon, which is 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run. I think its a decent goal to set for myself. I know I can bike 40km without breaking a sweat and I am a decent swimmer, so the big area of focus will have to be the running. I can jog for about 5km, so doubling that should make for a pretty solid goal. There is one up in Cecil County every year called the North East Triathlon (that is from last year) held in August, so that is a pretty sound goal.

What about you? Have you thought about your goals for the upcoming year?

Weight: 156 lbs (although that Chik-Fil-A I had for lunch and the Japanese Steakhouse I am having for dinner might tip me over 160)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Felt Q520

I am in training this week which means I get to wake up 3 hours later than normal, but I have to travel to Columbia, MD for Cisco training (ICND1). I went to the mall two days ago, but they didn't really have much going on there, so I went to Race Pace Bicycles yesterday. I got to test drive two bikes, a Felt Q520 and a Trek 4600D. They both were good bikes, the Trek the clear winner in lightness and structure, but with a pricde tag of 150% of the Felt, I think the Felt would be a clear winner. For a $400 bike, it had everything. Disc Brakes are key for real mountain biking. Because when you go through streams or get mud on your rims, the V-brakes don't really grip very well and if you get any small rocks or grit caught you end up rubbing your rims down.

I asked the wife about getting one and she simply said "I don't care... just get rid of your old one first." Sounds like a pretty solid answer. Considering the wet season here, a mountain bike might be a good commuter bike.

So I'm going to ask some coworkers what they think about it, but I might be purchasing one in the next week!

I present to you the hard tail Disc Break Felt Q520:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Been awhile...

It has been awhile since I have visited this site. Truth be told, it is more because I just haven't been riding much. Ever since I did the metric century back in August I haven't had much motivation to go out and ride. Combine lack of motivation with the turning of fall and my own wedding, the bike has gotten a back seat to life.

And to make matters worse, when I finally mustered up the leg muscles to take the bike out last week during a cold wet day I rode over a storm drain and popped my back tire. Didn't realize it until I attempted to bike to work for an event sponsored by Bike2Work Central Maryland, at which point I just tossed the bike back on my car and drove to work slightly annoyed.

But there is a reason for this post. One is to attempt to get myself motivated to go out biking again. The other is to whore out a few new blogs I am following...

KungFooSausage is a new blog by a good pal of mine from a gaming site I participate in. His description is "A blog about my life, thoughts, computer gaming, anything inane and pointless I can think of that amuses me and lets not forget my recipe's." While so far his posts have been mostly about his biking (which is great!) I am sure he will be a good one to follow. His humor is hysterical and always makes us crack up! And he is from the UK, I am hoping he will eventually (hint hint) post some pictures of his beautiful country!

Gobo's World is a webcomic just started up by another pal of mine. While mostly focused on World of Warcraft, it is a great and funny read for any gamer familiar with RPG style games. I don't think he has a set-in-stone release schedule for comics, so check there often to see if anything new is up!

And finally, one of my best friends' girlfriends has had a blog running about being a female gamer. Great lengthy posts regarding all things gaming, it is a wondrous read and can be found at Ms. Slowski.

I urge any and all to check out these blogs and leave a quick (or not quick) comment for them! We all know how great it feels to see some responses to our work!

And since posts are always better with pictures... this is how happy each of the people would be if you read what they are writing and respond!

(Obligatory: That's what she said)

Monday, August 10, 2009

First event, done!

This past weekend I went out on my very first official bike ride, the Eat a Peach Bike Challenge, taking place in Westminster, MD. I went up there with my fiancee's friend's boyfriend.

Having never done a bike event before, I was very nervous. I had signed up for the 67 mile course, basically so I could claim I had done a metric century. My longest ride to date has been about 35 miles or so, but I had done that easily. One thing that I would soon realize was that 35 miles of flat terrain is nothing compared to 10 miles of non-stop hills.

I asked a good number of people about how to prepare for the event, and the most numerous advice I got was to carb load and hydrate. I went ahead and bought myself a pair of cycling shoes and clips. No cycling shorts.

We got to the event early, at about 6:30am. We walked around and stretched as the parking lot got filled with cars loaded with some very very impressive looking bikes. We got in line to register and talked with some people who sounded like they had done it before. They wished us luck as we grabbed our forms and off we took.

The first couple of miles we knew were going to be hilly. We had to drive them to come in. But, we both expected the hills to come to a stop and we would be able to set a relaxing 15mph pace. By mile 10 we gave up all hope of this being a flat course and we quit pedaling down the hills to save energy to go up. The first rest stop at mile 20 was a godsend. We refilled our water bottles with Gatorade, ate a PB&J and kept trucking along. By mile 30 we were in a lot of pain. Not our legs but our necks and back. We decided at the mile 40 rest stop we would take a lengthy break and get some energy back.

Unfortunately, the mile 49 rest stop wasn't marked well and it was on a side street. We missed it and by the time we realized we missed it, we were an extra two miles away. So we just pulled off into somebody's yard and relaxed. The next rest stop was only 10 miles away, so we made our way to that and took a much needed break. At that point we knew, with only another 12 miles to go, we would make it. As we ascended the final hill, which was the largest and aptly named "The Bitch Kate Wagner" (Kate Wagner being the name of the street) we realized we had made it. Cruising down the final stretch we leaned back and listened to the country band playing at the finish line.

It took over 5 hours to do. We averaged just over 13 mph, a far cry from what we thought. Amazingly, our legs weren't sore and after a good night's sleep I could have got up and rode another 10 or 15 miles.

All in all, it made me realize I have no interest in doing the 75 mile course of the Civil War Century, but might try the metric century as that doesn't go across the mountains.

I've been keeping track of my mileage on a spreadsheet, but so far for August:

Biking: 133 miles

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Metric Century

I just signed up for my first bike event! I will be riding the Eat A Peach Bike tour out of Westminster to support the Brain Injury Association of Maryland. The bike event features a 12, 33, 40, 67, and 100 mile bike ride. I might be biting off more than I can chew, but I really want to do the metric century (67 miles, 100 km). I won't be competing for a place, so I can definitely take it slowly. I am going to try and get out a lot over the next few weeks for logner rides. I want to go out and try a 50 miler this weekend to see how much I can actually do.

Also, a coworker sent me a pretty good article on the B&A trail that I've been riding a lot. You can read (and see some cool pictures) HERE. (It is a pdf file)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Riding in to work

I really enjoy the ride to work. There are very few people on the B&A trail; the few that are on it are also commuting to work. After the end of the B&A, you ride along a few roads until you get to the Naval Academy Bridge. Not sure if thats the actual name, but since it overlooks the Naval Academy, thats what we call it. On the hill before the bridge is a World War 2 Memorial very similar to the one on the Nation's Capital. I thought I took a picture of the memorial without my head in the way...but I guess I didn't.

From Biking the Bay

You can see the start of the bridge there on the right hand side. The view on top of the bridge is great. You overlook the entire Naval Academy and the few rivers surrounding Annapolis.
From Biking the Bay

From Biking the Bay

From Biking the Bay

Once you get down the bridge, you have an option. To get to work in the quickest way, you bypass downtown Annapolis and ride along the Naval Academy's Stadium. I don't like that way. With how early it is, there are so few cars on the main street (West Street) and I really enjoy seeing a completely unpopulated small town.

That store with the white sign makes a wonderful cup of coffee!
From Biking the Bay

This is overlooking the Harbor... which you can't really see. Bad cameraman is bad.
From Biking the Bay

This is the church in the middle of one of the circles,looking up from the harbor.
From Biking the Bay

This is the state capital, also looking up from the harbor.
From Biking the Bay

Good ride in. On the ride home I don't go this way. Much too busy.

I haven't been keeping track of my miles, and it is something I really wanted to do. So for a recap of the past few days:

Friday: 26
Saturday: 24
Sunday: 17
Monday: 10
Total: 77

Monday, July 13, 2009

BWI Loop with coworkers

This past Saturday, a coworker set up a bike trip to tackle the 11 mile BWI loop. I had never ridden with a few of the riders and I was excited to get out and ride with them. My fiance's friend's boyfriend tagged along with his Cannondale Mountain Bike, which I thought would have been slow. But, it was a damn nice bike and he was easily able to keep pace for a majority of the ride. It might have been a hindrance if we were going full speed, but since it was a fun ride, there wasn't a problem. I got to ride it for about 3 miles and man, it was awesome. I forgot how nice it was to not have every little bump on the road get transferred directly to your ass.

Anyways, I did the loop again on Sunday solo and think it is a good training location. A coworker just invited me to do an organized bike ride, the Eat a Peach ride, so I think I am going to sign up to do the metric century there.

Either way, here is my coworkers and I at the end of the loop.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Biking along the B&A

I have mentioned and shown a few pictures of the Baltimore Annapolis Trail. It is a pleasant 13 mile trail going from the BWI Airport to just outside the Naval Academy in Annapolis. It follows Route 2 and has a few busy intersections, but mostly travels along right behind peoples houses or strip malls in nicely wooden areas.

Mike, my coworker who I ride the most often with, has an awesome camera mounted to his handlebars. He took the following video a few weeks ago, prior to me getting my new bike (and before I even knew he had a camera). It was during our ride home from work and the day after a terrible storm ran through the area and knocked out a lot of branches. Sorry for the audio... I am getting a bit tired of trying to put any music on a youtube video with their strict filtering process. Not too interesting, but it kinda makes me want a camera mount.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lots of biking, lots of work.

I have been able to get out and do a few nice long bike rides over the past week. Wasn't as easy as I hoped, as work has been keeping me quite busy and the fiance and I have been getting accustomed to living together and getting the townhouse cleaned up and operational.

This past Saturday I took off early in the morning to attempt to find a way to get to the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail directly from the townhouse. Google Maps showed that I would have to carry my bike across somebodies lawn to get to East-West Boulevard which connects to the B&A. Luckily, when I got there, a road had been paved to almost connect East-West to Lambo Street which meant I only had to carry my bike a few feet to get across.

From Biking the Bay

I was very surprised to see a path down from East-West to Kinder Farms Park, so I went down and did a quick ride through of the 2.8 loop around the park.

From Biking the Bay

By the time I got done that little loop, I got a call from the fiance requesting to come home, so I never made it out to the B&A. The next day I took off again, went past Kinder Farms and met up with the B&A.

From Biking the Bay

I was able to make it down to where I normally drive to when I meet up with coworkers to bike into work in record time. In fact, it was so quick that I think I can actually bike there faster than driving since the drive takes me out of the way.

From Biking the Bay

That church also sells some great coffee in the morning and Mike, my ride-to-work bud gets a cup almost every day he rides in. I made it all the way to the end of the B&A before I turned around and went back to Kinder Farms for a nice lunch watching over the park.

From Biking the Bay

I did the loop again and headed on home, for a grand total of 65 miles this past weekend. I rode into work twice this week, but haven't uploaded the pictures yet... so that will come in the next few days...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

BWI Loop Trail

One of the nice things about living where I am, is the proximity to the international airport Baltimore-Washington International. Around it lies a biking/walking path called the BWI Loop.

It has many different mileage reports, depending on the path taken. Last night after work I had to pick up my fiance from volleyball a few miles north of BWI. I had about an hour to get the trail done, but with the higher end of mileage quotes being 13 miles, I figured it would be easy enough. I parked at the Thomas Dixon Aircraft Observation Park (P1 on the map). This is a great place to see the aircraft take off and land. Unfortunately my time restraints didn't let me wait around and catch a plane, but this is from another person...

So I took off from here heading counterclockwise at the suggestion of a coworker. It felt great to be on my new Fuji, and I spent a lot of time shifting flawlessly through the gears. It was a very slick ride. Going counterclockwise, you quickly enter into a wooded area which was great to shield some of the summer rays.
The paths were easily marked and the constant flow of bikers and walkers along this portion, being so close to the Tom Dixon Observation, allowed for a pleasant ride. After awhile you get back out to riding along a trail next to the Aircraft Loop (a road encircling the airport). I passed a lot of people riding in the opposite direction as me and I began to wonder if there was a reason why. Either way I finally made it about half way around the trail. I got to the North West side of the loop and atop a small hill I got a nice view of the airport.

A nice older man and I had a quick chat before I took off again along a nice winding downhill path. This was my maximum speed for the day, topping out at 26.3 mph, a new record for myself.

I made my way down some more hills, across some roads, then came across a long wooden bridge. It went across some marshland.

From Biking the Bay

I checked the cell phone and saw I was running a bit behind schedule, so I took off. Unfortunately, I made a wrong turn when I got to Stoney Run Road.
Instead of making a left hand turn (coming from the north), I made a right. I would have realized my mistake sooner if there were not Bike Trail signs lining the road. It wasn't until I got all the way to Linda Road before I stopped and asked somebody for directions. Apparently the signs I was following were to Patapsco State Park, another great place to bike. I turned around, made it back to the bridge, and made it succesfully back to the car. Took just over an hour for the 14 miles and I got to pick up the lady just as her games were finishing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Bikes

Awhile ago, before I knew anything about bikes, I went to Target and bought the bike with the largest tires that had a suspension. I ended up with a Magma for about $70. It was a good bike, good enough for what I used it for, which was simply riding around campus. To tell the truth, I couldn't have gotten a better bike. It never fell apart and it could handle all the bumps and bruises a college kid frantically getting to class could throw at it.

I would go out on the Baltimore Annapolis Trail quite a bit either alone or with my fiance. It was great and I felt like I was making good time. It wasn't until the annual Bike to Work when I learned just how slow I was and how inneficient a mountain bike really is.

Trying to ride the 11 miles with coworkers was impossible. They all had road bikes. One coworker kept pace with me while the others went ahead. I was annoyed that I was peddling my hardest just to keep up with him coasting. About a week after that I bought a thirty year old Schwinn Varsity off a guy. It was older than I am, the breaks didn't work and only the back shifters would move. But, it was a road bike. And that alone made it a much more efficient bike. I have road into work on that a half dozen times (after replacing the breaks). But, I still wanted a better bike.
So I went to Hudson Trail Outfitters at the Annapolis Mall and told the bike mechanic (a downright awesome guy) I wanted the cheapest road bike they had. After looking through the $800-$900 bikes, I realized that would be too expensive right now. What with a wedding coming up and all that... So he pulled up the store's main inventory and saw a 2008 Fuji Newest 2.0 for sale at another store for a wonderful $480. He ordered it and (after some trouble with parts), it got in, he built it, and I went and bought it yesterday.

I haven't had much time to ride it yet, but the little that I did, I can clearly tell this is going to be the healthiest and best $500 I have ever spent.

From Biking the Bay

From Biking the Bay

I am following....

Figure I should give some links out to other people I have been reading up on.

My good friend from college, Jan Hilmar, has kept quite an impressive journal of his trips throughout Europe. Quite an avid cyclist, he spent a few weeks biking from Berlin to Lepel (Belarus) and took plenty of photos along the way. You can read about it on his TravelBlog or you can learn more about his brilliant mathematician mind at his own website Cyclo-tomic, some of which is in his native tongue.

Although I have never met the rest of these bloggers, I find their stories and pictures quite interesting. I found them all on here, via the first blogger I will mention's site.

MNBicycleCommuter, aka Doug, is quite the cyclist. Living in Minnesota, he commutes to work damn near every day on his bikes (his seemingly endless collection of bikes). Although, I am most impressed with his Xtracycle, which he uses for just about everything, such as carrying lettuce and groceries home from the market.

The other person I follow and really enjoy reading is Jill from Up in Alaska. While I puss out and don't ride if the temperature is below 60, she is out riding on ice sheets in sub-zero temperatures without breaking a sweat. She even has published a book, Ghost Trails, which is the story of her Iditarod Race, the 350 mile cross-Alaskan bike race. Right now she is working on the Tour Divide race across Canada, the US, and into Mexico. Basically, she is one hardcore rider.

This last one isn't a blog. It is a fully operational and impressive website called NobMob built using Drupal. I was introduced to it via a Justin, co-blogger over at a gaming website which I assist moderating; The Black Temple. It is an awesome (mostly) mountain biking website based out of (and catering to) New Zealand. Check it out. There are some impressive trails, tutorials, and members. I am still amazed at how they coordinate their rides, using gps and google earth to know every inch that the travel. Seriously. Check them out.

New blog, new bike, new housing.

Greetings! This will be a place for me to write about my time spent living outside of Annapolis, MD located along the Chesapeake Bay. I am a 23 year old graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland, engaged to a beautiful lady and preparing to get married in the Fall of this year. We have just started living together in a nice little townhouse.

The reason for starting this blog is simply to have a place to write down my thoughts and share some photos, videos, and stories that I find interesting. I am not an avid cyclist but I did just purchase a Fuji Newest 2.0 from Hudson Trail Outfitters. It will mostly be used as a commuter bike... riding the ~12 or so miles from home to work.

Please excuse the way this looks for a few days... I am not used to not having html to play with.