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.