Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When Things Go Bad, The Story's Get Good

What is it about us? How come we smile about things like the thought of an large angry Nun sliping and falling down a flight of stairs carrying a tray of cookies and milk? The noise, the scream, breaking of glass, oh, and don't forget the clanging of the metal tray, just horrible! Oh but come on now, How many just thought, "Oh the poor thing!" ? Well,,,My daughter did, but she was smiling too.

Story telling is a big part of my world. It certainly has to do with being brought up in a town where we spent hours in the woods with friends. Making story's or telling them.
Recall is what I think is the reason we remember our past. Telling stories can change the truth for a far more colorful and interesting story then what we really want to remember. Remember that "history" is really His Story. The simple facts usually don't cut it or hold a listeners ear for very long. You learn this at a early age. The over all most important thing for successful story telling is without a doubt, timing.

Did you ever notice how a joke doesn't have to be funny to be funny if the timing is right?

I learned as a young story teller that when times get tough, the stories get good.I remember my friend William and I up to our chests in water crossing a swamp at the Quaban Reservoir back in the early 80's. We were on our Mongoose 3 speeds off road, Off trail too! "The Infamous Swamp Trail"

Times like being caught up to you neck in thorns when all you can do is throw the bike as far as you can and then climb out. Nelco Glazall, "Trailblazer" was a good tour guide for getting us into things like that. Funny now, Painful then.

I remember a time in France with Barb on the tandem. The trail was so sticky that as the wheels rolled, they got so covered with clay they would not spin in the frame. As you walked the mud built up on your shoes to the point that we were actually 3" taller. No way the cleats would clip in. The only way we could go on was for me to carry the bike and Barb the pannier with the day's supplies. We walked for about 7 miles. The two things that kept me smiling was the thought of at the finish we were going to have a Great bottle of wine and a fantastic story to tell when we got home to the States.

It has gotten to the point that when things go wrong I smile for the reason that there will be, at least, something to tell.

Life is at times filled with hardship and sorrow, but when times get tough, theres always a story.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Days Like These and Times Like Those

Rain. Its like my friend Chris says, "Days like these, your just going to get wet"
Remember the scene in Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne escapes to freedom? Arms spread and embracing the rain and the outdoors after being locked up for for years for something he wasn't responsible for?
I imagine my friend Chris would do exactly the same thing today outdoors if he could walk again.
Embrace it. Like one of my all time favorite cycling hero's, Tyler Hamelton said after he cracked a collarbone on the first stage of the Tour de France and finished
4th over all after 23 days. You need to embrace it.

It was about 25 years ago. Raining harder then it was here today and about 29 degrees warmer. We were not going to stay home and look out the windows. As a matter of fact, we looked forward to the difference of rain and all met without a wait as a group to start the ride.
All off road. Kind of a dueling dicks kind of thing.
The ride started out as a not so bad rain, sorta of a drizzle, but then all hell broke loose. The sky darkened and the thunder sounded from the West. We were going to get hit, hit hard and it was OK.
Just about the time it really started to pour, we rode through a huge patch of Poison Ivy. For those of you that don't know what Poison Ivy is, Poison Ivy if not washed off, after about 18 hours, makes a foreign body of your skin to you. You scratch it off and if you have germs under finger nails, it get infected and takes 3 weeks extra to get rid of the skin and the blisters and itch to go away. Not Good.
Our good friend Warren stopped to wash. I only had to make eye contact with Chris, because it was raining so hard that washing,,, well,,,Never mind!

As good as it gets. one of the fellows decided that we should take cover from the lighting in a open garage on the site of a park we were riding at called "Ridge Hill"

Funny, shortly after we got under cover, the building got hit by lighting. Really. I had never,till then, seen a light bulb blow out due to a lighting hit.

We decided that we should go back out into the rain and continue the ride.

The rain was coming so hard it made no since to talk as we rode. We worked our way through the woods and stopped at times to cross streams that we had never seen before. Theres nothing being lost on trails that you know by heart because the water is so deep things dont look the same.
We made it to the next town and along side of a lake called Lake Waban by the collage in Wellesley. Waban was an Indian, appointed by English settelers as Chef of the area to turn in any natives that were not behaving like white people. He has a lake named after him in Wellesley.
One of all time favorite things to do by bike is to find a big hill and at speed hit the water and see how far we can go, Most of the group caught on in a matter of a second. The rest of the group stood and watched.
Low gears make under water travel easy and fun.
Much to our surprise on one of our last passes, we came across a Kayaker. Funny how Kayaker's dont mind getting wet eather.
Let me tell you, the look on that guys face was worth a million bucks when me and my friend Chris passed him with our heads just above the water on track for the path along the shore,

No it was priceless.

Windy, Warm and Wet

Another one just like the other one.
Heading out anyway, Check back for photos and a story thought up along the way.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wet and Warm Today here in New England,

March showers bring April showers that bring showers in May and June. Something like that.
Extra clothing packed for a dry arrival is important for a day like today and a comfortable finish.
Most cyclists we know have a very high tolerance for wet. Wet feet go unnoticed until things start to grow from your shoes. My Father use to tell a story about a contest in the jungle during World War Two where a few G.I.'s had a bet going as to how much they could grow. I think it was a joke. He was like that.
Today's riding will be point to point and then back to point one tonight. 30 miles of commute and dealing with the work a day life that makes things like this blog possible.
Bikes are my life. Dealing with the public on the front line is always interesting to say the least. I love it. Knowing what to say and when to say it to who is a skill that takes years. The name of the game is to get the money in the box and the customer on the road, smiling. Simple sometimes, only sometimes.
Topics of conversation about this weeks rainy forecast will be at the top of the list today. They start out with something like "It's too wet to ride" I will be smiling knowing that at the end of the day, I will have ridden without melting one bit. Its always a pleasure because its different and always an adventure. There's nothing like New England in the rain.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

That Time of Year

It always happens. Sometime in March, the weather warms to what we think is the beginning of Spring and there will be no going back.
The harsh realty of New England is that without warning, it will get cold again.
Things said, like, "That was a short Summer", or "This is really just Indian Winter" give you a laugh, but remind us its not time to put away the cold weather clothing just yet.
It doesn't seem to bother the animals. The birds just go on with there spring songs, snow or no snow. But for us, Just another thing to talk about when there isn't anything else to say,,,,,or write.
Bundle up, its cold out this morning!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

6,000 Hits

And the Hits Keep on Coming!

Click on the world map at the bottom of this page and see where there coming from, Its Cool.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back to the Bacon Free Library

About a month and a half ago I did a post on "Cold Weather Destinations" I featured a great little spot in South Natick called the Bacon Free Library. I was asked to help out photographing some birds and catalog them so they could then be moved.

The Bacon Free Library in South Natick has over 450 stuffed birds and animals. Over the next couple of months we will be photographing them and eventually take them out of the museum and free up shelf's for other displays of Natick History.
Anybody interested should go to the museum and see the collection before it is moved. There will be a cd available for viewing after the project is completed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Sunday Morning Ride

It wasn't long ago that a cyclist could go out for a ride all Sunday and not see a single car.
Things have changed here in New England. Now that stores are open at noon and shopping being America's nomber one sport, we at least have the morning free from traffic.
For the most part, back roads can be enjoyed for car free riding and stopping on the road side for a break and a photo opp.
Our area is covered with beautiful rolling hills that never have you climbing for anything longer then 3 minutes. We are lucky to have roads that lead to spots that have history and great views. Although farm land is shrinking in size over the years, there are still beautiful spots that give you the feeling of what it must have been like 100 years ago.
For anyone who has not experienced riding here in Southern New England, I suggest it. A spectacular vacation could be planned visiting our home turf and seeing first hand what you read about here in this blog. Contact the Blog for rides that you wont soon forget. Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Joys of Riding a Recumbent

Soon after I first started riding Recumbent I noticed things I had never seen before on any other bicycle.
The "Heads Up" style of riding puts the rider in a position that allows full view of the road ahead. Full view of buildings, signs and Trees.
The view of the trees is one of my favorite. Never before had I full view and when I finnaly got comfortable riding the new style of bicycle, It was like a whole new world.
Evan walking its hard to get full view of trees. Unless you stop and look up, You wont see it all. Walking has me looking down for hazards under foot.
This time of year is especially good for viewing. The tree resembles a huge skeleton hand like thing that over the next 8 weeks will be transformed into green splendor.
Recumbents are not for everybody. Having this different style of Cycling enjoyment truly makes it extra special with the view that sometime, others just don't see.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Feels Like Spring!

OK, It feels like Spring because it Is. Starting at 1:31 this afternoon, the Winter of 09-10 will be officially over.
We may get some more ice and snow, but I think we can safely say, we are over the hump. Green will slowly take over the amber everywhere.
After all the rain we had, the streets have been washed and nicer lighter bikes can be enjoyed without the chance of salt corrosion. We can now take out our good bicycles and enjoy the sport we love to do in the fashion we love to do it in. Put away the trainer and get outside. They say its going to be 70 today here in New England. What a beautiful part of the world and what a wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesdays Ride

What a day! A little Boating, a little Hiking, a little outdoor concert, and some cycling too! The roads were dry for the most part, but we did go looking for wet. A fantastic day, the nicest this year. Let the photos tell the story:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Check it Out!

Thanks to Rob, there is a new addition at the bottom of the page. Its called a "Cluster Map" It will show if there has been anybody viewing the blog outside New England.
This should be interesting!
Thanks Rob, And Thank You for reading this blog.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ride Announcement, Wednesday 3,17

Slow roller, Lunch ride starting at 5 Main Street, Dover Wednesday, 3-17 at 11:00 am.

We will be riding back roads and stop in Holliston for lunch around 1:30. We will be returning back to the start by 3:30.

Questions, Call 508-333-4056. Hope to see you there.

Blue Sky

Good thing too!
I thought we were going to have to build an Ark.

Two Recumbents, two Tandems, two Mountain Bikes, two Pro Bikes, Something like that.

Looks like its going to be nice for getting outside. Wet streets and high water. Something to look at.

Trout Brook at Claybrook Road in Dover

The Mill Falls at South Natick

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Rain

It rained here all night. The ride in should be interesting.
I'm planning to take the water route and shoot photos to post tonight.
Yesterday in 3 spots I was up to my axles. Riding a "Lowracer" would have you more like boating then riding. At least by seat stayed above water.

I loved watching people run from there cars to get in out of the rain.
They looked like the same type of folk that take extra time in the bath.

My friend Chris tells a story about Messengering in Boston on a day like yesterday. He had a Gal in a business suit and high heals on a elevator tell him "I wouldn't want your job today!"
Chris looked at her and said, "I wouldn't want your job, Ever!"

Days like these, Your just going to get wet.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Deep Rain

It rained hard here all night. The wind sounded like morning traffic passing the house, mostly , large trucks.
Boston is said to have recieved 4" last night and the wind is still gusting to 25 MPH.
Not the best weather for enjoying a stroll through the country side, but still, always an adventure.

I have never owned clothing that actually keeps you dry. One pair of rain pants I owned I tested by filling a 6 gallon pail with water and put the pants in it. When I pulled the pants out there was only a gallon left in the bucket. Not Good. The longer you rode, the heaver and wetter you got. I decided it was time to buy a new pair.
Deep rain brings deep puddles. Deep puddles hide deep pot holes. Flat tires caused bu hitting deep pot holes in deep puddles are not good eather.

The purpose of this blog is designed for three basic reasons:

Give the reader enough information so as to cause questions for self reserch. Just enough and not ramble to fill a page.

The second reason for the blog is to get the reader to ride. Ride with their head up and visit beautiful spots in this wonderful part of the world we are so fortunate to live in. Go places and learn while getting fit rather then just riding and seeing what comes up.

The third is the Blog needs to be a positave get away and not just another rant found in most of the blogs I read.

Hmmmm? Riding in the rain? Hey! My guess the road salt is now gone into the ground and the roads are ready for our nice bikes!

Spring Countdown,, 6 Days, 4 Hours, 10 Minuets. 43 seconds, But who's counting?

Photos from todays ride:

The Charles River Trail! Thats Funny!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

What Recumbent is Best For Me?

The unspoken question when new Recumbent buyers come to me at the store is what bike will be best for them.
Recumbents come in a huge selection of styles for the simple reason that designers as a whole have different ideas of what a Recumbent should look like.
There has been some pretty silly designs in the past, some unrideable, but, Oh Well!
The first thing I like to do when a customer comes to me is to ask, What kind of riding are you doing now, if any. Where do you see yourself using your new recumbent and why?
I usually get a response that can narrow down the selection quite a bit.
Higher performance Recumbents are usually for riders that have ridden recumbents for a while. A large front wheel will put a rider higher off the ground and because of the design difference from a small wheeled bike, you should have a little experience. One foot up to start and one foot down, can be a little difficult if you have short legs. Because the human body will only bend so far, the higher the front of the bike, the lower that back of the seat must be. If the back of the seat is placed up, the cranks must be lowered so that at the top of the stroke, you still have full movement of your legs. Folks with bigger guts will have there leg hitting their belly at the top of there stroke unless the seat is angled so as to be clear.
A recumbent bicycle by definition, has you laying down, To see where your going you need to bend your neck in a position that may be uncomfortable for some people.
Sitting upright not only ruins the aerodynamic advantage of a Recumbent Bicycle, but also has you sitting on your gluts and wont allow blood to flow to the muscles needed to pedal the bike. "Recumbent Butt" is from just that.
Softer seats weigh more, but do allow you to sit in a position that is not laying down. The softer cushion will allow your legs to move and blood to flow where needed.
The longer you like to ride and the further you like to go is important when choosing the correct bicycle in any case.
Shorter rides can be done on any style, but when speed and distance is important, lighter weight and more aerodynamic bicycles work better and are easier to use.
Test rides help, but don't answer all the questions. Many a New Recumbent Rider will buy a cheaper bike to test the water of the sport and then end up spending more in the long run to ether lighten what they have or sell up to buy what they should have bought in the first place. I was one of those buyers.
A good rule of thumb is that match what your friends are riding and the type of bicycle that you will find yourself riding along with on group rides.
Recumbents work well with other recumbents best, but if you have a "Round Town" style of bike, Recumbent or Up-right, and you try to keep up to the racer types, your just not going to have a good time.
Careful seclection of your new bike and having an experienced sales person can help in choosing what will be right for you now as well as in the future.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On The Road Again!

Its great to be back on the road again!

A little taste of whats to come. Enjoy these moments while you can. At this time of year,they don't last long!

We took the recumbents out for a short spin yesterday! What a treat! Nice to see the view I have missed for so long!

Tuesday and Wednesday Rides will become part of the weekly schedule for the Spring and Summer. Check back here for announcements of rides.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

That Time of Year

Located in South Natick, Ma. there is a little Sugar Shack that is boiling down Maple sap by the gallons.
Open to the public, the Natick Comunity Farm located on route 16, Eliot St, just south of the Village, One can purchase high grade locally made Maple Sryup.
This age old stile of sugaring has been done in these parts for over 200 years and although it is said to me a New England Native practice, I can't seem to find any information about it.
Modern "Sugaring" has plastic lines running from tree to tree making sap gathering as easy as turning a tap, but the Natick Comunity Farm gathers it Liquid Gold by hand. There are many a tree in the area with hanging bucket that are then collected
by truck.
Stop by if you get a chance and see the operation. Its something that you wont soon forget.

Monday, March 8, 2010

By Who?

Something to read:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Stone Bridge at Old Stonbridge Road

Although its not really clear exactly how old the Stone Bridge at Old Stonbridge Road is, it is one of the oldest in the country.
This beautiful spot in Wayland,Ma has written history and is part of the route that General Knox took from Fort Ticonderoga to Cambridge to supply General Washington with canons.

The old stone bridge doesn't quite make it across the Sudbury River. It looks as if there were at one time a wooden draw bridge at the end and the water's deeper side for possibly barge movement on the river. Like a large stone dock into the river, the end would make a lovely picnic spot.
High water at this time doesn't show the full size of the stone arch's, but overgrowth during the Spring Summer and Fall hide a lot of the great stone work.
Something to see, check the map on the link for a visit. Like going back in time, the bridge is a fantastic stop on a ride from Boston out to the Wayside Inn for a cup on any nice day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Trestle

One of my favorite spots in Southern New England is a spot known as the "Trestle"
Everyone we know has been there. Its hard to see the spectacular detail from your car as you drive over, but under the Mass Pike at near the Shereton Terra in Framingham there is one of the most delightful gallery's of urban Art you could ever imagine.
The Trestle is actually a rail road underpass of the pike by a Trestle near by. You might have noticed the real Trestle to your right while in a car on the Pike. At that point. you have just driven over it.
I first discovered the Trestle for myself while doing an off road ride West to Worcester about 25 years ago.
I was once told by the only person I have ever seen painting that people come from all over the world to paint there. We got a mini tour one day and were shown some of the Art that was of particular interest to the fellow we met painting.
Art for Art sake and not for money, some of these huge murals only last a day or two before they are painted over. Because of there short lived time on the walls of the Trestle, every visit has something new to see.
The Trestle is open for viewing every day of the week and every hour of the day. Admission is free and you will never see a sign asking for donations. Eating and drinking is alowed and if you don't like something, paint over it.
I enjoy it all. Some of the paintings are spectacular. Most are 10' tall and 15' wide. Something you really have to experience in person.
Here are some of my favorite:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Warmer Days mean Longer Rides

You may have not noticed, but things are getting greener.
Plants are starting to pop up and buds on the trees are starting to show. Like smoke before the fire, the red hue to the tree tops is the first sign.
Saturday on the way to work, I stopped on the side of the road when I heard lots of bird chirping coming from the top of 8 trees. They were Red Wing Black Birds that had just arrived back to their Spring and Summer Home. There were over 1000 of them and they sounded very happy to be back.
Warmer weather means longer rides to me. Painless riding and when you can leave layers of clothing at home, its always good.
It wont be long now that we will hear the sound of the Spring Peepers on the evening air. Truly my favorite Harbinger of Spring and a sure sign that we will have warm weather to enjoy being outdoors again. I cant wait!
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