Sunday, November 29, 2015

Overnight NCR Ride to York after Thanksgiving.

There is no rational reason why one would go credit card touring on the Moonlander. Even if most of the ride is on a 40 mile gravel trail. The Moonlander is heavy, slow, and those giant knobby tires have a lot of rolling resistance.

So I rode the Moonlander 70 miles to York, PA and back the next day for no real reason. It was a nice slow ride. Weather mostly in the 50s, with a tiny bit of rain coming back. 

The bag setup worked well. I could probably strap a single person backpacking tent in front of the handlebar bag, and shove a sleeping bag into the seat bag and do the C&O towpath in warm weather. 

I set out right after feeding the chickens and turkeys.

It's always nice to start a ride by going up Gun Road.

I took the Gwynns Falls Trail part of the way through Baltimore. The cool bridge is the Amtrak line, originally the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Here is the Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park.

I rode through Texas. You can really smell the Texas.

Lunch at Andy Nelsons BBQ in Cockeysville. Perfect halfway point to eat. Thanks to my cow orkers for the tip.

These two interesting apartment buildings are at the trail head in Ashland. They look like old repurposed mill buildings.

 Here is start of the North Central Railroad bike trail in Ashland. This is a very nice trail. It goes 40 miles right to downtown York. It is smooth and scenic. It's follows a rail right-of-way the whole way, so there are no big hills.

This is in Freeland, MD. Each little town on the railroad had a hotel and station, many of them are still there.

Here is the state line, marked by a railroad post showing the division boundary.

Right over the line in New Freedom, the railroad tracks are still there and in use for excursion trains. I gather this old switcher is to push the steam engine and excursion cars into the shops.

Here is the excursion train. The engine was fired up and working when I was there, although I didn't see it go anywhere.

Hanover Junction, PA, which has nice trailside bathrooms. 10 miles to the end.

Here is the tunnel. This is six miles from the end, and cuts across a bend in Codorus Creek. The rail line follows the Gunpowder Falls upstream in Maryland. New Freedom is the summit, which divides the Gunpowder watershed from the Codorus Creek watershed. The trail follows Cordorus Creek to York.

Finished in York. Just under 70 miles. Here is the Strava page:

The campsite for the night was the fabulous Rodeway Inn. $54. Homeless woman hanging out in lobby. Resident guests shooting off fireworks in the parking lot. Very convenient downtown location, though.

York has a surprisingly vibrant downtown! Who would have thought? I walked around deciding where to eat. The White Rose Tavern has a very popular happy hour, but it was loud and crowded. I settled on Otto's Kitchen and Cocktails, which was relaxing, not crowded, low key, with tasty food and stiff drinks.

This is chicken pot pie, and a margarita for the electrolytes.

Still hungry, so I got some chicken and waffles and a Vieux Carre, which is a deadly concoction of rye, cognac, and some other stuff.

I didn't last too long after the long ride and the cocktails. But I got up really early to start the next day. I did some wandering around looking for breakfast. I had high hopes for the Blue Moon Cafe York, hoping it was an outpost of the one in Fells Point, but it was closed. So I went to the very homey Central Family Restaurant.

This is Cordorus Creek at sunrise in the middle of town.

It seems there was a marathon on the NCR when I rode home. I passed every single runner in the race. Some of them twice, after I stopped for breaks. Here are the leaders in Monkton, getting near the end. "On Your Left!"

I hit Andy Nelson's coming and going.

This is one of my favorite old houses. It's octagonal. It's in historic Lutherville.

I rode through downtown to get home. Maryland Ave to Cathedral Street. The brownstone is the Garrett Mansion, home to the Baltimore Engineers Club. Debra and I got married there.

And finished at home. Here is the Strava page:

There is no rational reason to ride the Moonlander to York.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Flatbread 200K Report

Yesterday was the DC Randonneurs Flatbread 200k, which is an easy comfortable cruise across the Eastern Shore. Look how happy and relaxed I am at the end.

It took me 9 hours on the clock, 7:30 pedaling. I was easily in well before dark, but just barely before the battery died on my Garmin.

The ride started and finished in Centreville, MD. Here is the courthouse in the town square.

I stopped to take a picture at the first information control, which is only 8 miles from the start. After this, it started raining and I didn't take any more pictures because my phone was packed away where it would stay dry.

It rained all day. The first half of the ride, it was 60 degrees, with a slight tailwind, and light rain. I stopped for lunch at the Subway in Milton, Delaware, at mile 68.

Leaving the Subway, I found I had a flat. I found the responsible party, a piece of broken glass. This cost me 40 minutes, because I tried to patch the tube, and the tube exploded when I was putting it back on the bike. It worked fine with a fresh new tube. These tires are due for replacement.

The second half of the ride, it started raining moderately harder, but not bad. The temperature dropped steadily from 60 to 50, and the wind picked up. It was a headwind now. This was not the most pleasant riding conditions, but I was fine with my nice rain jacket. I didn't put on my rain pants, I was fine in a pair of light spandex tights. The rain stopped right before I got to the finish.

All in all, this was an easy cruise, and a nice confidence builder. I feel better today than I did after the very hilly 75 mile ride I did last week on the Campeur. It's probably because I ate lunch on this ride.

Here is the Strava page:

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Fall Ramble on the Campeur

It was a beautiful fall day, and I decided to go out and ride my bike where ever I felt like riding it. If I made 75 miles I would get a little badge on Strava. If I climbed 4100 feet, I would get another little badge.

My bike is a Velo Orange Campeur. I built it up in June, and it had nearly 1200 miles on it when I left.

One nice way to start a bike ride is to climb up Gun Road. This is a 16% grade. I have very low gears. I used them.

Here is the Charm City skyline in the distance heading in on Wilkens Ave.

I took the Gwynns Falls Trail. Here is where it crosses the former Western Maryland Railroad.

Heading in to Federal Hill by the Ravens Stadium on Hamburg Street.

Into the Inner Harbor in the Trolley Lane. This is my old commute route from when I lived in Fells Point.

 If you look at the first postings on this blog, you will see why this scene made me very happy. You can make things better if you try.

Here is a shot from by the Broadway Market. I can't believe the Ding How is still there. I remember when it opened. It used to be a 7-11. It was horrible. It stayed horrible for years. Bizarrely, there is a new 7-11 on Thames Street across from The Horse. The storefront restaurant next to the Ding How is where Debra and I had our first date. At the time it didn't have a name, or menus. The guy who ran it would just come out and have a discussion with you about what you would like and what he had on hand to cook. Note the hideous new apartments behind the historic storefronts.

This is The Horse, of course. Where Debra and I met in 1987. I used to get together with a group of friends here on Wednesday nights to hear Mike White and Dave Matthias play Jimmy Buffett songs. I will endure a lot to enjoy my friends' company. This weekly get-together morphed into Half Price Burger Nite on Tuesdays at Looneys and lasted for the next 20 years or so. Parenthood eventually killed it.

Random people walking their Borzoi on Broadway. I so want a Borzoi someday.

Some things never change, and that's great. 

Here is where I used to live when I first moved to Baltimore, in the middle of the three houses. This house was built in 1787. I was living there when it turned 200 years old. It's two blocks from The Horse. I had to walk past 8 other bars to get from my house to The Horse, all of which were better than the Horse. Actually, there were two different ways to walk to The Horse, and each way went by 8 other better bars. When Debra and I started dating, we immediately started trying to make our weekly meetup be somewhere else. Note the former St. Stanislaus Catholic School two doors down is now a charter school.

The bar between where we used to live on Fleet St., which has come and gone under many different names over the years, including Tysons Tavern, is now an Ethiopian restaurant!

I lived in the yellow house for 17 years. It wasn't so yellow when I lived there. It had formstone until Debra made me have it taken off. I'm pretty sure the old guy who took it off had put it on in the first place 40 years earlier.

One thing that was really annoying about our block on Fleet St. was the Bail Bonds place a half block down. It's now a Sushi restaurant! Ethiopian and Sushi both less than two blocks away! I showed this to Debra, and she is now sad that we have moved "out to the country" where we have to drive a whole mile and a half for Sushi.

My favorite Kentucky Coffee Tree in Patterson Park is still hanging on, despite having most of it blown off a few years ago. I gathered some seeds from it a couple years ago, and I have a sapling in my yard.

The Pagoda is looking good. This is a monument to the War of 1812. The residents of Baltimore set up battlements on this hillside to repel the British invaders. The British ships never got past Fort McHenry, and the land invasion from Fort Howard got stuck in a swamp. 

There is now a dog park in Patterson Park! I used to be on the Friends of Patterson Park Dog Committee to get this park built. It was a total exercise in frustration. Martin O'Malley's Director of Parks was very open about how much he hated dogs. He thought the best solution to dogs in the park was to arrest all the dog owners. O'Malley's community relations office set up this "process" to get a dog park built that was designed to erect every possible barrier to having a dog park. But they had a nice Powerpoint deck for the "process" with lots of cute pictures of dogs in it. I said at the time "No dog living today will go to this dog park." The park opened about six months before Monkey died, but we were long gone by then, and Monkey lived most of his life running around a fenced yard.

This is Orangeville, my favorite obscure Baltimore neighborhood. It's like a little village in the middle of abandoned industrial wasteland.

From Orangeville, I headed through Clifton Park, and did a lap around Lake Montibello. I've always admired the houses on the south side of the lake.

It may be that "Time Will Not Erase The Memory Of Their Deeds", but time is sure erasing the memory of Memorial Stadium.

This is where Debra lived when we started going out. There was an excellent video store in the basement.

The Homewood Deli was across the street, which was very convenient for breakfast. Now it's a Ledo.

I headed north from Charles Village up to Mount Washington. This is the ghost bike (what there is of it) for Tom Palermo, on Roland Avenue.

At this point, I decided to start doing more riding, and less stopping and taking pictures, so I could get in 75 miles before it got dark. I forgot to move the lights onto the Campeur, so I had to get home before dark. I headed west from the city on Smith Ave to Old Court Road, through Woodstock, and out to Marriottsville Road. I decided to ride Folly Quarter Road and Shepard Road, which I've never ridden before, but my cow orkers recommend. This is a very nice ride, but you will eventually end up in Clarksville and have to figure out how to get home. And you will be confronted with stuff like Cedar Lane here by the interchange with MD 32.

Eventually, you find the Columbia bike trail network, which is familiar ground. This is Lake Elkhorn.

When I got to Montgomery Road and Lawyers Hill Road, I was a mile from home, and still had five miles to go to get my little badge on Strava. So I went down Hunt Club Road, to South Hanover, and through the obscure short cut on Pine Ave to get to the railroad crossing on Hanover Road. From there, Race Road and up the other end of Lawyers Hill was just long enough to get the little badge.

This was a very nice 75 mile ride, which took 7 1/2 hours, at a comfortable pace. 4200 feet of climb. This is the longest ride I've taken on the Campeur, and the longest ride I've taken on an upright, non-recumbent bike since 2001. I'm very stiff and sore now, riding that long is way easier on a recumbent.