Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bump in the Night

Monday's night ride started innocently enough.

Riding the along the creek near the Blue Trail climb. Jim thought he had broken a spoke so we paused for an equipment check. We could hear running water and splashing - it sounded big (i.e., not a deer). When we stopped, it stopped, abruptly...Jim and I glanced at each other then promptly saddled up and departed scene.

A minute or so later during the (miserable) Blue Trail climb we heard a strange and distinctly unpleasant howl in the distance. These did not sound like your typical dog or coyote. In between wheezes, Jim made a not-so-innocent comment "what would we do if we were chased by wild dogs?" This was followed by another pair of howls that sounded noticeably closer. That was all either of us needed - the hair on the back of my neck stood right up and I thought to myself "scared of the dark, how pathetic is this???" but we wordlessly put the hammer down to create some separation between us and the howls.

The rest of the climb was uneventful. I think there was one more offhand wild dog comment and then the conversation moved on...and the whole experience was on it's way to the dustbins of our fading middle-aged memory, or so we thought.

A short while later we were traversing the empty boat launch parking lot when we came upon a lone vehicle:
Even though we were moving briskly in order to avoid detection by "The Man", Jim noticed something peculiar about the vehicle so we circled back to investigate. Upon inspection we noted this large steel cage with very sturdy locking doors...

...affixed with this sticker...
...and it all came together. Our earlier encounter had been a nite hunter and his 'coon dogs in the process of treeing a raccoon, or attempting to tree a couple of mountain bikers.

Of course we did not have a camera with us so we had to ride home, grab a camera, and ride back to gather this photographic evidence - all the while kidding each other about Pennsyltucky, giggling about white supremacists, and cracking Ned Beatty jokes...and of course that is when we had our near run-in with the hunters returning from their nite hunt.

But you will have to join our next night ride to get that part of the story.

Chris

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you"
-- anonymous

Sunday, September 20, 2009

O.G.C.B. Palooza Video Report

video

Ruth and Sara (my wife and daughter) called the OGCB-palooza rally the "old guy thing." They had it basically right, but that does miss some of more sublime aspects of yesterday's event. For example:
  • Singles and gearies;
  • 26ers, 29ers, and at least one 69er (some call them 96er but what fun is that?);
  • Bicycles built for one and a couple built for two;
  • Bikes with seats and bikes without (ouch);
  • Geezers, youngsters, fathers, daughters, wives, old friends, and new;
  • Coolers overflowing with cheap beer...Strohs, Mickey's wide-mouth, the newest expensive-sounding-cheap-beer Lionhead...and a few fancy-schmanzy beers to round out the selection;
  • No bikes had a potato cannon, but I think it is just a matter of time.
Many thanks to Jim for organizing OGCB and to everyone else for rolling out the welcome mat for some new riders. I had a great time even though I left before the 3rd trip to the teeter!

Thanks again,
Chris

"Bikes, babes, and beer. Whenever life gets you down, return to the fundamentals"
-- Anonymous

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Old Gear and Cheap Beer

OK boys so here it is -- the long awaited official announcement of the "Old Gear and Cheap Beer" mountain bike rally this Saturday. It is on home turf and is a totally low-brow event...so if you can swizzle a beer and balance a bike then no excuses!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Biking With Your Clothes On


So today we did that "other" Philly bike ride. You know, the one where they actually wear clothes. I am still trying to sort that other one out in my head. I mean, I acknowledge that our cultural view on nakedness is a little puritanical and I am all about "letting it all hang out," but I also find that clothing offers some very practical benefits when riding. How those guys survived the potholes and frost heaved streets of Philly is beyond me. But I digress...

Today's ride was well attended, Sara estimates 3000 (3001 if you count Mayor Nutter). The rollout from the Art Museum steps was awesome as always, cruising down the Avenue of the Arts with nary a car to be seen...followed by 10 miles through the neighborhoods of Philly and the Waterfront (hats off to Vince Fumo as we passed the Maritime Museum), then another 10 through Fairmont Park and Boathouse Row before we returned to the Art Museum for pizza, hot dogs, pictures, and music. We were home before noon with a full day of riding under our belts and an entire afternoon to bask in the sun and replenish our electrolytes (Tanqueray is an electrolyte, right?).

I will close with a quote Sara picked up from the "Inspirational Knot" booth at today's ride (it's a booth where you jot your own inspirational message on a ribbon, toss it into a bowl, and then pluck one from the bowl for yourself). Sara's (the one she plucked) reads as follows:

"A strong body makes the mind strong"
-- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Technology I Hope to Never Use

The mobile version of Google Maps has a feature called lattitude. Latitude tracks the location of your friends using the GPS in their phones and displays this graphically and real time on a Google map. I presume this is so you can find your drinking buddies at any hour of the day or night.

I use it to give Ruth peace of mind when I bike alone. You see, one of her fears is of me crashing deep in the woods and lying there paralyzed, unable to reach the phone (not unreasonable given my early track record). So I just turn the Lattitude feature on, throw the Blackberry in my Camelback, and voila - we have a real-time mountain-biking husband tracker. She can see my location real time on her Google Maps webpage...and I am free to paralyze myself with peace of mind that I will be found, eventually.

Chris

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dirty Little Secret

So here it is. My dirty little secret is out of the box, literally.

Now if you read this blog then you know I am prone to an occasional offhand comment at the expense of road riders. Well now I am a part time road rider.

But here's the deal.

If you ever catch me shaving my legs or wearing purple spandex, then you are encouraged to kick your car door open as you pass me on Creek Road and/or chuck your 72oz big gulp at me. No hard feelings.

...and I do reserve the right to continue ribbing road riders. In fact since I am now one of "them" I can do it with a clean(er) conscience. Stay tuned.

Chris

Monday, September 7, 2009

Philly Naked Bike Ride

Alas we did miss this year's Philly Naked Bike Ride but at least we punched the last ticket of the summer riding season with a spin on the east side of the lake today. Three of us cleaned the new 70' causeway and got a sneak peek at the new teeter-totter going in near the top of the hill. It is a monster, probably 12' long and perched on downed tree with the fulcrum almost waist high. This is one in a series of Bonus Loop upgrades being made in the runup to the 2009 Old Gear and Cheap Beer event. Details are still sketchy but my understanding is that nude bike riding is not planned (that's probably a good thing). It looks like it will be Saturday the 19th. More to come.

And now begins the best riding season of the entire year. Admittedly, early summer is pretty awesome but that's primarily because it comes after a long cold winter followed by a wet muddy spring. In reality, fall riding is the best with the cool temps still suitable for shorts, low humidity which means sweating actually works, and soon the unique colors, sounds, and smells of autumn. Get dressed and get out there!

Chris

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pulse Quickener

This is an image that is sure to quicken the pulse of any bike lover. Lucky me because it is an image I have seen twice in 11 months!

My daughter texted this picture to me this afternoon after the UPS man sped away. How the heck am I supposed to concentrate at work after receiving a message like that?

Tomorrow we open the box and all hell breaks loose.

Chris

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a bicycle, must be in want of another one."
-- anonymous

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Capital Improvement

I think the "Old Gear and Cheap Beer" minions are at work preparing for the big day. Still under construction, I would estimate this bridge to be at least 3x as long as the Sole Trail bridge and maybe 2 inches narrower! I see some broken deraileur hangers in the future, yet another reason to ride a single speed.