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Slow Start

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

And?

My Atlantis in Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Garden.

Been a slow start to 2012, what with holiday travel and then a solid week of snow and ice upon my return.  But things have been picking up this week which has had some sunny (though cold) days.  Of course I’m not a fair weather rider at all (I do skip out on the ice though); it was quite windy and rainy during an evening ride I took last night. I’m definitely feeling the lack of riding and the fifty mile or so I’ve ridden this week has been welcome, though I was feeling that lack of fitness.  It’s harder to keep up the recreational riding in the winter but luckily I do have a number of activities that keep me riding.  But rec rides are certainly taken when in the mood.  On a beautiful crisp day earlier this week, I checked out the new chunk of the Ship Canal Trail, which makes it pretty straightforward riding from my place to the downtown Seattle waterfront. With a couple of more sunny days forecasted this week I’m definitely going to be getting out again.

 
IMG_2457
 

What’s really on my mind now though is touring.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who dreams of warm sunny days, riding through new scenic lands in the winter months.  It’s a good time to sort through old photos and to plan for upcoming trips. This is what I’m doing right now, plans for a 2012 tour and finally getting the photos from my 2011 tour posted.  Look for a post soon with updates to my 2011 tour entries feature the new photos. If you want to see them as they come in, keep an eye on my Flickr photo stream.

Solstice Eve (Last Ride)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Last Ride 2011 - 1

Today, the shortest day of the year, is also the last day I’ll be riding in 2011.  Tomorrow I set off to visit family for the holidays and won’t return until 2012.   Once a week I ride (mostly; I’ve taken the bus a couple of times) over to Bellevue, which is just across Lake Washington, to have lunch with an old friend. Due to not being able to ride on the 520 bridge I have to take the much less direct route riding to the I-90 Bridge.  This makes for a nice bracing ~15 mile ride, along Lake Washington, then on the floating bridges, followed by a route across Mercer Island and finally through downtown Bellevue.  It’s made for a nice weekly ride through in this period of unemployment where I don’t have the daily commute to keep me riding.

Last Ride 2011 - 3

Anyway that’s it for the year. It’s been a roller coaster ride this year: serious overwork in the early months, jury duty, moving out of the house I’ve lived in for years, loss of my job of 12 years, spending a month with friends and on the road, moved into Seattle and on and on.  But overall I’d say this has been a pretty decent year for riding, though it started off pretty weak due to that excess of work early in the year. But I ended up doing a good tour, rode some new routes, rode a bunch of old favorites and on moving into Seattle a lot more urban and a lot more utility rides.  I ended up riding 3358 miles (5404 km) on my Atlantis this year (with some unknown amount on my Safari before I sold it), which puts it as about an average year for me.  But considering what a topsy turvy year it has been that’s not so bad.

Last Ride 2011 - 2

So here’s to the returning of the light and even more riding next year.

Winter was hard

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Snowday - 02

 

While I’m never going to be a daily (or even weekly) blogger I never intended for it to be this bleak here.  The truth is that I’ve only really done one ride of interest since my last post (which I still should write up).  Work has been unbelievably crazy this winter (I’ve been working on a project for the new Nintendo 3DS and developing for a new console is hard) and it has been a cold and wet spring (for reals: this has been the coldest spring on record).  All of this has conspired to limit my riding, hiking and other outdoor activities to my commute. All of that extra work, which  meant many extra hours in front of the computer, lessened my interest in spending even more time on the computer:  of late I’ve been spending my limited  free time reading and listening to music.  But things have eased up at last and spring has finally begun here.  Last weekend I finally did some needed tuning on the bicycle  – brakes and drivetrain mostly, but took the opportunity to give the the entire bicycle a good cleanup.  Then I finally took a short but enjoyable rec ride.  I’ve still got a bunch to do to get fully back in the swing of things; for instance it turns out my digital camera has shuffled off this mortal coil leaving me only a cameraphone for picture taking, there is  further work I need to do on my bicycle and my current work project isn’t quite wrapped up yet.  I’m itching to get out there and explore more places and see more things. I’ve got plans for interesting things to do and I intend to document these activities in various ways and I see this blog as instrumental to that. So stay tuned; there will definitely be an up-tick in activity here over the next few weeks.

Vernal Equinox

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

At last it is spring. Not that today was much different then yesterday but lets face it – there is a level in which its all mental. The real big change as far as I’m concerned was the shift to daylight savings time a couple weeks back.  I commute year round and a certain percentage of my rides home are in the darkness. I’ve gone to great lengths to be able to ride comfortably and safely in the dark and there are aspects of it I enjoy a lot. But I can’t deny that I prefer to ride in the light.  Things had been lightening up, there was a trace of dusk if I left work at a normal time, a bit of light if I left a bit early. But the daylight savings time switch kicked it into pretty much full light on my ride home.

In the last week or two the flora has burst into brilliant life. Only the most reticent trees still raise unadorned limbs to the sky. everything else has woken from their winter slumber.  Of course the cherry trees and the dogwoods have been blooming for nearly a month now and many of the cherries are heading toward dropping their flowers as the leaves are pretty dominant now. The flowers are coming up,  pretty little blue wildflowers ion the side of the highway,  various flowering shrubs. The colors are stunning and the frequent rains only serve to wash away the dust and put a brilliant sheen on things.

Speaking of the rains, the persistent drizzle of winter has begun to transmute into the showers of spring. The morning will be partially cloudy, maybe a bit breezy, and then a series of showers will come and go throughout the day making any sort of anticipation of the conditions for the ride home impossible. Sprinkles come and go on those ride and sure even a full evening of rain. Dressing is always tricky this time of year and as the temperatures warm this increases. One might need to wear a wool stocking hat on the ride in and a cycle cap on the ride home. Fingerless gloves on direction, full gloves the other. A sweater when it’s dry, but just a shirt under a rain jacket when its raining.  Of course with the wool I primarily wear I can almost always just go for it and change clothes at either end.

The clothing thing is always toughest in the transition months and I find that it it overheating that is my biggest challenge. This year I’m more on the ball I picked up some wool arm warmers and knee warmers. I run through a pattern every year from t-shirt, shorts and bare feet in sandals in the summer to wool, tights, two layers of wool socks, a wool undershirt, a wool sweater and a wool hat in the winter.  As I move from winter to summer, I replace the sweater with a light tweed cardigan and then the tights with leg warmers.  The next step is always the hard one, from there to t-shirt and shorts.  So I’m hoping that the arm warmers and knee warmers will fill that gap. I’ve been trying to get these for years but every year Rivendell sells out of them right when I decide I need them. So I got them this week probably a month before I need them. Trying to think ahead.


I keep riding all winter but there is not denying that it is mostly commuting miles. And even those reach a low point in the winter as I missed days for severely inclement weather, sickness and general malaise. What really suffers are the longer recreational rides. Sure I got some in this winter, a couple a month, but it definitely a lesser affair.  The longer days really help, especially as I’m not much of a morning person.  Riding has already picked up a bit and should only continue. So here’s to spring!

(see all my Vernal Equinox pictures here)