Monday, October 27, 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Sometime last week I seem to have strained my lower back. The only thing I did out of the ordinary was to help the motorist as noted in the post below, so I'm blaming it on that. Anyways, I took it easy over the weekend so there was no bike riding. :^(

Friday, October 24, 2008

Last of the City

So the Number One Son made the basketball team. This is good news for him, but sticks me with a block of time after work to fill downtown. I considered an extended happy hour, but decided against it. While the weather is good I might as well sneak in a bike ride. I actually planned enough ahead to bring my Quickbeam to work with me, so at 4 PM I started out for the the last parts of Frederick City with roads I need to ride. I headed west and climbed the hill to Hillcrest, to get a few cul-de-sacs. I came across a young lady in a stalled SUV transverse across the road. I rode past the three or four cars stacked up waiting for her and was set to continue on, but my conscience wouldn't let me before I helped her get to the side of the street. The other driver's consciences weren't as strong, because they just sat there and watched, but a couple of neighbors of the young woman cane over to help and we made short work of it. Then back down the hill, using a shortcut I'd seen on a satellite shot. One more development, this one with roads which were reserved in the database but didn't exist on the ground when I rode this section a couple of years ago. Finally, over to an alley that I had somehow missed. Children's Lane is the last street inside of the city limits, and it brings down to below 200 roads left to ride of the 4000+ I started with.


I'm getting to the point in Fixing Frederick where I have to ride places where I would not normally ride. Ever. The auto-centric world around Routes 355 and 85 near the Francis Scott Key Mall is in the heart of that dread. I knew long ago that the only time to ride there would be in the early hours of a Sunday morning, but I possess an amazing selfishness about my weekend sleep, so I foolishly waited until the days were getting shorter to venture forth into the belly of the beast.

Parking at the mall I took a quick loop on the roads there, followed by a spur south. The contrast between the built up strip and the enforced country-ness on the Monocacy National Battlefield outside of town is a study. The only climb of the day is up Araby Church Rd.

Heading back north I stop for a quick visit to the New Battlefield Center. Although it is now on the edge of the strip, the new center is more accessible to cyclists. The old one was along Rt 355, a very busy arterial, with next to no shoulders. At least 355 through the strip has a shoulder for most of its length.

I continued north, past the construction for a new Interstate 70 interchange, for a loop around the stadium. Then back through the increasing traffic to head southwest towards Buckeystown. The old heart got a pumping when I was passing under Interstate 270 and a piece of lumber fell off a truck passing me. The clatter echoing from the abutments made it seem a lot closer than it was. There is plenty of development of retail, residential and industrial down this way, which can be puzzling to me because I see plenty of all of that available on my rides around the county.

I ride a couple of missing streets in Buckeystown and head back north. Rt. 80 is the only unpleasantly busy road out here. Most of the rest are excellent riding roads. But Rt. 80 is the road I need to ride. Traffic is really picking up as I get closer to Frederick. It is past 10 AM and the businesses are back at it. The ramps to the interstate are the kind of adventure I don't care to repeat as I make my way back to the truck.

One more set of roads down. I'm getting closer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Columbus Day Ride

James and I took another Monday ride. This time we went over to Sugarloaf. I'd ridden here a bunch, but always with a group, which makes it awkward to peel off and do all the little dead end roads I need to ride. This ride was for tying up all those loose ends. The day was about the best one for riding this year. No jackets needed, but not too hot either. We started by climbing Sugarloaf itself. Gears felt good for this. Then on to Mt Ephraim Rd. and gravel. Somewhere along here my 1.5 liter water bottle, which has served me faithfully for years, sprung a leak. I saved some water by flipping it in the holder, but with no strap to keep it in place, it was precarious. It held up for the rest of the ride though.

A lot of the dead end roads ended with a no trespassing sign over potentially interesting tracks going off into the woods. I always wonder about whether or not to tempt fate. It would be cool if the US had right to roam laws like Scotland. Exploring would be easier, for sure.

Eventually James and I had to ride a section of Rt 28. This road is a Maryland State bike route, but just about the worst I've seen. Not much, or no shoulder and heavy traffic in both directions. There was one unnerving time when some SUV locked up his brakes bearing down on us. Nothing happened, but it gets the blood pumping.

Soon enough we were back at the truck. On the drive back to town I was signaling for a left turn and noticed a motorcycle behind me not slowing. He looked up and saw me and moved left to avoid rear-ending me. If I had stopped or turned he would have nailed me, so I passed the intersection and stopped on the right. He stopped too, and apologized for his inattentiveness. Yikes. Two close calls in a day.

Once back in town we finished up with a beer on the porch, which is possibly the best way to finish up most activities.

Keep on riding.

Monday, October 06, 2008

S24O - Ride Lugged in the Fred Shed.