Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bike Path Photos

This is my 12 mile ride home on the new paved river path. In the previous post, I rode in for the first time on River Rd. The path you see in the photos is down below in the Riallto River bed.

I put my campus bike in the locker over the weekend. Normally its parked over by the Pain Clinic during the week, so I can step out the door and ride it to lunch somewhere off campus, or ride to the pool for lunch-time lap swim.

Here's the new Alvernon Rd Bridge. Kind of confusing here because you think the bike path just off Alvernon Rd will take you on your way to the bike path.

It doesn't get you very far, as you can see. You have to ride over the bridge and make a dangerous left onto the bike path at the stop light. Coming in to work, there's a way that goes under the bridge, but you're on the north side of the river. I'm not sure if it goes under the Alvernon Bridge--must be a bridge or two before. I'll figure it out one of these days. Its not safe and very ass-backwards.

You'd think with all the planning and money put into this project, they wouldn't have screwed this up--

Pretty much looks like this for several miles.

The river is dry as a bone of course, and there always seems to be a hot dry head-wind on this section.

Be sure to take this bridge and ride the rest on the way to Campbell Ave on the south side of the river bank.

You can continue on here on the dirt, but its rough and you can't go very fast on a road bike. Used to be this was the end of the trail. Last year when I first started my new job, this is as far as I could get on the bike path.

The new bridge here is what you would want to take--you know its right because you'll see the Racquet Ball club there on the south side of the river. I believe one day last year on an exploratory ride I rode up to it and it was mostly a dirt path to the club. The bridge is way cool, mes amis...

The thing about my commute is that I ride right into the sun comming up on the way to work, and ride right into the sun as it sets. As the sun goes down, things cool off quickly in the desert. But right then and there, its about 97 degrees--that's actually quite cool. When its 103 that's when its a hard ride.

This is the bridge at Campbell Ave. River Rd is a few blocks north. You've got to ride over the bridge, but don't ride on the pavement with the cars--ride on the narrow sidewalk to the other side. This is a busy congested area, and you're feeling like a god because you easily move past the traffic and frustrated mortorists. I know because I've been there myself. It always seems that the light turns green and you just sit there not moving--then the light turns red and you get to move up about ten feet...

You need to make a quick right turn and go under Campbell and stay on the north side of the river bank--on the way to work, I could continue on to the left, but it quickly turns into dirt until you get to where that new bridge is at the Racquet Ball Club.

Now its about four miles to my car from the Mountain Bridge. I used to take the Mountain Bridge up Mountain, then to Glenn. Glenn goes all the way East and to my office. A nice road but lots of lights and stop signs. River Rd is fastest, but now I have the river path. Not the fastest but still a good ride.

Sadly, the cars we own sit unused, on average, 23 hours a day. One good thing is that where I park the car, trees provide shade all day.

Front wheel comes off, and the bike fits nicely in the trunk. Then I have a quick 8 or 9 mile drive back home. I just leave the bike stowed as-is and ready for the next morning's ride of glory!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Commute on River Road

This morning I rode in on brand-new River Rd as it’s all fresh paved from Campbell Ave to Alvernon Bridge—for those of my Gentle Readers who don’t live in this Sun-Slopped Sit’tee, it just means that a sweet commute affords me speed and comfort. The other way is fine but bumpy, and then there’s the runners and dog owners etc etc. One must be polite, smile, wave and impress the mob that cyclists are not a bunch of self-loving hooligans.

River Road from Campbell to where I need to be going is just like a fat lazy snake sunning itself on the rocks. Its smooth and clear and you can see up ahead, and there’s no saloons or gas stations or dog grooming or tanning salons to pulling in and out of for dah motorists—no sir—just A to B. I would have taken photos for you but I was running late and had to move out. On the way home I may take some photos for y’all to ponder over the weekend

I would have liked to ride more this week but when arriving at my parking spot under the shade trees, and removing my bike from the trunk of the car—I had flat tires… Bummer. That was on the LeMond, so I took the old Raleigh again.

Saw other roadies and everyone waved. Saw older blokes riding Mt Bikes, and they were sweating profusely, which I thought rather odd—until I came up to a stop-light whereas I felt fat beads of sweat running down the gauntlet of my hairy back.

I do have a few concerns about my commute. The air is dusty. Its very hot. Pollen from the trees, and pollution is thick in the air. Its getting worse in Tucson, mes amis. My lungs often feel like they’re taking a beating. Even now in the office as I write this—my eyes are a little red and stinging, my throat hurts a little. I have this fear of wearing down my immune system over the summer and getting pneumonia again. Hey! Forced vacation!

Until then, however,

Allure Libre!

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Week of Commuting by Bike

C'est moi, mes amis!

I logged quite a few miles commuting this week. Mostly it was uneventful but there were a few high points. First of all, the bike route is completed and I can ride about 12 miles on the bike path on the river, all the way to my office. Mostly the second half of my ride there are no runners, walkers, or other cyclists to be seen. This means I can ride at a good clip and not anger others by going too fast.

Sometimes, the speedy weedies, or the Lancers—guys all decked out in their race stuff—blast down the narrow river trail disregarding people walking their dogs, or walking with their kids, etc etc… You get the idea. I say to them, if you want to ride so freakin’ fast, go ride on River Ave, you skinny, boney, little bastards. Anyway, the river path is great, but there’s these “seams” where the sections connect, and damn, but they give you a jolt when you ride over them. That can take a toll on your arse after a few miles.

Then only reason I’m riding on the river path right now is that River Ave Starting at Campbell is under construction and traffic is a little slow as there’s only one lane. I think when its done, I can ride River Ave (the river path runs along River Ave for the most part) Most of Ina/Skyline has been repaved, and I believe all that work is done—so I’ll be doing that commute here soon.

Lastly, I had a very very close call. Riding into work a car pulled out in front of me on Swan Ave and drove in the bike lane to merge. Swan is a long steep hill and I come down it going close to 35 mph. When you cross the bridge over the river, you can get some good speed which carries you through to Glenn a few miles. The bike lane is nice but there's traffic. Some people drive into the bike lane, which is between slow traffic on the right, and slow traffic on the left to "cheat" and get around and cut in. So I was going along and this lady pulled out in front of me and into the bike lane so she could try to squeeze into the next lane to her left. I had to get out of the way real fast (she almost hit me right then) and jumped in between a small space of the two cars in the next lane--I'm going very fast mind you--and I need to get over in the bike lane real quick or I'm gonna get run over. Well, the lady is still in the bike lane and trying to get over between where I was between the two cars, as those drivers eased up to give me some space. She still hadn't seen me and was moving over. I was waving at her and saying, "Hey! HEY!" to get her attention. Traffic started to slow and just as she pulled into me, I shot out between the rear end of the car in front of me, and the front bumper of her car.

Dang! At the light, which had turned red, people sitting in their cars were looking at me in disbelief. A young guy in his car rolled down his window and said, "Dude! That idiot almost ran you over!"

The woman was elderly and probably just has a hard time seeing—but she did drive down the bike lane for about three hundred yards and forced me into a difficult situation—I wish she would have just waited for better chance to turn and merge.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cave Ride

Rolf on the left and Dave Glasgow on the right. We met Rolf a few years ago when we were out riding at the Park. Rolf is from Germany and his company sends him out to Tucson a few weeks every year. When he got into town, he rode out to see if he could find us. Its been about a year since I've been to Saguaro Nat'l Park--cool to run into an old friend.

The Park was closed for five months for re-paving. Now the new asphalt is as smooth as a U of A coed's tight sweet--asphalt is just really smooth and fine, O my Gentle Reader of this Blog!

But Lo! Speed limit is only 15 mph. Evil Park Ranger Bob who hates bikes will patrol the 9 mile loop--and tickets are $75 for speeding. So now most cyclists ride elsewhere. Evil Park Ranger Bob is happy.

This is from the top of the parking lot up at Colossal Cave, looking NW. Bottom right of the picture is Old Spanish Trail. We've ridden 10 miles from Saguro National Park to the Cave.

It was nearing 100 degrees, and there was a strong headwind as we neared the Cave--it felt like a blast furnace. We took turns in a pace line for the climb to the Cave. It was a pretty difficult 10 miles of climbing. Mainly my throat got dried out from the hot dry air. Rolf was very strong and pulled a good deal of the way as we started to get tired and fall back.

Looking South down into Mexico.

Colossal Cave's existance was kept secret for many years for fear that it would be damaged by tourists, sight, and thrill seekers. I think caves are rather boring--there's a drinking fountain to re-fill water bottles, a place to take a leak, and vistas all around. Best part is going back because you get to go all-out fast pretty much all the way to Saguaro.

Although Rolf is from Germany, we said we considered him a local boy, and that made him pretty happy. You know how it goes, your company sends you to a place, you live in a hotel, you don't know anybody--that would suck. Then you get in with the locals and learn the ins and outs. Dave and Rolf will spend everyday riding, and Rolf will be back in Germany, the envy of his pals: lean and tan.