Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time For Gloves on My Rides

Morning ride into the office--gloves this morning, mes amis!

I'm enjoying the rides into work--the route is a bit more urban jungle--but hey that's just about all Tucson now it seems. My new office is in the heart of an aging Tucson neighborhood. Still seems like there's room for bikes but oddly I feel out of place. I'm a fast roadie and everyone else on bikes rides them because they don't have or can't afford a car.

So the mornings are just such that under-armour and gloves are needed--going home is perfect. Going home means a lot of traffic but the traffic lumbers along slow. I find it surreal that I'm passing cars fast and close instead of the other way around. I squeeze past everyone as the bike lane runs out the last few miles to Arthur Pack Park.

The sun is going down, and I'm still a few miles out from my car parked at Arthur Pack.

As I got off the rive bike path--which was tricky because now its closed off and a rider has to maneuver through a parking lot--I met up with a strong young rider named Randy. Having two bikes helped us squeeze onto La Cholla, and then we had a green arrow for the left onto River.

Riding fast on the way home, even in that evening headwind that's always coming out of the West.

Randy was riding almost as far up as me on Thornydale, and he road fast and strong and I kept up with him all the way up. It was good to have a friendly roadie on the busy street. The sun was setting, and as we chatted we switched on lights and he put on reflective ankle straps.

Randy told me he road several times a week 23 miles one way to his office near the Tucson Airport. So when he told me he set out from home at 4:30 am I didn't feel so bad. I'm leaving the house here in Dog Mtn at 5:45 and rolling by 6 am. after parking the car. Randy is well on his way by the time I'm starting out. I'm sure I'll see him again on a trek home.

Bike light on my car--to the car just in time to see the stars...

Good to see the hardy bunch of cyclists out cutting that morning darkness with their determination and gusto!

Allure Libre--Cheers! Bruce

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Perfect Metric Century

Boss on Oracle Rd, heading south down from the town of Oracle, Arizona.

I finally got out on the bike with The Boss and we did his about 63 mile, or 100 kilometer ride from his shack to the old mining town of Oracle.

This club was pulled over by the police.

We saw a big pack up ahead of us get stopped by the police. They were pulled over and cautioned for riding too close to the white line you see there of the bike lane--which is crazy because although its a bike lane, legally we can ride on the road. Anyway, the club was a friendly bunch and they asked us to ride along.

Riding in the club's pace-line.

Boss and I took a turn pulling up in front.

About twenty riders this morning--it was a good pace and everyone was calm and friendly. Boss knows the Cardiologist who started the club as rehab for heart transplant patients...

We actually got pulled over by a motorcycle cop as the lead group pulled through and ran a stop light. The rest of us went through the light as well--I have to say no one was paying attention as we were just rolling along. The police officer, a veteran of working El Tour, let us off with a friendly warning.

The Boss.

The group was riding up to Biosphere but by some back way I don't know. We're going to ride up about 10 or so more miles to the town of Oracle. We had hoped we'd ride with the group up to there, but they pulled off to re-group and get off of busy Oracle Rd (becoming Hwy 77 now)

I snapped this after we pull off the front from our pull. Soon after this, the pack turns off to go the back way through Saddlebrook.

The sun is coming up but its still a bit cool, and we're climbing gradually to about 4,000 ft.

On our way to Oracle.

About 10 miles from Oracle, making the big climb up the road.

We're going in the back way up to the second Circle K--I've never been this route so this will be all new for me.

One of those old funky motor hotels shaped like tipis--and still in operation!

Oracle was an old mining town--it may be again soon as a company wants to start mining up on Mt. Lemmon again.

Mining in the State of Arizona has become way unpopular, mainly because the mining companies left the mines and the areas they mined environmental disaster areas.

The second Circle K store. We'll get water and take a short break.

The Mighty Trek.

Not open yet--maybe next time we'll stop in.

On the way back to Tucson.

Still a bit of a chill in the air--perfect riding weather.

There some sort of old paper mill, or some old smelter at the top of the hill there by Oracle. This will be our last big climb up to the top there.

We actually have some moderate headwinds on the way back down into Tucson.

Its that time of year-

We will ride around and be on the South side of Pusch Ridge that you see up there, mes amis

Back on Ina Rd heading East.

Thanks for riding along and for reading my blog!

Cheers! Bruce

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bikes Save the World -- With Help from Bruce

Peace of Mind at the little park near my new office.

There is a little park not from from my new office. Its right at the start of the city's urban bike routes--kind of a quieter street more direct route through this older part of Tucson. Me, I'm a roadie and I'm good riding the narrow bike lanes with cars passing me by just a few feet.

But this park is like a sanctuary for me, and for all kinds of working people. Professional people, laborers, students--we all go just to get away, enjoy the trees and cool sun--and the mountains.

When I drive, I come here to get away from the chaos and often over-energetic students at the Art School. This morning I had to tell a bunch of them to be quiet, as other students, and my working on some sort of problem--had had enough. The park has a pretty calming effect, and its only a few minutes away.

Tall, graceful, and solid--a good vibe.

I sat at the base of this regal palm tree and ate my lunch. The grass was fresh and cool, and I could have just fallen asleep here for awhile.

My daily commuter--1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix.

The morning ride is cool and the roads clear, Gentle Readers of This Blog. I have to hustle and get moving as I am the one in charge of opening and getting the command center up and going. The sun is just coming up over the Catalina Mtn Range as I'm arriving at the office. In that early morning light, I'm riding 19 to 22 mph -- here I'm just cruising down the neighbor hood streets to the park.

Wind -- storms coming into Tucson.

I got started later than I wanted, but that's okay because on the bike, I sail past the congestion of auto traffic. In the photo above, I'm usually on the other side of the river--that part is not paved yet--the south side is paved for bikes from Campbell Ave to the Country Club bridge that I've been using. Its faster, but that didn't make much difference this evening mes amis--a strong headwind made me work hard.

On the way home with all my stuff.

Doing or trying to do interval training on River Rd was tough because I had a strong headwind. As soon as River turned into Thornydale, the wind died down and I just have the home stretch and one big hill. At Ina, I came upon another commuter, and we rode together all the way to Arthur Pack Park. As we rode and talked, we both realized that our paths had crossed a few time before.

My route to work is actually my old University route from way back--and I explained to my riding partner that I was back on it again. "My name is Bruce, by the way..." I said. "Hey, I remember now--you're Bruce that used to work at AHSL, right?" and then I was like, "Wait a sec, you Bruce too, right? Your office is in the basement of the Library--in the telemedicine section." So that was cool, and we had nice chat and laugh or two.

Bruce turned off for home just a few streets before I reached the park. I'm sure we'll meet again on our commutes!

Cheers! Bruce

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Night Lights

I've brought out the commuter lights--its that time of year.

Undaunted by the stress of the new job, I'm determined to keep up the cycling and bike commuting into work. This ride would be another test ride--to see if I could get the timing right and distance right--to get into the office, clean up, and then open the Command Center. Since in this new appointment, I am actually at the helm of the Command Center, its important that I'm there and have the engines running by the time the students show up.

So I'm riding the route of a few years back when I worked at the University of Arizona--I drive just under 7 miles to Arthur Pack Park, then ride down Thornydale (newly paved with good bike lanes) and then into Midtown to the Art School. As it turns out, distance on the bike is almost 15 miles--about the same as when I had an office at UofA.

The morning ride was fast--traffic was thin, the road as I said was newly re-paved--so I rode at a nice clip of 19 to 22 mph. River Rd. is challenging and since there are no lights and turn ins and outs--most of the next few miles are a chance for interval-type training; high cadence and speed for long stretches. At River and Campbell I turned south and caught the bike path for a short ride to the Country Club Bike Bridge, and then on into the office. All went well I can say.

Ride home in the rain.

As the forecast was for 30 percent chance of rain--which means probably not rain--I didn't take any chances and brought my battery powered commuter light just as a back-up. As the evening rolled in, so did a storm, and leaving the office I found myself riding in a chilling shower of rain. Just about two miles on the jam-packed city streets and then on the bike path for most of the trip home.

Busy Campbell Ave. These commuters are almost to River Ave, and waiting to turn left.

Its one of the worst jammed intersections in Tucson. I roll past that jam you see above--that's why I ride my bike because this is typical Tucson rush hour traffic. This morning there was not a soul, now people are trying to get home, and they're having to deal with a rain storm.

I'm still not out of the woods yet--more rain on the way!

The bike path is empty tonight and I'm the only one out here--so I can ride fast and make good time.

Western edge of the bike path--still remote.

Bike Hinge!

Looks like I'll have a window of sunshine without rain to ride on the busy dangerous last few miles of my commute up to Arthur Pack Park.

River Rd and La Cholla--still under construction! Geez...

Okay I used to head North up La Cholla that you see up there in the photo I took for you, Gentle Reader of This Blog--but now I have to make a dangerous left turn onto River Rd and head West. After that, I can ride River and ride fast, so I make good time. While making my left turn last night, some driver thought that the forward lane was also a left turn lane--which it wasn't--and while I was turning left and then merging into the bike lane, the car driver came up behind me on the my right side--and almost hit me.

Pretty stupid of them and they sped around me in anger--the other cars had to stop and I could see that they were just as bewildered as I was with the other driver being so reckless. I will tell you that many people in this town, first thing they do when they get in their car, is insert their head in their ass...

Riding with the busy traffic on Thornydale.

The thing I do now is ride with the traffic on Thornydale, which is busy and congested. I'm good because I have a straight shot and just cruise on by. Its much better than sitting in a jam and crawling block by block--being behind somebody texting or on a cell phone--making things go even slower.

Traffic on on the Northwest Side.

People may think it too dangerous to ride, but when automobiles are only able to go 15 mph and only for a few blocks, I can ride at 20mph and be in the clear. I'm really trying to get to my car before the sun sets, mes amis.

I make it to the golf course at the park and to my car before the sun calls it a day.

I would spend the same amount of time driving but instead of being in the car, I'm getting a workout and keeping up on my base miles. The rain was a minor detail and had stopped, thank goodness, on the last of my route in the heavy traffic.

Its Friday night and there's going to be a football game there at the high school, which is here by the park.

The parking lot I keep the car at all day is for the golfers--its a public course--and spill over for the high school kids to park their cars. Only Seniors can park in the school parking lot, so the younger ones have to hike over to class from here. Best part about where I park is the shade from all the trees.

Cheers! Bruce

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Old Roads and New

A cool October morning.

I'm back commuting to work on the bike. Blazing a trail to the new office was not too bad the other day--it was a short ride--mainly to see if I could do a clean-up in the mens room. I won't have a shower at the new office, mes amis.

On the bike path to the County Club Bridge. This bridge will take me across the river and to where the mid-town bike route starts.

My ride to the new office is about five miles shorter than the old Desert San. To the San was more direct, and to the Art School its more in the heart of old midtown.

Funky but it works.

All of the bike path is on the North side of the river for the most part. The bridge crosses over to the old Tucson Raquet Club. I actually have to ride through the parking lot of the club to then get on Country Club Rd. to head into work. So when I get off the bridge, I squeeze through this little path and into the parking lot. I found this a few weeks ago when I was driving in the area--I followed the other cyclist into the parking lot, and then walked out here--then I knew exactly where I was! Cool!

The new bike lane and newly paved roads begin!

Biking to work now is the best option for me, Gentle Reader of This Blog. It is very congested where the Art School is located--plus there's major road construction. I sail past the dead-lock traffic and make it to the office in no time.

The ride home!

It is great to be free of all that bumper to bumper traffic for the rush hour home, mes amis! I just hop on the bike and I am free!

Setting myself a good pace in the cool October evening air or Tucson.

My car stays parked in the shade of the trees all day at the River Park.

This was a short ride and mainly to see what I needed to pack for my "shower" at work. I just have a mens room in the back of the command center--and I brought a wash cloth and soap and just kind of wiped myself down. The trick I read somewhere is to shower before you leave and that keeps you cleaner for some reason. So yeah that worked--I didn't think I smelled too bad all day.

I really didn't even break a sweat riding in, or riding home. It was a beautiful trip coming and going, and with so many people out walking and running, I just had to sit back and relax and take my time. I've taken to heart what one of my reader said a few weeks ago-- "Keep Riding" and I shall-- no matter how tough the new job.

Cheers! Bruce