Monday, April 25, 2011

Hill Yes!

Car free living in Interzone, Kansas.

I continue to live in Interzone, Gentle Readers of This Blog. Rain and wind are constant companions for April but I continue to commute to work on my bike rain or shine. May I'm told will be the best here so I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. In the meantime, I have some more photos of my commute up Mt. Oread where my new office is located.

Fraser Hall about a mile away.

For this typical April Morning, the rain is winding down, and I'm off, mes amis, for work. Fenders are the best and make all the difference--but I probably don't have to tell you that. They keep me dry and clean, and same for the bike. From here at the Jr High School, I start the climb up to campus.

Looking up 14th Street, heading West to the top of Mt. Oread.

The climb up 14th that you see above is about a good half mile long, with the last quarter of the mile a pretty steep grade for sure. Not a lot of traffic as there's really no parking up around here so students are out of luck if they're running late for class.

The Bloke on the Bike, climbing Mt. Oread--Hill Yes!

Many of the students can be seen wearing shirts exclaiming, "Hill Yes!" which is reference to this steep area. I'm not quite sure but it's some kind of joke--a figure is seen walking in a cross-walk but the cross-walk is crazy steep. And they're not kidding! I'm glad there's rain and its a bit cool--this is a workout for anybody!

Top of 14th Street and Jayhawk Blvd.

Quick tour of campus for you!
Tulip garden...

Students arriving on campus this cold rainy morning.

Strong Hall

Another view of Fraser Hall as I take a quick ride around the top.

Albert and Prof. Jimmy Green.

Albert killed in the Spanish American War, a little over 100 years ago. A war with details long forgotten--our best and brightest sacrifice their lives--Rest in Peace with your Brothers and Sisters--from your time--and with Those from ours that now have followed.

Now, like in Albert's day, students on campus going to and from classes.

Bike Parking in front of my office building.

Thanks for coming back from time to time to read my blog. More posts to follow as the weather gets better for us here in Interzone!

Cheers! Bruce

Monday, April 18, 2011

Car Sugar Free

Rural Kansas Roads.

The club ride was Saturday morning, but too cold for my blood, Gentle Readers of This Blog. I slept in and decided it would be Sunday when I'd go out. When Sunday morning was just as cold--stayed and made Little Egypt and Rico and I breakfast--then at 11 o'clock I set out for Lone Star Lake. Just as I was about to head out of Interzone and into the Wilds--a rider pulled up to me and asked where I was going--and if he might tag along. This has been what's so great about Lawrence, mes amis! There's always some rider or riders to hook up with and ride out into the Wilds. I'm happy to have Jim along, and together we take turns cutting through the ever-present headwind out of the South.

A beautiful Redwood tree set here in the little village of Lone Star.

Jim is faster and stronger than me, so I have to work to keep up with him. We're really riding at a good clip despite the headwind we have to get through. Had I been out here by myself, this ride would have been a slog--but Jim is happy to pull us both. And as he said, eventually another rider or group would come along and a paceline would form up out to the Lake.

Lone Star Lake at last.

I'm using my messenger mirror that Le Tigre got for me last year--really helped on this ride.

I started using a mirror because out here the wind is so fierce that I can't hear anything--like cars coming up from behind--and for some reason out here on these Kansas Roads I'm finding that a little un-nerving. The only way Jim and I could talk to each other was riding side-by-side. It just always seemed that out of nowhere there was a car or truck behind us. The mirror worked for me this ride. I'll use it more--thanks Le Tigre, Old Sport!

Tailwind for the ride home.

After an hour of riding with a bitch of a headwind, mes amis, we are flying back to Lawrence averaging 25 mph! I have to say that the guys out here get strong as they have this nasty headwind to deal with. Everyone gets in a group on the way out to try to share the work. The reward is the fast trip back!

On the way to the Little House--its Spring!

Jim says we'll meet again soon as he's going to be out on the club rides this year on Saturday mornings. It will be good training to ride in a paceline with some good blokes like the ones I've met just going out on the road.


Take care everyone, and thanks for stopping by my blog and coming along for the ride.

Cheers! Bruce

Friday, April 15, 2011

Right Place--Wrong Time

Rushing to my bike-fit at the LBS downtown Interzone.

The Local Bike Shop Staff have been to some bike-fit training and seminars as of late, and they are offering a good price for a fit. I believe I will take advantage of their new knowledge and the great price, mes amis, and sign up. So I thought after work, I'd ride downtown to loosen up the legs for the fit.

I make it to the shop.

But there was some kind of event going on, and the whole of downtown was packed full of cars--jam-packed--as it were, so I had to sprint between the mass of steel and fumes to get to my appointment on time. The trouble was, Gentle Readers of This Blog, that my fit was not for two more weeks. I was pretty embarrassed, seeing as how I took quite a few chances in traffic to get to the shop. No worries--the staff is laid-back and just happy to see me.

Lance is with me in spirit!

A band will try to play before a rain storm begins.

So out the side door of the shop I see my way is going to be blocked. Anyway, I talk to a few girls that are there to promote the show. They are two girls from KU that got hired to wear tight shorts and shirts, barely on their svelte bodies, and round up an audience to the show. They were friendly and said the band, with prizes and free beer, was to promote Adult Swim--of which I'm a fan. Actually they were getting a bit cold as the wind was coming up and we felt a few drops of rain. Time for me to get back home!

Lawrence Community Theatre, not far from where we live in The Little House.

My alternate route home wasn't much better, as the play, To Kill a Mocking Bird, was about to start. Traffic was everywhere, and folks were busy looking for a spot to park, and get to show before the rain started.

Mighty Trek.

So I got home just in time to discover that Little Egypt and Rico had gone out to pick us all up some dinner. And I didn't have my keys to the house--I had locked myself out. A quick text found LE and R downtown just where I had left not a few minutes before. Well, as it had not started raining, and there was just a bit of light left--I rode slowly around the quiet streets of East Lawrence, past Bill Burrough's house down the street--down the old rail-trail a pace, and then back home.

Cheers! Bruce

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Beer and Bike

All neighborhood streets are the Bike Route in Interzone, mes amis!


Grocery Store and Liquor Store are a few blocks away from the Little House.

Our destination this lovely Saturday afternoon.

Rico will stay with the horses.

12 pack fits nicely on the Old Desert San Campus Bike!

Any errand within a mile of the Little House is so much easier by bike. I am encouraging Rico and Little Egypt to forgo driving to school and work by car--and instead ride a bicycle as I do. With just a bit of effort--mainly leaving about 10 to 15 minutes earlier--biking makes so much sense!

Cheers! Bruce

Friday, April 08, 2011

Life on Earth

My commute route, up Mt. Oread--on a Spring Morning.

I've been car free to work and for the week I logged a total of 10 miles commuting, Gentle Reader of This Blog. Used to be back in Tucson I'd ride 130 miles a week.

KU and Interzone surrounding it was built on a steep hilltop in the 1850's--so driving and having a car one must pay a premium--by the hour. Rich Kids have their cars, and mum and da I'm sure flip the bill.

A lot of people walk (more like schlep) up and down the streets (clogged by said cars) and I just don't understand why they would drive a few miles to park half mile away from the campus--just to walk that last half-mile up Mt. Oread--When they could do the heart-pounding climb by bike like me!

I have to be honest with you that most cannot bike up 14th Street that you see above. I do it just because I am just barely able, mes amis--and know that on any ride I do, there will always be a hill--and always a headwind. So I must expect it and not be afraid--Press On Regardless, as Our Beloved RBA, Susan, would say...


The Fellow on the Bike--that's me!

My steep climb to work. You can't tell, but 14th Street is freakin' steep!

The last few days in the early evening as I'm setting out home to the Little House, I have crossed paths with Roadies coming up the hill to start their short training rides, doing hills, on the steep and rolling perimeter road around the campus. I should probably do the same to get in a good workout before sunset. Kansas is windy, so to go out on the rural roads is kind of a pain--fighting a headwind and all...

Fraser Hall on top of Mt. Oread.

Just getting a better picture for you, mes amis. If you're driving out to KU, or if you know the campus--then you know how Fraser Hall dominates this spot on Earth for Humans--of which I claim current affiliation.

Natural History Museum, and including Anthropology and Archeology Departments.

Fraser Hall probably built post WW II.

Take care everyone! I hope you're all well! Cheers! Bruce

Saturday, April 02, 2011

April Ride -- Out and Back

Riding around Lone Star Lake.

I went out to ride with the Lawrence Bike Club this past Saturday morning, as I did back in September when I visited Little Egypt and Rico. It was about 37 degrees when I got up and made a pot of coffee. I thought, "Gonna be cold!" but every 15 minutes or so, the temp went up a few notches--so said the radio announcer. I jumped out the door and zipped to Broken Arrow Park, where the rides meet, Gentle Readers of This Blog, and as I sailed down the sleepy-cold side streets, I could see a few other riders converging onto the main street that would have us rendez-vous together at said place.

Yours--on the Mighty Trek.

Only about ten riders this morning, and the hard-core fast riders to boot. But a friendly bunch and glad to have me along. I let them know I had my map and if I got dropped I'd be fine. After a few miles the group took off, but I was lucky to have Keith, a long-time club rider, hang back with me and take me to Lone Star Lake.

We ride over the Lone Star Lake Dam, built by WPA in the 1930's.

There was wind coming out of the South, as always, but we had stayed with the pack long enough to get out almost to the Lake and through the worst of the wind before we got dropped on one of the hills.

Keith takes us back on a longer, more scenic route--over the dam and around part of the lake.

Open road!

Keith, long-time member of the Lawrence Bike Club.

I wanted to get a shot of the tree growing in the top of the old grain elevator. Keith says that trees getting in grain elevators and growing is not so uncommon--but I think it's pretty cool.

We have an awesome tailwind heading back into Lawrence!

The grass and trees are warming in the sun and waking up from Winter's long sleep--at last!

Lone Star Church in the tiny hamlet of Lone Star.

Big Cotton Wood Tree, probably about 100 years old, defying the Kansas Winds and growing tall and strong.

As Keith and I zip back toward town, we pick up another rider, Larry. We all have a nice chat and we're glad that it seems Spring has arrived!

On the bike path and heading back to the Little House.

In the East Lawrence neighborhood where I live.

I put in a solid 40 mile ride this morning, and I'm glad that I found yet another new friend to ride with--Keith took me on some fantastic roads and we'll be seeing each other again soon when the club meets next weekend. It seems that everyone goes out in the pack to cut through the wind, and then people split off to either hammer back with the tailwind, or go on to a different set of roads--like Keith and I did--and then like everyone else, fly back at 30 mph with the tailwind.

Cheers! Bruce