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Heritage Explorer Bike Tour: Celebrating Rails-to-Trails

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yesterday was an enjoyable 50 mile ride heading "south" of the NY / PA border for a stretch of rail-to-trails extending northward through little burgs above Scranton, PA. We followed the Delaware and Hudson Rail-Trail (packed gravel surface) through Carbondale into the Endless Mountains to Union Dale.

From their web page www.lhva.org/biketour.html :

"Join us for the 2nd Annual Heritage Explorer Bike Tour on Saturday, June 18, 2011, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Mellow Park in Peckville, PA. Hosted by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority (LHVA), the Bike Tour is a non-competitive, family-friendly event with something for every rider. Last year, more than 300 people of all ages participated in the inaugural event."

I think they topped 500 riders this year! What a wonderful thing to see so many volunteers out there helping to put this event together and showing so much pride in what their community has been able to accomplish!

Figuring that parking at the event might be tough and ALSO wanting to add a few more miles to the 44 mile event I left the van at the hotel and rode my bike up to Peckville. 50 miles has a MUCH better ring to it than 44...lol! Fortunately my DW happens to know an old friend who lives in the area and they were able to take off and visit with each other while I rode.

Here is a rough map of the 44 mile round trip we rode: goo.gl/maps/81V6 There was probably around 50 of us from my bike club who traveled down for the event. I caught up with a fellow member (another Don! :-) ) and we hung with each other for the most part with very complimentary pacing to our rides:



At various points I could hear the Lackawana River rushing alongside the trail so I would hop off the bike and wander off the trail so I could treat myself to hidden nooks of nature such as these:







The weather was picture-perfect with mid-80s, lots of sunshine and many rest stops with ice cold water, apples and oranges. The volunteers at the upper end of the route in Union Dale were particularly enthusiastic and took such pride in their rail-to-trail. One gal spoke of how they have to fight off the four-wheelers who try to take over the trail which is clearly marked with signs of "no motorized vehicles allowed." The four-wheelers have such a cocky sense of entitlement and attitude! At many points of the trail there are gates designed to be narrow enough to allow walkers & cyclists but blocking larger motorized ATVs & four-wheelers.

Challenges of the ride? Being off-road! I'm a pavement kinda guy...lol! Now I have little difficulty with hard-packed dirt with some crushed stone, but there were stretches of rocky trail which had me beside myself navigating the path of least bone-rattling resistance...whew! Slowed me down CONSIDERABLY! Technically, my ride is a cyclocross (Specialized Tricross) which is designed to handle mud & dirt, but there is no suspension as many mountain bikes have. I have a little more width and grip to my tires though, for which I was grateful yesterday! I don't wear gloves when I ride. My hands never complain and I figure one less thing I have to remember to take which would probably only make me feel the heat even more! But I have to say: Yesterday for the first time my hands were sore after that ride!

There were stretches of the trail with large puddles spanning the width of the trail, causing one to oh-so-carefully skirt around the edges of the puddle hoping not to slide or topple into them!

At times the crushed stone was loose enough that my tires would do some scooting around to keep 'er moving! Made me MUCH appreciate being back on pavement! :-)

Here's a few of us cyclists at the end of the line in Union Dale taking a break:



And the old mill behind the market in Union Dale:



A few more pics along the way:







All in all, a most satisfying ride!

Don

PS...forgot to update my total miles for the season so far: 588!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRACTALMYTH 7/25/2011 3:49PM

    What pretty scenery :D Thanks for sharing the story of your ride! Sounds like great fun and a good challenge too.

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CANBDONE 7/25/2011 2:34PM

    Listen to yourself! 50 MILE RIDE....could you imagine blogging that a couple of years ago? Does your wife feel like she's remarried? You rock!

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DAD2GETFIT 7/21/2011 8:48PM

    Cool! Nice pics too.

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BAM-MA 7/13/2011 7:30AM

    Great Pics as always! Thanks for sharing!

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JOYATLAST 7/11/2011 11:40AM

    Sounds like a true thrill! Just like life.



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L*I*T*A* 7/4/2011 5:05PM

    emoticon

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UUCEEJAY 6/26/2011 11:22PM

    Great pictures! What a lovely ride! Thanks for your comments on my GOBA trip. I do intend to keep on taking organized bike rides. Met some wonderful people on my trip. Seems that is cyclists are a pretty friendly crowd! emoticon

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DAVEINSEOUL 6/26/2011 8:53AM

    Sounds like a great ride - although I would definately have my hybrid out for that one. Like your Specialized, my Cervelo would have me feeling every bump in the road.

You're right. 50 miles sounds a lot better that 44 :-).

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IMSMILEY88 6/24/2011 7:37PM

    Beautiful! I'm kind of frustrated that the biking season down here in TX seems to be from Jan-Apr. Not much going on! Can't wait to really get involved in biking!

Love the photos!

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MRDPOLING 6/24/2011 2:52PM

    Beautiful photos!!!!

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FRECKS96 6/21/2011 4:39PM

    Sounds like a wonderful ride!! So glad you were able to enjoy the weather. That looks like it would make a beautiful running trail as well.

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LADYGWEN25 6/21/2011 9:24AM

    oh i'm right behind you in mileage: 510.17miles! i'm catching you!!! Nice scenic ride... you doing the Tioga bike ride?? and if so which day?


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RSILVERSEA 6/20/2011 3:27PM

    Nice pics! Can't say I envy you the ride though. I think I'll stick to paved roads though.

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JCORYCMA 6/19/2011 10:48PM

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures! It is awesome how you've gone from a guy who never exercised to a guy who has ridden a bike 588 miles already this season! You always remind me to stop and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us all. Way to go!! emoticon

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OUTDOORGIRL70 6/19/2011 9:43PM

    Don.......

Sounds like a fantastic ride. The pictures were great,

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MEGA_MILES 6/19/2011 9:35PM

    What a great ride. Dirt is definitely different from paving. Vive la differance!

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CANBDONE 6/19/2011 8:27PM

    Thank you for sharing...I always feel like I've had a mini-vacay after reading your travel logs!

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VARMINT3 6/19/2011 6:40PM

    What a lovely ride!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/19/2011 5:35PM

    Great pics. They make me miss kayaking, though! LOL

I like wearing gloves even for road riding. They protect my hands in the case of a crash or fall... Plus provide padding for long rides.

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OSUBUCKI101 6/19/2011 4:11PM

    A friend of mine works for Rails-to-Trails so she'll be thrilled so many took part! Love the pictures...looks like a great place to spend the day and relax!

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JLITT62 6/19/2011 4:09PM

    Lovely, as always. Glad you had a good day for it.

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 6/19/2011 4:02PM

    What beautiful pictures - it looks like a wonderful ride in nice weather (as it rains here...). Thanks for sharing! Your 'odometer' total is impressive...

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TOOTHFUL99 6/19/2011 3:09PM

    What a beautiful ride! Another good one from you, Don!

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ZELLAZM 6/19/2011 2:51PM

    What a beautiful tour! Thanks for the photos and WTG on getting in some good mileage. Rails and Trails - I like that! it kinda rhymes :)

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L*I*T*A* 6/19/2011 2:45PM

    awesome pictures!!!
thanks for sharing...........
blessings and hugs......lita

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PUNKIN175 6/19/2011 2:13PM

    That is awesome!!!! I got a bike this year and I am working on being able to ride it for longer and longer. The longest ride I have been on so far is 15 miles, but I cant wait to be physically able to do more! Your pictures are amazing and your whole post is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing!!!

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W5VEOTX 6/19/2011 1:19PM

    Fantastic ! Wonderful pictures and thanks for posting them. Wish we had some rails to trails here in the Texas Hill Country. There are some nice ones in Iowa that I am aware of.

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WATERMELLEN 6/19/2011 12:39PM

    Gorgeous pics, and what a beautiful (if in some places kinda scary) ride it must have been!

Canada was in some ways created by the national railway. And a number of bike tracks here are converted rails to trails projects as well. But they always makes me think about the challenges for the original builders of those railway tracks as well . . .

Knowing your love of music, here's a link to Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railway Trilogy" . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzo6
Otpgj-E

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Humbling Hills: 140 miles in the Finger Lakes!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I was quickly reminded and thoroughly humbled by the location of our campgrounds in the upper Watkins Glen State Park...the Hidden Valley campgrounds: it must be like a crater at the top of a mountain! To exit the campgrounds regardless of direction, one is immediately confronted by a sudden and oh-so-formidable climb that is only matched and even surpassed by the even MORE formidable climb that is necessary to RETURN to the campgrounds via Watkins Glen after one's long ride...what a finale! Although Friday evening's ride was only 18 miles the climbs involved very quickly reminded me that the rides for the weekend were going to be filled with climbing challenges. I climbed further than last year, due to my improved standing climb skills, but absolutely HAD to walk a portion of it each time.

That began to give me pause for thought on how much of a challenge I would take on for the long ride on Saturday. I knew at the very least I would want to make the circumference of Seneca Lake, the 82 mile ride from the campgrounds. Last year I believe I did a 50-60 mile ride up the east side of the lake and back to the campgrounds. My plan was to get to Geneva on the north side of the lake and see how I felt. If I was going strong enough I'd join the others in the extra loop over to Seneca Falls at the top of Cayuga Lake and back over to Seneca Lake which would put the total up to 109 miles.

One of the wineries along the way:



Some of the rolling vineyards:





You can see how the sun was struggling to break through!



At Geneva, however, the hills had already taken their toll and while I was loving the ride I knew that those extra miles would knock my balance between pleasure and challenge into the wrong direction.

Things brightened in Geneva. Here's a little spot down on the waterfront that caught my eye:



"It Was A Dark & Stormy Day"...that was going to be my original title to my blog when I heard about the weather forecast for Saturday. I kidded around with 4A-HEALTHY-BMI during my journey 'round Seneca Lake on Saturday as my route brought me right through her back yard through Sampson State Park. She was kind enough to catch up with me there and had a big pitcher of water for which I and other cyclists who came along were SO GRATEFUL! We enjoyed catching up with each other for a bit (check out her Water blog for a pic of the two of us that a passer-by took). I was being conservative with my phone-pic taking because I forgot my recharger...ugh!



Here's a brief stop I took at a miltary museum as the State Park I was riding through used to be a military training base:



The day was gradually shifting from overcast to sunny. So what do the weather forecasters know...? Pshaw! I joked that I'd have to come up with a different name for my blog. Yeah. Right.

Took a break a little further down the road in Ovid, chatting with other cyclists. We were facing north during our break...everything looked sunny and pleasant. All done? Head back out onto 414 southward toward Watkins Glen. The final stretch of 20 miles.

And there it was like Godzilla: HUGE, foreboding, dark, storm clouds towering overhead in front of me as I pedaled right into it! Heading out of Ovid the fireworks began. Lightning crackling all about me and thunder rumbling across the countryside! BUCKETS of water coming down in sheets!

I finally found an old shed which looked like it housed farm equipment once upon a time and darted into this for refuge...not wanting to make like a two-wheeled lightning rod out on the road! Some other cyclists came along, towing a cart with a kid behind. I yelled and motioned for them to join me but they soldiered on.

After a while the skies quieted and the rain let up from torrential to a steady soaking rain. I figured this would be as good as it gets and got back on my bike to pedal like crazy through the final miles.

Heading into Watkins Glen the rain petered out as I dealt with the climb up out of Watkins Glen on 409 into the campgrounds. Didn't make it very far before I resorted to hobbling, wobbling, clawing and crawling my way back home! Light, sprite, mighty-mights passed me by. Bet with all her recent practice LADYGWEN25 could make these climbs!

Sunday's replacement ride as an alternative to Keuka Lake turned out to be more memorable than I thought. A 40 miler, this ride included a downhill SWOOP into the little burg of Tyrone that clocked a fellow cyclist at 45 mph. I had made the mistake of fiddling with my bike computer so it wasn't working for me :-( But I figure I was probably going faster than 45 as this fellow was lighter than me.

A story about this descent: not far behind me were two folks on a tandem recumbent. One of the LOW recumbents! They clocked over 54 mph as they SWOOSHED into town! I chuckled as I heard that the fellow in the lead had TONS of experience, however: he begged someone to ride with him in the rear as his wife was disabled and couldn't ride. Could you imagine being new to a 'bent screaming down a hill at 54 mph with your butt only INCHES from the pavement...?!?! Talk about adrenaline OVERLOAD!

This was soon followed (what goes down, must come UP!) by a CRAWL up toward Dundee after passing by a smaller Finger Lake (Waneta). Joined with a couple other cyclists for a short lunch and cycled the rest of the way in and out of local Amish horse & buggies.

Sam, one of our senior bike club members (doing the IDIDARIDE in the Adirondacks later this year...one of the most PUNISHING hill-climbing rides anywhere...not too shabby for someone in his 70's and a titanium knee!) was on SAG duty this weekend and was pleased to report it was a most boring time with no accidents, injuries or mishaps. Lots of SAFE cycling going down! :-)

On my way home I took a little detour to Montour Falls as recommended by a fellow bike club member. Looked around for the falls, not having much luck. Turned the car around and VOILA! There it was, looking like it was falling right into a building!



Here's a closer pic with a person so you can get some perspective:



Pretty impressive! Especially with the recent rains!

Oh and I nominate The Pompous Ass Winery as the most amusingly named winery I've seen along the way...! :-)

So NOW with my added 140 miles this brings my cycling totals so far this year up to 538! Rackin' 'em up!

During the evenings I brought my guitar along to dust it off and see if I could remember the tunes I know. A bit clunky at first, but came around okay...lol!

Already looking forward to my next longer ride this Saturday, a 44 mile ride in Peckville, PA for the Heritage Explorer Bike Tour:

www.lhva.org/biketour.html

Keepin' 'er rollin'!

Thank you's to everyone following my blogs! Have been falling behind with my Sparkin' being away this weekend!

Don

Update: Just tallied up the total feet climbed this weekend: 9755! Almost TEN THOUSAND! Now I'm not one of those types that CRAVES hills and seeks them out, but WOW...!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYATLAST 7/11/2011 11:34AM

    First of all, I am so glad you found the falls!!!!

My high speed is 35mph and my eyes were like saucers. Also, I've only practiced stand riding a few times. Way to go on that!

Boring SAG duty is the very best kind. Peering out of an old shed in a lightening storm makes for a true adventure.

There is no shame in "Falling across the finish line". YOU are a winnner all the way!!

Great Cycling Journey, my friend.

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SPEEDYDOG 7/6/2011 10:32AM

    Oh WOW! What a beautiful ride. I may need to take some photos of my next ride. My photos will be nothing as nice as yours.

Ride On!

Bruce

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DAVEINSEOUL 7/4/2011 8:33PM

    Ohhh, now I'M jealous. We don't have anything near that beautiful around here.

I am SOOO looking forward to riding back in the US of A!

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UUCEEJAY 6/26/2011 11:35PM

    Wow! I'm impressed! That was one heck of a ride with hills, rain and thunder. Beautiful pictures!

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IMSMILEY88 6/24/2011 7:44PM

    Once again...I love your photos! Who wouldn't want to ride & see views like this?

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BAM-MA 6/18/2011 7:03AM

    Sounds like a great time Oh Master of The Mountains!...

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SASSYCHRIS1952 6/16/2011 2:33PM

    Glad you posted these pics, I love NY state. I especially like the pic of the waterfall emoticon

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GRANDMACOO 6/16/2011 10:48AM

    Thanks for sharing the pics! It has been years since I have been to Geneva. I get to Upstate NY every summer, but don't take time to enjoy the sites. Sounds like a great ride!

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KINSBAILE 6/16/2011 10:26AM

    Sounds like a great deal of fun!

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DAD2GETFIT 6/14/2011 8:05PM

    Sounds like a great time. Thanks for sharing.

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WATERMELLEN 6/14/2011 7:05PM

    Great pictures -- and what a challenging ride!! You've gotta be in an "elevated" mood!!

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OUTDOORSDC 6/13/2011 8:32PM

    That sounds fantastic! Always happy to hear about people loving the outdoors. And thanks for sharing the pics.

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TOOTHFUL99 6/13/2011 8:25PM

    Sounds and looks like a beautiful ride...even with the rain. I always say if you had a perfect ride, you wouldn't have anything to talk about.

Glad you had a good time!

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OUTDOORGIRL70 6/13/2011 8:10PM

    Don.... Sounds like you had a great time. Love the pictures.

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VARMINT3 6/13/2011 7:20PM

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend! I just took my 6yo around the hilly block on her bike - which involved me pushing her up the hills and holding her back down the hills!

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FERRETLOVER1 6/13/2011 6:04PM

    Wow, Don! What can I say? You are AMAZING! Love your picture of the falls - simply magnificent!!

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JLITT62 6/13/2011 5:55PM

    You get to see far more cycling than I do running! UAlbany is really boring, especially when you loop around it 3 times.

Beautiful falls! I love waterfalls.

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BCARSON11 6/13/2011 4:25PM

    Great pictures. Thanks for sharing!

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FRECKS96 6/13/2011 2:47PM

    Great job on your rides. I love that area and it sounds like you really got every last drop of enjoyment out of it.

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L*I*T*A* 6/13/2011 2:20PM

    love the pictures.....
looks awesome...
blessings and hugs....lita

emoticon

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KKINNEA 6/13/2011 1:52PM

    Boy do I miss New York reading your post! I was not a really fit person as a kid so we never went to these places. I'll have to take a trip back!

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RAINBOWFALLS 6/13/2011 1:27PM

    Great job Don! I would never make it through wine country without stopping by some wineries and then I wouldn't be able to ride anymore. emoticon

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PUNKIN175 6/13/2011 1:10PM

    Oh my gosh, that looks amazing!!! Way to go!!!!


emoticon

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LADYGWEN25 6/13/2011 12:53PM

    awesome job don! my butt aches just thinking about that long ride... WOuld LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a long one with you this year... Not sure about them hills though :) But hey.. I hear they do nothing but build character! :)

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SKINNYPOWELL1 6/13/2011 12:44PM

    So glad you have an enjoyable ride, except for the scary thunderstorm and what beautiful scenery. I know you are extemely proud of your accomplishment - as I am too !!!! Keep on pedaling. emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/13/2011 11:46AM

    Great report!

Feel free to add the pic of us from my blog, if you want it.

emoticon

P.S. Someday I'm running those falls. In my kayak.

Comment edited on: 6/13/2011 11:56:14 AM

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To Century or Not...?

Friday, June 10, 2011

All righty! The bike's all set to go...itching to cut loose from work @ noon and then I'm OFF to Watkins Glen for the Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour!

The bummer is I haven't had time to ride since those 52 miles on Sun. and am feeling shaky for nailing a century ride on Sat. I may wuss down to the 79 mile ride...oh, and they're calling for rain! So who knows...? Crossing my fingers! Stay tuned! The century ride will include the full perimeter of Seneca Lake PLUS a loop which crosses eastward and travels from Geneva to Seneca Falls and down along a northern stretch of Cayuga Lake before returning to Seneca Lake.

Now the trick is going to be balancing sufficient challenge to gratify myself vs. not going so overboard that I lose the FUN & JOY of cycling...! WANTING that century badly, but...not wanting to jeopardize having a great time.

I'll be chewing on this with some other cyclists today, see what the weather holds and see what I end up doing...will be offline till Sunday night...catch up then!

Here is a wonderful link shared by one of our club members which shows all the various routes which will be offered all three days (Fri., Sat., Sun.):

ridewithgps.com/users/12653

Unfortunately recent flooding in the Keuka Lake area will rule out the Keuka Lake loop for a ride on Sunday, but they have an alternate ride planned between Keuka and Seneca Lakes.

Can't wait to see all the WATER...lakes, gorges, etc. and the rolling hills of vineyards and wineries and catching up with bike club members...good times ahead this weekend!

Here are a few links with pictures of various parts of the Finger Lakes:

nyfalls.com/lakes/seneca.html

www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g
28953-d207260-Finger_Lakes-New_York.html


And here's a wonderful selection of shots of the beautiful gorges of the area...one of which (Watkins Glen) will be right in the back yard of our campgrounds and ready for hiking!

www.citrusmilo.com/fingerlakes/ilove
ny1.cfm


Although I'll be staying with others in a "campground"...I'm taking the "cushy" option of staying in one of the cabins. Brought my guitar along to dust it off and see if I still remember how to play...lol!

Praying for sunny, dry weather...make it a SPARKED weekend everyone!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYATLAST 7/11/2011 10:56AM

    Beautiful area. Whatever you choose you are certain to meet your goal.

Now, I'll go read the conclusion.

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KINSBAILE 6/13/2011 11:39AM

    Sweet, hope you had fun!

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FRECKS96 6/13/2011 9:27AM

    Sorry I missed this blog before you left. I hope you had a wonderful ride! I love that area and I'm jealous that you got to enjoy it on a bike.

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FERRETLOVER1 6/11/2011 8:19AM

    Wait till you see what the weather is doing and how you are feeling before you make your final decision. Can you change your mind during the ride?

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ZELLAZM 6/11/2011 6:04AM

    Have a great time, whatever you decide!

*Expecting video blog of Don singing "Kumbaya" with his fellow campers* emoticon emoticon

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CRAVINGLIFE 6/11/2011 5:48AM

    Hope you have a great time no matter what you decide! You should just be proud for getting out there! Can't wait to hear about your day!

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VARMINT3 6/10/2011 1:54PM

    Whatever you decide to do - HAVE FUN!

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LADYGWEN25 6/10/2011 1:31PM

    that is so cool... How do you find out about the century rides??? I want to do one as well as a 50 miler first to start..lol..

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TOOTHFUL99 6/10/2011 12:24PM

    Not taking any bad weather into concideration...

In my personal experience, I'll dread a century and question if I should do it. At the last minute I'll do it, start out strong, fizzle throughout the day and by the last 15 miles my bike is the last place I want to be.

One hour afterward, I'm glad I did it and feel so good about myself for completing it.

I'm just saying....

Have a great ride...whatever you decide!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/10/2011 11:05AM

    Gimme a buzz when you know where / when you're likely to be passing through, and if I'm around I'll come out to see you go by!

emoticon

Stupid shoulder. If I could road ride I'd even join you for part of it!

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DAISYBELL6 6/10/2011 10:55AM

    Best wishes for a fun ride!

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L*I*T*A* 6/10/2011 10:45AM

    enjoy whether the weather cooperates!!!

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CANBDONE 6/10/2011 10:39AM

    Fit and fun weekend...sounds awesome!

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MARTY728 6/10/2011 9:55AM

    Have fun! Sounds like a great weekend. Hoping the rain holds off.

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JLITT62 6/10/2011 9:55AM

    I'm having a similar dilemma with a race this weekend & i admit the weather is a big part of the picture. Just don't forget to have fun!

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IMIN2GENES 6/10/2011 9:31AM

    Sounds like a great weekend! I'll keep my fingers crossed for good weather for you!

As for the Century? I think you can nail it! Enjoy yourself no matter which route you choose!
Chris
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SASSYCHRIS1952 6/10/2011 9:12AM

    Upstate New York is so beautiful! Have a great time and weekend, hope the weather is ok emoticon

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SKINNYPOWELL1 6/10/2011 9:02AM

    Sounds like a fantastic weekend - have fun and be safe. Looking forward to a full report on Monday. emoticon

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I Make a Poor Wily Coyote!

Monday, June 06, 2011

I set out yesterday on my bike to enjoy some of the Big Splash Music Festival:
www.pressconnects.com/article/201106
05/NEWS01/106050350/Binghamton-Big-Spl
ash-blends-music-message


It was a picture-perfect day for cycling (sunny, upper 70's) and I knew I wanted to get more cycling than just heading out to the festival, which would be around 20 miles.

After listening for about an hour to some nice bluegrass/country/rock crossover and another local group of country-folk women singing (The Burns Sisters) I got restless to hit the road again and decided I would head "south of the border" across the NY / PA state line toward Hallstead/Great Bend, PA.

I thought it would be nice to have some company so on a whim I called my biking buddy (who joined forces with me last Sept. for our 175 mile NJ ride!) to see if she might be free. However she was with company...but she really wanted to get out on her bike! A few minutes after hanging up she rang through again: shook loose her company and was getting ready to hit the road too! YES! :-)

Knowing that this upcoming weekend was the Great Finger Lakes Bike Tour (not too late to join in the fun...! www.southerntierbicycleclub.org/fing
erlakestour.html
) I wanted to rack up some more miles and feel better prepared for cycling 'round Watkins Glen, Seneca & Keuka Lakes.

We enjoyed some bike talk along the way, kicking around ideas for future rides, bike gear we wanted but couldn't afford...lol and the upcoming GFLBT and Heritage Tour the weekend after. I was debating whether or not to consider tackling the century ride around Seneca Lake on Sat. June 11th as it was so early in the cycling season, the route is much hillier than what we had last Sept. in NJ and I wasn't sure if I was ready. She did a good job of nudging me: "You KNOW you can do it. Maybe not as well as you might at the end of the season, but just think how well getting a century under your belt NOW will help you later!"

Sometimes I just gotta get out of my own way...lol!

Dealt with a pretty strong headwind on our way northbound after a stretching water break in Great Bend, good to build our skills, right? :-) Practiced a few standing climbs here and there. It was good to find our mutual cycling pace quickly became very complimentary just as it had been last year.

She went back to the Big Splash festival as we returned to Binghamton and I headed home as it was heading for 7 and I didn't want it getting too dark.

Less than 5 miles from home. Isn't that what they say about auto accidents...most of 'em happen right near one's home?

The lane striping for cyclists on upper Front St. northbound where it T's off with Route 12A is very frustrating as the cycling lane is of course on the far right-hand side. But then there's the right turn lane for cars. What's a cyclist to do when one wants to go straight and not turn? Well, they simply stop the far right cycling lane striping back before the intersection and voila! Paint a bike lane at the traffic light IN BETWEEN the straight and right-turn lanes.

So how does one get there? While turning to my left to eye-ball oncoming traffic to see if anyone was coming up the right turn lane so I could cross into the bike lane I inadvertently zigged my bike into the curb.

Yikes! Seeing a fall in the making I saw a sign on the side of the road and grabbed one of the posts holding up the sign and sorta just slammed into THAT instead of the ground. Saved my knee from major road rash, but twisted my thumb and still scraped up my shoulder, etc. Bike was okay other than the handlebars getting knocked a bit off "true." Hobbled on home for those final 5 miles. Hello Bacitracin, my old buddy! Unlike Wily Coyote who bounces back good as new in the next frame, I'm going to need some mending this week.

Passing on cycling today. Going to the fitness center to work out the kinks. Hated to do this as I may get rained out the rest of the week and I want to keep cycling to be at my best for this upcoming weekend!

Guess I'm just going to have to revert to STOPPING at this intersection, getting OFF the bike and walking across and then getting on. At least until I get a mirror of some sort which can improve my visibility.

What us cyclists will put ourselves through...! But yep: every lump, bump & scrape: the joys of cycling is still worth it!

Have a SPARKED week everyone!

Don

ps...keeping track of my totals: Today's 52 mile ride puts me right up to 398 miles so far for the season!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYATLAST 7/11/2011 11:04AM

    Great save! I'm glad a dose of Bacitracin and a break was all you needed.

Having a buddy to ride with is not to be taken lightly!

NOW, to go read the end of the story.

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ZELLAZM 6/10/2011 5:09AM

    Just seeing this today, Friday, and hoping that you've bounced back and healed up in time for a great weekend!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/7/2011 2:25PM

    Ouch.

I suppose what kayakers say about rapids could also apply to cyclists at intersections:

"It's better to walk the (drop) and wish you hadn't than the other way around."

Feel better soon.

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JCORYCMA 6/7/2011 2:01PM

    398 miles!! Awesome! You may not be quite WC but still great for a gentlemen "our age" lol! emoticon

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JLITT62 6/7/2011 11:18AM

    Glad it wasn't any worse than that!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 6/7/2011 8:26AM

    Ouch, sorry to hear about your boo boo and glad you weren't hurt too badly, nice save by grabbing the pole - great, quick thinking. I love reading your bike adventures. You totally exude enthusiasm !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 6/6/2011 8:08PM

    Ow!! I love reading about your biking adventures, but the ending to this one was not so great... I guess smacking into a sign is better than smacking into the ground?? I hope you heal rapidly - I have no doubt you'll be back on both wheels in no time!

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LADYGWEN25 6/6/2011 6:46PM

    glad you're ok! that is a major OUCH!

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KINSBAILE 6/6/2011 3:28PM

    I'm glad you're okay! Sorry you ran into a sign!

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IMSMILEY88 6/6/2011 2:50PM

    Sorry to hear about your fall! But, the rest of the day sounds beautiful!

Here in TX, it seems biking season is more from Jan-Apr. Not much going on right now! I am getting out at least once a week for 10-13 miles. I can't wait to train starting in January, though. That's when I feel I'll become a 'real' cyclist! There is a century in August, but probably 100 degrees & no local long rides. Oh, well!

Enjoy your rides! And, rest up from that fall!

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MARTY728 6/6/2011 2:40PM

    Interesting blog to read. Sorry about your mishap! Hope you heal painlessly and quickly. emoticon

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KLASSIE 6/6/2011 2:18PM

    I began reading your blog because your title intrigued me, but I kept reading because I was truly in awe. I don't ride and I'm always aware when sharing the road with cyclists since you seem so vulnerable, yet so daring. Sorry you got hurt and will have to hang up your saddle for a minute, but I know you'll be back on soon. Good luck with the race.

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TREVUG 6/6/2011 2:10PM

    That's the scariest part of cycling. Having to deal with cars ans bad layouts. Glad you're okay. As an expert klutz I recommend you get the kinks out. emoticon

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CANBDONE 6/6/2011 1:58PM

    So glad you're ok! My friend has lost 67 pounds and was on a 30 mile bike excursion. She went off the road and fell after 25 miles...a badly sprained ankle but not broken. She now says she will only use her stationary bike. I hope she is just joking...I'll have to direct her to your blogs so that the bike bug will bite her again!

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RSILVERSEA 6/6/2011 1:36PM

    I've often thought about riding while wrapped in bubble wrap.

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GIRANIMAL 6/6/2011 1:26PM

    Oh no! You seem to be in good spirits despite your mishap, so at least that's a good sign. emoticon The last time I mangles my ankles (stupid pedals) in a fall, I was not as chipper. In fact, I called my BF to come get me and the bike, and I was only four blocks from home! LOL Of course, I had also jammed the handlebars right into my chest and felt like I could barely breathe, but hey, like you said, I sure got right back on that sucker in a couple of days though. emoticon

I'm so glad the rest of your day and riding were perfectly lovely. Sounds idyllic, actually.

I hope you iced those bruises!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VARMINT3 6/6/2011 12:34PM

    OUCH! Hope you're feeling better!

That sounds like a really bad intersection, but for a horrid cycling road, the road we take to my ILs house in PA is a 2 lane paved road about as narrow as you can make 2 lanes, with unpaved shoulders, no white lines, etc. Passing a large truck even in a small car is no treat, and people drive crazy on this little twisty road. And there are "Share the Road" signs all over the place - I'm sorry, but if I were a cyclist I'd stay off that road (I'd haul my bike somewhere more reasonable to ride if I had to take that road) because I sure don't want to literally "become the road"!

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TOOTHFUL99 6/6/2011 12:32PM

    Sorry to hear about your fall. Hope the fun from the rest of the day outweighed the pain! lol



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FRECKS96 6/6/2011 12:14PM

    Sounds like a great ride until the end. Sorry you got a little banged up and I hope you recover quickly.

I'm quickly learning how poorly many of our roads are designed for cyclists. Good luck this weekend!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 6/6/2011 11:56AM

    I'm sorry to hear about your injury, I'm glad you are ok in the long run. I'm very impressed with the mileage you have, wow!

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CRAVINGLIFE 6/6/2011 11:39AM

    Well, I'm sorry for the mishap but glad you lived to tell about it and were able to make it home. And that it happened at the end of your day and didn't ruin the whole trip!

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L*I*T*A* 6/6/2011 11:04AM

    what a wonderful way to spend part of your weekend....
blessings and hugs.............lita

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DAISYBELL6 6/6/2011 10:46AM

    Ouch! But it sounds like you had a great time cycling!

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REDSHOES2011 6/6/2011 10:44AM

    Signs make a person say ouch, just as much as kissing pavement..
emoticonHope you feel better soon..
xx
Red
(I just got given a 21 gear bike and I swear I can't find all the gears as yet, I am dreading accidents lol)

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MRDPOLING 6/6/2011 10:27AM

    I would strongly advise you to avoid falling, smashing into and otherwise impacting hard objects with your body.

hehehehe!

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VEEJAY3 6/6/2011 10:10AM

    Gosh, what a great DAY you had!!!
And I'm soooo glad there was a sign there to save your knee ... mine is still kinda mangled from a wreck over two years ago. But I know thumbs don't heal very fast, either. I just try to stay off roads whenever i can; Denver has over 800 miles of bike paths, so I let the 2000-pound behemoths have their pavement, bike lanes or no.

There are a really awkward and dangerous underpasses even on my trail system, though. How about we print up t-shirts and run for King and Queen of the Universe, and we can declare the earth bike-friendly and off-limits to motorized vehicles!!??? Do you have any idea how many problems that would solve? Energy crisis: over. Obesity problem: over. Global warming: on the downslide. Road rage: outta here. Community apathy: nope -- everyone's out biking alongside their neighbors.

Gosh -- this is SUCH a great idea!
emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 10:11:30 AM

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Got My Granny Back!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

After a weekend of woefully late spring cleaning (sans cycling...!) and a week full of RAIN last week it was WONDERFUL to get out on my bike for my commute today! A cool, foggy upper 60's ride this morning with plans of getting to my local bike shop after work to see if they could tweak the front derailler so that I could shift and get my "Granny" back!

I knew it would be a hot one...and it was! 90 degrees on the bank thermometer!

The trick to minimizing sweating when cycling?

Don't STOP!

I turn into a human water sprinkler then...lol!

The bike shop tweaked the front derailler...cable was slack. Managed to pick up a flat, unbeknownst to me, just before arriving at the shop...a tack of all things! Also I finally remembered to bring along a gift I received some time ago: A Schwinn 17 function Bike Computer:

www.amazon.com/Schwinn-SW654-6PK-17-
Function-Computer/dp/B000DZD3FQ


I didn't trust myself to be able to install it properly so I had them take care of that at the shop. Grand total service bill: $10. Worth it to have things done properly. From the Amazon reviews it looks like I made a wise choice!

Now I can pay more attention to my speed while cycling! I've already found out that I go faster than I think I do on the open flats...often topping 20 mph. Plus, I've ALWAYS wanted to know how fast I go down this hill I have to travel each time I go to / from work. It's a manageable climb, but not exactly a breeze! And the SWOOP of joy down the other side is always a sweet pay-off!

So how fast is this downhill...? 38 mph...twice a day every time I commute! Been faster (near 50 mph), but to have this at my doorstep is kinda cool.

We'll see how this bike computer thingy goes...who knows maybe I'll get into the numbers enough to be lured into the world of GPS...? (Doubt it...lol!)

Took the long way home...UP the River Road hill AND the hill to my home...climb baby climb!

Did I mention SWEAT?!?! EVERYTHING I was wearing was drenched! DW thought I'd had an "accident" on the way home...lol!

No riding tomorrow, long day, but Thurs. / Fri. look good for commutes...no precip and chilling to a frosty 70 some degrees! :-)

Today's ride racked up 26 miles bringing my 2 month totals for April and May up to 313 miles. Not too shabby...considering all the rainy day washouts!

Make it a SPARKED week everyone!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMSMILEY88 6/6/2011 2:53PM

    I love my little bike computer. And, I bought a GPS watch for running, so I use that while riding, too! I live seeing how far/fast I'm going!

Enjoy your new toy! And, wish we'd get some rain down here! So, so dry!

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DAD2GETFIT 6/4/2011 9:28PM

    emoticon

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VARMINT3 6/3/2011 12:16PM

    I had a little gadget that clipped on my handlebars on the last bike I had that showed speed & distance & thought that was the bomb! And that little doohickey was probably about 3x as much as the Amozon price on yours, Don. Bike computers have come a long way since then!


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NIKANN7493 6/2/2011 7:39PM

    Awesome job on the ride and the Computer! I have one as well, wireless though. I love it so far! It's a Bell computer... can have my avg speed, top speed, temp, time, all sorts of info. I just love riding around town... easy calorie burner!

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LADYGWEN25 6/2/2011 1:22PM

    awesome job Don! I"m catching up to you on Mileage! to bad we couldn't make it a monthly "goal" in the group... I've gotten Nicole back into bikeing.. we did 20 miles yesterday..WHOOT! and we're going to do a duatholon this fall... I think you could do it with us easy peasy! :)


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ZELLAZM 6/1/2011 5:20PM

    Great workouts you're getting! WTG! Don't forget to hydrate!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/1/2011 9:39AM

    Fastest I've ever gone is 44 mph down a hill, loaded with camping gear, in my 20s.

Not only can you get bike computers that do GPS, but you can also get ones that listen to a heart rate monitor strap too!

Looking forward to the day my surgeon and PT give me the "all clear" for cycling outdoors again...

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JLITT62 6/1/2011 8:05AM

    I'd say that's awesome considering all the rain we've had. Numbers can be motivating!

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BAM-MA 6/1/2011 7:55AM

    Glad to hear about your Granny!!

I am SO jealous, reading about all you guys that can bike to work!

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BILL60 6/1/2011 7:29AM

    Don:
Sounds super!! Talk about the ride you're doing in a week or so. Sounds like you're really looking forward to it.

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FRECKS96 6/1/2011 6:59AM

    Great job! It was brutal yesterday afternoon but I know how much you've been wanting to ride. I'll have to stop over to the shop and have my ride tweaked. I love local business.

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MOMAAGAINX2 6/1/2011 6:21AM

    Human water sprinkler???? Too funny I think I am one of those Rainbird spriklers on the treadmill or elliptical beast-spitting and sputtering with sweat pouring so great analogy!! Keep up with that biking 50 mph would scare me to death on a bike. emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 5/31/2011 11:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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XENA1956 5/31/2011 11:03PM

    Great numbers. Sounds like you are having fun too!

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MEGA_MILES 5/31/2011 10:29PM

    Awesome!! I can't believe the speeds your reaching. I certainly don't have the courage/experience for that yet. I tend to ride the brakes. Call me a wuss. emoticon

Ride on brother, the weather is finally with us.

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MRDPOLING 5/31/2011 10:27PM

    Yeah I went for a walk late tonight after it cooled down some and I still ended up totally soaked.

Love the idea of a speedometer on a bike. I know on stationary bikes I use it to push myself to go a little faster.

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ACIMPEGGY 5/31/2011 10:11PM

    Don, YOU are a winner! emoticon

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JCORYCMA 5/31/2011 9:56PM

    Wow! You just continue to be so inspiring! emoticon

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