Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good morning

There is just something so perfect about the early morning. It is far and away my favorite time of day. It would literally make my day to stop the clock at 9 o'clock and loop those first few waking hours over and over for the remainder of the day. Groggier folks may think this is lunacy, but other morning people know exactly what I'm talking about. Everything is quiet and fresh. No one is around and the world is yours alone; there are precisely two people and one dog that make good company at this hour. The air is pleasantly chilly. My sneakers get damp with dew at the toes when I bring the dog to park. Coffee is at it's best. The light is low and shines through the trees gently. It's simply the best time of day, and maybe this clip captures some that quality.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday sun

I zipped out for a sunny Sunday morning ride, one of those chilly fall morning days. Perfect.

The Weston town common was fluttering with flags in remembrance of each life lost on Sept 11.

The Battle Road trail near Concord was bright with yellow sunflowers leaning toward the morning light.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009


A few months back we received a gift of a very nice camera, a Sony DSC-HX1. Great pictures result with minimal effort; it's the bees knees. Here are a few pictures of flowers in the yard on a rainy morning. I was experimenting with the aperture settings on close up shots. These pictures aren't hot off the press because it took me nearly three months to upload them, but they still look great.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Adios Poprad

The Lemond Poprad is in transit to a new home. The new home will be in Portland Oregon. My brother in law moved there recently after graduating college and was in search of a serviceable bike for getting around and a bit of fun too. It struck me that I wasn't riding the Poprad much anymore, mainly because it didn't fit me very well and it never felt right. Luckily, Alex is about my size, or more specifically, his proportions are just enough different from mine such that the bike fits him perfectly. Furthermore, the Poprad is a cyclocross bike which translates well into a bike for both commuting and almost any other kind of riding except racing and technical single track - it's the kind of bike you'd want if you had just one. Alex took a look at the bike during a visit and was very happy with it. Perfect! Talk about an ideal transfer of gear.

I set about sprucing up the Poprad a bit with a good scrubbing and new cables, brake pads and bar tape. I rode it a bunch in the last few weeks just to reassure myself that the bike is sound. It survived some long road rides and rougher trail runs. In fact, the bike was terrific. I hate to brag, but I did a great job putting this bike back together. It works better than ever before; perhaps I have improved my tinkering skills over the years. I'm so pleased with it that I am a little sad to see it go, but I'm reassured in that it's new owner will ride it plenty.

List of likes and dislikes on this bike for posterity:
Likes: accommodates fat tires, fenders and a rack, climbs quickly, nice 853 tubing, good road feel, Vittoria Randonneur tires, Ritchey Biomax handlebars, cantilever brakes.
Dislikes: flexy around the bottom bracket which makes trimming the front derailleur a moving target, too short a top tube for my proportions, wimpy rack mounts, unicrown fork = ughhh, cantilever brakes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Right shoe road find

The strangest things are often laying at the side of the road - I've seen a few blog entries about such oddities (thanks for the idea). Shoes are not intrinsically odd, but a single shoe in the road is odd, and that is where I found this one. Why do I care? A shoe in the road invites speculation. How did it get there? Where is the left one? Is someone walking around with a bare foot? This shoe is quite close to the gym near my office, so it's possible that it leapt out of a gym bag, maybe from someone riding in a convertible. However, the shoe is really more of a boot - not the kind of footwear that you see in the gym. That undermines my initial theory. No, I didn't pick it up. A single boot is useless and a mysteriously found boot could be a little funky for my taste. Though I wonder if it will be there tomorrow.

Friday, September 4, 2009

GPS Ride in Cutler Park

I'm fortunate in that my office is located within spitting distance of Cutler Park. Therein lay miles of trails for riding. Once you get away from the main entrances, the trails become winding narrow single track with just a few technical challenges. There are a few long raised boardwalks and some rooted sections that break it up. One of my favorite things is that you can make a nice loop of 10 or 12 miles and probably more if you explore.

The other day we took a longish lunch to go out riding, and one of us had a GPS on board to document the route. We start from the Kendrick Street entrance in Cutler Park and followed the trails several miles back to the Needham Street side which I think is basically in Dedham. This loop would be counterclockwise in the above map starting in the upper left area. A few sections were overgrown but still quite passable. (Remember to pick the greenery out of you derailleur and watch the thorns!) In the interest of time we skipped all of the trails that meander to some otherwise worthwhile shorter adjoining loops. From that end we hopped over a sidewalk along several hundred yards of busy roads (route 109 and the VFW) and then picked up the return trail in Millenium Park in West Roxbury. The section in Millenium Park is fairly unremarkable going around the hill. But it leads you back into the woods in the abutting Brook Farm reserve. This next section of trail is wide and well maintained, but still wooded; we hauled through there heading back in the general direction of Wells Ave. This pops out right down the street from where we started - loop completed.

I've been over this loop a few times. I've noticed that there may be some silent stewarts maintaining some of the trickier sections with new boards traversing water sections or cutting back the bushy spots. Thank you to whoever you are. There are also some little kickers here and there which are fun. It's definitely a great local area to explore, especially with others who may know something new about it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Project: Old Trek MTB

A while back when we moved, there was a conversation on what to do with my wife's old mountain bike. This bike had been with her for a dozen years or more. The abuse of commuting to class wore harshly on it. The handlebars were not comfortable either. She bought a nice road bike a year or two ago, and at that point I thought this bike was on it's way out.

However, there are few things I like more than a bike project. This bike was actually pretty nice and had lots of potential. So I set to sprucing it up for a good around town bike - something a little less sporty for bumbling around the neighborhood or for a quick trip to the store.

Cleaning it up and replacing the rusty bits was the first order of business. There is something extremely satisfying about stripping crumbling cable housing and attaching new set of cables to bring the brakes and derailleurs back to life. The front skewer was also a mess, and seatpost binder bold was just plain ugly....both replaced.

To make the front end more comfortable and ergonomic, I added a set of On One Mary handlebars which have a very natural hand position that's a little higher and a bit closer to the saddle. They are indeed easy on the hands and wrists.

And last but not least, I replaced the broken pedals and rusty cargo rack with a spare rack and some spare MKS pedals. The bike turned out great. It is 100% better than the dusty rusty mess I started with. I'm really excited for my wife to take it for a spin. I think she'll really like it.