Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 8 & 9

Day 8 was from Toronto to Oshawa. It was a bit trafficy & slow to get out of the city, as expected. We didnt leave until after 1, and the storms had passed & sun was beating down.
Stopped at West Rouge beach for lunch. The water was a little too chilly to swim but it was nice to relax in the sand.
Debating whether to stay on the winding, hard-to-follow-at-times Waterfront Trail or go to the main roads. Choosing the main roads, they turned out not to be as quiet as anticipated, so we had to hop between shouldered road, scary noshoulder road & sidewalk. It was pretty hilly but we made it into Oshawa & camped at the quiet Darlington Provincial Park.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 7

Dreary, misty 30 miles into Toronto. In typical out-of-country travel, I lost my wallet, but as we rolled into downtown Toronto, they were giving away bottles of Carlsbad. That & jg bailing me out/being really nice helped ease the wallet stress.
Got to wander around the Younge St. area in the evening in am. Had delicious beet salad, sautéed greens & mushroom/blue cheese pizza @ the BeerBistro & pushing on to Oshawa today!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 6

" After resting a day we put in almost 90 miles from Niagra Falls, around Lake Ontario to Oakville, Canada. Nice flatish ride on bike paths, bike lanes, and quiet roads. After some bad directions​ to the beer store we missed camping at the provincial​ park and had to get a hotel. Warm shower, beer, and storage wars on tv. Tomorrow a short trip to Toronto."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 4- Canada!

We left Evangola State Park, NY yesterday morning (early even! 9:30) and headed north on a nice lake-side road, it was hot already but there was a nice breeze off of the lake. About an hour in, JG got a flat and large storms rolled in as he started to change the tire. We stood in the rain for a while then a nice man & his 2 adorable daughters let us sit in their garage for the next 1.5 hrs or so as the storms passed.
The day cleared up, and we headed into Buffalo about 25 miles total. There were many city paths in Buffalo, though not well marked, so after an hour or so of JG trying to navigate, we decided to get a room & call it a day. Then all of our technology died, and more storms were headed in, so we headed to the Pearl St. Brewery. There were no available rooms in Buffalo, and it was 25 miles of path to Niagara Falls.
We left Buffalo after 5:30 and got across the border with no problems and into Niagara just before sunset. The path goes right up the Niagara Falls parkway, so you come right in on the back of the falls. It was really amazing. We had to pretty much pass through all the tourist overlooks on the water to get to a cross road to head to the hotel, made a left, climbed a huge hill and made a left onto the hotel street and it was much different an expected. we thought it would be an older, run-down type of town, but there's every large chain, starting it off with Margariettaville. We got our room & found a quiet Italian restaurant for dinner. We're going to take the day off today to get some actual maps, a helmet (of course I forgot mine at home) etc...

This summer, the I am raising funds with Battelle of the St. James Cancer Center and riding 180 miles for the cause. Please support my effort at

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 3

72 miles, a good nap in the middle, sunburn & quinoa feast for dinner. Luckily found a quiet camp spot in Evangola State park, NY.

Upstate ny

view full image
"37 in, 37 to go. Bit of a headwind today & mild rollers. Noisy camp neighbors made for little sleep last night..."
(taken at Barcelona Harbor)

NW PA wine country this am

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Camping in Erie near the peninsula.

view full image
"Camp for the evening. 60 miles in today, much easier than yesterday. It stormed last night which dropped the temps below 100. Hit a little snag about 20 min out- bridge on 19 was out, but found a dirt road detour on Old Perry Highway. Temps were in the mid 80s until mid afternoon when it hit 90 again. Ran into other folks who are riding a similar route the next few days & were on their 40th day out. The campground is yet another insane ground catering to RVs & drunk college kids in tents on the beach. We need to work on our campground finding skills. Delicious quinoa/TVP blend for dinner again, with veggie dogs & Oberon"
(taken at Sara Coyne Campground)

Rolling into Erie

view full image
"Made it to Erie. Couldn't track down a Green Monster, but the Yuengling is cold. About 60 miles today. Much easier than yesterday...."

Day 2 recap

Due to some technology issues, posts will be Fewer than anticipated, and short, for now...
It's was our first day out riding we caught a ride to Morraine State park and rode to Lake Willhelm today.  About 42 miles total.  We had originally hoped to do about 65 a day, but the heat was pretty harsh.  For a long stretch outside of Mercer there was fresh asphalt, around 3:00, so heat was coming from both directions.  The campsite we're staying at is VERY religious, so of course it started to storm when we got here...


Included with camping fees

view full image
"Complimentary fly swatter..."
(taken at God's Family Paradise)

Camping around Lake Wilhern, PA

view full image

"Day 2 of riding begins"
(taken at God's Family Paradise)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bike Camping (3)


Today's tidbit on bike camping will be & sweet. There are a few items I would like to review (new sleeping pad, riding in 103 degree weather, etc) but those will be best left for post-trip.
Small items that will improve riding happiness:

A way to read your route. Now the below pic is from a 40 miler, so no large maps were involved. But I definitely recommend an atlas of sorts. In the past, we've relied on the trail maps and our phones, but have learned that it's much easier to have a detailed map of the surrounding area too.
Route Holder
Sunglasses: Obviously protection from the sun and looking good, but to keep out bugs and my biggest enemy, pollen. The Adventure Cycling site also recommends them as it takes a large amount of energy for you to squint in the sun, which adds up over long days. And I have a fancy pair of prescription polarized amber lenses that makes seeing at dusk much easier.
Bottle Opener: A good carabiner works here too, but there are likely to be many tasty beers and Jarritos on your adventure...
Bike Camping (2)
Bike Camping (1)
or you can click through our 6 days on the Allegheny Passage here.
Happy Riding!
Read other posts on:
Bike Camping 1, Bike Camping 2, Bike Camping 3, 2011 trip pack list, 2011 12-day trip from Pittsburgh to north of Kingston, Ontario, 6 day autumn trip on the Allegheny Passage

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bike trip planning

sorting/weeding out the mass amounts of gear...
Read other posts on: Bike Camping 1, Bike Camping 2, Bike Camping 3, 2011 trip pack list, 2011 12-day trip from Pittsburgh to north of Kingston, Ontario, 6 day autumn trip on the Allegheny Passage

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Music at Rumba

Moon High Record Release at Rumba Cafe:
Nathan Snell and the Country Sound:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bike Camping (2)

So yesterday I gave a little overview of bikes, and today we'll chat clothing.
There is a whole market of cycling specific clothing out there, and the majority of it can be ignored. (1) You aren't racing. You don't need super sleek materials, shirts with ill-fitting zippers and grippy parts. (2) You're riding more than your beach cruiser to the grocery store. Clothes catering to this crowd usually have huge chamois and overly colorful. (3) You're going to get off of your bike and go into stores/shops/etc. i.e. interact with society.
You will benefit from some simple wool or synthetic clothing though. For fall rides, I love Lole lightweight ski/snowboard pants and Patagonia makes a similar pair. One pair I have has elastic cord at the ankle that you can cinch down and the other has a zipper, so when unzipped they look like regular pants. JG likes MUSA bottoms which you can get through Rivendell. In terms of cycling shorts, JG occasionally wears a pair of padded wool shorts from Ibex and I ordered a pair from Icebreakers to test out. I'll take those a pair of triathlon weight shorts and either another pair of tri shorts, or Terry knickers, depending on the temps. The tri-weight shorts really can't be beat for 90 degree, humid riding, but I'm much more comfortable in knickers if I don't have over-shorts on.
The convertible jacket by Pearl Izumi is my most useful cycling article. It's the perfect weight and the sleeves unzip & fit nicely in the back pocket, and the Marmot Precip has treated me well for 10+ years of riding, climbing and hiking. IMGP4096
I have struggled to find an appropriate warm-weather riding shirt though. I've been through about a dozen Pearl Izumi shirts, and I'm not sure who does their product development, but it's not women who ride bicycles. I love Ibex long sleeve shirts, but theirs (and Icebreakers) don't seem to be long enough in the short-sleeve version. I have a few Icebreaker tops on the ways, so I'll review those later. The best shirts are plain little tank tops, though they usually have some cotton in them and no back pockets. I think I'm going to wear a Homage and may cut the sleeves off... Another great riding staple of mine is a little black dress from Patagonia. It is perfect as it is lower cut yet not revealing and the material is a bit heavier, but wicks away moisture amazingly. Plus it looks good off the bike.
Footwear. Now you're footwear is going to be specific to your pedal choice, but in general I tend to think that you'd look for a shoe with a stiff sole. I ride with Crank Brothers pedals, therefore need a shoe with a cleat. I get a discount on Pearl Izumi shoes, so wear those. For typical commuting I wear the mens Enduro II, but grind out sections of the bottom around the cleat so you can walk without the cleat hitting the floor yet still clip in. Remember, you will probably be interacting with society and don't want to be the Fred that click/clacks around the store. If I didn't clip in, I'd go for a pair of Chrome shoes- I have the Kursks and enjoy them. JG wears simple Vans slips-ons, though has worn toe covers in the past to add some cushioning from his cages. We both prefer wool socks, and if necessary, Gore windproof socks, which are the 2nd more useful piece of gear.
There are a few items that are easily overlooked yet can greatly increase your trip happiness. A lightweight pair of gloves and Prana headband to act as an earwarmer. Even in the warmest climates, the evening and morning can get chilly. And if you don't plan on wearing a helmet, a little hat helps in both warm and cool temps.
Early morning ride to the BART on the Xtracycle

Read other posts on Bike Camping:
Bike Camping 1Bike Camping 3, 2011 trip pack list, 2011 12-day trip from Pittsburgh to north of Kingston, Ontario, 6 day autumn trip on the Allegheny Passage

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bike camping (1)

Count down 1 wk to bikecation. I was hoping to do a little series of posts about bike camping leading up to the trip, and though that didn't happen, I'll try and squeeze a few in over the next couple days.
I'm not really sure why bike camping and touring isn't more popular these days. I've know many folks to hike the AT for months, etc., yet riding from point A to point B is incomprehensible. When we rode from Pgh to DC, people were flabbergasted that we rode our bikes (SLOWLY) there. And many of these people were seasoned Ironmen or ultramarathoners who beat cancer.
Anyways. Bike touring is fun and easy. You pretty much just need a bike, a rack and your typical camping gear. Though customized bikes and carefully selected gear can make this more comfortable...
Bike type: Though any bike will do, one that fits you well, in which you can sit a bit more upright is more desirable. My commuter bike is a Surly Crosscheck with an Xtracycle attachment, so that's what I'll take. A front bag is essential for holding a camera, handkerchief and wallet. This trip, I'm going to take a bit bigger of a front bag, which will hold my DSLR, 2 lenses and easily pops off to carry around. The Mountainsmith cube system is one of my favorite storage products all-around, and the bags fit nicely in the back bags of the xtracycle. With anticipated temperatures in the high 80's and high humidity, we're thinking of taking along the Sixer cooler too. Though it will add some bulk, the idea of cool hummus and carrots for lunch is much more appealing than warm peanut butter on celery or a clif bar- it is vacation after all...
JG typically has ridden his Rivendell with rear panniers (mid pic, orange), though will be taking his custom Vanilla with front/rear panniers and specifically designed for touring (bottom pic, blue).
I think that tires are the key here. I got 2 flats on the Tow path)(I only count it as one, as we didn't check to for the giant thorn, but found it on the 2nd flat). I've always ridden Continentials, and usually run them at a bit lower pressure than recommended. I'm not sure what JG rides, but we've really only had 3 flats over the last five years and have put in a good amount of miles.
IMGP4400 P1010027
Packing for this trip has been a bit challenging. I find it's easier to pack for colder weather, and the balance of what to bring/what to leave is a little more important since we're a little more outta shape for this trip, a little heavier, haven't been riding distances, so the mental state will be a little tough too. I'm going to give just using a sleeping bag liner a go, an actual pillow (usually just use clothes in a stuff sack), and beside clothing, that's really the only change from a typical trip.
There are a few items that are easily overlooked yet can greatly increase your trip happiness. A handkerchief/hankie or small microfiber towel in your front bag (or somewhere handy), a head lamp and plastic bag to cover your seat are three such items. Tune in tomorrow for WHAT TO WEAR!
Read other post on:
Bike Camping 2, Bike Camping 3, 2011 trip pack list, 2011 12-day trip from Pittsburgh to north of Kingston, Ontario, 6 day autumn trip on the Allegheny Passage

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inception Alleycat

So I didn't race, but I took a few pics. My lightmeter still has a mind of it's own, so most of the dusk-end-of-race pics didn't make it. You can see the whole set here. I think that I got a few decent candid shots of folks, though I wish I would have shot at a checkpoint or two, or actually raced. There weren't many ladies and it looked really fun.
Going over the manifests:
Planning their routes:
Lemond Start:
Finish & awards:
Hosted by Seagull Bags, who gave out some pretty amazing prizes: