Metal Bike Commuter

Weekend Ride!

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 30, 2008
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I added about 30 miles this weekend, which brings my monthly total for June 2008 to 120 miles.  That is double the 60 miles I rode in May, so I’m hoping July will add another 60 miles to finish at 180 miles or so.  My yearly total is at 180 miles, coincidentally, though I think it may be more as my odometer rolled to 300, as I have ridden on occasion before I started bike commuting.

I doubt I’ll get to ride today, so I’ll leave my June total at 180.  Not bad for a newbie.  Though it could be better.  I hope to have 300 miles completed in August.  This will require a lot more weekend riding, which is fine.

Unfortunately, I missed the June Morristown Critical Mass.  From the pictures that Kendra posted, it appears I missed a good time.


14 Miles mid-afternoon:

I started out crossing 46 towards the local park.  Rode past Gardner Field and hung a right on a road I haven’t noticed before.  Never got the name, but I can find it again.  This was a deadend, and my curiosity got to me, so I rode to the end.  Happily, I found a bike trail at the end (score!).  The trail ran for maybe 2 miles and spilled out onto another road.  Since I was wondering aimlessly, I had no idea where I was, and cared not either.  I eventually made my way to Meriden Road in Rockaway.  This was a picturesque country road with little traffic, but a ton of hills, if I can recall correctly.

I eventually made my way down to Rockaway Valley Road, which runs into Diamond Spring.  Took a detour back in town at Hepner Park.  This is a pretty little park with a small pond, and some dirt trails through the woods.  I got lost (again) when the trail inexplicably ends in the middle of the woods.  I rode down to a creek and noticed a huge white tent off in the distance with a ton of laughter from children.  Turned it around and proceeded to get attacked by these nasty little bugs with wings that are shaped like little diamonds.  Yuck.

Saturday was really hot.  When I rolled back home, I was spent.  Funny how hills and trails can do that to you.



16 Miles – Mid afternoon

Though I tacked on a couple extra miles on Saturday, it was a lot easier.  I stuck to the roads.  Check out the route that I mapped.  I believe I got most of it, though I did a few laps around my neighborhood just to bring my odometer over 300 miles.

Sunday 6/30 Ride
Find more Bike Rides in Denville, New Jersey


Short Commute?

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 26, 2008
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I’m getting to the point where I think my 6 miles each way is too short of a commute.  Without much effort, it is taking me about 30 to 40 minutes.  This is without having a proper commuter setup (no saddles, etc.).  My fat tires probably slow me down a bit, but I love the smooth ride the front suspension enables.  Besides, I am usually running into some sort of debris on the side of the road.

I’ve been riding for over a month now averaging 3 days a week at 36 miles.  If I can ride everyday, that would mean 60 miles.  Maybe instead of trying to add extra miles, I can try to ride everyday for a few solid weeks to see if I notice a physical payoff.

While I’m lucky to live close to work, I think it is true that those who average 20+ miles a day are happiest.  I guess I should try for some weekend riding on trails.

Anyway, nothing unusual or interesting to discuss, just logging my miles:

Weekly Total: 18.

Long time.

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 24, 2008
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It feels like months have gone by since I last rode.  In actuality, it has only been a few days.  Today was probably the easiest ride I’ve had since beginning my tenure as a bicycle commuter.

Oh yeah, not that you care, but my wife says my bottom has more “lift”.  Heh.  Riding just over a month will do that to you, I guess.  Now, if I could only work on getting my 6 pack back in order.  Seems to me, they disappeared about 5 years ago and have slowly dug their way under a mountain of flab.

I had no time for weekend riding last weekend.  Living Sacrifice was playing, and it is the duty of all true metalheads to mosh whenever Living Sacrifice is in town.  I fulfilled that requirement, and thus, my body is still paying for it three days later.  You see, Living Sacrifice happens to be the best metal band in the history of the universe.  Sorry, this is fact, not opinion.

The day is just dragging.  I am looking forward to riding home to the wife and kid.

Thunder and Lightning

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 19, 2008
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Yesterday’s ride home was a soaker.  Oh man was I drenched.  The first mile was nice and dry, but after a few minutes I noticed some sprinkles.  Hustle it up.  As I got further along, the rain started pouring.  Traffic was stopped for most of the ride home.  So those sitting in the comfort of their vehicles had the pleasure of seeing a crazy man huffing and puffing his way through a rain storm up a steep hill.  I even passed my brother inlaw who was driving home from work.  I gave him a quick wave but I don’t think he noticed me.  That’s fine, I was having fun in the rain.

Then the thunder came.  At first it was a distant rumble.  No big deal.  Yeah right.  The closer to my house, the harder it rained.  My peripheral vision noticed flashing off in the distance.  My heart started to pound.  Crack!  Major explosion that almost knocked me off my bicycle.  I did a quick left off the busy street into an office parking lot hoping this would be a shortcut home.  Nope, 8 foot fence lined across the parking lot prevented me from making the early escape.  So I hit the sidewalk going against traffic, desperately trying to run from the storm that wanted to eat me alive.

I finally cut through the back of the A&P and rode through like a banshee.  I couldn’t believe how inspiring a little thunder and lightning is when riding a bike.  Every second I thought was surely my last.  If the lightning didn’t get me, an oblivious driver would.

When I pulled into my driveway, I was wet, exchausted, and my heart rate was at a record high.  I slowly brought my bicycle down through the basement hatchway.  Then, solace.  Peace.  There were two towels laid out where I store my bike.  My wife was kind enough to provide those for me ahead of time realizing my bike and I would be drenched with rain.  I first dried the bike off, taking care to remove any grime from the frame, tires, chain, and gears.  With the bike almost rust free now, I can’t afford to have one storm wreck the entire bike undoing all my hard work.



On the way in this morning, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a large Iced Coffee (just milk) and an egg and cheese on a bagel.  Yumm.  Sorta.  I ran into a former co-worker who thought I was “going green”.  Of course, I then jumped in to defend myself, that I was indeed not going green, but doing this for my own personal selfish reasons.  Maybe I’ll just nod and smile the next time someone yells “Go Green!”.  I’m probably not as concerned about the environment as I should be.  Heck, I’m a libertarian for pete’s sake.

I dumped the Iced Coffee into my water bottle and continued on towards work.

Close call!

I can’t remember if it happened this morning or yesterday afternoon, but I had a close call that had me swerving around a bad driver.  She was stuck in traffic driving a big red van (or SUV) and for some reason decided to pull into the side lane while I was going about 15 mphs.  I first swerved left and then right, made it pass her.  I think I hollered “HEY!”  Yeah, “hey!” is about as creative I get when I have a small heart attack.

Here’s hoping for an uneventful ride home tonight.

Weekly Total: 18 miles (after tonight’s ride.  Yes, I’m counting my chickens before the eggs are hatched).

Lazy Week and er, sick.

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 18, 2008
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So far, I have yet to ride the bike this week.  I was home sick on Monday, recuperating on Tuesday, and here it is Wednesday.  I stayed up late watching my Celtics dismantle the Lakers in grand fashion.  No way was I able to get up early enough for the ride into work.  So my wife drove me to work with the bike stuffed in the trunk.  (Literally.  I had to use some twine to tie down the trunk door, and halfway down my street, the twine snapped and the trunk popped open.  I pulled over and fixed the twine. We were off).

Unfortunately, I sit now and see rain dumping down grinning at me in a perfectly annoying way.  Thanks.  I think I may have to suck it up and get wet.  My wife told me she can tell I need to ride.  My grumpiness is starting to reach a high factor.

So, rain or shine, I will be on the bike tonight (well, except if there is a thunderstorm).

48 Miles This Week

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 13, 2008
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So the ride back home tonight will mean I have ridden 4 out of 5 workdays to work without placing a key in an ignition.  This totals 48 miles, and I plan on riding some more tomorrow.  (At least when I can pull away from all the house work my wife has ordered me to do).

I noticed there is still an excessive amount of rust on my chain and gears.  Not as bad when I last cleaned it, but I apparently didn’t remove enough.  I think I will purchase some WD40 this weekend, take the chain off and give it a nice thorough cleaning.  If you don’t attack rust early, it will begin to eat away at the frame, etc.

(While I like my bike, I am “ploying” for a new one – gotta sell the wife, ya know?)

My wife is 8 mos pregnant.  We have a 2 year old daughter.  We’re both in our 20s, so we’re healthy enough.  We have been pondering the prospect of bike trailers for our younguns.  I want my kids to grow up loving bikes as I did when I was just a kiddo.  My main concern is safety.  Having never used one, I don’t know how this affects my center of gravity, how aware the average driver is of these, and how comfortable the different types are for children.

No pictures today, though I plan on carrying around my camera all next work shooting away liberally.  Enjoy the weekend, ride some trails.

Skipped Today’s Ride

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 11, 2008
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No ride today. Legs are cramped, and I am beat. Speaking of beat, check out the Hartford riders BeatBikeBlog

I grew up in Hartford County, in Enfield, CT. Enfield is a town of about 45,000 people. Unfortunately, the developers throughout the 80s and 90s built a bunch of strip malls taking away the small town feel. Still, Enfield isn’t a terrible place, as it has a nice ice cream joint, Collins Creamery. Seriously, this place is worth every penny. Their phrase is, “On the Quiet Side of Town.” This is true, not too much development yet, with rolling farms. You can even check out the cows that provide the milk for the ice cream you’re eating.

On a more local note, I found the following folks out of Morris County (I’m not the only one!): Morristown Pedal Pushers. They are heavily involved with all things Morristown and bikes. The last Friday of each month, a Critical Mass is assembled. I can’t wait to attend my first one! Critical Mass Morristown.


The ride home Tuesday night was fine. No pictures this time around. A recreational rider destroyed me up the hill in Mt. Tabor. Yes, she happens to be about 80 lbs lighter than me, and was riding a road bike. Me with my heavy back pack, 40 extra pounds of weight, and the thick knobby tires must have been quite the site during the hot summer heat.

This morning I saw a few commuters, one on the sidewalk, the other on the correct side of the ride, both not wearing helmets :(.

Anyway, have a good day folks.

That Dang Heat

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 10, 2008
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Phew.  It is boiling over here in North Jersey.  This morning felt like I was riding a bike through a large bio-dome set on “sauna”.  I took my ice cold shower after arriving, and it still wasn’t enough to cool down.  I think I’ll try to take hot days like this as slow as possible.

On the way home last night, I took a few shots with my camera phone (grainy at 1.3 MP).  Unfortunately, since my camera phone is a piece of garbage, this was actually the best I could do:

Traffic on Route 202

The traffic runs all the way to Morristown usually, but I head North on 53 near the Morris Plains Train Station.  The next batch of traffic usually happens on 53 North through Mt. Tabor in Parsippany.

After last night’s ride home, I was spent.  Probably due to the fact that I didn’t drink enough water yesterday.  Well, I’m trying to make up for that today.

Weekly Total: 18 Miles.

Democraticitis and Republicanasitic

Posted in politics by metaljaybird on June 9, 2008

I am an odd bike commuter, I guess. Simply because I am not an environmentalist, and I like my money in my bank, not the government’s. My wife and I were joking the other day because we do the following:

1. Bike commute (I do).
2. Compact cars (rarely driven)
3. Community Garden (and backyard garden)
4. Cloth diapers (for the baby)

I guess we are unintentionally green. Actually, we are Ron Paul Republicans (libertarians). And I always say that my wife’s concern for the environment cancels out my lack of concern.

Anyway, I don’t ride as a statement. I ride for my health and sanity.

Hot and Sticky

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 9, 2008
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I had a fun Saturday in the extreme of the heat at 95 degrees riding around town.  Denville is a small town so everything is close, but there are some trails to explore and neighboring towns that are an easy ride away.  I really need to take some pictures of my adventures.

Anyway, I rode around Indian Lake and then cut South past the train station.  A small trail through the woods separates my neighborhood from the train station.  This is probably where all the commuters in Indian Lake walk to their houses from.  I debated riding up through Estling Lake, but didn’t gather up the nerve because this is a private community.  So I hung a left out of the train station and proceeded to Rainbow Lakes in Parsippany.

After which I decided to take it to a trail several miles away on the north end of Denville.  So I got lost while on the trails.  At this point I was dead tired.  I got home though.  Fun time, logged about 10 to 12 miles and I was completely tired.

Weekly Total: 6 Miles.

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