Metal Bike Commuter


Longest. Ride. Ever. (For Me).

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on May 24, 2009

33 Miles

Today I set out on a mission.  To break my record, which, though I don’t remember it, I pretended is somewhere in the 20’s for mileage distance.  I can’t remember any rides longer than 25 miles since I started riding again last year.

Here are the details of the ride, with some unprofessional photographs, and the first ever Shaky Metalcommuter Video!

The Start

I started out heading down Franklin road towards the south end of Denville (or Ward 4, according to all of those political signs out on the yards right now).  This is a rural part of town with winding hilly roads, and even a couple farms.  My first stop was at the Veterans Memorial Park on Zeek Road:

This is a nice park with soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a dog park, and…a tank!

Like any red blooded American dude, I had to stop.  I love tanks.  If anyone can tell me anything about this particular model, please do.  I know next to nothing about the intricacies of the American tank.  I do know they are awesome at blowing things up.  My Specialized looked great next to it, though I was a bit worried the tank would just crush it.  Doubtful, because the Specialized is made of aluminum alloy, which sounds like Terminator.

Insane

After confronting an American tank, I swung past the local insanity asylum.  Greystone Park, in New Jersey, is a must do for all Weird NJ trekkers.  I didn’t go past the haunted building, but I did catch a sign as proof that they weren’t able to put me into the cuckoo’s nest.

I once read that the original hospital had the largest building footprint in the world until the Pentagon was constructed.  I would not recommend trespassing because you’ll get arrested.  There are cops stationed at the road entrances waiting for midnight runners.

Patriot’s Path

Eventually I ended up on Sussex Avenue in Morristown.  I finally spotted the paved portion of the Patriot’s Path.  It was a nice break from the roads, though I was confronted with more uphills later on.  This was about 3 miles, and no one was on the road.

Village City

Eventually I ended up on Washington Street in Morristown.  I didn’t stop to hang out, though.

I followed South Street down to the Loantanka Park.  I have visited this park plenty of times, and love it.  There are a few miles of paved trails, and a dirt trail that takes you through a brook a few times.  Fun, easy, and a top of the line park.

Funny, I drafted a couple newbie roadies on the way to the park.  The girl was in the lead, and the guy was trying to hammer it to break me.  Heh, first time on the road, probably.  I let them go when I turned into the park.  Not bad for a 240 lb guy on a mountain bike, carrying a pack on the rear rack.

Timeout for the word

I took a much needed break and spent sometime studying the book of Exodus.

There were plenty of recreational riders with the kids, a cool thing.  Again, this is a favorite park of mine.  I guess I hold some sentimental memories for this park.

I then headed down the trail towards Madison.

More paved trails in the woods.  Morris County New Jersey is a nice place to live.  This one taken while in motion.

Sweet Tea

I decided to stop at Atlanta Bread in downtown Madison.  Lori and I spent many of our “honeymoon” years living in downtown Madison.  Madison is a cool little town with a lot of boutique shops.  Also, for a conservative town, they are really bike friendly.  It seemed like there were “Share The Road” bicycle signs every 50 yards, and they painted out bike lanes on most of the major roads.

Ymmm…sweet tea hit the spot.  While there, my wife called.  She locked the keys in the car, and was at her brother’s house in Parsippany.  It was decided she’d just wait for me to get home.  Good, because I was a long way from home.

This is my 30th birthday gift.  I love it, and can’t imagine carrying a backpack ever again.

Madison-Morristown Traction Line

From there, I headed towards the Traction Line.  Or, I tried to find it, going down side streets off of Madison Ave.,  only to realize that the Traction Line entrance in Madison is off of Park Ave., which runs on the other side of the train tracks.

I did catch an entrance at the Convent Station stop.  I used to ride on this for exercise back before my bike commuting days.

You can see the sky grew dark.  That is because it started raining.  As soon as I entered the dangerous intersection on the Morristown side, it started to downpour.  Honestly, the rain was refreshing.  No big deal.

Through Morristown onto Morris Plains, and back up my familiar bike commute.  Here’s a picture of the Mt. Tabor park entrance.

If you like old Victorians, then you’ll love Mt. Tabor.  Some very interesting architecture lay beyond these gates.

I leave you with a terrible video of the last minute of my ride.  This was taken with my digital camera, and you can tell my attempt at creative angles failed miserably, and the auto-focus feature had a hard time keeping up with my pace.

All in all, it was a great ride.  I’ll be feeling it tomorrow.

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Rogue Trail Riding

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on May 21, 2009

So I’ve been using the Morris Plains “Borough Walking Trail” for the ride on the way to work.  This cuts about 5 minutes from my commute, and the descent is F-U-N!

The entrance has a sign which states “No Vehicles Permitted”.  I believe a bicycle is a form of a vehicle, but I pretend the definition means motorized vehicles when I ride past that sign.

The thing is, the trail is like an alternative to coffee.  It is just too fun in the morning to ignore.  Hoping along at over 30 miles per hour on a short steep hill is something I look forward to know.

The normal way is just boring, though I do get to look at Pfizer on one side and Johnson and Johnson on the other.

Feeling Stronger

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on May 19, 2009

I recently had a record time heading the most direct route home.  Thirty minutes portal to portal, including the massive (not so massive) hill in Mt. Tabor.  I don’t know, something clicked, and I decided to ride the entire trip with very little coasting breaks.

Compared to a few weeks ago, I feel like my legs are in slightly better condition, though I haven’t dropped a ton of weight.  Yet.  This will start to happen as I get smarter with my diet.

Pete has encouraged me to take longer more challenging routes.  I’ve taken his advice, and the route of choice takes me an extra thirty minutes with much more challenging hills.  I hope to have some pictures, because this route is pretty (well, except for the high tension power lines on some of the ride).  While it has less traffic, I’ve noticed myself a bit intimidated climbing a winding country road hoping the next car flying around the bend sees me before it is too late.  My direct route has nice shoulders for much of the ride, whereas this route forces me to take the road.

Flat Tire Mishaps

I’ve had two flats in as many weeks.  Both times, the rear tire mysteriously emptied out over night.  I am beginning to wonder if I have some sort of bicycle gremlin lurking in the shadows of my basement, waiting for the most inconvient time to wreak havoc.

I think the reasons for the flat tires are to be attributed to riding in the early season when road debris is at a higher level.  Still, I hate flat tires!

Boston Sports

Both of my spring time playoff teams were knocked out of the playoffs early.  Alas, this means that the Bruins, and Celtics will be hitting the links, cruising in their yachts, getting dental surgery, or whatever it is that pro athletes do in the offseason.  On the plus, this also means that I won’t be staying up all hours of the week watching my teams win championships, the plus being that I’ll go to bed at more Godly hours ready to ride early in the morning.

I’m still rooting for the old team in Boston though.

Work Move

Next week my company moves.  This maybe adds a quarter mile to my commute, but I’m wondering if they have showers.  So far, I have had no luck in locating them, but I’ve only looked at the one men’s room near our new office.  Bonus, they actually have a cafeteria.  Not that I have money to spend there anyway.

I may have to learn how to commute without taking a shower.  Yuck!  I know other (if not most) commuters do it this way, but once you have the luxury of a shower you start taking it for granted.  Some good advice I’ve read, is to take it easy on the way in so that you don’t build up a terrible sweat, and then get the real work out on the way home.  I may practice this next week.

My thought

The president wants to make it so all new cars by 2016 have to have a minimum 35.5 MPG.  I’m not sure this is realistic, and I’m also unsure if this is the best way to confront our dependency on foreign oil.  While I’m a big fan of new technology and advancement in different energy outlets, I wonder if we should just allow the market to dictate MPGs and how to figure out a cheap way at extracting the oil from shale.

Then again, I’m no energy expert, I just enjoy riding a bike.

Weekend: Blah

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on May 4, 2009

I never had a chance to ride this weekend.  Saturday, we were doing a little hiking, when I received a phone call from a client.  So as the weather cleared up, I was stuck on the phone until the evening trying to fix an access issue.

Now it’s been a few days without a ride.  I might ride home tonight, weather permitting.

Oh well, I guess a few days without a ride beats a few weeks.