Metal Bike Commuter

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on September 3, 2008
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What a refreshing ride I had this morning!  I had gone a week without serious riding, and was excited for today’s commute.  The temps were just right (not too cold, not too warm) and it seems the ride out will be just as pleasant.

I spotted a huge wild turkey in the parking lot.  I’ll try to take a picture of it next time.  There’s a small forest behind the campus, and I’ve spotted a pack of turkeys walking around their neighborhood.

Yesterday the traffic was horrible.  I guess it is the non-official end of summer, and plenty of those kiddos were back in school.  It reminded me why I need to just ride.  Who has time to sit in traffic getting fat?


Back onto a consistent track.

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 20, 2008
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It seems I am getting used to rising early with the newborn.  Eh, he’s actually doing ok at night, though he can be determined to keep us up when his mind is made up.

I’ve been sticking with my normal route without adding any extra diversions.  Since the past few weeks have been so hectic, my body is screaming for a little rest.  I can’t afford to get sick right now.

I have noticed more bicyclists lately.  I don’t know if everyone realizes that summer will soon be ending, or if I’m hitting the right time of day when folks are on the road.  Anyway, it is nice to see others out.  Except for the person that blew a red light yesterday.  No, I’m not surprised when I see someone do this, but I am when I’m going 18+ through an intersection only to have some oblivion ignore the traffic light.

So, if you see a man with an expensive red road bike and a jersey to match, give him a nice loud “RED LIGHT!” declaration.  I fear he may be color blind and unable to differentiate between the three circles that comprise a traffic light.  Of course, everyone treats this particular intersection like a 3 way, instead of a 4 way.

On a lighter note, I’ve been thinking about getting a carrier.  I think with my shoes, clothes, toiletries, and towel, my bag weighs over 20 lbs.  Even more when lugging a laptop and study books for certification exams.

Nice long ride today!

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on August 16, 2008
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Yes, my wife permitted a nice long ride.  Well, 24 miles is long for me right now.  I rode from my neighborhood through Morristown to the South Street Park (sorry can’t remember the actual name, but it connects with the Loantanka Trail).  Rode through the park system and ended up on Woodland toward my old stomping grounds of Madison.

I love Madison but I decided to cut back onto 124 towards Morristown and eventually Denville.

Stupid Driver Warnings:

1.  While heading east on South Street, I had a car nonchalantly cut around me then turn right onto a side street (Madison St?) as if I didn’t exist.  It took some awesomely stupid skills as I was outside the door zone, so this driver needed to cut into oncoming traffic and quickly back in front of me whilst completing a hard right.

2.  On 53 North back towards home, a truck pulls out of the road well ahead of me, but slows down and places his right blinker on (ok, the blinker was a good thing).  I slow down and he continues to slow down, so we both end up confused.  I’m not about to let a truck have me for lunch.  He then starts to speed up while hanging his hand out the window waving me forward.  Year right.  I just climbed Tabor hill, and my legs are shot from the longer than usual ride.  I wave him on, but this minor adventure with the truck took away some needed momentum.

Other than that, it was fun mixing in some city and country driving.  At the halfway point, I rested at a favorite duck pond.  We used to hang out there all the time.  Thank God for water fountains.  By the time I reached home, I was parched!

Well, we have some fine company coming over tonight, so I’ll be busy cleaning and preparing for tonight’s dinner.

July Stats

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 4, 2008
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I hit my meager goal of reaching 180 miles for the month of July (or 80 more than June).  Interestingly, I haven’t lost as much as weight as I thought I would, so I need to step up the mileage for this month.  Again, I want to add another 80 from my July total, so I’m shooting for 260 miles by the end of August.  I have about 250 miles to go!

Considering the fact that I welcomed a new son into my family last month, I didn’t do too bad.  I was out for about a week, so I might have broken the 200 mile mark if I wasn’t at home tending to my wife and son the week of his birth.  That is alright, this is a sacrifice I would recommend to anyone.

Thursday, I ran into a local bike commuter, Joe.  We rode for a few miles up 53 and talked about how awesome riding is.  He’s a TA at a special needs school in Whippany.  He’ll be getting a new ride from Marty’s Reliable Cycles soon enough, and plans on riding at the next CM.  I plan on attending my first CM this month too!  It was fun riding with someone for a change.  He finally took off going up the hill of Mt. Tabor as I explained that my fat knobby tires would slow him down.

After a few days without riding, I decided to take a small ride around town.  I totalled about 12 miles.  On the way out of town, I spotted the mayor of Denville carrying a rather large box under one arm while riding his bike towards downtown.  I guess he is serious about bicycle riding.

Just a Short Ride

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 14, 2008
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Saturday I headed over to Watson Bagels on the bike but took about a 10 mile detour on the way over.

Here are a few shots of Indian Lake in Denville. I live across the street from here and get to wake up to this every morning. Not a bad view.

Indian Lake

Indian Lake

See if you can spot the bird on the dock here. I couldn’t get a clear shot, but it was a taller bird with a long beak.

Indian Lake - Bird

Blurry shot of the bike path that runs across parts of Northern Denville.

Bike Trail

Blurry posed shot with the handle bars.

Handle bars on bike trail

Parked outside Watson Bagels in downtown Denville

Bike at Watson Bagels

And here is my breakfast. Yep, I’m a breakfast sandwich kind of guy. Hence the extra pounds. Well, that is slowly changing as I ride more.

Breakfast sandwich at Watson Bagels

In total, I rode about 12 miles this weekend. Yeah, it is a rather low number, but my wife is due to have labor any minute now. Besides, I spent a few hours on Sunday working around the yard.

Bicycle Accessories

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 8, 2008
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Like most bicycle enthusiasts, I have my collection of bicycle accessories. My current list includes:

Spare Tires
Floor Pumps
Bicycle Pumps
Seat Bag

Of course, as I ride more, I am sure I’ll be adding more to that short list. Right now I ride a Specialized Hardrock, but eventually plan on getting a road bike, or a commuter to add to my small collection. I’ve already provided the history of bikes I have owned, and quite soon I’ll provide a list of dream bicycles.

What is necessary for you as a rider depends on the style of riding you prefer. The commuter will probably require panniers, fenders, and light assemblies. The MTB’er will want thick knobs and some kind of suspension system (full or hardtail). The roadster seems to enjoy slick spandex clothing and bright jerseys. Whatever it is, with time, you will find your way.

July 3rd – 7

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 7, 2008
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Well, I didn’t ride at all this weekend. Sorry, but the wife has nesting fever going on, so I spent my long weekend slaving around the house. Our 2nd baby is to be born any day now!

I did get in a nice long, hilly ride Thursday afternoon. Whew! First, I started going north on 202 north, which turned out to be a bit scary. Route 202 north of Morristown can be a bit hairy. I crossed routes 10, 46, and over 80 and past 287. This section is pretty much the hub of Morris County. Most of the 202 portion of my ride was without any protective shoulders in 45 to 50 MPH traffic zones.

Anyway, I survived the 202 madness and took the pedestrian bridge across the Jersey City Reservoir. This used to be the main connection point for local access between Boonton and Parsippany, but they completed a new bridge and converted the old one into a pedestrian only bridge. It is worth a look at and the view of the reservoir is impressive.

From there I continued towards downtown Boonton. Wow. Talk about an extremely steep hill. You won’t notice how steep the hill is until you ride a bicycle uptown into Boonton. Add the fact that the main drag is extremely narrow and cars are parked on both sides, it makes for another scary ride. I almost got smothered by a huge box truck that didn’t share the lane, and another car honked at me for taking up too much space.

I then meandered around the Mountain Lakes area stopping at a small cafe for a HUGE bottle of water. The town of Mountain Lakes is a wealthy town with some impressing, if not, imposing houses. Check out their beautiful lake if you are in the area. I actually got lost a few times (which you will note in my map). Somehow I ended up on 46, and decided to cut back into Mt. Lakes through a business complex and condo development.

I had a few “races” while riding around. While riding uphill on Intervale in Parsippany, a helmetless (brainless?) dude passed me on the wrong side of the road. I cranked it up a bit and toasted him easily. He eventually crossed over to the right side of the road behind me but couldn’t keep up. Me 1 – them 0.

Heading home in Denville on Pocono Road, I got smoked by another MTB’er. No way was I keeping up. He looked like he did this a lot more than me (just guessing by the general physical shape he was in). Me 1 – them 1.

All in all, my computer read at 17 miles when I rolled into my driveway. Not bad, considering the heavy traffic, obnoxious drivers, steep hills, and bicycle racers.

Another bonus: While working on my car (spark plugs, and wires – man you won’t believe how difficult it was, I had to remove about 10 bolts and 2 panels just to get to the wires) my neighbor asked me if both my cars were working now (yeah, sorta). He wondered if I still planned on riding my bike because he noticed that it was of some benefit to me, that I looked like I was in better shape (yes I am, and thank you!).

Anyway, check out my map if you want. Notice the points where I got lost heh heh.

07/07/2008 Route
Find more Bike Rides in Parsippany, New Jersey

Found The Trail

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 1, 2008
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I found the trail that has eluded me for over a month now. It begins at the entrance of the Fox Hill apartments. I think DoT listed it as about 2 miles long. I’ll definitely try it out on the way home tonight.

While I didn’t get much sleep tonight, the ride over to work today put me in a great mood. And, I confirmed with what Google maps already told me. The mileage from door-to-door is almost exactly 6 miles.

I spotted one commuter headed the opposite way towards downtown Denville. I assume he either works in town, or was headed to the train station. Either way, it is nice to see others making a commitment to ride.

Weekly Total: 6 Miles.

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.

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