Metal Bike Commuter

A Good Start to the New Year

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on January 6, 2009

This past Sunday, I received a voice message from Crazyguyonabike. I was running the sound board at church at the time, so I couldn’t check the message. This being the first time he called me, I didn’t recognize the number. I sent a text message back asking what’s up. “You want to ride today” was the reply back. Oh, now I know who this is! I was definitely interested.

I called him after church finished, and we agreed to meet at Watson’s Bagels in downtown Denville. Crazyguyonabike took a bunch of pictures with his Fujifilm FinePix E900. He started out from the Union Hill area of Denville. Also riding was Chris who came in from Boonton.

Crazyguyonabike took this one from near his house, I’m guessing. I’ve crossed this bridge when commuting home. This is the road I take when trying to avoid busy Route 53.

I live right across the street from Indian Lake, as mentioned before. The lake was an ice block the afternoon we rode. Crazyguy must have rode right past my house on his way to the bagel shop to get this shot.

Ok, bear with me. The shaggy dude on the left is metalcommuter. The tall man is Crazyguyonabike. We stopped in front of a farm in Rockaway. See if you can spot the llamas and sheep.

Here’s Chris in full winter riding gear. Nice bike!

Action shot with the top of the Tourne off in the distance.

I felt like a hopeless noob. Crazyguy and Chris both sported proper riding gear, while I had on a huge winter coat that left me sweating and cold at the same time.

More Indian Lake. My street runs from the left side of the picture to about the middle.

Thanks to Chris and Crazyguy for including me on this ride. They showed me that it is possible to ride in the cold weather. Also, they were kind enough to take it slow for the heavy dude on fat knobby tires.


December Ride

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on December 14, 2008

So I finally caved in and took a spin yesterday.  I ran up downtown past the hospital and then along Boulevard in Mountain Lakes to the Boonton town line.

This is maybe an 8 mile round trip, but it is a beautiful ride, and one of my favorites.  The mansions along Boulevard are looking especially nice during the Holiday season.

While riding past the hospital, I noticed a giant, retarded looking Mickey Mouse:

Union Rat

My guess is that some union was protesting a building expansion at the hospital that was completed without the use of a union.

Eh. Politics while riding are boring.

The ride wiped me out. It was very cold out, and I think it enhanced my cold symptoms that were laying dormant before the ride. I definitely feel worse for the wear at this point. Normally, an 8 mile ride is enough to get my blood going.

Anyway, despite the cold, I was pleased to finally brave the cold, dodge the ice patches, and enjoy creation.

I’m probably not going to hit my year end goal, unless I have a couple epic rides between now and New Year’s Eve. Oh well, looking back, I think I accomplished a lot more than I originally set out. I finally bit the bullet and became a bike commuter. I enjoyed the mild springs, rode through lightening storms, sweated it out in the humid dog days of summer, loved the crispness of fall, and have experienced the challenge that is winter.

I’ll return after my next ride.

I borrowed a bike last weekend

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 25, 2008

We needed a getaway, so we drove an hour and fifteen minutes to my wife’s parents house down by the shore.  Yes, we got plenty of time in the sun, and our daughter enjoyed making (and destroying) sand castles.

While there, I got antsy to ride.  I wasn’t able to pack my bike, because my car with the roof rack was totalled.  The rental their insurance company provided does not have a roof rack, and we didn’t have enough room in the back trunk.

Luckily, my father inlaw permitted the use of one his bicycles.  I hopped on his Trek hybrid and went for a leisurely ride in the hot sun.  I enjoy riding in different areas, because I think it gives a more personal experience than driving would.

I made a loop around the Barnegat-Ocean Township area with a stop at Wells Mills County Park.  I’ve made this sort of my usual destination when riding in the area, as it has some easy, but fun trails.  There’s an old town called Brookville that seems to be eerily stuck in the early 1920s.  I kind of like the old school anyway.  When riding through, you’ll note an old church that still seems to be occuppied.  There’s also two camps, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

I also rode along Route 9.  Something I would never do around here.  I have only crossed route 10, and have ridden along 46 for about a quarter of a mile.  Scary.  Route 9 down there has wide shoulders with lighter traffic, so I felt safe enough.

One negative, is that I didn’t wear a helmet.  And I enjoyed the breeze in my hair.  I’ll not make a habit of that though.

Looks like I’m not going to hit my August goal of 240 miles.  I should beat my July total, but I probably won’t be anywhere near my personal goal.  Oh well, it is a continuing trend of finishing each month with more miles than the last.

While at the shore, I ran into plenty of tourists riding rented cruises the wrong way down the road, or on the sidewalk.  I even had one lady almost take out my two year old daughter and myself as she cruised along the sidwalk when we stepped out of a local restaurant.

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.

Night Rider

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on August 11, 2008
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KITT: “Hello, MetalCommuter, where would you like to go?”

How about a night ride?  I did last night and it was a thrill even with the sprinkling of rain.  My wife could tell the restlessness was getting the best of me by Sunday evening, so she practically begged me to get out into the fresh air to ride around a bit.

I had my front lamp on with my blinking reflector in the rear so I felt confident in my visibility for the passing vehicles.  I decided to head down 53 and then detour around some of the cul-de-sac neighborhoods in the Beacon Hill area of Denville eventually crossing into McMansion glory in Parsippany.  I found a neat trail with a couple pedestrian bridges that intersected two deadend streets.  Finally I crossed route 10 and climbed up a hill.  When I coasted down, I realized I was in the neighborhood I take to go home from time-to-time to challenge my legs with the hill.  Well, this was in the opposite direction and I was ready for the huge hill that would get me into Morris Plains.

35 mph was my top speed, and this is because I would feather my brakes around the corners slowing because I had minimum visibility with my rain splattered glasses on.  It was fun.  I felt like I was roaring along at a 100 miles per hour!  I will try this road out during a quiet part of a sunny day.

The ride left me in good spirits.  I’m not going to make a habit out of riding in the dark, but it can be good caffeine for the bored soul.

Commute-less Week

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 21, 2008
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Well, last week was the first week in sometime that I did not hop on the Specialized to commute to work. With good reason, ladies and gentlemen. I was on call all week with the coming arrival of my son. He finally came on Wednesday at 4:24 PM. Whew! My wife and son are healthy and slowly recovering at home now. Of course, my wife went the natural drug-free route again, and not a needle nor a knife was placed on her body. I am proud of her!

I did have the occasion over the weekend of exploring The Tourne over the weekend. I logged about 25 miles this past weekend bringing my monthly total to match June’s total! The Tourne is a beautiful Morris County park with tons of trails ranging from beginner to intermediate. Yesterday I rode up to the summit atop the Tourne and lay on the crest of rocks facing NYC. Man was I dogged. I am not yet a goat, so hill climbing is not my forte. Hill climbing with loose gravel makes for a tiresome ride, ha ha.

Well, enjoy the sun. I’ll enjoy my son. I ride home tonight, yipee!

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
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